Weekly Roundup 3/19/2012

Health Care Reform: Why It’s Safe at the Supreme Court
Mike Sacks, Huffington Post, March 18, 2012

How the Roberts Court could save Obama’s health-care reform
Robert Barnes, The Washington Post, March 18, 2012

Synopsis: With the Supreme Court getting ready for an extraordinary six hours of oral arguments the week of March 26 on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health-care reform, two Supreme Court correspondents weigh in with tentative predictions that the law will be upheld.

Takeaway: Barnes qualifies his prediction with a “reality check” by noting that supporters of the law had earlier forecast that the challenges to the law would be easily disposed of.

For CQ Researcher coverage, see Marcia Clemmitt, “Health Care Reform,” Aug. 28, 2009

--Kenneth Jost, Associate Editor


The Story of a Suicide
Ian Parker, The New Yorker, Feb. 6, 2012

Synopsis: Parker interviewed friends and acquaintances of young Rutgers University suicide victim Tyler Clementi and his roommate, Dharun Ravi, convicted last week of bias crimes that likely played a role in driving Clementi, who was homosexual, to take his own life.

Takeaway: Parker also interviewed Clementi's parents. ”They never saw any sign of depression, and can’t even see it retrospectively," he writes. "'As a parent, what it says to me is that what you think you know, you don’t know,' Joseph Clementi said.’And that’s a hard thing, because we all think, I know what my kid’s up to. You don’t.'"

For related topics, see the following CQ Researcher reports: “Youth Suicide,” Feb. 13, 2004, by David Hosansky; “Preventing Bullying,” Dec. 10, 2010, by Thomas J. Billitteri, and “Cyber Bullying,” May 2, 2008, by Thomas J. Billitteri.

--Marcia Clemmitt, Staff Writer


U.S. Faces a Tricky Task in Assessment of Data on Iran
By James Risen, The New York Times, March 17, 2012

Synopsis: Two years ago, according to investigative reporter James Risen, U.S. intelligence officials said that intercepted communications from Iran officials indicated they had revived efforts to build a nuclear weapon. But after a thorough review, U.S. officials decided to stick to their original conclusion – that Iran had decided not to go ahead with developing a nuclear weapon.

Takeaway: Today, top U. S. intelligence officials administration officials have said that Iran still has not decided to pursue a weapon. However, Risen adds: “Still, some acknowledge significant intelligence gaps in understanding the intentions of Iran’s leaders.” According to a former senior intelligence official Risen interviewed: “I’d say that I have about 75 percent confidence in the assessment that they haven’t restarted the program.”

For background see the following CQ Global Researcher report: “Rising Tension Over Iran,” Feb. 7, 2012, by Roland Flamini.

--Thomas J. Colin, Contributing Editor