Jobs and housing. Jobs and housing. Jobs ...


I appreciated state Rep. Paul Thissen's April 11 counterpoint ("GOP's lips say 'yes' to jobs; actions say 'no'). I especially appreciated his urging the Legislature to "pass a balanced and robust bonding package that will put people back to work right now." A bonding bill that includes funding for affordable housing statewide will not only create jobs but will add stability to communities. It's win-win. Jobs and housing!

It is shocking to think that the session may end with no bonding bill at all. What a missed opportunity when the jobs are needed, the housing and infrastructure are needed and the interest rates are very low. Is this the new Minnesota? I hope not.


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A show of hypocrisy over foster homes


A proposal at the Legislature seeks to ban smoking in foster homes. It is ironic that the same people who support the freedom for homosexuals to care for foster children will oppose that freedom for smokers. People of Minnesota, which is it?

Are we tolerant, laissez-faire types who just want any compassionate adult to take care of kids in need, or are we moralistic health police willing to shut out whole swaths of otherwise-capable foster parents if their personal choices don't fit our ideals?

And if the answer is "depends on what's ideal for kids," then may I submit that we need to think about a requirement that all foster parents be in a permanent, loving marriage, be under age 40, have a vibrant religious faith, college degrees, and an excellent employment history? No? Then let's rethink unleashing the cigarette police on foster parents.


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'War' on women

Maybe overstated; maybe not a war


Isn't it about time to lay this "war on women" meme to rest? Liberals' efforts to portray women as helpless supplicants, incapable of arranging for their own health care, may be archaic and demeaning, but shouldn't the term "war" be reserved for more serious predations? Or did I miss something?


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Best Buy

CEO's relationship isn't the most critical issue


I have been surprised by the high priority that the Star Tribune has given to the story of an alleged inappropriate relationship between the former Best Buy CEO and a female employee ("Dunn's conduct with staffer at issue," April 12).

Important as that may be, in the grand scheme of things there are many more critically important issues facing Best Buy that could have been addressed.

In addition, being buffeted by this kind of salacious coverage takes its toll on the morale of all Best Buy employees and innocent family members who have no involvement whatsoever.


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Traffic safety

At the root, inattention, distraction are the risk


Minnesota's commissioners of transportation, public safety and health state that "illegal or unsafe speed is the most-cited factor in fatal crashes" and that "almost one-third of all traffic fatalities are related to speed." But they do not cite any studies to support these statements.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigated more than 5,000 injury crashes across the United States between 2005 and 2007. The report found that only 5 percent of the crashes were caused by excessive speed.

Unlike in previous studies automatically generated from computerized data found in police reports, researchers were dispatched to accident scenes before they were cleared. The agency then evaluated the physical evidence, direct interviews of witnesses and those involved, vehicle condition, weather conditions, roadway design and driver's condition.

Driver inattention and driver distraction cause far more accidents and fatalities than speed.


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Graydon Royce

A writer and critic worthy of appreciation


Few American newspapers -- fewer and fewer -- employ arts writers with the range of Graydon Royce. First, a subtle, searching review of a difficult play, Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party," at the Jungle Theater (April 10). Next, a comprehensive, multisourced account of the Minnesota Orchestra's equally difficult financial situation (April 12). A major-league performance all the way.