Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times on his trip to Iran Kristof writes his first dispatch from Iran, where the government has allowed him to travel an approved route on a journalist visa, and he spots some changes in attitude since his last trip. "[P]eople seem more discontented — mainly because of economic difficulties caused in part by Western sanctions. Those sanctions are causing bitter pain, yet a surprising number of Iranians seem to largely blame their own leaders for the woes," he writes. He describes a surprising amount of goodwill toward America and antipathy toward the Iranian government, but notes that citizens are still nervous to express these opinions publicly. "My guess is that the demise of the system is a matter of time — unless there's a war between Iran and the West." (Persian language version here.)
George Will in The Washington Post on an elementary school election Will is amusingly disgusted by a recent story in his own paper that describes school elections in Bethesda, Maryland, in which candidates "can't give out buttons. They can't wear T-shirts bearing their names. They can't talk about their competition. And they can't make promises." Or, as Will describes it: "At Bethesda Elementary, the prophylactic rules keep size-4 sneakers off the slippery slope to perdition, understood as candidates dispensing Tootsie Rolls." School officials seem to be prepping students for a far-off day, he says, "in which politics, cleansed of promises and criticism and too much talk, will be perfectly equal and ever so nice."