A few questions come to mind ...
The Dec. 10 Letter of the Day ("Catholics, not Chilstrom, are on right side of marriage issue") claimed that the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment would protect the "civil right of children ... to grow up raised by their biological mother and father."
This is a common assertion among amendment supporters. A variation is "every child should be raised by both a father and a mother." To those claiming to protect the children, I ask the following:
1. Will adoption be illegal under the amendment, since adopted children are denied their "civil right ... to grow up raised by their biological mother and father"?
2. Will a single parent be granted a "grace period" to locate and establish an appropriate two-parent household before the state steps in to restore the civil rights of their children?
3. Will the biological father and mother of every minor child in Minnesota be required to establish a shared household in which their children are raised, regardless of the marital status of the parents?
Will the fathers of children by more than one mother be required to establish a separate household with each mother, or one large communal home? What about mothers with children by more than one father?
4. If producing children is an essential part of marriage, will fertility tests be required as part of the marriage license application process?
If you think these questions are absurd, I agree. But so is the claim that the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment has anything at all to do with protecting the interests of children.
The only reason for making that claim is because "I care about children" is easier to say than "I don't think gays should have the same rights I have."
PAUL BRIDGLAND , MARSHALL, MINN.
* * *
Supply and demand is overriding factor
Kudos to the Star Tribune for publishing Virginia Postrel's column clearly illuminating the effect of low-interest government loans on college tuition costs ("Those soaring college costs? Could be the subsidies," Dec. 11).
At the same time, that it warranted publication says volumes about the ignorance of basic economic principles among Americans. If demand increases (naturally or artificially) and supply remains unchanged, it leads to higher equilibrium price and quantity. It's a law.
Perhaps worse, low-interest loans (and Pell Grants) have additionally created a market where some kids enroll who frankly don't belong in college.
Many don't finish, or graduate with poor grades, then enter the employment market with the mind-set that they are worthy of an entry-level, professional job.
Meanwhile, community colleges, and more important, vo-tech schools, are closing due to lack of students.
This leads to the current, growing shortage of schooled craftspeople, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, machinery operators and auto mechanics.
Some average high school students would be better served attending a trade school and becoming an expert electrician than by attending college, and would be hired the day after graduation instead of joining the ranks of the unemployed.
Scary what happens when a government dickers with markets.
DONALD G. ENGEBRETSON, EXCELSIOR
* * *
The automakers must step it up
After 190,000 miles of service, my 1998 Toyota Tacoma has come to the end of its life. A rusted frame has brought its use to an end. Concerned about liability, the Toyota Corp. has given me a rather generous sum to buy back my 13-year-old truck.
The bad news : Toyota no longer makes a small truck. If it did, I'm certain it would get well more than 30 miles per gallon.
My Tacoma averaged 27 mpg -- not highway miles, mind you: 27-mpg average. I'm certain that 13 years of technology could easily push us into the 30-mpg range.
The small truck is gone; the question is: Why?
Why are we being dictated to by car companies? Why do we move backward rather than forward, and how much longer will such regression continue?
We are about to conclude one oil war; half of our trade deficit is petroleum, and winter no longer comes in November in Minnesota.
National strength comes from minimizing our liabilities, not ignoring them. All but a few suffer when the tail wags the dog, and it needs to end. Petroleum addiction and inaction challenges our future. Change should be parked in your garage.
MARK PALAS, ST. PAUL
* * *
Personhood is a many-splendored thing
I read the Associated Press report the Star Tribune published about Newt Gingrich calling Palestinians "invented people" ("Experts react to Gingrich comment," Dec. 11). He said he did that from his sense of history. I suppose that makes Palestinians corporations. Ask nine Supreme Court justices, and five will say it is so.
ERIC ZAETSCH, RAMSEY
* * *
First he gets cold, then hot ...
It seems as if last year's disastrous "bilateral leg weakness" for the Twins star catcher has been identified: Love! ("Joe Mauer's proposal made and accepted," Dec. 12.) It has been said to make people weak in the knees. I guess it must be true!
TRACY STEINER, MINNEAPOLIS