- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 16, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The following are excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad.

Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Ill., on positive news on the economy:

Did we hear that correctly?

Did Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke actually say something positive this week about the economy?

Something about it starting to grow again in 2009, after 18 months of a deep recession?



Something about stronger home sales, increased consumer spending and improved lending conditions.

No reason to clean out our ears. Bernanke did say that Tuesday during a meeting of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

He tempered his optimism by saying that the recovery initially would be weak, and that more jobs would be lost even as the recovery begins.

But after a year-and-a-half of doomsday-like headlines about crumbling financial institutions, free-falling home values, eroding retirement savings and skyrocketing unemployment, we’ll take just about any positive news on the economic front. …

Tough times still are ahead. Many folks likely won’t regain what they’ve lost during this recession whether in home value, retirement savings, income - for a while. But the economic news, finally, is encouraging. And we’ll take that, no matter how tempered it is.

On the Net:

https://www.nwherald.com/articles/2009/05/06/r-p7orpa3rvi6tyw7zfm8oa/ index.xml

Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tennessee, on President Obama’s implementation of tax policy:

The administration of President Barack Obama certainly doesn’t shy away from taking on tough challenges. It jumped in last week by announcing a far-reaching program to raise $210 billion by cracking down on overseas tax avoidance and tax evasion. …

Perhaps for tactical reasons the president began his drive for larger tax reform by taking on entities for whom the general public has little sympathy, multinational corporations that legally game the system to avoid taxes - the White House says that because of various breaks and credits the effective tax rate on U.S.-based multinationals is 2.3 percent - and wealthy individuals who evade taxes by hiding their money in offshore tax havens. …

The biggest single change the president is proposing is to change the laws that allow businesses to take immediate deductions for investments in their overseas operations but defer paying taxes on the profits from those operations until the profits are repatriated to the U.S. An estimated $700 billion in deferred profits is parked overseas. …

Obama’s overseas crackdown will require legislation, and here, he will learn an even larger lesson: Behind every provision of the U.S. tax code lurks a member of Congress. The lawmakers don’t like the public to be reminded of this, but our tax laws are purely their handiwork.

The Internal Revenue Service only enforces them.

On the Net:

https://tinyurl.com/ptuavj

South Bend Tribune, Indiana, on President Obama’s appearance at the University of Notre Dame:

Talking to one another, seeking common ground, never will resolve the differences between those who believe women should have the right to choose an abortion and those who believe abortion is murder. The gulf is just too wide and the feelings are too strong.

We do think, however, that those who disagree with President Barack Obama on abortion, and those who agree with him, can find common ground regarding his upcoming visit to the University of Notre Dame.

Obama was offered the honor of delivering the May 17 commencement address. He did Notre Dame the honor of accepting. For both these facts, we are pleased - and especially so for the graduating class. Its members will be sent forth in life with the eloquent words of the leader of the free world. It will be a wonderful and memorable event for them. …

All the same, strong feelings on this issue were to be expected. What wasn’t expected - and what is a very great shame - is the conduct of people who have traveled to South Bend from other places with no purpose other than to make trouble and grab headlines. …

No one can stop anti-abortion activist Randall Terry from vowing to turn the Notre Dame campus into a “political mud pit” and the commencement ceremony into a “circus.” But we can, as a community, show our shared disdain for his words. This is a community where not everyone agrees. But it also is a community where people can disagree without threats or expressions of hatred.

On the Net:

https://tinyurl.com/ot7c7y

Tribune-Chronicle, Warren, Ohio, on U.S. policy toward North Korea’s nuclear ambitions:

North Korea probably will test another nuclear weapon soon, President Obama’s coordinator for policy on weapons of mass destruction predicted Friday. There is no reason to doubt Obama aide Gary Samore’s assessment particularly in view of the world community’s failure to do anything meaningful to punish North Korea for its recent test firing of a medium-range missile.

At first glance, Samore’s policy prescription for the United States does not sound appealing. “We’ll just wait,” he said in answer to a question about how Obama would respond to a new nuclear weapons test.

But Samore may have a good point. He explained that he believes a nuclear weapons test would convince other nations to support new sanctions against North Korea. He added that Chinese leaders are “very, very angry at the North Koreans.”

We hope so. Because unless something is done to stop North Korea’s steady march toward nuclear missile capability, that country soon will pose a threat to peace - and perhaps to millions of lives.

Obama and his diplomats, in choosing the “just wait” strategy, need to work intensively behind the scenes to mobilize international anger at the threat from North Korean aggressiveness. Enlisting China in a serious campaign to stop Pyongyang’s technological mobilization may well be the most promising avenue of action.

Beijing needs to be convinced that it is not in China’s interests to allow North Korea to proceed with its weapons buildup.

On the Net:

https://tiny.cc/2Y2Zh

Dallas Morning News, on a balanced energy policy:

It’s been a long time coming, but Congress finally is taking a serious stab at shaping an energy policy for America. Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts deserve credit for forcing Congress to confront our national addiction to dirty fossil fuels.

