Two alumni fit the bill as being distinguished

When the subject of high school students comes up, it's common for negative opinions about today's teens to come out.

So it is refreshing to have the Austin High School Alumni &; Friends Association honor two graduates as distinguished alumni -- Teri R. Hall and Richard Eberhart. These two fit the bill of distinguished.

Hall, who died of cancer last year, was an assistant professor of anthropology and chairperson of the anthropology department at the University of Idaho.

Eberhart, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, is a retired Dartmouth University English professor. He has published 16 volumes of poetry, two verse plays, and hundreds of articles and anthologized poems.


The award is designed to recognize positive role models for current high school students and to honor the Austin High graduates.

And it doesn't hurt to note that pesky teenagers often turn out to be successful and creative members of society.


; Immigrants make contributions

It is discouraging that even though nearly all Minnesotans are descendants of immigrants, they now have a rather cool view toward newcomers to the state.

A recent Pioneer Press/Minnesota Public Radio poll found that by a margin of 42 percent to 37 percent,

Minnesotans say the cost of helping immigrants get a start on their new life in this country and state costs more than what those newcomers will contribute to the economy and society.

That information will prove useful for unprincipled politicians and leaders willing to exploit the differences among us.


It is important, though, that long-term contributions be placed in front of short-term costs. Minnesota is a richer state, in so many ways, because it has for generations welcomed immigrants. To turn our back on that heritage now would be short-sighted and detrimental to the state's future.


; Bush message returns:times two

Another day in Rochester, another visit by a Bush. This time it was Jenna and Barbara Bush, the twin daughters of President Bush. The pair were here campaigning for their father. They carried no real message, but delivered their notoriety to a crowd of admirers.


; Children will feel brunt of deficit cuts

Congress passed an extension to what have been described as middle class tax cuts. For the folks in line for a bump, it's a good move. All in all, tax cuts are welcome.

However, proper governance requires fiscal prudence. The inflow of revenue (taxes) really ought to match the outflow of spending (services). In Washington these days, such balanced thinking has few supporters. This latest tax cut adds another $149 billion to the county's deficit.


Here's what's not happening: Congress did not vote to let middle class taxpayers keep more of their money. Here's what is happening: Congress voted to give borrowed money to taxpayers and then send the bill, including interest, to their children.


; Political ploy sets new low

This tidbit falls in the political category of "just when you thought the campaign couldn't get any dirtier, it did."

Last week the Republican Party mailed campaign literature to Arkansas and West Virginia residents saying liberals want to, get this, ban the Bible. What a bunch of hooey. For the record, there is no liberal agenda to ban the Bible.

The idea that any group would, or even could, ban the Bible would be laughable if such a campaign ploy wasn't such a despicable attempt to play on people's fears and manipulate their most cherished beliefs.

This act sets a new low in political campaigns. It's reasonable to think that it can't get any worse, but there is no reason to tempt fate.


; No longer the cat's meow

After U.S. security officials barred entry of the British folksinger formerly known as Cat Stevens last week, even our closest allies are shaking their heads in wonder.

Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, was apparently on a no-fly list, allegedly because he was somehow linked to a terrorist organization. While the rest of the world tried to stifle an exasperated chuckle about American treatment of the singer of "Peace Train," a Homeland Security official declared, "It's a serious matter."

British intelligence officials said they have no information that would make them suspicious of Islam. They are aware, however, that the U.S. action will only upset and insult moderate Muslims in Britain and elsewhere.

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