Alabama editorial roundup

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

Oct. 21

The Daily Home, Talladega, Ala., on time for some restraint:

The fear of “Obamacare” was so intense that some members of Congress were willing to shut down parts of the federal government to try to stop it. Their actions ratcheted up the anxiety level not only in our nation but also internationally, as concerns over whether the government would be able to make its debt payments dovetailed with the debate over the Affordable Care Act. That was a reckless exercise that could have seriously damaged a recovering economy, not just in our nation but internationally.

Seven of Alabama’s nine senators and congressman voted against the agreement that temporarily ended the crisis and gave the world a chance to breathe a bit easier. The two that voted in favor were Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell and Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus.

The battle of words over Obamacare continues, even though numerous efforts to stop it — on Capitol Hill, in courts, and in last year’s election — have failed.

Exactly what Obamacare will mean to businesses, individuals, and the nation remains to be seen. Fears that the Affordable Care Act will make health insurance less affordable cannot be dismissed, but the latest tactics employed in the attempt to stop it only served to cause more hand-wringing and damage to the reputation of the Republican Party. …

Jeb Bush argues that a return to free market principles is necessary to solving the problems.

Free market principles introduce competition that helps keep prices under control, but without regulations to help ensure fairness, some people will fall through the cracks. We don’t expect Obamacare to be a perfect solution. We hope members of Congress from both parties will come forward with suggestions to help refine the law in the future.

For now, we think his advice should be heeded: show a little restraint.

Online:

http://www.dailyhome.com

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Oct. 21

The Decatur (Ala.) Daily on restrictions not answer:

State Health Department rules presently define an abortion clinic as any facility that performs 30 or more abortions during any two months in a year. A proposed rule change would redefine a clinic as any facility that performs 10 or more abortions in any single month and 100 or more in a year.

A public hearing on the proposed changes is scheduled Thursday in Montgomery.

If implemented, Alabama would become even more unfriendly as a reproductive rights state. The Legislature has already passed a rule that makes it more difficult for abortion doctors to operate by requiring them to have admitting privileges at area hospitals. Lawmakers also added a rule for the physical dimensions of the interiors of clinics.

Any medical procedure must have established guidelines for the safety of the patient. Placing too many restrictions to access, however, won’t slow the rate of abortions. There is another way to do that, but Alabama lawmakers and government officials aren’t likely to be so compassionate.

First, adding more restrictions to accessing abortion clinics will disproportionately affect the poor. Second, it is the poor who could find themselves at greater risk when an abortion might be the only remedy to save a mother’s life.

Instead of finding ways to be more restrictive, Alabama should find more ways to be proactive in providing easier access to prenatal health care, and providing services and support to mothers and their children after birth. …

Maybe Alabama would see the demand for abortion curtailed if expectant mothers knew that, when their child is born, it would receive the best care possible from a state that is genuinely committed to the success of its children — rich and poor. Access to free or affordable health care, and a universal Head Start program would go a long way toward reassuring parents that their children will have what’s necessary for a healthy childhood.

Online:

http://www.decaturdaily.com

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Oct. 18

Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser on the cooperation would be better:

Alabama State University is not “under attack.” It is under scrutiny, and well it should be in light of the deeply disturbing issues raised last week in an update report by the firm seeking to examine its finances.

Unwisely, the university has chosen to employ suspiciously defensive tactics in its non-response response to the report made public by Gov. Robert Bentley. ASU has offered nothing to disprove the observations in the report, but instead has tried the tired old ploy of blaming the messenger for the bad news.

The university has tried to discredit Forensic Strategic Solutions, the firm engaged by Bentley for a forensic audit of the institution. It raised no objections to the firm when the inquiry began, but now stretches the university’s already weak credibility by stating FSS is not ranked among the nation’s top 100 accounting firms.

That might be because it is not an accounting firm. As FSS president Ralph Summerford noted, “We aren’t accountants. We are trained fraud investigators. Our job is to look at and analyze the relationships between the data, the people and the events to determine if fraud has occurred.”

Although ASU seems determined to blur the hugely important distinction, what is underway is a forensic audit, not a standard audit, which essentially matches numbers without taking a deeper look behind them. ASU cites previous “clean” audits as if the two were the same. They decidedly are not.

The university notes the $2.5 million in contracts and payments questioned in the update report and declares, “FSS is incorrect in its conclusion” …

A daughter and son-in-law of board chairman Elton Dean received multiple payments from ASU that Dean did not list on his state ethics forms. That’s not optional; it’s the law.

FSS also cites as “warranting further investigation” Dean’s relationship to Falicia Rhodes, who received payments totaling $78,000 from ASU. Dean said he had nothing to do with that. …

The board and administration should immediately reverse their obstructionist course and cooperate fully with this and any further inquiries. Failing to do so can only increase the damage to ASU’s tarnished reputation and to its students.

Online:

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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