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Readers Write (June 29): Mining, Supreme Court, political parties, Teach for America, farm bill, NSA

  • June 28, 2013 - 5:45 PM

MINING HAZARDS

Protecting Minnesota’s precious lakes, streams

Thanks to reporter Josephine Marcotty for building awareness of the danger to the clean waters of northeastern Minnesota (“Clash over mining grips North Woods,” June 16). It would be better if the clash over mining would grip our whole state, and beyond, since the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is an area treasured by many, and the tourist, fishing and camping “industry” is far larger and far more threatened than meets the eye.

GARY CLEMENTS, St. Paul

 

MIRANDA RIGHTS

Remember when silence was golden?

In the recent Salinas vs. Texas ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court court made a bad decision to limit a criminal suspect’s right to remain silent (“Court elaborates on Miranda,” June 17). The court was so worried about gun rights that it determined that individuals’ silence can be used against them if it occurs before they are read their Miranda rights. The Fifth Amendment is clear that people cannot be forced to say incriminating things about themselves. Salinas was clearly a criminal case in which anything the accused said would be used against him. The nation is one step closer to a police state due to this determination led by conservative members of the court.

RON HEGNER, Maple Plain

 

depressing differences

Ideology aside, why not value facts and truth?

Cass Sunstein’s commentary on a Yale University research project draws the wrong conclusion and omits vital information (“Just the facts? Sure, if you pay for them,” June 22). The results are depressing, not “immensely encouraging,” because they indicate that a large percentage of the population will knowingly lie to promote their party/ideology. How can we ever make progress or have a just society if partisans feel they have a license to lie, cheat and steal whenever it suits them? Sunstein does not tell us which side lies the most, Democrats or Republicans. What if the ratio is 10:1? Wouldn’t that be relevant and interesting? Perhaps, like their subjects, we have to pay the researchers to get those facts. (Unless they are like climate scientists and falsify or delete facts that contradict their own partisan agenda.)

MARTIN R. WELLENS, Shorewood

• • •

I’m not sure if it is just being lazy or wanting to believe a particular dogma, but all you need to do is look at Facebook to see that your normally well-reasoned friends will post exactly what their party tells them to. Sadly, I believe that this is also true of the people we elect. On both sides, it seems easy to arrive at the conclusion that their ideology is bent to work with the money that supports them rather than what is truly good for this democracy. It is difficult to see any change in this, since we have the wolves guarding the henhouse.

ANDREW BERG, Vadnais Heights

 

TEACH FOR AMERICA

Leave teaching to the pros — not the dabblers

Whether or not Teach for America should be involved in Minnesota classrooms is basically a question of whether teaching is a profession or an act of charity. Like the Peace Corps, TFA’s young people take a couple of years off, get some minimal training, then rush into tough situations trying to do a little good for the world. Great idea, but is your child’s school a Third World country? Probably not, and you don’t want your student taught by what are essentially short-term volunteers. OK, maybe there are some public schools in America that are like Third World countries. One could argue that these are the schools most in need of committed, experienced professionals rather than a series of well-meaning kids taking a break from law school. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my students treated as charity cases.

LESLEY HENDRICKSON, Minneapolis

• • •

It’s truly sad but unsurprising to learn that Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher and the State Teaching Board will do what is necessary to derail the licensing for a few dozen new Teach For America college grads under the guise of protecting teacher standards in Minnesota. This is despite their supposed support for alternative licensing that passed in the state Legislature a couple of years ago. It just underscores for me that this 50,000-strong organization will do whatever it takes to support their own at the expense of poorly performing schools that continue to fail to make progress.

AL MUERHOFF, Bloomington

 

NSA SURVEILLANCE

How can we trust

this government?

Let’s assume the best-case scenario: The government is truly collecting and storing a billion private conversations a day solely for the purpose of fighting terrorism and keeping us safe (despite the fact the system failed to stop Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the man already on the terrorist watch list). Perhaps the National Security Agency is staffed completely with professionals who would never think of doing anything inappropriate with your personal conversations or sent pictures (despite numerous accounts of Transportation Safety Administration agents groping folks, and at least one count of an agent “inappropriately touching himself behind the X-ray machine). Perhaps the Obama administration is truly using its power in our best interests. What about the next person we elect? Or the one after that? Will you continue to trust your government with this power the next time we elect a right-wing president?

LUKE POWELL, Circle Pines, Minn.

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