Debate and Big Bird reveal stark differences


When the Republicans start criticizing the vice president on style rather than substance, you know they lost the debate. They're criticizing Vice President Joe Biden for smirking or grinning too much, and perhaps at times interrupting Rep. Paul Ryan. It's remarkable that the Republican base is giving out etiquette lessons. Biden accomplished what he was there to do -- to debunk all of the lies being spewed by Mitt Romney and Ryan and to set the record straight on where the current administration stands in leading the country forward.

My takeaway is that President Obama and Biden are fighting for the American people, particularly our poor, our middle class, our elderly, our sick and disabled, our soldiers, our veterans, our students, and all women. They are not discounting 47 percent of Americans, as Romney, in his own words, has done.

Romney and Ryan continue to dodge questions on the specifics of their so-called plan to steer the country in the right direction, as well as what programs they would be cutting from their budget. If their plan is that good, then why not give specifics to the American people? I think the answer is clear.


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We have 23 million people in the country unemployed and/or underemployed. About 47 million people are on food stamps. Iran is close to a nuclear weapon. An American ambassador and three others other were Americans killed in Libya. Still, our president seems more concerned about Big Bird ("Political fight over PBS has long history," Oct. 8). I hope American voters understand their priorities better than our president does.


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Council member sheds light on problem


The commentary by Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels reminds us of our duty to be respectful and responsible citizens ("Not in my city," Oct. 7). Unfortunately, there seems to be an attitude in our society that "I can do whatever I want whenever I want" and that "the rules don't apply to me." Our police officers and elected officials can only do so much. We all need to check our attitudes and choices when at home or out in our communities. We shouldn't be afraid to question someone when we see disrespectful or irresponsible behavior. Also, we shouldn't be offended if someone approaches us about our behavior. Like the young man in the article, it might save us from future trouble.


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At first I was excited, thinking the Star Tribune was doing a big piece on the problem behavior of students at the University of St. Thomas. I thought that I would be reading about my fellow neighbors whose yards get urinated and defecated and vomited on, have items taken from the property or endure other destruction. But I soon learned from reading the commentary that it wasn't about the St. Thomas students, though it read just like them, swearing and all. Yes, that public behavior is never ever acceptable, no matter where and when it occurs. Thanks to Samuels for writing his story and speaking up. The neighborhoods surrounding St. Thomas are starting to speak up loudly, too. That is what is needed to make change.


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Marriage Amendment

Archbishop upholds church teaching


What's that you say, Star Tribune? The Vatican actually prefers pastoral leaders who publicly proclaim what the Catholic Church teaches, such as the nature of marriage? ("The archbishop draws the line," Oct. 7). My heavens, what could be next -- Planned Parenthood promoting "ambitious" employees who lobby for legal abortions? The National Rifle Association flagrantly appointing directors just because they oppose restrictions on gun ownership? I can only imagine the intrepid reporting that it took to uncover such a shocking and scandalous practice. And I'm sure you'll get right on those Planned Parenthood and NRA stories next, right?


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There are many reasons to vote against the marriage amendment in November, but after reading the article on Archbishop Nienstedt, I heard perhaps the best of all. I overheard two women talking about the amendment. One was Catholic and said she was planning to vote yes. The other woman talked about her church having had long discussions and much prayer about gay marriage, ultimately deciding to accept marriage for same-sex couples who are in loving relationships. She went on to say that she would never suggest that the Catholic Church should marry same-sex couples, and that no one is asking them to, but what about her church? Why can't its members be allowed to follow their beliefs? After their discussion, the first woman said she had changed her mind and would be voting against the amendment. As someone who has been in a relationship for more than 30 years with my same-sex partner, I wanted to hug them both. Instead, I just smiled.


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The archbishop said his goal is to treat others with respect even when he doesn't agree with them. I'm trying to figure out how issuing an order to the priests in his diocese that no "open dissension" would be allowed and threatening to remove an outspoken priest form his ministerial assignments is "respectful" of those he doesn't agree with. Or how about his reply to a woman who wrote asking for acceptance for her gay son, which said that her "eternal salvation may well depend upon conversion of heart on the subject." Really? Threatening hell and damnation is now considered respectful? I'm thinking maybe we should send him to a bullying session taught at the middle schools in Minnesota. He may just learn something about the true definition of the word "respect."