The Star Tribune carried the following quote from former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson regarding the results of the gubernatorial recall election: "A complete and absolute repudiation of the recall." Let's look at one simple fact that paints a slightly different picture of this event. Gov. Scott Walker spent more than seven times as much money on this recall election as did challenger Tom Barrett, and close to two-thirds of Walker's money came from outside the state through large contributions by billionaires.
Negative ads and big money buy a significant advantage in any election. Beyond that, many people feel that recall elections should be used only to remove elected officials for acts that are seen as outright fraud or criminal activity. I personally don't accept that this recall election was a repudiation of anything. The results were purchased with cash from big business, which won out over the common person.
MARK ANDERSON, RAMSEY
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To all the liberals in Wisconsin who were saying that a recall election is a wonderful exercise in democracy and should be respected: You were right.
HALE MESEROW, EAGAN
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We don't paint CEOs of companies with the same brush we paint the workers at that company. Why do we paint unions with just one brush? Unions are made up of members and management.
Unbridled, unregulated greed by the 1 percent will kill capitalism, and unbridled greed on the part of union management will kill unions. When union management pushes for unreasonable contracts given the economic climate and refuses to back down, it does a disservice for the unions. When union members vote for unreasonable union management based on short-term pocketbook gain, they are hurting unions in the long-run.
I didn't agree with the recall election in Wisconsin, but I think it was pushed not by union members, but by greedy, petulant union management.
BECKY CARPENTER, MINNEAPOLIS
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Ellen Hoerle's June 5 article ("If Walker is not recalled ...") argued that those who disagree with her about any of the issues surrounding the Wisconsin vote are operating from psychologist Daniel Kahneman's intuitive/emotional mental construct, while those who agree with her are, of course, operating from the deliberative/logical construct. This is what is wrong with our politics. It's not the evil, union-hating GOP or the socialist, freedom-hating DFL. It's the facile notion that everyone who disagrees with you is stupid.
JIM BLATZHEIM, SAVAGE
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I have relied on bicycles to get to work and to run my daily errands for more than 30 years. I agree with writer of the June 6 Letter of the Day ("There should be no free ride for bicyclists") that bicyclists should be "licensed -- the same as any other vehicle user." The revenue received should be used to ensure that they can pass at least a basic test on the rules of the road.
The writer, however, went on to imply that bicyclists are freeloaders. Most people who own a bicycle also own cars and real estate and pay income and sales taxes just like everyone else. In addition, money spent for bicycle programs doesn't just help bicyclists; we all benefit from the cleaner air and reduced traffic congestion that results from higher bicycle usage.
PAUL SMITH, MINNEAPOLIS
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Bicyclists should be charged their fair share for the use of our roads, and the June 6 letter writer proposes. But it should be proportional to the damage done to the roads. Based on relative weight, that means a bicycle's fee should be 1 percent or less of a car's or SUV's. And, while we're discussing this, perhaps truck fees should be raised proportionally, to perhaps 25,000 times a car's weight.
The "enormous" sum of public investment per bicyclist that the letter writer perceives would certainly be relative, especially when compared with the funds needed for cars and trucks to travel our roads and interstates.
TOM SAYLOR, MINNEAPOLIS
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A writer fairly observed that there is considerable cost to adding bike lanes and trails to our transit system. However, I think that "user fees" would be a disincentive for changing deeply seeded habits of driving cars.
Why shouldn't we tax bikers? First, there is considerable environmental cost associated with motorized transportation that bikers don't incur -- carbon emissions. On the flip side, there are many physical and mental health benefits for those who choose to bike rather than drive. Finally, it makes financial sense for us as a society to encourage and subsidize biking given the many work-related and medical costs associated with our astoundingly high rate of obesity. Investing in biking is a form of preventative medicine that pays big dividends over the long run.
DAN JOHNSON, CRYSTAL
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One often hears American citizens say: "Why do they hate us?" This, of course, refers to images from overseas of people setting fire to American flags and chanting "death to America!" Perhaps the recent condemnation of Washington's drone strikes by the Pakistani government best illustrates the disconnect between the two sides. Pakistan labeled the use of unmanned drone strikes against alleged terrorist bases as "illegal" and "counterproductive."
While Washington steadfastly claims that the unmanned drone strikes target terrorists, Pakistan has said that these strikes are taking the lives of innocent civilians. And to add fuel to the fire, let us not forget that this drone program is also taking place in other Muslim countries, such as Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.
So, the next time you wonder why Muslims overseas are burning American flags, just ask yourself the following: "Would I be upset if an unmanned drone strike killed my friends and family?"
MUHAJIR ROMERO, MINNEAPOLIS