Five Best Tuesday Columns

Jonathan Chait on Detroit as a cautionary tale, New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly defends stop-and-frisk, Dana Milbank on the return of a maverick John McCain, Jack Shafer explains Nate Silver's departure to ESPN, and Reid Cherlin calls for an end to the White House press briefing.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Jonathan Chait in Daily Intel on Detroit as a cautionary tale "Detroit is a synecdoche for America — not America’s future, but its past," the Detroit native writes. "Everything that happened in the United States in the middle of the twentieth century happened in and around Detroit, but moreso." The rapid industrialization, the affluent middle class, racial tensions, and the ensuing suburbanization — all of these extremes manifested themselves foremost in Detroit. "It’s hard to imagine any plausible way to pull the city out of its death spiral," he writes. "It is the residual wound of the rise and fall of postwar America, the place where the egalitarian economy was born, and it where also died." Salon's Washington reporter Alex Seitz-Wald tweets "Absolutely read @JonathanChait's meditation on Detroit," and Slate journalist David Weigel opines "Jonathan Chait writes beautifully about being a Detroit suburbanite during the time of decline."

Ray Kelly in The Wall Street Journal on the success of stop-and-frisk President Obama is considering choosing Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, so the New York City police commissioner took to the pages to defend his controversial stop-and-frisk policy that targets minorities for police pat-downs. "Racial profiling is a disingenuous charge at best and an incendiary one at worst," he writes, and argues that the policy has saved 7,383 people—"largely the lives of young men of color"—based on the amount of NYC murders the 11 years before he took over compared to the amount during his 11-year tenure. However, Salon's Alex Pareene rejects each of Kelly's claims paragraph-by-paragraph in a scathing response. Salon editor at large Joan Walsh tweets, "Ray Kelly may be too dumb to run Homeland Security if he is seriously attributing the NYC murder rate decline to stop and frisk," since that decline started in 1991.

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on the return of the Maverick Between John McCain's bipartisan work on the Senate immigration bill, proposal to review Stand Your Ground laws, and deal-making to avoid the end of the filibuster, Maverick McCain is officially back, Milbank writes. "McCain has arguably turned himself into the most important legislator in a generation, at the center of the debate on war, terrorism, spending, corruption, health care and just about everything else." The Arizona Republic's national reporter Dan Nowicki tweets "@SenJohnMcCain back in the good graces of D.C. punditocracy?" His work on immigration, particularly with reference to his Arizona base, makes him "The most important senator," Univision radio host Fernando Espuelas writes.

Jack Shafer in Reuters on Nate Silver's exodus to ESPN The electoral prediction guru's move away from The New York Times struck some as a blow to the newspaper of record, but that wasn't the departure's purpose. "An ambitious young man, his idea of future success isn’t 2012 with frosting on top, which ESPN appears to understand." Instead, ESPN said to him "Here, kid, we’re not going to give you frosting — we’re giving you the frosting factory." While most journalists live to work at The Times, for Silver it was just a stopping point. "He may be the only Times employee who gave the paper more than the paper ever gave to him," Shafer writes. "Great line, but true?" tweets Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of Reason magazine. "Are there people other than @JackShafer who think Nate Silver gave more to The Times than, say, Anthony Shadid?" tweets a skeptical New York Times writer Binyamin Appelbaum in reference to the paper's foreign correspondent who died last year while on assignment in Syria.

Reid Cherlin in The New Republic on ending the White House press briefing "The daily briefing has become a worthless chore for reporters, an embarrassing nuisance to administration staff, and a source of added friction between the two camps," writes the former White House communications staffer. "It’s time to do the humane, obvious thing and get rid of it altogether." Neither side benefits from the set-up, and no official, important policy will ever be decided during a televised reporter-press secretary conversation. "If there were a Hippocratic Oath for the position, it might begin: 'First, make no news.'" John Boehner's press secretary Brendan Buck tweets "Not sure I want to see White House press briefings go away, but this @ReidCherlin takedown of them is great." Cherlin doesn't provide much of an alternative, a fact that The Washington Post writer Erik Wemple notices: "If you end the White House Press Briefing, what would cable news do for fodder?"

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