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home : opinion

It's time to have an honest conversation about race
Once again we are reminded the world is a dangerous place. This time a church in Charleston, South Carolina was the site of the evil that lurks in the hearts of men.

Following the tragedy was a press release from 2nd Amendment Org (2AO) suggesting that it is time to arm our churches. According to 2AO it is time for "comprehensive gun training and safety awareness in church communities in order to protect themselves and their fellow parishioners from the potential of both foreign and domestic terrorist attacks."

For his part, President Obama continued the rhetoric that "guns are too easy to get in America." Suggesting that we must begin to address the issue of gun violence. While he didn't actually say it, he was clearly making a plea to repeal the second amendment and pass more stringent gun control legislation.

Both sides of this debate are wrong. Bringing guns into the church would be a sad contradiction to the teachings of love and forgiveness of the Christian church. And limiting the freedom of law abiding citizens does not address the real issues that create these despicable acts of depravity.

Thursday, June 25, 2015 More...

Climate anger - Last refuge of the alarmists
For purveyors of climate alarm, emotional displays of intolerance are increasingly crowding out reasoned argument. But remember the adage: "Hate hurts the hater more than the hated."

Consider President Obama. At the White House Correspondents Dinner, the president used the lighthearted occasion to shout at those who doubt his climate-change narrative. "It is crazy! What about our kids? What kind of stupid, shortsighted irresponsible bull..." said the president before a comedian jokingly cut him off.

The current elephant-in-the-room for climate alarmists is the "pause" or "hiatus" in global warming.

Green activists have preached that the Earth's temperature would rise steadily into a global crisis. For the 1990s, their model predictions appeared plausible. But global temperatures have slowed considerably since 1998, despite steadily rising levels of carbon-dioxide emissions (the alleged cause of warming).

Thursday, June 25, 2015 More...
State budget negotiations
Friday brought a series of important announcements from our Senate majority's budget leaders, their counterparts in the House of Representatives, and Governor Inslee. Taken together they suggest that talks toward a new state budget have finally turned an encouraging corner with just eight days left in the Legislature's second special session.

Here is how our chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Senator Andy Hill, put it this afternoon: "In March, we released a budget that fully funds education and makes college affordable without new taxes. We've held to these principles and are grateful that both the governor and House have agreed to support them. With new taxes off the table and a commitment to reducing tuition to make college affordable again, we should be able to work through the weekend to reach a final resolution.

We have said all along that $3 billion in additional revenue is enough to make major investments in schools, college affordability, mental health and the social safety net. We are very glad that we can agree on these principles with the governor and House."

After two months of negotiations the general framework of a budget agreement is already in place. For instance, the Senate and House are already aligned on much of the new spending for K-12 education, for mental-health services and for state parks. The sticking points, as Senator Hill's statement indicates, have been taxes and tuition.

Thursday, June 25, 2015 More...
Letter to the Editor
Opponent better looking
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 More...
Is it finally time to be scared of bonds?
Three years ago, I wrote a fascinating, but terrifying, article about the perils of bonds. Like anyone else who was paying attention, I was worried that interest rates were going to rise, and rising interest rates are bad for bonds. However, since that time, rates are still near all-time lows, and bonds have averaged a gain of approximately 2 percent per year (per the iShares Core US Aggregate Bond Index). While a 2 percent gain is nothing to get excited about, it's also no reason to write scary articles. So I'm done making predictions about interest rates and bonds.

However, I do think it's good to understand why bonds are scary if interest rates ever do begin to consistently rise. First, a little background on bonds is important: If you buy a bond, you are loaning money to the issuer of that bond. You are essentially a bank, and you'll demand a higher interest rate if you perceive a higher risk. If the entity issuing the bond is the United States Government, your rate will be low; but you are very likely to get your money back (I'm resisting the urge to make a cynical joke). If, on the other hand, you buy a bond issued by the government of Greece, you'll get a much higher rate, but you might lose huge chunks of money. Most bonds, of course, lie somewhere in between the two.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 More...
'Old liberal' challenges 'old publisher'
This week's mail included the following letter from a reader on the wet side. The problem is that the individual who submitted this did not include a phone number and there is no listing in the Issaquah phone book for this name. So, I am taking a chance that the letter is a hoax, but it is well written and espouses a point of view that requests and deserves a response. First, the letter:
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 More...
Congress rewards corporations while punishing the American people
Congress keeps feeding big corporations huge tax cuts they don't deserve, even as it starves average Americans of the services and investments they need. The latest example of this indefensible policy is a $182 billion corporate tax giveaway the U.S. House of Representatives recently approved. It comes after Congress passed a budget earlier this month that slashes $5 trillion from benefits and services that help working families get by and get ahead.

 This huge tax cut would make permanent a break corporations get for research and development (R&D) costs. The R&D tax credit has been around for years, but only on a "temporary" basis that's been repeatedly extended.  

