- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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June 8

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on water use:

Once again, for the umpteenth time (most of us who are old enough have lost count by now), a court deadline has been imposed, at least tentatively, for warring sides to reach an interstate pact over allocation of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system.

The sides in this case are Georgia and Florida. (Alabama, for whatever reasons, is sitting this one out. We’d be tempted to say it’s because the top officials in all three branches of Alabama government have their own legal problems, if this suit didn’t predate most of those.)

Florida has charged Georgia with overuse of water, one of the results being damage to the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay; Georgia counters that Florida’s woes are of its own making, or of nature’s, and have nothing to do with upriver consumption.

The matter would eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court if the two states can’t reach an agreement. In an attempt to avoid that least desirable of outcomes, the court in November of 2014 appointed Maine attorney Ralph I. Lancaster as a kind of “special master” to oversee the case. Over the nearly two years since, Lancaster has alternately urged and scolded the two states to play nice, and is quoted in court records as having said, “If you are able to reach a deal, let me add that I will be available 24/7 to take your call, telling me that this matter is settled.”

Now, as reported in the Gainesville Times, there’s a renewed urgency to that negotiation: The court is considering October or November for bringing the case to trial.

Both states say they’re still talking. According to court briefs filed Friday and quoted in the Times, “Florida is committed to the mediation process and hopes that the mediator will be able to help the parties identify solutions to break through the decades of deadlock,” while Georgia concurs that “the parties continue to evaluate and discuss potential ways to resolve the case.”

All that’s pretty vague, of course, but until and unless some specific water sharing agreements are signed, sealed and stamped, it probably needs to be.

Meanwhile, Lancaster reportedly has enough legal authority on behalf of the high court to help the process along before it has to end up in Washington: “It’s my understanding that (Lancaster) was appointed with the ability to take evidence,” Lake Lanier Association attorney Clyde Morris told the Times, “which means he could preside over evidence being presented in the form of testimony.”

The one thing all parties to this decades-long river debate generally agree on is that having issues decided in courtrooms, by people well versed in law but at best only superficially familiar with water quantity, quality, needs and uses in the ACF basin, ultimately resolves little or nothing.

Georgia and Florida negotiators now have four or five months to make progress on the basis of realities they know and understand, and the Honorables of the high bench don’t and can’t. It’s time they would be irresponsible to squander.

Online: https://www.ledger-enquirer.com/

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June 9

The Rome News-Tribune on preventing cancer:

One of the most dreaded words in our language is cancer. It is Georgia’s second leading cause of death, tied at 22 percent with heart disease and claiming the lives of about 15,000 residents of this state each year.

Here in Floyd County, there were 199 cancer-related deaths in 2014, the latest yearly data available from the state health department.

These were among the findings reported by the Rome News-Tribune on National Cancer Survivors Day last Sunday in our extensive coverage of the disease that strikes four of every 10 people across the United States at some point in their lives. An estimated 1.7 million new cases will be diagnosed and 596,000 people will die from cancer in America this year, according to the National Cancer Institute. On the good news front, nearly 14.5 million people were living beyond a cancer diagnosis in 2014, and this figure is expected to reach nearly 19 million by 2024.

Our focus on cancer was aimed at informing our readers about it and encouraging them to take steps for preventing, detecting and surviving the disease. As emphasized in our reports, early detection is a key to combating cancer. Local medical facilities provide early detection services - for example, Redmond Regional Medical Center with its Women’s Center and the lung screen.

Some of the most alarming findings from the Georgia Department of Health report show that tobacco was responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer cases and one-third of all cancer deaths in 2011. Early detection is especially crucial for lung cancer, which in the past was not detected because no screen was available for it, a point made by oncology service specialist Ann Hook at Redmond.

Now there is a screen for lung cancer, and this is extremely important for Northwest Georgia, which has a high number of smokers, the group that is very susceptible to the disease. “Early detection saves lives, especially with lung cancer,” specialist Hook emphasized. Regular checkups, ranging from breast to prostate to lung examinations, are absolutely essential to early detection and the best chance for beating cancer.

