Can This Nomination Be Justified?

George Will, with welcome audacity, in the Washington Post:

“Senators beginning what ought to be a protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers should be guided by three rules. First, it is not important that she be confirmed. Second, it might be very important that she not be. Third, the presumption — perhaps rebuttable but certainly in need of rebutting — should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential discretion to which senatorial deference is due.”

Vaccine Prevents Most Cervical Cancer

Merck claims its immunization against human papillomavirus strains which cause cervical cancer is overwhelmingly effective (New York Times ). There are more than a quarter of a million cervical cancer deaths a year worldwide, many of them in poorer countries where women do not have access to regular Pap smears that could detect the disease earlier. If this bears up, it could be a momentous health advance — enthusiasts say it could prevent at least 70% of cervical cancer deaths — although women would still need regular screening tests. Now, going beyond questions of clinical efficacy: what is Merck going to charge for the vaccine in the Third World? Would putting in the infrastructure for regular gynecological checkups be a less costly alternative to lining the pockets of Big Pharma? Is there the political will to do so?

St. Desmond’s Day

Happy 74th birthday to the wry Desmond Tutu, who said: “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”