Archive

January 2nd, 2016

Democrats see chance to reclaim Senate majority

    In 2014, Democrats, the majority party in the Senate, had to defend most of the seats up for election, more than a few in unfriendly territory. That year, Republicans took back control of the chamber, picking up nine seats.

    Democrats are counting on a similar scenario unfolding to their advantage next year: Republicans currently have a 54-46 advantage, but of the 34 seats up in 2016, only 10 are held by Democrats.

    Any outcome depends on unpredictable events over the next 10 months: the presidential race, whether the stronger candidate wins selective primaries; the effectiveness of some challengers, and changing economic or national security issues.

    With that critical caveat, Democrats say there's at least an even chance they will score a net gain of four or five seats. Republicans acknowledge they may lose a couple seats, but believe they will maintain control. This is almost a mirror reflection of the analysis two years ago.

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 Handful of Christmas Miracles

    Christmas, a time of hope in the murk of early winter, is the best occasion to bring some good news onstage. Here are some snippets of qualified joy:

    Jimmy Carter holds off cancer: He’s 91. A few months ago, he was given a diagnosis of melanoma that had spread from his liver to his brain. But recently, the former president announced that his latest brain scan showed no sign of the disease. Carter is being treated with a drug that uses the immune system to battle cancer cells — another bright light, if the cost can be made affordable.

    No matter what you think of his presidency, Carter has been a force for global good since he left the White House, with energy that Jeb Bush should bottle.

    Alexander Hamilton lives, for now: This founding father is the rage on Broadway, with a smash musical. The man behind our financial system, the immigrant son of a single mother, Hamilton was killed in a duel. His handsome visage covers the $10 bill.

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 29th, 2015

A Handful of Christmas Miracles

    Christmas, a time of hope in the murk of early winter, is the best occasion to bring some good news onstage. Here are some snippets of qualified joy:

    Jimmy Carter holds off cancer: He’s 91. A few months ago, he was given a diagnosis of melanoma that had spread from his liver to his brain. But recently, the former president announced that his latest brain scan showed no sign of the disease. Carter is being treated with a drug that uses the immune system to battle cancer cells — another bright light, if the cost can be made affordable.

    No matter what you think of his presidency, Carter has been a force for global good since he left the White House, with energy that Jeb Bush should bottle.

    Alexander Hamilton lives, for now: This founding father is the rage on Broadway, with a smash musical. The man behind our financial system, the immigrant son of a single mother, Hamilton was killed in a duel. His handsome visage covers the $10 bill.

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 Year's Dreams Meet Fear

    No, it isn't fear of terrorists on my mind as we begin a new year. It is what we do to ourselves! Apparently we don't need an outside group to damage us. We are letting greed prevail. It is greed in the personal lives of so many. It is greed in businesses and, worse yet, greed in government. In my mind greed is the generator of corruption be it for power or money--or are they so co-mingled as to be inseparable?

    At this writing we are in the midst of our giving season when the best impulses of so many are at a high point but all too often it does not last throughout the year. Even those well intended givers often do not sustain their good impulses throughout the year. More awful are the thieves who only take away, never having had good impulses in this giving season or any other time.

    Many of the rich assuage their conscience with giving out a few what for them are pittances here and there but they do not change their behavior otherwise in their day to day living.

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!

Google, Ford will disrupt Detroit together

 

    With the auto industry on the verge of its self-driving future, insiders and car enthusiasts have been gearing up for a clash of the titans, pitting the lumbering giants of Detroit against the nimble disruptors of Silicon Valley. But a new blockbuster deal between Ford and Google to co-produce autonomous vehicles is the strongest sign yet that the much-anticipated day of reckoning may never come.

    When Google first started developing and testing its self- driving car technology, it used modified production vehicles -- mostly Toyota Prius and Lexus RX hybrids -- to test its laser- based sensing system. But the technology remained something of an oddity, a "science experiment" in the minds of auto industry professionals, until May 2014, when Google revealed its first self-driving prototype. With no human controls of any kind, Google's "toaster" demonstrated the search-engine giant's immense ambition: to disrupt traditional auto ownership with an entirely new mobility paradigm that owes nothing to the century of automotive evolution.

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 for collaboration on gun studies

    Twenty years ago, one of us was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, supporting research to build an evidence base to advance the science of gun-violence prevention. The other of us was a Republican representative from Arkansas determined to dismantle that effort because conservatives had concluded that it was aimed at gun control and not gun violence.

    Ultimately, the House of Representatives voted to insert language into the CDC's appropriations bill that succeeded in prompting the CDC to bring gun-violence research to a halt. The law stated that no CDC funds "may be used to advocate or promote gun control." One of us subsequently was fired because of his commitment to gun-violence prevention research. The other saw the CDC's abandonment of its commitment to this research as a successful effort to protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

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 28th

Bernie Sanders' lessons for capitalists

    There is an irony to the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders: The senator from Vermont is often cast as exotic because he calls himself a "democratic socialist." Yet the most important issue in politics throughout the Western democracies is whether the economic and social world that social democrats built can survive the coming decades.

    Let's deal first with the tyranny of labels. "Socialist" has long been an unacceptable word in the United States, yet our country once had a vibrant socialist movement, whose history has been well recounted by John Nichols and James Weinstein. Socialists had a major impact on the mainstream conversation. Reforming liberals, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, co-opted many of their best ideas, and it's one reason they were marginalized.

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!

Jeb Bush: Sacrificial lamb?

    If the war of words between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush were a championship boxing match, the referee would have stopped it by now. Either he would have disqualified the Manhattan mauler for low blows or simply ended the one-sidedness of the fight.

    Trump's no-holds-barred style has made the clash more of a wrestling match of eye-gouging and punching in the clinches by a foul-mouthed bully-boy against a benign upper-crust Gentleman Jeb. Bush, for all his early intentions to abide by the Marquis of Queensbury rules, just doesn't seem to have the stomach for hitting below it.

    The son of a former president and brother of another one has taken on the task of defending the honor not only of his family name but also of his Republican Party. But by the nature of Jeb's personality and breeding he has proved to be a mismatch against the master of the rough-and-tumble world of the cutthroat business deal.

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 27th

Which Republicans to buy, sell or hold

    With almost six weeks until the Iowa caucuses and seven weeks to the New Hampshire primary, there's still time for big changes. But here's how the Republican contest looks right now, based on my reading of the odds currently posted at PredictIt, the prediction market site.

    Ted Cruz (listed at 36 cents): Sell. I've underestimated Cruz; he's done badly within Congress, but that hasn't stopped him from picking up strong party support from social conservatives, among others. He's leading in Iowa polls and is second nationally. He could win. But he's still a factional candidate, and would probably lose one on one against most of his GOP rivals.

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!

Hot 2015 words? A political 'ism' vision

    What's the word? The "Word of the Year" at Oxford Dictionaries is not even a word. It is an emoji, a digital image that is used in text messages to express an idea or emotion in a style that seems in my eyes to be aimed illiterates.

    Oxford Dictionaries justified this selection by citing an explosion in "emoji culture" over the last year and not, as I fear, a collapse in the public's desire to read.

    "It's flexible, immediate and infuses tone beautifully," said Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries in a statement. "As a result emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders."

    Indeed, I'm sure that's true, provided that you can figure out what the darn emoji means. The emoji that Oxford Dictionaries happened to choose is hardly a model of simplicity or clarity.

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!