Passion for guns messes with freedom
The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne)
The other day, it almost seemed plausible that the National Rifle Association had come to its senses.
The association issued a news release denouncing the Open Carry folks in Texas, saying their insistence on displaying semiautomatic weapons in a restaurant was not only unwise but “weird.”
Of course, after the Open Carry people protested, an NRA official hastily announced that the posting had been a mistake.
There have been times and places when people had to be conspicuously armed when they went about their day-to-day activities: areas of Asia and Africa torn by civil or tribal warfare; parts of the American frontier in the 18th and 19th centuries; and jungle settlements when rogue animals with a taste for human flesh are on the prowl nearby.
Future historians will marvel at how virtually unlimited access to and display of firearms was pushed upon a reluctant majority by a relatively
tiny group of particularly vocal and politically organized zealots.
They will find it particularly ironic that the unlimited-guns advocates so effectively used the concept of “freedom” to justify their cause.
As the future historians will see — as anyone who lived in one of those other places or times when guns were truly an essential part of daily life could have told us — no one is less free than a man, woman or child who must live in constant fear of death.
Better college preparation essential
South Bend Tribune
A college readiness report released last week by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education shows one-third of Hoosier students enrolled in public colleges need remediation in math and English.
Statewide, 38 percent of the Class of 2012 was not college-ready.
And those who are ill-prepared create a significant economic impact on Hoosier taxpayers.
The total annual cost of remediation for Hoosier students and taxpayers is estimated at $78 million, including tuition funding, financial aid and state subsidies.
More must be done to ensure that high school seniors who choose to pursue a college degree are adequately prepared when they get there.
Preparing students for college is not just a problem here, it’s a national issue. A January editorial in the Kokomo Tribune said more than
1.7 million college freshmen across the U.S. take remedial courses each year.
There also are ways to address the remediation burden under which colleges have struggled. One is to toughen high school standards.
Our communities cannot afford for smart kids to fail in college just because they aren’t ready. School systems need to offer more rigorous college prep courses and make good use of public university support. We can’t afford to fail.
Obama’s student loan politics defective
The war on “millionaires and billionaires” is back. And at a most politically convenient time for President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and their party.
Yes, the president recently swayed from irksome foreign policy issues and onto friendly domestic territory, with an issue Democrats see as a winner in the midterm elections — the high cost of student loan debt.
The president last week announced plans to expand the number of student borrowers who are allowed to cap their loan repayments at 10 percent of their income (a unilateral move for which the administration could provide no cost estimate) along with other underwhelming steps to ease the burden of student debt.
Obama has endorsed passage of a bill that would allow student borrowers to refinance both their government and private student loans at lower rates.
This plan does nothing to help student borrowers find the jobs they would need to repay the money.
And even more to the point, making borrowing that much cheaper will do nothing whatsoever to bring down the high cost of a college education.
New carbon rules key to environment
The Herald (Rock Hill, South Carolina)
The Obama administration’s new effort to reduce carbon emissions is an important, sensible and necessary step in reducing threat of global warming. It should serve as an example to other polluting nations around the world.
The new policy announced by the Environmental Protection Agency a week ago would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Ultimately, the reduction in carbon emissions would be the equivalent of removing two-thirds of the nation’s cars from the roads.
Coal-burning power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the nation. They account for about one-third of all U.S. greenhouse emissions.
But the proposed EPA policy would not cap those emissions overnight. Instead, the policy has built-in flexibility to allow states to devise their own plans for phasing in reductions over the next 15 years.
The EPA’s plan is a crucial first step in moving from a fossil-fuel based economy to one more reliant on clean, renewable energy. It’s not only something the American people should accept; it’s what they should demand.