Online Opinion Outpost: Feb. 3, 2014

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The 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.

Boehner’s invite
Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post

The political ramifications are clear: House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a colossal mistake by conspiring behind President Obama’s back, and the move has ricocheted on both of them.
The big, scary issue underlying the contretemps — how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program — is a more complicated story. I believe strongly that Obama’s approach, which requires the patience to give negotiations a chance, is the right one. To the extent that a case can be made for a more bellicose approach, Boehner and Netanyahu have undermined it.
First, the politics. Why on earth would anyone think it was a good idea to arrange for Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress without telling Obama or anyone in his administration about the invitation?
If Boehner’s aim was to paint Obama as somehow soft on Iran, he failed at that, too. The speaker inadvertently turned the focus on himself and has had to spend the week explaining why he went behind the president’s back, not even giving the White House a heads-up until hours before the March 3 speech was announced.

 

No Romney 2016
Patrick O’Connor, The Wall Street Journal

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, won’t pursue another campaign for the White House.
The former Massachusetts governor announced his decision on a Friday morning conference call with supporters, donors and advisers from past campaigns.
“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” he said on the call.
He had long suggested that he would never run again after his losses in 2008 and 2012 but then unexpectedly shook up the emerging presidential contest by telling a group of donors in New York three weeks ago that he was considering another bid.
His decision removes a major impediment to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other likely Republican candidates who are courting the centrist, business-friendly donors who had backed Mr. Romney in 2012 and whose support can help a candidate build momentum.

 

Superbowl security
Juliette Kayyem, CNN

I know how to have a perfectly safe Super Bowl — don’t have a Super Bowl. Because the reality is that perfect security is simply not attainable. But refusing to hold major sporting events is not — nor should it be — an option. So what we should instead be aiming for is perfect planning — something often misunderstood and overlooked by the public.
Anyone who follows the news will be aware of the litany of potential threats to an event being watched by millions of people across the globe — ISIS, a lone wolf terrorist, a deranged individual with too much weaponry, cyber villains, enemies of the state with weaponized drones, an unvaccinated kid with the measles.
Indeed, the list is infinite, and there has been extensive effort put into identifying and minimizing such risks. But stopping all bad things from happening can’t possibly be the sole standard for judging these efforts. Instead, the less-understood idea of response planning should be seen as of primary importance.
Ultimately, all this means that while the security apparatus being deployed at the Super Bowl may seem overwhelming or even intimidating in its own right, it is all part of efforts to ensure that regardless of the risk, the big game will balance the obligation to protect with the entertainment of game day we have all been waiting for.

 

Counselors build bridges
Michelle Obama, USA Today

Many young people in this country aren’t so lucky, because when it comes to college counseling in our nation’s schools, there are really two worlds.
There’s the world of high schools where the question isn’t whether students are going to college, but where. From the first day of freshman year, students at these schools are shepherded through the process, often by school counselors who ensure they enroll in the right classes; prepare for the SAT and ACT; meet their application deadlines; and choose a school that best meets their needs and get the financial aid they need to pay for it. That’s one world.
Then there’s the world of the schools that most of our kids attend where school counselors are too often under-valued and overstretched, and they simply don’t have what they need to do their jobs.
As a result, many of our young people have little, if any, guidance on how to pursue higher education. This is a serious loss, not just for them, but for our country. The facts are very clear: if we want America to compete in the global marketplace, all of our young people will need some kind of education beyond high school, whether that’s a two-year or four-year degree or a professional certificate.
Our school counselors are the key to achieving that goal, but only if we give them the support, recognition and resources they need to do their jobs.

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