How wonderful the Christmas season is this year. Many, many people are giving to help others. It seems as if many are doing our best to make this a better country. Keep it up, people. You're making the world a better place.
CORA BIERNAT, COLUMBIA HEIGHTS
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The current turmoil in Congress crystallizes the true concerns of Republicans and Democrats.
Initially, Democrats wanted to pay for payroll tax cuts and unemployment compensation extensions with a surtax on people whose taxable net income is more than $1 million a year.
Republicans initially wanted to pay for it by cutting 10,000 federal employees (while assuring us that they know how to create jobs), and by freezing the salaries of the rest of the federal workforce for three years.
As you vote in next fall's election, determine who has your middle-class interests at heart. And, by the way, please help me find the website that lists all the new employment opportunities produced by the "job creators."
PAULA SWIGGUM, EAGAN
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I'm fed up with incumbents. Congress almost failed to compromise earlier this year, barely avoiding a government shutdown. Then the supercommittee failed us last month.
Now, Congress came very close to failing us again by almost not compromising on the payroll tax cuts. Millions of upset Americans, including me, will not be voting for any incumbent come this next election cycle, if we bother to vote at all.
BILL HAUGEN, WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP
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I'm outraged that Hamline University didn't hire Tom Emmer ("Hamline created its Emmer mess," Dec. 17). He's being discriminated against because of his conservative values. He has a lot of credibility and would have been an asset to Hamline. What a shame that he wasn't given a chance.
FATIMA FRANZEN, SHAKOPEE
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As an opponent of the Marriage Amendment, I long to mock state Sen. Amy Koch for her hypocritical moralizing. But I can't, because I believe her statement that she regrets "more than words can express the hurt that I have caused to the people that I love."
Frankly, it's not my place to pass judgment on her actions. I would urge supporters of the marriage amendment to take a lesson here. If there's a threat to marriage, it's not same-sex relationships. In fact, it's not anything that can be legislated. Rather, it lies deep in the complexities of human love.
JEFF MOSES, MINNEAPOLIS
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Koch didn't go far enough with her apology for her inappropriate relationship with a Senate staff member. She needs to get down on her knees and beg for forgiveness from all of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of Minnesota. The double standard by which she lives sets a horrible example and is insulting.
As a leader of the Republican Party, she worked vigorously to use the state's Constitution as a vehicle to legalize discrimination, while her own behavior demonstrated an immoral disregard of her marriage and unethical conduct as an elected official.
RODNEY A. SCHWARTZ, MINNEAPOLIS
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It's now apparent that Koch was less than forthcoming when she originally explained her decision to resign from her leadership post. At that time, she could have preserved an ounce of credibility by being honest. Now that her true character has been exposed, it's time for her to resign from the Senate altogether.
DON ANDERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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Kersten's use of "us vs. them" and "soak the rich" rhetoric when discussing tax policy is divisive and misses the point ("Democrats find their bogeyman," Dec. 18). Our current debate at the state and national level is about three important things.
We have to better balance revenues and expenditures for long-term fiscal health. We have to insure that on the spending side of that equation, the safety net for those facing the biggest challenges in life is adequate and reflects our values as a state and nation.
And we have to make investments in areas like education, job training, affordable housing and other supports that give people a helping hand and a chance to be successful in life to the benefit of the entire community.
Asking those who have done their best and have the greatest capacity to contribute to achieving these ends is hardly an attack on wealthy citizens. It's a sensible proposition that deserves serious consideration, not tired old slogans.
STEVE CRAMER, MINNEAPOLIS
The writer is president/executive director of the Project for Pride in Living.
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Kersten was wrong to accuse President Obama and Democrats of targeting the wealthiest 1 percent of business leaders as public enemy No. 1. The real target is the myth that these 1 percent are the primary or only job creators.
This myth was created by the political ultra-right politicians in the hope that they could get some of this wealth to help get themselves reelected.
DICK PETERSON, NISSWA, MINN.