Michael Koplow thinks it's a failed government in Pakistan:
Anyone who knows anything about U.S. foreign and defense policy knows that the most pressing problem facing the U.S. right now is not the rise of China or the fight against al-Qaida. It is the possibility that the Pakistani government will fall and that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons will be taken over by extremists. Only slightly less worrisome is that the lax command and control structure that exists for Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile – and for those who don’t pay close attention to these things, it turns out that the Pakistani government moves its nukes in and out of traffic in barely guarded civilian vans so that we won’t steal them – will lead to a nuke being stolen or even accidentally launched. This is the reason that the U.S. keeps on propping up the Pakistani government and throwing money into a Pakistani black hole despite mountains of evidence that Pakistan is not our ally and actually works to undermine the U.S. in Afghanistan and other places.
The prospect of a mushroom cloud above New Delhi is about as unsettling as I can imagine.
The Dutch organization Mars One has received over 20,000 applications from intrepid citizens seeking to colonize the Red Planet in 2023.
Of these 20,000, 24 will be chosen by the public through a television show (think American Idol meets Survivor). Mars One has already begun releasing video submissions on their website.
These lucky chosen colonists -- who must be at least 18 years old, be 157 cm (roughly 5-foot-2) tall, and have 20/20 vision -- will then endure six to eight years of training and will be grouped into teams of four, who will train together in simulated living conditions of the planet. And yes, an audience decides who will be the first four to settle on Mars.
In Swansea, Wales, there is a measles epidemic. Over 800 people have been diagnosed with the disease that is easily preventable by parents vaccinating their children.
Measles can lead to lung infections such as pneumonia, and untreated, it can often be fatal. Some parents, however, refuse to vaccinate their children.
Wales has had low Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccination rates for some time … since about 1998, in fact, when Andrew Wakefield published his bogus study in the Lancet falsely linking the MMR vaccine to autism.
Columbia Journalism Review details the shameful story of how the false fetish of press neutrality enabled cranks and charlatans to promote the hoax that vaccines cause autism in children. Among the guilty: CJR itself. Kudos to them for the self-criticism.
Between 1998 and 2006, 60 percent of vaccine-autism articles in British newspapers, and 49 percent in American papers, were “balanced,” in the sense that they either mentioned both pro-link and anti-link perspectives, or neither perspective, according to a 2008 study by Christopher Clarke at Cornell University. The remainder—40 percent in the British press and 51 percent in the American press—mentioned only one perspective or the other, but British journalists were more likely to focus on pro-link claims and the Americans were more likely to focus on anti-link claims.
While it’s somewhat reassuring that almost half the US stories (41 percent) tried, to varying degrees, to rebut the vaccine-autism connection, the study raises the problem of “objectivity” in stories for which a preponderance of evidence is on one side of a “debate.” In such cases, “balanced” coverage can be irresponsible, because it suggests a controversy where none really exists. (Think climate change, and how such he-said-she-said coverage helped sustain the illusion of a genuine debate within the science community.) A follow-up study by Clarke and Graham Dixon, published in November 2012, makes this point. The two scholars assigned 320 undergrads to read either a “balanced” article or one that was one-sided for or against a link between vaccines and autism. Those students who read the “balanced” articles were far more likely to believe that a link existed than those who read articles that said no link exits.
"I HAVE a peculiar memory which must date to when I was 10 or 11 years old. I am sitting at the piano daydreaming one afternoon, and it occurs to me that I will never get married. Simultaneously with this realization comes the recognition that I have always understood that marriage was unlikely for me, and that today is merely the first time I have said so, to myself, "aloud." So baldly clear is this realization that I might as well be acknowledging that I will never have eight legs and spin a web.
Even so, the revelation strikes me as peculiar. Almost all of the adults I know are married, and so, for that matter, are most of the grown‑ups I have ever heard of. Everyone gets married. Why, then, do I know that the world of married adults has no connection to me, and that I will go off in some different direction?"
So opens Denial: My Twenty-Five Years Without a Soul, a memoir excerpted today in the Huffington Post. The author, Jonathan Rauch, is one of my oldest friends: we have known each other since the fall of 1978. The story he tells is at once harrowing and inspiring.
As he writes in an introductory blog on the HuffPost site:
I get the fun irony of tossing eligibility questions at the Senator from Texas, but let's settle that now: As David Graham writes at the Atlantic:
[T]he Congressional Research Service gathered all of the information relevant to Cruz's case a few years ago, at the height (nadir?) of Obama birtherism.
In short, the Constitution says that the president must be a natural-born citizen. "The weight of scholarly legal and historical opinion appears to support the notion that 'natural born Citizen' means one who is entitled under the Constitution or laws of the United States to U.S. citizenship 'at birth' or 'by birth,' including any child born 'in' the United States, the children of United States citizens born abroad, and those born abroad of one citizen parents who has met U.S. residency requirements," the CRS's Jack Maskell wrote.
