Editorial voices from U.S., elsewhere

March 15, 2013

Editorial voices from newspapers in the U.S. and elsewhere as compiled by the Associated Press:

The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, W. Va.

It is probably not surprising that residents of Hawaii have the highest “well-being” index of any state in the union for the fourth year in a row.

The warm weather and beautiful beaches alone might be enough for a high ranking.

But Hawaii also has a relatively healthy population, strong economy and upbeat culture. Those are all factors in the high score with the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which came out recently.

Based on interviews with more than 350,000 Americans during 2012, Hawaiians were the most likely to see their lives as “thriving” and report good physical and emotional health, as well as a satisfying work environment.

West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio are unfortunately on the other end of the scale.

Also for the fourth year in a row, West Virginia had the lowest “well-being” index of any state. Kentucky had the second lowest, and Ohio was only a few notches higher.

Granted our region has no beaches and few surf boards, but the real problems are poor health and economic challenges, two issues that are interwoven in so many ways. West Virginia had the nation’s lowest scores on physical health, life evaluation and emotional health.

In other words, combine unhealthy habits, chronic illness, lower education levels and limited job prospects, and not surprisingly, you will find high rates of depression and gloomy “well-being” scores that are shared across the country.

The Charlotte Observer

The Transportation Security Administration announced March 5 that beginning next month, airline passengers will once again be allowed to carry small pocket knives on U.S. planes. Blades that are no longer than 2.36 inches and no wider than a half inch will be permitted, along with sports equipment such as hockey sticks and pool cues.

The changes will permit airport screeners to concentrate on bigger threats, such as looking for bomb components, said TSA head John Pistole, who explained that the new rules would save on time and labor. Plus, as security experts note, passengers with knives don’t pose a threat to pilots, who are protected by reinforced cockpit doors.

To which our initial thought is: Thanks a lot, TSA. But is safety really being compromised?

The TSA’s decision is part of a new effort, called “risk-based security.” As Pistole explained, the agency is trying to find an appropriate balance between protection and convenience. TSA officials, in letting knives on board, are making the same kind of safety calculation all of us make – except presumably fortified with data. It’s a reasonable nod to convenience while maintaining a reasonable amount of safety. And we sure hope they’re right.

Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who joined U.S. President George W. Bush in the ill-starred invasion of Iraq 10 years ago, has admitted that a decade on, Iraq is not as he hoped.

The ouster of Saddam Hussein, he insisted to the BBC in an interview broadcast Feb. 26 to mark this pivotal event in recent Middle East history, had still been justified. However, he added: “I have long since given up trying to persuade people that it was the right decision.”

It remains Blair’s contention that had Saddam not been overthrown, the Middle East would have been far more dangerous and many more lives would have been lost in violence generated by the Iraqi regime. What he did not address is the stark reality that since U.S., British, Australian and Polish troops began the invasion on March 20, 2003, at a conservative estimate, some 100,000 mostly Iraqi lives have been lost, a great deal in terrorist violence. The chances are that Bush would not have moved alone. Blair played an important role in bolstering the U.S. political campaign in the run-up to the invasion. And all this happened on Tony Blair’s watch. The man is still without remorse.



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