Online opinion outpost: Aug. 13


The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation. 

To read the op-eds in full, visit

A-Rod falls


Who knew A-Rod would never live up to the hype? He would never be the superstar, stand-up guy we expected. It seemed he was never able to get out from his own ego to be a consistent clutch performer. Who knew 15 years later we’d be talking about Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose in the same sentence, or debating whether the Yankees third baseman should be banned for life from baseball for taking performance enhancing drugs and trying to cover up his cheating? Maybe we just expected too much.

USA Today

The penalty, if upheld on appeal, could cost the Yankees star $33.5 million. Even so, it’s a small slice of the 10-year $275 million contract he signed in 2007, which will guarantee him $61 million even after the suspension. Contracts like that one are a potent incentive to cheat.

Ditto in the case of Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers star suspended last month for 65 games. He has $113 million left on a contract that runs through 2020.

The solution? Give MLB authority to void contracts as a penalty for using banned substances. The risk of suddenly losing so much money would alter the cheating calculus.

Los Angeles Times

Still, the scandal shows that determined cheaters can often stay a step ahead of testers, even when the regimen is as stringent as baseball’s. Some fans argue that the league should admit defeat and let the players do as they please. But that’s ridiculous. It would turn the game into a competition between doctors, not athletes, and would send a dangerous message to kids around the world, whose path to adulthood is challenging enough without steroids, human growth hormone and synthetic testosterone.

Fast food frenzy

New York Times

If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation or average wages over the past nearly 50 years, it would be about $10 an hour; if it had kept pace with the growth in average labor productivity, it would be about $17 an hour.

In contrast, the median hourly pay of fast-food workers — most of whom are in their 20s or older and many of whom are parents — is less than $9 for front-line workers and just above $9 when shift supervisors are included.

USA Today

Instead of changing laws, fast food workers should look to change corporate cultures. One idea would be to pressure fast food companies to allow tip jars, so that people who wanted to pass on more to the workers had a way to do so. (Already, many waiters and food delivery workers rely on tips.) Another way would be to encourage a formation of an organization that certified or recognized publicly fast food companies that paid their workers higher wages, so that consumers could choose to patronize the higher-paying companies more.

They dreamed a dream

Los Angeles Times

Preventing these young people from gaining legal status won’t help deter illegal immigration. All it will do is punish them for the deeds of their parents.

There are plenty of moral and economic reasons for Republicans to support the Dream Act, if they could briefly put partisanship and ideology aside.


David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, callously dismissed the Dream 9 action as a “publicity stunt” and a distraction. He also said it was unlikely that the three Dreamers who voluntarily left the United States would qualify for asylum.

So far, Leopold has been spectacularly wrong. All nine will get asylum hearings.

And the Dreamers got more warmth from Congress. Thirty-five lawmakers signed a letter asking Obama to use his discretion to release the young people from custody. The letter — signed by Reps. Mike Honda, D-California, Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, and Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, among others — describes the activists as “victims of our broken immigration policy” who “deserve to come home to the United States.”

Stark v. Cooper


We’re both in the business of turning groundbreaking discoveries in physics into something digestible for the public.

But why — besides showing off? Are we trying to atone for the stereotypes that come from The Big Bang Theory, or the simple hope that people see physicists as more Tony Stark and less Bruce Banner? Put another way, what does the public really need to know about what’s going on in the frontiers of science, and what should we tell them? … It’s absolutely vital — and very exciting — to tell the public about scientific discovery while it’s happening.

But there’s a danger as well, and that’s that we as a community don’t always make the clearest distinction between settled (or at least broadly accepted) science, and the speculation of a small, but vocal subset of physicists.


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