Responding to "Two state flags would be better than one" (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 17) and the idea of one flag for summer and one for winter: Given the way our weather changes so often and so suddenly, perhaps we should just go with a two-sided flag to flap in the wind like our weather does. One side depicting nice weather and the other ... some of the other kinds.
There could be a caption in Latin, Dakota or Ojibwe along the lines of, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a bit."
Dave Porter, Minneapolis
I applaud Will Stancil's suggestion that we celebrate Minnesota's weather dichotomy with a summer flag and a winter flag. I offer a friendly, more realistic amendment: Rather than a formal changing of the flags in spring and fall, let's make it a daily decision.
Rich Cowles, Eagan
We need to raise revenue (yes, really)
The Heritage Foundation's Nov. 17 missive about the dangers of our rising federal debt was mostly factual, and the writer is not wrong; if unchecked, our rising deficits and debt load carry risks, exacerbated by today's higher interest rates. But it left a lot out ("This is not your grandfather's federal debt rating," Opinion Exchange).
To review, a budget consists of spending plans and revenue plans. I was seriously in awe of their skill in discussing budget issues without once mentioning half of the solution: increased revenues. Yes, I'm going to use the "T" word, folks … taxes! There, I said it.
Will conservative outlets like Heritage ever recommend coupling spending reductions with tax increases when they rail about the deficit? Responsible people within and outside of government need to come together to solve our fiscal issues. Ignoring the role tax reductions have played is just plain foolish.
Oh, and spending in the Trump administration was "out of control" too, not just in the current regime. Deficits under Barack Obama declined from $1.41 trillion in 2009 to around $0.6 trillion in 2016, before rising in all four Trump years — to $3.1 trillion in COVID-cursed 2020. No mention was made of the massive tax cuts for billionaires and corporations either. And keep in mind both Obama and Joe Biden inherited major socio-economic crises from George W. Bush and Trump, respectively. If nothing else, let's be honest about how we got here.
My message to Heritage and its fellow-traveler "conservative" thinkers: It is indeed time to get serious about our budget and debt issues. But we need to address both spending and revenue to make meaningful headway. Speak up whenever you are ready to get started.
Daniel Nassif, Minneapolis
The Heritage Foundation is at it again, sounding the alarm about the deficit and impending default on U.S. debt. Heritage represents the extreme right in our national discourse — think John Birch Society, Koch Brothers. They periodically ring this bell (though never, of course, when a Republican is in the White House), hoping to persuade people who don't understand their goals. And make no mistake: Their goal is not to protect average Americans. It is to undo the progress made throughout the 20th century in using government to improve the lives of its citizens. Their targets include most of what Americans value deeply: Social Security, Medicare, public schools, effective regulation of industry and commerce, and clean water and air.
They do not ask: What needs do we have that government is in the best position to provide? And then: What's the most efficient, equitable way to pay for these services? They only ask: How can we reduce the size of government to almost nothing, regardless of need or consequences? And they never bring economic theory to bear on this discussion. (Suffice it to say, reputable economists are aware of the size our deficit, and they are not pulling the fire alarm.) And the zealots never, ever contemplate raising revenue — to, say, the levels that prevailed when Dwight Eisenhower was president.
Why the deficit hysteria right now? It's obviously coordinated with House Republicans, who are holding the entire federal government hostage over the dangerous ideas expressed in this deceptive essay. No, it's not my grandfather's federal debt rating. Maybe because it's not my grandfather's beloved Republican Party — that one is as dead as he is.
Stephen Bubul, Minneapolis
Bipartisan solidarity deserves better
There are various ways to manage (manipulate) a news story. Perhaps the most obvious way is by shaping the story's content. Less obvious (but also effective) is the story's placement. A perfect example is the report about the March for Israel in the Nov. 15 edition of the Star Tribune ("March for Israel draws tens of thousands to D.C."). Such a momentous event certainly merited a front-page placement, but the paper placed it on the back page of the main section. Furthermore, the story was placed "below the fold," where it is more likely to be overlooked. Certainly, a story of such unusual national unity, in which Democratic and Republican political leaders even stood hand-in-hand, deserved more favorable attention.
Stanley Weese, Brooklyn Park
As a Minneapolis resident, I am appalled by the Israel-Palestine resolution passed by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers on Nov. 14.
In short, the resolution calls for "an immediate cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and to de-escalate the conflict." It goes on to condemn the U.S. government in supporting what they call a system of Israeli occupation and apartheid and calls on the Minnesota state legislature to repeal anti-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) legislation.
Nowhere does the resolution condemn the brutal devastating attacks by Hamas or the desecration of 1,200 innocent people or demand the immediate release of the 240 hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas.
This resolution is wrong on many levels. First and foremost, the resolution fuels antisemitism and endangers Jewish students' mental and emotional safety during these tumultuous times.
It is also wrong for the teachers union to take a stand on a political issue such as this. The responsibility of our Minneapolis teachers should be focused on the health and welfare of its students, and this resolution fails to do that.
The daughter of Holocaust survivors, I understand antisemitism at its worst. As a grandparent of children who attend Minneapolis schools, I fear for their well-being where the teacher's federation passes a resolution such as this.
As Minneapolis grapples with the loss of children leaving the district, this resolution may further sway parents to seek educational opportunities elsewhere.
Sylvia Fine, Minneapolis
PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL
A welcome change, with a question
Even though it's not over (still working on logos, school colors, mascot, etc.), the yearslong effort to change the name of Patrick Henry High School is finally coming to an end ("North Side school reclaiming identity," Nov. 16). I support the new name, Camden High School, as it reflects the historic neighborhood of far north Minneapolis. The school, opened in 1926, has produced athletes, scholars, scientists and professionals.We alumni will always be proud of our heritage and will always call ourselves Henry alumni. My main concern is the retelling of history. Will students be taught about the decades of service Patrick Henry gave to our fledgling country? Will other Virginian founding fathers (e.g. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) also have their legacies painted with the same broad brush? How will the history of America be taught? Our founding fathers weren't saints but created the strongest democracy ever known, which students of the 21st century still need to learn about.
Robert Wetherille, Minneapolis