Background still is not reassuring


Ann Romney's introduction to the human side of her husband was revealing on at least two dimensions ("You really should get to know him," Aug. 29). She spoke of her challenges: winter afternoons with screaming children, breast cancer, a chronic disease and depression. Those were her challenges -- not her husband's. He supported her, but does that qualify him to understand our challenges?

Also, middle-class listeners might weigh Ann's challenges against their own: winter afternoons with screaming children while trying to pay too many bills with too little money; breast cancer, but no health insurance; a chronic disease, but no household help and inferior insurance. Ann Romney did face challenges, but they were mitigated by wealth and resources that we average voters can only wish for.


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Mitt Romney, in his Republican convention acceptance speech, maintains that his business background qualifies him to solve our economic problems, while President Obama's lack of business experience leaves him unqualified. A Romney administration would grow jobs by cutting taxes, reducing regulation and cutting discretionary spending like food stamps and education funding.

The last U.S. president with a successful business background was Herbert Hoover. The policies of low taxes during the 1920s led to a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, and the failure to regulate financial institutions produced the 1929 stock market crash, initiating the Great Depression. Hoover's failure to provide support for the unemployed produced a public backlash that swept Roosevelt into office in 1932. Could a Romney presidency, with business-oriented policies, be déjà vu all over again?


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An example of his legacy: Lost jobs


St. Jude Medical lays off 300 employees, 80 in Minnesota. "The amount of anticipated savings is close to what company executives expect St. Jude will have to pay in 2013 as part of a new federal medical device tax," the story said ("St. Jude lays off 300, reorganizes," Aug. 31). This should have been front-page news! The Obama administration is directly responsible for the loss of those jobs because of a new tax to help pay for "Obamacare."


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It is very easy to get caught up in the rhetoric of the political season, the war on women, the war on the middle class and the war on Obama-care. Putting all those wars aside, it boils down to three simple questions. The next time you pay for your groceries, ask yourself: Am I better off than I was four years ago? The next time you gas up your vehicle, ask yourself the same. Finally, ask yourself which candidate you'd rather have handle your money and why?


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Pediatricians miss the mark in endorsement


The American Academy of Pediatrics announced this week that the health benefits of circumcision in newborn boys outweigh the risks ("Pediatricians group says circumcisions beneficial," Aug. 27). But the odds against diseases are not discussed by the circumcisers, who profit $200 to $600 or more per skinning. Adult men forcibly circumcised as newborns have a lifelong disability.

"Removing foreskin at the tip of the penis" really means a third to half of penile skin, involving most erogenous nerves. The main purpose is identical in both male and female circumcision. Unable to eliminate sex, it takes the fun out of it.

In much of Africa, it is considered a priority in keeping females chaste in mind and body. Starting in mid-19th-century America, circumcision was promoted as eliminating insanity in masturbating boys. Less publicized, it dulled sex for married adults, lessening the effects of "original sin" by correcting God's mistakes.

Rather than promoting even greater practice than in "other developed nations," parents -- and the physicians who do not fully inform them -- should instead face civil and criminal charges.


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Lawmakers need to work cooperatively


When did the word "compromise" become a dirty word in American politics ("Bipartisanship is not for the fainthearted," Aug. 28)? Large donors steer the elected officials into extreme positions, left or right. Our political parties choose sides based on extreme ideologies. The result is gridlock -- no meaningful legislation. Neither side is willing to compromise on bills that create the greater good for all Americans.

It's ironic that the American people are waiting for the president or Congress to create jobs in the private sector. It's foolish to hope that our elected politicians will create jobs when they cannot even agree on responsible spending or tax laws.

As the election approaches, they'll give us negative ads about the other side. They'll use scarce tactics to derail each other, while voters will wonder which candidate will do the least of amount of damage if elected. Is it wrong to expect a candidate to respectfully disagree with a law and provide specific examples on how it maybe improved?


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We must not allow gutting of 'jewel'


I'm appalled at news that the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's Board of Directors is about to gut this jewel of an orchestra ("Feeling pinched, Chamber Orchestra may go part time," June 12). Over the years, we've watched the orchestra grow in breadth and depth, bringing in new talent and continuing to perform at the highest quality.

Supporters must insist that this plan be overturned, and that measures to reinstate musicians and the past level of performance are maintained. Management must do what it is supposed to do: Bring its case to subscribers and the community. To do otherwise smacks of arrogance and reflects poorly on us all.