If ever there was a clear cause for military intervention, the situation in Burma is one.

The United Nations estimates that over 100,000 people have died. Tens of thousands more will die due primarily to lack of clean water and food. Each passing day without such basic aid makes the situation that much more critical. If the U.S. government can order military intervention because another country is siphoning oil from under the sand of another country (neither of which we really have nothing to do with), can we not intervene in Burma?

It would go something like this: "Step aside, we're bringing food, water and medical care to the people." I mean, how much military might does the Myanmar junta possess? Say, about four helicopters?

"Having little knowledge of what the needs of the survivors are due to being kept in the dark by the Myanmar government" as the United Nations and many of the aid agencies are complaining about is no excuse. They need everything! At least this time we'd have world opinion for military intervention on our side. At least this time we could do the obviously "right" thing.

AMY GARDNER, FINLAND, MINN.

Minnesota's minimum wage

Let me be one of the first to congratulate Gov. Tim Pawlenty on his veto last Thursday of our economically reckless legislators' attempt to increase the state's minimum wage beyond $6 per hour.

Working 40 hours per week for 50 weeks, and deducting 7 percent Social Security, enriches those minimum wagers by $11,116 a year and if you can't live on that in Minnesota, maybe you should move elsewhere. After all, I'm sure our governor could do it, if he wanted to prove his point.

FRED E. HAHN, GOLDEN VALLEY

Simply miraculous on its own

As a parent and an adoptive parent, I take exception to the May 11 article "Son's gift of kidney to mother brings them closer than ever," particularly the line, "Nearly 40 years later, he got a chance to pay her back." In parenting, there are no paybacks.

We as adults choose to have a family, to bring kids into our circles of life. The choice to have a family can be made biologically, through fostering, through adoption, through second marriages, etc. No matter how that family is made, it's about adults choosing to have children, not about children owing their parents for decisions those parents have made.

I wonder how different the paper's take on son-to-mother kidney donation would be if the family were formed through biology instead of adoption? Would the Star Tribune state that a biological son is "paying his mother back" when he donates a kidney?

Really, no matter how our families are formed, most adults do not bring children into this world in order to be paid back at some point later in life. I would venture a pretty educated guess that Joan Eidsvold, the mother in this story, did not. The Star Tribune and its reporter do a strong disservice to all families, and to the Eidsvolds in particular, with the implication that this "payback" concept is inherent to adoptive families. Nor is the story enhanced by highlighting this misconceived implication. The story is simply beautiful and miraculous on its own -- a son was a match for kidney donation to his mother, and he decided to make that donation.

ILSE LARSEN, ST. PAUL

Not a middle of the roader

A recent letter writer urged the Star Tribune to ask for Katherine Kersten's resignation (Netlets, May 7). The newspaper should not fire Kersten. Instead run her column on the far right. Run Nick Coleman's column on the far left. And then every Wednesday put a column right in the middle of the page by someone who sees the big picture, like most Minnesotans do.

ERIC SCHUBERT, INVER GROVE HEIGHTS

No confidence in elected officials

Lori Sturdevant's May 11 column ("Citizens, officials: Can you still dance together?") brings up many good points. The required public hearings are mostly sell jobs for the already "done" deals, politicians tend to respond to squeaky small-interest spins (to "get things done" quickly), while not many public officials seem to be interested in minimizing the unintended consequences. Most people I talk to do feel disenfranchised, and have no confidence in elected officials having much real value, though the exercise of power is acknowledged and felt, sometimes painfully, by most.

By abdicating responsibility, our representatives have allowed true power to become entrenched in non-accountable entities, such as the Metropolitan Council, originally formed to coordinate water, sewer and some specific infrastructure concerns. We now have an entity that can encumber citizens with taxes to support private interests, and no real effective way to oversee or guide its actions. It has no interest in transparency and does not feel obligated to explain how it serves the public interest effectively and efficiently. Quite simply, it is a bureaucracy doing what it is designed to do, assimilating power into the hands of a few, with accountability to no one.

Similarly, it seems like lazy politics to adopt an air-quality standard that has little relevance to locality, just to get it done; dealing with unintended consequences later will likely kick citizens in the checkbook once again. The elected officials, apparently, see nothing wrong here?

JAMES LUNACEK, BROOKLYN CENTER

Support the Democrat, especially the one who represent this century

Rarely do letters to the editor shake me out of my complacency or lethargy -- especially at the end of a long and grueling Democratic primary season. But the May 11 letter "Go with the winner" managed to do that and more.

The writer, a walking, talking, and writing oxymoron (conservative Democrat), asserts that Sen. Barack Obama can't beat Sen. John McCain in the general election. This is as offensive as it is inaccurate.

Has she considered that Sen. Hillary Clinton, though she is strong and capable in many ways, represents another era, another century, an opportunity past? Would she bring to the general election campaign a cart full of baggage that GOP swiftboaters will exploit to every advantage? While Obama has yet to master every nuance and consequence of "hardball" politics, his intelligence, candor, rhetorical brilliance, and national and global visions offer the average voter and opportunity to escape the rut of special interests, lobby influences, constitutional corruption, and criminal conspiracies we've all suffered with for more that seven years.

It is precisely those "Democrats" who, not having their candidate in the final contest, elect to support and vote for the candidate of the other party. They were never real Democrats nor were they open-minded enough to see the big picture beyond the run-up to the final dance. How could any, true-blue Democrat ever want to support a candidate that essentially guarantees four more years of the Bush administration's crimes, transgressions and incompetency? At best, John McCain is nothing more than Bush-lite on every major issue important to the American people.

As for me, if by some chance Clinton wins the nomination, I, as a dedicated Obama supporter, will support and actively work to assure that she is the next president of the United States. There is no other viable option.

ED BOROWIEC, ANGORA, MINN.