- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

Nov. 4

Anniston (Alabama) Star on climate change:

When it comes policies to address the science of climate change, too many lawmakers and their supporters have been duped by a campaign designed to mislead. Those under this spell have a difficult time coming to terms with the overwhelming consensus of scientists who study climate: The planet is warming. Humans play a significant role in this warming. And the consequences will cause massive disruptions.

None of this is new. With increasing alarm over decades, scientists have been warning the world that we face a great upheaval if we persistent in pumping more and more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts,” says a new report released over the weekend by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

To state the obvious, “irreversible” is a long time.

“The scientists have done their job and then some,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The risks are clear. Politicians can either dramatically reduce emissions or they can spend the rest of their careers running from climate disaster to climate disaster.”

Those scientists don’t have the final say. On the other side sit those who benefit from denying science. They do not apply science to their argument. Instead, they seek to cloud an issue where there is very little doubt among experts. They apply the same scare tactics that so many of our candidates do.

We listen to them at their peril.




Nov. 3

The Gadsden (Alabama) Times on Mover Over Law:

Some laws are so grounded in common sense, so “right,” one would think people would just automatically follow them.

They don’t, of course, whether it’s out of contrariness, negligence, obliviousness or stubbornness.

That’s why legislators who pass laws attach penalties for violations, to be enforced by the police.

Eight years ago, Alabama adopted what’s colloquially known as the “Move Over Law,” designed to protect people working in an official capacity on and along the state’s highways.

It initially required drivers to, if possible, move over one lane on divided highways and as far as they can on two-lane highways when encountering police or fire vehicles displaying their emergency lights. The coverage was later expanded to wreckers involved in vehicle recovery, utility service vehicles doing work and garbage trucks collecting trash from roadsides.

The need for that law was reinforced by a near-tragedy last week in Calhoun County. A deputy was hit by a car while directing traffic at a wreck site on U.S. Highway 431 near Alexandria. Both of his legs were broken, necessitating seven hours of surgery.

The incident remains under investigation, but it shows the risks public servants - and we think all those protected by the law fall into that category - face when they have to set up along highways to clean up messes, fix things or, at times, rescue injured people and keep them alive.

There’s another part of the “Move Over Law.” It requires drivers who approach protected vehicles to slow to at least 15 mph below the posted speed limit on divided highways or two-lane highways where the speed limit is 25 mph or more, or to 10 mph on other two-lane highways.

The standard actually is a “prudent” speed, however, which could mean backing off the accelerator even more, depending on the circumstances.

That will require drivers to think, which is the operative word for all this.

We’re not going to waste time telling people not to stare at wreck scenes. Morbid curiosity isn’t going away.

Just pay attention to what’s going on, and don’t do any more damage.

The people protected by this law aren’t on roadsides just to get in your way, or because they have nothing better to do. They’re doing our business.




Oct. 30

Dothan (Alabama) Eagle on domestic abuse:

This week, about 100 people gathered in a candlelight vigil at Pioneer Park in downtown Dothan to remember victims of domestic violence. The event was organized by The House of Ruth, a local resource and shelter for domestic violence victims, and The Exchange Center for Child Abuse Prevention in an effort to draw attention to the suffering caused by violent behavior in the home, as October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This October, the public is perhaps as aware of this problem as it might ever be. In recent weeks, there have been several high profile cases of domestic violence involving people in the public eye. Anyone with access to television or the Internet likely watched the video of professional athlete Ray Rice knocking out his female companion (now wife) in an elevator and dragging her, unconscious, halfway out of the elevator car. Accusations of domestic violence against other high-profile athletes have made waves, and not just men - they include an investigation of Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo for allegations of domestic abuse.

And then there is the case of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who was arrested after police responded to his wife’s 911 call to report that her husband was hitting her. In the audio recording of the call, listeners can hear what the dispatcher said was a man striking the woman.

In far too many cases, victims keep quiet and suffer in silence, fearing the repercussions of reporting the abuse. Perhaps they feel trapped economically. Perhaps they want to avoid the stigma. Some may even believe they deserve it.

They’re wrong. No one deserves it.



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