Debating the president’s impact on such events

In what I still consider to be a very divided country, 50 percent of the population who voted for President Obama also endorsed his foreign policy; he said so himself. The rest of us feel that his policies, with regard to Muslim countries especially, are too appeasing.

We think he has shown a great deal of naiveté. Please remember that this is the president who did not listen to his own advisers on Syria. That is now a worldwide crisis.

This is the president who covered up the events in Benghazi, Libya, and who cannot bring himself to use “Muslim” and “terrorist” in the same sentence. We have to work with these countries as best we can, but we don’t have to trade in our national security for the sake of not wanting to offend anyone.

We now have this terrible tragedy in Boston. I am not blaming President Obama or anyone else (except the perpetrators) for that horrendous act of terrorism.

I do think, however, that many people feel that America has shown weakness in its quest to not be the “bully” of the world. Those in the world who hate us will continue to do so whether we appease or draw lines in the sand. I think this is just the beginning of this type of terrorism.

I will continue to live my life as always, but my sense of security — and any faith that this president will change course on his idealistic view of the world — is out the window. The honeymoon is over.

Mary McIntosh Linnihan, Minneapolis

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Charles Krauthammer should have begun and ended his April 20 column (“Will the president mince words if Boston is decidedly terrorism?”) with his final sentence: “If it turns out that the Tsarnaev brothers were acting in the name of jihad, will the president forthrightly say so to the American people?”

Apparently Krauthammer felt the need to fill column space with a supercilious education about our evolving definition of the word “terrorism,” or he was in the mood to entertain himself with a spirited chase of his own linguistic tail. But he does the country no good as a well-known commentator by insisting that the president know the end of the story upfront.

This relentless search for petty reasons to discredit Obama should cease. We are spending an inordinate amount of time dangerously dividing ourselves, when we ought to be recognizing our good fortune in having a president who leads thoughtfully, intelligently and compassionately in an era of complex challenges.

After the Boston bombing tragedy has been studied and the dots have been connected, there will time enough to decide whether it’s useful to charge the president of the United States with linguistic fraud.

Shawn Gilbert, Bloomington

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If you believe NRA is grass-roots, you’re wrong

It is astonishing that anyone can really believe that the NRA is so politically powerful because of the grass-roots support of “millions of Americans” (Readers Write, April 23). Poll after poll has shown that the great majority of Americans (including NRA members) support at least some of the gun-control legislation that was defeated.

The NRA is able to spend billions of dollars in lobbying simply because it is a front for the profitable and powerful gun and ammunition industry. This is another example of how corporate power runs this country and their skill in obscuring that effort.

Jerilyn Jackson, Stillwater

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Not too late to hold Obama to his word

I believe it’s still possible to call the president and ask him not to approve the laying of Keystone XL. The fossil-fuels industry is lobbying hard to get this pipeline, and the only way to stop it is for citizens to show their opposition. Remember that the president, in his inaugural address, said: “We will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.” His approval of the pipeline would increase our pollution and contradict his statement. So call 202-456-1111 with your vote.

Connie Metcalf, Fridley

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What’s that alternate ‘pay-for’? Pixie dust?

There’s a gaping hole in Erik Paulsen’s and Ron Kind’s commentary on April 22 (“Medical-device tax is going, going …”). They give numerous reasons for repealing the tax. That’s expectedly one-sided.

But in the middle of their presentation is the following comment: “As we move forward in repealing the tax … we must also find another pay-for — one that won’t jeopardize innovation or jobs — so we don’t add to our nation’s debt.”

That’s it. No further discussion on that point. No suggestions, no alternatives, a dead end.

We can conclude that the two congressmen have no clue what another “pay-for” would be that meets their criteria. I challenge them to think of a measure that wouldn’t “jeopardize” jobs in some way.

Cut spending anywhere, and the loss of that money will mean people who receive at least part of that cash at their work will be affected. Replace the device tax with a different tax, and that cash will come out of some other people’s pockets. They in turn won’t be able to spend that money in such a way that it supports additional jobs.

Once upon a time I pointed out to Congressman Paulsen that governmental budget cuts even cost jobs. His response was: “It depends if you think government creates jobs.” It created his.

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park

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Colonoscopy is not to be taken lightly

Just because a health article is in the Variety section doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done seriously (“Look at the upside,” April 20). Colonoscopies are serious procedures with real risks — perforated bowels, specifically, and overtreatment more generally.

Yes, lots of polyps may be found, but that does not make them cancerous, and can lead to treatment that is both costly and unneeded. Both checking for blood in the stool or using the “virtual colonoscopy” procedure would screen for those who should really have a colonoscopy

This would save a large amount of money, reduce risk and likely increase screening. This is the approach my physician supports, as do many public health experts looking at the risks as well as benefits of preventive medicine.

William Davnie, Minneapolis