- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 3, 2009

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

Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky., on bank bailouts: It is beyond disturbing that banks across the country that received bailout money from the federal government claim they do not know how they’re spending the money. …

The American taxpayers, who had to bail these banks out of financial crisis, deserve a better explanation. …

There is nothing in place to ensure if the money is being used as intended. Without controls or accountability, for all we know some of this money could be used for corporate bonuses, junkets or to buy other banks. And there are no consequences for banks who don’t use it for the purposes intended by Congress.

Part of the problem lies with Congress, which attached hardly any strings to the bailout money. The other part of the problem is that the Treasury Department never asked banks how the money would be spent when they handed it out. …

This is a slap in the face to those in Congress that voted to provide the $700 billion to the banks and most of all it is unfair to the taxpayers.

We were pleased to learn that lawmakers want to tighten the restrictions on the remaining, yet-to-be-released $350 billion block of bailout money before more cash is handed out.

This is a good start because more oversight is definitely needed. We as taxpayers deserve a full accounting of how this money is being spent.

On the Net: https://tinyurl.com/8fkmgf

Daily News, New York, on Israeli raids on Gaza: There is terrible guilt to be ascribed in Israeli raids on Gaza – and it falls squarely and solely on the shoulders of the death-to-Israel fanatics of Hamas.

It was rocket-firing, suicide-bombing Hamas that broke a six-month-long truce by raining missiles down on southern Israel, necessitating a stern – and remarkably precise – military response.

The predictable cries of outrage across the Arab world notwithstanding, two of the most interested parties in that axis – Egypt and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – took the remarkable step of pinning blame for the Palestinian lives that have been lost and the Palestinian blood that has been shed on the terror gang that rules Gaza. …

With the death toll standing at approximately 300, Hamas forces transformed themselves in front of television cameras from defiant fighters into supposed victims of supposed Israeli excess.

It was the same old story line, the one about brutal, brutal Israel, and it just doesn’t wash. Israel’s actions were, in fact, quite measured. …

There is no doubt civilians are among the dead or wounded. And there is guilt for that carnage.

It belongs to Hamas, which has woven terrorism into the very fabric of life in the Gaza Strip, placing mortar-firing militants side by side with children and exposing them to the risk of harm by a country forced to defend its own people.

On the Net:


The (Fargo, N.D.) Forum, on Republican sentiment since the Nov. 4 elections: Since Nov. 4, Republicans have been gallantly trying to put a happy, or at least hopeful, face on the party’s dismal condition. While it’s not a matter of life support, it is looking more and more like political wasting disease…. By any honest measure, Republicans took a beating on Election Day. Presidential candidate John McCain never found his footing. … He pandered to the far right, which long-time McCain admirers saw as out of character and independents saw as a cynical sellout. … What now for the GOP? Party thinkers and strategists have no roadmap. Some want the party to return to its small-government, no-taxes, family-values orthodoxy. Others are urging a big-tent change, by which Republicans can attract the right-of-center independents who tipped for Obama in November. The contest is for the soul of the party, and the outcome will determine whether Republicans can regain influence in 2010 and 2012 or be exiled to the political wilderness for a generation or more. … Probably the only hope Republicans have for 2010 is a failure of the new Obama administration to lift the nation out of recession. That perverse strategy puts the GOP in the awkward and dangerous position of wishing harm on the nation to advance their political agenda. And if Obama characterizes Republicans as obstructionists and opportunists, Republicans will lose again.

On the Net:


Fort Worth-Star (Texas) Telegram on the saga of Bernard Madoff: Investors ranging from wealthy individuals to charities were once mad about Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff – mad as in crazy about the guy – because of the stellar investment returns he produced for them.

Those investors continue to be mad about Madoff – but it’s now a far different mad, as in angry and resentful.

As astonished Americans learn of the enormous damage wrought by the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that prosecutors say was perpetrated by Madoff, timeless aphorisms come to mind. They might be cliches, but that doesn’t make them any less worthy in terms of lessons learned and relearned.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Investors enticed by the lure of exceptional double-digit returns year after year from Madoff’s firm ignored this adage at their peril.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Some investors and longstanding charitable and humanitarian organizations entrusted virtually all their money to Madoff, rather than spreading the risk. …

Sadly, the Madoff mess is making headlines just as many charitable and humanitarian organizations are hoping to benefit from year-end donations from contributors who want both to do good and secure year-end tax breaks.

Perhaps the first question many potential givers will ask charities is, “Have y’all put any of your money with Bernard Madoff?”

Organizations that can honestly answer “No” are much more likely to have a truly happy new year in 2009.

On the Net:


Los Angeles Times on Cuba’s new approach: Fifty years ago, Ernesto “Che” Guevara led a column of war-steeled rebels into Havana as Fidel Castro took the city of Santiago at the other end of the island and declared a Cuban revolution. This one, Castro said, would not be like Cuba’s 1898 independence from Spain, “when the Americans came and took over.”

Since that New Year’s night in 1959, 10 U.S. presidents have tried to overthrow, undermine or cajole Castro, to no avail. …

Fifty years of failure is too long. The incoming Obama administration should move quickly to embark on a rapprochement with Cuba and bring an end to punitive policies, especially the economic embargo. …

Many people throughout the world admire Cuba’s defiance of the United States, and the revolution has brought gains in health and education, but Cuba remains a one-party state without fundamental rights of expression and assembly, and individual freedoms. Its economy is broken; generations have lost faith in the revolution and, lacking prospects, want to join the larger world. …

Peaceful change in Cuba, 90 miles from Florida, is in the interest of the United States. We think communication, travel and trade are excellent ways to push for reform of the one-party state. Tourists carrying books and ideas serve as ambassadors for democracy. Manufactured goods speak for the creativity of an open economy. The Cuban people are highly educated after a 50-year revolution, and extremely resourceful after half a century of economic hardship. Their aspirations are fertile ground for change.

On the Net:


Chicago Sun-Times, on Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s Senate choice: The people of Illinois didn’t need another reason to throw Gov. Blagojevich out of office. They had plenty already. But on Tuesday, the governor gave the state one more excellent reason, this time by going back on his word and appointing a replacement to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat. By doing so, Blagojevich stole from the voters the chance to select their own senator through a special election. And whom did the governor choose? Just another Illinois politician, Roland Burris, the former attorney general whose political career is notable only for its lack of notable achievements. … We don’t know why Blagojevich chose Burris, who as Illinois comptroller was the first African American elected to statewide office. … But this is not about race, though Rep. Rush is right about the appalling absence of African Americans in the Senate. This is about a politically and ethically bankrupt governor making a decision that should have been turned over to the voters. We don’t know what will happen next. While Senate Democratic leaders have vowed to refuse Burris his seat, they may not have constitutional authority to do so. All we can predict with confidence is that the entire matter will wind up in court. Every day that Rod Blagojevich remains governor is another bad day for the state. We urge Illinois lawmakers to press on with impeachment.

On the Net:


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