Archive

January 30th, 2017

Who will suffer from a government hiring freeze? Veterans.

    On Jan. 23, in accordance with his promises to shrink the size of the government through attrition, President Trump announced a federal hiring freeze. This is red meat to his base, which has fervently argued that limited government is better, more effective government. This administration may be the first to deliver so literally on that idea, with some potential Cabinet appointees having a history of being publicly opposed to the mission of the agencies they have been selected to run, and now this across-the-board halt to all new and existing government jobs, exempting only national security, public safety and the military.

    Never mind that federal employment is at record lows. Never mind that the last two times a president froze government hiring, it actually ended up costing more money. When I heard of the plan to freeze federal hiring, however, all I could think about was how bad this decision will be for veterans.

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 new colossus, cont'd

    Friday was a sad day for our country. I would think -- I would hope -- that even those who support President Trump's executive order suspending all entry into the United States for refugees from Syria and six other predominantly Muslim countries (Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen -- though not, curiously, Saudi Arabia) would agree with that assessment. The idea that America was a place of refuge and hope for people whose lives had been made miserable by despots and their jackbooted flunkies was among the noblest ideas our planet has ever known. Abandoning it is no cause for celebration =- even by those who might believe, as I do not, that such measures are made necessary by our position in a perilous world.

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’s War on Women Begins

    Should we journalists use the word “lie” to describe President Donald Trump’s most manifest falsehoods?

    That debate has roiled the news world. The Times this week used the word “lie” in a front-page headline, and I agreed with that decision, but there’s a counterargument that lying requires an intention to deceive — and that Trump may actually believe his absurd falsehoods.

    So in 2017 we reach a mortifying moment for a great democracy: We must decide whether our 45th president is a liar or a crackpot.

    Yet the costliest presidential falsehoods and delusions are not the ones that people are talking about, such as those concerning the inauguration crowd or electoral fraud. The most horrific chicanery involves Trump’s new actions on women’s health that will cause deaths around the globe.

    It followed the weekend’s stunning women’s marches: At least 3.2 million people apparently participated in all 50 states, amounting to 1 percent of the U.S. population.

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!

That time Paul Ryan gave a succinct, near-perfect response to Trump's call to ban Muslims

    "This is not conservatism."

    In just four words, Speaker Paul D. Ryan made clear in December 2015 that then-candidate Donald Trump's suggestion to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States has no place in the Republican Party.

    A little more than a year later, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order temporarily halting admission of refugees -- with an indefinite pause on Syrian refugees -- and a pause on all visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 120 days. Trump has promised priority for Christians. The order is meant to give U.S. agencies more time to come up with a more stringent vetting system.

    Ryan appears to have a completely different perspective on Trump's executive order. Here's what he said in a statement released Friday (my emphasis added in bold):

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 deal of the century on climate

    As President Donald Trump takes the reins of power, anxiety and uncertainty are the order of the day for those concerned about the threat of climate change. Trump has ranged from disbelieving (climate change is a Chinese "hoax") to dismissive (we should "cancel" the 2015 Paris agreement) to open ("I'm looking at it very closely. . . . I have an open mind to it") on the issue.

    The truth is that the climate challenge Trump faces is large and the stakes are high, but he has been dealt a very good hand if he is willing to play it.

    The challenge is that achieving the climate goals endorsed by all the countries in Paris - especially holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels - will take a concerted commitment centered on rapidly transitioning from a high- to a very-low-carbon global energy system. A global economy that currently runs more than 80 percent on fossil fuels will have to cut that habit dramatically by 2050 and eliminate or capture all carbon emissions by the 2060s or 2070s.

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!

Republicans need to prove they're pro-life

    In 2012, while expecting our first (and only) child, my husband and I went in for a routine ultrasound. The technician saw something and alerted the resident perinatologist, who alerted the genetics team. We quickly wiped the gel from my belly, and they escorted us down the hall. In the rush, the black-and-white photos of our baby were left on the printer. Someone probably threw them away long ago.

    After reviewing our file, the genetics counselor explained to us that they couldn't quite know what was wrong for sure without further testing, but that our son's brain showed clear anatomical issues. She said that some children with our son's condition never walk or talk. They sometimes have cognitive, social and emotional delays. Their quality of life can suffer, and they can be a considerable drain on the emotional and financial health of families.

    She hesitated, but then posed the question: Did we want to keep our baby?

    My husband and I simply had to glance at each other. We each knew what the other was thinking. We weren't going to terminate.

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 to win over Washington? Listen to your federal workforce

    As the Trump administration's new Cabinet secretaries and other top-level political appointees get acquainted with their responsibilities, some will find they have inherited high-performing organizations while others will discover that their agencies are struggling.

    For those leaders interested in a quick, fact-based assessment of how employees view their agencies, a good place to start is the 2016 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings. For many years, my organization, the Partnership for Public Service, and Deloitte, have produced the rankings as a means of measuring employee engagement, alerting leaders to signs of workforce dissatisfaction and providing insights into improving agency management.

    Generally speaking, there's good news and bad news.

    First the good news. Most Cabinet secretaries will be inheriting a federal workforce showing signs of improved employee engagement - that is, increased job and workplace satisfaction and commitment, and a willingness to put forth extra effort to achieve positive results.

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's wall is about rage, not immigration

    Just to be clear on President Donald Trump's agenda, he is currently jeopardizing relations with the U.S.'s third-largest trading partner, a neighbor with whom we share a roughly 2,000-mile border along with a vast array of law-enforcement and foreign-policy priorities, in order to show American voters that he is tough.

    To recap: After signing an executive order this week that directed (but did not fund) the construction of a wall across the southern border, Trump reiterated his demand that Mexico pay for the construction. That, in turn, led Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a scheduled meeting with Trump.

    Mexican politician Margarita Zavala, wife of former President Felipe Calderon, called Trump's provocation a "humiliation," and, in a tweet, included a hashtag with an implied, and wholly unsurprising, threat of future hostilities: #MexicoFirst.

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 to Keep Marching for Women, and Yourself

    Across the U.S. women just pulled off the largest protest in American history. They were joined by sister marches around the world — in Europe, Africa, and even Antarctica.

    But before we get carried away with euphoria, we should heed some wise words from a former Obama White House staffer: “I worry it will give too many people license to congratulate themselves for their activism and move on with their daily lives.”

    In other words, don’t use the Women’s March as a reason to pat yourself on the back and stop fighting. Consider this march just the beginning of your struggle.

    How can you do that?

    You can join an organization, get involved locally in politics, or donate to groups like Planned Parenthood. But you can also take smaller and more manageable steps in your every day life.

    Consider these gender disparities in schools and workplaces.

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 declares two wars

    Less than a week into Donald Trump's presidency, he has already challenged American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and resumed the Nixon administration's war on the American news media.

    Sparked as much by his oversized ego and need for self-gratification as by sober thought, Trump has shattered more than a half-century of rational behavior in a first week of reckless, impulsive actions that raise questions about his mental stability as a national and world leader.

    His ludicrous concern over the size of his inaugural crowds and his loss of the 2016 popular vote seem to have set him off in a surge of peevishness more suited for a schoolboy than the president of the greatest country in the world.

    Trump's decision to order a federal investigation into widespread voter fraud he insists cost him that popular vote, along with his reaffirmation that he will build a wall across the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it, has already triggered a major foreign-policy crisis.

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!