Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials

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Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


June 10

The Gleaner, Henderson, Kentucky, on Bergdahl trade:

Bowe Bergdahl, an Army sergeant held for nearly five years by the Taliban in Afghanistan, is back in American hands. The bad news is that the Obama administration appears incapable of offering a consistent, credible explanation about its actions.

We don't have a problem with U.S. giving up the Taliban leaders who were held in the prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, to secure the release of Sgt. Bergdahl.

Nor do we have a problem with the 5-for-1 deal for the American soldier even if he, according to some of his former Army buddies, may have abandoned his unit. If any discipline is warranted in addition to the years Sgt. Bergdahl spent as a prisoner of war, the Army will have an opportunity to take the proper steps in due time.

But we, like many others, do have serious concerns about the White House's troubling inconsistencies about transferring the five prisoners from Guantanamo without giving Congress the 30 days notice required by U.S. law — a law signed just last year by none other than President Barack Obama.

First, administration officials tried to justify the failure to notify the legislative branch by arguing that Sgt. Bergdahl had an urgent health issue. That excuse quickly fell apart under bipartisan scrutiny and criticism on Capitol Hill. Democrats and Republicans said recent video and other evidence showed the soldier wasn't facing an immediate health crisis.

Next, the administration pointed out that last year when President Obama signed the law, the National Defense Authorization Act, he asserted — in what is known as a "signing statement" — that he wouldn't necessarily follow the law when he exercised his authority as commander in chief.

That's sharply at odds with what Mr. Obama said when he was a candidate for president. Then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama harshly criticized President George W. Bush for using such signing statements to disagree with the legislation he signed into law. The candidate said his administration would be different.

The administration looks amateurish as it continues to revise its explanations. After successfully freeing Sgt. Bergdahl from the hands of his captors, it would be exceedingly unfortunate if the Obama administration should find itself imprisoned by a lack of credibility due to its perplexing inability to keep its story straight.


June 3

Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on battling cancer:

Kentucky's cancer rates are staggering: An estimated 212 of every 100,000 people will die each year. In Warren County, that rate is about 204.

So it should be no surprise that if you walk in a room and ask for people to raise their hands if they personally have had cancer, have had family members with cancer or they know someone who has had cancer, few hands remain down.

While lifestyle choices may help in the prevention of certain cancers, there still is a need to make advancements in treatment. Chemotherapy, in many instances, is still a rather crude form of treatment - tearing down a person's immune system before it can be built back up. You still hear people say that if the "cancer doesn't get me, the treatment might."

But there is hope, thanks to many organizations such as the American Cancer Society, which dedicate funds for research toward treatment, if not cures. It also helps provide both emotional and physical support for those going through treatment, such as helping women find just the right wig, if they can't afford one, or helping guide patients through treatment with an advocate.

Each year south-central Kentuckians donate generously to the Cancer Society through Relays for Life held in their communities. The all-night affairs that include sharing stories of survival, remembering those who didn't survive and walking to raise funds begins in earnest this weekend.

Warren County's event begins at 6 p.m. Friday at Bowling Green High School's football stadium. Logan County will host its Relay for Life on Friday at Logan County High School, and Metcalfe County will have its event Saturday at Edmonton City Park. Barren County will hold its relay June 15 at Barren County High School. Others in the region hosted their relays last month.

Cancer touches many people. Every donation makes a difference in saving lives.


June 7

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on the culture of coal:

Politicians have reached new heights of hysteria over proposed federal rules to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

Kentucky's Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat, added to the din this week when he called it a "dumb-ass thing to do."

But the plain truth is that the rules proposed last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency represent a modest effort to gradually reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, pollution most often from coal-fired plants that contributes to global warming, health problems and an increase of extreme weather events — such as drought, floods and wildfires.

The plan sets as a goal reducing carbon pollution by 30 percent by the year 2030 — using the year 2005 as a baseline.

It allows states great flexibility in designing their own plans to meet the goals, including Kentucky which relies on coal to generate most of its electricity.

And it is a goal the EPA and many experts believe is attainable with minimal pain but great gain to the country overall.

And despite wails that President Barack Obama is waging a war on coal, the EPA maintains states will be able to continue to use coal although in decreasing amounts in future years, The Courier-Journal's James Bruggers reported last week.

That's already happening in Kentucky, which has seen mining jobs shrink largely because of mechanization of coal mining and an energy market shifting to cheaper, cleaner natural gas.

The culture of coal is deeply ingrained in Kentucky, as tobacco once was.

But coal does not appear to be the fuel of the future and Kentucky's leaders must begin planning a future where jobs, especially in Eastern Kentucky, are not tied to digging a single mineral out of the ground.


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