Arkansas editorial roundup

By By The Associated Press

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Dec. 20, 2012

The cost of appeasement mounts

Once a time that now seems long ago, this country was represented at the United Nations by emissaries who did not hesitate to speak truth to power, at home or abroad. One thinks of legendary figures like Adlai Stevenson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick. There were giants in the Earth in those days, or at least truth-tellers. Which, on balance, are a lot more useful than giants in this world of subterfuge and simulation.

At this low point in the top tier of American diplomats-welcome to the sad era of The Hon. Susan E. Rice-we'd gladly settle foranother John Bolton. He's still around, though out of public office. (There is only so much truth any administration can stand.) Mr. Bolton's continues to be a prophetic voice. And, in the grand prophetic tradition, he continues to be ignored. Like any other voice in the wilderness.

By now John Bolton's warnings about the danger of appeasing North Korea's regime have been ignored by more than one American administration. With predictable results. Last week a North Korean missile went streaking over the Japanese island of Okinawa, a name students of American military history and Gold Star Mothers will well remember.

How long, one wonders, before those North Korean rockets have nuclear warheads attached? And whose territory will they be flying over next? No doubt the United Nations will now respond (again) to North Korea's latest provocation with still more meaningless (again) resolutions without resolve. And without effect.

Across the globe, from Iran to North Korea, the results of appeasement don't seem to have changed much since the 1930s. It's not much compensation to have John Bolton proved right time and again if Washington can't-or won't-follow his counsel, and arrest the dangerous drift of American diplomacy toward an all-too-passive acceptance of nuclear weapons in the hands of those most likely to use them to further their aggressive designs.

It won't do to just pass empty resolutions against such rogue regimes. Economic sanctions, like the ones in place against Iran, ought to be put in place against North Korea's deranged dictatorship. But in the end those regimes need to be not just sanctioned but changed. And their people freed.

The forces of freedom around the world wait to be inspired, encouraged and aided once again-as they were when the president of the United States was the leader of the free world in more than name. Those yearning for freedom in North Korea, in Iran, and around the globe are looking for leadership from Washington, not just lip service.

Once upon a time not so long ago, this country made no secret of its support for freedom in more than words-for actions always speak louder. Here's hoping that America will again champion the cause of the oppressed, the threatened, the captive and persecuted . . . and raise a banner all lovers of liberty can rally around. And remember what the founding generation well knew: "The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind."-Thomas Paine.

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Southwest Times Record, Dec. 15, 2012

Decision To Donate Organs Transformative

If all went according to plan this morning, one mother's heartache may have been the Christmas miracle five or six other mothers were praying for.

Plans had been made for Austin Elder, the former Southside football player who was injured in a fall last week, to be taken off life support this morning, so his organs could be donated to perhaps five to eight different recipients.

Elder, a University of Arkansas at Fort Smith student, fell about 100 feet from Hawksbill Crag in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area on Dec. 8. Physicians hoped he would survive, but according to friends, he suffered two strokes Wednesday that left him without brain function.

This morning, his family planned to honor his wish to be an organ donor.

It is a generous and almost unthinkable act of courage for a family no doubt casting around to understand why life, which had seemed so good just more than a week ago, now seems to have gone so terribly wrong.

At any given time, more than 100,000 people may be awaiting an organ transplant, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Many of them will die before an organ is available; those in need always outnumber the donors.

Someone is added to a donor waiting list every 10 minutes. And, on average, 79 people a day receive transplanted organs, but 18 people a day die awaiting transplant, according to organdonor.gov.

If you wish to be an organ donor, please make sure you tell your loved ones. That way, if the unthinkable happens, they won't have to think, they'll know.

Austin's Southside coaches describe him as a very special young man, one who always fought against the odds.

"He was the littlest kid on the football field, yet he played with the biggest heart — there's no other way to describe it," Southside coach Jeff Williams said.

No doubt that was why those who loved him were so sure he would overcome his injuries.

But when it became clear that was not to be, his family made the hard choice that Austin's big heart should be used to save someone else.

It is a breathtaking gift, and we pray it brings them peace.

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El Dorado News-Times, Dec. 20, 2012

Keeping us safe from harm

It was a tense time in El Dorado late the afternoon of Dec. 20 when a reaction between chlorinated pool chemicals at the Clean Harbors plant resulted in a thick, foul-smelling cloud of chlorinated gas that billowed through the city's east side.

Rumors were rampant at first as to what was causing the massive cloud. Some said it was a fire, others an explosion, but according to information provided by Clean Harbors, the incident occurred when biocides and algaecides used to kill bacteria and algae in swimming pools mixed inside a trailer that had been placed in the transportation yard at the plant. There was no fire, there was no explosion, and no one was hurt inside or outside the plant, but there was smoke, and lots of it, and precautions had to be taken.

Happening at the time of day it did — just before people started heading home from work - the situation could have been highly chaotic, but thanks to the cool heads and expertise of local and area emergency responders, the incident was handled skillfully and efficiently.

Listening to the activity on the police scanner, we were impressed by the highly-coordinated effort on the part of these responders to ensure that the public was kept safe from harm.

The El Dorado Police Department had about 25 officers involved in setting up a perimeter that eventually blocked off U.S. 167 from the traffic circle at Arkansas 7 to U.S. 82. East Main Street was also blocked from Byrd to Industrial Road, as was Industrial Road. The Union County Jail had to be evacuated, as did a nearby convenience store, both of which were in the direct path of the gas cloud.

In an article in Wednesday's edition of the News-Times, Phil Retallick, senior vice president of regulatory affairs for Clean Harbors, praised the EPD, El Dorado Fire Department, Union County Office of Emergency Management and the Clean Harbors emergency management team for responding "skillfully and swiftly" to the incident by enacting contingency plans. The Norphlet Fire Department, Arkansas State Police and volunteer fire departments in Union County also offered assistance.

We agree with Mr. Retallick's assessment of the efforts of the first responders and join in his praise of all the committed individuals who kept the situation from getting out of hand on Tuesday.

It makes us feel safer to know that when this sort of incident happens, we have trained people in our area who are more than able to keep it under control.

Good job, emergency responders! The people you work to protect appreciate your efforts more than you can know.

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