They Wanted The Bigots’ Votes

I think that too many conservatives turned a blind eye to some of this because, bottom line, they wanted their votes. They were relying on people who had these attitudes. They could reject the attitudes, but they wanted those votes to continue to win elections. That was a calculation.

— Charlie Sykes in Isaac Chotiner, Conservative in the Wilderness, Slate, October 23, 2017.

Forgiveness for the Kids

A foundation has given New York City’s public libraries a one-time grant of over two million dollars to enable the libraries to forgive the fines of 160,000 children:

On Thursday, the city’s three library systems — the New York Public Library, which serves Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island; the Queens Library; and the Brooklyn Public Library — will forgive all fines for children 17 and under and unblock their cards. The one-time amnesty is being underwritten by the JPB Foundation, a philanthropy that supports civic causes, which will make up $2.25 million of the shortfall in revenue from the forgiven fines.

The amnesty “is a dramatic way to message to kids and young adults that we want you back, and we want you reading,” said Anthony W. Marx, the president of the New York Public Library. The forgiveness is not conditional on returning any overdue books or DVDs. “We want you to be responsible, but we don’t want to penalize you just because you are too poor to pay the fines.”

— Sarah Maslin Nir and Jeffery C. Mays, New York City’s Libraries Will Forgive All Children’s Fines, New York Times, October 18, 2017.

General Hayden on Taking a Knee

As a 39-year military veteran, I think I know something about the flag, the anthem, patriotism, and I think I know why we fight. It’s not to allow the president to divide us by wrapping himself in the national banner. I never imagined myself saying this before Friday, but if now forced to choose in this dispute, put me down with Kaepernick.

— Michael Hayden, In Trump versus NFL, standing up for free speech, The Hill, September 26, 2017.

I Understand

When the history of this unfortunate, polarized era of American life is written, whether a man stood or knelt will matter far less than the values we all lived by. Americans who actually defend the letter and spirit of the First Amendment will stand (or kneel) proudly in the history books. Those who seek to punish their political opponents’ speech, on the other hand, can stand or kneel as they wish — so long as they hang their heads in shame.

— David French, I Understand Why They Knelt, September 25, 2017.

Ms. Rubin Isn’t Buying It, and Neither Am I

Trump ran for the GOP nomination, captured the party and now hypes every bad idea that the party’s most extreme elements have espoused — tax cuts for the rich, anti-immigrant hysteria, fear-mongering on crime, know-nothingism on climate change, anti-government animus, and bigotry toward the LGBT community (hence the totally unnecessary ban on transgender recruits to the military). Much as Republicans might like to disown him, they cannot. They remain responsible for nominating the most unfit person ever to hold the office.

— Jennifer Rubin, I’m not buying the new conventional wisdom about Trump, Washington Post, September 11, 2017.

Neoliberalism’s Dreary and Dangerous Reductionism

[P]eering through the lens [of neoliberalism], you see … how pervasively we are now urged to think of ourselves as proprietors of our own talents and initiative, how glibly we are told to compete and adapt. You see the extent to which a language formerly confined to chalkboard simplifications describing commodity markets (competition, perfect information, rational behaviour) has been applied to all of society, until it has invaded the grit of our personal lives, and how the attitude of the salesman has become enmeshed in all modes of self-expression.

— Stephen Metcalf, Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world, The Guardian, August 18, 2017.