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home : opinion

Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head on California Campuses
The Associated Students Senate at UC Davis recently voted to support an anti-Israel Boycott and call for the University to divest its financial investments in any organization that profits from Israel. Jewish students protesting the vote were met with shouts of Allahu Akbar and told to leave. Following the vote swastikas were found painted on a Jewish Fraternity House. UC Davis became the seventh of nine University of California system schools calling for sanctions against Israel. So much for tolerance and diversity.

Despite the best efforts of many leaders around the civilized world, Israel is still faced with calls for extinction from the Muslim world. Mahmoud al-Zahar, a founder of Hamas has said, "There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed to annihilation." His words continue to be echoed by Muslim leaders.

In the face if such clear intolerance it us unfathomable how any true American, be they liberal or conservative, could support any effort that could possibly weaken the ability of the Jewish people to protect and defend themselves.

One of the founding principles of this country is that all men are created equal. We have struggled with honoring that core belief in our history, but ultimately we have been willing to shed our own precious blood to sustain it. How we can defend or support any group of individuals that so blatantly make a mockery of our stated common values should be disturbing.

Another fundamental core principle we have honored from our founding is freedom of religion. The basic right of all peoples to worship, or not, without interference from the government. Honoring this principle continues to cause Americans much confusion but it has always been limited by rules that mandate we cannot use our freedom to interfere with the freedom of others. For example, many Christians abhor the practice of abortion calling it immoral. But allowing them to bomb abortion clinics or kill doctors who engage in it is not tolerated.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 More...

Letters to the Editor
Thursday, February 26, 2015 More...
Title only bill would provide every Washingtonian one free drink a week
While traveling to Olympia to testify on a bill on a holiday may not be a high priority for most Washingtonians, you may want to make an exception for next Monday. The title only bill, HB 2082 (Relating to commerce in liquor) is scheduled for a public hearing and executive action that day. Based on my best interpretation of that blank piece of legislation, it would provide every Washingtonian one free drink a week paid for by the per diem of lawmakers. Who could object to that?

You may ask how I was able to divine the real text of the title only bill realizing that there is not currently text in the proposal. Well, who's to say the bill won't eventually propose that?

In all seriousness, HB 2082 has been scheduled for a public hearing on Monday but the agenda notes that the hearing will actually be on a substitute bill and not the title only shell. Unfortunately for those deciding whether to travel to Olympia to testify on the bill, staff says the text of the substitute bill is still being drafted.

This is not the most transparent way to propose laws or involve the public in meaningful debate.

So what exactly is a title only bill?

They are essentially a blank bill with a title and a number, but with the text to be filled in later.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 More...
Eisenhower was right Beware the military-industrial complex
General Dwight D. Eisenhower became president and just before he left office he gave a farewell speech on Jan. 16, 1961 decrying the military-industrial complex. Here is an excerpt from that speech: ... "we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, ... by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

To all who read this, it has been 54 years since this historic and frank talk by the former hero of World War II warning us to be wary of the influence of politics, weapons and money on every aspect of the American way of life - "even spiritual."

Thursday, February 26, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, February 19, 2015 More...
Budget adjustments will help pay costs of fighting local wildfires
Although only one state budget is in place at a given time, the Legislature must sometimes work on two budgets simultaneously. Now is one of those times: the development of a new state operating budget for 2015-17 is under way, yet we also have to make the final adjustments to the budget for 2013-15

This year the Legislature took early action on those biennium-ending adjustments, which is good news for the north central Washington agencies that incurred costs due to this past summer's wildfires.

On Wednesday the Senate voted 46-0 in support of changes to a proposed supplemental budget (House Bill 1105) sent over to us by the House of Representatives. The Senate approach, which was endorsed by the House yesterday, draws $77 million from the state rainy-day fund to reimburse not only wildfire-fighting costs but also costs related to the Oso landslide disaster of March 2014.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 More...
Dropping The 'D'
Let's drop the 'D' from PTSD (post traumatic stress 'disorder'), because it is not a 'disorder' for anyone to be stressed by trauma. It is a normal reaction. This was called shell shock in WWII, combat fatigue in Vietnam. Modern therapists now call it a disorder, but I prefer PTS.

