Five Best Wednesday Columns

Dana Milbank on Paul Ryan's budget, Angelo Izama on Uganda, Scot Lehigh on Rick Santorum, Peter Orzag on water shortages, and Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. on hackers.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on Paul Ryan's budget Rep. Paul Ryan released his proposal for the federal budget on Tuesday. At a press conference, Ryan "said the policies of the Republican presidential nominees 'perfectly jibe' with his plan, which slashes the safety net to pay for tax cuts mostly for wealthy Americans," writes Milbank. He details the places where Ryan's budget makes cuts, noting that they stem from Ryan's belief that too much welfare "lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency." Milbank points out the ways he thinks Ryan missed an opportunity to address the deficit problem  by using the savings he carves out to fund tax cuts that benefit the wealthy. The cuts, he says, probably won't play well for Republican candidates. "Such a coupling — tax cuts that disproportionately help the rich and spending cuts that overwhelmingly hurt the poor — makes Ryan's budget a political loser."

Angelo Izama in The New York Times on Kony and regional politics The recent public attention paid to Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony stems from a rightful desire to seek justice for Kony's terror campaigns. "While the evil methods of men like Mr. Kony are easily understood by millions, the politics so crucial to sustaining their brutal campaigns are harder to grasp," writes Izama, a Ugandan journalist. Kony has long found support when co-opted by larger interests, and Izama details the complicated politics that once allowed him to remain powerful. The Sudanese government, for instance, used him as part of their war against Southern Sudan, ignoring the terror he caused in Uganda. "If America backed an ambitious regional political solution instead of a military one, it is quite possible that the L.R.A. and other militant groups would cease to exist. But without such a bargain, the violence won't end."

Scot Lehigh in The Boston Globe on Santorum's two sides "Rick Santorum portrays himself as an honest, straightforward candidate. But in courting conservative religious voters as a like-minded person of faith while dismissing media questions about his faith-based beliefs as irrelevant or unfair, he's trying to have things both ways," writes Lehigh. He recounts an instance where Santorum bristled at a journalist's questions about comments he made on contraception. But Lehigh examines those comments to make the case that Santorum's moral opposition to contraception, and his belief that it harms America's health and morals, are absolutely such that we can expect him to pursue policies that jibe with those beliefs. Therefore, journalists have every right to ask him about the topic. "As Santorum has demonstrated during this campaign, he's a skilled politician. Part of that skill, unfortunately, is talking out of both sides of his mouth. Another part is using indignation to sidestep questions."

Peter Orzag in Bloomberg View on Atlanta's water shortage Since the 1990s, Georgia has fought a legal battle with Alabama and Florida over Atlanta's use of a man-made lake for its water supply. Before it was overturned, one court's decision to restrict Atlanta's access revealed just how vulnerable the city would be to water shortages. "This type of dispute is likely to become more common, though, as local water shortages multiply around the country," writes Orzag. The draining of underground aquifiers and pollution threaten water supplies elsewhere in the country. Aging water pipes also pose a problem. Orzag proposes solutions from fixing our pricing system to investing in better pipes. "There's no reason to wait passively for the next water battle. Even before hearing from the Supreme Court, let’s look at the Lake Lanier story as a spur to aggressive action on our water problems."

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. in The Wall Street Journal on the decline of 'hacktivism' The FBI found the leader of Anonymous-affiliated hacking group Lulzsec last year and turned him into an informant. "In hacking, amateur hour may be winding down too. Word is out that those who insist on calling attention to themselves and boasting of their deeds online leave a trail of evidence pointing to their true identities," writes Jenkins. He describes the fear that the public tauntings of Anonymous have created, likening it to an episode of the Twilight Zone. But he describes the way a hacker's hubris can lead law enforcement to his or her capture. The bad news is the continuation of the kind of hacking we don't hear about, whose perpetrators don't brag about their crimes online ... You may be hearing less about protest-motivated hacking in the coming years. That shouldn't make you feel any safer."

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