Reflecting this week on the accomplishments of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., it occurred to me that the Palestinians could learn a lot from MLK. Like blacks in the South during the era of Jim Crow, Palestinians are systematically oppressed in many ways. They have, for the most part, chosen the path not taken by the U.S. civil-rights movement, that of civil disobedience and passive resistance. Instead, they have chosen the path of armed resistance and terrorism. At a gut level, this choice is understandable, but it is strategically unwise. Particularly, in a contest with a Western, generally democratic Israeli government, they are unlikely to win over the hearts and minds of a Western culture that is itself increasingly feeling under attack by Islamic extremists. Without that support, there is unlikely to be enough Western support to make significant changes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Without that support, rockets and terrorism do not even remotely create a solution that brings justice to Palestinians. Palestinian leaders should consider the lessons of MLK and the American civil-rights movement. The analogy is by no means perfect, but that strategy is the only one that can possibly lead to justice for their cause.

Jeffrey Loesch, Minneapolis

Leadership choice is questionable, not wise

The Metropolitan Council has been a center of partisan controversy for months. Against that backdrop, our governor has nominated a hyperpartisan, inexperienced, 34-year-old "progressive," DFL-fundraising, union-serving spouse of the governor's chief of staff, and the Star Tribune Editorial Board (Jan. 20) thinks it a wise choice. In what universe is that appointment likely to build consensus on the problems and opportunities that face us?

Richard Morris, Wayzata

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Adam Duininck's appointment is odd. His history in the construction field before being on the Met Council is not reassuring, and neither is the length of time he has spent at this influential regional planning agency. Four years representing a small portion of the metro area along with his former job as executive director of WIN Minnesota, an organization that raises money for Democrats, does not bode well for unbiased approaches to the individual needs of our communities and the effects those decisions may have on the dynamics of our region.

Let's hope the state Senate takes a closer look at this appointment. Surely there must be someone on the council more qualified.

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover

Lots of love equals too many plastic bags

I just read the Jan. 20 letter denouncing the Star Tribune's put-down of Target for the retailer's Canadian experience and praising Target for its hometown giveback record. I totally agree with the letter writer that Target is a huge humanitarian company and very popular with locals. You can tell by all the shoppers walking the streets with red bull's-eye bags. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all those bags were biodegradable? Target, would you please switch to environmentally friendly bags? People will love you even more!

Jill R. Davis, St. Paul

Dayton's buffer plan is wise, forward-looking

Kudos to Gov. Mark Dayton for his farsighted proposal that a 50-foot (grass or similar) buffer be placed around all state waters, one "enforced by the DNR through aerial and other inspections" (Dennis Anderson column, Jan. 18). Living in farm country in southwestern Minnesota, I have often witnessed the dramatic positive impact that grass buffers make. As a naturalist-biologist by training, I recognize how all of life is connected. And, this winter, on drives through several of our southwestern counties, I have seen the ditches along plowed corn and soybean fields blackened right to the road from wind erosion. I shudder at the loss of topsoil, and the deleterious impact on our waters. If it is true, as the governor asserts, that "the water belongs to us all," then Minnesotans should support this proposal, not only for the sake of all creatures in our state, not only for our unsurpassed waterways, but for our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren.

Daniel Belgum-Blad, Atwater, Minn.

• • •

Dayton's proposal is huge — nothing short of daring, a move that conservationists have dreamed of forever. Watch many in the agricultural community, especially industrial ag interests now, as they rear up to fight back on this.

Some of the cabin owners who like to make their northern lake waterfronts look like Lake Minnetonka with mowed grass to the shore will likely be unhappy, too. Come to think of it, many Minnetonkans will as well, but I really don't think the goal is to focus on yard fronts. It is largely about the relationship between agriculture and our water resources.

Bill Brooks, St. Anthony

Helpful action on the business front

It was very encouraging to read about the innovative approach to dealing with the scourge of debt-trap payday loans as detailed in Neal St. Anthony's column about Sunrise Banks (Jan. 19). As noted in the article, the unregulated nonbank payday lenders operating in Minnesota charge annualized interest rates as high as 273 percent. Both the Minnesota House and Senate passed bills to reform these loan-sharking practices last year, but the legislation did not make it through the reconciliation process. Some of us will again ask our legislators to address these problematical loans in this session, but it is good to see the business community coming up with alternatives that might be both profitable and nonexploitative.

Mary Yee, Edina

Sorry — there is no plan B for the birds

A Jan. 20 letter asked who would be responsible if the 3M film did not work in preventing stadium bird deaths. The short answer: No one. There is no requirement that the glass be bird-friendly, and if the 3M fix does not work, it's not like they are going to tear out the glass and retrofit it with the fritted glass, which would obviously cost many times more than using it to begin with. The bird glass was not used because it would negatively affect the stadium design, its look and aesthetics, as well as the look and feel inside. The 3M film is a compromise, not a requirement.

While other steps will be taken to limit the birds' confusion, such as leaving some stadium lighting on at night, the fact of the matter is, right or wrong, it's the 3M film or nothing.

John G. Morgan, Burnsville