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'Smashed' series should produce results

Good going! The Star Tribune published a very worthy, informative and hopefully action-producing series about the scourge of the highways, the drunken driver ("Minnesota vs. deadly DWIs: Who's winning?" April 14).

Why has our state in comparison with other states been so lax and minimal as to be without a minimum sentence? True, we are known as "Minnesota nice." But to be gentle with those who kill or maim innocent people on the highways because of drunk driving is not being "Minnesota nice," it's being "Minnesota stupid" by protecting against adequate punishment.

As a defender of drunken drivers earlier in my law career, I got so turned off by the mentality that it caused me to say "no more" in defending them. Now, as a retired attorney, I can only look in disgust that so little has been done over so long a period of years.


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There is no proof that saturation patrols are less effective than sobriety checkpoints. It is, in fact, very much the opposite. For example, in 2007 West Virginia and Virginia saturation patrols made 20 and 24 times more arrests than checkpoints, respectively.

Because they are highly visible by design and publicized in advance, checkpoints are all too easily avoided by the chronic alcohol abusers who make up the core of today's drunken driving problem.

Minnesota is smart to put its resources into saturation patrols instead of ineffective checkpoints.


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Well, Minnesotans, this one is easy. Get off your political horses, stop dithering and deal with our poor, insufficient drunken driving laws.



City should lead, not lag, green movement

I am totally frustrated by the fact that the city of Minneapolis has managed to obtain a three-year pass on complying with the new "green" recyclable yard waste bag rule ("Don't get left holding the wrong bag," April 13).

That's almost 30 percent of the population of Hennepin County being exempt.

The reasoning is almost too comical to comprehend: Namely, that the city needs the time to get yard and food waste carts in place.

But even more stunning is that the city needs to find an organic recycler, which currently does not exist, that is licensed to accept and handle the waste from city residents.

Why can't the residents comply with the new rules until the long-term requirements can be satisfied?

Share the responsibility for going green.


early education

Invest now, or pay later

I heartily concur with your editorial on early education ("Early ed: Don't cut programs that work," April 13).

"Invest in children" is not an empty slogan, but an economic imperative. Quality preschool has been shown to yield a whopping 16 percent return on investment. The fact that it's increasingly available only to affluent children isn't merely an injustice; it's a threat to societal prosperity.

We can develop our "human capital" now, or we can spend exponentially more incarcerating people 18 or 20 years down the road.

Even for a family of relative privilege -- a two-parent household with a stable income -- early childhood and family education is a godsend.

The early childhood family education program was a sanity-saver and, perhaps at times, even a life-saver for my husband and me. It truly helped keep us healthy and functional as a family, and certainly helped prepare our children to enjoy and excel in school. For families on the edge, programming such as this is even more critical.

If we turn our backs on research demonstrating the importance of early childhood education, the costs may not be felt for several years, but they will be measurable and significant.


michele bachmann

Rally tally shows she's a true fiscal conservative

So Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., spent $13,600 of taxpayer money to reach 10,000 attendees ("Tempest hits Tea Party rally," April 14).

That's about $1.36 per listener. Meanwhile, the Democrats spent $9,000 to reach several hundred, or about $15 per listener.

Who really deserves the divisive headlines for wasting the taxpayers' money?


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Why is it that there is fuss and criticism about Michele Bachmann spending $14,000 on a partisan program when President Obama jumps into his plane to fly to many distant cities just to make partisan speeches?

Does he consider the cost?