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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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June 30, 2008 11:35 AM

Dialing for trouble

Posted by Joni Balter

Unless you are heat dazed or plugged into your tunes and oblivious at all hours of the day and night, you know Tuesday is the first day of the new Washington rule on cellphones. Drivers are no longer allowed to talk on handheld cellphones n the car. Otherwise, you must donate $124 to whatever law enforcement officer pulls you over. The new law banning talking on handheld cellphones takes effect July first..

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June 29, 2008 1:00 AM

The land of endless ideas

Posted by Jim Vesely

Now, with eight scenarios on the table in the public view to redo the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle, the true process of processing begins. Gone are ideas about retro-fitting or spanning the bay with a bridge. We now look inward for tunnels and freeway lids to accommodate traffic in a city that is politically moving away from the automobile. Click below for a Q&A podcast about this column:

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June 27, 2008 1:00 AM

Wild Sky Wilderness, next steps

Posted by Lance Dickie

An easy hike along the Barclay Creek Trail, within a snowball's throw of the new Wild Sky Wilderness, is a great way to view the coming attractions. After Congress created the state's first new wilderness area in 24 years, and President Bush signed it into law, the work begins on making it a reality. For a Q&A podcast of my column about what comes next, please click below:

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June 25, 2008 6:14 PM

Democrat and Oh, So Virtuous

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

The Wall Street Journal has the most delightful story, here, about the imperative that everything at the Democratic Party's national convention in Denver be "sustainable," "organic" and "green," as well as locally sourced and union-made. They are testing the balloons, scrutinizing the forks and plates, and will have a brigade of official nannies to police the garbage cans. God help anyone who smuggles in a hot dog, or a banana.

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June 25, 2008 1:00 AM

On Finding One's Fortune

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

June brings thoughts of graduation, leaving home and making one's way in the world. Growing up, I remember hearing stories of guys who just left home and went on their own, cold turkey. I didn't do it that way, and none of my friends did, but a few still do, and sometimes it just happens. One fellow, I discovered, had done it on purpose and made it into a book. And another--a political figure in Seattle--had once been down and out, looking for a job and sleeping in a field. Click below for a Q&A podcast about this column:

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June 23, 2008 11:18 AM

Doug MacDonald: Pro-bus, anti-rail

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

Doug MacDonald, former boss of the state Department of Transportation, sets out the first part of his case against rail and for buses, here. I would boil it down to this: In a spread-out urban area like the Seattle area, rail sucks up too much money for the number of people it serves. When you’ve spent the money, the trains don’t go enough places. Buses move more people per dollar invested and are more flexible.

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June 22, 2008 1:01 AM

The birth of super-campaigns

Posted by Jim Vesely

The price of gasoline, corn and politicians keeps going up. Sen. Barack Obama's decision not to accept public funding of $84 million says $100 million or more is required to elect a U.S. president. Both parties blame each other, yet the cost of perpetual, super-campaigns keeps rising.

For a Q&A podcast with the author, please click below:

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June 20, 2008 4:55 PM

The Ballard Holdout

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

I was on the radio today—KUOW-FM—with Steve Scher, D. Parvaz and Knute Berger, talking about several things including the Edith Macefield house in Ballard. That’s the little house that has been surrounded on three sides by concrete walls of a large development because th owner didn’t want to sell to the developer. Berger wrote about it in Crosscut, here, Kathy Mulady wrote about it in the P-I, here, and Danny Westneat wrote about it in the Times here.

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June 19, 2008 4:18 PM

Tech Industry, Tech Brains: WA Ranked

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

The Milken Institute, in a new report here, rates Washington 5th among the states in “Science and Technology Assets.” The only other state nearby that scored higher was California, which was 4th. Oregon was 23rd, Idaho 27th, Montana 32nd and Alaska 44th. On the national ranking, Massachusetts was at the pinncale and Mississippi in the pits.

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June 18, 2008 4:32 PM

Sen. Patty Tenacity strikes again

Posted by Lance Dickie

The federal Government Accountability Office issued a stinging rebuke Wednesday of the U.S. Air Force's deeply flawed process to select a new aerial refueling tanker. Sen. Patty Murray had rounded up a posse to go after a February decision to award a lucrative contract to Northrop Grumman instead of the hometown Boeing 767.

