- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Recent editorials of statewide and national interest from New York’s newspapers:

(New York) Daily News on Haitian nationals who have been permitted to continue living in the U.S. since 2010.

April 22

When an earthquake devastated Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, killing a quarter million people, the United States channeled its better angels and let 50,000 Haitian nationals residing here stay until the catastrophe on the island was over.

This Temporary Protected Status applies only to people who obeyed the law. Anyone who committed a crime was subject to deportation.

The problem is that instead of ending when the 18-month period of Temporary Protected Status expired, Haiti’s catastrophe has multiplied.

Which means, America, in the person of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, must react with compassion and common sense and keep the program going by overriding the wrongheaded plan of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to send these folks away in January.

The persuasive case the extension is the hard-luck post-earthquake history of Haiti.

In October 2010, UN peacekeepers from Nepal caused a nationwide cholera epidemic by discharging their latrines into Haiti’s largest river. A pestilence unknown in Haiti for more than a century spread unchecked in a country with primitive wastewater systems already stricken by the earthquake, killing 10,000 and sickening a million.

Washington understood that forcing 50,000 Haitians here to return under those conditions made no sense and has kept the Temporary Protected Status in place since the 2010 earthquake.

Poor Haiti was hit with yet another Biblical-level disaster last October when Hurricane Matthew, a Category 5 storm, slammed ashore, killing more than 1,000 people, destroying infrastructure and crops and threatening malnutrition.

Republicans and Democrats, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Chuck Schumer of New York, have written to Kelly imploring him to do right by the Haitians here and extend their temporary stay, regardless of what immigration services bureaucrats think.

These people are guests, granted temporary repose until their home country can get back on its feet. Homeland Security knows where each man, woman and child is, and any noncitizen is subject to deportation if her or she commits a crime.

Be a good neighbor. Say yes, Secretary Kelly.




New York Post on charter school performance.

April 25

Charter schools are proving their mettle yet again. In the new U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s top public high schools, charters took six of the top 10 spots - including first, second, third and fifth place.

Impressive: Charters represent a fraction of the nation’s public high schools. Many serve low-income, inner-city kids - and compete against well-funded high schools in wealthy suburban areas.

The 2017 rankings, released Tuesday, cover 22,000 high schools, with rankings based on state test results and graduates’ college-readiness. Charters and magnet schools made up 60 of the top 100, with BASIS charters in Arizona claiming four of the top five spots.

Here in the city, KIPP Academy in The Bronx came in 10th among charters and 29th among all US high schools. Keep it up, KIPP!

This news echoes other findings that show charters outpacing regular public schools, especially in urban areas. Here in the city, charters consistently beat out their traditional-school counterparts not only in their own districts but throughout the state.

A 2015 study by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that urban charter schools “provide significantly higher levels of annual growth in both math and reading” than their traditional-school counterparts. And those gains are “larger by significant amounts for Black, Hispanic, low-income, and special education students in both math and reading.”

What explains charters’ success? Well, they’re largely free of government bureaucracy. And their teachers and staff are rarely unionized.

And while not all charters do well, it’s far easier to shut down bad ones than those run by government - and unions.

Team Trump has wisely touted charters and other “schools of choice.” But Mayor Bill de Blasio and his allies in the state Assembly have done all they can to halt charter growth here.

In his view, crushing the competition takes priority over having the best schools. Unions win; kids lose.




The (Oneonta) Daily Star on sales of guns and ammunition during Democratic presidential campaigns.

April 24

An immense fraud has been perpetuated upon lawful gun owners in this country.

It began way back in 1992, and didn’t end until 2016.

This dirty deed was not the work of liberal activists, nor the doing of Democratic presidents or members of Congress.

No, this bit of mischief has been committed by the very industry that produces guns and bullets, by their henchmen in Congress and the leadership of the National Rifle Association.

When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, many of those who hold the Second Amendment dear were subjected to dire warnings from the NRA and Republican politicians that if he were elected, he would take away all the guns of law-abiding citizens. Not only that, but no one would be allowed to buy any guns.

So, as a precaution, folks went out and bought guns … lots of guns and lots of ammunition.

Clinton was elected, and what do you know? In his first four years, nobody’s legally owned firearm was confiscated by the government.

Ah, said the gun advocates, but in a second term, Clinton would be free to take away everybody’s guns because he won’t have to worry about being re-elected.

So, folks went out and bought more guns and bullets.

Clinton was re-elected. Another four years passed, and the sum total of legally owned guns confiscated by the federal government during his administration totaled up to … zero.

You would think that gun rights supporters would have learned their lesson. They had been lied to by the firearms industry and its acolytes in Congress.

Then, after eight years of Republican George W. Bush as president, wouldn’t you know it, another presidential candidate came along. His name is Barack Obama, and oh my, surely this liberal African-American Democrat was going to take away everybody’s guns.

