If Barack Obama becomes president of the United States, it is comforting to know that, as he faces the crucial, life-and-death decisions of our time, he will have Oprah by his side to guide him.
TOM HAMMOND, WOODBURY
It was early November of 1958, and the dinner-table conversation between my mom and grandfather was about the Minnesota U.S. Senate election. Mom said no Catholic could win in Minnesota. Days later, Gene McCarthy was elected to the U.S. Senate. Just two years later, my mom said that no Catholic could ever be elected president. She mentioned someone named Al Smith, whom this fifth-grader at the time had never hear of. A week later, John F. Kennedy was elected president.
Spin forward some 47 years, and we are still talking about religious disqualification from higher office. I am no fan of Mitt Romney, but to see his political party put him through a litmus test based upon his religious beliefs is, frankly, beyond belief.
What has the party of Lincoln become?
JAMES M. CAMPBELL, ST. PAULA neocon phenomena
I got a chuckle out of Charles Krauthammer's Dec. 9 commentary, "He's a Mormon. He's a Christian. So?" castigating Mike Huckabee for playing the religion card in his attempt to overtake Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses.
The fact is that Krauthammer's neocon ideology -- which has done so much damage to our country and the world -- and, indeed, the entire Republican party would be as extinct as the dodo if it couldn't exploit the religious intolerance of the rabble to get votes. If the Republicans are actually using it against each other -- well, God works in mysterious ways.
PAUL SMITH, CIRCLE PINES
A Dec. 8 letter writer ("Iran still wants nukes") said that "a civilian energy program like Iran's ... does not use plutonium for fuel."
Actually, nearly all civilian nuclear power plants use plutonium for fuel. During operations, some of the uranium 238 is converted to plutonium 239, which is burned along with uranium 235 as part of the fuel.
And in contrast to the writer's statement that heavy water is "of no use in a civilian energy program," heavy water is used in some nuclear power plants because it allows the use of less-enriched uranium fuel.
ROLF E. WESTGARD, ST. PAUL;
MEMBER, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
OF PETROLEUM GEOLOGISTSWe did them a favor
I wish to offer an alternative theory to the general belief that Iran stopped its nuclear program in 2003 because its leadership was impressed by the might of the U.S. war machine.
We forget that Iraq -- after a 10-year war -- had remained Iran's archenemy. Its nuclear program was probably designed to protect itself from future attacks by Iraq. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran probably felt that this threat no longer existed -- therefore its nuclear program was no longer needed. In the process Iran saved billions of dollars, better spent on dealing with many unmet needs of its population.
HANS M. SCHAPIRE, MINNEAPOLIS
The recent revelation that the CIA destroyed tapes of its interrogations once again demonstrates that all this agency stands for is Covering-up Illegal Acts. It's high time that we start seeing some "Citizenship In Action."
The American people must demand accountability for an organization that routinely tarnishes our image and values.
ONA ABDERHOLDEN KELLER,
MINNEAPOLISProtecting some agents
Let's see if I get this. The Bush administration ordered the videos destroyed because it wanted to protect the identity of some torturers? But it saw no problem in outing agent Valerie Plame, who was trying to get a handle on WMDs?
Oh, I forgot, he didn't know.
MICHAEL N. FELIX, GRAND RAPIDS, MINN.
As a St. Thomas alumnus, I am disappointed by the board of trustees snubbing of Archbishop John Nienstedt. The board apparently is more comfortable with the liberal views of Archbishop Harry Flynn.
What the board may not realize is that it is sending a signal that pop culture and political correctness now trump religion and traditional values at St. Thomas. "Secularization" is merely one name for this metamorphosis.
RICK MOSES, NEW BRIGHTONHopefully she'll listen
At last someone Katherine Kersten respects and champions, the Rev. Harry J. Flynn, rebukes her for "an inaccurate and selective portrayal," takes her to task for misidentifying the source of a quote, excoriates her for truncating his quote so as to slant it and, finally, questions her motives (Letter of the day, Dec. 8). Hooray!
ELAINE FRANKOWSKI, MINNEAPOLIS
Regarding the Dec. 8 letter by Rep. Patrick Garofalo about the subprime bailout and how it rewards bad decisions: Rep. Garofalo is hoping to take the leadership role on the powerful Finance Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives, if all goes well during the 2008 election cycle.
Anyone who says about people who are facing losing their homes "I am sorry they chose poorly, but tough cookies" is not the kind of person who should head up the House Finance Committee.
CHRIS JUDD, ST. PAUL
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.