The potential impacts of Obama's evolution


President Obama had been in favor of civil unions, but his opinion has evolved to include gay marriage. Upon hearing this explosive news, just relax and take a deep breath.

The president merely gave his personal thoughts about a social question. The administration will not compel you to marry a homosexual, lesbian or transgender person. All you have to do if the idea of a same-sex marriage offends your religion or sensibilities is simply not to have one.

That wasn't so hard, was it? Resume breathing.


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Obama has made a strictly political move. He is taking the calculated risk that making this "evolved" decision public will be advantageous for his reelection campaign with certain groups and certainly with the media. What he really believes is unknown, since he has been less than honest with the public in the past. What might happen if America is so foolish as to give him another four years in the White House is anyone's guess. Other "evolving" ideas will be more shocking than this revelation.


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I am pleased with Obama's acceptance of same-sex marriage. However, if his thoughtful position results in Mitt Romney having the opportunity to appoint more conservative justices to the Supreme Court, then it will turn out to be a huge step backward for this country.


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Did we just witness democracy in action?


Perhaps it's just me, but does it seem that the way both houses of the Legislature reviewed and debated the actual issues related to the stadium decision was almost, dare I say, "democratic"?

To be sure, there was a fair amount of the typical posturing, but I also heard a lot of discussion about the role of government in aiding business; the potential of jobs in facilitating the construction; whether or not gambling is a behavior to bet on, and whether that is regressive or not; whether the will of the voters in Minneapolis is thwarted by sidestepping previous referendums, and whether resistance is futile in light of the way such decisions are made in the state-to-state, city-vs.-city competitive environment.

In the end, each house arrived at different solutions, with a mixed bag of Democrats and Republicans making up the majorities. But the solutions were not so far apart as to make a compromise bill impossible.

It won't make everyone happy, but it seems that most of the issues were aired and weighed, and a decision was reached. Isn't that the way this is supposed to work?


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I understand that the stadium has been a heated issue, but from someone who was actually at the State Capitol rally on Monday, the description in a May 10 letter was not only offensive, but inaccurate.

As citizens, we had every right to be there -- the right to petition and freedom of assembly. People who were opposed to the stadium showed up, but in far smaller numbers.

As to the characterization of a "juvenile mob of hooligans roaming around the State Capitol in their overpriced purple jerseys," we dressed in our game-day gear because it was relevant to the discussion.

We sang the fight song, in support of the team and the stadium. We chanted "save our team," because that's what we wanted. We said "remember in November" -- something echoed by the other side.

Everything we chanted had a point. We didn't shout in anyone's face; we did not boo. The same cannot be said for the stadium opponents, who were seen screaming and pointing at specific people.

We talked to a security guard and asked how it was going. He said it was not that bad and that it gets a lot worse there with other issues, but that those debates don't get on TV because they don't have to do with sports.


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What's flawed about Cravaack's thinking


U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack's successful move to cut funding for climate-change education ("Cravaack: Cut climate change funds," May 11) does his district a disservice and makes one wonder if he really understands what's happening there.

There are few places in the country where the effects of a warming climate are as obvious and as devastating as northern Minnesota: Lake Superior is warming more quickly than anyplace scientists know of in the world, a result of less and less ice and snow cover.

The Northland's iconic moose are dying off, the result, it now appears, of a warming climate reducing their ability to fight off parasites and disease. Winters are shorter, summers are warmer, snowfall is less consistent.

All of which contribute to a deterioration of the "Up North" experience, a draw for tourists and Minnesotans alike.


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A crucial element of any important mission, like last year's successful strike against Osama bin Laden, is redundancy. When that first helicopter went down, the Special Operations personnel on the scene weren't left high and dry by what could have been a politically and strategically devastating failure. Why? Because there were backup systems -- redundancies -- in place.

When people collaborating on a project have overlapping job descriptions, that's an additional layer of protection against mistakes or omissions; more important projects require more robust backup systems.

Which is why Cravaack's proposed elimination of "redundant" climate-change programs is a breathtakingly bad idea. Addressing the effects of the Earth's rapidly metastasizing climate crisis is too important to leave up to any single government program. Rather, it will require an all-out effort involving both public and private-sector organizations at all levels of society -- more redundancy, not less.