PTS recognition started out as a sympathetic attempt to address emotional suffering by military veterans who'd undergone horrific combat experiences, but it has morphed now, crossing to use outside military service. I'm going to stay with military PTS here, as it is limited monies available for veterans relief from PTS that concern me.

Extremes of military PTS claims are disparate.

A television ad for Wounded Warrior Project highlights a young Iraq war tank crewman (also a husband and father) who suffered such combat brain damage as to clearly no longer be in command of most of his faculties. He gets a 100 percent disability pension and medical benefits, but America will never be able to do enough for this veteran or his family.

Conversely, a military mess hall cook who admits she never heard a shot fired in anger while cooking in a secure Air Force facility in Iraq is awarded a lifetime 100 percent PSTD pension claiming she is unable to work due to the fear suffered just being in Iraq. This veteran is ripping America off, robbing from the limited money allotted to treat legitimate PTS in veterans.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 More...
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
The famous quote forming today's headline was originally penned by American philosopher George Santayana. That quote should make it a requirement that anyone aspiring to public service pass a history test. Clearly last week's news included a number of examples where just a little knowledge of the history of human experience could prevent us from repeating past mistakes.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 More...
Education funding in Washington state
A history lesson and Constitutional mandate

According to Article IX of the Washington State Constitution, the state's "paramount duty" is to provide an "ample" and "uniform" education for all children.

In 1977, Judge Robert Doran ruled that the state was in violation of the constitution because school districts were relying on local special levies to fund a large portion of the costs of the education system. The Legislature that year responded by passing the Basic Education Act, which defined what the state would pay for in terms of education and the Levy Lid Act, which limited local levies to 10 percent of a school district's budget.

Thursday, February 12, 2015 More...
Voters' demand: Lower class sizes
School Districts' dilemma:

Paying for it

Publishers note: We are dedicating most of our opinion page space this week to this important story about education funding. This news story was prepared by our Washington Newspaper Publishers Association legislative news bureau in Olympia. This issue will likely be the most important issue in front of the Legislature during this session and will affect every school district in the state. The story is only available through WNPA affiliated newspapers.

Thursday, February 12, 2015 More...
What's the deal with oil?
It has been a crazy ride for oil. Back in June, after hovering near $90 per barrel for almost two years, the price of oil started falling. In six short months, it fell more than 50 percent. Nearly everyone was surprised by this. However, here's what I wrote back in June, before all this happened: "I predict that over the next six months, oil will fall more than 50 percent."

Yes, that's a lie. I did not see this coming.

Thursday, February 12, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, February 5, 2015 More...
Ever had a 'god or goat moment?'
Imagine you're a player for one of the top American professional football teams which is playing the championship game in its league. The winner goes to the Superbowl.

I know, you're sick of hearing about football. I can relate. I can't get into quilting or baseball (too slow). Likewise mouse trap testing or hockey (too fast). But bear with me.

There are two minutes left to play in this football game. The opposing team has just scored but your team remains safely ahead. The other team must now kick the ball to your team, that your team may have possession and try to widen its lead.

Thursday, February 5, 2015 More...
Iranian general killed by Israelis
Yes, you heard right. The state of Israel fired into Lebanon and killed an Iranian general. It happened two weeks ago as Hezbollah had fired rockets into the disputed northern Israeli area bordering on Lebanon, Syria and Israel in or near the Golan Heights.

If any naysayer needs hard physical proof terrorists are being supported by Iran then surely this is it.

The Iranian general was in the Iranian so-called Revolutionary Guards faction that helps run that country and is intimately tied to the mullahs that control "Persia".

Thursday, February 5, 2015 More...
Here we go again!
The Governor has introduced a new program to save the planet, fund education, punish polluters and help reduce wildfires. It's so comforting to know we have someone like Governor Inslee looking out for us.

You know global warming - excuse me global climate change - is real. How do I know? Well, let me count the ways.

Thursday, February 5, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, January 29, 2015 More...

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