On the precinct caucuses, Billy Jean suspension, Eli Manning, fog, and the WCHA heating up...

Time for some grassroots politics
It’s been said for generations that “all politics is local.” In this day and age, all politics is money, power and influence more than anything else, so much so that it’s tough to get all fired up and enthusiastic over something like the precinct caucuses, which take place Tuesday in Minnesota. Still, they are what they are, and what they are, are grassroots politics on display, a place where everyone, Democrat and Republican, has a say. It’s a presidential election year, so you can bet the numbers of participants will be up, and the debate will, at times, be lively. Look in the Times today to find the location of your precinct caucus, and check it out.

Reserve suspensions for students who deserve them
A 9-year-old student of a Catholic elementary school in Winona has been suspended indefinitely by the principal of the school. Did he bring a weapon onto the school grounds, talk back to a teacher or beat up another student? None of the above. Lenny Boberg performed a Michael Jackson routine at a school fundraiser, complete with Jackson's signature groin grabs during "Billie Jean." Lenny's mother said the principal told her after the performance that it constituted gross misconduct on the boy's part and that he was suspended. The mother also said the performance was approved during a previous rehearsal and that her son performed similar routines other years for the event. While a private school does not necessarily follow the same moral guidelines as public schools, it appears that in this case, the principal jumped the gun in suspending Lenny. The boy was simply imitating the actions of a wildly popular singer's video that was, arguably, a bit too risque for the hordes of children who worshiped (and still do) him. Seeing how Lenny was not told beforehand that there was something wrong with the performance absolves him of blame, not to mention the fact that he may be a little young to comprehend why he was suspended. Suspension must be reserved only for students who deliberately do something wrong to be truly effective.

Give Manning credit, but don’t forget his behavior
Give Eli Manning his due. Whether you love him or despise him, after the New York Giants’ second Super Bowl victory with Manning as quarterback, it must be acknowledged that he is a big-time player who makes big plays at the biggest moments of the biggest games. But let’s not forget that everything Eli is not wine and roses. This is a guy drafted #1 overall by the San Diego Chargers and, after forcing one of the saddest looking smiles ever seen on the face of a new multi-millionaire professional athlete, he said he wouldn’t play for the Chargers and, in essence, forced a trade to the Giants. John Elway, despite his Super Bowl glories for the Broncos, did the same thing to the Colts many years ago. This type of immature, deluded and selfish behavior is not forgotten, no matter how good these two football players were, and are, on the field.

Careful in that fog
Last week proved to be another unique one in terms of the weather around here. The breathtaking frosted landscape that's typically only an occasional occurrence on isolated winter days lasted several in a row. The "frozen fog" that brought it here and consumed the area for days was also breathtaking, but in a different way. Flights were cancelled in and out of airports, several accidents occurred and people were stranded. It was downright dangerous traveling in some spots where the visibility was extremely poor. This is why it is so important to use caution when there's fog around. If you can see it in town, chance are it's 10 times worse in the country. And while it might look pretty clear when you leave one city for another, billows of thick smoke-like fog can lunge at you from out of nowhere, greatly obscuring your line of sight down the road. So when the fog rolls around, no matter what season we're in, if you must be on the road, take it slow and cautiously and put on your low-beams, but don't be afraid to stay back.

An epic race to the finsh line in the WCHA
As usual, the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference (WCHA) will come down to the wire and with just four weeks left in the regular season teams are starting to make their moves in the standings. Minnesota leads the league with 30 points but the six teams behind them are within eight points or less. Plus, with most of the top teams leaving the conference after this season, teams are clamoring to the final champions of the WCHA before a number of the teams bolt. We are hoping for a historic race down the final stretch of the regular season to setup for a final Final Five to remember.