OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT
A transformative figure
Some argue that the first viable woman candidate ever to compete for the highest office in the land deserves the feminist vote.
I am pleased that we finally have a woman who is capable of competing for the presidency. But does the fact that she's a woman necessarily demand that feminists vote for her?
Barack Obama's vision for America and the world is uniquely inclusive and transformative. He understands that we all rise and fall together. He listens to people and builds consensus.
In this world of violence, poverty and disease. we need a leader not only with the intelligence and drive to work hard for changes but one who can, in fact, bring us together to create a more peaceful and cooperative world. As a feminist, these qualities trump gender. On Feb. 5, I will support Barack Obama.
JILL SANDEEN, ST. PAULHillary's divisive politics
Sen. Hillary Clinton consistently tells voters that she can weather the Republican attack machine, insinuating that Sen. Barack Obama cannot.
Well, the Republicans have nothing on the Clintonian Rove-like tactics. For example, they take his strength of transcending race and make it his weakness by making sure everyone knows he's a "black" candidate. Then they claim that he is playing the race card.
If you strive to work with people instead of demonizing them, it's amazing what can be done. We're better than this! Aren't Minnesotans tired of the gridlock and partisanship?
ROBERT WAGNER, MAPLEWOOD
FEB. 5 CAUCUSES
No beauty contest
The Star Tribune quotes Joe Mansky, Ramsey County elections manager and former state elections director, saying about the Feb. 5 caucuses, "People have expectations that there's a big event here, that our little preference ballot is something more than a beauty contest."
I hope this was just a misquote. The presidential preference ballot on the Democratic side is a binding vote for how much support each presidential candidate gets for the Democratic National Convention.
CARL HOLMQUIST, MINNEAPOLIS
PAYING FOR KIDNEYS
What has been omitted in recent discussions regarding kidney donations is how to stop or slow the long-term problem of a kidney waiting list that has "increased tremendously in the last decade."
Paying volunteers may solve the short-term crisis, but it does not address the increasing incidence of diabetes or increased life expectancies due to medical advancements and interventions.
Moreover, other issues arise should a widespread, government-backed program be employed: Who pays if complications ensue months or years later related to the surgery? How will the poor, who may be most likely to take up the offer, be assured prompt and quality assistance should they have complications? Or will they be? How will lawsuits be adjudicated in cases where the botched surgery is paid by tax dollars -- does the government get sued? What if someone dies? What are the potential taxpayer costs of these and other related externalities?
As the human population continues to grow and as disease dynamics change, history shows that tissue demand, whether it be liver, blood, heart, bone marrow, etc., will, in many instances, outstrip supply.
My suggestion is that we come to grips with our own mortality and implement a humane right-to-die program. If we truly want to rein in skyrocketing medical costs and decrease human suffering, we will have to set such a precedent.
BRAD JOHNSON, MINNEAPOLIS
THE OMAHA COMPARISON
More than meets the eye
"Minneapolis-St. Paul: A Cold Omaha" is a slogan that just refuses to die, as Richard Conklin proves in his editorial counterpoint (Star Tribune, Jan. 24).
Conklin's right in pointing out both the wonderful as well as confoundingly backwards characteristics of the Twin Cities. And he may be on to something in dredging up the old Omaha analogy. Like the Twin Cities, Omaha has had no public transportation system to speak of since unplugging its street-car system. Like the Twin Cities, it has allowed greedy developers to churn up endless miles of farmland to create cul-de-sacs of McMansions.
And just like the Twin Cities, Omaha comes up deaf when someone asks why it has allowed "free market" industry and corporate farms to turn the once majestic river running along its downtown border into a cesspool dirty enough to scare away any freedom-loving catfish. I even suspect that if the Omaha metro area had any lakes, they too would be toxified with lawn fertilizers, Monsanto-made acetochlor, SUV speed boats and, yes, more McMansions (as if the suburbs hadn't provided the area with a sufficient quota).
Some might even argue that, like the culture of the Twin Cities, Omaha's would have been an insufferable crock pot of Wonder Bread soup if not for the African-Americans and Mexicans who long ago came north to work on the city's railroad lines and its stockyards, and had the tenacity to stay and prosper.
About the only difference I can come up with is that the people who live in Omaha, like those living in the rest of the Midwest, don't constantly refer to themselves and their culture, yet the people of the Twin Cities, while otherwise perfectly fine and respectable Midwestern folk, persist in this curious habit, as if there was something so special about "Minnesota Nice" that they just had to tell the rest of the world about it.
Oh, well -- no analogy is perfect.
STEVE JAHN, MINNEAPOLIS
Selling Augsburg short
In the Jan. 23 article on MBA programs, the dean of the Business School at St. Thomas denigrates the faculty of those programs at other schools. His statements pertaining to the "depth" of the faculty at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and St. Thomas implied a lack of quality at other colleges and universities. That is an unfair statement and lacks a factual basis.
The Augsburg business faculty is talented, experienced and possessed of advanced degrees, as well as practical and relevant business experience. Ironically, many of our faculty have taught at both the University of Minnesota and St. Thomas. A good number received their doctorate degrees from those institutions.
Additionally, our apparently "inadequate" faculty has advanced degrees from, among others, Harvard, University of Chicago, Stern Business School of NYU, and many possess extensive executive or consulting experience with a number of the Fortune 500 companies in the Twin Cities.
While the majority of our MBA courses are taught by our continuing full-time faculty, our adjunct MBA faculty members are equally academically qualified and have been teaching at our institution successfully for several years.
We recognize that students today have many choices for their MBA degrees. We only ask that potential students evaluate our program and curriculum, assess our faculty, talk to our graduates and make a decision based on facts and analysis, not biased and uninformed statements.
STEVEN M. ZITNICK, MINNEAPOLIS;
DIRECTOR, AUGSBURG MBA PROGRAM