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The sheer madness of the current Minnesota food fraud snafu: While the rules were relaxed to limit on-site visits, a simple drive-by of the first slip turned in stating 2,000 meals were being served a day would have clearly shown something was amiss ("Three plead guilty in federal food fraud," Oct. 14). Based on the volume of food being prepared, there would have been a very busy loading dock with bread orders, milk trucks, produce orders and semis from the big food purveyors. There would have been overflowing garbage dumpsters and a very good chance of seeing cooks outside on their breaks looking at their phones.

Surely at least one of the watchdogs has worked in the business and hammered out 600 orders ("covers" in restaurant terms) on a Mother's Day brunch, for example. Any restaurant person would say, 2,000 meals a day? No way!

Doug Pittman, Minneapolis

The writer is a chef.


Seems pretty ambiguous to me

The editorial "Biden's misstep on strategic ambiguity" is exactly wrong (Oct. 11). President Joe Biden is no fool. He states that we will put troops on the ground to defend Taiwan, then walks it back, rinse and repeat. I don't see how it can be any more ambiguous than that. China is not sure what to think!

Jim Weidner, Minneapolis


Waiting for the U.S.' signature

John Rash is correct when he writes, "the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should have convinced the world that nuclear weapons must never be deployed again" ("Nuclear threats prove prescience of former Peace Prize laureate"). The Doomsday Clock by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sits at 100 seconds before midnight, and that does not take into account the current world situation. President Joe Biden is right to warn us of armageddon.

In a special way the citizens of St. Paul are connected to Nagasaki. The two cities are the oldest U.S.-Japanese sister cities. The Japanese garden, tea house and cherry trees at Como Park are reminders of our friendship. The sculpture "Constellation Earth" by Paul Granlund sits very close to the Peace Statue in the Peace Park in Nagasaki. It was a gift to the city of Nagasaki from the people of St. Paul.

In 2018 Hamline University students visiting Nagasaki joined with students from Nagasaki University at the Atomic Bomb Museum and proclaimed that all should be educated about nuclear weapons. Hearing Beatrice Fihn of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, they endorsed the campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, and sought support for the agreement back on campus.

On Jan. 22, 2021, an overwhelming majority of the world's nations adopted the landmark agreement to ban nuclear weapons. The U.S. has not yet joined this effort. Our country possesses 5,428 nuclear weapons. Now is the time to call for the U.S. to sign the treaty. It is time for us again to join "hibakushas" (survivors), and proclaim, "Never again."

Jim Scheibel, St. Paul


While threatening to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin taunts that the United States set a precedent by dropping nuclear bombs on Japan. He neglects to mention that the Soviet Union and the United States were allies at the time, and that the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved the lives of countless Russian soldiers by shortening the war.

Richard Virden, Plymouth

The writer is a retired senior Foreign Service officer.


Untrustworthy? Who knew

U.S. senators and the president now are saying that Saudi Arabia may not be a reliable partner, because OPEC+ will cut oil production ("Saudis push back at U.S., defend oil production cuts," Oct. 14). Where have these leaders been? Back in June the Washington Post reported that "the Saudi-led coalition carried out more than 150 airstrikes on civilian targets in Yemen, including homes, hospitals and communication towers ... ." Analysis of public contract reports showed that the U.S. provided arms, training or maintenance support to the majority of fighter jet squadrons in these bombings. "America first" advocates seem to care not, as long as U.S. weapons makers can cash in. Congressional war powers resolutions to rein in this support for Saudi planes have been in committee for months. All Minnesota House Democrats have co-sponsored them. It's time to move the resolutions forward.

James Haefemeyer, Minneapolis


No endearments, please

Thank you to Karen Schott for her commentary, "Don't call me 'sweetie.' Or 'honey.' Or 'dear.' Or 'cute'" (Opinion Exchange, Oct. 14).

I've taught courses at four colleges and universities on gerontology/aging. I've worked in the field of aging since my early 20s. I've written a novel. I'm now semiretired. So, when I met my soon-to-be knee surgeon and she called me "young lady" three times, and when she told me about having fallen while running and how two "little old ladies" helped her up, I was appalled. But hey, she was going to cut into me, so I said nothing. Karen, you would have spoken up! I'll do that next time. You go, elder to be admired!

Lois Rafferty, Minneapolis


I read the opinion pieces and letters published in the Star Tribune Opinion pages every day. Many of these pieces I find thought-provoking; some of them leave me with a smile, some force me to re-examine my thinking; while other pieces leave me shaking my head. Karen Schott's opinion piece published on Friday is an example of a head-shaker for me. Schott apparently gleefully relishes her name in the pejorative sort of way that "Karen" has become known: You know that person, the one who typically demands to "speak to the manager" in order to belittle others, calling out behaviors and/or actions they consider unacceptable, based on their own unique set of values (which are, unfortunately, typically closed-ended).

Schott's opinion piece is an example of that and what is wrong with our society today; that is, people walking around with their heads full of conspiratorial thoughts and perceived ulterior motives they assign to others. The examples Schott cites in her piece appear to me to be examples of others attempting to put her at ease and to demonstrate they have her undivided attention in those moments. Schott finds this attention diminishing. In both examples these employees could have simply ignored Schott, said nothing to her at all or treated her in a very impersonal fashion. In that case, given the tone of Schott's piece, I think she would be complaining about that.

I think we need to be thankful everyday for the gifts we have. I also think we, and our whole society, must do better at cutting others some slack, giving them the benefit of the doubt and always being self-aware that there could be bigger fish to fry.

Bob Doyle, Savage


One word: No

Don't even think about it ("Twin Cities make World's Fair bid," Oct. 13).

There were reasons that the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair was the last U.S. World's Fair. It finished $140 million in debt. Bankruptcy was declared. Investigations launched. Paychecks bounced. Indictments were handed down. The marketing director was sent to prison for fraud and kickbacks. Attendance, projected at 12-15 million, was only 7 million.

One purpose of these fairs is to showcase the latest and greatest in ideas, technology and "stuff." We get that daily from the internet, TV and other sources. Carnival rides were available, but our country is awash with theme parks. The Twin Cities is not in the same league with the New Yorks and the Londons in terms of culture, entertainment, restaurants or other parameters.

If the planners think this will be a success, they are either ignoring the facts, are wildly optimistic or are just plain arrogant.

Don't do it.

James Eelkema, Burnsville