Glad to see Dayton making a stand


It was good to see Gov. Mark Dayton take a stand against stadium seat licenses. Actually, it was just good to see him. Where does he go when there isn't a stadium to discuss? I hope he can begin taking visible stands for the $2 billion owed our schools, the health care exchanges that must be set up before 2014, increasing violence against young people in our cities and a crumbling infrastructure. Unless he truly wants his legacy to be: "Ensured that overpriced stadium would be built."

By the way, I'm a lifelong Democrat.

I have voted Republican once.

For a governor.

He won.


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I propose that a word be added to the Minnesota dictionary: Ziggied (v) To be utterly outmaneuvered, suckered and conned in a negotiation. Usage: Minnesota, Minneapolis and Vikings fans sure got ziggied in this stadium deal.


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Pick a fight, Mr. President


Republican Sen. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are engaging in a preemptive strike against President Obama by threatening to block Ambassador Susan Rice's nomination to be the next secretary of state. This is a fight the president should relish, for three reasons:

•First, the Republican senior leadership clearly did not receive the messages from the last election: Do not be obstructionist, do not demean women and do not appear to oppose minorities. Obama and Rice can, through the public display of her stellar credentials and her straight talk about Benghazi, which was sourced by talking points provided by the (somewhat discredited) CIA, demonstrate early in this second term that Republican obstructionism will not stand.

•Second, consider the optics -- a group of elderly white men grilling a telegenic black woman on national TV on her credibility. Recall, these elderly white men proved to be disastrously wrong about virtually every foreign policy issue over the last decade, from Iraq to WMDs to Osama bin Laden.

•Third, by using the word "outrageous" in his news conference, the president planted a rhetorical flag. This language will serve him well in prospective fights with recalcitrant congressional Republicans in the days to come, whether about the fiscal cliff or the debt ceiling.

Recall that in 2009, Obama chose compromise over confrontation, even acquiescing to Sen. Joe Lieberman's reappointment as chair of Homeland Security. This was a strategic error -- it signaled weakness and lead to the 2010 electoral shellacking. This time, Mr. President, pick a fight you can win.


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McCain claims that Susan Rice lacks the intelligence to be our secretary of state. This opinion comes from the guy who chose Sarah Palin to be vice president.


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Routing airplanes and rail traffic


The proposed changes by the Metropolitan Airports Commission ("MAC to vote on new flight plan," Nov. 15) aligned perfectly with a recent episode of "The Simpsons." After being bombarded with aircraft noise by new flight paths, the Simpsons fought back and won. All was quiet. Lisa wondered where all the noise went, to which Homer responded: "Where it belongs -- over the poor people." In our case, over Crosstown Hwy. 62, where the "poor people" get freeway noise and new flight-path noise.


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I appreciate the news coverage of resident opposition to a freight-rail reroute, but the Star Tribune's story missed a number of key points of concern ("Don't reroute freight trains, residents plead," Nov. 15). Although a reroute would bring more trains through local neighborhoods, it is the length and speed of these trains that concerns people whose children attend one of the five surrounding schools. There are many at-grade crossings that could be blocked when a train comes by, backing up traffic for long spans of time. Some are also nervous about the cargo, since neither coal or ethanol are currently traveling so close to so many. And there are a number of neighborhood businesses uncertain what this means for their future.

While I am excited at the prospect of a light-rail station within walking distance of my front door, I share many of these concerns. Perhaps some of them could be effectively addressed through mitigation, but the draft environmental impact statement barely acknowledges these problems. The public comment period is our opportunity to provide local input before the decisions are made. I hope that our elected officials are listening.


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Things have changed. Have sentiments?


I enjoyed reading Cheryll K. Ostrom's tale of seeing a wolf near Tofte, Minn. ("A wolf along Hwy. 61, revisited," Nov. 14). In my time spent walking the woods of central Minnesota and sitting in deer stands north of Duluth, I have not had the fantastic opportunity to see a wolf in the wild -- though the presence of their tracks and scat are a constant reminder of who is top dog in the woods.

Unfortunately the story of what we know about wolves does not hold true. Confrontations between wolves and people are rare, and I believe one would be hard-pressed to find a case of a wolf attacking a woman carrying groceries -- the possible threat in Ostrom's story. I did once read a story about a girl being attacked on her way to grandma's carrying a basket of baked goods.

Ostrom's story took place in 1987, a much different time for wolves in Minnesota.

To assume that the local gentleman who sought to protect her would be sad at the thought of the modern wolf hunt is a big leap. Perhaps in the last 25 years, he would have seen the deer population around his area decimated by the increase in the wolf population. Maybe the butcher shop got raided by wolves one too many times, and he is OK with seeing the population thinned a bit. The truth is that we shouldn't force our assumed opinions on others. That can only lead to one commonly known outcome.