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Across The Lake

Plagiarism is stealing from another writer. Research is stealing from several. Often the in-between method is what in the business is high-mindedly called paraphrasing. Usually the excuse is that you want to say the same thing but feel you can do it better. That is the excuse I'm going to use now and while it won't be better, this way I can tell you about it.

First off, I got this in e-mails from four states. It's the sort of thing that will make the rounds even further, but friends, acquaintances and former co-workers in Texas, South Dakota, Colorado and Minnesota have all sent this along. I will be really surprised if friends from one or the other sides of the political aisle don't add to the list. The article is by a noted writer for the Scripps Howard News Service, Dale McFeatters and it's properly labeled as a commentary.

"President Obama showed up at the G20 summit," McFeatters begins, "with everything but the proverbial kitchen sink." He goes on to point out that although the president went to London where the local newspapers spent a great deal of time and gave a great deal of front page space, to the fact that Mr. Obama did not come alone. While there was much discussion of weighty issues, British papers said the president's entourage rivaled that for the queen. Mr. Obama came to London with 500 staff members.

There were 200 Secret Service agents, a reflection on the times in which we live and the need for protection of the free world's leading executive. As to the 'kitchen sink,' McFeatters noted that the president was also accompanied by the White House chef and kitchen staff who came with the president's own food and even his own water.

"Our president won't be at a loss for words" either, according to the Scripps Howard writer. He brought along four speech writers and 12 teleprompters. The 35 vehicles which came along include Marine One, the presidential helicopter and a fleet of identical ones to serve as decoys.

The presidential limo was also brought over. Since Mr. Obama arrived on Air Force One and flys regularly on Marine One, the London press mistakenly called the limo Cadillac One. It's The Beast to White House reporters who know it is equipped with ceramic armor, tear gas guns and its own oxygen supply. I admire the way McFeatters winds up his piece. Here's what he said:

"The president is entitled to all the security, communications and support he feels necessary to do his job, but surely when we're trying to project a more restrained, humble image to the world, the president's huge retinue could be scaled back to something less than the triumphal march from "Aida."

Meanwhile, wars, rebellions, disasters, but they still start the news with a cheery "Good evening," and then tell you why it isn't. For whatever reason, there hasn't been a lot of coverage on the flooding around Bismarck and all along the Missouri River. With a number of relatives and friends there, we've tried to keep in touch and it's pretty grim. Water and sewage treatment facilities were still safe mid-week, but even things like having to tranquilize animals in the zoo so they could be moved out have posed problems. It's the worst flood in more than half a century; one we remember well.

Thoughts while drying the dishes... A week to go till the change takes place, but if your address is Hines, you'll want to remember that after the 18th, Shelley will be done for the day at one o'clock. When Dennis and Tracie are starting their routes, they'll be doing it from Blackduck and that's where they'll end their day as well. There's some money-saving logic to all this and as soon as we can figure it out, we'll pass it along.