Five Best Thursday Columns

Gary E. MacDougal on poverty, Ezra Klein on campaign hope and promise, Dana Milbank on outing the CIA, Laura Bush on Malala Yousafzai, and Noliwe M. Rooks on standardized testing.

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Gary E. MacDougal in The New York Times on helping the poor The issue of poverty is "crying out for serious debate," and Paul Ryan's block grant Medicaid proposal resembles a middle path that could be applied to poverty programs. Americans spend nearly $1 trillion a year helping the poor. But the programs are too fragmented and wasteful. Liberal mindset of spending more and conservative mindset of cutting more doesn't work. "We need a third way."

Ezra Klein in Bloomberg View on campaign hope and promise While Romney can invoke hope because he's never been president, Obama, as an incumbent, cautiously avoids promising too much. "Obama strategists think the American people are done with sweeping promises and transformative rhetoric," Klein writes. "Obama has to run a more humble campaign, his strategists contend, because he must show that he has been tempered by experience and realism."

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on the CIA in Benghazi Some confusion erupted over whether satellite images of a CIA annex in Benghazi were classified or not in an Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting. "When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover."

Laura Bush in The Washington Post on girls' education The former First Lady writes that the shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for girls' education, was despicable. "Speaking out after an atrocious act, however, isn’t enough.," Bush writes. "We must speak up before these acts occur, work to ensure that they do not happen again"

Noliwe M. Rooks in Time on getting rid of standardized tests In light of a civil rights complaint saying standardized tests give whites and Asians an unfair advantage, Rooks writes "that instead of setting different educational benchmarks for groups based on race or income, it may simply be time for us to stop relying so heavily on standardized tests to begin with."

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