Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad:
The Telegraph on the Manchester Arena bombing:
They stood, arms folded, waiting for their girls to come running into their arms. They craned their necks, better to scan the crowds and pick out their child, as parents always do — at school gates, on sports days, at the end of long-promised nights out to packed concert halls. But some parents had to keep waiting, in growing anguish. For some, the girls never came back. For them, and for popular perception of terrorism in this country, everything has changed.
A threshold has been crossed. Until yesterday, many of us did not acknowledge, even to ourselves, the extent to which we were prepared to coexist with the threat of Islamic extremism. Adults commuting to work, in packed trains and Tubes, shrugged in the face of what they knew to be a minuscule yet persistent risk.
But the vile suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena, which targeted children — specifically adolescent girls — has changed that. Dry, intellectual assessment of the danger has been replaced by an emotional response. How could it be otherwise when one of the first victims identified was an eight-year-old, Saffie-Rose Roussos? The lives of our children are now in the crosshairs. Despite the astonishing depravity of Islamic State, which claimed the attack, this, somehow, has come as a shock.
Of course, this bombing was calculated to upset, and in that it has achieved its aim. But it was also designed to provoke and in that, it is a matter of great pride to record, it has failed. Mancunians rushing to the aid of their fellow citizens on Monday demonstrated their selflessness and solidarity within minutes of the bomber’s grotesque strike.
That the nation has responded with its traditional stoicism does not mean, however, that this is business as usual.
We must take this attack for what it was — a direct assault on Western values, on a liberal way of life which enshrines, celebrates, and vows to protect joyful self-expression of the kind which, when it animates excited adolescents heading out to their first gig, is gloriously unmatched.
This was, moreover, an attack on girls — many at the age when the extremists would have been demanding they cover themselves from head to foot and take a jihadi for a husband. The fate of women in Britain — and throughout the Western world — is, thankfully, very different. It hardly needs stating that opportunities to study, work, and enjoy life must be protected.
But it does need stating. For in the days to come parents will themselves consider curtailing the freedom of their children. Fathers pressed into taking their daughters to see the latest teeny-bopper sensation may wonder if it isn’t best to call the whole thing off. Why take the risk on entertainment? We have to go to work, but concerts for adolescent girls, surely, are optional?
That is a perfectly reasonable point of view, but to be resisted. We may have to adapt, our exceptional security agencies may issue new guidelines, but we do no service to our children if we do not preserve their freedom to dress up, put on a bit of make up stolen from mum’s dressing table, head out with friends and scream ecstatically, for two solid hours, at the stage. That was a freedom, after all, that many of their mothers enjoyed in turn.
And that is a message that politics too, must relay. It demonstrates no great respect for victims to allow public life to grind to a halt. In the face of a implacable enemy which wishes to destroy our way of life, we need the firm direction that an elected government provides.
So the general election campaign must resume. Terrorists have attacked the democratic process before; they have attacked places of entertainment before; they have attacked women and girls before. But this is the first time they have struck at all three at the same time. They wish to send a message. By our acts must we demonstrate that we have understood; that we will respond; and that we will not be cowed.
The New York Times on President Trump’s budget:
If President Trump’s 2018 budget, to be unveiled on Tuesday, was worthy of praise, you can bet Mr. Trump would be in Washington to bask in it. But his overseas trip keeps him at a distance physically, if not politically.
As detailed in a preview on Monday by Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, the budget is a naked appeal to far-right Republicans aiming for a partisan rallying cry, even as a legislative victory most likely remains out of reach.
Of 13 major initiatives in the budget, nine are drastic spending cuts, mostly aimed at low-income Americans. The biggest of those, by far, is an $866 billion reduction over 10 years in health care spending, mostly from Medicaid. That would be achieved if the Senate approves the House bill to undo President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But many Senate Republicans oppose it; Senate Democrats are dead set against it and the vast majority of Americans don’t want it, and for good reason. It would deprive an estimated 10 million low-income Americans, many of them nursing home residents, of Medicaid benefits; it would also defund Planned Parenthood, reducing or ending health services to 2.5 million people, mainly women.
