Five Best Wednesday Columns

George Clooney and John Prendergast on Sudan’s silent suffering, Jonathan Chait on Eric Cantor’s shocking primary defeat, Sue Miller wonders when mass shootings became mundane in America, Tom Rogan on why we’re losing the war on terror, Amy B. Dean on unionization at college.

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George Clooney and John Prendergast at Vice News on Sudan’s silent suffering. “Under the cover of darkness, in a world whose attention is diverted by more camera-accessible crises in Ukraine, Syria, and the Central African Republic (CAR), the Sudan government has revived and intensified its genocidal strategy in the main war zones of Sudan. Genocide is defined in international law as killing ‘with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.’ Regardless of what nomenclature you accept, specific ethnic groups are today being targeted in spectacularly destructive ways in three war-torn regions of Sudan: South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and once again, Darfur,” Clooney and Prendergast write. “The situation may sound hopeless — but that is not the case. This is a crisis America can help resolve. When the US acts in a bipartisan manner and builds international coalitions, change is possible in Sudan.” Vice News’ Colin Jones tweets, “Now on @vicenews: An op-ed from George Clooney and John Prendergast on why Sudan matters now more than ever.”

Jonathan Chait at New York on Eric Cantor’s shocking primary defeat. “Since Republicans won control of the House in the 2010 elections, the political future of Eric Cantor has been the subject of ceaseless speculation. The speculation always centered around whether — or, really, when — Cantor would depose Speaker John Boehner. The notion that Cantor himself would be knifed before he could knife Boehner occurred to absolutely nobody. Shockingly, it happened, as an obscure right-wing challenger named David Brat not only defeated Cantor in a primary but defeated him by double-digits,” Chair writes. “But the biggest issue by far was immigration reform. Cantor was no reformer, really. But he did hope to salvage some partial compromise, perhaps allowing some illegal immigrants who had been brought over the border as children, and thus could not be deemed personally guilty, to stay unmolested. The immediate, and probably correct, reaction in Washington is that Cantor’s defeat wipes out whatever tiny shred of a hope that remained for immigration reform.” Radio anchor Marty Davis tweets, “New word entering American lexicon:  Cantored.  As in ‘Cantor was, finally, Cantor'd. He will not be missed.’”

Sue Miller at the Guardian wonders when mass shootings became mundane in America. “Now here comes the summer of 2014, and with it the statistically inevitable rise in violent crime and murder. Caused at least in part, we're told, by the temperature. It gets hotter, irritability increases, we all head outside, bumping up against each other, pissing each other off. And already, with summer still weeks away, the carnage has begun," Miller writes. "A man in New York goes on a stabbing spree that includes two little children. A man in California knifes three people, then shoots and kills three others before killing himself. A man in Seattle walks into a college, a man in Georgia walks into a courtroom, both of them equipped for and apparently willing to kill as many people as they possibly can. A white supremacist couple in Las Vegas. Just Tuesday, a lone shooter in a high school in Oregon. Is it random? Is it the forecast? Or is this kind of violence now as inevitable as it is unpredictable?”

Tom Rogan at National Review on why we’re losing the war on terror. “On Sunday, fighters from the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) stormed into Karachi’s international airport. By the time they were stopped, 26 innocents lay dead, and footage of the blazing airport was broadcast across the world. Yesterday the Taliban attacked the airport again. This time a band of motorcyclists sprayed a security post with machine-gun fire. For the United States and Pakistan, these attacks should offer four specific wakeup calls,” Rogan writes. “First, Pakistani intelligence must abandon its support of terrorist proxies. Second, Pakistani politicians must end their flirtation with the TTP. Third, the Obama administration must recognize the threat Pakistan faces. Fourth, the U.S. must prepare for the worst in Pakistan. On the global worry scale, for the U.S. government, the collapse of the Pakistani government probably ranks highest. Most importantly, we must realize that our departure from Afghanistan won’t mean we’re removed from strife in South Asia. In many ways, the opposite is true.”

Amy B. Dean at Al Jazeera America on jocks and nerds uniting over unionization at college. “The long-established schoolyard ethnography of ‘The Breakfast Club’ tell us that jocks and nerds are supposed to have little in common. But on the university campus, these two disparate groups have found a vital shared interest: unionization. Grad students and college athletes are now challenging the norms and regulations that keep them underpaid and overburdened,” Dean writes. “Gym rats with eyes on the pros and bookish pursuers of doctoral degrees may not think of themselves as part of a common class of workers. In both cases, the students’ employers — university administrators — give the same excuse for why those student shouldn’t have a union: Their occupation is not work but education. In exchange for undertaking an apprenticeship for low (or nonexistent) pay, students will reap future benefits. Having a union, administrators argue, would disrupt the delicate mentoring that takes place between a student and their adviser or coach.”

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