Editorial voices from around the U.S., world

January 10, 2014

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:

The Herald, Rock Hill, S.C.

As of Jan. 1, production of 40- and 60-watt light bulbs was banned as part of efficiency standards signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007. While some will miss the old incandescent bulbs, the move is part of a successful effort to make the nation more energy efficient.

When the first practical incandescent bulb was devised by Thomas A. Edison, it was a scientific and engineering marvel, cutting edge technology for its time. But by the time its production came to an end last Wednesday, it had become obsolete, an energy hog compared to compact fluorescent bulbs – CFLs – and light emitting diode bulbs – LEDs.

The new light bulbs are just part of a growing array of more energy efficient products that have allowed Americans to significantly cut the amount of electricity consumed in homes and businesses. The Energy Information Administration recently announced that in 2013, the average amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes fell to levels last seen more than a decade ago.

Some may complain about a “nanny government” that sets insulation standards and takes away our incandescent bulbs. But increasing efficiency remains the most effective way to reduce energy usage.

That not only saves consumers money, it also plays a key strategic role in reducing the nation’s reliance on foreign oil. And more efficient electronic devices also have the benefit of reducing consumption of carbon fuels, consequently reducing damage to the environment.

Kansas City Star

The life-altering damage caused by concussions to National Football League players have received much attention in recent months, and appropriately so. The NFL for too many years ignored its responsibilities to better protect players.

However, tens of thousands of concussions and other brain injuries occur each year to football players at the college, high school and even peewee levels of the sport across America.

Parents, coaches and school officials need to be more involved in finding ways to prevent concussions. Coaches, along with trainers, must be aggressive in making sure players do not take part in games until they have recovered from possible concussions.

Baseline concussion testing should be required for all players at the high school and college levels because individuals react differently to brain injuries. The National Federation of High Schools and the National Collegiate Athletic Association should put together more comprehensive concussion education programs.

One barrier to progress: Players, parents and coaches sometimes don’t recognize concussions when they occur. Or, players want to or are told to “play through” head injuries.

That kind of destructive attitude can lead to permanently harming the health of a young football player. Get rid of the macho posturing in the sport, and take injuries to the brain more seriously.

The Australian

The ominous resurgence of major al-Qaida-linked Islamic militancy in Iraq, with key cities effectively falling into the hands of the Sunni jihadists, is a grim reminder of just how imperative it is an agreement be reached to enable a residual U.S. and coalition force to remain in Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan, while different, underlines the importance of concluding the bilateral security agreement with Kabul that has been proposed as the basis for a residual force of US and coalition soldiers ... to remain on an advisory and training role after the end of the year.

A sobering new U.S. report, the National Security Estimate, a collation of the analysis of 16 American intelligence agencies, underlines how important this is. It predicts Afghanistan is likely to quickly descend into chaos if Washington and Kabul do not succeed in reaching agreement on a coalition contingent remaining in the country. Obama, in his enthusiasm to claim the political credit for ending the war in Iraq, erred gravely in not forcing Baghdad to agree to a residual coalition force. He must not make the same mistake in Afghanistan.



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