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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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A rainbow is seen near a cloud south of Corvallis, Ore., Monday, May 19, 2014. (AP Photo/The Corvallis Gazette-Times, Andy Cripe)
Pundits complain, complain, complain. Except in Oregon ...

Editorial writers have a lot to pitch and moan about today.

Except, for some reason, in Oregon. Where at least a couple of them seem inspired, if not downright giddy.

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First, the glass half empty stuff:

Even though it’s legal, don’t talk and drive — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

"Utah is a state where lawmakers are loathe to accept the idea that consuming alcohol is strictly a personal matter. This is especially true, as it should be, when the person doing it is about to get behind the wheel of a car.

"Yet the Legislature has had to be slowly dragged, bit by bit, toward grasping the fact that operating, or simply speaking on, a cellphone while driving a car creates a public menace that demands action. ..."

A pill peddler gets a break — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

"What was the point? Why did we spend the money and time to try and convict the infamous Brigham City doctor Dewey MacKay, who prescribed roughly 3.5 million dangerous prescription drugs to patients over a four-plus year period? Why did we waste our time sentencing MacKay to 20 years in prison for causing patient David Wirick, of Ogden, to die in 2006 due to the drugs MacKay fraudulently prescribed him? ..."

Closed-minded universities flirt with irrelevance as they exclude commencement speakers — Deseret News Editorial

Jay Nixon and the summer of 100 vetoes — St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

" ... [Gov. Jay] Nixon will soon have on his desk 176 bills passed by the Legislature, as well as the budget bills. Here’s what he should do: Veto nearly all of them. ..." (Also includes yet another Star Trek reference. Resistance is futile.)

Missouri execution risk too high — Kansas City Star Editorial

"Barring a last-minute reprieve, the state of Missouri will do something horrendous and immoral at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. It will use lethal drugs, the type and source of which it refuses to disclose, to execute a man whose medical issues increase the prospect of an unusually painful death. ..."

A wise old editorial once told me a newspaper can’t just wallow in the failures of their communities. They must also glory in their successes.

And who says editorials are only happy when they are complaining? Viz:

Equality wins — Oregonian [Portland] Editorial

"The Monday blahs were short-lived in Oregon this week. To be precise, they lasted until noon, when U.S. District Judge Michael McShane released a historic opinion that allows same-sex couples – at last – to marry. Some immediately did just that, and in the process smashed the mold ... of tying the knot on a weekend. Take that, Saturday. ..."

‘Let us look to each other’ — Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard Editorial

"U.S. District Judge Michael McShane’s ruling was an eloquent and resounding affirmation of marriage equality. ‘There is no legitimate state interest that would justify the denial of the full and equal recognition, attendant rights, benefits, protections, privileges, obligations, responsibilities and immunities of marriage to same-gender couples,’ he wrote in a ruling on a lawsuit by four same-sex couples. ...

" ... ‘Where will all this lead?’ he asked. ‘I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other ... and rise’."

But, for any of us who still want to accentuate the negative:

— ‘The News is All Bad Today’ — Mike McInally | Corvallis (Ore.) Gazette-Times

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