Hatred, threats have no place in a civil society

I am appalled at the behavior of those who felt it necessary to send death threats to some politicians ("Lawmakers face threats over votes on health care," March 26). It is one thing to use our freedom of speech in intelligent protest, but death threats only highlight the ignorance that is plaguing our country.

As a future social worker and intern at Children's Hospital and Clinics, I see firsthand the devastating effects of our nation's broken health care system.

Thank goodness some people in Washington have the integrity to do what is right.


• • •

Will the combined law enforcement agencies of federal, state and local governments pursue the organizers and participants in violence against health care supporters with the same tenacity that they pursued protesters at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul?

Will there be prison time for those who are inciting violence, making threats and breaking windows?

Let's hope so.


• • •

With every racial epithet hurled, every homophobic rant, every window smashed, every death threat made and every hate-filled outburst from a legislator, I am reminded of why I left the Republican Party 45 years ago.


Alzheimer's care

Devastating disease needs good facilities

Regarding the widespread objections by Woodbury residents to a proposed Alzheimer's care facility in their midst ("A case of the NIMBYs: Is it spreading?" March 26): The ignorance and fear behind these objections are unfathomable.

It is 2010, and Alzheimer's has touched millions of families. Yet Woodbury looks at a proposed Alzheimer's facility with the same disdain reserved for jails, massage parlors or X-rated video stores?

So, Woodbury, a couple of questions: Do you really not want to add to your tax base in this recession? Would you really like the proposed site to continue to be occupied by an ugly, idle and empty building? Is your unemployment rate so low that you can forgo the 100 or so jobs this facility would provide? Have you ever been to a memory care facility?

What exactly is the source of your fear?

Many of your citizens will need to depend on such a facility for their families. As a child of a parent who spent six years in such a facility, trust me when I say that when this happens, you'll definitely want a high-quality facility near you.


tcf bank stadium

Be consistent about drunken driving

Hurray to University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks for holding the line on allowing no alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium. Shame on Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, for thinking only of the revenue that alcohol would bring to the U ("Stadium alcohol issue is retapped," March 24).

We all know that alcohol kills. Do we want a lot of people out on the roads after a big game endangering others?

Our legislators talk out of one side of their mouths, saying that we have to address drunken driving by requiring Breathalyzer devices in cars, then propose selling alcohol at the stadium to make money.

Let's all stand up against drunken driving.


grain belt beer

'Nordeast' insulting to northeast Minneapolis

It is extraordinarily unfortunate, and a big error on the part of the August Schell Brewery, to have named its new beer Grain Belt Nordeast ("Prost! Grain Belt Nordeast will be on tap in Nordeast," March 24).

As was pointed out, many people consider the word "Nordeast" to be pejorative.

It is an insult to the early settlers on the east side of Minneapolis. They were immigrants from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and were learning to speak English, and often had difficulties with pronunciations.

Times have changed, and phrasing from a bygone era should be forgotten.


dirt or soil

What's in a word? Perception of value

In the recent Opinion Exchange column on dirt ("Ever think about dirt? You should," March 24), John M. Crisp addressed major food security and environmental concerns in his review of "Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations," by David R. Montgomery.

Unfortunately, the negative connotation of using an unclean word like "dirt," instead of the beautiful word "soil" (the term preferred by soil scientists) creates an educational dilemma. Using "dirt" to grab readers' attention is understandable, but we must learn to treat the soil with the respect it deserves.

After all, our survival depends on soil as our primary source of food and the fundamental foundation of our environmental quality, and even a major component of our national security.

Our ability to produce sufficient food for an expanding population and, at the same time, protect the environment demands a comprehensive understanding of the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils.

As early as 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself."

Add a little farm philosophy: Everything we get from our food starts from the soil and the sun.

It is time to treat our soils with the respect they deserve.