- Maureen Dowd on the Evil of Lesser Evilism "Everybody here lives,"
begins the New York Times columnist, "but with the arrival of Hamid
Karzai, the mendacity blossomed into absurdity." Dowd lambastes
the Obama administration for its ham-handed coddling of the Afghan leader, whose overtones of corruption make Karzai's
week long visit to Washington especially difficult to stomach. "On
Tuesday evening, Karzai was honored at a starry State Department
reception along with his ministers," scoffs Dowd. "He didn’t bring his
brother, the C.I.A. pal and drug lord, or other especially sleazy
- Nile Gardiner on David Cameron's Challenge The director of the
Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation (and
most likely a Conservative in the British sense), Gardiner offers the nascent UK prime minister a
road map for success in coalition government. "If he is to bring
Britain’s finances under control, Cameron will have to implement the
kind of Thatcher-style reforms anathema to the Lib-Dems," he charges in a
guest column for the National Review. Noting the "gulf" between Cameron
and incoming deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on a host of foreign and
domestic issues, Gardiner urges Cameron to stay the Conservative course.
omens certainly don’t look good on the coalition front, and Cameron
will need all his skills as the youngest prime minister in 200 years to
steer his new government and his country through some very rough waters.
In doing so, he should stick to core conservative principles and avoid
making concessions to the Left. He must also look to Margaret Thatcher
and Winston Churchill as his role models, great figures in British
history who rescued their nation at times of great peril.
- Jeff Jacoby on the Semantics of Marriage
The Boston Globe columnist examines
the brief legal history of the Defense of Marriage Act before
perforating its two major objections: that "DOMA unfairly relegates
married same-sex partners to second-class status" and that DOMA negates
"'the longstanding deference of federal to state law in determining the
marital status’' of individuals claiming federal benefits." To Jacoby,
"neither objection holds water." "DOMA simply does what countless
federal laws do: It defines basic legislative terms," writes Jacoby. "Is
the longstanding national definition unconstitutional merely because
some people reject it? The federal courts have never said so before;
there is no reason for them to say so now"
- Steven Pearlstein's
Deficit-Reduction Plan Pointing out the U.S. still lacks "a framework
for tackling the budget challenge in a way that is economically coherent
and politically viable," the Washington Post columnist unveils a comprehensive blueprint to
bring down the deficit by reforming tax policy and reining in spending.
"The spending restraints can be achieved simply by limiting spending
growth," he posits, proposing a significant rollback in spending
increases on health care and discretionary programs, including defense.
On the tax side, Pearlstein suggests a six percent VAT and slight
modifications in the tax code. "These tax changes would simplify the tax
code, improve international competitiveness, make revenues less
volatile through the business cycle and modestly reverse income
inequality," he writes.
- Olivia Judson on Neanderthals and Humans
The New York Times online columnist marvels at the implications of "the
Neanderthal genome," which allows us to further connect the dots between
ourselves and our origins. "The results stoke the imagination, for they
provide more evidence for something that has long been suspected:
Neanderthals are not just a quirky sideshow in human evolution, but an
intimate part of our own story," she declares. Exploring the prospect of
cross-breeding between early humans and Neanderthals, she muses: "They
are still our close relatives — kissing cousins, if you will—and when
closely related beings meet, they often take a shine to each other."
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