5 Best Friday Columns

Obama gets education right, stimulus sparks sprawl, and Yiddish makes a comeback

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  • Peggy Noonan on the Anniversary of Health Care Reform  On the one-year anniversary of President Obama's announced push for health care reform, the conservative Noonan evaluates the initiative. Her verdict: this, she declares unequivocally in The Wall Street Journal, is  "what a disaster looks like."
  • David Brooks on the Tea Party  Brooks makes his own argument for a comparison made in September by Lee Siegel and discussed occasionally since then--that of the Tea Party and the '60s hippie counterculture. In particular, he discusses similarities and tactics, and argues that both movements are, at heart, "radically anticonservative."
  • Edward Glaeser on Hidden Anti-Urban Biases in the Stimulus  The Boston Globe writer argues that "over the past 60 years, cities have been hit by a painful policy trifecta: subsidization of highways, subsidization of homeownership, and a school system that creates strong incentives for many parents to leave city borders." The new spending on infrastructure in the stimulus is an opportunity to reverse the "anti-urban bias," says Glaeser, but "politics-as-usual favors sprawl over city." He urges Obama for multiple reasons--including environmental--to "fight for cities, not just as a matter of justice, but because cities, and the creativity that comes when humans connect and learn from each other in dense areas, are the best hope for the country."
  • Michael Gerson on Obama's Quietly Fantastic Education Policy  Health care reform may be languishing, but Post columnist Gerson says Obama's definitely doing one thing with "creative vigor": education reform. He's impressed by the two-pronged attack: "serious consequences for chronically failing schools, including mass teacher firings and takeovers by charters, and the use of student performance to assess individual teachers and principals." It's the "right fight for the right reasons," he says, and he wants to give credit to Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan where "credit is due."
  • Antony Lerman on the Yiddish Language  In The Guardian, Lerman is intrigued by a recent revival of the Yiddish language. On the one hand, the resurgence is encouraging, and "proves that Zionism failed to consign other forms of Jewish life to oblivion." On the other, "it's not immune from political manipulation or of being co-opted in Jewish political battles." He suggests the cultural flowering may prove "subversive."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.