The Toledo Blade

The departure of Gen. James Mattis is unfortunate for this President and for the country — maybe tragic. The reason is not that he is a fine man and a great patriot, though he is both. And the reason is not that he is right about Syria and the President is wrong. The reason is that the President and the country need his experience and his mind.

Gen. Mattis is not only a tough dude but a thinker — a deep thinker. The President should want him around for this alone.

But also, because of his background and his inclination to scholarship and reflection, Mr. Mattis was the one person who could stand up to the President and retain his respect. The President needs that. The country needs that.

If the President truly thinks he knows best about all things at all times and that he does not need people like James Mattis near him, advising him and working for him, he is apt to make some very great mistakes. But the delusion of superior intuition and understanding is the mother of all mistakes.

Online: https://bit.ly/2V8aFKI

The Marietta Times

Congratulations are in order to those at the Swiss Hills Career Center in Woodsfield who found a way to offer a new vocational training program that ought to be of great value to graduates.

It will prepare students to become heavy equipment operators, working on construction equipment such as bulldozers, graders, off-road dump trucks, etc. Traditionally, jobs in that field have paid well.

There is a substantial demand for operators in our area, as a result of the oil and gas drilling boom. But as we noted last week, job demand outlook for such skilled tradespeople is expected to grow by 12 percent through 2026, and there are more than 2,300 jobs for heavy equipment operators in southeast Ohio. The median pay for such positions is $23.10 an hour.

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Education officials should consider establishing special funds to enable schools and colleges to buy such equipment, if they can make persuasive requests for it. Students should not have to go elsewhere, possibly at great expense, to get in-demand career training.

Online: https://bit.ly/2EHtChz

The Canton Repository

If lawmakers in Washington can come together in true bipartisan fashion to hash out differences over policy as thorny as prison reform, we believe those in our General Assembly can do likewise next year.

And, we thank federal lawmakers for helping to make our case that prison reform, which we support, need not be accomplished through a constitutional amendment, a method we typically do not support and the basis for our opposition to State Issue 1 on the recent Election Day ballot.

On Tuesday, U.S. senators voted overwhelmingly — 87-12 — to approve the First Step Act. Among its several measures, the bill would ease mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent crimes, particularly drug offenses; help prisoners earn credit for good behavior so they could reduce their sentences; and create additional training and work opportunities, with a goal of reducing recidivism by better preparing inmates for life after their release.

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Keeping in mind the reasons proponents of Issue 1 pushed for a constitutional amendment in Ohio, and now given a blueprint from Washington on what compromise on this topic can look like, we ask lawmakers in Columbus to make prison reform one of their priorities when the new session of the General Assembly convenes in January.

Let’s see Ohio take the second step.

Online: https://bit.ly/2Cxl63d

The Cincinnati Enquirer

The nation’s car safety watchdog must push Honda to immediately recall Honda Odyssey minivans with third-row seat latching problems and seat stability issues. This deadly defect killed 16-year-old Kyle Plush of Cincinnati.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) failed to act on complaints about the Odyssey model, including a dire warning from a parent just weeks before Plush was smothered by the van’s faulty seat. Federal regulators and Honda must be held accountable.

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The NHTSA’s reputation has taken a hit over the past two decades because of repeated failures to spot defects, forcefully pursue investigations of defective cars and slow response. Among its missteps are failing to detect faulty ignition switches in GM cars linked to fatal accidents in the early 2010s and not identifying a pattern of rollovers involving Ford Explorers with Firestone tires that killed some 200 people in the late 1990s.

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Kyle Plush’s family deserves answers. It’s not enough for the NHTSA to chalk his death up to a freak accident. The Honda Odyssey is one of America’s most popular minivans, so the tens of thousands of people who own and who drive them on highways and suburban and city streets daily also deserve some assurances.

Online: https://bit.ly/2SnXJPm