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Vinyl records, health care among topics drawing comments

MinnPost readers recently spoke their minds on a variety of topics, including the renaissance of vinyl records, health care reform, the return of Torii Hunter and former Vice President Mondale’s excoriation of the current vice president. Here’s a sample of their comments:

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Grant Boelter
appreciated Dan Haugen’s March 20 story, “MP3 generation discovering the virtues of vinyl”:

Very nice article. The return of vinyl to area record store[s] has been a welcome surprise. However, I would like to think part of its resurgence isn’t only the novelty, but that vinyl actually does provide a more complete sound. Some may think that’s just conventional wisdom with nothing to back it up, but Rolling Stone featured an article in the December or January that backed it up scientifically.

Although CDs rate almost as well sound-wise, there’s not much reason to take them over vinyl if the record company offers free MP3 downloads with the record. I’m hoping that package becomes a more common occurrence, because then we get the best of both worlds, with sound quality and portability.

Matty Lang agreed:

Nice news story, Dan. My switch from CDs back to vinyl happened in 1994 during my first year of college. I was lucky enough to meet a friend who had an older brother with very good taste in music, so my friend came to school equipped with a diverse collection of vinyl ranging from Motown hits to The Replacements. There was nothing quite like listening to Bee Thousand by Guided by Voices on blue vinyl as a young man in the process of figuring out a lot about myself.

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An excerpt from Craig Westover‘s comment on G.R. Anderson Jr.’s March 19 post, “Health care reform comes to the Capitol — sort of”:

Another way to look at what the Transformation Task Force bill will do:

* Expand the concept of “public health” so that virtually no behavior would be exempt from regulatory oversight.

* Radically reform health care provider pay by shifting “accountability for the total cost of care” from health plans to providers.

* Radically overhaul the insurance market by creating a nonprofit health insurance exchange that would have de facto control of the price and variety of insurance available in Minnesota. …

Do Minnesotans really want to live in a state that requires “the active engagement of employers, schools, communities and the health care system” to enforce healthy behavior? …

The Health Care Transformation Task Force is not a starting point for reform; it is a dead end.

Michael Friedman offered another view; here are excerpts:

I direct a nonprofit that can’t afford better than to pay low wages to our diverse staff. From 1995-2006, our average annual medical insurance increase was 17%. This year the increase was 20%.

The Linda Berglin/Pawlenty bill will do nothing to limit future increases, much less roll back where things stand now. Nor will it change the incentive I have (which I refuse to follow) not to hire people over 50, or who have diabetes or other medical conditions for which they should not be faulted, as the first commenter (Westover) correctly notes.

Instead Berglin seeks to further institutionalize the same wasteful insurance system that has already proven it can only add to medical costs, and cannot control or reduce them. …

The first commenter seems to imply a free market solution. When putting my plan up for bid I got to see the free market in action: Forms that inquire into every medical condition of every family member of every employee. A phone call to one employee who had a major car accident in 1983 to see if there still are after-effects. The free market seeks only to insure the healthy, which means the free market has nothing to do with helping people better access (and pay for) health care. …

The only bill that improves public health and lowers costs is Senator Marty’s single-payer Minnesota Health Act. And contrary to the message many insurance industry public relations dollars pay for, single payer is the one reform that gets government OUT of the doctor patient relationship.

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On another health-related issue, Jeff Hamilton commented on Craig Bowron’s March 21 post, “Even good hospitals make mystifying mistakes”:

Interesting article … except that the title presents a disturbing question. If a good hospital makes mystifying mistakes, is it still a good hospital? If so, what is considered a bad hospital and do we have any great hospitals?

For all of the Joint Commission’s mumbo-jumbo, I think they need to put more teeth into their dictums or remove the “accredited” label from continued violators.

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Lesley Chaudhry took issue with a reprinted contribution from HometownSource.com: “Requiring a college application for high school graduation,” published in MinnPost on March 12 and written by Joe Nathan, director of the Humphrey Institute’s Center for School Change:

This assumes that everybody wants to go to college and that learning — as found in an institution — is the only way. Requiring any form of higher education is an infringement on personal freedom to choose one’s own path. This is just more government control. Interestingly, a recent NY Times article actually points out a trend towards a gap year.

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John Finn weighed in on Ron Way’s Monday story, “Unlikely allies: Auto industry and ethanol advocates fight key environmental legislation at Legislature”:

Actually, this isn’t so unlikely and makes sense if the primary goal of the ethanol industry is to sell lots of ethanol. Anything that would increase the fuel efficiency of our transportation systems wouldn’t be in their best interest. And selling the larger cars and trucks is, of course, more profitable. I suppose that, along with the auto dealers, they would also be opposed to expanded transit options for Minnesotans.

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Mark Linden added this comment to Jay Weiner’s Monday post, “Ellison becomes first Minnesota official to link Summer Olympics and China policies”:

Remember Jimmy Carter’s Russian grain embargo? Guess who paid for that? The American farmer. I’m not sure what a[n] Olympic boycott would accomplish.

Hopefully Ellison is in the Middle East (that bastion of tolerance) working for human rights.

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A couple of Twins fans commented on Pat Borzi’s Wednesday story, “Torii returns to Twins Territory with trepidation,” including Pat Backen:

I don’t think Torii has to worry about a poor reception.

I bought tickets to both the opener and Tuesday’s game, just to allow me and my son to watch him play and “thank” him for his time as a Twin.

