"The lines have been down most all day."

"… the crops look unusually promising."

"The influx of immigrants by boats and railroads continues to a very great extent … ."

"… a bill was passed making eight hours a legal day's work … ."

Telegraph, internet. Spring planting updates. The dream of a better life in the United States. Working and getting paid fair wages.

Whether it was May 25, 1867, or May 25, 2017, it makes no matter. The more things change, the more they stay the same. One constant: a free press that works hard to share local, national and global news with us.

Thanks, Star Tribune, for Thursday's front-section wrap of your first front page in 1867. It was interesting to learn the news that day. Congrats on 150 years of continuous coverage!

Paula Mohr, Nowthen, Minn.

Editor's note: An online presentation related to the anniversary can be viewed here.


Possibly this may be a response to acts of president, administration?

I read the May 25 commentary by John Kass about a Harvard University study pointing out a high degree of negativity in coverage of President Trump and his administration. I don't have the benefit of Harvard research, but I can hear, read and see. Coverage is negative because from the very first day, never mind the campaign, there has been nothing but attacking, demeaning, lying, misstatement coming from Trump, but also from his staff.

What, exactly, positive news has been missed? From his observation of inauguration attendance, the immigration travel ban, alternative facts, proven false allegation of wiretapping by President Barack Obama, the Russia investigation, health care, Flynn, Manafort, Page, Sessions, Sally Yates, Russia in White House, Comey, investigation of possible obstruction, the appointment of special counsel, calling Comey a "nut job," and finally all the broken promises of his campaign.

I did notice that while Kass was critical of the negative coverage and reported on it, his article failed to identify positive outcomes of the first 120 days of this administration.

Mike Cassidy, Wayzata

At least Trump has the courage to point out our limitations

The precarious financial status of the federal government has dictated for some time that Americans display the courage to elect leaders who will have the courage to tell them what they don't want to hear. For all of his faults, we certainly have a president with the fortitude to lay out a plan to necessarily transform the role of government in our lives. This reality will surely not be accepted kindly, but hopefully will spur meaningful discussion on how to pragmatically move forward.

Michael Schwartz, Woodbury

• • •

There are numerous issues to address in the proposed federal budget. Two of note are the elimination of the estate tax and the dramatic cuts to Medicaid. With the elimination of the estate tax, the poor will now be able to pass their vast wealth to their heirs with no tax consequence. With the cuts to Medicaid, the wealthy will find it near impossible to pay their medical bills. Oh … wait … did I get that backward?

John Jackson, Bloomington

Today's arguments often forget how it really came about

The May 24 letter "Another reason we're not all 'complicit': We chose well" falsely construes the founders' motives behind the Electoral College. Hubbell asserts that the founding fathers designed the Electoral College to blunt the influence of highly populated states and instead disperse voting power among the nation as a whole. This is patently false. Instead, the Electoral College was designed to give voting power to educated, elite "electors," who would be chosen by the people to independently vote on their behalf. As Alexander Hamilton wrote, the college was conceived to ensure "that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."

The Electoral College was also designed to bolster the voting power of slave states. Electoral votes are tallied based on each state's total number of representatives, plus their two senators. As such, Southern states were awarded electoral votes that took into account their slave populations, with each slave counted as 3/5 of a person. Electing the president based on popular vote gets rid of this advantage. As James Madison wrote, "The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes." It is essential that we reckon with these antiquated motives behind the Electoral College, rather than delude ourselves with revisionist history.

Sam Carlen, St. Paul

Fine, but if slavery is the offending factor …

Frankly, I don't care what we rename Lake Calhoun. However, if the motivation to do so is because John C. Calhoun owned slaves, then we need to proceed with caution.

Owning slaves was a common practice in American Indian culture. In some Pacific Northwest tribes, slave ownership amounted to 25 percent of the tribe's population. Slaves were typically war casualties and often used for work or ritual sacrifice. The practice of cutting off a slave's foot, so the slave couldn't run, was not uncommon. The most famous Indian slave was, of course, the Shoshone Sacagawea, who was sold to Charbonneau by the Hidatsa. Certainly, the Cheyenne, Crow, Blackfeet, Hidatsa, Omaha and Ojibwe had the misfortune to become "slaves" as these tribes battled with the Sioux for land, chattel and prestige.

So, if slave ownership prevents your name on a lake, then we need to move on from Indian names. Scandinavian? There was that Viking problem …

Tim Graupman, Excelsior

Students have gone about seeking change the right way

Regarding "Students do heavy lifting in 'Rename Ramsey' bid," Jon Tevlin column, May 21): Alexander Ramsey or Justice Alan Page? This was my kid's school. This is my city. I'm proud of the educational process that led to this point. These kids didn't just take to 50th and Nicollet with signs. They spent a year studying the reasons and selecting candidates for the name change. Alexander Ramsey was not vilified blindly, but he was given his place in history. If the school board agrees — and I hope it will — a new role model will be honored. There is nothing of "political correctness" in the work these kids did, just a deep investigation of historical and current realities. Perhaps these kids will come out of our school system with the tools they will need to look at life with a critical eye and act on what they see.

John Widen, Minneapolis