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Sep 19 2018

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Anita Hill: How to Get the Kavanaugh Hearings Right

There is no way to redo 1991, but there are ways to do better.

The facts underlying Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of being sexually assaulted by a young Brett Kavanaugh will continue to be revealed as confirmation proceedings unfold. Yet it’s impossible to miss the parallels between the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing of 2018 and the 1991 confirmation hearing for Justice Clarence Thomas. In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court. It failed on both counts. [..]

With the current heightened awareness of sexual violence comes heightened accountability for our representatives. To do better, the 2018 Senate Judiciary Committee must demonstrate a clear understanding that sexual violence is a social reality to which elected representatives must respond. A fair, neutral and well-thought-out course is the only way to approach Dr. Blasey and Judge Kavanaugh’s forthcoming testimony. The details of what that process would look like should be guided by experts who have devoted their careers to understanding sexual violence. The job of the Senate Judiciary Committee is to serve as fact-finders, to better serve the American public, and the weight of the government should not be used to destroy the lives of witnesses who are called to testify.

Here are some basic ground rules the committee should follow:

Eugene Robinson: Climate change is real. Welcome to the new normal.

Hurricane Florence has drenched eastern North Carolina with more than 30 inches of rain, an all-time record for the state. Last year, Hurricane Harvey stalled over Houston and dumped more than 60 inches of rain, an all-time record for the whole country. Also last year, Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico and caused, according to an independent study, nearly 3,000 deaths.

Welcome to the new normal.

Tropical cyclones are nothing new, of course. But climate scientists say that global warming should make such storms wetter, slower and more intense — which is exactly what seems to be happening. And if we fail to act, these kinds of devastating weather events will likely become even more frequent and more severe.

Climate change is a global phenomenon. Authorities in the Philippines are still trying to assess the damage and death toll from Typhoon Mangkhut, a rare Category 5-equivalent storm that struck the archipelago Saturday with sustained winds of 165 mph. Mangkhut went on to batter Hong Kong and now, as it weakens, is plowing across southern China.

Catherine Rampell: Trump could play Scrooge this holiday season

For years, Donald Trump and right-wing pundits warned us about the War on Christmas. We should have listened.

Yes, they were mistaken about who would wage the assault. The anti-yuletide antagonist turns out to be neither Starbucks nor gay people nor the Obamas nor even the villainous American Civil Liberties Union.

In truth, Scrooge is Trump himself.

’Tis the quarter before holiday shopping season, and the president just announced tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, in addition to the $50 billion in products he imposed duties on over the summer.

The new tariffs could jack up prices on all sorts of standard Christmas purchases, including televisions, computers, mittens and knit hats. “Articles of apparel, of reptile leather” made the list, which could severely crimp the style of a certain former campaign chairman.

More to the point, Trump’s tariffs could make Black Friday truly bleak.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Want to defend democracy? Start with your public library.

In “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” the character Ron — channeling his friend Hermione — says to Harry Potter: “When in doubt, go to the library.” In the United States today, there is plenty to doubt.

Complex arguments are being whittled down to 280 characters. And of course, the president has made more than 5,000 false or misleading statements in about 600 days. Just last week, he falsely claimed that 3,000 Puerto Ricans “did not die in the two hurricanes.”

Lies have become too commonplace in the United States, so the American people need a place where they can go to get the truth. Ron is right. Go to your public library.

Public libraries provide information in an era of misinformation. They offer facts and nuance. They offer the opportunity for enlightenment. They offer every visitor the resources they need to find answers. The American Library Association reports that many public libraries are, for instance, “developing programs to help community members spot ‘fake news’ and evaluate information online.”

It’s not surprising, then, that in a time such as this, people are turning to their local library for information. Pew Research Center recently found that 87 percent of millennials say the library “helps them find information that is trustworthy and reliable.” Seventy-four percent of baby boomers say the same.