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home : opinion

Political science, my other favorite oxymoron
There is nothing scientific about the practice of politics. And no issue demonstrates that point more effectively than the issue of climate change.

Most of our political leaders have decided that the science is settled. The votes have been counted and we are killing the planet.

No problem, they have a solution. All we need to do is set up a new tax on carbon emissions and once again the planet will be safe from the debilitating effects of human infestation.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 More...

New Water Regs Could Drown Small Business
Three quarters of the Earth's surface is water and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems intent on regulating every last drop of it. The agency, as readers may know, has greatly expanded its authority over carbon emissions and thousands of new rules are forcing power producers to close all over the country. Now it's seeking to expand its authority under the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act, adopted by Congress more than 30 years ago, authorizes the EPA to regulate only navigable US waterways. No administration, Republican or Democrat, in the past four decades has sought to expand the federal government's regulation of water to include farmers' ponds, seasonal streams and accumulations of water that form temporarily after heavy rains. This administration, however, is determined to write new rules that would give to the EPA exactly that authority and the consequences could be severe for small business, consumers and the larger economy.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 More...
Electing the state Supreme Court by districts
When the 2014 election is certified, only one of the nine justices on the state Supreme Court will be from Eastern Washington, Justice Debra Stephens. Had she not won her election, all of the state's Supreme Court justices would be from the Puget Sound region.

When a vacancy recently came open on the court, several newspapers called on Governor Inslee to bring more regional balance to the court and select a justice from Eastern Washington. Instead he appointed Justice Mary Yu from King County.

In recent years, any Supreme Court Justices from Eastern Washington have gotten their start on the Court via an appointment. Justice Stephens was appointed by Governor Gregoire and the last justice prior to her, Justice Richard P. Guy was appointed by Governor Gardner.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 More...
Civic duty requires more
Democracy is key to the American experience. You have the right to vote, and most of you exercise that right. This gives us equal say when choosing the persons to best represent our interests.

For many of us, voting is more than a right. It's a duty. And after weeks (or was it months?) of nonstop television ads, radio clips, and mailings, we were happy get it over with. That duty has been fulfilled.

It's now time to kick back and relax until 2016, right?

Thursday, November 20, 2014 More...
Civic duty requires more
Democracy is key to the American experience. You have the right to vote, and most of you exercise that right. This gives us equal say when choosing the persons to best represent our interests.

For many of us, voting is more than a right. It's a duty. And after weeks (or was it months?) of nonstop television ads, radio clips, and mailings, we were happy get it over with. That duty has been fulfilled.

It's now time to kick back and relax until 2016, right?

Thursday, November 20, 2014 More...
The stock market is crazy
There's a very well-established economic theory that the stock market is perfectly "efficient." That means every single piece of relevant information is perfectly and immediately considered by the markets - which means stocks are properly valued at all times. In other words: The stock market is never wrong.

Here's my theory: The efficient market theory is a bunch of hooey. Exhibit #1 is the recent action of the stock market. From the middle of September to the middle of October, trillions of dollars were lost as the S&P 500 plummeted 9.8 percent, mostly because of very legitimate fears that global growth is weak.

After that painful episode, the markets promptly recovered in even more dramatic fashion and are once again pushing past record highs. You cannot convince me that any of this was based solely on any carefully calculated rationale. The only way to make sense of it is that the markets are made up of humans - and humans are crazy.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 More...
Laws with claws
Some noble posse is always declaring itself 'Mom's Against Gun Violence!' or 'Doctors Against Gun Violence', or 'Vegan LGBT Wiccan Skinheads Against Gun Violence!'. There's some new crop of such illuminati every week or every shooting, whichever occurs first.

No, I'm not making light of tragedy. I'm ridiculing these groups' self-awarded exclusivity of concern for gun violence. Like, who ... isn't ... against gun violence?

Thursday, November 13, 2014 More...
Election highlights the problem of an uniformed electorate
Following the rout by Republicans in the last election Sarah Palin said, "Now, new Republican Congressional majority in the House and Senate, please realize that Americans were not necessarily voting for any party; they were voting against the continued dysfunction and corruption in D.C."

Palin is right. Republicans must now show that they got the message and work hard to end the gridlock and move the country forward in a positive and productive way or they will face the same growing wrath of the voters who handed the Democrats a solid thumping on Nov. 4.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 More...
Letters to the Editor
Prevent a tragedy

Cold weather with varying degrees of snow, fog, and rain pose a hazard for those pedestrians trying to cross Highway 2 to access the business district, especially during "fest" times. There is one well marked and electrically activated sign posted near city hall warning of pedestrians crossing the highway. However, one sign and cross walk does not take into account careless pedestrians who cross the highway above or below this marker. Wearing dark clothing with limited visibility at night is fraught with danger.

The city council should consider adding additional pavement crosswalks between Dan' Market and the liquor store, and another between the summer goat farm and hotels/parking areas to avoid a tragedy. Although one additional crosswalk should have an electrical warning sign, city finances may not permit this construction.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, November 6, 2014 More...
Mickey Mantle and Tony Gwynn: Role models in more ways than one
I grew up watching Mickey Mantle play baseball for the East Coast, but world renowned New York Yankees. A generation later I marvelled at the batting abilities of "Mr. Padre" Tony Gwynn, a San Diego stalwart. Kids everywhere in the baseball universe admired both men as the great athletes they were. It is the "were" part that this essay is about.

One White, one Black, East Coast, West Coast, two different generations, two completely different team histories, but they had one tragic flaw in common. They were both addicted to legal drugs. The "Mick" was a fellow who enjoyed his brewsky and the stronger spirits as well. He had a career that landed him in the Hall of Fame. His liver, however, landed him on the "waiting for a donor list". Sadly, he did get his new liver, but still passed anyway. Roy Clarke sang at his funeral service "Yesterday when I was young" ... admittedly I cried, though I was around 40-years-old when it happened. The service was carried live on ESPN. Former Yankee teammate Bobby Richardson, who became a pastor, officiated at the service. I believe Bob Costas gave the eulogy. This was my boyhood surrogate dad and he was gone. Not just gone as retired and now coaching, but really gone, for good gone.

Thursday, November 6, 2014 More...
Here's another chance to vote!
It has been a month since we changed the format of our newspapers. It was a major change and even if you don't read the newspaper you must have noticed the paper is now physically smaller.

The complaints have been few in number. Most complaints were from people who perceived that we simply reduced the size of everything to fit in a smaller space. They said things like, "It is too hard to read that small print." The truth is we did not reduce the size of the type. It is the same size we have always run. As a result, you will find fewer stories fit on a page in the new format.

Thursday, November 6, 2014 More...
Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 More...
Growing opposition from Washington state sheriffs to I-594
A majority of Washington State's 39 sheriffs have come out in opposition to anti-gun Washington State Ballot Initiative 594. The sheriffs oppose I-594 because it will not make anyone safer, will strain scarce law enforcement resources, will criminalize the lawful behavior of millions of law-abiding gun owners in Washington and will be unenforceable. Instead, I-594 would vastly expand the state's handgun registry and force law-abiding gun owners to pay fees and get the government's permission to sell or even loan a firearm to a friend or family member.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 More...
Class-size initiative would not help school children


This November executives at the powerful Washington Education Association (WEA) teachers union are pushing Initiative 1351, to enact an unfunded mandate on local schools to reduce class sizes. The ballot title sounds good, but the research, and a little thought, indicates Initiative 1351 would reap a windfall for the union but do little to help children in our public schools.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, October 23, 2014 More...

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