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Pundits & Editorials

The president of Human Right Campaign excoriates Obama for his Inauguration guest list, and Caroline Kennedy earns comparisons to a certain female governor. Plus: Chinese democracy?

• In the Washington Post, Human Right Campaign president Joe Solmonese wonders how President-elect Obama "could fail to grasp the symbolism of inviting an anti-gay theologian to deliver his inaugural invocation."

• "Still, why are gay groups so angry, knowing that Obama opposes gay marriage?" Byron York wonders.


Gerald F. Seib notes that "the president-elect is giving the country two administrations for the price of one" -- Washington veterans and "the fabled 'agents of change' promised in the campaign."

• Obama's pick for secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, "has already made clear that he refuses to abide by the conventions of the current education debate," cheers E.J. Dionne Jr.

• Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Post columnist Harold Meyerson sings the praises of Obama's probable pick for secretary of Labor, Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif.


• "Why is the resume-thin Caroline Kennedy being treated seriously as a prospective appointee to the U.S. Senate when the comparatively more-qualified Gov. Sarah Palin received such a harsh review?" Kathleen Parker wonders.

• "If Princess Caroline wants a seat in the Senate, let her do it by election," Charles Krauthammer sniffs. "There's one in 2010."

• "It is naive to think that the exhaustive list of donors released yesterday by the William J. Clinton Foundation won't provoke suspicion and give rise to conspiracy theories in parts of the world where transparency is seen as nothing more than an illusion," Eugene Robinson predicts.

• "As he prepares to step down as DNC chair in January, giving way to Obama's handpicked successor," Howard Dean has cemented his legacy as a prophetic, if underappreciated, visionary in the party," applauds Ari Berman in The Nation.


• In the Wall Street Journal, human rights activist and former Czech President Vaclav Havel hails a dissident manifesto from China called Charter 08 that demands "human rights, good governance and respect for the responsibility of citizens to keep watch over their government."

• "In the United States, the tendency may be to see" a new document from the Vatican on bioethics "as a battle plan for resistance to the incoming Obama administration," writes Vatican observer John L. Allen Jr. in the New York Times. "In reality, that amounts to trying to shove a square peg into the round hole of American politics."

• "How different, really, is" Bernard Madoff's "tale from the story of the investment industry as a whole?" asks Paul Krugman.

• "Many colleges and universities have spent decades amassing huge fortunes, unprecedented in scale," note economist Donald Frey and independent scholar Lynne Munson in the Boston Globe. The recent endowment losses at some of those schools "are an indictment of that longstanding practice and proof that colleges and universities should have been spending more from their endowments all along."

• "The administrations of George W. Bush have" thrown "the country off balance, both politically and financially, while breaking the nation's sword in an inconclusive seven-year struggle against a ragtag enemy in two small bankrupt states," conservative commentator Mark Helprin argues in the Wall Street Journal.

From The Editorial Boards...

• The Washington Times eulogizes Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich, calling him "one of the giants of the modern conservative movement."

• The New York Times is glad to see someone's publishing "a 599-page guide to veterans' issues, from educational help to vocational rehabilitation, from housing to citizenship."

• "If the three-way failure" to reach agreement on California's budget "that the governor and both parties delivered this week is a sort of Grand Guignol precursor to a pre-Christmas budget package, well, Californians can watch in horror and relief. So far, it's just horror," the Los Angeles Times opines.

• The Washington Post worries that the "zero bound" -- when nominal interest rates approach zero -- "like the Twilight Zone itself, is so strange and so little explored that even the most brilliant economists don't exactly know what to do once they get there."

• "Stocks fell off again yesterday, but the big news of the week has been the slide in the dollar." The Wall Street Journal hopes Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke "considers this to be the warning it is."

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