Cheers and jeers

    Cheers — for the destruction of the last remaining chemical weapons stockpiled in Hermiston. Incineration of the deadly substances stored there has been proceeding for seven years to meet a 2012 deadline for the U.S. to comply with the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention. The nearly half-century-old Umatilla Chemical Depot, one of nine repositories across the country, once held 12 percent of the nation's chemical weapons, including VX nerve gas, sarin and blistering mustard agent.

    Three facilities remain, but all will be finished destroying their stockpiles by January. In a world where war is still an unfortunate reality, at least this country no longer possesses substances designed to maim human beings in horrific ways.

    Jeers — to presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who can't seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. In an interview in Sunday's Parade magazine — carried in the Mail Tribune — Perry was asked if he believes President Obama was born in the United States.

    "I have no reason to think otherwise," Perry replied — which is not the same as saying, simply, "yes." When pressed, Perry kept digging, saying, "I don't have a definitive answer," and mentioning that he'd dined with Donald Trump the night before, who doesn't believe the birth certificate released by the White House is real. Perry ultimately said, "... it doesn't matter. He's elected. It's a distractive issue."

    So why continue the distraction? Someone should ask Perry that question. On second thought, don't.

    Cheers — to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, who did the right thing by approving the Regional Problem Solving plan laying out areas for future population growth without last-minute changes proposed by the county Planning Commission against the wishes of Medford city officials. The plan still isn't a done deal — state officials must sign off on it, and land-use watchdog groups could mount a court challenge — but it's moving in the right direction.

    Cheers — to an anonymous donor who gave a matching grant of $100,000 to the cash-strapped Southern Oregon Humane Society in memory of her beloved pet cat. The money will help rebuild dog kennels at the society's 83-year-old shelter.

    The elderly woman loved her cat, Feia, so much that when the animal died 11 years ago the woman never got another cat. Now her pet will be memorialize by helping keep other animals warm and dry.

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