- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


June 24

Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader on Kentucky and smoking:

A decade into its pioneering smoking ban, Ireland is dancing to a happy tune of more tourists and healthier people.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is stuck in its same old dirge of addiction, denial and early death.

The contrast between the smoke-free isle and Kentucky’s No. 1 rankings in smoking and cancer could not be more discouraging.

The latest example came last week, when the Kentucky Supreme Court blocked local health boards from protecting the public from the deadly effects of breathing other people’s smoke.

The court struck down a smoke-free regulation enacted in 2011 by the Bullitt County Board of Health.

The decision was a victory for the elected Bullitt Fiscal Court and the county’s eight city councils, which challenged the health board’s action.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously. But the opinion’s author, Justice Bill Cunningham, had to strain and stretch to explain away a century of high-court decisions upholding public health boards’ authority and duty to protect Kentuckians’ health.

In last week’s ruling, the high court relied heavily on the legislature’s intent when it enacted a key enabling law in 1954, no doubt, Cunningham wrote, “in chambers fogged with a haze of smoke.”

Lawmakers, the court reasoned, would not “have remotely foreseen” that 60 years later a health board would use its authority to ban smoking in public places.

Of course, lawmakers also would not have foreseen bioterrorism, HIV, MRSA, food-borne hepatitis outbreaks, the birth control pill or the polio vaccine that was not introduced until 1955.

Binding public health officials to what Kentucky lawmakers might have anticipated in 1954 falls far short of judicious.




June 22

Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Benghazi arrest:

What happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, was a tragedy.

Four U.S. citizens were killed, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

Two years later, we don’t know what really happened. Investigations and congressional hearings have taken place, but the truth about whether the U.S. government has been forthcoming with information about this attack is still unanswered.

Perhaps with time, all of the questions regarding the attack on the consulate will be answered.

We hope so.

President Barack Obama made a promise to the American people after the attack that those who were responsible would be brought to justice. To his credit, he has made good on this promise.

Last week, U.S. special forces working with Libyan officials captured an alleged leader of the Benghazi attacks.

U.S. officials said Ahmed Abu Khattala is being held on the USS New York in the Mediterranean Sea.

It has been reported that U.S. officials are trying to get as much information out of him as possible.

Hopefully, they are having some luck.

It is likely Khattala didn’t act alone. Perhaps if he cooperates, he will provide names of others involved in the attack so they can be found and tried for the murders of our citizens.

We should get as much intelligence from him as possible before he has his rights read to him and is provided with a lawyer.

But we applaud Obama for fulfilling his promise.

Also, we’re hopeful that through intelligence gathered, we capture others who were involved in the cowardly attack.




June 22

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on the terrible costs of war:

Shortly after he announced a measured U.S. response to the violent turmoil in Iraq, President Barack Obama on Thursday awarded the Medal of Honor to a young Marine for heroism in Afghanistan.

It was stark reminder of the terrible costs of war even as angry hawks - including architects of the Bush administration’s 2003 launch of the Iraq War - demand Obama renew military involvement in the country torn by sectarian strife.

Corporal William Kyle Carpenter, 24, the medal recipient, lost an eye and had his arm shattered and his face nearly blown off when he sought to shield a fellow Marine from a grenade.

After multiple surgeries and more than two years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Carpenter has recovered enough to attend the ceremony and return to civilian life as a college student.

He and an entire generation bear the scars of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many suffered death, or live with terrible injuries including lost limbs and traumatic brain injuries.

Some 4,500 American lives were lost in the Iraq War alone. A half-million Iraqis died. And it appears that the cost to the United States of the Iraq war based on President George W. Bush’s false premise that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction will reach $4 trillion, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times reported Thursday.

Polls show the vast majority of Americans have no appetite for another such costly war.

Yet warmongers persist.

As Iraq faces an onslaught of Islamic extremists, Republicans in Congress, including Kentucky’s senior Sen. Mitch McConnell, have begun partisan attacks on President Obama for his restraint.

McConnell, who never saw combat during the Vietnam War as a six-month Army Reservist, also seems eager to send young Americans off to war, excoriating the president for failing to use “American military might.”

Obama has offered a measured plan for Iraq with limited military assistance, diplomacy and increased surveillance.

Critics should support realistic solutions in Iraq and stop clamoring for more war.



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