Kentucky editorial roundup

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Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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August 21

Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on journalist's death a grim reminder:

The horrifying murder of American journalist James Foley by Islamic extremists has shocked the world and provided chilling evidence of the brutality of the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS.

The video released Tuesday of a masked terrorist beheading the freelance photojournalist is the latest atrocity of the group whose members have overrun parts of Iraq and Syria, as they rape, slaughter and plunder scores of civilians — Muslims, Christians and any other non-believers in the ISIS ideology.

President Barack Obama, whose administration has authorized air strikes in Iraq against ISIS operations, on Wednesday praised Foley for his courage and said the United States will not waver in its mission to "extract this cancer" of ISIS.

The death of Foley, 40, from Rochester, N.H., certainly illustrates the savagery of ISIS.

But it also is a grim reminder of the immense danger journalists face in a war zone or any regime which values its political interests over press freedom. Foley, kidnapped two years ago in Syria, is hardly alone.

The New York Times reports that he is among dozens of journalists — many of them freelance — who disappeared from Syria in 2012 and 2013. The fate of many remains unknown.

The international Committee to Protect Journalists reports on its website that prior to Foley's death this week, 39 journalists around the world had been killed in 2014, largely for just trying to do their jobs.

Many more are imprisoned — 211, according to the committee's most recent count — a figure that has been escalating since governments around the world expanded anti-terrorism and security laws in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

Some have been beaten, tortured and are in failing health, the committee reports.

Few events rival the sheer horror of Foley's execution. Yet the public should remember that somewhere in world, nearly every day, a journalist is risking incarceration or death by simply trying to report the news.

Online:

http://www.courier-journal.com

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August 21

Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky, on fraud settlement a boost for state:

In 2008, the weight of lies and greed that built the subprime mortgage industry finally grew so heavy that it collapsed and took the economy with it.

Tens of thousands of Kentuckians still suffer the aftershocks from losing their homes and/or their jobs and from the sluggish economy that, six years later, is still not safely back on track.

So it was more than welcome news Thursday that the Kentucky Retirement Systems, thanks to the efforts of hard working attorneys in the Kentucky and U.S. attorney generals' offices, will recover $23 million for losses it suffered from investments in mortgage-backed securities that were not nearly as safe as they were advertised.

Kentucky will also share, with Maryland and Delaware, at least $150 million in what Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway called "soft relief money" that Bank of America committed for lending in distressed communities.

That money will finance affordable rental housing and help individuals still struggling with foreclosure or underwater loans.

This money won't undo all the damage done to individuals, by any means. And the $23 million is a very small portion of the $17.6 billion liability that has built up at KRS, in large part because state government has not met its obligation to contribute to the fund.

But both are welcome and important as Kentucky still struggles to recover from the recession.

This settlement is also a refreshing, clear example of government working for the benefit of ordinary people at a cost to a huge business.

The total settlement with Bank of America amounts to $16.65 billion, the largest civil settlement with a single business ever in American history.

Thursday Kentucky was on the right side of history. Thanks to all who made it happen.

Online:

http://www.kentucky.com

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August 25

The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on ice bucket challenge:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gerhig's disease, is a horrible illness.

It's a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons from ALS eventually leads to death.

Sadly, having Lou Gerhig's disease is a death sentence. For those who have witnessed it up close, they will tell you it is a slow, painful death. People eventually lose the ability to move.

While there is no cure, people from all over the country have come together to raise awareness of the disease in hopes of trying to discover its cause and cure.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has spread like wildfire across the United States through social media. Donations to the ALS Association have exploded: $53.4 million so far, compared to $2.2 million during the same time period - July 29 to Aug 21 - last year.

The challenge has hit Bowling Green. Various people and businesses in town have been challenged to participate or have participated.

The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same. People can accept the challenge within 24 hours, donate to ALS research or both.

Whether one participates in the challenge or just donates money to fight the disease, either is a great way to show support for this cause.

Those who participate in the challenge look like they are having a good time. It's a cold jolt, but meeting the challenge is worthwhile.

People all around town are challenging friends and colleagues. One Daily News reporter, Chuck Mason, participated in the challenge. Local politicians and other citizens around our community also have been challenged; some have accepted the challenge, while others have donated money.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a major tool in the battle against Lou Gehrig's Disease. We are glad people in Bowling Green, surrounding areas and from all over the country are participating in these challenges. Through their selfless actions, perhaps one day we will know what causes this horrible disease and find its cure.

Online:

http://www.bgdailynews.com

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