Excerpts of editorials published recently in Indiana newspapers

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The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne. Oct. 27, 2014.

Shifting Palestinian standards

The day after Osama bin Laden was assassinated, Ismail Haniyeh mourned bin Laden as an Arab holy warrior.

"We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood," said Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza and wants to destroy Israel.

Haniyeh has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction and has refused on countless occasions to disarm.

That's one side of Haniyeh. For another, this comes from the Times of Israel:

"Avi Shushan, a spokesman for Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital, said the daughter of Ismail Haniyeh was hospitalized for 'a number of days' this month. He did not disclose what she was treated for."

According to the Times, Israeli authorities occasionally allow injured and ill Palestinians to seek care at Israeli hospitals.

So, Haniyeh doesn't let pride or principles stand in the way of getting good treatment for his family. Of course, the Israeli medical professionals have principles as well, like offering care to anyone, including relatives of people who want to kill you.

Maybe Haniyeh will hold off in his unbridled criticism of Israel. But excuse us if we remain skeptical.


The Herald-Bulletin, Anderson. Oct. 24, 2014.

House, Senate should consider same ethics rule

Hoosiers have an inherent sense of right and wrong, even if they are legislators at the Statehouse.

Some of that wouldn't be apparent if you only knew of the case involving state Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, whose House District 32 covers a portion of northwest Madison County. Turner attempted to kill a proposed General Assembly moratorium on nursing home construction that would have hurt his family business. A House ethics panel cleared him of wrongdoing, but House Speaker Brian Bosma pledged reform and bumped Turner from his leadership role as speaker pro tempore.

Turner's name is still on the Nov. 4 ballot. He has said he will resign if re-elected, allowing Republicans to pick a replacement.

On Monday, the House Committee on Ethics met for the second time to discuss reform. Three people showed up to testify, and one of those had been asked to prepare a report on what other states do when it comes to ethics. The committee said it would consider the report. Sadly, no one from the Senate side sat in the meeting; that's because this whole Turner case is perceived as a House problem. And that may be why only three people showed up; trouble with ethics isn't seen as a rampant Indiana predicament.

The Turner case aside, the Indiana House currently has a workable process in addressing ethics problems, based on the report given by Peggy Kerns of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

All 50 states have statutes regulating ethics. Indiana is among 47 states that require legislators to file a financial disclosure, though many Hoosiers would agree that finding a statement of economic interest can be a tough online search. And Indiana does not require the statement to offer addresses of businesses or information on real property.

When it comes to conflicts of interest, the Senate Code of Ethics stresses that high moral and ethical standards among senators are essential to free government. The House Code of Ethics gives direction about what to do when a conflict arises.

Many of the guidelines are in place. But many Hoosiers are quite aware that the Senate and House operate under different rules. Seven states have such rules written into their constitutions. No one is suggesting that Indiana amend its constitution but there is obvious concern that the legislative chambers are operating under different rules.

House members can request recusal from voting; their decision is not debatable. The Senate's guidelines permit elected officials to seek an advisory opinion from the Legislative Ethics Committee.

Only three of the House rules relate to the Turner case. House Rule 47 says any member who is "immediately and particularly interested" in the result of a vote shall ask to be excused. More clarity is needed.

Even though rules are in place, there should be no doubt that the House needs reform. In a wider sense, there needs to be a joint committee assuring that House and Senate members operate under the same codes. Both should stress fullest expectations of transparency. As any Hoosier would expect.


Journal & Courier, Lafayette. Oct. 25, 2014.

Embrace 'small spaces' concept again

A few weeks after "Walking Men," Sagan Newham's contribution to the "small spaces: Lafayette" street art project, appeared this summer, city officials and the curator of the downtown exhibit agreed it would likely have to go.

The building owner at Fifth and Ferry streets apparently wasn't fond of the stark piece, featuring a collection of human figures with gaunt bodies and sunken eyes. The mayor's office had taken a handful of complaints. But at the time, the idea was to keep it through Halloween and, as "small spaces: Lafayette" wound down, find something else to do with the spot. If anything, curator Zach Medler said at the time, it would prove the temporary, evolving nature of street art and the project.

But last weekend, the end came early for "Walking Men." At the request of the building owner, the city painted the mural white.

That's when the backlash came.

Was it censorship?

Or was another example of the perils of a project that was designed to play fast and loose in honor of a street art ethos?

Since "small spaces: Lafayette" started in early summer, well more than 50 pieces have gone up, painted and pasted onto the buildings belonging to people who agreed to give up their brick walls as street art canvases.

And since "small spaces: Lafayette" started, the sheer number of pieces in the $20,000 project has challenged artists, building owners and passing traffic-slash-patrons with the sort of criticism that will meet any exhibit. Only this one was in everyone's face, for good or for bad, every day.

Could the city have handled the decommissioning (read: painting over) of pieces better? No doubt. The fact that the artist didn't know it was happening testifies that the city has a learning curve, too, when playing middle manager between creators and the property owners who believe they've been left to field the criticism for an artist's work.

The bigger question is whether sticky issues here and there will stifle a future version of "small spaces: Lafayette," which was intended to give artists more freedom than in traditional public art projects. Let's hope not.

Maybe next time, short of a vetting process with the city, there can be a way for building owners and artists to go over basic concepts so the final result is something both can stand behind. If not? Well, "small spaces: Lafayette" had no shortage of places to work — which was a nice vote of confidence from a large part of the downtown business community.

"small spaces: Lafayette" has been an overall success — even if there will be people on both sides who will argue against this notion. The glitches shouldn't scare the city away from trying something like it again.


Daily Journal, Franklin. Oct. 24, 2014.

Delaying flu shots puts kids, community at risk

Last week's unseasonably chilly temperatures are a reminder that the cold and flu season is right around the corner.

Now, we admit there's not much you can do about colds beyond washing your hands with soap, sneezing into your sleeve, washing your hands and staying home from work or school if you're contagious. Oh, and did we mention washing your hands?

But you can do something about the flu by getting vaccinated.

While the flu season usually doesn't peak until February, now is the best time to get a flu shot. That way, you won't have to worry about there not being enough vaccine to go around. Plus, your system will have plenty of time to build up the antibodies needed to fight the virus.

As always, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges nearly everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated. People with severe allergies to eggs are among the few who should avoid the shot.

There are several flu vaccine options this flu season. Traditional flu vaccines protect against three different flu viruses (called trivalent vaccines). In addition, flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called quadrivalent vaccines) are also available.

The regular flu shot is approved for people 18 through 64 years of age. There is a high-dose shot for people 65 and older. A quadrivalent nasal spray vaccine is recommended for most children 2 to 8, but it's not always readily available. So parents should call first to make sure. If it's not, then children should get the regular vaccination, rather than waiting. Getting a flu shot doesn't mean you won't get the flu. But being vaccinated likely will make the flu less intense, even if the researchers miss the mark slightly on which strain shows up.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you can take everyday preventive steps to avoid the flu, like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.

Finally, getting vaccinated protects more than the person getting a shot.

The reason is simple. When you are protected from getting a serious case of flu, you are much less likely to spread it to other uninfected people. Thus, each flu shot has an amplified effect, protecting not only those getting the shot but also everyone they come in contact with.

So take the time now to get a flu shot. You will be protecting not only yourself against what can be a devastating illness but also protecting those around you.

And did we mention washing your hands?

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