Chris Christie: Intricate train set simulating New Jersey environs (crumbling buildings, boring architecture), with blockable bridges and roads, miniature McDonald’s, Dairy Queen and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Rand Paul: Hair straightener. (What, those curls are deliberate?)

Hillary Clinton: Book — “E-mail and Internet Databases for Dummies.”

Bernie Sanders: Hanes Underwear gift certificate, shiny new briefcase. Invitation to appear on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Mike Huckabee: DVD — “Brokeback Mountain.”

Martin O’Malley: Book — “The Little Engine That Could.”

Donald Trump: Books — “Islam for Dummies,” “Government for Dummies” and “Emily Post’s Courtesy and Tact for Dummies”; an air conditioner (for all the hot air); a shovel (for constant … well …), and finally, the book and movie series “Roots.”

George Pataki: DVD of consolation songs for when he drops out of the race, including: “I Happen to Like New York,” “Smile” and “I Will Survive.”

Carly Fiorina: Medical school illustrated textbook “Prenatal Anatomy.” (That should keep her busy — and smiling — post-convention.)

John Kasich: Campaign bumper stickers stating “It’s Time We Elected a Croatian.” (Hey, since congressional and gubernatorial experience matters for naught to today’s voters, it’s worth a try.)

Marco Rubio: 100 crates of Perrier drinking water and several huge pitchers. (He’s thirsty when talking — remember?)

Ben Carson: Personal pyramid wherein to store cereals and grains.

Jeb Bush: Free contract with PR firm to market his just-finished autobiography, “And Don’t Call Me Jebby!”

Ted Cruz: Obsolete B-2 bomber for use as Texas home yard decoration.

Rick Santorum: A year’s worth of food stamps.

Jim Gilmore: Nothing. (I mean, I didn’t realize he was running until just now.)

Stephanie Sarich, Minnetonka



Civil disobedience is chosen because it gets attention

The recent ruling that Black Lives Matter demonstrations may not be held on private property, in this case the Mall of America, is meant to contain and “civilize” BLM protests, to protect the smug comfort of the only people who could end blatant injustice against blacks: white community leaders.

BLM contends, correctly, that all legal avenues have been exhausted over decades for addressing the hostility and brutality of police — sometimes amounting to murder — that black people in impoverished neighborhoods face when they walk out the door. So, following a long tradition of civil disobedience, BLM closes streets, shouts obscenities at public gatherings and even destroys private property, taking care not to physically harm anyone.

Only such illegal tactics get the focused attention of the press. If it bleeds, it leads. Ferguson, Mo., was only a name before the riots, splashed over national TV, that caused great inconvenience and cost to the white constituents who elect community leaders. Peaceful protests and dignified discussion with public leaders had been going on for decades. The sometimes-violent Ferguson protests and the property damage got community leaders’ attention, which resulted in more relief from police brutality than a decade of legal protests.

Let’s leave the last word to Henry David Thoreau:

“ … shall we be content to obey unjust laws, or shall we obey them until we have succeeded in amending them, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally … think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse.”

Dean DeHarpporte, Eden Prairie



When to make it affordable and when to leave it to the market

The recent editorial “Don’t weaken U’s role in drawing talent” (Dec. 22) calls for facts to illuminate the University of Minnesota nonresident tuition discussion. I agree.

The Minnesota Territorial Constitution established the U to educate “the inhabitants of this Territory.” Minnesota residents are roughly twice as likely as nonresidents to stay in Minnesota after graduation. Minnesota’s growing population produces graduates with the highest ACT scores in the nation. The Minnesota Legislature supports the university better than virtually all our peers, yet the U’s resident tuition is among the highest in the Big Ten. Nonresident tuition is the lowest.

Tuition for Minnesota residents should be based on affordable access for rural, urban and suburban residents. Tuition for nonresidents should be market-based. If our university is equal to or better than the University of Michigan, its nonresident tuition should be doubled to the Michigan rate. As Michigan and our other peers increased their nonresident tuition, their nonresident numbers and quality actually increased.

Both DFL and Republican legislators want their constituents to have affordable access to the university. Minnesota’s business community wants a quality workforce. We all want a world-class flagship university. Aligning the university’s nonresident tuition with its peers serves all three purposes.

Darrin Rosha, Independence

The writer is a member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.



It’s past time for Minnesota to get serious about security

It is outrageous that legislators have allowed Minnesota’s noncompliance with federal requirements for secure IDs to continue for six years (“Feds reject Real ID reprieve,” Dec. 23). Resistance to the more secure standards for the Minnesota driver’s license was rooted in Republican opposition to “government regulation.” Now that the public is increasingly concerned with national security, these Republican objections are revealed for what they are — simple obstructionism. The Minnesota Legislature should move quickly to bring our state into compliance with this reasonable security measure. This political charade has gone on too long.

William O. Beeman, Minneapolis



Good publicity, but also credit the host for his heartfelt apology

In reply to “An inexcusable mistake” (Readers Write, Dec. 23): Steve Harvey’s “mistake” announcing the incorrect winner of the Miss Universe pageant brought the event more attention than a publicist could wish (or pay) for. Now, I know the winner and that the event still exists!

The real takeaway from the gaffe was the class shown by Harvey, who made a heartfelt apology and took responsibility for the mistake, rather than blaming a writer, stagehand or assistant.

Paul Hager, Northfield