Mindful voters, mindless news: Trump is a teachable moment

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This year is on track to be the world’s hottest on record, exceeding the previous hottest year, 2015, which exceeded the previous hottest year, 2014. For the news media, this campaign offers a teachable moment. If you want to tell the most important story in human history, if you believe that rousing your audience to civic action is part of journalism’s job, you might want to cover the 2016 campaign against the backdrop of brutal climate change, and to frame this election as a choice whose consequences could be irreversibly damaging for the rest of human history.

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Hillary and Philadelphia Deserve Each Other

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“Philly Is Hillary’s Kind of Town.” So enthused Philadelphia-based writer Jennifer Weiner in a guest opinion piece published in today’s New York Times.

As it happens, the Philadelphia Inquirer agrees. In an editorial published yesterday, the Inquirer declared: “Philly’s a great place for a party, but its Democrats are a disgrace.”

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Arounothay’s Tux

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Arounothay was a survivor of the Laotian holocaust of the 1970s. An economist, he was my upstairs neighbor at the university apartments in Brazzaville, the capital of the Little Congo. It’s hard to imagine a more misplaced individual, but he was teaching economics in a Marxist country. Marxist in name only. Of the horrors of the twentieth century, the Pathet Lao in Vientiane were up at the top in cruelty and murderous social engineering.

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Fear and Loathing In Cleveland

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Trump may have fired up the crowd in Cleveland, and even those who watched the speech on TV, but such enthusiasm is ephemeral; it won’t last. Trump will get his post-convention “bounce.” Then Hillary will get hers. And then the campaign will settle down to kabuki theatre debates and a war of attrition between negative political ads.

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Memo to Donald Trump: This is not 1968

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That Donald Trump may believe we are living through another 1968 says less about the nation today and more about a man who may be our president. He admits to getting his news on cable, which creates a virtual 1968 with its constant images of unrest, violence, terrorism, and crime. But a virtual 1968 is not a real one, and we must expect any leader of our country to resist the emotional pull of gruesome television images and to think rationally and deliberately about the real state of our nation.

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