Please register to vote -- now.
As an election judge, I can see it coming. During Tuesday's primary election, we will get a 10 percent turnout and a dozen registrations in our precinct. In November, we will get a 90 percent turnout, more than 300 new registrations, and many complaints on the slow process. If you are not registered, save yourself a lot of time and stop by your polling place on this Tuesday to get it done.
JOHN JACKSON, BLOOMINGTON
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Disgusted by gridlock? There is a third way for voters in District 33B (editorial, Aug. 7): Vote for Denise Bader.
The daughter of missionaries, Bader capitalized on her international skill set to become a French interpreter for Delta Air Lines. Her humble beginnings taught her that a decent education helps to raise all boats.
As a former small-business owner, she understands the pressures this economy has on real folks. She knows that increased property taxes hurt small businesses and middle-class families.
Bader has served her community in multiple volunteer capacities. She has been a proud union member, leading her to embrace the appreciation of a livable wage and tax fairness. She has raised her own flock and has taken in additional children in need, demonstrating through her actions her resolve to improve the lives of others.
Steve Smith had his chance and failed to lead. Cindy Pugh embodies the worst of political zealotry. Voters have a clear choice in Denise Bader.
BETTY FOLLIARD, MINNEAPOLIS
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I first met Rick Nolan, DFL-endorsed candidate for Congress in the Eighth District, when he hosted 400 guests at the annual Crosslake Historical Center home tour ("Quist, Clark earn primary endorsement," editorial, Aug. 5). I was there to seek his assistance in organizing a similar charity home tour for the Lions Clubs in the Bay Lake and Crosby area. Thanks to help from Rick and other home tour veterans from Crosslake, we were to able to duplicate their program in the eastern part of Crow Wing County.
In subsequent years I got to know Rick, learning of his success as a job-creating businessman and active supporter of civic programs like Head Start. I was not surprised when he was endorsed this year by the DFL endorsing convention. Those conventions are sometime depicted as gatherings of a few insiders selecting candidates in small, smoke-filled rooms. Actually, they are gatherings of several hundred "worker bees," party members who walk the streets placing signs, knocking on doors and returning home to make the calls to voters. This is the field work that can offset big-money TV ads.
I will be proud to accept the judgment of my fellow worker bees and vote for Rick Nolan in the coming primary election.
ROLF WESTGARD, ST PAUL
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Thank you for the informative article on electroconvulsive therapy ("Shock therapy rebounds at HCMC," Aug. 5). But as a retired psychiatrist who regularly utilized this treatment modality beginning in the 1960s, I noted the article failed to mention two important points:
• Over the years, there have been a number of advances in the technique and administration of ECT that have dramatically improved safety and reduced side effects, thus allowing its wider use. (Contrary to Lauren Spiro's opinion, there has been ample research on ECT, but none that shows precisely how it works.)
• When this form of psychiatric treatment became available in Minnesota in the 1940s, as it predated any effective medications, ECT was the only form of treatment to provide any real improvement, and sometimes cure, in patients who often spent years in hospitals. Unfortunately, it was used then with virtually all forms of mental illness, and the treatment developed a bad name due to the primitive manner in which it was initially administered. We now know ECT is effective only for a few specific mental or mood conditions.
Also, I recall in the early years of my practice that it was virtually impossible to obtain court permission to administer ECT, even with someone certain to commit suicide without treatment. The Mental Health Court's current willingness to order ECT reflects court officers' understanding of its safety and effectiveness.
DR. DEANE MANOLIS, HOPKINS
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I have witnessed ECT working effectively for a person with severe depression. I have also witnessed a person driven into a near catatonic state from too many treatments too quickly. The problem is that people administering it don't actually understand what it does and what all the complications and long-term effects can be. That is unacceptable, given that the treatment is about 70 years old.
With today's brain-scan technology, it should be possible to observe ECT as it happens. Isn't it time to move out of the dungeon and actually do the science?
ROBERT VEITCH, MINNEAPOLIS