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home : opinion

Community Letters

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 More...

Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 More...
The only thing that is constant is change
The headline is a quote of the famous Greek philosopher Heraclitus around 450 BC. More recently, the sixties folk singer Bob Dylan made his mark with the song, "The Times They Are A-Changin'."

All of our weekly newspapers have been around for over 100 years now and they must continue to evolve if they are going to be around for another 100 years.

Next month marks the fifteenth anniversary of our ownership of The Leavenworth Echo, Cashmere Valley Record and Lake Chelan Mirror. We have managed a lot of change during that time. It was just one year ago that we instituted a major redesign of our newspapers in order to make better use of our color capabilities. Many of our readers have told us they liked the new smaller format.

The problem is we are still not happy with our limited color capacity. We have spent the last year evaluating ways we can change our production system in order to increase the color capacity and quality. Our press equipment is too old and the investment required to modernize it cannot be economically justified.

Recognizing those facts we have decided to do what most other small newspapers around the country have already done. We are shutting down our press operations and outsourcing our printing to another company with the equipment and press availability we need to produce a high quality newspaper.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 More...
New state budget to spend $2.9 billion more on public schools
19 percent increase is one of largest in state history

After six months of debate, and convening three Special Sessions, lawmakers in Olympia finally reached agreement on a state budget for 2015-17. The new budget will increase spending on K-12 public schools from the current $15.26 billion to $18.15 billion, an increase of 19 percent. Lawmakers achieved this large rise in spending with the natural increase in current revenues, without imposing new taxes on Washington families and business owners.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 More...
A powerful dose of perspective
Listening to financial podcasts has become an obsession of mine. How cool is modern technology? I can mow the lawn, drive, or take a hike - and also be learning all kinds of interesting stuff about the financial world. But this isn't a column about podcasts, so I'll get to the point. On a recent hike, I was indulging on old episodes of NPR's Planet Money, and I received a strong dose of perspective. The podcast was from September 2012, and was titled "Even If You're All-Powerful, It's Hard To Fix The Economy." The Planet Money team was working with well-known economist Mark Zandi, using his "all-powerful" financial model to figure out what it would take to get the unemployment rate from 7.8%, where it was at the time, all the way down to 5% before the presidential election in 2016.

They used Mr. Zandi's financial model to make many wildly optimistic assumptions about the economy. For example, they assumed the Fiscal Cliff and the Sequester weren't going to happen. The model also assumed Europe recovered from its crisis, there were no Middle-East wars, China and Africa grew like crazy, housing prices rose dramatically, and consumers were incredibly confident. Even with those outrageously optimistic assumptions, they couldn't get the unemployment rate to fall any lower than 5.2%. Their conclusion was that it was laughably ridiculous to think we could reach 5% unemployment by the next election.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 More...
A powerful dose of perspective
Listening to financial podcasts has become an obsession of mine. How cool is modern technology? I can mow the lawn, drive, or take a hike - and also be learning all kinds of interesting stuff about the financial world. But this isn't a column about podcasts, so I'll get to the point. On a recent hike, I was indulging on old episodes of NPR's Planet Money, and I received a strong dose of perspective. The podcast was from September 2012, and was titled "Even If You're All-Powerful, It's Hard To Fix The Economy." The Planet Money team was working with well-known economist Mark Zandi, using his "all-powerful" financial model to figure out what it would take to get the unemployment rate from 7.8%, where it was at the time, all the way down to 5% before the presidential election in 2016.

They used Mr. Zandi's financial model to make many wildly optimistic assumptions about the economy. For example, they assumed the Fiscal Cliff and the Sequester weren't going to happen. The model also assumed Europe recovered from its crisis, there were no Middle-East wars, China and Africa grew like crazy, housing prices rose dramatically, and consumers were incredibly confident. Even with those outrageously optimistic assumptions, they couldn't get the unemployment rate to fall any lower than 5.2%. Their conclusion was that it was laughably ridiculous to think we could reach 5% unemployment by the next election.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 More...
Circus Politicus
Alright, so I'm an incurable cynic. If you'd fought one war and two divorces and lost all three, you would be too. And yes, the only sure thing about politics is that there is nothing sure about politics, but here's how I'm reading the bones at the moment for whoever cares ... subject to change:

2016 remains the Year of the First Woman American President. Its time is here. Good, bad, right, wrong, I don't care. Bernie Sanders will dissolve into a puddle like the wicked witch from the planet Vermont. Hillary will take the Democrat ticket handily unless she dies, in which case Sanders might have a prayer for the Democrat nomination unless, of course, Elizabeth Warren then jumps in.

Hillary's scandal-proof voter base is 90 percent of the nation's liberals, most blacks and some Latinos. In addition to virtually all hard leftist women, Hillary will command many of the centrist women voters who just want to see a woman POTUS, let the chips fall where they may. Pundits are calling the latter 'The Vagina Vote' and it's real. Many women are still seething over being 'robbed of their destiny' in '08. They mean to get even, and Hell hath no fury like ... etc.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 More...

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