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Join the informed, opinionated journalists of The Times' editorial staff in lively discussions at our blog Ed Cetera.

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March 29, 2008 2:35 PM

Who Would Make a Good Justice of the Washington Supreme Court?

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

In Sunday's editorial, available here when posted, the Times invites readers to suggest the names of people who should run for a seat on the Washington Supreme Court. Readers are welcome to post their suggestions--serious ones only, please--by responding to this entry.

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March 28, 2008 3:55 PM

Bellevue embracing trade with China

Posted by Kate Riley

Stories like the one today about Bellevue fostering trade relationships with China make me wish the Democratic candidates still had to make their case to Washington state voters.

Candidates barely touched the ground between the multi-state Super Tuesday primary Feb. 5 and the Democratic caucuses in Washington four days later. They could repeat their one-size-fits-all agenda without getting into specifics about Washington state's particular concerns. And a major one is trade.

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Comments | Category: Business , Eastern Washington , Election , International , Pacific Rim , Politics , Trade |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 28, 2008 12:00 PM

Give us a break

Posted by Joni Balter

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and some members of the Seattle City Council are pondering a pair of property tax levies this fall, one to renew a current parks levy, another to upgrade the Pike Place Market. All at a time when voters are feeling squeezed by rising gas prices, declining home prices and fears of inflation and recession.

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March 28, 2008 8:35 AM

Column extra

Posted by Ryan Blethen

You already know how much fun I had going back and forth with readers if you have read my column today. If not, here is the link. Below you will find additional excerpts from the e-mails I quoted from in the column.

I want to hear from more of you? You can either send me an e-mail or comment on this post.

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March 26, 2008 10:36 PM

McCain on Mortgages

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

John McCain's position on unsustainable mortgages, reported here, is the right one: government assistance only to prevent a danger to all, not for individual borrowers or lenders. Individual borrowers and lenders have engaged in a private transaction, and undertaken risks. They might not have understood the risks fully, but unless they were the victim of fraud, the risk belongs to them.

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March 26, 2008 11:54 AM

Practical potties versus lavish laves

Posted by Lance Dickie


For all the negative publicity, I cannot blame the Seattle City Council for trying to do something decent - even nice - with the public restrooms now branded an expensive failure.
The obvious intent was to offer residents and visitors public facilities they would find convenient and attractive enough to use. Trysting prostitutes and scuzzy drug dealers ruined a good idea.
As the City Council reconsiders its options, go back to basics to cope with an elemental sanitation and hygiene issue.

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March 25, 2008 2:28 PM

Talking about sex early and often

Posted by Lynne Varner

Starting as early as two, children ought to be educated about their bodies, instruction that should broaden as they grow to inlcude comprehensive sex education. This is the first line of defense against a growing prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases.

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March 25, 2008 1:37 PM

Mush from Fidelity

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

Here is an example of corporate mumblespeak. The corporation is Fidelity Investments and the issue is Darfur, the province in central Africa where people are being massacred. Fidelity got involved with the issue because some shareholders promoted a resolution that the Fidelity’s board of trustees “institute oversight procedures to screen out investments in companies that, in the judgment of the board, substantially contribute to genocide, patterns of extraordinary and egregious violations of human rights, or crimes against humanity.”

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March 25, 2008 10:56 AM

May I offer you a hand towel?

Posted by Joni Balter

You don't need Rick Steves, the hip-happening budget travel guide, to tell you that parts of Europe have already figured out the solution to Seattle's public bathroom dilemma.

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March 24, 2008 4:26 PM

The Bottom Line on Seattle's Public Toilets

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

People in Seattle, particularly the "street people" have nowhere to go, they said. The city's got to have public toilets, meaning free government toilets. The City Council voted for them in 2001, overriding a cynical but wise veto by Mayor Paul Schell, and accepting a contract for five German made automatic-cleaning toilets. The toilets were installed in 2004. Now, when the city has its first chance to get out of the contract, a memo from Chuck Clarke, director of Seattle Public Utilities, lays out the case for canning Seattle's European crappers.

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March 21, 2008 12:02 PM

Drunk-dialing Washington voters

Posted by Kate Riley

Washington state's political parties have not fully grasped Washington voters have broken up with them.

While the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the voter-approved top-two primary is not exactly a no-contact order, the parties still want to stir a co-dependent relationship with voters. After the ruling, the state GOP chair actually told a Times reporter the party was still open to negotiating a new primary with the state.

Hello? Parties? Get a clue. Voters have uninvited you to the process of selecting local and state candidates for the general election ballot -- and the Supreme court backed them up, 7-2. Buh-bye!

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March 20, 2008 11:34 AM

Coffee Talk

Posted by Lance Dickie


Give Howard Schultz credit for a bracing cup of candor. In the spirit of overly caffeinated prose, Starbucks' chief executive is a piquant Sumatra blend, bold enough to admit his company had lost its edge. Not lost in translation: We took you for granted.

