Five Best Friday Columns
Charlie LeDuff on Detroit as America's future, Olivier Knox calls to save the White House press briefing, Susan Elizabeth Shepard explains traveling strippers and American boomtowns, Samir Radwan proposes a break on Egyptian protests, and Paul Krugman on Republican's anti-Obamacare desperation.
Charlie LeDuff in The New York Times on Detroit as America's future The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and compelling Detroit TV reporter has seen the worst of the Motor City's problems, including a lack of ambulances, inadequate firetrucks, and overtaxes and underpaid policemen. "If this were New York, these stories would have ricocheted around the world. But this is Detroit and, of course, nobody gives a damn." The city's bankruptcy will takeaway some of the pensions of Detroit's residents, but those costs will just be foisted onto national taxpayers, and Detroit could just be the beginning. "Pay close attention because it may be coming to you soon, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia." LeDuff holds almost nothing back, as he "rips it" (Reuters contributor Cate Long) and "is blistering on Detroit," writes New York magazine editor Justin Miller. And LeDuff's warnings are not just talk. "Scary," The Atlantic senior editor Garance Franke-Ruta tweets.
Olivier Knox in Yahoo! News on saving the White House press briefing For those outside of The Chosen outlets — The New York Times, Associated Press, and Politico — the White House press briefings level the playing field for all journalists to get their stories. "That means everyone will see the press secretary answering, replying, dodging, etc. For some reporters, who can’t even get their emails returned, this is a priceless opportunity." So, too, does it give reporters the chance to set the day's agenda, even though the TVs present make it more of an artificial media event. "Yes, of course the White House would prefer to talk about the president’s great and entirely genuine affection for middle-class Americans in Ohio. But what’s he doing about the mounting death toll in Syria?" he writes. "Another entertaining read by @OKnox," tweets Los Angeles Times managing editor Jimmy Orr. White House NBC News Producer Shawna Thomas writes "Endorse even [with] the tv poking in the column."
Susan Elizabeth Shepard in BuzzFeed on a stripper's guide to the American boomtown Oil and fracking have created new American boomtowns in places like North Dakota, and as the mostly-male industries go, so too do Shepard and her fellow strippers. "Female company is far less abundant than the petroleum resources of the Bakken Formation. It is mobile, though, so here we come, the next sign of a boomtown after the oil and the men." "The oil boom has created a new kind of job: The traveling stripper," Digg editor Josh Petri writes, but Shepard actually explains that her job is one that always follows Boomtowns, such as the gold rushes and Deadwoods of the 19th century. "This is such, such a good #longreads," tweets The Economist and Wired contributor Chris Stokel-Walker.
Samir Radwan in Bloomberg on an Egyptian moratorium on protests More Egyptian clashes could be on the way, Radwan warns, as both the defense minister and the Muslim Brotherhood have called their supporters to take to the streets. "This is the third phase of Egypt’s revolution," he writes. "It is possibly more threatening than those that went before, because it diminishes any hope of improving the economy," which inspired Mubarak's fall originally. What Egypt needs is a moratorium on protests and a new economic deal, and that can only be reached with mutual agreement. "All of this is contingent on some wisdom prevailing on July 26 and in the days that follow. Little could be more urgent." The Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg is unmoved: "Good luck with this," he tweets. But Anwar Gargash, the U.A.E.'s minister of state for foreign affairs, promotes Radwan's proposal for "The third phase and the economic challenge."
Paul Krugman in The New York Times on Republican's desperation against Obamacare While Republican politicians gear up for another attack on Obamacare and the debt ceiling, "Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama’s signature policy achievement, is probably going to work," Krugman writes. The current "last, desperate effort" against Obamacare, then, is an attempt to avoid the embarrassment that would come with the successful plan, he argues. Charles Cooper, the executive news editor at CNET, notes that Krugman's piece is likely a response to an op-ed by Governors Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker in yesterday's The Wall-Street Journal. Whether or not Krugman is right, the fight could lead to "another round of potentially damaging brinksmanship," writes Economics Professor and Forbes contributor Mark Thoma.