• Larry Pressler on the Technicality Generation  Commenting on Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal's inaccurate depiction of his military service, the former senator from South Dakota cites Blumenthal as an example of the type of leader responsible for "the issues of integrity in business and politics that plague us today." Issues, he says, that "are rooted in the dishonesty that surrounded the Vietnam-era draft." "Many in my generation knew they were using a broken (but legal) system to shirk their duty," says Pressler. "They cloaked themselves in idealism but deep down had to know they were engaging in a charade. (I, too, was against the Vietnam war and felt that people should protest, but not dodge their draft responsibility.) This intellectual justification continues to this day, only now these men are among our country’s leaders."
  • Steven Pearlstein on the Shared Economic Turmoil of the US and Europe  "The biggest reason we should care about the European crisis is because of what it implies about our own economic recovery," writes the Washington Post columnist, urging Americans to take the EU's financial problems more seriously. Europe's unwillingness to address its underlying issues--the euro--should be a warning to the United States. "While government rescues may be necessary to stabilize markets, there can be no real recovery until the causes of the underlying imbalances are dealt with. For the United States, those root causes are an overvalued currency and a penchant for living beyond our means by consuming more than we produce."
  • Thomas Friedman on the Long Oil Addiction  In a burst of clear-eyed anger, the New York Times columnist censures President Obama for his failure to capitalize on the nation's stunned reaction to the Gulf oil spill. This could have been Obama's moment to push for a comprehensive energy plan, Friedman writes; instead, the policy response has been milquetoast at best. "Why is Obama playing defense?" Friedman wonders. "Just how much oil has to spill into the gulf, how much wildlife has to die, how many radical mosques need to be built with our gasoline purchases to produce more Times Square bombers, before it becomes politically 'safe' for the president to say he is going to end our oil addiction?"
  • James McGregor on Rethinking U.S.-China Trade Relations  In an op-ed for The Washington Post, the former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China (or AmCham-China) advises Americans to rethink the way the U.S. does business with China. "American business has to figure out how to balance out today's profits with tomorrow's threat," urges McGregor. "This dilemma is causing a split between U.S.-based chief executives who sing China's praises based on current growth and profits, and their China-based executives who see the self-destructive results of blindly following the new initiatives."
  • Kara Miller on Ill Communication  In a guest piece for the Boston Globe, Miller, an adjunct professor at Babson College, laments the way so many college students seem to make it through high school without learning the basics of prose composition. "As anyone who has received a poorly written e-mail, assessment, memo, cover letter, or report knows, writing — both good and bad — has real power," Miller declares. And in a world where the amount of extant information is thought to double every two or three years, the ability to clearly communicates facts and opinions in writing is something, in the words of former Brown president Vartan Gregorian, that "can be viewed as tantamount to a survival skill."