Archive

November 17th, 2015

Training could prevent police from shooting your dog for no reason

    Dutchess, a 2-year-old rescue dog belonging to a family in Florida City, Florida, had always been affectionate and curious. So on a recent Tuesday, when a police officer approached the home to notify the family that their car door was open, she naturally bounded out to greet him. But, in a moment captured by disturbing surveillance footage, as Dutchess came toward the officer, he instinctively fired three gunshots into her head. Before they even knew why the officer was there, the family was watching Dutchess bleed to death a few feet from their front door.

    Dutchess's owners are still grieving the loss of their dog, who used to sleep in bed with their 8-year-old son, and are stunned by the turn of events. "All she would have done was put some slobber on his shoes," says Gillian Palacios.

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!

It's not about free speech

    The mid-20th-century gains of the civil rights movement rested on an implicit bargain: The pursuit of equality in civil and political rights could be advanced only at the expense of the pursuit of social equality. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, for instance, included an exemption for private clubs protecting them from the requirements of non-discrimination law. That bargain holds no longer. That is the fundamental meaning of this week's events at the University of Missouri and Yale University.

    The issues of free speech matter, too, but they are leading people in the wrong direction, away from the deepest issue. A recent University of Chicago report on free speech gets it right: "The University's fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed." This idea protects not only those who wish to wear blackface for Halloween but also those being skewered in the media for having called for the resignation of specific institutional leaders. On this subject, I would say, there's little to see here. Move along.

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!

Black, white, young, old - all are convinced someone else has seized power

    The kids feel powerless. At Yale University, they suffer racial slights, real and imagined, and learn a lesson reliably taught to strivers of every generation: You can reach the heights without ever finding the little door that leads to the center of things.

    At the University of Missouri, where blacks are 8 percent of the student body, one percentage point less than at Yale, there's less ivy to camouflage the hurts. When you find a picture of a lynching tacked to your dorm room, the aggression doesn't qualify as "micro."

    The adults, too, feel powerless. In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, they agree, by a 54-41 landslide, that "the economic and political systems in the country are stacked against people like me." It's even worse for the old and white and conservative.

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!

How Republicans would really run the Fed

    What will Republicans do about monetary policy if they win the presidency?

    Answer: We really don't know. This isn't like taxes and the budget, where they have a clear position and a history of following through.

    Based on what their candidates say in presidential debates, Republicans are now the party of tight money. Inflation, they say, is an enormous threat, and the Federal Reserve's policy of keeping interest rates low and pumping money into the economy risks disaster.

    Many GOP candidates say inflation is already strong, despite all evidence to the contrary. Rand Paul in the Fox Business Network debate referred to people hit hard "as your prices rise or as the value of the dollar shrinks." In the CNBC debate, Ted Cruz cherry-picked a few items that have risen in price and concluded that "loose money is one of the major problems." He claimed that the gold standard produced "booming economic growth and lower inflation than we have had with the Fed now."

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 Missing Link

    What is it that the conservatives don't understand about the lack of sexual education and the connection with the continuing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? I suppose it is the same blindness as their opposition to contraception and the connection to abortion. It is just the missing link in their thinking, if one can call it thinking.

    What I find even more questionable is how the society can market so many items saturated in sex appeal and yet be so squeamish about teaching healthy sex. Every day magazines and newspapers publish advertising designed to catch one's attention and then we are surprised when it actually does that.

    We keep the excitement of sex constantly before our youth and are then surprised when they respond. We add to the excitement when we then say, "No, no not for you." The forbidden, no matter what the subject, has always carried a certain amount of enticement. Add mysterious and the results should not surprise us.

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 Paris moment for American politics?

    The 2016 presidential campaign has been peculiarly disconnected from the real world of problems, crises and governing. It took the catastrophe in Paris to narrow the gap -- and even a monstrous terrorist attack may not shake the trajectory of a contest that operates within a logic of its own.

     The inevitable distance between politicking and the business of running a government is especially wide this year because of the strange configuration of the Republican field. Donald Trump and Ben Carson in particular have detached themselves from anything resembling normal politics, and sometimes from reality itself.

    Moreover, the Democratic and Republican primary electorates have such radically different views that the candidates on each side seem to be running for president of quite different countries.

     The United States of the Republicans (USR) is a nation in dire trouble, losing influence around the globe, and barely recovering from the Great Recession. In the USR, low taxes and smaller government are the key to everything.

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!

November 13th

The winner of the GOP debate: foolish economic policy

    The real headline from this week's Republican debate wasn't that the candidates clashed over immigration and national security. It was that they agreed on economic policies that have proved unpopular and unwise -- and that may make the eventual nominee unelectable.

    The central issue facing most American families is that incomes, for all but the wealthy, are stagnant. The consensus response from the GOP field is a big collective shrug.

    The evening began with front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson announcing they would not raise the federal minimum wage, presently a paltry $7.25 an hour.

    "I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is," said Trump, the allegedly populist billionaire. "People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we cannot do this if we're going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can't do 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!

GOP presidential debates turn serious

    After three Republican presidential debates marked more by showmanship than substance from candidates and moderators alike, the fourth one in Milwaukee took a giant step toward a responsible display of adult behavior. While it was hard to pick a winner, the two early front-runners, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, found themselves overshadowed by, of all things, some serious politicians.

    The Fox Business Network interrogators by and large delivered on their promise to go beyond "gotcha" questions and pose substantive queries about the candidates' positions. They gave voters plenty of basic economic and tax matters on which to appraise the eight Republicans on the stage as the race moves into a more significant phase.

    While neither Trump nor Carson suffered serious damage, they failed to display commanding grasp of the subjects, particularly on foreign policy, where their knowledge came off as skin-deep. In the process, several others were able to talk their way into more positive consideration, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

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 want to fight bureaucracy like James Bond

    Two-thirds of the way through "Spectre," the 24th film in the official James Bond canon, Bond and his partner du jour, Dr. Madeleine Swann, are dining on a train in Morocco. Suddenly they are attacked by Mr. Hinx, a relentless Spectre assassin who has been pursuing them. What's curious about the scene is that they are attacked by only Mr. Hinx. For an instant, the film steps out of character -- and out of what has become an exhaustingly common Hollywood trope.

    Consider that Spectre is presented as a vast criminal organization, with legions of secret henchmen on instant call. Early in the film, Bond is assured by a non-grieving widow he has just rescued from two Spectre gunmen that he has saved her life for only five minutes, because there are hundreds more.

    Do the arithmetic: two assassins to kill one widow, but one assassin to kill both Bond and Swann, when Bond is himself a trained agent with a license to kill, and Swann, although she professes to hate firearms, proves to be no slouch with a gun. The fight sequence is expertly filmed, but, against its context, makes no sense whatsoever.

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 hidden and deadly bias of class

    White working-class voters have been a key building block of the Republican coalition since the rise of the Reagan Democrats 35 years ago. You would think that the party's presidential candidates would want to respond to the heartbreaking crisis these Americans are facing.

    Two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton and Anne Case, issued a study last week that should push what the writers Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb called the "hidden injuries of class" to the center of our political conversation. Deaton and Case found that the death rates for whites 45 to 54 who never attended college increased by 134 deaths per 100,000 people between 1999 and 2014. They unearthed a startling rise in suicides as well as diseases related to alcohol and drugs.

    Injustices relating to race remain a deep stain on our nation.

    Middle-aged African-Americans overall still have a higher death rate (581 per 100,000) than whites (415), although the Hispanic death rate at middle age (262) is far lower.

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!