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Jonathan Mack's April 15 commentary, "One-way lawfare," arguing that there are structural impediments to Democrats suffering from "lawfare" the way Republicans have, is not entirely correct. He is correct that many federal crimes committed in D.C. while a lawmaker is in office would be brought in federal court in the District of Columbia. But to suggest that would effectively block prosecution for wrongdoing committed elsewhere is at odds with the actual historical facts.

Try telling a whole host of Democratic lawmakers who have been prosecuted that they had nothing to worry about because of "structural impediments"; for example, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey; Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who was prosecuted in D.C. and pleaded guilty to wire fraud; Rep. Corrine Brown, who was convicted in Florida of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud; Rep. Chaka Farah, who was convicted in Pennsylvania of multiple counts of racketeering and fraud; Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, who was convicted on counts of corruption, just to name a few.

The truth is that there have been a lot of prosecutions of lawmakers in both parties over the past several presidential administrations. The best defense to prosecution is not doing anything that is likely to be seen as violating a law.

Fred Morris, Minneapolis


Mack's commentary was spot-on and showed why Biden and the Democratic Party are the true threats to democracy. Biden is using the Department of Justice to eliminate his political opponents. (Not just Donald Trump; Biden's allies have filed legal action, especially in the swing states, to keep Robert F. Kennedy Jr. off the ballot.) Just like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Democrats' idea of democracy is having only one choice.

Another Biden term guarantees to further divide our country, and due to his inept leadership on the world stage our divided nation will be involved in World War III.

Bob Tumilson, Apple Valley


The duller, the better

Forty years ago, during the summer of 1984, the team at Twin Cities PBS that would soon go on to create "Almanac" first worked on reforming the way Minnesota political debates were designed and staged. We envisioned an end to the standard, dull, "podium and stopwatch" approach, replaced by a much less formal "couch conversation" format that would soon become a 40-year Friday night TV institution across Minnesota.

In 2024, however, national political and media leaders find themselves debating the very nature of presidential debates. What are debate presenters to do when relentless candidate interruptions and deliberate untruths threaten to become a strategic debate weapon? At the same time, simply canceling the debates is clearly not in the interest of the American people or American democracy.

Upon reflection, I believe one reasonable answer would be to back up: Create a debate format even more formal than the ones used 40 years ago. Under strict rules further defined and enforced by the network or debate organizer we could have:

• candidates, participating alone from different, controlled studios;

• candidates allowed only formal, timed responses and no discussion between candidates;

• immediate fact-checking conducted by off-camera reporters;

• the moderator role limited to presenting questions, fact-corrections and transitions.

I'm unaware of any national political debate ever using this approach, and there is no question that it would be clunkier, less explosive and less entertaining. Yet I believe that in this uniquely challenging fact environment, the American people would be well-served by a temporary return to formality. As the late PBS anchor Robert MacNeil used to remind folks, occasionally in the interest of the American people, you have to "dare to be boring."

Bill Hanley, St. Paul

The writer was original executive producer of "Almanac."


Consult an expert, not social media

The Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) represents over 1,600 nutrition professionals in our state. We would like to respond to the article "With obesity on the rise, 'anti-diet' backers find ally in General Mills" (April 4) and subsequent letters from readers.

The practice of providing dietary or nutritional counseling and the prescription or administration of food, beverages and dietary supplements for therapeutic purposes is the practice of medical nutrition therapy. To provide such level of care, licensed dietitians and nutritionists are required to complete at least a baccalaureate or postgraduate degree in the field of dietetics or human nutrition, complete a supervised preprofessional practice experience of at least 900 hours and successfully pass a nationally recognized dietetics or nutrition examination.

Our nutrition professionals work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care, academia, private practice, K-12 schools and colleges, and industry, to name a few. We support all of our dietitians, no matter what their career choice, and are confident that they adhere to our code of ethics and work diligently with patients and clients "to meet them where they are." While there may be a small minority of dietitians and unlicensed "nutritionists" dispensing advice through social media, we encourage the general public to seek their advice from a licensed practitioner.

MAND supports the "healthy at any size" movement, as there is not a "one size fits all" solution for individuals seeking to improve their health. We work with patients and clients from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, many who have complex medical and family health histories. We acknowledge and affirm the reality of individual's food choices, which includes cultural norms around food preferences and the necessity of including processed food in diets due to their low cost and availability. This is the type of client/patient-centered care that dietitians provide and is part of solving the dietary and nutrition counseling puzzle.

Social media influencers are just that. MAND encourages the public to access health information and advice from credible health organizations and trained professionals, which includes registered and licensed dietitians.

Michelle Anderson, Savage

The writer is a dietitian and president of the Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Cut red tape for the public's sake

A bill known as HF 4049 proposes a compact that would allow social workers to be licensed in a home state, such as Minnesota, and practice in another under that same license. A compact would allow for telehealth services by licensed social workers when they are located outside of the state or if the person they are serving is not in Minnesota. This is especially beneficial for those who live in greater Minnesota who might seek services from a social worker in a bordering state.

I currently live in Plymouth, but I grew up on the border of Minnesota and North Dakota in Grand Forks. My mother, father and aunt are all licensed social workers and have had to hold two licenses throughout their time practicing in the area or only practice in one or the other state. When I travel to Grand Forks and work remotely from my parent's home, I am required to either 1) hold a North Dakota social work license (with all the additional fees) or 2) cross the border to Minnesota and work from a coffee shop. I have current co-workers and staff who live on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin and experience a similar issue.

HF 4049 would benefit social workers and residents of Minnesota greatly. This would allow for residents to access to quality mental health support regardless of their location or the location of the social worker serving them. HF 4049 is good for Minnesota!

Hannah Modeen-Klamm, Plymouth