5 Best Thursday Columns

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  • Nicholas Kristof on Toys and Guns  "Jared Loughner was considered too mentally unstable to attend community college. He was rejected by the Army. Yet buy a Glock handgun and a 33-round magazine? No problem," observes the New York Times columnist. The point that Kristof is making isn't that all guns should be banned, but that sensible regulations should be put in place--sort of like those we have for cars, toys, and medicine--to "reduce the toll from the domestic arms industry." After noting that he, in fact, still "shoots occasionally," Kristof speaks with Harvard professor David Hemenway, author of a forthcoming journal article on the gun debate and public health. Via Hemenway, Kristof prescribes these ways to reduce gun deaths: 1) "Limit gun purchases to one per month per person." 2) "Push for more gun safes, and make serial numbers harder to erase." 3) "Improve background checks and follow Canada in requiring a 28-day waiting period to buy a handgun." 4) "Ban oversize magazines, such as the 33-bullet magazine allegedly used in Tucson."

  • Dana Milbank on Congressional Peace  In The Washington Post, Milbank praises Congress for its ability to put aside partisan disagreements and vow to replace hostility with respect and cooperation. He notes that this Wednesday, Congress was scheduled to see a vote on repealing the health care law, which could have been particularly dramatic. Instead, he says, we saw one of the most "uplifting" days in Congress since Sept. 11, as "breaking only for a prayer service, the members spent eight hours exchanging vows to do better by each other." Writes Milbank, "there's no telling how long the new spirit will last, if at all. But for a moment, at least, the lawmakers confronted their own mortality after watching one of their own fall to a gunman."

  • Zoe Williams on Depression and Middle-Aged Women  This week, Miriam O'Reilly, a presenter on BBC's Countryfile, successfully sued the network on the grounds that it was "guilty of ageism" in relieving her of duties from her TV show. In light of the backlash that the court's decision received (a writer in the Telegraph responded thus: "Oh do stop whining, girls. TV presenters SHOULD have a shelf life"), Zoe Williams, the Guardian columnist, defends O'Reilly, framing her article around the phenomenon of middle-aged women coping with the "drop in status" as "we grow older." Among women in England and Wales, 44 percent of those ages 44-54 are coping with depression, Williams writes. And it's no wonder why this is so: "If older women complain, they are reminded that this is a biological necessity: we have to privilege youth, above all, in women, since that's just the way we are."

  • Karl Rove on Bill Daley, Presidential Asset  Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Rove, a reliable critic of the Obama White House, is actually applauding the current administration, particularly in light of Obama's decision to replace former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel with Bill Daley. Among his reasons: he expects Daley to build bridges and talk to Republican leaders, as opposed to treating them like "objects of contempt."  He's also eager to see what will come from the friction between Daley's "centrist impulses" and Obama's "highly partisan" inclinations. "Mr. Obama's best chance of success 22 months from now rests on reclaiming his image as a reasonable, bipartisan and unifying figure. It won't be easy," writes Rove. "But the selection of Mr. Daley as chief of staff indicates that Mr. Obama is willing to give it a try."

  • Ezra Klein on Another Missed Opportunity for Palin  Sarah Palin has caused quite a stir with her video response to the knee-jerk blame she has received for Saturday's shooting in Arizona. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein writes that he does not believe she is responsible for the shooting, nor is he really bothered by her misuse of the term "blood libel." He does, however, believe that Palin could have made better use of the spotlight: she might have acknowledged her participation in hostile political rhetoric and apologized if anything she had said was taken the wrong way. "That would have been leadership," Klein writes. "Palin could've taken this opportunity to look very big, and instead now she looks very small. And that's not the fault of her detractors or her map. It's her fault and her fault alone."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.