Readers write: Our unserious politics, health care, bird flu


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We all know how magicians pull off their incredible tricks: the wrong direction. As we stare intently at the map in front of us, their hands are under the table doing the dirty work. Well, it’s the same for many politicians. While we listen intently to their public rants about pedophilia rings or renaming elementary schools, their hands are “under the table” deftly tricking us into not tackling really important issues — things like changing climate, racial and religious bigotry, Ukraine and the general collapse of working class and rural society. This allows them to avoid expressing positions that could irritate their constituents and lose their support. So instead, they flatter the base with made-up concerns, like transgender bathrooms, and chilling apparitions, like hordes of murderers and rapists crossing our southern border. In this way, they are not afraid to upset anyone, but our country is also no closer to solving its important problems.

I don’t care if you vote GOP, DFL, independent or choose not to vote at all. But I care that we all demand candor and intelligence from our political candidates. So the next time an elected official starts talking about “critical race theory”, please stop them and say you’d rather hear their educational plans to close the achievement gap, help failing schools, raise salaries teachers and improve STEM education. If a candidate starts talking about ‘defunding the police’, ask them instead to address specific ways to improve police recruitment and training and deal with the exploding crime problem affecting residents and small businesses. And when a politician shouts “Stop the theft,” politely interrupt and say you’d rather hear their policy positions on inflation, taxes, Russian cyberhacking, abortion rights, and income inequality.

It’s fun and entertaining to be cleverly deceived by a skilled magician, but it’s not fun to have the same thing done to you by a deceptive and condescending political candidate. Please demand more.

G. Michael Schneider, Minneapolis

HEALTH CARE

As CEO of Accra, Minnesota’s largest home care provider, I wholeheartedly agree with the urgency of the jobs crisis described in the recent article “A Billion Dollar Plan to nursing staffing “disastrous” (April 9). Yet, it is critical to note that this crisis is not only a significant issue for nursing homes, but also for the people of Minnesota who choose to receive their home care.

As the COVID pandemic strained our hospital systems in 2020, personal care assistants — who are among our state’s lowest-paid employees — helped care for Minnesota’s high-risk populations at home. , outside of intensive care units and long-term care facilities where COVID was more prevalent.

Today, in addition to the current 23,000 Minnesota long-term care job openings featured in the article, many more families across the state are looking for PCAs to come into their homes to care for. children or adults with disabilities or aging parents. Yet they struggle to find PCAs willing to do challenging work at such low pay.

We look forward to working with the Governor and legislative leaders as they negotiate an agreement over the coming weeks, and we hope all Minnesotans appreciate the hard work of the PCAs helping our friends and neighbors live on. in their homes in our communities. across the state.

John Dahm, Minnetonka

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The article “Serious Shortage of Workers Observed for State Health Care” (April 13) alerted us to the fact that Minnesota faces catastrophic health worker shortages unless decisive action is taken. be taken immediately. Mental health and addictions care lags far behind when it comes to filling positions and retaining staff, largely due to high levels of burnout.

As a current graduate student, I can attest to the staggering turnover of personnel in this field. My current clients suffer from both mental illness and chemical dependency. This combination often leads to low income and dependence on Medicaid. Agencies that provide person-centered intensive care to these clients do so under the pressure of low salaries and high workloads.

During the pandemic, state revenues have declined, along with an increase in Medicaid eligibility and the need for mental health and addictions care. Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota has introduced Bill S. 1727 that would dramatically increase the federal match for Medicaid funds spent by states. This legislation specifically prescribes measures that lead to increasing the number of healthcare personnel and reducing staff turnover in mental and chemical healthcare facilities. I urge you to consider sending a letter to your senator in any state and asking them to support this bill immediately as one of the essential steps to ensure that there will be a professional health for anyone who might need it.

Rosmarie Dauth, Minnetonka

BIRD FLU

I want to applaud the protester at the recent Wolves game (“Woman at Timberwolves game protests bird flu deaths at Taylor Company”, April 14), protesting the use of the plus ventilation shutdown to euthanize factory-raised chickens and turkeys. Minnesota is a leading turkey producer with many factory farms. With another bird flu arriving this spring, we hear about the blow to turkey farmers, but we hear very little about the cruel ways millions of turkeys and chickens will be euthanized. Every time we hear of bird flu, or swine flu, or any of the epidemics hitting factory-farmed animals, we also need to know that most of those animals will be killed using the inexpensive method known as VSD+. With VSD+, operators seal the barn, shut off airflow, and add heat and sometimes steam to raise the temperature up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, causing animals extreme distress as they cook inside their own bodies . The U.S. Department of Agriculture then makes payments — often over $1 million — to cover producers’ costs of “depopulating” chickens, turkeys or pigs, citing insufficient access to slaughterhouses.

The Animal Welfare Institute and its network of animal welfare groups are urging the American Veterinary Medical Association to revise its guidelines to no longer allow animals to be killed by causing heat stroke and, further, to ban the use of federal funds to farmers who kill animals with the VSD+ method. Our tax dollars should not be used to reimburse factory farmers for killing millions of animals in this utterly cruel way. When we treat other species inhumanely, we lose our own humanity.

Carol Dines, Minneapolis

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I wonder how many readers are upset to hear that wild birds are dying as a result of this (latest) bird flu outbreak (“Eagles and Owls Hit Hard by Bird Flu,” April 13). I also wonder how many readers are also upset about the many other domesticated poultry (a few orders of magnitude) that have been “culled” in recent weeks in an effort to slow the spread – “culled” being a favorite euphemism of the industry (and in journalism! I can’t upset readers) for the massive, massive slaughter of animals in these kinds of situations. Feel free to research the preferred slaughter methods used by prominent and highly successful animal breeding businesses. The whitewashing of industrialized animal agriculture is a failure of today’s press, including this article. If you’re willing to tear down a bird feeder to help out some local owls and raptors, but don’t plan on eating a few dozen pounds less of industrial, mass-produced, genetically modified meat every year, I say you you are a hypocrite. Those of you who have access to and can afford healthy protein alternatives need to look carefully in the mirror and decide if you want to continue participating in this industry.

If you can’t stand thinking of animals as conscious, complex beings with rich, subjective experiences, at least do so to mitigate future outbreaks.

Henry Rollings, Minneapolis

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