I write as an enthusiastic Zionist. I wish Israel only the best. Sometimes its government seems to me to make eminently good sense. At other times it appears to be rushing headlong down the wrong road. Loving Israel may mean opposing its government, just as loving the United States may mean voting for the other guy or the other party.
Mitt Romney didn't separate support for the state from support for its government when he "referred pointedly to Jerusalem as 'the capital of Israel' " ("Romney aligns with Israelis' stance on Iran," July 30). How does that declaration support two-state-solution compromises between Israelis and Palestinians who think that Jerusalem is destined to be the capital of their state as well?
In addition, although not reported in the Star Tribune, Romney attributed Israel's economic dominance over the Palestinian territories to an innovative business climate and the Jewish people's history of overcoming adversity.
This not only perpetuates the myths about Jews and money and slams the Palestinians' supposed lesser abilities but, most egregiously, fails to recognize the most difficult conditions under which the Palestinians are trying to and succeeding in building their economy. Again, peace negotiations are not helped by a potential U.S. leader unthinkingly declaring the superiority of one culture over another.
ELAINE FRANKOWSKI, MINNEAPOLIS
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I am the parent of a daughter who experienced significant brain damage because of viral encephalitis at age 5. I imagine she would be one of the people who, according to attorney Erick Kaardal, is "so disabled" that she doesn't "have the mental capacity to vote" ("Next dispute: Should all the disabled have voting rights?" July 28). Mr. Kaardal needs to meet my daughter.
Sarah has 24-hour support from my husband, from me, and from outside as needed. She has to be watched constantly because of a seizure disorder, and she is unable to sweat to cool her body in the heat. She needs help with the basics of daily living, like eating, bathing and dressing. She is nonverbal and will never be able to go to college. However, she still can make her preferences known.
She has learned to communicate with us nonverbally by hand signals: She grabs and squeezes our finger when she means yes, and grabs and squeezes our wrist to say no. She can answer questions without prompting, including those about whether she likes a particular political candidate.
Her hand signals are all the proof I need to see that she is as entitled to vote as anyone else.
PAM GONNELLA, EAGAN
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Kudos to hometown business Target Corp. -- the Chronicle of Philanthropy released its annual report on corporate contributions, and Target again is in the Top 10.
While Target ranked eighth in actual value given to charity, it left the competition in its wake by donating 4.7 percent of 2010 pretax profits. While this is somewhat below its claim of giving 5 percent, it's close enough and orders of magnitude better than companies like Citigroup (with a mere 0.9 percent to its credit).
Target lives up to its corporate values, and those values are Minnesota values, too. Thanks to Target leaders, employees and those who patronize their stores who help our economy in many different ways.
DORIS RUBENSTEIN, RICHFIELD
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As one of state Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson's predecessors, I offer the following advice based on my own experience in similar circumstances: Urge the legislative auditor to perform a fiscal and program audit of the Medicaid program.
Any audit done under contract to the Human Services Department will not be seen as completely objective and will be tainted by suspicions that the findings are meant to serve the personal or political agendas of the department's leadership.
Indeed, the department leadership has already announced that it judges its approach as superior to that of its predecessor. That may or may not be the case, but judgments of that kind are best left to those more removed from the interest of making the present administration and departmental leadership look good.
What the department needs is a completely independent, objective outside look at the Medicaid program. The Legislature and the public will have confidence in the outcome only if the review is carried out in this manner.
ED DIRKSWAGER, NORTH OAKS
The writer is a former commissioner of the Department of Human Services (then the Department of Public Welfare) appointed by Gov. Rudy Perpich.