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Letters: ISPs, Spirit Airlines, Weintraub

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Kai Ryssdal: Letters are indeed where we find ourselves today. A lot of you wrote about our coverage of a big court decision last week. A federal appeals court had said the Federal Communications Commission cannot stop the Comcasts of the world from blocking users based on how much bandwidth those users use.

Hulu addicts may wind up having a problem with that. But our commentator said not to worry. It’d be bad business for Internet providers to restrict their customers.

Greg Cox of Raleigh, N.C., said I don’t think so.

GREG COX: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a profit-driven corporation wouldn’t pour tons of money into a protracted legal battle just to prove a point. They obviously see traffic-shaping as being in their business interest.

Spirit Airlines recently announced a solution to what it sees as its business interests. They’re going to charge for carry-on bags. That’s on top of the fees they already charge for checked bags, and oh yeah, the ticket prices, too.

So Sally Cutler of Cato, N.Y., had an idea: Why not charge based on the total weight that a passenger wants to bring aboard?

SALLY CUTLER: Set a standard per-passenger weight allowance, then weigh the passengers and all their bags. Over the allowance? Pay an additional fee. Shipping people should be like shipping a package, you pay by weight.

I talked to Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub last week about how he got his start. With a million dollars scraped together in 24 hours and a concert deal with Elvis, Jerry Weintraub was on his way to making it big. But a lot of you wondered where the heck all that money came from?

JOHN LEEDS: I was disappointed not to hear how Mr. Weintraub was able to get ahold of a million dollars in a day.

That’s John Leeds of Piermont, N.Y. Sorry to say Mr. Leeds that that part of the interview hit the cutting room floor. But we’ve brought it back to life just ’cause y’all asked. Here’s the story boiled down to its essence. Weintraub called everybody he knew. Finally somebody said “hey, I know a guy who knows a guy. Call him.” So Jerry did.

JERRY Weintraub: And he said to me, “What will you give me for the million dollars?” I’ll give you half of my concert business. He said, “OK, I’m going to send my lawyers to see your lawyers, and we’ll make a deal.” And I said, “No, no, you don’t understand. I need a million dollars now, but you can trust me, my word is my bond.” In those days we did business like that, people shook hands, people talked to each other. We had no computers; the Internet didn’t exist. And if you made a deal with somebody, you made a deal.

Yeah, for the good old days, right? When a deal was a deal. Anyway, finally, maybe the best listener letter we’ve ever gotten. It came after our story on Muslims and Jews working together to provide meat that’s both kosher and halal.

Nick Gorton of Davis, Calif., called it a two-steak solution. I love that. I thought that was great.

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