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June 18, 2008 1:01 AM

Fostering academic success in foster care

Posted by Lynne Varner

If I had a dollar for everytime someone referred to kids in foster care as "at-risk" children, I would be richer than Oprah.

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June 17, 2008 9:37 PM

Boris the Brit on Bike Helmets

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

Boris Johnson, the new mayor of London, confesses that he sometimes, just once in a while, does NOT WEAR A BIKE HELMET. And he is not arrested. He is free. Go Boris!

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June 17, 2008 4:52 PM

Obama Pursues Windfall Profits

Posted by Eric Devericks


Eric Devericks/The Seattle Times

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June 17, 2008 4:17 PM

Grover v. Goldy

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

Grover Norquist, the den dad of center-right political activists in Washington, D.C., and head of Americans for Tax Reform, was in town Monday night. The libertarian-conservative Evergreen Freedom Foundation had invited him to debate David Goldstein, founder and proprietor of the progressive Seattle blog, www.horsesass.org.

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June 16, 2008 2:28 PM

Stalin's Movie, with String Section

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

At Benaroya Hall last week one could witness the old black-and-white Russian propaganda film “Alexander Nevsky” with Sergei Prokofiev’s martial score played by the Seattle Symphony. Artistically it worked. The combination of old movie and live orchestra attracted a full house and kept them in their seats, and they clearly enjoyed it. But it was odd seeing such a reaction in progressive Seattle. An American movie that was so boldly patriotic and pro-military would not have been treated that way or received that way—music or no music.

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June 16, 2008 10:46 AM

Graduation: survival of the fittest

Posted by Lynne Varner

With all of the drama over high-stakes testing, Washington state could learn something from Jay Mathews, author of the "Class Struggle," a column in the Washington Post. This week he tackles graduation rates, particularly among low-income and minority students.

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June 15, 2008 1:01 AM

Russert's legacy of trust

Posted by Lance Dickie

Veteran NBC newsman Tim Russert changed the Sunday morning viewing habits of millions of Americans. His sudden death Friday feels like a death in the family for many households, especially today.

Russert moderated the gold-standard “Meet the Press” for 17 years. Time magazine named Russert one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was effective because people paid attention and trusted what he had to say.

Part of his connection with viewers was grounded in a high quality of journalism. Pointed questions reflected years of experience and significant preparation. He personified dogged persistence in pursuit of an answer. Politicians might not have liked him, but they respected him.

Viewers liked him. The energy in his voice, and the small smile on his face, conveyed genuine enthusiasm for his work. Sitting down with newsmakers, he would be slightly hunched over the table, with the eagerness of a hungry man with a sumptuous meal set before him.

He endured in an industry that persistently receives low public marks for credibility. Russert earned and maintained the trust of viewers. Such loyalty is not casually transferred to whom ever draws the sad duty as his replacement.

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June 14, 2008 10:06 PM

Rich is right

Posted by Ryan Blethen

The ludicrous idea that votes from Clinton supporters would somehow make up for McCain defectors is merely the latest fairy tale brought to you by those same Washington soothsayers who said Fred Thompson was the man to beat and that young people don’t turn up to vote.

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June 13, 2008 3:30 PM

Tim Russert: Straight, no chaser.

Posted by Lynne Varner

Once Big Steel left Buffalo, NY, citizens had few homegrown things to point to with pride. One thing they did have was NBC newsman Tim Russert, one of the best journalists ever.

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June 13, 2008 2:44 PM

Pardon me

Posted by Eric Devericks

Just thought I'd stop by the Ed Cetera blog today and break up the text with my last couple cartoons, enjoy!


Eric Devericks/The Seattle Times




Eric Devericks/The Seattle Times


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June 13, 2008 1:01 AM

The demographic tsunami

Posted by Lance Dickie

A shallow pool of Gen-Xers is going to be inundated by a floodtide of their aging baby-boomer parents. Check out the mission that fuels Senior Services of Snohomish County: independent living for seniors. The demographics for boomers are spiking against plunging numbers behind them. In the spirit of enlightened self-interest, read my June 13 column in print and online. The subtitle could be how to keep Dad out of your basement. Below is a Q&A podcast with my editorial colleague Kate Riley:

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June 11, 2008 3:35 PM

When is a GOP member a Republican?

