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Tennessee editorial roundup

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm •  Published: October 1, 2013

Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:

Oct. 1

Paris (Tenn.) Post-Intelligencer on the partial government shutdown:

The government shutdown seeks to refight battles that have already been decided.

It seeks to defeat the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which already passed by both houses of Congress and was upheld by the Supreme Court. It is the law of the land.

On a deeper level, instigators of the shutdown seek to combat President Barack Obama, who won re-election fair and square.

Does Congress have an obligation to fund a program that it has enacted? Of course. Why launch a ship and then refuse to put a crew aboard?

The straightforward approach would be to repeal the law, but that would require a majority vote in each house. There aren't enough opponents to win repeal, but there are enough to lock Congress up and prevent any action at all.

Still, the Affordable Care Act is not quite stopped in its tracks.

The new federal fiscal year begins today, and with it the reform measure's Health Insurance Marketplace. The Web-based exchange lets people sign up for medical plans and see whether they qualify for subsidies to help buy policies.

Uninsured people in their 50s and 60s who are prone to pre-existing conditions are among those who will benefit most.

As people become more familiar with the law and have their own experiences with it, it seems likely to become more popular. And people in their 50s and 60s are prone to vote.

In the end, public pressure is likely to be the hammer that breaks the stupid deadlock in Congress.



Sept. 30

The Mountain Press, Sevierville, Tenn., on United Way looks prepared for 201:

With this month's announcements that a new executive director and campaign chairman for 2014 have been named, it's become apparent that — like a phoenix — the United Way of Sevier County has risen from the ashes.

And that's a good thing.

The United Way does a lot of good for the organizations it benefits.

Amy Harper, the group's new executive director, and R.B. Summitt, the campaign chairman, are two highly capable individuals who seem determined to get the United Way turned around. ...

Harper holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee and has spent the majority of her career living and working in Sevier County.

She has served on many non-profit committees and boards, which include the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation "Paint the Mountains Pink" Committee, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee, American Cancer Society Sevier County Relay For Life chairperson, board member of the Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, county chairperson for United Way of Sevier County and the Pigeon Forge Citizen's Advisory Board.

As for Summitt, United Way is also happy to have the experienced community leader. ...

A native East Tennessean, R.B. Summitt has lived and worked in the Sevier County area all his life. Now retired, he worked at Sevier County Bank from 1978 to 2012 and continues as a director and chairman of the Audit Committee. He was a founding director and faculty member of both the Tennessee Consumer Credit and Commercial Lending Schools.

It was just a year ago that the group looked like it would never recover from financial difficulties.

The board of directors announced it was resigning and the group would cease operating at the end of 2012 unless new funding could be found.

Since then the board has reformed, a new strategy has been developed, and the group looks headed toward a successful 2014.



Sept. 29

The Tennessean, Nashville, Tenn., on state's war on meth:

There is no entertainment value in it, but the state of Tennessee's ability to get meth under control is breaking bad.

In television's acclaimed drama series of that name, it's the ex-schoolteacher antihero who has gone to the dark side because of his health and personal crises; here in the real world, it's the system for catching meth makers that has gone awry.

If you're not worried yet, you should be.

The state is supposedly dependent on its offender registry to stop addicts and drug dealers at the point of purchase for over-the-counter cold medicines, which are the most common building block for making methamphetamine. But the database has more gaps than a meth addict's jawbone.

This frustrating news comes after the Tennessee Meth Offender Registry was ushered in just two years ago as part of what was heralded as a major initiative to stem the meth problem.

Instead, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation now concedes our state soon will be No. 1 in the nation for meth-lab seizures — good, in that the labs are being found and destroyed, but also a benchmark of meth dealers' success, especially because law enforcement supposedly had made meth a priority years ago.

Things haven't gone as advertised.

Unless local court officers around Tennessee are committed to the job, the registry cannot be comprehensive. ...

Court officers complain the arrest information they're given seldom narrows it down for them to determine meth was involved. And some people on the registry still manage to buy pseudoephedrine by scamming the pharmacist with fraudulent IDs or other methods.

Most infuriating is that there is no unanimity of resolve on fighting meth. Pharmacists complain the registry is flawed, court officers complain about law enforcement, and the pharmaceutical industry is more worried about the effect on sales if the state were to make cold medicines prescription-only ...

Tennessee desperately needs to get a handle on this. Meth is only going to start showing up in more towns and more families unless we do.