Two short takes, one on Paul Allen finally doing something more useful with his money by paying for the $40 million "brain atlas" that is now online and free for scientists and the public to use. We’ll also take note of that U.S. Funded $75 million police academy project in Iraq that turned in to an utter disaster, saying it seems emblematic of the war effort itself right now.
We take our first public stand on one of the Nov. 7 statewide ballot measures, Iniitative 933. The so-called property rights initiative is nothing but bad news for this state. It would wreck good land-use planning and cripple local zoning efforts. Not even the the Building Industry Association of Washington, usually a foe of government regulation, is backing this one because it is so badly drafted and overreaching.
State Department of Ecology boss Jay Manning has a legitimate gripe about the feds waiting so long to decide whether to file criminal charges against the operators of the ship that spilled oil off Vashon island. Now the only avenue to hold the operators accountable is to seek civil penalties, and the state is up against a tight deadline to get a case ready.
Wal-Mart’s popular decision to offer many widely-used prescription drugs for a maximum of $4 per prescription underscores a point we’ve made before. Wal-Mart can do that because it has strong bargaining leverage with the drug companies. By contrast, Congress forbid the government to negotiate volume prices for drugs covered under the new Medicare drug benefit, driving up the costs both to consumers and the taxpayers. Should we turn the drug benefit program over to Wal-Mart?
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