Archive

November 17th, 2015

No city is safe while the war is on in Syria

    Although many details concerning the attacks that killed more than 120 people in Paris on Friday night remain unknown, Islamic State appears to have claimed responsibility. France and all other countries taking part in the Syrian conflict should keep in mind Russia's recent experience with this kind of terrorism: It won't cease until the epicenter is dealt with.

    French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday morning that the attacks were "an act of war" carried out by a jihadist "army." That may be true in a sense, even if it turns out that some of the attackers were untrained or French residents or citizens (eyewitnesses who saw attackers fire randomly into the crowd at the Bataclan concert venue said they spoke French without a foreign accent).

    Four of the eight known attackers -- three in the vicinity of Stade de France, where the French soccer team was playing Germany, and one on Boulevard Voltaire -- blew themselves up without causing any major damage. Only one civilian casualty was attributed to these botched attacks.

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!

2016 election could be shattering for Republicans

    Election Day 2016 will produce a shattering crash larger than anything the pundits anticipate because the revolutionary economic and social changes occurring in the United States have now pushed both the burgeoning new majority and the conservative Republicans' counterrevolution beyond their tipping points.

    The United States is being transformed by revolutions remaking the country at an accelerating and surprising pace. Witness the revolutions in technology, the Internet, big data and energy, though just as important are the tremendous changes taking place in immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the family, religious observance and gender roles. These are reaching their apexes in the booming metropolitan centers and among millennials.

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, the doctor, saved my daughter's life, but as president might put others' in jeopardy

    I spoke to Dr. Ben Carson this month. Well, actually, his warm, self-assured voice spoke to me, in a campaign robo-call, to tell me everything he is eager to do for the country. I was surprised; I don't get many fundraising calls from Republicans, living as I do in the deep-blue suburbs of Washington. I wondered if he remembered me: the woman in the hallway outside the operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the one who grabbed his hands and kissed them when he told me the tumor was removed and my 10-year-old daughter would be just fine.

    But that probably happened to him a lot, with so many parents eternally grateful for his gifted hands and his lifesaving medical talents. On his recorded call, he promised to turn his talents toward what ails the United States; from saving the economy to stopping terrorists and - "for heaven's sake!" - repealing "Obamacare so you can make your own health-care choices."

    I'm glad he called. I've wanted to talk to him about exactly this for eight years. Because Ben Carson the doctor saved my daughter's life, but now I worry that Ben Carson the president could put others' lives in jeopardy.

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!

Doctor reflects on health care in 15-minute doses

    I have 15 minutes. I'm generally not happy that, as an internist who works for a large medical group (and most now do), I'm instructed to conform to this assigned length for visits with my patients. Being told to arrive at 2:45 p.m. makes it clear to patients that every doctor-hour is broken into quarters. But the pressure to keep to the time limit is felt primarily by the doctor, who must stick to the schedule or expect the 3 p.m. patient to come in unhappy about the wait.

    A patient in any medical practice rightly wants the visit to take as long as is reasonably required. A healthy 25-year-old with a sore throat is thrilled to be out of my office in less than 10 minutes, after a focused exam and a culture. Most patients, though, don't present a single problem that can be addressed with a targeted answer. The 15-minute visit shortchanges those patients while frustrating the doctors who want to help make them well.

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 the old get richer, the young get poorer

    Forget the Marxist adage about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The emerging divide is an age-related one: The old are getting richer and the young are getting poorer.

    A recent study by Carol Graham and Julia Ruiz Pozuelo showed that in developed nations, the U-curve of lifetime happiness bottoms out earlier than in poorer ones. In the U.K. and Denmark, for example, the nadir comes at 44. By 70, people in these countries are as happy again as they were at 30 and things only get better as they get older.

    There can be any number of reasons for that, ranging from antidepressant use to late-life work that's done for pleasure more than anything else. One down-to-earth explanation, though, is the growing intergenerational wealth divide. Financial security in advanced societies appears to increase with age.

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!

Training could prevent police from shooting your dog for no reason

    Dutchess, a 2-year-old rescue dog belonging to a family in Florida City, Florida, had always been affectionate and curious. So on a recent Tuesday, when a police officer approached the home to notify the family that their car door was open, she naturally bounded out to greet him. But, in a moment captured by disturbing surveillance footage, as Dutchess came toward the officer, he instinctively fired three gunshots into her head. Before they even knew why the officer was there, the family was watching Dutchess bleed to death a few feet from their front door.

    Dutchess's owners are still grieving the loss of their dog, who used to sleep in bed with their 8-year-old son, and are stunned by the turn of events. "All she would have done was put some slobber on his shoes," says Gillian Palacios.

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!

It's not about free speech

    The mid-20th-century gains of the civil rights movement rested on an implicit bargain: The pursuit of equality in civil and political rights could be advanced only at the expense of the pursuit of social equality. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, for instance, included an exemption for private clubs protecting them from the requirements of non-discrimination law. That bargain holds no longer. That is the fundamental meaning of this week's events at the University of Missouri and Yale University.

    The issues of free speech matter, too, but they are leading people in the wrong direction, away from the deepest issue. A recent University of Chicago report on free speech gets it right: "The University's fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed." This idea protects not only those who wish to wear blackface for Halloween but also those being skewered in the media for having called for the resignation of specific institutional leaders. On this subject, I would say, there's little to see here. Move along.

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!

Black, white, young, old - all are convinced someone else has seized power

    The kids feel powerless. At Yale University, they suffer racial slights, real and imagined, and learn a lesson reliably taught to strivers of every generation: You can reach the heights without ever finding the little door that leads to the center of things.

    At the University of Missouri, where blacks are 8 percent of the student body, one percentage point less than at Yale, there's less ivy to camouflage the hurts. When you find a picture of a lynching tacked to your dorm room, the aggression doesn't qualify as "micro."

    The adults, too, feel powerless. In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, they agree, by a 54-41 landslide, that "the economic and political systems in the country are stacked against people like me." It's even worse for the old and white and conservative.

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 Republicans would really run the Fed

    What will Republicans do about monetary policy if they win the presidency?

    Answer: We really don't know. This isn't like taxes and the budget, where they have a clear position and a history of following through.

    Based on what their candidates say in presidential debates, Republicans are now the party of tight money. Inflation, they say, is an enormous threat, and the Federal Reserve's policy of keeping interest rates low and pumping money into the economy risks disaster.

    Many GOP candidates say inflation is already strong, despite all evidence to the contrary. Rand Paul in the Fox Business Network debate referred to people hit hard "as your prices rise or as the value of the dollar shrinks." In the CNBC debate, Ted Cruz cherry-picked a few items that have risen in price and concluded that "loose money is one of the major problems." He claimed that the gold standard produced "booming economic growth and lower inflation than we have had with the Fed now."

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 Missing Link

    What is it that the conservatives don't understand about the lack of sexual education and the connection with the continuing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? I suppose it is the same blindness as their opposition to contraception and the connection to abortion. It is just the missing link in their thinking, if one can call it thinking.

    What I find even more questionable is how the society can market so many items saturated in sex appeal and yet be so squeamish about teaching healthy sex. Every day magazines and newspapers publish advertising designed to catch one's attention and then we are surprised when it actually does that.

    We keep the excitement of sex constantly before our youth and are then surprised when they respond. We add to the excitement when we then say, "No, no not for you." The forbidden, no matter what the subject, has always carried a certain amount of enticement. Add mysterious and the results should not surprise us.

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!