Friday Roundup: The Best of the Week

Merely because an article has disturbing news doesn’t mean it doesn’t get consideration in the Best of the Week category — and J.P. Coolican’s article on suicide rates for Nevada veterans is such news.  “All told, of the 1,545 Nevada suicides between 2008-2010, veterans accounted for a stunning 373 of them, or nearly a quarter.”  Click on the link (Las Vegas Sun) for the entire article.  Highly Recommended.

Matt Taibbi’s enthusiastic rant in Rolling Stone deserves applause.  A taste:

“The finger-pointing game is a fun one to play, but it’s a little like drugs – you have to keep taking bigger and bigger doses in order to get the same high.  So it starts with a bunch of these people huddling together and saying to themselves, “We’re the real good Americans; our problems are caused by all those other people out there who don’t share our values.”

And when the Game described in Taibbi’s rant takes over politics the result is a failure of governance, which is insightfully analyzed by Andrew Cohen in his Atlantic magazine article “Symbolic Legislation to Nowhere.” Here’s a sample:

“America, sadly, has grown accustomed to “symbolic” legislation which is designed not to advance the public good, or even to become sustainable law, but rather to appease particular interest groups. The campaign promise becomes the pending measure; the donor’s crusade becomes the subject of public hearings. And what is squeezed out of the legislative process as a result of such pandering is the more moderate legislation, the more practical measures, which do stand a chance of passing constitutional muster and which do solve real problems in sensible ways. That’s no way to run a country — or even a state.”

Even the normally conservative columnist for the Washington Post, Fred Hiatt, noticed the drift away from reality in the Arizona GOP debate.

The best video clip of the week is from a show I actually don’t watch all that often, but this segment from MSNBC’s Hardball was memorable — Joan Walsh of Salon.Com pushing back on the Republican talking point that it’s the Democratic Party promoting the contraception argument for political gain. The 7+ minute video is posted at Crooks & Liars.

This article by Bloomberg’s writer Sarah Frier ought to have made more ripples, the title alone should have been an attention grabber,  “Cancer Scanning Curbed as Cascading U.S. Pay Cuts Take a Toll.”  This: “Every year we’ve fought one more battle against payment reduction,” Allen said. “We’ve been asked to make an apology for a very valuable tool in the health care enterprise.”

The Chart of the Week comes from the Reuters/Atlantic analysis of the national debt reduction plans coming from both sides of the political aisle, full article here.

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