Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Opinion | Learn to talk about the Trump case, Democrats. Hunter Biden’s, too!

Opinion | Learn to talk about the Trump case, Democrats. Hunter Biden’s, too!


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Quilts and summer might not seem the most natural match, especially for those of us who eject a foot from under even the lightest duvet once June hits.

But look at the one artist Avis Collins Robinson stitched for Post Opinions to mark the season. Its vibrant cottons and silks are unmistakable summertime.

Summer was also always a time of family history when Robinson was growing up, as she writes in the column accompanying her quilt, the second in her “Sewing the Seasons” project. (See her spring quilt here.)

Robinson explains that the Fourth of July wasn’t just the country’s birthday; it was also her grandmother’s. Festivities always involved gatherings of relatives and the handing down of stories from generations past — the interweaving of America’s history with the history of a Black family living through it.

Her commentary follows one particular thread of that history to an overgrown graveyard on old family land. There’s an ancestor’s headstone, broken into two pieces. But in Robinson’s hands, the chunks of stone are just like her shards of fabric, ready to be “stitched into something new.”

Chaser: Read former education secretary John B. King Jr.’s survey of his own family’s history, from enslavement to the White House.

The next big Ukrainian weapon

The United States has sent missiles to Ukraine. It has pledged tanks. It has delivered mortars and artillery rounds and anti-armor systems. Now, what it must finally provide is red-hot, no-holds-barred, full-force … diplomacy!

“While helping Ukrainian warriors win the war,” contributing columnist Michael McFaul writes, “the United States also needs to do more to help Kyiv win the peace.”

Michael has a couple of personnel moves in mind to help accomplish this, beginning with a U.S. special envoy for peace talks — like the one the Chinese already have in place. A de facto ambassador to the Russian diaspora could juice emigration to weaken Moscow’s position, Michael says, and an ambassador for Ukrainian reconstruction would go a long way, as well. (The Editorial Board recently wrote how tall an order rebuilding the country will be.)

Another overlooked element of the conflict is its enormous environmental impact. In fact, environmental politics professor Anthony Burke writes, the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam “has caused the most catastrophic environmental damage in war since Iraq lit oil fires as its forces fled Kuwait.”

Burke explains the ways Ukraine and the international community can attempt to hold Russia responsible for the flooding. But the problem also illuminates how much stronger the international legal framework needs to be when it comes to “ecocide.”

From columnist Megan McArdle’s explainer of how generous student loan programs can make college more expensive.

The theory, known as the Bennett hypothesis, says that the more money students have at their disposal, the more universities can raise tuition, seeing as those students can, on paper, afford to pay more. Alas, the story off paper is often very different.

Historically, research has been split as to what degree this phenomenon plays out, but Megan’s piece walks through recent studies that make unlimited lending look pretty ill-advised — and the GOP’s proposal to “replace it with a strictly capped program” seem downright sensible.

If Republicans succeed and ultimately drive down tuition rates, the underwater basket weaving master’s students of tomorrow might actually thank them.

Chaser: Last year, columnist Christine Emba explored the regret that accompanies student debt, no matter what one chooses to study.

According to the Editorial Board, the agreement that Hunter Biden can avoid jail time by pleading guilty to willful failure to pay federal income tax is a “reasonable resolution” that is “by no means exoneration.”

According to Republicans, it’s the greatest miscarriage of justice since, uh, Donald Trump’s federal indictment.

Both cases “are part of the same story,” columnist Greg Sargent writes: “Republicans refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of law enforcement outcomes that don’t serve their political interests.”

Greg’s column argues that Democrats can’t just sit back and avoid commenting on either case while the GOP cries “banana republic.”

His alternative? Comment freely on Trump’s jeopardy while maintaining the former president’s innocence until proved guilty — and vocally support the Hunter Biden outcome, too.

Chaser: Former federal prosecutor Baruch Weiss explains why trying Trump under the Espionage Act will be trickier than you think.

  • California is seeking to upend trucking with zero-emission vehicles, columnist Henry Olsen writes. All Americans will ultimately pay for it.
  • Contributing columnist Leana Wen writes that White House covid-19 coordinator Ashish Jha deserves credit for preparing us for future surges.
  • Top podcaster Joe Rogan wants a “debate” on vaccines, columnist Paul Waldman writes — and that’s just the problem.

It’s a goodbye. It’s a haiku. It’s … The Bye-Ku.

Have your own newsy haiku? Email it to me, along with any questions/comments/ambiguities. See you tomorrow!



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