Friday, July 01, 2011

Friday Round Up

Friday Round Up. Or Week in Review. Or basically a handful of interesting bits I caught in the news in the last week or two.

(1) They found James Bulger. Finally. I caught the segment on NPR last week and thought to myself, "Huh. I guess if part of the Pakistanis excuse for not knowing the whereabouts of OBL rested on our inability to find certain criminal elements in our country, someone in the DOJ decided to 'clean house,' as it were." Well done, guys. I heard one segment in which an ignoramus of the highest magnitude called for leniency in the case because he had been so many years on the lam and was presumably now a model citizen. C'mon. The guy was wicked evil. I believe in forgiveness but Whitey's gotta do some time, preferably, the rest of his life.

(2) There's been a lot of sex in the news in recent weeks. Maybe this isn't anything new. But consider: that wicked French guy. Wienergate. And now Bristol Palin comes out with a tell-all in which she intimates she was date-raped. She doesn't quite come right out and say it that way, but if you read the plain account as she tells it, it's certainly the plainest reading of the text. And now, let me see if I can parse out the 'news-worthiness' of any of the foregoing. (A) Dominique Strauss-Kahn: if guilty, needs to do some jail time, definitely news (late-breaking questions of her credibility aside). (B) Anthony Wiener: behaving badly member of congress involved in scandal not even to the point of an extra-marital affair? not really news. In fact, I'm surprised he didn't hold to his guns and stay in office. Although I was glad to hear he was planning on getting some counseling. and (C) Bristol Palin: Who Cares? Why do people continue to pore over a feeding frenzy over nothing substantive. Please don't get me wrong. I am not demeaning her nor do I take lightly her claim, but why is this national news?

(3) Is the incidence of autism in kids today climbing slowly, skyrocketing, or maintaining at a steady pace? Is it just being diagnosed more frequently or is there something wrong with our environment where an enormous quantity of toxins are being introduced with devastating results? I'd like to draw your attention to a recent study from South Korea where it is estimated that 1 in 38 kids are affected with some form of autism. Startling? Unbelievable? While there may be some methodological issues or some exaggerative hype, I am concerned that autism will be the next pandemic. Okay, well pandemic isn't quite the right word because it isn't "infectious," but it does adequately express my alarm.

(4) A recent Harvard study shows that eating potatoes makes you gain weight while eating nuts and yogurt makes you lose weight. If only losing weight could actually be that simple. I first encountered the story in the aforelinked Post article. I actually think this is much better summary.

(5) Jose Antonio Vargas. Perhaps one of the most compelling news stories last week in a week full of news was that a renowned journalist came clean and admitted that for the last many years he has been working in the U.S. illegally. I'm not sure what side of the fence you all are on, but I have to say that I am on Jose's side. I think they should give him a free pass. Good work, guy. And way to bring a critical issue to the forefront of our national discussion. Having said that let me return to point #1. There are crimes and then there are Crimes. Bulger certainly belongs behind bars. But while I am a strong believer in the rule of law, I don't think Vargas deserves to be excoriated. He broke the law. Surely there should be some kind of punishment or restitution. But don't deport him. Let his story be the catalyst for passing some version of the Dream Act.

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