Her fear-mongering is clearly wrong
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is a very dangerous person ("We must not go easy on radical Islam," Aug. 2.) She seeks to influence an election by fostering hysteria with allegations that have no foundation in truth. My family and I were interned in a relocation camp for four years during World War II due to hysteria of this type. Some 110,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were forced to leave their homes, when in fact no instances of sabotage were ever found. A presidential letter of apology did not make up the fact that years and lifestyles were lost. Will Bachmann next propose Muslim camps to contain the danger that she promotes?
ELAINE SACHI TANAKA WATSON, PLYMOUTH
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When candidates misspeak, it's news
In Ruth Marcus' column, she laments the fact that this presidential campaign is being controlled by gaffes and gaffers ("A campaign isn't just for gaffes," Aug. 1). Sadly, she's right, but there's more to it than that. The gaffers are members of the media (left-leaning, liberals, etc.) who endeavor to keep President Obama one step ahead of Mitt Romney. Obama is having a tough time getting out from under "You didn't build that," so the gaffers accuse Romney of gaffing in London. Obama is having a tough time getting out from under "We tried our plan and it worked," so the gaffers accuse Romney of racial bias against Palestinians. The president is having a tough time getting out from under "the private sector is doing fine," so the gaffers accuse Romney of going to Poland to get more white votes. Last time I looked, nobody in London, Israel or Poland can cast a single vote in America.
BOB HUGE, EDINA
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Romney's comments, attributing economic disparities between Israel and the Palestinian territories to differences in culture, display an ignorance of historic proportions. They're both politically stupid and morally repugnant. Truly cultured people do not express such bias in private, much less on the international stage. I sorrow for the needless pain his comments bring to the Palestinian people. Romney's comments should also serve as a warning to those struggling economically in this country. Clearly his mind-set is that if you are economically disadvantaged, regardless of your work and perseverance and despite events beyond your personal control, it is inherently your fault. And if it is inherently your own fault, Romney's implication must be that nothing can or should be done to help you.
Romney doesn't have the moral compass required to lead this country.
NATAN PARADISE, West St. Paul
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SCIENCE AND RELIGION
Don't run essays promoting bad science
You should be ashamed of yourselves for printing the commentary piece supporting the young-Earth fantasy ("The evolution of a creationist," Aug. 1). How many scientific articles in the last year have you printed where the true age of the Earth is mentioned? Didn't you just run a scientific piece on DNA analysis in Africa that discusses dates much earlier than the young-Earth fantasy? The bottom line is you know that none of what you printed today is true, yet you printed it anyway. Calling it "opinion" is a copout. A person can't have opinions about scientific facts, and evolution is a scientific fact. You've lowered yourselves to the level of the tabloids with their stories of alien abduction.
EARL ROETHKE, MINNEAPOLIS
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Retaking tests -- the bigger math problem
The three opportunities students were given to take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment math test should result in better scores, and that's a good thing ("Retakes may explain math gains," Aug. 1). When teachers use data from the first test to see what type of math skills cause students to struggle, it's a best practice for teachers to reteach that skill. This is not cheating -- it's filling holes in the students' knowledge so they will become more successful in school and in life. Math teachers should be given credit for responding to the first round of testing in order to improve on the next round. It's not the retakes that explain the gains, it's that the teachers responded to the first-round data and offered new learning opportunities to the students.
JIM SMITH, FOREST LAKE
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Don't ignore his intellectual deficits
Donald J. Boudreaux is right about Milton Friedman -- he was an economist ("A man of intellectual stature," July 31). His views on deregulation got us into the Great Recession of 2008. His views on government are off the mark, too. The greatest test this country has ever faced was the War of Secession.
The principle that government could protect the rights of all citizens was upheld. Government intervenes in the lives of people when they are threatened by outside forces. One of the forces that citizens need to be protected from is business. If left to its own devices, business would impose the lowest wages, the worst working conditions and the highest prices on the citizenry, its customers.
Have we had slavery, sweatshops, indentured servitude, foodborne illnesses, defective automobiles, chemical spills and nuclear reactor meltdowns? Only because of regulation are these not daily events. Oh, and by the way, World War II was fought by draftees, for the most part. It's amazing we won!
JOHN CLOUSE, SHOREVIEW
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What this commentary lacked was recognition that private conglomerates that are "too big to fail" and/or are lacking in ethical principles subvert free markets -- and the freedom of individuals like you and me -- as surely as too much government. Unfortunately, there is no entity but government to rein in the private excesses that subvert free markets. On the other hand, government that is at the beck and call of big business subverts free markets doubly.
MARC HUGUNIN, STILLWATER