Can one compete without doping?
The point that Lance Armstrong and his teams had a systematic doping program is moot. In the era in which they raced, they could not have been competitive without one.
I think the riders and doctors deluded themselves into seeing the protocols in the light of "maintaining normal physiology" in a sport so difficult that it can cause normal body systems to shut down.
In a sense, the playing field was fairly level, and I think that Armstrong, in a perverted way, won his victories legitimately because of his work ethic, aggressive personality and relentless pursuit of his goals. He also had the money to surround himself with great riders who could wear down his rivals.
What's the best thing for him to do now? For cycling? Tell the truth! Expose the corruption and massive cover-ups, and in doing so become an even greater hero. It will all come out anyway. Always does.
It would be the most difficult thing he's done, but by far the manliest.
TERENCE KENNEDY, ALEXANDRIA, MINN.
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It is disturbing to see any rationalizing of Armstrong's doping.
Armstrong had the chance to be a leader in cleaning up a sport. When others were getting caught and coming clean, he continued to deny. And he wasn't in a sport "high on a hill far away" that we can't all identify with. No one has to be 7 feet tall or weigh 190 pounds and run a 4.2-second 40-yard dash to succeed as a cyclist. Cycling is an "every-man" sport in which anyone can become a high achiever. And Armstrong used it opportunistically.
We're also in a society in which thousands of people have survived cancer and gone on to live robust lives. Only Armstrong has wanted to be lionized for something which thousands have done.
It's hard to let go of heroes, I guess. We need to look at our standards closely -- and raise them higher.
BILL JOHNSTON, St. Paul
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Perhaps inevitable, given the context
I was fascinated by the story of the Dakota wars, but not appalled. That time in history was one of survival. We cannot comprehend the hardships today.
If you have not killed another person in a war, you cannot comprehend the emotions and feelings. The settlers and the Dakota people suffered hardships and had the same goals of life and happiness.
Their ways and means to those goals differed, in that the Dakota were hunter-gatherers and the settlers farmers. The Dakota refused to adopt a farming way of life, which was certainly their choice to make, but the settlers, backed by government and military support, acquired vast amounts of land, thus reducing the hunting grounds.
The Dakota reached a point of starvation and found no aid from the settlers, so their only recourse was war. The settlers' only recourse was to respond with war. Gov. Alexander Ramsey's decision was the only one he could make, even though it is looked upon today with question.
Was there an alternative for the Dakota or the settlers? I don't think so. The people from 1862 and a few generations that followed are all gone. Are we responsible for their actions today? Absolutely not, nor does anyone need to apologize. As in all wars, both sides of the conflict are guilty of mistreatment of their enemies.
DON EISENSCHENK, Minnetonka
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Let's just give one party the power
When we consider the obstructionism of the Democrats in the last two years of the George W. Bush administration and the obstructionism of the Republicans during the Obama administration, it is obvious, even with the lingering economic malaise, that politics far outweigh a commitment to the people and the common good of our nation.
The only solution lies in the hands of we the people in the voting booth. Whichever party you choose, please vote a straight ticket so the legislative branch and White House can do what they will. May we live willingly and cooperatively with the majority.
JOHN MILLER, Shoreview
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Celebrate significance of River Falls 'Eco-Village'
An Aug. 24 letter concerning the "Eco-Village" project in River Falls, Wis., took potshots at the solar industry instead of celebrating the construction of 18 homes that will generate more electricity than they consume. The letter highlighted the development's dependence on the electrical grid and solar's subsidy per megawatt-hour produced.
Here are the dollar amounts of subsidies for electricity by fuel type in 2010, reported by the U.S. Energy Information Agency:
• Nuclear: $2.499 billion.
• Coal: $1.189 billion.
• Solar: $0.968 billion.
• Gas, petroleum: $0.654 billion.
These figures reflect a temporary boost of $788 million for solar and $97 million for coal from the economic stimulus package.
They do not reflect a huge, incalculable subsidy for the gas and petroleum industry in the form of exemption from major portions of the following federal laws: Clean Air Act; Clean Water Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; National Environmental Policy Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (the "Superfund" law); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.
An analysis of solar subsidies published in May by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, finds that "solar energy is following the same incentive-driven path as other traditional energy sources before it, consistent with the government's decision to incentivize energy production for a variety of policy purposes."
Yes, Eco-Village needs the electrical grid, but offsetting electrical input with pollution-free output is worth celebrating.
JULIAN SELLERS, St. Paul
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In the editing process, a word was omitted from a letter published Monday by Chris Lund of Hamburg. The correct sentence should read: "But marriage is not an institution for which government involvement is required, and that is why the wise founding fathers did not mention it in the U.S. Constitution."