Online Opinion Outpost: April 7, 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.

Obama’s Iran deal
The Washington Post

The “key parameters” for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program released Thursday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration. None of Iran’s nuclear facilities — including the Fordow center buried under a mountain — will be closed. Not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled. Tehran’s existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be “reduced” but not necessarily shipped out of the country. In effect, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, though some of it will be mothballed for 10 years. When the accord lapses, the Islamic republic will instantly become a threshold nuclear state.
That’s a long way from the standard set by President Obama in 2012 when he declared that “the deal we’ll accept” with Iran “is that they end their nuclear program” and “abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” Those resolutions call for Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium. Instead, under the agreement announced Thursday, enrichment will continue with 5,000 centrifuges for a decade, and all restraints on it will end in 15 years.


‘The Daily Show’s’ missed opportunity
Gene Seymour, CNN

As a person-of-color, African-American, veteran minority journalist and longtime enthusiast of all things “Daily Show,” I am of course as happy, proud and thrilled as the wife of a successful Apollo astronaut over the impending ascension of Trevor Noah, the biracial comedian from South Africa, to Jon Stewart’s anchor chair on what’s believed by many to be the most trusted half-hour of news and information in America.
As a person who believes in fair play and equal opportunity for all, I am also moved to wonder when a woman will get the chance to preside over a talk show after sunset?


Indiana’s backlash
Emmett Rensin, USA Today

When Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signed SB101 into law last week, he likely didn’t mean to demonstrate that Adam Smith was wrong. It’s a shame. There are a thousand ways to quietly avoid doing business with gays if you don’t want to, all perfectly legal in all 50 states.
That satisfaction has come with consequences. Outrage across media digital, traditional and social has led to calls for Pence’s resignation. Businesses have begun looking for real estate in more tolerant climes. Consumers and conventioneers across the country are vowing boycotts of Indiana goods. Even NASCAR has declared its discontent.


The Los Angeles Times

Californians are almost certainly going to vote in 2016 on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. And according to the most recent polls, a majority of voters now support that goal.
But general, theoretical support may not be enough. If legalization proponents are serious about passing a ballot initiative, they’d better be sure they put forward a comprehensive, well-thought-out proposal that addresses the complex legal, societal and safety issues involved.
They’d do well to learn from earlier, half-baked marijuana measures that were either wisely rejected by the voters (such as 2010’s Proposition 19, which would have legalized the drug) or were passed, but were so poorly drafted as to cause years of confusion (such as Proposition 215, which allowed the use of medical marijuana).


College binge drinking
The Washington Examiner

“Right now, private rankings like U.S. News & World Report puts out each year…it encourages a lot of colleges to focus on ways to — how do we game the numbers?”
Many college policies, procedures and practices are designed solely to influence U.S. News rankings, not to improve education. Meanwhile, the U.S. News rankings fail to take many things into account that profoundly affect education and the overall college experience.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “college presidents agree that binge drinking is the most serious problem on campus.” NIH data underscore the fallout, noting “about 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing classes, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall.”


Root for Kentucky?
Erik Reece, The Wall Street Journal

Here’s the thing: Kentucky, as a state, has a lot of problems. There’s a heroin epidemic, the coal industry is hemorrhaging jobs because of cheap natural gas and a recent study named us the nation’s most psychologically depressed state. Which is to say: We need UK basketball, and we need it to be good.
Most things Kentucky is known for aren’t particularly good for you: coal, bourbon, tobacco, gambling. But being a UK basketball fan is a dopamine-boosting, community-building, problems-shirking great time. You get to feel good about yourself without really doing anything to deserve it. That is the beauty of sports fandom.

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