Sunday, November 19, 2017
Opinion

Selected readings from the left and from the right

RECOMMENDED READING


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 "How Trump's Tax Returns Became A Liberal Fantasy" by Moira Donegan in the New Republic at http://bit.ly/2ouAQKe.

The context, from the author: There is a desperate belief that we're just one more disclosure away from bringing down the president.

The excerpt: Trump himself has always hidden behind some version of the (take him) "seriously, not literally" idea, claiming humor, exaggeration, or mere rhetorical flourish when his most incendiary actions backfire — as if the entire public sphere could be reduced to jocular "locker room talk." By pining for a hidden truth, instead of addressing the one staring us in the face, liberals also buy into this game. If the country was sufficiently outraged by his actions, it wouldn't matter what was in his tax returns.

From "Why You Should Read Books You Hate" by Pamela Paul in the New York Times at http://nyti.ms/2pGvAVo.

The context, from the author: Reading what you hate helps you refine what it is you value, whether it's a style, a story line or an argument. Because books are long-form, they require more of the writer and the reader than a talk show or Facebook link.

The excerpt: My taste for hate reading began with The Fountainhead, which I opened in a state of complete ignorance as bonus material for a college class on 20th-century architecture. I knew nothing of Ayn Rand or of objectivism. I thought it was a book about building things. I even showed it off to a French friend, an architect and a die-hard socialist, thinking he'd be impressed. "How could you bring that into our house?" he asked in disgust.

From "The False Promise of Universal Basic Income" by Alyssa Battistoni in Dissent at http://bit.ly/2oTRjcG.

The context, from the author: The version of universal basic income (the idea that people should get income simply because they exist) we get will depend, more than policies with a clearer ideological valence, on the political forces that shape it. Which is why the prospect of pushing for basic income in the United States right now — when the right controls everything — should be cause for alarm.

The excerpt: Capitalism's inability to provide a means of making a decent living for the over 7 billion people currently alive is one of its most glaring defects — and one of the most significant opportunities for the left to offer an alternative. A universal basic income, though not the only answer, might point us in the right direction.

from the right

From "Feminism Has A Ferocity Problem" by David French in the National Review at http://bit.ly/2o7Jrak.

The context, from the author: We are living in the age of the fierce girl. That's the new feminist ideal.

The excerpt: Let's imagine a person — let's call this person "Pat" — with the following characteristics. Pat is extremely aggressive and extremely ambitious and doesn't take crap from anybody. If somebody punches Pat, then Pat punches back twice as hard. Pat wants to get ahead and will face down anybody standing in the way. Career achievement seems to be Pat's highest goal. Pat's spouse needs to understand and facilitate Pat's dreams, and if children are involved, they're to be timed and spaced precisely so that Pat's climb to the top is unimpeded. If Pat is a man, then he's consumed with "toxic masculinity." If Pat is a woman, however, then Pat is leaning in. Pat is "fierce." Pat is our hero.

From "America's Misadventures in the Middle East" by Chas Freeman in the American Conservative at http://bit.ly/2oZdv74.

The context, from the author: U.S. wars in the Middle East are — without exception — wars of choice. These wars have proven ruinously expensive and injurious to the civil liberties of Americans.

The excerpt: The United States is a secular democracy. It has no intrinsic interest in which theology rules hearts or dominates territory in the Middle East. It is not itself now dependent on energy imports from the Persian Gulf or the Maghreb. For most of the 2½ centuries since their country was born, Americans kept a healthy distance from the region and were unharmed by events there. They extended their protection to specific nations in the Middle East as part of a global struggle against Soviet communism that is long past. What happens in the region no longer determines the global balance of power.

From "Surprise: The New York Democrat is a New York Democrat," by Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review at http://bit.ly/2oZ5Gi0.

The context, from the author: During the campaign, Donald Trump published a "Contract with the American Voter," and he may even have read it. He described the document as "my pledge to you." If anybody had been listening, they might have learned from his former business partners what a Trump contract is worth and from his ex-wives what value he puts on a solemn pledge. I have some bad news, Sunshine: Ya got took.

The excerpt: No fighting China on currency, no wall, no NATO reform. Add a few more items to the list: Janet Yellen was definitely out before she wasn't; our relationship with Russia was "great" during the campaign but today is a "horrible relationship" that is "at an all-time low" (he may not know about the Cuban missile crisis); the president could not make war on Syria without congressional approval ("big mistake if he does not!") until he could. The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land.

Comments

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17