Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Now That's a Page of Commentary

Today's Star Tribune commentary page was made up of three locally written pieces, all of which made great points on their very different topics.

First, Dr. Steven Miles explained how fetal tissue, as is sometimes collected when a woman chooses to have an abortion, has led to tremendous advances in prenatal surgery. We've all heard that doctors can now perform heart surgery before birth, or close up spinal columns. That's because doctors had access to fetal remains to study.

Second, lawyer Marshall Tanick gave President Obama a hard time in Oh, Just Revoke the Medal of Freedom Already. Tanick points out that many awards have been revoked by organizations that didn't have a precedent for doing so (Little League Baseball, the Miss America pageant...). He writes, Bill Cosby has "no right to the award and [he] would lose no economic benefits if it were taken away from him. Therefore, the administration should undertake an inquiry into the Cosby calumny and consider revoking the award if appropriate."

Finally, two local law professors tell us that Obama's Categorical Reduction of Sentences Has Precedent, contrary to what some on the Right seem to think. Presidents from Washington on have done it, in fact. And even the number of people pardoned by Obama -- now the highest since Lyndon Johnson -- is not that high. "When Johnson in 1965 commuted 80 federal prison sentences, there were only about 20,000 federal prisoners, and most had a chance to earn release on parole. Move ahead 50 years — parole opportunities have been entirely abolished in the federal system, and the federal prison population now exceeds 200,000."

All of this made for welcome reading this morning.

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