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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

The role of the FCC in broadband policy is unclear, and that's the problem. Plus: Who is today's William F. Buckley?

• "The Internet has given the government powerful 21st-century tools for invading people's privacy and monitoring their activities, but the main federal law governing online privacy is a 20th-century relic," complains the New York Times.

• "While the U.S. economy has shrunk substantially over the past two years, the Internet sector has flourished," remarks FCC member Robert M. McDowell in the Washington Post. "Let's work on policies that encourage more investment, innovation and competition instead of regulation and rationing."

 

• "We think the best course is for lawmakers to give the FCC clear but limited power to preserve the openness that has made the Internet not just a hotbed for innovation but also the most important communications medium of our time," advises the Los Angeles Times.

Michael Steele has done "more than enough to get any party chairman in trouble, regardless of race or creed. But if you look narrowly at what he said, he's surely right," contends Eugene Robinson. "We've come a long way in this country, but it's still true that the first woman or Latino or African American to hold any high-profile job inevitably comes under extra scrutiny."

• "In October 1965, William F. Buckley made it possible for American conservatives to come in from the wilderness and govern" by condemning "Robert Welch and his John Birch Society followers," writes Jonathan Rauch. "If there is a Buckley today, his name is David Frum."

 

• "For the record: I don't hate" President Obama. "There, I said it," admits Michael Gerson, mocking uncivil and overly partisan rhetoric.

• Obama "spent his first year making speeches about restoring American prestige. He looked destined to spend his second explaining why he had failed," writes Philip Stephens (subscription). Now, the president "looks like a leader pretty much in command of his agenda."

• "Obama has moved to break the energy stalemate by offering expanded offshore drilling and loan guarantees to build the first nuclear plants since 1978. Republicans want more," explains Ronald Brownstein. "But as long as Obama is president, the only practical way to do that is to embed additional production incentives in a package that also addresses climate change."

Stuart Taylor Jr. predicts that "some would depict any Obama nominee" to the Supreme Court "as an ultra-liberal.... But, in fact, none -- or at most one -- of the four brainy and well-qualified public servants at the top of the shortlists that have made their way into the media from inside sources seems likely to move the Court left."

 

• "So now Republican state legislators want to deny women insurance coverage for abortions, even those willing to pay for a special rider with their own dollars," notes Ann Woolner. "You would think abortion is illegal, or that everyone in the country holds the same religious view on when life begins. It isn't. We don't."

• "Apart from being morally bizarre, the Obama policy is strategically loopy. Does anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the United States without fear of nuclear retaliation?" asks Charles Krauthammer.

• "Yes, Greece is paying the price for past fiscal irresponsibility," explains Paul Krugman. "Yet that's by no means the whole story. The Greek tragedy also illustrates the extreme danger posed by a deflationary monetary policy. And that's a lesson one hopes American policy makers will take to heart."

• "Why can't regulators preempt bubbles if the hedge-fund crowd is smart enough to short them? The answer tells you something big about the financial reform brewing in Congress," contends Sebastian Mallaby.

• The results of Iraq's election "indicate that the Iraqis moved away from sectarianism and toward ideological and issue-oriented politics.... Still, Iraq is not out of danger," cautions Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Iraq, in the Financial Times (subscription). "The process of government formation, if mishandled, could re-energise sectarian forces."

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