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Maybe those school lunch shamers were onto something ("Lawmakers curb school lunch shaming," July 7). Instead of ending this practice, let's expand it:

• If you cheat on a partner, a scarlet "A" is tattooed to your forehead. Natch.

• If you're returning books late, the librarians form a spanking machine that you must pass through.

• If you arrive late to a movie, the lights go up and everyone throws Junior Mints at you. Church? Throw hymnals. Opera? Throw opera glasses. Etc.

• All no-fault laws immediately change to your-fault laws, and if you're in an auto accident, chains of tin cans and an old grocery cart are permanently affixed to your rear bumper.

• If you haven't read the whole book in time for book club, you're given no wine and must wear a dunce cap.

• If you arrive last to any meeting, you're given no coffee and must sit under the table.

• If you don't spend 20 full seconds washing your hands, all witnesses must give you a wedgie.

• If you don't RSVP by the date specified on the wedding invitation, the best man calls you out during his speech and you're conspicuously excluded from the bouquet toss, the open bar and the Electric Slide.

• If more than six months have passed since your last teeth cleaning, the receptionist serves you a mouthwash bong while everyone in the dentist's waiting room chants "Chug! Chug! Chug!"

Shame and mockery are powerful tools that could end so many societal problems. Who wouldn't want to live in such a utopia?

Lily Coyle, St. Paul


Sorry, we'll stop!

I appreciate John Phelan's July 12 commentary "We have a problem." I am always happy to hear about the problems we have in our Minnesota economy! I apologize for being progressive and creating these problems. I will change my social stances immediately so this great state of ours can survive another year or two. Maybe if I had done so when they warned me back in 2017 (given that the summary above Phelan's article declares: "That's what we've been trying to tell Minnesotans for years"), the state would be in a better place today!

Of course, I am being facetious. By all means, I do not mean to discount the issues we face in Minnesota. But to use the hand-picked studies and arguments Phelan's "think tank" — the Center of the American Experiment — provides does not further the solutions. In fact, I would argue his article leads to a higher "skeptical consensus" that he says is occurring.

If he and his "think tank" would like to provide a consensus, he must look at all of the facts and arguments and discuss these with an open mind with everyone involved to agree to solutions that can help resolve the problems. Not just cherry-pick and create more division.

Jim Kujawa, Brooklyn Park


Even if we politely ignore Phelan and CAE's vague definitions of "progressive" and "conservative" and what "on the wrong track" means; even if we politely accept the grim characterizations and doctored comparisons they put forward — one still can't help but notice the dishonest nature of their arguments. (In essence: "We must try something different; meanwhile, lower my taxes.")

First, correlation is not causation. Second, their answer to everything is to reduce taxes, no matter the issue, no matter how many times it is debunked. Third, they cherry-pick their concern, statistics, comparisons and facts to fit their current narrative, while ignoring the mountains of evidence that overall quality of life in the Western world is, and has been for decades, tied to higher personal and corporate tax rates.

Alan Husby, Minneapolis


A former Senate ethics chair on what House should do now

DFL Chair Ken Martin expressed "disappointment" at recent actions by DFL state Rep. John Thompson (July 12). That is a first step. As former (DFL) chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, I urge the DFL House to lead on the issue and submit a formal complaint to the House Ethics Committee.

Normally, personal transgressions prior to holding office, such as not paying child support or violating licensing laws, though greatly disturbing, are left to voters to consider in the next election. In this case, Rep. Thompson attempted to divert blame to law enforcement for his personal transgressions. This is highly inappropriate conduct for a sitting state lawmaker that, if proven, "violates accepted norms of House behavior, betrays the public trust, or tends to bring the House into dishonor or disrepute." (Minnesota House Rule 6.10.)

Rep. Thompson deserves full due process in a bipartisan forum, of course. But if allegations are proven, he must be held accountable to the House of Representatives and to voters. Our party should lead the way by initiating the ethics investigation.

Ember Reichgott Junge, Minneapolis

The writer was a DFL member of the Minnesota Senate from 1983 to 2000.


So, Rep. John Thompson, despite your status as lawmaker, you have chosen to drive illegally in Minnesota for almost three years. It is easy to see why you're against traffic stops and police in general. You need to apologize to the officer, to the department, to your constituents and to your colleagues. Anyone who voted for you needs to apologize to their fellow citizens.

Pat Flynn, St. Paul


Can she draw the same concern as others struck down by police?

The cancellation of the Uptown Art Fair amid safety concerns (Star Tribune, July 7) is the most recent example of the aftermath of George Floyd's death. The ripple effect has touched not only Minneapolis but cities across the country.

We watched a nation mourn as fires burned and lives were lost. We console ourselves with the belief that these sacrifices are for the greater good. We cry out for changes in our policing, and we aspire to more transparency, accountability and transformation of policies.

The question is: Does this revolution extend to the death of Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed Jan. 6 protester who was shot, without warning, by a Capitol Police officer? There have been no clear-cut answers or responsibility taken in her death. No one coming forth to comfort and seek answers for her family. Several media sources have identified the shooter; however, no one on Capitol Hill will confirm. The Department of Justice closed its investigation of the Babbitt shooting, clearing the officer of any wrongdoing. This despite the fact that the medical examiner ruled her death as a homicide. While most police departments are required to release an officer's name, the Capitol Police are not, since they are controlled by Congress, which can keep the public in the dark.

Our elected officials who showered support for the Floyd family and were outspoken on the tragedy of his death are silent on the death of Ashli Babbitt. If our pursuit of justice is of a singular focus, then much of our fight has been fought in vain.

Lee Ann Goerss, Buffalo, Minn.