On top of being a great player, he gave of his time and money to tons of causes. He personally sponsored 20 kids to play Little League in a Northwest suburb and made an appearance on a Saturday afternoon to meet each player and take questions.

He’ll be missed, but not forgotten!

Parker Knox added:

Great story on Torii Hunter! I don’t think he has a thing to worry about in regard to his reception in Minnesota Monday night. Twins fans are down-to-earth Upper Midwest people of class, just as their team reflects. I suspect Torii will get a standing ovation when he first comes to bat in the top of the first inning and/or when he heads to center field in the bottom of the first. I hope he does well in this series, but Twins fans can’t hold a grudge against him. Neither, however, do we cheer for the Angels. Go, Twins!

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B.D. Maginnis
commented on David Brauer’s March 19 post, “On arrestees, local media increasingly naming names”

Further, all of this hand wringing over a suspect’s “reputation” is laughable when one looks at the number of priors that these jerks typically have.

Hennepin County is notorious for its “catch and release” program.

How about some publishing some hard-hitting research on that?

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David Rasmussen
had this to say about Eric Black’s March 21 post, “Apply logic, intellectual-honesty standards to Bush’s Iraq speech”:

Though the president, at this stage of his term, is treated as irrelevant, he still has 8-plus months of relevance. History may regard him as someone who worked competently against the interests of the vast majority of Americans. Thank you for the review and fact check of the speech.

Paul Brandon added:

Apply logic to the faith-based president?

You’re kidding!

It’s an insult to him.

HE may or may not be irrelevant, but logic certainly is, unless you mean the logic of empire (for all you old Robert Heinlein fans).

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Jeanne Burns liked Rob Nelson’s March 18 post, “Critic’s students give high marks to film about intern,” referring to Nina Davenport’s “Operation Filmmaker”:

This is interesting!

First, I’m jealous. I wish I could have been in that class discussion.

Second, most of the people around me were saying the same things we were about the film, that it was an apt metaphor for the U.S. war on Iraq.

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Ted Snyder commented on Eric Black’s Monday post, “David Brooks and the importance of ignorance awareness”:

Many, many years ago when I was in high school I read “The Ugly American,” which treated in novel form the problem of intrusive ignorance by Americans abroad. It was not great literature, but it addressed the ineffectiveness of U.S. foreign aid due to lack of understanding of local realities by U.S. officialdom. The Ugly American made a big impression on me. But the central message continues to elude our decision makers who have a lot of power, a mechanistic view of life and no patience. We reaped the results of this in Vietnam and now in Iraq. Amnesia concerning these experiences will continue to be our national tragedy.

Deborah Nelson added:

David Brooks is my favorite conservative — at least I can tell he has put some thought into an issue.

Paul Brandon differed:

There’s a fine line between nuanced and wishy-washy, and Brooks seems to walk it, particularly when he is spouting pop-psych (I AM a professional …).

Is he saying that he was ignorant of the nature of Iraqi society (and the fact that there is no such thing in a generic sense) until now?

That he didn’t know that he was ignorant until now?

And I won’t even start to comment on his confession of ignorance about our own society. I’ll just ask one question:

How can you respect a society if you’re ignorant concerning it? I’d expect more in the way of talking about how to overcome that ignorance, rather than wallowing in it. But then, I’m not a conservative.

I don’t think that David Brooks is in fact among the smarter conservatives. For an example of a conservative who does not always toe the party line I’d nominate George Will.

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Nancy Gertner commented on Doug Grow’s Wednesday Political Agenda post, “Elephant skeleton in DFL closet”:

Interesting that a campaign is so focused on what another candidate did at age 18 and 22.

Dole and McCain are both military veterans with notable military careers, so it doesn’t seem so unlikely that a person like Ashwin Madia, who served his country as a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, would choose to support military veterans running for president in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

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A few readers were inspired to comment on Eric Black’s Monday post, “Mondale issues blistering attack on Cheney,” including this excerpt from Beryl Knudson:

“Blistering” or just a slow burn?

I respect Walter Mondale for speaking up finally about what many, without a public podium or his track record of dedicated public service, have been voicing for some time. Yes, the Constitution has been effectively shredded, and dumpster diving and exposing what’s left of the Constitution won’t restore it. Impeachment will at least be a path to Constitutional resurrection of that most precious document. …

“Impeach” is not a four-letter word, and a wait-and-see or wait-it-out attitude are words wasted, without a whole lot of substance.

J.W. Flenner added:

Thanks for your report on Mondale’s speech. I’ve been waiting for the candidates to address the Constitutional issues (injuries!) that have been generated (inflicted!) by this administration. I’m sure there are differences between the two in how each would repair or not repair the balance of powers.

And from John Reinan:

Yes, I’m glad to see Fritz speak up on this important topic, and do it in a straightforward way.

He sure took his sweet time, though.

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Kristen Hirsch had this cautionary tale in response to David Brauer’s Wednesday post, “PiPress seeks online comments, but not rageaholics”:

I wish I had read this report before going on the PiPress site and innocently commenting on a story — I had no idea they personally attack you if they don’t agree with you, and turn your comment into the issue. The people who use those comments are harsh and unfair. After trying to defend yourself and reason with them, you realize there’s no point to it.

I will not read another comment on that site or, heaven forbid, comment myself. It’s not worth it and it’s a huge waste of time and effort. The people on there are not interested in conversation and discourse — they just want to belittle others for having different ideas. That was one of the most disagreeable experiences I’ve had in a long time. 

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Comments (1)

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