PRAY. HOPE. PREPARE BY THOMAS FRIEDMANNEW YORK TIMESMake no mistake where my heart lies. I still believe this Arab democracy movement was inevitable, necessary and built on a deep and authentic human quest for freedom, dignity and justice. But without extraordinary leadership, the Arab transitions are going to be much harder than in Eastern Europe. Pray for Germanys. Hope for South Africas. Prepare for Yugoslavias.
GIVING DOCTORS ORDERS BY MAUREEN DOWDNEW YORK TIMESI had read that Alec Baldwin was, not surprisingly, a master at demanding that cabdrivers get off their phones. I called and asked for some pointers. “I tell them to shut off the radio, get off the phone and post their license, because very often the man driving the cab is not the guy on the license,” he said. “If you get in a cab you don’t feel comfortable in, get out of that cab.” I told Baldwin that I would start giving orders, when necessary, to cabdrivers and clinicians, even though I feared their wrath.
TAX AND SPENDING MYTHS AND REALITIESNEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALAs a matter of fairness, raising income taxes must start with requiring the richest Americans — who have been the biggest beneficiaries of Bush-era tax cuts — to pay more. But even that won’t dig the country out of its hole. The middle class is also going to have to pay higher taxes. That is the only way to pay for needed services, tackle the deficit and slow the borrowing and the rise in interest payments. ... Those details are the easy part. More than anything, Mr. Obama must change the political debate, by rebutting, once and for all, the tax-cuts-above-all ideology that has gotten this country into this deep mess.
ON THE BUDGET, THE WHITE HOUSE IS LATE TO THE GAME -- AGAIN BY RUTH MARCUSWASHINGTON POST It hurriedly arranged for a speech and slapped together what seems to be shaping up less as an Obama plan than as an endorsement of the Gang of Six approach. I’m all for the president weighing in — in fact, I’ve been recommending it for months. But I question the haste and timing: If the Gang of Six looks like the Democratic alternative to Ryan, its Republican members will be out on a limb.
More after the jump...
150 YEARS LATER, WE'RE STILL FIGHTING THE CIVIL WAR BY HAROLD MEYERSONWASHINGTON POSTWith its paranoid misreading of Obama as a socialist (echoing the 1860 South’s misreading of Lincoln as an abolitionist), with its zeal for confrontation and its utter disregard, evident in its 2012 budget proposal, for the minority poor, today’s Republican right betrays a mind-set that hearkens back to the secessionists who fired on Fort Sumter. Shutting down the government isn’t comparable to shooting it down, of course, but the South’s war on egalitarian government and labor standards threatens again to diminish our country.
A BETTER PROCESS FOR FEDERAL APPOINTMENTS BY BILL FRIST, CHARLES ROBB, THOMAS MCLARTY & CLAY JOHNSON WASHINGTON POST The federal appointments process will not remedy itself. Concerted action and bipartisan leadership are required to end delays that have become unjustifiable. Other reforms are possible and welcome, but as soon as possible the Senate should pass S.679 for the benefit of this and future administrations but, most important, for our country.
COAL IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN NUCLEAR BY HOLMAN JENKINSWALL STREET JOURNAL Thousands more die in coal mining accidents each year (especially in China) than have been killed in all nuclear-related accidents since the beginning of time. What's more, coal plants spew toxins like mercury and other metals—along with more radioactive thorium and uranium than a nuclear plant—which are no less amenable to linear, no-threshold thinking. ... The anti-nuke stance is an article of faith not subject to review.
PAUL RYAN AND HIS CRITICSWALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIALMr. Ryan's critics understand very well that he wants to substitute markets for bureaucratic central planning. What he would dismantle isn't Medicare, but its system of one-size-fits-all coverage and price controls. The liberal answer to runaway costs, passed as part of ObamaCare, is the Independent Payment Advisory Board that will decide how much the government will pay for what treatments and was deliberately shielded from Congressional supervision.