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home : opinion

A shameless plug - exciting new look coming your way
I had a meeting with a young woman this week and was reminded how poorly we in the newspaper industry promote our own business. We seem to get caught up in believing that everybody knows the importance of our products and services. But with our rapidly changing media world it is just no longer true. Everyday our customers are met with messages from our competitors about how "print is dead" and how everything you need to know can be found on your smart phone, Facebook or Twitter connection.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 More...

Letters to the Editor
Thursday, August 14, 2014 More...
Is this a bubble?
As someone who frequents all kinds of financial media all the time, I see my share of financial headlines. My official, highly unscientific research study unequivocally supports the following conclusion: We've never had more headlines screaming about a stock market bubble. If those headlines are correct, and this really is a bubble about to catastrophically burst, it's not like any other bubble we've seen. Almost by definition, when the headlines are screaming BUBBLE, and everyone agrees - it's not a bubble.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 More...
Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 More...
Ahh ... Okanogan County
Ahh ... Okanogan County, so dry the salt always shakes, the sugar always pours, nothing rusts and nothing rots. 

And the place burns like Hades all summer.

This year the Beast is hungry. Ahh ... Okanogan County.

Last week, my best friend drove me to Moses Lake to get a spinal shot to relieve pain from a sciatica operation that hasn't gone well. We drove through road blinding wildfire smoke, an ash/wind storm towering 2000 feet high, and later a heavy rain storm with 50 mph winds. In one 240 mile round trip. Ahh ... Okanogan County.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 More...
Time to abolish the IRS
There is more than a "smidgen of evidence" of abuse of power at the IRS. And the stonewalling and arrogance of those being questioned should cause us all to take pause. This is clearly an agency that has out lived its usefulness.

According to The Motley Fool, the tax code is now more than 3.7 million words or the equivalent to 58 novels of average length. In 2012 the IRS processed 237 million tax filings and if you go to the IRS web site it seems there is a form for everyone. There are 1977 different tax forms you can download from that site. The code is so complex that even if the IRS gives you advice about a tax issue you cannot rely on that advice to exempt you from penalties if they later decide their interpretation was wrong.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, July 31, 2014 More...
EPA's carbon pollution rules
Some national business organizations have hammered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for proposing new rules on carbon pollution from existing power plants, cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, using 2005 levels as a baseline. What planet are they on?

It's ludicrous to pretend that climate change isn't happening, or that it won't affect every industry. It's beyond comprehension that large business advocacy organizations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, think that our government should stand by and do nothing, while climate-related disasters in 2012 caused more than $139 billion in damages, while U.S. taxpayers shelled out $96 billion in climate-related damages in 2012 alone.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 More...
Disaster Assistance and Eastern Washington Wildfires
Assistance provided to date

A proclamation of emergency for the 20 Eastern Washington Counties by Gov. Jay Inslee on July 15 ordered state agencies to assist affected communities and for that assistance to be coordinated through the State Emergency Operations Center. Assistance provided to date includes Washington National Guard helicopters for dropping water and ground troops to assist with fire-fighting and other activities to support affected communities. And acquisition of food, water, supplies, and equipment such as emergency power generators.

At the request of Gov. Inslee, President Obama on July 23 granted an emergency proclamation that provides direct federal assistance to help with emergency power generation for critical facilities. The federal government will pay up to 75 percent for eligible costs. This proclamation is limited in nature, and does not provide for assistance to people whose homes have burned, or for permanent repairs to damaged public infrastructure, for example.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 More...
Government's disaster response is - disastrous
Remember Katrina? Well, life hasn't changed much when it comes to getting help from the government. Politicians make a speech, declare an emergency and call for a study. In eastern Washington we're at the study stage - see the accompanying story submitted by the State Emergency Operations Center.

Fortunately in the meantime, neighbors and friends in North Central Washington and across the country have reached out to help. The emergency relief center is Pateros has trucks waiting in line to deliver food, clothing, generators and emergency supplies. Meals are being prepared and people are working around the clock to do whatever needs to be done.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 More...
Supreme Court ruling may strike down Washington state law
By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in Harris v. Quinn that home care workers in Illinois cannot be forced to pay dues to a union they do not wish to join. Home care workers, often family members, provide in-home care for disabled people and receive Medicaid payments administered by the state.

The court ruled that Medicaid beneficiaries and others participating in state entitlement programs are not full-fledged state employees, because they are hired by individuals and work in private homes, and therefore cannot be required to pay union fees against their will.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 More...
Here's one fix for our imperfect marketplace: Paid Leave
As a business person, there is one economics lesson I learn over and over again: The marketplace is essential but not perfect.

It is not perfect in a variety of ways, but a big one is that not everyone can be a winner. 

I don't mean winner in the sense of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. Rather, a winner in the sense of middle class-with access to some discretionary income. 

There are a variety of ways to lose-and they're not all bad. The marketplace creates losers of the inefficient or passé. Or the rich who make poor investments. But some consequences are so awful, such as starvation, that we, as a society, will not accept them. So we have food stamps.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 More...
State asks if Court will fine taxpayers for McCleary response
Circle your calendars for September 3. That is the date we'll start to get a feel for if the state is on a crash course for a full-fledged constitutional crisis or if the respective branches of government will respect the separations of power. The first attempt to back of the current dangerous path was filed last Friday when the state submitted its brief arguing against several proposals to hold the state in contempt concerning its response to the McCleary school funding lawsuit.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 More...
Fire on the mountain creates mountain of need
Fire is an ever present danger here in Eastern Washington and last week we were reminded once again just how sudden and devastating it can be.

Our friends and neighbors in Pateros and Brewster will never be the same after last weeks firestorm wiped out entire neighborhoods in those communities. The good news is no one died. The bad news is many are now homeless.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 More...

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