The March 28 Business section article about Delta's boarding changes, which went so far as to use the term "gate lice," ignores the basic problem: that airlines do not enforce their own carry-on rules. If you watch enough of the loading circuses at airports, you can add your observations to the many reasons not to fly. You will see: (1) people rolling stacked luggage onto the plane, obviously unworried about any rules, (2) people filling up overhead bins many rows away from their seat, (3) people hoisting their jackets, hats, etc., to the overheads, taking up as much room as possible, and (4) many other violations of etiquette and rules.
People are gate lice because if they are one of the last on, there will be no space to stow their luggage, through no fault of their own. To start to repair this mess, the airlines need a rule that passengers are allowed to put one article overhead. If it does not fit in the direction it is supposed to fit, it will need to come down and be checked. Heaven knows, there are attendants standing there watching people abuse their privileges. The attendants should not be afraid to confront these people. If somebody is rude and obnoxious enough, they should be escorted off the plane, offered a full refund and sent on their way.
Wayne Sather, St. Paul
Reactions to Yates news, executive order on climate
Respectable news outlets report that White House lawyers have sought to suppress public testimony by former Department of Justice head Sally Yates on the Trump-Russia ties. This is worse that Watergate. For what valid reason would Trump resist testimony from an expert whose "privilege" was limited and waived, whom Trump fired over an immigration ban later found unconstitutional, and who has material knowledge of the events?
Devin Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, is proving to be a White House shill; Congress needs an independent committee on campaign collusion with indisputable Russian efforts to tilt our election in favor of Trump. Whether or not the election would have gone this way anyhow (given the popular vote, that seems unlikely), any collusion in the attempt is somewhere between a federal crime and outright treason. Federal criminals, as in Nixon's day, go to prison.
Without such an independent inquiry — without checks, balances and, above all, accountability — we are little more than a banana republic. The world knows it, and we will all suffer as a result in civil liberties, economically, and in reputation. The damage already is incalculable.
Brad Taplin, Minneapolis
• • •
So, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency to curb the federal government's enforcement of climate regulations. Take a deep breath, Americans! The question is: How long can you hold that breath?
Penny Lawson, Bloomington
NEW PRAGUE PLAY CANCELED
Excessive sensitivity tries to spare us from history
How sad that a New Prague school play decrying the ugly and homicidal racism of the Ku Klux Klan should be canceled over a "photo of KKK costumes" (local section, March 28) because of a reaction to an image of Klansmen correctly attired in the hideous robes that provided anonymity and were used to terrorize African-Americans throughout the South and elsewhere for far too long. I'm reminded of an almost-canceled performance of "West Side Story" a few years back, a treasure of American musical theater that breathes racial reconciliation in every note and piece of dialogue but was considered offensive due to the use of ethnic slurs as called for by the nature of the drama. This weekend opens a movie about a Polish Christian couple who risked everything by saving Jews. No doubt we will see actors dressed as Nazis. Should we boycott the film as a result? I think it's time to grow up and stop letting the tail wag the dog of free artistic expression, most especially when the art in question advances the cause of racial justice and human decency.
Bernard Carpenter, Chanhassen
Possible demolition of building that housed school is emblematic
The article about the former site of Minneapolis' Vocational High School ("Century Plaza could be demolished after sale," March 26) speaks volumes about the unfortunate decline of vocational education in our public schools. Our society will always need workers with vocational training — people to fix our cars, electricians, painters, plumbers, roofers, mechanics, construction workers. We will do well to keep this in mind as we raise our children and work with our educational systems to value and keep this kind of training available.
Lois Willand, Minneapolis
Some relevant context about to whom those rights apply
A March 26 letter writer states: "Someone needs a refresher in high-school government class. 'Everyone' doesn't apply to the rights guaranteed by the language of the U.S. Constitution. Those inalienable rights are reserved for lawful citizens of the United States of America."
Yes, clearly someone needs a refresher class; unfortunately for the letter writer, it appears to be him. He seems to think that people are criminals even if they've not been convicted (they're not!); that criminals don't have rights (they do!), and that the Constitution doesn't apply to everyone in the U.S. (it does!).
Would it be OK to deny noncitizens the right to trial? Counsel? OK to use torture and other cruel punishments? Legitimate to confiscate their property without trial? Can they be owned as slaves, since they don't have constitutionally protected rights?
Of course not. Here's a very good column by Glenn Greenwald that lays it out: http://bit.ly/2o3LlYF
The Supreme Court decision is Yick Wo vs. Hopkins (1886). Takeaway quote:
"The rights of the petitioners, as affected by the proceedings of which they complain, are not less because they are aliens and subjects of the Emperor of China. … The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is not confined to the protection of citizens. It says: 'Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' These provisions are universal in their application to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality, and the equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws. … The questions we have to consider and decide in these cases, therefore, are to be treated as involving the rights of every citizen of the United States equally with those of the strangers and aliens who now invoke the jurisdiction of the court."
As a vet myself, I thank the letter writer for his service. However, he should spend some time getting familiar with that document to which he swore his oath.
Mike Westberg, St. Paul