I am one of the women referred to in the Star Tribune article “Women caught in fiscal squeeze” (June 24), having spent the past 10 years caring for parents and other aging family members, which kept me out of the workforce and limited the income of my family. The article says, “It’s a disaster for the women concerned, but it’s also bad news for the economy because they are not contributing to growth and their skills are eroding through extended inactivity.”

Let me tell you about my “inactivity” and my “eroding” skills. I have navigated the health care system, the Social Security system, the Medicare system, the legal system and the insurance industry. I have managed trusts, financial investments, tax obligations, and competing demands on my time, my family and my resources. I haven’t exactly been sitting around on my backside, and when I return to the workforce, I’ll do so with a whole new menu of abilities and interpersonal skills that are and should be seen as a great asset to any employer.

The real disaster is not just economic but the gross lack of understanding and appreciation of the work and contributions that women bear in this society and in our economy.

Susan Leibnitz, Prior Lake


Clinton or Romney, the money’s still green

Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to downplay the fact that she and her husband have made more than $100 million since 2001, so she can relate to middle-class voters if she runs for office in 2016 (“Clinton has stumbled when talking about her personal wealth,” June 24). This is in the context of the criticism of Mitt Romney, in Obama’s campaign, who they said was out of touch with the average voter. The only difference between Clinton and Romney is new money as opposed to old money.

Norman Holen, Richfield



‘Redskins’ a simple matter of free speech

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was wrong to cancel the Washington Redskins trademark (US Patent Office finds Redskins’ name offensive,” June 19) and the Star Tribune was wrong to endorse that decision (“A slur dressed up as a tradition,” June 24). I say this not because the name of the team is inoffensive, but because the First Amendment precludes regulation of merely offensive speech.

To quote the American Civil Liberties Union: “How much we value the right of free speech is put to its severest test when the speaker is someone we disagree with most. Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied.”

We have made many inroads on free speech in recent decades, eliminating gains of the 20th century. We have provided financial penalties for offensive speech in the workplace. We have criminalized thought by imposing greater sanctions for criminal acts when motivated by racial, ethnic or religious bias.

We must remember who we are and the value we place on freedom of speech, regardless of how much the majority of us may disagree with its content. We must speak up rather than compel others to shut up.

James M. Hamilton, St. Paul



It’s time to split DNR into 2 separate camps

For over a decade now I have advocated for a true Game and Fish Department for the sportsmen and -women of Minnesota. After reading the front-page story “DNR weighs opening more rare natural sites to hunters” (June 23), I can’t think of a better story that highlights the need more. Three former DNR executives take it upon themselves to “protect” the woods from hunters and trappers. The culture in the DNR is clearly out of touch with those of us who are passionate about hunting and fishing.

We need to separate the hunting and fishing responsibilities from the DNR into its own Game and Fish Department. Let the DNR manage our state parks and trails, and let the rest of the department be managed by professionals who are pro hunting and fishing.

I understand that this will cost more money, but I also know that the Minnesotans who are passionate about their hunting and fishing are also willing to pay more to have a true Game and Fish Department that will better our outdoors experiences. Our current structure does not work as it is now — for either the sportsmen or the environmentalists. Let’s get a divorce so that everyone can be happy.

Joe Murphy, Vadnais Heights



Sign of stress: Ears are hurting all over town

Two recent articles highlight how noise increases the stress and social discord in society today and beg for more regulation and thoughtfulness to relieve such problems. “Patio dining din divides the suburbs” (June 22) and “Electric Hog has a muted growl, but it’s a Harley” (June 20) each illustrate the issues differently.

In the case of the dining din, people trying to enjoy life in their own reasonable way are just too close to each other. The diners are dining outside together and chatting with friends, while local residents are trying to enjoy peace and quiet in their own homes.

The issue with motorcycles is an entirely different matter. No one would claim that the noise motorcyclists make is reasonable, and this noise disturbs not just a few local residents but everyone in their wake, literally thousands of people. Perhaps Harley-Davidson should be congratulated for trying to diminish this noise with its new electric cycle, but the comment that its sound is “ ‘high-toned, but still very strong,’ sort of like a fighter jet landing on an aircraft carrier” is not very consoling. Why do grown men and women need to so selfishly and inconsiderately make such obnoxious noise that violates everyone else’s peace and quiet?

LucYan Mech, St. Paul

• • •

I am not surprised that theater owners are attempting to lure customers into their theaters (“The lap of luxury for moviegoers,” June 21). I have almost completely quit going to the movie house. The main reason is that the decibels for the previews are so loud that it hurts my ears — and I have to either wear something in my ears to dull the noise or put my fingers in my ears.

I have, several times, wanted to go to see a movie — and then decided that I will wait until it comes out on Netflix, so I do not have to suffer through the overwhelming loudness of the previews.

I have spoken to managers at the theater, and they say they have to have it that loud. I wish I knew who or why this is a policy.

Corene Bernatz, Rochester