How many facts does it take to change a mind?
Fact 1: The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act banned nothing. It set legally binding standards for a variety of products, including motors and appliances, in addition to lighting, just as previous legislation has led to safer highways, baby car restraints, food safety, and many other societal improvements.
Fact 2: The product development process is ongoing. The manufacturers (and a few garage shops) are well aware of consumer objections and are addressing them. The field is quite competitive.
Fact 3: Do you really want me to list what's in an incandescent? We already know how to deal with environmental hazards by recycling.
Fact 4: More than 30 percent of the electricity in this country goes into lighting. There is a payback for society in this legislation; that's why it passed with bipartisan support in 2007. For the user, that payback can arrive in as little as a year.
Fact 5: Right now GE Lighting, Osram Sylvania and Cree (a U.S. company that never made incandescents) have more 1,500 job openings combined in the United States. Let's address the real problem of matching the skill sets of the unemployed to the requirements of the openings.
GARY BOX, GOLDEN VALLEY
* * *
HEALTH CARE REFORM
Don't blame Legislature for its rightful caution
The Aug. 19 editorial was headlined "An ill-timed health reform blame game." Now, whether it is the timing or the blame game, the editorial writers don't seem to have any aversion to playing at this time.
We are asked to accept that the Legislature has as "one of its most important tasks: laying the groundwork for the state's health insurance exchange."
Is the state Legislature expected to have its priorities set, for example, by the federal government in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare? The law has been challenged in the courts, with mixed rulings.
At the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the majority agreed with two lower courts that said Congress overreached when it required most Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty. And in weekly polling, for all but one week since Obamacare was passed, a majority of those polled favor repeal.
So maybe the Republican legislative leadership in Minnesota is paying attention to how Obamacare is faring in the courts and is listening to constituents -- not dithering, as the editorial alleges.
The editorial attributes a statement to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce: "We continue to support an exchange customized to Minnesotans rather than having one imposed by the federal government." Either the chamber doesn't know that Obamacare sets the rules, or the fix is in. Which is it?
PAUL HYLAND, WOODBURY
* * *
RELIGIOUS HEAD COVERINGS
Its only interpretation is male dominance
The commentary concerning Muslim women wearing veils ("For Muslim women, to cover up is no to hold down," Aug. 18) missed the point about why so many people in society, including me, question why any individual who simply belongs to a religion would wear a veil, niqab, or burqa in today's world.
The author argues that he is very supportive of women's rights, but his actions belie his statements. The headwear is about controlling women's sexuality.
All religions in their conservative derivations have tried to control women's sexuality since the formation of religious beliefs thousands of years ago, and that practice, unfortunately, continues today.
We see it in Orthodox/Hasidic Judaism (women separated from men at worship; women ordered to walk behind men; women not being allowed to shake hands with men), and fundamentalist Christianity (women's bodies covered in clothes; no respect for reproductive rights) and Islam (head-to-toe clothes; women not permitted to shake hands with men; women separated from men at many social and religious ceremonies).
We never see a Mormon man prevented from shaking hands with women, or a Shiite man made to cover his face, or a Jewish man told to walk behind a women, or a Catholic man told he can't control his own body.
And why is it that in conservative Christianity, Islam and Judaism, there are no women -- at all -- in positions of great influence? Regrettably, it's because it all boils down to male-dominated religions trying to control women.
No matter how you slice it, coercing women to wear certain clothing or making them separate themselves from men amounts to male control over women's sexuality, and no religious belief should promote that behavior.
JOE TAMBURINO, MINNEAPOLIS
* * *
Make the pros pay for their 'farm teams'
In the Aug. 19 Short Takes column, Scott Gillespie writes: "Conferences, universities, coaches and administrators are all enriched by the millions of dollars generated every year by big-time student athletics. It's ridiculous that the athletes, many of whom come from poor families and are on campus only because of their athletic skills, aren't receiving a cent."
While that's true, Gillespie does not take his argument to its logical next step. Unlike baseball, football and basketball do not have and do not need minor leagues to develop players. They let the universities do it for free.
So let those universities announce that unless the professionals begin subsidizing their big sports programs by, let's say, 50 percent of the cost, they will go back to the olden days when real students played for fun and coaches were paid just like the faculty members who teach students how to make a living.
FRED E. HAHN, GOLDEN VALLEY
We apologize for the inconvenience.