Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Opinion

Selected readings from the left and from the right

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.

FROM THE LEFT

From "What Happened in Moscow: The Inside Story of How Trump’s Obsession With Putin Began" by David Corn and Michael Isikoff in Mother Jones at http://bit.ly/2IctvtZ.

The context: From the moment (in 2013) when Trump announced Miss Universe would be staged that year in Moscow, he had seemed obsessed with the idea of meeting the Russian president.

The excerpt: Trump’s trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe contest was a pivotal moment. He had for years longed to develop a glittering Trump Tower in Moscow. With this visit, he would come near — so near — to striking that deal. He would be close to branding the Moscow skyline with his world-famous name and enhancing his own status as a sort of global oligarch. During his time in Russia, Trump would demonstrate his affinity for the nation’s authoritarian leader with flattering and fawning tweets and remarks that were part of a long stretch of comments suggesting an admiration for Putin.

From "Should Western Elites Blame Russia for the Populist Surge?" by James Carden in The Nation at http://bit.ly/2ttlRIi.

The context, from the author: What we are seeing — in Italy, the UK, and the United States — has the shape of a global populist revolt, but elites are in danger of misidentifying the underlying causes of that revolt as long as they stick to the narrative that these election results were really the work of an outside actor.

The excerpt: Blaming domestic turmoil on a foreign adversary also serves as a useful and welcome diversion on the part of neo-liberal elites against whose policies voters are at long last rebelling. It lets them off the hook for letting Wall Street off the hook in 2008 and likewise allows European leaders to deflect from their failure to protect their working and middle classes from the depredations of German-imposed austerity. It allows these elites to avoid a reconsideration of their own failed economic policies

From "Trump’s Problem Isn’t Who’s Leaving — It’s Who’s Staying" by Margaret Carlson in the Daily Beast at http://thebea.st/2G6m5Ym.

The context, from the author: The press is fixated on all these White House departures. But spare a thought for all those still in the executive branch who would serve the country by leaving.

The excerpt: While each (of these people still in the administration) has violated norms in his own way, one thing unites them: the president is not insisting they leave because they haven’t violated his standard. And that standard is: If you don’t beat your wife with a picture that proves it, or dump all over Trump and his family in a best-selling book, you are doing a helluva job.

FROM THE RIGHT

From "If You’re Trying To Ban Guns, The Least You Can Do Is Learn The Basics" by David Harsanyi in the Federalist at http://bit.ly/2G6nvCa.

The context, from the author: In a debate imbued with emotion, gun-control advocates rely on ignorance.

The excerpt: "Jargon" are words and expressions that are difficult for a layman to understand or use. Rather than use jargon, Second Amendment advocates are usually mocking those who use jargon-y sounding words in efforts to fear-monger viewers and constituents. When you claim that the streets are rife with "high-capacity, rapid-fire magazines" or "jumbo clips" you’re trying to fool your audience with a veneer of expertise you don’t possess. When you claim that we need to ban "gas-assisted, receiver firearms" you’re trying to make a semi-automatic weapon sound like a machine gun for a reason.

From "The Rapid ‘Progress’ of Progressivism" by Victor Davis Hanson in the National Review at http://bit.ly/2G7D10J.

The context, from the author: If we insist that the human experience is not tragic and cyclical, but instead must always bend on some predetermined arc to absolute equality and fairness, then unfortunate results must follow.

The excerpt: In the eternal search for perfect justice and equality, what starts out as liberal can quickly end up as progressively absurd. The logic of equality of result, rather than equality of opportunity, demands that there is always one more group, one more grievance, one more complaint against the shrinking and overwhelmed majority.

From " ‘Inclusion Riders’ Are Just Quotas (And They’re Never Going to Happen)" by Christine Rosen in the Weekly Standard at http://tws.io/2tuCX8s.

The context, from the author: Frances McDormand made inclusion riders famous at the Oscars but they’re nothing more than empty posturing.

The excerpt: The unions would have to embrace the riders for them to be effective, otherwise, why wouldn’t some big-name actors simply use them as bargaining chips in their own contract negotiations (either by demanding them or promising not to demand them)? Should the guy holding the boom mic on the set of the umpteenth Fast and Furious movie lose his job to a protected inclusive class just so the big-money star could feel good about demanding diversity? Inclusion riders would pit the unions against the interests of their membership.

Comments

‘Happy hour’ tax cuts may result in hangovers

Evidence is mounting that the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in December by congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump was a bad idea, not only for the long-run health of the economy but for the short-term political prospects of the ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

A St. Petersburg waste-to-energy plant now under construction has been billed for years as an environmentally friendly money saver. Now it looks more like a boondoggle, with the cost and mission changing on the fly. It’s yet another example of a city...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18