SEN. AL FRANKEN
Stop snickering and start taking him seriously
Conservative Republicans, happy to distract Minnesotans from a discussion of real issues, have successfully trained your newspaper to never mention the new U.S. senator without referring to his distant past in comedy and therefore questioning his legitimacy.
Good job, if you're a Republican spinmeister. But the rest of us who want the Star Tribune to engage Minnesota seriously on the issues resent that tired politically pandering reference. Why don't you stop belittling your newspaper and this state and get serious?
WILLIAM PAPPAS, STILLWATER
So our comedian-turned-senator, after five days in office, sees fit to lecture the conservative members of the Supreme Court for their "activism." Why am I not proud?
ED NELSON, OTTERTAIL, MINN.
EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT
A power grab that
will hurt all Americans
George McGovern recently came out against the so-called Employee Free Choice Act. He said "After listening to all the arguments and reviewing the facts on both sides the EFCA would eliminate an employee's right to a private vote when deciding to join a union. Today's union leaders are turning their backs on democratic workplace elections."
In 2001, 16 Democrats sent a letter to Mexican labor officials urging them to retain their use of the secret ballot, saying, "We feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose." Today 11 of those same Democrats remain in Congress and are supporting a bill that will strip Americans of those very same rights!
Congressional Democrats and the union leadership are so concerned with expanding their power that they do so at the expense of their own members. By supporting issues like the EFCA, illegal immigration and excessive taxation, they rob all Americans of jobs, income and security.
RICHARD O'BRIEN, BURNSVILLE
They belie justification for Teach for America
Your June 13 front-page article "Layoffs put new teachers in a tougher spot this year" states that Minnesota grants some 10,000 new teaching licenses each year. It further states that an estimated 500 to 800 licensed teachers lost their jobs this year and that many of these are "some of the youngest, most promising educators" in the system.
So explain to me again why it's a good thing that unlicensed and inexperienced "teachers" from Teach for America will be in our schools this fall?
ESTHER SCHAK, MINNEAPOLIS
Thanks and admiration to Hennepin employees
As a former (retired) employee of Hennepin County, I would like to commend the approximately 3,895 employees who volunteered to take time off without pay to ease the budget crisis in Hennepin County. I know many of you have family obligations and maybe some hardships of your own. I am sure the county administrators appreciate your generosity. You have my admiration.
JUANITA DUSS, RICHFIELD
PROPOSED BAN ON SMOKING
Combat pressure without tobacco?
I've read that the Pentagon wants to ban smoking in the military for health reasons. I think banning war would be much more effective.
GINNY JONES, EDINA
If the politicians sincerely want to ban tobacco use for soldiers in the military, they should include themselves and all government employees, whether federal, state or local. While we are at it, anybody on any type of government assistance should not be left out.
ROD SHOBER, PLYMOUTH
Those who thought up this policy change should be forced, at least for 10 days, to live among our brave men and women doing battle, wear the same heavy outfit, trek through dust in unbearable heat, sleep in foxholes and risk their lives, limbs and sanity for all of us. So then along comes the government to inform them: Due to the health hazard that smoking presents, it is now banned!
I am a nonsmoker, but I find this is truly absurd.
BARBARA S. THOMPSON, SAVAGE
There's still time to confront Kissinger
Regarding the July 11 Letter of the Day, "With the death of McNamara, no one will answer for Vietnam": Unfortunately, that seems to be true; however, Henry Kissinger should bear every bit as much blame as Robert McNamara. When Richard Nixon and Kissinger came to power they could easily have ended that criminal venture, but they chose instead to go ahead and win it. Their Christmas bombing of Hanoi was as immoral as anything done in the entire war.
BRUCE KITTILSON, GOLDEN VALLEY