Daily Archives: May 21, 2006

More rotten p.r. on Gitmo

Guantanamo prison continues to be a human rights black eye for America. On Friday, a United Nations committee on torture called for the Bush administration to close the U.S. prison in Cuba, saying the inmates should be either charged or released. Britain’s attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, also has called for closing Gitmo, which he said discredits the American tradition of freedom.
Recent accounts of hunger strikes, suicide attempts and attacks on guards by prisoners only reinforce the negative image of the prison.
Gitmo holds only about 460 inmates, most of them thought to be lowly foot soldiers in the Taliban or al-Qaida — these are hardly big fish terrorists.
So why not close it? Is this prison really worth the price in bad publicity and world censure? It’s hard to see how.
Posted by Randy Scholfield

Bush got a bounce on immigration speech

In the photo in Friday’s Eagle of President Bush riding shotgun in a Border Patrol dune buggy, his broad smile seemed at odds with the sour rhetoric many Americans have directed toward his comprehensive approach to the illegal immigration problem. But a CBS News poll showed the president got a 4 percentage point bounce in his overall approval rating from his Monday night address to the nation on the issue. And 62 percent favor his plan to put 6,000 National Guard troops at the U.S.-Mexico border, 6 in 10 approve of his proposed guest-worker program, and 77 percent were fine with allowing those who’ve been here at least five years to seek citizenship if they pay fines and back taxes and learn English. The president’s overall approval was just 35 percent in the poll, but maybe Bush has found the right path on immigration.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Can Kansas produce another Eisenhower?

Wondering why “American self-confidence is draining away,” the British newspaper The Independent sent reporter Rupert Cornwell to the nation’s geographic center in and around Abilene to try to find out. He writes: “If America is God’s chosen country, then Kansas sees itself as America’s embodiment, spiritual as well as geographic — the repository of its basic virtues of decency and straight dealing, of resilience and common sense.”
Taken by the Kansas story of President Dwight Eisenhower, Cornwell notes that Ross Perot earned 19 percent of the Kansas vote in 1992, and concludes: “Though he ran as a Republican, Eisenhower was affiliated to neither party and courted by both. Is there a new Eisenhower, perhaps from business, not the military, out there somewhere? As I headed home from Kansas, the question wouldn’t go away.”
Posted by Rhonda Holman

If you want illegals to pay more of their way, shift to sales tax

Polls show that one of the biggest concerns the public has about illegal immigration is whether illegals are a tax burden. There is a lot of debate about that issue, with competing statistics on whether illegals contribute more in taxes and economic benefit than they cost in social services. But former Bush I Treasury official Bruce Bartlett noted in an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal that states can reduce the burden of illegal immigration by their tax policies.
“Illegal aliens probably pay very little state income taxes, but close to their share of sales taxes,” he wrote. “Therefore, states that rely more heavily on sales taxes than income taxes are going to get more revenue out of their illegal aliens to pay for the expenses they incur.”
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

Lawyers right to diversify their ranks

Good for the Wichita Bar Association for getting more aggressive about diversifying the mostly white, mostly male legal community. Now, the diversity action plan needs to result in action within the city’s law firms and Courthouse, making it more likely that local citizens involved in civil and criminal cases will encounter lawyers and judges that reflect the community’s diversity. That, in turn, should lead to a better racial and gender mix of judges in Sedgwick County and Topeka. Justice may be blind, but its stewards need to look like the communities they serve.
Posted by Rhonda Holman