A conference I was scheduled to attend in Baltimore was canceled. I canceled my non-changeable, nonrefundable flight immediately online. When time permitted, I called Delta and stayed on the phone through an admittedly quite long list of options. I was then able to leave my number for a call back in several hours. A delightful agent named Linda returned my call nine hours later and set me up with a credit for the full amount I had paid for the flight — then made sure to inform me of the two pieces of info I could use to redeem the credit for a future flight within one year. Full credit, no fees, exactly as advertised.

Linda Olson, Minneapolis


If promoting plans was problem, consider why she needed to

My wife and I have been arguing about why U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was such a promising female candidate, lost the presidential primaries to two old white guys. My wife argues it’s all about gender bias. She’s a computer professional who once worked as the only female engineer in a computer networking company, so she knows something about that. I’m a psychology Ph.D., so I argue there are personal factors, such as Warren’s political strategy.

I felt vindicated when I read the March 8 commentary by Carlson School of Management Prof. Akshay Rao (“What did in Elizabeth Warren?”) suggesting it was Warren’s decision to sell herself with specific plans — “I have a plan for that!” — that did not resonate with the electorate, which for now is interested more in an abstract future unconcerned with implementation details. I took this argument to my wife.

“That’s still evidence of gender bias,” she said. “How so,” I asked. She explained that to be taken seriously women have always had to be demonstrably more capable and better prepared than male peers. Warren was just exercising this life lesson at the political level. When she was challenged in the debates about how she would pay for her policies, she responded with detailed plans — not the stuff to excite voters, according to Rao, but certainly demonstrating competence. When Sanders was similarly challenged, he merely made unsubstantiated claims about an idealistic future — stuff that excites voters.

The woman felt the need to defend her candidacy with substantial but boring policy plans, while the man, feeling no such pressure, could continue selling an inspiring but abstract future. Warren’s candidacy subsequently faded while Sanders’ strengthened.

OK, wife, this round goes to you. We are left wondering just what a woman needs to do to become president. Oh, right — maybe it’s not on her.

Andrew Kramer, Marine on St. Croix


Maybe there’s an easy solution?

Lori Sturdevant’s March 8 column “How it turned out to have a primary” brought up the new requirement of party registration for primary voters. As she also mentioned, the lack of privacy stopped a number of people — hundreds, if not thousands — from voting.

This can be seen as one more form of voter suppression. One solution would be to have a double-sided ballot, with Republican candidates listed on one side and Democrats on the other. Instructions would need to make it clear that you can only vote on one side of the ballot. Everyone would get the same ballot, and the requirement for party designation by the voter would be made irrelevant.

Jim Page, Coon Rapids


Inspired to, after reading Leschak

Peter Leschak’s March 8 commentary “ ‘Save the planet’? No, save ourselves” was so cleverly written with humor, information and a stabbing message! I had to read it twice to get the complete impact.

Would that we all heeded his message to reform so as to save ourselves and those who follow us. Yes, our planet will survive, but we may not.

I’m going to go out hug a tree, wave at a bird and say, “Thank you, we’re in it together.”

Mary Ann Ciliberti, Deephaven


Here’s how the puzzle pieces fit

A March 8 article described the hope of some Republican leaders to find the magic that will bring suburban voters back to them. It reminded me of Republican National Chairman Michael Steele speaking after the 2008 election. I listened/read carefully for any mention of how the GOP might modify its platform to appeal to a broader range of voters. There was nothing — only the desire to hold onto power.

The congresswoman in the article stated: “We cannot be the majority party if we [appeal] only to rural America.” That’s true, but changing rigid policies in order to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters is not Republicans’ style.

What is their style? Well, three pages after this article was one titled “Ex-spies recruited to help infiltrate liberal groups.” In it, we learn that Erik Prince and James O’Keefe have been doing exactly what the headline says they have. It explains that their main mode of operations is to use “hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations.” If that sounds familiar, O’Keefe got busted for doing just that, then editing the recordings into lies, when he worked for Breitbart against a group called ACORN. Prince is the former head of a company called Blackwater whose contractor-soldiers were busted in Iraq. He is the one who had a shady meeting in the Seychelle Islands with a Russian oligarch just before the 2016 election. And he is the brother of Education Secretary (and Amway billionaire) Betsy DeVos.

The conclusion is that even Republicans know they cannot win with their rigid agenda, so they cheat — again.

David Rosene, Brooklyn Park


I can afford it, and like the services

I would like to add my 5 cents to the discussion of tax relief for senior citizens that legislators are considering. I am fortunate enough that should I choose to spend a portion of winter in a state with no income tax, as a retiree I could. While enjoying the joys of our four seasons, I spend 5% (5 cents per dollar) of my daily net income on state services. This tax I gladly pay supports such services as the Minnesota Highway Patrol, MnDOT, the state court system, both lower and higher education systems, environmental protection departments and other services on a list too long to publish. So, for the benefits that I, my sweetheart, my fellow citizens, my children and grandchildren receive from this paltry investment, I ask that legislators consider that reducing this tax may not be in our best collective interest. I feel no need to have my desire to spend time down south be subsidized by my neighbors.

Lawrence Mascotti, Rochester


Have a plan, don’t be overly hasty

I thought the vet discussing when to put down your dog (“The last goodbye,” Pets, March 8) was somewhat flippant when he stated “better a day early than a day late.” While many pet owners are in a committed relationship that makes holding on too long problematic, far too many owners grow tired of caring for an older pet and will see this advice as a green light to put Fido down.

A better answer may be to have an exit plan, and your dog will let you know when it is time to go. I had my last dog 15½ wonderful years and one awful hour. Compared to the Hobbesian lifestyle many dogs live — solitary, nasty, brutish and short — my pet and I would agree we would take that approach any day of the week over the “better a day early than a day late” approach.

I am grateful that the University of Minnesota had 24-hour emergency clinic available to comfort my dog during his last moments of life; I just wish there were more clinics like this available so that pet owners would not have to travel quite as far and their pets would not have to suffer quite as much. I also wish there was more hospice care available for aging pets. Now that is a radical idea? (The next thing he’ll be saying is we should have adequate health care for all humans.)

Benjamin Cherryhomes, Hastings

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