See more of the story

Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


I watched the Newport Jazz Festival performance of Joni Mitchell and cried with Wynonna Judd and Brandi Carlile ("Mitchell's return to stage dazzles Judd," July 28). Not only because of Joni and our lost youth and all the complications of all those songs, now sung an octave lower from an armchair but with no less authority. But the best part was Carlile, so clearly knocked over in the presence of a heroine. Her totally honest awe and wonder was a palpable tribute. Her admiration and her tears honored and acknowledged a legend.

We are in an age of disdain for what came before. There is an enormous gap in understanding among young women. God bless them. They think it has always been this way. But now that Roe has gone down they begin to see otherwise.

Young women trial lawyers appear with cleavage and stilettos and flaunt their sexuality while the old guard crabbily remember suits made out of men's fabric and foulard bow ties — Brooks Brothers for up-and-coming women litigators.

I remember being interviewed about dressing for court and specifically observing that the suit had to be very tailored, but I would play with color a little.

But the point is, Carlile looked at Mitchell with love and awe, like I treasure a photo of myself with Gloria Steinem. Like I hold up the models of Justice Kathleen Blatz and U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery. Shirley Chisholm. Patricia Schroeder. Geraldine Ferraro. Barbara Jordan. Elizabeth Holtzman. Learn these names. Learn these lives.

We owe it to these women to hold them up. To give them awards and standing ovations. To make a place on our mantel or our refrigerator door. To put a worthy quote on a Post-it and let it be our guide.

We are only here and our power, to the extent we have any, is only because they paved the way. Let's listen, and let's never forget the frustration and persistence and patience that got us here.

Kathryn Quaintance, Minneapolis


Questioning Ellison's move

As one who supports bodily autonomy for women, I find myself conflicted by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's decision not to appeal the Ramsey County District Court order holding many of Minnesota's abortion restrictions and conditions invalid under the Minnesota Constitution ("Ellison won't appeal abortion ruling," July 29). First, absent an appellate decision, its precedential value is limited to the persuasiveness of the court's analysis. Thus, we reasonably can expect actions in other districts seeking to enforce one or more of those restrictions or conditions. Second, a definitive ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals or the Minnesota Supreme Court is necessary to validate the decision for the benefit of providers and patients alike. Providers should not be asked to risk prosecution by a politically motivated county attorney who is not bound by a district court opinion.

The people deserve a clean outcome, not a lower court decision that will be dismissed out of hand by so many. As it stands, Ellison only has added fuel to the fires in the upcoming elections, while further lowering the level of respect for his office among Minnesotans. It is his obligation to defend the laws, not substitute his politically informed judgment for that of our appellate courts.

Ellison has now disqualified himself and his office from prosecuting his appeal, if only because he has confirmed the bias so many felt existed from the outset. The decision should be appealed, using outside counsel. Other interested parties no doubt will seek to intervene, as one would expect.

Let's settle this issue. Only then can we determine what steps may be necessary in the Legislature.

James M. Hamilton, St. Paul


Journalistic ethics say you should give fair and equal coverage to both sides of an issue. For decades, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life has hosted annual rallies at the State Capitol that draw thousands of pro-life Minnesotans. They get almost no coverage from the Star Tribune.

Yet last week, the Star Tribune gave top-of-page-one coverage with a large headline and dozens of column inches to a single rally by abortion supporters ("Thousands rally for abortion rights," July 18). Will the Star Tribune do the same following MCCL's pro-life Capitol rally that will draw similar numbers of Minnesotans or more next January? I'm not holding my breath.

I worked in journalism and taught some at the college level. If I was still teaching, this would be a classic case study of bias that violates professional standards of journalism. The Star Tribune can and should do better.

Don Parker, Inver Grove Heights

The writer is legislative director for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.


A July 29 letter regarding Matt Birk necessitated a response ("Reproductive freedom for you, but not Matt Birk?").

True, the Birks are free to have a large family, just as families are free to have no children at all. Reproductive freedom ensures both.

But today's worker shortage is not caused by previous concerns about overpopulation. It is due to a mismatch of training and job requirements. Tuition at postsecondary institutions has skyrocketed, giving pause to many who might otherwise continue their education. Realities of work/life imbalance for professional parents mean they are less likely to pursue careers in professions like medicine and law. Teachers and social workers are generally underpaid and often in high-risk environments. Other examples abound.

Larger populations do not necessarily guarantee sufficient numbers of competent and available professional workers.

Lori Wagner Hollenkamp, Mendota Heights


Who has the authority to make decisions on my daughters' reproductive health rights?

Certainly not me or you; certainly not the church or the government. They are adults, it's their health; they do.

Juan Carlos Manivel, Grant


Ginsburg should have retired

Last week much was said in Readers Write about declining age and public service ("Everyday activities are relatively easy. The presidency isn't," July 20). I find myself in discussions where I am the lone voice saying that I no longer consider Ruth Bader Ginsburg a hero for human rights, women's rights or anything else. In my opinion she blew it when she refused to step down by age 87 having experienced serious health issues. How many of us would keep working a presumably stressful job at 87 years old, good brain or not? She set us up for what we are experiencing now with former President Donald Trump's Supreme Court selections. They are now set to overturn some of her hallmark decisions.

I do actually wonder what was wrong with her brain when she continued to work during the Trump administration despite stating that she hoped for a liberal/progressive jurist to replace her.

Barb Schachtschneider, Coon Rapids


A hero in Indiana

Want to hear a very good news story that you may have missed?

Nick Bostic, 25, of Lafayette, Ind., was driving to get some gas, in the early morning of July 11 when he saw the flames coming from a house. With no hesitation, he stopped his car and ran into the house from the back and hollered, "Anybody here?"

There was. Nick rescued four people from the burning home. Then he went back into the house, held his breath and went to search for the other missing 6-year-old child. He found her, then broke open a window with his right fist, tightly wrapped the girl around his left side and jumped two stories to the ground, landing on his right side and sparing the girl the force of the fall.

Despite suffering burns and cuts, hero Nick, a pizza maker, saved five lives in just under 15 minutes.

You can't teach that kind of courage.

Neil F. Anderson, Richfield