NPR is making an announcement today that is sure to upset a loyal core of its audience, those who comment online at NPR.org (including those who comment on this blog). As of Aug. 23, online comments, a feature of the site since 2008, will be disabled. With the change, NPR joins a long list of other news organizations choosing to move conversations about its journalism off its own site and instead rely on social media to pick up the slack. ... A user named Mary, from Raleigh, N.C., wrote to implore: "Remove the comments section from your articles. The rude, hateful, racist, judgmental comments far outweigh those who may want to engage in some intelligent sideline conversation about the actual subject of the article. I am appalled at the amount of 'free hate' that is found on a website that represents honest and unbiased reporting such as NPR." read more
David Ignatius, Washington Post: Job insecurity is a central theme of the 2016 campaign, fueling popular anger about trade deals and immigration. But economists warn that much bigger job losses are ahead in the United States -- driven not by foreign competition but by advancing technology. A look at the numbers suggests that the country is having the wrong economic debate this year. Employment security won't come from renegotiating trade deals, as Donald Trump said in a speech Monday in Detroit, or rebuilding infrastructure, as Hillary Clinton argued in Warren, Michigan, on Thursday. These are palliatives. The deeper problem facing the United States is how to provide meaningful work and good wages for the tens of millions of truck drivers, accountants, factory workers and office clerks whose jobs will disappear in coming years because of robots, driverless vehicles and "machine learning" systems. read more
The Veterans Health Administration has improved the quality of and access to health care for vets over the past two years, but the agency's continuing struggle with hiring and retaining employees is undermining its mission, according to a newly-released report from an outside organization.
"Staffing shortages significantly impacted the organization's ability to meet veterans' needs and led to delays in care," said a Joint Commission survey of 139 VHA facilities and 47 community-based outpatient clinics between October 2014 and September 2015.
The Joint Commission, which is a widely-respected independent non-profit that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the country, began conducting surprise surveys of the facilities soon after the 2014 scandal erupted in Phoenix involving patient wait times and access to care. read more
New York Times reporters have spent over a year covering Donald J. Trump's rallies... what struck us was the frequency with which some Trump supporters use coarse, vitriolic, even violent language -- in the epithets they shout and chant, the signs they carry, the T-shirts they wear -- a pattern not seen in connection with any other recent political candidate, in any party.
WaPo - Dana Milbank: Americans should be alarmed by Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone's suggestion that Trump claim Hillary Clinton is trying to steal the election.
Asserting that there is already "widespread voter fraud," Stone said Trump should say that "if there's voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate . . . we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government." In an interview with the conservative outlet Breitbart, Stone continued: "I think he's got to put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath."
A bloodbath. Rhetorically speaking, of course.
Americans take for granted peaceful transfers of power. But if the losing side declares the government illegitimate and talks of bloodbaths, something else could occur.