How ironic and disappointing it was to read that Explore Minnesota’s tourism campaigns in Chicago, Kansas City and Denver are using highly light-polluting digital billboards to brag about Minnesota’s dark skies (“Up North sees the light: Dark skies sell,” Sept. 17). This is not a way for government to lead in increasing awareness about the disruptive, unhealthful and energy-wasting effects of light pollution. I hope those targeted states don’t retaliate by placing digital billboards throughout rural Minnesota.
Bob Foucault, Minneapolis
HEALTH CARE POLICY
Here’s what all this uncertainty is putting our family through
When you are the parent of a child with a chronic disease, you lose a lot of sleep. When our daughter was 13, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Last year, at 24, she learned that she also has lupus. The medications she needs to stay healthy are very expensive. Without insurance, just one of her many medications would cost $60,000 per year.
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) in 2010, we have been able to sleep a little easier knowing that our daughter could stay on our employer-based insurance until she was 26 and that she could never be denied insurance due to her pre-existing conditions. She turns 26 next year, and if the Republicans repeal the ACA, we will start losing sleep again (“GOP revives health care fight, pushes for repeal,” Sept. 19). We will be up worrying whether her pre-existing conditions will keep her from getting insurance, and if she can’t, how she will afford her medications and many doctor appointments. If she is able to get insurance, we will be up worrying whether she will be subject to lifetime caps on benefits because her health care is so costly through no fault of her own.
The ACA isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. The repeal act the Republicans are contemplating is a step backward that imperils the health of our daughter and the many other Americans with chronic diseases. A better option is for the Republicans to stop politicizing health care and work with Democrats to improve the ACA.
Jayne and Patrick McCoy, St. Paul
THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
It’s good to hear a positive assessment for a change
The article by Hugh Hewitt regarding President Donald Trump’s eight months in office was a breath of fresh air. It was affirming to those of us who continue to support our president. We are bombarded daily via all forms of media with negative and inflammatory, true and false, information on “The Donald.” The continual assault toward him is exhausting. I vote for reading more positive news about both our president and our first lady.
Deborah Enzenauer, Minnetonka
• • •
On Tuesday morning, Trump made his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, with leaders from around the globe in attendance. I am quite certain that beyond his U.S. base, this speech was received at best with skepticism and more likely derision, both domestically and globally. Commentators from news networks both inside and outside the U.S. (CNN International, Sky News, BBC, even Al Jazeera) were predictably “offended” by the tone, messaging and manner of the president. And, yes, delicate diplomatic verbiage, subtle messaging and calls for international cooperation were entirely missing. This truly was Trump being Trump. But is this really a bad thing in this instance?
Now I want to qualify this by saying clearly: I am not a Trump apologist. His thoughts on immigration, health care and tax reforms are certainly different from my own views in most ways. However, this might be the exact right time to be Trump.
For decades, the promise that is the United Nations has generally been unrealized. Where is the U.N.’s success in the latest conflicts in Africa, Syria and Ukraine? It is painfully clear that traditional diplomacy has had limited effectiveness in the 21st century. The U.S. has tried for decades to diplomatically bring peace to the very diverse and troubled Middle East, with little to show for those efforts. The U.S. has been trying to rein in the Kim family in North Korea since the presidency of Bill Clinton, again with no success. Iran was given a tremendous break with the nuclear agreement signed by many nations, primarily as it was a diplomatic, if not actual, success.
So here comes Trump, speaking in clear, simple and direct language. To North Korea: Don’t go there, or else. To Iran: Fool us once, shame on you. To Venezuela: Stop your socialist suicide now. Not diplomatic at all. Of course, reactions from those countries as well as their backers/apologists China and Russia remain to be seen, and the world might truly be a more dangerous place now. But traditional diplomacy with North Korea is simply folly. Kim Jong Un has not and will not succumb to political sanctions and maneuvering, because China supports his country behind the scenes. Iran, as well, puts up a public face to appease the world, but has nuclear ambitions that include terrorism on its agenda. Maybe it’s time to bring out that “big stick” Teddy Roosevelt was talking about, as Trump just suggested.
Richard Rivett, Chaska
• • •
The American president who spoke at the United Nations on Tuesday is himself a Category 5 disaster. Contrast the quality of thought and rhetoric from him and his speechwriter, Stephen Miller, with what we got from the team of John F. Kennedy and Ted Sorensen. We have traveled a long road since those days — and not in the right direction.
Richard A. Virden, Plymouth
• • •
Maybe it was Robert Oppenheimer or maybe it was some other person who helped develop the first U.S. atomic bomb in 1945. In any case, “Looks like we have let the genie out of the bottle” was their prescient observation. And that genie is now actively, and very dangerously, at work in North Korea.
This Saturday, my wife and I will meet with a couple dozen relatives to help celebrate my nephew’s 50th birthday. Then we’ll drive to Rochester to see our 12-year-old grandson compete in a bicycle race on Sunday. Are there not millions of ordinary people in North Korea who will be making similar ordinary outings? And the U.S. is straight-out threatening to “totally destroy” — face it, to kill — every last one of them? This rhetoric is madness and can only lead every North Korean to believe Kim Jung Un’s quest to develop a fearsome nuclear arsenal as the only, and necessary, way to protect them from the U.S.
Yes, the genie is indeed out of the bottle. But using a speech before the United Nations to threaten to “totally destroy” a nation? Beyond madness. Trump’s rhetoric is a total embarrassment to this country I love and is only foolishly throwing gasoline on an already very, very dangerous fire.
Dean C. Hansen, Stillwater
POLICE BODY CAMERAS
It boils down to this
Regarding the bodycam audit (“Bodycam policies lacking, audit says,” Sept. 20): The reason the police do not use their body cameras is that they think they don’t have to. Management issue. End of story.
Penny Van Kampen, Edina
Seeing is believing
On Wednesday, I noted with amusement a stocky male bicyclist with 6 inches of tighty-whitied backside showing. A woman with that much derrière on display would have earned honks, catcalls and jeers. Ah, to know the blissful ignorance of passing through the public sphere in such a beltless state! Were I blind to the public eye as well, who knows what I would leave the house without!
Heidi Christenson, St. Paul