SOARING GAS PRICES

Time for tough love

With gasoline at $4 per gallon and our dependence on foreign oil, we must do whatever we can to increase domestic supply of oil. We must open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore oil fields for drilling. We want, we need, we must have.

How much impact will this have on world oil supply and the price of gasoline? What will be the cost and consequences of continuing to feed our oil addiction? What about a long-term view? Sooner or later, we'll have to pay the piper. The choices available to us will become fewer and more painful. Long-term thinking is not a human strength, but instead of looking at the cost of your next fill-up, try to imagine what the world will look like in 10, 30, 50 years.

We want, we need, we must have.

CHIP WHITTINGHAM, MINNEAPOLIS

An issue with nuance

The July 20 article "Drill more now, pay less at the pump? Not so fast" paints a picture of most Republicans favoring drilling and most Democrats favoring only conservation. This is an incomplete picture.

Growing bipartisan support for aggressively developing renewable energy supplies from sources like solar, wind and tides are mentioned only in passing, and the need to decrease the carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere is disturbingly absent.

PHIL CONRAD, MINNEAPOLIS

Bachmann's wrong

The "Drill more now, pay less at the pump? Not so fast" article featured another embarrassing flub on the part of Rep. Michele Bachmann.

In the article she stated that expanded drilling could provide "immediate and lasting" relief and slash gas prices to $2 a gallon. Where does she get her information? Does she read the government analyst reports which state that drilling in Alaska takes decades to develop? I understand the investments required to initiate, identify and expense drilling protocols. They are not short-term investments but weighty cost-benefit analysis issues. If one is a proponent of drilling in Alaska, they would understand the timeline.

KAREY HEIM, APPLE VALLEY

Same old politics

Gridlock prevailed once again in Congress when House Republicans killed the "Drill Act," which would have required oil companies to actually use their existing oil leases and start drilling, or face losing the leases.

The bill makes practical sense: Forcing new production of gas and oil in times of high prices and supply shortages would appear to be a no-brainer. But instead, these are the games that our elected officials played with this bill:

Republicans wanted the opportunity to amend the bill to allow opening up new federal lands to exploration. Democrats chose to use the rules and their majority to prevent this from happening. Democrats brought the bill to the floor for a vote in such a way that passage would require a super majority of two-thirds to pass. This path would close any opportunity for amendments. The bill passed 244-173 but failed because it did not receive the super majority vote.

Democrats could have passed this bill if they had not chosen to play games and deny debate and amendments to the bill. Both sides now have rocks to throw at each other.

This is just another example of the political games that are being played by both Democrats and Republicans in our do-nothing Congress. While they fiddle around with partisan politics, the real losers are the citizens of our country.

DEAN BARKLEY, PLYMOUTH;

INDEPENDENCE PARTY CANDIDATE, U.S. SENATE

KERSTEN'S COLUMNS

A variety of topics

While Katherine Kersten's many critics love to take umbrage at nearly every topic she writes about, one can't say that she does not have a wide variety of topics that she voices her opinion on.

However, I believe one can say that her left-wing counterpart, Nick Coleman, seems to have a much more limited repertoire of subject matter. Seems that if it weren't for his ongoing snide commentary on Republicans and the new Twins ballpark, ol' Nick would be at a complete loss for words.

DAVID MCMAHON, MINNEAPOLIS

MINNEAPOLIS' FOUNTAINS

A little style

In his July 18 column, "Quench your thirst with city water, delivered with artistry," James Lileks describes numerous ridiculous designs for water fountains "based on a standard array of artistic styles," but says he would prefer to drink water from the mouths of loons and gophers.

To him, that "says Minneapolis." It's good that we have Mayor R.T. Rybak, who wants to "say Minneapolis" in serious artistic designs.

Lileks' last sentence explaining a fountain that breaks: "That's the one designed by a mime," is demeaning. Maybe I don't get humor, like he doesn't get public art.

BELLA HANSON, ST. PAUL

OSTRICH RACES

Inhumane spectacle

I am disgusted that anyone would bring a traveling ostrich racing outfit to our community ("Neck and neck out of the gate," July 20). Wild animals should be in the wild living natural, happy lives.

In their natural habitat in the desert, ostriches have such strong family bonds that they have communal nesting, and the young are cared for by the whole family. They have the freedom to roam open land. Sadly, in these traveling shows, they are snatched from their homes, denied everything natural to them and crated around the country just to entertain us.

The necks and legs of ostriches are fragile and cannot sustain people riding on them. Many are injured and many die. During the race, it is common for them to trip and fall from fright.

I hope the city of Shakopee bans these cruel events in the future.

WILLIAM MCMULLIN, ST. PAUL