The budget also calls for slashing food stamps ($192 billion over 10 years) and disability benefits ($72 billion over 10 years), including a big chunk from the Social Security disability insurance program. The rationale is that the cuts would force Americans back to work. But some 60 percent of food stamp recipients already work and an estimated 15 percent more work most of the time, availing themselves of food stamps only when they are between jobs or when their hours are reduced. The remainder are disabled and elderly. They will not go back to work if their food stamps are reduced. They will go hungry.
The cuts to Social Security disability benefits would be similarly cruel. The budget assumes the cutbacks would prod disabled people back to work. That assumption ignores how severely disabled most benefit recipients are. The cuts also ignore Mr. Trump’s pledge not to cut Social Security. Mr. Mulvaney walked back that pledge on Monday, saying the promise pertained only to retirement benefits.
The budget also continues the practice outlined in Mr. Trump’s “skinny” budget preview from March of immense defense increases coupled with deep cuts in non-defense discretionary spending, the catchall category that includes all of the federal programs that are annually appropriated by Congress. By the end of the 10-year budget period, such spending — for law enforcement, diplomacy, environmental protection, scientific research, justice, arts and humanities, tax collection and entire executive branch departments — would be lower as a share of the economy than in records dating back more than 50 years.
The budget leaves Medicare spending untouched. It also promises to help finance $1 trillion in infrastructure investments, which is likely to mean subsidizing private investors in roads, bridges and other public works in exchange for a share of what used to be thought of as public property. It lists a $19 billion paid family leave program that appears to be supported by funds intended for unemployment benefits.
What it lacks is any meaningful discussion of taxes. The budget asserts that any cuts would be offset by revenue from huge economic growth, unspecified loophole closings or additional spending cuts.
The truth is that trillion-dollar tax cuts, most of which would flow to the wealthy, would hurt millions of other Americans. The nation will not prosper by cutting aid to sick, hungry, disabled and low-income Americans, or by boosting military spending while devastating domestic spending, or by privatizing infrastructure.
The Miami Herald on why Haitians shouldn’t lose TPS status:
South Florida Haitian nationals who have been temporarily protected from deportation on Monday received what appeared to be good news. But in fact, it’s very bad news.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Director John Kelly announced that the United States will extend Temporary Protected Status of 58,706 Haitians, many of them residents of Miami-Dade and Broward, for another six months, not the hoped-for 18 months. The benefit was set to expire in July.
The bad news: As the government handed them the reprieve, in the same breath it advised them to get their personal and travel papers in order.
This is the government’s way of saying these Haitians will likely lose their status by year’s end — and be required to return to their homeland, which is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew in October, the 2010 killer earthquake that won them TPS status, and a series of other recent political and national maladies.
For our fellow Haitian residents, who have built lives here like all of us, this is chilling news. This likely gives them three choices in six months: return to a troubled country that is no longer home, be detained and deported, or slip away and become part of the legions of undocumented immigrants struggling to live invisible lives in South Florida.
These are hard times for South Florida’s long-standing immigrant communities from Haiti, Cuba and Mexico. This year, Cubans lost their wet-foot, dry foot status. And Mexicans without immigration papers in South Miami-Dade have been laying low since President Trump’s election.
Several local politicians pleaded with Homeland Security to help the Haitians with a more substantial TPS extension, among them U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, (D-Fl), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl) U.S. Reps. Frederica Wilson (D-Fl) and Alcee Hastingsm (D-Fl) and U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fl) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl).
They made the same and best argument: Haiti cannot assimilate 58,000 deportees overnight. Haiti’s stability remains fragile. Not to mention the cruelty of ripping people from the lives they have built here in the last seven years.
By denying the 18-month extension, DHS has now introduced a new debate about immigration policy and TPS. Instead of deciding on Haiti’s fate on a case-by-case basis as senior officials said Monday, Haiti will now get lumped in with other countries whose citizens have their own unique stories and arguments for seeking TPS special protection.
