- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:


Jan. 23

Dothan Eagle on the dangers of police work:

On Thanksgiving night at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, shoppers hoping to get an early jump on Black Friday had their shopping disrupted by the sound of gunfire. An argument turned violent and shots were fired, leaving one man dead and injuring a young female bystander shopping with her family nearby.

Responding police met a young man with a gun in his hand. A police officer fired, killing him.

Police thought they’d encountered the shooter. Within hours, it was clear they had not, and that the man killed by police gunfire, E.J. Bradford, was not who had fired the shots inside the mall. The community reaction was swift and strong, and protests went on for days, disrupting commerce in the busiest time of the year, yet it will likely remain unclear how E.J. Bradford came to be in the mall with a gun in his hand during the melee. What is clear is that responding police officers had seconds to assess the scene and threats to innocent bystanders and themselves.

Many officers can spend their entire careers without drawing their weapons in the line of duty. Those are the fortunate ones. The nature of their work is to stand ready to put themselves between the public and the threat of danger. While many days are filled with speeding tickets and court appearances, any situation can quickly degrade.

That there are incidents in which police have shot and killed people who should not have been shot and killed is indisputable. We reject the blanket assumption of some that such incidents are intentional. Each is regrettable, and every incident must be investigated fully so that lessons can be drawn from any errors. And if there is criminal intent, it should be fully adjudicated.

In recent weeks in Alabama, two officers have been killed in the line of duty - Officer Sean Tuder in Mobile and Sgt. Wytasha Carter in Birmingham. Both officers were killed while investigating car burglaries.

We anticipate no protests in the wake of these officers’ deaths. But there should be great outrage, because if a criminal suspect will kill a police officer rather than be taken into custody, what restraint would be taken for the rest of us?

Online: https://www.dothaneagle.com/


Jan. 23

The Decatur Daily on the government shutdown:

The current partial federal government shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history, has at least one thing going for it.

A partial shutdown may disrupt the economy, force federal employees to take out loans, and lead to federal contractors and businesses that cater mostly to government workers losing money, but like Toto in “The Wizard of Oz,” it pulls back the curtain on how things really work.

Ours is, more often than we’d like to admit, not the well-meaning federal government of “The West Wing.” It’s not even the competent but sinister government of “House of Cards.” No, it is the bumbling government of HBO’s “Veep,” populated by the self-serving and the self-defeating.

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are now engaged in what can be described only as the political equivalent of a slap fight. It would be comic if it weren’t embarrassing and if livelihoods weren’t at stake.

First, Pelosi said the president should delay his annual State of the Union address until after the shutdown ends.

There are good reasons to delay the State of the Union. In fact, the best thing would be not to have a State of the Union address at all, which was the case for the nation’s first century, from the presidency of Thomas Jefferson on into the 1900s.

The Constitution requires that the president “from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

George Washington and John Adams delivered their State of the Union addresses in person, but Jefferson sent his to Congress in writing. Among other things, Jefferson hated public speaking. Jefferson’s example prevailed until 1913, when Woodrow Wilson scandalized Washington by delivering his State of the Union in person. Wilson was a believer in what is now called “the imperial presidency,” and he was not about to give up an opportunity to give Congress what for.

Wilson’s example has prevailed ever since, and it’s probably too much to expect President Trump, a former TV personality, to break it, especially for the feeble “security concerns” Pelosi cites. Presidential and Congressional security are not affected by government shutdowns. But no one seriously thinks this is about security; it’s a power play, and the president responded in kind.

This month, Trump canceled a fact-finding trip Pelosi was to take to Afghanistan.

In a letter to the speaker, the president wrote, “I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.”

He did, however, note Pelosi could still fly commercial, if she chose. She didn’t, accusing the White House of leaking sensitive information about her planned trip.

While the federal government remains in partial paralysis and the White House and Congress remain in a stalemate, the No. 1 and No. 3 officials in the U.S. government are playing petty games.

This is Trump’s shutdown. The president was eager to take credit for it until it started. But Pelosi doesn’t have to stoop to his level, and Trump doesn’t have to double down. That they both did tells us where we are at, and it’s not a comfortable place.

At least, having canceled Pelosi’s long-planned trip, White House officials had the sense to realize they needed to cancel one of their own, for appearances, if nothing else.

The White House canceled a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an event Trump himself had already decided to snub. If U.S. cabinet secretaries and undersecretaries aren’t sipping champagne at glorified TED talks where the rich and famous unwittingly plot the next global economic crash, so much the better.

Online: http://www.decaturdaily.com/


Jan. 21

Opelika-Auburn News on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education honoring Auburn University for its high-level research:

Auburn University reached an important status recently when the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education named Auburn to its category reserved for doctoral universities with the highest level of research activity.

“With this designation, we are now among the nation’s top 100 research universities,” said Jennifer Kerpelman, interim vice president for research at Auburn. “And I would say it also validates that Auburn is a global thought leader, and it’s moving toward groundbreaking discoveries and life-changing breakthroughs.”

The price of not being on this list is a lack of recognition that matters greatly to academia, in a variety of ways. Competition for top-tier faculty talent and the most promising students is fierce, and several other southeastern universities already dot the Carnegie roster of top schools.

Sports fans who follow Auburn might equate it to trying to land a 4- or 5-star recruit. It’s the same level of rivalry and competition among universities when it comes to smart, ambitious and curious faculty and students.

Getting this latest type of recognition, therefore, was important and likely long overdue for Auburn. But it is where the promising future lies that stands out more.

Auburn University President Steven Leath has proclaimed since Day 1 when he landed the job in 2017 that Auburn would climb the ranks … when it comes to research and development, and it would seem steps in that climb are beginning to be taken.

Leath launched the Presidential Awards for Interdisciplinary Research at Auburn, a $5 million investment in work by faculty researchers.

One team of Auburn faculty researchers is exploring how extra-virgin olive oil may be a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s.

Another team is developing and testing new therapeutic strategies for treating infectious disease.

A third is looking at unlocking home affordability in rural America.

Additionally with steadfast administrative and loyal donor support, impressive hires were made and new buildings constructed in 2018 to lead Auburn’s research and influence in fields such as cybersecurity, aerospace studies, and business, while longtime mainstays such as veterinary medicine, agriculture and engineering continue to thrive and prosper.

Faculty buy-in combined with a diverse recruiting effort are important components.

Online: https://www.oanow.com/

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