Link to jump to start of content The Seattle Times Company Jobs Autos Homes Rentals NWsource Classifieds seattletimes.com
The Seattle Times STOP: The Seattle Times Opinion Blog
Traffic | Weather | Your account Movies | Restaurants | Today's events



Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

The opinions you read below are those of the individual writers, not necessarily views that will become formal positions of The Seattle Times. Respond to STop
(Please be aware that your name and comments may be published here, unless you specify otherwise).

Currently, STop cannot automatically post readers' comments on the blog. However, the editorial staff will regularly post readers' comments. Your comments are sent directly to the individual editor or writer.

space space space

Jim Vesely
space
Jim Vesely
E-mail | Bio


Lee Moriwaki
space
Lee Moriwaki
E-mail | Bio


Joni Balter
space
Joni Balter
E-mail | Bio


Eric Devericks
space
Eric Devericks
E-mail | Bio


Lance Dickie
space
Lance Dickie
E-mail | Bio


Bruce Ramsey
space
Bruce Ramsey
E-mail | Bio


Kate Riley
space
Kate Riley
E-mail | Bio


Lynne Varner
space
Lynne Varner
E-mail | Bio


Ryan Blethen
space
Ryan Blethen
E-mail | Bio


January 29, 2004

Re: TV 24-7 and Mars rover images

I had a couple thoughts while pondering both Colleen Pohlig's TV 24/7 post, and Lance Dickie's post on digital photography in Mars Rover Images...

An increasing number of people have a cell phone with a digital camera built in, and increasingly these phones take video as well as photos.

Consider: Some jerk almost clips you swerving into your lane without a blinker, or speeds up to prevent you from merging in front of him, or is riding your tail. Or some guy is zooming by in the SUV lane solo. You simply hold up your phone and capture it all including his license plate number, then post it to a popular Web site devoted to Jerks on the Road, and e-mail a copy to the police with a title like "reckless driving."

Or you surreptitiously film your exchange with the police officer who pulls you over, for good or bad, to recognize their service or to protect yourself.

And our passengers can all enjoy these antics on America's Favorite Cell Phone Videos as we cruise down the highway with our car TVs.

Written by Randy Henderson, a regular contributor to NEXT.
Respond to this posting

Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 01:50 PM


President Lyndon Baines Bush

Alan Greenspan made me write this. Well, not directly, but his vague hint of higher interest rates did. The only Iraq-as-Vietnam analogy that works for me involves the economy. Nothing else about the politics or warfare or reaction on the home front comes close.

President Bush and Congress refuse to deal with the cost of the war and rebuilding Iraq. Those expenses, combined with unfettered domestic spending and tax cuts, are producing huge deficits. If we do not cut spending and pay as we go, the only choice is to borrow. Eventually the U.S. government will bid up the cost of money and drive up interest rates.

President Johnson also refused to make taxpayers feel the real cost of the Vietnam war, whose legacy of high interest rates and inflation dogged the country for years. No nation has ever been able to afford guns and butter. The Fed hints at expensive bread and dry toast.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Lance Dickie at 11:53 AM


A disappearing VP?

For weeks, I have had this feeling that Vice-President Dick Cheney will not be on the 2004 ticket. That seems especially true if Democrats come up with a compelling one-two lineup for president and vice-president, some combination of John Kerry, John Edwards and Gen. Wesley Clark.

With all his Halliburton woes, Cheney could become a drag on the ticket.

Cheney could bow out gracefully, citing a health issue, and Bush could tap Secretary of State Colin Powell for veep. Seattle Times op-ed columnist Collin Levey offered another intriguing possibility, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Of course, it is too early for any of this to transpire. But over time, a change in the second spot on the ticket may begin to make sense.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Joni Balter at 10:59 AM


January 28, 2004

We want to hear your thoughts

Which Democrat candididate should The Times recommend for the upcoming Washington caucuses? The editorial page staff is now debating the candidates and asking which one of the remaining contenders for President should the Democrats support. The party caucuses, scheduled for Saturday morning, Feb. 7, will pick convention delegates, an important piece of the long road to the White House for presidential contenders.

