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home : opinion

Quality of life includes sustainable economic growth
Chelan County Public Utilities officials have been on tour around the county seeking input to their strategic plan. With a powerful video narrated by a young girl, they remind us that half a century ago local people took bold action to build the dams that now provide abundant, cheap and environmentally friendly power. It's a great story of the ability of a free people to work together to build a better life for themselves and the future generations that call this place home.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 More...

Our best insurance policy
Much as we may hate to admit it and don't want to think about it, our burning of fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere increases the greenhouse effect. This results in climate change.

It costs us. Local costs include the loss of agriculture in the Yakima Valley as less summer snow melt is available for irrigation because more winter precipitation falls as rain in a warmer climate. National costs include the billions of dollars the U.S. Government spends annually on imported oil and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and the trillions of dollars of property value that will be lost as sea level rises, which is subsidized by the National Flood Insurance subsidies.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 More...
Death by government
One of Ronald Reagan's favorite aphorisms was: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

I thought about these words today when I noticed something less usual in America anymore: innovation coupled to a work ethic and a service-minded attitude. This very combination carries millions of Americans to success, or at least it used to before it got 'helped' so much by government.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, July 10, 2014 More...
It's time to give college graduates a future with freedom from debt
The U.S. Senate held a vote recently to bring up legislation allowing student debt holders to refinance old loans at lower current interest rates. The motion to debate the "Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act" (S. 2432) garnered a 56-38 majority but fell short of the 60 votes needed to open debate.

Republicans cast 37 of the 38 "no" votes. Only three Republicans joined 53 Democrats and Independents in voting to debate the bill.

For members of the college and high school classes of 2014, and for past graduates, this effort to tackle the student debt issue is sorely needed. For whether their degrees are in math, science, history or English, our graduates are coming out of college schooled in something else entirely: the crushing weight of student loan debt.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 More...
What's a negative interest rate?
The concept of negative interest rates seems so strange. Can a bank actually charge you for depositing money with them? That's not the way it's supposed to work.

Here's another way to look at it: You pay me; I'll keep your money safe. In this era of low interest rates and freaked out investors, that's essentially what savings accounts have become. When you look at it like that, it doesn't seem quite as strange.

No, your local bank isn't going to start charging you to keep money with them anytime soon. Yes, they'll continue to pay you absolutely nothing. But the European Central Bank is taking that a step further by charging a 0.10% interest rate to banks that hold money with them. The idea is simple: By charging the banks to keep their money with the ECB, hopefully the banks won't park their money there. Instead, they'll start putting that money to more economically productive things, like loaning it out.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 More...
Supreme Court takes right turn
In an amazing turn of events it appears the Supreme Court has started to come to its senses and recognize our Constitution is still an important document. Two significant decisions last week have hard line left wingers having heart palpitations.

In one case, the court reigned in the unholy alliance between public sector unions and the Democrat party in the Harris v. Quinn decision saying unions cannot collect dues from "quasi-employees." The case involved a group of home health care workers in Illinois. The "workers" were primarily family members who were being paid with Medicare funds to provide care to disabled family members. The state ruled since they were being paid with state funds they should be considered employees subject to the SEIU union contract covering health care workers and therefore subject to mandatory union dues. The "workers" objected and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 More...
Four tips for giving your pet a safe and happy July Fourth Hint: Pets and fireworks don't mix
Independence Day is all about celebration: picnics, parties, parades and, of course, fireworks. While lots of people enjoy this noisy summer holiday, it can be overwhelming for your pets, and possibly hazardous. Pets can become disoriented and frightened by the noise and commotion associated with parades and fireworks displays. In fact, so many pets are frightened and try to escape the sights and sounds of the Fourth of July that animal shelters around the nation report a dramatic increase in lost pets during the holiday.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 More...
Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 More...
Is Governor Inslee right about impact of coal exports?
Would you consider a change of 0.083 percent "unparalleled" and "significant"? Apparently, Governor Jay Inslee does.

Two weeks ago, Governor Inslee visited the Vancouver Columbian editorial board and defended his proposal to require an unprecedented level of analysis regarding proposed export terminals. His process, known as "expanded SEPA," has never been done before and would attempt to analyze the environmental impact not only of the terminal but of all the products being exported.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 More...
DC continues to fiddle while America burns
The Supreme Court in a rare unanimous decision last week said President Obama exceeded his Constitutional authority. According to a number of his critics the decision marks the thirteenth time the court has ruled Obama has exceeded his authority. But who's counting?

What prompted this latest decision was an executive order that Obama had made a "recess" appointment while the Senate was well - not recessed! Seems even his Harryness didn't agree with the President's choice on this one!

House Speaker John Boehner decided to sue Obama for executive overreach. Really? By the time the case gets to court Obama will be collecting his executive pension and working on his Presidential library.

For his part Emperor Obama accused Boehner of suing him for doing his job and blamed Republican obstruction for preventing him from helping the middle class. In other words, those citizens who voted for Republican candidates, and tea party supporters in particular, are just irrelevant subjects of the Obama realm.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 More...
Long live the death penalty!
Long live the death penalty. In fact, it's woefully underutilized. Let's expand it.

So many are the richly deserving candidates for a comprehensive death penalty that I'll not try to rank them but just name a few.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 More...
Taxpayers should be able to monitor public-employee contract negotiations.
Imagine that the governor is holding a series of secret closed-door negotiations with a company that could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer expenses. Now imagine that the same company secretly meeting with the governor is also a campaign contributor. Also imagine that the Legislature is barred from changing the details of an agreement negotiated in secret with the governor and can only vote up or down on funding the final proposal.

Sounds outrageous?

You bet! Yet that is exactly what happens each time state and local officials in Washington negotiate pay and benefits with public-employee unions.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 More...
The New Colossus
The poem written by Emma Lazarus relating to this week's article by Bill Forhan.
Thursday, June 26, 2014 More...
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
Last week I was prompted by an E-mail from a regular reader to address the issue of immigration. It's an important but quarrelsome topic that has gained new prominence recently with the flood of unaccompanied children coming across our southern border.

Our country was built not primarily by the wealthy but by the poor and disenfranchised. They risked everything to come to a new country, often half way around the globe, in order to build a new life. In their time, there was no turning back. And their stories are ones that have inspired generations of new Americans to remarkable achievements.

The American story has also inspired a world, a world hungry for the hope of freedom and opportunity.

As lifelong Americans we often are blind to the to the suffering and repression that still exists in most of the world. And in our too comfortable and sheltered corner of the world we forget that people with little hope will risk everything to have even a small piece of the magic that is America.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 More...

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