Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Superdelegates, soccer spur readers to comment

MinnPost commenters had lots to say about counting in recent days — adding up convention delegates, taxes, D.C. living expenses and electoral votes. Other popular topics ranged from genetically modified food to a soccer move. Here’s a sampling:

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John E. Iacono
commented on Eric Black’s May 9 post, “The superdelegate dam is breaking”:

As the tide seems inexorably to swing toward Obama, I reflect again on the statement of a dem friend last fall: “If Clinton gets it, I’ll have to vote for McCain; if Obama gets it, I’ll have a problem.”

Once the primaries are over and the choice is made, I will begin counting the days — until the campaigns turn back to the ugliness of yesteryear.

If the two last standing can manage to keep it civil and on the issues, I’ll have to vote for whoever I see as having done the most to promote that.

It seems to me that going at it about the economy should be a great context for selecting a candidate. All other topics, not so much.

Beryl Knudson
added:

… Initially, I had no strong positive or negative thoughts about Hillary Clinton, although my support has always been for Barak Obama. However, I saw another side of Hillary evolving during the campaign that scared the heck out of this voter if Hillary were ever to inhabit the White House as president, vice president or cleaning lady.

What has been called “gutsy” soon became a driven woman, intent on winning no matter what. Mud and slinging of same was often the prime ingredient of her campaign rhetoric. … Michelle Norris on “Face the Nation” attempted to explain Hillary’s psyche; her failure to step down honorably, with some degree of grace … Norris suggested that the Clintons have risen “out of the ashes” so many times in the past, it’s hard to concede defeat. All I can say is, listen to the ‘Phoenix bird’ above your study door, Hillary — it’s saying “Never more…”

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Harry Melander opined on the May 7 Community Voices essay, “Of legislators and subsidies: When will they ever learn?” by Phil Krinkie, former chairman of the Minnesota House Taxes Committee and president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota:

“Dr. No” strikes again. Former Rep. Phil Krinkie needs a new act. If it were up to Friendly Phil, Minnesota would still be the backdrop for “Little House on the Prairie.” No convention centers, no professional venues, no theaters, and buildings would be two stories or less. No one likes public subsidies, but the bottom line is that extraordinary projects typically need help. As a paid advocate for the Taxpayers League, Friendly Phil has the luxury of thumbing his nose at the prospect of 14,000 jobs. For all who are out of work, we beg to differ. … If the MOA or any other group can bring 2 billion bucks to this economy and create thousands of jobs, we think that lawmakers should find a way to make it happen.

From Jon Miners:

Tax subsidies aren’t popular with anybody. But I think it would be a mistake to extrapolate the experience with Northwest Airlines to the Mall of America or anyone else. The airline industry is inherently unstable, and just about all about them are constantly on the brink of bankruptcy. They simply are not now nor have they ever been in a position to keep any promises they make. It’s a mistake for legislators to assume otherwise.

On the other hand the Mall is a pretty stable business, and I think would be a reliable partner.

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Karl Bremer reacted to Catharine Richert’s May 9 story, “Political penny pinchers: Minnesota’s congressional delegation tries to cut Washington living expenses”:

Housing costs in Washington may be double what they are in Minnesota. But let’s remember that members of Congress earn $169,300 a year, plus a healthy expense account for travel. That’s certainly more than double the salary of the average Minnesotan. And some members collect other paychecks as well. Michele Bachmann, for example, collects federal farm subsidy checks for their family farm in Wisconsin, and is part owner of her family’s medical clinic in Lake Elmo. So I’m not so sure “sticker shock” at housing costs for members of Congress is really high on my list of concerns these days, when people are sleeping on sidewalk heat grates within view of our nation’s capitol.

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Aaron Landry commented on David Brauer’s Monday Political Agenda post, “Franken hit with Iowa group’s attack ad”:

I think it’s interesting that they’d put the phone number for Franken’s campaign office at the end — a number where if you call asking about the ad, they will tell you in a more honest fashion where Franken stands on tax and policy.

