Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Archives: Dec. 2007


Conservative dissent on early learning

After I noted here Friday that the Dallas Morning News had panned Texas’ early learning initiative, John Barnes of the conservative Washington Policy Center e-mailed me with more of the same.

Liv Finne, an adjunct scholar at the center, has been reviewing universal preschool programs and similar initiatives and doesn’t like what she sees.

Here’s her take on universal preschool and all-day kindergarten. Here’s her lengthier assessment of the prospects of Washington’s early learning efforts.

The Washington Policy Center can be counted on to oppose any spendy new government program, but

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Thursday editorials: Hookers go online

Both opinion pages on Tuesday will be devoted to our annual "explainer," a special layout that identifies the various functions of the opinion section and profiles the newspaper’s editorial board.


Pierce County fared well in its game of brinksmanship with the state over funding for mental-health services, emerging with more funding than it had originally requested through the usual channels. That’s good news for county residents who depend on those services, but the Legislature is going to have to address the underlying issue of inadequate funding.

Local law enforcement officials are just waking up to the

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Public agency abuse of public records act

Our Saturday editorial described one way that public agencies are using (or abusing) a provision of the public records act.

In Soter v. Cowles (the records case the state Supreme Court ruled on last week), the Spokane School District used the provision to sue The Spokesman-Review before the newspaper could sue the district. As we said in the editorial, the approach smacks of a strategic lawsuit against public participation.

But that’s not the only way public agencies are twisting RCW 42.56.540 to foil records requests. Toby Nixon, a former state legislator and president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, explains:

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Great essays of 2007, Part II

In his column today, The New York Times’ David Brooks has Part II of his Sidney Awards for best magazine essays of 2007. Part I appeared Thursday. Those essays gave slices of American life; Part II celebrates "more polemical" essays of 2007.

Here are links to essays mentioned in today’s column.

&bull Christopher Hitchens’ "The War" in Vanity Fair.

&bull Ross Douthat’s "Lord Have Mercy" in The Claremont Review of Books

&bull Jeffrey Goldberg’s "The Usual Suspect" in The New Republic

&bull Christopher Jencks’ "The Immigration Charade" in The New York Review of Books

&bull Jonathan Haidt’s "Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion" in Edge

&bull J. Bradford DeLong’s "Creative Destruction’s Reconstruction" in the Chronicle of Higher Education

&bull Heather MacDonald’s "The Abduction of Opera" in The City Journal

And here again are the links to the essays Brooks cited Thursday:

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Justice Madsen: “I read the facts … (and) almost fell off my chair.”

The state Supreme Court’s ruling on a Spokane public records case — the subject of our editorial today — had an interesting nuance.

Justice Barbara Madsen sided with the majority in upholding lower court rulings allowing the Spokane School District to keep documents about a student’s death under wraps. But during oral arguments last March, Madsen seemed to foresee the dangers inherent in keeping the records secret.

A Friday story in the Spokesman-Review (the newspaper which was seeking the documents) quoted Madsen’s questioning of the school district’s attorney:

“Some of the most

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Sinning in ignorance

I was tempted to cringe on behalf of Mitt Romney over the new AP report that “the Romney administration” let Daniel Tavares Jr. out of prison prematurely.

What happened: Someone in the Massachusetts Department of Correction failed to take away 300 days of “good time” Tavares should have forfeited by being a nasty boy in prison. Another 300 days would have saved the life of the Graham couple he killed last month.

People make stupid mistakes in every bureaucracy. Doesn’t mean it’s the governor’s fault.

But then there’s Romney’s own campaign-trail demand for the resignation of

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Weekend editorials: A setback for public disclosure

Editorials for the holiday weekend:


The state Supreme Court’s ruling against disclosure in a case involving the Spokesman Review in Spokane not only expanded the attorney-client privilege but also endorsed a new tactic government agencies can use to fend off disclosure requests: They can force record seekers into court before taking action on the requests. This makes disclosure harder, not easier, to obtain.


We look back at the year’s hits and misses on our 2007 civic agenda scorecard. The failure of Proposition 1 was a big setback in solving transportation problems, but there

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