Former President George H.W. Bush is set to receive the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's prestigious Profile in Courage Award for breaking his "read my lips" pledge not to raise taxes — and for being "pilloried by conservatives for doing so."
To be sure, conservatives weren't happy when he broke the pledge. Many still aren't. Upon hearing the news, Americans for Tax Reform's Grover Norquist issued a statement saying: "Courage would have been standing up to the spending lobbyists in Washington and saying, 'No.' Doing what official Washington and its spending lobbies want is not courage. It is a failure of nerve."
While it's fair to say that Bush went against his base, there are additional facts worth considering. First, Bush later said it was a mistake. And second, it wasn't just conservatives who "pilloried" the president. Let's not forget that Clinton strategist James Carville called it "the most famous broken promise in the history of American politics."
Political courage requires doing the right thing — even if it costs you an election. You need both parts of the equation. Merely losing an election is not a qualification. And since when did breaking promises become noble?
Exit question: If Jeb Bush is really considering a presidential run, what are the odds he shows up for the awards ceremony in Boston? Now that would be a profile in courage. Matt K. Lewis
Is the noose circling around FIFA President Sepp Blatter?
The New York Times reports that his top deputy, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, transferred $10 million in FIFA funds to an account controlled by Jack Warner, an official who has been accused by U.S. law enforcement authorities of taking kickbacks to help South Africa secure hosting rights for the World Cup in 2010. Valcke has not been officially charged with any wrongdoing, though he makes an appearance in the U.S. indictment against FIFA officials as a "high-ranking FIFA official" responsible for the transfer. It remains unclear whether the transfer was a part of the bribe that Warner allegedly accepted.
According to the Times, Valcke "said in a brief email that he had not authorized the payment and did not have the power to do so."
Still, the report suggests the alleged bribery ring came closer to Blatter than was previously known. Ryu Spaeth
The state of Oklahoma launched an investigation the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department after a volunteer deputy's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Reuters reports.
Reserve deputy Robert Bates, a 73-year-old white man, said he confused his stun gun with his handgun when he shot Eric Harris, 44, on April 2. The incident was caught on tape. Bates pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter and resigned from his position with the sheriff's office, the Associated Press reports.
The Oklahoma State Investigative Bureau is looking for possible misconduct at the sheriff's department. Some say Bates, a personal friend of Sheriff Stanley Glanz, benefited from special treatment and did not receive proper volunteer training. There is no set timetable for the investigation. Julie Kliegman
Piggybacking off world-building game Minecraft's millions of downloads, Lego launched a competitor Monday, Fast Company reports.
"Players have the freedom to alter procedurally generated worlds and create anything they can imagine one brick at a time, or use prefabricated structures to customize their environments," a statement read. "Large-scale landscaping tools are available to modify terrain quickly and easily."
It's not just Jurassic Park: Scientists have found evidence of parthenogenesis in sawfish.
Researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission used DNA fingerprinting to show that three percent of a Florida sawfish population was created by female-only reproduction. The findings, described in the journal Current Biology, suggest that sawfish have saved their species from extinction by reproducing without male input.
Scientists have previously observed asexual reproduction in sharks, snakes, and fish in captivity, The Guardian notes, but the new study is the first evidence of parthenogenesis in vertebrates in the wild.
The best part of the study, though, is that the find was completely accidental. The researchers were studying the sawfish group to see if its small population size had led to inbreeding, but the sawfish were apparently a step ahead of the game. The scientists noted that while parthenogenesis leads to less genetic diversity, it could help save species from going extinct. Meghan DeMaria
The Muslim woman who was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf won her discrimination case Monday, Reuters reports. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in her favor in a landmark case for religious freedom and workplace discrimination.
In 2008, an Abercrombie Kids store in Oklahoma told Samantha Elauf, then 17, that she wasn't hired because the headscarf she wears for religious reasons violated the company's "look policy." Julie Kliegman
A new study in The New England Journal of Medicine, presented this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual conference in Chicago, found that two cancer drugs, when taken together, could shrink tumors in patients with advanced-stage melanoma.
In a trial of 945 worldwide patients, researchers found that combining ipilimumab and nivolumab, two drugs that work with the body's immune system, reduced the melanoma tumors of nearly 60 percent of patients. The combination, which spurred the immune system to fight cancer, also prevented melanoma from advancing for almost a year in more than half of the patients studied.
Over the course of a year, 58 percent of the study participants had their tumors shrink by at least a third while taking the two medicines. But while the researchers agree the results are promising, combining the medications also increased patients' side effects, and 36 percent of patients stopped the treatment because of the side-effects. The scientists behind the study are also still researching the immunotherapy treatment's survival rates. Meghan DeMaria
Science magazine's career site fielded a troubling message Monday from a post-doc student joining a new lab, with a new adviser.
"Whenever we meet in his office, I catch him trying to look down my shirt," the student, presumably a woman, wrote to advice columnist and scientist Alice Huang.
Huang responded by saying the unwelcome advance probably wouldn't qualify as unlawful sexual harassment, and that she should just, well, deal with it.
"As long as your adviser does not move on to other advances, I suggest you put up with it, with good humor if you can," Huang wrote. "Just make sure that he is listening to you and your ideas, taking in the results you are presenting, and taking your science seriously."
The Ask Alice article, "Help! My adviser won't stop looking down my shirt," on this website has been removed by Science because it did not meet our editorial standards, was inconsistent with our extensive institutional efforts to promote the role of women in science, and had not been reviewed by experts knowledgeable about laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. We regret that the article had not undergone proper editorial review prior to posting. Women in science, or any other field, should never be expected to tolerate unwanted sexual attention in the workplace. [Science]
So, why don't more women pursue careers in science? Julie Kliegman