Yes, three are tied to the holiday season, but one is on Rick Berg and his divine energy beliefs, and another is on, you guessed it...Christian Ponder.

Don’t justify energy policy as moral responsibility
Given that many members of the Republican Party proclaim themselves to be the moral right, it should come as no surprise that Kevin Cramer, incoming North Dakota freshman U.S. House representative who has served as the state's Republican Party chair and as an energy regulator on the Public Service Commission for the state, has managed to bring God into the whole domestic coal, oil and natural gas production thing. “God put it there for us,” the one-time minister wannabe has been quoted as saying. “In my view, it would be immoral to leave it there.” While pushing for the Keystone XL pipeline, he plans to oppose production tax credits for wind and federal clean air regulations that threaten the state's lignite coal industry and is also a vocal opponent of greenhouse gas regulations. The guy must feel smug and secure in his position by bringing energy, an issue about as far away from religion as any other, into the moral responsibility realm. Or maybe he's simply looking for another way to justify it. Whatever his reasoning, the people of North Dakota will, hopefully, be able to see through it.

Time to try another QB
It was about five weeks ago that the Vikings were 5-2 and there was little doubt that Christian Ponder was the quarterback of the future. How quickly things can change in the NFL. Now fans are calling for a complete overhaul of the coaching staff and a new quarterback, following Ponder's gift to the Packers. If you need a number to know just how bad Ponder has been take a look at ESPN's Total Quarterback Rating (QBR), which measures a QB's impact on the game on a scale of 1-100 with 50 being average. Against the Packers Ponder put up a whopping 3.1 rating! In his last five games his QBR is 25.58! The careers of Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Jared Allen and other quality Viking players are going to waste because the team doesn't have a competent quarterback. It's time to move on and find a new Purple quarterback.

Attend a ‘Classic’
It’s that time of year again; yes the Christmas holiday is right around the corner. With the holiday season comes a long to-do list. In order to get in the Christmas spirit, buying tickets for the Class Noel held by the Crookston Music Departments should be added to the top of your list of things to do. With a candlelight dinner, caroling and a concert to finish up the night, what better way to kick off the month of December? The 13th Annual Classic Noel will be held at the high school on Sunday, Dec. 9 with doors opening at 5:30. Guests will be served baked Hawaiian ham with various sides while ensembles of choir and orchestra students perform for them, before the real show in the auditorium after dinner is served. With only so much space in the high school, tickets are running out, so give yourself a night off from holiday shopping and Christmas preparations, and let the Crookston Music Departments bring the Christmas spirit to you. Katie Davidson, student staff writer

Stress-free Christmas?
Christmas will be here before you can say "Deck the Halls". People are running around trying to buy presents for whomever is on their list, baking cookies like there's no tomorrow and cleaning the house to the point where one might think royalty is expected for Christmas dinner. People do this every year and it can easily create unnecessary stress. So, this year, try to ease up on Christmas preparations. You don't have to decorate the house to the nines. Your house can be festive with simpler or fewer decorations. Don't bake 10 kinds of cookies, bake three. Finally, don't stress over finding the one present that would extremely please someone. Give that person money for Christmas so they can buy what they want. When it comes down to it, all people care about is spending time with loved ones. Christmas should just be a stress-free zone. Amanda Wagner, Times intern

Winter Wonderland, Santa Land now two days of fun
This Friday, Dec. 7 is the first Friday of December, and anyone who knows anything about Crookston knows what that means: It’s time to grab the coat, maybe some mittens and a hat – and don’t forget your family and friends, of course – and head on out for Winter Wonderland. There are deals on merchandise all over town, Christmas snacks, a bonfire, singing, music, spontaneous holiday cheer…all that good stuff. One thing that won’t take place Friday is a Winter Wonderland tradition, Santa Land, put on by the Crookston Student Association at UMC and a bunch of student clubs on campus. Held at the Presbyterian Church the past couple years, this year Santa Land will be held on campus, not on Friday but on Saturday, in Bede Ballroom. Spreading the Winter Wonderland fun over two days? Sounds like an intriguing experiment. So do your Winter Wonderland thing on Friday, then bring the kids to campus on Saturday.