I usually don't go fully public with my frustrations, but after reading the first page of today's paper (8/14/07), I must comment.
This summer, the Dispatch has been noticeably callous in regards to personal tragedies in our area. I first noticed it when a gentleman was shot in an attempt to protect his loved ones. The police had not released his name, but the Dispatch printed a large picture of relatives, gave the exact location of the property where the crime occurred and named the property owner. Then, last week, a car accident was reported in which another man lost his life. Again, the police did not release the name, but, the Dispatch released the names of all the other passengers in his car. Since these passengers all had the same last name, it would not take very much thought to come up with a name of the deceased.
The final punch came to me this morning as I read on the front page of a young girl who was shot. Again...the girl's name was not officially released, but again the Dispatch gave a name, age and picture of the supposed victim.
Why is this repeatedly done? I would assume when the officials involved in these events are not ready to release names, it is with good cause; either to aid in an investigation or respect for the families involved. Can the Dispatch be so desperate to sell papers that they feel they need to get ahead of the other publications? Oh, wait; there are no others to choose from.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Dispatch could show a little more respect for our public officials working on these type of cases and certainly show more compassion for the families involved.
Facts might cloud critics' agenda
We who believe in the U.S. mission in Iraq know that the policy makers who have the most current information are in the best position to make the correct decisions regarding the war." Many Democrats disagree.
On "Meet the Press" July 15, Sen. James Webb, a Democratic war critic was asked if he'd been to Iraq. He replied that Congressional trips to Iraq are useless "dog and pony" shows." I wonder if his son, who volunteered for military service, feels the same way?A secret video-conference briefing with Congress by the top commander in Iraq took place July 19. Democrats Reid, Pelosi, and Clinton didn't bother to show up. Pelosi also missed the "surge" update on April 26 from Gen. Petraeus. Maybe actual facts would cloud the Democratic defeat agenda.
A six-page summary of our military "surge" progress in Iraq appears in the July 9 issue of "The Weekly Standard" magazine. The title of the article is "Progress in Iraq, Quagmire in D.C." As a factual example, in a three-month period this spring, coalition forces killed over 2,500 armed enemy fighters. Documents found on the recoverable bodies proved that 80 percent were from foreign countries (Petraeus interview April 27th). To me, those bodies look like the result of an Islamic invitation of Iraq, not victims of a civil war. Their Jihad against "Iraqi Freedom," Americans, and Israel is finished, thank God!
We believe military victories provide space for negotiated, political solutions. Author and American politician Thomas Paine said, "If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." That quote applies to the war we're fighting right now.
Small lakes at historic low levels
You published a front page news article on the lake levels of Gull and Whitefish lakes as related to the drought. However, there was no mention of the low levels on all the small lakes with no dams and river inlets like the above lakes. There is a drastic difference between the types. What I am saying is the little lakes are at historic low levels. The low levels now, in consort with an average snow cover, will likely affect the fish by suffocation this winter. If you would look at a county map you will see there are many small lakes.
Low levels affect other species such as grebes, loons and waterfowl as the shallow vegetated shorelines are dry, and these birds are now more confined with all the recreational vehicles.
Quality education is critical
In the Aug. 14 Open Forum, a Baxter couple recommended compromise regarding the school district levy referendum debate. Unfortunately, they rejected their own advice and expressed rigid opposition to school funding of extracurricular activities, specifically athletics. I neither accept their notion of compromise nor their conclusions.
Advocating conciliation, then unilaterally framing issues and defining truth is more "sucker punch"; than compromise. The writers rejected "rhetoric and hyperbole"; but wrote, "I am open to discussion, but not standing here blindly offering whatever the school district demands," In reality, the district submits requests to taxpayers. We decide.
The term "extracurricular" used in the letter seemed to encompass only athletics. While athletics are extracurricular, not all extracurricular activities are athletics. Shall we adopt user fee funding for athletics, but not other activities?
When discussing sports, labels like "select group" misrepresent fact. Our schools' football teams accommodate dozens of participants. Add basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, hockey, cross-country, track, tennis and all others and the participant numbers rise dramatically, surely beyond "elect group" status. And that's before counting non-athletics like music, speech and drama.
Minnesota's traditional views on extracurricular activities have proven wise, prudent and productive. Activities strengthen youth and ultimately society. They are classroom extensions, not leisure pursuits. They provide opportunities for character building, learned discipline and shared responsibility. They help prepare students for advanced education, adulthood and the workplace. Minnesotans traditionally encourage student participation by sponsoring activities accessible to interested students.
Our children have graduated high school, but believing continued quality education is critical to our community's future I will vote "Yes" in November.
Gary W. Midge
Vox Pop writers miss the point
The Dispatch once again disregards its own rule which states: "Responses to Open Forum letters won't be published in Vox Pop." On 8/11/07 an Open Forum writer explained how undemocratic it was not allowing citizens to speak at a public meeting when their issue was on the agenda. Two Vox Pop writers chastised that Open Forum writer - one stating: "This city government does a good job of listening." That certainly wasn't true at the 8/6/07 council meeting.
We all should be concerned when people are not permitted to speak at a public meeting!
Another Vox Pop writer missed the point altogether. The Open Forum wasn't about the pro's and con's of hoop houses. It was about the rights of citizens to speak.
You think the Open Forum writer should remove himself from office, allowing someone else to serve. In the process of this great democracy -- as you called it - he was elected by many citizens who support him. You don't have to agree with his - but please focus on his Open Forum message and not on trying to silence the messenger.
It's a sorry day in America when a message clearly fights for our freedoms and is anonymously attacked by misleading comments. The Vox Pop writer said the Open Forum was a slap in the face. No doubt people expecting to speak at the council meeting felt slapped in the face when they weren't permitted to talk. The writers focus on non-related issues to distract and confuse the reader. If they truly believed their own words, they'd endorse the message in an Open Forum.
Dispatch Editors! If you continue allowing Vox Pop writers to address Open Forums, please insist that their comments at least address the subject of the Open Forum.
What did we do to deserve Bush?
Our arrogant president, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the one who dubbed himself the decider and the educator has now proclaimed a new title for himself, doctor. And he didn't even have to go to medical school for this. Under new rules issued by the Bush administration for the Medicare Part D program, so-called off-label prescriptions (approved by the FDA) written by real doctors for their patients can be denied by insurers. This involves more than 20 percent of the 500 most commonly used prescription drugs. Just one example would be a drug approved to relieve cancer pain can not be prescribed for arthritis or any other kind of pain. There are many other examples.
What did we ever do to deserve this leader, so much smarter than all the rest of us, who makes so many decisions affecting so many aspects of our lives? And let's make sure we don't do it again.
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