Monday opinion. Condolences to the family and friends of the late Sen. Robert Byrd.
Added: tribute from George McGovern:
I came to greatly admire him for speaking out against these unconstitutional wars that we've gotten into since World War II. On Vietnam, his record is not particularly impressive. He supported it for many years, as did many senators. But he learned from Vietnam. It was Sen. Byrd's capacity for growth, wisdom and judgment that won my admiration. There's no sin for anybody in public life to make a mistake. It's how you learn from them that's important.
We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense.
Why? Because of three considerations. First, the memory of 9/11, which ensures that any American president will be loath to preside over the Taliban’s return to power in Kabul. Second, the continued presence of Al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan’s northwest frontier, which makes it difficult for any American president to contemplate giving up the base for counterterrorism operations that Afghanistan affords. Third, the larger region’s volatility: it’s the part of the world where the nightmare of nuclear-armed terrorists is most likely to become a reality, so no American president can afford to upset the balance of power by pulling out and leaving a security vacuum behind.
This explains why the Obama administration, throughout all its internal debates and strategic reviews, hasn’t been choosing between remaining in Afghanistan and withdrawing from the fight. It’s been choosing between two ways of staying.
This is a decent summary of the argument on one side. The problem is defining 'winning'. What's that mean?
State's whooping cough surge may be tied to lagging immunization rate
California is one of only 11 states that don't require a booster shot for middle-schoolers. Efforts to require immunization for younger adolescents continue in the Legislature.
Vaccinations save lives. More:
These three controversies [vaccination safety, climate change, Yucca Mountain] have a single moral, and it's that experts who want Americans to take science into account when they form opinions on contentious issues need to do far more than just "lay out the facts" or "set the record straight." What science says is important, but in controversial areas, it's only the beginning. It's critical that experts and policy makers better understand what motivates public concern in the first place; and in this, they mustn't be deceived by the fact that people often appear, on the surface, to be arguing about scientific facts. Frequently, their underlying rationale is very different.
Thus, for instance, resistance to climate science in the United States seems to be linked to a libertarian economic outlook: People who resist what experts tell them about global warming often appear, at heart, to be most worried about the consequences of increased government regulation of carbon emissions. Similarly, based upon my observation, vaccine skepticism seems closely connected to distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and of the federal government's medical research establishment. As for Yucca Mountain, much of the outrage appears to originate in the perceived unfairness of having Nevada proposed as the sole dump site for the waste of an entire nation.
Campaign Desk/CJR on whether Obama's poll ratings have been affected by the spill:
The point is not that Pew is right and the NBC poll is wrong, but that both data sets are legitimate—so journalists should include both, and be circumspect about sweeping conclusions. Any given poll contains uncertainty, so "until we see several of them moving in the same direction, it’s pretty hard to be sure that you’re picking up true change," said Charles Franklin, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin and co-founder of the polling aggregation site Pollster.com.
Media institutions have an obvious incentive to play up the polls they pay for. But "a story written entirely from the point of view of either of those two polls would be misleading to readers," Franklin said. A more accurate story would present the fuller range of data—which remains, at the moment, ambiguous.
See also Media continues to write its own narrative; I liked the points made by CJR so much, I made 'em myself. ;-)
Democratic senators are planning to put the right of citizens to challenge corporate power at the center of their critique of activist conservative judging, offering a case that has not been fully aired since the days of the great Progressive Era Justice Louis Brandeis.
Yay, our side.
Republicans have struggled to find a compelling line of attack to take against the Supreme Court nominee. But their efforts have largely failed.
I'm shocked. Failure and the GOP in the same paragraph?