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Readers write (Feb. 19): Drones, state budget, South High brawl, orchestra

  • February 18, 2013 - 8:11 PM


Some find it easy to justify slaughter

I am writing to ask the Star Tribune Editorial Board to exercise greater discretion in what it prints for commentary. Some things do not belong where people eat breakfast.

On Monday morning, my stomach churned to a dangerous level reading Charles Krauthammer and his willingness to slaughter (often innocent bystanders) in the name of American imperial power (“The case for killing by drone,” Feb. 18).

My hands shook at the thought of children’s bodies torn apart by remote fear and power. My throat choked at the thought of innocent men and women — not necessarily involved in “plotting to attack America” but determined to be doing so by hearsay and by the remote observations of military intelligence personnel seeking promotion — destroyed by remote attack.

The newspaper is splattered by blood and death. It could have done its duty of “balancing” views simply by referring readers to Fox News or any website that justifies American war power and the military-industrial machine.

Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis

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Mining could be our economic boom

Rather than undermine our state with exorbitant taxes, our governor should concentrate on revitalizing the mining industry in Minnesota.

Mineral deposits in the north country have enormous potential for job creation, lucrative taxes and wealth building. Vast deposits of platinum, copper, palladium and gold stand ready to be extracted by responsible and efficient mining companies. This is Minnesota’s answer to the North Dakota oil boom. Minnesota has always been a mining state, but today permits for these projects languish in the bureaucracy.

The initial discovery of mineral riches was made by a small entrepreneurial exploration company. High taxes on these successful entrepreneurs and business owners are a certain job-killer. Affluent people hire incalculable numbers of ambitious workers. They provide the seed capital and entrepreneurial foresight for new technologies and business startups. The state should be thinking of ways to reduce business taxes and replace them with new taxes from increased commercial activity. A good place to start would be with the fantastically rich resources in our north.

James Cook, Minneapolis

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John Taft’s comparison of the governor to a CEO of a for-profit business is comparing apples to oranges (“The ledger domain,” Feb. 15). The simplest form of a government would be a homeowners’ association. Members pay dues, and the association contracts for the services needed. If the cost of the services members want are greater than the amount of dues collected, then the members either have to pay higher dues or some of the services can’t be provided. Anyone who has been a president of an association will know that the opinion of members can be very diverse. However, generally the majority of members will vote to raise the dues.

Carl W. Fritsch, Edina

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Assimilation calls are themselves troubling

As an alumnus of South High, I was obviously unhappy to see the recent news (“South High regroups after brawl,” Feb. 16). To be honest, my biggest disappointment came after reading one student’s comment about how many in the school were “disappointed that the Somali students aren’t assimilating to American culture.” This comment is ubiquitous whenever national identity is up for debate, yet I am never sure what it truly means. Can anyone give an exact or even general description of “American culture”? If it means speaking English, the Somali students have often learned it as a second language, something many of their peers can’t say for themselves. Is it that they practice a religion other than Christianity, in which they follow a different diet and prayer schedule? If it comes down to “they just aren’t like the rest of us,” this should sound alarms louder than the school bell.

Jake Silberman, Minneapolis

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South High’s cafeteria melee was hugely unfortunate for students and the community. As a parent of two South High students, one recently graduated, I can attest to the overall high quality of the school’s academics and the mainly good relationships among students. I have faith that the principal will help the school address heightened racial tensions. But it would be a mistake to assume the school is completely Balkanized; proof of this was the attendance of a spectrum of dynamic young people at my son’s graduation party last June. There was a reason that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan chose to speak at South High one year ago; diverse inner-city high schools are just not that common in the United States, and this one is worth lauding and preserving.

Mary Ford, Minneapolis

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Perhaps the Guthrie could supply advice

A Feb. 18 letter writer (“Management thwarts any ‘new beginning’ ”) made excellent points about how the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have been treated.

Recently I had an opportunity to speak with an employee at the Guthrie Theater. I inquired if the Guthrie is supported by ticket sales. He said that Sir Tyrone Guthrie wanted the theater to be available to everyone, so tickets were priced accordingly. Ticket sales alone do not pay the bills, so I followed up by asking if the theater was in any danger of being in a similar situation as the Orchestra. His reply: “No, we’re stable.”

That leads to my question about what the difference is between the two. I can only surmise that it has to be how these venues are managed.

Janet Baum, Minneapolis

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