Be watchful of nation's policy toward Iran


Charles Krauthammer has once again framed a complex issue in a way that most can understand ("'Deterrence' is a fantasy with Iran," Sept. 1). Picking apart the clearly flawed logic of deterrence should be helpful to those wrestling with the never easy challenges of foreign policy. As difficult as our economic challenges are in this country, we can use math, science and free markets to find solutions. I wish foreign policy was so simple.


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Michelle Obama's and Ann Romney's stories

While watching First Lady Michelle Obama's address at the Democratic National Convention, I was touched by her description of her father's struggle with multiple sclerosis (MS). He contracted the disease as a relatively young man, yet continued to get up in the morning, put on his uniform and, with the help of his walker, navigate the stairs from their upper-floor Chicago apartment to go to his job at a city water plant. He did this year in and year out, successfully helping each of his children to graduate from Princeton University. His life could not have been easy, but we were told by his daughter that he did not complain.

During the Republican National Convention, we sympathized when Ann Romney told of being diagnosed with MS and how upsetting that was for her and her family. Because of better medical care and far greater family wealth, former Gov. Mitt Romney was able to buy a "therapy horse" that enabled his wife to take lessons in dressage to help in her fight against the disease. Romney was able to deduct the $77,000 he paid for that horse from his taxes that year, which means that taxpayers also helped pay.

Here we have two very different stories, yet with a common chord. Which story is more heroic? Which is more inspiring? I know my answer to those questions.


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A letter writer states that "Ann Romney's real-life challenges, including breast cancer and MS, are dismissed as something less than they are, simply because the Romneys had the financial resources to deal with them" (Reader's Write, Sept. 5). Not so; no one is dismissing Ann Romney's travails.

However, the Romneys display no understanding of the challenges faced by ordinary people with serious, life-threatening diagnoses who have no health insurance and who may be the sole bread winners in the family, requiring them to work even while ill because they lack the assets to hire the nannies and housekeepers and to buy the expensive medications that insurance may not cover.

Other wealthy political leaders understood the challenges ordinary Americans face and implemented policies to help alleviate those challenges. The Romneys, in contrast, favor ending those very policies that sick and disabled Americans depend on -- policies like Medicaid, Medicare and even Obamacare. That is the difference.


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I'm gay and hope to marry in Minnesota


Friends, family, foes and others: I'm gay. To many this isn't news; to others it may be. I work, pay taxes, pay bills and live for the same dream of other Americans. I dream to have a steady job, a wonderful spouse and children to raise and mold to be wonderful accessories of society. Someday I will have a husband, a white picket fence, and children.

Minnesota is a wonderful place to raise a family, and I intend to stay here, so why should I have to leave the state to have my wedding? Why can't I have it under the tree at my family farm? Because there are some who feel my union will ruin the sanctity of marriage? I didn't say that men and women shouldn't be married; I'm simply stating that I should have the same right to pursuit of happiness that any other American has.


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Bogus claims of racism don't help anyone


The assertion by a letter writer that President Obama's campaign is racist because it produced a video entitled "African-Americans for Obama" is laughable (Readers Write, Sept. 5). The Obama campaign is no more racist than the Romney campaign, which lists support of the following groups on its website: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Romney, Jewish Americans for Romney, and Polish Americans for Romney. Further, I read recently that the Romney campaign has started a Black Leadership Council. Both campaigns engage in voter outreach to different groups and that should be commended. The attempt to inject race into this nonstory is truly divisive.


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Rankings shined a light on Minnesota's clinics


A report released recently by Consumer Reports and a Minnesota nonprofit collaborative showed wide variation in medical clinic performance in managing diabetes and cardiovascular risk ("State medical clinics ranked," Aug. 28)

The good news is that Consumer Reports selected Minnesota as a focus for the report due to the fact that we are one of a few states issuing public quality measures for clinics and hospitals. The bad news is that we've known of studies of wide variation in medical practice, quality and costs for decades, back to the early 1980s. Health policy and private sector business leaders have been spending more time talking about the variation rather than taking action to improve the situation.

Even in Minnesota, where there may be the best of leadership, the pace and scale of change will not reform health care as needed. It was reported that it has taken eight years to get reported results with moderate improvement on only two medical conditions -- diabetes and cardiovascular risk. This is why we need government leadership and standards. There will be plenty of room for market competition and for consumers to vote with their feet and dollars.