Editorial voices from around the U.S., elsewhere
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:
Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco was a bit like hearing from a stockbroker after trading has closed.
“Well, of course the market went down.” Well, of course the United States needs to rethink drug laws and enforcement.
Decades after America righteously declared a zero-tolerance policy toward all drug crimes and nonviolent crimes involving drugs, Holder and others want to stop the abuses.
Seize the belated insights whenever they come along.
Support for being “Smart on Crime,” in the AG’s words, is aimed at undoing laws that maintain “a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration” that “traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities.”
Under the policy proposal, fewer drug offenders would face long sentences, fewer would go to federal prison and judges would have more discretion.
Substantial credit for this change of heart might truly go to the bloated, unsustainable expense of a federal prison system bursting at the seams and concentric circles of prison costs the policies impose on local jurisdictions.
Holder has bipartisan support in Congress for change. Maybe something will actually happen to reform laws that have ruined lives and budgets.
Eighteen states had something to cheer about this month when the Centers for Disease Control announced it detected small declines in the childhood obesity rates.
CDC Director Thomas Frieden said it was the first time researchers have seen a significant decrease in childhood obesity at the national level.
That small achievement is important, because holding down the childhood obesity rate helps avoid health problems when kids grow into adults.
In today’s affluent, sedentary society it’s all too easy for calories consumed to drift out of balance with calories burned.
For example, this month the journal Pediatrics linked consumption of one sugary drink a day to childhood obesity. Scientists said 5-year-olds who had a sugary drink a day were 43 percent more likely to be obese. The sugary drinks included soda pop, so-called sports drinks and sweetened juice drinks.
The fact that there finally is some good national news in the fight against childhood obesity gives us reason to redouble their efforts.
President Barack Obama’s abrupt cancellation of long-standing arrangements for a bilateral summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is a rare but calculated diplomatic snub. The trigger was Putin’s provocative decision to grant temporary asylum to the fugitive U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Putin has also been obstructionist in backing the Syrian Assad regime with sophisticated missile combat systems. And Washington and Moscow are at odds on the Kremlin’s repression of Putin’s political opponents, the plight of human rights campaigners and Russia’s support of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.
A return to the aggressive rhetoric and confrontation of the Cold War is in nobody’s interests, least of all Moscow’s. Putin needs a reality check. His delusional chest-thumping cannot disguise the fact Russia is nothing like the power it was in Soviet times. Its best interests would be served by working with the international community.