MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

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October 8, 2013

EDITORIALS: Two views of the government shutdown; Chicago Fire anniversary

(Continued)

Whatever you think of the Affordable Care Act, it's the law of the land. It is happening, here and now, and there is no turning back. That's the message that Obama has delivered to tea party Republicans, who've done nothing but serve as obstructionists.

Don't forget, the Affordable Care Act was written during Obama's first term in office. Then he was re-elected to a second term by American voters. Talk about the will of the American people.

The recent launch of the Health Insurance Marketplace, a key provision of the ACA, is tangled in red tape. It has problems, without a doubt.

But the thrust of the ACA - to provide affordable health care and health insurance to millions of Americans who cannot afford either - is noble. House Republicans should give up this silly charade that portrays it as something that can be negotiated away. Above all, they should stop holding the federal budget hostage.

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Remember fire's anniversary with preparedness

(Kokomo, Ind., Tribune)

The Great Chicago Fire broke out Oct. 8, 1871, killing more than 250 people and left 100,000 homeless. The anniversary of the disaster has been remembered for nearly a century  with efforts to spread the word about fire dangers — Fire Prevention Week, it now is called.

Still, too many Americans are unprepared.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have a home fire escape plan, according to the National Fire Protection Association, but only a quarter has actually practiced it.

Two years ago, home fires injured someone every half-hour, according to the association. Eight people died in fires every day.

Times have changed in the 142 years since the apocryphal story of Mrs. O'Leary's cow tipping over a lamp in Chicago: The leading cause of fires and fire-related injuries today is cooking, though smoking materials are blamed for a quarter of the fire-related deaths.

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