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Editorial Roundup - Oct. 26, 2012

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The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, on the so-called perversion files (Oct. 21) — The real perversion of the Boy Scouts of America’s so-called perversion files, compiled to blacklist accused sexual predators, is that they did more to protect the reputation of the organization than to safeguard young, vulnerable boys.
By quietly pushing volunteer scout leaders to resign in lieu of reporting accusations of sexual abuse to the police and other authorities, the Boy Scouts failed boys and their families, denying them an opportunity to seek justice.
National President Wayne Perry admits that the organization handled these cases incorrectly and has changed its practices. Yet it now refuses to release files compiled since 1985.
If the Scouts leadership is as contrite and as serious about protecting youngsters as it claims, it will open those files. A bunker mentality won’t help children.
The Roman Catholic Church suffered legal, financial and moral fallout after its own scandal came to light, but has attempted to redeem itself by adopting far more open practices.
Many of the Scouts’ long-secret files — for 1965 to 1985 — were released recently as a result of an Oregon lawsuit. The files are a trove of tragedy. ...

The Dallas Morning News on U.S.-Iran talks (Oct. 23) — Presidential debates on international affairs almost always invoke a lot of tough talk, and Oct. 22’s (debate) was no exception, as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney used the topic of Iran to burnish their macho credentials.
Negotiating directly with Tehran doesn’t sound tough, which may be why both candidates evaded it when the subject came up. But direct U.S.-Iran talks must at least be attempted before war becomes the only remaining option to halt Iran’s quest for bomb-grade nuclear material.
The New York Times reported that Iran and the United States had agreed to direct negotiations. That would mark a bold and potentially perilous move by the Obama administration, which says the report isn’t true.
As the Bush administration’s chief Iran negotiator, former undersecretary of state R. Nicholas Burns told The Times negotiations make sense. “What are we going to do instead? Drive straight into a brick wall called war in 2013, and not try to talk to them?” ...
So, yes, the two absolutely should talk directly. But that must not be confused by Tehran as signaling a collapse of the international resolve that has led to unprecedented harsh economic sanctions. ...

The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y., on repaying student loans (Oct. 22) — Loan debt incurred by the average college student jumped to a record $26,500 last year, 5 percent over 2010, so new Obama administration rules aimed at easing payback schedules are welcome. The only problem, according to a report published recently, is that the one-size-fits-all rules will end up benefiting people with high incomes disproportionately more than those with low ones. That’s not how it should be.
One of the president’s big campaign talking points is about helping the middle class. The new rules — which reduce the percentage of discretionary income factored into loan repayment schedules, as well as the length of the repayment term — would certainly do that. But according to an analysis by the New America Foundation independent think tank, they would help people with high incomes the most and those with low incomes the least. ...
The foundation report claims the skewed arrangement has emboldened financial planners to encourage graduate students to borrow to the max, pay the smallest they can get away with, then walk away after 20 years, leaving the government holding the bag.
Clearly, the rules need to be changed ...