Five Best Thursday Columns

Andrew Gumbel on why Amanda Knox deserves a retrial, Jamelle Bouie on why Wisconsin's voter ID decision is a big deal, Harold Meyerson on the California bill to tax greedy CEOs, Chris Feliciano Arnold on the Redskins, post-Sterling, Isaac Chotiner on Hollywood's new low: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'.

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Andrew Gumbel at the Guardian on why Amanda Knox deserves a retrial. “The longer the Italian courts consider the Meredith Kercher case – and we have now had three trials, six presiding judges, two hearings before the Italian high court and a third on the way – the more the country's institutions of justice have covered themselves in shame,” Gumbel writes. “To read the new conviction report in detail is to enter a kind of alternate reality, where concrete facts appear ignored and alternate facts are seemingly plucked from the air. Kercher's murder is reduced to a parlor game and all roads lead to the inevitable, if not also foregone, conclusion that Knox and Sollecito are guilty. As the case trudges toward the seven-year mark, one has to wonder how much appetite the institutions of justice still have to stand by what they have done.” The Guardian's James Donaghy tweets, "The Guardian run another helpful advertorial for ".

Jamelle Bouie at Slate on why Wisconsin’s voter ID decision is a big deal. “Some precautions are necessary and others seem optional. Others are dumb. You can add one more item to the list of useless precautions: voter identification laws. In an opinion striking down Wisconsin’s voter ID law—signed in March by Gov. Scott Walker—Judge Lynn Adelman looks at the supposed menace of in-person voter fraud—the GOP’s reason for ID requirements—and finds nothing,’” Bouie writes. “This ruling is significant for more than what it means for Wisconsin. As Ari Bermannotes for The Nation, it’s part of a larger trend of courts striking down voter identification laws. What’s more, the Wisconsin decision marks the first time a voter ID law has been invalidated under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as opposed to a state constitution.” New York's Jonathan Chait tweets, "Very good summary of the Wisconsin voter ID ruling."

Harold Meyerson at The Washington Post on the California bill to tax greedy CEOs. “Last week, a committee of the California Senate not only talked about economic inequality — everybody’s doing that — but actually did something about it. By a 5-to-2 vote, it recommended to the full Senate a bill that would cut the state’s taxes on companies with lower ratios between their chief executives’ pay and the pay of their median workers, and raise taxes on companies with the kind of insanely high gap between chief executive and median worker pay that has become the norm in American business,” Meyerson writes. “The proposed legislation wouldn’t exactly plunge CEOs into poverty. In the current political climate, it may also be the kind of popular and populist cause the Democrats badly need.”

Chris Feliciano Arnold at The Los Angeles Times on the Redskins, post-Sterling. “If the NBA is finally willing to take a stand against owners spewing racist bile in private conversations, how can the NFL continue to defend Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, which continues to use a name and logo widely seen as disrespectful to Native Americans? Oh yeah, money. Washington’s team was ranked third on Forbes’ list of the most valuable NFL franchises in 2013 with an estimated worth of $1.7 billion,” Arnold writes. “Granted, Sterling and Snyder are not a perfect bigot-to-bigot comparison. Sterling’s 19th century plantation worldview is especially stomach-churning given that African Americans represent the majority of the NBA’s players, stars and legends — and a vital fan base. Snyder, on the other hand, is free to profit from racial exploitation of a people who remain among the most marginalized in our society.”

Isaac Chotiner at the New Republic on Hollywood’s new low: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’. “If The Amazing Spider-Man 2 proves anything, it is that Hollywood does have one very powerful idea, and is consciously engaged in turning that idea into reality, i.e. money. The film industry, or at least its summer-superhero-blockbuster wing, is intent on making essentially the same movie over and over again. To attribute it to laziness is to miss the point entirely,” Chotiner writes. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not a new approach to the same old formula: no, it is basically a remake of other recent and derivative films. The dialogue is carpentered from previous movies. The action scenes are almost shot-for-shot retreads. The characters go through precisely the same motions, or trace the same 'arcs.' This is plagiarism, not filmmaking. There have been four Spider-Man films in the past 15 years and they are already on video. You might as well just watch them.”

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