Five Best Friday Columns
Jason Zengerle on another shift right in Texas, David Firestone on why Darrell Issa switched off the mic, Fiona Harvey makes the case for global warming, Jonathan Mahler on how to kill the NCAA, Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux on the last of Texas' rural abortion clinics.
Jason Zengerle at The New Republic on another shift right in Texas. “For a while, it seemed that [Ted] Cruz had taken David Dewhurst’s place as the Texas Republican with the brightest future. But I predict that Cruz himself is about to be eclipsed by the man who won the Texas GOP’s gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday, Greg Abbott. Although Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, has received much more national press, it’s Abbott who’ll almost certainly win in November,” Zengerle writes. “Abbott’s most potent political tool, though, is his personal story. In 1984, the then-26-year-old Abbott took a break from studying for the bar to go for a jog in his Houston neighborhood. That’s when a giant oak tree fell on him, crushing his spinal cord and leaving him a paraplegic.”
David Firestone at The New York Times on why Darrell Issa switched off the mic. “Mr. Issa, a California Republican who is chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, refused to let the panel’s ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, ask any questions at a hearing about the Internal Revenue Service’s investigation of non-profit groups. This kind of behavior is typical of Mr. Issa, who runs his committee like a permanently angry Marine drill sergeant,” Firestone writes. “There was a good reason Mr. Issa cut off his colleague. For months he has been on a single-minded crusade to prove the Obama administration ordered the I.R.S. to target conservative and Republican groups that spent unlimited secret money on political activity in 2012. When politicians reach for the microphone switch, you know they’ve lost the argument.”
Fiona Harvey at The Guardian makes the case for global warming. “A couple of degrees hotter in summer – we could be sitting out on our verandahs of an evening sipping Sauvignon Blanc from our own vineyards. Who wouldn't want that? Global warming is both an entirely accurate term and utterly misleading. Current projections are for a rise of at least 2C by the end of the century, even if we take drastic action to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, and a rise of as much as 5C or 6C if we carry on as usual,” Harvey writes. “We are just beginning to understand that the melting of the Arctic ice cap may bring colder and wetter temperatures to Europe, even as they bring warmer weather to Greenland. Across the globe it will mean disruption to agriculture, a spread of disease and swaths of land becoming uninhabitable.”
Jonathan Mahler at Bloomberg on how to kill the NCAA. A former West Virginia University football player has proposed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA over caps on athletic scholarships. “Any lawsuit against the NCAA is a good lawsuit. Here’s an only slightly cynical view of what may happen if the suit goes forward: The NCAA and the power conferences will settle. They’ll agree to allow schools to cover those additional expenses for scholarship athletes. They’ll agree to pay some nominal damages to every FBS scholarship athlete from the last four years. And they’ll agree to pay the lawyers something for their trouble,” Mahler writes. “But what we need, clearly, is a different kind of lawsuit — one that will bring down the NCAA once and for all. The NCAA would soon be reduced to a heap of smoking rubble, and the only question we'd be asking ourselves is: How did it remain intact for so long?”
Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux at The American Prospect on the last of Texas’ rural abortion clinics. “The clinics in Beaumont, about an hour east of Houston, and McAllen, just north of the Mexico border, were the last rural abortion providers left in Texas. Between July, when HB2 passed, and November, when the admitting privileges requirement went into effect, nearly half of the state’s 44 abortion clinics folded, unable to comply with the new rules,” Thomson-DeVeaux writes. “Long wait times for appointments will undoubtedly become the norm. By next fall, when the ASC requirement kicks in, six clinics in major urban centers — Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth — could be responsible for performing more than 70,000 abortions each year.”