Online Opinion Outpost: Oct. 7, 2014


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.


Hong Kong’s protests
Frida Ghitis, CNN

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong know that taking on the Chinese government has never been an easy task. Their chance of success gets worse by the day. There are signs that this could end badly.
China’s Communist Party is sending clear messages that it has no intention of yielding to the protesters’ demands, warning of “unimaginable consequences” if the protests don’t end soon.
The worst case scenario is that these peaceful and highly disciplined protesters could end up crushed by the Chinese regime just as their predecessors were in 1989 at Tiananmen. Yes, the arc of history tends to bend toward justice, but the conditions and timing have to be right.
If it’s any consolation, this moment is not lost. The times are tough for democratic revolution, but history really is on the side of protesters. As Hegel said, history steadily brings the awareness of one’s freedom, followed by its realization. Hong Kong is gaining that awareness. But achieving true democracy will take longer.


Secret Service
Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post

Let me offer some advice.
Begin with the obvious: This case showed the world that the White House is vulnerable. Think of all the people who might want to harm the president of the United States or deface a building that symbolizes our democracy. Imagine what might have happened if there had been a half-dozen intruders coming over the fence simultaneously.
The wrought-iron fence in front of the White House is only 7 feet 6 inches high. It should be replaced with a new fence around the whole complex.
The new barrier could easily be designed to deny would-be climbers the footholds and handholds necessary to make it over. But it should be an elegant, black, wrought-iron fence with enough space between the bars to retain a feeling of access and openness — the sense that this is, truly, the people’s house. Setting up pedestrian checkpoints to cordon off the whole area would be a tragic and needless surrender.
Also, and it seems ridiculous to have to say this, the front door of the White House should be locked. At all times. Even if all the locking and unlocking is inconvenient for those who live and work there.


Israeli housing project
The New York Times

In what has become a depressingly familiar routine, Israel has given final approval for construction of 2,610 housing units in geographically sensitive parts of East Jerusalem that will make it harder, maybe impossible, to reach a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
These decisions inevitably raise tensions between Israel and its main ally, and did so again this week.
Mr. Netanyahu blamed the Israeli group, Peace Now, for trying to sabotage the White House meeting with Mr. Obama by calling attention to an official notice from the Israeli government approving the housing project. But the problem is not the disclosure but the fact of the project itself. Building those units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamatos would create a continuum of Jewish settlements, blocking Palestinian neighborhoods in South Jerusalem from Bethlehem and the rest of the West Bank where Palestinians hope to establish a state.


Ebola in Texas
USA Today

When Thomas Eric Duncan walked into a Dallas emergency room last week, he might as well have been wearing a sign shouting: “Ebola.” He had flown in from virus-ravaged Liberia. He told a nurse where he was from. He was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Everything hospitals have been warned to watch for.
Yet, he was examined, given some antibiotics and sent home — only to return by ambulance three days later, deathly ill with the nation’s first reported case of Ebola.
Poor communications are a common problem in hospitals, which use wristbands and other measures to avoid problems. But the Dallas experience ought to prompt every hospital administrator to develop surefire systems tailored to Ebola. Impressive-sounding federal strategies to fight Ebola won’t mean much if front-line health professionals don’t follow them.
People boarding planes in West Africa are now routinely checked for fever and must answer written questions about whether they have been in contact with Ebola. This is far from foolproof: What’s needed are layers of protection, but customs officials at ports of entry in the U.S. have not added any special screening for travelers coming from West Africa. Since Wednesday, they’ve been handed informational “tear sheets” — a transparently inadequate step that is matched by failings elsewhere in the system.

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