Month: March 2016

Can voters really trust Donald Trump?

To the Editor: Let’s admit it: Donald Trump has an uncanny skill for branding and marketing. How else do you explain the personality cult that has grown significantly around his campaign, except by looking at his expertise as the CEO of a notable company? He is, as are his supporters, under the impression that his success in various business ventures is proof of how he’s a winner who makes great decisions with minimal downside, yet anyone with an objective eye can see that he’s just as capable of mistakes as the rest of the imperfect human race. Granting that not all bankruptcies are the same, it is difficult to ignore the fact that Mr. Trump has, as a business executive, declared bankruptcy multiple times over the years. One on its own is easy enough to explain away, but after two a person has to wonder if perhaps the executive(s) running the company might be more foolish than they would have us believe. Trump says “our leaders are stupid,” but his own record as a businessman—his main selling point—should raise a few questions about whether he wouldn’t be yet another political buffoon whose rhetoric proves to be, in the end, nothing more than clever campaign Kool-Aid. A final note on his finances: Self-funding seems great, but to suggest it’s indicative of his sincerity is to ignore the common theme of...

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Empty promises of Trump and Sanders

By MICHAEL GERSON In a time of brushfire populism, the problem is not the populace, it is the populists who seek to lead it. The two candidates who call themselves revolutionaries—Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump—are, in fact, backward looking, intellectually timid and unresponsive to the real needs of the working and middle classes. This judgment emerges from some basic economics (bear with me). The last several decades have seen both dramatic increases in productivity and the fading of the traditional, American, middle-class dream. The globalization of labor markets (creating competition with skilled workers abroad) and new technology and automation (hollowing out whole categories of labor at home) have placed downward pressure on wages and put a relentless emphasis on acquiring new skills. If the global economy were your boss, he or she would be demanding harder work for less money while making you go to school at night. Unfortunately, this creep is actually most people’s boss, ultimately. The populists are right that important institutions have been woefully unresponsive to these changes. A recent Casey Foundation report found that 82 percent of African-American and 79 percent of Latino fourth-graders are reading below proficient levels. How are they being prepared for the new economy? Nearly 10.2 million young people in America are not in school or in the workplace. How did they fall between the sidewalk cracks of American life? Colleges...

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Time to stop clock-changing madness

A couple of weeks have passed since we were put upon again by this mindless moving of our clocks ahead in spring and back in the fall. Everyone who survived can forget about it for awhile. Rather than resign to daylight saving time, I argue, the best response to this matter is to ask: Why do we continue this truly unnecessary interruption among so many other interruptions that we must put up with in modern times, when most of us would prefer our lives to be more simplified? My effort? A request of Senator Kim Thatcher that she ask for a bill to end the abomination of daylight saving time in the legislature’s hopper two sessions past. It got a hearing, although, the only legislator who showed up for it was Thatcher, the room for it otherwise serving to represent zero interest in something that every Oregonian with whom I’ve discussed the subject has wished this imposition would be sent to the dustbin of history.  Before the recent session, I asked the new guy, Representative Bill Post, if he’d help me during the short session.  But this matter, he reported, was not among his priorities. Silly me, I thought representatives represent. Is this just another good news, bad news story? Daylight saving time adds an hour of light when the days get longer, as though people in huge numbers...

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“The Charm Bracelet” by Viola Shipman

“The Charm Bracelet” by Viola Shipman c.2016, Thomas Dunne Books $25.99 / $29.99 Canada 298 pages BOOK REVIEW by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER The jewelry you wear tells a story. A ring on your left hand, third finger, says to the world that you stood up once and vowed to love and honor. A brightly-colored stone says you were born in a certain month. Sparkles around your neck might tell of a vacation, an apology, or a whim, and in the new book “The Charm Bracelet” by Viola Shipman, the tales of three women are told by the jewelry on their wrists. For every milestone day that Lolly Lindsay had, she received a special gift. Her mother started the tradition by giving Lolly a charm for her bracelet one birthday; that charm, like each to come, signified a dream or a wish, and was accompanied by a special poem meant to remind Lolly that she was loved. Over the years, the bracelet became heavy with metal and memories – the summer before her mother died, the boy she grew up to marry, the best friend she cherished – and when she had a daughter, Lolly started the tradition with her own little girl. Always a pleaser, Arden was exasperated with her mother. Even as a child, she was embarrassed by Lolly’s free-spiritedness, her sense of style, and by Lolly’s idea of...

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