At least that’s what the NRA kept saying. “Obama’s coming for your guns!”

People actually bought that nonsense … and an awful lot of guns. After Obama was elected in 2008, there was such a mad rush to purchase guns and ammunition, folks couldn’t find a bullet in the gun shops. SOLD OUT!

Gun production more than doubled - doubled! - during Obama’s eight years as president, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

And do you know how many law-abiding Americans’ guns were confiscated by the federal government during Obama’s eight years?

Again … zero.

Again, you would think that fooled twice, folks would have known better. But no. Here’s what NRA chief Wayne LaPierre said last year when Hillary Clinton was running for president.

“If she could, Hillary would ban every gun, destroy every magazine, run an entire national security industry right into the ground, and put your name on a government registration list,” LaPierre told NRA members. ” … You can kiss your guns goodbye.”

So, anticipating that she would win last November, and again believing all that swill from the NRA, people raced to buy more guns and bullets. Well, Hillary Clinton didn’t get elected, and guess what happened?

Guns companies are way down on the stock market. American Outdoor Brands, formerly known as Smith & Wesson, is down 33 percent since Election Day. Sturm Ruger is down 25 percent.

The FBI conducts a background checks for gun purchases from federally licensed dealers, including any dealer at a gun store. Year-to-year, those background checks are down significantly since Trump won the election, meaning far fewer guns are being sold.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a third time? Well, that’s just a shame.




The Post-Standard of Syracuse, New York, on trans fats in food and health regulations.

April 21

Score one for the “nanny state.”

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that New York City’s ban on trans fats in restaurant food led to fewer heart attacks and strokes, compared to places where there was no ban. The apparent success of this public health measure lends support to the federal government’s 2015 ban on trans fats in processed foods, which takes full effect next year.

Trans fats are contained in oils that are “partially hydrogenated” - an industrial process that won a Nobel Prize for its inventors in 1912. Such fats are cheaper and more shelf-stable, which led to their widespread adoption in the restaurant and processed food industry.

At first, trans fats like margarine were promoted as “heart healthy.” But multiple scientific studies in the 1980s showed just the opposite. Trans fats contributed to a 50 percent higher risk of hospitalizations and deaths attributed to coronary artery disease, according to a study of more than 100,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study. Trans fats also were found to raise “bad” cholesterol and depress “good” cholesterol - known risk factors for heart disease.

Faced with this alarming evidence, in 2006 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started requiring food manufacturers to list trans fats on nutrition labels. FDA estimated trans fat consumption fell 78 percent between 2003 and 2012, thanks to labeling and consumer education. McDonald’s dropped trans fats from its fryers and baked goods in 2008. Many other fast-food chains followed.

In 2015, FDA declared trans fats “unsafe” in foods and gave the food industry three years to reformulate their products. According to the Mayo Clinic, “It’s predicted that eliminating trans fat in manufactured foods could prevent up to 20,000 cases of coronary heart disease and up to 7,000 deaths annually in the U.S.”

Consumers have barely noticed.

Gripe all you want about the “nanny state,” but sometimes it works to improve the public’s health. Without it, we wouldn’t have seatbelts and airbags in cars, fluoride in public water supplies and huge declines in tobacco use.

Next on the public health agenda: the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes. We know one of the main culprits: sugary soft drinks. We took on Big Tobacco. Do we have the will to take on Big Soda?




The (Auburn) Citizen on a proposal for an aerial gondola ride at the New York State Fairgrounds.

April 23

There is widespread agreement that better parking and traffic flow would improve the experience of visitors of the New York State Fair. But a gondola to take people to and from the Lakeview Amphitheater on the other side of the highway? That appears to be a pet project of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And since so many believe it to be a frivolous expense, we question how it got budgeted in the first place.

An argument can be made that $15 million for a gondola is a drop in the bucket in an overall $153 billion state budget, but it is a significant amount of money - especially for something of questionable value.

A task force charged with making recommendations for fairgrounds improvements did not have a gondola anywhere on its list, panel member Sen. John DeFrancisco said. In the end, a final report on ideas to improve things like traffic congestion never even made it to Cuomo’s desk, DeFrancisco said. So why form a panel and then fail to even consider its recommendations?

A gondola might be a great addition to the fair, and we appreciate that the state, especially under Cuomo, has made improvements rather than let the fairgrounds slip into disrepair.

But we’re sure lawmakers in other cities could come up with strong arguments why $15 million could be used to greater public benefit in other parts of the state. And this project will still need federal approval before it ever gets off the ground because the plan is to have it run over the top of a federal highway.

The biggest problem we have is the way it came to be included in the state budget. It’s just another example of something slipped into a larger bill without proper vetting or debate.

Will the gondola become a wonderful addition to the fair or a blatant example of wasteful spending? We wish those questions had been examined before this fanciful project became just another surprise expense in next year’s state spending plan.




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