Five Best Wednesday Columns

Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn on blacklisting terrorists, Harold Meyerson on Chicago power plays, Dana Milbank on Romney and Republicans, Paul Moreno on how public unions grew, and Richard Vedder on remedial college classes.

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Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn in The New York Times on blacklisting terrorists When the U.S. declared the Haqqani network a terrorist group, the U.S. limited America's future political options. "The view that they are an irreconcilable, rigidly ideological enemy should be questioned." Haqqani leaders have a history of pragmatism, they write. "Only a political process that engages them, rather than systematically sidelining them, will help end the war."

Harold Meyerson in The Washington Post on the power plays in Chicago Chicago's teacher strike is a power play between big Democratic powers: Rahm Emanuel and the teacher unions. Rahm wants less union control on schools and adopted a "take-no-prisoner" approach. The disrespect led teachers to vote in militant leaders. "If Democrats are bent on committing suicide, the Emanuel mode of union-busting looks like a fine place to start."

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on Romney, the unspeakable name Republican congressional leaders like John Boehner did not speak Mitt Romney's name during press conferences this week, even when asked, "as though he is some sort of political Voldemort." It confirms the impression that Romney is just a placeholder for conservative rising stars like Paul Ryan.

Paul Moreno in Wall Street Journal on how public unions grew "Before the 1950s, government-employee unions were almost inconceivable," Moreno writes. A Boston police strike in 1919 "crippled the public-union idea," and a law allowing unions excluded public employees. But economic prosperity revived the idea of public unions. "Public unions do well in flush times like the 1950s and 1960s, but they suffer when taxpayers feel their true cost, as in the 1970s—and today."

Richard Vedder in Bloomberg View on remedial education in college Students are not prepared for college, and remedial courses do a bad job of helping them. Fewer than 10 percent of community college students in remedial courses will graduate within three years. "U.S. colleges should not take hundreds of thousands of ill- prepared students and put them through ineffective remedial- education programs only to see them fail to graduate while running up significant college-loan debt."

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