Five Best Thursday Columns

The Telegraph on Obama's Libya inaction, Cory Franklin on CT scan dangers, and more

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The Telegraph on Obama's Inaction in Libya  The Telegraph wants President Obama to break his silence and take action in Libya. The British paper argues that by the time a White House-supported UN resolution went into effect, it would be too late to help the rebels defeat Qaddafi and the U.S.'s "failure to provide effective support for pro-democracy campaigners would be seen as an admission of weakness by those hostile to Western interests." They recognize the fact that Obama campaigned on his opposition to the war in Iraq makes the likelihood that he'll want to take "military action against another failed state in the region" slim. Still, the effects that inaction will have on America's oil supply, on which it is dependent, should be enough to convince the President to step up and get involved, before it's too late.

Cory Franklin on the Possible Dangers of CT Scans  Cory Franklin, a physician, offers some important facts he thinks everyone should know about CT scans."The typical CT scan exposes a patient to more radiation than chest X-rays, mammograms or airport scanners," he warns in The Chicago Tribune. "A full-body CT scan for a serious trauma patient delivers an amount approaching the annual dose limit of radiation exposure for radiation workers." In emergency medicine especially, CT scans are used relatively routinely, for quick diagnoses. But Franklin urges the medical community to ask whether all of these scans are necessary and if the amount of radiation CT scans impose upon patients might be causing cancers. He argues that the amount of radiation a patient has been exposed to should be recorded from birth, like vaccinations. "It took only one generation for CT scanning to revolutionize medicine, yet its very success has created uncertainty over what its precise role is in patient care," he writes. "Answering these questions is paramount to that determination."

Victor Davis Hanson on 'President Hamlet'  "Given all the ambiguities that such a sensitive prince first had to sort out," Davis Hanson writes, "Hamlet couldn’t quite ever act in time." Historian Davis Hanson sees strains of this kind of indecision in Barack Obama, and is critical of his wavering on health care, the federal bailout, Guantanamo Bay and the still-unfolding events in the Middle East. "President Obama has spent most of his life either in, or teaching, school--or making laws that he was not responsible for enforcing," Hanson Davis writes. "But now Obama is chief executive, and learning, as did Prince Hamlet, that thinking out every possible side of a question can mean never acting on any of them--a sort of Shakespearean 'prison' where 'there is nothing either good or bad.' ... Hamlets," he says, "are as admirable in theory as they are fickle--and often dangerous--in fact."

Meghan Daum on NPR's Missing Backbone  If you're a "liberal" media outlet embroiled in scandal and Glenn Beck is defending you more than you are yourself, it's probably a sign you should rethink your strategy, says Daum in The Los Angeles Times. "Here's the real problem, NPR. No matter how mainstream your audience is in truth, or how balanced you are in substance, or how many opinions you solicit from average red-state Joes, the prevailing feeling is that your style is unmistakably liberal," she writes. "You may not be left-leaning, but you're left-seeming." Whether it's the "warm, earnest quality of the hosts' and reporters' voices," or "their exotic names," Daum says. "Mandalit del Barco, Lakshmi Singh, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Daniel Zwerdling. Are these tea party names? No, they're soy chai latte names." Though there's interesting evidence that NPR does not, in fact, lean left when reporting on politics, Daum tells the network: "you could go content-free, relying only on those quirky music snippets and reporters saying their names, and you'd still come across as a granola bar disguised as a radio network."

Joan Vennochi on John Kerry's Return  Writing in The Boston Globe, Vennochi writes about Senator John Kerry's return to the forefront of Democratic politics, bouncing back from the damage done to his image by the 2004 Presidential election. With a nod to Ted Kennedy, Vennochi says that "Kerry doesn’t have the liberal lion’s unique gusto. But he’s speaking up, Kerry-style, for those old liberal values--community action and fuel assistance programs--in the budget debate." She notes that his calls for intervention in Libya and for Mubarak to step down in Egypt have been vocal. While the President is increasingly hemmed in by pragmatism, Kerry is "embracing what it used to mean to be a Democrat." She hopes he doesn't back down.

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