Bill would bring an unwelcome change


There is not a "consensus" to enforce "balance" in custody cases, despite the headline on the March 8 column by Gail Rosenblum. With more than 30 years representing moms and dads in family law matters, I oppose the change advocated by Rosenblum.

Under the current law, families who chose to parent equally while they were married will continue to parent equally after they divorce; the court will not force them to select a primary parent. Those families will rarely, if ever, need assistance from the court.

However, many families chose to have one parent primarily responsible for parenting. The proposed statute will force those families to parent equally following the divorce, despite the disruption that the parenting change may create for the children.

And if those parents lack the ability to communicate well with each other, which is not uncommon in divorcing families, those children will be in the middle of the conflict.


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Robert Bruininks

Please also focus on the good he's done


While Star Tribune reporters are focusing on former University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks' recent financial arrangements ("Bruininks steered funds to his new U post," March 8), they might also look into his record prior to entering administration.

Minnesotans should be reminded that Bruininks was recognized as one of the most important world leaders in special education.

His scholarship and extraordinary grantsmanship developed the university's Institute on Community Integration, which has helped countless parents, educators and people with disabilities. We are lucky he's a loyal Minnesotan and will stay on at the U in a new capacity.


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Marriage amendment

Professor's argument didn't quite add up


St. Thomas philosophy Prof. Stephen J. Heaney, in his March 8 counterpoint about the marriage amendment, attributed virtually every failure of society to the collapse of marriage -- presumably heterosexual marriage.

He pointed out that heterosexual intercourse usually results in pregnancy, and that children who grow up in broken homes are generally worse off than those who grow up in married households.

Therefore, homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to marry.

Does anyone else see the non sequitur here? True, allowing same-sex couples to marry will probably not fix any troubled heterosexual marriages, but I have yet to read any coherent evidence that it damages them.

My partner and I are into our 25th year together. It's more reasonable to suggest that our hard-won success as a couple could serve as a positive role model for the yet-to-be-married heterosexuals around us.


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Birth control

Remember, it's not just for worry-free sex


"Birth control" medications are not used only to prevent pregnancy. There are many reasons why a woman may need access to them. In high school, I and my daughter both needed to use birth-control pills to lessen the excruciating pain of menstrual cramps.

Some women need to regulate their monthly cycles. These medications can ease the abnormal bleeding that occurs for some women during the month. I am sure there are many other uses for these medications.

I do not have a copay when I get medication for my blood pressure nor when I need an antibiotic, so why should women have to pay one for a medication that does the same thing -- resolves or regulates a body function?

I am not sure, but I doubt that men pay a copay to get Viagra. It is time to come out of the dark ages and realize that women are not asking for anything special here, just what the rest of us take for granted from our health insurance.


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Will Minnesota get caught on its heels?


A few days ago, 10 of Minnesota's manufacturing organizations combined with the Minnesota Children's Museum to sponsor a legislative reception designed to familiarize lawmakers and public officials with the economic importance of and opportunities in Minnesota's manufacturing industries. Manufacturing, after all, has been an important force in bringing prosperity to all of Minnesota.

The reception was a well-planned and highly publicized event, and several of the state's manufacturing companies put up interesting exhibits that will run at the museum until June. In spite of many promises to attend, only one legislator was there -- for maybe 10 minutes.

In a peripherally related event, our family has recently spent some time in Omaha because of a medical situation. Omaha is prosperous, with robust industry, fine hospitals and vibrant shopping centers.

Nebraska has an unemployment rate about half that of the United States as a whole and, while we were there, it gave employers a two-months hiatus on contributing to the unemployment compensation fund because the money wasn't needed. Unburdened by the distraction of major-league sports teams, Nebraskans simply work.

Situations like the rampant disinterest in the manufacturing reception are discouraging to manufacturers but should be worrying to the rest of us. Fifty years ago, we had a more prominent Honeywell, Control Data, Pillsbury, Data 100, Univac and two major airlines headquartered here.

Now, our industrial economy is much weaker, and we are talking about providing half a billion dollars in public subsidy to duplicate a stadium that already exists for an activity that produces concussions, sometimes by design ("Saints got paid for hits that hurt," March 3).

Sometimes, I wish that the citizens, legislators and public officials of Minnesota would stop tailgating and get back to work -- building the strong economy that interested major-league sports teams in this area in the first place.