I know, I know. With all of the problems in the world, why write about the lack of flowers along the highways of Minnesota? We can’t save everyone in the world, but what about just us here in the United States? I just completed an MS ride across Minnesota, from Pipestone to Welch Village. What struck me was the lack of bees and flowers along the highways. The combination shows that there are unintended consequences to genetically modified seeds. These seeds have coated insecticides and herbicides which, when dried, get blown away, infecting the surrounding vegetation. If this were changed, the environment would eventually correct itself. But “eventually” can be a very long time, especially when there currently is no prospect of legislative action.
This is not a tirade against genetically modified seeds, but a hope that we become less quick to condemn those wanting to spend sufficient time analyzing the ramifications of actions companies want to introduce, such as that taking place with the potential extraction industries in northern Minnesota.
Tom Saylor, Minneapolis
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Majority hates it, and Democrats to blame
The Star Tribune Editorial Board is upset that an appellate court upheld the law as contained in the 2,000-page Affordable Care Act (“2 judges, 6 words and millions at risk,” July 25). First, we need to be a nation that respects the law. If not, we will have the chaos seen in many countries. Second, Congress should not pass 2,000-page laws because “we have to pass it to find out what is in it,” as Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House, famously said. Well, we have now found another provision in it, and the courts need to uphold the law as passed, not as some people wish it were written.
Chris Schonning, Andover
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The Editorial Board failed to include one pertinent point: Its view is in the minority regarding efficacy of the national health care law. Poll after poll, regardless of the polling entity, shows that the majority of Americans are against the law. The latest Real Clear Politics average is 40 percent in favor, 55 percent against. Not even close. Court rulings should not be influenced by politics, but the editorial should have included or at least acknowledged the above statistic.
Mike Touhey, Le Sueur, Minn.
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The editorial really hammered the Republicans. And, yes, they deserve criticism. However, the Editorial Board gave Democrats a pass, and this mess started with them. They legislated with arrogance (remember President Obama’s reply to Republican criticisms? He replied, “I won.”) and irresponsibility (Pelosi’s infamous quote).
Finally, Democrats worked hard to pass this without a single Republican vote, even changing the rules of the Senate to do so. Legislation this major needs to be bipartisan. If Democrats had reached out then, there would be a better chance at a bipartisan fix for this mess now. (The Republicans were not obstructing then; they couldn’t do so, and would not have wanted to because Obama was so popular. Rather, they were ignored, as were some of their good policy concepts.)
The editorial should have been more balanced.
Keith Rose, Champlin
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U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen admirably calls for immediate approval by the FDA of the vaccine that will prevent needless death and disability from meningitis B (“How many more students have to die?” July 25). This is, as the article says, a “no-brainer.” Though many of his Republican colleagues would denounce him, I hope that he will be equally insistent on a legislative fix to the clerical omission in the Affordable Care Act. This is also a “no-brainer.” It would remove the threat of thousands of untreated illnesses and untimely deaths among those who could lose health insurance by the decision of a literalist court.
Paul Peterson, Northfield
This ongoing debate really is for the birds
Unfortunately, the value of birds is not understood. Many people either take them for granted or aren’t even aware they are around (“Vikings won’t spend more on stadium to save birds,” July 24). Birds, especially during migration, die by the millions when they inadvertently fly into buildings. The Minnesota Audubon Society sent out an alarm saying the new stadium’s 200,000 square feet of glass could be a “death trap” for birds traveling in the Mississippi River corridor.
Football is big business, and the stadium will be enjoyed by many people, including me. But wild birds are big business in Minnesota, too. How big? More than $360 million a year is spent by almost 2 million people interested in birds.
Incidentally, their value in keeping insect numbers under control should be considered, too.
John Telfer, Bloomington
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With all of the terrible problems in the world, why worry about migrating birds colliding with the new Vikings stadium? Answer: Unlike many problems, this one has a concrete, time-sensitive solution with a specific price tag — $1.1 million to upgrade the type of glass used in the stadium will save the lives of birds that have been using the Mississippi River flyway for migration since before any humans set foot on this continent. The birds cannot change their behavior, but we humans can. There is still time for this change to be made. Whether bird-safe glass is required or not, it is the right thing to do.
Laura Segala, Plymouth
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My working career has frequently involved employment in large, high-rise Class A office buildings — 20 to 54 stories tall. In that capacity, I was required to tour the roofs and outside perimeters at ground level on occasion.
I have never found a lot of birds dead from flying into the windows. An occasional bird on an upper-level roof or on the sidewalk, but fewer than one per tour per month.
My experience as a building engineer in tall buildings is different from those who claim large numbers of birds die flying into glass windows on tall buildings.
Bruce A. Lundeen, Minneapolis
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What is it about these glassy, ratcheted, off-balance, cantilevered projections that disgrace so many newer buildings in the Twin Cities that people enjoy so much? Didn’t we do the 1970s once before and find them wanting? The Vikings stadium looks more like the Crystal Cathedral gone wrong than an athletic facility. Maybe it is.
The stadium facility is bad taste waiting to happen, but with lots of architectural company. It will certainly be avoided by the birds for aesthetic reasons.
Cherie Doyle Riesenberg, St. Paul