GUEST COMMENTARY: Don't pay for more preschools when enough already exist

Research on the benefits of early childhood education has yielded mixed results. Even those studies showing significant benefits of preschool expansion touted by Gov. Jay Nixon as “proven” are subject to criticism.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Missouri is not a great place to be a woman

Nine percent of Missouri seniors live in poverty, and two-thirds of them are women.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Treat your Christmas tree as a fire hazard

The National Fire Protection Association reports, between 2003 and 2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 240 house fires each year that started with Christmas trees.

TIM MAYLANDER: New York City shootings highlight disparity between police, minorities

Many people are comparing the deaths of two New York City police officers with those of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. But the situations behind these events aren't the same, and the discussion is twisting people into picking sides in a senseless fight.

DAVID ROSMAN: It's time to bring back unselfish holiday traditions

If Christmas is about "tradition," then we have lost the spirit of the winter holiday season. Retail has really taken over, starting the "season" on Thanksgiving Day, and it is a shame.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Life-saving acts of valor receive highest praise

Ten Missourians honored by Gov. Jay Nixon at Missouri Medal of Valor ceremony proves to be all together fitting.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Dismal record for 113th Congress does have bright spots

A one-day delay on the budget vote allowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid time to hold votes on dozens and dozens of Obama appointees. The U.S. government now has a surgeon general to deal with Ebola and public health issues.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Historic shift on Cuba will serve Missouri, others

The Show-Me State is poised to expand its market for corn, soybeans, pork and beef, all of which can move efficiently to Cuba down the Mississippi River and through the Gulf of Mexico.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Fighting over scraps for higher education in Missouri

At issue is how a Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, have failed to adequately fund higher education in Missouri. The promise of a good education for a deserving student at a state college has been undermined.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Oil prices drop, but airlines see no reason to cut ticket prices

The decline in oil prices has had no perceptible difference on the cost of flying. Fares are up from earlier this year, and many airlines are still levying significant fuel surcharges on the tickets they sell.

DEAR READER: The rules on anonymity are about answering key questions

Should an article discussing faculty fears of MU's professor buyout program have been published with anonymous sources? Take the anonymity test to find out.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Holiday guide to responsible, fair-trade sources of gifts

Customers should avoid holiday gifts made by modern-day slaves.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Killing children is work of monsters and cowards

What kind of monsters target children? The same kind who two years ago would target a Pakistani school girl named Malala Yousafzai, now a Nobel Prize laureate.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Spending bill shows disdain of Congress for common sense

Because lawmakers again waited until the eve of a government shutdown to act, they had no time or inclination to write a thoughtful budget that reflected overarching policy goals.

GEORGE KENNEDY: A year of victories, setbacks for Ginny Chadwick

Although Ginny Chadwick is threatened with a recall, her initiative to raise the age for purchase of tobacco products from 18 to 21 proved triumphant, and the councilwoman intends to keep pushing two more initiatives.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Jeb Bush might be what GOP needs in 2016

Neither of Bush's two main political liabilities in the primaries — his support for immigration and Common Core education standards — is an insuperable barrier to the nomination.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Missouri's Capitol in serious need of repairs

"We've got water infiltration that's undermining the foundation of the building, and it’s going to cave in upon itself if something’s not done in the not-too-distant future," said Senate Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin.

STEVE SPELLMAN: Brouhaha over Jesus Fish seems trivial, given world concerns

This year, we have our own local controversy, over an ichthus, or “Jesus fish,” on the Boone County courthouse square — and just in time for the holidays!

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Don't fight postal restructuring

The closures are part of a large scale restructuring for the Postal Service in an attempt to respond to a dramatic decline in stamped mail — more than 50 percent in the last 10 years.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Enjoy windfall at the pump, and invest it wisely

In Missouri we still spend a bigger share of our income on gas than others, but we’re benefiting tremendously — $15, $20 or more a tank — from this surge of relatively cheap gas driven by weak global demand for oil.