The drip, drip, drip of crazy continues to befuddle me. The French city of Cannes outlawing full-body “burkini” swimsuits (Aug. 13) is another example of trying to identify and convict the boogeyman.

Let’s outlaw people wearing crosses because of the Christian nuts who bomb and kill people at clinics that provide abortions. Let’s outlaw people who wear a Star of David because of the small handful who have committed hate crimes.

Hell, let’s outlaw Nirvana T-shirts because someone once robbed a convenience store and was wearing one.

I’m not sure what the panacea is for hysteria. This knee-jerk fear is taking its toll.

Lydia Kihm, Minnetonka

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The few athletes wearing a hijab at the Olympics raised a question in my mind — why do we liberals have a problem criticizing the hijab or burqa nowadays? I recall a time in the 1970s when I was young and great women’s rights activists like Gloria Steinem, Erica Jong and Betty Friedan were fighting for women to be free from male-dominated social rules. When feminists encouraged women to burn their bras and rightly chastised men who spewed catcalls at women for wearing so-called provocative clothing. When it was about stopping society’s sexist attitudes rather than forcing women to adopt conservative behaviors.

But today we liberals can’t freely talk about whether the hijab is sexist or if the burqa is repressive for fear that we’ll be called racists, Islamophobes or effete, out-of-touch classists. In reality, liberal men (me included) don’t want women to hide parts of their bodies because of what some men think or for some religious belief. We question whether it’s really a free choice to wear such clothing rather than male-imposed social and religious conditioning.

In a democracy, feminists should have the freedom to say “burn your burqa” without fear of social condemnation, and we will all lose a bit of our own freedom if they are not allowed to do so.

Joe Tamburino, Minneapolis


Bring Dan Patch Line’s fate back into the daylight

For 20 years, a stretch of railroad track between Savage and Lakeville has been taken over by weeds and brush, making it impossible for a train to pass through. It is the Dan Patch Line, a north-south rail link connecting Minneapolis, Northfield and points farther south. Although the tracks in Savage, Burnsville and Lakeville look abandoned, they are still owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. One reason the right of way hasn’t been converted into a trail is because the Canadian Pacific’s long-term plan is to rehab the Dan Patch Line. Another reason is that talk of passenger rail on the Dan Patch Line is brewing again despite a legislative moratorium on studying, discussing and building it since 2002. A lot has changed since the ban was introduced, and it’s time to repeal it and discuss the Dan Patch Line on its merits. Could it be an important passenger rail corridor between Minneapolis and southern Minnesota? We won’t know until we talk about it.

Eric Ecklund, Bloomington

The writer, a student, is the founder of group Support the Dan Patch Rail Line.


Perhaps some are seeing exactly what they’re looking for?

Once again, an aggrieved Republican sees bias where none exists (“The handling of descriptions on Lewis, Craig,” Readers Write, Aug. 15), comparing coverage of the Second Congressional District campaign. To suggest that it is merely one Republican primary candidate’s opinion that Jason Lewis made “outrageous” statements on the air and in his newspaper columns ignores reality — a reality that Lewis admits to and defends by saying that it was his “job” to be “provocative.” According to, “outrageous” and “provocative” can be used interchangeably, so the charge of media bias in this instance (as with most others that Donald Trump and his followers complain about) holds no water.

Craig Laughlin, Plymouth

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An Aug. 13 letter contrasting coverage of Trump and Hillary Clinton referred to a speech by Clinton and asked why there isn’t reporting on how she intends to use government to change “deep-seated religious beliefs.” The letter was another example of someone taking words out of context to present a negative image of a candidate. (This happens on both sides of the campaign.)

Clinton was speaking at the April 2015 Women’s World Summit in New York, and certainly there are religious beliefs and doctrines that are discriminatory for women. I’m sure her audience was in agreement on that count, but apparently the writer is not.

Sharon Woodfill, Chaska

• • •

Even I will agree that the media is liberally biased — but only slightly. And yet as you might expect, those on the right exaggerate and exploit it.

For one thing, they use this issue to browbeat the media into giving their viewpoint equal time without having to earn it on merit.

Worse, it gives them an excuse to dismiss any fact they find inconvenient: “Where’d you hear that, the ‘liberal media?’ ” You hear that a lot.

Patrick McCauley, Edina


Now that this year’s summer serial has been put to rest …

Thank you for publishing the daily episodes of this year’s summer serial, “Stone Lake” by Richard Horberg (May 29 to Aug. 7). My wife and I read every episode with anticipation and discussed the story at dinner many nights. I was particularly interested because I had experienced living and working in a small southwestern town of 4,200 for two years. I also recalled trips to my dad’s hometown of 1,400 to see my grandma in the early 1950s. Life was so different from that of an entire lifetime in the Twin Cities. It was a bit hard for me to gain full acceptance in a small-town, close-knit community, and I ultimately returned to a Twin Cities environment more suitable for me.

We struggled through some episodes hoping something would happen. Perhaps that was to help the reader truly experience some of the unique, quiet atmosphere of small-town life with somewhat limited opportunities. The Allen Post character had a varied life experience as he struggled through a few wins, but far more disappointments in work and romance, real and imagined.

It would be interesting to know how many readers stayed with the read, or even bought the book. It may have had broader appeal than expected, or it may have been enjoyable to a more select group of readers this year. In any event, providing a summer daily reading experience is a great idea, and we look forward to another good choice next year.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis

• • •

I read the entire summer serial “Stone Lake” with great anticipation. It started out with an interesting story line — young teacher begins teaching career in a small town — but about halfway through the story, I began to feel cheated. Where is the action? Where is the emotion? Where is this story going? No “Wayward Pines” ending, but anything would have helped this bland account of a small town and its predictable characters.

Give us a plot, some action, some mystery, a tragedy — anything to make the story interesting!

Marcia Patterson, Minnetonka


The cardinal solution

Regarding an Aug. 16 letter regarding stadium nicknames — “The Barn,” “The Bank” and, for the newest stadium, “The Ark”: Can’t we just apply the KISS principle and nickname them the East Bank and the West Bank?

Ted Jewett, Minneapolis