Dissing a company that gives so much is unfair

Whenever I have a chance to get near an elected official at their perpetual fundraisers, I always pose this question: What can America make that the world wants to buy? In past years, Apple has been that shining star, with 61 percent of its total revenue from international operations. We live in a globalized world, so to harass or threaten Apple because of its prudent tax planning strategy undermines its ability to compete with ferocious foreign competitors. Why would an elected U.S. official try to tarnish a company that provides jobs to thousands of Americans? Apple should receive a medal for its contribution to the well-being of our country.


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U.S. senators blamed Apple executives for evading taxes. Apple tax accountants took advantage of loopholes in tax laws established by our government. Perhaps members of Congress should blame themselves for allowing bad tax rules to be written in the first place. Then they should spend their energy fixing these laws rather than criticizing companies that follow them.


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Want to help out? Just smoke and gamble

Vikings fans! If you’ve quit smoking or haven’t yet started, now is the time to show your support and get back on the wagon. Those extra tax bucks are needed for your stadium. Find out where those electronic pulltabs are and get out and hit those bars. Do your part for the team. Teach your kids by your example.

NORM SPILLETH, Minneapolis

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Must we outshine the nation in this statistic?

Minnesota 2013: Mediocre sports teams. Longer-than-usual winter. A spring that refuses to come. And now, the nation’s highest average gas prices (“Minnesota drivers paying highest average gas prices in Lower forty-eight,” May 21). Finally, we’re No. 1! Drat, we’re No. 1.


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Obama has had time to make the right decision

It’s time for President Obama to make a decision on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. He has delayed this decision long enough (“House passes GOP bill to speed pipeline approval,” May 22). Individuals opposed to the pipeline cite the fact that there could be serious environmental repercussions, but U.S. State Department research disputes that. The route would make importing oil more accessible because instead of coming from overseas, it would be piped in from Canada, a reliable trading partner of the United States. This is a great business opportunity that cannot be ignored any longer. America has a high demand for oil, and the Keystone XL pipeline extension can most definitely help meet that demand.

SAM HLYWKA, Plymouth

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Imagine looking out your window and seeing thick, black oil gushing out of the ground toward your house. The next thing you know, you’re being evacuated by emergency responders. Again and again, this nightmare is becoming a reality for Americans, as our back yards turn into ground zero for toxic oil spills.

In March, when Exxon Mobil’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Arkansas and flooded a quiet suburban neighborhood with 80,000 gallons of dirty tar-sands oil and toxic petrochemicals, 22 families were evacuated. They have not been allowed to return. This month, that same pipeline also leaked into a resident’s yard in southeastern Missouri. President Obama must reject the proposed Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline, which would put the health of millions of Americans at risk.


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Legislative indifference to the least among us

By virtually all measures, the middle class, upper middle class and top 20 percent income levels are doing well-to-excellent again. Yet our Legislature, and many of us by our silence, again failed to increase the minimum wage for the “least among us” who are still struggling (“Amid a rising tide, minimum wage hike bogs down in politics,” May 22). Salary increases for the Legislature as a ballot issue? I hope the majority of us will vote accordingly.

DON ROBINSON, Inver Grove Heights

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Lots of traffic cones, but never a crew on site

For several months there has been phantom road construction on West Lake Street between Lake Calhoun and St. Louis Park. Traffic lanes are continually closed, but there are no visible signs of construction. Recently it took 20 minutes to drive half a mile. Cones were in place, creating merging lanes, but no construction workers, vehicles or road work were visible.

A few months ago I called the cities of St. Louis Park and Minneapolis to inquire about the “construction,” and both said they didn’t have projects underway. A call to Hennepin County netted the same answer. The sympathetic county employee said he would send someone over to check. Well, that person must still be stuck in traffic, because the phantom construction continues. While the inconvenience to commuters frustrates me, it’s even more frustrating to wonder who’s paying for this nonexistent work.