Newsday, Long Island, N.Y.,
on the CPSC
If you're worried about the safety of your kid's toys and the other items you buy, then you should really be worried about Nancy Nord. She's the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission but, for the top cop on that busy beat, her actions of late have been a bit odd.
After a summer and fall in which hazardous products — such as lead-tainted toys from China — have turned up on the nation's store shelves with disquieting regularity, Nord opposed a bill that would double the commission's budget over time, and allow her to hire much-needed inspectors. ...
Nord said later that it wasn't the budget increase she opposed, but rather other provisions in the legislation to protect whistleblowers and make it easier for the government to go public with reports of faulty merchandise.
Nord also has taken trips worth thousands of dollars paid for by the industries that make the 15,000 types of consumer products that she regulates.
She may be delivering what (President) Bush wants. He has a penchant for putting people at the helm of regulatory agencies who don't like regulation.
But if he covets credibility with consumers, or wants to protect the public, Bush needs to put someone in charge of product safety who is bullish about the job. Someone other than Nancy Nord.
The Daytona Beach (Fla.)
News-Journal, on returning soldiers
Once the parades are over — and for most, the wars as well — veterans hope to return to their civilian lives. Younger veterans, like reservists who put in one or more tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, maybe even the Balkans, have every reason to expect to take their old jobs back, if they want them. The law says they're entitled.
So why was the unemployment rate for veterans between the ages of 20 and 24 a staggering 10.4 percent (compared with 3.8 percent for all veterans and 4.6 percent for all civilian workers)?
Veterans are supposed to emerge from the military better skilled, more versatile and better trained to do various jobs. That's how the Army sells itself to young recruits: "The Army prepares you to be your best. That includes expert training in any of over 150 careers." Employers should be glad to have a reservist on staff. ...
... Soldiers are ordered onto battlefields and celebrated in Main Street parades, but when it comes to ensuring their health or their jobs once they return home, they're the Pentagon's forgotten cause. They've served. They're being poorly served in return.
Denver Rocky Mountain News,
on Iran's crackdown on 'decadence'
Apparently the Iranian people were starting to enjoy themselves a little too much to suit the ruling clerics. Supreme leader Ali Khamenei has ordered a police crackdown on "social vices." So the police have been seizing satellite dishes and raiding private parties in search of alcohol, unapproved videos and CDs and other trappings of Western decadence.
The repressive hand of the ayatollahs has fallen especially hard on Iranian women who are enjoined from wearing "inappropriate" makeup and clothes that show any part of the hair or the leg. Bright colors are out, too. ...
... You don't have to be a sociologist to see that this crackdown on vice, which elsewhere would be seen as the innocent music, fashion and films of the young, is not going to work and may even end badly.
A very young nation, Iran has, according to the International Monetary Fund, the world's highest brain drain. The best and brightest of Iran's young people seem to want only one thing — out.