Last December, the president refused to sign a bill providing $1.6 billion in border security funding. Instead, demanding $5.7 billion, he dragged the nation through the longest government shutdown in history, exacting a perverse punishment on federal employees and all of us dependent on government services. Now he is prepared to settle for less than $1.4 billion in border security funding. The art of the deal.

Dave Pederson, Excelsior

LINE 3 PIPELINE

Walz proceeds with appeal, and the oil trains keep on coming

Gov. Tim Walz has decided to continue the appeal that Gov. Mark Dayton started to go against the decision to approve the Enbridge oil pipeline.

Apparently he did not read the Feb. 10 article “Growing oil train traffic ‘a big concern.’ ”

The news article states that “oil imports by rail from Canada have hit a historic high, meaning more oil trains are rolling across Minnesota and raising the alert level of local emergency managers.”

Mike McLean, Richfield

OMAR AND TRUMP

One was wrong; the other is a hypocrite, and the dangers rise

It is hypocritical that President Donald Trump speaks out against U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent behavior (“Trump says Omar should resign,” Feb. 10). The Anti-Defamation League has been reporting an increase in anti-Semitic attacks by 70 percent in only 2017. The recent yellow-vests movement in France has many Jews migrating out of France and to Israel as a new wave of discomfort settles among Jewish folks. I am a Jew, but there is a difference between saying Jewish money controls the world and criticizing Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians. The media often skews reports without reporting the lead-up to the skirmishes between Palestinians and Israel. The uncomfortable truth is there is no easy resolution to the Israel-Palestine issue.

But make no mistake — Omar’s comments were an affront to Jews nationwide, and we will be watching very carefully. Not only how the Democrats react to this but how the nation reacts to a surge in comments trending dangerously left. It is possible to criticize Israel without invoking dangerous stereotypes.

But as someone who grew up in the shadows of swastikas painted on a dorm in St. Cloud State to Shir Tikvah installing a buzzer system after our bathrooms were vandalized with hatred, we live with an uncertain fear in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Don’t be silent. Say something.

Shirley Aurand Weisman, Minneapolis

POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

If Klobuchar ought not try to do two things at once, then …

In regard to the writer who suggested that Amy Klobuchar resign from the Senate to campaign for the presidency:

One assumes that this applies to any elected official running for office. So following that logic, I will be awaiting the announcement that Trump is resigning in order to campaign. We need a president who is focused on the job, not on re-election, right?

But I won’t hold my breath.

Janet Snell, Oakdale

ATTORNEY GENERAL

William Barr has qualities, and that wasn’t a given in any Trump pick

Given who the president is (provide your own adjectives) and who the Senate majority leader is (try, as a baseline, compliant and missing in action in his constitutional duties), William Barr may be the very best nominee to lead the Justice Department we had any realistic hope of getting (“Senate moves closer to confirming Barr as attorney general,” StarTribune.com, Dec. 13). I disagree with Mr. Barr on a number of fronts, but he is experienced, he is very smart and he seems to believe in the rule of law. We could be getting a lot worse. Look at his predecessor!

I despair over where we have landed as a country, but Bill Barr isn’t the problem. He’s just a grown-up. His earlier views and some of his writings are anathema to what I believe, but that doesn’t make him dishonest or unqualified.

Michael goldner, Minneapolis

The writer is an attorney and former president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

WINTER AND ITS IMPLICATIONS

On plowing and towing, shoveling, and the kindness of strangers

Minneapolis City Council Member Linea Palmisano is quoted in the Feb. 13 article “Tow woes spare southwest Mpls.” as saying that “the real goal when we’re towing is to maintain safe streets, not to penalize somebody who didn’t move their car.” This explanation fails to acknowledge that lower-income people are disproportionately tagged and towed in Minneapolis. The city’s transportation maintenance director, Mike Kennedy, sees towing cars as the only option to maintain the safe width of the streets as snow piles up. May I suggest that Minneapolis would be well-served, and treat its citizens with more respect, if it used the money that it pays towing companies to instead clear snow around cars using the modern technology of skid loaders?

Any equipment operator knows that it usually takes only a few minutes per car to accomplish the goal of moving the snow, and modern skid loaders are climate-controlled for the operator’s comfort. Go ahead and tag the offending cars, then clear the snow around them. The fines would continue to encourage compliance with parking restrictions. A portion of the fines could be dedicated to paying for the snow removal, and citizens would not have the chore of getting themselves to the impound lot and paying for the tow, adding insult to injury. A similar system could be used during fall street sweeping when cars are tagged and towed but safety is not an issue. Sweeping with parked cars might also involve hand work, but so does hooking up and towing cars.

As Minneapolis considers how to become a more progressive, denser city with its 2040 plan, treating its citizens with more respect, while letting common sense become part of the equation, should also be a goal.

Richard Cousins, Edina

• • •

I am 71 and have yet to grow tired of shoveling snow. The secret is no secret: Stop every now and then, lean on your shovel and just take in the spectacular beauty that is winter in Minnesota. I could settle for the view through my window. But that would be a spectator sport.

Ralph Kempf, Wayzata

• • •

Recently I parked at the Excelsior post office in a spot with 7 inches of slippery snow sludge all around. I am 89, and the walking looked “tricky.” A beautiful redhead appeared at my door and offered to help me. I had a bag of small packages to mail. She gave me her arm for support, carried my bag and helped me through two doors to the counter. I realized that I had left my purse in the car. She was still in the lobby and offered to go to my car and retrieve my purse, which she did. When I was through, I was surprised to see her again waiting for me in the lobby. She helped me out the door and back to my car. She told me she had a 6-year-old, twins aged 2½ and an 8-month-old, and that she had a minor accident on the black ice of the night before, so was driving a rental car. Her kindness to me was beyond description, especially considering her very busy life.

I truly believe such kindnesses happen more in Minnesota than the majority of other places in the world.

Elizabeth S. Sebring, Wayzata