Do the debates really matter that much?


It's important to remember that within days after President Obama was elected, the defeated party stated that it would work to make sure he was a one-term president. This was party politics at its worst, and was undertaken with no concern about the potential impact on the country.

Republicans have been at least partly successful in this effort, and they intend to complete their strategy by blaming all the country's problems on Obama. It's as simple as that. I for one do not intend be taken in by their plan, and instead intend to punish the current Congress for supporting it.


• • •

Pundits seem to have settled on "crisp" to describe Mitt Romney's debate performance on Wednesday. Unless that's a new synonym for "evasive," I don't get it. We are electing a president, not a Pringles potato chip.


* * *


Bodies wear out, as do automobiles


In an article about Medicare's fining hospitals for readmissions, Dr. John Santa suggests that medical care should have guarantees similar to car warranties ("Penalties under new health care law are meant to improve care, save money," Oct. 1).

He fails to recognize that most warranties are on new cars, right out of the factory. In contrast, as emergency-room physicians, my partners and I provide care for many people with chronic health problems whose bodies are wearing out. Not every problem can be fixed; many can only be managed until the inevitable end of life. If a patient has a failing heart on admission, he or she has the same failing heart on discharge, just perhaps with symptoms better-controlled.

In addition, doctors are not the sole determinants of good outcomes. We see patients who continue to practice unhealthful behaviors, such as patients with emphysema who go home to smoke. Some patients are noncompliant with the medication regimen prescribed for them. Other are adamant to return to their own homes, even when the care team has suggested that they should be placed in a higher level of care. When they then are unable to manage their care in their own home, they return to the hospital.

We will continue to care for any patient who for any reason needs further care, and will do our best to maximize quality of life, but please don't expect that we can "warranty" a perfect body.


* * *


Don't destroy this musical gem


The artists of the superb Minnesota Orchestra have historically delivered their product (transcendent classical music) with honesty, integrity, truth, transparency and clarity, to critical acclaim. I am fed up and disgusted that both audience (the consumer) and players are being held hostage to the management (the retailers) in this contract negotiation. Why can't the board (the economists) comprehend the destruction they are wreaking and deliver with the same integrity and transparency as the musicians?


• • •

As former music directors of the Minnesota Orchestra, we came to the state because we believe that it wants and deserves to have a world-class orchestra.

We are proud of the cultural gem we have built, with the musicians, for more than half a century. It required long and careful work to assemble a championship team, person by person, always building on a vision of superb music-making.

This legacy can be swiftly destroyed, a tragedy not only for lovers of great music, but for the cultural soul and significance of the region.

An orchestra does not recover easily, from such drastic cuts, if ever. We urge the Minnesota Orchestral Association to do everything in its power to preserve this longstanding jewel.


* * *


Long-dead Luther as a voter factor?


Modern-day Martin Luthers may be featured on "vote no" commercials, but the Archbishop John Nienstedt speaks for the Catholic Church, and no one should mistake the loud opinions of a few dissenters for the voice of Truth.


• • •

Matt Birk seems to be intelligent and wrote a well-thought-out response to the same-sex-marriage issue. However, his main point really is -- I don't like it, so it affects my family. I'm not sure whether he is a Republican or not, but this is the typical position for Republicans on many social issues.

I don't like gay marriage, gay sex, birth control, etc; so ban them. These things have no real impact on these people, but others should not have access to them. On the other hand, if a someone's business pollutes our water or air or causes cancer, don't stop them, because they are "creating jobs." How sad.


* * *


Why attack a job creator?


How surprising to see Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills attacking a successful Minnesota business with six automobile dealerships (Walser Automotive Group). Paul Walser, a well-known Republican and community leader, doesn't deserve a tongue-lashing from Bills. The reality is that Walser and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar fought hard to save countless jobs in this state. Hard to imagine why Bills wants to be known as an antibusiness candidate.