Mexican cartel leader's release an outrage

A Mexican judge's decision to release drug cartel leader Rafael Caro Quintero makes our blood boil. Caro Quintero played a key role in the 1985 kidnapping, sustained torture and death of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Enrique "Kiki" Camarena.

Few cases did more to sour U.S.-Mexico relations than this one. And if President Enrique Pena Nieto fails to act swiftly to block Caro Quintero from escaping justice, bilateral relations could once again turn frosty. Since the United States has long requested Caro Quintero's extradition, Pena Nieto should honor it. Washington should insist on it.

Not only did the three cartel leaders order Camarena's execution, according to U.S. trial documents, they employed a doctor whose job was to administer drugs to keep Camarena alive and conscious so they could drag out his torture sessions.

Caro Quintero's extradition would send a strong message about the priority Pena Nieto places on close U.S. relations - and on serving notice to other cartel leaders that they will not escape justice for their crimes.

—The Dallas Morning News, Aug. 12


Nothing humorous about clown rodeo skit

A disgraceful black-face episode at the Missouri State Fair, aimed at ridiculing President Barack Obama, has cast the state in a negative light.

It was bad enough that the clown, whose name has not been released, wore a mask caricaturing Obama into the ring to be chased by a bull. Videos and stories, which went viral on the Internet, sadly showed that much of the crowd in Sedalia got a kick out of the stunt. At one point an announcer said, "We're going to smoke Obama, man." And then this: "As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don't you move. He's going to getcha, getcha getcha, getcha."

Bipartisan outrage from elected officials and apologies from Missouri State Fair officials on Sunday were followed on Monday by vows that those responsible would be held accountable.

An investigation by the governor-appointed State Fair Commission should discuss with the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association the line between comedy and outright disrespect. The clown involved reportedly has been banned permanently from the fair.

The fair, which received more than $400,000 in taxpayer revenue this year, is supposed to be a wholesome family event that emphasizes the state's strong agricultural roots.

By Monday the expected and often mean-spirited comments that pass for political dialogue these days were flooding message boards and the airwaves. Many saw nothing wrong with the incident, with some asking where the outrage was when people made fun of former President George W. Bush.

There's a big difference: Placing someone pretending to be Obama inside the ring of a bull-riding event carried obvious and offensive racial overtones. It was encouraging that state leaders from both major political parties understood that in decrying what happened.

—The Kansas City Star, Aug. 13