5 Best Wednesday Columns

J. Justin Wilson on the New York nanny state, Scott Lehigh on Sarah Palin's cold reception, and more

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  • Richard Dawkins on Prosecuting the Pope  The Guardian columnist compares Benedict's actions as Cardinal to that of a civil servant and angrily questions those who think he should be spared a trial. "Why is anyone surprised, much less shocked, when Christopher Hitchens and I call for the prosecution of the pope, if he goes ahead with his proposed visit to Britain?" he asks. "The only strange thing about our proposal is that it had to come from us: where have the world's governments been all this time? Where is their moral fibre? Where is their commitment to treating everyone equally under the law?"
  • Thomas Friedman on Karzai's Accountability  Bucking a recent trend among foreign-policy commentators, Friedman argues in The New York Times that the time for coddling Hamid Karzai has passed. Due to the subtle, interrelated nature of alliances in the region, Americans have as great a stake in a stable, self-sustaining Afghanistan as Karzai ought to. "Never forget," Friedman writes, "the Karzai regime’s misgovernance is the reason we’re having to surge anew in Afghanistan." He rounds out the column with a typically memorable bit of imagery: Americans as passengers in the car of a drunk driver, "alongside an infant named Democracy."
  • Kathleen Parker on a Teacher's Legacy  The Washington Post columnist, who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for commentary earlier this week, reminisces about a high school English teacher who set her onto the belletristic path. After this teacher defended a young Parker's prose in front of the whole class, she set about "try[ing] to write as well as he said I could." Parker offers this story as proof of something President Obama has said: that the right teacher, encountered at the right time, can shape a child's life forever.
  • J. Justin Wilson on the New York Nanny State  The Weekly Standard columnist shares his disgust with New York's recent crackdown on trans fat, soda, and salt--or as Wilson puts it, "food fascism." Sniping at politicians and health boards alike, Wilson saves his most bombastic rhetoric for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which took the city's campaign against soda "one step too far. How? By sponsoring stomach-turning subway ads depicting soft drinks turning into—literally—globs of yellow fat. This is what happens when food purists watch too many episodes of 'Scared Straight.'"
  • Scott Lehigh on Palin's Cold Reception  The Boston Globe op-ed columnist explains exactly why Republican politicians like Senator Scott Brown gave Sarah Palin a cold shoulder during her recent stop in Boston. Lehigh reminds readers that Massachusetts remains a political anomaly, and the "simple, homespun populism" that powers Palin's appeal doesn't jive with Bay Staters  "To succeed as a Republican in Massachusetts, a politician needs broad appeal," writes Lehigh, noting the conspicuous absence of gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker. "Rubbing shoulders with Sarah Palin simply isn’t going to confer that."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.