Open Forum for week of Jan. 31

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to [email protected] Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.


Look in the Mirror

After a welcome respite from his endless attempts to get attention, Max Anderson continues his tedious, juvenile and asinine name-calling, unsupportable innuendo and defense of the twisted DFL party.

I belonged to it for most of my adult life but it has completely abandoned its fundamental principles to achieve a single-party political system.

In Maxie’s parallel universe, conservatives are responsible for the deficits incurred during the Emperor’s first 4 1/2 years in office, when he had single-party control and managed to accumulate $16,000,000,000,000 in long-term debt, surpassing the cumulative total of every previous president.

Of course both parties are to blame, but true believers like Maxie exist in a world of their own fantasies.

“Affordable Health Care Act,” auto bailout, AIG and “joint oversight” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by Chris Dodd and Barney Frank: take your pick.

It’s hardly a coincidence that the resident narcissist at 1600 Pennsylvania has not complied with the constitutional stipulation to present a budget to Congress on the first of each year of his term.

The apparatchik of the left are terrified that if that debate were to happen, they would no longer be able to hide from an insignificant little item called entitlement reform.

The president’s own Simpson Bowles Budget Commission, along with the bipartisan CBO, call entitlement reform a necessity to preserve the credit rating of the nation and prevent that incredible debt from being called. The president’s answer? Higher taxes and continued expansion of entitlements.

Through the looking glass again!

Dave Berg
Marine on St. Croix


Compared to What?

A recent letter summarized research suggesting that the impact of same-sex marriage on children will be negative. I appreciate the letter’s civil tone but my question about these concerns is, compared to what?

To traditional marriage? Few would dispute the importance of traditional marriage but this institution has frequently failed children. More than 40 percent of traditional marriages in this country end in divorce and 50 percent of all children (about 35 million) are children of divorce. And unlike same-sex parenting, there is a large research literature documenting the negative impact of divorce on children. Can same-sex marriage really have a worse impact on that many kids?

The writer also cites research that “children raised by parents with same-sex attraction were more likely to engage in sexual experimentation and promiscuity.”

Compared to whom?  High school students who are the children of divorce? Research about the negative impact of same-sex parenting on children may prove to be accurate but this would simply place it on an even keel with much traditional parenting.

I think people who raise alarms about same-sex marriage are looking in the wrong direction. There was a time when skyrocketing divorce rates and increasing numbers of children of divorce raised alarms.  But time passed, politics intervened, and those trends sadly seem to have become an accepted part of American culture.

Focusing on changing the negative impact that traditional marriage too often has on children, rather than the impact same-sex marriage might have, seems like a more appropriate concern.

Michael Harwell
Forest Lake


Middle-Class Squeeze

Governor Mark Dayton’s proposed budget was all over the news last week. Families living on a tight budget have reason for concern. You will now be taxed on over-the-counter drugs, repairs on your car and home, and a host of other services like haircuts and day care.

Everyone has already seen less money on their paycheck due to the 2 percent income tax increase imposed by President Obama in his new government health plan. This Democrat governor did the math and while he bragged about his cut in the sales tax rate, his office ran the numbers. This reduction in the rate, while vastly expanding the items that will be taxed, will in the end net the state over $2 billion in additional money. That means, in the end, they are taking more from the middle class.

Watch as the Democrats decide just how much money can they take out of our household budgets and still sell it as a benefit to the public so they can get re-elected in two years. With them in total control, that’s what will get passed.

The only silver lining is that Chisago County didn’t add to that DFL control in any way. We know that our State Representative Bob Barrett will do everything he can to stop Governor Dayton from taking more of your money, especially at a time when the economy is so fragile.

Thanks, Representative Barrett for all you do fighting for Chisago County residents and families!

Bruce Spangler


True Protection

After the murders of the children in Newtown, Conn., we heard President Obama saying the following: “We need to keep all of our children safe from harm – If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.”…“If there’s one step we can take to save even one life, then that’s what we must do.”…“As a nation, are we truly doing all we can to give all the children in this country the right to live out their lives free of harm?”

If he was sincere, then for the first time in my life, I agree with Barack Obama. We will most definitely be judged for the violence done to our children, whether it is by child abuse, neglect or murder; exposing them to pornographic garbage; or legally putting the equivalent of one classroom to death every 30 minutes in the U.S. by abortion.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America reported that its affiliated clinics performed 333,964 abortions in fiscal year 2011. That’s one life lost every 94 seconds! This same report states that PP received $542.4 million in government grants and reimbursements.

For 40 years we have heard how legalized abortion would alleviate child abuse and neglect. In truth, these problems have worsened, and if being torn from your mother’s womb isn’t violence, what is?

If Mr. Obama truly meant what he said, the first step is to stop funding the abortion providers. Even unborn children deserve “the right to live out their lives free of harm.”

Jackie Scheldorf


Sign of the Times

I entered a casino recently and was surprised by the lack of noise. Sure, there was background music, but the noise of winning was absent.

I can remember when slots were loudly cascading coins into metal trays and the machine would play some loud circus-like melody and you knew that someone had hit a jackpot. Now, a winner receives a ticket with his or her dollar amount indicated, accompanied by a sound resembling an adding machine.

The people leaving a machine without a ticket are not saving a tree, they are losers. By removing the clatter of the winners and using silent tickets so the losers will not feel bad, the casinos are being politically correct.

However, the casinos could program the machines to dispense a blank ticket so that the loser’s feelings would be assuaged. They could leave the casino with pockets of blank tickets, head held high and eager to return.

This reminds me of one of my first jobs, where the employer took me aside on payday and told me that it would be a good thing if I did not show my paycheck to the other employees, as it would make them jealous!

No one know who’s winning or losing, and I miss the noise.

Tom Obst