Peggy Noonan on America's Service Economy The infamous emergency-chute escape by flight attendant Steven Slater serves as a catalyst for The Wall Street Journal columnist to discuss the nation's awkward transition from an industrial to a service economy. "We used to make machines! And steel! But now we're always in touch, in negotiation. We interact so much, we wear each other down," she notes. Which would seem to make the JetBlue incident a natural repercussion of how our business world has evolved. Noonan concludes: "In a service economy in the age of no manners, everyone gets on everyone's nerves. Everyone wishes they could take the chute. Everyone understands someone who did."
Steven Pearlstein on the Bandwidth Wars The hysteria surrounding the proposed Google-Verizon pact has reached ridiculous proportions, explains The Washington Post opinion columnist. While critics have bemoaned the potential loss of a "democratic first-come, first-served Internet" they seem to have forgotten the "part of the Google-Verizon proposal that explicitly prohibits 'paid prioritization' of Internet content, at least for wired connections." And they also have conveniently omitted the line that "various forms of tiered service have been part of the telecommunications landscape ever since the days of the old 'party line.'" The reason Pearlstein brings up these two points is to make the case that the debate over Internet regulation has regrettably become something akin to "religious warfare."
Robert Kuttner on the Left's Tough Love Writing in The Boston Globe, Kuttner says Robert Gibbs's criticism of liberal bloggers is misguided. "As co-editor of a liberal magazine whose stance has ranged from polite pleading to occasional exasperation," he writes, "I have to say that Gibbs misses the point entirely." The editor contends that "few liberals are critical of this president out of ideological purity." Practical concerns influenced both their initial support of Obama as a candidate and subsequent criticism of him as president. "Liberals are criticizing our president out of tough love," argues Kuttner. "We dearly want him to succeed. For if he fails, we fail."
Charles Krauthammer on Sacrilege at Ground Zero The Washington Post columnist argues that the Ground Zero mosque disrespects a sacred place in American history. "Location matters," writes Krauthammer. "Especially this location." He does, however, acknowledge that those pushing for the mosque have no sympathy for the 9/11 attackers. "Islam is no more intrinsically Islamist than present-day Germany is Nazi," he writes, "yet despite contemporary Germany's innocence, no German of goodwill would even think of proposing a German cultural center at, say, Treblinka." It's a question of tact, not tolerance.
Paul Krugman on the Paralysis of the Fed The New York Times opinion columnist has been a frequent critic of the Bernanke Fed, and his most recent article echoes his prior sentiments. Not only does the Fed appear to resemble the passive, paralyzed Bank of Japan in the 1990s, there also doesn't seem to be any inclination to confront the "sheer human misery" that unemployed Americans are facing. What happened to the formerly action-oriented Bernanke? "Whatever the reasons, the fact is that the Fed — which is required by statute to promote 'maximum employment' — isn’t doing its job," he writes, "Instead, like the rest of Washington, it’s inventing reasons to dither in the face of mass unemployment."