Five Best Tuesday Columns
John Dickerson on Jeb Bush as the perfect candidate for a GOP civil war, Cara Hoffman on how popular culture ignores women in combat roles, Jonathan Chait on the continuing feud between 'Jonathan Chait' and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel J. Miller on whether Google could help to predict the next mudslide, Kavitha A. Davidson on the Yankees as America's baseball team.
John Dickerson at Slate on why Jeb Bush is the perfect candidate for a GOP civil war. “The argument for a Bush run is that he has a governor’s executive skills, can forge a relationship with crucial Hispanic voters (particularly in a key swing state), and has a fundraising base founded, in part, on a reservoir of goodwill toward the Bush family. But Bush is also the perfect candidate if your goal is driving simultaneous wedges into as many fault lines in the Republican Party as possible,” Dickerson writes. “The tensions that a Bush candidacy would exacerbate have existed within the GOP since the New Deal as members have wrestled with whether to pick a candidate with the best perceived chance of victory or the one who best reflected the philosophy of the conservative movement.”
Cara Hoffman at The New York Times on how popular culture ignores women in combat roles. “Women have served in the American military in some capacity for 400 years. But stories about female veterans are nearly absent from our culture. It’s not that their stories are poorly told. It’s that their stories are simply not told in our literature, film and popular culture,” Hoffman writes. “The story of men in combat is taught globally, examined broadly, celebrated and vilified in fiction, exploited by either side of the aisle in politics. I can’t help but think women soldiers would be afforded the respect they deserve if their experiences were reflected in literature, film and art, if people could see their struggles, their resilience, their grief represented.” Caitlin Kelly tweets, “A powerful op-ed about how invisible female veterans remain.”
Jonathan Chait at New York on the feud between ‘Jonathan Chait’ and Ta-Nehisi Coates. “Ta-Nehisi Coates and I started having a fascinating debate about the beliefs of President Obama. Coates has turned it into a less-fascinating debate about my beliefs, or what he calls my beliefs. The trouble is that I share almost none of the beliefs he ascribes to me. I see the sequence that began with chattel slavery and has led to the Obama administration as a story of halting, painful, non-continuous, but clear improvement. Coates associates himself with a quote from Malcolm X: "You don't stick a knife in a man's back nine inches, and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress,”” Chait writes.“One can believe in the continued existence of racism and still think that the scale of the evil has fallen enormously since the 19th century.” Ethan Gach, contributing writer to Forbes Tech, tweets, “make it stop, oh please make it stop.”
Daniel J Miller at the Guardian considers whether Google can predict the next mudslide. “Fifteen years ago, I wrote a study about the hilly terrain along the mighty Stillaguamish River, near the tiny town of Oso, Washington. It also included three words – “large catastrophic failure” – that warned of the potential for a devastating landslide, should conditions change. My work wasn’t ignored. But only engineers could read it, or at least only engineers wanted to. Even when informed, people didn’t fully understand,” Miller writes. “There will come a day when we can pull up maps on our iPhones that show known landslide hazards as prominently as directions to the nearest barber shop. Let’s make that day come sooner. We’ve become consumers of information; users of “big data”. Let’s become consumers of science.”
Kavitha A. Davidson at Bloomberg View on the Yankees as America’s baseball team. “The Boston Red Sox may be kings of baseball, but the New York Yankees reign supreme over American sports. This year, however, the $2.5 billion Yankees don't just lead the baseball pack -- they're also the most valuable team in all of American professional sports, edging the Dallas Cowboys, valued at $2.3 billion back in August when Forbes last assessed National Football League teams," Davidson writes. Referencing the widely-shared Facebook Fandom Map of America’s MLB teams, Davidson adds, “For the most part, teams are most popular in their home region, but the Yankees hold a plurality of fans across America, both in counties without a home team and in South Florida. The numbers don't lie: The Yankees may be the Evil Empire, but they're also America's team.”