Congratulations to Nisswa's Pam Landers, who was one of eight citizens appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty to serve on a 16-member task force to review and make recommendations on the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) -- the commission that channels state lottery dollars to environmental and wildlife programs.
Landers is formerly the environmental education project manager for the Minnesota DNR and the Blandin Foundation.
The appointment is another example of why the people of District 12A are so special. They are intelligent individuals who truly care about our community and the state of Minnesota as well.
Landers will be an asset to the task force and to our natural resources. Make us proud, Pam!
Rep. Paul Gazelka
Alternative energy is needed
I don't blame merchants for growing more cautious because of the rising gas prices ("Merchants grow cautious because of high gas prices,"). Americans should have been more cautious about consuming oil a long time ago. Now 65 percent of oil in the U.S. has been depleted and the demand is skyrocketing -- forcing us to go to great lengths to defend our oil interests in the Middle East and causing gas prices to skyrocket.
The only solution to the problems caused by soaring gas prices and political instability in the Middle East is to invest in alternative energy. The technology exists to implement solar, wind and geothermal energy on a large scale and if our government invested even a fraction of the $33 million that it spends subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, renewable energy could be made even more efficient and affordable. Renewable energy is clean, reliable and does not threaten our security like the unsecured power plants all over our country. Our government must meet 20 percent of our electricity demand with renewable energy by 2020, a great first step towards reducing our dependence on foreign oil and improving our health and environment.
Don't suppress valid research
Unlike modern day neo-Darwinists, Darwin readily admitted that his evolutionary theory had some "gaps." For example, Darwin realized that if it could be demonstrated that a complex organ existed that could not have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, his theory would "absolutely break down."
There is currently a substantial amount of scientific evidence clearly illustrating that it would require extraordinarily complex mechanisms at the molecular level to accomplish what appear to be relatively simple evolutionary changes on the gross anatomy level. Furthermore, there is currently no evidence at the molecular level that certain complex organs, such as the human eye, could have resulted from numerous, successive, slight modifications (i.e., they are irreducibly complex).
Given what we know today, and given Darwin's own validation standards, one can't help wondering if even Darwin would have ceased being a Darwinist at this point.
Why a person would be so attached to the idea of being the result of a series of random errors that the mere possibility of being the result of a well-designed plan would create such hysteria is a mystery to me. However, I do hope, for the sake of science, that such people are not successful in their efforts to suppress the teaching of valid scientific research.
Let's end silly reporting
It was silly to suggest in a recent Associated Press article, "Troops' Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans," that the government is inscribing "Operation Iraqi Freedom" on the headstones of service members for political purposes. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which is responsible for providing headstones for veterans, has always inscribed the names of wars on the headstones of veterans. "Operation Iraqi Freedom" is the official name for the current conflict in Iraq.
At VA, which administers 121 national cemeteries and issues nearly 350,000 headstones for veterans every year, inscriptions are requested in writing by families and signed by their representative. The families decide what is on their loved one's headstone, not the government.
No doubt, if the government refused to inscribe "Operation Iraqi Freedom" on those headstones, we would be charged with trying to cover up casualties. Let's be fair. And let's end silly reporting.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. workers made our country great
Next Monday, many of us will enjoy an extra day off from our work week as we join together to celebrate Labor Day, a holiday unlike any other. On Labor Day, we celebrate American workers and the many contributions they have made to the strength, prosperity and well being of our country.
This legislative session, we passed two significant bills that benefit workers in our state. For the first time in over eight years, workers who make minimum wage received a $1 an hour raise. People who work in food service, caring for the sick and elderly, manufacturing and a wide range of other jobs deserve to make more money for their labor.
In fact, labor statistics show that almost 73 percent of minimum wage workers are 20 years and older and 41percent of them are supporting children. Whatever age they may be, people need to make enough money to pay their bills, their rising college tuition costs, their health insurance premiums, or even worse, pay skyrocketing medical bills because they are uninsured.
Employees in nursing homes and long-term care facilities will also receive the first Cost of Living Adjustment in over three years. We depend on these people to take care of our most vulnerable and cherished family members.
American workers made our country great. They continue to provide the energy and momentum that moves us forward. We owe them our gratitude and appreciation -- this Labor Day and every day.
Representative Mary Ellen Otremba
Punch lines need improvement
In response to the letter published 8/25/05 ("The theory of Intelligent Falling") -- The Onion is a parody. Perhaps the letter writer was using satire, as well. If so, he/she needs to work on his/her punch lines. If not, he/she needs to check his/her sources more diligently.
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