 While government should support useful private-sector research, this tax break has often been abused: corporations can claim the tax credit for questionable "innovations" including new food flavors, textures and packaging or use it on research they likely would have done anyway, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. As the Congressional Research Service explains, companies can claim the tax credit for such dubious research because the guidelines for what qualifies as research are "vague and incomplete."

Thursday, June 11, 2015 More...
Congress says, "War powers? What war powers?"
A few weeks ago, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia made a small splash in the press when he took Congress to task for failing to authorize our nation's ongoing war against Islamic militants. "The silence of Congress in the midst of this war is cowardly and shameful," he said. "[T]his Congress, the very body that is so quick to argue against President Obama's use of executive power... allows an executive war to go on undeclared, unapproved, undefined and unchecked."

Those were strong words, meant to spur Congress to action. Yet after a day or two, they sank without a trace. No one in the media picked up the call. No one in a position to influence the Senate or the House made a move to advance a congressional war authorization.

Indeed, it has been three months since President Obama sent his proposal for an "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" focused on ISIS to Capitol Hill. It, too, met with a brief flurry of attention and then went nowhere.

This is mind-boggling. If you had any question that we're at war, the bombing runs over Ramadi and the recent Delta Force raid that killed an ISIS official should have settled it. On the most important question government faces - military intervention overseas - Congress seems unable to stir itself to hammer out an agreement with the President. You can blame the President for this or you can blame Congress - each side comes in for its fair share - but inaction only expands the power of the President, leaving him to make hugely consequential decisions by himself. It's a shocking dereliction of duty on Capitol Hill.

Thursday, June 11, 2015 More...
Acting State Auditor fights for dedicated performance audit funds
Commenting on a tour of school children at the capitol on Monday, Seattle Times reporter Joe O'Sullivan tweeted:

"Docent explaining executive branch to school children: 'I would say we have a state auditor - and we usually do.'"

This qualifier is very troubling for several reasons but especially with both the most recent House and Senate budget proposals continuing to raid the voter-approved dedicated I-900 performance audit funds for the State Auditor.

Thursday, June 11, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, June 4, 2015 More...
Why Washington's environmental policy has failed
One sentence sums up the last ten years of Washington's environmental policy.

"I will stay away from the math and instead tell you all a short story about my son."

That is how former Washington State Department of Ecology Director and President of the Washington Environmental Council Jay Manning began his e-mail to legislators justifying more taxpayer subsidies for electric vehicles. As one of the leaders on the environmental left, his choice of words reveals how environmental policy decisions have been made for more than a decade: forget the math and science and listen to an emotionally satisfying story.

Ironically, the story he told contradicts the point he was trying to make.

Manning noted that his son recently leased a Nissan Leaf thanks to taxpayer subsidies. He wrote:

"...he leased a brand new Nissan Leaf. His first new car and boy is he excited. He doesn't make a lot of money - he's 25 and just getting started. Nevertheless, he made this purchase without our help and without borrowing money. He simply could not have done it without the benefit of the federal tax credit and the sales tax exemption he received as part of the lease." 

Manning assumes that without subsides, the car would not have been purchased. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015 More...
Get out there!
Every May I wonder how best to advise graduates. I consider what I wish someone had told me a half-century ago. You think like this when you get old. You wish you could save at least some kids from having to learn the costly, hard way as you did sometimes.

When I was born, Hitler had two months to live. Dr. Oppenheimer and friends wouldn't know for another five months whether their split atom weapon would work.

I graduated high school six months before Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK. We wouldn't put a man on the moon until I was twenty-four.

Yes, children, time does go back that far.

Thursday, June 4, 2015 More...
More political gamesmanship in Olympia
Rahm Emanuel once said, "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

The problem is that our elected leaders have become masters at creating a crisis just so they can dupe voters into believing they are working hard to solve difficult problems. The current "crisis" in Olympia is just that - manufactured.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the legislature failed to properly fund basic education and said they would sanction legislators if they didn't solve the problem. The court never produced any actual guidelines that spelled out what properly funding basic education required. That would be legislating from the bench.

It was a perfect opportunity for the teachers union and their puppet Department of Education to demand billions in additional funding.

Thursday, June 4, 2015 More...
Addentures in Elderland
Oh, the joys of aging. Laugh it up, young people, your time is coming.

Alright, so we mummies walk goofy, have complexions like Shih-tzus, and dress like aliens from another planet, but mark my words, your day in the old-folk barrel is coming. If you think we dress funny, wait til the first tattooed 70 year-olds show up wearing backwards ballcaps, gauged ear-loops, Che shirts, and basketball shorts hanging below their underwear ... if they're wearing any. Ponder that vision.

You won't notice aging at first because you think it isn't going to happen to you or at least if it does you'll be so medicated you won't know it. But nay. The bell tolls for thee too, youngster.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 More...

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