5 Best Friday Columns

Krauthammer on Obama's selective modesty, David Brooks on the power of books, and more

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  • Paul Krugman Dissects the 'Antibusiness' Economic Climate  The New York Times opinion columnist addresses the widespread fears that new taxes and regulations will hurt American businesses and deter spending. But he finds no evidence that the perceived "antibusiness" tendencies of the Obama administration have anything to do with blocking the economic recovery. He writes: "Ask the Obama-is-scaring-business crowd for some actual evidence supporting their claim, and they'll tell you that business spending on plant and equipment is at its lowest level, as a share of G.D.P., in 40 years. What they don't mention is the fact that business investment always falls sharply when the economy is depressed."
  • Rich Lowry on the Muslim World's Contributions to Science  NASA administrator Charles Bolden's mission to build Islamic self-esteem serves as a starting point for the National Review editor to ponder the actual contributions of the Middle East in the past millennium. He finds a few glories to revel in, but notes that Muslim leaders might be best served by a frank discussion of their current "backwardness." Lowry concludes: "The short version of the story is that in the battle between science and religious obscurantism in the Islamic world, obscurantism won in a rout."
  • David Brooks on Some Good News for Bibliophiles A new study from Richard Allington of the University of Tennessee prompts the New York Times columnist to enter the books-are-good, Internet-is-bad debate. Not surprisingly, Brooks comes down in favor of the books. "Readers immerse themselves in deep, alternative worlds and hope to gain some lasting wisdom." The study backs him up--Allington and his team at UT found higher test scores amongst impoverished youths who participated in a summer reading program. Brooks, for his part, doesn't totally dismiss the Internet as an educational tool. "Maybe it would be different if it had been invented in Victorian England."
  • Jack Valero on the 'Sad Demise' of Celibate Love  The Guardian columnist recalls a time where "intense love" for a person of the same gender didn't necessarily mean that one was a homosexual. His argument hinges on the exhumation of Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman, who was originally laid to rest next to another priest he was "very close to." While the Cardinal's burial may seem "unusual" to the modern eye, his love for a fellow priest--Valero contends--was not homoerotic. He asks: "Do we - can we - today applaud such friendship? Do we - can we - make room, now, for such "evidences of sweet brotherly love"?
  • Charles Krauthammer on President Obama's Selective Modesty The Washington Post columnist is befuddled by President Obama's lack of braggadocio on the international stage, considering the "comical self-inflation of his presidential campaign." Among Obama's sins: bringing up the Arizona immigration law in a meeting with Chinese officials and acknowledging the failings of American democracy to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan. ("A thuggish kleptocracy," declares Krauthammer.) Then there's the President's habit of using possessive pronouns to describe administration staffers."It's a stylistic detail, but quite revealing of Obama's exalted view of himself," he concludes.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.