I was born in 1953, the year the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, signaling an end to the three-year Korean War. However, the Korean conflict has continued for the extent of my now 64 years. This situation, which has become dire with the escalation of nuclear capabilities and threats by North Korea, has demonstrated the utter failure of post-World War II American foreign policy in East Asia, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. This collective failure has left the world to witness a battle between two impulsive leaders with a chip on their shoulders: Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.
Ironically, it may be China that brings North Korea to heel, unless North Korean leadership proves entirely irrational. In the meantime, I think it’s time to dust off another namesake of my childhood — the history of the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
John Mehring, Minneapolis
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Neither Trump nor Kim seems to remember Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Bikini and ultimately Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’m 90 years old, and I remember.
Are these two ready to loose atomic war on this fragile globe we call Earth?
Trump could take a much more positive approach to the North Korean threat. Send hundreds of drones over North Korea and drop bread, milk and oranges on the starving villagers. In their own language, drop leaflets that tell them that the U.S. is not a threat but that it wants to help the people of North Korea.
That would be a truly gutsy move, a heroic stance on the part of the American president.
Lois K. Gibson, Minneapolis
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You won’t hear them, but the drums for another war with North Korea are beating, but they now have a “tinny” sound, as in “tin-pot dictators.” Scaremongering stories that its missiles can now reach the U.S. territory of Guam (basically a military island) are now invading the journalistic community as front-page news. These stories — mostly propaganda — ignore the facts that a long-range missile would take about 30 minutes to reach Alaska or Guam, plenty of time for detection, destruction and retaliation.
North Korea is under heavy pressure from neighboring China to avoid any action that would invite retaliation that also would affect nearby countries. Massive retaliation also would destroy our ally — South Korea, an undesirable “collateral damage.”
Will the Star Tribune help spread the war hawks’ propaganda, or will it resist and supply readers with analytic and real news?
Ray Ruthenberg, Shoreview
SEX TRADE IN MINNESOTA
I don’t see how it’s illuminative that buyers are white, middle-aged
In the front-page article “New crackdown on Minnesota sex trade” (Aug. 9), the first sentence notes that customers are “often white, middle-aged and married men.” Further in, the article lists additional demographics regarding income, race, etc. At at glance, the demographic mix of the “johns” appears to mimic the demographic mix of the state — 70 percent white, 50 percent married, most between 30 and 60 years of age, etc. Nowhere does the article note the demographic mix of the pimps or the people who enlist and support the exploitation of those in the trade. Once again, it appears that the Star Tribune has an agenda in search of an article.
If the point is that the sex trade is bad and that there is an effort against it, why is the newspaper stressing that the johns are white and middle-aged? And why doesn’t the article also list the demographics of the sex workers and the pimps? If the demographics had not been listed at all, the article’s point would have been made. Why is it a shock that 70 percent of the customers would be white when 70 percent of the population of the state is white?
Patricia Landers, Maplewood
Placement of top-jobs article was an example of subtle sexism
Yes, why aren’t there more women in top jobs? Subtle sexism accounts for part of it. Case in point: Did it occur to the team at the Star Tribune, when sitting around the table deciding what articles to put where in the Aug. 9 issue, that the placement of this article is an example? It’s in the Variety section, next to an article about beer drinking and Joe Sixpack, continued on page E3 next to an article about and a big picture of bobbleheads.
Yes, it is subtle, but this kind of subtle sexism does contribute to perceptions about why women “don’t quite make it.” Many human biases are subconscious. Examples like this contribute to those subconscious biases, albeit unintended.
Rebecca Fuller, Woodbury
Don’t glorify binge drinking
Regarding “Drink. Run. Repeat.” (Aug. 9): I was disappointed to see the glorification of binge drinking (four beers in as little as five minutes) and vomiting on the public street (“You’ll still see the elite guys throw up”). It sounds a lot like a twisted form of fraternity hazing, which is widely deplored, and for good reason. Just fun? Just stupid!
Elizabeth Dienhart, Minnetonka
Thoughts on classroom supplies, math education these days
Just a quick thought on the Aug. 9 commentary regarding the financial commitment of teachers to ensure that all students are ready to learn (“If teachers stopped buying supplies …”). It has always been my contention that, until teachers resist investing personal funds for their classrooms, school districts will rely on teachers to fill in the gaps created by districts’ insufficient classroom budgets. Because teachers, for the most part, care that all students are prepared to learn, they, in good conscience, provide what the local boards do not. It is a delicate balance, but teachers must “force the hand” of governing bodies to adequately support student learning.
Susan Nudell Kalin, Minneapolis
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This dinosaur can tell you why math scores are dropping (“Scores in reading, math fail to budge,” Aug. 8). I tutored algebra, geometry and trig for 25 years, and I could see the handwriting on the wall as a number of factors started creeping (dare I say stealing) in. We now have a fuzzy, existential, holistic math curriculum developed by academics. There are no textbooks but only tablet-based text with few examples and fewer homework problems. Kids are now doing their homework calculations on the tablet touch screen, unable to show their work clearly or in detail. There is no requirement to show the teacher their work in pencil and paper, so students don’t learn the discipline of housekeeping (read: neatness) on their calculations; all are important when you get into calculus and linear algebra. We have graphing calculators that do their thinking for them; no more plotting points and generating lines on graph paper to get an understanding of how this really works. And, worst of all, we provide calculators in third and fourth grade so kids become arithmetically crippled, forgetting how to do simple arithmetic in their heads.
Over the years, I had several otherwise bright 10th- and 11th-graders who could not divide by 10 because they were dependent on their calculators. The list goes on. Math is hard for many of these kids because we are not making them do the hard work up front, giving them an organized grounding in the mechanics of math.
Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park