>   Get ready for the Budweiser Airshow of the Cascades!
   When Butler Aircraft went away as the title sponsor, the Madras air show's organizers were left a bit behind the eightball. It's good to learn that Budweiser (by way of Morgan Distributing of Portland) and Madras' own Gary Gruner Chevrolet -- who consistently sets a great example of a business supporting community events and programs -- have stepped in for the airshow.
   It looks like organizers have again brought in an excellent show, with the counted-upon aerialists and the all the historic military crafts, this year including a Russian MiG fighter jet. The motorcycle stunt teams sounds exciting as well, plus, the music, food, car show ... great way to spend an evening or afternoon.
   The show is the largest annual event in Jefferson County, and it brings in hundreds of visitors. Let's hope the skies are clear and it's not too hot. Congrats to the air show and its new sponsors. Long may you fly.
   The air show caps off a busy August in Jefferson County. The annual Community in the Park event -- a wonderful free services program organized and carried out by our community's churches -- is a fabulous event touching hundreds of people, and it's a great kickoff to the month.
   This weekend marks Culver's community celebration, the Crawdad Festival. The following Saturday, Aug. 18, is the Kids Club of Jefferson County's Second Annual Island Nights Luau. It's an important fundraiser for the vitally important after-school program. See the ad on page 3 for info on the Crawdad Festival, and the one on page 5 for the luau -- and get out, take part and enjoy.
   Race is set
   Now that the inspiring, entertaining Olympics have wrapped, we can all get set for the final three-month push for one of the most tedious, painful, cramp-inducing marathons of them all -- the final stages of the American presidential election.
   This weekend, candidate Mitt Romney made a move by naming his running mate, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Apparently Ryan won the earlier heat race between other Midwest white politicians with well-cropped hair between the ages of 40 and 65.
   Ryan's a leading fiscal conservative with an approachability and likability that Romney just can't seem to muster.
   Ryan is a thinker. He's a conservative but one who, at least initially, went about his work as a representative for Wisconsin the way it used to be done, the way it should still be done: by seeking consensus and common ground with both fellow Republicans and Democrats.
   But Ryan hasn't been immune to the pox on the Republican party, the Tea Party and the notion that any kind of negotiation or consensus with the Democrats, that any kind of tax increase, was forbidden. That spirit has invigorated the conservative base, but it hasn't, so far, been a winning position with independents and moderates. The GOP points to the recall election in Ryan's homestate of Wisconsin, which went their way. So, maybe the national tide is turning their way.
   Democrats, as can be expected, have already painted Ryan as a warrior for the rich and enemy of the middle class. I don't think he is. I think he just wants our economy to thrive and our valued entitlement programs to not go bankrupt.
   But that's American politics. We take good, intelligent family men, American success stories like Barack Obama and Paul Ryan and, with each side taking a target, lambaste each with catch phrases designed to scare people. Obama haters want you to think he's a Marxist planning government takeovers of every mansion more than 5,000 square feet to turn them into shelters for terrorists and "Occupy" participants. Democratic hacks want you to think Ryan had deep hatred for grandmas and wants to confiscate Social Security checks to offset additional tax breaks for billionaires.
   I guess this vitriolic attitude each side has toward the other is what creates the grueling hills for this marathon that is the presidential race. It's been the norm since Thomas Jefferson and John Adams each thought they should be the second president.
   But someday, soon, our nation must find our way back to consensus government, on a host of issues -- ranging from energy production (where the Democrats need to budge) to taxation (where the GOP needs to bend) -- to fully reach our economic potential and solve our long-term budgetary problems.
   But, for now, back to the marathon of mudslinging and misinformation. The next scheduled water breaks are the upcoming conventions followed by the debates. In between, there will be plenty of stumbles and spurts of energy.
   No doubt, come early November, we'll all be leaning for the finish line, eager to finish.
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