• E.J. Dionne on Mark Souder's Downfall  Reflecting on recent revelations of infidelity about Mark Souder, the Washington Post columnist broadcasts his frustration with the Christianity-infused politics. "Enough!" declares Dionne again and again, tearing into the conservative conflation of personal virtue with political creed before getting to the heart of the problem afflicting politicized Christians. "It's not the self-righteousness of religious conservatives that bothers me most. We liberals can be pretty self-righteous, too. It's the refusal to acknowledge that the pressures endangering the family do not come from some dark secular leftist conspiracy but from cultural and economic forces that affect us all."
  • David Ignatius on Debt and National Security The biggest threat to the United States' influence abroad may not come from our enemies, asserts David Ignatius, but our allies. Our European compatriots, riddled with debt, make sharing the mutual responsibilities of international engagement problematic. "Europe these days is a halfway house for debtors," warns Ignatius. "NATO members in Europe were mostly failing to meet their defense-spending commitments even before the financial crisis that hit Greece, Spain, Portugal and other nations. They will be even less likely to share burdens now that they have to fund a trillion-dollar bailout for eurozone weaklings."
  • David Broder on the Obama Effect Turning to current American political culture, David Broder takes a fresh look at the well-worn subject of the "Obama effect." For Broder, the past year of legislative warfare and recent electoral successes for Republicans make the President a dubiously beneficial figure going into the November midterms. "Democrats remain nervous about lining up behind Obama. More of them are ready to rest their hopes on the Republicans' allowing themselves to be dragged too far to the right than are signing up to promise to sustain the president in future battles to cope with the challenge of fiscal deficits."
  • Jan Maxwell on Law and Order and Regular Employment  Two-time Tony-nominated actress Maxwell laments tonight's final episode of the NBC staple "Law and Order," not for the void in her nightly television routine, but for the fact that for the entirety of its existence, it was the bread and butter for New York stage actors. Deciding to film the show in New York, she says, the producers "started casting local actors for the sort of one-off jobs that we rely on to subsidize our theater habit.... In the early days we would gather religiously to see our friends as killers, punks and occasional dead bodies. We claimed the show as our own; not only did it give us stage actors a temporary job, but it also employed old theater pros, like Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston, in leading roles."
  • L. Gordon Crovitz on Web Privacy Considering the latest push for regulation in social media, Crovitz makes the point that perhaps it's not the privacy settings that need regulation, but the extent of importance that privacy plays in our lives. When it comes to Facebook, Twitter, etc. the Wall Street Journal columnist says, "the entire reason to use these sites is to trade privacy for other benefits." He continues, "the enormous popularity of these sites...suggests a sharp break with how we used to understand privacy, as users are making different trade-offs now that technology lets us share information and decide with whom. Constantly updated access to networks of friends and colleagues provides enough benefits to overcome some privacy concerns."