As taxpayers, my wife and I found the July 9 editorial cartoon featuring Jesse Ventura interesting. While he was governor, Ventura supported a number of initiatives. Among them was the rebate of sales tax. During his time in office, the state was operating with a budget surplus, and Ventura believed the money should be returned to the public.

Like Ventura, I am an honorably discharged Vietnam veteran. His service to this country also was ignored. I am confident I can speak for a lot of veterans, regardless of political affiliations, in stating we find the cartoon an offensive cheap shot. Trust me — the way many us are treated concerning health care is as hurtful as it is disappointing. We don’t need editorial cartoons insulting veterans piled on.

Tom Edwards, Forest Lake

HOBBY LOBBY RULING

Sounds sensible from a limited point of view

After reading the two July 9 commentaries assuring us that no one’s rights were affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision since all can still buy their own birth control products, I was reminded of that famous Anatole France quote: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

Amy Caucutt, Rochester

• • •

It’s often been said that the devil likes to quote the Bible, but more recently the devil seems to have developed a fondness for George Orwell’s great essay “Politics and the English Language.” Commentary writer Kyle Triggs, although no devil, seems to share the devil’s proclivity in this regard. Orwell’s subject matter in his essay was how words were used to confuse and obscure meaning. The language Triggs points to ­—­ the distinction between imposition and force — is perfectly clear; the question is what the issues are and whether those words were correctly applied to them.

For the plaintiffs in Hobby Lobby, the issue was that they didn’t like a law that, as they saw it, conflicted with their religious views, and they also believed that their dislike of the law exempted them from its application. They sued, and their views prevailed in the Supreme Court. On that basis, it’s perfectly fair in Orwellian terms or any other to say they forced their religious views on all of us.

Did the court decide Hobby Lobby correctly? As tempting as it is to exalt religious concerns above all others, we live in a diverse nation, one barred under our Constitution from establishing a state religion. Every day in the news, we see the terrible consequences in societies that chose a different path. A good principle to live by is that your religion is none of your neighbor’s business and your neighbor’s business is none of yours. The court, I believe, violated that principle.

Jon Miners, Crystal

• • •

Triggs cites the legal credentials and research efforts of the majority opinion in Hobby Lobby and chides the general population for its “sloppy” assessment in response. He failed to mention that four other justices, with every bit the legal prowess of their peers, ruled just the opposite. In fact, the decision may be more accurately recorded as 4-4-1, given Justice Anthony Kennedy’s narrowing interpretation.

If we’re going to relish in the superior intellect of the justices, then let’s examine the thinking of the full court. Anything less represents a “sloppy” argument.

Patrick Dawson, St. Louis Park

• • •

Stephen B. Young speaks eloquently of positive (natural) rights and negative rights (justification for his view of the welfare state), but he concludes with the rejoinder that others’ disabilities may not really be as burdensome as they seem to them, and that ethical obligations should not therefore be imposed on him (and others).

Look around you, Mr. Young, and see the world as it is. Some of us, through no fault or misstep of our own, shoulder burdens and horrors that cannot even be adequately described. My moral obligations are different from yours.

I leave you to your views, sir.

Monica Blanco, Bloomington

• • •

The recent decision to allow corporations to regulate women’s “contraceptive” health care based upon their religious beliefs needs some clarification. Some of these “lifestyle” drugs are actually prescribed as health care, not just to prevent pregnancy. This is a huge issue for women, and I suspect it will begin to affect men down the road. We should not sit back and tolerate this direct affront to women’s health care because of someone else’s arbitrary religious beliefs. Women shouldn’t be used as pawns in this battle. I suppose that a woman could request an exemption from her boss, in a sweet voice, and be very thankful if he grants her wish, or she could sue for an exemption and see how that goes.

Melinda Raske, Eagan

 

SOUTHWEST LRT

The latest dealmaking: Tragic, or about time?

In abandoning plans to protect the Cedar Lake/Lake of the Isles channel by constructing a tunnel for the Southwest light-rail project, Minneapolis city officials and the Metropolitan Council appear poised to sacrifice one of the city’s environmental and scenic crown jewels on the altar of regional economic development. This shortsighted decision is penny-wise and pound-foolish. The Minneapolis lakes and parks system is an heirloom that should not be for sale at any price. Destroying the ambience of that special part of Minneapolis for the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver will affect not only a few affluent homeowners, but also residents of the suburbs and other less privileged areas who flock to this part of Minneapolis regularly for spiritual renewal from the lakes and other natural amenities.

It is ironic that a project designed to make the metro area more environmentally responsible and convenient may in fact destroy one of its most charming and essential environmental and scenic assets. It is not too late for a change of minds and hearts.

Winston Kaehler, St. Paul

• • •

I find myself viewing the Southwest light-rail impasse with similar helpless concern, frustration and mounting impatience as I did the excruciatingly long and thankfully resolved Minnesota Orchestra musician contract dispute. Although it seems an apples/oranges comparison, and although they are both amenities not likely to benefit me as often as they will benefit others, I see them each as vital to the health and stature of our metro area and thereby our state.

The most recent light-rail compromise is reasonable. Although it includes excuses for further deadline delays — aarrghh! — it does provide political cover for Minneapolis politicians, so let’s get this project back on track.

David C. Smith, Minneapolis