Forensic Science is often only one of the two

I really wanted to do a nice post about the great 60 Minutes and Washington Post joint investigation that shows how hundred of people have been put in jail based on FBI science that has been completely debunked.  Alas, I haven't.  If you have not read the story, you should really take a look, though.  It's amazing that the FBI can put people in jail for decades based on “science” when they never even did meaningful tests to see if their “science” really deserved the name.  If you are more in the mood to listen than read, you can also download the 60 Minutes podcast of the story.  Either way, it is really worth your time.
This Thanksgiving, you can be thankful that you are not reading this from jail based upon a bogus, scientifically invalid conviction.  

A bit more Surge

Eaerlier this week I posted that the surge has not worked.  Today, Ezra Klein provides a nice summary of an American Prospect article that extensively makes the case (from Ezra):

Read Matt Duss
on “the Surge.” Glad as we all are that Iraq is getting better, not an
inch of the improvement, so far as anyone can tell, is related to the
surge, or has furthered the cause of national political reconciliation.
There's been a drop in violence because Sunni tribes have turned on
jihadists, because mixed areas have been ethnically cleansed, because
certain factions are tentatively working together, because Sadr has
decided to calm his militia's actions, and so forth.

We have surveyed this great bounty, noticed it has nothing to do with national reconciliation, and in fact points the other way,
and happily embraced “bottom-up reconciliation,” which means arming
various tribes and warlords under the hopes that they later,
voluntarily subsume their authority to a central government they
loathe…

But these aren't changes that we wanted. Indeed, they're changes point
away from the direction we've always claimed to favor, and are exposing
the failure of our political strategy — national political
reconciliation — which the Surge was supposed
to abet. So judged on its original aims, the surge has been a
tremendous disappointment…

Basically, the same point I was trying to make earlier this week, but much more nicely done. 

Republican health care

Don't want to be the only lefty blogger not to link to today's great LA Times story on the Republican candidates' health care plans.  Giuliani, McCain, and Thomspon have all had cancer and:

All three have offered proposals with the stated aim of
helping the 47 million people in the U.S. who have no health insurance,
including those with preexisting medical conditions. But under the
plans all three have put forward, cancer survivors such as themselves
could not be sure of getting coverage ? especially if they were not
already covered by a government or job-related plan and had to seek
insurance as individuals.

?Unless it?s in a state that has very strong consumer protections,
they would likely be denied coverage,? said economist Paul Fronstin of
the Employee Benefit Research Institute, who has reviewed the
candidates? proposals. ?People with preexisting conditions would not be
able to get coverage or would not be able to afford it.?

Steve Benen's pithy summation is my favorite:

It offers a helpful contrast between the downsides of the two parties?
approaches to healthcare. The problem with the Dems? plans is that
they?re expensive. The problem with the Republicans? policies is that
sick people of modest means can?t get health insurance.

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