The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on gun control bill:
Last week was good for the gun crowd in Congress.
Whether you're happy about it or not, thank those who helped pass an awful bill: Anne Northup, Mike Sodrel, Ron Lewis, Geoff Davis, Ben Chandler, Hal Rogers, Ed Whitfield, John Hostettler.
This vote produced a justified tirade of criticism from New York's Republican mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who pointed out that Congress was making it easier to track the origins of tainted spinach than to trace a cache of illegal firearms.
... The Senate should stop the bill, which would, just as he said, "shield rogue gun dealers and hinder access to gun trace data and enforcement action by federal and local law enforcement against dealers."
There's a reason it was opposed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs (including Louisville's Robert White), the International Brotherhood of Police Officers and former officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tax and Firearms:
An outlaw 1.2 percent of licensed gun dealers are responsible for more than 57 percent of the weapons found at crime scenes. Yet those are precisely the bad actors whom this bill would protect. ...
The Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, on Rep. Foley and teenage pages:
It's hard to find a member of Congress who hasn't issued a statement of outrage and disgust over former Rep. Mark Foley's despicable communications with teenage pages. But in all the furor in the past two days, there has been little call for the kind of independent investigation that should begin immediately and be concluded before Election Day.
That is especially important for voters of this region, as Rep. Thomas Reynolds, whose district includes part of Monroe County, N.Y. and who is seeking re-election, says he was told about some of Foley's e-mails. Reynolds has defended his actions, saying he passed on the information to House Speaker Rep. Dennis Hastert.
The public needs to know to what extent Republican congressional leadership acted to protect Foley, whose questionable behavior had been talked about on Capitol Hill for years. And Congress must fill the oversight gaps in the page program that let Foley, and others, escape scrutiny.
... If Republican leaders were in the dark about Foley's more scandalous messages to pages, as they claim, it could be because there had been no adequate investigation to uncover them.
An independent investigation should determine whether there was wrongdoing, and both parties should work to overhaul the page program. Delay is unacceptable.
The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, on Hispanics in government:
Sometimes, the conspiracy theory just doesnt pan out.
Unfortunately for those who see racism lurking behind virtually every statistical disparity involving the races, the Government Accountability Office has identified a more benign explanation for why Hispanics are statistically underrepresented among government workers. A lack of citizenship and lack of education are the two biggest factors, the GAO reported. And, in fact, it found that Hispanics are 16 percent more likely than similarly educated non-Hispanics to be working in federal agencies.
These findings disappointed groups, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, whose allegations of discrimination prompted the study. ...
But there really is no "crisis," as the GAO has shown. And the solution seems obvious to us. The federal government can either lower its hiring standards, or Hispanics who want federal jobs can become U.S. citizens and earn higher degrees. ...
Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Florida, on aging Americans:
Despite the creature comforts of iPods, cell phones and TiVo, the future does not bode well for America's baby boomers.
The intrusion of age will mark a difficult transition for baby boomers scattered across a majority of communities not prepared to deal with the needs of the elderly.
A recent survey of more than 1,790 towns, counties and cities indicates that only 46 percent are looking at strategies to deal with aging America.
It's an ominous forecast for Florida, where the elderly are expected to reach 27.1 percent of the state's population in 2030 _ a rise from 17.6 percent in 2000 _ based on Census Bureau projections. The national average will be 20 percent.
Those numbers should give Central Florida a sense of urgency to begin implementing practical solutions. ...
... Time is critical because baby boomers _ those born from 1946 to 1964 _ began turning 60 this year and are rapidly approaching retirement age.
Communities _ particularly those in Central Florida _ need to work quickly to allow baby boomers to grow old gracefully.