Consumers bear some of the responsibility


I was horrified and saddened by the garment factory fire in Bangladesh that killed more than 100 people. Reportedly, the factory was supplying Wal-Mart and other U.S. retailers, but Wal-Mart asserts that it did not know that its official supplier had subcontracted with this company.

Almost 100 years ago, the nation was stunned by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which also killed more than 100 people. In that fire, the factory had many fire hazards, fire exits were locked, and fire escapes were inadequate or nonexistent. Following that tragedy, union organizers and politicians helped get workplace-safety laws passed.

Apparently we in the United States want to be able to buy a lot of cheap clothing, and would rather not think about Third World workers' lives being put at risk. We should all be aware of where our clothing is being made. I always assume companies making clothing in Third World countries are putting workers at risk unless it is proven otherwise. That may be an extreme viewpoint, but I would rather not think I was party to the injury, near-enslavement or death of a garment worker.

I also call upon our legislators to strengthen laws that penalize American companies for doing business with these exploiters. The due diligence required, when lives are at stake, should be extremely rigorous. For me, "we didn't realize" just doesn't cut it.


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Eagan residents didn't sign up for it


As a resident of Eagan, I feel the need to respond to a Nov. 29 letter to the editor from a resident of Edina about airplane noise. The writer explains that she and her husband never would have bought their current home (in Edina) if it had been under a primary plane path, so she insinuates that they are justified in not having to share the airplane noise with surrounding communities now. I am curious about what her response would be to me and all of my neighbors (at least 150 single-family homes and several apartment complexes) who built in this Eagan neighborhood around 1990 specifically because there was no airplane noise at that time, but who are now under a primary plane path. Why is Edina exempt from airplane noise and not Eagan?


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Shame on letter writer, leaders, Star Tribune


It was shameful for the Star Tribune to print a letter from a shameful writer who claims that the criticism of the Benghazi fiasco is political. Really? With four dead Americans and nobody willing to take the blame for this tragic event? The blood of those dead Americans is directly on the hands of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Susan Rice is just a political robot. But like most things involving this Teflon administration, this whole horrible incident will simply be swept under the rug. There will be no justice for the dead Americans.


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Large-market ambition was what people wanted


A Nov. 23 letter writer points out that our Minnesota Orchestra may have large-market aspirations in a medium-market city. If so, that was the choice of a board of directors and donors who committed to pay, and not of the talented musicians who later answered their call. Soon, those same donors will have an extravagant lobby where they may be seen before concerts and at intermission. Now they want the musicians to subsidize their own overreach? End the lockout and discuss reasonable solutions with the musicians!


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Those in the management of the Minnesota Orchestra have apparently had their musicians in lockout for so long that they've forgotten what it's called when musicians gather together and play great music for an appreciative audience ("This dispute is data-specific," Nov. 29). They call it a "publicity stunt." The rest of us call it a concert.

I wish this surprised me, but management has consistently ignored the entire point of its existence for this whole debacle: specifically, it is there to facilitate music. The musicians are there to play music, and that's precisely what they've kept doing in the face of great difficulties.

No one in any city has ever said: "Our orchestra is mediocre, but you should see its management! They're really first-rate!" The management of the Minnesota Orchestra has forgotten its purpose. Its patrons have not.


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Expand sales to gas pumps? Oh, no, no ...


Now the plan is to offer lottery tickets at the gas pump ("Pay-at-pump option may fuel lottery ticket sales," Nov. 29). I don't know how many times I've waited for those ahead of me buying tickets in stores. "I'll have two Gopher 5's. No -- change that to four Gopher 5's. Oh, I forgot -- here is a winner from last week."

Can't imagine how long we'll have to wait to get gas at a gas station (or is it a lottery station)? Bad idea. If people want lottery tickets, they should go inside.


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Say no more until you've got answers


I wish the Supreme Court could issue a gag order on the president and Congress until they get a meaningful solution to the financial crisis.