Archive

October 22nd, 2016

McCain vows to continue GOP's dysfunction

    We've heard hopeful claims lately that the Republican Party could be a normal, healthy, functional political party if it hadn't accidentally nominated Donald Trump. But Arizona Sen. John McCain has reminded us that this is not the case.

    McCain, speaking in support of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, said: "I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up."

    The Arizona senator's office tried to afternoon, saying that he will vote for or against the individuals Clinton might nominate "based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career." The "throughout his career" part ignores McCain's support of the current blockade against Barack Obama's attempt to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy, based on the Republicans' recently invented principle that presidents aren't allowed to put anyone on the court in election years.

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!

India's puzzling gender gap will restrict its growth

    Of an estimated 2.6 billion mobile-phone owners in low- and middle-income countries last year, 1.4 billion were men and 1.2 billion were women, according to a study conducted for the mobile industry trade group GSMA. Most of that mobile-phone gender gap was concentrated in just one country, India, where 114 million fewer women than men had phones.

    This leads to a bunch of other big digital disparities, as Eric Bellman and Aditi Malhotra reported in the Wall Street Journal last week:

    "In India around 30% of internet users are female, according to estimates by the Internet and Mobile Association of India. A government survey in 2014 found that only around 9% of females surveyed knew how to do an internet search or send email on a phone or computer, compared with more than 16% of males surveyed."

    The country has close to three men on Facebook for every woman, according to consultancy We Are Social. In most other parts of the world the ratio is about one to one.

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!

In obsessing about New York and San Francisco, we're ignoring the real rental crisis

    In September 2015, I hopped off a plane at LAX and made my way to an Airbnb on Los Angeles' Westside, ready to begin a new life as a UCLA graduate student.

    I had booked that room for a week and didn't expect I'd need it for much longer. I was armed with an extensive list of open apartments around the city, landlords' contact information, a couple of sublet agreements I'd already reviewed and the confidence of a New York City transplant. "I've found apartments in the most brutal market in the country," I thought to myself. "How bad can this be?"

    Five months and five apartments later, my interest in America's "housing crisis" was no longer academic.

    It's easy to read horror stories from New York and San Francisco -$6,000 a month for a 1BR, obscene fees paid to do-nothing brokers, apps that force apartment-hunters to outbid other tenants in real time - and assume that the housing crisis is something that can be avoided simply by not living in New York or San Francisco.

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!

Here's why Democrats helped raise money to reopen the GOP's firebombed N.Carolina office

    Early Sunday morning, unknown arsonists firebombed a Republican headquarters in Orange County, North Carolina, for undetermined reasons. By Sunday evening, Republican nominee Donald Trump had blamed the bombing on Democrats representing Hillary Clinton, and by 9 p.m. that night, more than 500 Democrats and independents had exceeded the $10,000 goal of the online campaign we had started to fund the reopening of the office within 45 minutes of setting it up. That the project took off so quickly says something hopeful in a season unused to such news.

    My name was on the GoFundMe account, but the project -- inspired by a tweet by Zeynep Tufekci, who suggested Democrats should lend an office to the Republicans -- was the work of a few friends who put it together. However, the effort truly belongs to the 520 people who contributed.

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!

Don't blame the robots! An interview on manufacturing, automation, and globalization with Susan Houseman.

    Susan Houseman is a senior economist at the Upjohn Institute in Michigan. I've followed her work on employment trends, especially in manufacturing, for years, and wanted to share some of her recent findings that struck me as particularly germane at this point in time.

    Q: This election has clearly elevated the view that our manufacturing sector, and the families and communities that have historically depended on it, has been hurt by trade. A countervailing view says it's not trade, it's automation that's responsible for large-scale job losses. You've recently updated your work ["Is American Manufacturing in Decline?," October 2016] on this question. Does productivity in the manufacturing sector support the automation story?

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!

Can we please just fast-forward to Election Day?

    Make it stop. Won't somebody, please, make it stop?

    I realize my plea is in vain. We have three more weeks of this appalling spectacle in which a ridiculous comic-book villain -- a cross between the Joker and the Penguin -- is trying his best to destroy American democracy. Yes, Donald Trump, I'm talking about you.

