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Another harbinger of change: Maine

The news that Maine's Legislature passed and governor signed a same-sex marriage bill (Star Tribune, May 7) reminded me of the old adage, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation."



Average worker should ignore it this time

I loved the title of Harvey Mackay's May 4 column, "Lose your job? Now is the time for inspiration, not desperation," but felt that the advice was geared to a more elite audience than the average Joe and Jane worker. It also seemed out of step with today's economy.

He advised readers to hire a lawyer, if necessary, to help them negotiate "severance pay ... outplacement services, office space, secretarial help and even tuition."

According to, only 32 percent of workers who were laid off in the last year received a severance package.

For an executive laid off during normal economic times, Mackay's advice was reasonable. However, it seemed reckless to advise paycheck-to-paycheck workers with little negotiating power to spend limited financial resources paying an attorney to get blood out of a turnip.

He also advises people to borrow if necessary to start their own business or go back to school. However, for some people that will just put them further in debt.

I have reinvented myself nearly 10 times and completed my college degree in my 40s. However, depending on one's age, life circumstances and current financial obligations, incurring significant debt at this time might be devastating.

I did, however, love the advice in his last two paragraphs -- get a routine, like yourself again, have fun and get busy.

I was laid off three weeks ago. Despite the waves of panic that suddenly consume me, I am following most of that advice and am "fired up" about my next career adventure.



94-year-old victimized right under cops' noses

I wasn't surprised that the May 6 article "Minneapolis purse-snatcher hits 94-year-old" overlooked the fact that the Denny's on 2700 block of Lake Street is literally in direct line-of-sight from the front doors of the Third Precinct police station.

When a 94-year-old woman is mugged 200 feet from the front door of a police station, it should be publicly acknowledged. I bet they'd review those surveillance tapes a lot faster if people were reminded of this.



What's a little fear vs. saving untold lives?

I am tired of reading about the complaints about waterboarding. One of the very few things on which I agreed with President George W. Bush was waterboarding.

Let's put things in perspective. Waterboarding causes immense, but only short-term, fear and pain to our enemies. The effects are temporary.

Terrorists cause death or horrid scarring to innocent victims, and the effects are permanent. It is very acceptable -- in fact, imperative -- that the United States use methods to try to find out where the terrorists will strike next.



First, Detroit needs to make a worthy car

In response to the May 5 Letter of the Day, "When you start your foreign car, ask if it was worth it," I was born and raised in Michigan. My father worked on the line for Chrysler. I was lucky enough to get a job at a car factory during the summer to pay for part of my college education.

The first car I bought after graduating from college was a 1978 Pontiac Grand Am. I have never bought another GM car since.

Why? Because they were made so poorly year after year after year. Shame goes not to the public who bought well-made cars that lasted 200,000-plus miles, but to the Detroit auto industry that never learned how to build a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry.



When my wife starts her Nissan (which was made in the United States) each day and takes our children on their way, my conscience is clear.

The author of the May 5 Letter of the Day should name one vehicle in the Pontiac stable that is among the top five in its class. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons Pontiac is being phased out.

And let us not forget the antiquated engineering, the inferior quality, the union workforce that is rewarded for substandard performance, or the overinflated price tag.

The author shouldn't be questioning the integrity and patriotism of people who chose to purchase a superior product for a better overall value. He should be questioning the intelligence of people who would purchase an inferior automobile at a higher price.



If legislators can't do it, give their kids a shot

First-graders could do a better job running our state than the Legislature does.

If you put all of Minnesota's unemployed back to work, they would have money. With that money, they would purchase products. They would become consumers. The state would reap the tax money from those consumers through a sales, gas, luxury or any other kind of tax. The Democratic Party (the party of labor) would be in heaven from all that money flowing into the state's coffers.

It is so simple that a first-grader could figure it out. Why can't our legislators?