Suppose that the Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment setting a 55-mile-per-hour maximum speed in Minnesota. Which of the following titles would be "designed to mislead and sway the voter"? (1) "Limiting the speed of vehicles to 55 mph or less," or (2) "Recognition of permissible vehicle speeds solely up to 55 mph"? No. 1 seems to hit the nail on the head, but Warren Limmer and his marriage-amendment allies would have you believe that it's misleading and that No. 2 is straightforward ("Amendment's altered wording draws political ire," July 10).
CRAIG LAUGHLIN, PLYMOUTH
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The Star Tribune Editorial Board believes that President Obama "should call for a new stimulus" (July 10). Call whom? Revenue bills originate in the House, and that would be the Republican-controlled House that could barely do something as obvious as raise the debt limit.
The editors claim that the 2009 stimulus bill "was too small and too riddled with measures unlikely to quickly increase spending and hiring," without noting that both the small size and unproductive measures were the Republican contribution to the bill.
Obama already called for money to go to the states to help them rehire some of the 607,000 public-sector employees who have lost their jobs, but Mitt Romney has effectively declared that the message of Wisconsin is that America doesn't need more teachers, cops and firefighters.
Obama can call, but the line is dead.
JOHN SHERMAN, MOORHEAD, MINN.
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The press and the pundits typically describe Obama's proposed tax-cut extension as limited to those earning less than $250,000. Just to be clear, Obama has proposed to extend the current lower tax rates for the first $250,000 of everyone's income, including for the very rich. The Republican position is to oppose this extension unless the very rich also receive tax cuts on their income above and beyond the first $250,000.
MIKE SUPINA, EAGAN
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Russia's joining the World Trade Organization is likely to be another blow to long-term U.S. economic and political interests. Russia recently had elections that many international monitors maintain did not meet a "free and fair" standard. A shift in U.S. trade policy is needed immediately, one that focuses our trade agreements on states that have truly made the transition to market-based economies and democratic governance, such as Brazil, India and South Africa, as well as the many states, such as Britain and Poland, that have given us assistance in NATO operations in Afghanistan and Libya. Trading with Russia (and China, for that matter) will only continue to give the leadership of these states legitimacy and prolong the lack of democratic rights for their citizens and elsewhere.
ERICK HIGHUM, FRIDLEY
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I am appalled by the July 10 letter about Clarisse Grime's tragic death last week. I am a retired teacher who has subbed frequently at Clary's school the last two years. The entire school, in addition to her family, has suffered tremendously.
This is a time of grieving; to use her death as a bully pulpit to espouse views against undocumented immigrants is unconscionable. It was not the driver's legal status that killed her; it was his driving.
FRANCIE R. ANTHONY, ST. PAUL
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I agree with a July 11 letter writer that it takes a special person to be an effective teacher. I don't believe, however, that every graduate of a teaching program possesses the qualities she lists. Furthermore, graduates of teaching programs do not have a monopoly on creativity and patience or on loving the learners.
I do not agree that investing the time to get the credential is the only path to becoming an effective teacher. Many younger teachers have commented on how much they have to learn once they are on the job. I take this to mean that the teaching programs are in fact not giving them all they need to be effective.
At the end of the day, what matters is whether the teachers are, in fact, effective. If every graduate of a teaching program were effective (with the kids who show on any given day in any given classroom), I believe that the differences between our best and our worst schools would be radically smaller. As with any other career, there are better and worse performers. And since I am contributing to the salaries of all of them, I'd want them all to be effective.
Now ... how do we help make that happen?
MICHAEL AYERS, MINNEAPOLIS
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As much as I'd like to have my yard planted entirely with vegetables and perennial plants, I'm not there yet, and still have lots of lawn to mow. I just raised my mower height from 2 1/2 inches to 3 1/2. When the weather gets hot and sunny, it is best for the lawn's health to allow the grass to grow longer. The turf becomes more drought-resistant and tolerates less-frequent watering.
One of the additional benefits is a more lush look. Longer blades of grass provide more area of photosynthesis to occur, which both strengthens the roots and allows for plant growth.
It only takes seconds to make a change in your mower's height. Do it now. Your lawn will thank you.
DANIEL JOHNSON, CRYSTAL