- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 14, 2009



The following are excerpts from editorials that ran in other newspapers:

The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C., on the stimulus bill: The economic stimulus bill the Senate passed with only three Republican votes … was an improvement on the version the House passed with no Republican votes two weeks ago – and not because the Senate bill is projected to cost $19 billion more. The House bill was so heavy on pork and so light on stimulating tax cuts that the Senate had a very low bar to clear.

But while a major stimulus effort from Washington is clearly needed, the immensity of the looming red-ink spending blitz raises serious reservations about not just its short-term effectiveness but its long-term consequences. That goes for both versions of the stimulus package. … What should be the limited nature of this economic rescue mission was reflected in President Obama’s words at his … news conference at the White House: “It is absolutely true that we can’t depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth. That is and must be the role of the private sector. But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life.”

The stimulus package should be recognized as an extraordinary measure necessitated by “this particular moment,” not as the latest episode in an incremental takeover of the U.S. economy.

On the Net:


Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on the California woman who gave birth to octuplets: How in the world is she going to do it? And what is it going to cost the rest of us?

Those are the central questions swirling around the once-inspiring story of Nadya Suleman, the 33-year-old California woman who gave miraculous birth on Jan. 26 to octuplets.

The medical success story that warmed the hearts of millions quickly made as many jaws go slack when we later learned that Suleman will not only be caring for eight newborns, but that she already has six other young children at home, including one with autism.

The logistics of trying to care for that many young children would be enough to drive any parent batty. But add to the impossible equation that Suleman is a single mother, she lives with her parents in a small home, she is unemployed and a number of the newborns will face almost certain medical problems, and you’ve got really long odds at a happily ever-after.

Almost everyone has an opinion about Suleman’s decision to take these odds, and to drag the rest of us along with her, since it is hard to believe this family will not be needing society’s help. Let’s call it what it is: indulgent, irresponsible and unethical on Suleman’s part, and on the part of the doctors who helped her get pregnant for the fifth time. …

IVF has proven a miracle for so many. Perhaps the saddest part of all is to see it so flippantly abused.

On the Net:


The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, on caps on executive compensation: This much can be said for President Obama’s action in limiting compensation for senior executives of financial institutions that go back to the public for more bailout money: Wall Street had it coming.

The American people have been reminded of corporate cluelessness a lot lately – the $18.4 billion in bonuses paid out by New York financial houses in a calamitous economy, the Super Bowl fan fest put on by Bank of America, the Palm Beach conference hosted by Morgan Stanley, the aborted plans of Wells Fargo to reward employees in Las Vegas … They don’t get it, but now they might. Some critics inevitably will call this creeping socialism, but in fact Mr. Obama’s order does not go all that far. It does not apply to those institutions that have already received bailout funds, only to those that seek aid under the next phase.

… In the beggar class of financial institutions, senior executives will be limited to an annual salary of $500,000, which might seem a lot to most Americans but is not much by the standards of Wall Street. … But the new rules also will serve several beneficial purposes – discouraging any gold rush to get a bailout and striking a blow for ordinary Americans. …

On the Net:


The Record, Hackensack, N.J., on Food and Drug Administration oversight of agricultural products: Add the Food and Drug Administration to the long list of “things to fix” in Washington. And put it at the top.

The federal agency is responsible for overseeing the safety of about 80 percent of the nation’s food supply. But it is understaffed, underfunded and unprepared to carry out its mission, even as its purview grows.

Unfortunately, this was made clear again last week when health officials announced that 23 New Jersey residents were made sick by salmonella lurking in peanut products. … The FDA does not keep an outbreak tally, so we don’t know if incidences are increasing. But we don’t have to reach back far to remember others: August’s salmonella outbreak first attributed to tomatoes, later pinned to peppers; last spring’s salmonella outbreak from puffed cereal, and the 2006 outbreak of E. coli in spinach. According to the Government Accountability Office, there were at least 96 outbreaks in 10 years related to fresh produce alone. … In January, the FDA did inspect the Peanut Corporation of America and found a host of problems, including the repeated practice of having a private laboratory retest batches of peanuts found to contain salmonella. The second tests came out clean and the products were shipped.

We ask the FDA to ensure that our food is safe. Yet we don’t provide it with money to do so. Partly, that’s the FDA’s fault – its plan for future operations is oddly vague. But it’s up to us to insist on better funding and better planning. We can’t rely on luck to keep us healthy.

On the Net:


Daily News, New York, on A-Rod and steroids: We now know it beyond any doubt. Alex Rodriguez is a liar. … Yes, the Yankees’ $300 million man can hit for average. He can hit for power. He can field. He just cannot conduct himself with dignity.

“I was stupid,” Alex Rodriguez told ESPN on Monday, as though intelligence had anything to do with the colossal failure in judgment and character that led him to juice up.

He sounded contrite. So what? If we pat a man on the back for finally admitting he cheated after years of denials – breaking faith with the fans and the sport – we may as well let criminals go free when they plead guilty. … Just two years ago, Katie Couric asked him point-blank: Have you ever used steroids or any other performance-enhancing substance?

“No,” said A-Rod. Period, end of sentence.

Have you ever been tempted?

“No.” Period, end of sentence.

He was The One. The best player in baseball. There were visions of the day when he would take back the home run crown – set by Ruth, held with grace by Aaron, stolen by Bonds.

There was apparently even a $6 million incentive waiting for him when he became Homerun King.

There was, unfortunately, no incentive for honor.

On the Net:


Bergens Tidende, Bergen, Norway, on the war in Afghanistan: The international effort in Afghanistan is struggling uphill. It is time to change strategy. It is impossible to win a military victory in Afghanistan. On the contrary, we have to concede that it is the enemy that has been on the offensive recently. … In the fall, it will be eight years since the U.S.-led force went into Afghanistan. The goal was to capture Osama bin Laden, crush al-Qaida, and overthrow the Taliban regime. The last item went relatively well, and many believed the most important goal had been achieved.

But that’s when the problems started. Invading forces had to enter dubious alliances with various warlords. The elected government, with President Hamid Karzai in the lead, mainly controlled Kabul. … Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, a British commander … has called for negotiations with the Taliban. That was brusquely rejected by the Karzai regime in Kabul. Now the tone is different.

We believe (it) is clear that the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) with have the same experience as the Soviet forces in the 1979-1989 period: It is impossible to win a military victory in Afghanistan.

On the Net:


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