Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: Oct. 2008


Sign, sign, everywhere a sign . . .

Every year at election time, we get scores of letters from people complaining about their political signs disappearing. They’re sure the culprits are opponents’ supporters – and in many cases they are. The News Tribune has reported on several such cases over the years.

We don’t run those letters, because we could fill the page with them and they do tend to balance each other out. No one party has a monopoly on stolen signs.

While thievery does take place, I suspect that sometimes, the “thief” is just tired of the visual clutter. And now, with the earlier

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Don’t shed tears for “violated” Syria

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Because President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decided to police Iraq on the cheap in 2003, they left the back door open to disaster.

They didn’t deploy enough troops to lock down the Syrian and Iranian frontiers, and guerrillas and terrorists gradually figured out that they could launch cross-border raids and infiltrate Iraq with near-impunity. American forces and their Iraqi allies have paid dearly for that blunder.

Such is the context of Sunday’s U.S. raid on a Syrian village six miles from the Iraqi border. Part of Gen. David Petraeus’ counter-insurgency strategy has been to deny the enemy any sanctuary whatsoever. Despite the caterwauling of Syrian officials – who’ve never had qualms about ordering assassinations in neighboring Lebanon – the raid was thoroughly defensible.

The defense does presume that U.S. military and intelligence officers are more credible than the Syrians. The latter say the raid did nothing but kill "innocent civilians," including four children. The former say it killed Abu Ghadiyah, an Iraqi chief of al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, and fellow guerrillas before they carried out an imminent raid of their own. Abu Ghadiyah is believed to have personally led the attack last May that killed 11 Iraqi police officers.

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Disclosure is best tonic for money in politics

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Builders have the right to give big to Pierce County executive candidates – and voters have the right to know about it.

Anyone who has lived in Pierce County for a few election cycles can hardly be surprised by news that developers are flexing their financial muscle in local political races.

This county isn’t called the poster child for uncontrolled sprawl for nothing. Developers have wielded a lot of influence over the decades, and they didn’t become a force by sitting on the sidelines.

As The News Tribune’s David Wickert reported this week, three prominent builders and developers have contributed a total of $50,500 to county executive candidates.

The local companies – Investco, Corliss Resources and Tucci & Sons – and their executives have given far in excess of the $800 limit on contributions by any single person or business.

Nothing illegal about that. State law permits companies to contribute through their affiliates, and builders tend to form a lot of limited liability companies in the normal course of doing business.

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The guilt-trip campaign

Good Lord, the presidential campaigns are getting REALLY personal.

Somebody who loves me actually sent me this video to try to shame me into voting for the Terrorist Socialist candidate for president.

Check it out here, and tell me if you don’t think that wasn’t dirty pool.

Now, the version of the video my loved one sent me fingered me by name. It looks like the above link, due to the way the whole email thing works, doesn’t actually name anyone. But you’ll see how it works.

Too late to shame me, though:

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Pain and Initiative 1000

One of the major arguments made against Initiative 1000, the aid-in-dying ballot measure, is that patients’ pain can be controlled these days, so there’s no need for them to end their lives prematurely.

This McClatchy Newspapers article, however, suggests that pain management in this country falls short, with one-third of patients reporting that their pain is not well-controlled.

Here’s the article:

By Robert S. Boyd
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Medical science has learned a great deal about the causes of pain and ways to relieve it, pain experts say, but for a host of reasons, the treatment of pain and suffering has improved hardly at all in recent years.

John Seffrin, the president of the American Cancer Society, calls this “a national health-care crisis of under-treated pain.”
“Nearly all cancer pain can be relieved, but fewer than half of our patients report adequate pain relief,” Rebecca Kirch, the society’s associate director of policy, told a pain seminar in Washington last week.

Hospitals do a little better than that in managing pain for patients with all kinds of illnesses, according to a survey to be published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Another costly strike for Boeing and its Machinists

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The economy being what it is, many Washingtonians have watched the union contract talks at Boeing with wonderment and perhaps even envy.

Before the Boeing Machinists went on strike in early September, the aerospace company’s had offered the union’s members an 11 percent salary increase over three years (5 percent in the first year), a minimum wage increase of $2.28, a ratification bonus of $2,500, a lump sum bonus worth about $5,000 and another large bonus linked to profits.

Out-of-pocket costs for the company’s chief health plan would have gone up – but the coverage would still have been generous by most standards. Overall, even the original offer would have looked like heaven to most Washington wage-earners.

Now, after striking for nearly eight weeks, the Machinists appear ready to ratify a new offer that does not appear dramatically better. The lost weeks of work cost the rank-and-file members dearly. The hit to the company’s profits may well exceed $1.5 billion.

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Wednesday editorials: Tardy RCV results; Boeing’s damaging strikes

According to the Pierce County voter’s pamphlet, “the world will be watching” to see how ranked-choice voting is handled here. What it’s going to see is a needless delay in releasing the results.

Only Boeing’s Machinists can ultimately decide if their interests were served by this year’s strike. But the frequency of these long strikes – Boeing sees one roughly every five years – bodes ill for the survival of aerospace manufacturing in this state.