Are we a country of laws?

A country that is governed by laws and believes in law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights does not torture and never should. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is a bad man; no one disputes that. It takes a bigger person to take the high road against a bad person. That's the society we are supposed to be. That's what we preach, that's what we teach our kids, that's what our rulers say we stand for.

JOHN STIGMAN, OSAKIS, MINN.

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Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr spent more than $6 million of taxpayer money on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal -- something that should have only concerned the four people involved (the president, his wife and daughter, and Lewinsky). The justification for this witch hunt was that Clinton "lied" about the affair. Men and women have been having and lying about affairs since time began. The only lives they ruin are their own and their families.

Now we have before us the torture memos and the big, huge question of what do we do? Prosecute? Sweep it under the rug and vow to never do it again? Slap the parties involved on the wrist, no matter how high their power? How can President Clinton's lie ("I did not have relations with that woman") possibly be worse than that of President Bush's lie ("We do not torture")?

People's lives were ruined or ended because of torture. Military careers were ruined because of torture. American soldiers were imprisoned because they followed their orders to torture. All this has happened because the Bush administration decided it was above the law and put in place the policy that we do indeed torture. No person, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and the attorneys involved should be above the law. We demean ourselves as a nation if we do not respect the Geneva Conventions in place against the practice of torture. We become no better than the enemy. We become the enemy.

MEREDITH HOFFMAN, MAPLE GROVE

Legislature, do your job

Recent revenue-raising proposals in the state House of Representatives and Senate are concerning to me as a taxpayer. The Senate is proposing an "across the board" tax increase for most Minnesotans while the House has an almost "anything goes" proposal.

The House proposal, which has been framed as "bold reform," will raise revenues through sin taxes (alcohol and cigarettes) and just about everything else under the sun -- sales tax on digital products and on selling your boat, just to name a few. About the only thing both proposals agree on is a fourth tax tier for married couples who have income of more than $300,000 a year -- they will pay a 9 percent income tax.

To make sure we get the best balance between cuts and revenue, the idea of looking at all options makes sense. On the other hand, to not do the work in the Legislature of working across the aisle to get a balanced, sensible proposal is just poor politics and government.

KIM KANG, ORONO

Coleman's continuing fight

In response to Vin Weber's column ("It's not just about Norm, and that's why he fights on," April 21), I agree that the election contest should not be about Norm Coleman. It is and should be about the constituents. Minnesota citizens want to be represented in the U.S. Senate and our rights are being infringed upon by Coleman's unwillingness to concede.

If Coleman is truly interested in the constitutional matters, he will continue to "courageously" pursue his case, without denying Al Franken the seat. Franken should be seated by Gov. Tim Pawlenty so that the people of Minnesota have U.S. Senate representation. We have waited too long already.

JULIA WILLIAMS ROBINSON, MINNEAPOLIS

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Norm Coleman is doing a big favor for Sen. Amy Klobuchar. He is making it next to impossible for Republicans to defeat her in 2012.

Why? Because he is showing the people of Minnesota that she has been doing the work of two U.S. senators for the last three years.

Coleman has been too busy doing the bidding of the Republican Party.

JEAN SCHIEBEL, BROOKLYN CENTER

Support for Burroughs and its principal

The encounter between Burroughs Principal Tim Cadotte and Minneapolis School Board Member Chris Stewart has become a flashpoint in the longstanding controversy about race and achievement in the Minneapolis School District, and the more recent issues surrounding the proposed reorganization of schools. Stewart reportedly accused Cadotte, and the Burroughs community overall, of racism. Although there are no direct witness accounts published, it is of note that Stewart has not publicly denied that he made the comments. In fact, a story on KFAI noted that he was asked about the incident directly and, Stewart twice deflected the question about whether he called the plan "racist."

I cannot imagine a greater insult to an individual like Tim Cadotte, who has poured his heart and soul into his school and his community, than to call him racist. Over the time that my child has been a student, the proportion of minority students has exceeded the percentage of minorities in the surrounding community. Cadotte and Burroughs have actively sought to maintain diversity in the school. The Burroughs community is upset by the planned reorganization not because more minorities might attend, but because they're losing access to an excellent community school that they've worked hard to build.

I'm not saying that racism doesn't exist in society; of course it does. However, wanting to support your community and provide the best education possible for your child isn't racism; it's called good parenting. Rather than suspend Cadotte for reacting to a personal insult, I would suggest that the board turn to him for advice on how replicate Burroughs' success in other schools.

LIZ BRYAN, MINNEAPOLIS