Online Opinion Outpost: May 19

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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.

American Idol
David Bianculli, CNN

The announcement that next year will be the last for Fox’s “American Idol” came as quite a surprise, but only because that announcement should have been made about four seasons ago. It isn’t a show whose time is passing. It’s a show that, for a few years now, has been living on borrowed overtime.

Pope Francis
Timothy Egan, New York Times

So why is Pope Francis smiling? For that matter, how did a 78-year-old man with only one working lung become perhaps the most radiant, powerful and humane figure on the global stage? It’s a paradox, but as much of the world has become less identified with organized religion, the leader of the most organized of religions is more popular than ever.

Whether he’s cleaning the feet of the homeless, dialing up strangers for late-night chats or convincing a self-described atheist like Raúl Castro to give a second look at the Catholic church, the pope who took the name of a nature-loving pauper is a transformative gust.

Elections 
Ralph Nader, LA Times

Taken as a whole, it is all so rancid. All this dreariness comes down to who is more likable with the most TV ads and superior campaign staff. The voters see themselves as mere spectators, grumbling along the way. They can’t seem to make the candidates react to their needs. They’re bored, and boredom often turns into cynicism and withdrawal (voters become nonvoters). When people have low expectations of politicians, the politicians will oblige them.

Tsarnaev death sentence
Jay Parini, CNN

Capital punishment is murder by the state; it cannot be justified. It will do nothing to comfort anyone who suffered from the horror perpetrated by Tsarnaev. If we allow ourselves to get sucked into the violence that has been done to us, we in turn become that violence.

Wall Street Journal

No society serious about its self-defense and preservation can tolerate this. There are strong arguments for and against the death penalty, and there is no doubt that innocent men have been killed by the state. But there is no doubt of guilt in this case. And whatever else one believes about the death penalty, it sends an unmistakable message that even a society as tolerant as ours still believes that some acts deserve the ultimate penalty.

Obesity
Aseem Malhotra, Washington Post

Corporate greed and a systematic political failure to protect citizens from the manipulations of the food industry have brought American health care to its knees. More than 75 percent of health-care costs now go toward treating chronic metabolic diseases and their associated disabilities. These problems are a result of food industry spin and false information linking physical inactivity and obesity. Curbing the global obesity problem will require changing what we eat, not selling more pedometers and exercise videos. The bottom line: You can’t outrun a bad diet.

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