Friday, February 24, 2012
Excerpts of editorial opinion from newspapers in the U.S.:
Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal on new smoking study:
Add more ammunition to the arsenal of anti-smoking efforts with the latest report on secondhand smoke from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to researchers, more than 1 in 5 high school and middle school students are passengers in cars while others are smoking.
The study, based on national surveys in schools, reports that over 22 percent of teens and preteens were exposed to secondhand smoke in cars in 2009.
A parent who smokes with children in the car, according to current evidence, is jeopardizing the children’s health. Why would a parent who is normally sometimes overly concerned about the sniffles not understand the danger? Thus the CDC study is properly advising against the practice. The study authors, with all good intentions, have encouraged all states to follow the lead of a few that have banned smoking in a vehicle when a child is present.
Attempts at prohibition didn’t work with alcohol. And let’s be honest: It hasn’t worked with drugs. Why would we expect it to work with tobacco?
Education would be a more worthy effort, if we spent as much time — and funding — on discussion as we spend trying to dictate individual behavior.
Tampa (Fla.) Tribune on federal transportation bill:
The new transportation bill in the U.S. House is being attacked by conservatives, liberals, moderates, transit advocates, bicyclists and environmentalists, to name a few.
The House bill would eliminate the longstanding share of the fuel tax allocated for buses and trains. Related funding bills would open sensitive coastal areas to oil drilling. The plan ends set-asides for sidewalks and trails and lets highways gobble up the 20 percent long reserved for transit, yet total transportation spending would continue to add to the federal debt.
There’s not much good to say about the bill except that it contains no pet projects.
The bill takes a scattershot approach. Among its funding sources are higher taxes on inherited retirement accounts and a pay cut for federal employees to help pay for their pensions. Those might be worthy ideas, but they complicate a straightforward question: Why shouldn’t users of the transportation network pay their own way?
Chicago Sun-Times on cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court:
Every good reason for cameras in the courtroom holds true when it comes to our nation’s highest place of jurisprudence, the Supreme Court — and almost none of the arguments against cameras still hold.
It can’t happen too soon.
A bipartisan bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, sponsored by Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa, would require TV coverage of all of the court’s open sessions unless the justices decided by majority vote that it would violate due process rights of those before the panel.
What a wonderful civics lesson this would offer every American: to watch the court’s nine justices probe and parry the law and constitutional principles, their deliberations unfiltered by reporters or transcripts.
No lawyer, under the gaze of nine stern justices, would dare showboat. There would be no witnesses. No accused. Just discussion and debate at the highest level. And if some members of the court struck us as sharper or duller than others, that would be good to see, too.
This is a proposal that deserves to sail through Congress.
– Compiled by The Associated Press