Unfortunately, this was Haiti and Haitians best chance, and it was DHS’ opportunity to do the right thing by granting extension for 18 months. But cracking down on immigrants is the Trump administration’s motto.
Never mind that in October, Hurricane Matthew upended the lives of 2 million people, left hundreds of thousands without food or drinking water, destroyed crops and livestock. Seven months later, there are still devastating reports of death due to malnutrition.
And the cholera epidemic introduced by U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal in October 2010, who arrived after the quake, has killed at least 9,500 and sickened at least 800,000.
All of that misery, heaped on a country that had not fully recovered from the 2010 killer earthquake.
In the past, the Editorial Board has pleaded with DHS for the TPS extension for eligible Haitians in South Florida and across the country.
This inadequate six month extension, served up with a threat of eventual deportation, is a bitter disappointment — a poisoned apple.
The Washington Post on should a Maryland stabbing death be considered a hate crime:
Would 23-year-old Richard W. Collins III be alive today if he had been white and not black? That essentially is the question authorities must answer in determining whether to bring hate-crime charges against his alleged killer. But it is also a question that — more than ever in these unsettling times of rising racial tensions — the country as a whole would do well to confront.
Mr. Collins, an about-to-graduate Bowie State University student looking forward to a world of possibilities, was senselessly killed early Saturday morning while waiting with friends for an Uber on the College Park campus of the University of Maryland. Sean C. Urbanski, 22, a University of Maryland student, has been charged with murder in what police called a “totally unprovoked” attack. Mr.?Collins was stabbed in the chest after apparently not following a screamed demand to step aside.
The FBI is investigating whether it was a hate crime; Mr. Urbanski is white and appears to have publicly identified with a Facebook group that posts racist material. An attorney for Mr. Urbanski said alcohol and substance abuse may have been involved. Prince George’s State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks is right to urge caution in speculating about possible motives. That the FBI has been called in shows authorities are serious about trying to determine if race was indeed a motive.
“This is an investigation that we cannot afford to get wrong,” said Ms. Alsobrooks, acknowledging how the death of this young man, recently commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army, has unnerved the community. Adding to the anxiety is a spate of incidents in recent months in which white-supremacist fliers were posted at the University of Maryland at College Park and other campuses in the Washington region. How can such ugliness still exist? Did it play some role in the terrible events this past weekend that robbed this fine young man — and his family — of his life?
No matter the answers, Mr. Collins’s murder is a senseless and horrible tragedy. But answers are needed. So, too, is continued effort against the bigotry that sadly still divides this country.
The Los Angeles Times on why drones should not be treated as toys:
What is a drone? Is it just a new version of the model aircraft that decades of schoolchildren have flown in their backyards and parks with little harm to people or property? Or is it a far more dangerous, often much more substantial, piece of machinery that can fly thousands of feet in the air, requires little or no training to get off the ground and can cause serious damage?
For regulatory purposes, it’s the former. And that’s a problem because, as a federal appeals court noted last week, the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t have the authority to regulate model aircraft. This means the FAA must drop its 18-month-old requirement that owners of large recreational drones (defined as between 0.55 pound and 55 pounds) register with a federal database before they take to the air and possibly blunder into the path of a commercial jet. (Presumably, people can still register voluntarily, and they should.)
Congress must fix this, and quickly. Everyone using the federal airspace, whether they are doing so for work or just for fun, should be accountable for how they fly.
The FAA rushed to design and build a drone registry in late 2015 after an alarming number of recreational drone incursions into restricted areas — for example, when drones flying over wildfires in California forced firefighters to temporarily halt water drops. The registry seemed like a reasonable response. Commercial aircraft, manned or not, must register if operating in federal airspace, so why not hobbyists’ drones? Registration could be done online at a cost of only $5. That way, the FAA could convey safe flying information to people who might not otherwise get it, including tips like “Don’t fly your drone over a crowded stadium,” as someone did at a San Diego Padres game on Sunday, crashing into the stands and just missing people nearby. It’s unclear whether the pilot had registered his now-trashed drone with the FAA.