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March 19, 2008 3:13 PM

On Research Grants and Real Innovation

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

My column in Wednesday's paper, here, took up the arguments of two UW professors about the system of awarding research grants. The professors, Donald W. Miller and Gerald Pollack, separately argued that the way the system screens out new, strange or radical ideas has stultified science, actually slowing down its progress. I received a number of replies to this, some positive and some not. My favorite so far is this one, from a former associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University, now retired:

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March 18, 2008 4:57 PM

Explaining the Japanese Internment

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

I recently visited Manzanar National Historic Site, a spot near Independence, Calif., where thousands of Japanese Americans were interned during World War II. I saw an exhibit and a film. It was interesting to see what they covered and what they did not.

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March 18, 2008 3:33 PM

Barack Obama's tale of two nations

Posted by Lynne Varner

Racial disparities of today can be traced to the racism of yesterday, says the presidential candidate. Racism that once included segregated schools, exclusion from unions and being prevented from owning property either through violence or discriminatory mortgage loan practices. Some blacks remain angry over racism's horrible legacy. If we can talk about this, Obama says, we can face a similar anger that exists among whites.

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March 18, 2008 10:04 AM

Congratulations, voters, on your top-two primary

Posted by Kate Riley

Today the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed Washington voters' right to say which candidates get on the general election ballot by paving the way for the voter-approved top-two primary.

In a 7-2 decision, the high court ruled Washington voters could have their top-two primary, passed handily by voter initiative in 2004. The parties got exactly what they deserve -- even less control than what they had before they began this cynical partisan assault on voter choice

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March 17, 2008 6:31 PM

Obama's raging fire

Posted by Joni Balter

A well-respected professor at the University of Washington offers a provocative hunch: Professor David Domke, a communications prof, thinks the Obama camp doesn't mind that the awful words in his pastor's speeches came out now. In fact, there has been no better time for such a revelation since Obama announced his candidacy over a year ago.

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March 17, 2008 3:37 PM

Sweet one from the line

Posted by Joni Balter

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi is often tentative and non-committal about citizen initiatives and public referenda. But he has come out strong for the new proposal to save the Seattle Supersonics.

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March 14, 2008 3:58 PM

Teachers worthy of a $10,000 effort

Posted by Lynne Varner

A Washington, D.C.-based group pledging $10,000 each to poor-performing teachers who agree never to teach again, raises the question of how we'll know one when we see him, or her. Assuming this organization is trying to do more than union bash, what criteria would be used to distinguish the great, good and most-days-okay teachers from those featured in the Pink Floyd song, "Another Brick in the Wall."

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March 14, 2008 11:17 AM

Wistfully celebrating open government

Posted by Kate Riley

Next week is Sunshine Week -- devoted to encouraging openness at all levels of government. You wouldn't know it in Washington state, considering the blows that government access has taken in the last several years.

Brazen government officials and unsympathetic majority on the state Supreme Court have increasingly closed government to the people. In the session just ended, the state Legislature failed to act on 15 of 16 open government bills. I suggested in my last column that it might be time for stronger measures -- like an initiative.

But in the meantime,

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March 13, 2008 11:33 PM

Zemek interview

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Posted below is the e-mail exchange I had with Matt Zemek, who was quoted in my column today (Friday). I have interviewed Zemek, who occasionally writes op-eds for The Seattle Times, before when writing about 30- and 20-something voters. A previous column with Zemek can be found here. The interview can be found after the jump.

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March 13, 2008 12:45 PM

Campaign '08 - bleah

Posted by Lance Dickie


I do not watch a lot of political reportage or commentary on TV, except for Jimmy Lehrer's NewsHour and my man, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. So tell me, does Keith Olbermann of MS-something-or-other always sound like he going to burst into tears?

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March 13, 2008 9:54 AM

Olbermann's Ferraro/Clinton commentary

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Keith Olbermann of MSMBC attempted to channeled Edward R. Murrow for the commentary posted below. Great example of televised commentary. A powerful format that is rarely done anymore.

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March 12, 2008 10:46 AM

The lesser of two evils

Posted by Lynne Varner

Latest chatter around the water cooler poses this question: Which marital sin is worse, an affair or hiring a call girl?

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March 11, 2008 3:32 PM

Clinton and the choir

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Uh...I am speechless.

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March 11, 2008 3:25 PM

How much for that teacher in the window?

Posted by Lynne Varner

$10,000, according to an advocacy group pledging the cash to 10 teachers it selects as the nation's worse. Payments would be in exchange for agreements to stop teaching. I get the frustration with bad teachers. Education unions are formidable foes and their members are not easy to fire. But the bribes is unworkable for several reasons.

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March 7, 2008 4:36 PM

The bully in the Legislature

Posted by Lynne Varner

State Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed the morning seven students visited his office to lobby him about funding for sex education and reproductive health. Instead of listening as most lawmakers, indeed adults, would do, Ahern chose another tactic: bullying.

