Archive

September 11th, 2016

Having trouble hiring? Try offering higher pay

    Pop quiz time. Which of the following explains the inability of employers to fill open positions:

    -- A lack of qualified workers?

    -- Low pay?

    -- Welfare state/transfer payments that make work unappealing?

    I'll try to answer that based on my own (admittedly anecdotal and limited) experience.

    A few years ago, I was trying to fill an opening in our New York office. I offered what I thought was a competitive salary for a junior position, including good benefits. No one seemed to fit the bill.

    I mentioned this to a friend who had a lot more hiring experience. I showed him all the details: Fast growing company, exciting work environment, lots of perks (window office, unlimited coffee). When it came to pay, he laughed at me. "You are trying to hire someone in a high paying industry in the most competitive and expensive city in the country for that job," he said. "Try raising your offer."

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The corrupt one is Trump

    Better than anyone, Donald Trump made the case for why our campaign money system is rotten. Unsurprisingly, the prime example he used was himself.

    "I was a businessman," Trump explained at a Republican debate in August 2015. "I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that's a broken system."

    Bravo. Sort of. In retrospect, it's remarkable that Republican primary voters seemed to reward Trump for saying that he bought off politicians right and left, as if admitting to soft bribery was a sign of what a great reformer he would be.

     And it turns out that there is one candidate who was so metaphysically perfect, so personally close to him, that Trump tells us his (illegal) contribution to her was not designed to make sure she'd be "there" for him.

     Meet Pam Bondi, Florida's attorney general.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Forget opinion poll mania; real action is election night

    As America's voters ponder which of the two major-party presidential nominees they dislike less this year, polls continue to flood the political marketplace reporting a tightening race between them.

    A recent CNN/ORC survey, defying a public perception that Hillary Clinton could be heading toward a landslide over Donald Trump in November, actually reported him edging ahead of her nationally by two percentage points. How can this be?

    The simple answer is that we don't elect presidents by the national popular vote; we do so by the vote of the Electoral College, a non-matriculating, non-educational body with no students and no campus anywhere. Each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, awards all of its electoral votes to one candidate, with 270 required for election.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The Clinton campaign's bad damage control just made the health story even worse

    Conservative media coverage of Hillary Clinton's health has been borderline hysterical. OK, not even borderline - just plain hysterical. Amateur diagnoses of the Democratic presidential nominee on various news sites range from Parkinson's disease and cancer to radiation poisoning and aphasia. Mainstream outlets have generally dismissed such conjecture.

    But after Clinton was forced to leave a Sept. 11 memorial service early Sunday - feeling overheated, according to her campaign - the journalistic scrutiny seems likely to intensify. And not only - or even primarily - because of the overheating.

    The bigger issue is the secretive manner in which Clinton's campaign managed the incident. It is an approach that is sure to prove counterproductive than if reporters had been allowed to follow Clinton out of the ceremony or if aides had been faster to address her condition. A lack of information always makes journalists wonder whether something more serious is being kept hidden. It just does.

    In the immediate aftermath of Clinton's exit, reporters tweeted their frustration at not knowing what was going on - and being prevented from finding out.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Trump's ignorance shows disdain for military

    It would have been nice to have been able to compare the candidates for president of the United States, and their plans for the military, veterans and national affairs.

    It would have helped to describe how Matt Lauer and NBC could have done a better job in orchestrating their so-called Commander in Chief forum on Wednesday night. It might have been useful to discuss how Hillary Clinton could have avoided giving up a third of her half-hour to questions about her emails. (Answer: It might have helped if she had held regular press conferences over the last year to deal with that issue.)

    But none of these subjects seems even as remotely relevant as the plain fact that the Republican nominee demonstrated yet again how he is entirely unprepared to be president.

    Donald Trump's answers on Wednesday night rarely reached the level of "wrong." Mostly what he said was incoherent gibberish.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

We'll never forget 9/11. How should we remember Ground Zero?

    In the frequently contentious debate over Ground Zero, the Vesey Street stairs generated an especially heated conflict.

    For hundreds of workers who managed to escape the World Trade Center complex on Sept. 11, 2001, the two flights of stairs were a cherished symbol. The stairs had led them from the site's elevated plaza, away from the collapsing buildings and falling debris, to the relative safety of the streets beyond. In the words of one survivor, "They were the path to freedom."

    For preservationists, the stairs were also important artifacts: the last above-ground remnants of the World Trade Center. "[They] will be the most dramatic original piece of the site that will have meaning to generations to come," Richard Moe, then president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in 2006, when the group petitioned for the stairs to be kept in place.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The files of credit reporting agencies are full of errors

    Apartment hunting in Philadelphia is already hectic enough. So relief washed over me when my girlfriend and I found a charming spot that worked for us. But before I was able to sign the lease, I received a call from the landlord, and he spoke slowly. He seemed concerned, and for good reason: After running a tenant screening on me using a service provided by the credit-reporting behemoth TransUnion, a clutch of criminal offenses appeared, including two felony firearms convictions. He said it didn't seem to square with what he had expected from a public-radio reporter moving from one trendy neighborhood to another.

    It didn't. I have never owned nor fired a weapon in my life. The other charges the agency listed were equally as baffling, since they were just as made up. A case of mistaken identity, I thought, should be easy to clear up.

    I was wrong. It took me more than a dozen phone calls, the handiwork of a county court clerk and six weeks to solve the problem. And that was only after I contacted the company's communications department as a journalist.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The damage Trump has wrought in Virginia

    It's been clear that the Virginia GOP establishment despises Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. But an editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday morning underlined just how despised he really is.

    With a buttoned-down air of privilege and calm, the conservative newspaper has steadfastly endorsed Republican candidates since at least 1980 and Ronald Reagan. This time around, it is backing Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico who is by turns described as "hard-right" and "fiscally conservative and socially liberal."

    The editorial argued that neither Trump nor Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is suited to be head of state. The editors wrote that Trump "has demonstrated again and again that he thinks few people aside from his own magnificent self have any worth whatsoever." Clinton "not only lies with abandon; once caught, she then lies about having lied."

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Sorry folks, veterans are not necessarily experts on foreign policy

    There was something a little icky about last night's "Commander in Chief Forum," though it took me a while to put my finger on it.

    Was it Donald Trump's hair, or his fawning over Vladimir Putin? No, these particular forms of ickiness are nothing new. For the same reason, it can't have been Hillary Clinton's insistence on using the passive voice when describing her decision to use a private email server ("It was something that should not have been done.") That's also old ickiness.

    In the end, it was the event itself.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Snowden is turning into a liability for Putin

    Edward Snowden is increasingly unhappy with the situation in Russia, where he has lived for more than three years. President Vladimir Putin once welcomed the National Security Agency contractor for his propaganda value, but he may be wondering if it's all been worth it.

    Snowden arrived in Moscow in June 2013. That was almost a year before the Crimea annexation, and Russia could still try to sell itself to radical leftists who admired Snowden as the lesser evil, compared with the Big Brother U.S. Putin talked a lot about Snowden showing obvious delight for thumbing his nose at the U.S., which had tried to intercept the whistle-blower. He described Snowden as a "weird guy," an idealist, who was safe in Russia even though he had no secrets to pass on.

    After Crimea, though, such statements started to appear hollow. "Russia is not the kind of country that hands over fighters for human rights," Putin said at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in May 2014. That the Russian president could talk about human rights after faking a secession referendum in Crimea would have been funny if it weren't so manipulative.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!