Five Best Tuesday Columns

Julia Ioffe thanks Jenny McCarthy for her whooping cough, David Weigel on the Elizabeth Warren dream, David Dayen on Wall Street reform, Jonathan Bernstein on America's flawed elections, and Kevin Roose on Randi Zuckerberg's social media blunders. 

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Julia Ioffe at The New Republic thanks Jenny McCarthy for her whooping cough.
"Sometimes you find yourself, after years of imagining yourself a serious reporter, writing for the public about what it’s like to cough so hard that you pee yourself. At 31," Ioffe writes. Two months ago she was diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough, which has made a resurgence thanks to "Park Slope parents" parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. "There’s a reason that we associate the whooping cough with the Dickensian: It is," Ioffe explains. "The illness has, since the introduction of a pertussis vaccine in 1940, been conquered in the developed world." But due to the anti-vaccine movement (fueled in part by the celebrity endorsement of Jenny McCarthy), the disease is back. "So thanks a lot, anti-vaccine parents," Ioffe writes. "You took an ethical stand against big pharma and the autism your baby was not going to get anyway, and, by doing so, killed some babies and gave me, an otherwise healthy 31-year-old woman, the whooping cough in the year 2013." Gizmodo writer Matt Novak tweets this line from the piece: "From 2011 to 2012, reported [whooping cough] incidences rose more than threefold in 21 states." Politico's chief economic correspondent, Ben White, tweets, "There are few people more deserving of our absolute scorn than Jenny McCarthy and the anti-vax crowd."

David Weigel at Slate on the Elizabeth Warren dream. "Thirteen months after defeating Sen. Scott Brown, Warren was to be viewed as a potential populist president," Weigel writes. But her chances of running — or ever defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary — are zero. "Several things can be true —Warren can be outsmarting the financial industry, the Clintons can be worried about a shift in the Democratic Party, Warren might be more likely to run if Clinton does than if Clinton doesn’t — without there being any chance of the front-runner losing." Further, "The point isn’t just that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic front-runner. No one doubts that; everyone’s a little bored by that. The point is that it’s risky, weak strategy to make a presidential primary the test kitchen for policy change." Grist policy correspondent Ben Adler tweets, "smart take: the left doesn't need an alternative to HRC so much as power over the Democratic Party." Politico deputy editor Blake Hounshell notes this line from the piece: "The first polling of a possible New Hampshire primary puts Clinton 53 points ahead of Warren."

David Dayen at Salon on Wall Street reform. "In the past few decades, Wall Street has devised financial 'innovations' with the primary purpose of outpacing regulatory reach, surmounting decades-old reforms. This frees non-bank financial firms from oversight by the watchdogs, and allows them to accumulate risk in search of greater profits," Dayen explains. Can real reform happen? The Obama administration hasn't really pursued it, Dayen argues. "This core debate – whether to build a new regulatory regime for 21st-century financial products, or to just bar 'innovations' that merely allow financial interests to capture money that should cycle through the economy – has not been part of the Obama administration’s approach to Wall Street reform." Economics writer and Roosevelt Institute fellow Mike Konczal tweets, "Dayen has a great writeup of our new report."

Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post on America's flawed elections. "Over in Virginia today, Democrat Mark Herring today moved into the lead in the Attorney General election over Republican Mark Obenshain by exactly 100 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast," Bernstein explains. "This is one case in which throwing money at the problem would probably solve most of it. If poll workers had more training, if outdated machines were eliminated and broken-down machines replaced promptly and if more and better-equipped polling places were the norm, voting could be much easier and the tallies much more accurate," he argues. Adam Smith, the director at Public Campaign, has a different idea: "Instead of throwing money at restricting the vote, let's fund election administration." Working America writer Seth D. Michaels responds: "voting should be easy."

Kevin Roose at Daily Intelligencer on Randi Zuckerberg's social media blunders. Zuckerberg's new book, DotComplicated, intends to inform the reader about social media etiquette. "Although DotComplicated is littered with academic studies and surveys purporting to say something about how we use (or abuse) the Internet, Zuckerberg is no social-media guru," Roose argues. "Zuckerberg's book won't curb unwise Internet behavior, just like a book on weather won't curb hurricanes. But with her two-handed, contradictory advice about how to live wisely online, Zuckerberg has accidentally done something better than solving our online identity crises. She embodies them." And so DotComplicated can make us feel better about our own blunders: "If even the sister of Facebook can't untangle the wires, we can't be expected to, either." Time senior editor Bryan Walsh tweets this line: "She'd curated her Facebook friends, choosing only those 2,300 closest to her."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.