Posted by Kate Riley

Oh, horrors! Stop the presses. Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi is trying to "rebrand" himself as a member of the Grand Old Party. How sinister.

The real horror here is the state Democratic party's attempt, in a press release today, to invent a scandal out of nothing -- and, worse, the premise for their argument is founded on an apparent belief that voters are too ignorant to know that "GOP" and "Republican" are the same thing -- or that they will live in a cave between now and the general election, missing what will likely be another tortuous high-profile campaign where each candidate is thoroughly dissected.

Worse yet, party officials are using their breathless, outraged press release to hide their own duplicitousness. This looks like just another of the Democratic party's efforts to undermine the state's new top-two primary and get it overturned. Again.

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June 11, 2008 2:05 PM

Global Warming and Beach Fires

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

Global warming is being used as a reason to do all sorts of things that are too small to have any measurable effect on it. The most ludicrous may be this recent story, which says that staffers at the Seattle Parks Deparment wan to ban beach fires at Alki and Golden Gardens beaches—the only place where beach fires are allowed—because the burning contributes to global warming.

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June 11, 2008 1:00 AM

The Paulians in Spokane

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

My Wednesday column is about Ron Paul--my third column about the Texas Republican in a year. Paul has been the presidential candidate I found most fascinating. Partly it is beacuse I agree with much of what he says about the war, small government and the Constitution. But also, I am interested in political ideas, and Paul has been a candidate of ideas in the way the others--including presumptive nominees John McCain and Barack Obama--have not. I am not saying they don't have any ideas, but their ideas are the mainstream, poll-tested ideas of their respective parties. If it had been Mitt Romney versus Hillary Clinton, the opposing ideas would have been about the same. Ron Paul's ideas are different. Click below for a Q&A podcast about this column:

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June 8, 2008 12:15 AM

Where is the beef in Korean trade?

Posted by Joni Balter


South Korea's decision to permit U.S. beef back in 3-1/2 years after it was banned sparked passionate protests in the capital late last month. Editorial page editor Jim Vesely, who witnessed the protests, writes about how the pending U.S. trade agreement with Korea is touching nerves on both sides of the Pacifc. For more, click below to listen to a Q&A with Vesely and editorial writer Bruce Ramsey.


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June 6, 2008 1:15 PM

Fantasy Cabinet -- Let's play!

Posted by Kate Riley


Lance's post on speculation about potential cabinet members in a Barack Obama administration got me thinking about whatever Northwest leaders ought to be considered at least for a move back to the beltway.

Sure, because of Gov. Chris Gregoire's riding herd on cleanup at the federal Hanford nuclear reservation, she would be an interesting choice for Energy Secretary, as an Ebonyjet.com commentator suggested. But, heck, she would be a formidable U.S. Attorney General -- don't forget her national role leading the assault on Big Tobacco and winning a landmark settlement.

But another Northwesterner comes to mind -- Former Gov. Gary Locke for one.,,,

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June 5, 2008 2:27 PM

Music to a child's ears

Posted by Lynne Varner

At least one person in the education community, Seattle School Boardmember Harium Martin-Morris, understands that intelligence in children comes in many, many packages.

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June 5, 2008 11:12 AM

The Real Rate of High School Graduation

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

Here, from the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Terry Bergeson, are the figures on the class of 2008 at public schools in Washington. Totals are rounded to the nearest 500.

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June 5, 2008 12:17 AM

Is Washington really a battleground state? Let's play along

Posted by Joni Balter

Now that Sen. Barack Obama has secured the Democratic nomination for president, the focus shifts to the November general election. Washington state appears on some lists of battleground states, those where the candidates will come, discuss the issues and spend money mining votes.
It makes sense for Washington to be a battleground state in the short run, but it may not be a truly competitive state in the long run. But, wink, wink, let's play along.
That way Sen. John McCain can come and talk about his role in the Boeing tanker deal. Obama can explain his perplexing position on trade to one of the most trade dependent states in the nation.


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June 4, 2008 3:54 PM

In Seattle, Racial Balancing Is Out

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

The third installment of the Seattle Times’ series on race and the schools was the newsmaker: the leadership of the district was saying, clearly and forthrightly, that racial balance is not essential to education, which is the plain and obvious fact that nearly everyone knows. Racial diversity in a classroom is not a bad thing and may be a helpful thing, but if it were an essential thing, we would be busing non-Caucasians outside of Seattle to rural districts to relieve their over-whiteness. And the Seattle Schools wouldn’t have had an African American Academy all these years.

