Five Best Friday Columns
Kimberley Strassel on corporate America's role in the fiscal cliff, Allen Frances on the cost of the DSM-5, Tim Padgett on Mexico after the end of the world, Terry Glavin on Richard Engel, and Paul Bogard on the danger of the night shift.
Kimberley Strassel in The Wall Street Journal on corporate America's role in the fiscal cliff "Everybody's got to feel a little bit like they're getting nailed," Boeing chairman Jim McNerney (pictured above) recently said about the fiscal cliff negotiations. But he wasn't talking about the American people broadly—he was referring to the parts of the corporate class that feel they're being singled out through higher taxes on top earners. "Say this for the Republicans and Democrats: Both sides are fighting over principles," writes Kimberley Strassel. "Nothing so generous can be said for the bulk of America's corporate chieftains, whose agenda lately has been to stick it to everyone else."
Allen Frances in Bloomberg View on the cost of the DSM-5 The American Psychiatric Association's main goal in updating the fifth diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders is to help doctors determine what their patients are suffering from. But Allen Frances thinks they should also be sensitive to the issue of how much these diagnoses cost our healthcare system. "The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will add new categories of mental illness with very high prevalence rates in the general population," Frances writes. "A new diagnosis here, a new diagnosis there, and pretty soon you have millions of new patients and billions of dollars in expenditure."
Tim Padgett in Time on Mexico After the end of the world that wasn't, Tim Padgett hopes that Mayan-obsessed Americans will pay some attention to modern Latin America. "The U.S., especially our foreign policy and media elite, gets a perverse superiority kick out of dismissing Canada and Mexico, but especially Mexico, in ways that other world powers, like Germany, would never snub their neighbors," Padgett writes. "Today should remind us that Mexico—the world’s 14th largest economy and our third largest trading partner, a giant of 112 million people with whom we share a 2,000-mile-long border—matters."
Terry Glavin in the Ottowa Citizen on journalist deaths One prominent journalist escaped a close brush with death when NBC News correspondent Richard Engel was freed by his kidnappers in Syria this week. But that silver lining doesn't change the fact that 2012 was a particularly deadly year for journalists, argues Terry Glavin. "Around the world this year, 88 journalists were killed, six “fixers” were killed, 47 “citizen journalists” were killed, 879 journalists were arrested, 1,993 journalists were threatened or attacked, 38 journalists were kidnapped, 73 journalists were forced to flee their countries, and 144 bloggers were killed," Glavin accounts, grimly. "Syria, Pakistan and Somalia were the deadliest places for journalists in 2012, and China, Turkey and Iran were the biggest prisons for journalists."
Paul Bogard in the Los Angeles Times on light pollution The light from that liquor store seeping through your bedroom window at night could be taking a toll on your health, argues Paul Bogard. "All life evolved to the steady rhythm of bright days and dark nights," he writes, citing a WHO study that classifies working nightshifts as a probably human carcinogen and an AMA recommendation to curb light pollution as evidence that we should thinking about turning off our nightlights. Or that we should change what they're made out of. "Light pollution is readily within our ability to solve, using new lighting technologies and shielding existing lights," he writes.