Palin and Abortion

As usual, the right misses the point when it comes to abortion:

I saw a concerted effort by the media to marginalize her as a far right winger, out of touch with moderate and pro-choice women.  This is unfair to her, and to all of us who respect her admirable decision to carry to term a child diagnosed in utero with Down’s Syndrome.  It’s been noted here that 90 percent of parents who receive the news that their child will be born with this disability choose to terminate.  Governor Palin put her principles into practice.  And as a pro-choicer, I can say with sincerity that I admire her act of character and love.

As can we all. What provokes rather more controversy, however, is the assumption that people who believe as Palin does have the right to impose their views on the other 90 percent of America.

Mixed Reviews In Alaska

Palin’s first year and a half in the governor’s office gets mixed reviews from the cognoscenti back home in Alaska.

Not Leaving the Trooper Alone

A long post from Washington Monthly blogger Steve Benen shows Democrats could well get themselves in trouble by making an issue of McCain veep pick Sarah Palin’s efforts to get her state-trooper brother-in-law fired. It’s clear Palin has been disingenuous about her activities and the former state public safety commissioner she actually did fire has a point when he says there are personnel-law reasons that should keep a governor from putting a finger on the scales like she tried to.  But looking strictly at the politics of it, that’s beside the point. Most police forces are good-ol’-boy bastions that more often cover for than investigate fellow cops who get involved in domestic violence. That’s so widely known that women not only will give Palin a pass on the issue, many will actively take her side. Trust me, Dems, this one’s a loser.

Backbone Growth

Also from the New York Times, an interesting piece about how other countries are trying to build Internet backbone infrastructure to bypass the US. Even amongst our allies, there’s worry about how a US-dominated net would expose information:

“Since passage of the Patriot Act, many companies based outside of the United States have been reluctant to store client information in the U.S.,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. “There is an ongoing concern that U.S. intelligence agencies will gather this information without legal process. There is particular sensitivity about access to financial information as well as communications and Internet traffic that goes through U.S. switches.”

Surge Quarrel

The New York Times offers new details about how Bush decided on the five-brigade surge in Iraq. Interesting for what it reveals about the wrangling within the Army itself. The generals were deeply split.

Shuttle, Extended

Congressional sentiment in the wake of the Georgia/Russia incident is forcing NASA to reconsider the idea of shutting down the Space Shuttle program after 2010. But former Shuttle program boss Wayne Hale says logistics already make that a practical impossibility. NASA managers began shutting down the supply chain for parts four years ago and there’s no way to restart it:

You might think that simple things like bolts and screws, wire, filters, and gaskets could be bought off the shelf some where, but that thinking would merely prove how little you know about the shuttle.  The huge majority of supplies, consumable items, maintenance items, they are all specially made with unique and stringent processes and standards. 

Our shuttle history tells us that when we try to cut corners, trouble results.  Small, even apparently insignificant changes have caused big problems. 

It goes to show how short-sighted the Bush administration’s decision-making was, born out of pure cowardice following the Columbia accident.

China’s Stake

Robert Farley:

Territorial integrity is a value that Russia really shouldn’t have expected China to have a sense of humor about.

Read the whole thing.