Opinion Outpost: Sept. 22, 2015

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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.

GOP debate

So I’ve got a modest proposal for our circus-like presidential campaign. Instead of asking each candidate for scientific evidence that supports their positions, we should ask them to identify sound science that seems to run counter to these positions …

There is no serious scientific controversy about climate change, but there’s a huge political question about how to address it. And we can’t get to the actual issue unless we put aside the fake one.

-Jonathan Zimmerman, Los Angeles Times

 For the most part, Trump was Trump Wednesday night, strangely insecure but as dangerous as a schoolyard bully. Standing at center stage, flanked by five rivals on each side, he praised himself repeatedly, reminding the audience that he’s a great businessman who has “made billions and billions of dollars.” But he couldn’t resist the trash talk …

Voters might still adore Trump’s brashness and his outsider style, but his endless claims to greatness risk wearing thin.

USA Today Editorial Board

This American way of choosing a president puzzles and offend the rest of the world; even our English cousins don’t always quite get it. Politics as entertainment is an honorable relic of the early days of the republic when preachin’ and politickin’ was all there was. These “debates” are both undercard match-ups and important auditions for the donors eager to place their bets. The beat goes on.

-Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times

With so many questions calculated merely to pit other candidates against Donald Trump, they couldn’t help but have trouble emerging from the pack. But several did. We applauded John Kasich’s rebellion against the internecine format; if he was at home watching the bickering, Kasich said, he’d be tempted to turn off the TV. The American people, he said, were more interested in our enormous national debt and a host of other crucial issues.

-Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune 

With every moment that Trump is on the screen, we get a little closer to the moment when people might get sick of him being on the screen. Even Miley Cyrus probably thinks he’s overexposed. If it’s too much to expect the media to give up its Trump obsession, it can at least vow never again to ask a candidate not named Donald Trump about Donald Trump. The other contenders don’t deserve to be made bit players in a media-driven reality show.

-Rich Lowry, New York Post

Florina parried that politicians had indeed been discussing illegal immigration for at least 25 years but that nothing had been done …And that, she said, is why voters are rallying around outsiders. Because they want some things fixed. How right she is. Let us hope that one of the folks on that debate stage takes the Oval Office in 2016 and gets to work.

-Liz Peek, Fox News

American universities 

Even the data in the College Scorecard is not above criticism and needs to be understood in context. For example, median salaries of former students are worth knowing, but comparisons are risky without also knowing what students majored in and their pre-enrollment household income, among other things.

-Editorial Board, Denver Post

President Obama criticized such oversensitivity at a town hall meeting in Des Moines on Monday, saying he disagreed with college students who “have to be coddled and protected from different points of view …That’s not the way we learn.”

Supporters of such restrictions argue that they are somehow differentiating hate speech or disturbing speech from protected speech. But one of the great things about democracy is that it protects the right to speak even when the words spoken offend or hurt.

Editorial Board, USA Today

So, here’s the big idea: In order to build a 21st Century National University, all the federal government has to do is something very simple: Approve itself. In George Washington’s days, this would have been only the first step of a process subsequently involving the construction of an actual university …

Fortunately, there’s no need for new buildings — or, for that matter, administrators, libraries, faculty, and all the rest …Anyone with an Internet connection can log on to Coursera, edX, saylor.org, and many other websites offering high-quality online courses, created by many of the world’s greatest universities and taught by tenured professors, for free.

-Kevin Carey, CNN

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