The fire that destroyed Paradise, Calif., precipitated a dream in which I saw my son, daughter-in-law and two young grandsons standing on a deserted Lake Erie beach near their Ohio home. The sun was setting. As the sound of "Waltzing Matilda" became deafening, I awoke. I'd been thinking about climate change, as I do a lot these days. It's one of the factors implicated in the deadly Paradise blaze ("Deadliest Calif. fire matched," Nov. 12).
"Waltzing Matilda" was made memorable by the 1959 film "On the Beach," a science-fiction drama about the last survivors of nuclear apocalypse. We're facing climate apocalypse. It too is our fault, but this time it's real. Most of us know that, though many feign denial. But we won't act to avert the apocalypse until a critical mass of us feel it in our guts as well as know it in our heads. There are signs that we're approaching critical mass.
We also know what must be done, and we have or are developing the means to do it. But — and I think this is possible in view of the recent election results — we need a sea change in political "climate" before governments will act. Only then will we have the luxury of many future generations in which politicians can squabble endlessly over ideology and self-serving but not potentially civilization-ending issues.
CAROL STEINHART, Madison, Wis.
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I am reminded of the adage about "not seeing the forest for the trees," when I read President Donald Trump's recent tweet, where he said that California's deadly fires are due to "gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!" Instead of focusing on the tragic loss of lives, and real solutions, he resorted to his usual finger pointing and partisan rhetoric.
Yes, management of the federal forests is a factor here, since most of these forests are overgrown, and thus more fire-prone. And this situation is often due to fire-suppression policies. But correcting this problem will require the thinning out or controlled burning of these forests in a sustainable manner. And more federal money, not less, as the president threatens, will probably be necessary.
Another factor he totally ignores is that the fire seasons in the western U.S. are getting progressively longer, hotter and drier. Climate scientists aren't making all this up. Plus, many of the ravaging fires are taking place in nonforested areas.
President Trump may conveniently overlook the complexity of this issue. But it does need urgent attention. So politicians of both stripes do need to look at real, pragmatic, and yes, cost-effective solutions. And please try to skip the divisive rhetoric.
JOHN CLARK, Minneapolis
TRUMP IN FRANCE
Veterans, soldiers merit better than they've got from president recently
My grandpa showed up for World War I, shivered through the rain and snow in the trenches, was wounded in the process and watched many fellow soldiers give the ultimate sacrifice. I'm saddened that a president of the United States decided not to attend a ceremony to honor those warriors, for any reason, let alone because of a little rain ("Trump notable in his absence from World War I commemoration," Nov. 11).
DEAN KARAU, Burnsville
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I won't pretend to speak for all veterans, but I will speak for myself. I am sorely disappointed in President Trump's dishonorable treatment of the U.S. military and its veterans in recent weeks. First, he marshals thousand of troops to the Mexican border to roll out razor wire to prevent his imagined invasion of rapists, murderers, and terrorists.
I find this abuse of U.S. soldiers — not to mention millions of tax dollars — to be outrageous. The president used the threat of an invading caravan to his advantage in the midterm elections. Since then, he has said little or nothing about it. Meanwhile, many dedicated, skilled, highly-trained military men and women will likely spend Thanksgiving on the Rio Grande far away from their families.
Then, in Europe, President Trump fails to attend an event honoring WWI American war dead at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Dieppe near Paris because of rainy weather. However, the wet weather didn't stop the prime ministers of Canada and France and the German chancellor from showing up for their Remembrance Day commitments.
Here's what Prime Minister Trudeau said at the commemoration: "As we sit here in the rain, thinking how uncomfortable we must be these minutes as our suits get wet, and our hair gets wet ... it's all the more fitting that we remember on that day in Dieppe the rain wasn't rain, it was bullets."
CHRISTOPHER MOORE, Belle Plaine, Minn.
What, no election trouble? Does it happen only when Democrats lose?
I guess the Russians had the day off. In the days since last week's elections, I have yet to hear a word from any media outlet regarding hacking, meddling, interference or anything else that might delegitimize the recent election results.
Apparently that only happens when the Democrats lose.
WARREN IVERSON, Brooklyn Park
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It is becoming clear that Gov.-elect Tim Walz is modifying his "One Minnesota" campaign slogan. Rather quickly it is morphing into "one-sided Minnesota." He is already making it clear what his agenda will be, and there doesn't seem to be any reaching across the aisle.
Higher gas taxes, new gun-control legislation, a health insurance surcharge, more government spending are on the list. Minnesotans will soon see how Walz will conduct himself. With a one-vote margin, the state Senate stands to be the only force that can slow down the Democratic agenda. Clearly the map of red/blue counties shows a significant difference in rural/urban philosophies. Will "everyone have a seat at the table?" We'll soon see how many will be missing.
JOE POLUNC, Cologne
Attention, Minnesota lawmakers: Some gun-safety suggestions
I am a resident of Plymouth, and would like to put in my wishes for gun-safety legislation. I would like to see some measures put in place:
1. Require permits to purchase.
2. Ban individuals convicted of violent crimes from gun purchase.
3. Make serious domestic violence offenders surrender all firearms.
4. Temporarily ban alcohol abusers who got two or more DUIs in five years from firearms.
We need to keep Minnesota safe.
To all our legislators, please help.
KERRY ANDERSON, Plymouth
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR TURKEY
So, now we have turkey tracking; Turkeyancestry.com can't be far off
It's the current rage — finding out about your ancestors. TV shows with famous celebrities, genealogy sites and DNA testing all feed into this rage. So I should have seen this coming. Jennie-O and Cargill have announced that you will be able to trace your turkey's origins ("Jennie-O starts year-round turkey tracking," Nov. 9). I am envisioning a website for this: Turkeyancestry.com.
For a small monthly fee, you can get access to this site. For even bigger savings, you can pay an annual fee. This allows you to determine when your turkey's ancestors came to the U.S., where their port-of-entry was and (gasp) whether they were illegal aliens.
In less than two weeks, with carving knife in hand, I will be pondering the important question of my bird's ancestry. After all, the stuffing, cranberries and candied yams just wouldn't taste right if I found out my turkey was from that Packers state.
BARBARA BURKEY, Roseville