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In the last legislative session, a caucus of hedonists and Gov. Tim Walz legalized recreational marijuana and a social district in Anoka; both unnecessary, unsafe and unhealthy for Minnesotans. There were no reasons of societal benefit or community building for these legalizations; their justification — not reasons — for both were that many other states are doing it and "come on, it's 2023."

So, with these same justifications the Legislature this session is ready to pass another unnecessary, unsafe and unhealthy addition to Minnesota: sports betting. The Legislature is, again, assisting in hurting families. Do you think any legislation that comes with a 1-800 addiction line is appropriate? What is the societal value of a person betting on how many sacks Danielle Hunter will get in a Vikings game or how many strikeouts Caleb Thielbar will get in his relief appearance? Legislative authors are putting the proverbial lipstick on this pig by earmarking some of the revenue for youth sports. In order to fully utilize that youth sports investment, will Minnesotans be able to bet on those games?

I don't anticipate it, but I am hoping that enough legislators will say no to legalized sports betting.

Rick Greenfield, Minnetonka


This is totally unworkable

Except for a few micrograms of the male's DNA, every single molecule in a fetus came from the food and oxygen taken from the woman's bloodstream.

Until birth, it's literally a part of her body, not yet a "cute little baby" or a "person." It's a special developmental phase, similar to the contents of a chicken egg that hasn't hatched yet or an insect pupa. In any of those cases, it's not able to survive without that special supportive container. It's not the same as any kind of a functioning individual.

No one should be able to tap another's bloodstream (and/or live inside their body cavity!) without the host's explicit initial and continuing permission and agreement to the lifelong commitment that results.

If all pregnancies were wanted, timely in that parent's life phase, healthy, and with a solid family support system, abortion wouldn't be needed.

Not there yet, are we?

If some people find abortion totally unacceptable in their religion or other personal beliefs, fine, they don't have to get one. But they don't have the right to force that belief on the rest of us, especially in such a complex, difficult arena.

We have a highly sexualized culture, with tons of sexual urges and pressures, and imperfect contraception.

A woman may ovulate 300+ times in her life, but may only truly want that to result in a child between zero and a few times in her entire life. She needs to be the one to choose, or not, that result at that time.

The IVF controversy helpfully points out the absurdity of the "personhood at conception" position. If it can't eat or breathe on its own, it's not yet "a person."

During pregnancy, a fetus is most like a "bud" inside the woman's body, a special type of organ of her body 100% dependent on her, getting all its nourishment from and depositing all its wastes into her blood — not any kind of normal "arms length" relationship between two separate "people."

Greg Backlund, Minneapolis


A majority of fertilized human eggs fail to implant in the uterus. Are women in Alabama going to be prosecuted for flushing these "human beings" away? If not, why not?

Anthony Sinner, Bloomington


The public is watching now

In 2021, the National School Boards Association equated parents who began attending their local school board meetings to domestic terrorists and requested intervention from the Department of Justice. It may come as no surprise that three years later, this ill-advised action has resulted in the opposite of its intended effect. Advocacy groups like Minnesota Parents Alliance (MPA), dedicated to advancing achievement-focused leadership in public education, have sprouted up all over the country.

Historically, the Minnesota State School Board Association was the only organization providing direction to school board members on policy and governance. This month, MPA joins dozens of state-based organizations across the country in celebrating the launch of the School Boards for Academic Excellence network (SBAE), a national capacity-building effort that will equip achievement-focused school board members with the training, support and guidance they need to innovate policy solutions and champion the accountability and transparency initiatives needed to get our K-12 system back on track.

For too long, citizens have paid little to no attention to the governance and performance of our public schools. School board candidates ran unopposed and board members, under the direction of school board associations, rubber-stamped Minnesota's once highly-ranked public school districts into decline. MPA and the SBAE network represent a new generation of local leaders who are embracing the challenge and responsibility of securing a brighter future for our children. This bold, collaborative effort led by deeply dedicated, invested parents and community members represents a sea change in the K-12 landscape and perhaps the last best hope to restore American public education.

Cristine Trooien, Wayzata

The writer is executive director of the Minnesota Parents Alliance.


You can vote next week. Yes, you.

Have the Star Tribune and other Minnesota media done their job in telling Minnesota voters that their votes on Tuesday, March 5, actually count in determining whether Nikki Haley or Donald Trump is on the Republican ballot this fall? I don't think so. When I talk to thoughtful, engaged citizens I'm shocked that some don't know that Minnesotans can vote on Super Tuesday. Others wrongly think the precinct caucuses (on Feb. 27) lead to presidential picks. Still others mistakenly believe they are "registered" as Democrats and may not be able to vote for Haley. Minnesota friends: We have an "open" primary. That means someone will ask you at the polls on March 5 whether you want a Democratic or Republican ballot, and you can then vote in whichever primary you choose.

I hope journalists at this newspaper, MPR, WCCO and other major Minnesota media will begin regularly and clearly telling Minnesotans the most important election news of the season: Your March 5 vote translates directly into the selection of Minnesota's delegates to the presidential conventions. A vote for Nikki Haley on March 5 is your best way to give Americans an alternative to the expected ballot choices in November.

Daniel Ritchie, St. Paul


Starring your former skull

In a recent editorial, the Star Tribune condemned the use of human bones as curios without mentioning one of the most famous uses of a human skull — as a prop in the graveyard scene of Hamlet ("Say no to human bones sold as curios," editorial, Feb. 24). One of the most famous scenes in theater history is when Hamlet holds up the skull of the king's jester and says, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio." Good theaters use good props. And what could be a better prop than a real human skull for Yorick? Actually, many people have willed their skulls to be used as props. In this way, an actor who could not get a good part in his lifetime could get an excellent part after his death. More people have so volunteered than you might think. Some say Shakespeare himself went on to serve the theater in this way. (His skull does not clearly show in a ground radar picture of his grave.)

In 2008, the actor David Tennant used the real skull of composer André Tchaikowsky, who died in 1982 and willed his skull to the Shakespeare Company to be used for Yorick. Audiences were horrified. These will requests just prove how desperate some people are to be a star on stage.

David Wiljamaa, Minneapolis