Archive

January 22nd, 2016

Health care in the election: Politics and policy

    When they're running for president, health care politics apparently makes Democratic candidates say strange things. Remember back in 2008 when candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton were fighting over mandates?:

    Enforcing a mandate will require some sort of penalty, such as fines, to ensure compliance, [Obama] said. "And that, I don't think, is helping those without health insurance."

    I suspect the president recognized that mandates with penalties might be needed to ensure a viable risk pool, especially as he made sure they were ultimately built into Obamacare. But Sen. Clinton had a mandate, so he didn't.

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!

January 20th

Major Catastrophe: Major Media Problem

    On Oct. 23, Southern California Gas technicians discovered a leak of methane from a failed casing on one of the pipes in its Alisa Canyon storage facility, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

    The company estimates it will be the end of March until it can plug that leak from the pipe that is about 9,000 feet deep.

    About 77,000 tons of methane, a greenhouse gas that can widen the ozone hole in the atmosphere, have already gone into the air.

    Residents in the area have complained of nausea, dizziness, headaches and nosebleeds from the sulfur-like odor that is put into natural gas to identify it.

    Residents of about 3,000 households have been relocated. Hundreds are now living in hotel rooms, and will be there for at least two more months.

    The L.A. Unified School District closed two schools until March 2016.

    The Federal Aviation Administration banned flights under 2,000 feet from going within a half-mile of the leak.

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!

Health Reform Realities

    Health reform is the signature achievement of the Obama presidency. It was the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare was established in the 1960s. It more or less achieves a goal — access to health insurance for all Americans — that progressives have been trying to reach for three generations. And it is producing dramatic results, with the percentage of uninsured Americans falling to record lows.

    Obamacare is, however, what engineers would call a kludge: a somewhat awkward, clumsy device with lots of moving parts. This makes it more expensive than it should be, and will probably always cause a significant number of people to fall through the cracks.

    The question for progressives — a question that is now central to the Democratic primary — is whether these failings mean that they should re-litigate their own biggest political success in almost half a century, and try for something better.

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!

Health care in the election: Politics and policy

    When they're running for president, health care politics apparently makes Democratic candidates say strange things. Remember back in 2008 when candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton were fighting over mandates?:

    Enforcing a mandate will require some sort of penalty, such as fines, to ensure compliance, [Obama] said. "And that, I don't think, is helping those without health insurance."

    I suspect the president recognized that mandates with penalties might be needed to ensure a viable risk pool, especially as he made sure they were ultimately built into Obamacare. But Sen. Clinton had a mandate, so he didn't.

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 and the Apocalypse

    Last week I suffered through another dust-dry Republican debate in which a slimmed-down roster of seven candidates leveled many of the same attacks and regurgitated many of the same staid pitches.

    There were a few flashes of life that caught my attention or made me chuckle:

    Ted Cruz debuting some entertaining lines of attack to rebuff the questions the real estate developer keeps raising about whether Cruz is indeed a “natural born citizen” and able to become president. The real estate developer managed a surprisingly maudlin moment when he rebuked, quite successfully, Cruz for his outrageous us-against-them comments about “New York values.” Jeb Bush calling the perpetual squabbling between Marco Rubio and Cruz a “back and forth between two senators — backbench senators.”

    But what struck me most about the debate was just how unremittingly bleak the tone of it was.

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!

Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals

    For those of us who argue in favor of gun safety laws, there are a few inconvenient facts.

    We liberals are sometimes glib about equating guns and danger. In fact, it’s complicated: The number of guns in America has increased by more than 50 percent since 1993, and in that same period the gun homicide rate in the United States has dropped by half.

    Then there are the policies that liberals fought for, starting with the assault weapons ban. A 113-page study found no clear indication that it reduced shooting deaths for the 10 years it was in effect. That’s because the ban was poorly drafted and because even before the ban, assault weapons accounted for only 2 percent of guns used in crimes.

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!

Reigning Cats and Dogs

    After running as a man last time around, Hillary Clinton is now running as a woman.

    Matthew Dowd, the former W. strategist who became an independent, says Hillary got it backward: She should have run as a woman in 2008, when she was beating back a feminized anti-war candidate. And she should have run as a man this time, when Americans feel beleaguered and scared and yearn for something “big and masculine and strong,” as Dowd put it.

    Despite the deafening dearth of excitement among younger women, Hillary has cast herself as Groundbreaking Granny.

    She’s campaigning with Lena Dunham, Katy Perry and Demi Lovato and is selling T-shirt pantsuits on her website. And she showed up last week on Lifetime, sharing a white couch with Amanda de Cadenet, who hosts a cozy chat show with women. Hillary shared the childhood woe of being told by boys in her neighborhood that she couldn’t play with them because she was a girl.

    She told Rachel Maddow she wouldn’t rule out an all-estrogen ticket by choosing a female running mate.

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!

Donald Trump’s Existential Pickle

    If your very candidacy and identity rest on your supposed talent for victory, can you survive a defeat?

    Can you continue to call yourself a winner if you’ve been a loser — and if “loser” is your favorite way of closing the book on someone, your final word, the workhorse in your brimming lexicon of slurs, exiting your mouth so reflexively that it’s essentially your exhalation, your carbon dioxide: “loser,” “loser,” “loser.”

    Donald Trump has a problem that the other candidates for the Republican nomination don’t. He’s put an obstacle in his path that they haven’t. He doesn’t merely assert dominance. He claims something close to omnipotence. (Remember that laughable physician’s report?)

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!

Hillary and Bernie, Punching

    There’s a Democratic debate Sunday night! The party honchos scheduled it in the middle of a three-day weekend, obviously in a bid to ensure maximum attention. The American public, perky from eight straight hours of football playoffs, will totally be in the mood for a serious policy dialogue.

    So far, the Democratic encounters have been mildly informative but not riveting. We don’t wait expectantly for Bernie Sanders to snap, “You already had your chance, Hillary, and you blew it,” the way Chris Christie did to Marco Rubio in the Republican debate Thursday. But tensions are mounting.

    Clinton and Sanders had generally been taking the high road. This is in part because they have a basic level of respect for each other. (It’s very likely that they respect Martin O’Malley, too, although no one’s keeping track.)

    Also, there was a widespread feeling that the outcome was preordained. You cannot believe how gracious that can make people.

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!

Giving Obama His Due

    I still hold onto a couple of magazine covers and newspaper front pages, despite their preservation in the digital afterlife, marking the moment when a nation that had embraced African-American slavery chose a black man to be its president.

    Barack Obama’s election in 2008 swept “away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease,” The New York Times reported. The New Yorker, with its cover of a glowing Lincoln Memorial, heralded “the resurgence of America’s ability to astonish and inspire.” They sensed “the beginning of a new era.”

    You couldn’t help thinking of these trumpets of hope while watching the graying head of the president on Tuesday night. As he walked to the exit, he turned to soak in the scene of his final State of the Union address. “Let me take one more look at this thing,” he said.

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!