So in short: Cruz is a citizen; Cruz is not naturalized; therefore Cruz is a natural-born citizen, and in any case his mother is a citizen.
This morning, David had a conversation with Sirius XM's Pete Dominick.
On the foreign policy end, David and Pete discuss the deteriorating situation in Syria and what the US should learn from our involvement in Egypt during the Arab Spring. Back home, they look at the real problems with the gun culture in America.
Best Part: Ever wonder what President Bush nicknamed David during his tenure at the White House?
In another win for modern medicine, surgeons from the US and Switzerland have used stem cells to build a windpipe for 2-year old Hannah Warren, who was born without one.
Until the operation at a U.S. hospital, she had spent her entire life in a hospital in Seoul. Doctors there told her parents there was no hope and they expected her to die. The stem cells came from Hannah's bone marrow, extracted with a special needle inserted into her hip bone. They were seeded in a lab onto a plastic scaffold, where it took less than a week for them to multiply and create a new windpipe.
The windpipe was implanted April 9 in a nine-hour procedure. Early signs indicate the windpipe is working, Hannah's doctors announced Tuesday, although she is still on a ventilator. They believe she will eventually be able to live at home and lead a normal life.
A poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind finds that 29 percent of Americans believe an armed revolt will be necessary in the next few years, and 25 percent believe we're not being told the truth about Sandy Hook.
18 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of Independents, and 44 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement: "In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties".
And 20 percent of Democrats, 23 percent of Independents, and 32 percent of Republicans think we're not being told the whole truth about Sandy Hook.
Presidential parties typically lose quite a few seats in the midterm elections of their second term, right?
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
Wrong, says RealClear Politics election analyst Sean Trende:
Presidents rarely have substantial coattails during their re-election efforts, but often have them in their first election. So they tend to enter their first midterms with a large number of members in vulnerable seats. If they lose seats in the first midterm, then they’re pretty well cleared out for the second midterm. If they manage to avoid losing seats the first time, they tend to still be overexposed in their second midterm.
Is Ted Cruz 2016 for real?
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Texas is home to the biggest lode of GOP donor money in the country. If Cruz can successfully woo this money, he becomes a serious presidential candidate: not necessarily a winner in the general election (see Romney, Mitt), but at least somebody who can be nominated. If he fails to secure substantial contributions from the Texas Big Donors, then he's Rick Santorum: a candidate with base appeal, but no hope for the prize.
The Financial Times (paywalled, but if you register, you can read 8 stories a month for free) reports on efforts by a pair of United States Senators - Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Republican David Vitter of Louisiana - to force stricter capital requirements on our biggest banks.
Last week Mr Brown and Mr Vitter unveiled their latest draft legislation on the topic, which would sharply increase the capital requirements on the largest banks with assets of more than $500bn, forcing them to hold 15 per cent equity against their assets.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs calculate the increased capital is worth about $1.2tn, which would equate to the largest banks forgoing dividends and share buybacks for up to 15 years. If shareholders accepted that, they would also have to accept a permanently lower return on equity. Many in the industry believe the economics would not work: the biggest banks might have to break up to escape the tougher regime. Mr Vitter and Mr Brown could live with that – and believe others can, too.
They acknowledge they're at least 20 votes shy (remember, it effectively takes 60 in today's Senate because of the filibuster) of being able to pass such legislation, so don't get too excited/worried just yet.
National Review's Robert Costa has some terrifying news for moderate Republicans: Texas Senator Ted Cruz is flirting with a 2016 presidential run.
Wary of potential candidates like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican so squishy he might be able to win 270 electoral votes, hardliners are falling behind the Senate's most abrasive new member.
Enter Cruz. His supporters argue that he’d be a Barry Goldwater type — a nominee who would rattle the Republican establishment and reconnect the party with its base – but with better electoral results.
No jobs questions were asked at today's presidential news conference. If elite interest in joblessness has collapsed, however, it's not because the emergency has been resolved. On the contrary, Thomson Reuters reports that
More than 40 percent of recent U.S. college graduates are underemployed or need more training to get on a career track, a poll released Tuesday showed. The online survey of 1,050 workers who finished school in the past two years and 1,010 who will receive their degree in 2013 also found that many graduates, some heavily in debt because of the cost of their education, say they are in jobs that do not require a college degree.
By the way, let's not be sexist about this. It's not only men who get drunk and shoot their wives … sometimes wives get drunk and shoot their husbands.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Here's a story from Pennsylvania, yesterday:
PARKSIDE — A borough woman allegedly shot and killed her husband early Saturday as he was teaching her to use a gun for the first time while they were drinking in their home, according to police and documents supporting her arrest on involuntary manslaughter and related offenses.