What they're saying…

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Here's what newspapers across the country are saying about world events taking place in recent news.

Oct. 28

Denver Rocky Mountain News, on attempts to regulate the Internet:

The Internet was devised by U.S. military researchers in the 1960s, and under U.S. auspices it has flourished.

Now that it is running so well, other nations think that what the Internet needs is more supervision by other governments, preferably through the United Nations. The effort at imposing international control on the Internet is being led by a handful of nations, including China, Iran and Cuba, which should tell you something.

This wouldn't normally amount to much except that at a preliminary meeting to the U.N. World Summit on the Information Society next month the European Union suddenly and unexpectedly dropped its objections to handing the Internet over to international regulation.

It doesn't take any great insight to realize that what most of these countries want is control over the information their peoples have access to. It's a short step from controlling the means of communication to controlling what is communicated.

Given the importance of the Internet to world commerce and economic growth, the United States owes other governments a continued commitment to noninterference. Handing the Internet over to the U.N. is a terrible idea.

On the Net


Nov. 1

The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel, on President Bush's new nomination:

At the top of President Bush's to-do list Monday morning was to regain the momentum after the worst week of his presidency. And the place to start was to quickly make up for the Harriet Miers debacle.

Thus, Bush nominated Samuel Alito, 55, to the Supreme Court. In contrast to Miers' scant qualifications, Alito has been a federal appeals court judge for 15 years, a Justice Department official for 13 years and has a huge paper trail.

In the normal course of a politically and socially conservative Republican presidency, the choice of Alito, already approved once by the Senate unanimously, might not have been all that controversial. On the explosive question of abortion, his record is not totally rigid.

Alito's is the kind of nomination Bush pledged to make in his two presidential campaigns. But Alito would be replacing the court's swing vote, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, meaning he, more than any other justice, will determine the court's direction. ...

While the political extremes are ready for a good and nasty partisan bloodletting, the rest of us aren't. And, while Bush owes something to his political base, a consensus candidate in the Roberts mold would have been more conducive to the domestic tranquility.

On the Net:


Oct. 29

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on freedom of the press in Afghanistan:

The Taliban no longer runs Afghanistan. So, how is it that a journalist was sentenced to prison for two years on a conviction for blasphemy? Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, editor of Women's Rights, published articles against lashing women for adultery and stoning to death those who convert from Islam.

To conservative Shiites, these are radical thoughts.

Mr. Nasab's defenders said the articles led to misunderstandings, yet at their core were not anti-Islamic.

Lunacy will stand its ground. The prosecutor called for the death penalty. Even "moderates" refrained from genuinely broaching the fundamental point -- that irreverence should not be a crime.

Nasab will appeal. In the meantime, the safety of a convicted apostate in an Afghan lockup remains an open question.

The editor's plight could resound with those who believe that desecrating the U.S. flag (a symbol endowed by some with religious significance) should be criminalized. As late as 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court -- in a shockingly close decision -- ruled 5-4 that flag-burning as political expression may not be made a crime.

This is the first time under President Hamid Karzai charges of blasphemy against journalists and writers have resulted in a conviction. Nasab, in September a parliamentary candidate who angered conservative Shiite clerics, may be both political and religious prisoner.

But is he a criminal?

On the Net:


Oct. 31

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, on the National Guard:

Ever since the war in Iraq began in March, 2003, state officials have expressed concern that extensive use of the National Guard to fill out combat ranks overseas could leave states poorly prepared for natural disasters and other emergencies at home.

That fear has come true, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office, which says that the loss of Guard equipment in the war zone complicated the response to Hurricane Katrina. ...

The fact is that the guard was never intended to be thrust into the front lines of a foreign war. It was supposed to be a group of well trained citizen soldiers who could be activated in case of weather disasters and other emergencies on the home front.

In its rush to war in Iraq, however, the Bush Administration stood this sensible principle on its head, pushing guard members into battle in numbers not seen since World War II. The GAO says the administration should re-examine its mission policy for the guard, and we agree. ...

On the Net: