Is it just me or did making the cut for the first Republican presidential debate sound just like making the field for playoff contention? You have your inevitable clinchers dominating the field (Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker), those who were considered to make the cut in the middle of the pack (Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul), the somewhat surprising contenders (Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee), the guys on the bubble who just made it (John Kasich and Chris Christie), and those whose bubble just burst for now (Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, among others).

All Fox News needs to do is to play the well-known NFL theme music from its sister Fox Sports brand during the debate and the metamorphosis from a presidential debate to a full-contact sports competition will be complete.

William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul

LAKE MILLE LACS WALLEYE

If only the officials had been listening, plus, a suggestion

I share a troubling question with respect to the early closure of the walleye fishing season on Lake Mille Lacs ("One last walleye launch," Aug. 4). How did our elected and appointed leaders let it get to this point? We are at, or near, the bottom.

Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr is quoted saying, "It's a dark day for Minnesota fishing." Gov. Mark Dayton spoke with reporters, calling it a "dark day" for those affected. He went on to say, "This is the beginning of a brighter future for fishing on Mille Lacs."

Those are quotes better suited for an overnight tragedy. A plane crash. A car accident. A mass shooting. The problem is that this did not happen overnight. A more suitable quote would be, "This is a dark day for those in charge of managing the walleye resource on Lake Mille Lacs."

The blue-ribbon panel of walleye experts concluded, within the last year, that a primary cause of young walleye not surviving at an acceptable rate is due to an imbalance in the size structure of walleyes in the lake. But, again, this did not happen overnight.

Reputable fishermen with dozens of years of fishing the lake have pointed out publicly — for years — the dearth of young walleye. Articles in print and fishing-related radio talk shows have pointed out the same — for years. Much has been made of the relative absence of younger walleye and the preponderance of large walleye in the lake — for years.

So, this is not a new phenomenon. What this reveals is a failure to see the obvious, and more important, a lack of listening and a lack of imagination on behalf of leadership. Another blue-ribbon panel will be assembled to remedy the situation and help local businesses through tax abatement, no-interest loans, advertising and more. All expensive propositions. Businesses will be lost, the economy (yes, walleye fishing drives the economy around Mille Lacs) will suffer. All very expensive propositions. And think, the sad thing is that the price of listening to those who have seen this coming for years would have been free if leadership had been willing to hear the message.

Paul Swanson, Plymouth

• • •

Anglers like the man from Albertville who has been going to Mille Lacs twice a week for 15 years to fish for walleye are going to pull in their lines. No doubt about it. Therein lies the problem and the opportunity for area resorts, guide services, restaurants and other businesses. What about all of the Minnesotans who have never been to Mille Lacs? Get creative. Come up with special promotional packages for first-time visitors. You have the opportunity to attract entirely new customers who will give Mille Lacs a try for smallmouth bass, northerns and muskies, and they may also enjoy other attractions the area has to offer. Get them there once, and you have a chance to get them to come back.

David Aquilina, Minneapolis

• • •

There is nothing new or surprising in the sad tale of the dwindling Mille Lacs walleye population. Just an old lesson we have never really learned about the ephemeral nature of the natural bounty that Minnesota was given.

If you insist on harvesting the old-growth white pine, mining the high-grade iron ore or fishing for the prized walleye like there is no tomorrow, you will wake up one day to find that there isn't.

Harold W. Onstad, Plymouth

PLANNED PARENTHOOD

The racist Margaret Sanger doesn't deserve high praise

I'm not sure why the effort continues to deify Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, whether in the Aug. 5 "Readers Write" section ("The long fight for family planning") or by those who want to put her on a postage stamp.

It can be clearly demonstrated that Sanger's passion was to eliminate categories of "breeders" whom she deemed undesirable, much like Hitler (who was a big fan of hers, incidentally) sought to eliminate Jews. She was a champion of "eugenics" — a fancy word for killing babies and sterilizing women she deemed unfit to live and reproduce. Even now, long after her death, the majority of Planned Parenthood clinics are strategically placed in minority neighborhoods, to continue the systematic elimination of precious babies. Millions of them. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar had an opportunity to do what was right in voting to defund this racist, murderous organization, and they didn't.

Mary Hendricks, New Prague

• • •

In regards to an Aug. 5 letter, I too was raised in the 1950s. But unlike the letter writer, I am not living in a fools' paradise. All was not as wonderful as she remembered it. Some of those outwardly respectful individuals she remembers were the same ones beating wives and children behind closed doors. Some of them were cheating on their spouses, their income taxes and their employers. They just kept everything hidden. Before Roe vs. Wade, thousands of young women died from botched abortions or lost their ability to have children when they wanted them. I am glad that her adoption turned out to be so wonderful. Not all did. In my own family, an adoption was horrific for a young girl. The world is not perfect nor was it when the letter writer grew up. We were just better at hiding things.

Pamela Olberg, Minnetonka

President Obama's energy plan

It goes without saying that jobs will be safer as we give up coal

Wednesday's editorial, "A plan for global — and public — health," about the health benefits anticipated from President Obama's Clean Power Plan, neglects to mention another major benefit: the decrease in deaths and debilitating sickness among coal miners from mine collapse and black lung disease. Alternative jobs in the renewable energy or natural gas industries will not bring comparable occupational health hazards.

John C. Green, Duluth

THE AIRPORT

Pssst, MSP! A couple more ideas

This time, as the food service at the airport is redone, how about a restaurant outside of security ("Airport's hipness set to take off," Aug. 4)? There is no nice place to eat and visit without a ticket. What about a place to eat and visit with someone who has a layover or when waiting for an arrival? Not everyone at the airport is boarding.

David Newville, Coon Rapids

• • •

The Metropolitan Airports Commission should consider clean, working bathrooms that I'm not ashamed to have out-of-town guests use.

Susan Zemke, Excelsior