Online Opinion Outpost: March 24, 2015


The 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.

Quitting e-mail
Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post

There were a number of odd things about the Hillary Clinton e-mail debate, but to me this was the oddest: the widespread conviction that the secretary of state’s communications — personal or otherwise — would have been “safe” in the hands of the State Department. If we have learned nothing else over the past several years, surely it is that the U.S. government, while still devoted in principle to classifying a ludicrous amount of data, is in practice very, very bad at keeping secrets.
Certainly it is no longer possible to argue that information controlled by the federal government is somehow safe because the people devoted to taking care of it are determined to keep it that way.
But these spectacular stories are nothing beside the humdrum, everyday theft of data that goes on all the time.
What to do? Increasingly, the answer is going to be: Don’t use e-mail. Or at least don’t use e-mail for anything that you wouldn’t put on a postcard. And maybe don’t use e-mail for anything that you wouldn’t mind seeing published in a newspaper. Although we are used to thinking of e-mail as a “private” form of communication, it’s just become too easy to steal and will only become more so.

Forgiving Rose
Christopher Caldwell, The Wall Street Journal

On Monday, Rob Manfred, the new commissioner of Major League Baseball, got a chance to extricate his sport from a deepening moral quandary. Pete Rose, the disgraced onetime star of the Cincinnati Reds, petitioned Mr. Manfred’s office to be reinstated in the sport from which he was barred in 1989 for gambling.
Mr. Rose, 73, was the most dynamic player of the last half-century and, after that, a first-rate manager. He played more games (3,562) and got more hits (4,256) than anyone else ever.
Baseball’s Rule 21(d) is clear that those who bet on their own games “shall be declared permanently ineligible.” Mr. Rose violated that rule, though it took him years to admit it.
Mr. Rose’s punishment may have seemed logical three decades ago, in the draconian climate of “Just say no,” “Three strikes and you’re out” and the war on drugs. But in the world we now inhabit—one of steroid use and sports-sponsored gambling—it looks arbitrary and cruel, with about as much claim to our support as throwing someone in the stocks for flouting the Sabbath.


Ending abortion wars
Charles C. Camosy, The Los Angeles Times

The abortion wars have been devastating. To be sure, they have made it virtually impossible to enact policies that actually reflect the will of the people when it comes to abortion. Their toxicity also has infected other issues, from healthcare reform to Supreme Court confirmations. Even now an abortion-related squabble risks derailing an important bill protecting the victims of human sex trafficking.
Shifting politics, legal developments and, especially, changing demographics suggest that we can and must do this debate differently. Indeed, taken together, these data show that substantial changes are simply inevitable.
Two groups that represent the future of the United States — millennials and Latinos — know nothing of the culture wars.
Neither group fits comfortably with the pro-choice or pro-life camp either. While wanting legal abortion in some form, support for sharply restricting abortion is growing fastest among millennials.
A new generation is poised to reject the abortion wars in favor of a more authentic, nuanced and productive approach.


U.S. making Iraq worse
Rula Jebreal, CNN

Iraqi forces appear to be slowly closing in on an important tactical victory against ISIS. But as they press forward in their attempt to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS insurgents, there is an important question that the United States and its allies should be asking: Could this victory actually undermine the only sustainable strategy for ensuring Iraq’s stability?
The reality is that short-term tactical victories won’t be enough to defeat ISIS, especially as the reliance on Iran-backed Shiite militias is only likely to exacerbate tensions with the largely local Sunni population. Indeed, the crucial ground war component of the campaign has so far been heavily reliant on the Shiite militias, whose track record of sectarian violence is well-documented, and their involvement threatens to drive more Iraqi Sunnis into the arms of ISIS.
The reality is that ultimately, only a political deal that guarantees Iraqi Sunnis’ inclusion, equality and protection — one that is implemented by Iran and its allied Iraqi militia — can resolve the ISIS problem. And unless all of the key stakeholders are willing to negotiate a new way of living together, Iraq is likely to remain a battleground where the United States finds itself inadvertently reinforcing the problem.

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