Columnist oblivious to his own irony

In his latest column (Feb. 9), Geoff Caldwell makes the case for a political resignation. His grounds include partisanship during the State of the Union address, without respect and honor for the office and the historical significance of the office. He also adds petulance and a lack of dignity, tradition, decorum and civility.

He bemoans that the perpetrator dragged down the office to an even lower level of political hell. He must have missed excerpts from the National Prayer Breakfast or any political rally, for that matter.

Caldwell again sets a new standard for being oblivious to his own unintended irony, with an unwillingness to hold Trump to the standards that he expects of others.

Michael O’Leary



Trump untethered, will seek revenge

I believe the saddest day of the impeachment trial came on Friday with the removal of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman by guards and under the direction of a president who is determined to punish those who stood and spoke with knowledge of his actions during this impeachment process.

Vindman, who served with distinction and honor during several conflicts, unfortunately believed that being truthful was the way to correct what was truly an abomination of power and obstruction — but, as proved, not with this administration and the minions of "yes" men occupying it.

With this acquittal we now have an untethered president who admits he is on a path of retribution and payback. Can we depend on a fair and equitable election in November?

I fear the same type of interference we experienced in 2016, but we must vote with informed intention and right this stain on our democracy. We have it in our power to do so.

Judy Tesch



Ben Baker's library bill unwise, unworkable

State Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho, has proposed House Bill 2044 to set up boards of censors for local libraries.

Ironically called the “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act,” the bill actually removes from parents the duty to monitor their child’s library reading habits, placing it in the hands of a “Review Board.”

The bill is aimed at keeping “age inappropriate” material out of the hands of children. Unfortunately the bill in present form leaves many unanswered questions. Here are a few:

• What criteria will the board use to decide whether a particular book or magazine is “age appropriate?”

• Will parents be able to ignore the decisions of the censors if they feel their child is mature for his or her age? (Presumably not, since the bill states specifically that the board’s decision cannot be overruled except by a court.)

• How will “age-appropriate” material be segregated? Will books be color coded? Or isolated in different sections of the library by age? If the latter, how will access be controlled?

• What will the penalties be if a child is caught reading material purloined from the adult section?

• And what if a child is caught sitting quietly in the corner of the library viewing “age-inappropriate” material on a cellphone? Will the phone be confiscated or will the child simply be evicted and allowed to sit on the curb in front of the library, cellphone still in hand?

• Will some books be allowed in child aisles if certain parts are redacted? For example, might children still be allowed access to the Bible if the more salacious parts of Genesis and the Song of Solomon have been razor-bladed out?

In short, I think Baker’s bill is unwise, unworkable, unneeded and redundant because libraries already have local governing boards.

James W. Rhoades



Let's give girls tools they need to succeed

The Keeping Girls in School Act (H.R. 2153) has passed in the House of Representatives and will now move to the Senate. U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley now have the opportunity to position the United States as a leader in global education reform.

If enacted, this bill will support empowerment, economic security and educational opportunities for adolescent girls around the world. This will have compounding effects on the global poverty crisis by allowing women in developing countries to work toward bettering their lives and bringing themselves out of extreme poverty.

This bill works by authorizing the U.S Agency for International Development to enter into acquisition, assistance or financing agreements to address societal, cultural, health and other barriers that adolescent girls face in accessing quality secondary education. This is bipartisan legislation that everyone can support because, when we give girls the tools they need to succeed, we help them make the world a better place for all.

Rebecca Collins


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