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Christie-Nixon connection

George Packer at The New Yorker on why the scandal-plagued president Chris Christie (Bridgegate) most resembles is Richard Nixon (Watergate):

“Character is destiny, and politicians usually get the scandals they deserve, with a sense of inevitability about them.

“Warren G. Harding surrounded himself with corrupt pols and businessmen, then checked out, leading to the most sensational case of bribery in American history. Ronald Reagan combined zealotry and fantasy, and Oliver North acted them out. Bill Clinton was libidinous and truth-parsing but also cautious, while George W. Bush was an incurious crusader who believed himself chosen by God and drove almost the entire national-security establishment into lawlessness without thinking twice.

“Christie, more than any of these, is reminiscent of the president whose petty hatefulness destroyed him — which is why, as NBC’s newscaster said when signing off on an early report on that long-ago burglary, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this.”

Your files? Off limits

The local Spork in the Drawer takes off on a Talking Points Memo report to comment, under the headline “National Security State Logic”:

“Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to know if the NSA has been spying on him. The answer? The NSA can’t tell him if they’ve been spying on him because to disclose that information to him would be a violation of his privacy rights.”

And there you have it.

GOP vs. science

Doktor Zoom at Wonkette: “In a House of Representatives where Michele Bachmann is on the House Intelligence Committee and Paul “Evolution is a Lie” Broun and climate-change deniers Dana Rohrabacher and Lamar Smith are on the Science Committee, it only makes sense that another climate-change denier on the committee, Arizona’s David Schweikert, would be named to head the Science Committee’s environmental subcommittee.

“It’s really just a matter of balance, after all — if virtually all climate scientists agree that climate change is real, then you want to have laws that give equal balance to the opinions of nonscientists who watch Fox News and the views of engineers and scientists employed by the oil and coal business. That may not be how science works, but it’s certainly how politics does.”

Diversity unmasked

Roger Clegg at The National Review: “In a Federal Register notice yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are soliciting nominations for possible membership on the Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the notice contained this interesting passage (my italics):

“ ‘The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will give close attention to equitable geographic distribution and to minority and female representation so long as the effectiveness of the Committee is not impaired. Appointments shall be made without discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, HIV status, disability, and cultural, religious, or socioeconomic status.’

“I’m afraid the Obama administration’s mask slipped a bit on this one; it might as well have said, ‘We’ll do our best to include women and minorities, so long as they aren’t TOO unqualified.’ And of course the commitment in the first sentence to make the selection with an eye on sex and color is immediately disavowed with the promise in the second sentence not to do so. Just another diverse day’s work.”

McDonalds vs. McDonalds

Tod Robberson of The Dallas Morning News writes about a healthy-eating section of McDonalds’ internal website that’s now been taken down. Not long ago, he said, “It was full of healthy eating tips for employees, including photos of what appeared to be several McDonald’s products (Big Macs, fries, etc.) that were labeled as the ‘unhealthy choice.’ The healthier choice, according to the website, was a sandwich that looked startlingly close to what you would get if you went to, say, Subway.

“ ‘While convenient and economical for a busy lifestyle, fast foods are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt and may put people at risk for becoming overweight,” the website advised …"


Greg Victor: gvictor@post-gazette.com.

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