The main feeling evoked by Megan McArdle’s commentary (“The internet was already not neutral,” Nov. 26) was despair, and I can see no logical reason for this. McArdle’s fear of regulatory overreach appears to be so great that she finds herself arguing that it is bad for a few companies to have influence over what people see on the internet but that it will be made better by having more companies be able to profit from directly cutting people off from sections of the internet. This makes no sense.
The U.S. already has the most expensive internet access in the developed world, and if McArdle gets her way, we will become the slowest as well. The primary reason the other developed countries have cheaper and faster internet is that they treat internet service providers as regulated monopolies that require companies to share networks for a fee. That drives price and performance competition. Until net neutrality, the U.S. government refused to interfere with Comcast and its brethren, which left consumers facing a cartel that rarely competed with itself and only showed originality in finding new ways to raise its profits. Fortune magazine reported in 2016 that the average cable bill had grown eight times faster than the inflation rate over the previous five years.
The problems with net neutrality are real, but not having it will vastly increase the profits of a few and vastly decrease the ability of U.S. citizens and other U.S. corporations to compete in the world economy. The preamble of the U.S. Constitution says that government is supposed to promote the general welfare of the nation, but the Federal Communications Commission’s action in rolling back net neutrality does the opposite.
Paul O’Connor, Bloomington
MISCONDUCT AND MEN
It’s good to reflect. And by the way, here are six rules to live by.
Kudos to David Banks for his confessional commentary (“A lot of men are reflecting on their pasts,” Nov. 26), the title of which could have been “nuance” — hardly a watchword in our hyperinternet certainty these days, but still important. After the U.S. Sen. Al Franken revelations, I too briefly contemplated writing an article titled “Confessions of a serial groper.” It would note the few times I did it, always in the context that the woman was a close friend and therefore would get the ridiculous joke. I was trying to be funny! As certainly Franken was in the photo, clearly mugging for the camera, not lusting after Leeann Tweeden. The accusations of groping at the State Fair, if true, had to be similar. The State Fair for heaven’s sake, surrounded by thousands of people! Hardly erotic, but, if they happened, “funny.” But, of course, my “joke” may not have been at all funny even to my good friends, nor his, as both of us, and Banks, now realize with more than a touch of shame. But context still matters, as Banks reminds us.
James P. Lenfestey, Minneapolis
• • •
Really, interacting with women isn’t complicated:
1) Don’t send suggestive texts.
2) Don’t intimidate.
3) Don’t point out your erection (ick!). Go home, take a shower.
4) Don’t make suggestive comments and keep your hands to yourself.
5) Don’t flap your jaws and make excuses. Don’t disobey the requests of women to stop. No means no. If you think you are wrongfully treated, think again. No one deserves to be treated with disrespect.
6) Don’t use the excuse of dating, that you are both adults to excuse your inappropriate behavior.
If your behavior would embarrass your mother, if you wouldn’t speak or act that way in front of your same-sex co-workers, your minister, your child, etc., then stop it, apologize and never do it again. It’s that simple.
Here endeth the lesson. No charge.
Theresa Jensen, Cedar
Some more ideas for what you can do with all of those leftovers
While I appreciate the heightened awareness the Nov. 26 article “Let’s learn to love our leftovers the rest of the year” raised about American food waste, there’s a glaring omission.
What about simply sharing excess food with others who would enjoy eating it? Neighbors, family, friends, seniors who would never make shrimp scampi for themselves. Send food home with guests. BOGO (buy one, get one free) and give the second item to a food shelf. There are hungry people in our communities who could benefit.
We waste money. A family of four wastes food totaling $1,500 annually, and 400 pounds of food per person is wasted annually.
Several resources are working on this food waste problem, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and savethefood.com.
However, the place to start is in thinking and planning about your own personal wasting. This is something we can improve by paying attention to our behavior and taking small, doable steps to reduce costly waste. In other words, it is optional, not inevitable. Join me in creatively reusing perfectly good food.
Janet Colleen Breen, Minneapolis
• • •
The answer to Sunday’s get fit article on “What’s the best way to prevent holiday weight gain?” can be more succinctly, concisely stated: Eat fewer carbohydrates!
Paul Brutlag, Wendell, Minn.
Holding 3M accountable for pollutants’ health effects
Regarding “Did 3M hide health dangers?” (front page, Nov. 26): The real question is not whether 3M hid these health risks, but how it manages, even now, to avoid regulating PFC waste. 3M environmental consultant Barbara Beck is quoted as claiming, “[researcher Philippe] Grandjean was ‘attributing motives … without evidence.’ ” But issues of human health should not need to be governed by hard evidence and certainty. Rather, these issues fall into the realm of the precautionary principle: Even if we are not sure if a pollutant will cause adverse health effects, we should still regulate it, in case it is harmful. The EPA and the state government, with their low limit for PFCs, seem to understand this. The challenge is in holding companies like 3M accountable for their byproducts. Kudos to those noted in this article who are already taking steps.
Megan Hay, St. Paul
Let’s take another look at high-tax vs. low-tax states
Two letter writers in Sunday’s Readers Write column expressed the idea that Minnesota and other states with higher taxes are subsidized by other states since we are able to deduct state taxes on federal tax returns. Reality directly contradicts this idea. Minnesota and other high-tax states contribute more to the federal budget and receive less back in federal expenditures than low-tax states. The reason is simple: Low-tax states typically provide fewer services for their citizens, so the federal government has to provide the social services that the state refuses to provide. Removing the state tax deduction would increase the gap between what Minnesotans pay into the federal government vs. what we receive back. Minnesotans are already subsidizing low-tax states; the proposed tax changes would increase the subsidy.
Craig Hewitt, Crystal