The (Bowling Green) Sentinel-Tribune, July 8

… Every 10 years when the U.S. Census rolls around, new congressional districts are drawn. Something is amiss when some districts look like doughnuts with a bite taken out, like stones skipping along a shoreline of Lake Erie, or like corn fritters thrown into a deep fryer with spindly fingers stretching into neighboring districts.

When it comes to drawing congressional districts, logical lines are often at the mercy of cunning calculations …

This fall, Ohioans will vote on a constitutional amendment to create a bipartisan state legislative redistricting commission. Maps drawn by this commission would be valid for 10 years as long as at least two members of each major political party voted for them …

That change may solve problems with state legislative lines. But Ohio’s process for drawing congressional district lines may still be the victim of scheming self-interests …

While Ohioans may vote in November to clean up the state redistricting process, there seems to be little enthusiasm to fix the process at the congressional level …

We need to take the power to draw lines away from the politicians and give it to an independent commission – ultimately giving more power to voters at the polls.

Online: http://bit.ly/1eXsYMv

July 14, The Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle on no need for new gun control laws:

President Obama wants to renew the gun control debate because the accused Charleston, S.C., church shooter “had no trouble getting his hands on a gun.”

No surprise there. One of the most powerful ways to advance unreasoned public policy is to foist it on a grief-stricken population.

But the irony of using the Emanuel AME tragedy to launch attacks on the Second Amendment is that the incident might have been averted had officials simply enforced laws already on the books.

The FBI now says it should have flagged accused shooter Dylann Roof for a pending drug charge when he purchased a gun from a South Carolina retailer in April.

“We are all sick that this has happened,” FBI Director James Comey told reporters in Washington.

Comey said an examiner unfamiliar with South Carolina geography contacted the wrong law enforcement jurisdiction while trying to obtain details on Roof’s arrest in February for illegal possession of Suboxone.

Though Roof hadn’t been convicted, Comey says the 21-year-old’s admission to possessing the prescription drug would have indicated he was “actively engaged” in unlawful drug use and disqualified the purchase.

But as it happened, Roof walked out with a .45-caliber Glock pistol that police say he used to kill nine churchgoers two months later.

Of course, the futility of gun control laws – including background check laws – is that they do not prevent criminal acts nor totally stop the criminally-minded from obtaining guns.

Any reasonable person can understand someone as driven and depraved as Roof would acquire a weapon any way he could, legally or not.

That’s why President Obama was flat-out wrong when he said the Charleston shooting might not have happened “if Congress had passed some commonsense gun safety reforms” after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

But if the Obama administration followed “commonsense” immigration reforms, 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle likely would still be alive instead of murdered by a multiple-felon illegal immigrant in the “sanctuary” city of San Francisco.

Conjecture about the Steinle shooting aside, there is nothing in the post-Newtown gun control legislation that would have prevented the Charleston murders.

It wasn’t a lack of gun control that enabled Roof to have a pistol – it was a failure of the federal government’s bureaucracy. And it wasn’t law-abiding gun owners, the “gun lobby” or the Second Amendment that killed the Emanuel AME churchgoers – it was an ignorant racist with delusions of glory.

So before infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights any further, is it too much to ask the government to properly enforce the restrictions it already has placed on us?

Online: http://chronicle.augusta.com

July 13, The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Obamacare:

Obamacare is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

While the pretty wrapping paper and multicolored bow appears attractive on the outside, once the package is opened, the soaring costs, broken promises and unintended consequences are exposed for all to see.

In recent days, we have learned about the proposed merger of Kentucky-based Humana and Aetna. There are also reports that Anthem and Cigna Corp. have rekindled merger talks.

What is the relationship between Obamacare and this trend toward merger? Simply put, because health care reform put a cap on insurers’ profits, these companies seek to spread fixed costs over a larger membership base.

Should these mergers come to fruition, the implications for insurance premiums are a real cause for concern.

Less competition generally tends to reduce the pressure to hold down rate increases. It also will reduce consumer choice.

Kentucky’s own experience with health care reform over a decade ago is very instructive.

Action by our General Assembly caused a number of health insurers to cease writing coverage in our state. Employer groups as well as those with individual coverage can recall the lack of competition resulted in premiums skyrocketing.

Speaking of premiums, we learned several weeks ago that some insurers in our state’s Obamacare exchange are proposing premium increases as high as 25 percent. This same pattern is being repeated across the country.

Learning about these proposed rates has to be painful for Americans who still recall our president’s words: “I will sign a Universal Health Care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

The horror stories continue to accumulate.

A recent Daily News editorial noted that emergency room visits were increasing since Obamacare, even though its supporters assured Americans that with universal health care, emergency room visits would decrease. It also said some small rural hospitals in our state were at risk of closing their doors.

At the same time, we are learning that Kentucky hospitals would have a net shortfall of $1 billion in revenue by 2020 as a result of losing more money under the Affordable Care Act than they gain in revenue from the law’s expanded coverage.

Services at some hospitals have been cut, and 7,700 Kentucky hospital employees have lost their jobs.

Online: http://www.bgdailynews.com

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