Let's open Sundays to the revenue stream


Approving Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota is a no-brainer for our Legislature ("Sunday liquor sales debate on tap again ...," Feb. 5). Many Minnesotans obviously have no issues regularly buying alcohol on Sundays across state lines, and the state is wasting this revenue stream.

Retail shoppers tend to spend more on Sundays than on any other day of the week. While the typical grocery basket totals $23.27 of goods Monday through Saturday, Sunday's basket has $28.23, or 21 percent more.

For the important 35- to 54-year-old demographic, Sundays are the second-most-important grocery shopping day of the week. Sixteen percent of the people in this group do their grocery shopping on Sundays. Since more than 43 percent of alcohol consumers fall into this age category, these people would probably also purchase their alcohol then.

There are many recent success stories: In Virginia, Sunday alcohol sales at state-run liquor stores surged by $9 million in the year since they went statewide. Duluth, Ga., realized a significant increase once liquor could be purchased on Sunday, according to the city manager.

This has not gone unnoticed. Indiana state Sen. Phil Boots recently authored a bill allowing such sales, noting that it could bring in $10 million annually.

Minnesota needs such revenue. The Legislature should legalize Sunday liquor sales now.


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What's best for society? The balance lies there


It's difficult to remain respectful when compromise after compromise is not sufficient to quell religious-right anger over contraceptive care for those who request it from their health insurance providers.

We live in a pluralistic society. As such, we will always come from differing moral perspectives; we will never be able to agree on each facet of the complex matters that challenge us.

As someone who holds a deep respect for life but who is also a realist, I understand that defensive war is reasonable in our flawed human existence, as is abortion. However, I abhor capital punishment and preemptive war and do not buy into any arguments that justify such violence today.

If I were not a reasonable person, I would demand that my taxes not pay for these atrocities, but I understand that good persons hold differing viewpoints.

In these cases, we make decisions that reflect what we believe is best for society -- and it is at this point we should be expressing gratitude that we live in a country where we can continue to preach, teach and practice personal ethics ourselves, even when a majority disagrees.

Frankly, I think the continuing hubbub over employer-provided health insurance coverage is the inspiration needed to move forward with a public option for health care.


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Police officer's outfit shows we've far to go


How disturbing it was to learn about the photo that's been circulating online of a male St. Paul police officer dressed as a female Target employee in traditional Muslim attire ("Police join Muslims in denouncing photo," Feb. 5).

While this officer might have a right to dress however he chooses -- for Halloween or any other occasion -- what I expect from my public servants is the sensitivity and good judgment to recognize potentially disrespectful or demeaning behavior and choose not to engage in it.

All Minnesota schools, workplaces and institutions should use this as a teachable moment for valuing racial, cultural and religious differences.


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Do all actors need one, or just those in movies?


I'm an old guy. I walk the shopping center before stores open like old folks do, before that morning cup of coffee. While passing by the local AMC Theater complex, I noticed 16 individual movie posters for current or upcoming entertainment. Of the 16 posters, the main character in 10 of them was holding a gun. Well, OK, one was a sword, so let's call that a weapon, and in one was a helicopter on which there might have been a gun or two. So this is what we must want and watch. No conclusions here, just an observation. I'm an old guy.


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Tell me: What's wrong with this picture?


Three facts in the Feb. 2 paper:

1) Tom Petters is serving a 50-year prison term for masterminding a huge Ponzi scheme.

2) Stephon Shannon was sentenced to a term of 28 years for blindly shooting a north Minneapolis home in a case of gang-related revenge and killing a 5-year-old boy who was asleep inside.

3 )Curtis Wehmeyer, a Catholic priest, was sentenced to a term of five years after pleading guilty to three counts of sexually abusing young boys, as well as to 17 counts of child pornography.


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I-494 needed more lanes, like, yesterday


The decision by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to halt the expansion of Interstate 494 through Plymouth 10 years ago is a case study in bureaucratic stupidity ("Solution to tie-ups on I-494 rests on shoulders," Feb. 4).

Instead of adding lanes when there was an active construction zone, it was decided that it was better to inconvenience 100,000 motorists a day for the next 10 years (and counting!) in deference to some concept of a MnPASS lane that had no timetable or other detail as to when it would be installed and that would have served a tiny percentage of drivers anyway.

Is it too much to ask for a transportation committee and commissioner who actually care about the average motorist stuck in traffic every day? We don't need more studies. We need more pavement.