In this season of political debates, we are reminded of our shared humanity despite political differences. The photo of Michelle Obama giving former President George W. Bush a warm hug at the installation of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday in Washington, D.C., brought this home ("Black history museum is 'a dream come true,' " Sept. 25). She showed her appreciation, by her hug, for his leadership in signing the bill to provide resources to build the museum. He smiled, appreciating what he and the Obamas had brought to fruition. Regardless of the outcome of the reality TV debates, decency and humanity must guide us as we cast our votes.

Carolyn Chalmers, Minneapolis

NURSES STRIKE

I've always been happy with my Allina corporate health plan

I keep hearing the union say that nurses are going to risk financial ruin under the Allina Health plans, and it makes me wonder how many nurses have actually talked to people like me: employees covered by the Allina Health plans who have experienced a serious health issue. In my experience, the plans provide great coverage.

I've worked at Allina Health for 24 years and I've always been happy with my health plans. But I didn't realize just how good my coverage is until a few years ago when I was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer that required aggressive treatment. I was in treatment for about 10 months. I met my out-of-pocket maximum early in the year, but the money I had saved in my health care reimbursement account ended up covering most of my family's out-of-pocket expenses. I couldn't have received the treatment I needed without my excellent benefits.

We all would like minimal out-of-pocket expenses for our health care, but that is not the reality of the world we live in today. And when I compare my benefits and costs to those of my friends, I'm convinced Allina employees are getting a great deal.

I want our nurses to know that this strike affects all Allina employees and that there's an excellent health plan waiting for them. I hope that Allina and the union can work out an agreement. And I hope that day comes soon.

Linda Shay, Minneapolis

• • •

The article "Once seen as ally to nurses, Allina CEO is tested by strike" (Sept. 26) mentions many DFL politicians who support the MNA strike because of high-deductible coverage in Allina's health plans, as opposed to low-deductible coverage in the Minnesota Nurses Association's current "Cadillac" health plan.

My questions for the DFL: Where is your outrage over high deductibles in plans on MNsure?

Does the DFL want Cadillac plans for everyone?

How does that square with Obamacare, which will tax Cadillac plans out of existence?

Can someone please tell me what is more important to the DFL when it comes to health care for all Minnesotans?

John Mehring, Minneapolis

PRESIDENT OBAMA

That 'apology tour'? It was a lie. And we have Karl Rove to thank.

Responding to a fact-challenged letter ("What happened to hope and change? How do we keep going?", Readers Write, Sept. 24), the idea of President Obama going on an "apology tour" is pure fiction. It simply never happened. It dates to April 2009, when former top Bush adviser Karl Rove wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal and called it, "The President's Apology Tour." In typical Rovian-style, he criticized several Obama foreign policy speeches in an early attempt to discredit the first black president by insinuating that he didn't believe in America's greatness and that he had offered up apologies for its behavior.

The facts, however, tell a different story. Nowhere in the aforementioned speeches did Obama offer up an apology or a reasonable facsimile thereof. He never uttered the words, "I'm sorry," "I apologize" or, even, "my bad."

Unfortunately, those facts didn't stop the Rush Limbaughs and the Fox Newses of the world from repeating and amplifying the "apology tour" lie to the point that the vast majority of GOP voters regard it as fact.

Karl Rove is a political operative of the worst kind. He's earned his nickname, "Turd Blossom," and he's intimately familiar with the concept that a lie will go halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Stephen Monson, Golden Valley

MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL

Council member's threats are not in our city's best interest

After reading Friday's newspaper about the latest antics of City Council Member Alondro Cano ("Theats in ethics case roil Mpls. City Council," Sept. 23), I am so glad that my district is represented by an adult: Elizabeth Glidden.

I really cannot believe that a member of the City Council would stoop to such junior-high behavior. A constituent disagrees with Cano's political stand. Rather than replying personally, she publishes his personal information. Not bad enough? Now she is threatening to out other council members because she didn't get the results she wanted.

This person is dangerous and in no way able to assume the full task of a council member's office.

We citizens of Minneapolis are watching. We want you, our elected officials, to do the right thing by us. My firm belief is that Cano is not acting in the best interest of our city. Will I be outed next as I disagree with her? This sort of silencing of disagreement existed in the Soviet empire. Not here in my city.

I terribly mind that a person of such status would do an end-around in order to demonstrate that her acts are legitimate. They are not, and people with conscience know this.

Charles Krumrie, Minneapolis

FLOODING

Restoring Minnesota wetlands would help Iowans downstream

News stories about floods in Iowa seldom mention causation or the possibility of long-term solutions ("Cedar Rapids residents leave homes before flood," Sept. 26). Barely a century ago, Southern Minnesota wetlands held back the rainwater that now pours into the Shell Rock and Cedar Rivers. Rather than expect the residents of Cedar Rapids to sandbag, leave their homes, and move school and hospital equipment to upper floors, Minnesota farmers could dig up some drain tiles, plug some ditches, and relinquish a few acres of corn and soybeans to restore those wetlands. It would be a kindness to nature and to our downstream neighbors.

Cheri Register, Minneapolis

The writer is the author of "The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape."

NATIVE AMERICANS

Photos were nice, but article on professionals of color fell short

Thanks to staffer Richard Tsong-Taatarii for Sunday's powerful photos from the pipeline protest in North Dakota ("We belong to the river," Sept. 25). Disappointed, however, to see that the front-page story about the challenges professionals of color face in the Twin Cities did not even mention Native Americans ("Racial chill spurs quiet brain drain," Sept. 25). Look around. Native Americans are in professions ranging from law to education, from science to social work. Readers deserve to see the full picture.

Ann Merrill, Edina