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Must-Read Op-Eds: Tuesday, June 25


PAULA'S WORST INGREDIENTSFRANK BRUNINEW YORK TIMESOthers have urged clemency, noting that she’s 66 years old and has lived her life far south of the Mason-Dixon line. Please. All of her adult years postdate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and she’s a citizen of the world, traveling wide and far to peddle her wares. If she can leave Georgia for the sake of commerce, she can leave Georgia in the realm of consciousness. Beyond which, people can change, growing past wrongful ways in the name of what’s right. We pass new laws. We adopt new language. That’s the recipe for progress: putting justice ahead of habit, principle over precedent. It’s not one that’s been mastered by Deen, whose worst ingredient isn’t corn syrup or Crisco but willful obtuseness.

PUTIN IS CLEANING OBAMA’S CLOCK PETER WEHNERCOMMENTARYBarack Obama’s “reset” with Russia is really going well, don’t you think? ... [T]he Obama “reset”–which at the dawn of the Obama administration was described as a “win-win” strategy for both nations–has been a rout for the Russians. With the Snowden situation, Vladimir Putin seems intent not only defying America but embarrassing her. It turns out that an irresolute amateur like Barack Obama was the best thing that the brutal but determined Putin could have hoped for. He’s cleaning Obama’s clock.

SNOWDEN CASE HIGHLIGHTS ECUADOR’S DOUBLE STANDARD EDITORIALWASHINGTON POSTSome might find it awkward to be granting sanctuary to one country’s self-proclaimed whistleblower while stifling their own. Not Mr. Correa, who for years has been campaigning against the United States while depending on it to prop up his economy with trade preferences. Thanks to the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Protection Act, Ecuador — which uses the dollar as its currency — is able to export many goods to the United States duty-free, supporting roughly 400,000 jobs in a country of 14 million people

PORTRAIT IN RESPECT EDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALThe Obama Administration wants the world to know that it cares very deeply about bringing self-admitted national-security leaker Edward Snowden back to the U.S. to stand trial. If only the world seemed to care as much about what the U.S. thinks. ... As we write these words, it isn't clear where Mr. Snowden is, but Russian media are reporting that Russian authorities are saying there are no legal grounds to arrest him. The Kremlin has said nothing in public, so perhaps the FSB (the new KGB) is interrogating him or downloading the secret NSA data he brought with him. A "reset" of U.S.-Russian relations has been one of Mr. Obama's foreign policy priorities.

THE AGE OF AMERICAN IMPOTENCE BRET STEPHENSWALL STREET JOURNAL[Snowden’s] case illustrates how little has been achieved by President Obama's "reset" with Moscow, or with his California schmoozing of China's Xi Jinping earlier this month. But however the Snowden episode turns out (and don't be surprised if the Russians wind up handing him over in exchange for an unspecified American favor), what it mainly illustrates is that we are living in an age of American impotence. The Obama administration has decided it wants out from nettlesome foreign entanglements, and now finds itself surprised that it's running out of foreign influence.

SPEED OF ASCENT DAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMESWhat are we looking for when we admit a student into a university? We’re looking for speed of ascent, not academic attainment at one moment in time. A student who’s risen from an economic catastrophe to achieve a B-plus average has more speed of ascent than the child of law professors who has an A average. The first student may be more expensive to teach. She may not write as many big alumni checks. But she’ll reflect more credit on her school and society. We now have the means to measure speed of ascent in a fairer and better way. Explicit, raced-based affirmative action programs weren’t wrong for their time, but they are being replaced.

OBAMA IN THE DOLDRUMS JOHN F. HARRIS, JAKE SHERMAN, ELIZABETH TITUSPOLITICOObama does not instill fear — one of the customary instruments of presidential power. Five years of experience, say lawmakers of both parties, have demonstrated that there is not a huge political or personal cost to be paid for crossing the president. Obama cannot count on friendship. There are plenty of politicians who would love the political and psychic benefits of favored status from the president. But Obama’s distant style and his insular West Wing operation have left congressional Democrats resigned, many said in interviews, to the reality that they will never be insiders and, therefore, have no special incentives to stay on Obama’s good side.