It's a fall morning on a Friday in Manhattan. You could go into the office for a few token work hours before catching that flight back to MSP, or run for it. Beat the endless line of tour buses just as the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens on the east side of Central Park. So you go, and sprint alone up the grand central stairs knowing exactly where the American Gallery is that displays "Washington Crossing the Delaware."

Having arrived, you now have 20 minutes to sit alone on a bench, staring at that massive painting depicting eventual victory of a revolution over the tyranny of few, through the harshest and humblest of circumstances. But wait. Wait just a second. This prize was painted by a — ahem — German artist, some 70-plus years after the event? How and why is such an iconic American symbol some kind of foreign "import"? Can this be?

The "how and why" is as relevant today as it was in 1851, it turns out. The American experiment in revolution against kings and the tyranny of few inspired Europeans to eventually follow in overthrowing their own despots, then was reflected in their art. And until recently, Americans have continued to serve as world leaders in this regard. Until recently. Our president seems to court despots from North Korea and Russia these days instead, and alienate allied democracies in Canada and Europe. What would this precious artwork look like if painted today, you might ask? I wonder, too.

P.S. You can see the same original work (smaller) in Winona at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, if you don't believe me about its powerful message of inspiring the world.

Jonathan Hegre, Plymouth

Anything goes, now including ease of gambling by app

Less than a month into its debut, a new method of distribution being used by the Minnesota Lottery has yielded its first million-dollar winner, a college millennial ("App was $1M charm for student," July 13). The winner used an online app to acquire the winning ticket, which he got for free for referring friends to the app.

The Minnesota Lottery always has and continues to operate under the belief that anything not prohibited in statute is allowed. However, Minnesota charitable gaming (bingo, pulltabs, raffles) operates under the assumption that anything not allowed in statute is prohibited.

Hopefully the Legislature will address the new method of distribution next session. Having legal gambling available 24/7/365 without ever having to go anywhere needs a thorough vetting before becoming law. In the meantime, the Minnesota Lottery couldn't really buy that kind of publicity, could it?

Allen Lloyd Lund, Maple Grove

The writer is executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota, a nonprofit trade organization representing licensed gaming.


Precedent suggests investigation of president should be no obstacle

A July 11 letter writer writes that President Donald Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court should be rejected, despite Kavanaugh's impeccable qualifications, because "a president who is the subject of a criminal investigation, the end result of which may wind up ruled on by the Supreme Court, should not be allowed to nominate anybody to that court" unless the nominee "promises to recuse themselves from any legal proceedings related to that criminal investigation."

As a matter of law, that position is incorrect and without precedent. In fact, there is precedent for upholding the right to make such a nomination. In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the court; in 1994, he nominated Stephen Breyer. At the time of each nomination, Clinton was under criminal investigation by various agencies, including the Justice Department for business transactions engaged in by him and his wife. In the same month that he nominated Breyer, a grand jury subpoenaed both the president and his wife in connection with one of those transactions. Three months after that, an independent counsel was appointed to continue the investigation. Despite this, the nominations of both Breyer and Ginsburg were approved overwhelmingly by a bipartisan Senate.

Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park

It's not the Met Council that's the issue; it's hostile politicians

I sympathize with the frustration of a July 12 letter writer ("Bus commuter says: Fail"). Based on the description, I was stuck waiting for the same bus. But signing on to gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson's proposal to eliminate the Metropolitan Council is no answer. Republicans like Johnson don't want to get rid of the Met Council because they want to improve bus service — just look at their shortchanging of transit funding at the Legislature. They want to do it because they don't want their suburbs and exurbs to have to share money and power with central cities. Everything else is a smoke screen.

If the writer wants better bus service, the long-term answer is to elect officials who support more transit funding, not hostile politicians like Johnson.

Paul Chillman, Richfield

No, I would not 'gut' protections for pre-existing conditions

The July 10 article on U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan's visit to Minnesota contained a false assertion by my opponent in the Second Congressional District. Though last year Minnesota saw one of the largest jumps in people without health insurance, leaving 349,000 without coverage, Angie Craig, a former St. Jude Medical Inc. executive, continues to deflect her role in creating this dysfunctional health care market by suggesting I would "gut" protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

This is not only at odds with the facts but with the direct language in the bill I supported — which clearly stated, "nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting insurers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions." It doesn't get any clearer than that.

U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn.

Now that's joy to remember

Thank you to Alex Kormann for the delightful photo of Siri Johnstone and her fish! ("Little fish, big tale," Around the Metro, July 12.) I'm saving this photo to look at whenever I have a day that I feel that the world is becoming a dreary place. Siri's simple joy of fishing reminds me of my days spent with Grandpa on Sugar Lake catching fish that same size and feeling the pure excitement of it. Siri, keep that beautiful smile forever!

Lynn Bergstrom, Maple Grove