– online and by bike,” May 27). This is the Twin Cities, after all, and if you walk down the street, no one will say hello. But put them on a pedal pub and they want to say hello to every soul in earshot, like 2-year-olds in a stroller. When I hear a mobile pub approaching, I cringe and look for an escape route. The bells. The laughing. The buffoonery. Some drunk 30-year-old woman is about to scream and holler at me. If I don’t respond with a wave and a chuckle, I risk further ridicule from the entire “pub.” So I grit my teeth and do the deed, thinking, “I hate the pedal pubs.”

Kevin Moynihan, St. Paul

• • •

Credit the pedal pub for brewing up entertainment innovation in the city.

Yet my encounter with a pedal pub near St. Anthony Main revealed it to be a moving metaphor for our 21st-century look-at-me world (“Karma didn’t side with Pedal Pub haters,” editorial, May 27).

We attempted to drive by the slow-moving bar-on-wheels on a summer evening, yet the operator swerved the oncoming machine in our direction. A playful move on an uncrowded street — maybe — yet I reacted by maneuvering away from what otherwise would be considered a reckless drunk.

The city has licensed these slow-moving, fun-loving, frothy spectacles, but has also given special license to this overt form of public drunkenness. Regardless of good or bad, the pedal pub is the flushed face of our times, unedited. Like the peep shows of Facebook or testy tweets of Twitter, the pedal pub is the perfect vehicle for our flaws.

Steve Watson, Minneapolis

 

APPEARANCES

Loring Park is grabbing the wrong kind of attention

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is celebrating its 100th birthday. One celebration event includes positioning reproductions of MIA masterpieces in locations around the Twin Cities. I had the pleasure of accompanying the Van Gogh in Loring Park on Saturday. Many people stopped to engage and visit about the painting, but visitors spent more time and energy discussing why Loring Park had not been mowed and the deplorable condition of all the blooming dandelions. Many comments circled around Minneapolis not maintaining a public asset and the fact the park would only be worse next week after all the dandelions that were allowed to seed begin to grow. Dandelions trumped Van Gogh, unfortunately.

Sheila-Marie Untiedt, Stillwater

 

EUROPE’S SECURITY

In World War II, there surely was sacrifice beyond America

While I agree with much of the content of “Europe leans too heavily on the U.S. for security” (May 27), its bold statement “the U. S. took on the brunt of World War II and saved Europe” is inaccurate. The overwhelming majority of the fighting and dying in the European Theater of Operations was on the Eastern Front borne by the then-Soviet Union. The United States did help supply the USSR to fight Germany, but it was Russian blood that was spilled to destroy the German army.

Scott Standa, Wayzata

• • •

I found some statistics (http://tinyurl.com/mvojgbh) from the National WWII Museum that state the following: U.S. military deaths: 416,800. Soviet Union military deaths: 8.8 million to 10.7 million.

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis

 

ASSISTED SUICIDE

It’s not right to criticize a jury for applying the law as written

A May 26 letter writer disagrees with the jury’s decision in the Dakota County case that found the Final Exit Network guilty of assisting Doreen Dunn in the taking of her own life. As a person who served on a jury in a first-degree murder case, I think I am qualified to say that if you weren’t in the jury box listening to every witness and every argument made by each attorney and there at the end listening to the judge’s instructions, your argument is with the law, not the jury. The jury’s job is not to make up or change the law, but to listen and apply it. Our country was founded on the belief our legislators enact the law; our administration implements the law, and our judiciary enforces the law. If we disagree with the law, then we change it legislatively. We don’t expect and shouldn’t let 12 people on a jury change it.

Gail Mathews, Apple Valley

 

BEING BIKE-FRIENDLY

Yes, it’s confusing, but help is readily available online

Regarding the May 25 letter about confusion over bike-friendly streets (“We drivers are left to wonder about the rules of the road”): While I agree that both bikers and motorists need education regarding how to approach and use various types of bike lanes on the Minneapolis city streets, after a quick Google search I was able to find a Minneapolis document (http://tinyurl.com/7cx8fgk) that explains the rules, because believe me, I’m plenty confused myself.

Ellen Lewin, St. Louis Park

 

GOLD LINE FUNDING

In Washington County, transit suddenly is wanted, desirable?

I had to laugh out loud when I read the May 26 article about a Washington County commissioner’s surprise and anger at the lack of funding for the Gold Line (“State gives no aid for Gold Line planning”). First, one issue the current majority in the state House has clearly been against is funding for metro-area transit. Second, having lived in Washington County for a number of years in the past, I see it as one of the reddest counties in the state. Its residents keep voting a certain way, then are surprised when they see the results of their votes. If they want funding for transit, they better take a look at who they vote into office. At present they get lots of promises but no money. Once again, the adage comes to mind: “It doesn’t matter until it matters.”

James Bettendorf, Brooklyn Park

 

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Something to remember amid all the back-slapping over Cuba

For weeks, we have had coverage of the Minnesota Orchestra, local politicians and business leaders (our elites, and progressives) traveling to Cuba. It has been a love affair with the people, their culture, and nostalgia.

When are these same groups going to talk about an oppressive dictatorship, their gulags, their abhorrent conditions and human rights?

Richard Naaktgeboren, Maple Lake, Minn.

 

POLARIZATION

OK, then, here’s my list

How interesting to see from a conservative writer (“Polarization: About the right’s radicalization …,” May 27) which issues have radically changed in the last 30 to 40 years. From the lens of that social conservative, liberalism has gone bonkers indeed.

But the social issues highlighted are not what government has the biggest impact upon in people’s lives. Economic and environmental issues are the big enchilada. The following are positions conservatives and liberals basically agreed upon in the 1950s and 1960s:

 

The minimum wage, Social Security, progressive taxation, corporate taxation, stock market and investment regulation, public investment of infrastructure, the estate (now called “death” ) tax, environmental protections, funding of public parks, education funding and union rights.

 

Conservatives have drastically changed since the days of my youth. If we look at these issues, they are pushing for radical change. If we look at gay marriage, abortion and gun control, well, call me a radical.

Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis