Addiction: Empathy, but also accountability

I have followed closely the recent articles and letters from readers in response to the articles about addicted nurses. I am an RN who retired several years ago who also happens to be an alcoholic in recovery. I remember 30 years ago when I was correctly diagnosed as an alcoholic, my first thought was more about whom could I blame and less about what I was going to do about it. I believe that alcoholism is a disease, but that is not an excuse for continued usage of the person’s drug of choice. While nursing is stressful, as many jobs are, the large majority of nurses don’t self-medicate when things start getting out of control. Nurses need to hold themselves accountable for their actions in order to keep on the road to sobriety, and the nursing board should accept nothing less.




Is editorial board pulling a fast one?

The Star Tribune Editorial Board (“Seeing the benefits of immigration,” Nov. 9) uses figures to inform us of the number of immigrants to Minnesota (375,000) and to state what percentages are U.S. citizens (about half), authorized noncitizens (31 to 40 percent) or undocumented (between 14 and 23 percent). Yet when it comes to explaining how much these immigrants cost taxpayers and whether taxpayers get an appropriate return on the investment, the board only uses phrases. For example: “Their contributions to the economy grow over time.” “There’s no question that when they first arrive, there’s some cost associated with them becoming part of our community and part of the workforce. But they pretty quickly become part of the workforce and they start contributing like everyone else.”

How much do they cost the taxpayers in health care, living expenses, English as a second language and interpreters? How much of that expense is returned?

JO BRINDA, Crystal



Focus on Nienstedt: proper or misguided?

Those calling for the resignation of John Nienstedt are misdirected in trying to focus attention on him (“Protesters voice dissatisfaction with archbishop,” Nov. 10). Nienstedt has been diligently working on improving problems created under the leadership of several less attentive bishops of many years past. The law enforcement agencies are really most at blame for not enforcing criminal laws against child sex abuse through trial and prosecution of many alleged wrongdoers.

Nienstedt’s conservative posture on a number of issues has upset some to the point of this call for resignation, which is really unrelated to recent publicity of past clergy sex-abuse claims. He has come on strong in his efforts to restore confidence through a new team of church leadership. He deserves a fair shot for future controls and a successful conclusion to these sordid past events.


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Nienstedt’s comments about taking responsibility for the sex-abuse problems include the statement “whether on my watch or not” (“Some rich donors turn from archbishop,” Nov. 7). This is another way of saying, “I didn’t start this mess,” which is true. However, CEOs of large companies would consider his statement something of a cop-out. He has had six years to clean up the mess and has failed to do so. Enough.


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Maybe criticism of Pope Francis (“Right-leaning Catholics say they feel left out,” Nov. 11) is a sign he is heading in the right direction? Conservatives want Francis to fit into a nice, little Catholic box, just as the Pharisees wanted Jesus to conform to their idea of a Jew. Jesus confounded everyone by mingling with lepers and talking to prostitutes. He healed them. He loved them. He didn’t read the Ten Commandments and tell them how awful they were.

Being a Christian (and a former Catholic), I am in awe of what one man, in a very beleaguered religious post, has done to spread the love of Jesus in such a short time.

JENNIE MENKE, Watertown, Minn.



About Warsame’s ‘landslide’ victory …

The Nov. 10 article “Shake-up to test Mpls. council” twice refers to Abdi Warsame’s “landslide” victory over Robert Lilligren without acknowledging the redistricting (gerrymandering?) that probably made Warsame’s victory, and certainly its margin, possible. It’s good that the Somali-American community will have representation on the City Council. It’s unfortunate that it comes at the expense of a loyal and energetic advocate for south Minneapolis.



Minnesota Orchestra

Musicians still have some explaining to do

Since I’m the one who posed the question asking what the Minnesota Orchestra musicians want, I have to say I am no wiser from reading their response (“Musicians of the orchestra seek a shared vision”, Nov. 11). For one thing, it ignored any specifics of what they themselves are prepared to do in order for the orchestra to succeed. And doesn’t their call for a shared vision require, well, sharing? And yet we read on Saturday (“New orchestra talks collapse,,” Nov. 9) that the board’s offer to create a group of board, management and musicians to discuss artistic, financial and management issues was dismissed as window dressing by the musicians, who terminated the discussion after two meetings.

KAREN BACHMAN, Minneapolis