Cutting Edge: New ideas / Sharp opinions

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Military myopia

Kirby Dick, director of Invisible War, in The New York Times wonders why the Pentagon would trust military commanders to investigate sex crimes: "Sexual assault crimes are among the most difficult to prosecute, which makes it doubly absurd to have anyone other than professional prosecutors decide whether to pursue these crimes.

"We wouldn't tolerate a senior commander's operating a helicopter unless he or she was fully trained to do so. Similarly, we should not allow commanders, who are not trained as prosecutors, to make final determinations as to whether the military should adjudicate sexual assault crimes. Our military readiness will be compromised unless the military quickly begins to bring sex predators in its ranks to justice."

How insurance works

Via Atlantic Wire: Jonathan Chait in New York magazine responds to the furor over a recent piece by health analyst Avik Roy about how Obama-care will produce "rate shock" for young adults. Mr. Chait explains how young people will subsidize the sick -- and why that's a good thing:

"We have narrowed the class of Obamacare victims down to a very, very small group of victims preparing to be crushed beneath the burdens," Mr. Chait writes, picking up on Mr. Roy's focus on healthy, affluent 25 year old men. " ... [Those who object] to health care reform present themselves as if they've uncovered some kind of nightmarish bureaucratic inefficiency. What they've actually discovered ... is that a functioning insurance system takes money away from people who are healthy. Likewise, fire insurance screws people whose houses will never burn down."

Poor dears

The local blog A Spork in the Drawer: "What, you expect them to live like the rest of us chumps?"

News item: More than 100 members of Congress are upset that nonstop flights out of a Washington, D.C., airport to their hometowns could be a thing of the past, which they say isn't fair to smaller communities. ...

"The lawmakers say their primary concern is the economic impact the moves would have on small- and medium-sized destination cities. I don't recall hearing that more than 100 members of Congress became upset about Pittsburgh (and many other cities and towns) losing most of its nonstop flights. I assume I just wasn't paying enough attention. Yes, it must be that I just wasn't paying enough attention."

Get lucky

Rob Lazebnik, a writer for "The Simpsons," wrote for The Wall Street Journal the commencement speech he would give if anyone would invite him to give one. Noting that he would never get into his alma mater if he were applying with his grades and record today, he concludes:

"A final idea is to go to the least expensive graduate school you can find and just hunker down. You'll want to look as young as possible when actual good jobs come in three to seven years and you're competing against new grads, so try not to get any wrinkles -- stay out of the sun and don't smoke or react facially to anything, even if the Cubs win the World Series or if they find out that Amelia Earhart ate her navigator Fred Noonan. ...

"I believe that because most commencement speakers have been so successful, they think they can identify the ingredients that led them to success. But they tend to discount the major role that simple good fortune and timing played in their prosperity. So I advise you to ignore all the cliches of the typical commencement speech and do what your generation does best: get lucky."

Anybody out there?

From satirist Andy Borowitz: "House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today called for hearings to investigate why no one has paid any attention to him in the weeks of hearings he has called for thus far. 'There is mounting evidence that no one listens to me, not even one little bit,' he told reporters on Capitol Hill. 'The goal of these hearings is to find out why.'

"He said that he first became aware that people might not be listening to him when he read a recent poll indicating that Americans' primary concerns are jobs and the economy. 'Anyone in his right mind would know that this nation's No. 1 problem right now is Benghazi talking points,' he said."


Greg Victor (


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