Paul Rozycki said:

It is an effective hit piece. It works because Franken has run his campaign on being electable, and with talking points that create the impression of progressivism, but without the substance behind them. He has played into the trivialization of campaigning, and now he is vulnerable.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer has not been playing games with campaigning; he is the stronger candidate. There is no hit piece that will stick to Jack, because his campaign (and his whole life) has been substantive and authentic, and based on issues with clear substance behind them.

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Justin Adams
weighed in on Eric Black’s Monday post, “A way-early look at this fall’s Electoral College map”

I think, given Obama as the Democratic nominee, the 2004 election map is useless as a starting point. I also think that in states like Florida, polling is not going to find the now-likely voters who would surely have been unlikely in 2004.

You are right that Minnesota is not in play for the GOP. Don’t say so too loudly, though, or they might not waste so much money and political opportunity cost here.

Florida is where it is again. The voter roll has been un-purged of a half-million black non-felons who were barred from voting by prior GOP administrations using intimidation tactics and “inaccurate” voter-roll scrubbing methods. These people would have delivered Florida in ’00 and ’04 … If we did lose Florida (again, with Obama, that is hilarious) and Ohio (more plausible), the White House would be McCain’s. … But Obama would have won Florida by 3-5 points due to increased turnout among unlikely voters, even without the voting rights issue.

Kevin Judd
added:

We read MinnPost for well-researched and thought-out columns like this. Thank you.

One sobering observation from the past 5 years is the corrupting influence of the consolidation of power when one party controls the executive and both houses of Congress. I have a gut feel that with the House and Senate in Democratic hands, people will tend to give McCain the presidency.

From Tom West:

I think the dynamics of the electorate (that being people who actually vote) will be substantially changed by Obama’s candidacy. With 20 percent of Democrats saying they won’t vote for Obama, it seems unlikely at this early date that he can carry either Ohio or Pennsylvania, states that were strong for Hillary. On the other hand, I would not be at all surprised to see southern states, which for the past nine elections have been solidly Republican, come into play because of the expected increase in black turnout.

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Jon Larson
commented on a May 6 MinnPost.World essay, “With little notice, a military insider critiques what went wrong in Iraq,” by Frank Wright:

This article pretty much explains why our hyper-expensive military keeps messing up with such regularity — they keep ignoring the obvious.

In this case, the obvious is that the invasion of Iraq was a crime. The Kellogg-Briand Pact is the law of the land. The Constitution says so. In fact, the USA used it as the basis for trying the German war crimes at Nuremberg. And what does Kellogg-Briand say? It says that the ultimate war crime is starting a war of aggression. Starting an aggressive war is what we convicted Hitler’s thugs of — not for being mean to Europe’s Jews.

Virtually every sentient being on planet Earth opposed our criminal behavior. And because we invaded Iraq, we have become the most hated nation on earth. People in justice ministries around the world concerned with enforcing the law are just itching to get their hands on the USA monsters responsible.

So of course, we should be listening to some clown who thinks our big problem is that we should have better “planning between agencies.” (Sheesh)

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Ann McKinnon added this to Sharon Schmickle’s Tuesday story, “Genetically modified crops: ‘Monster food’ or a big step to feeding the world’s hungry?”:

One problem is that indigenous people, small farmers and those in developing countries cannot afford the required technology to grow these GM crops, nor do the seeds reproduce. So the farmer has to purchase new seeds every year, and use technology more appropriate to a large corporate farm than a family garden.

Additionally, in this country, the GM seeds can spread and contaminate nearby farms, thereby robbing certified organic farmers of a high-paying and growing market.

From Bernice Vetsch:

A year or so ago, I read that 5,000 rice farmers from India had committed suicide because having to purchase new seed each year had driven them to penury and they could no longer support their families. The Indian government had signed a trade agreement with the U.S. that forbade farmers from saving seed for the next year’s crop. These farmers were then forced to purchase seeds good only for the current year’s crop from an American manufacturer.

