Archive

November 10th, 2015

Jeb Bush's toxic inheritance

    Poor Jeb Bush, exclamation point! After such high expectations, and with the next Republican presidential debate coming up Tuesday night, the guy can't seem to buy a break.

    The latest reminder of the family baggage he bears is the advance release of a biography of the clan's 91-year-old paterfamilias, in which the 41st president dishes on two of his principal aides during his mixed bag of a single White House term.

    The book by author Jon Meacham quotes George H.W. Bush criticizing Dick Cheney, his own secretary of defense and subsequently vice president under his elder son, President George W. Bush, as building "his own empire" and "march(ing) to his own drummer" as veep. He said his son the 43rd president made "a big mistake ... in letting Cheney bring in kind of his own State Department." But, the father added in an interview for the book, "it's not Cheney's fault, it's the president's fault. ... The buck stops there."

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!

Ben Carson's striking ignorance

    The political media are chortling at BuzzFeed's article that Ben Carson believes Egypt's pyramids were built for grain storage, not as burial chambers. "My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain," he said in a 1998 commencement speech, referring to Genesis 41, which tells of Joseph storing Egypt's grain during the "years of plenty" for the coming famine. Carson confirmed to CBS on Wednesday that he still believes this, but I'm not sure why this is such a big story. Before Wednesday, we knew that Carson takes the Bible literally. After Wednesday, we knew the exact same thing. Frankly, I don't care whether the president believes the pyramids were built by Joseph, aliens or the Egyptians themselves levitating the stones into place. What matters are the president's ideas - and that's where the focus should be with Carson, since it's clear he has no idea what he's talking about.

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!

Ben Carson explains other phenomena using his pyramid logic

    Ben Carson's gift for saying things that are Right-Sounding But Completely Ungrounded in Reality is not, it turns out, new. He has been doing this at least since 1998, when he delivered a commencement address at Andrews University.

    He told assembled students that "My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain," Carson said. "Now all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs' graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don't think it'd just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain."

    He also observed: "And when you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they'd have to be that way for various reasons. And various of scientists have said, 'Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that's how - ' you know, it doesn't require an alien being when God is with you."

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!

Baby boomers: Five myths

    There are 75.4 million baby boomers in the United States, people from 51 to 69 years old. They are the largest generation in American history, raised during the economic prosperity that followed World War II. Media and marketers have treated the generation as one enormous, monolithic group since their youth. But larger than the entire population of France, America's baby boomers are a far more diverse demographic than any of their many stereotypes convey. The oldest boomer, born in 1946, was 18 years old and voting for LBJ when the youngest was just entering the world. It's time to debunk some generalizations about the original Me Generation.

 

1. Boomers are wealthy.

    The Lake Weir Preserve retirement community in central Florida has about 30 custom homes with garages as huge as 3,000 square feet, to fit RVs, boats and classic-car collections. Most of its boomer residents paid cash for their houses, and the developer plans to build 350 more.

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!

Affirmative action for ideology is a bad idea: Noah Smith

    The American Enterprise Institute is a think tank that generally favors free markets. Its president, Arthur Brooks, recently took to the pages of the New York Times to warn that the marketplace for intellectual ideas is badly failing and needs to be corrected from the outside.

    Conformity and ideological groupthink, Brooks warns, are stifling intellectual inquiry throughout much of American academia: A lack of ideological diversity "is taking a toll on the quality and accuracy of scholarly work. This year, a team of scholars from six universities studying ideological diversity in the behavioral sciences published a paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences that details a shocking level of political groupthink in academia. The authors show that for every politically conservative social psychologist in academia there are about 14 liberal social psychologists…79 percent of social psychologists admitted they would be less likely to support hiring a conservative colleague than a liberal scholar with equivalent qualifications."

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!

GOP candidates drown in crocodile tears

    Little did Jesus know. When he warned his followers that "in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth," he had no idea he was talking about the Republican primary of 2016.

    Yet, ever since the last Republican debate, on October 28, that's all we've heard from GOP candidates: nonstop weeping and gnashing of teeth about the tough questions they faced in all three debates, but especially by moderators from CNBC. Such hostile questions prove, they claim, that debate moderators -- representatives of the hated "liberal media" -- had only one goal: to make Republicans look bad, and Democrats look good.

    Oh, stop whining! Let's remember, first of all, that Republican primary debates are following a playbook written by the Republican National Committee. After suffering through 22 primary debates in 2011 and 2012, it was Chairman Reince Priebus himself who dictated how many debates would be held in 2016 (11), where they would be held, what month they would begin and which networks would host them. In other words, they created their own mess -- and now they're complaining about it.

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!

Give questions to presidential candidates pre-debate

    If the Republicans are right that televised debates have turned into cage matches and that moderators betray a liberal bias, there's a solution. Before next Tuesday's debate hosted by Fox Business News, how about letting the candidates see the questions in advance?

    If the candidates, moderators, viewers and voters all want substance, then give the candidates time to think about their answers beforehand.

    The condition is that candidates must answer the question being asked, not the question they want to answer. They also have to provide data and peer-reviewed research to show how their numbers add up, what effect their tax plans will have on the deficit, how they'd "save" Social Security, and so on.

    Sure, the Republican debate on CNBC two weeks ago was a bit of a mess. But as Brian Steel, CNBC's senior vice president for public relations, said afterward, "People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions."

    Here are some examples:

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!

Austerity’s Grim Legacy

    When economic crisis struck in 2008, policymakers by and large did the right thing. The Federal Reserve and other central banks realized that supporting the financial system took priority over conventional notions of monetary prudence. The Obama administration and its counterparts realized that in a slumping economy budget deficits were helpful, not harmful. And the money-printing and borrowing worked: A repeat of the Great Depression, which seemed all too possible at the time, was avoided.

    Then it all went wrong. And the consequences of the wrong turn we took look worse now than the harshest critics of conventional wisdom ever imagined.

    For those who don’t remember (it’s hard to believe how long this has gone on): In 2010, more or less suddenly, the policy elite on both sides of the Atlantic decided to stop worrying about unemployment and start worrying about budget deficits instead.

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!

A Republican can now kill Obamacare. Will he?

    Kentucky justvolunteered to be a national political experiment, and it can't help but be an edifying one for the whole country.

    Ever since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have worked to sabotage the law and have done their best Yosemite Sam imitations to show the folks back home how furious they are at that varmint Barack Obama who signed it. Democrats have operated on the theory that Sam's six-shooter fires only blanks. If offered a genuine opportunity to repeal health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, would Republicans go through with it?

    The election of Matt Bevin as governor of Kentucky ought to settle the question. Bevin is a tea party guy who challenged Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014 with familiar complaints about big government and big Obama. McConnell beat back the upstart, but Bevin ran for governor and won this week.

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!

A real voice for every voter

    In Seattle, voters just sent a message to the nation. In adopting a sweeping campaign finance reform, they have shown that recent Supreme Court decisions don't block decisive change. With appropriate revisions, the "Seattle idea" can be taken national and serve as a litmus test of political seriousness for presidential candidates, who no longer should be allowed to pretend that only minor reforms are possible until the court reverses its decision in Citizens United. The time for action is now.

    The "Seattle idea" is straightforward: Provide each registered voter with a "democracy voucher" of $100 that he or she can spend for only one purpose - to support their favorite candidates for municipal office. One person, one vote, one voucher: This is the formula for reclaiming democracy in the United States.

    With the approval of Seattle's Initiative 122, candidates will remain free to rely exclusively on old-fashioned campaign contributions to fund their campaigns. But if they want to compete for the new democracy dollars, they must agree to an overall expenditure limit.

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!