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Editorial: Opinion roundup (September 5,2014)

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Long-term forecast getting cold shoulder

The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne)

“We’re using a very strong four-letter word to describe this winter, which is C-O-L-D. It’s going to be very cold,” Farmers’ Almanac Managing Editor Sandi Duncan recently told The Associated Press.

“The Almanac,” AP reported, “is also describing the coming winter as ‘piercing cold’ and ‘biting cold?’”


Just a guess, you say. They could be completely off-base.

Except that story was written in August 2013 about the Almanac’s predictions for last winter.

So it might be worth paying attention to the predictions for the coming winter that the Farmers’ Almanac released last week. Using its secret recipe for long-range forecasts, the 198-year-old Almanac warns that things will be colder and wetter than normal this winter.

“Shivery and shovelry are back,” Duncan said. That sentence is not only ominous but hard to say.

A Ball State geography professor, Petra Zimmermann, noted that the Farmers’ Almanac also was completely wrong a couple of years ago and recommended that such predictions be viewed solely as entertainment.

Whichever forecast you believe in, you’ve been warned.

It’s time for Hoosiers to truly ban smoking

Kokomo Tribune

In January 2012, anti-smoking advocates were touting the results of a just-completed poll — and hoping the Indiana General Assembly would pass a statewide workplace smoking ban.

According to that poll of 500 Hoosiers, 70 percent of Indiana voters supported a law that would prohibit smoking in indoor workplaces and public facilities, including restaurants and bars.

“Voters know that secondhand smoke is a health hazard, and this poll shows that they want a strong law,” said Danielle Patterson, the co-chairman of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air. “The Legislature should listen to the people of Indiana.”

Lawmakers did — and didn’t. Then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a bill restricting smoking, a first for the state. But the law exempted bars, casinos, retail tobacco shops and private clubs, such as veterans and fraternal organizations.

The Kokomo Common Council recently moved to correct that legislative mistake and passed to second read an amendment to its own smoking “ban” of 2006. The amendment would include all bars, taverns and social clubs under the existing ordinance that prohibits smoking in public buildings — and ban the use of e-cigarettes in such facilities.

The amendment passed by the slimmest of margins — 5 to 4. If it passes again during Monday’s council meeting, Kokomo truly will become smoke-free.

It’s time for a citywide smoking ban and one in Howard County — no exceptions.

Ice Bucket Challenge has had quite a ride      

Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.)

Over the course of a summer it has become an internet sensation and raised millions (close to $100 million according to alsa.org) for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

We are heartened that a country that claims to be as divided as the United States has found a reason to pull together. For that alone, the folks at the ALS Association have earned our gratitude.

Who would have believed that tens of thousands would make videos of themselves as they are hit with a bucket of ice water? It has been marketing genius.

But there is nothing like success to attract critics. Some note that Californians in the middle of a drought can’t afford to waste water. We agree. They shouldn’t. But you don’t have to get wet to donate.

Accept the challenge with care. The ice water will be enough of a rush without adding any dangerous twists, such as dropping the bucket from high above. And if you have a medical condition that could be aggravated by a sudden drop in temperature, hold the ice water and just donate. But most of all, let’s keep this spirit alive.

‌ISIS a deadly menace that must be stopped

Capital-Journal (Topeka, Kan.)

A recent attack on a mosque in Iraq and the subsequent fallout is indicative of the problems the United States, its allies and the Iraqi people will have as they try to eliminate the threat posed by the radical Islamists of ISIS — the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The Associated Press reported that at least 64 people were killed in the attack on a Sunni mosque.

The U.S. is providing air support and weapons to Kurdish forces in Iraq, but President Barack Obama has said he won’t put “boots on the ground” (U.S. combat forces) there, which is wise. But Kurdish forces, even with support from the U.S. and its allies, can’t do the job alone. And there is little indication other countries are willing to supply ground forces.

David Ignatius, a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, has suggested Obama send retired general David Petraeus and former ambassador Ryan Crocker to Iraq as his special envoys because of their knowledge of and experience in the country. The two might be able to advise all forces facing ISIS on the best course of action.

There are no easy answers, but it is easy to see the rest of the world has a stake in the defeat of ISIS. It is a situation that clearly demands leadership from somewhere.

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