- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

St. Joseph News Press, Aug. 18

Prison can go, but not to Kansas

The U.S. military’s Guantanamo Bay detention facility may yet close on President Obama’s watch, but the final 115 or so prisoners need not, and should not, be transplanted to Fort Leavenworth.

The controversial prison camp was opened in January 2002 to hold what were said to be dangerous prisoners from the global War on Terror, to facilitate interrogation of the prisoners and to allow for prosecution of the detainees for war crimes.

Over the years, a reported 780 detainees from Afghanistan, Iraq, South Asia and elsewhere were housed there. Controversy followed.

Through the years, the military has defended itself against claims that its interrogation practices amounted to torture and that the long-term detention of alleged enemy combatants violated provisions of the Geneva Conventions. The complaints led to changes that have brought fewer questions in recent years.

Still, President Obama long has sought to close the facility, and now Pentagon officials are studying Fort Leavenworth - again - and the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, as potential destinations for the remaining detainees. Non-military sites also are under study.

Prominent Republican Sen. John McCain is among those willing to consider the idea of closing the detention camp but wants the prisoners moved to a domestic military facility. We could accept this, but only if the designated facility is in a much more remote location than Leavenworth.

As secure as the fort’s prison has proven to be, there is unwarranted risk involved with placing a group of suspected war criminals and collaborators in the middle of a populated area that overnight could become a target for a terrorist attack. This applies to Leavenworth, and likely to Charleston.

Instead, the military would be better off to consider facilities in less populated areas where presumably security arrangements would be less complex and the threat to Americans would be minimized.


Kansas City Star, Aug. 16

Hillary Clinton courted trouble with private email server

The controversy over Hillary Clinton’s emails so far has less to do with the content of the messages than with Clinton’s security protocols as secretary of state.

Clinton apparently wanted a convenience that millions of Americans enjoy - the ability to receive and send emails on a hand-held mobile device. She did this through a personal account.

Also like many Americans, Clinton mixed work emails into her personal email.

The problem is that Clinton wasn’t just any American. She was the keeper of state secrets, and she was duty-bound to preserve a clean record of all of her official email correspondence.

By using a personal server, from which she deleted tens of thousands of emails, Clinton left herself open to suspicions that she was trying to avoid scrutiny, and that she may have deleted important official emails along with those she said were strictly personal.

The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice are now examining Clinton’s personal server, which only heightens the intrigue. And reports have surfaced that one of Clinton’s aides also used an account on Clinton’s private server. The email controversy appears likely to follow Clinton, a Democrat, throughout her campaign for president.

Reports surfaced last week that Clinton handled at least two emails now labeled “top secret” on her personal server. But their contents are underwhelming, according to people familiar with them. One focused on a discussion of a well-known drone strike, and another referred to material that was classified, but also widely available through open sources.

Neither email was marked classified at the time they were sent, and their discovery reopened a question about whether the government is too quick to designate material as secret.

Still, Clinton’s handling of them was sloppy and risky. She of all people knew how easily personal email systems are compromised by spies and hackers. And she of all people should have foreseen how eagerly her opponents would seize on this political vulnerability.


Springfield News-Leader, Aug. 17

‘Tis a privilege: Artistry, character rewarded

Good news is not hard to find in the Ozarks, as we illustrate regularly with an editorial feature we call: ‘Tis a privilege.

‘Tis a privilege to join Stained Glass Theatre in a big sigh of relief and feeling of accomplishment for paying off its $475,000 mortgage ahead of schedule. In 2003, the theater group moved from a Springfield church to its own new facility in Ozark. Through donations the mortgage was reduced to $73,000 a year ago. The organization planned to pay it off by December of this year, but with the help of patrons and volunteers they raised the last $25,000 with an Aug. 15 fundraiser. The group will ceremoniously burn the mortgage in September.

‘Tis a privilege to applaud artistic talent in the Ozarks, in this case a talent for composing music. Congratulations to Drury University professor Carlyle Sharpe for having three original works - “Christ Church Mass,” ”Flourishes” and “Laudate Nomen,” selected for a live performance Aug. 30 at the Edinburgh International Festival, founded in 1947 in Scotland. Sharpe’s musical compositions have been performed in numerous notable venues, nationally and internationally.

‘Tis a privilege to be wowed by the great turnout of 23,000 people visiting downtown Springfield last weekend for the fifth annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival. According to estimates, the Friday night parade of roughly 425 classic vehicles had about 5,000 spectators. Around 18,000 people visited the festival Saturday and Sunday and the 6.6-mile run down Route 66 drew 180 participants. With local businesses reporting good sales, the festival was an economic success for our city. Good job to all who worked so hard to organize and run it.

‘Tis a privilege to congratulate Springfield Police Officer Kevin Holle who was honored with the prestigious 2015 Enoch B. Morelock Award, an annual law enforcement recognition of outstanding moral character, service to law enforcement and service to the community. The award is presented annually by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee.

Holle is a 20-year veteran with the Springfield Police Department and served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army and the National Guard.


Joplin Globe, Aug. 18

Joplin’s Memorial Hall could make a comeback

Don’t count Memorial Hall either down or out. Like some of the those bands of the ‘70s that made early appearances on that Joplin stage, the hall itself seems poised for a comeback.

A three-day concert festival - Zerkapalooza - kicks off at Joplin’s Memorial Hall on Thursday and the efforts of local businessman Jon Buck and the members of his cooperative, Livejomo, have spent months of work and preparation. They have even invested their own sweat equity in cleaning up the Hall for this major music event.

Most impressive is how this mission evolved. When Buck’s group realized it was actually feasible to move the main stage to Memorial Hall, they realized they could do even more in the future.

The hall, used by the Joplin School District for three years following the Joplin tornado, had already struggled to serve the area as a viable venue.

Having lots of heads on this effort is a recipe for success. Livejomo and those behind Connect2Culture have a surprisingly good collaboration. Connect2Culture raised more than $60,000 for a feasibility study for developing a future plan for a cultural arts center. We await that final report.

But even now, some of those initial visions for the Hall are changing. The best is that talk about razing the hall is no longer a consideration - at least not by these not-for-profit groups.

It’s an idea that’s been discussed, but it’s not one we think the community would support. The memorial to our veterans should be preserved, not torn down.

As for the City Council, it needs to pay attention to these local grass-roots efforts. While we advocate Connect2Culture’s stance that a long-range plan is an important tool, Zerkapalooza’s energy has shown us there are things the city can do now.

We encourage you to go see a show - or three - being featured at the music festival. Not only will you hear great music, but you will see what Joplin’s cultural and entertainment scene could look like in the future.

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