Doesn't seem like he's just one of us


In an effort to present her multimillionaire husband as just a reg'lar guy and one of us middle-class strivers, Ann Romney notes that "we have had the most fun times in the world, literally, on horseback, in the mountains" (Dec. 13).

I don't even have a horse, and I'm guessing that the vast majority of Americans don't, either. So it's rather comical that, in her effort, she has exposed the elitism that many of find patronizing. It's understandable.

The Republican Party is the party of money (protect our wealth, legislate to allow its growth), but it's rather symbolic when the wife of a very wealthy presidential hopeful uses an analogy that practically none of us can relate to. Sorry, Ann.


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Koch's relationship is irrelevant. Next?


The level of hypocrisy (pretended sanctity) and naivety is unsurpassed regarding the "inappropriate relationship with Senate staffer" that led to the resignation of state Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

Both letter writers and editors are way off-base on this one. Some want Koch to resign because she lied and apparently committed adultery. By that standard, I'd guess that every member of our Legislature would have to retire from public office.

(I don't recall that Bill Clinton resigned. Oh, I forgot, his episodes only involved oral sex in that little room off the Oval Office.)

Koch is not the first and won't be the last "boss" to have an affair with a subordinate. Her private life has nothing to do with the marriage amendment. So she's hypocritical -- so what? Who isn't or hasn't been?

The Dec. 28 editorial was nonsense. Who cares why she left "leadership" or when? So what if she was or wasn't forced out? If anyone feels GOP communications director Michael Brodkorb was forced out illegally -- go to court.

God knows we've got enough lawyers to help him. Bottom line: Put this event to bed and move on. The amendment will be voted on in due course. Give it a rest until then.


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North Dakota makes its allegiances clear


North Dakota is going to bat for the energy companies operating within its borders; it is willing to cover more than half the cost of a legal battle with Minnesota over this state's refusal to buy electricity produced by that one's "dirty" coal plants ("Utilities help N. Dakota foot bill for lawsuit," Dec. 29).

North Dakota admits the companies don't meet emissions standards but argues that standards don't matter. It cites federal rules that allow companies with dirty emissions to "swap" them with clean companies elsewhere.

This seems ironic. Earlier this year, North Dakota set aside a million dollars in tax revenue to fight any federal rules that would lead to greater scrutiny by the EPA of the state's ground water as a result of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," by the oil industry there.

The state's picking and choosing of federal rules makes me question its principles. It is obvious that it is for permissive rules, but against rules that call for public safety and accountability.

I would also think the state's actions would make residents wonder whose interests are being served by their representatives in Bismarck.

I'd ask why are my tax dollars being used to fight on behalf of the coal and oil industry, which profits by lower standards and less oversight, rather than to protect and serve the interests of the North Dakotans. It's not as though the oil and coal industries are down and out and can't afford their own legal representation.


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Front-line workers need, deserve raises


As someone who has been employed as a direct-care worker in group homes for more than 15 years and as an engineer prior to that, I feel compelled to add my opinion to the recent discussion among letter writers about executive compensation at nonprofits.

It has been my experience, in both for-profit and nonprofit settings, that once people become part of management and can set their own wages, they compensate themselves well, yet have no problem justifying why they can't pay the people who do the front-line work a living salary.

During years of not receiving raises, or getting 1 percent raises, I watched my coworkers work second jobs in order to survive. Many, like me, eventually had to leave careers that they loved in order to earn living wages.

My question is: Why is it that managers and CEOs of nonprofits feel that paying competitive wages is crucial to keeping themselves employed and not the devoted workers who make a difference to people and their families?


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It needn't be an obstacle to success


I am so glad that Ray Pearson received the proper diagnosis ("Teen's correct diagnosis was exception, not rule," Dec. 30). Bipolar disorder is a tough mental illness to treat, especially when a child is young. I'm happy he's taking steps to move forward.

What ticks me off are all the ignorant people (including some of his teachers) who told him that college probably wasn't an option due to his illness. Some of the world's most talented people are cited as having struggled with the disease, including:

• Adam Ant (singer)

• Sting (singer)

• Russell Brand (actor)

• Dick Cavett (interviewer)

• Rosemary Clooney (singer)

• Ray Davies (singer)

• Richard Dreyfuss (actor)

• Patty Duke (actress)

• Carrie Fisher (actress)

• Florence Nightengale (nurse)

• Jane Pauley (journalist)

• Margaret Trudeau (former wife of prime minister of Canada)

• Vincent Van Gogh (painter)

• Amy Winehouse (singer)

• Virginia Woolf (writer)

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't achieve! I earned a master of science degree and was diagnosed when I was 18. With the proper medication and therapy when necessary, you can live a perfectly normal life.