Whistleblowers are at a distinct disadvantage
Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion that Edward Snowden should just “man up” and submit himself to the U.S. system of justice was absurd (May 29). It’s well-documented that the U.S. intelligence community will go to any lengths to destroy the lives of any whistleblower, even those who first try to work through channels. Ask Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe or Tom Drake, whose lives and careers were destroyed even though they had been senior intelligence analysts who attempted to report wrongdoing. Rather than accepting their assertions and making needed changes, the NSA completely suppressed them and attacked the messengers. This is standard operating procedure within the U.S. intelligence apparatus with any reports of waste, fraud or abuse, even though the duty to report such abuses is an integral part of every government employment contract.
Kerry’s statement was a perfect example of the hypocrisy of our government today.
William Thompson, Minnetonka
It’s time to move past this barbaric practice
The May 27 Letter of the Day (“We tend to think only of the dark side of animal testing”) gives animal testing a lot more credit than is due, telling of all the cures and vaccines it has produced, while overlooking that nine out of 10 drugs tested on animals do not succeed in clinical trials. The truth is, animals’ reactions to drugs are completely different from human reactions, and colossal amounts of time and money are wasted on the fruitless endeavors of testing on animals. Tamoxifen, one of today’s most effective drugs against breast cancer, was originally tested on rats, and its study was almost abandoned due to the liver problems it caused in the rodents that do not carry over to humans. Imagine how many cures have been missed and abandoned due to the costly and wasteful practice of animal testing. The question is not, as the letter writer asked, what lenses are you wearing, but rather: Will you open your eyes to this ongoing problem or bury your head in the sand?
Lexie Michel, Edina
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Arguments regarding vivisection date back centuries, and as I understand it even the Mayo brothers didn’t agree with each other on the issue of torturing and killing animals in the name of medicine. Much of medicine is highly technical, but the basics of research still include killing creatures in some of the most barbaric fashions possible. In most cases, if animals are lucky enough to survive the procedures, they are killed anyway or used for other vile experiments. There is seldom a release.
There is one thing all of these creatures have in common. They are innocent and do not deserve to be sacrificed on the alter of grant studies and financial gain. Should the practice of animal testing and research be outlawed, I suspect that humans are creative and capitalistic enough to garner the information they seek through new paradigms. If one road closes, you find a new way of thinking — and it is way past that time.
Colleen Meyer, Minneapolis
FISCAL DISPARITIES LAW
Remembering the idea’s originator
Thank you for the May 28 obituary on F. Warren Preeshl. While state Rep. Charlie Weaver was the author of the metropolitan tax base sharing law (popularly known as the fiscal disparities law), it was Preeshl who originated the idea and modestly submitted his draft proposal to the Citizens League Fiscal Disparities committee in December 1968.
The idea was unique, assuring all communities in the metro area a share of the area’s commercial-industrial growth, irrespective of where that growth occurred physically. It required no new or additional tax. Preeshl’s idea was adopted by the Citizens League committee. Lawyer John W. Windhorst Jr., on leave at the state Revisor of Statue’s office, drafted the idea into a bill for Weaver. The bill was approved by the 1971 Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Wendell Anderson. It’s still in effect today.
It was among the laws passed that constituted the “Minnesota Miracle” as cited in 1971 by John Shannon of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
Ted Kolderie, St. Paul, and Paul Gilje Burnsville
The writers were on the staff to the Citizens League Fiscal Disparities committee in 1968-69.
Civil War graves need attention
During the Memorial Day observance at Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, I noticed that the government-issued headstones for the Civil War soldiers had crumbled to the degree that names were no longer legible. Those soldiers gave their lives in possibly the most important war we ever fought. Minnesota soldiers played a pivotal role at Gettysburg, a turning point in the war. All we have left to remember our Civil War soldiers is their names, and we don’t even have that. Would someone at Fort Snelling ensure that the crumbling, government-issue Civil War-era headstones in Pioneers and Soldiers and other area cemeteries get replaced with legibly carved stones of granite?
By the way, the volunteer-hosted observance at Pioneers and Soldiers was wonderful, meaningful and memorable. Thank you!
Susan Frenzel, Minneapolis