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Opinion Editorial

“If you build it, they will NOT come.” That is the claim of the proposed “Wall of America,” which should not be confused with the “Mall of America.”

Sealing off the southern border of the U.S. isn't a new idea but it has been getting extra traction during the current election cycle. The U.S./Mexican border is a little shy of 2,000 miles long and expense estimates vary depending on construction techniques. Minnesota's Mall of America, built in 1992, cost about a billion in today's dollars. The Wall of America, according to various sources could run as high as $50 billion in tomorrow's dollars. Of course, any particular figure only includes an initial expense and not maintenance and the manpower to service its operation, an operation that would presumably continue in perpetuity.

Immigration, legal or otherwise is a recurring issue that seems to jump into the forefront during shaky economic times. When the economy is doing well, there is less concern about foreign workers competing for jobs. This time around, the fear factor has been dialed up with the portrayal of immigrants en masse, engaging in a Latino-on-Gringo crime wave.

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There's been quite an uproar concerning Walter Palmer, a dentist and big-game hunter from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the “beloved” Zimbabwe game-preserve lion. Cecil's “beloved” status however appears to be mostly posthumous, since he wasn't exactly a household name while alive.

It's reported that Palmer paid $50,000 in permit fees in order to hunt. According to Palmer, he believed that he was on a legal hunt and had no idea that Cecil had been lured off the preserve. It wasn't as if Palmer had set up a sniper's nest at the municipal zoo or had laid land mines in the savanna. Nevertheless, the government of Zimbabwe which was quite willing to take Palmer's money in the first place for a “legal” kill, now wants to extradite him to stand trial and face possible imprisonment of up to ten years if convicted. Zimbabwe hardly has a stellar human rights record so maybe they hope to score some animal rights points to help balance things out.

On the home front, the hunter has become the hunted, by the not-so-social media. Hundreds of thousands of tweets, Facebook postings, as well as an online petition to the White House demanding action are in full circulation. As this is being written, Palmer is still in incognito. Even after the Cecil the lion news story is forgotten by the public, I doubt if life will ever be the same for Walter the dentist.

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As California descends further into its worst drought in recorded history, Golden Staters are looking for someone to blame. Many city-dwellers have pointed fingers at the State's farmers and ranchers.

But they're blaming the victims. As Governor Jerry Brown put it, "[a]gricultural water users… have borne much of the brunt of the drought to date… with significantly reduced water allocations and thousands of farmworkers laid off."

This misconception is only the latest in a long history of myths about American agriculture. It's time to plow under these myths and plant some seeds of truth about our nation's farmers.

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Elections, especially presidential elections are entertaining, but do they really change anything? I feel like the fan who has realized that pro wrestling is fake. You still watch it, but it's only entertainment.

For voters who have traveled through numerous election cycles, certain themes and patterns take form. One may not be ready to call the whole thing bogus, but for many, there is a general disillusionment with the election process. We've seen and heard it all before. It's always “this time” that things will be different and that our candidate “really” means what they say.

This time around there might be a presidential contender who has more candor than political savvy. Republican Donald Trump's uniquely coiffed hair and abrasive non-politically correct verbiage places him well outside of the traditional political pecking order.

Trump is an incarnation of the businessman turned politician, portraying himself as untainted by the political process with the ability to “get things done.”

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