What others are saying

January 26, 2007

My robe gonna fit me well, Tried it on at the gates of Hell, Keep your hand on the plow, Hold on!

- Negro spiritual

You could hear the slight weariness, the semi-artificial cheer, the hurry-slowly tempo in Tony Snow's voice. The president's always pressed-for-time-and-running-late spokesperson was conducting still another pre-State of the Union conference call Tuesday afternoon at about 3:30 Washington compressed time. He was talking to a passel of us editorial writers in the hinterlands, well aware that even out here his boss' poll numbers were sinking almost as low as Harry Truman's during the lowest, most discouraging point in the seemingly endless Korean War.

You had to be a hardhearted zealot or a Democratic operative, but we repeat ourselves, not to feel a twinge of sympathy for the always personable Mr. Snow. For once again, let's face it, America is mired in a war the country hadn't anticipated would go as it has gone, and is losing heart. What can one say at such a grinding time but ... Keep your hand on the plow, Hold on!

- Arkansas Democrat Gazette (Little Rock)

More than half of all Illinoisans are protected from secondhand smoke in public places, thanks to the patchwork of smoking bans that have been passed in places such as Chicago, several suburbs and a handful of Downstate communities. That represents a significant change from as recently as five years ago, but it's still not good enough. Given the ever-growing evidence about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke, we support legislation to enact a statewide ban.

The risks of smoking are well-known, or should be. A version of the U.S. surgeon general's warning is printed on every cigarette pack: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy. And the surgeon general's report last summer should have ended the debate about the health risks of secondhand smoke: It causes 46,000 deaths a year from heart disease, 3,000 from cancer and 430 from sudden infant death syndrome. Put simply, there is no safe level of exposure to it.

- Chicago Sun-Times

Now that the People's Republic of Fort Wayne has all but outlawed smoking, members of City Council might be wondering what to do for an encore.

The editors wouldn't print my suggestion, so I turned to one of Allen County's chief defenders of individual rights and responsibilities, Libertarian Party Chairman Mike Sylvester. Since most of the seven council members who voted to ban smoking in public buildings claim to be libertarian or at least conservative, I figured they should be more than willing to follow Mr. Sylvester's lead. ...

Mr. Sylvester said he believes council should consider other it's-for-your-own-good requirements, including limits on TV watching, two mandatory trips to the dentist and an annual checkup from the doctor.

- Kevin Leininger, writing in the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News Sentinel

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