Lay off the CIA! (“We need the truth about CIA torture,” editorial, Aug. 8.) The agency has a strong history of protecting our national security and counteracting the covert secret networks of all our enemies worldwide who seek to destroy us.

As private citizens, we certainly don’t need “transparency” of any detailed interrogation “torture” operations, since our enemies continue to practice far worse tortures. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is calling “to make public our thorough documentary history of the CIA’s program,” which is total emotional misguidance.

We need the CIA for the continued survival of our democracy. It should not be limited by any fear of reprisal by our own government. Again, lay off the CIA.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis


Those with disabilities are a great labor force

I applaud Gov. Mark Dayton’s executive order regarding hiring at state agencies (“Dayton orders state to hire more disabled people,” Aug. 7). Indeed, 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed. Yet people with disabilities represent the largest untapped pool of talent, labor, spending power and voting power. Thus disability employment is a win-win for all.

The Minnesota Business Leadership Network is a business-led network whose mission is to empower businesses to hire people with disabilities, via promoting best employment practices, and to enhance competitive employment opportunities for skilled candidates with disabilities.

I invite companies to join our ranks and partner with us to advance their disability inclusion efforts. Please check our website at or call 612-567-1434 for more information.

Margaret Li, Plymouth


The writer is executive director of the Minnesota Business Leadership Network.

• • •

I think we would all agree that everyone deserves an equal opportunity. Dayton’s executive order directing state agencies to increase employment of people with disabilities to 7 percent by 2018 could give disabled people a more than equal opportunity and other people a less than equal opportunity to obtain jobs in state government. In order to reach the quota, government agencies may have to hire less-qualified disabled candidates rather than more-qualified candidates without disabilities.

The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed the use of quotas by universities for implementing affirmative action in the Bakke case (1978). The reasoning is that quotas, by benefiting some groups, cause harm to other groups.

Everyone deserves an equal opportunity. That includes minorities, people of both sexes, people of all religions, and the disabled. But the use of quotas interferes with equal opportunity.

James Brandt, New Brighton



Restaurant’s mistake was in the timing

In response to the uproar caused by Blue Plate Restaurant Co. taking out 2 percent of the server’s tips to cover credit card fees, I’ve worked in restaurants (in Minnesota) that reclaim the 2 percent from my tips. It’s not the big deal it’s being made out to be in the newspapers (“Conscientious consumers, don’t let servers get cheated,” Readers Write, Aug. 7). The restaurant owner has to pay a fee of 3 to 3.5 percent to process the credit card. By deducting 2 percent, the restaurant was simply asking me to pay my fair share of the fee. And I did it, because serving is a great job with flexible hours. On top of that, people will usually tip a bit more if they’re paying with credit cards.

I think it was a stupid move for Blue Plate to institute this policy in conjunction with the minimum-wage increase — it ties the two events together, even if the issues are unrelated. Furthermore, Minnesota is one of the few states without a tip credit, which would allow employers to pay servers less than minimum wage. A server in Wisconsin only makes $2.33 an hour. So, even with a 2 percent fee, Minnesota servers are doing much better than their counterparts in other states.

Don’t boycott; it only hurts the servers. If you want to express your disagreement with the “2 percent policy,” tip in cash — win/win for everyone.

Denise C. Sparrow, St. Paul

• • •

Every year that the minimum wage did not rise to keep up with inflation was effectively a pay cut for minimum-wage employees, who were being asked to live on the same amount each year as the cost of living continued to rise (“Cafe adds fee for wage hike,” Aug. 7).

I find it telling that the owners of the Oasis Cafe in Stillwater did not choose to add a line-item “minimum wage freeze discount” at the bottom of their restaurant checks.

Nicholas Rezmerski, Minneapolis



What I learned as a VA hospital volunteer

When I volunteered at the VA hospital in Minneapolis, I was at first skeptical as to what I would encounter following months of political turmoil. So, my curious nature lead me to ask veterans how they enjoyed their stay at the VA. Easily nine out of 10 veterans replied they loved being at the VA — not because of the technology, health care or availability, but because of the people.

The doctors, nurses, volunteers and all others who serve those who have “borne the battle” make the Minneapolis VA consistently one of the highest ranked hospitals in the nation. With all the controversy surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs, Minnesotans should be proud that Minnesota Nice has prevailed amid scandal. To all of those who give our veterans, the defenders of freedom, the care they so deserve, here’s to you.

Sam Pahl, Eden Prairie



Well, if the U is going to go down that road …

It is interesting that University of Minnesota administrators find the name “Redskins” so offensive that they are working to banish it from all signage at the Minnesota Vikings game against Washington at TCF Stadium Nov. 2 (“Report: Redskins name an issue for Vikings game at TCF,” Aug. 7). Particularly when you consider that this is the same university that regularly plays the song “Apache” by the Sugar Hill Gang on the P.A. system during Gophers games.

Apparently it is OK for fans to hear stereotypical tribal yells and advice to “get them squaws, fast as you can” on Saturdays, but it is not OK to read a team nickname on Sunday. Kudos, U of M, for all the hard work to protect us from insensitivity.

Blake Meisenheimer, Minnetonka