So Hillary Clinton's handling of official e-mails was not criminal. Only "extremely careless," arrogant, dangerous and irresponsible. Now that's reassuring.
Richard A. Virden, Plymouth
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After a thorough FBI investigation into Clinton's handling of State Department e-mails, FBI Director James Comey says he will not recommend criminal charges be brought against her. However, Comey did state that the former secretary of state and her department were extremely careless in their handling of classified information. Comey disputed Clinton's past explanations in the case that she had turned over all of her e-mails and that, at the time, she had never sent or received any classified e-mails on her private e-mail server.
Clinton's poor decisions and dismissive attitude in this case bring to mind the Mark Twain quip "Don't let schooling interfere with your education." Given her degrees from Wellesley College and Yale Law School, Clinton is obviously well-schooled, but her inept and careless treatment of sensitive government e-mails suggests the lack of a good education. We need better judgment from our next president.
Please don't conclude that I'm a Donald Trump enthusiast. It's likely that his complex ego has interfered with his education.
Dan Howell, Medicine Lake
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Upset? The insurance industry is still the better target of your ire
In my past work experience, I recall several year-upon-year double-digit premium increases made by the health insurance industry. Back then, these increases were blamed on uninsured patients who procured health care at local emergency facilities. This is actually no different than more-insured people getting health care that is probably needed, but not at a more-costly facility. Now some of them pay premiums by law.
In my opinion, Obamacare is not the cause of commentary writer Will Nagle's disappointment ("Affordable? Accessible? That's just laughable," July 2) — he's just a new victim of the insurance industry's unbridled control of health care. Maybe profits seem down to the industry. Employer-covered workers are still the go-to solution.
During my work years, my family was consistently blessed by good health; we were also lucky enough to have health insurance. Our premiums were determined by the experience of our group, including some who needed some pretty dire medical care. Over the years, I am sure my premium was the same as theirs or higher once we moved toward retirement. We were just luckily healthy! Did I resent my co-worker's getting care? No!
We need realistic assessments of how to improve the health care delivery system and pricing, and we must view hard figures associated with how the nonprofit label requirements are met and where the blame belongs. As a nation, we need to determine if we should continue to blame less-fortunate citizens for our problems or perhaps question why the well-connected can stash cash in the Cayman Islands or establish creative tax write-offs.
I was just in New Zealand and Australia. They seem to have a few things figured out. Both countries have a minimum wage of more than $15. Their societies aren't classless. They also have their lazy people and the other problems of humans, but all have access to health care. They both require their over-18-year-old citizens to vote or be fined.
I suggest that everyone impressed by Nagle's article should learn something about how so-called "socialist" governments do things. Maybe we have it all wrong or can learn some lessons for moving in the right direction.
Margaret L. Runnakko, Plymouth
As local flag incident shows, work like his is never done
On July 3, it was reported that Holocaust survivor and human-rights advocate Elie Wiesel had passed away. On the same day, the Star Tribune reported on a local resident who put up "a German naval flag" in his yard and didn't understand the neighborhood outcry about the swastika on the flag. Talk about a sad irony — Wiesel's urging that humanity never forget the mass murder of the Holocaust and this local resident who was clueless about his offensive flag. While I am sure that the Jewish neighbor living next door to this person was relieved when the flag came down, I am at a loss for how Americans cannot know about relatively recent history [70 years ago] and how those events continue to shape the world we know today.
I quote Wiesel: "For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences." Thank you to that local neighborhood that took issue with that flag.
Dori Schlins, Maple Grove
HOBBY LOBBY AD
On July 4th, a full-page message of exclusion
The front page of the July 4 issue of the Star Tribune featured the disturbing analysis of ISIL-inspired violence during the month of Ramadan. My heart breaks for a world where the beautiful religion of Islam is twisted to justify political killings.
The third page, however, was almost as disturbing to me as a person of faith — a full-page Hobby Lobby ad featuring quotes by founding fathers, judges, etc., dating to the 1600s. Quotes intended to demonstrate the supremacy of Christianity in our democracy and, by logical conclusion, the inferiority of "others."
It would be a mistake to read this as simply a patriotic tribute on Independence Day.
Especially in light of the coverage of tragic sectarian violence in our world, this ad amounted to intimidation of anyone who does not fit the Christian label — or the narrowly defined Christian values of the far right. When xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are issues just as serious as terrorism, this attitude is downright un-Christian and un-Minnesotan.
As a pastor, I am personally offended by Hobby Lobby's position, and I am compelled to express kinship and solidarity with religious minorities in this state made stronger by its diversity.
The Rev. Emily Goldthwaite Fries, Minneapolis
The writer is minister at the Mayflower United Church of Christ.
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Now that Hobby Lobby has crept into Minnesota, we are treated to a full-page ad instructing us to live by the Bible. Only thing is, the texts quoted are from the 17th and 18th centuries, as if nothing has changed since then.
If we were to follow the teachings of Hobby Lobby, we would negate the learning and enlightenment of the past 300 years. That is a formula for bigotry and prejudice and isolationism. Let's use our God-given talents to improve the world, not draw ourselves into a cocoon of ignorance.
John Clouse, Shoreview
Minnesota letter writer's attitude doesn't wear well
The July 5 letter concerning the prospect of a "Texit" is a perfect exemplar of the snide attitude I receive from far too many Twin Cities residents upon sharing my state of origin. As a liberal native of Austin, Texas, who spent the last few years of my life in "real" Texas, I get it: The far-right perspectives and attitudes are positively galling to those unacquainted with the culture, but it is not worthy of this level of absurd condescension. While Texas politics are very far from my ideal, too often Twin Cities residents treat the revelation of my Texas heritage as a source of pity, as though my arrival in Minnesota was as a refugee instead of as a grad student. This attitude is even more offensive when you consider the number of actual refugees who call the Twin Cities home after leaving genuinely horrible circumstances, not just opinions and politics that differ from the Minnesota middle. I don't doubt there are many people outside of the liberal metro bubble who are closer to the Texas mind-set and might be open to secession from the Cities. I wouldn't want to join them anymore than seeing an independent Texas, but that doesn't mean I am going to paint them as fools and hicks. If the letter writer values the Minnesota middle, then I suggest he look in the mirror before passing judgment on another state's hubris.
Alexis Lohse, Minneapolis