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Roundup: Fair play for fair pay

   The editorials in today's Buffalo News seek to join others in honoring a working stiff and tycoon.

   The lead editorial applauds President Obama's signature of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It's a law Lilly that overturns a heartless Supreme Court ruling and makes it possible for victims of illegal pay discrimination to sue even if their employers managed to keep the pay disparity secret for many years.

  Ledbetter ... was basically told by the high court that she had, indeed, been sinned against, but that she was not entitled to recompense because she had not complained in a timely manner about something she had no way of knowing about.
And we thought it was liberals who liked to let those who violate the law get off on absurd technicalities.

- The White House blog calls it A Wonderful Day. It even posts the text of the bill, with a place to comment.
- An expert writing in The San Francisco Chronicle says unequal pay for equal work is only one of many problems that put working women at an economic disadvantage.
The Record and Landmark in Statesville, N.C.: Businesses who continue this discriminatory practice will now be forced to answer for it in a court of law. And the women — and men — who benefit from this law will have a scrappy grandmother from Alabama to thank.  
The Wall Street Journal, of course, begs to differ, calling the move a payday for trial lawyers and bad news for business.  

   The second editorial revels in the news that Buffalo Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- along with long-time defensive standout Bruce Smith.

   Wilson must be credited for keeping the franchise in Buffalo despite continued pressures. He’s got it right when he talks about fan support here in Western New York. This area deeply appreciates the franchise he brought to Buffalo. It’s great to see pro football appreciating the man who did that.

- The Olean Times HeraldIt sounds morbid, but Ralph Wilson deserved to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame before he died. Yeah, the Buffalo Bills' owner is in good health, has great energy for a man his age, and is constantly involved in the day-to-day operation of his football team. But when you reach 90, which Ralph did last October, even he concedes he's in the home-stretch of life.
Wilson's official Hall of Fame Web page is here. Smith's is here. 

-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer 


Roundup: A stimulating debate

   The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News argues that the most direct way to stimulate America's lagging economy is to get money into the hands of people who will spend it, the working poor, in the same way that Ronald Reagan agreed to reward work, refundable tax credits for people with too little  Taxforms income to owe regular income taxes.
   It also rejects the "flat-out lie" put forward by Republicans that such benefits would go to people who "don't pay taxes." Anyone who works pays the payroll taxes that support Social Security and Medicare, with no refunds, deductions or exemptions. 

Demonizing the working poor as undeserving welfare cases is a trick that occasionally works. It shouldn’t be allowed to work this time.

   On our op-ed page today, economics pundit Robert Samuelson says that, by trying to please everyone, President Obama has designed a stimulus package that does not stimulate very much at all.

The immediate need is for the stimulus package to stimulate — now. It needs to be front-loaded; it isn’t.

Primary sources:
- The White House issues a statement about how various governors agree that big federal spending on infrastructure is necessary.
- A draft of a Senate Republican alternative, one that stresses housing recovery and lower taxes for higher-income people, is here.  

- The Shreveport Times: Benefit payments, such as aid to the poor, and tax cuts can reach people quickly. Government purchases of goods and services can take longer, especially for those road projects which can take years to complete.
- The Star-Tribune in Minneapolis, where they are still smarted from a collapsed bridge, thinks the money should go for bridges: Decaying infrastructure is an issue of national significance, and the stimulus bill provides an opportunity to get the nation's transportation system back on the right track while creating jobs in the process.
The San Jose Mercury News agrees with Obama thatbetter pre-K education is crucial. But it isn't short-term economic stimulus: Early education isn't a quick, "shovel ready" solution for poor kids' problems, let alone for the recession. It has to be done right.
The Yakima Herald-Republic: Our economy may need an urgent stimulus, but taxpayers must see a degree of prudence from our lawmakers. Discovering that Wall Street executives fattened their wallets while thousands of blue-collar workers were lining up for unemployment checks doesn't help. 
Business Mirror: As the State readies to spend over a trillion pesos, on the assumption that enough taxes can be raised to cover its spending and stimulus plans, people should be vigilant, especially with safeguards seemingly lacking, to fight spending abuses. And the government must dispel serious concerns on its use of funds.
[A trillion pesos? This newspaper is in the Philippines. Things are tough all over.]

-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer 

Roundup: Guantanamo no mo'

   The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News praises President Obama for keeping his -- and John McCain's  -- campaign promise to close the notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Gitmoorder    It was a great honor to America and its political system that both of the major party candidates for president in the recent election rejected the notion that the practice of torturing, hiding or endlessly imprisoning those suspected of terrorist activities makes us safer in any way.

    The Executive Order, which the president is seen signing at left, is here

- The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle in Tennessee: It's understandable that our country had to strike a blow against terrorism in light of the 9/11 attacks. But Obama is right. The United States isn't going to win the war on terror by holding people indefinitely in camps and with little attention paid to due process — including whether they actually are terrorists.
The Ventura County Star in California: At one time, in theory at least, Guantanamo Bay made sense. It would be completely under U.S. control and, unlike prisons in Afghanistan, there was no chance the inmates could break out or bribe their way out. ... But, in reality, Guantanamo Bay, under the Bush administration, became a worldwide symbol of U.S. arrogance, recklessness and disregard for both its own and international law.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman explains why tough American soldiers came to abhore Gitmo as much as any ACLU activist.  
- In The Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stephens argues that "Guantanamo Is No Blot on U.S. Honor." 
- This is an issue around the world, and the subject of pieces by an Australian law professor in Melbourne's The Age, a Nigerian lawyer in This Day, a U.S. Coast Guard Academy law prof in The San Francisco Chronicle and the editors of The Jamaica Observer.

   Oh. And The Taliban approve.

-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer 

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