In these difficult times, league could waive rule

Regarding the potential TV blackout of the Vikings-Eagles playoff game, can we be anything but appalled by NFL greed in these diminished times?

For many of those who simply could not afford to attend the game, being able to see it on television might offer a brief respite from the anxiety generated by economic loss or the prospect of same. Would it be all that great a sacrifice for the NFL to waive its blackout rule as a gesture of civic cooperation and solidarity?




How about a nonswearing section at the Metrodome? I'd buy a ticket in a minute!



U.S. interests come first, require neutrality

It's great that the Star Tribune was able to report on the recent tense meeting between Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her constituents regarding the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza ("Critics urge Sen. Klobuchar to condemn Israeli assault," Dec. 30). But I think the reporter got it quite wrong when he framed our group as "local Palestinian supporters."

Our ad hoc group did include a few Palestinian Americans but it was overall an extremely diverse mix of citizens who requested the senator to condemn the violence and to speak out for a cease-fire. Many made the point that it was not in American interests to be supporting Israel's continued bombing, and no one in our group asked the senator for military aid to support Palestinian rockets or other weapons. Indeed, our group condemned the violent actions of both sides.

In light of the senator's voting record to arm Israel's military, however, your reporter was right to characterize Klobuchar as a "strong supporter of Israel." It is precisely this lack of neutrality that has crippled the Bush administration's efforts to broker peace in that part of the world. Is it too much to ask that our senator consider American citizens' interests first and foremost above any other foreign country's interests?



In a feud, only the stronger party can make peace; the weaker one can only surrender.

Instead of putting pressure exclusively on the Palestinians, the United States should be pressuring Israel as well, not only behind closed doors but also in public -- if only our leaders and politicians had the guts to do it.

We have leverage thanks to the unprecedented economic and military aid that we have been and are providing to Israel. The only nation that the Israelis listen to is ours.



Indigent people need your help in court

The Star Tribune recently reported that Chief Judge Michael J. Davis has sent out a call for more attorneys' volunteer representation of pro se civil litigants in federal court.

The article, however, focuses on one outlandish pro se claim of a voodoo love spell cast on an errant husband, not the kind of case that most lawyers would conclude warrants their time and resources (or the courts').

The article provides no information on the general nature of the pro se cases brought in federal court in Minnesota other than to say that the one case discussed in the article is an "admittedly unique case [among] about 300 filed in federal court in Minnesota each year."

Perhaps it would have been more useful, maybe even more interesting, if a little less amusing, to focus on a few of the meritorious claims of indigent people whose claims go unvindicated for lack of representation.



Because doorhangers can land like hammers

Sandwiched in the Jan. 2 article about St. Paul's new 24-hour doorhanger about keeping walks shoveled is a short quote from Brady Clark of Smart Trips that "people should be willing to lend a hand to neighbors unable to shovel." Did that helpful hint get included in the doorhanger info of "civic duties, fines and time frames"?

All neighbors, homeowners or renters, can do simple things to make our street a better place for everyone -- shovel, mow, trim, control clutter. Positive things happen in a neighborhood where neighbors learn to care about each other.

The primary goal of National Night Out is simply to become acquainted with your neighbor. Maybe your neighbor now has a chronic illness or sick kids, has no job or has one that requires 50-hour work weeks and an excessive commute. There's so much we don't know about the inner happenings of a house on our streets. Doorhangers might not always be the antidote!

Our driveway didn't get shoveled with the past snowfall; unusual for us. Within two days a neighbor three houses down called and asked, "Who is your snow removal service"?

It's us! A sick husband, my inability to know how to start the snowblower -- we can probably get it done tomorrow. One hour later the neighbor had it done for us! We are thankful he didn't have a helpful doorhanger.

What if all neighborhoods did small random acts of kindness?

SHARON MCKernan, Bloomington

Crimes against humanity

Bush and Cheney should not get a pass

Ruth Marcus' Jan. 2 column ("Why not prosecute over torture policy?) seemed to conclude that it would be difficult to successfully prosecute anyone in the Bush administration because one could not prove that the crimes were committed consciously. This defense would not have worked the last time I got a ticket for speeding unconsciously.

I find it appalling that the nature of the crimes committed against humanity by the Bush administration would go unpunished. They may go unpunished in the United States, but I don't think George W. Bush or Dick Cheney should take any foreign vacations anytime soon.