Dear Minnesota Vikings,

The euphoria of the previous Sunday's walk-off touchdown had us all asking that Monday morning: "Was I dreaming?" Sadly, we asked ourselves the same question when we awoke the following Monday.

This past season was very real, and I want to thank you for one of the most exhilarating seasons in recent memory. You gave us something to talk about. You gave us hope in otherwise turbulent times. I live with a family of superstitious fans, and I have to tell you that I do not believe in a curse. This past season was a blessing for Minnesota.

You magnified the excitement of hosting a Super Bowl in the Twin Cities, and as far as I am concerned, you did bring it home.

Wendy Khabie, St. Louis Park

• • •

When I die, I want Mike Zimmer, Mike Tice, Brad Childress, Denny Green, Jerry Burns and Bud Grant to be the pallbearers, so when my casket gets carried to the cemetery, they'd have the chance to let me down just one more time.

Bryan Leary, Minnetonka

• • •

In response to the Vikings' loss, as heartbreaking as it was, I offer this note of thanks to Case Keenum, a young man no one expected to go this far. When the talk swirls about the loss, remember the many losses of years past, when the Vikings came nowhere near being in a playoff game. One step from the Super Bowl is hard to swallow, but it is many steps closer than other times in the past. Keenum stepped up for weeks, doing what seemed the impossible. If the tables turned, again, remember it was Case who got us to the table. And thank him. He will be hard enough on himself. We do not need to be.

Gay Clapp, Minneapolis

• • •

Sure, celebrating a Super Bowl win someday would feel great. Meanwhile, let's redirect our passion toward things that would really make a difference, like closing the education gap or reducing homelessness. What would you add to the list?

Steven Blons, Minneapolis

It takes 51 votes? 60? No, let's make it 75 for everything

Whenever we have a situation such as the shutdown, we hear our president rattling for the implementation of the nuclear option. Bring down the requirement that a single vote can pass a law, and more laws will get done. Of course, those laws with be finely tuned to appeal to 50 percent of the electorate.

I think we should move the goalposts in the other direction — let's make it a requirement that 75 Senate votes are required to pass a law. Let it be clear that we won't have laws unless senators work with both parties to cough up some votes to create a law. They would be forced to run on a platform of bipartisanship, and without their working across the aisle, nothing would get done.

On Monday, the Senate voted 80 to 18 to end the shutdown. When both sides work together, it is more likely to be successful than when the magic number is 51 and only one party is behind a bill.

Michael Emerson, Golden Valley

When fundraising prowess is rewarded, something's wrong

I am horrified. Republican Chair Jennifer Carnahan was quoted in a Jan. 18 article as saying that "fundraising is the most important part of politics" while at the same time she was requesting a percentage of the donations she raises ("GOP chief seeks cut of donations to party"). Her comment went unchallenged. The article also noted that while Carnahan's base salary is $67,000 (which is more than the annual income of the average Minnesotan), she is paid less than the male Democratic chair.

I was taught in school that politics is the process used to help make people's lives better. Political parties exist to help establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, according to our founding fathers. Political parties may have different ideas about how to achieve those goals, but those are the goals. I was not taught that the purpose of a political party is to enrich the party or the party members. I was not taught that money is the most important thing. Perhaps I am too idealistic and not cynical enough?

I see that Carnahan received the increased compensation she requested.

Dan Solarz, Minneapolis

• • •

I take issue with the statement that it is "normal" for fundraisers to accept commissions for what they raise. That is not true.

The professional organization for fundraisers, Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), abides by the "International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising." The section on payments and compensation states that fundraisers "should not accept commissions or compensation based on a percentage of the funds raised."

Nonprofessional fundraisers may accept such compensation arrangements, but they should not compare themselves to a certified professional who adheres to rigorous standards.

Kathleen Laurila, Crystal

Proportion of landline users calls results into question

While I appreciate the effort that was put into the recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll (results printed the week of Jan. 15; see, I question the pollster's decision to weight the sample to be predominantly made up of landlines. Given what we know about landline usage (i.e., typically people who are older, white, do not have children in the home and have higher incomes use landlines in comparison with cellphones; see research by the Pew Research Center for more information), it would seem that the poll's findings would be significantly less generalizable to the state's population than their presentation in the newspaper suggests. Indeed, it could be inferred that the newspaper's pollsters made a deliberate decision to exclude the voices of younger voters, urban voters, voters with children and voters of color. This is concerning — particularly in the highly polarized political environment

I would hope that the newspaper would be committed to including the voices of all Minnesotans in its reporting — and certainly in its polls. If this sampling plan had been presented to me as a professor and social scientist, I would have returned it with the comment "nice try; please revise to enhance validity of findings." It certainly would not have passed muster to be deployed in the field.

Katharine Hill, St. Paul

Trump's comment, in another context, is a real concern

President Donald Trump's derogatory categorization of some countries as "shitholes" may contain an element of truth. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, about 15 percent of the world's population has no sanitation facilities whatsoever. The biggest lack of facilities is in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, according to WHO.

Having worked in some of those countries over the past 50 years, I can personally testify that adequate facilities for dealing with "poop" are necessary to reduce the spread of disease and to reduce infant mortality. Trump is famous for talking about subjects that are not discussed in polite society. In this case, his comments, taken in another context, suggest that there is a global condition that needs the world's urgent attention.

Brian C. Aldrich, Winona, Minn.