First he went after President Barack Obama, with the false “birther” campaign, and then the bogus “wiretapping” claim. Both claims were proven wrong. And Obama has kept his dignity throughout this buffoonery. Now President Trump is after former national security adviser Susan Rice, with a claim that doesn’t make sense right out of the box (“Trump suggests Rice broke law, defends O’Reilly,” April 6).
What do these three incidents and two victims have in common? How does Trump pick his targets, as long as he’s making everything up anyway? Could it be race? That you can throw people under the bus, and nobody will care about them as humans because they’re black?
Well, I care, and scores of millions of others do. It’s bad enough to make up stories to try to distract us from the thrust of Trumps’ election collusion with Russians. But to casually select your victims because they’re black is reprehensible, cubed.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
This ‘white male’ controversy exposes ideological faults
Kudos to Minnesota House Republicans for calling out House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman for her disgusting and classless exhibition the other day (“Top DFL lawmaker’s ‘white male’ comment sets off House spat,” April 5). Oh, wait — I forgot. Racism and sexism only exist when conservatives are the ones doing it.
As a conservative voter, though, I don’t mind that Hortman is talking like that. Keep on blathering, Melissa. You’re the best recruiting tool the Republican Party has. And you’re the classic example of why the Democrats have lost so many legislative and gubernatorial races.
Bill Wagner, Minneapolis
• • •
In the April 6 letters about what Hortman said about the sexism and racism in the House, three women supported her and a man wrote against her. This is happening practically all the time on the letters page. So, as a white male, I will speak up: Men, you may think the problems with sexism and racism have been fixed in the last 60 years, and you are wrong! There are still a lot of problems. Just look at who we put in the White House. Just Wednesday, President Trump did one good thing by condemning Syria for its chemical murder of hundreds the day before, but then turned around by falsely claiming that Susan Rice broke a law and by supporting Bill O’Reilly (“Sexual harassment storm against O’Reilly, Fox builds,” April 5). In the last few months a ton of bad things for minorities and women have been shoved through by the president and Congress. It’s time for it to stop seeming to be just women and minorities working against the reversal of improvements involving racism and sexism, and time for men to get smarter and start fighting it, too — not supporting the bad things those white males are doing.
Frank Dewey, Minneapolis
• • •
To all Minnesota representatives: Please let your constituents know your priorities. Are our First Amendment rights more important than Monday’s Twins home opener against the Kansas City Royals, or than a card game? To the representatives who were not on the floor on Monday (the inattention that led Hortman to make her complaint), did the racial overtones of the discussion over the bill pertaining to protests offend you, or was it just that the representatives who were presenting testimony were also minorities? When your per diem expenses are submitted, will you be deducting the deck of cards, or is that a billable item?
Rep. Greg Davids, are you more upset that Rep. Hortman admonished your colleagues because they happened to be all white males or because they were playing cards while other representatives were presenting their side of the debate? Demanding that Hortman resign her position as minority leader means she must have done something egregious. I truly understand how some people might be outraged by her comments.
Kelly Befus, Blaine
Here’s an example, from the Star Tribune, of the inequity
The March 27 RandBall blog item “Sam Ponder talks about covering husband Christian in new ESPN role” (part of which was excerpted in the March 28 paper) was sexist and disheartening to read.
Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder hasn’t thrown a regular-season NFL pass since 2014, yet Michael Rand asserts that by his being in the league, his wife’s ability to objectively do her job — one she’s been working toward since before the couple met — will be hampered. He writes that even if Ponder doesn’t sign with a team, he still has ties to the league and that Samantha Ponder “has friendships with NFL players.” So? Plenty of former players now have analyst roles with networks covering the NFL — undoubtedly these men still have connections and friendships with NFL players and coaches. Yet articles aren’t being written about their conflicts of interest — in fact, their connections to the league are often touted as an asset to the coverage they provide. Samantha Ponder has worked for years in a male-dominated industry and has consistently proven her ability to objectively and intelligently cover football games. She earned her new role as the host of ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” show because of the quality of her work — not because of whom she’s married to or which players she considers friends.
Let’s give her the credit she deserves for succeeding in a male-dominated field and earning a coveted role on ESPN’s studio show, rather than minimizing her achievements by suggesting she will be unable to separate her personal life from her professional life.
Linnea Moat, Chanhassen
LIMITS ON TRUCK WEIGHTS
A load is a load, either way
State Rep. Dave Baker’s protests to the contrary (“Star Tribune’s editorial against heavier trucks was a load,” April 6), the fact remains that because of weight and not length heavier trucks are inherently more dangerous than lighter trucks. It is a product of Newton’s second law of motion and not political hyperbole.
Forget the length of the vehicle or how many axles and brakes it displays; a heavier vehicle takes longer to stop. It’s a fact acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which restricts weights on interstate highways in large part because heavier trucks do greater damage to roadways without providing adequate compensation for it. They tear up concrete and Tarmac at an appreciably greater rate than do lighter trucks while turning a five-passenger vehicle into a speed bump in a collision. The Transportation Department ended the discussion many years ago by simply saying no.
Over the years, a coalition of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association; the Minnesota State Troopers Association; DRIVE, the political arm of the Teamsters union; the Independent Truckers Association, and others have opposed bills allowing for heavier trucks on Minnesota roads. The fact that the coalition was a child of the railroad industry was inconsequential to the safety of both the driving public and truck drivers. Make of that what you will.
The compromise Baker refers to allowing for 99,000-pound loads was fashioned to allow sugar beet farmers in the far northwest corner of the state to get their crops to a co-op 20 miles from Hallock, Minn. The reason he has not heard of concerns is that relatively few people live in that area and vehicle traffic is primarily agricultural on gravel roads. Baker will find proof of that fact in the Legislative Library’s tapes and committee records.
This fight never seems to go away, which is fine, because it’s an idea and the Legislature is a good place to discuss ideas. However, for public-safety reasons alone, heavier trucks on Minnesota’s general highway system is still a bad idea.
Bill Gillespie, Maplewood
The writer is a former executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.