INTELLIGENCE ABOUT IRAN

More bosh from Bush

George W. Bush was caught lying, whether he will admit it or not, about his knowledge concerning Iran's nuclear program. Many of us weren't fooled by the president's rhetoric or his 9/11 fearmongering in 2002-2003, but the Bush administration attacked a country that had not attacked us.

Don't be fooled by Bush's lies again; he knew about the National Intelligence Estimate of Iran's discontinued nuclear program in October when he warned us about World War III and Iran. And, if he truly didn't know about the NIE assessment, he's more incompetent than I could have imagined. The CIA briefs him every day; does any American really accept that he wasn't informed about the NIE assessment?

ANN MERRIMAN, ST. PAUL

BANK ROBBERIES

No face, no service

With the numerous bank robberies in the past couple weeks around the Twin Cities area, one thing strikes me funny: All the robbers have hats, hoods and sunglasses on, covering up their faces.

Maybe there should be a law that forbids people to wear hats, caps, masks and sunglasses into stores or banks. At least, if one is going to be bold enough to rob a bank in daylight, why not show your face?

If liquor establishments, restaurants and stadiums have the right to refuse anyone they feel is too intoxicated, banks should be able to decline to help you if you have a hat on.

CHUCK WALLACE, SPRING LAKE PARK

MINNEAPOLIS GARBAGE

Pickup is fine

I concur with Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson on the way trash is picked up ("Trash tradition: Is Minneapolis getting the best price?" Dec. 4). At our house, we have experienced nothing short of cheerful efficiency from both trash and recycling crews.

Instead of messing up a city service that actually works, the council should attend to a department that truly needs fixing -- the Police Department.

CINDY JOHNSON, MINNEAPOLIS

ADAMS IS OUT

But Huffman is in

Nick Coleman is right on in his Dec. 2 column, "For Minneapolis cops, no good deed goes unpunished." Sgt. Charlie Adams' dismissal from the homicide unit at the request of Lt. Amelia Huffman appears to be a case of kissing up to city political types at the expense of a cop with integrity. As Coleman states, "Mark Loesch's murder makes city officials nervous."

Too often bureaucrat government employees, out of fear of jeopardizing their jobs, will give in to political pressure rather than doing the right thing. Huffman's action will only discourage other cops and city employees from conducting themselves with integrity.

ALLEN JAVINSKY, MINNEAPOLIS

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Done in anger

Katherine Kersten, in her Dec. 3 column, says it's fine for parents to shape up their children by carefully administering a good spanking.

Perhaps an occasional mild paddling does no harm, and maybe even does some good. But I fear that most parents who spank their kids do so in anger -- not as measured punishment -- and obviously that can lead to physical abuse. Kersten should be careful what she wishes for.

FRED JOHNSON, MINNETONKA

CAMPAIGN 2008

Who's ready for the job?

Pollsters are asking who is the most likable candidate running for president. Barack Obama comes in first and Hillary Clinton last.

Remember, George W. Bush was rated the most likable, and he led us into this mess. This is not a vote for Miss Congeniality but a vote for the next president of the United States.

What counts is a candidate with experience and competence who can hit the ground running. Hillary wins hands down.

SHIRLEY HALL, MINNEAPOLIS

Get real, Sen. Clinton

The 2008 presidential race has provided us with a good sampling of both light-hearted anecdotes and sharp negative attacks from the candidates. Rarely, however, do serious attacks become as down right hilarious as they did on Monday.

Pouncing on Sen. Barack Obama for stating that the presidency has not been a lifelong goal of his, Sen. Hillary Clinton's staff brought to light his kindergarten essay entitled "I Want to Become President." I wonder if Hillary will now call Obama a flip-flopper for his second-grade dream of becoming an astronaut. Or, better yet, could someone get Clinton to return the conversation to the 21st century?

AARON SPADING, MINNEAPOLIS

Keep it clean

So Sen. Norm Coleman has produced a deceptive video about Al Franken's views of the Iraq war. Apparently, Coleman has decided his strong point in getting reelected is to take the low road. Yes, unfortunately, "dirty trick" tactics win an election or two, but Minnesota definitely doesn't want or deserve a campaign based on Karl Rove-esque campaign smears.

STEVE MARK, MINNETONKA

FROM SENATOR'S MOUTH

To governor's office?

In his Dec. 1 Counterpoint, state Sen. Dick Day wrote: "The Minnesota Department of Transportation can't spend money that the Legislature doesn't give it. As Transportation Committee chairman, [Sen. Steve] Murphy wrote a bill ... that would have cost Minnesota families more than $400 a year [or about 28 cents per person a day for a typical family of four]. That bloated plan was vetoed ....

"This is far from the first time Minnesota has had a DFL Legislature and a Republican governor, and over the years we have managed to work together. I suggest we stop the grandstanding, threats and fear-mongering and get serious about a solution."

Let's hope Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his Republican legislative colleagues are listening.

PAUL BRIDGLAND, MARSHALL, MINN.

DON'T GIVE THEM A HOME?

A call for consistency

I applaud the government's decision on a Vikings football stadium, as long as such public funding decisions are consistent. Thus, I look forward to no public funding for other businesses, such as the Guthrie and other arts and theater, large and small farm operations, and other nongovernment enterprises.

BRIAN SILUS, WAYZATA