Taxing legal services

The perfect definition of a misery tax

Reports that both the Minnesota Senate and the House are considering a sales tax on legal services should not obscure the fact that this is truly a misery tax — a tax on people who, through no fault of their own, are seeking to protect their rights through the legal system.

Forcing those who use the legal system to pay for that system is not fair. All of us benefit from the “rule of law,” but a sales tax on legal services discriminates against those who have to seek the protection of that law. It’s like asking only the families of children in schools to pay for our education system. We support the school system with property taxes and money from the general fund because we realize that a strong educational system benefits all of us.

Michael J. Ford, St. Cloud; president, Minnesota State Bar Association

'The Pink Zone’

Is this how the Strib views young women?

There are so many things in the April 10 article “The Pink Zone” that made me cringe and curse. I am sick of females being put into a pink-obsessed category that thrives on free drinks, “blaring pop music and push-up bras.” The Star Tribune succeeds in veiling the college nightlife of drunken debauchery and often regrettable hookups with a cutesy “oh-my-God-let’s-be-just-like-Carrie-Bradshaw” cover and feeds harmful stereotypes by proclaiming the Playboy Bunny the “ultimate symbol of femininity.” You’re kidding, right?

I walked away from this article with this irritating summary: We ladies should just “live a little” and find a place where we can get wasted on the cheap, blur our vision along with our self-respect, get “scantily clad” for the “gentlemanly crowd” and revel in the trashy “charm” of Ladies Night, because after all, at places like Jersey’s, they got stripper poles!

Karla Meyers, St. Paul

War with Islam

Tolerance is best defense against hate

An April 9 letter writer (“Obama on Islam / He is forgetting recent history”) asserts that “We may not be at war with Islam, but Islam is decidedly at war with us.”

This is precisely the attitude that fuels misconceptions and breeds hatred. I am one of the millions of American Muslims living here peacefully and productively, who, along with billions of other Muslims all over the world, love and want peace, tolerance and freedom in the world.

It is with a spirit of kindness and brotherhood that I ask the letter writer to not hate us all and paint us all with one brush. Is he inseparable from the extremists and nutcases misusing their religions?

Breeding more hatred is what the author should be sick and tired of.

Zainib Ahmad, Lino Lakes

•••

The April 9 letter writer who says that Islam is at war with us he spent 20 years defending our country and is sick of appeasing terrorists. Two people that frequently comes to mind when I hear or read this narrow view of the world are Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh, both veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

On April 19, 1995, less than six-and-a-half years before 9/11, McVeigh and Nichols committed what was, at that time, the most brutal act of terrorism on U.S. soil. Should we declare war on all veterans?

Of course, that is ludicrous. So is declaring war on an entire religion because of a splintered few.

Paul Bruesch, Stillwater

Obama’s Closed eyes

His trip to Europe was all about appeasement

I believe President Obama can be compared to the Greek god Janus, who was to be able to see both the past and the future. Unfortunately, the president keeps his eyes closed to the past.

What we have witnessed is the Obama European Apology Tour. All we see is how the “youths” of the world love him. This is fine because youths are the future.

But why doesn’t anyone dare to question him? We need real answers to real questions, and all we see from this administration is appeasement.

Tom Kaye, Blaine

Broken elections?

The place to fix them is the Capitol, not court

The Star Tribune’s April 8 editorial, “Coleman’s charges need court’s answer,” correctly argues that every legitimate vote should be counted. But, the best way to prevent these types of problems is not through the current legal process, which can only address issues on a case-by-case basis, but through reforms passed at the Legislature that will strengthen our election system.

The Legislature and governor should support early voting and a modernized registration system as a way to ensure all votes are counted. Reforms are currently moving through the legislative process to enact both.

Voters are looking for more convenient ways to vote, and the current absentee ballot process is obviously confusing. If we moved to an early voting system, it would allow voters and election officials to address issues on the spot (such as registration questions), and voters would have the peace of mind of knowing that their ballot was actually counted. Hopefully partisan games won’t get in the way of this sensible reform.

Mike Dean, Minneapolis; executive director, Common Cause Minnesota