Protesters' message to General Mills

Recently, I was one of the many protesters outside the General Mills corporate offices and spoke to the company's vice president of communications. I asked why a company like his would ever come out with a statement against the marriage amendment. His response was that the issue had been thought about for some time. My view is that when the media asked the company to state its position on this issue quite often, then monthly, then weekly, the company succumbed to the pressure and made this uninformed statement.

Psychologists have proven that a boy child will develop his identity from his mother and a girl from her father. This is so important for our children, our future society and for America.

On a related note: Because our society is now plagued with bullies in the schools, and the problem seems insurmountable, I picked up the book "The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander," by Barbara Coloroso. It seems to me that General Mills has become the bullied and the media is the bully.

So many people in this democracy believe in the strong foundation of a marriage between a man and a woman; it is incomprehensible that a large company that markets many of its products to children would choose this position.

A company should be interested in a good product and sales. It can make all the cereals and products it wants, but if there are no buyers, it will fail. General Mills, please choose mother, father, children in the future.


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Pressure will ease when reality sinks in

"And no one knows when the budget pressure will ease," claims a front-page article ("Cities and counties cut jobs by thousands," July 1).

Really? Budget pressures will ease either when people start paying for the goods and services they want or when they stop wanting things they don't pay for. I can't acquire a tube of toothpaste without paying for it. I expect my electricity to be cut off if I stop paying the bill. I don't expect government to be able to provide for my safety, security and livability for free, either.

We have choices. The no-more-taxes crowd can choose to put up with untrimmed trees, closed libraries and fewer police. The I-want-more-services bunch can vote for legislators who will raise taxes to pay for valued goods and services. The pie-in-the-sky coterie can hope that a soon-to-come prosperity provides enough revenue to fund all desired services. But whatever your choice, you all surely know "when the budget pressure will ease."


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The July 2 editorial "Closing skills gap is a business priority" suggests an encouraging collaboration between the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and the business community to better prepare students for the employment world. Especially heartening is that "employers want workers who have not only the technical knowledge, but foundational skills such as problem-solving; the ability to work in teams, and creative, innovative thinking." (Presumably, reading, writing and math are assumed.) This is all at the heart of the mission of a public school system. But who pays for it (not mentioned in the editorial)?

Should training in specific skills that a particular business needs be charged to the taxpayer, or to the business involved? Public schools have a long history of teaching work skills that provide for the public good (teacher, doctors, nurses), but the consensus that we should all pay taxes (individuals as well as businesses, more or less equitably shared) to adequately fund this service has severely broken down in Minnesota, in no small part due to the antitax movement, often with the support of the business community.


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Voter ID

One state's woes aren't enough to dissuade

The July 2 article "Missouri offers tutorial for Minnesota in photo ID battle" left a lot to be desired. It cherry-picked one state out of 32 with voter ID laws.

The National Legislative League website breaks down the 32 laws into four categories: Strict photo ID; photo ID; strict nonphoto ID, and nonstrict, nonphoto ID.

It appears to me that the Star Tribune picked Missouri specifically to attempt to convince Minnesotans that Missouri has had a multitude of legal issues with its law and that therefore Minnesota should not institute a photo ID law.

How about an article talking about the nine states with strict photo ID laws that are operating without apparent legal issues or constraints? Explain how those laws differ from Minnesota's proposal and whether that could lead to legal problems or if in fact it could be expected to survive legal challenges.


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Water has this way of moving things

The environmental consequences of the Duluth flood are now visible in Lake Superior ("Flood's mud clouds Lake Superior," June 28). While it is impossible for humans to predict natural catastrophes, such events should garner support for measures to avoid public health disasters. Unprecedented amounts of sediment and bacteria, along with harmful and nasty pollutants and contaminants, threaten both the marine ecosystem of the area and the water supply. Imagine how much more disastrous this flood could have been if large amounts of sulfuric acid runoff from the proposed sulfide mining near Ely were added to the already toxic mixture stirring about in Lake Superior?

The bad land-swap bill going through Congress that would open up 86,000 acres of Superior National Forest to mining companies engaging in risky sulfide mining threatens public health and northeastern Minnesota's pristine waterways. Jobs and education dollars mean nothing if the water is making people sick and if their land is unsuitable for living.