It should be fought with any engine possible


The Boundary Waters fire is huge and it should be fought as such, every way possible. We have advanced from the fire wagon pulled by horses to wilderness-trained firefighters and huge planes that dump tons of water.

Even though this is a protected wilderness area, we should not go back to pioneer days of transporting with canoes. If it is OK and legal to use motorized snowmobiles in certain situations, then there is no reason why a Huey helicopter can't drop motorized boats into back lakes not accessible by other means.


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Reverse the situation, and how would it play?


I was relieved to see the commentary in today's paper (Sept. 16) about the life and death of Ped Phanthavong, the victim of the hit-and-run accident involving Amy Senser. I have no connection with the Phanthavong family, the True Thai restaurant or the Senser family, but since the beginning it has seemed to me that the media have handled the Sensers with kid gloves.

I realize Joe Senser is one of theirs, but it has been disturbing that so many media people (both newspaper and radio) seem to feel that the tragedy was for the Sensers. Immediately following the news that Amy Senser was driving the car alleged to be involved in the incident, commentators on WCCO Radio duly expressed their concern and support for the family -- the Senser family, that is.

Since then, what little media coverage has existed has been presented almost entirely from the perspective of the accused perpetrator, not the victim. (Even the headline in the commentary about Ped called it the "Senser story.")

Yes, I have some sympathy for Amy Senser and her family, but this poor man died needlessly and tragically. Can you imagine the difference in tone of the coverage had it been Joe Senser's wife who was run down and killed by the side of the road by a first-generation immigrant who fled the scene?


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Start by defining the the terms of the debate


In recent years, attacks against homosexuality have become less overt. People have learned that shouting vicious things and physically attacking people are no longer effective ways to win support for the antigay cause, so they mask their hate in seemingly innocent statements.

As both the Rev. James Livingston (in his Sept. 12 article) and Donna M. Ferber (in her letter to the editor on Sept. 15) have done. To quote Ferber, "one may support traditional marriage and still care about those with same-sex attraction."

What is frightening is how casually homosexuality is referred to as if it were some type of condition. As a gay man, I can assure you that it is not. I can also assure you that you cannot be for gay rights or care about gay people and be against gay marriage. That's not how it works.

Just because you don't use hateful words doesn't mean you are not a bigot. I'm sure there were a lot of people in the early 1960s who said things like, "It's not that I have anything against African-Americans, I just don't think they should be able to vote."

I think we can all agree that is a bigoted statement. If you think that homosexuals do not deserve a fundamental human right, you are a bigot, even if you think that you are not. Being polite about hate is still hate.


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I have been following the recent discussion in the paper about homosexual relationships with some interest, because of my fealty to the church, and was excited once Livingston weighed in. As I have been following the disccourse, I have noticed a fundamental flaw.

The problem, as I see it, is that there really is not an argument happening here; rather, two groups of people are talking past each other and calling foul. In order for there to be any real discussion, there first must be some shared axioms and agreed-upon first principles, which I fear are not present and thus no real dialogue can commence.

Perhaps we should turn this debate to several more fundamental problems, including, but not exclusive to, what are our ethical foundations for our positions in this debate and what is our metaphysics (if any) to support these claims. Only once we have done this can a rational debate on this topic commence.

Now turning to support Livingston: We must look at his position in light of the rest of his moral claims. He cited, and justly so, that natural law is the foundation of Catholic morality.

Now, if you are going to critique him for his position, either do so on his own terms, testing for internal consistency, or argue against natural law. Neither has occurred in this forum in any concise and substantial manner. In regard to his consistency, his claims of chastity apply to all people and make no exemption.



On generosity, humor and proper grammar


Some people insist we raise taxes on the wealthy because it is our duty as a society to care for those less fortunate. But the Bible asks that we give of ourselves to help others. There is nothing noble in being generous with someone else's money.


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James Lileks' piece on Missoni ("What does a run on Missoni say about us," Sept. 16) was not funny; it was not very funny; it was exceptionally funny! Thanks!


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There are many serious and sobering things in today's world. Do trivial subjects from cranky old men still count? It may be accepted because of use, but it still is an irritant to see in your editorial-page writings, sports pages (Reusse take note) and just about every other page, the phrases "if I was", "if it was" -- was-was-was. Perhaps the Strib is not considered formal, but it would be nice to see "if I were," "if it were" -- were-were-were. Signed: Cranky old guy from Robbydale.