CAMPAIGN FINANCE

The U.S. Supreme Court strikes again

The U.S. Supreme Court just let even more money into campaigns with a ruling on Wednesday. The only real option now is to educate voters, warn them against “skunks wearing tuxedos,” and urge them to register early and vote their own, their family’s and the country’s genuine interests. Independent journalists need to expose all voter-suppression schemes, disingenuously enacted as voter fraud restrictions. Transparency of contributions must be promoted (good luck), and connections to plutocratic donors must be exposed.

Someday an enlightened court may overturn Citizens United. A constitutional amendment seems like a long shot. When corporations and the wealthy have special access and status, when candidates make pilgrimages to kiss the ring of Sheldon Adelson and similar patrons, and when large media outlets profit from the status quo, then “we the people” becomes a hollow phrase. Ben Franklin presciently noted that the people of this nation had been given a republic, if they could keep it. We haven’t. Sorry, Ben. Sorry, kids.

Ken Klein, St. Paul

• • •

With the court shooting down limits on political contributions, that little American flag on politicians’ lapels will become a corporate logo. Speeches will be given behind podiums decked out in sponsor decals like a Formula One car.

Pat Proft, Medina

 

MARCH MADNESS

Jettisoning the ‘student’ in ‘student-athlete’

I am wondering what the average course load is for the basketball players who participate in the NCAA basketball tournament and am curious as to how many hours they study per week once the tournament starts. I am not sure if this information could be used to differentiate between student-athlete and employee.

Chad Mead, Buffalo, Minn.

 

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

A success only to those selling snake oil

President Obama is touting what is being considered “good news” about the 7.1 million sign-ups for Obamacare. The “bad news” is all the information the administration is not telling us — the number of people who previously had insurance, the number of people who have paid, the number of young persons signing up to make the plans viable. All information the White House knows, but will not disclose. And the worst news: You can’t believe a word they say.

Larry A. Sorenson, Arlington, Minn.

 

SUPER BOWL BID

Power is being granted to the wrong party

The “anti-stadium crowd” is not back (“Is Super Bowl worth the effort? No doubt,” editorial, April 1). We never went away. We are not opposed to stadiums. We are opposed to the fascist financing of a business. We are opposed to the government taking money, by force, from productive people and giving it to billionaire team owners. We do support making money in a free society. Centralized government control of economics does not lead to prosperity. If it did, North Koreans and Cubans would be wealthy.

Steve Braa, Plymouth

• • •

The editorial, in stating that tax breaks are the cost of doing business with the NFL, missed a key consideration. It is disgraceful that a tax-exempt organization such as the NFL sees fit to extort tax exemptions for its players and event activities from host communities just because it can. It is clearly a behavior that cannot be applied universally if the services provided by governments are to be sustained. It is inaccurate to label those in the community who understand the responsibility to pay their share of community costs as an “anti-stadium crowd.” A better description is “citizens,” which accurately distinguishes them from those calling the shots at the NFL.

Ben Jackson, Stillwater

 

EARPLUGS AT NIGHTCLUBS

Talk about doing things the hard way

A proposal is advancing at Minneapolis City Hall that would require venues with loud music to provide free earplugs, supplied with private funds. Why not just limit the decibel level and eliminate the earplugs?

Norman Holen, Richfield

 

E-CIGARETTES

Vaping will be bad for the restaurant business

Having read the recent articles concerning indoor use of e-cigarettes, it seems that most of the discussion is centered on the rights of the person doing the vaping. I would like to express some thoughts about the rest of us.

There is clear evidence that the liquid that is used for vaping is poisonous. Children have died when it has been consumed. Now the question is: Does vaporizing the chemicals eliminate the harmful content? There is no logical reason to believe that this occurs.

That being said, why would I as a patron of a restaurant want to be exposed to any form of vapor when I am eating? I would not. There are far many more non-vapers at restaurants than there are vapers.

If it becomes law that vaping will be allowed in restaurants, then I will not be a patron of the restaurants that allow it. I will also expect to be informed of the policy upon making a reservation. I know I am not alone in this opinion.

Joe Morris, Shoreview

 

CAMPUS SPEECH

At one time, admixture was matter-of-fact

Sometime in the bland years around 1960, speeches were given within weeks of one another in the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Union by Ben Davis and George Lincoln Rockwell, heads of the U.S. Communist Party and the American Nazi Party, respectively (“Activists urge U to revoke Condoleezza Rice invitation,” March 28). Asked why this was permitted, Dean of Students Edmund G. Williamson, regarded as a tyrant by many students, replied simply: “Why not?”

John J. Cound, North Oaks

 

The writer is an emeritus professor of law at the University of Minnesota.