Cheers and jeers

Thumbs up to senators, police; down to misplaced outrage, wasteful spending

Cheers — to Senate Democrats and Republicans who struck a deal to preserve the filibuster while clearing the way for administration appointments to be swiftly confirmed. Sen. John McCain of Arizona deserves credit for bending enough to get the deal done, and Majority Leader Harry Reid for reserving the right to move for major filibuster reform later if Republicans resume their obstructionist tactics.

Jeers — to the howls of protest over Rolling Stone magazine's decision to run a flattering photograph of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover. The photo — which has also appeared on the front page of the New York Times — illustrates a strong investigative story inside the magazine that tracks Tsarnaev's apparent journey from a well-liked, talented student to a cold, calculating terrorist.

Rolling Stone did not doctor the photo to make Tsarnaev more attractive, and the image is perfectly suited to the story, which asks how he became transformed. The headline reads, "The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student was Failed by His Family, Fell into Radical Islam and Became a Monster."

That's not "glorifying" anybody, as the critics would have it. That's journalism.

Cheers — to the Medford Police Department and the U.S. Postal Service for a year-long investigation that led to federal charges against 23 people in the largest mail-theft ring ever uncovered in Southern Oregon. The suspects allegedly victimized more than 1,000 people, stealing pieces of mail and using victims' personal information to open bank accounts, forge checks and obtain fraudulent credit and debit cards.

Jeers — to departed state education chief Rudy Crew, who apparently lived the high life at taxpayers' expense during his brief tenure, billing the state for personal travel, taking six weeks of paid vacation and trying to get the state to buy first-class plane tickets, all while pulling down a salary of $280,000 a year. An investigation by The Oregonian documented Crew's profligate ways during his year as the state's first chief of preschool-through-college education. Crew has taken a job as president of Medgar Evers College. State officials say there was no formal approval process for Crew's expense requests — an oversight that has since been corrected.

Cheers — to local ophthalmologist Matt Oliva for his years of work with the Himalayan Cataract Project, an effort that performs sight-restoring surgery in some of the poorest countries in the world. Begun in Nepal in 1995, the project since has expanded to Bhutan, northern China and northern India as well as several African countries.

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