Opinion | The Comeback of the Century – The New York Times

“In the digital age, the printed book has experienced more than its share of obituaries. Among the most dismissive was one from Steve Jobs, who said in 2008, “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore.”

True, nearly one in four adults in this country has not read a book in the last year. But the book — with a spine, a unique scent, crisp pages and a typeface that may date to Shakespeare’s day — is back. Defying all death notices, sales of printed books continue to rise to new highs, as do the number of independent stores stocked with these voices between covers, even as sales of electronic versions are declining.

Nearly three times as many Americans read a book of history in 2017 as watched the first episode of the final season of “Game of Thrones.” The share of young adults who read poetry in that year more than doubled from five years earlier. A typical rage tweet by President Trump, misspelled and grammatically sad, may get him 100,000 “likes.” Compare that with the 28 million Americans who read a book of verse in the first year of Trump’s presidency, the highest share of the population in 15 years.”

Hillary’s Big Idea – The New York Times

“But compared with the monumental flaws of Trump, Clinton is in great shape. You don’t need the oratorical gifts of Barack Obama, the élan of John F. Kennedy or the kinetic spark of Teddy Roosevelt to be president.What you do need is a big idea, something much greater than the personality of the politician. As John Kasich admitted on Wednesday: “If you don’t have ideas, you got nothing, and frankly my Republican Party doesn’t like ideas.” ”

Source: Hillary’s Big Idea – The New York Times

I was disappointed that Tim Egan didn’t suggest which big ideas Hillary should make her big idea. The problem is complexity and interconnectedness.

I decided to take a stab at this request. Here is a candidate for Hillary Clinton’s big idea:

We can fight income inequality, and climate change, and restore the American middle class with investments in renewable energy, conservation and American infrastructure. If you want quick results, give me a Democratic majority in congress.


Irish Spring, by Tim Egan – The New York Times

“The ghost of African-American slavery was never far from the history-making of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And yet King never lost his skill to cast that institutional crime in the bigger picture, a forward-looking thrust. “The arc of the moral universe is long,” he famously said, “but it bends toward justice.”So, too, is the grand narrative of the Irish people. Full disclosure, and a shameless plug: I’ve been touring on behalf of a book about the Irish-American experience, as told through the life of one man. It’s been a great boost to hear so many family stories with a common theme: pride in a heritage of survival.“To be Irish,” said Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “is to know that in the end the world will break your heart.” And it’s true that Irish history is an epic of misery and tragedy, interrupted only by occasional periods of joy. For almost 700 years, it was a crime to be Irish in Ireland.”

Source: Irish Spring – The New York Times

The Beast Is Us – by Tim Egan, The New York Times

.“You heard the word “scary” used a lot this week, that and much more. Not from the usual scolds. Or Democrats. The loudest alarms came from desperate, panicked Republicans, warning of the man who is destroying the Party of Lincoln before our eyes.From Our Advertisers“The man is evil,” said Stuart Stevens, a chief strategist for Mitt Romney in 2012. Romney himself called Donald Trump a fraud on Thursday.But as much as these “too little, too late” wake-up calls are appreciated, it’s time to place the blame for the elevation of a tyrant as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee where it belongs — with the people. Yes, you. Donald Trump’s supporters know exactly what he stands for: hatred of immigrants, racial superiority, a sneering disregard of the basic civility that binds a society. Educated and poorly educated alike, men and women — they know what they’re getting from him.”

Source: The Beast Is Us – The New York Times

Here is an interesting comment, to a good Guardian article.
Maro Massachusetts 4 hours ago

“I share your dislike for Mr. Trump. I find your contempt for his supporters to be facile and demeaning.

The American working and middle classes have been gutted over the last 30 years by trade policies that send jobs overseas, by tax policies that redistribute the bulk of the newly created wealth to the richest at the top of the pyramid, and by politicians of both parties who brazenly and unashamedly kiss the rings of their corporate sponsors.

