- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 28, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The following are excerpts of editorials that appeared in other newspapers:

Florida Today, Melbourne, on NASA and the Discovery flight delay: NASA managers continue huddling … on when to launch Discovery on the first of five scheduled shuttle missions this year.

The delays - the ship was set to fly Feb. 12 but might not get off the ground until April - are frustrating. But they also reflect a good thing:

Shuttle managers, concerned about newly found problems with fuel line valves, are playing it safe until engineers are confident it’s OK to light the engines.

That’s exactly what they should do, showing the commitment to flight safety they promised after the shuttle Columbia disaster six years ago this month. …

Managers held a marathon meeting Friday and decided to give engineers more “breathing room” to analyze information and come up with answers, including a valve redesign, before considering another launch date. …

Another fatal accident would be a mortal political wound for NASA and its moon exploration program, meaning safety must remain paramount.

On the Net:

http://tinyurl.com/ca7j93

The Daily Journal, Vineland, N.J., on federal efforts to prevent home foreclosures: Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent trying to rescue Wall Street. Finally, a federal plan is being proposed to help those in danger of losing their homes on Main Street.

President Barack Obama’s $75 billion plan to help 9 million families to restructure or refinance their mortgages to avoid foreclosure will begin to address the problems at the heart of the financial crisis and recession.

Those who oppose the proposal say it will end up hurting the economy, taxpayers and the troubled borrowers themselves. On the contrary, we believe doing nothing and allowing these millions of foreclosures to happen would be more damaging to the homeowners and families, the neighborhoods they live in and the economy. Laissez-faire market forces and greed on Wall Street helped to push the country into this recession, and only the federal government has the resources and power to prevent a depression.

Even with the federal stimulus and rescue funds, there are no guarantees. Even if the programs are successful, it will be a long, hard road to economic recovery. The economy is expected to contract by 1.3 percent this year, according to the Federal Open Market Committee. Unemployment could rise to 8.8 percent nationally. But those numbers would most likely be a lot worse if the federal government did nothing to assist Wall Street and Main Street. …

No, the housing lifeline won’t help everyone, but it will help stem the tide that, left unchecked, could lead to economic disaster.

On the Net:

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/

The Anniston (Ala.) Star, on the banking industry: These are unnerving times, especially in the banking industry. One slip of the tongue, one bit of uncertainty, one wrong move can send stocks dropping like a brick … Rumors circulated that the government was contemplating seizing, taking control of, taking over the assets of, or - as some are loathe to say - to nationalize some of the nation’s largest banks.

Citigroup and Bank of America were most frequently mentioned, but it was enough to spark a panicked, broad-based sell-off. The slide was arrested only after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs announced that it was the belief of the Obama administration “that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go.” …

Nothing, save perhaps the term “socialized medicine,” strikes fear into the hearts of most Americans than talk of nationalization. Never mind that the federal government engages in it, albeit on a smaller scale, weekly. It happens every time the FDIC - an innovation of a previous economic collapse also known as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - takes down a failing bank and resells it … Weak banks face difficult futures; some may need propping up through federal intervention, others may be faced with no other choice but to be rescued by the FDIC. Either way, something must be done with the truly insolvent ones as quickly as possible. …

On the Net:

http://tinyurl.com/b9ygad

Los Angeles Times, on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first official trip overseas: In her first official trip overseas, Hillary Rodham Clinton showed herself to be a different kind of Secretary of State for a different time. She broke with almost half a century of tradition in choosing Asia rather than Europe or the Middle East for her initial voyage, going to countries not only where American prestige is largely intact but whose help with the global economic crisis is, as she put it, “indispensable.” Throughout her tour of Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China, it might be said that Clinton aggressively projected a nonconfrontational foreign policy - and rightly so … Furthermore, the United States isn’t in a position right now to extol the virtues of American capitalism. Clinton could hardly urge less state intervention in the economy and currency exchange liberalization when the U.S. financial system has seized up and the government is practically nationalizing banks. And especially not when asking China to keep buying U.S. debt on top of the more than $600 billion it already owns.

So what did she do? Clinton used President Obama’s popularity and the force of her personality to try to restore America’s standing abroad … It was a successful first foray by the secretary of State. She’ll have other opportunities to use the moral and political force of a superpower - once this country has regained its standing - to address human rights abuses in China.

On the Net:

http://tinyurl.com/day5zd

The New York Times, on President Obama’s speech: If we have had doubts about the way President Obama has been handling the multitudinous disasters bequeathed to him by George W. Bush, starting with the cascading economic crisis, it was that we wanted to see more of Barack Obama the candidate in Barack Obama the president. He has not been assertive, ambitious, clear or audacious enough.

Mr. Obama’s first speech to a joint session of Congress … was his chance to change that, and he rose to the occasion. He sounded confident promising that the nation will rebuild and “emerge stronger than before” without minimizing the grave problems that must first be surmounted.

He drew a bright line between his view of the responsibilities of government and that of the Republicans who helped create this mess and have stubbornly provided no help to Mr. Obama in cleaning it up.

Mr. Obama rightly said that the country’s economic problems did not “begin when the housing market collapsed or the stock market sank.”

He said the nation has long known that it needs to break its dependence on oil, reform health care and fix its schools. “And though all these challenges went unsolved, we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and through our government, than ever before,” he said.

The economic crisis requires immediate, bold and comprehensive action. … Mr. Obama displayed the ambition and the sweeping vision that won him the White House and that this crisis demands. …

On the Net:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/opinion/25wed1.html?ref=opinion

The Independent, London, on Guantanamo: In a statement issued on his return from Guantanamo Bay, Binyam Mohamed said his worst moment was when he realized that “the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence”. The very people “who I had hoped would come to my rescue … had allied themselves with my abusers.” The truth, he said, needed to be known.

His plea was echoed yesterday by Mike Gapes, chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, who said that the US ought to reveal its information on Mr. Mohamed’s treatment, lest the issue drag on “drip, drip, drip”… The Foreign Secretary himself, though, sailed serenely on, insisting for the umpteenth time that the British Government abhors torture, and neither orders nor condones it.

Which does not answer Mr. Mohamed’s charge. He did not claim that British intelligence was actually doing the dirty work, but that it was complicit at one or more removes. Nor can that charge be dismissed so easily; it has been made in identical terms by others who have returned from Guantanamo.

Mr. Gapes is right. Too much “drip, drip, drip” threatens long-term damage to the reputation of the Foreign Secretary and the Government as a whole. The documents must be released.

On the Net:

http://tinyurl.com/b6jhlz

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