A reminder: Remember the day's real purpose
Memorial Day isn't just another day off work, or an excuse for a sale. It's the day we should honor — one on which we should remember those who gave their precious lives for our freedoms. What do honor and remembrance have to do with sales on laptops, used cars or ketchup? Skip the sales and visit a cemetery or a memorial instead — remember what the day really means.
Julie Kink, Stillwater
The writer's brother, Warrant Officer David Kink, was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969.
Brought to you by one who'd rather not
Because of the shortfall in the public's share of financing for the Vikings stadium, the state is implementing an additional tax of $1.60 on each pack of cigarettes. I expect little sympathy in this matter. But, my weekly three packs mean that I'm contributing $4.80 a week, or $19.20 a month toward that stadium. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is a multimillionaire; I'm a Packers fan.
Randy A. Skjerly, St. Paul
Government should get a dedicated fuel source
To increase production, stabilize fuel prices and gain control of vital markets, the federal government ought to establish a "strategic initiative." It would design and operate the biggest state-of-the-art refinery in the United States, with a primary purpose of supplying fuels to the military and federal government. Locate it in North Dakota, close to the wells and far from population centers. Our government and its military use enough fuel that we should get on the supply side to stabilize global fuel prices. Strategically, we need to own our means of production. Our military would be much stronger if it didn't have to pay market prices, and consumers here wouldn't be jerked around by the politics in the Middle East or the whim of corporate America.
Jim Goudy, Austin, Minn.
People misunderstand board's responsibilities
As a lifelong leadership development consultant who has consulted with and served on the boards of multiple nonprofit organizations, whenever I read letters critical of boards of directors, I wish there were a greater understanding of the long-term leadership and governance responsibilities of boards. I believe that part of the difficulty between the board of the Minnesota Orchestra and its musicians is due to misunderstanding the board's long-term interests and obligations. While employees may be focused on today's or next year's contract, the board must necessarily have a long-term horizon — often 10 to 20 years or more. To fully exercise their required "duty of care," boards must think about how their actions today potentially affect the organization's health and survival tomorrow.
Board members of the Minnesota Orchestra are fulfilling their fundamental, long-term role and obligations of stewardship, and we should thank them for that. I wish their actions could be understood in that light. They care deeply about Minnesota and ensuring that Minnesotans can listen to great and inspiring music for years to come.
Sandra Davis, Minneapolis
Official invokes 5th; you just might, too
Six months ago, Lois Lerner, IRS director of exempt organizations, provided a relatively thorough written response to questions from a Treasury investigation into apparent overzealous review of "Tea Party" filings for tax-exemption status, detailing a timeline, including when she became aware of the problem, what she did, etc.
After she spoke on May 10 of the "inappropriate activity," Republicans in Congress started calling for a criminal investigation and abandoned important business to go on a witch hunt. This includes attempts to blame the president, and excessive conversation about who said what, when and why.
Lerner no doubt is aware of similar "investigations" into the Benghazi attack and the Associated Press affair. So knowing she could be forever attacked for any inadvertent error in testimony, possibly even going to jail even though innocent, she invokes the Fifth Amendment.
Darrell Egertson, Bloomington
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Watching a small group of Tea Party Patriots demonstrate against the IRS on the corner of 3rd St. and Marquette Av. last Tuesday afternoon gave me pause to reflect on recent events, and I arrived at two conclusions. First, I agree in general that our tax code needs to be reformed. It is too bloated and needs simplification, and most taxpayers would probably agree with that. The concept of a flat tax is interesting, but would obviously have to be implemented to see what the result would truly be.
Second, in regard to the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups: the Tea Party fancies itself as both antigovernment and antitax. So if there is suddenly a deluge of groups identifying themselves as Tea Party-this or Patriots-that, and they are applying for a tax-exempt status, then why wouldn't they be looked at more closely? It just seems like an invitation to be scrutinized. As an aside, I would be willing to bet that many of these "freedom fighters" would fully support the profiling of Muslims in airports. I'm just saying …
Douglas Broad, St. Louis Park