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As a Wisconsin taxpayer with a master's degree in music education, I'm glad to see that UW-Madison's School of Music will (probably) be getting better music performance halls. These improvements are much needed.

I also hope that some day an opera or musical theater performance hall can be built that will allow a wider scope of productions in this artistic genre to be mounted. Music Hall is a cool, historic building, but the facility is inadequate to show the talent in the UW music school.

I have already heard rehearsals of this year's University and Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, under James Smith's excellent direction, and these ensembles are, again, first rate!

The sports teams at UW-Madison are seen on TV a lot, and the orchestra (and bands and choirs) here produce the same quality results as the UW athletic teams.

- Edward Reich, Janesville

Obama supports electronic records

As the State Journal's Monday editorial correctly observed, a national system of electronic health care records would not only improve patient care by improving physician coordination, it would also lower medical costs by reducing the need for redundant tests and exams.

This only highlights the difference between the Obama and Biden and McCain and Palin tickets. Obama has made standardized electronic records a key component of his health care cost-reduction strategy, and has pledged billions for the effort.

McCain has shown no interest or expertise on the issue, and is unlikely to show the leadership that Washington clearly needs on this and other critical health care reform priorities.

- R. Alta Charo, Madison

P.C. literacy more than use of keyboard

In Thursday's syndicated column, Jonah Goldberg parrots the same-old, same-old that Fox News does. First he says that McCain really is computer literate and that bad ol' Obama should know that McCain's war injuries prohibit him from accompanying the rest of us into the 21st century.

Goldberg apparently doesn't know that a keyboard is not necessary in the use of a personal computer. Today's technology makes the use of a P.C. so easy that a caveman can do it.

Before Goldberg writes another column that accuses people like Obama of "talking about new ideas while repackaging old ones," he might want to get up to speed on technology. Goldberg is just as antiquated as he is predictable.

- Brian Brown, DeForest Van Hollen goes beyond HAVA rules There is a change between Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen's first and second briefs on matching the voter registration list to the list of drivers' licenses.

His Aug. 27 letter to the Government Accountability Board was a measured, appropriate argument asking that the GAB check past registrations, meeting the effective date of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). He was fulfilling his role as attorney general.

However, the suit he filed on Sept. 10 asks for measures that go past what is legally required. He writes about taking voters off the registration list. But HAVA does not require this as a result of non-matches, so there is no basis to sue for this.

In fact, both state and federal law have general prohibitions against removing voters from the list, unless it is "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the person does not qualify.

HAVA mentions one specific use for database matching that applies to a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide proof of residence. HAVA restricts this voter to provisional status unless the voter successfully matches another state database, in which case the restriction "shall not apply." This clause fulfills the name of the act - to help America vote - but neither the GAB nor Van Hollen seem interested in this part of HAVA.

- Paul Malischke, Madison, spokesman, Fair Elections Wisconsin

Eligible voter rolls are worth protecting

Most of the media, including the State Journal, have been running articles like the one on Sept. 12 that denigrate the need for tighter voter identification procedures. The reason they give is that tighter systems make it difficult for some people to vote, and that's unnecessary restraint when there is little evidence of voter fraud.

There are two possible reasons for the lack of evidence: Either there is little voter fraud, or our current voting processes are so inadequate and riddled with errors that we couldn't find the evidence even if there is a significant amount of voter fraud. To dismiss the need for better voter verification, we have to eliminate the second possibility.

Ironically, news stories about duplicate addresses, misspelled names and so on simply show how inadequate our current system is. Therefore we can't eliminate the possibility of undetected voter fraud.

When we count every vote, we should have good assurance that they are all valid votes.

- Wayne Shockley, Brooklyn

McCain's views suit most Americans

Most Americans will vote for McCain and Palin. For starters, McCain is not Bush, no matter what the liberal media or the Democrats' ads say.

Second, abortion is the murder of a human. That's how it is, and it will never change. War casualties are not the same as abortion deaths.

And regardless of our fantasies about war, it will never go away. If a country is to survive, it must be prepared to fight and win, not leak out when it's too hard. Bush had over a 90 percent approval rating and the majority of Democrats voted to go.

We don't want to pay more taxes for anything. Health care for you is not my responsibility, nor is it your "right" as an American. We want to drill our own oil instead of paying for someone else's. You cannot tax or legislate progress, and the Earth isn't going to melt if I drive a truck to work.

Obama and his running mate have less experience than the dynamic Sarah Palin. Get over it and stop making fools of yourselves by debating a losing battle. The Republican party will own the White House for the next 12 years, and a governor is more qualified than a community organizer. Bill Clinton was a governor. Shine it up all you want - it won't change.

- Jerome A. Sutter, Blanchardville

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