Editorial roundup


The Daily Gazette of Schenectady (N.Y.), July 15, on Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Chances are you’ve never heard of Mitusye Endo.

And chances are you never would have, had it not been for a growing effort to have President Obama rescind Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is among those calling to have the nation’s highest civilian honor taken away from Cosby in the wake of a growing body of evidence that he used drugs in order to have sex with dozens of women during his gilded heyday as “America’s dad.”

New York’s junior senator has been a national leader in calling for greater protections for women, particularly against sexual harassment and assault in the U.S. military and on college campuses. This latest effort gloves with her overall campaign to improve the way women are treated in this country.

So what does someone named Mitusye Endo have to do with any of this?

Near the beginning of World War II, Endo was a 22-year-old living in California. But in the wake of anti-Japanese hysteria following Pearl Harbor, Endo — like more than 120,000 other Japanese-Americans — was stripped of her livelihood, her home and her family, and sent away to a government relocation camp.

But Endo didn’t sit idly by and accept her fate. She was among a handful of Japanese-Americans who stood up and challenged the constitutionality of the mass detentions. Offered the opportunity for release in exchange for dropping her case, she steadfastly refused. Instead she remained held in camps for two years while her case made its way through the courts. In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in her favor. Around the same time, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the camps closed and the detainees released.

Endo, who died in 2006, is an American hero. And why her name appears in the same breath as Bill Cosby’s now is because there is a separate effort afoot to have her awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the same award many are now seeking to have taken from Cosby.

Bill Cosby made significant contributions to American society through entertainment, philanthropy, and his efforts to empower and educate blacks. But his disgraceful and potentially criminal conduct toward women in the wake of overwhelming evidence, including his own testimony in court, demands he forfeit his place of honor among the greatest American citizens.

Mitusye Endo was a hero to her gender, a hero to her race, and a hero to all Americans. Yet Cosby holds our nation’s highest civilian honor and Mitusye does not.

How is any of this in any way right? And what message does that send?

• Tulsa World (Okla.), July 15, New Horizons sheds important light on Pluto

Are we there yet? Yes!

It took nine years, but Tuesday morning NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft passed by Pluto, the frozen world of mystery.

Many of us grew up knowing Pluto as the ninth planet in our solar system. It has since been demoted to “dwarf planet” status, but its fascination remains.

The results of the fly-by have already been dramatic.

New Horizons will gather 22 hours of scientific observations with the most anticipated data coming Tuesday evening.

Space exploration is never easy. It took the little probe nine years, traveling at 31,000 mph to reach its destination. It had to maneuver around five Plutonian moons and avoid space dust. Information from the spacecraft needed four hours to make the 3-billion mile distance to Earth.

And what a treasure trove that information will be. As the first images neared, NASA personnel, gathered in the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, which is operating the mission, and cheered.

There is much to cheer for. Only the United States has shown the resourcefulness, intelligence and drive to lead such an extraordinary mission.

New Horizons will move on into the darkness of space, but its scientific data will shine important new light on Pluto, and our entire galaxy.

• Texarkana Gazette (Ark.), July 11, Bad Idea

It’s a tragedy waiting to happen. For all concerned.

Recently a new design for a cellphone case has come to the attention of the media_and the police.

It’s designed to look like a handgun. A fairly realistic looking handgun. Especially from a distance. Where police officers on duty would most likely see it_and react accordingly.

The cases appear to be coming from Asia. And they do not have the distinctive orange mark at the end of the barrel required under federal law for imitation forearms.

That makes them especially dangerous when a police officer has to make a split-second decision.

The danger is compounded at night. These cases look most real when stuffed in the back pocket with only the handle showing, which is the way many people carry their phones. Reach for it at the wrong time and . well, we hope you get the idea.

We understand some folks may find such things cool. But make no mistake_looking cool with this phone case could cost you everything.