The Dec. 12 article “Lawmakers take aim at insulin costs” was informative but not informative enough. It literally raised more questions than it answered. In-depth answers to those questions would make a great piece of investigative reporting. Here are the issues that begged to be more fully explored.

 

1) What is the status of Attorney General Lori Swanson’s lawsuit against the insulin manufacturers? What is the attitude of the new attorney general about this lawsuit?

2) How do the insulin manufacturers explain the discrepancy in cost of $700 in the U.S. and $65 in Canada for five insulin pens? Why can’t Americans order these pens from Canada? Is it legal to drive across the border to purchase them? If not, why not?

3) A spokesman for PhRMA, the industry trade group, claims that consumers are paying higher prices because insurers and pharmacy benefit managers aren’t passing along discounts and rebates. Where is the truth, if any, in that claim? Who are the insurers and benefit managers who are allegedly committing fraud against consumers?

4) Why did state Sen. Scott Jensen’s bill fail to get a committee hearing? Who held it up?

5) Why did the bill introduced by state Rep. Erin Murphy fail to pass in the last session? Who voted against it?

The Washington Post’s motto, “Democracy dies in Darkness,” is very appropriate to this issue. The Star Tribune has an opportunity to shed much-needed light on the bad behavior of the pharmaceutical industry and the national and local politicians who enable and protect them. The paper also has the opportunity to demonstrate the unique ability of the print media to provide in-depth reporting in order to inform citizens of important issues so they can hold their elected representatives accountable.

Clifford Robinson, Brooklyn Park

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT DESIGN

Certain homes are works of art and shouldn’t be altered. Or …

No one would purchase a painting, drawing or sculpture with the intention of altering its appearance. These artistic endeavors are the result of numerous aesthetic considerations during the creative process and should not be changed (“A question of Wright and wrong,” Dec. 20).

One should take the same stance in buying the 1960 Olfelt home built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The structure is also a work of art that should retain its original appearance. The buyers, John and Kathy Junek, want to add 1,500 square feet and relocate the kitchen, no small change. If they wanted a bigger house, they should have bought a bigger house.

Norman Holen, Richfield

The writer is a professor of art.

• • •

The story behind the headline actually describes the extraordinary care the new owners of a Frank Lloyd Wright house and their architect are exercising to preserve Wright’s legacy and vision, while making the house livable for them. (Note: There currently is no garage.) Historic preservation is laudable, but unless these buildings have a purpose and can find people to care for them, they truly will be lost to us.

Karen Bachman, Minneapolis

MINNESOTA’S SETTLEMENT

Article by ‘independent historians’ showed confidence, seemed flawed

In response to the Dec. 20 counterpoint on the U.S.-Dakota War (“After 1862 war, authorities tried to shield Dakota from revenge”):

The authors identify themselves as “independent historians.” I’m not sure what that is, but I know that academic (or professional) historians “use facts drawn from primary sources” to draw their conclusions and also investigate the entire context of the events they are studying, which includes “recent publications.” The writers seem to imply that other interpretations of the Dakota War ignore facts. But historical writing is inevitably the writer’s interpretation of sources and the facts they contain; even choosing which sources to include or omit in a history can be biased.

My concern about the authors of the counterpoint is their dismissive attitude toward the suffering of the Dakota and their rationalization of white settlers’ responses. It seems they rely heavily on sources from settlers and the military authorities. They appear to excuse violent behavior by white settlers because of the provocation of the war; but they do not excuse the attacking Dakota who experienced their own provocations before and after the war.

The most obvious evidence that their primary purpose is to vindicate whites comes in the reaction to Gov. Alexander Ramsey’s statement. They say Ramsey was determined not to fail in protecting the citizens of Minnesota, as the state government had in 1862. Granted, at the time the Dakota were not considered citizens. But “tough measures” need not only be visited upon the original inhabitants of Minnesota! The removal of the Dakota to make way for white settlers and the shameful abrogation of treaties in the aftermath of the war is part of a pattern in our history; its impact should not be minimized.

Diane Ring, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired teacher of U.S. history.

CLEARING THE SNOW

It would be a step toward equity if the city were to aid pedestrians

The city of Minneapolis should be lauded for considering sidewalk snow removal (“City-done walks? Basics first,” Readers Write, Dec. 20). For more than 100 years, the automobile has taken precedence over pedestrians, who are at the mercy of home and business owners to clear their walks.

This has become a socioeconomic issue — though it can be hard for some to believe, many people can’t afford a car, can’t drive a car or don’t want to drive a car. For them, the sidewalks are the only conveyance to and from work, mass transit, businesses, schools, etc. The current streets-only system creates a city of haves (drivers) and have-nots (pedestrians).

It’s also not enough to expect all homeowners to clear sidewalks. Many people along busy streets must clear sidewalks with no space to absorb plowlines or pile snow. Even with mighty efforts, these walks are difficult to keep clear and often become impassable. The city should remove this snow as a service to both homeowners and pedestrians, especially along transit routes.

It’s a testament to the can-do spirit of Minneapolitans that most sidewalks are clear after a snow. However, the city needs to proactively ensure that walks are prioritized at least as much as the streets. Pedestrians have endured second-class status much too long, and by clearing sidewalks Minneapolis has an opportunity to build on the progressive impact of its 2040 Comprehensive Plan and take yet another step toward equity in this wonderful city.

Jason Walker, Minneapolis

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Saudi Arabia is not a ‘tough call’; it’s time for policymakers to try morality

In the Dec. 20 letters to the editor, a writer feels condemnation of Saudi Arabia is a “tough choice.” He opines, “This isn’t a simple case of choosing the moral course. Sometimes the apparent moral alternative has unintended disastrous consequences.”

We are living with the consequences of decades of immoral choices and the free exercise of situational ethics. Amorality has not worked well for most of society.

Toni Gurvin, Bloomington