Can Cheeseheads truly be counted as Yankees?
In the Feb. 10 commentary about the United States as a nation of nations ("11, count 'em, 11 nations in one," Feb. 10), I was pleased to see that Minnesota, because of its many British pioneers as well as Scandinavian and German populations, was linked with the Yankee states across the North and into the Northeast. But I object to Wisconsin being included as a Yankee state, since for several years it has embraced states' rights over the federal government, promotes antiunion legislation, and shows disrespect for its educational system and civil rights.
LEE PAULSON, GLENWOOD, MINN.
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The article contributes to a false and one-sided narrative of our country. The only nations within the United States are the Dakota, Ojibwe (Anishinabe), Hochunk, Oneida and many others. Nations are sovereign entities that can create treaties and govern their people. The groups outlined in the article -- Yankeedom, Midlands and the like -- are contemporary mashups of regions, culture and folkways. They are not nations. The commentary perpetuates the myth that our country is only composed of white people and that only their cultural aspects are important. I do agree that we have "multiple regional cultures in North America," but they do not make virtual nations within our union.
NANETTE MISSAGHI, EDEN PRAIRIE
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Holy Father knows best. Does Congress?
We love our pope. It's sad to hear that he's resigning because he no longer has the strength to perform his papal duties ("The arc of a pope, completed," Feb. 13). Bless him a million times over for what must have been a difficult decision. Perhaps some of our aging members in Congress should take note.
DALE ANDERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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Only stricter gun laws will save innocent lives
With the killing of a little boy in Oakdale, isn't is time we stand up to the National Rifle Association's leaders ("Boy, 10, killed in random gunfire," Feb. 12)?
Enough is enough. How many more children must die before we get some real proposals on gun control? The perceived Second Amendment rights by some are not more important than a child's right to live.
JIM DAHLGREN, CRYSTAL
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Story was informative, but too opinionated
The report on the radon levels present within many Minnesota homes was helpful, but felt like an opinion piece ("State is a radon hotbed," Feb. 10). One sentence began: "Yet Minnesota has no mandatory random testing of homes, schools, or daycare centers ...").
While I agree that tests should be mandatory, the word "yet" specifically shows the reporter's opinion, though never directly stated. If you have an opinion, either say it or filter it out completely.
DAVID MERCER-TAYLOR, ST. PAUL
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Thank you for reporting on radon exposure in Minnesota. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. However, if our nation is to fully understand lung-cancer risks, we must consider all risk factors: secondhand smoke -- spend any time in public places prior to the smoking ban? -- asbestos, pesticides, heavy metals and air pollutants.
It is also thought that family history increases risks. Nonsmokers who do not have radon in their homes are not free of risk from this disease. The final quotes in the story are common among lung-cancer patients: "Why didn't I know? Why doesn't every person in our nation know?"
NANCY TORRISON, WAYZATA
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The good and bad in the governor's budget plan
To defend expanding the sales tax to new goods and services like car repairs, haircuts and certain clothing, Gov. Mark Dayton's administration boasts that it would cut the existing sales tax from 6.875 percent to 5.5 percent. No one in the administration has bragged about reducing the sales tax rate by 1.375 percentage points -- rather, in its view, it's a 20 percent cut.
The Feb. 10 commentary by the governor's chief of staff ("There's talk and there's action; governor's budget is the latter") said the administration wants to raise the income tax by "2 percent."
In reality, the administration plans to hike the income tax on high-income earners by more than 25 percent (from 7.85 percent to 9.85 percent). Middle-class Minnesotans should be wary. Who will pay for the $2 billion in new revenue from the Dayton sales tax hike on goods, services and business-to-business services?
BEN GOLNIK, ST. PAUL
The writer is the St. Paul chairman of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition.
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Yes, Minnesota should raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol for the health and revenue reasons argued in the Feb. 9 editorial ("Raise state taxes on cigarettes, alcohol"). But there should also be a state tax on soda.
SHARON FORTUNAK, COTTAGE GROVE
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Why did the editorial only devote one paragraph to alcohol? The Editorial Board explained the health and revenue issues related to cigarettes, but failed to give the same attention to what raising taxes on alcohol would mean for the state. The editorial should have stated how many times police are called for alcohol-related incidents, such as fights, shootings and domestic violence.
TERRANCE JEGLOSKY, FRIDLEY
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Lawmakers should be finding solutions now
Members of Congress indicate "sequestration" is a bad thing for various reasons, yet not one of them seems to have a plan to avoid it ("Lurching toward the next fiscal crisis," Feb. 10). Did we not elect them to be leaders? Please, lawmakers, stop pandering to us. We know it's a bad thing, and we are counting on you to stop it from happening. Exhibit leadership on this matter before it's too late.
JIM CONN, MAPLE GROVE