About half of the longest summer remains — longest because Memorial Day was as early as possible and Labor Day will be as late as it can be.
Good thing, too, since there is so much to do:
• Order popcorn and beer at the lakeside pavilion and call it dinner.
• Study the sunlight on the waves so it comes easily to mind in January.
• Read poems while sitting outside on the steps.
• Watch the squirrel-addled dogs in the neighborhood.
• Check each evening to see which shades of lavender the sunset is using.
The list goes on and on.
Yes, there are other tasks that require frowning and pondering, but these are the important ones.
All for now – need to get going.
Melissa Anderson, Minneapolis
Have we arrived at a reasonable compromise for Lynn Rogers?
With reference to the July 14 article “Court rejects bear collars, OKs videos,” I agree totally with that decision. We watched a documentary about Lynn Rogers’ study of the bears in the Ely, Minn., area, and I can say honestly that after his decadeslong research with collaring, I did not learn much about a bear’s behavior that would merit collaring. I agree with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that collaring a bear by approaching it with grapes and a voice that calls “here, bear, it’s me” leaves the door wide open for people to believe that bears are calm, friendly and approachable.
Because of Rogers’ “training” of the bears to come to him, he has stepped into their world of self-defense and natural survival. That is evident by the bright ribbons he now has to put on the bears to warn hunters not to shoot them. The bears he has collared have no fear of their human counterparts, and that is sad to see. In my opinion, Rogers has succeeded in making “pets” out of wild creatures.
Rogers’ lawyer is “considering whether to reapply for a permit or appeal to the Supreme Court.” That should not even be an option. The DNR is the decider and issuer of permits for collaring. By allowing Rogers to continue videotaping the bears (as opposed to collaring), we can learn just as much and more about their behavior than the collaring has offered.
Marjory Shields, Brooklyn Park
• • •
It is disappointing, yet consistent with DNR policy, that Commissioner Tom Landwehr continues his attacks on Lynn Rogers and his black-bear studies. The threat that Rogers poses is that his studies reveal the peaceful and nonaggressive nature of the black bear. This threatens the myth of the vicious nature of the bear, leading to hunting-license sales and the mystique of the “mighty hunter” who baits the peaceful animal into point-blank range and celebrates the execution as a true hunting accomplishment. As a lifelong hunter and fisherman, I am embarrassed by this. The DNR was once the Department of Conservation, but now is entirely focused on harvest of resources and collection of revenue.
Zane Emstad, Anoka
Her economic strategy is mired in an impoverishing past
It’s fascinating to behold. Hillary Clinton, speaking for many “progressives,” recently outlined an economic and social agenda that appears determined to pursue policies that comport with those of 1930s Democrats: tax rates set without any understanding of global competition; demands for greater unionization in a world increasingly governed by free-market upstarts, such as Uber, Airbnb, RelayRides and Zaarly, and the one-size-fits-all public education system that has failed generations of impoverished Americans.
On the other hand, evil, hate-the-poor conservatives champion a free market providing every American with greater choice at lesser cost for a host of services that Big Government and its allies seem determined to resist at any cost. We have long since abandoned a culture where one worked most of one’s life at a single employer, in return for which we received generous pensions and health care. Clinton and her ilk, in their misguided attempt to return to those days of yesteryear, are peddling a pipe dream. The future belongs to the innovators, regardless of the cost to the self-satisfied, immune from the realities of an ever-changing marketplace.
Mark H. Reed, Plymouth
TREATMENT OF EMPLOYEES
Practical reality lines up in favor of higher federal minimum wage
Fred Zimmerman offers some realistic suggestions for legislative action on business needs (“You can’t give what you don’t have,” Business Forum, July 13), but he omits some vital considerations.
First, decisions about priorities for allocation of business resources, within the limits of the law, are made by corporate executives and their boards of directors. Since the 1980s, with reduced public regulation, these priorities have largely tended to serve the interests of the boards, investors, executives themselves and, to the extent demanded by competition, their consumers.
All of these tend to be served well ahead of the interests of employees. And service employees, traditionally regarded by execs as low in relevant skills — and often of minority “races” or immigrants — are the last to be served, although these employees’ service skills are vital to consumer satisfaction.
This system reflects the corruption inherent in capitalism. Since the competitive process prompts lower prices and also lower wages for those considered least worthy, the only protection for service employees is a federally established minimum wage. It obviously needs to be significantly higher than it is and should grow steadily with inflation.
Higher costs would result for consumers? Sure! But that could be modified if executives, boards — and, yes, investors — moderated their greed; or, even, if they were asked to pay a higher tax rate. (Yes, execs; horrors!)
Louis Stanley Schoen, St. Louis Park
• • •
James Sherk’s predictions (“Obama plan looks good but won’t raise wages,” July 13) of a negative impact on certain employees if the salary amounts for overtime rules are increased is a classic “straw man” argument. He predicts that work hours will fall and worksite and work-hour flexibilities for the impacted 5 million employees will disappear.
In order to be considered exempt from overtime rules, an employee must not only meet the $455 per week income test but must be engaged in exempt administrative duties in which “the employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.” To argue, as Sherk does, that employers willingly assign their employees duties that truly meet the above legal definition but will not trust those employees to properly account for their hours of work under flexible schedules or at alternative worksites is, in a word, ridiculous.
Unless, of course, those employees are only portrayed by the employer as performing exempt administrative duties as a pretext to avoid paying overtime for the additional hours worked. Come to think of it, how many actual supervisory or administrative employees do you know who make near $11.38 an hour? Who’s kidding whom? Raise the wage limit to a more reasonable level.
Al Cleland, Mounds View