Readers' views Oct. 16

Sirens should alarm people I downloaded the Whelen siren featured Oct. 12 at, and I understand it is the first of four to be demonstrated as Duluth prepares to replace 36 sirens with a new warning system ("Our View: City can...

Sirens should alarm people

I downloaded the Whelen siren featured Oct. 12 at, and I understand it is the first of four to be demonstrated as Duluth prepares to replace 36 sirens with a new warning system ("Our View: City can toot its horn about replacing warning sirens," Aug. 30).

The Whelen siren, like so many sirens, seems to lack that haunting urgency that a siren should have.

I also downloaded from the BBC a sample of a London air raid siren from World War II. It was totally different from any other siren heard commonly in the U.S. It has a two-tone cry that raises the hair on the back of your neck.

Could Duluth consider something that utilitarian and distinctive?


Dick Heim


This 'phony soldier' is ashamed of alleged torture

As a retired military veteran, I am opposed to the president's approved interrogation methods. I am also one of the "phony soldiers" who disagrees with the president's way of conducting warfare and the treatment of captives.

Would the Bush administration protest if our own military men and women were subjected to the same techniques that are approved for use by the CIA? Imagine an American solder being interrogated by enemies using Bush's approved methods: slapped on the face for hours at a time, being exposed to 33-degree temperatures for numerous days and repeated simulated drowning episodes. Would these techniques be acceptable to the American public? I doubt it. Am I biased about my opinion? Of course I am. I certainly wouldn't want any of my Air Force buddies subjected to the same techniques.

What about the argument people use when they say the U.S. is only using these methods on terrorists? It is a sad day for America when the government tries to justify the use of torture on people who are technically innocent. Americans are taught from an early age their nation's system is the best. Yet the U.S. is responsible for imprisoning people, Americans and foreigners, for years without charging them with a crime or allowing them the basic right to challenge the legality of their detention -- habeas corpus.

Most of my life I was proud to be an American, proud of my country's response to the World Trade Center attacks and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan. Yet when my president condones torture, I hang my head in shame.

James N. Bragge



White House, Congress will not fix country's issues

Early in the current Bush administration, a full-page ad appeared in a prominent East Coast newspaper rejecting proposed tax cuts. Spokesmen for several dozen wealthy, altruistic families were turning down benefits of tens of millions of dollars, contending that the cuts were skewed to the wealthy and might have undesirable consequences.

Since then, war costs, earmarks and increasing obligations have altered the equation. Consequently, the U.S. has seen the fortunes of many average Americans stagnate while records show increases in the sale of yachts and luxury cars. Furthermore, Americans increasingly find themselves displaced by foreign competition. It's a growing trend.

Ominously, the size of the substantial middle class, long a mainstay and bulwark of the republic, shows signs of erosion.

This is no call for some collectivist panacea. Change must be framed within the national ideology, the free-enterprise system.

However, when extreme, this philosophy competes with strong religious beliefs, which contradict a purely egocentric stance.

A whole-hearted conscience seeks equilibrium. We cherish personal freedom, but our psyche calls out for concern for the less fortunate in this land of plenty.


Now, at the time when they're most needed, governments have begun to abate the networks providing help for the needy and disabled, including veterans. This is a shame.

Cascading entitlements and obligations reduce available federal money, but many citizens are also stretched to the limit and face the losses of homes and jobs.

Unfortunately, a lame duck administration and a deeply divided Congress are not the keys out of this dilemma. May a true leader yet appear. Only then will ingenuity shine forth and unite all in that communal effort that is latent in the American spirit.

Paul Lampi Sr.


Earth's inhumanities have isolated it from universe

It seems strange that lately there have been few, if any, UFO sightings or reports of space aliens attempting to contact anyone on Earth.

It could well be that with all of these wars and other acts of insanity occurring on our planet, the inhabitants of outer space have looked us over and decided our species is not yet civilized enough to be welcomed into their galactic community.


Ralph A. Anderson


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