This week we perused the opinion section at Washington Post, mostly so you don’t have to. Here’s a sampling of what we found:
Step Right Up and See the Show
WaPo’s Kathleen Parker, with an admittedly heavy heart, thinks it’s time to get cameras out of the courtroom. She cites as exhibit A ”the carnival trial of George Zimmerman.” While we agree the trial has had its… dramatic moments, we can’t blame it all on the cameras, can we? Parker thinks so. She argues that the mere presence of a camera makes people act different and thereby, without the cameras, this particular trial would be going differently. Maybe. Sometimes the drama is just inherent in the characters playing it out, camera or not. Really, it’s a special kind of person who has no qualms about saying “creepy ass cracker” on the witness stand and it’s a special kind of lawyer who opens with a knock knock joke. Do we really think it’s just the cameras that’s making them do this? Now, if you want to get into a discussion about how the networks are covering this particular trial — ahem, CNN — then we should talk.
If you’ve never agreed with Jennifer Rubin before, read on…
Rubin For Immigration Reform
We’re scratching our heads because it appears WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin wrote something that’s not entirely disagreeable. On her blog Tuesday, she published a list of “Ten silly anti-immigration reform arguments” — and they are actually pretty silly. It’s just so hard hearing a takedown of right-wing talking points from someone like Rubin, someone who is apparently all for immigration reform, but otherwise toes the Republican party line. And no, this piece isn’t exactly an immigration reform rallying cry or anything like that, it’s kind of feeble all things considered. But she does get in a few zingers. The best: “‘The bill is long.’ One hardly knows what to say. Most bills are long.” Indeed they are. Give ‘em hell.
WaPo Helps Wal-Mart Threaten the DC Council
WaPo published an op-ed Tuesday afternoon by Wal-Mart regional general manager Alex Barron complaining about how the District might force the company (and others its size) to pay its future workers a wage they’ll almost actually be able to live on. Barron threatens that the company will have to cancel three of its planned six stores in D.C. because Wal-Mart, one of the richest companies in the world, just doesn’t have enough money to give its workers a few extra dollars an hour. Here’s some of the ways he describes the District’s living wage bill, in case you’re unclear how he and the company feel about it: “discriminates against business,” ”an eleventh-hour effort,” “arbitrary,” “discriminatory,” “discourages investment,” “idle threats,” “threatens to undo all that we have accomplished together,” (how do those last two go together?). Reading the piece, you get that what Barron really wants us to believe, or more likely, the PR exec who actually wrote his column, is that Wal-Mart is only coming to D.C. to do us residents a favor. It has nothing to do with the fact that we’re an almost untapped market for big box stores and they really, really want our money. If you’re good at reading between the lines, you’ll notice he’s asking, “Why then, is the council being so mean to us?”
It’s not a surprise that Barron’s column showed up in WaPo. The paper has editorialized against the living wage bill, basically arguing that D.C.’s minimum wage is already high enough and that forcing companies like Wal-Mart to pay more just hurts business. They might have a valid point about how the council is using this bill to single out Wal-Mart, but then their argument should be about raising the minimum wage across the board instead of a facile editorial that just assists a mega corporation in its quest for more profits. If the minimum wage is really high enough, maybe the ed board can all quit their jobs and become cashiers? How long do you think they’d last on the $8.25 an hour Wal-Mart wants to pay?