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Excerpts of recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

On guns on campus:

Thank goodness common sense carried the day last week when student leaders at Middle Tennessee State University quashed an effort to allow people with gun permits to go armed on campus.

The Student Government Association voted 24-3 against the resolution. The Student Defense Resolution called for the university to petition the state Legislature in favor of allowing faculty, students and staff who have gun permits to carry guns on the Murfreesboro campus.

We can understand the safety concerns that spawned the resolution: A female student from Cordova critically beaten in an MTSU campus apartment; the fatal shooting of University of Memphis football player Taylor Bradford at a U of M student housing development and, of course, the April 16 killing rampage at Virginia Tech.

But, having a bunch of armed people wandering around the campus and sitting in classrooms is not the way to combat campus crime. For one thing, having a gun permit is no guarantee the gun owner will wield the weapon responsibly, creating a bigger safety hazard for students and staff. More guns are not the answer. More security patrols, improved campus lighting, more surveillance cameras and increased safety education for students and staff are more efficient measures — and a lot safer.

– The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

On the SCHIP veto:

The president, in one of his rare vetoes, blocked legislation last week that would have increased the cost of the Children’s Health Insurance Program by 140 percent. The president has proposed a more modest 20 percent increase, although he signaled over the weekend that he would consider a compromise.

With Congress unlikely to have the votes to override the president, it should go back to the drawing board and draw up a renewal of CHIP that keeps with its original intent.

The federal-state program, when it was initially enacted a decade ago, was designed to help those families who earned too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance. It was supposed to provide medical coverage only for the children of these families.

Over the years, though, the program has been twisted into a shape beyond what its original authors intended. Some states have gotten the approval of federal regulators to add adults to the coverage and to increase the income eligibility levels into the ranks of the middle class.

In fact, fueling Congress’ push for the dramatic CHIP expansion is a desire by the more populous, more prosperous states to cover families who truly aren’t doing so badly. ...

Before Congress creates a sweeping new health care entitlement, it needs to take care of the programs already in place. And before it extends benefits to middle-class kids, it needs to first cover all of their low-income counterparts.

– The Greenwood (Miss.) Commonwealth

On federal aid to raise houses:

FEMA’s rigid interpretation of rules would punish 29,000 Louisiana residents who have already elevated their homes in anticipation of grant money, but in a victory for common sense, the agency now says it will likely reverse that position.

... The agency had been insisting that it needed to perform environmental and historical property reviews and get proof of cost-effectiveness before any work starts, otherwise it couldn’t release elevation grant money. If the agency were to stick with that position, homeowners who have already done elevation work or even started it would not be eligible for grants.

But homeowners who forged ahead and elevated their homes before getting any grant money shouldn’t suffer for showing resolve and initiative. ... Cutting them out makes absolutely no sense and is horribly unfair.

But the agency is reconsidering that nonsensical stance. ...

That’s a turnabout for FEMA, which frequently claims to be unable to modify its policies. Initially, FEMA officials maintained that the agency could do nothing on its own and would need Congress to pass legislation changing the rules.

Louisiana officials say the change is the result of embarrassing news coverage. ...

FEMA should be embarrassed at the stranglehold that bureaucratic red tape has put on recovery. And the agency ought to look for ways to unsnarl twisted policies — not make people plead for common sense.

– The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

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