Monday, May 4, 2009

May 4: Jumbo Sniglets On Outsourcing, Pontiac, Bishop Thomas Wenski and Jack Kemp

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Does the current H1N1 flu epidemic have anything to do with lax procedures from outsourcing?

That has yet to be thoroughly investigated. But it's clear the actions of U.S. companies that outsource anything anywhere must be probed somehow.

A consequence of outsourcing (besides the loss of American jobs) is that companies set up shop in countries that don't have the protections this one has. The merchandise comes back to Americans, but not with the same quality it once had when it was made here. We've already seen that during the last two years with the recalls of merchandise from China.

This is a global issue. If free trade is to continue, President Barack Obama must pressure both U.S. corporations that do business overseas and the leaders of foreign countries to clean up their acts.


It's an illustration of the bad shape General Motor (It doesn't really deserve "Motors" anymore, does it?) is in that it's killing Pontiac, one of its two brands with cars that have the best gas mileage (The other one is Chevrolet. Full disclosure: I drive an Impala.)

Pontiac had a reputation as a sexy car for young adults who spent much of their time cruising around, so perhaps gas mileage didn't mean much to them. But it means plenty today, and GM didn't promote the model properly.


Et tu, Bishop Thomas Wenski?

The one-time South Florida religious leader, who now serves in Orlando, is joining the hue and cry against Obama speaking and receiving an honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame because of Obama's pro-choice stance.

Many Catholic clergy are protesting, but Wenski has a reputation for campaiging for truly relevant matters - particularly the humane treatment of Haitian refugees. His outspokenness against Obama speaking at Notre Dame is surprising and sad.

One wonders if Wenski and many others in the American Catholic hierarchy are being pressured by Rome to protest Obama's appearance in South Bend May 17. Somewhere down the line, the clergy will want and need help on issues they agree on with Obama, most notably AIDS and immigration. What will they say then?


Finally, the tributes to Jack Kemp, who died of cancer over the weekend, illustrate what the Republican Party is lacking.

Kemp served 18 years in Congress, was secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the George H.W. Bush administration, and ran for president in 1988 and as Bob Dole's running mate in 1996. He did so the way he quarterbacked the Buffalo Bills in the 1960s - with class and grace.

Kemp, a true-blue (or is that true-red?) Reagan conservative, knew how to argue his case. But unfortunately for the integrity of his party, he didn't win those arguments often enough within the G.O.P.

Kemp reached across the aisle and across demographic divides. While they're paying homage to Kemp, Republicans might take a page from his political playbook.

An ESPN tribute to Kemp yesterday included a link to a letter Kemp wrote to his grandchildren after Obama was elected:

Well done, Mr. Kemp.

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