Online Opinion Outpost: August 5


The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.

CIA spies on Senate

New York Times

On Thursday, the Central Intelligence Agency admitted that it did, indeed, use a fake online identity to break into the Senate’s computers, where documents connected to a secret report on the agency’s detention and torture program were being stored.
The accountability and the apologies, however, will have to go much further. It’s not just two senators that the C.I.A. has offended by this shocking action. It is all of Congress and, by extension, the American public, which is paying for an intelligence agency that does not seem to understand the most fundamental concept of separation of powers.
Ms. Feinstein accused the agency of having “undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.” The institutional affront even drew Republican criticism. If the charge was true, said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, “heads should roll, and people should go to jail.”

Obama v. Congress

David B. Rivkin Jr. & Elizabeth Price Foley, Wall Street Journal

’So sue me” is President Obama’s message to Congress. And on Wednesday the House of Representatives took up his taunt, authorizing a lawsuit to challenge the president’s failure to faithfully execute provisions of the Affordable Care Act as passed by Congress. The lawsuit is necessary to protect the Constitution’s separation of powers, a core means of protecting individual liberty. Without a judicial check on unbounded executive power to suspend the law, this president and all who follow him will have a powerful new weapon to destroy political accountability and democracy itself.
The separation of powers guarantees political accountability. When Congress makes a law and the president executes it as written, citizens will know whom to reward or punish at the next election.
If Mr. Obama can get away with this, his successors will be tempted to follow suit. Congress will be bypassed, rendering it increasingly irrelevant, and disfranchising the American people.

African allies

Todd Moss, USA Today

President Obama will host the first-ever African heads of state summit with 47 leaders in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 4-6.
A major driver of a new relationship should be Africa’s resurgence.
Rising incomes among Africa’s nearly one billion people mean exploding demand for energy, services, and consumer goods -— and U.S. firms stand to benefit.
While the economic picture is bright, Africa is rising on the security agenda. The principal future national security threats to the United States are terrorism, cross-border disease, and underground criminal networks.
The U.S. response to both the economic opportunities and the security threats should be the same: build closer partnerships with African allies.

Body image

LZ Granderson, CNN

Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model, is getting a cyber-standing ovation for posting unretouched and makeup-free photos of herself on Facebook in protest against the pathological airbrushing we’ve grown accustomed to in professional photography.
Her message to women everywhere is clear: Beauty comes in many sizes.
The problem is, Lawley is not what average people would call plus-size.
If her body is what the fashion industry is calling plus size, that world is more screwed up than we know.
It’s the body image distortion that crammed her into that category, which, for actual plus-size women, can’t be a good thing. If a size 6, or even 8, 9, or 10, is the industry’s idea of a plus-size woman, then how should the average American woman describe herself? Morbidly obese?
Of course not, which is why size designations have been massaged over time.

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