    Three weeks. That's normally the blink of an eye, but the time between now and Election Day yawns like an eternity. How many new outrages will test our capacity to be outraged? How many more quisling Republicans will stand before microphones and pretend their party's nominee for president is fit for the office? How many early-morning tweetstorms will a certain set of unusually short fingers unleash upon a weary and anxious nation?

    Look, I happen to believe Hillary Clinton would be a good president. You may disagree, but no one seriously doubts her ability to do the job. By contrast, does anyone really believe it would be safe, let alone wise, to put someone as impulsive and thin-skinned as Trump in command of the most powerful military machine the world has ever known? The thought would be laughable if it were not so frightening.

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!

Better housing policy could save us all money. Why are we ignoring it?

    The Washington Post asks policy experts: What strategies should the next president pursue to make housing more affordable?

    Housing for America's lowest-income families rarely ever makes the front page and has been noticeably absent from both candidates' stump speeches. Yet 81 percent of respondents in a recent MacArthur Foundation poll said housing affordability is a problem in America, and 63 percent said presidential candidates aren't paying enough attention to the issue.

    Housing is both a cost-saving safety net and a platform for individuals and families to improve their health, education and economic outcomes. When people cannot afford housing, it undermines families' ability to reach the next rung on the economic ladder and prevents older adults from aging safely and securely.

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!

As a black man, I've suffered microaggressions. I shouldn't talk about them.

    "Hunt isn't one of us."

    Rico, a black friend of mine, said those words about me behind my back. To him, I wasn't authentically black. I grew up in too nice of a neighborhood around too many white people. My family was picture perfect, and I'd never been involved in a street fight.

    Like many middle-class black children, I tried to defend my blackness. I related how my car was once vandalized with racial slurs and how I had to deal with ignorant comments from white peers almost every day. But to my disappointment, Rico - who had grown up in a lousy neighborhood in Detroit - laughed off my tales of suburban oppression. Looking back on it, I realize that in my adolescent quest for identity, I tried to inflate my minor irritations to part of the same story as Rico's loss of friends and family members to bullets, knives or addiction.

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!

Arsonist Donald Trump wants to torch our democracy. He will fail.

    Donald Trump once again escalated his "rigged election" rhetoric at a rally in Wisconsin last night, and many observers are now warning that if he keeps it up, the smooth functioning of our democracy could be undermined, not just by lack of voter confidence in the integrity of the outcome, but also by outright disruptions on election day.

    This is a bit like warning that an arsonist may end up succeeding in reducing his target to ashes.

    It is now becoming clear that the prospect of undermined public faith in the election's integrity, and even disruptions on election day, is not an unintended byproduct of Trump's snowballing claims of a rigged election. Rather, making these things happen is very likely the explicit goal of those claims.

    In Wisconsin, Trump again alluded to a plot to "rig the election at the polling booths":

    "People that have died 10 years ago are still voting. Illegal immigrants are voting," Trump said. "So many cities are corrupt, and voter fraud is very, very common."

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!

October 21st

How the Committee to Protect Journalists broke its own rule to protest Trump

    For decades, Sandra Mims Rowe was a rigorous newspaper editor who demanded deep reporting from the journalists she led. Her newsrooms in cities including Norfolk and Portland, Ore., won awards -- and respect - because she pushed for greater truths.

    So it's not surprising that Rowe would do the same when an idea surfaced at the Committee to Protect Journalists, where she has been board chairwoman for five years.

    The idea: CPJ should break its own tradition of never getting involved in politics -- in the United States or anywhere else. This admirable organization, with its global mission of keeping journalists from being jailed or killed, would make a strong statement against Donald Trump on First Amendment grounds.

    "What was the evidence that Trump was a threat to press freedom?" she wanted to know. The evidence, delivered in a staff memo, was overwhelming. It made the case that Trump not only despises journalists -- "scum," he calls them, and "corrupt" -- he has no understanding or respect for the role they play in our democracy. He has repeatedly stated that he wants to change the laws that allow journalists to do their jobs.

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!