It was with alarm that I read the July 8 editorial encouraging the Senate to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left by Justice Anthony Kennedy. First, President Barack Obama had almost a year to fill the seat left open by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and nominated Judge Merrick Garland, but he was blocked. Two, President Donald Trump’s entire term is stained with his dubious legitimacy, not to mention the numerous investigations, lawsuits and depositions pending against him. Anyone he has appointed to this court will have been chosen with the purpose of further dismantling the rule of law to protect him. He’s the last person who should be appointing a justice. In only four months we’re having a major election. No one should be put on that court until the people can choose their representatives.
Claire Auckenthaler, Minneapolis
• • •
Garland’s seat was stolen by Republicans in the most egregious, norm-breaking way possible. I’m not surprised the Star Tribune Editorial Board came out for filling the Kennedy seat immediately, but “two wrongs don’t make a right” is a surprisingly weak justification. When you encounter a bully, setting a good example will not address their behavior; it just allows you to continue to be at their disadvantage. Delaying the Supreme Court nomination process is a fight Democrats will almost certainly lose, but it is a fight they must have to prove they are worth anything to their constituents. Do Democrats have any fight in them at all against the bullies?
Landon Thomas, Maple Grove
POLICIES ON BREAST-FEEDING
U.S. resistance action at World Health Assembly is vexing
Will someone explain why the United States threatened Ecuador over a resolution promoting breast feeding for newborns throughout the world? (“U.S. nixes breast-feeding resolution at world body,” July 9). Do the lobbyists for infant formulas have that much influence? Is there any common sense remaining in Washington?
Richard Shafron, Plymouth
• • •
The account of the May meeting of the World Health Assembly in Geneva — which meeting expected to adopt a resolution encouraging breast-feeding — (July 9) notes that “ ... the U.S. delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.”
Who are these manufacturers of breast milk substitutes? What, if any, are their embraceable relationships to our current government’s health care policymakers and administrators?
The coverage of the meeting (reprinted from the New York Times) could have cited these infant formula manufacturers by name. As it has not, will the Star Tribune’s future reportage of this matter please give us the brand names of these manufacturers?
Russ Christensen, Minneapolis
Editor’s note: President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that “The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.” The administration also denied that U.S. officials had threatened trade sanctions in the debate over the breast-feeding resolution, but the New York Times stood by its report.
MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL
Low attendance, lower pay might be a fruitful policy
With regard to the questionable attendance practices of some members of the Minneapolis City Council (“Council’s public safety chair absent during contentious month for police,” July 7), perhaps a connection should be made between salaries and attendance. A reduction of 29 percent in pay would probably catch Council Member Alondra Cano’s attention. And if she made it to more meetings, she would probably be “surprised” by council developments less often.
Jerry Johnson, Minneapolis
BUS RAPID TRANSIT
‘It comes down to priorities,’ representative says. Sure does.
When asked about the lack of funding for the proposed D-line rapid bus transit, state Rep. Dean Urdahl said there was not enough money to go around for transportation projects this session (“Without funding, D-Line rapid bus is stalled,” July 6). “It comes down to priorities,” he said.
Of course, there is never enough money for every project, but it is clear the priorities do not include the working poor in the Twin Cities. I ride the A-line from Minneapolis to St. Paul and Roseville regularly. It is a wonderfully convenient and efficient way to move people. I have enough money to afford a car, but I choose to bike and use transit. Most of my fellow passengers on the A-line are not as fortunate, and they rely on our transit system to get to their jobs.
When I take the A-line to visit my father at his senior community in Roseville, I walk from the Rosedale Center mall to his apartment. I wonder if Urdahl has ever had to walk someplace from Rosedale? Try it sometime, then think twice about not funding transit projects that will benefit the people who have no choice but to take the bus and walk.
Daniel O’Loughlin, Minneapolis
Americans have lost a fighter for fair economics
America will never again have a voice like the great radio personality Ed Schultz, who died Thursday at 64 (“Ed Schultz, liberal talk show host started in Fargo,” July 7). When he first aired in 2004 on Minnesota’s progressive talk radio, he was a rare voice for the everyday concerns of ordinary men and women of America. He courageously stood with the workers in the Red River Valley when the sugar beet farmers broke their union and our Minnesota politicians looked the other way. He spoke tirelessly for fairer wages and better trade deals. He understood the discontent in America’s heartland.
Ed had higher ratings than Anderson Cooper on CNN, but MSNBC took away Ed’s microphone. The mainstream media, corporate America and the ruling political elite found Ed too dangerous, because instead of the politics of abortion and social identity that sadly consumes our media and politics today, he spoke to every American’s dream of a fair economic deal. Had Ed still had a mainstream media platform, he would have been a real threat to the rise of Trump. This is how democracy dies — our most talented courageous voices are sidelined.
Janet Robert, Wayzata
The writer is a founder of AM950: The Progressive Voice of Minnesota.
But what else did Marcuse say?
The July 9 “You Don’t Say” cartoon, quoting Herbert Marcuse, can be read in many ways. It seems to be true with regard to the equality of uninformed vs. informed opinion. Almost any opinion is now given consideration in our media. Alan Bloom, the author of “The Closing of the American Mind,” writes that as long ago as the early 1800s Alexis de Tocqueville, a renowned student of American society, observed that it was a weakness of American democracy that any opinion is as valid as any other. So Marcuse has said nothing new. But if we look deeper, we find that he was a follower of Antonio Gramsci, a rabid Italian Communist. So what Marcuse probably regarded as the truth was communist doctrine, and what he regard as foolish were democratic principles. According to some informed writers, Marcuse was behind much of the unrest of the 1960s. We have enough trouble with communists without spreading their fallacious ideas.
Bernard Schwartzbauer, Edina