morning opinion digest

Fed stays the course, GOP hunger games, and more

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Check out five opinions trending online, from a warning on personalized medicine to a clouded moral view in “Black Mass.”

1. The Fed, front and center The US Federal Reserve bank did not raise interest rates on Thursday, as many expected, but the bank needs to show it is in command at some point, write the editors of BloombergView in an editorial.

“And there is this: The financial world is hungry for leadership, and a dysfunctional Congress has failed to provide it. The central bank needs to be in command – and be seen to be in command. Any suspicion that it’s dithering is dangerous. The Fed was not without reason to stay the course. The recent stock-market corrections have reduced demand: They amount to a financial tightening in their own right. Consumer confidence, a good indicator of future demand, has fallen. Dig deeper into the unemployment figures and there’s a bit more slack than the headline rate suggests. That’s why there’s little sign yet of mounting wage pressure. Core inflation is still below target, and expectations of inflation are also low.”Read more.


2. Republican hunger games The GOP hunger games have only just begun, writes Brian Beutler for the New Republic.

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“We won’t know whether the second GOP presidential debate had a meaningful impact on the primary campaign for several days, when a fresh set of polls captures its impact on public opinion. But it seemed to reveal something that should alarm Republicans: In addition to the fact that they have no obvious candidate to consolidate behind, the fractured field is leaving each favored contender vulnerable to other dark horses who are happy to maul and obstruct them.” Read more.

3. Ticking clock There is a fine line between caution and overblown panic, and the Irving, Texas, school district just crossed it, writes the editorial board of the LA Times.

“There is a line between acting out of an abundance of caution and entering the theater of the absurd. Authorities in Irving, Texas, appear to have barreled across that line this week when they mistook a student-made clock for a fake bomb and marched a handcuffed 14-year-old freshman, Ahmed Muhamed, out of school and into juvenile detention.” Read more.

4. Cautionary note on personalized medicine In a rush to use personalized cancer drugs, doctors have gotten ahead of the science, writes Asher Mullard for the British science journal Nature.


“As the costs of genetic sequencing fall, oncologists are starting to prescribe expensive new drugs that target the genetic profiles of their patients’ tumours, even when those treatments have not been approved for the particular cancer involved. But such ‘off-label’ use is running ahead of the state of scientific knowledge, suggests the first randomized clinical trial to test the idea. The study, published in Lancet Oncology, found that using personalized cancer drugs off-label provides no benefit over conventional chemotherapy.” Read more.

5. Cloudy “Black Mass” No moral truth emerges in the movie “Black Mass,” and the end result is not only unsatisfying cinematically, but unfair to Whitey Bulger’s victims, writes reporter David Boeri, who covered Bulger for decades.

“The story is told here through a series of grisly murders. The victims come and then go as if they are props, with little to no character development or reason for us to care about them. In contrast, the movie presents Bulger as someone who loves his mother and his son and treats old women well — as if that makes him complicated. The families of his victims, who the Department of Justice has already treated so shabbily, will take little comfort in the brief and unconvincing moments designed to show Bulger’s lapses into humanity.” Read more.

Ellen Clegg is Editorial Page editor of The Boston Globe. To suggest a publication or topic for review, e-mail ellen.clegg@globe.com.