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In today's pages: Schools, Honduras and 'judicial eugenics'

July 14, 2009 | 11:44 am

Cartoon The Times endorses an unusual idea being considered today by the L.A. Unified School Board: allowing assorted groups inside and outside the district to operate 50 newly built schools over the next four years. Yes, there are pitfalls to this idea, but it's still the most intriguing experiment to reinvent local education to come along in years.

The ongoing crisis in Honduras, meanwhile, is starting to look like it won't be resolved without some "superpower pressure" from the United States, The Times opines. It's time to impose sanctions on those behind the coup that ousted the country's rightful president, Manuel Zelaya, and take other actions aimed at restoring democracy. "Failure to return to constitutional order would send a signal to the rest of Latin America that once again political problems can be solved with an old-style coup."

And we celebrate the nomination of Regina Benjamin as surgeon general. This "angel-like" figure, known for her work bringing clinics to rural areas, rebuilding health centers devastated by Hurricane Katrina and leading medical associations, "has the potential to be one of the strongest voices in public health in decades."

On the Op-Ed page, columnist Jonah Goldberg raises an eyebrow over a recent comment in the New York Times from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

'Frankly I had thought that at the time [Roe vs. Wade] was decided,' Ginsburg told her interviewer, Emily Bazelon, 'there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of.'

Goldberg lists other prominent abortion backers, including former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who appeared to think that abortion was necessary to cull undesirable elements -- like the poor and minorities -- from the population. He'd like to see more questioning of such attitudes in the media.

Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project says the Obama administration is breaking its promise to bring transparency to government surveillance programs. The administration is reportedly proceeding with a Bush-era plan to use the National Security Agency to screen government computer traffic on private-sector networks, a program known as Einstein 3 that has no intrinsic security value -- but will allow spooks to read e-mail communication between the government and private citizens.

And Deborah Doctor of Disability Rights California challenges Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to document all the fraud he claims to have identified in the state's In-Home Supportive Services program, a quarter of whose funds he says are wasted. The governor not only hasn't proven the accuracy of that figure, he has proposed fixes that could well cost more than they would save.

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