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I think the new state seal should become the new state flag design ("Loon gets the seal of approval," Dec. 6). It has a circle with a blue background that would appease those who like the old flag. It has a loon that would appease all those who complain about the lack of one on the new flag designs. It has a North Star that seems to be what the majority want, and it has the water. Just put the name "Minnesota" on the top of the circle and "1858" on the bottom, and it would be a beautiful state flag!

Anne M. Aune, Rosemount


I recall in the mid-1970s that there was some serious talk about Minnesota becoming two states: North Minnesota and South Minnesota. It looks like North Minnesota, if it were to become a separate state, now has a seal design finalist. When I became president of the Minnesota Graphic Designers Association (MGDA) in 1979, one of my commitments, having lived in and worked in rural and greater Minnesota during the early- to mid-1970s, was to help make the organization truly a Minnesota — not just a Minneapolis or Twin Cities — organization. The seal design somehow needs to reflect more of Minnesota, more than only North Minnesota, or will a South Minnesota have its own seal? Back to the drawing board. That being said, the seal finalist has the elements of an effective seal design.

Patrick M. Redmond, St. Paul

The writer is a graphic designer. His opinions are his own.


Regarding the design for the new state seal, perhaps something obvious is eluding me (it's happened before), but instead of "The Great Seal of the State of Minnesota," shouldn't it read "The Seal of the Great State of Minnesota"?

Michael Gottsacker, St. Paul


Some blame is deserved

On Dec. 4, Star Tribune Opinion republished an editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal titled "Biden's playing inflation blame game" that makes the claim that corporations are not inflating prices and are not a major cause of inflation.

Apparently the writer has failed to pay attention to corporate shareholder meetings over the last couple of years where CEOs from many industries have been bragging about how inflation has allowed them to increase their price points and therefore their profit margins.

A report from the Kansas City Fed found that nearly 60% of inflation in 2021 was because of corporate profits. Inflation is down to normal levels now at 3.2% year-on-year, a level similar to what we experienced during the George W. Bush administration. Corporate price gouging has subsided somewhat since 2021-22, and, shocker, so has inflation.

Kroger, the fifth-largest retailer in the country, has also reported high profits on reduced revenue. It's not the only one.

Is corporate price-gouging the only reason for inflation? Of course not. But it is the one contributor that can be controlled, and if the giant corporations themselves continue to gouge us, I'm very much in favor of a windfall profits tax on them.

Terry Cannon, Castle Rock, Colo.


I typically enjoy other newspapers' editorials, but I do expect a level of truthiness. The reprinted editorial from the Las Vegas Review-Journal sounded like something you'd hear from a much less respected journal.

First the title: "Biden plays inflation blame game." Have we agreed yet if the president has any effect over inflation? Because the consensus is out with economists. And what happened to the House candidates running against Biden's handling of the economy? What have they produced?

Prices remain elevated, "as any ... driver — or voter — will tell you," purports the editorial. Not true. Gas, as I drive down the road, is down to $2.85 a gallon. When was the last time you saw that? Biden is responsible for inflation (not the war in the Ukraine, COVID and supply lines) but no credit for his policies when gas prices go down?

It was supposedly Congress' and Biden's "spending blowout" that triggered this inflation. I'm pretty sure that's not true — every country in the world suffered inflation at that time, and it wasn't Democrats who caused worldwide pain. Besides, our economy is now similar to Germany's, Japan's and Canada's. Other countries are still grappling with higher inflation than the U.S., and that's not on Biden. Besides, what the Review-Journal claims as a reward to special interests, without explaining, I can only assume refers to COVID relief. Though it was abused by some scoundrels, it helped millions of Americans and dropped child poverty, and the bipartisan infrastructure package? Great — taking care of Americans is a special interest, unlike a huge tax cut for billionaires and huge corporations, the signature legislation by the former president.

Lastly, in 2022, many corporations reported record profits and shrunk packaging. So they are part of the inflation problem.

Rail against Biden and his part in inflation if you must, but the Review-Journal, as a newspaper, should be more honest.

Anthony Joseph Clouse, La Crosse, Wis.


Levels are low, so let's use trains

There have been many stories recently in the Star Tribune about the Mississippi River. One story said the public and government neglect the mighty Mississippi in favor of our lakes, Great and otherwise. Other articles say the Mississippi's water levels are too low, due to drought, to allow efficient grain and other commodity transport despite the expensive and environmentally destructive lock-and-dam system on the river. Then Monday's story says a drought and lack of water is restricting the Panama Canal, another big route for U.S. grain exports by ship ("Panama Canal jam sends ships sailing continents out of the way").

Interestingly, the story also said U.S. grain handlers are shipping grain to western ports via railroad, avoiding both the drought-stricken Mississippi River and nearly shut-down, parched Panama Canal. Advocates for the Mississippi River lock-and-dam system have long said rail is not an alternative for grain transport. Hmmm, seems that is not quite true.

Climate-change-driven droughts are likely to become more frequent and worse, science tells us. The Mississippi River's massive habitats and wildlife, now greatly reduced due to the lock-and-dam system, would benefit greatly by getting rid of that expensive system. So why not build a super rail system with bigger cars and rails to get our grain to western ports and elsewhere, which also eliminates the need for the dry and dying Panama Canal? Let's get creative, America, and make this endeavor a second Transcontinental Railroad west!

Mark Herwig, White Bear Lake


Where's my PBR?

Please, please, please, food critics, quit calling cute, hipster, updated neighborhood bars with $15 cocktails "dive bars"! ("Spirited escapes," Dec. 7.) Dive bars work hard to get their reputation! They need regulars, a tinge of smoke or grease in the air, a few ripped booths, and staying power. It seems every time a new neighborhood bar (as in a small, locally owned bar) opens it is called a dive. Please stop it! Let's cheer them on for their local vibe and the new energy they bring to a neighborhood. Let them earn the moniker. Thank you!

Wendy Friedmeyer, St. Paul