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Legacy Content / EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Richard Cohen bemoans the NFL return of Michael Vick, and Bob Herbert isn't all that excited by last week's jobs numbers. Plus: Did Bill Clinton give up too much going to Pyongyang?

August 11, 2009

William McGurn takes President Obama to task for lashing out at critics amidst the "growing prospects for a major defeat in Congress on the president's signature issue."

• "The unvarnished truth is that services are ultimately going to have to be curtailed regardless of what happens with reform," warns Eugene Robinson. "We perform more expensive tests, questionable surgeries and high-tech diagnostic scans than we can afford. We spend unsustainable amounts of money on patients during the final year of life."

Jonah Goldberg recounts all the money he has spent on his ailing dog Cosmo.


• "The secular left claims we are evolutionary accidents who managed to crawl out of the slime and by 'natural selection' stand erect and over millions of years outsmart our ancestors, the apes," writes Cal Thomas. "If that is your belief, then you probably think health care should be rationed."

• "The United States does not boast a very healthy relationship between its scientific community and its citizenry," observe Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, coauthors of "Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future," in the Los Angeles Times. "The statistics on public scientific illiteracy are notorious -- and they're at their worst on contentious, politicized issues such as climate change and the teaching of evolution."

• "The anthropologist Clifford Geertz wrote that 'the aim of anthropology is the enlargement of the universe of human discourse,'" explains Michael Dove, an anthropology professor at Yale and a former colleague of Obama's late mother, Ann Dunham Soetoro, in the New York Times. "This was clearly a central goal of Dr. Soetoro's work and life. From an admittedly great distance, I can see those same values in her son."

• "Yes, nothing happens in August -- except, as we all know, when something really terrible happens in August," Anne Applebaum notes. "World War I began in August, Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait began in August, al-Qaeda was preparing to bring down the World Trade Center in August. Nor is this an accident: If you want to surprise any American administration, do something nasty while the president is on vacation."

• When Michael Vick "takes the field, I for one will imagine the thrashing of pacifist puppies as they are drowned or twisting in the wind as they are hanged," declares Richard Cohen. "And throughout the land every kid will know -- if they do not already -- that what matters most is not that Vick has paid his debt to society or is remorseful, but that he could still throw the ball."

• "But for American workers peering anxiously through their family portholes, the economic ship is still sinking," warns Bob Herbert. "You can put whatever kind of gloss you want on last week's jobs numbers, but the truth is that while they may have been a bit better than most economists were expecting, they were still bad, bad, bad."

• "In reviewing a president's selections, the Senate screens individuals for the most powerful court in the world and holds an extraordinary opportunity to educate the public about our most shuttered branch of government," notes Bruce Peabody, an associate professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Roll Call (subscription). "Considered against these standards, we can regard Sonia Sotomayor's interrogation by the U.S. Senate as a failure."

• The New York Times bemoans Congress' failure to pass a key aid bill to Pakistan -- and the White House's lack of pressure on lawmakers to get it done.

• "In East Asia where Confucian thought is still influential from Seoul to Singapore, former President Bill Clinton's visit to Pyongyang to meet North Korea's Kim Jong-il was immediately seen as a triumph for the North Korean leader who had maneuvered the American into being a supplicant seeking a favor," argues Honolulu-based freelancer Richard Halloran in the Washington Times.

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