Going beyond those measures, there are sobering findings from the state report concerning prevention. An astounding one-third of cancer deaths could have been prevented by a healthy diet and exercise regime. This brings the issue down to individual, everyday choices of what we eat and whether we get proper exercise.

The report showed that 75 percent of Georgia adults ate fewer than the five fruits or vegetables per day recommended for good health. And 28 percent of adults in this state were considered obese (in 2011), while 79 percent - nearly eight of every 10 - failed to comply with recommendations for regular aerobic and strength exercises.

Those are troubling figures indicating how much each of us can do to maintain good health and help ward off cancer as well as other diseases. The good news is that the preventive measures basic to good health are within the capabilities of every able-bodied person. In short, every person can be his or her own first line of defense against cancer, keeping in mind the words of Ann Hook: “Early detection saves lives.”

Online: https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/

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June 14

The Augusta Chronicle on how people should respond to shootings:

If you see something, say something,” authorities urged us after the Orlando massacre.

Absolutely. But our message to authorities is: If we say something, do something!

As the far-left predictably chanted for gun control in the wake of what was clearly an Islamic radical terror attack - France’s strict gun control didn’t prevent its terror attacks, by the way - it has become tragically evident that the U.S. government has again failed utterly to protect its citizens.

The Orlando gunman was, as someone quipped, “a known wolf.” He’d been on the FBI’s radar for several years, interviewed at least three times for his behavior and ties to known Islamic radicals - including a suicide bomber. His ex-wife said he was crazy and violent. His co-workers said his demeanor was volatile and his utterances often violent.

“He talked about killing people all the time,” one co-worker has said.

The gunman also associated with a known Islamic radical, Marcus Dwayne Robertson, who is quite a piece of work himself: former body guard to the so-called blind sheik who bombed the World Trade Center; leader of “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves,” a 1990s New York gang that “robbed more than 10 banks, private homes and post offices at gunpoint, shot three police officers, and attacked one cop after he was injured by a homemade pipe bomb,” according to one report.

Robertson only did four years - afterward working with the FBI undercover.

During a similar, more recent prison stretch for tax fraud and weapons charges - he helped a terrorist get a fraudulent tax credit to pay for terror training in Mauritania - Fox News reports “Robertson was considered so dangerous, he was kept in shackles and assigned his own guards. Whenever he was transported to court, a seven-car caravan of armed federal marshals escorted him. He was initially moved into solitary confinement after prison authorities believed he was radicalizing

up to 36 of his fellow prisoners.”

Yet, when prosecutors sought an enhanced terror-related sentence for Robertson, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell not only refused to lengthen Robertson’s prison term but released him in June 2015 with time served.

Reports say the Orlando gunman was enrolled in Robertson’s “Fundamental Islamic Knowledge Seminary” in Orlando, where Robertson was virulently anti-homosexual.

How many red flags can fit on one human being? How many opportunities did our government miss to stop the gunman before he became a gunman?

Yet, our president still can’t utter the words “Islamic terrorism.” His inexplicable blinders are putting American lives at risk. All we can do at this point is wait for a more sane and sensible presidential administration - if one is in the offing.

But we implore our friends on the left to eschew the politically correct blinders of this administration and to see the truth: that radical Islam exists, and that it is at war with us.

We beseech our friends on the left: stop attacking American conservatives, stop assailing Donald Trump, for wanting to secure our borders and root out radical Islam. Ours is common cause. It’s time to act like it.

We also insist that our government do its most fundamental job - that of keeping us safe.

We don’t want terrorists “watched.” We want them eliminated.

Deport the deportable - and we consider any non-citizens consorting with known radicals to be exquisitely deportable.

We also need to change the nation’s policy of granting citizenship to anyone whose pregnant mother manages to make it to our shores. But even if Islamic radical sympathizers have been granted citizenship, as the Orlando gunman was, stay on them like summer sweat and swoop on them like a tropical mosquito at the first sign of danger.

To authorities, we’re flipping the script and altering it slightly:

If you see something, for God’s sake do something.

Online: https://chronicle.augusta.com/

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