Western Opinion Sampler: Patriotic [or not] public servants - Soldiers, firefighters, spies, lunch ladies ...
Published: July 3, 2013 04:09PM
Updated: July 3, 2013 04:09PM

Veterans’ benefits: Who shall have bourne the battle — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial
With just about every day bringing the 150th anniversary of some Civil War milestone — this week’s remembrance of the Battle of Gettysburg prime among them — it is even more fitting and proper that the nation that rose out of that conflict should remember its obligation to its veterans.
In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln saw past the war and to a time of peace and reconciliation. Among his charges to the nation were that it should "bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan."
These days, such is the responsibility of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is a large bureaucracy, to be sure, but not large enough, or efficient enough, to keep pace with the demands placed upon it by the flood of applications for benefits and services created by a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...

We salute the firefighters who keep us safe this time of year — Casper Star-Tribune Editorial
... We can realize that all the warnings our fire departments put out this time of year about fire safety are dead serious; mistakes in our tinder-dry outdoors can have terrible consequences. And while we memorialize the firefighters, we can be safe with fire; that could be the best way to honor the “hotshots” who fight our fires for us.

Thin forests or lose them — Arizona Republic Editorial
... The consequences of decades of bad forest-management policies and anemic funding for fire prevention in a wildland dystopia tortured by years of drought should by now be self-evident. ...

Tragedy in Arizona — Deseret News Editorial
The deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona represent a dreadful loss for their families and colleagues, and for all of us who rely on public safety personnel to keep danger from our doors. Firefighting carries inherent risks, but that doesn't diminish the tragic dimensions of their demise. ...

A dangerous job for heroes — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

City can't afford to ignore LAPD audit — Los Angeles Daily News Editorial

Contracts at NSA need tough review — Kansas City Star Editorial
Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a villain to others. Whatever one thinks of the 30-year-old computer expert’s decision to reveal the existence of a clandestine federal program to monitor domestic communication, the ease with which he obtained and shared classified information is disconcerting and requires an examination. ...

BART union demands are outrageous — San Jose Mercury-News Editorial
What are striking BART workers thinking? They're already the top-paid transit system employees in the region and among the best in the nation. They have free pensions, health care coverage for the entire family for just $92 a month and the same sweet medical insurance deal when they retire after just five years on the job. ...

School meal mandates lead to hunger, waste — Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial
Problem: Too many kids come to school hungry, and kids can’t keep up with course work if their stomachs are growling. Government solution: Pour billions of taxpayer dollars into school meals.
Problem: Too many kids are fat. Well-fed kids might fare better in the classroom than hungry kids, but obesity causes too many costly long-term health problems. Government solution: Offer children only foods and drinks that are deemed healthy, even if those foods are more expensive.
Problem: Too many kids go hungry at school because they don’t want to eat the healthy, expensive stuff the government do-gooders push on them, resulting in poor classroom performance and trash cans filled with perfectly good, taxpayer-subsidized food. Government solution: What’s the problem? ...