Scientific breakthroughs, when optimally timed, arrive at the precise moment in history when they can do the most good in the world.
Scientists and law enforcement officers view a new product from Highland Pharmaceuticals in St. Louis as a potential ''game changer'' if it becomes widely adopted. The product, Tarex, is a formulation of pseudoephedrine that cannot be easily converted to crystal meth production.
Federal regulators should move swiftly to evaluate the potential for Tarex to deal a crushing blow to meth makers. The product is expected to reach the market this summer; no time should be lost if it provides all of the desired medicinal benefits for cold and allergy sufferers without providing any help to illegal drug makers.
St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press
American heroism in Afghanistan
All that Army National Guardsman Spec. Dennis Weichel knew when a group of children neared his convoy in March was that they could be in danger. The Afghan children, in a northeastern province, were in the area trying to retrieve shell casings at a firing range to sell for scrap.
Weichel leaped from his vehicle to get the children out of the way. But then one of them darted under a vehicle, whereupon Weichel crawled under that vehicle and pushed the child out of the way. The youngster made it. Weichel was run over and killed.
And in southeastern Pakistan, medics from a military combat outpost saved the life of a child seriously injured by a homemade bomb. The bomb was the creation of his father, a member of the Taliban organization.
Civilian casualties are an unfortunate reality of war, despite American efforts to limit them. Then there are awful aberrations, such as the deaths of 17 Afghan civilians, allegedly at the hands of a U.S. soldier who has been charged with 17 counts of murder.
But most members of U.S. forces do all within their power, even putting themselves in danger - in the case of Weichel, deadly danger - to help civilians. And Afghan civilians know it. Of the contrast between Weichel's action and that of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, charged in those 17 killings, one Afghan who happens to be the uncle of the boy Weichel saved, said, ''As you know, all five fingers on one hand are not equal, and it's the same with American soldiers.''
Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer
That would have made for must-see television as the high court took up the case of the controversial health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010.
Grassley was one of the lucky few - about 250 in all - to have secured a seat to witness the sides argue the health care case before the nine justices. Fortunately, the court offered audio recordings of the proceedings on its website after each session.
Beyond the interest of adults, imagine the educational possibilities for students if provided access to the Supreme Court's proceedings - not just the health care matter, but all issues that come before the court.
In this day and age, with the technology that's available, it's time for the judicial branch of government to stop being so skittish about cameras in courtrooms.
Burlington (Iowa) Hawk Eye