GM corn has led to the loss of thousands? millions? of Monarch butterflies because such corn lacks an essential ingredient or enzyme on which these beautiful creatures rely for nourishment. What other surprise damage to nature might these crops do?

I believe Europe and every other continent and country have good reasons to resist GM.

Jeff Moses
added:

A classic ethical dilemma — eating GM foods appears to be safe, and might keep people from starving to death. Growing GM foods could prove seriously dangerous to the ecosystem in the long run. It would appear that the solution is to allow farmers to grow GM foods if they can isolate them from the larger environment. Of course, they will “leak out” eventually, but laboratory-based genetic modification is merely natural genetic modification at warp speed.

Mwana Mwega had a different view:

People should objectively look at genetically modified foods. They must not be driven by fear. Unfortunately, we have a situation where organizations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have scared the public … about genetically modified foods. They are exploiting people’s ignorance about crop genetic engineering to misinform and mislead. I have just been reading a very interesting article about why the public still holds doubts about genetically modified foods. The author reminds us that scientists have been genetically modifying food from time immemorial and that what’s happening at the moment is merely an improvement of what we already know. …

I, myself, don’t see any need of demonizing corporations that make genetically modified seeds, such as Monsanto and Dupont. I think these companies have an important role to play in the alleviation of poverty in the world. And of course they exist to make profit. So, nobody should expect them to work for free. This will never happen. The solution to this debate is for people to engage in a science-based debate about benefits, or lack of them, of genetically modified foods. Vilifying biotech corporations will never solve any problem.

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Dave Wright
commented on Jay Weiner’s Tuesday post, “Realism — and the future — prompts Thunder to end soccer-in-the-city experiment“:


Soccer in St. Paul didn’t fail. The stadium did. It was a bad marriage from the start. Jay is right about Griffin. It was built for high school football in the 1940s and it looks it. Give the team a better facility and it could have a chance to succeed.

Here are excerpts from a comment by Brian Quarstad:

Jay, Most of what you say is pretty close to on. But there a few things you haven’t take into consideration.

First, I think the move is most likely the right thing for the team. But … the Thunder were in the city during a period of time when the (former) owners claimed they didn’t have the capital to shell out for much of anything. The team camps are the only thing that kept them afloat.

During this time the money spent on players dropped to the lowest in the league and the team play on the field reflected this same drop. … There was no cash for marketing and no staff for it either, as the team was run on a shoestring budget. You can’t draw fans with a losing team and no marketing.

Recently the team pulled off a coup by hiring away Xcel Center marketing guru Peter Johns. As well, the team has increased the player budget by more than 200 percent and this has already started to prove fruitful as the team is currently 3-1-0. Had the team continued to stay in the city, with the renewed team, a true marketing man at the helm and a marketing budget that was far beyond anything it had in the past, the Thunder were poised to actually make soccer in the city work. …

Why is it that I always hear that soccer should be played in Blaine, when all other sports seem to be suited just fine for downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis? The team will be back in the city someday. It’s where it belongs.

And from Andy Wattenhofer:

Unlike the Gophers, Twins and Vikings, the Thunder is not looking for public financing of the stadium. Four years is entirely possible, especially considering that work toward the goal of building a stadium has been progressing for nine months already.

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Dan Hintz reacted to Doug Grow’s Tuesday post, “Barb Davis White’s underground campaign”:

[A quote from Davis White:] “We might have poll watchers who say, ‘You got to stand up straight, be sober and be able to read the ballot.'”

What exactly does that mean? Is Davis going to try to use voter intimidation to get elected? I wasn’t aware that standing up straight or even being sober were voting requirements. And I am not sure how a poll watcher is going to determine if someone can read the ballot unless they are in the voting booth with the voter.

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Joe Musich
added this to Tuesday’s Community Voices essay, “New mining industry leaves Arrowhead wetlands vulnerable,” by Elanne Palcich, a retired elementary school teacher from Chisholm, Minn.:
 
Once again the Earth will cry. How soon before the very planet rebels against the hubris of our species and does away with us to protect itself? 

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