I enjoyed reading the Sept. 17 article “Serving at Cargill,” but Cargill’s involvement with veterans didn’t happen only recently. Fifty years ago, in 1967, I was a graduate student who received an internship with Cargill’s animal-nutrition business. At the end of the internship, I was offered a full-time job, but I had to tell my manager that I had a pending two-year assignment as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army as a result of having completed ROTC training. Cargill said: “Do your tour of duty, and your job will be waiting for you when you come back.” After I returned from active duty, the company worked with me to handle my workload for the next three years as I fulfilled military weekend and two-week summer training assignments. Thirty-five years later, I retired as a manager at Cargill. It was a fantastic company to work for. The people there “walked the walk” when it came to supporting veterans — way back before many companies even considered such programs.
Don Ketcham, Chanhassen
As sabers rattle, countries other than ours seek a better way
Buried in a Sept. 21 article about Iran’s nuclear program (“Iran calls Trump U.N. comments ‘ignorant,’ ‘absurd’ ”) is word of a dramatic development about nuclear weapons. Few Americans know about it, but we had better hope that this ultimately proves to be a bigger nuclear weapons story than Iran or North Korea.
A new international treaty proclaims that nuclear weapons — just like poison gas and germ weapons, and for the same reasons — are illegal. Their possession and threatened use will henceforth be understood to be the acts of rogues, of international outlaws.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signature on Wednesday by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Within hours, the Vatican was among the first three to both sign and ratify it. By contrast, the United States has proclaimed that it will never sign.
For the treaty to play its intended role, it will need very broad support. No one yet knows whether that will happen, but we do know that its text was endorsed by 122 U.N. member countries and opposed by one when it was adopted in July.
Americans who would sooner look to Pope Francis than to President Donald Trump for moral guidance should pay attention to these developments. To learn more, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is one of many great resources.
Chuck Baynton, Roseville
Will our high-horse country speak out about Myanmar?
I was sickened to hear the latest reports on the refugee crisis in Myanmar (“Suu Kyi says Myanmar has nothing to hide,” Sept. 20). To watch these reprehensible acts play out once more against a persecuted, vulnerable minority population — in this case, the Rohingya — is not only heartbreaking, it’s jaw-dropping. And it’s particularly jaw-dropping to see the failure of our government to speak out against it, especially with a platform like the president’s address to the U.N. General Assembly last week. When my country, which so prides itself on its moral high ground and which the rest of the world still looks to for leadership and guidance, fails to take a stand on something so egregious, I realize that I can no longer look to others to do the speaking for me, that I am obligated to stand up and speak out. I fear history will not judge us kindly.
Carol Grady, St. Paul
AMAZON’S SECOND HQ
Win this prize, Twin Cities, and you’ll pay a high price
As a former resident of the Minneapolis area now living in the Puget Sound area, I’ve read with interest articles concerning the prospect of Amazon’s choosing the Minneapolis area for its promised second headquarters. Most of these articles were very supportive of such an action. I would caution you to be careful what you wish for. Amazon, and other tech companies, have had a profound effect on the Seattle area, much of it negative — unless one thinks that high housing costs and high costs of living are good for residents. A home that my husband and I sold in 1999 for $260,000 now is appraised at $760,000. The average price of homes is now $700,000. A recent issue of the Seattle Times had articles about the vibrant arts community having difficulty due to sky-high rents. People earning average incomes cannot afford to live in the area and must drive more than an hour one way to their jobs from homes they can afford.
Two of Amazon’s criteria, which the Twin Cities meet, are moderate housing costs and cost of living. That will change if Amazon agrees to locate its second headquarters in the Twin Cities — and it won’t be for the better.
The Twin Cities are great places to live (except for the winter), and it would be a shame to see them have the problems Seattle now has. Seattle is no longer as great a place to live as it once was (except for the mild winter). Do you really want these problems?
Linda Museus, Bremerton, Wash.
HEALTH CARE POLICY
Here’s the ultimate cost of facing a coverage choice you didn’t seek
The devastating effects of not having health insurance are unquestionable. Our oldest son had epilepsy, a condition that is seldom fully under control even with the newest medications. Nevertheless, with treatment, some are able to at least reduce the effects of the seizures and function well in life. Our son was employed and had insurance through his employer for many years, but he lost that job due to changes in the workplace, and he decided to return to school to improve his qualifications for employment in another field.
When our son left his position, he kept his insurance through COBRA coverage. My wife and I paid for this insurance, which was costly, but it was better to do that than for him to be without coverage. As my son approached the end of the COBRA period, he applied to the state for MinnesotaCare. He was rejected for being over income because he was employed under a student work-study program and they projected his income as if he were working full time throughout the year. This left our son with no coverage, and without that coverage, he quit taking his medications. He couldn’t afford them. This contributed to his having a strong seizure during the night, and the convulsions put him in a physical position where he passed away from asphyxiation.
Our son did not want to be a burden on us or others, but the fact is that he could not afford insurance without help. It’s easy for some to say it is not their job to provide medical coverage to those who do not have it. Some even characterize it as stealing.
I ask everyone to consider: Should anyone die because they don’t have insurance? It’s projected that more than 20 million will lose their coverage if current proposals are put in place. Personally, I think a single-payer system is the answer, but whatever the chosen solution, we need to take some action that provides coverage for all, no matter their station in life.
Mark Anderson, Ramsey