City leaders should stay the course on simplicity


Excelsior is a business district no different than Wayzata ("Excelsior sees its future in its past," Nov. 17). Both are fortunate that their lakeshore locations and walker-friendly downtowns offer shopping, restaurants, services, parks, trails and beaches. The relatively few blocks of commerce add to the village charm. Local population is important for both communities. It serves as a volunteer base for numerous activities and also as economic support. Anyone can wave the banners to bring in the big money.

In the end, you have to strike a chord of authenticity with those who call this place home. Count me as one who enjoys Excelsior for what it is. Make it better as you can. That doesn't necessarily mean grander or fancier. Excelsior's uniqueness will always be its authenticity, which I'm betting is its simplicity. It has it figured out right.


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Pitfalls, yes, but we're still moving forward


I'm almost the same age as D.J. Tice, but disagree with his estimation that progress has slowed in our lifetimes ("Has progress plateaued," Nov. 18). It's difficult to perceive progress on a daily basis.

But reflecting on the last 60 years, we see that time, distance and borders have largely become irrelevant, as Alvin Toffler predicted. In his book "Future Shock," Toffler introduced the concept of the producer-consumer as the next progression beyond mass production of standardized products.

Today, each of us can design our own entertainment, our own news-gathering and even our own job. Whole industries are springing up providing the mass customizing Toffler described. Will they employ millions?

Yes, but at a half-million companies, not a half dozen. I suggest that Tice speak to some of the young entrepreneurs I had the pleasure of meeting as a semifinalist in the 2012 Minnesota Cup, a statewide "new venture" competition. Innovation has accelerated, not plateaued!


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Thanks to Jon Austin for raising the central question of our time: Is all of this so-called progress good for us ("The party isn't played out. Here's exhibit A," Nov. 20)? Sometimes I fear that by encouraging all the bright young people to specialize in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, math), not enough of them will specialize in values such as philosophy, ethics, social sciences and the arts. Without these so-called liberal arts, society is destined to pursue only the expedient, only the profitable, with no mind for the values that lift us above the level of robots.


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Same-sex couples won't settle for status quo


It's easy for someone like Lori Sturdevant to tell us that for now, we shouldn't push for the legalization of same-sex marriage, but merely continue the conversation ("Marriage is probably on ice for now," Nov. 18). For some of us, the issue is more urgent and already has had real, heartbreaking consequences. I'll keep telling my story, but seeing change sooner rather than later will prevent more pain.


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Sturdevant opines that further action on marriage equality might be unlikely because 75 out of Minnesota's 87 counties voted for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. She apparently forgets that acres don't vote, people do. Rock County has only a quarter of one representative in the Minnesota House, because it must combine with neighboring Pipestone, Murray and Lincoln counties to make up a district. A similar situation is true for Kittson, Roseau and Marshall counties, and for Pennington, Red Lake and Polk counties. Those 10 counties and their three representatives are easily outvoted by Hennepin County alone, which accounts for about 26 representatives. So instead of fretting that rural Democrats will pay a political price if they vote in favor of marriage equality, shouldn't we really be fretting that suburban Republicans will pay the price if they vote against it?


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GOP should follow her to cling to the past


I earnestly hope the GOP will follow the advice Katherine Kersten offered in her last column ("Liberals think they won. Not for long," Nov. 18). Among all the commentaries by Republicans on a national basis, she alone thinks that appealing to old white men is the way to go. Following that advice will make Republicans a permanent minority.


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Yes, Kersten, Democrats won, and for good reasons. They realize that taxes and the government can do many important things that individuals cannot. Like health care. Do you believe that we should leave 50 million Americans on the sideline? We need universal health care for all, and I believe that will happen. Democrats also want us out of Afghanistan ASAP. Our last president got into two unnecessary wars, and we will be paying for them for a long time. Now, if the U.S. House will cooperate, we can get our country's fiscal matters straightened out. Republicans love to wrap themselves in the flag and claim to be the party of liberty and values. You seem to forget that all of us feel that way. Democrats tend to take the "we" approach to solving problems. Republicans tend to take the "me" approach.


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Few alternatives for some employees


For most of my working life, I had no sick leave ("Working sick," Nov. 20). I imagine there are still people in that situation. If you don't work, you don't get paid. Quite a motivator to work sick.