Make no mistake, though: The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 isn’t the comprehensive energy strategy this editorial board advocates and this nation urgently requires. The bill is long on environmental policy mandates but short on energy. …

No energy or environmental bill can be complete without a serious and comprehensive strategy to develop nuclear energy, essentially a carbon-free but reliable power source. …

This bill must streamline the permitting process for nuclear plants, address safety concerns and provide incentives for companies to invest in nuclear power. …

It’s unlikely that this very complicated bill will be ready for the full House to consider by Memorial Day, as Waxman and Markey had hoped, but however long it takes, Congress needs to press forward with a plan to wean the nation from dirty energy.

The time for talk is over, and Congress owes it to our future to pass a better-balanced energy bill this year.

On the Net:

https://tinyurl.com/pbdsqp

Los Angeles Times, on the swine flu response:

It looks like health authorities and the public can breathe a sigh of cautious relief (covering their mouths, we hope) as new information indicates that although the flu formerly known as swine spreads easily, its severity appears on par with that of most other flu viruses.

That’s not to trivialize the H1N1 strain or any other; influenza kills an average of 36,000 Americans a year. That’s all the more reason why the diminished alarm doesn’t present government officials with an opportunity to relax. Instead, they should build on lessons learned and work on bridging gaps in the nation’s public health network. …

Where the nation’s response most needs improvement is with long-term public policy. Legislation and public education campaigns should foster healthy individual actions - having people stay home when they first start feeling sick, for instance, or getting them to wash their hands frequently. …

The greatest danger would be complacency about the toll taken by flu. Epidemiologists warn that even if this outbreak proves milder than expected, the virus could return in a more dangerous form in the fall. Hopefully, by that time a vaccine will be available. Health authorities, meanwhile, should use the current sense of urgency to call for common-sense policies that will keep us all safer.

On the Net:

https://tinyurl.com/pkjnqv

Watertown Daily Times, New York, on Manny Ramirez:

Major League Baseball’s 50-game suspension of Manny Ramirez for a drug violation shows that the Steroid Era is very much alive.

One would think that after all the discussions, hearings and disappointments surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs, players would get the message.

The fans are sick of it. Much suspicion clouds the game. Some of baseball’s most prominent players and retired stars are implicated. …

Manny Ramirez has helped spark the Los Angeles Dodgers to one of its best starts in recent years. He claims a doctor prescribed the female fertility drug HCG for undisclosed health reasons. At the same time, the player took responsibility and acknowledged his mistake.

The steroid problem lingers, raising questions of whether the league is doing enough. If a high-profile star like Mr. Ramirez is using illegal drugs, what about the player who has yet to make the majors?

Steroid use remains a vexing problem for baseball. It continues to undermine the game and set a terrible example for young players. Some have argued that the Ramirez case shows that a testing system is in place and being enforced. We’ll see.

On the Net:

https://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20090512/OPINION01/305129 975/-1/OPINION

Pensacola News Journal, Florida, on how charities and nonprofit organizations are seeing fewer donations during tough economic times:

One of the great ironies of charitable work is that when times are hard and people need help, charities and other nonprofits see donations drop.

It’s understandable. Even for people who have not lost a job or faced a home foreclosure, the shaky economy casts a pall over all money matters, and financial uncertainty forces people to hold on to what they may have. …

Needy people who struggle to provide for themselves depend on help agencies and charitable groups to make ends meet.

Even during this economic downturn, America remains a rich nation, and this community has shown in the past that it is willing and able to take care of our problems at home. Those who can are urged to once again prove they will help to ensure the needs of the needy are met.

All of those who have the ability and the resources to assist local charities in doing their work should do so.

During these tough times, when charities will be called on even more to support those in need, let’s not forget to do our part. Be generous with your time, your money, with donations of food or clothing.

Every little bit helps those who give help and those who receive it.

On the Net:

https://www.pnj.com/article/20090512/OPINION/905120310/1020

Times, London, on the slaughter in Sri Lanka:

The United Nations has spoken of a “bloodbath.” Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary-General, was “appalled” at the killing of hundreds of trapped civilians at the weekend, and called for an immediate halt to the Sri Lankan Army’s indiscriminate shelling of the tiny coastal strip, the last hold-out on the island of the rebel Tamil Tigers. But the shelling goes on. …

This carnage must stop. Already more than 6,500 civilians have been killed and 14,000 injured in the first four months of the year. …

The Sri Lankan Government has been deaf to all entreaty. It sees itself on the verge of victory to end Asia’s longest-running civil war. It believes that the fighters from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are defeated and wants to finish them off. …

Of course, the Tigers are at least as guilty (as) Hamas of using terror to achieve their ends, of holding civilians hostage and of blocking their escape. Their tactics are ruthless, their exploitation of human shields inhumane and their moral claims worthless. But that does not justify a campaign of annihilation. If Colombo will not show mercy, it must pay a price. The IMF bailout package of $2 billion must be suspended. The European Union’s trade preference agreement must be reviewed. Western governments should treat Sri Lanka as a pariah until it halts its heavy guns. Slaughter is a barbaric end to war.

On the Net:

https://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading- article/article6276 147.ece

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