Parallels in drones, California manhunt


Let me preface my remarks by saying that I am not criticizing California authorities in any way for how the Christopher Dorner episode was handled ("Ex-LAPD cop believed dead after shootout," Feb. 13).

Having said that, I wish to note that he was killed without any kind of hearing or due process, and while it was happening, I had no doubt that he was not going to come out of that cabin alive.

My point really is, how is this different from killing Anwar al-Awlaki with a drone? Again, let me be clear. I do not disapprove of that drone attack, either. I am interested in how the critics of drone attacks distinguish between these two events.


* * *

Home health care

Those aiding loved ones are also laborers


I am a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I am also the home care worker for my 39-year-old son, Siran. Shortly after graduating college, Siran was diagnosed with severe multiple sclerosis. Within eight years, he went from being completely independent to completely dependent on others. As any mother would do, I sacrificed my good-paying job to become Siran's home care worker.

Caring for Siran is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week job. I purée his food, dress and bathe him, brush his teeth -- everything. But he is only allowed to pay for 11 hours of care per day. What do people expect Siran to do with the other 13 hours he is not able to pay for care? Since he is my son, I care for him those extra 13 hours without pay.

Home care workers receive no benefits, sick leave, overtime pay or vacation time. I work many hours that I don't get paid for, and the hours I do work, I earn a low wage. Because of these conditions, there is a looming workforce crisis for home care workers in Minnesota. Without these workers, our family members and loved ones will be forced to live in expensive institutions that will cost the state more money.

However, we can change this with a union. With one voice, we can negotiate better wages and working conditions. We will have opportunities to receive more training so we can do our jobs even better. And we will save the state money. We want the right every other Minnesota worker has: the right to form a union.


* * *


Behavior therapy is not a taxpayer snow job


Reading "Minnesota urged to cover unproven autism care" (Feb. 13), you might imagine a plot by parents of children with autism to run off with taxpayer dollars and spend them on a fly-by-night treatment. Actually, this intervention for children with autism is proven to save taxpayer money -- an estimated $3.2 million per child -- not to mention the changes to the lives of children and their families.

Buried in the story were important facts: A group appointed by the Department of Human Services found that early intensive behavioral intervention is the most supported intervention currently available for autism, and it recommended increasing access. As a researcher at a local provider, I was pleased to see that the committee supports funding to further analyze outcomes.

None of this is really front-page news, since a legislative task force recently came to similar conclusions. Nationally, it is old news -- families in 33 other states already are guaranteed insurance coverage for this service. Employers including the military have long provided coverage. Groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended this treatment. The breaking news is that there are bills in the Legislature bringing coverage to Minnesota families.

There is no dubious treatment being foisted on Minnesota taxpayers. Rather, there is a growing consensus that it is time for insurers to pay their share.


* * *


Management thwarts any 'new beginning'


In a Feb. 14 letter, a member of the Minnesota Orchestra board emphasized the commitment of the board and management and asked the musicians to join them and "together work out a contract point by point ... so we can support this wonderful music for years to come." She closed by stating, "For the sake of the music, can we begin again?"

I would like to remind her of the following actions:

• The orchestra's management has rejected the musicians' offer to have a joint independent analysis since August 2012, when it was first proposed. The analysis would have given musicians the information needed for a counterproposal.

• The management has refused to allow binding arbitration to determine the terms of a new contract.

• The management has refused an offer by the musicians to go back to work under the old contact while negotiating in good faith for a new one.

• Board and management members boycotted the "Grammy Celebration Concert" requested by Mayor R.T. Rybak and Judy Dayton, an action of extreme disrespect.

• The management has canceled all concerts through April 7, while the renovation of Orchestra Hall continues.

• The Legislature is questioning the truthfulness, ethics and integrity of the orchestra management in asking for bonding and Legacy Amendment money. Why would the musicians believe that "the orchestra board has no hidden agenda?"


* * *

University of Minnesota

Troubles with athletics might be a guy thing


Instead of eliminating all athletic programs at the University of Minnesota, as a Feb. 15 letter writer advocates, why not get rid of the men's program and keep the women's? Female athletes at the U do well academically and account for few, if any, arrests. Also, it seems to me the various scandals over the years resulting in penalties for the athletic department have involved the men's program.