I am writing to call attention to a small one-paragraph item in the Dec. 16 issue (for an expanded article, see http://strib.mn/2CAmvTN). This noted that the Trump administration had barred the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using any of the following terms in official documents in preparation for its coming budget: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based and science-based.
To me, this little article represented the single most important piece of information in the paper. This is another attempt by the Trump administration to control the narrative. While any administration will try to make itself seen in the best possible light, I have never noted such a blatant disregard for the facts and these bullying attempts to turn agencies that should be essentially neutral or scientific into ones that push a political agenda.
We should bear in mind that this type of propaganda and manipulation was characteristic of Hitler’s early rise to power. When this occurs repeatedly, as we have seen with the Trump administration, it is easy to be lulled into complacency and to find ourselves in a situation where facts are discounted and only the manipulated narrative remains.
This type of censorship is also the direct antithesis of free speech and freedom of the press. As citizens, we should be alert to this and speak out whenever it happens.
Virginia Schuster, Minneapolis
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A nurse’s response to the list of seven forbidden words: Every infant, representing all forms of DIVERSITY, including TRANSGENDER, starts as a FETUS, and once born, is granted ENTITLEMENT by a compassionate community to EVIDENCE-BASED and SCIENCE-BASED health care in order to be less VULNERABLE and have a healthier and brighter future.
Teddie Potter, St. Paul
War of words notwithstanding, what’s taking so long?
Having served as a chief of staff to former Gov. Arne Carlson and later chair of the Metropolitan Council, I’ve seen my share of unavoidable complexities. But absent in the coverage of the dust-up between Gov. Mark Dayton and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman (front page, Dec. 16) is any explanation of why it takes so long to conclude investigations like the one into the police shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. What is the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension doing that takes months?
Curtis Johnson, Edina
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After seeing further information about the BCA, I owe Freeman an apology for my Dec. 16 letter (“Up to the task under pressure?”). I am sorry, Mr. Freeman, for my own rush to judgment.
Wayne Sather, St. Paul
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Freeman has unintentionally reminded us all of an important modern lesson. At least in public, assume what you say and do is being recorded by someone with a cellphone. There’s a new Big Brother in town, and he or she could be anybody within range. That person does not have to be connected to an organization. He or she could be just someone on the lookout for a moment considered noteworthy.
Next thing you know, you’re on the internet. You don’t have to be famous, but you could end up being infamous. On the other hand, let’s hope you’ll be caught doing something particularly good.
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
Duluth shows how it’s done
Kudos to the Duluth Police Department and City Council, and especially to Police Chief Mike Tusken and Council President Joel Sipress, for the civilized way in which they handled the issue of the department’s plan to buy new riot gear for its officers (“Duluth police delay riot gear purchase until public weighs in,” Dec. 17). And a special pat on the back to Chief Tusken for acknowledging that his department gets its legitimacy from the social compact it has with the residents of Duluth, not from a badge and a gun. Compared with the chaos and acrimony that accompanies governance in Washington, and sometimes in St. Paul, it’s refreshing and encouraging to see an example of how the public’s business should be conducted.
Richard G. Carlson, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired assistant Hennepin County public defender.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR POSITION
Half pay for half work
State Sen. Michelle Fischbach indicates she intends to accept the position of lieutenant governor while continuing as the president of the Senate. Not even taking into consideration the “murky mingling between what should be two distinct branches of government” (as stated in a Dec. 15 letter), I assume a generous salary is included for each position. Perhaps if she is only prepared to work half time at each position, then each salary should be decreased by half. In my political naiveté, I assume each position would require full-time dedication. Minnesota citizens deserve better representation than a half-time Senate president and a half-time lieutenant governor.
Sandy Belkegren, Richfield
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The last time Minnesota had a lieutenant governor who wore two hats, a bridge fell down. Let’s not make that mistake again.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
GARRISON KEILLOR SITUATION
Give MPR benefit of doubt
There are two reasons I trust Minnesota Public Radio in its dispute with Garrison Keillor.
As a responsible nonprofit corporation, it has strict policies on data privacy. Even if Keillor were to release it from all liability and request release of all pertinent information, there are still data-privacy rules that could impede release of all the reasons. When a co-worker suddenly quits or is fired, we do not get to see the reasons unless the employee tells us. If we do not know the reason, it could be anything from that the boss didn’t like the person to serious felonies committed on the job. I can almost guarantee that what we know is the tip of the iceberg.
The second reason is that this is not a decision that could be made by one individual. If MPR kissed that amount of money goodbye frivolously, there would be multiple heads rolling.
MPR remains my favorite source for news, knowledge and entertainment.
Ernest Neve, Minneapolis
When bigotry comes full-circle
A Dec. 15 letter states that we should believe all women and all people of color. In other words, everybody except white men. This is the way of all bigots — pick out someone to demonize. I am amazed.
Richard Zerba, Blaine
JUST SAYING …
West Point isn’t the only way a Calhoun could become an officer
I think that a Dec. 15 letter writer is probably a better partisan than he is a historian. Regardless of your opinion of the origin of the name of Lake Calhoun (which was named after the secretary of war who sent U.S. troops here to build Fort Snelling), it should be perfectly clear to most readers that West Point is not the only way to be commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army. It isn’t even (by far!) the most common way.
James Calhoun, a Civil War sergeant commissioned from the ranks who died with Custer at the Little Bighorn, probably never saw West Point in his life. He was, nonetheless, only one of many Calhouns who have served honorably as U.S. Army officers without a West Point education.
None of this says anything about the name of the lake. The Fifth Infantry named it for one of the nation’s leaders; today’s leaders can choose to rename it.
Steve Florman, Andover