5 Best Thursday Columns

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  • Joshua Green on Dark Days at NASA  Writing in the Boston Globe, Green charts the uncertain future of NASA and manned space missions following President Obama's decision to scuttle Project Constellation, which would have returned astronauts to the moon by 2020. Obama "proposes to redirect that money toward research and development and stronger support for commercial space flight." The decision to refashion NASA's mention has drawn praise and criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. Meanwhile, Green writes, the agency's "gauzy nostrums about inspiring children and international cooperation are creating political headaches," fully on display last week when NASA Administrator David Bolden said the agency was "looking for a way to reach out to the Muslim world."
  • George Will on Resurrecting Prohibition  The Washington Post columnist offers a brief history of the rise and fall of the 18th amendment in America. Corruption, he writes, was the ugly side effect of temperance: "Soon smugglers were outrunning the Coast Guard ships in advanced speedboats." Awesome chase scenes aside, Will thinks the movements speaks to an eternal truth about American character. Or at least he hopes it does: "In the fight between law and appetite, bet on appetite."
  • John F. Cullinan on Anti-Christian Sentiment in Turkey  The National Review contributor outlines a trend of increasing violence against Turkish Christians (specifically Catholic priests) coupled with a growing indifference to their plight by the secularized West. With Christians and Jews "vanishing" minorities in the country, popular hostility against these beleaguered groups has only increased. Writes Cullinan: "But it's also a fact that the killing of Catholic clerics in Muslim-majority states tends nowadays in the West to be passed over in silence or treated as business as usual. Imagine for a moment what would happen if--God forbid!--a very senior, foreign-born Muslim cleric were murdered in the U.S. in circumstances amounting to a hate crime."
  • Gail Collins on Levi Johnston Redux  The New York Times columnist is less than thrilled with the Bristol Palin/Levi Johnston reunion. She argues both exploited their single parent status for financial gain--Johnston with his endless media campaign against the Palin family, Bristol by starting her own lobbying company. "This may have been done for tax purposes," concedes Collins, "but the fact is that for a foe of teenage pregnancy, Bristol has been making unwed motherhood look like a pretty attractive gig." Collins' parting advice: "Don’t have unprotected sex with your boyfriend, girls. Look what he might turn into".
  • Matt Millar on a 'Jobs Now, Deficit Soon' Approach to Improving the Economy  The Washington Post opinion columnist declares that it is "the height of economic folly--and socially dangerous, in my view--to elevate deficit reduction as a goal today over boosting jobs and growth." He then describes what a "radically centrist 'Jobs Now, Deficits Soon' package" consists of. For starters, he'd cut payroll and corporate taxes, increase taxes on "dirty" energy and boost unemployment benefits and credit to small businesses while tossing in trims to Social Security and Medicare. Millar concludes that this package, while eclectic, “shows it is possible to take ambitious steps that could appeal to Democrats and Republicans alike."

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