- Nicholas Kristof on Life in Zimbabwe Surreptitiously reporting from the
African country, the New York Times columnist gauges the quality of life in Zimbabwe.
Kristof discovers that the majority of the subjects of his covert
interviews preferred the white regime of Rhodesia to the oppressive
black government of Robert Mugabe, as the white government of the 1970s
was significantly "more competent" at providing infrastructure,
education and health systems, and jobs than Mugabe's band of goons.
Saddened, Kristof can only hope for a way forward. "Worldwide pressure
forced the oppressive Rhodesian regime to give up power three decades
ago," he writes. "Now we need similar pressure, from African countries
as well as Western powers, to pry Mr. Mugabe’s fingers from his
chokehold on a lovely country."
- E. J. Dionne on the Consequences
of Fighting Regulation Commenting on the West Virginia mining tragedy,
the Washington Post columnist laments the successful efforts of big
companies to stop efforts to regulate the industry. Stating the obvious
fact that "companies just don't like regulation," Dionne argues money
has triumphed over considerations of worker safety. "Too often,
regulations are discussed in the abstract as a "burden" on companies
that expend substantial sums to resist them. Only after disasters such
as this one do we remember that regulations exist for a reason, that
their enforcement can, literally, be a matter of life and death."
Altaii on Education in Iraq In a guest op-ed for the New York Times,
the Iraqi-born professor at James Madison University examines the critical condition of education
infrastructure in Iraq, which he reports "now lies in shambles." Calling
on the U.S. to do more for Iraqi professors and teachers, he suggests
stronger ties between American and Iraqi academics. "Imagine American
and Iraqi experts working to uncover documents dating back to the
earliest days of civilization," he writes. "Or a joint medical team
solving the mystery of the alarming rise in the incidence of childhood
cancer in southern Iraq and finding treatments that save children
throughout the world."
- Victor Davis Hanson on Personal
Responsibility At National Review, Hanson, a classicist and historian
at the Hoover Institution,* offers a withering critique of the
good-guys-and-bad-guys narrative often heard in liberal politics. Real
life is more complicated, Hanson points out, and the sainted victims
whose cause Obama champions haven't always made the best decisions in
life. "The president would surely improve his standing if he urged
Americans to buy fewer DVDs and instead more insurance plans," Hanson
writes, "or to avoid drugs and drink, or not to borrow money that they
have no desire or ability to pay back, or not to enter the United States
in the first place without a proper visa."
- Gail Collins on
Selective Memory The New York Times columnist delivers a typically wry indictment of
Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, who recently declared April "Confederate
History Month" while neglecting to mention slavery. Collins places
McDonnell alongside other shaky-grasp-on-history types, like John "Never
Considered Myself a Maverick" McCain, before suggesting--breezily, but
with unmistakable feeling--that Confederate History Month is one of the
more "dreadful developments in modern history."
*Corrected: original misidentified Hanson as a historian at Stanford University