1. Opinion

Selected readings from the left and from the right

Published May 3

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 RBG Election," by Matt Ford in the New Republic.

The context, from the author: Another four years of Trump will widen the conservative tilt of the Supreme Court. So why aren't the Democratic candidates talking about it?

The excerpt: Thanks to Trump's victory and (Justice Anthony) Kennedy's retirement, Democrats can't hope to secure a liberal majority on the court any time soon. That doesn't mean 2020 won't matter for the court's trajectory, though. There's a tangible difference between a 5-4 conservative court and a 6-3 one.

From "What Black Life Actually Looks Like," by Cedric Johnson in Jacobin Magazine.

The context, from the author: For too long, the Left has organized based on caricatures of black political life. If it wants to win, it needs to start recognizing the role of class in black America.

The excerpt: In the age of Black Lives Matter protests, many activists and academics seem unable to see the complexity of black life beyond the barricades, or outside the frame of the latest viral video killing of a black civilian.

From "2021 Could Be a Nightmare for Democrats — Even If Trump Loses," by Eric Levitz in New York Magazine.

The context, from the author: Trump's reelection would be a nightmare. But for Democrats, defeating him and winning the presidency in 2021 could be its own kind of horror show. If a Democrat wins the presidency next year, there's a good chance he or she won't be able to do much of anything without (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell's permission.

The excerpt: Odds are, if a Democrat moves into the Oval Office in 2021, he or she will be faced with a Republican Senate. Which means that he or she will not have the power to appoint any Supreme Court justices or, in all probability, left-leaning federal judges of any kind. And do you really think Senate Republicans are going to help President Elizabeth Warren install her preferred leaders atop the Treasury or SEC?


From "Felicity Huffman and the Stagecraft of Apologies," by Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review.

The context, from the author: You're not sorry if you're trying to get something by saying so.

The excerpt: (Caught up in the college admissions scandal, the actress gave) a classical good apology: admission of guilt, statement of regret, specific acknowledgments of harm done — and no excuses. No sudden recollection of childhood abuse or trauma, no prescription-drug side effects, no checking herself into rehab. That's the kind of apology that might keep you out of jail. And it's an increasingly rare thing.

From "It's Time to End the Death Penalty Nationwide," by Dan King in the American Conservative.

The context, from the author: No more excuses. We're the only Western nation that still executes prisoners and it's time for it to stop.

The excerpt: Many conservatives argue that the death penalty is a strong deterrent against severe crimes, such as murder, but the experts disagree. In fact, 88 percent of criminologists believe that capital punishment "does not add any significant deterrent effect above that of long-term imprisonment." Additionally, proponents argue that the death penalty is reserved for those who clearly committed heinous crimes. While that may be true in theory, in practice this simply isn't the case.

From "The Real Reason Democrats Hate Bill Barr," by David Harsanyi in the Federalist.

The context, from the author: The attorney general's greatest sin is accuracy.

The excerpt: Barr had apparently masterminded the most inept cover-up in history, first by accurately laying out the outcome of the special counsel's investigation. Then, after some light redactions (none instigated by the president), by releasing the report to the public so everyone in the entire world could read it for themselves.


  1. This photo provided by Florida Department of Corrections shows Cheryl Weimar. Weimar, an inmate at a Florida prison is suing the state corrections agency, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, saying she was left paralyzed after being beaten by four guards. Weimar, and her husband, Karl, said in their lawsuit that her civil rights were violated when she was nearly beaten to death by guards at the Lowell Correctional Institution last month. (Florida Department of Corrections via AP); Photo of Lowell via Florida Department of Corrections Associated Press
    The brutal beating of a mentally and physically disabled inmate at the state’s largest women’s prison raises new concerns. The Department of Corrections says it needs more money to pay guards.
  2. University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for the fall commencement ceremony.
    Here’s what readers had to say in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  3. The American flag flies in front of the U.S. Capitol dome at sunset on Capitol Hill in Washington.
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  4. Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
  5. Editorial cartoon for Saturday/Sunday Andy Marlette/Creators Syndicate
  6. Stock photo. MORGAN DAVID DE LOSSY  |  Getty Images/iStockphoto
    I’m a new mom -- again -- and please remember that many mothers would welcome government policies that make it easier for them to stay home with their kids than returning to work. | Column
  7. Josh Hensley, 43, was found in the waters of Kings Bay in Crystal River. He was known for dressing as Jack Sparrow. Facebook
    Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  8. David Colburn was the former provost and senior vice president of the University of Florida. JAMIE FRANCIS  |  Tampa Bay Times
    He believed that diversity is our strength, and that the way to overcome division is to shine light in dark corners, writes Cynthia Barnett.
  9. Adam Goodman, national Republican media consultant
    With Washington once again failing to embrace reforms following mass shootings, it’s up to Americans to create a movement to demand change. | Adam Goodman
  10. Couple, Lewis Bryan, 36, (back left) and Amber Eckloff, 33, pose for a portrait with their children, (From left) D'Angelo Eckloff, 14, Rasmus Bryan, 4, Ramiro Bryan, 10, Lothario Bryan, 6, and Alonzo Bailey, 17. The family has been living at the Bayway Inn on 34th St S. Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in St. Petersburg.  MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    When about 40 percent of city households are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, something has to change.