Five Best Monday Columns

On anti-White bias, giving up on unemployment, and Memorial Day sales

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Rye Barcott on the Commercialization of Memorial Day. Iraq War veteran Rye Barcott writes that Memorial Day "belongs to the fallen in each of our nation’s wars, including the misguided ones. For better and worse, each death shaped our nation." But while "few Americans would disagree with the sanctity of Memorial Day," the holiday has become "a shopping spree, a party. Retail sales surge as stores release new summer offerings... Meanwhile, the local parade in my home town is more sparsely attended, and fewer people appear to travel to cemeteries to pay respects to the war dead." But all Americans have a duty to honor the day. It "doesn’t need to be a somber event for all. Naturally, it will be different for those families whose lives have been scarred by combat. But you don’t need to have experienced war to pay your respects."

Gregory Rodriguez on the Aggrieved White Majority. Gregory Rodriguez considers the recent study that revealed that "White Americans See Anti-White Bias on the Rise." More than "any other domestic index or statistic, it's that sentiment that should worry you about America's future." These findings aren't "unexpected," Rodriguez notes. "Over the past decade, we've seen a rising tide of aggrieved white folks. Accusations of reverse discrimination have increased, along with high-profile court cases.. This doesn't bode well. When even the majority group sees itself in a struggle for status and respect, it erodes any notion of the collective good." He concludes: "the failure of even the majority group to look out for the greater good, as opposed to its parochial interests, leaves a vacuum at the center of U.S. life."

The Los Angeles Times Editors on International Internet Governance. "Egged on by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the leaders of the Group of 8 nations announced Friday that the Internet was too important for governments to leave ungoverned." The LA Times wishes them the best of luck. "The Internet isn't some magical environment that makes all the differences between national governments disappear. Instead, it's a place where the European notion of privacy clashes head-on with U.S. advertising networks' voracious appetite for personal data." The internet is not a "law-free zone," but it is vastly unclear how to draw borders between different countries law in cyberspace. "Trying to craft a common legal framework for the Net is a fool's errand... he G-8 should try instead to come up with mechanisms to resolve the disputes that arise when countries hit Web companies with incompatible legal demands. As the inventor of the Internet, it's the responsibility of the U.S. to promote freedom and openness, not to try to make the Internet comply with some global behavioral norm."

The New York Times Editors on the Conservative Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is inching closer to a highly conservative view of states' rights, the Times warns, a position that "would be to the right of the Tea Party’s idea of limited government." Chief Justice John Roberts is one vote short of dominating the court, as evident in the recent case of Virginia v. Stewart. In a dissent by Roberts, joined by Alito, with Kennedy and Thomas concurring, it was revealed that "to these four justices, there is no longer an inviolable principle that federal courts can stop state officials from violating federal law." This puts the Roberts court even further right of the Rehnquist court. "If the chief justice gets a fifth vote, there will be no apparent check, like the federal law’s supremacy," against gutting the Ex party Young principle from 1908 that federal courts have a paramount role in stopping a state from violating federal law.

Paul Krugman on the Scourge of Unemployment. The Western world, Krugman laments, is in an unemployment crisis. "Almost 14 million Americans are jobless, and millions more are stuck with part-time work or jobs that fail to use their skills. Some European countries have it even worse: 21 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed." But as the situation continues with no sign of abatement, a strange thing has occurred: "on both sides of the Atlantic, a consensus has emerged among movers and shakers that nothing can or should be done about jobs." But no more excuses. "The core of our economic problem is, instead, the debt — mainly mortgage debt — that households ran up during the bubble years of the last decade... And once you realize that the overhang of private debt is the problem, you realize that there are a number of things that could be done about it." His suggestions are a serious program of mortgage modification, raising inflation, or "W.P.A.-type programs putting the unemployed to work doing useful things like repairing roads." He notes that "these policies would be unorthodox — but so are the economic problems we face... As I see it, policy makers are sinking into a condition of learned helplessness on the jobs issue: the more they fail to do anything about the problem, the more they convince themselves that there’s nothing they could do."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.