• Ruth Marcus on the House Ethics Committee  Following Charlie Rangel's ethics scandal, the Washington Post columnist chastises the committee for a more insidious transgression: "enabler of ethical violations". Detailing a former congresswoman's aid to sponsors looking to subvert ethics rules, Marcus hisses: "This is a case of the fox figuring out how to take the chickens on an all-expenses-paid Caribbean vacation."
  • Maureen Dowd on Liberalism in Saudi Arabia  After a Saudi foreign minister claimed Saudi Arabia was more liberal than the "religiously determined" and "regressive" Israel, the New York Times op-ed columnist ponders exactly how liberal "an absolute Muslim monarchy ruling over one of the most religiously and socially intolerant places on earth" can be. Dowd comes up surprised: "The word progressive, of course, is highly relative when it comes to Saudi Arabia. (Wahhabism, anyone?) But after spending 10 days here, I can confirm that, at their own galactically glacial pace, they are chipping away at gender apartheid and cultural repression."
  • Holman Jenkins on Obama's Missed Opportunity  The Wall Street Journal columnist offers a critique of how and where Obama's reach exceeds his grasp on health care reform. "Mr. Obama... chucks over the side virtually all creative thinking about our health-care predicament," Jenkins writes. A true reformer would have "challenged both parties down to their ideological socks"; instead, Jenkins contends, Obama's lack of follow-through has left everyone disappointed.
  • Thomas Friedman on Blue-Chip Drain  The New York Times columnist quotes Intel CEO Paul Otellini at length to illustrate how America's competitive edge is rapidly eroding in the science and tech sectors. "Smart, skilled labor is everywhere now," Friedman writes. "Intel can thrive today — not just survive, but thrive — and never hire another American." Friedman offers a couple of policy suggestions to correct this phenomenon, but warns that they'd have to be implemented sooner rather than later.
  • And In Bird News  An unsigned editorial in The New York Times calls for more aggressive preservation efforts for the sage grouse, whose numbers have "dropped from 16 million to a few hundred thousand scattered across 11 Western states." Bump up the grouse to the government's list of privileged "candidate species," the editorial argues, and it will have at least "a fighting chance."