I'm afraid that if we don't raise the debt ceiling, veterans won't receive their checks. I'm also concerned about spending cuts to the military. We need to put our veterans first and keep our military strong.
MARTHA SICHKO, MINNEAPOLIS
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John Rash's column on the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" discusses how the use of torture has eroded the moral high ground for which our country strives ("Life in a dangerous world ...," Jan. 12). We must remember that perpetrators of beastly cruelty -- Hitler, Stalin, bin Laden -- always believed their conduct was necessary for a greater good. We can't embrace the view that righteous ends justify inhumane means.
ELISSA PETERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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After President Obama unveiled his gun-control plan, I read comments by people who believe that liberals want to rid the country of guns. As a lifelong liberal, I've no interest in taking away all guns. But I don't support everyone's right to own guns that shoot off many rounds at once. I hope the new measures pass so we can all breathe a little easier.
ROBYN KIM, BURNSVILLE
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Instead of all the grandstanding about gun control, why don't our leaders do something to protect our children? If each school has two or more selected teachers or employees with gun permits and training, as well as a good security system, kids will be much safer.
VICTOR LIPTRAP, BLOOMINGTON
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I support the president's prescriptions for addressing firearms violence. I'm saddened that the greed-driven NRA continues to mislead the public about the Second Amendment while stoking fear and driving up demand for guns and ammunition. The more people die from firearms violence, the more people want guns for safety and the more money NRA backers take in. We need to stop this madness.
KRISTINE HAMM, BUFFALO, MINN.
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We hear a lot about drought in Minnesota and other states, but I've heard nothing about a major campaign to teach and encourage water conservation. I believe most Americans waste a lot of water. Are we going to wait until there is a water shortage in our kitchens and bathrooms before we start conserving?
ALYCE JACOBSEN, ALBERT LEA, MINN.
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The case of the double-dipping professors indirectly shined a light on a much larger problem in the mind-set of leaders at the University of Minnesota ("Profs in double-dip case quit," Jan. 9). The U "hotly recruited" Francois Sainfort and Julie Jacko "for their potential to attract millions of dollars in research funding" rather than for what they could do for students. It would appear the university's priorities are backward.
MARK WRIGHT, PLYMOUTH
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The obvious correlation between lower lead in the environment and reduced crime reminds me of an observation made years ago by a colleague that the increase in cancer was correlated with a reduction in potato consumption. Is it possible that potato consumption may also be involved with reduced crime?
FLORIAN LAUER, ST. PAUL
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C.J.'s column on Kim Kardashian's baby infuriated me ("Baby's due when? Kardashian's math seems off," Jan. 17). I feel no sympathy for Kardashian whatsoever. If I were Kris Humphries, I would delay signing the divorce papers six months every time he's humiliated by her, by comedians or by anyone else in the media. All he did was fall in love and marry her. She made him look like a fool. C.J. should stand behind our hometown boy.
CANDICE ALEXANDER, ANDOVER
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The decision of the Business Roundtable to advocate increasing the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare goes beyond the polite criticism of Norman Ornstein that the business leaders are "insensitive" ("CEOs: Raise age for Social Security and Medicare," Jan. 17). If they were interested in improving Social Security, they would advocate increasing the Social Security tax above the current $113,700 limit on taxable wages. As for raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 70, any person working at physical labor starts to have back and other ailments by the time they are 50, and raising the age of Medicare eligibility will impose an even greater hardship on working people. This business group advocates positions that would further erode the American middle class. Its recommendations are additional evidence that the business elite is out of touch with the needs of the American citizenry.
DOUG ELLINGSON, RICHFIELD
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Most of those 200 CEOs could quit working tomorrow and would still have enough money to pay their medical bills (with the private insurance provided by their employers) for the rest of their lives. Yet we're supposed to rely on their recommendations. Where is the "middle class" roundtable to make counterrecommendations, and how do I sign up?
CATHERINE FULLER, EDINA
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I am sure the recommendation to raise the retirement age is a just a generous suggestion on how to save Medicare and Social Security rather than a way to avoid paying out pension money to retirees. Another idea for supporting Medicare is being raised in Congress now: Offer the public option in the Medicare insurance exchange.
RICHARD PATTEN, MINNEAPOLIS