• Eric Felten on the Proliferation of 'Annoying' License Agreements The curious case of Craig Smallwood, a video-game aficionado who was marginally successful in suing a game maker after alleging that their product caused him "emotional distress," serves as a starting point for the Wall Street Journal contributor to discuss the "weedy contractual tendrils crawling into every electronic transaction." He's referring to the incredibly long, obligatory agreements that users seldom read before clicking "I Agree." If Smallwood's case succeeds, it might "chip away at the enforceability" of these contracts, causing a lamentable "gold rush" of lawsuits against game makers.
  • Michael Gerson on Religious Tribalism The irony of the vigorous Christian backlash (at least among some outspoken pastors) against mosques being built in America is that "the Christian fundamentalist view of Islam bears a striking resemblance to the New York Times' view of Christian fundamentalism," argues The Washington Post columnist. "Both create a caricature, then assert that the Constitution is under assault by an army of straw men." Unfortunately, the Christians who are protesting Islam seem to be oblivious to this fact, and it manages "to undermine their interests and their convictions at the same time."
  • Steven Pearlstein on Tax Hikes for the Rich The Democrats are in search of a game-changer to halt the potential GOP tsunami this November. The Washington Post columnist has a solution: vote for a tax increase on the wealthy. Unfortunately, there are some Democratic "wusses who are so scared about the prospect of losing their seats by voting for a tax increase on the rich that they are pushing the White House and congressional leaders to put off the issue until after the election." That strategy plays right into Republican hands, and would Obama in a difficult position. Pearlstein concludes: "if Democrats can't make a convincing case for raising taxes on 315,000 millionaires and using the money to rebuild the country's aging infrastructure, then maybe they don't deserve to be reelected."
  • Jonah Goldberg on Obama's Salesmanship Gap These are strange days for the syndicated conservative columnist. After spending a year and a half with Barack Obama as his president, he says he has come down with "a mild case of Bill Clinton nostalgia." Explains Goldberg, "I miss having a Democrat who could sell." Clinton, Goldberg points out, was a warm and empathetic communicator. This is in contrast to "Obama's 'People of Earth, Stop Your Bickering' aloofness." The effort is there, writes Goldberg, but the law professor in Obama all too often "confuses explanation for persuasion."
  • David Brooks on the Obama Administration's Alternate History Writing in The New York Times, Brooks offers up an alternate history of the first 18 months of the Obama presidency. Shockingly, things are looking a little better in the Brooks version. Brooks-verse Obama passed a stimulus that "relied heavily on cutting payroll taxes" in lieu of large federal programs. On the Hill, Democratic aides "developed a political strategy they called Save Nancy From Herself" to minimize the Speaker's personal contribution to the party platform. It all helped Democrats, Brooks writes, to "define themselves as the economic Back to Basics Party."