Add to this toxic mix the incendiary fuel of immigrant Rupert Murdoch’s Faux News channel (with its signature mix of half truths, virulent ideology and shameless racism) and it is easier to understand why the folks whose lives are palpably worse blame minorities and immigrants rather than the corporate puppeteers who control our government. This off-shifting of blame is a fantastic con, but God knows it’s worked mighty well.

Mr. Egan, you could do a lot worse than spending some time in the trenches with these Trump supporters you claim to detest. You might even start with this article about closet Trump supporters in the Guardian:


It is time for those us at the top of pyramid– on both the right AND the left– to recognize that we have benefited disproportionately and unjustly at the expense of the many. Until we are ready to come together and do that, Trump’s supporters will rage on.

As well they should.”
Reply 73 Recommended

A Handful of Christmas Miracles – Timothy Egan, The New York Times

“Obama finds his voice. Well, and then he lost it after the Paris attacks. Over all, the prez had a very strong year. His leadership was crucial in what could be breakthrough pacts to lessen climate change and keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But I say “could be,” because both agreements might still unravel. If they work, the world will be safer, and more livable.And it’s a minor Christmas miracle that the American economy continues to purr along, while those of Europe and China stumble. Over a 69-month streak of growth, the economy has added 13.7 million new jobs, while the unemployment rate has fallen to 5 percent. Bravo.”

Source: A Handful of Christmas Miracles – The New York Times

Fossil Fools The leading Republican presidential candidates are promoting the very junk science that was hatched, in part, in Exxon’s board room. nytimes.com|By Timothy Egan

Tim Egan: “As a global citizen, Exxon failed miserably, to say the least. A host of organizations, and some politicians have called for Exxon to be prosecuted for fraud not unlike that which tobacco companies engaged in when they hid the risks of smoking. Exxon argues that it was a climate change “pioneer” and didn’t so much deceive the public as stir a broader debate.

At least it is now on record as stating the obvious: that climate change is real, and human-caused, and that something — perhaps beneficial to its corporate bottom line — needs to be done.

The Republicans did not get the updated memo. Their two leading candidates for office, Ben Carson and Donald Trump, deny the consensus of human-caused climate change. They’re still reading from quarter-century-old Exxon talking points.”

The leading Republican presidential candidates are promoting the very junk science that was hatched, in part, in Exxon’s board room.
nytimes.com|By Timothy Egan

Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted – Tim Egan, The New York Times

The adults patrolling the playpen of Republican politics are appalled that we’ve become a society where it’s O.K. to make fun of veterans, to call anyone who isn’t rich a loser, to cast an entire group of newly arrived strivers as rapists and shiftless criminals. Somewhere, we crossed a line — from our mothers’ modesty to strutting braggadocio, from dutiful decorum to smashing all the china in the room, from respecting a base set of facts to a trumpeting of willful ignorance. via Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted – The New York Times.

Not Like Us – Timothy Egan goes after Donald Trump

“In fact, first-generation immigrants have a much lower crime rate than the overall population. As to the rapists claim, whites accounted for 71 percent of all sexual assaults in 2013, even though they are only 63 percent of the population, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Latinos, though 17 percent of the population, committed 9 percent of sex crimes.

In other words, whites are far more likely to meet Trump’s description than Latinos. But don’t expect to hear that statistic, or any other that sets the record straight, during a presidential debate. Whites make up an overwhelming majority of the Republican primary base. You can insult your audience’s intelligence, but not to their face.”

via Not Like Us – The New York Times.

Tim Egan ponders Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage.

Tim Egan: “Giving the people who flip burgers, clean floors and stock grocery shelves a few dimes more an hour is not a handout. Offering working people some help on their insurance premiums does not promote dependence. Nor do those things hurt the economy — just the opposite.”

These Horatio Algerians for the new Gilded Age are virtuous because they made it, or vice versa. And those who haven’t managed a similar leap are just weaklings.
nytimes.com|By Timothy Egan