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  1. Opinion

Selected readings from the left and from the right

Published Sep. 7, 2017

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 "The Department of Justice Is Overseeing the Resegregation of American Schools" by Emmanuel Felton in the Nation at http://bit.ly/2f8Cxv3.

Context: Many communities are effectively resegregating the schools by creating new, smaller school districts that carve out majority white student populations.

The excerpt: Making separate equal isn't working out very well in the segregated schools that the Justice Department oversees in Alabama and elsewhere. Alabama's data show a relatively strong correlation between segregation and failure, and between integration and success.

From "Russians Flock to Trump Properties to Give Birth to U.S. Citizens" by Katie Zavadski in the Daily Beast at http://thebea.st/2vQeOdx.

The context: While Trump rails against U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, his Florida properties have become a playground for birth tourists from Russia's upper crust.

The excerpt: American citizenship for the newborn girl was the goal of (Anatoliy) Kuzmin and his Instagram-celebrity wife, who sought the help of birth-tourism services in Florida for the arrival of their first child. They are among the estimated hundreds of Russian parents who flock to the U.S. annually for warm weather, excellent medical care and, more importantly, birthright American citizenship. And many, like Kuzmin and his wife, stay at President Donald Trump's properties in Florida.

From "Why Culture Matters" by Shuja Haider in Jacobin Magazine at http://bit.ly/2vJmbiQ.

The context, from the author: Cultural appropriation has become a flash point for debate. From sites as ordinary as dining rooms to those as lofty as the opera house, conflict has erupted over perceived power imbalances in cultural exchange.

The excerpt: It seems beside the point to suggest that Elvis, Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thornton or Lieber and Stoller were stealing from each other. A cultural practice as dynamic as American popular music is not so flimsy that a single artist can shift it off course, and there is a danger of allowing the logic of intellectual property to limit the cultural potential for community and solidarity. But the imbalance of these artists' reception in the marketplace is a separate question,

FROM THE RIGHT

From "The Pivot Is Real, And It's Spectacular" by Ben Domenech in the Federalist at http://bit.ly/2f7kuVN.

The context, from the author: Trump doesn't like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, and never did. He likes Chuck Schumer, and knows Chuck always makes money for his partners.

The excerpt: The path of least resistance, the path of popularity for (Trump), is to dismiss the demands of congressional Republicans on virtually everything except abortion, judges, education, free speech and regulations. In almost every other way, he has the opportunity to govern like Bill Clinton and triangulate a path through this screwed-up political system.

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From "As the Mockery Dwindles" by Conrad Black in the National Review at http://bit.ly/2wNFg4I.

The context: Everyone is getting tired of the media and the Democrats' weak, repetitive act.

The excerpt: As Trump's campaign attacked the entire political and media establishment, it has been a stand-off between the executive branch (with many loyalty risks within) and the Democratic-media coalition, and the balance of power is with the Republicans in Congress. But not for long — either they will make peace with the president and push a Republican party unified out of joint self-interest into real and effective government, or they will be annihilated at the polls and the stand-off will continue.

From "Collateral Damage in Trump's War with the 'Fake News Media' " by Daniel Kishi in the American Conservative at http://bit.ly/2eOYfr6.

The context, from the author: President Donald Trump and the mainstream media as enemies? More like "Frenemies," with benefits. And we're the ones paying.

The excerpt: This supposed war, with the president on one side and the news media on the other, has the makings of a win-win proposition, as both entities have benefited from the chaos and outrage. Despite the editorial weeping and gnashing of teeth, Trump's unorthodox candidacy and presidency has been a boon for internet traffic, newspaper subscriptions, and television ratings. Meanwhile, the president's continued attacks of the press further bolsters his anti-elite bona fides and endears himself to a sizable contingent of Americans that can no longer tolerate the sneering smugness of the coastal intelligentsia.

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