Columns

It happened again this week. The family of an accused criminal defendant in a serious crime with sensational overtones is descended upon at their residence by Twin Cities TV reporters, asking them for comment. Apparently, ratings concerns supersede simple understanding of their grief and their right to privacy.

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Over last few decades, many investors have moved away from the traditional full service stockbrokerage firms to discount and internet brokerage firms. For some investors, especially during the heady days of the late 1990s and the middle of the first decade of this century they have abandoned all brokerage advice and took on the business of investing by becoming “day traders.”

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“Breaking Bad” TV show actor Steven Quezada had several strong messages for about 4,000 educators recently gathered to discuss charter public schools. At a conference sponsored by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, (http://www.publiccharters.org) Quezada began, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for recognizing that children learn in different ways.”

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Occasionally some new idea captures the fancy of the general public to such a degree that its popularity exceeds all reasonable expectations. Such was the case with rock gardens in the 1930s. The July 15, 1931 Anoka Union newspaper explains, “Never in the history of Anoka have people been so interested in rock gardens and flowers of all kinds as this summer of 1931.”

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During the end of the first quarter of 2001, there was a virtual chorus of individuals across the country blaming Alan Greenspan for the economic downturn that followed the DotCom Bust. The chiming got louder as the stock market continued to crumble and economy softened. While Greenspan may have been a culprit in the downturn, it was not because of his actions or inactions during the economic and stock market declines. On the contrary, it was because of what he did not do during the speculative boom. Thus, the complaints were great examples of how little most individuals knew about the bull market of the 1990s and the bear market of the early 21st century.

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The explosion of social networking and the ability of each of us to access billions of pieces of information and connect with millions of individuals over the Internet can be viewed as beneficial to society as a whole. But technology advances much faster than our system of laws and the rules of the judicial system can react or accommodate them. A vivid example was the recent argument at the U.S. Supreme Court about whether police must first obtain a search warrant before searching someone’s cell phone or smartphone.

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One of my favorite family memories is sandbagging by the St. Croix River with two of our children. It comes to mind as we enter summer and the July Fourth holiday – a holiday celebrating the sacrifice and selflessness of others. One of the most important things a family can do together this summer is help youngsters continue this tradition. Service should be a part of summer.

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