While we’re talking about state Rep. Tony Cornish’s resignation (Nov. 22), can we also talk about the misogynistic culture and skewed power dynamics in legislative committee when many of the men in the hearing are armed? The gun lobby and its followers enjoy intimidating women. As a gun-control advocate and survivor of gun violence, I’ve:

1) Received catcalls.

2) Been followed to my car after testifying in committee by the leader of a gun extremist group.

3) Received threatening notes in my child’s preschool cubby.

4) Had an opposition member whisper in my ear, “I know where your kids go to school.”

5) Had my body ogled and my breasts stared at while I was talking about my loved one being shot to death.

Cornish’s resignation is just the tip of the iceberg, and we need to dismantle the culture of toxic hypermasculinity that causes other men to follow and elevate a man like Cornish and to carry guns at all times.

Rachael Joseph, Minneapolis


The concept, in terms we can all understand

As people and parties debate the details of the GOP tax plan, the heart of the beast remains untouchable — an enormous tax cut for big corporations. We are told (again) how making the super-rich even richer will be just great for all of us. Piling even more bounty on their already groaning banquet table means some crumbs will fall off and some bones will be dropped to the starving dogs under the table. What a plan. What a concept. What a con job. The greed, the arrogance, the callousness are stunning. That’s “trickle down” economics, folks. I, for one, am sick of being trickled on.

Casey Peterson, St. Paul

• • •

In these days when we’re hearing about possible trillion-dollar deficits, let’s look at how big that number is:

• A million seconds: 11 days, 13 hours, 40 minutes.

• A billion seconds: 31 years, 8 months, 12 days.

• A trillion seconds: 31,700 years.

Craig M. Wiester, Minneapolis


How to improve the law and preserve a proper balance

On Nov. 21, under the heading “Seek balance on polling place speech,” regarding a case headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, a Star Tribune editorial in essence challenged the current, “vaguely worded” state law regarding political messages at the polls. As a former election judge, I’d like to offer a suggestion for rewording. Without listing every possibility (because that’s impossible), it hopefully qualifies as not being vague. And I think it actually encourages free speech or expression, because it allows voters to cast votes unencumbered by temporary influence at a vulnerable time.

“No one may display or present messages or items with political content at polling-site property the day of voting. Unlawful communications include — but are not limited to — buttons or badges, posters, clothing, logos, written materials, videos, recordings, and other verbal or nonverbal communication unaccepted by election judges. No organization may be represented that publicly has expressed a position on a political issue, whether or not that issue is specifically referred to on the ballot, and whether or not that issue has been supported by a candidate on the ballot. The final decision to dismiss an individual or not allow a particular means of communication must be agreed upon by a minimum of two election judges who are listed at the poll as members of different political parties.”

The above rewording might not be perfect. But I hope it encourages others, including lawmakers and lawyers, to present improvements or alternatives.

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park


Don’t blame manufacturers in lieu of clear wrongdoing

The article about the push by governments to sue pharmaceutical manufacturers that make opioids (“Taking opioid makers to court,” Nov. 19) says that governments claim that the manufacturers used deceptive marketing practices and misrepresented the addictive nature of the drugs. That is very unlikely. The product is approved by the FDA, and the FDA controls the marketing and the product literature. Product literature has to include all anticipated “adverse events,” and there are strict rules about marketing. The article provided no evidence of what the deceptive marketing practices were or how they misrepresented the addictive nature of the drugs.

It seems to me that this is most likely a push to hold the corporations responsible simply because they have the deepest pockets. Unless they have actually done something wrong, they shouldn’t be held responsible. I suspect that there are a variety of causes of this epidemic. Some possibilities include patients not following the drug use instructions, physicians overprescribing the drugs and distributors not being careful enough about who is receiving the drugs. This is a complex problem; it’s too easy to simply blame the manufacturers.

James Brandt, New Brighton


Look around, urban liberals: We don’t all want what you’re selling

After reading the Nov. 18 editorial “It’s [James] Woods’ hate that isn’t welcome here,” I am compelled to remind the staff that Hillary Clinton won the general election by a paltry 1.4 percentage points in Minnesota. Here in Crow Wing County, Donald Trump won with 64 percent to Clinton’s 30 percent. Whether the Star Tribune Editorial Board wants to believe it or not, many of us do not agree with its liberal immigration policies. Same for Lutheran Social Service, Catholic Charities and the Democratic Party — the holy alliance of diversity; I hold none of those groups in high esteem.

The city of Minneapolis now must force people out of their shelters to hide them from the elite Super Bowl fans in a stadium I helped fund but can’t afford to attend. We have an underfunded fight against the opiate epidemic that threatens the core of our existence. With the nation adding another 100 million people in your great-grandchild’s lifetime, can we really afford unlimited chain migration? The editorial-page staff declared those of us who don’t drink the immigration Kool-Aid as “hatemongers” and xenophobes. What I saw in the actor James Woods’ footage on Twitter was a snapshot of the current and future face of Minneapolis, or is it Li’l Mogadishu?

Michael Bjerkness, Crosby, Minn.


Rooskies exploiting our freedom of speech? Work it out.

John Rash (Rash Report, Nov. 18) wants us to “unite against Kremlin meddling,” and bemoans the “manipulation and disinformation tactics … damaging citizens’ ability to choose their leaders.”

And, OMG!!! Those evil Rooskies might have posted something on Facebook that was “polarizing,” or maybe even UNTRUE!!!

Rash suggests that we need to be protected from Russian bots disseminating lies, and seems to think we need a censor to protect us. But who will protect us from the lies of the New York Times and the Washington Post, or the Star Tribune, for that matter?

Kremlin meddling didn’t start our illegal wars-of-choice in Iraq, Libya and Syria while underfunding the care of our wounded veterans. Kremlin meddling didn’t commit the trillion-dollar bank frauds that crashed our economy. Kremlin meddling didn’t craft a tax “reform” bill that would further enrich the 1 percent and rip off people who work for a living. Kremlin meddling didn’t murder Philando Castile.

The reason this country exists is to not only allow, but to celebrate, meddling. It’s called freedom of speech. In America, we trust our citizens to sort it out.

William Beyer, St. Louis Park