A MESSAGE FOR BUSH
Shoe-throwing Iraqi speaks for the world
Finally, the first hero to emerge from the war in Iraq: Muntadar al-Zeidi, the shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist.
Thank you for having courage to express directly to the American president what the world has been saying privately and publicly for the last six years.
WAYNE MARTIN, PLYMOUTH
I'm no fan of President Bush, but I have one question for the guy who tossed his shoes at our president: If you had tossed them at Saddam Hussein, what do you think would have happened to you?
MARK WHEELER, ST. MICHAEL
Still a vital and progressive community
Uneasiness and concern. Both are words that come to mind when we heard about the impending layoffs at Hutchinson Technologies last week. However, you will also hear words like optimism, can-do attitude and "we'll get through this" around the community. Reporter Chris Serres admitted that this was a complicated story because the atmosphere wasn't the doom and gloom that he expected when he came to town. So it is disappointing that "the rest of the story" was not included in the Star Tribune's Dec. 14 article because that is just as important for people to hear.
Obviously, there is concern about the layoffs and their effects on the families and the community. However, there is also faith in the future. We've seen challenging times before and gotten through them. There is hope that Hutchinson Technologies will emerge a stronger company that will be positioned well when the economy starts turning around. New development is still taking place. People in the community are still involved, working together to make things better. All the assets that make Hutchinson a wonderful community are still here. While there may be challenges and even a restless night from time to time, there is the realization that each day brings new opportunities. There is an understanding that we can influence and help shape our own future.
Hutchinson takes pride in being a progressive community that gets things done. That pride, that attitude, that work ethic, will carry us through. I believe the same goes for the state and the rest of the country. The sooner people start hearing that, the better.
STEVE COOK, MAYOR, HUTCHINSON, MINN.
HARD TIMES IN MINNESOTA
Ingenuity, selflessness from every town
Attention, impoverished Minnesota cities, towns and counties: Every one of you has something to sell that would represent pure profit since it cost you nothing -- your name. Why should athletic enterprises Target Center, Coors Field and FedEx Field get all the gravy?
We can stave off cutbacks in government services by auctioning off naming rights. Why not Hormel, Minn. (instead of Austin); Mayo, Minn. (instead of Rochester), and Best Buy County?
No-New-Taxes Pawlenty should leap at the chance to trade in the name "Minnesota" for annual fees in the millions of dollars. We could go by "Toyota" until the economy perks up again.
Staples, Minn., has led the way. Forward, Ho!
BOB NORBERG, LAKE CITY
A HEALTHIER AMERICA
Lifestyle choices have a cost, even on the job
Regarding your Dec. 14 article "Whose life is it anyway? Workers pay price for unhealthy ways": Employers encouraging workers to lose weight and quit smoking? I am all for it. Penalties for unhealthy lifestyles that put them at statistically greater risk? Lay it on.
When the people complaining about this injustice wind up in an intensive care unit or hospice as a result of their own lifestyle choices, they are pirating resources from workers who take better care of themselves but wind up in these places anyhow.
JOE MCLEAN, MINNEAPOLIS
THE RECOUNT GOES ON
And this state's fine reputation is on the line
As a future voter, I am upset with the way Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount is going.
1,600 absentee ballots being mistakenly rejected? If this recount weren't going on, the ballots wouldn't have been glanced at twice, and no one would have known that they were excluded. As John Quincy Adams said, "Always vote for principle. Though you may vote alone, you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." I wish we could have as much faith in the system as Mr. Adams did.
So what will happen when I vote for the first time? Will I hold my head high, filled with the pride of making an imprint on history, or will this be overshadowed by the fear of not knowing if my vote was even counted? And more important, what will this recount mean for the normally high voter turnout in Minnesota?
MARIA RUDDLE, SAVAGE;
FRESHMAN, PRIOR LAKE HIGH SCHOOL
With the recount in confusion and the state budget in the red, maybe we should take a page from Blago's playbook and auction off the Senate seat. Statisticians say we'll never really know who got the most votes anyway.
STEVE THOM, MINNETONKA
THE U.S. AUTO INDUSTRY
You may snub Detroit, but it serves you well
A few questions for all those with torches ready to burn Detroit at the stake: Can you tell me the name of the manufacturer that patrols your neighborhood? Carries the sick and the injured to the hospital? Tows that accident out of your way? Plows the parking lots you use? Assists the stranded motorist? Moves the people who maintain your phone, cable TV, Internet connection, parks, railroads and roads? And finally, are you a NASCAR fan?
RADCLIFFE ASHWORTH, NEW BRIGHTON
Paper should find a more neutral photo
I'm no fan of Tom Petters. But the Star Tribune's repeated use of his picture in his orange prison jumpsuit is offensive. To always use this picture showing him at his worse seems biased, manipulative and in poor taste.
BETTY GRANT, MINNEAPOLIS