If you have a candidate you think The Times should recommend, we'd like to hear from you. We're more interested in caucus members rather than candidate staff, but this blog to open to everyone.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Jim Vesely at 12:19 PM


Re: TV 24-7...on wheels

Colleen, I have to disagree with your comments about TV's in cars. I think you are missing boat on this one. It's not about watching TV while you are driving at all.

Let me paint a scene for you that is all to common in the Devericks household. It's 9:00 on a Friday night, you're zipping down I-5 at 70-plus miles per hour -- two hours into a five-hour drive to visit the grandparents in Oregon. Your 3 year-old has been crying for the last 30 minutes (feels like six hours) because it's dark outside and the foxes are going to get her. She's tired, but she won't go to sleep. Meanwhile, your eight-month old, who was sleeping soundly, wakes up to the sound of his sister crying only to realize he's strapped into his car seat (he hates that thing). So he lets it all out and starts squealing like a stuck pig. That's when it hits you, THREE MORE HOURS. What do you do?

If you're driving a properly equipped motor vehicle, you flip down the flat panel display, pop in your three-year-old's favorite copy of "The Lion King." The foxes go away, she stops crying and the eight-month-old falls back asleep.

If you're in the Devericks mobile, you suffer. I covet the day of TV's in every car.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Eric Devericks at 11:57 AM


January 27, 2004

Scab milk

The Seattle School Board has written a letter to Darigold claiming that the production of milk by strikebreakers could be a "health issue." The school district's own nutritionist was not consulted, and did not agree.

The other reason was that the board was "deeply concerned" about the lesson sent to children "when adults cannot negotiate through their differences." But did the children receive such a lesson from their cartons of milk? I very much doubt it.

The school board was not elected to resolve the labor issues of dairies. If it were, it could cite some reasons that actually sound sensible.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Bruce Ramsey at 05:28 PM


TV 24-7...on wheels

OK, so it's not enough to have the TV on from the minute we get home until the minute we fall asleep, now we need it blaring on our drive to work and school, too? Unbelievable -- not to mention unnecessary and unsafe. NPR's Day to Day program today featured the increasing popularity of in-car satellite TV and DVD players, interviewing folks who have actually added several screens in their cars. We're now seeing these blue-lit screens in "normal" cars, SUVs and mini-vans, not just the Lexuses.

But aren't we supposed to be driving while in our cars? I'll admit, I've mastered (so far anyway) the art of dialing my cell phone while watching the car in front of me. But I can't imagine needing to watch TV so badly that I'm willing to add yet another distraction to the mix.

Besides the safety aspect though, do we really need access to TV 24-7? Is anyone having a conversation anymore?

Respond to this posting

Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 02:23 PM


Re: The presidential caucus buzz

A reader's thoughts on the caucuses:

Dear Joni,

I see by your comments here that you are vacillating between a trial lawyer and Clinton’s hand picked candidate.

If you are really interested in Clark then perhaps you should listen to his congressional testimony about Iraq and several other troubled spots when he was still in the service. He pretty much made the Bush administration’s case for going into Iraq. I agreed with his testimony but I don’t think he is much of a person since he seems to have forgotten what he said. He obviously wasn’t planning to run for the Democratic nomination at that point in time.

A pretty face and nice hair doesn’t necessarily make for a great president. If you listened to Edwards’ answer to the question about gay marriages in the debate you would have heard a response by a lawyer and US Senator that indicated that he did not understand the issue. About the last thing we need is a trial lawyer running our country.

