Earlier this month, the Trump administration submitted a 2021 budget proposal that, if approved by Congress, would cut funding for the National Institutes of Health by 7% and the National Science Foundation by 6.5%. Ross McKinney, the chief scientific officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges, noted on Twitter that “this would be devastating to American biomedical science.”
In January, the administration announced that it would ask for $7.2 billion to continue construction of a border wall (“Pentagon diverting $3.8B for wall,” Feb. 14) — a wall that has fallen in high winds and must be kept open during flooding season.
Now, the nation is bracing for the impact of the coronavirus, a potential pandemic. When asked in a Senate hearing for an estimate of its impact, Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security could not provide an answer (“U.S. told to prepare: ‘This might be bad,’ ” Feb. 26). However, the administration is trying to cobble together $1.25 billion to help contain the virus.
Misguided priorities and incompetence appear to be the order of the day on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Dan Gunderson, Minneapolis
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Although the coronavirus has been monopolizing recent headlines, other serious infectious diseases have wreaked havoc on communities for centuries. In fact, illnesses like tuberculosis (TB) killed nearly 4,000 people every day in 2018, according to the World Health Organization, in comparison to the total 2,800-plus deaths caused by the coronavirus. Even more disheartening, these TB deaths are entirely preventable because treatment (unlike the coronavirus) has existed for the past 70 years. These illnesses disproportionately impact impoverished communities that lack the funds and infrastructure to support comprehensive treatment.
However, the United States’ allocation of funds contains a solution: The Global Fund is an international partnership that aims to invest resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, alleviating the effects of these diseases on impoverished communities worldwide. The efforts to diminish the impacts of TB are further supported by the bilateral USAID TB programs, which promote the strengthening of health systems to diagnose and treat TB. The Global Fund alone says it has helped prevent 27 million unnecessary deaths in over 100 countries.
By requesting Congress to commit $400 million for USAID bilateral TB funding and $1.56 billion for the Global Fund, we have the ability to end the unnecessary loss of life. We urge our fellow citizens to call their representatives and bring attention to this issue, and we ask our representatives to push for this funding.
Meena Gupta, Minneapolis
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We recently revisited Steven Soderbergh’s excellent 2011 film “Contagion,” where Minneapolis is the epicenter of a deadly worldwide virus. It was chillingly real watching a deathly sick victim riding a bus at Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue, and the downtown Armory used as a collection point for the desperately ill and dying. Observing scenes of mob violence while troops attempted to distribute food, water and medicine became even more frightening considering our current domestic political situation.
As a possible pandemic inches, walks, strides and finally leaps toward our shores, what plans do President Donald Trump and his cabinet have to maintain social order? Are all federal governmental positions filled by experienced, knowledgeable, dedicated employees? Or have many been fired or quit in disgust, and been replaced by cronies and hacks, whose only qualifications for office is that they are “loyal” to Trump?
Bruce Hughes, Brooklyn Park
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Coronavirus hysteria is brought to you by the same folks pushing climate change panic. More reason to re-elect our stable genius!
Joe Engesser, Red Wing
More to gender split than the stats
So, “Men slow to pitch in on house work” (Feb. 25): I read this article twice searching for answers to some obvious questions it should have addressed. The article focuses on opposite sex couples and does not look at race, income, education, or communication and shared expectations between partners. It paints women in these relationships as victims of injustice and men as lazy louts, even though it presents no evidence that women want it to be different. It also doesn’t detail to what extent men work full time then also do the outside chores, repairs, car maintenance, etc.
I would have liked to see information on whether or not the relationships conformed to gender stereotypes in ways outside of child care and household chores. For example, in what percentage of the marriages did the woman, rather than the man, propose marriage? Has the couple openly discussed and negotiated about their emotional closeness and finances at different times in their relationship? Have their expectations about their roles changed over time? Do any women view the house and children as their domain and have trouble handing off control and responsibility to their male partners? What factors do the men cite as reasons for doing less housework and child care? Do both partners talk consciously about cultural expectations and traditional gender roles? How do men feel when they do what was formerly “women’s work”? That’s still a thing, right? Just like it’s a thing that many women still give the relationship reins to men and expect their male partner to propose, expect to have a princess wedding, etc.
If women want something different in terms of housework and child care, perhaps the most effective way to do that is to find partners that want something different, too. Or are there some other unidentified factors at work here?
Mary Bolton, Stillwater
Don’t force federal, local law clash
We are seeing, in Otter Tail County, like other rural counties in Minnesota, a stealth campaign directed at our local county government.
After the 2016 election, a misleading meme went out, claiming that Donald Trump won 3,084 of 3,141 counties in 2016. A “landslide” in counties is specious. (Opinion editor’s note: The ratio differs depending on the standards used to define a “county,” but the Associated Press tallies it at 2,626 counties for Trump to 487 for Hillary Clinton.)
Yet we are seeing a new effort to subvert representative government at that county level. Counties were first asked to refuse to accept refugees. Now it’s a resolution to declare “Second Amendment sanctuaries” (“More Minn. counties become gun ‘sanctuaries,’ ” Feb. 19).
Though some say such resolutions have no “teeth,” it’s as misleading as a county tally paraded as a popular vote. What the organizers intend is a county-by-county insurrection, with the hope of upending state law and the legitimate legislative process.
Rural voters, do you want tax dollars diverted to sue the government over an interpretation of the Second Amendment (as was resolved in Wadena County)? Or to have your children or lake property situated within a haven where gun owners with violent records, already known by law enforcement, are encouraged to break state and federal laws?
Such resolutions are not simply symbolic. They intend to further disrupt, confuse and overwhelm the existing governmental processes. Otter Tail County has declined to be stampeded over this particular issue until officials receive advice from the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. But it’s a tactic that needs to be confronted. Our commissioners take an oath to support the Constitution and state laws. They need to be able to do their work without such political diversions.
Deb Wallwork, Dent, Minn.
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