Archive

February 26th, 2016

Highest court in U.S. shouldn't always pull rank

    Who's in charge of patent law? The answer lies in an ongoing conflict between two courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which was created by Congress in 1982 and given control over the entire patent law docket, and the U.S. Supreme Court, which gets to choose which Federal Circuit cases to review and which to leave untouched.

    The struggle is before the Supreme Court again Tuesday in a consolidated pair of cases with significant stakes for the patent bar. The court will consider under what circumstances lower courts can award "enhanced damages" of up to three times the amount of actual damages to a patent holder whose patent has been infringed. But the real issue is who gets to make the call about the meaning of the federal law that authorizes the damages. If you're interested in who's going to win the struggle, I've got a hint for you: It's the court with "supreme" in its name.

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!

Escape From Bushworld

    The Bushes always bristled at the “d” word. And now they don’t have to worry about it any more.

    The dynasty has perished, with a whimper. The exclamation point has slouched off.

    The Bushes are leaving the field to someone they have utter contempt for: Donald Trump.

    And the main emotion in Bushworld is relief. No one could bear one more day of watching Jeb get the flesh flayed off him by Trump.

    With his uncanny bat-like sonar, sensing how to psychologically gauge and then gut an opponent, Trump went straight for the Bushes’ biggest bête noir: wimpiness.

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!

Expect a few more surprises from Cruz

    The conventional wisdom now is that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has no chance to win the Republican nomination, but that he'll fight on until the end anyway.

    Both of those assumptions are jumping ahead of the facts.

    Yes, his third-place showing in South Carolina, a state with demographics matching his strengths and one where he dumped considerable resources, was bad news for the Texas senator. He is now down to 2 percent in the Predictwise market assessing his nomination chances.

    Yet he's one of five remaining candidates, and two of them, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former neurosureon Ben Carson, are fringe efforts at this point. Cruz has plenty of money, and he'll receive a fair amount of media attention ahead of Super Tuesday, which is March 1. At least six of the 12 states voting that day remain good battlegrounds for him: Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee and 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!

Congress is best to decide the Apple-FBI case

    The fight over whether Apple should write new software to unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernardino, California, killer may be poised to go to Congress -- and that's the first good news I've heard about the confrontation.

    The case raises profound matters of public policy with constitutional, domestic and international ramifications. A magistrate judge working for the federal district court isn't the right person to decide these issues, nor would higher courts be in a good position to make wise judgments on appeal. What we need here is a law -- one that reflects, to the extent possible, the legitimate competing values in play.

    The reason the magistrate is even involved derives from the misleadingly simple nature of the problem. When a federal criminal investigation is under way, magistrates are deputed by federal district judges to issue warrants. In this instance, the Department of Justice asked the magistrate to issue an order to Apple to enable it to unlock Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone.

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!

Cranks on Top

    If prediction markets (and most hardheaded analysis) are to be believed, Hillary Clinton, having demonstrated her staying power, is the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. The Republican race, by contrast, has seen a lot of consolidation — it’s pretty much down to a two-man race — but the outcome is still up for grabs.

    The thing is, one of the two men who may still have a good chance of becoming the Republican nominee is a scary character. His notions on foreign policy seem to boil down to the belief that America can bully everyone into doing its bidding, and that engaging in diplomacy is a sign of weakness. His ideas on domestic policy are deeply ignorant and irresponsible, and would be disastrous if put into effect.

    The other man, of course, has very peculiar hair.

    Marco Rubio has yet to win anything, but by losing less badly than other non-Trump candidates he has become the overwhelming choice of the Republican establishment. Does this give him a real chance of overtaking the man who probably just won all of South Carolina’s delegates? I have no idea.

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 and Cornel West actually agree: Obama's 'not black enough'

    Ben Carson and Cornel West are polar opposites, ideologically, politically, socially. But they are kindred spirits when it comes to their disdain for President Barack Obama. For these guardians of blackness, the first African-American occupant of the Oval Office is not black enough. Better not tell Virginia McLaurin, the 106-year-old who was so excited to meet "a black president" that she danced her way into our hearts.

    Carson's presidential campaign is so anemic that a tear dropping into the ocean causes more waves. Yet he had time to crack wise on the president's upbringing during an interview with Glenn Thrush. He told the ace Politico reporter and podcaster that he "did not" derive any joy out of Obama's election.

    Carson: I mean, like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn't grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination.

    Thrush: That's right.

    Carson: Not even close.

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 and Rubio, Separated at Mirth

    Ted Cruz described Marco Rubio last week as “Donald Trump with a smile,” saying that both are quick to call their critics liars, though Rubio does it amiably.

    Cruz is right about Rubio’s affect, wrong about which candidate it distinguishes him from. He and Rubio are the pair twinned in so many respects beyond the curve of their lips.

    That makes these two U.S. senators — both in their first terms, both Cuban-American, both lawyers, just five months apart in age — a uniquely fascinating study in how much the style of a person’s politics drives perceptions of who he is and in how thoroughly optics eclipse substance.

    Rubio, 44, is routinely branded “mainstream” and occasionally labeled “moderate.” There’s a belief among Republican leaders, along with evidence in polls, that he has an appeal to less conservative voters that Cruz doesn’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!

February 24th

Neglected Stories

    March is Women's History Month so designated to focus on all the neglected stories of women's contributions to this nation's society.  Due to  the same type of neglect, February has long been named Black History Month. 

    Mitigating the latter is a museum due to open on our National Mall next September. A group chartered as the National Women's History Museum (www.nwhm.org)is attempting to build a like museum.  Congress has at long last established a committee to look into the possibility of a women's museum but unlike the one that resulted in the building of others on the mall the women are left to raise the entire funding - just to investigate the possibility!  A major part of the quest is to secure the last site on the mall.

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!

Trump lures Pope Francis into 2016 race

    So now The Donald is running against the pope.

    After waging a presidential campaign that appears to have been all but directed by Triumph the Insult Dog, billionaire developer Donald Trump has outdone his earlier displays of bold audacity. This time he's taking on Pope Francis.

    That's right. A man whose name is associated with wealth, power and self-promotion is taking on a man who chose to be named after the patron saint of the poor, Francis of Assisi.

    Yet, as much as Trump risks losing voters in heavily Catholic states, he may have helped to energize other elements of his base, particularly social conservatives who think Francis' policies have been too liberal.

    Either way, it is almost amusing to watch Trump play the victim card like a champ, all because his little feelings were somehow injured by the Pope's opposition to Trump's signature issue: his desire to wall off the Mexican border and somehow persuade Mexico to pick up the 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!

Trump has a stranglehold on the GOP nomination. So why isn't he getting credit?

    Donald Trump cruised to a double-digit win over the Republican field on Saturday in South Carolina. It was his second straight easy win - coming 11 days after he swept the New Hampshire primary by nearly 20 points.

    Those back-to-back victories coupled with Trump's second-place finish in Iowa's caucuses - in which he took the second-most votes of any Republican candidate ever - affirm a simple yet still not fully grasped fact: Trump is the heavy favorite to be the Republican presidential nominee this fall.

    Let's start with the delegate math through the first three votes. Trump won all 50 of South Carolina's delegates Saturday, bringing his total delegate count to 67. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is in second place with 11 delegates. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has 10. Of the 103 delegates allocated in the race to date, Trump has won 65 percent.

    Now, look forward. On Tuesday, Nevada will hold its Republican caucuses. According to a CNN-ORC poll released on Wednesday, Trump leads in the Silver State by 26 points - an edge likely to hold steady or even grow in the wake of his convincing South Carolina win.

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!