Thumbs up to Waterloo High School graduate Jamin Dowdy for inspiring local students recently with his story of academic success. Dowdy, 22, a 2008 graduate of Waterloo, finished at Harvard University in May with a degree in political philosophy. He will spend the next year at Oxford University in Britain, studying the connection between math and philosophy as the winner of the Harlech Scholarship. Dowdy recently stressed to students at Covenant Christian School in Muscle Shoals the importance of getting a head start in preparing for college.Candidates gone wild
Thumbs down to moderator Jim Lehrer for losing control of the first round of presidential debates Wednesday night. The longtime PBS news anchor seemed too darn polite as he allowed GOP nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama to talk over him and bust their time limits. The moderator made some viewers wish for a gong or a mild electric jolt to get the unruly candidates back in line. Candy Crowley, CNN chief political correspondent, needs to be tougher when she moderates the Oct. 16 debate.Counting scarecrows
Thumbs up to merchants in Rogersville for scaring up a little spooky — at least to crows — fun into the shopping experience during October. The shopkeepers are participating in a scarecrow decorating contest. After the success of last year’s contest, the Rogersville Chamber of Commerce decided to make it an annual event. Local civic clubs and Lauderdale County Elementary School students also are involved. The scarecrows will still be on display Oct. 20 for the town’s Fall Festival, featuring a chili cook-off, car show, children’s costume parade and other events.Failure of Congress
Thumbs down to Congress for failing to act on federal income taxes that will rise if they don’t take action soon. With the significant tax increase looming, Americans have a right to know what will happen rather than having to wait until the last minute. A typical family making $40,000-$64,000 a year will see their tax burden jump by $2,000 in 2013 if lawmakers fail to renew tax cuts set to end after Dec. 31. This would be a blow to families and the economy at large. Members of Congress need to stop their juvenile bickering and take action.