Archive

December 19th

Global carbon emissions seems to have peaked

    It seems like every day we read a new story with dire news about climate change. Experts now warn that it will be impossible to hold global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, even with the carbon-emissions limits required by the recent Paris round of climate talks. Some environmentalists warn darkly that we must choose between saving the planet or capitalism.

    But I have some very good news to report. In 2015, global carbon emissions actually fell.

    This isn't an occasion for complacency. The fall might be a temporary blip. Even if it's not, emissions represent the amount of additional carbon that is added to the atmosphere every year -- that carbon builds up, so to really halt climate change we will need to decrease emissions drastically, not just halt their growth.

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!

December 18th

If you don't believe country, honor and Allah can coexist, meet these Muslim Boy Scouts

    The Sunday night meeting of Boy Scout Troop 114 was coming to order. Or trying to.

    "Formations, please! Por favor," 15-year-old troop leader Yousof Omeish yelled over that noise that only a pack of peach-fuzz teens can make.

    The boys eventually quieted and put their hands out, palms up.

    "In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful," he said in Arabic, reciting "The Opening," phrases from the Koran that Muslims use to begin most gatherings.

    "Thee do we worship," he said, "and Thine aid we seek."

    Then they switched to their three-fingered Scout salute and recited the oath in English, including the promise to "do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout law."

    God, country, Allah, honor and knots. It's all unremarkable at this weekly Scout meeting at the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia.

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!

Education on Islam probably can't solve landlord dispute

    You might think Donald Trump could use a crash course in Islam, but there's no way to make him take it. A Massachusetts judge, however, faced with a convicted defendant who demonstrated anti-Muslim views, ordered her to take a class on Islam as part of her probation. Now the commonwealth's Supreme Judicial Court will have to decide whether the sentence was an unconstitutional infringement of religious liberty or a common-sense, measure-for-measure matter of justice.

    The facts grow out of that most brutal of human interactions, the landlord-tenant dispute. They also have an intriguing cultural background, which turns out to be relevant to the constitutional issues in the case. Daisy Obi, the landlord-turned-criminal, is a 73-year-old Nigerian immigrant who serves as pastor of the Adonai Bible Center in Somerville, Massachusetts. She owns a multifamily house of the kind common in multicultural Somerville, and rented out an apartment in it to Gihan Suliman, her husband and five children. Suliman is a lab supervisor and Harvard student who also happens to be Muslim.

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!

Downsizing the News Staff; Downsizing Quality and Credibility

    For more than a decade, advertising, circulation, and news quality in both print and electronic media have been in a downward spiral. That spiral has twin intertwining roots.

    The first root is the rise of social media. The complacent and stodgy print media were slow to catch onto the concept and rise of social media and its influence upon a generation that conducts its life by a fusion of smart phones to ears. When owners figured out they needed to have a digital presence, they first gave away content in a desperate bid to keep readers, and then began to charge for it to those who didn’t have subscriptions.

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!

Cutting carbon may require downsizing

    The good news from Paris is pretty good: Rich and poor countries now agree to emit less carbon dioxide, and have pledged initial targets for reducing those emissions. Here's the bad news: The gap between the pledged targets and what's needed is so big that closing it might not be possible with better technology alone.

    If that's the case, then maybe -- just maybe -- achieving the goals just agreed to with such fanfare will require Western countries to produce fewer emissions in part by consuming a lot less stuff. That's a conversation that hasn't truly started, and one that politicians, probably for good reason, don't seem eager to begin.

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!

Cruz can't become Republicans' safe choice

    Ted Cruz's surge is picking up momentum rapidly. He has pulled into the lead in Iowa polling, and is now a clear second to Donald Trump in national surveys.

    Cruz still has several obstacles before he can get close to the presidential nomination, and FiveThirtyEight's Harry Enten reminds us that even as we're getting close to the primaries and caucuses, polls are not very predictive.

    Yet polls can still be self-fulfilling if party actors take them seriously. If these influential Republicans -- politicians, campaign and governing professionals, formal party officials and staff, donors and activists, and party-aligned interest groups and the partisan press -- believe that the nomination is now down to a fight between Cruz and Trump, then they may find themselves jumping on the Cruz bandwagon.

    Just how bad would that be for the Republican Party?

    Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine and Matt Yglesias at the Vox website both say: Not so bad, really.

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!

Who will be crowned king of the trolls?

    Charles Barkley calls Twitter “a place where fools go to feel important.”

    He’s talking about you, Donald.

    You’ve built a fool’s paradise, constructed in planks of 140 words or less. Like many who find that kind of fame salutary, your ambitions are destined to go no further than that.

    It is somehow newsworthy that Donald Trump has stirred roughly 11 percent of our citizens into a frothy lather (support from 28 percent of Republicans polled, with Republicans representing about 40 percent of us).

    The only way this is of any electoral significance is in the media’s absurd horse-race fixation with polls. With what Trump has been saying, more likely that Charles Barkley will ascend to the White House, and I mean by a lot.

    True: Trump has more people on his side nationwide than his Republican competitors. Ted Cruz? A whopping 7 percent of Americans in general. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio? Maybe 6 percent apiece. What dazzling phenomena they are.

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!

Climate Change Issue Needs a Churchill

    "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Those were Winston Churchill's words of battle-weary comfort when World War II started decisively shifting in the Allies' favor.

    They could also be applied to the climate accord just reached in Paris -- 196 countries all agreeing to cut or limit greenhouse gas emissions. The long slog to slow global warming and avoid its worst environmental, economic and security consequences is hard and often thankless political work.

    Republicans running for president are obviously not keen on picking up that shovel. They treat the issue as not a problem, a problem for others to solve or unsolvable. Ted Cruz: "Climate change is not science. It's religion." Donald Trump: "I don't believe in climate change." Ben Carson at least concedes its existence but says that there is "no overwhelming science" that humans are involved.

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!

Time doesn't heal wounds from Bush v. Gore

    Saturday marked the 15th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in Bush v. Gore, which put a stop to the recount in Florida, and thereby handed George W. Bush the 2000 presidential election. The case excited considerable scholarly argument, along with a partisan rancor that continues to this day. Looking back, however, it's hard to imagine an outcome that would have left the losing side satisfied -- whichever side it happened to be.

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!

New Hampshire will weed the Republican field

    The New Hampshire presidential primary vote usually breaks late. This time, not unusually, it will break a few candidates.

    Eight weeks before the Feb. 9 primary, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie and probably Marco Rubio are in a wide- open contest to be the non-right wing, non-Donald Trump Republican contender. Two or three of them may be dead after the vote. Among Democrats, if Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, loses to Hillary Clinton in his neighboring state, he's probably toast. If he wins, the contest will go on for a while.

    The earlier caucuses in Iowa -- in which Ted Cruz has surged ahead of Donald Trump in the polls -- could eliminate two or three of the right-wing also-rans. But on the mainstream conservative side, the task of culling falls to New Hampshire, which prides itself as the place that picks presidents. In the past 10 primaries, 15 of the 20 victors went on to win their party's nomination.

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!