Opinion

morning opinion digest

Measles outbreak, US political corruption, and more

A single-dose vial of the measles-mumps-rubella virus vaccine live, or MMR vaccine.
AP
A single-dose vial of the measles-mumps-rubella virus vaccine live, or MMR vaccine.

Israel’s man in Washington, Obama’s nominee for AG, and more. Check out five opinions trending online.

Measles outbreak spreads: The Economist explores the measles outbreak in California – and the fears of parents who are overwhelmed by the number of vaccines their young children require. Those fears, combined with celebrities who tout debunked pseudoscience, lead to decisions that can pose a threat to public health.

“Parents who skip vaccines are often portrayed as pampered fools swayed by conspiracy theorists. Some swear by debunked studies – like one linking the measles vaccine to autism – and dodgy alternative medicine. A gaggle of B-list celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy, a former Playboy model and anti-vaccine megaphone, reinforce this image. But parents rarely opt out of all vaccines. Many are overwhelmed by the large number of vaccines now required for young children, so they choose to limit or delay the jabs,” the editors write. “That is still risky behavior.” Read more.

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Worries for Super Bowl: The editors of USA Today track the measles outbreak, which has spread from California to Arizona, prompting concerns about the upcoming Super Bowl. The editors also curate a variety of polls and opinions here.

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Catching corrupt politicians: Sheldon Silver, speaker of the New York State Assembly, was by most accounts one of the most powerful figures in New York politics – until he was taken away in handcuffs, arrested on corruption charges, writes author Terry Golway for Reuters. But the good news, Golway contends, is that corrupt politicians usually pay a price in the United States.

“Here’s the difference between the United States and many truly lawless nations that happen to be strategically important to Washington at the moment: Corrupt US politicians invariably get caught, sometimes because they overreach, sometimes because an ambitious prosecutor or an investigative reporter comes along to expose the scam.” Read more.

National Review votes “no” on Lynch: Loretta Lynch, who is President Obama’s choice to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general of the US, should not be confirmed, writes the editorial board of the National Review.

“In November, just days after the American electorate gave Republicans strong majorities in both chambers of Congress, President Obama thumbed his nose at several million voters by issuing an executive order effectively granting amnesty to 5 million-plus immigrants residing in the United States illegally. That lawless action was, naturally, supported by Attorney General Eric Holder, whose primary contribution as head of the Department of Justice for six years has been to grant specious legal imprimatur to the president’s various usurpations of legislative power,” the editors opine.

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“Loretta Lynch, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, nominated to be Mr. Holder’s replacement, has proven herself equally unfit for the office. That some Senate Republicans seem prepared to swiftly confirm her to office is an abnegation of their November mandate and, even more important, their constitutional duty.” Read more.

Israel’s man in Washington: Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer isn’t prone to playing nice with the Obama administration, writes Nathan Guttman in the Daily Forward.

“Ambassador Ron Dermer has just taken the biggest risk of his short diplomatic career,” Guttman writes. “As Israel’s envoy to Washington, Dermer would ordinarily be the man behind the scenes promoting his state’s most important foreign relationship. But the Israeli diplomat is now at center stage – both praised and reviled as the key player who, with Republican House Speaker John Boehner, planned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprise visit to address Congress shortly before national elections in Israel, circumventing a miffed President Obama.” Read more.

Ellen Clegg is a member of the Globe staff. She tweets @ellenclegg.