But the registration process was too onerous for John A.Taylor of the Washington, D.C., area, who filed the complaint. He challenged the requirement based on a 2012 federal law barring the FAA from regulating model aircraft, which it defined broadly as recreational unmanned aircraft capable of sustained flight and flown within sight of the operator. That’s it — nothing about their weight, their capabilities or their technology.
Though the court’s ruling may be legally correct, it’s functionally flawed because it assumes that all unmanned aircraft are toys with limited range and little power to interfere with commercial air traffic. While some are, many are as sophisticated as commercial aircraft.
And now there are hundreds of thousands, if not more, of professional-grade recreational drones sold every year, making it all the more imperative that we know who is flying what in the nation’s airspace. Surely Congress — and drone operators — can understand that the old rules must be updated for this new technology.
The Chicago Tribune on Ford’s innovation:
Tesla, the electric vehicle startup, did something remarkable last month: It surpassed Ford and GM to become the country’s most valuable car company based on market capitalization. Want to acquire Tesla? It would cost a cool $50 billion. GM’s worth a tad less. Ford’s value is about $45 billion.
On Monday, not coincidentally, Ford ousted its CEO, frustrated with the company’s mediocre progress at reinvention in the high-tech era.
Times change. Henry Ford revolutionized car ownership in 1908 with the mass-market Model T. But what has the company done this century? Not enough to convince investors that Ford understands what kinds of vehicles people want today or how they’ll get around in a decade or two.
Will the showroom of the future mainly offer electric cars? Driverless cars? Will there even be showrooms, or will the concept of vehicle ownership change? Technology zooms forward. Companies are in a race to divine what’s next while competing to win Wall Street’s favor. At the moment Tesla has momentum. The company, run by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, occupies a small niche, but investors believe in his vision. So Tesla stock trades above $300 a share, while Ford’s languishes at around $11.
That’s a stunning rebuke of Detroit’s legacy — and rightly so. Tradition is wonderful, but in the marketplace it’s barely worth a bucket of old spark plugs.
Ford Chairman William Ford Jr., great-grandson of Henry, pushed out CEO Mark Fields for not moving quickly enough or taking enough bold action to reinvent the company. Fields’ biggest failure may have been the inability to convince Wall Street of his vision. Admittedly, communication skills sound less important for a Detroit CEO than building great transmissions, but modern commerce demands both. Wall Street provides much of the capital Ford requires to reinvent itself. To show urgency, Ford replaced Fields, naming company executive Jim Hackett to the job.
The economy today faces upheaval as perhaps never before. Think, for example, about how Amazon and other e-commerce companies are challenging bricks-and-mortar retail. Think about how some people watch Netflix on a phone instead of watching a TV network on a big living room screen. Or think, as we do, about how readers can get news from Facebook instead of a paperboy.
Now contemplate Ford’s challenge: Perhaps within a generation or two, Driverless cars will replace most forms of traditional vehicles. Maybe individual ownership will be replaced by subscription services because there would be no need to possess a car that sits idle 95 percent of the time: Just hail a passing robot vehicle. As for who will build those vehicles, it could be Ford and GM or Tesla and Google, among others.
This puts an entire industry and way of life in jeopardy. Ford has a big assembly line in Chicago. What happens to it? To its workers? What about all the bus and truck drivers? Like we said, we don’t know.
But we do have an abiding confidence in American ingenuity. We saw an example in Sunday’s Tribune: a rave review of the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV, an electric vehicle. If you are skeptical that GM can compete with Elon Musk, the Bolt is a revelation. It costs less than the Tesla Model 3 and has a range of 238 miles. “The Bolt is fun to drive,” Robert Duffer wrote. “It is also the most significant car on the market right now.”
If GM can compete against Tesla, so can Ford. There’s an open road ahead. Let the best companies win.
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