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June 4, 2008 3:53 PM

Let the Mentioning begin

Posted by Lance Dickie

All caught up in the speculation about Barack Obama's running mate for a historic campaign for the White House? That is so 48-hours ago! Monroe Anderson, political contributor to
EbonyJet.com offers his provocative picks for Obama's cabinet. Among the familiar names is a most familiar name: Gov. Christine Gregoire for…

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June 4, 2008 1:00 AM

Senator: God on Line Two

Posted by Lynne Varner

Presumably, the Almighty has far weightier matters to contend with than the political soul of one person. Still,

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June 3, 2008 9:34 PM

Step back, Sen. Clinton

Posted by Lance Dickie

For pure grit and tenacity, the 18 months of Democratic primary brawling was a sight to be behold.
Not particularly illuminating on the issues, but an awesome display of stamina, survival instincts and ambitious will.

Congratulations to Barack Obama for his historic achievement. Hillary Clinton was an able competitor. Now she needs to take a step back and let Obama savor his moment. We know Hillary can muster the brain power and physical courage for a run at the White House. Is she also capable of the grace to let Obama have the spotlight?

All the vice presidential speculation is fun but premature. Coming from Clinton, it sounds like extortion. The calculation of how she might best help Obama win the presidency, is for the presumptive nominee to make.

Step back, Ms. Clinton. The decision about the 2008 Democratic ticket will be made by the winner, your very worthy and triumphant opponent.

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June 3, 2008 7:47 PM

Classy Obama

Posted by Joni Balter

Sen. Hillary Clinton should have conceded the nomination tonight. Her fuzzy, wait-until-later strategy left much to be desired. Sen. Barack Obama gave an amazing speech upon clinching the Democratic Party nomination. The classiest part was when he praised Clinton for making history, even as she refused to give him the evening and the boost he deserves.

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June 3, 2008 5:47 PM

Veep Richardson, Webb

Posted by Ryan Blethen

A couple entries down from this one, Kate Riley suggested New Mexico governor Bill Richardson as a possible running mate for Sen. Barack Obama. I like that choice. It would be nice to have a Westerner as the No. 2.

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June 3, 2008 3:16 PM

All over but the shoutin

Posted by Lynne Varner

One of the most respected voices in politics, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, has switched to Obama. The Democratic nomination battle is over. Wrangling over second place begins.

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June 3, 2008 1:42 PM

Veep Hillary is not change Obama promised

Posted by Kate Riley

The good news is Barack Obama has the delegates to be the Democratic presidential nominee.
The bad news is Hillary Clinton is telling folks she's "open" to being the vice presidential candidate.
That would be a serous mistake.

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June 3, 2008 12:00 PM

The tax stack arrives

Posted by Jim Vesely


Each year, we try to put an elusive number into the public. It is the year's tax stack. How high is the accumulation of taxes and how much is it higher than last year? This year, county government added two, new taxing districts which include the whole county -- a ferry district tax and a flood district levy.

Want to help us calculate the tax stack? Add taxes for schools, arenas, libraries, homes, cars, and give us a rough idea how high is the stack?

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June 3, 2008 11:39 AM

Live blogging today

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Will Hillary Rodham Clinton concede defeat tonight? Maybe she will suspend her campaign for the Democratic nomination? Or, she might decide to limp along this summer with a legal crutch. The AP is reporting that by its count Barack Obama has already clinched the number of delegates needed for the nomination.

Who knows. What is known, is that today's primaries in Montana and South Dakota will give the cable news pundits plenty to blabber about. The primaries will also give us editorial writers at The Seattle Times plenty to type about. We will be blogging about the primaries and all things primary and presidential throughout the day and evening.

Stay tuned.

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June 2, 2008 2:25 PM

WASL wins, too many kids still losing

Posted by Lynne Varner

Terry Bergeson, Superintendent of Public Instruction, visited the Seattle Times editorial board earlier today to offer a prelude to the big announcement about the Class of 2008. This is the first class that must pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning test to receive a diploma. Drumroll please.

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