5 Best Wednesday Columns

Maureen Dowd on visiting Mecca, Kathleen Parker on health care reform's sweetheart deals, and more

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  • Maureen Dowd on visiting Mecca  Deep into a series on her Saudi Arabian excursion, the New York Times columnist ponders the impossibility of a full immersion in Islam when she, as a non-Muslim, is barred from Mecca. Dowd is concerned about the cost such exclusion may have on interfaith dialogue. "You don't have to be a Catholic to go to the Vatican," writes Dowd. "You don't have to be Jewish to go to the Western Wall (although if you're a woman, you're squeezed into a slice of it at the side). You don't have to be Buddhist to hear the Dalai Lama speak -- and have your picture snapped with him."
  • Kathleen Parker on Sweetheart Deals The Washington Post columnist tallies up the special deals for individual states written into the health care bill. "All states now will get their own Cornhusker kickbacks," Parker laments, adding that all the extra provisions come "at mind-boggling cost to taxpayers"--to the tune of tens of billions. Not one to miss an opportunity to rebuke Obama, she wonders: "Weren't we supposed to be finished with backroom deals? Whither the transparency of the Promised Land?"
  • Steven Pearlstein on Performance Bonuses After reading Daniel Pink's book, "Drive", The Washington Post columnist takes a hard look at the culture of monetary incentives on Wall Street. Pearlstein cites several experiments from the book in arguing that people perform better when they're not just in it for the money.
The conclusion Pink draws from all this research is that once people achieve a reasonable level of economic comfort and security, they are likely to be less easily motivated by monetary carrots and sticks than they are by more emotional factors. And in modern workplaces, Pink argues that the most powerful emotional motivators are the desire for autonomy, the satisfaction that comes from mastering a skill or a task, and the need to serve some larger social purpose.
  • Dick Morris on the Democrats' Pickett's Charge The Townhall columnist compares Democrats' last stand on health care reform to the ill-fate Civil War charge that left thousands dead. "Before this last, demented attempt to pass health care, the Democrats would have lost control of the House anyway," Morris explains. "But with it, they face the loss of a historically high number of seats--perhaps more than 80."
  • Holman Jenkins on FCC Mismanagement Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Jenkins lambasts the Federal Communications Commission for habitually courting sexy new technologies even when it would make sense to use the older ones. "The FCC needs to see a bigger picture," Jenkins declares, before mounting a defense of digital broadcast (which "can deliver bits without ripping up the streets or hanging wires all over town") over mobile broadband (whose pricing and traffic-management structures are still in their infancy).
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.