‘History will decide’ sounds like a cop-out

During her appearance on Thursday at the University of Minnesota, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that “history will decide” the appropriateness of her actions during the Bush administration. While we are waiting, what does her conscience say?

Vincent R. Hunt, Hudson, Wis.

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Rice defends the record of the Bush administration by claiming “we kept the nation safe.” Apparently, it does not matter that the attacks of 9/11 — in which nearly 3,000 people died — occurred on her watch. Conservatives, it seems, count only the four Americans who died at Benghazi, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were in power.

The invitation to Rice has been defended by many, including the Star Tribune, as a question of free speech. But by including her in a distinguished lecture series, the university honored a record that included an illegal, unjustified war and practices widely recognized as torture. That Rice profits handsomely from that record only adds to the disgrace.

Richard A. Virden, Plymouth



Have some empathy for the players, too

When I read that Todd Hoffner was being reinstated as head football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato, I wondered how the players felt about it. Those who have accused the players of “athletic arrogance” and of giving Hoffner a “slap in the face” for briefly refusing to practice clearly did not take time to look at the situation through their eyes.

Over the past two years, these players twice reached the pinnacle of their sport, participation in their national championship, under coach Aaron Keen. Keen has no doubt earned a tremendous amount of respect and, dare I say, even love from these young men. To learn through a news conference of Hoffner’s immediate reinstatement was akin to coming home from the store and finding out that your parents had moved away.

All of this could have been avoided had school administrators held a closed-door meeting with the team and the two coaches before making any announcement. This is just one more example of the institutional ineptitude exhibited throughout this entire situation.

Division II football players are not the spoiled and pampered athletes you read about at the major colleges. These truly are “student athletes” and shouldn’t be demonized for supporting Coach Keen.

Bob Adomaitis, Eden Prairie

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These student-athletes have committed their nonacademic lives to this program for four years. Most of the junior and senior players have played for both coaches, and for them to take a public stand under these very unusual circumstances is notable. Perhaps they felt this was the only way they would be assured Coach Hoffner and the administration would listen to them. Perhaps their message was: “Coach, we went from being a good team to a great team. We have experienced a great coach, and we want you to be a great coach. We love the improved Maverick football so much that we are willing to risk public scrutiny to assure its excellence and integrity is not lost.”

It certainly seems appropriate that Hoffner has been exonerated and his former position restored. I hope he loves Maverick football to the same degree as his players.

Craig Bell, Red Wing, Minn.



Snow and ice aren’t the main obstacle

Since I don’t like to be labeled foolish, I must point out that while it might be dangerous and foolish to ride a bike in the winter on a busy street with snow and ice (Readers Write, April 18), not all streets are like that all winter. A busy street with lots of traffic, after it has been salted, sanded, plowed to the curb and in the sun for a few days, is almost as good as in the summer. A side street with less traffic, after the snow is packed to a hard surface and the temperature has dropped, can be handled well enough with studded tires.

A problem for going anywhere useful by bicycle regardless of weather is that we channel traffic onto busy streets. For example, to cross Hwy. 62 in southwest Minneapolis, one must go to Xerxes, Penn, Lyndale and so on. Instead of spending money to make streets like that bicycle-friendly, we should make their use by bikers unnecessary in the first place.

Steven White, Minneapolis



‘Straight talk’ would be honest about cruelty

What Andy Shoemaker calls his “hobby and passion” is only pain for the animals caught in his traps (“Straight talk on trapping,” April 18). Yes, he checks them every 24 hours. So if the animal is caught that first hour, it will have 23 more hours to suffer.

L.S. Baumann, Maple Grove