Give me paper
Recently, I read in a retirement community news publication that purchasing a supply of books can be expensive. I find that to be true, but I cannot get excited to borrow e-books, digital magazines and audiobooks from the library to read or listen to a novel on a smartphone, tablet or computer.
My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Stewart, instilled in me the joy of reading, which has stayed with me all my life. As a high school student, I was fortunate to work in the Minneapolis Public Library. I shelved thousands of books. I had a book to read during my breaks and lunch hour. I cannot remember the first novel I read, but I can say my favorite is Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind.” Reading the beloved story on a tablet would lose the author’s masterful telling of a love story set in an important period of our country’s history.
An electronic screen will never take the place of a hardcover book filled with paper pages that I can read, and with my fingers turning to the next exciting page.
– Betty Stinar Swisher, Kansas City
According to the latest “Democracy Index” report from the Economist Group’s Economist Intelligence Unit, just over 6% of humanity lives free under democracy today. The rest is divided among “flawed democracies,” “hybrid regimes” and “authoritarian regimes,” such as the bumbling, incompetent Taliban and dystopian North Korea. Throughout history, fewer than 0.01% of humans have been free.
Where would we be today if Donald Trump’s coup had succeeded?
– Randall Jones, Independence
Word got out
The University of Kansas School of Law tried to censor my speech last October. The campus Federalist Society invited me to speak on the Supreme Court’s recent changes in Establishment Clause doctrine. I have argued before that court and have litigated many First Amendment cases.
KU officials were indifferent to my topic but opposed me because I work for Alliance Defending Freedom. A KU faculty/staff committee denounced my presence on campus, viewing me not as a fellow human being with thoughts on an important legal issue, but as an ominous cardboard cutout, too dangerous to allow on campus.
The committee recited accusations against ADF from the Southern Poverty Law Center, automatically assuming all were true. Minimal research would have shown the accusations are false. The SPLC has sadly become a discredited organization seeking new enemies to battle to justify its existence and incessant fundraising.
Also, KU officials unsuccessfully pressured the courageous students to cancel my invitation. KU, do you really want your future lawyers learning to cave to pressure from powerful authorities to censor speakers for advocating the “wrong” ideas? You should commend them for standing strong for open, respectful debate. KU should encourage, not suppress, more viewpoints on campus.
– Jordan Lorence, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel, Washington, D.C.
Talk about stupidity and crimes against humanity: Is there anything dumber and more useless than Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and his obsession with restoring Russia’s past “glory”? He could strengthen those nations’ mutually beneficial activities and concerns. Instead, he wants to take territory by force, resulting in a continuously restive, rebellious populace and requiring more wasteful efforts to maintain control. What a foolish use of talent and resources.
The global climate is collapsing around us, and Putin is wasting time and opportunities to do something useful and necessary. If he had any integrity, he’d stop his war folly, praise the Ukrainians for their courage and resilience, and pledge to repair the damage and destruction he’s caused.
If he really wants to be honored by future generations, he should devote Russia’s energy and resources not on war but to working to reverse climate damage. Is he doing anything to acknowledge and deal with this threat?
– Charles E. Downing, Roeland Park
This story was at first published January 18, 2023, 5:30 AM.