Drivers don't need more distractions


Electronic billboards with bright screens are distracting to drivers ("Lakeville decides to allow more electronic signs," Nov. 4). When will business leaders understand that their families, relatives and friends also use the freeways and are as vulnerable to accidents because of the distractions as everyone else. Please stop putting people at risk.


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Instead of jail, let's find more treatment options


Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek's commentary could not be more on target ("A jail is no place for the mentally ill," Nov. 25). Jailing people with persistent and severe mental illness seems like cruel and unusual punishment, since their ability to control their behavior is often impaired. Jailing such people is most certainly the result of inadequate funding for appropriate facilities. I would wager that the percentage of people in the penal system with developmental and other cognitive disabilities is much higher than in the general population. Those of us who have lived with people with mental-health problems witness the impact of their cognitive disabilities. The lack of appropriate treatment and residential facilities isn't the result of ignorance, but of the lack of will. We are willing to build prisons and house such people with hardened criminals. We should be better than that in Minnesota.


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Put duty to country before partisan pledge


Republicans are slowly but surely beginning to bow out of the no-tax-pledge they made to Grover Norquist ("Cliff makes lawmakers reconsider tax pledge," Nov. 28). I used to do some negotiating for a living. When striking a bargain, I always wanted as many options available to me as possible. For the life of me, I can't understand why any politician would take options off of the table by agreeing never to raise taxes when having the option to agree in some form might, in fact, be the currency necessary to get a deal done. More reasoned and rational voices are now being heard. I hope that Minnesota lawmakers who signed the pledge will put their country before Norquist.


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Double standard when it comes to shootings


If a police officer says that he or she was afraid at the time that an unarmed individual on the street is shot numerous times, that's often considered justifiable homicide. But a Little Falls retiree alone on Thanksgiving who blasts away at two burglars rushing through his home now sits in jail charged with second-degree murder in their deaths. This is wrong, even though it's unfortunate that the would-be burglars are dead.


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Many tragic stories warrant attention


What happened to Jack Jablonski was tragic, and I feel great empathy for him and those who love him ("The story of Jack Jablonski," Nov. 25). He was an athlete injured in a hockey game. Shouldn't there be more coverage for the young man injured around the same time as Jablonski who chose to be a Good Samaritan ("I-94 Good Samaritan is run over and badly hurt," Jan. 26, 2011)? This man pulled over on Interstate 94 to assist at the scene of a car accident. He was hit by another car and suffered traumatic, life-altering injuries. When his friends held a fundraiser, we didn't hear about it beforehand. Where is he now? What are his life struggles? How is he making it through his daily challenges? How are the people who know him and love him coping with the aftermath of his accident? This selfless, caring man is deserving of extensive coverage. Why is an athlete's story treated with more importance?


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Leave King Henry VIII out of this discussion


Bonnie Blodgett's commentary on Abraham Lincoln compares what he did in passing the 13th  Amendment (which abolished slavery) to Thomas Cromwell, right-hand man of King Henry VIII, who helped the king kick the Catholic church out of England ("In 'Lincoln,' the value of contemplation," Nov. 25). I'm having trouble comparing the two challenges. Lincoln helped do away with an abominable practice of slavery, leading to the freedom of 4 million African-Americans. Cromwell helped King Henry destroy the Catholic Church in England by allowing Henry to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon. The Catholic Church has always taught that divorce is wrong. In order to carry through on his campaign, Cromwell also helped martyr hundreds of believing Catholics, including two great saints (John Fisher and Thomas More). Blodgett is misguided in comparing the great accomplishment of President Lincoln to the bigoted assault of Cromwell on Catholics.


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Public disappointment over lockout grows


The Minnesota Orchestra board has crossed the credibility line with its ticket-buying public, exhibiting deception of its true financial condition ("Orchestra walked thin line on finances," Nov. 26). My wife and I are longtime small-dollar donors and orchestra ticket buyers. Had we been on the board, we would have opposed the public relations approach to managing deficits. It was not only unwise, but dishonest. The orchestra's president and board should resign immediately. We need common-sense board members from out of state.