Archive

April 15th, 2016

Maryland's Donna Edwards would be a voice for black women and single moms in Senate

    The Democratic primary for Maryland's open Senate seat has gotten hotter than a steaming tray of Chesapeake blue crabs. And what's at stake is about much more than the people of Maryland.

    The race pits an outspoken 57-year-old African American woman, Rep. Donna Edwards, against a progressive 57-year-old white man, Rep. Chris Van Hollen. And it raises issues of parity and equality, and the very nature of American legislative representation. It's about race and gender in American politics. It's about a looming question in this election season as Hillary Clinton makes her historic run for the presidency: Do you vote for someone because of gender?

    Edwards, who lives in Prince George's County and represents the 4th Congressional District, is running hard for the seat opening up because of the retirement of the Senate's longest-serving woman, Barbara Mikulski, D.

    And if Edwards were to win the Democratic nomination on April 26, and then the Senate seat in November (almost a given in deep blue Maryland), she'd make history as only the second African American woman to serve in the chamber.

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 Trump a 'choke artist'? Continuing unforced errors bode poorly for his hopes in a contested Republican convention.

    Donald Trump loves to call Mitt Romney "a choke artist" because he could not beat Barack Obama in 2012.

    But Rick Santorum dropped out of the Republican race four years ago Sunday, effectively giving Romney the nomination.

    At this point, in the best case scenario for Trump, he'll maintain his lead but not secure the 1,237 delegates needed to become the GOP's standard bearer until June 7, when California and New Jersey hold primaries.

    In "The Art of the Deal," Trump emphasized the importance of closing the sale. "You can't con people, at least not for long," he wrote in 1987. "You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on."

    Once again, Trump struggled last weekend to deliver the goods. And often it was attributable as much or more to his own campaign's organizational failures than to Ted Cruz being a brilliant tactician.

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 not to squander this anti-establishment moment

    The current campaign is in no small part fueled by an anti-establishment fervor born of deep dissatisfaction with established Washington politics and the failure of policymakers to address the real economic concerns of the broad middle class. On the right, majorities have soured on tax cuts for the rich and "free trade" as the way to raise their living standards; on the left, Bernie Sanders's followers are fed up with incrementalism and want to leapfrog the current system to a much more interventionist model of social policy than we've had in this country.

    While my own positions differ from these, I still think this anti-establishment movement makes great sense, has been a long time coming, and could and should be a valuable force in the American political economy. But that energy is also at risk of being squandered.

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!

Clinton-Sanders brawl could spur reforms in the Democratic nominating process

    Over the weekend, Bernie Sanders emphatically declared that there's still plenty of time to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning a majority of pledged delegates, and hinted that if so, he might move to extract concessions from her at a contested convention. That actually could happen, since Sanders has the money to keep on going until the last votes are cast.

    If so, here's one way this could end: Sanders could demand concessions in the form reforms to the Democratic nominating process. That's something voting reformers (and a lot of Sanders supporters) would be very grateful to see happen -- and it would make sense, given that one of the big stories of the Sanders challenge is that it has exposed a number of flaws with that process.

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!

Why dress codes can't stop sexual assault

    When news broke that Deputy Principal Cherith Telford at Henderson High School in New Zealand told female students that their uniform skirts must be knee-length to "keep our girls safe, stop boys from getting ideas and create a good work environment for male staff," reactions were mixed. Singer Erykah Badu felt that the girls had no business wearing skirts that stopped above their knee to school, while actress Reagan Gomez argued that it wasn't the responsibility of the girls to avoid being a temptation to grown men.

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!

April 13th

Common Core says to delay algebra to high school; that may be a miscalculation.

    I once lived in Scarsdale, N.Y., one of the most education-obsessed villages on the planet. During a big parents meeting at the public middle school, I amused myself by raising my hand and asking how they were going to decide who would be accelerated into algebra in eighth grade.

    It was an unkind and immature thing to do. As I expected, my question unleashed a wave of anxiety that forced administrators to abandon the night's agenda and deal with nothing else until we went home. In Scarsdale, as well as many parts of the Washington area, few topics grab more parental attention than middle school accelerated math.

    But now, the nation's biggest school reform, the Common Core State Standards, suggests those families restrain their ambitions and delay algebra until high school.

    How's that going?

    In the Washington area, slowly. Districts here seem reluctant to defy parental expectations. Nor are reform advocates explaining their intentions 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!

And It Is Only Mid-April!

    Elections are always contentious but this one seems particularly so and it is only mid-April. Six more months and a few more days before the election and already it seems like it has been the subject of the hour forever.

    Of course, part of what makes this election period so overwhelming is the need for material to fill the airwaves 24/7. In earlier times there was not so much ability to spread the charges and counter charges made by the candidates. With such constancy it is easy to become addicted even while complaining about the saturation.

    Nor can it be denied that controversy draws our attention more than sweetness and light. And, wow, do we ever have controversy! Granted, elections are designed to settle controversy but they usually have some positives too. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find the positive. Most assuredly the Republican side has had no positives and now the two Democratic candidates are indicating they can leave the high road behind too.

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 Senate is waiving its right to give 'advice and consent'

    On Nov. 12, 1975, while I was serving as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Justice William O. Douglas resigned. On Nov. 28, President Gerald R. Ford nominated John Paul Stevens for the vacant seat. Nineteen days after receiving the nomination, the Senate voted 98-0 to confirm the president's choice. Two days later, I had the pleasure of seeing Ford present Stevens to the court for his swearing-in. The business of the court continued unabated. There were no 4-to-4 decisions that term.

    Today, the system seems to be broken. Both parties are at fault, seemingly locked in a death spiral to outdo the other in outrageous behavior. Now, the Senate has simply refused to consider President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, dozens of nominations to federal judgeships and executive offices are pending before the Senate, many for more than a year. Our system prides itself on its checks and balances, but there seems to be no balance to the Senate's refusal to perform its constitutional duty.

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!

Shocked by the Panama Papers? Blame Switzerland

    The revelations about offshore accounts contained in the so-called Panama Papers are sensational, but they are unlikely to put an end to these tax havens favored by the world's rich and powerful.

    Rather, the disclosures are a reminder that these shelters have been around for close to a century, and have proved remarkably resilient even as they periodically aroused public outrage and calls for reform. In fact, an earlier scandal may have laid the foundation for the tax havens that are now under scrutiny.

    Switzerland has become shorthand for hidden money, and with good reason: The country has long sought to attract foreign capital to its banking system by offering a mixture of secrecy, preferential tax treatment and creative corporate structures.

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!

Damage control may rule Republican convention

    When House Speaker Paul Ryan released a video laying out his familiar theme that politics should be fought on ideas and issues, the Drudge Report's headline was: "Paul Ryan launches his first campaign ad."

    A dream of some Republicans is that Ryan will rescue them from a looming fiasco in the presidential election. That's not likely. As states assemble delegates for the party convention, there are already demands that no votes be cast for someone who didn't run.

    It would be rational to turn to Gov. John Kasich or Ryan, who might win the election, but neither the season nor the Republican grassroots reward rationality.

    If Donald Trump goes into the Republican convention with close to the 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination, it would be hard to deny him. It's more likely that he'll come in about 100 votes shy.

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!