In your Jan. 2 article following an interview with Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, one part of the representative's thinking stuck out to me.

Rep. Fleischmann believes that President Trump was merely using a different style and negotiating process than past presidents. This is a position other Republican elected officials have taken as well. However, this leads to a question for which Rep. Fleischmann does not offer an answer — what was the President negotiating?

Officials with the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget, and documentary evidence which the White House was not able to conceal, have identified that the President illegally ordered the halting of aid to compel the President of Ukraine to announce a sham investigation of a political opponent.

That was the negotiation Rep. Fleischmann refuses to acknowledge.

It is one thing to claim that the President's boorish behavior on social media is just Trump being different than past presidents. But to assert this boorish behavior then excuses corrupt requests for personal political favors in exchange for the release of Congressional approved aid is wholly inappropriate.

Andrew Stephenson


Recreational pot questions keep nagging

Sometimes the irony which shows up on your pages bears repeating.

A good example of this comes from the story in the Jan. 2 paper about the first day of recreational marijuana sales in the State of Illinois. According to the story, the very first buyer in Chicago exclaimed, "To be able to have [recreational marijuana] here is just mind-boggling." Exactly the point?

While Illinois and other states fall all over themselves to legalize "recreational marijuana," significant questions about its effects, especially long-term, not only remain but in some cases appear to grow in their impact. (As someone who came of age in the 60's, I'm not naive about the ready availability of weed prior to its legalization.)

Does anyone really believe that such use is limited to those over the age of 21? Are we okay with the greater long-term impact of regular pot use on the young? Do we recognize that today's pot is generally far more potent than what was smoked 50 years ago? Will we ignore studies strongly suggesting correlation between daily use and the onset of psychosis in too many of our people? Are there social costs of individual use which all of us should be obliged to share?

To ignore these and other questions is indeed mind-boggling.

Gary Lindley, Lookout Mountain, Ga.


Blackburn not impartial, should resign

I recently heard Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg say that any Senator who states he or she cannot review the testimony in the impeachment trial and vote impartially in judgment should resign his or her position. I agree fully.

I have heard Sen. Marsha Blackburn say her mind is already made up and she will vote in favor of President Trump. Therefore, I call upon her to resign since she cannot fulfill impartially the duties of her office in judging the evidence.

Ronald E. Cumbie