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March 7, 2008 12:24 PM

At the buzzer

Posted by Joni Balter

Four local masters of the universe want to buy the Seattle Sonics and pay $150 million toward an expanded KeyArena. The hitch is they went public a week before the Legislature adjourns. For this deal to work, lawmakers have to hurry up and approve $75 million in public funds for arena improvements.

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March 5, 2008 8:13 AM

Is John McCain a 'Natural Born Citizen'?

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

The Constitution allows only a “natural born citizen” to become president. The question has come up, on this blog and elsewhere (here is a New York Times story on it), about John McCain, because McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Does that qualify?

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March 4, 2008 10:14 PM

Got Ohio?

Posted by Lance Dickie

Ohio voters made history on a frosty March night. They accomplished much more than giving Democrat Hillary Clinton a campaign-sustaining victory. The issues that carried the Buckeye State will define the 2008 presidential campaign and election.

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March 4, 2008 9:46 PM

The Word On Hugo Chavez

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

Always the American left has its favored places, which in this hemisphere are Cuba and Venezuela. It must have shocked them when the Venezuelans voted down Chavez's bid to change the constitution to increase his power. Now, in the journal Foreign Affairs, comes the former chief economist of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Francisco Rodriguez, arguing that the accounts of Chavez helping the poor are not much more than the rising price of oil--and talk.

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March 4, 2008 7:51 PM

Once every 36 years

Posted by Jim Vesely


Some political scientists are talking about the historic elections of every 36 years. Let's see, that would mean 1972, a cataclismic election of Richard Nixon during the Viet Nam war; and then 1936, a climatic election of FDR during the Great Depression. I can see more climatic years -- 1968, 1980 and 1996 whuich changed the course of American politics. 1964 (LBJ over Goldwater) was a precedent-setting year, but not climatic in the way that the Reagan victory of 1980 was, and continues.to be. This, by any measure is a climatic year, changing and altering the direction of our country.

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March 4, 2008 5:02 PM

To the courts, ye sons of freedom!

Posted by Jim Vesely


The Obama campaign has just sought to keep polls open in Ohio via the courts. Weather is a good enough reason, but I speak here not against Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton but of the trajectory of this historic campaign that will see more court instructions and appeals than we have ever seen. Let's hope our courts are up to the tests coming.

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March 4, 2008 2:26 PM

Politics Tejas-style

Posted by Lynne Varner

After tonight, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama may wonder why anyone messes with Texas. The orderliness of the state's primary and caucuses threatens to be undone by racial politics.

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March 4, 2008 1:55 PM

All that jazz

Posted by Lynne Varner

Of the American music form jazz, trumpeter Miles Davis said, "I'll play it first and tell you what it is later." Puget Sound high school bands have the definition and the beat down cold. That's why they regularly sweep national and international jazz competitions.

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March 4, 2008 12:24 PM

Sub prime suspects

Posted by Lance Dickie


Arson is an especially odious and cowardly act. The criminal intent can be homicidal, venal, diversionary, or ideological. Trouble is the consequences of the actual arson are wholly unpredictable. Fire spreads without a conscience, so the malice or political statement cannot be tidily contained. Or the victims known and limited with certainty.

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March 4, 2008 9:24 AM

Texas prima-caucus

Posted by Kate Riley

The two Texans I'm sitting next to at a journalism seminar in Los Angeles today are marvelling their home state still matters in the presidential nomination process. Today, Texans go to the polls for their primaries - AND to caucuses, according to Michael Landauer from the Dallas Morning News and Linda Campbell from the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

That’s right. Texas Democrats are doing something Washington state Democratic party leaders said they could not possibly do because of party rules.

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March 3, 2008 4:44 PM

Dori Monsoon blows out of control

Posted by Joni Balter

KIRO Radio Talk Show Host Dori Monson was extremely wound up over Monday's fires at three Street of Dreams homes in Snohomish County. If the arsons were an act of environmental terrorism, they are horrible and reprehensible.

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March 3, 2008 4:32 PM

Tolling for change

Posted by Ryan Blethen

I laughed when I read this e-mail from a reader because I was thinking the same thing. He lists a number of reasons why using tolls as tool for social engineering will not work.

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March 3, 2008 2:39 PM

Going hungry is never cool

Posted by Lynne Varner

Shame on any school district that in this day and age makes a visible distinction between students receiving free or reduced priced meals and students paying for their meals.

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March 3, 2008 11:30 AM

Jamaica's doobious plan

Posted by Lynne Varner

The Caribbean nation that gave us reggae and pot-smoking Rastafarians is considering legalizing marijuana. Veteran vacationers to Jamaica could be forgiven for thinking the drug was already legal since it is as easy to score as a tropical drink on the beach. A cautionary note, however, for cannabis lovers:

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March 3, 2008 9:33 AM

Buckley, Andrew Sullivan and War

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

William F. Buckley Jr., who died last week, gave a conservative imprimatur to both the Vietnam War and the Iraq war--and admitted later he had been wrong about both. Conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan notes this, and recalls his own endorsement of the Iraq war, which he came to regret:

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