We still lack answers on Benghazi incident


It is a shame that facts and the truth no longer matter in the arena of political debate. It is becoming more and more definitive that whoever is able to scream the loudest and for the longest is viewed as having the upper hand. Nowhere was this more evident then in outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's appearance before Congress this week and in the Star Tribune's coverage of the event ("Clinton forcefully defends U.S. response in Benghazi," Jan. 25).

We still do not know the following: Why was the consulate, after pleading with the State Department, not better protected? Why was no rapid-response team sent to help in the firefight? Why and how were talking points on the attack changed to make it appear as if the event was spontaneous, when in fact it was clear to all involved that it was an act of terror? Why was the president allowed to continue this fabrication at the United Nations? Why has no one been charged or brought to justice?

Instead of giving answers, Clinton stomped her feet like a child, screamed, yelled and cried about the loss of American life. We can all agree that when any life is lost in defending our country, the tragedy goes beyond words. But when the secretary of state has no answers to real and important questions but is lauded for her "forceful appearance," there is something tragic about that as well.


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Obama championed gay rights, not the economy


The president should have told us something in his inaugural address about the economy and jobs ("Obama invokes 'We the people,'" Jan. 22). Unfortunately, he didn't say a word about the top problems facing the nation.


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Obama's words were a beautiful gift to me, the mother of a gay son: "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths -- that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall ..." Our president said these words not in a room crowded with gay-rights advocates or on the campaign trail. He said them to America on his inauguration day. It signals he'll work for full equality. I'm so grateful.

RANDI REITAN, Eden Prairie

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Said to need change, yet very much the same


In the Jan. 25 paper is an article in which Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana says his party needs to change just about everything it does. Yet in another article, about the end of the ban on women in combat, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, James Inhofe, warns that his fellow Republicans will likely introduce legislation limiting combat jobs open to women. For all the Republican hand-wringing and talk about "change," it seems so far that some things haven't changed at all.


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Pedestrians were vulnerable in this case


Mark Greenman, a Minneapolis attorney, has dodged a second drunken-driving charge on his Segway ("Tipsy on a Segway -- but legally," Jan. 23). So why not charge him with public intoxication? Being under the influence on a Segway makes pedestrians vulnerable to being hit. This type of behavior shouldn't be condoned.


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Rarely have laws had more basis in common human decency than those against drunken driving, which recognize that drunk people are more likely to harm others or be harmed when operating a vehicle. I urge Greenman to set aside incredulity in favor of humility and respect for the spirit, as well as the letter, of our laws.


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Continuing to kill these animals makes no sense


Minnesota's moose population is becoming rapidly depleted, but the Department of Natural Resources continues to allow some moose to be hunted ("New efforts to save state's iconic moose," Jan. 21). Why did the DNR allow 46 bull moose to be hunted and killed last year? Shouldn't the agency's focus be on helping the moose through this crisis rather than allowing more to be slaughtered? Why are we killing our natural resources rather than protecting them?


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Farmers win, taxpayers lose and food costs soar


When crop insurance payments go up to compensate farmers who experienced lower yields because of weather conditions, the price of the crop goes up -- creating a windfall for the farmers who have not been affected by the weather ("Crop insurance could cost record $16 billion," Jan. 16).

Insurance is designed to spread the risk among policyholders. The federal program transfers the risk to the taxpayers, not to the farmers who received the windfall of higher prices because of the reduced supply. For the taxpayer, this is a lose-lose situation. Higher taxes and higher food costs.


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Put mental-health workers in every school


We don't need guns in most school situations. Let's put mental-health professionals in all schools to identify problem students and get them help before they go on a rampage. Educators can identify students in kindergarten who may have problems but do not have the professional help to work with the students. All schools should have counselors and psychologists in an adequate number to salvage the troubled students.


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I cannot decide which is the poorer commentary on the state of our education system: the poorly executed satire written by Joe Pastoor, an English teacher, or that the editors felt obligated to explain to readers that this was an imitation of Swift's masterpiece ("A modest proposal," Jan. 20).