Antidote to Wall Street ride is everyday kindness

Can my stomach take any more, asks your Feb. 21 front-page headline? No. My stomach will not take any more greed, hate and self-centered individuals. Nope.

I do know what my stomach can take. More kindness. Smiling at someone you do not know. Making dinner for someone. Letting someone into the yield lane, or ahead in the grocery lane. Opening a door. Saying "Hello" and meaning it.

These are the things that my stomach will handle. These are the things that will change the economy. These are the things we can control. Those everyday kindnesses will change the world.



Thanks to Kara McGuire for her Feb. 22 column, "Fear isn't an investing plan." We can easily fall into the doomsday trap with all of the bad news coming our way. But as I try to stay the course and convince myself that the tide will turn for the better, I can't help but wonder if our leaders have done their homework.

Last fall a number of quickly conceived disaster relief plans were put in place to hopefully stem the tide. Do our banking and financial experts feel they have thoroughly evaluated the system that failed and know what we must do to not repeat our errors? We badly need damage control even if it means changing the paradigm of long-term vs. short-term gain. Day trading and hedge fund trading come to mind. As a retiree, I look forward to the time when we can again trust the markets to be a good long-term investment strategy.




David Brooks ("Why should our tax money bail out fools?", Feb. 23) got at least one thing wrong: The fool is the guy who has been living in an apartment these many years because he knew he could not afford to buy a house.

The smart guy is the one who owns his own home courtesy of the fool.



While reading "The Great Stimulus Scramble" (Feb. 22) I noted the idyllic farm picture, yet there was no mention of possible funding for farmers in the article. Farming is a high-risk, labor-intense occupation dependent on the whims of Mother Nature. Especially for those who didn't bother to read the article, this picture adds to the perception that farmers fill their pockets with government money. Probably few know that over 65 percent of the 2008 Farm Bill funding goes toward food stamps, emergency food assistance and school nutrition programs. Another 10 percent funds conservation efforts.

Considering the space devoted to the Spirit Mountain snowmaking project, a picture of a downhill skier would have been more relevant. By the way, I understand the need for snow on the ski slopes and how that industry stimulates the economy, but the possibility of using stimulus funds to make snow during the winter sends shivers down my spine.



Which fantasy is he telling this week?

I applaud your layout personnel for the placement of the "It's storytime at Target!" ad smack dab in the middle of the article concerning "Obama budget priority: Cut deficit in half" (Feb. 25, page A5), and directly under an extreme close-up photo of the president.

After a month in office, and contrary to his campaign platform, Barack Obama continues to develop his talents as the master storyteller. But we don't even have to travel to a store to hear him read us a tale.

The question at hand: Is the president reading from the town of Whoville, or Katroo, this week? And will he change the plot and the ending of his story this time, too?



Newspaper put value judgment on price tag

The Star Tribune misrepresents the issues around the costs associated with finishing the Cedar Lake Bike Trail when it titles the Feb. 22 article "Whistleblower." The term "whistleblower" indicates that the paper has discovered either a coverup in costs or misappropriated funds. Neither is the case.

The $9.2 million cost to finish the trail is simply a supply-and-demand issue. To those who don't value bike trails or safe biking in an urban area, it may seem high. To others, who use the trails regularly, the cost may seem appropriate or even low. How one views the price tag is nothing more than a value judgment. Discussion of the associated budgetary issues does not constitute whistle-blowing.



Annette Meeks, CEO of an anti-tax organization funded by wealthy Minnesotans, objects to purchasing right-of-way for an off-road bicycle trail in downtown Minneapolis.

If she'd been in charge, we wouldn't have built transcontinental railroads in the 19th century or the interstate highway system in the 1950s, to save land acquisition costs.

The main issue here is not wasteful government spending. It's whether our generation will invest in infrastructure for the future, or keep the money for ourselves.



Cities saw revenue

in a minor snowfall

At a time when so many are hurting financially, it's infuriating that some metro cities chose to call a snow emergency this past weekend. There wasn't that much snow, and it will melt this week anyway. How mean-spirited. City government is supposed to serve its citizens, not the other way around.



Does Minnesota have too much of both?

A question from a 1948 Southwest High grad: Do my old friends realize how silly Minnesota looks to the rest of the country to have allowed ex-Sen. Norm Coleman to drag his petulance through the courts? Isn't it time to tell him he lost?