President Bush's stage-managed economic forum in Texas yesterday was billed as a chance for average Americans to express their views on the economy. Much was made of the wisdom of ordinary people, as opposed to Washington. It was thus striking that the Federal Reserve Board seemed to capture much better the American anxiety about the economy right now. The Fed did not lower interest rates, but it did suggest that the economy was not gathering strength -- a change from recent pronouncements. Understandably, the markets, which fell again, seemed to be paying more attention to the Fed than to Texas. ...
The forum drew more than 200 workers, business people and others to Baylor University, a short hop from the president's Texas ranch. He did well in conveying his faith that the economy would get back on track -- better than he does at news conferences, or even in his Wall Street speech earlier this summer. But it was dismaying that after promising a forum of diverse views, the White House ended up with something so transparently scripted that the words of many of the speakers echoed Mr. Bush's own speeches.
We applaud the Immigration and Naturalization Service for its recent arrests of unscrupulous child smugglers who exploit impoverished immigrants and put their lives in danger. The agency should be doing more to crack down on this kind of exploitation.
Too often, all we hear from INS is about undocumented workers being rounded up at the local factory or restaurant and deported before they have a chance to collect their pay, or being chased down along the border like hunted animals after U.S. companies have encouraged them to make the trip. Yesterday's news that the INS had busted a child-smuggling ring was refreshing. ...
INS agents said the cost to smuggle the children was about $5,000 per child. The fee was often paid by parents who are in the U.S. illegally and wanted desperately to be reunited with their children -- but the smugglers also provided children to be put to work or exploited in other ways.
The smugglers used advertisements in newspapers, including U.S. publications, as one of their means to attract customers. The fact that they felt comfortable to advertise such services -- however covert -- shows that the INS should devote even more effort to thwarting the illegal activities of smugglers, who victimize large groups of people on a regular basis.
Los Angeles Times
For 22 hours last week, 50 doctors, nurses and other medical staffers performed the intricate, delicate work of separating year-old Guatemalan twins joined at the head since birth. Did anyone not feel a wallop of emotion when the UCLA doctors declared the operation a success? Did anyone not, a moment later, imagine such fine medicine's staggering financial wallop?
Fortunately for the parents of "Las Maritas," a young and humble couple from an impoverished village in southern Guatemala, an organization called Healing the Children paid for the girls' trip to Los Angeles. The medical personnel involved in the surgery donated their services, and the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA hopes that private contributions will pay for the estimated $1.5 million in other costs. ...
Still, thousands of Southern California children need medical and dental attention -- as do countless others in less fortunate places. The Guatemalan twins have inspired thousands to open their checkbooks. The less dramatic good work going on each day could use support too.
Forty years ago this week, in August of 1962, Jamaica became an independent nation, casting off British colonial rule in an orderly process that gave its people a head start on succeeding at self-governance.
Jamaica, the third-largest Caribbean island after Cuba and Hispaniola, has a deserved status as a tourist mecca. And where once its main export was sugar cane, today many elements of Jamaica's culture -- everything from music to food -- are a popular commodity abroad. Jamaica's music in particular is an export phenomenon. Reggae, ska, dance-hall, even the metal drum bands that are synonymous with tropical island life are just a few permutations of Jamaica's complex musical tapestry. Much of the inspiration for its diverse music springs from Jamaica's history, where slavery and colonial exploitation play large roles.
In part the spread of Jamaican culture comes from the migration of Jamaicans themselves. ...
Many emigrés stay close to family and friends on the island. They rightly worry about Jamaica's biggest problem, violent crime -- much of which is connected to the illicit drug trade. ...
Jamaica is a land of natural abundance and beauty. Socially and politically, it ranks among the more successful Caribbean nations overall. Yet the Jamaican government cannot afford to allow the drug trade and the violence, corruption and moral ruin that it spawns to continue to grow.
In recent months, Jamaica's leaders have promised...to crack down on the big drug dealers as never before. They must follow through on this commitment in order to eliminate what amounts to the greatest threat to this young democracy's stability and economic well-being.
Salt Lake Deseret News
One difference between the United States and Colombia is this: When the U.S. president talks of a "bunker mentality," "getting targeted by an opponent" or "being under siege," he's speaking metaphorically.
In Colombia, the president is talking about the bullets whizzing by his head.
Criticism in Colombia often takes the form of cannon shells. And the splash of violence that accompanied the recent presidential inauguration of Alvaro Uribe in Colombia promises to be the first firefight in a grueling campaign. Uribe has sworn to stamp out the right-wing death squads, the left-wing rebels, then battle the country's drug lords. It's an aggressive agenda that even Douglas MacArthur would admire.
Now President Uribe is asking the United States to stock his war chest with more bombs and bucks. He wants American firepower to back his battle against the thugs.
America should let Uribe have it, so he can let them have it. ...
Like any foreign venture, this one must be accompanied by a strong effort at home. But politics is the art of the possible. And turning up the heat on narco-terrorism is now a definite possibility.
Besides, as long as America is stalking scoundrels who want to undermine the nation, putting the mugs of Colombia's cartel members on the same wanted poster as Osama makes perfect sense.
(Compiled by United Press International)