Regarding “Dogs as a work perk” (Variety, Jan. 10):
After a 1.5-hour highway commute through the snow, a trudge through a concrete parking ramp, and nine hours sitting in a cubicle — who says I want to come to work with you?
P.S. Take me out!
Andrew Frame, Apple Valley
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Ask big questions; don’t waste time on anger over coach’s salary
Following the hiring of P.J. Fleck as the new head coach of the men’s football team at the University of Minnesota, many, including some letter writers printed on this page, have expressed dismay at the exorbitant $3.6 million annual salary he will receive from our state’s flagship public university. I have no qualms with this argument. When examined in a vacuum, this is an outrageous price for an amateur athletics coach.
Nonetheless, I find such arguments disingenuous and emblematic of the type of virtue-signaling that has permeated many of the recent public discussions surrounding the university’s athletic programs. Accordingly, a little hardheaded realism is welcome. It would be great if the university could hire a coach for a couple of hundred thousand dollars per year. But could a program led by such a person fill the $288.5 million stadium we built not long ago and build the type of national brand that is necessary for a profit-turning football program?
Yes, I admit this argument rests on path dependency and that past mistakes do not justify present misdeeds. But to those who are upset about Fleck’s salary, I ask them to put aside the outrage for a minute and follow their arguments to their logical conclusion. I ask them: What is the alternative? These are big questions, and they require big, complex discussions, not knee-jerk indignation.
Brian Krause, Minneapolis
• • •
At the U, the buzz is now about the changing “the culture” in the athletic department. Here’s a simple starting point. As a Minnesota taxpayer seeing so much funding going into facilities and coaching salaries, coupled with our family not having cable TV, I can’t stress enough how annoyed I am that so many key away games are no longer broadcast on public television. What a scam!
Charles A. Lipkin, Golden Valley
Defenses like that given by letter writer fall short on a few counts
In response to the Jan. 10 letter writer who felt the paper’s coverage of Planned Parenthood in an article was misleading, let me point out what was misleading in the letter.
The letter writer states that “abortions are a very small proportion of all of its services.” This is the Planned Parenthood company line. However, the Washington Post fact-checker feature gave this claim a rating of “Three Pinocchios” (mostly false). Planned Parenthood counts every service it provides as a single service. So if someone goes in and takes a pregnancy check, an STD test and receives contraceptives, along with an abortion, that is counted as four separate services.
The letter writer also claims that poor people will lose access to health services if Planned Parenthood is defunded. According to research done by Alliance Defending Freedom, there are currently 13,540 clinics providing comprehensive health care for women in the U.S., vs. 665 Planned Parenthood locations. Community health centers primarily exist to provide comprehensive care to millions of uninsured, working poor and jobless Americans.
The $500 million that Planned Parenthood receives from taxpayers could be channeled to these clinics that can provide a fuller range of services to women without the ethical challenges that Planned Parenthood presents. I think taxpayers would be better served by these community health centers than by an organization into which congressional panels and committees have recommended investigation and possible prosecution related to the practice of fetal tissue transfers.
John Poeschl, Plymouth
The philanthropic Kaepernick’s protest beats commercialism
I would like to commend San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for being a model athlete with regards to giving back to the national community. Kudos to him for reaching out and supporting some solid nonprofits here in the Twin Cities (“Kaepernick gives $25,000 to Minneapolis nonprofit,” Jan. 8). While Kaepernick may have rubbed some people the wrong way with his kneeling protest during the national anthem before games this past season, I was far more disturbed by the practice done by the Minnesota Timberwolves before the home game on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks. Before the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the public address announcer stated that this “Salute to America is brought to you by SuperAmerica.” I was disgusted. At least Kaepernick’s treatment of the anthem made me reflect on my rights and freedoms as an American and what I can do to make my country better. All the Timberwolves treatment did was make me think of how much money changed hands so a gas station could get some prime advertising space.
Shame on you, Timberwolves and SuperAmerica, for selling out a piece of a tradition that so many deem a sacred part of our game. Patriotism should not need to be sponsored. While I know that both the Wolves and SuperAmerica do some great work in the community, I’d love to see that money go to directly to support veterans groups that help those coming home from overseas. With the recent tragedy in Fort Lauderdale, it’s obvious that we are not meeting this need.
Nick Hansen, St. Louis Park
THE TRUMP TRANSITION
Oval Office as family office
Does anyone besides me wonder why Donald Trump seems to have personal advisers who are either his children or son-in-law? They are half of his age and have the insight and wisdom to advise him as president? Really? None have government experience. Perhaps this is another example of Trump’s extreme narcissism. Only “his own” are good enough to be that close to him? More reflections of his “greatness”? So again he opts for voices who offer allegiance and the need to stay in his good graces rather than independent voices who might offer him some wisdom, not that I think he would take it.
Linda Peterson, Bloomington
A model of dignified behavior
I would like to take the opportunity to publicly thank the entire Obama family for the manner in which they have conducted themselves during the past eight years. With civility, integrity and class, and without a hint of scandal, they have been a wonderful example for families across the country and have represented the U.S. in a positive manner to the rest of the world. It cannot have been easy, given the political climate. They have indeed “aimed high,” and we are all better for their role-modeling. May the next first family follow their lead.
Janet L. Wolden, Stillwater