Short Takes: Eyes and body of the beholder

Short Takes: Eyes and body of the beholder

May 17th, 2013 in Opinion Times

Angelina Jolie has had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that made it extremely likely she would get breast cancer.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Eyes and body of the beholder

Superstar and children's advocate Angelina Jolie stirs debate everywhere she turns, even when she opts to cut her risk of breast cancer with a double mastectomy and goes public with it as a health message for women.

Many hailed Jolie as a brave hero, choosing life over looks and redefining beauty over the gamble of shortchanging her children.

One Facebook commenter states: "Just reading about Jolie mastectomy. That's a true pain, and that's called brave. She inspires me to check my body."

Others rebelled at the reaction that Jolie was the brave one.

"Revealing? Sure. Helpful? Maybe. But 'classy' and 'brave'? I don't think so," wrote Olivia Barker for USA Today.

Barker is undergoing treatment for breast cancer and has had a double mastectomy. She wrote that the brave ones are "the women with metastatic disease, especially the young women I get chemo alongside. ... Those whose lives are in the balance, who don't have the luxury of admiring their perky reconstructed nipples, those are the women who need a worldwide platform."

Who's right?

Both. Whether women are staring at disease and death right now or considering options to prepare because they have deadly genetics, they are brave and heroic. They have to be.

No charges in police beating

The two Chattanooga police officers who brutally beat a man in a Salvation Army halfway house program last year will not be prosecuted federally, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.

That's hard to stomach. Almost as hard as watching the more than 10-minute surveillance video of the beating that went on and on and on -- long after the man was down and injured. The video was made public in February by the injured man's attorney.

Adam Tatum suffered six fractures to his right leg and two fractures to his left leg, including a compound fracture. Even Police Chief Bobby Dodd was sickened by the video, and he said the officers -- Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer -- should be fired and charged. Dodd did fire them, and he brought the FBI into the investigation.

But that investigation now is closed with no charges; and last fall, the Hamilton County grand jury declined to indict the officers on aggravated assault charges.

The officers want their jobs back.

Just say no, police authorities. They are not the kind of officers Chattanooga or any other jurisdiction needs.

Two states, two vetoes

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam made a good decision this week when he vetoed the "Ag Gag" bill. The bill would have required anyone "intentionally" documenting livestock abuse to hand the video over to law enforcement within 48 hours or face criminal fines.

Sponsors claimed it was aimed at preventing animal cruelty, but advocates for animals said it really was aimed at making it harder to prosecute animal cruelty. It was backed by the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

Haslam said he vetoed it because it was "constitutionally suspect in that it could infringe on First Amendment rights, guarantees against self-incrimination and prior restraint in publishing."

Meanwhile, next door in the Peach State, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal unexpectedly vetoed a bill that would have given $9 million in sales tax breaks to charitable medical clinics, federally qualified health centers, food banks and other charities.

The measure would have benefited many safety-net providers that expect to carry an extra patient load once the federal Affordable Care Act begins phasing out hospital subsidies for indigent care next year.

Deal's veto message states that a 2010 tax reform panel recommended all non-government and non-business exemptions be allowed to expire so the Legislature could decide whether they should be renewed.

Funny that Deal didn't apply the same logic last month when he signed a bill extending an estimated $18 million tax break to Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., the Savannah-based manufacturer of luxury jets.