I’m not very impressed with any of the candidates but if I had to choose one it would be Liberalman. At least he is a rational thinker and I think he has a good grasp of the issues. I used to think he had high morals and character, but he pretty well disproved that when he was running as the VP candidate with Gore. He sold his soul in hopes of getting votes and thus he lost my respect. Aside from that negative comment, I still think he is the best candidate for the Democrats.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Joni Balter at 12:23 PM


January 26, 2004

More on: School vouchers

My take on vouchers: They could well make the public schools better but smaller, in the way competition from Toyota, Nissan and Honda made the U.S. auto makers better but smaller. Competition forces people to change. In a competitive market, you are not under pressure to change the whole system. You have to change your piece of it.

Parents are the customers; let them choose the schools they want. Let educators open new schools. Let schools in which too few enroll close. Let the good succeed and the bad fail.

In the current system, the bad schools don’t fail, at least not for an excruciatingly long time. They just keep going, because they are guaranteed customers. Being "accountable" to a publicly elected board is mostly talk. To satisfy a parent-customer is a much stronger form of accountability. It would change our kids' education for the better.

In theory, I like vouchers. I think the biggest problem would be the strings attached to the money. If you had too many strings, instead of making the public schools like the private schools, you would make the private schools like the public schools. So be careful.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Bruce Ramsey at 05:39 PM


Re: School vouchers

A reader offers a very different take on vouchers:

Unfortunately, the existing public school bureaucracies and employee unions are terribly resistant to any meaningful changes in management practices, work rules, job protections, compensation structures, a culture that rejects genuine accountability, etc. (The local school establishment's refusal to accept even the most modest of charter school bills is just one recent case in point). Such a system can only lead to disappointing performance and dissatisfied parents. In other words, this is not about people ditching public education, it is about existing public school institutions ditching the families they should be serving.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Susan Byrnes at 11:51 AM


January 23, 2004

School vouchers

School vouchers are like those annoying pop up ads on the Internet: They won't go away. This time they showed up as part of a massive spending bill approved by the Senate.

It's the first time federal cash will pay for kids to go to private schools. This so-called experiment is taking place in Washington D.C. where public schools are notoriously bad.

The thing that bugs me most about voucher programs is the ridiculous suggestion that sending kids to private schools will somehow fix crummy public schools. I guarantee taking 1,700 kids (and their per-student funding) out of the cash-strapped, low-performing D.C. schools isn't going to make the district any better. Look at Cleveland or Milwaukee, where they've had voucher programs for years. I hope D.C. is aiming a bit higher than that.

Voucher proponents don't really want to fix public schools. They want to ditch them.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Susan Byrnes at 03:37 PM


This weekend...

Heads up to a few of our upcoming editorials which may be of interest: On Sunday, The Times opinion page will roll out a recommendation for legislation that would rein in coaches with a predatory history toward female athletes. This follows The Times' great series on "Coaches Who Prey." We'll also have an opinion on new regulations limiting pesticide slipping into our streams and rivers and comment on a judge's ruling affecting salmon.

As always, we're interested in your comments and feedback on our opinions, decisions and content.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Jim Vesely at 12:31 PM


The presidential caucus buzz

Washington state's Feb. 7 Democratic Party caucuses are starting to generate excitement. Everyone thought the nomination would be so obvious, Howard Dean. Well, think again. Iowa changed everything. Dean gets the down arrow as Washington voters wake up and look more carefully at Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards and General Wesley Clark.

I keep switching back and forth from Clark to Edwards. I am with Clark three days of the week, Edwards the next three days. On the seventh day, I rest.

Today is definitely an Edwards day. I like his speeches and his level-the-playing-field message. Besides, my hairdresser likes Edwards. As long as he has the scissors in hand, I have to be somewhat agreeable.

The caucuses are two weeks from Saturday in the morning. To find the location of your neighborhood gathering, click here.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Joni Balter at 11:28 AM


Mars rover images

NASA's Mars rover has sent back stunning photos from its mind-boggling, 115-million mile road trip.

