If educators rather than the Treasury Department had the greater say about portraits on U.S. paper currency, there might be more than one portrait on our bills (“Harriet Tubman’s spot on $20 bill is not a done deal,” Sept. 1).
Alexander Hamilton would be alongside George Washington on the dollar bill to honor teamwork during the Revolutionary War and close collaboration during the first presidency.
Portraits of two great leaders who preserved the Union during the Civil War — Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant — could decorate the $5 bill.
The two prosperous slaveholders, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, would rightfully share space and honors on the rarely used $2 bill. And once again, Lincoln could be engraved and enshrined on the $50 bill, near an image of our first African-American president.
As to the decision from the Obama era to place Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill: She earns that singular honor as a runaway slave, a Civil War veteran and a courageous U.S. civil rights pioneer — a woman for our times.
The imperfect history of the United States is currency for a wider public understanding of our national identity.
Steve Watson, Minneapolis
Editorial Board is wrong: Franken is showing courage
I have to disagree with the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s opinion on U.S. Sen. Al Franken blocking the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (“On Stras, Franken opts for partisanship,” Sept. 8). It is not comparable with the idea that we do the same to them as what they do to us. The heart of the false-equivalency argument is that the character of the Republican Party is such that tit-for-tat doesn’t play anymore. And the Editorial Board is tatting here. Franken is doing his job to set a limit. One has to set limits with character disorders, and the Republican Party has a character disorder. We have to say “no” on occasion. It’s no longer the same political bickering when we progressives fight back. Fighting is sometimes necessary, is it not? At this point, bipartisanship is not only worthless, it is inadvisable. We are dealing with a character disorder.
Larry LaVercombe, Minneapolis
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Kudos to the Editorial Board for highlighting Franken’s use of Senate rules to block Stras’ elevation to the Court of Appeals. Franken has every right to block the nomination. But why would he wish to prevent a Minnesota justice with a sterling reputation as a judge and a compelling family history (his grandparents were Holocaust survivors) from advancement? Why? Is Franken, who has no legal education or judicial experience at all, afraid of such a powerful intellect on the court? His decision was strictly partisan, and the answer is, yes, Franken is afraid.
David Teicher, Plymouth
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The editorial turned the truth on its head. Franken is providing a great service for the people of this country by opposing this nomination in the manner (that is, the refusal to return the “blue slip”) used by the Senate for decades. Rather than allowing home-state senators to recommend judicial nominees for his consideration, President Donald Trump has outsourced the judicial selection process to the ultraconservative Federalist Society, whose out-of-the-mainstream legal philosophy does not reflect the values of the American people. Unless senators begin to use the tools at their disposal to stop this runaway train, the rights that Americans hold dear will be lost for generations to come and the protections accorded citizens by the Bill of Rights will be severely weakened.
Instead of criticizing Franken, the Editorial Board should be applauding his act of courage. It is too bad that there are not more elected officials in the Senate with his backbone.
Barbara Isaacman, Minneapolis
The story is more complex than detractors’ articles indicate
Regarding the Sept. 5 and Sept. 8 articles about Charles Lindbergh, much important information was missing about this complex and productive man. I don’t know if he was an anti-Semite as charged, but my reading of his life tells me he was a patriot who tried to tell the American people what he had learned about Europe in the years he lived there (mid- to late 1930s) in self-exile from the American media.
Because of his aeronautical achievements, Lindbergh was given awards by many nations, including Nazi Germany, but, more important, he was given access to every military establishment in Europe. What he saw greatly disturbed him. Germany was arming for war, and it was far advanced in military aviation. He judged correctly that the next war would be horrific, and he knew that America was not prepared militarily or psychologically for war. In exercising his right of free speech, he earned the enmity of FDR, who believed that America must fight Nazi Germany ready or not. In 1941, many Americans, Lindbergh among them, did not want to get involved in the European war, but that did not mean that they were Nazi sympathizers.
However, on Dec. 7, 1941, that changed. The next day, Lindbergh, one of the foremost aviation experts in the world, offered his services to the U.S. military, according to his diaries. FDR personally rejected Lindbergh’s help. Yet Lindbergh found a way, after several years of trying, to provide consulting services to several aircraft manufacturers. As a result, he went to the South Pacific in 1944 as a private citizen to observe the U.S. planes in action. While there, he taught pilots how to throttle their engines to conserve fuel, thereby extending their range and flying time significantly, which reduced the need for forward air bases. After the war, he became an environmentalist of some renown. You can read for yourself his “Wartime Journals” about how he saw the 1930s and 1940s. Having read them, I think Charles Lindbergh deserves to be better remembered than the limited impression given by those two articles.
Jim Doudiet, Edina
AMAZON’S SECOND HQ
Wow, that would be a prize. But no corporate handouts, please.
On Thursday, Amazon announced that it was actively searching for a location of a new “second headquarters.” The Star Tribune reported that Gov. Mark Dayton “has directed DEED to work with city, regional and state partners on the Amazon proposal.” (“State joins scrum for Amazon HQ,” Sept. 8).
Let there be no mistake about the benefits of a successful proposal. A technology behemoth promising regional prestige and 50,000 jobs is nothing to sneeze at. Yet any such proposal from local or state authorities likely would include millions of dollars in financial incentives in the form of tax breaks, regulatory exceptions and infrastructure handouts.
Amazon is the fourth-largest publicly traded company in the world by market capitalization and, as of the second quarter of 2017, it has posted profits for nine straight quarters. The company recently bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in cash. Given such stellar results, it would be unconscionable for any public funds to be used or forfeited in order to lure Amazon to our cities.
Democrats often talk of “leveling the playing field” and economic “fairness,” while Republicans and libertarian-leaning conservatives often promote balanced budgets and deride crony capitalism. If Minnesota truly does want a fair business environment, a responsible budget and to be a national beacon of ethical government, I urge all of our elected leaders to stand up for their principles and reject any sort of corporate handouts to Amazon. Minnesotans deserve no less.
Brian J. Krause, Minneapolis