ELECTION '08

Palin may be guilty of inciting violence

If the unthinkable occurs and Barack Obama is injured or killed, the inflammatory comments made by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin that provoked her supporters to yell "terrorist" and "kill him" need to be addressed. She should legally be constrained as being an accessory before the fact, as should John McCain for not prohibiting the inciting venom that spews forth from her mouth.

ANNE LUNDSTEN, VICTORIA

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Even though I am a Democrat and will vote for Barack Obama, I believe that Sen. John McCain is a man of good moral character. That is why it pains me to see him listen to the recommendations of advisers to "go negative" and attack Sen. Obama's good name because he is behind in the polls.

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the day when Jews atone for their sins. The Talmud teaches that the sins of speech can be even more hurtful than the sins of money. We can make restitution for what we have stolen, but the pain caused by slander, insult, and abusive words cannot be taken back.

I hope that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin will understand that it is far better for people of character to lose with dignity than to win in shame and dishonor.

And the same goes for Al Franken and Norm Coleman.

G. MICHAEL SCHNEIDER, MINNEAPOLIS

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Barack Obama was a community organizer who worked with ACORN. Obama's presidential campaign is giving money to ACORN to help with the election. Now we learn ACORN is caught in numerous states filing false voter registrations.

Why is anyone surprised? Isn't voter fraud what Chicago politicians do and isn't Obama a Chicago politician?

MIKE TIERNEY, BURNSVILLE

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John McCain's plans for health care will cause another 20 million people to lose their health care coverage, according to analysts. His plan to tax as income the health insurance benefits we have will raise our taxes.

McCain's plan proves that the Republicans will continue their assault on the middle class.

KIKI ERICKSON KLINE, BUFFALO

AFTER THE ELECTION

Will those elected be held to their promises?

In an Sept. 5 story, Al Franken is quoted as saying, "I need you to get a bumper sticker, and not cut anyone off for the next 31 days. After that, you can do what you want."

I'm assuming Franken meant it as a humorous statement. And it might actually be funny if it were not so accurate. It belies the politics-as-usual scene before any election.

Both parties put on their Sunday best and parade before us as the wisest choice. Unfortunately, come Nov. 5, they will be do what Franken told the bumper sticker buyers they could do -- whatever they want.

I don't mean to be pessimistic, but as much as Barack Obama has preached the gospel of change, I don't have any hope of it actually happening.

JOHN GEORGE, NORTHFIELD, MINN.

SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN

Palin's pledge must be more than talk

Thank you for publishing David Perry's Oct. 4 commentary regarding Down syndrome.

I am the mother of a son with Down syndrome. When I first saw my beautiful son's face, I knew instantly he had Down's. The nurses and doctors refused to talk to me about it. One doctor even went so far as to say "maybe he just has funny-looking relatives."

I will never forget that moment as long as I live. Being a 20-year-old woman, I was devastated. Now that my son is 18, there is a whole new set of issues to deal with, from obtaining legal guardianship to SSI to health insurance -- not to mention sorely lacking availability of housing for adults with special needs.

My hope is that if there is indeed a McCain/Palin administration come January, that America will do more than just "talk" about these issues and that Sarah Palin will keep her promise that all of us will indeed "have a friend" in the White House.

LORI MORGAN, ZIMMERMAN

OLGA FRANCO SENTENCED

12 years is not enough for her crimes

Where is the outrage? Where are those that stand up for justice? What is wrong with our laws, the Legislature and the court system. Children are killed in a school bus accident, others are severely injured, and all we mete out is 12 years (Star Tribune, Oct. 9). Who do we hold responsible now?

DIANE BUCHKOSKY, ST. LOUIS PARK

KERSTEN ON THE MELTDOWN

She overlooked usury as a cause of hardship

This is not to take anything away from Katherine Kersten's opinion that credit is "the villain behind nation's financial meltdown" (Star Tribune, Oct. 8) but to expand on it.

The Federal Reserve can appear to keep mortgage interest rates down, but it can't or won't dictate, nor can Congress legislate, against usurious rates on credit cards or ARMs.

Maybe usury is in the eye of the beholder. However, as a consumer and attorney, 25 percent-plus interest rates on multiple credit cards are the source of more misery, in my experience, than a 5 percent fixed-rate mortgage. Most people could reasonably be expected to make credit payments but for "usurious" unregulated rates. Add the fact that the banks now seeking taxpayer monies to bail themselves out of their own real estate loan mistakes were the proponents of changing bankruptcy laws to prevent wage earners from ever seeking relief from credit card and other debts and the problem is compounded many times over.

Usury was socially or religiously frowned upon or forbidden in biblical times but obviously something has changed in the interim, either by inaction by Congress or some other disregard of values.

JACK R. ZACHOW, PLYMOUTH

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Katherine Kersten gave a very accurate report on the history of how "installment plans" got started in 1909 after Henry Ford made the Model T available. It was not his idea to give credit. Other companies got the idea going.

The columnist also gave a great follow-up on the development of credit plans and how things got to where they are now. As a former family household/budget counselor, I appreciated her column very much. There is much to learn from history.

MARILYN L. MALONEY, MINNETONKA