Top schools may not make for top leaders


The May 22 Letter of the Day ("Senate candidate's opening salvo aims to misdirect"), basing the ability to govern upon graduation from a highly esteemed college, is one of the most erroneous ways to judge a candidate.

have observed top students -- if grades can equate to being at the top -- become a total waste in the practical world. (Perhaps they have a place in research or some other endeavor.)

Industry often avoids these superstudents for more-grounded average students, and government, too, is essentially embedded in the practical world.

Many times C and B students have a higher level of learning ability that allows them to spend less time grinding over books and grow into well-rounded people during those crucial formative years of their lives.

I've listened to hundreds of speakers through the years. It never ceases to amaze me how an audience can realize within five minutes if the man is a total laughingstock, and how the speaker doesn't have a clue that his audience knows it. In the case of U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills, it only took five minutes to realize that he is a man for the future.


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Tsk, tsk! We Democrats should not be snotty. It seems to me that there are many reasons to support U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and President Obama, without parading their degrees from "prestigious" universities. That kind of talk usually comes from the other, wealthier political party.

My guess is that as we hear more from candidate Kurt Bills, his degree from Winona State University will be the very least of his shortcomings.


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Why Ellison works on global issues


In response to Fifth Congressional District Republican candidate Chris Fields ("North Side needs attentive leadership," May 23): Thank you for your military service, but you missed the mark on Rep. Keith Ellison.

Republican President George W. Bush asked Ellison to act as a goodwill ambassador to the Middle East because of Ellison's unique qualities. As the first Muslim congressman and as an African-American, Ellison has a reputation for gaining respect (and votes) from Christians, Muslims, Jews, and many others at the state and national levels.

He responded to the call of the president as his duty to our nation. Creating connections and friendships among the emerging leaders of the Arab Spring means that fewer Marines, like you, will be asked to sacrifice life and limb in that region.

Ellison has and will continue to be available to help our local communities in good times and bad. Republican control of the U.S. House of Representatives has stymied disaster relief and recovery funding for our nation.


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Task force puts men in prostate quandary


The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force states that after reviewing scientific evidence, the prostate-specific antigen test will help save the life of just one in 1,000 men ("Men are advised to skip routine PSA tests," May 22).

During my latest annual physical, my family doctor recommended that I see a urologist because my PSA count had been on the rise for the past two years. After a biopsy, the urologist informed me that I had stage 7 cancer of the prostate and recommended surgery to remove it.

According to my urologist, postsurgery lab results confirmed his diagnosis. He told me that, left untreated, it would have been out of control in four to five years.

The task force tells me that the PSA test almost never detects cancer that requires treatment, yet my own doctors tell me that the PSA test probably saved my life.

Whom should I believe?


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Do at-risk men deserve to know that they may have prostate cancer and decide options on their own, even if it leads to unnecessary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, the inconvenience of a biopsy, etc.? Or do they not deserve to know they have cancer? Because that's what it means to take the PSA test away. There is no test available to replace it.

More men simply won't know they have prostate cancer, so there will be no early detection. Just more men suffering unnecessarily. Which approach is doing more harm than good? The only thing I know for sure is which approach saves more money.


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Are job cuts the best solution?


I was interested to see the huge jobs cuts announced by General Mills in reaction to the less-profitable quarter it just had ("General Mills to cut 850 jobs," May 23). Though I confess that I do not know all the ins and outs of the company and what it has tried so far, two things immediately popped to mind:

1) If companies are so hurt by higher costs in supply, maybe they should lobby Congress to eliminate subsidies from companies that are profiting from those higher costs -- namely, farming and oil.

2) Though the company would certainly gain cash flow from firing many lower-level workers, I wonder if it would receive an equitable savings from reducing the salaries and bonuses of uppermost management. Indeed, this may help even more, since keeping lower-salaried people in their jobs will make it more likely that they are able to purchase General Mills products.


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Behind bars? That's all I need to know

I don't understand the never-ending chronicling of Denny Hecker's prison abodes ("Hecker gets a dose of 'diesel therapy,' " May 23). I really don't care, as long as he is safely locked up. Unless he is moved to Devil's Island, enough is enough.