5 Best Sunday Columns

The danger of Web anonymity, the blessing of inflation, and more

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  • As Justice, Kagan Should Look to Brandeis  Jeffrey Rosen writes in the New York Times, "Kagan would do better to look to the justice whose seat she has been nominated to fill: Louis D. Brandeis. Brandeis, who was succeeded by William O. Douglas and then John Paul Stevens, was not only a great and restrained judge but the most prescient critic of the 'curse of bigness' in a time of economic crisis. ... If Ms. Kagan is confirmed, Brandeis will be a far more relevant guide as she grapples with the issues at the center of our current constitutional debates."
  • Why Inflation Is Good for America  Slate's Daniel Gross makes the case. "Economists generally agree that deflation is a widespread fall in prices, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) ... Generations of Econ 101 students and central banks have been schooled to think that inflation is the great boogeyman, since it erodes the value of savings. ... when there's lots of unused economic capacity—shuttered factories, large numbers of unemployed people—a little inflation can be just what the doctor ordered. Continually falling prices act as a disincentive to investment and risk-taking."
  • The Danger of Web Anonymity  The New York Times' John Markoff says the general trend of rising anonymity online has made cybercrime easier and more dangerous. "Can privacy be preserved while bringing a semblance of safety and security to a world that seems increasingly lawless?" Markoff explains the Obama administration's attempt to fix this problem with a sort of "online smart identity card" for users. "The plan has also been greeted with skepticism by some computer security experts, who worry that the 'voluntary ecosystem' envisioned by Mr. Schmidt would still leave much of the Internet vulnerable. They argue that all Internet users should be forced to register and identify themselves, in the same way that drivers must be licensed to drive on public roads."
  • 'Anatomy of a Conflict' in Kyrgyzstan  Radio Free Europe's Bruce Pannier explains the situation. "Hundreds -- and perhaps thousands -- were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced in the fighting in southern Kyrgyzstan, which began with a brawl in a casino that spilled out onto the streets of Osh, the country's second-largest city. The fighting quickly escalated into armed conflict and spread to Jalal-Abad and other areas in the south, leading to a mass exodus of ethnic Uzbeks as Kyrgyzstan's government appeared unable -- or unwilling -- to assert control."
  • 'How to Make Fun of Indian-American Immigrants'  The Atlantic's Niraj Chokshi reacts to a "humor" column by Time's Joel Stein about Indian immigrants. "Let's put aside, for now, the question of whether Stein's piece is offensive. What's certain is that it isn't funny. It being a long weekend, here are a few case studies for Stein on how to successfully make fun of Indians." He provides three videos, including one clip from The Office, showing how to properly poke fun at the stereotypical Indian-American immigrant.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.