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The Star Tribune special report "Broken promises, shattered dreams" (June 16) details the problems faced by workers when the employing company goes bankrupt. The quandary in which the workers find themselves is caused in part by the federal bankruptcy code and the judges who liberally enforce it.

American policy is kind to debtors who face insurmountable debt and seeks to give those debtors a chance to start anew. State laws also help debtors by granting limitations on the enforcement of judgments. A recent example: Minnesota legislative efforts to protect surviving spouses from having to pay medical bills incurred by the other spouse as well as other relief from medical creditors.

For many, if not most, bankruptcy does give folks a chance at a new start without leaving them destitute. But for employees of bankrupt businesses, bankruptcy of the employer can be a disaster, as in the stories related in this article. The meatpacking plant went bankrupt, the lawyers will be paid handsomely, the secured creditors will get relief, but the employees will get little or nothing.

A recent letter writer challenged the DFL to do something about these issues ("Put some DFL muscle into this," Readers Write, June 16), but federal law governs bankruptcy. Changes in the bankruptcy code must be made by Congress, and that seems remote.

John D. Sens, Savage


I just read the feature "Broken promises, shattered dreams." I have worked in the farm industry for over 40 years and have experiences with many migrant people. It is truly a travesty to all the migrants/those who want to be immigrants and families who sacrificed their entire lives to make the trip. All they want is a better place to live and family security. But what our politicians on both sides want to do is stop them from coming as a matter of votes. Votes for either party, which are protecting the union or playing on the fear of crime. This has been going on for centuries with my and your ancestors.

Please depoliticize this issue. Migrants want a better life. We need workers. We need taxpayers. We want good people living here supporting schools and churches and paying taxes. They want security. Yes, there may be a few who want to "sneak in." But imagine your great-great grandparents' plight. Remember this is the land of opportunity. The land of the free. Welcome them. Do not restrict or stop them — welcome them.

Please, Star Tribune, take the effort to look into to real issues — not the political ramifications of either. Do what is right and damn the torpedoes — tell the true story. We have been consecutive subscribers for over 40 years. You have the ability and responsibility to this state to tell the real story. Describe the real path of these wonderful families who need and want a safe, law-abiding, better life for them and their children.

Nicholas Virgil Kunkel, Ramsey


Don't trust that packaging

Karen Tolkkinen's experience of moving to a farm and learning to grow and raise her own food was entertaining ("Big adjustment to rural living: Food," June 13). However, I was surprised by her faith in our modern food system. "I trusted grocery store food in its plastic packaging, assuming that food companies employed experts and sanitary processes to ensure that it was safe." A growing body of research into plastics have found that the chemicals that give plastic its magical, and seemingly sanitary, properties don't stay in the plastic. They leach into whatever comes in contact with it. Just recently, a team from Consumer Reports came to Minnesota to share a petition with General Mills regarding toxic plastic chemicals, phthalates, found at concerning levels in Cheerios, Yoplait yogurt, Progresso soup and Annie's ravioli. In fact, the ravioli had the highest level of phthalates in all of the 85 products that Consumer Reports tested.

Phthalates are linked to severe health issues, from diabetes to cardiovascular disease. They are not something you want in your food, especially kid favorites. General Mills is aware now and its response should be to examine its manufacturing process and packaging to find out where phthalates are being introduced and eliminate them. Complying with weak federal regulations is not enough.

We all want to be able to trust that our grocery store food is safe. Food manufacturers, like General Mills, dedicate a lot of resources to develop their products. They should add a step to test the final product to make sure no unintended plastic chemicals have come along for the ride.

Lori Olinger, North Oaks


Keep postponing the battle

Regarding "Betting foes were set; battle never came" (June 17): I'm glad sports betting didn't pass the Legislature this year. We have enough ways in which corruption enters into the sports world already. And enough ways that people get sucked into addictive, unhelpful behaviors. We shouldn't have to make our state budgets on the backs of the unlucky.

Len Freeman, Long Lake


Negotiation is for the willing

I appreciate the logic in the June 15 letter to the editor "A much better rescue strategy" about getting the hostages back to Israel. The scale of our diplomacy should at least match the scale of our military efforts. But tell me how this works in the Middle East. It is not as if negotiations have not been ongoing. Unfortunately, the warring parties both act as if time is on their side as they mull over offers of a cease-fire, sometimes for weeks, while the shooting and killing continues. Removing military aid to Israel puts at risk the survival of a longtime U.S. ally when we consider that most other states in the region agree with Hamas that the elimination of the state of Israel is a primary goal.

I have great respect for the ongoing efforts of diplomacy in this region and hope for a truce or at least a cease-fire. But the parties at war must have more respect for their dying comrades than for their ancient ideologies for diplomacy to work. Sadly, these hard-edged ideologies have left no room for peace.

Donald Narr, Crystal


The letter writer lamenting Israel's rescue of four hostages in Gaza ("A much better rescue strategy") provides a vivid example of the moral rot infesting the current "pro-peace" movement. The writer mourns the loss of life resulting from the rescue operation, yet places the onus solely on Israel. A casual reader might wonder: How did Hamas come to have hostages in the first place? Why were they being held in populated areas (and in the home of a journalist who wrote for Al Jazeera, no less)? Why are we accepting the premise that holding hostages is itself a reasonable position that is to be negotiated, like a used car? And what should Israel do when the other end of the table refuses to accept anything short of its total destruction? The failure to ask these questions, let alone grapple with them, reveals a worldview long present in the world — that Jewish life is expendable.

Alas, the time of the Jew simply rolling over to die has long since passed. Perhaps when our letter writer and others come to accept this will we see the peace he supposedly seeks.

Judah Druck, St. Louis Park