The article "Will the boomers trust anyone under 30?" (July 5) was filled with mistakes a demographer like William Frey shouldn't be making. He wrote that there are 78 million boomers who are mostly white. That doesn't include the 8 million diverse immigrants of that age group in the United States. They are also boomers in every sense of the word.
Their inclusion would cast many doubts on Frey's conclusions. But, more important, he did not include in his analysis the fact that 75 percent of American-born boomers have poor, working-class or small-town backgrounds. That group was raised with core values that include the importance of belonging, giving back, risk-taking and education -- some of the same values shared by the younger people Frey refers to. As these core values emerge in older age, they offer a much brighter and more hopeful picture of how aging boomers will deal with a younger and culturally more diverse population.
JAMES V. GAMBONE, ORONO
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The article "Farmers' safety net is now a money bag" (July 5) was correct in pointing out that cropland values have soared in recent years, but it missed the mark in trying to scapegoat that increase onto farm policies.
The primary engine behind increased land values is the continued climb in crop prices, which is driven by two major factors: Supply and demand. On the supply side, despite the fact that farmers like me are expanding our planting, weather conditions have suppressed our potential harvest. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought encompassing more of the contiguous United States than at any other time since the report's debut in January 2000. This could keep grain supplies very tight.
Demand, the other side of the equation, has been expanding as well, as a hungry world seeks to improve its diet with U.S. grains. This growth in demand, it should be pointed out, has resulted in much-needed foreign capital being injected into our struggling economy.
Despite last year being one of the worst weather years in history, farmers were able to bounce back because more than 80 percent of them had purchased crop insurance -- the best risk-management tool available -- which pays only if a loss is incurred.
To imply that farmers purchase crop insurance in hopes of losing a crop makes as much sense as saying that consumers buy auto insurance in hopes of having a collision.
JOHN MAGES, BELGRADE, MINN.
The writer is president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
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With due respect to Ahmad Tharwat, the covering worn by the new Egyptian first lady is hardly cause for celebration ("A first among firsts: Embracing the hijab," July 6). Tharwat is right about one thing, though: It is an important symbol on her -- one of religious dogma attaining politically sanctioned power over an entire government. Church and state just got married in Egypt, and the people there who know better are not popping champagne corks.
Tharwat tries to quell legitimate concerns about creeping Islamist extremism with creative but faulty reasoning. To equate the enforced dress codes in traditional Muslim societies with the fashion industry telling Western women what to wear is deceptive. Obviously, Western women don't have to listen to anyone. If Tharwat can convince me the same is true for women in countries like Saudi Arabia and, now, Egypt, I'll relax.
BRAD JOHNSON, ST. PAUL
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Tharwat mentions that Egypt's new president and his wife are first cousins. He quickly notes that first cousins also marry in Texas. Texas, however, like about half of the states, bans marriage by first cousins.
ANDREW J. EISENZIMMER, NEW BRIGHTON
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A July 5 article ("Married 25 years, they see the impact on children") clearly identified the difference in progay and antigay thinking. Progay thinking is concerned with fairness to people, benefits to people and civil rights -- in short, human beings. The couple interviewed in the article, however, were concerned about faith, social institutions, ideals and religious freedom -- in short, abstractions. For them, abstractions are more important than individual human beings.
ROBERT KAUL, ST. ANTHONY
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I read with some interest the July 2 article by Terri Bonoff, Tom Horner and Dave Durenberger ("It could be ranked-choice voting to the rescue"). A simpler method that should be considered is called approval voting. It is the topic of a book by Steven J. Brams and Peter C. Fishburn, who analyze it mathematically and show that it is not subject to certain anomalies that afflict more complicated systems.
Under this system, a voter can support any number of candidates. Consider what happened in 1933 in Germany. Hitler did not get a majority of the votes, but he got more than either of the other two major candidates. Some say that most opposed Hitler but that his opponents were divided. If so, that information would have been elicited by a system that would allow voters to vote for two of the three candidates if they so chose, and a more popular candidate might have won. The worst of all wars might have been avoided.
Closer to home, those who might have voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 voted merely against George W. Bush, by casting their ballots for an entrenched machine politician affiliated with the Democratic Party.
Major-party politicians may see this as a threat to their comfortable positions. Maybe it's time to afflict the comfortable.
MICHAEL HARDY, MINNEAPOLIS