Regarding the use of profanity by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., while addressing the progressive group at a bar on the very day she was sworn into Congress ("Rep. Tlaib profanely promises impeachment," Jan. 5):

The story may sound interesting because Tlaib outperformed the profanity king Donald Trump in his own kingdom of insult and name-calling. But at the same time, she stooped down to the level of President Trump, which is disgusting.

While addressing her base, she lectured: "Don't you ever, ever, let anybody take away your roots, your culture, who you are. Ever." She went on to say, "we're gonna go in there and we're gonna impeach the mother------."

I wonder if using profanity from a public platform is Tlaib's culture? Is this what she is? I am pretty sure her Palestinian roots and her religion do not approve of such irresponsible behavior.

She goes on to verbalize her made-up conversation with her young son and utters the unspeakable profanity. What kind of culture will she pass on to her young children? This is a reprehensible behavior, if not of a public figure like her, certainly of a mother of young children.

Har N. Shukla, Anoka
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One expects an elected officeholder to exhibit some characteristics of an orator, a statesman and a role model. Webster's defines an orator as "an eloquent public speaker." A statesman "shares wisdom, skill, and vision." A role model "is unusually effective or inspiring."

Rep. Tlaib apparently knew how to speak effectively and inspire in order to get herself elected. With the Hollywood awards season starting up, she is deserving of some kind of recognition for her acting abilities.

John Sherack, Thief River Falls, Minn.
• • •

In the 1960s, I was the first woman in our group to not wear a bra. Got lots of derision and put-down for that. I was one of the first to drop the F-bomb regularly at card parties. These days, whenever the F-word slips in, I'm quickly brought to task by one of my nine grandchildren. Once, when grabbed by the behind by a "friend" who said "How you doing?", I turned to him, grabbed him by his b---- and said, "Just fine — and how are you?" A lot went on in the '60s.

Today, congresswoman, we cannot impeach a person because he acts like a mother------. But, he can be impeached for high crimes against his country. Keep vigilant, congresswoman — keep vigilant and patient.

Sara Meyer, St. Marys Point

Trump has a typically superficial suggestion as consequences build

So President Donald Trump suggests that landlords "work with" renters who can't pay their rent because of his shutdown (front page, Jan. 5). Then the banks holding their mortgages must "work with" the landlords. And pensioners who depend on savings interest for sustenance must then "work with" banks. And grocers must "work with" pensioners who can't buy groceries. And wholesalers must … and so on, and so on, and so on. This from a landlord who doesn't have a reputation for working with his Trump Tower renters.

The president was never very good at system thinking, at seeing more than one step in a process. This (partial) shutdown shows just how much trouble a consumer economy can get into when the president can't see beyond the wall.

Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis
• • •

In light of President Trump's comments that the federal shutdown could last for months, even years, I would hope that all federal positions, including the House, Senate, the Supreme Court, all aides and the president himself, would also be without pay during these negotiations.

Janet Weivoda, St. Louis Park
• • •

Shutting down the government for months, maybe years? … You're killing my grandson.

While this government shutdown is very inconvenient for hundreds of thousands of Americans, for some it is life-threatening. Let me explain. My 6-year-old grandson is afflicted with an extremely rare neurodegenerative brain disease called PKAN. PKAN progressively robs children of their abilities to walk, speak, swallow and, eventually, to breathe. Most don't live to see their 10th birthday. That gives my grandson about four more years.

Sitting on the desks at the Food and Drug Administration is a stack of items regarding a clinical drug trial for an enzyme that could save the lives of my grandson and the other children afflicted with this horrible disease. The input and consent of the FDA is critical to conducting a human trial. Yet the FDA has been partly shut down. Our hopes for an early 2019 trial launch are being held hostage by an obsession with a capricious campaign promise.

For me, this shutdown is about my grandson's life. Surely there are thousands of others put at medical risk because this crucial government agency is not being allowed to function. Playing political games with human lives goes beyond the pale.

Melissa Doerr, Minneapolis

Actually, it's the ice that's worse, and that's a tougher problem

I appreciated the Jan. 3 article "The great shoveling debate" (the headline of which asked: "Are Minnesotans letting the neighborly obligation to shovel melt away?"). We do our best to clear our sidewalks and are so thankful when neighbors have helped in heavy snowfalls by coming through with their snowblowers.

However, the most hazardous problem I have encountered in Minneapolis walking our dogs each day has been the large amount of ice on the sidewalks. Sidewalks are frequently covered in large patches of ice because temperatures so often go above freezing and then drop below freezing.

It's very challenging to keep the ice at bay. The best solution we have found is to regularly reapply pet- and lawn-safe salt and grit after the winter rains and snowfalls. As Minneapolis and other communities research winter sidewalk safety solutions, I hope they consider providing pet-and lawn-safe salt for residents and have more distribution locations for sand/grit.

Ann Pennington, Minneapolis

A reading from the book of Barbara

This from the Gospel According to Barbara. What?! You didn't know about that? It's a thing.

Thou shalt not despair. Even in the shadow of this administration and vile Facebook comments, thou shalt gird thy loins and march on, staying the course.

Thou shalt not engage the trolls. Likewise, thou shalt not engage anyone exhibiting troll-like behavior. Including those known to you. For thou hast at thy disposal "unfriend" and "block."

Thy terrible swift fingers on the keyboard shall be instruments for good. Thou shalt read what thou hast written before pressing "enter." In this way, thou shalt avoid harmful rhetoric and, even worse, incorrect spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Thou shalt rise every morning, starting the day with a clean slate. Thou shalt ponder concrete ways thou canst make a positive difference. Then shall thee do at least one of those things.

Surely justice and constitutional might shall follow us through this era of extreme darkness and we will dwell in a new and improved democracy where this cannot happen again. Ever.

Barbara J. Gilbertson, Eagan