Dazzling, high resolution pictures from the surface of the Red Planet reinforce a human delight in recording an event and sharing the details. Those are still powerful sentiments back on Earth, and the technological revolution represented by the Mars adventure is causing economic shock waves. Eastman Kodak, the company that put a camera in millions of pairs of hands, is overhauling its business. Consumers have fled film cameras for the versatility of digital photography. Kodak will shed 15,000 jobs as it adapts to changes in an industry it virtually invented. A portrait from space also yields a tiny snapshot of change back home.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Lance Dickie at 10:10 AM


Re: Mad cow, mad Americans

A reader's thoughts on downer cows:

Too bad the legislation to ban using downer cows isn't going to do a thing to stop Mad Cow. The cow that tested positive wasn't even a downer cow, as picked up by the Columbia Basin Herald.

Beef won't be safe until we completely ban the feeding of animal protein to other animals, including the practice of using blood protein to wean calves, and until we test every cow that is slaughtered like they do in Japan and some other countries. Until then, I'm taking beef off my menu.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Joni Balter at 09:21 AM


January 21, 2004

State of the Union address: the best and worst

Strongest line of the speech: “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.”

Weakest implication: that the war in Iraq was actually about the security of our country.

Best thought: “We will preserve the system of private medicine that makes America's health care the best in the world.”

The dumbest, for a State of the Union speech: “I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches, and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now.”

Respond to this posting

Posted by Bruce Ramsey at 10:18 AM


Prescription drugs

A 67-year-old relative of mine orders drugs by mail from a Canadian pharmacy, something she’s not supposed to do under federal law but something she can’t afford not to do. That’s unfortunately the same spot some folks in the Washington Legislature feel the state is. Considering the rising state health care costs for the indigent and disabled and the constitutionally protected to K-12 education, other worthy programs, such as higher ed investment, is being squeezed out of the state budget.

Washington spends about $1 billion on prescription drugs. House staffers found that Canadian drugs are cheaper because of price controls and the current exchange rate -- as much as 30 to 80 percent cheaper. If the state could save even $300,000, that money is desperately needed elsewhere. At least 10 other states, led by New Hampshire, are considering the same approach.

The Bush administration has been fighting the practice, and a recent law prohibits such imports without the OK of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If nothing else, the Washington Legislature should pass a bill sending a message the federal government must do more to make cheaper drugs available.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Kate Riley at 08:19 AM


The State of the Union

Heaven help the republic if the spin-meisters have us talking about gay marriage by the November election. Not a single word is in a State of the Union address by accident. Every poll-tested syllable is vetted.

Last night President Bush broadly hinted a constitutional amendment might be necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage. Stay focused people. As voters we have a presidential administration to scrutinize and Democratic candidates to meet, test and thatch.

You need issues? The Iraq war has claimed 500 American lives, and more troops might be needed for a safe exit. A jittery economy is still in rehab. The federal budget deficit will be $500 billion this year.

This nation has bigger problems than two people who love each other and want to wed. Stay focused.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Lance Dickie at 08:05 AM


Mad cow, mad Americans

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat, and several other members of Congress are holding a press conference today to do something that should have been done long ago. They will introduce legislation that would make permanent a USDA ban on downed animals -- animals too sick to stand or walk -- from the food supply.

Maybe most people filed the mad cow scare under a mental file marked "low risk''. For me, it has been a matter of TMI - too much information about the meat supply. I was happier and better fed when I didn't know cows and other animals were slaughtered even if they could not walk to the slaughter house. As my daughter would say, Ewwwwww.

Good for Inslee and the rest of the group for trying to end a bizarre practice.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Joni Balter at 07:56 AM


Welcome to STop!

This new adventure in discussing the Editorial and Opinion pages of The Seattle Times begins today. Editorial page editors, writers and columnists are available to debate and discuss the daily opinions of The Times. We're interested in your comments, thoughts and opinions and we look forward to exchanging our views with yours in the new medium.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Jim Vesely at 07:52 AM




Marketplace

November 2005

S M T W T F S
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30