We are far from the Gulf of Mexico, but we are not spared by the storm tax. Search “NOAA billions” to see U.S. weather events from 1980 to present. But this list ignores $100 million baby storms. These all cost (CPI-adjusted) at least One. Billion. Dollars.

NOAA shows a yearly timeline, maps, and stats of droughts, cyclones, freezes, floods, severe storms, wildfires and winter storms. In the comfort of your dry home, set ranges to explore the scariest, most frightening stats ever:

• 1980 to 1989: 27 events, $16 billion.

• 1990 to 1999: 48 events, $251 billion.

Around 2005 things really heat up (ha!):

• 2000 to 2009: 54 events, $479 billion.

• 2010 to 2017: 83 events, $343 billion, without Harvey and just three-fourths of the decade.

For a Midwestern flavor of just storms and floods, but accounting for the whole country:

• 1980 to 1999: 11 floods plus 19 storms equals 30, costing $103 billion.

• 2000 to 2017: 17 floods plus 70 storms equals 87, costing $215 billion — three times as many and more than double the cost in only 17 years.

Two reasons I work every day with Citizens’ Climate Lobby for congressional action: One, monthly carbon dividends will help Main Street (more jobs) and every family, including those on the street corners asking for help. Two, lying awake thinking about the accelerating U.S. and worldwide weather-driven destruction; financial losses to business, farm and family; loss of life; and growing misery and trafficking worldwide every year.

Congress will act when we firmly, respectfully let our representatives know it’s time.

It’s time.

Tom Evans, Edina

• • •

At recent count, 30,000 people had been made homeless from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey, and the devastation and cleanup costs will easily be in the billions. To cover these costs, Republicans should join with Democrats and pass a carbon tax bill. This tax would do double duty. It would help move us to a carbon-free future and would address the Republican concern of keeping the federal budget in check. If we don’t attack climate change now, we will be seeing these “100-year weather events” year after year — and no budget will be big enough.

Kathy Rogers, Minnetonka


Stras is qualified; doubtful Op-Ed was lunker of ideological credulity

Most of what I’ve read about Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras is that he appears well-qualified for appointment to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and that he has solid bipartisan support — save for Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, who must be slow readers and learners, if they need even more time to make up their minds.

My mind was not changed by University of Minnesota law Prof. Myron Orfield’s jeremiad (“Senators right to take time with Stras appointment,” Opinion Exchange, Aug. 29). What I gather is that Orfield prefers a trained ideologue who would bark like a seal in response to a metaphorical tossed fish.

I find it ironic that Orfield himself seems to be barking in his Op-Ed answer to a piscatorial tidbit tossed his way by Klobuchar and Franken. As for the senators, it seems there’s something more than indecisiveness in their recalcitrance. Perhaps it’s an obscured political demand that is beginning to stink like a dead fish in the sunlight. Come on, professor, even you ought not to swallow that.

Henry Owen, Minnetonka


There’s value in Freeman’s pace investigating Damond shooting

Media reports of Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor were chilling. If I see something suspicious near my house, I will also have second thoughts about calling 911 for “help” anytime soon. If the events as reported in the Star Tribune were accurate and tell the entire relevant story, I demand justice for Damond, severe punishment for Noor and corrective action in the Police Department. So would any law-abiding person.

Still, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is correct “to take his time in high-profile cases” such as this one (“Decision in Damond case months away,” Aug. 29). Incorrect decisions and outcomes in high-profile cases could affect the Twin Cities for decades. Is Falcon Heights better or worse for the relatively swift prosecution — and acquittal — of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philando Castile? The answer depends on whether it was consistent with the law as applied to all relevant facts and whether the police (and prosecutors) learned everything they possibly could have and applied that learning. I have doubts that they did. For example, while assembling the case against and charging Yanez, did the prosecution take the time necessary to obtain, and later tell the judge and jury about, all the facts that tended to prove his guilt (and overcome his defense), and was its courtroom presentation forceful and compelling? Had Yanez been convicted, would Noor have behaved differently? Might the Minneapolis Police Department have instituted new training or new policies and procedures or chosen to employ different types of officers?

I guess we’ll never know. Because of my uncertainty about the answers to these questions, however, I’m glad that Freeman is taking the time he needs to choose a path from which the judge, jury and, most important, the police might actually learn something. Let’s all hope he uses this time well. History has already repeated itself here more often than it should have.

John Getsinger, Minneapolis


A very available helping hand

I read with fascination the Aug. 29 commentary by Jennifer Nelson (“I have worked hard to overcome obstacles — but I had help”). As a Scandinavian, I would add that my own white privilege started when my great-great grandparents emigrated for free land in South Dakota due to the U.S. Homestead Act of 1862. While assimilation may have been challenging for the first generation, my relations were welcomed here in freedom and given the support of the government and its military against the First Peoples. One might say that U.S. genocide against the Dakota people was necessary for my ancestors to prosper here as farmers.

My grandparents owned a farm (contract for deed) and benefited from rural electrification, which changed my dad’s farm-chore youth almost overnight, freeing him up to pursue brainy hobbies, which led to a very subsidized mechanical engineering degree at South Dakota State University, a land-grant college. Partly because of his talent, but also due to his white maleness, he was put on a management track at Allis Chalmers in West Allis, Wis., and with his salary, my stay-at-home mom didn’t have to work outside of idyllic suburban homes they owned during most of my childhood. West Allis avoided the desegregation demanded by Brown vs. Board of Education, so while all of the brown-skinned kids were attending inner-city schools in Milwaukee, a notoriously segregated city, I went to school in all-white-ville and was the second generation to attend college. I really doubt that many of these doors to modest middle-class wealth would have been opened if my great-great grandparents had been people of color. The awareness of my white privilege helps me be more empathetic to black lives.

Gena Berglund, St. Paul

• • •

Six times Nelson asked “would that have been possible if [I, mother, father] had been black?” The answer is yes: Other people, including blacks, could persevere as she did. Her circumstances are not a product of her race but of her choices. Perhaps her apparent guilt is misplaced.

Jim Peterson, St. Louis Park