Archive

June 4th, 2016

Trump's rolling bluster

    Donald Trump looked like a fool and a fraud on Sunday. But what else is new?

    Even the most ardent Trumpistas would have to admit that Trump's appearance at the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally was, as spectacles go, pretty pathetic. It was supposed to be a vast, multitudinous gathering on the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial, one of the greatest and most historic public spaces in the nation. Instead, Trump drew a paltry crowd estimated by organizers at perhaps 5,000.

    As Trump might say in a late-night tweet: "Sad!"

    The presumptive Republican nominee cut a ridiculous figure, sporting a red "Make America Great Again" baseball cap to guard against rogue breezes that might unhinge his comb-over. He lamented the attendance: "I thought this would be like Dr. Martin Luther King, where the people would be lined up from here all the way to the Washington Monument, right?"

    Wrong. So very, very wrong.

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 Labels, Better Food

    Food labels are changing.

    In the past, you could only see how much total sugar was in your food. That included sugars naturally occurring in healthy, whole foods — like lactose in milk — alongside extra sugars like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, which aren’t so healthy.

    But the Food and Drug Administration just announced that in the near future, labels will specify the amount of added sugars in packaged products. That makes it easier to spot the sugars you should limit in your diet.

    Will this change America’s eating habits and health for the better? I hope so.

    But it might not.

    The new labels could benefit consumers in two ways. First, and perhaps most obviously, health-conscious eaters may read the labels and select healthier food choices. That would be welcome.

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!

Building Children’s Brains

    First,  a quiz: What’s the most common “vegetable” eaten by American toddlers?

    Answer: The french fry.

    The same study that unearthed that nutritional tragedy also found that on any given day, almost half of American toddlers drink soda or similar drinks, possibly putting the children on a trajectory toward obesity or diabetes.

    But for many kids, the problems start even earlier. In West Virginia, one study found, almost one-fifth of children are born with alcohol or drugs in their system. Many thus face an uphill struggle from the day they are born.

    Bear all this in mind as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump battle over taxes, minimum wages and whether to make tuition free at public universities. Those are legitimate debates, but the biggest obstacles and greatest inequality often have roots early in life.

    If we want to get more kids in universities, we should invest in preschools.

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!

June 3rd

Clinton Should Have Exposed Sanders When She Had The Chance

    Here's my basic problem with Bernie Sanders. To put it bluntly, once a Trotskyite, always a fool. Personal experience of '60s-style left-wing posturing left me allergic to the word "revolution" and the kinds of humorless autodidacts who bandy it about. The Bernie Sanders type, I mean: morally superior, never mistaken and never in doubt.

    I'll never forget the time in 1970 that several "radical" colleagues my wife had invited for dinner denounced our record collection as racist. Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Flatt & Scruggs. Never mind that we also owned B.B. King, Lightnin' Hopkins, Beethoven and British rock albums. A taste for country music made us, pardon the expression, politically incorrect.

    Also professionally doomed. I needed to resign ASAP before they fired me. I had no interest in either of the academic community's ruling passions: Marxist sentimentalism or real estate.

    How Bernie missed becoming an English professor at some picturesque New England college, I cannot understand.

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!

For Billionaire Donors, Academic Integrity Comes Cheap

    First came withering hoots of laughter when the honchos of George Mason University named their law school the Antonin Scalia School Of Law — or ASSOL, for short. It was an honor Scalia might’ve merited, but very embarrassing for the university.

    Even though administrators quickly changed the name to the Scalia Law School, their embarrassment turned into shame. It turns out they’d sold the naming rights to none other than Charles Koch, a multibillionaire right-wing extremist.

    For years, Koch and other moneyed corporatists have quietly pumped millions into pseudo-academic centers on college campuses to promote their laissez-faire ideology, including a handful at George Mason itself.

    But here was Virginia’s largest public university letting the infamous Koch brother and another un-named right-winger give $30 million in exchange for branding George Mason’s law school — one of the university’s core academic institutions — with Scalia’s name.

    Students and faculty rebelled at the idea that

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!

Tightwad Trump Explodes

    Donald Trump has a simple reason for his long delay in explaining what happened to the money he raised for veterans’ charities: He didn’t want any publicity.

    “Because I wanted to make this out of the goodness of my heart,” he told a news conference in which he castigated reporters for forcing him to provide details.

    Of all conceivable explanations, “too self-effacing” ranks somewhere below “temporarily kidnapped by space aliens.” Let’s look elsewhere. The best possibilities seem to be:

    A) Cheapness.

    B) Tendency to make things up.

    C) Difficulty in getting a disorganized, minimally qualified, perpetually short-handed staff to keep track of the cash.

    Obviously, we’re going for all three.

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!

Trustworthiness remains Hillary Clinton's Achilles heel

    The long-awaited State Department inspector general's report on Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server produced no smoking gun. But it did unveil an even worse political vulnerability: her transparent dissembling.

    After months of stonewalling and insisting that she had done nothing illegal or barred by department regulations, the former secretary of state finally took refuge in saying that what she had done was "a mistake" and that in reflection she regretted the choice she had made.

    Throughout, she said, she had chosen to use the private server in her New York suburban home as a matter of convenience and never was told it was against department policy.

    While the Office of Inspector General's report made no allegation of actionable wrongdoing, it did pointedly observe that, for all of her claims that she was being forthcoming, she twice "declined OIG's request for an interview," as did two key staff aides.

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!

Vote comes down to liar vs. liar

    If the delegate forecast holds steady, Americans choosing their next president will pick between two known liars in November.

    Donald Trump lies flamboyantly on a wide range of subjects, from his net worth to his business failures to his donations to veterans. He lies so often and so casually that it barely rates a headline anymore.

    Hillary Clinton's style of lying is more calculated and nuanced, but we got a peek last week from the State Department's inspector general. He issued a blunt, damaging report about her controversial use of private emails while she was secretary of state.

    The report didn't accuse Clinton of recklessly sharing classified information, but she was called out for lying on a key point. Ever since it was revealed that she'd used a private email server and a personal email account for official communications, Clinton has insisted that the State Department had "allowed" or "permitted" her to do that.

    Not true, according to Inspector General Steve Linick.

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!

Is the GOP losing its religion?

    In American politics, where has God gone?

    Of course this is an inadequate way of posing the question. God is always present for believers, even if the political workings of the divine can be hard to discern. And religious people continue to occupy points all along the spectrum. Just ask Hillary Clinton about her Methodism.

    But especially among Republicans, religious issues have taken a back seat in the party's discourse and religious leaders are playing a diminished role in the 2016 campaign.

     This was not how things started. Many had the remarkable experience during the primaries of hearing Ted Cruz declare to his followers: "Awaken the body of Christ that we might pull back from the abyss." You can't get much more religious than that.

    But Cruz failed to awaken and unite religious conservatives, a reason why Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee. The split this year among conservative evangelicals was profound.

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!

Would you buy a used car from this man?

    Should we be surprised? It turns out Donald Trump was not telling the truth after all, last January 28, when he bragged about having raised $6 million for veterans that evening in a campaign rally he staged in Des Moines, rather than attend a Fox News GOP debate scheduled for the same evening.

    Ever since then, reporters have been asking two questions: How much money was actually raised? And which veterans' organizations received it? This week, we finally got the answers: $5.6 million, split among 41 groups. But most of the money was raised, not in January, but in May, once the Washington Post reported that it looked like Trump was reneging on his deal. In fact, several checks, including Trump's own check for $1 million, were not written until May 24, one week before his news conference.

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!