Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: May 2009


A misery meter for Pierce County

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

No one need look at a bar graph to know Pierce County families are hurting – just drive down a residential street peppered with homes in foreclosure or visit a job fair where the line snakes out the door.

Cold, hard data cannot accurately capture the pain of those losing their homes or their jobs, but it can help get them help. That’s where the United Way of Pierce County’s recently unveiled “community indicators” come in.

The indicators are the product of an impressive and exhaustive three-year effort to collate every scrap of reliable data to provide a comprehensive picture of the community’s well-being.

United Way calls it “the global pulse of the most vulnerable among us.”

Read more »


North Korean specter looms over Fort Lewis

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Talk of war in Korea hits close to home in the South Sound.

In the event of hostilities, American military contingency plans call for deploying possibly thousands of Fort Lewis soldiers – our neighbors – to the Korean Peninsula.

That makes the latest round of missile-rattling by North Korea doubly disturbing. Kim Jong Il’s Stalinist regime in Pyongyang has threatened war against South Korea many times in the past; threatening the democratic south is its default foreign policy. Lately, though, its threats have taken on an increasingly nuclear flavor.

The dictatorship has long been manipulating the world with its on-again, off-again nuclear weapons program.

Eight times since 1994, it has either revved up its nuclear efforts or claimed to shut them down in exchange for rewards, concessions or recognition.

Read more »


Cigarette litter: This time, will smokers get it?

Metro Parks has been mulling over a plan to ban smoking in Tacoma’s parks. The proponents’ chief gripe is that smokers are a bad example to kids.

My chief gripe is that so many smokers are habitual, casual, who-gives-a-@%#* litterers. The world is their ash tray.

Not all smokers are guilty, by any means, but the galactic magnitude of cigarette trash out there – butts, packages, matches, etc. – proves that a lot of them think nothing of foisting the dregs of their addiction off on the public.

Ultimate gross-out: Getting out of your car in a parking lot and discovering you’ve stepped onto a small mountain of butts somebody dumped on the pavement from their ashtray. Horsewhipping would be too kind a punishment.

The backlash has arrived, and not just at Metro Parks. The New York Times on Friday reported that municipalities all over are banning smoking from beaches, playgrounds and other public spaces.

San Francisco’s mayor is proposing a 33-cents-a-pack tax to pay for the $11 million the city estimates it spends cleaning up cigarette litter every year. One San Francisco smoker didn’t help her cause when she told The New York Times, "It is satisfying to just toss it down when you are done."

The statistics are truly amazing.

Read more »


The devil and the deep blue sea…

The brochure promises "the grand company of luminaries," and calls for all like-minded souls to congregate on a luxury cruise around the Mediterranean. For 14,000 dollars you and your significant other can sail the high seas with conservative royalty Karl Rove and Co.

When passengers aren’t busy partaking of the endless buffets and sunning themselves on their own private veranda they can cruise into the inner recesses of Karl Rove’s mind during "an exclusive cocktail reception."

All this aboard the beautiful Holland America’s Noordam or as the GOP could call it, the "S.S. We-Might-As-Well-Go-Down-With-Drink-In-Hand"

When you think about it, a cruise ship could be the perfect place for underscoring a Rove/ Limbaugh philosophy. In fact, these gentlemen might say a cruise ship makes for a perfect microcosm of conservative society.

Read more »


From papasan: How the Fort Lewis “CQ” really worked

This is a comment a regular reader, “papasan,” added to our editorial, “The blame spreads widely in Leah King’s death.” I’m posting it here because it’s an inside look at how post security worked in his day. I wonder how much has changed.

I spent 2 years in the barracks on Ft. Lewis and many a night on “CQ” (Charge of Quarters) duty.The barracks had just been built and provided soldiers with rooms of 2-3 men. As an NCO, I had a private room.

A major problem was that the CQ was far removed from the barracks complex and one could only communicate with the soldiers by intercom.

Read more »


Sonia Sotomayor: Democracy’s nominee

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition:

The Supreme Court may be the least democratic part of the U.S. government, but it is still only one step removed from democracy.

Because the Constitution vests the power to nominate justices in the executive, members of the court are chosen by multiple presidents over a period of decades. The result is a court that – very roughly – reflects the temper of the voters who pick occupants for the White House.

The current court is a case in point. America’s political culture has often been often described as "center right" (though the election of Barack Obama suggests a recent leftward shift). The makeup of the high court is in fact center right: four liberals, four conservatives, and one moderate conservative – Anthony Kennedy – who often wields the decisive vote.

This is the system created by the founders; by and large, it has prevented the court from becoming too detached from the citizenry.

That argues, normally, for the Senate to confirm the president’s choice – including the newly nominated Sonia Sotomayor.

Read more »


More thoughts on the recession

When it’s over, will we call it …

The Great Recession?

The Great Decession?

The Great Repression?

The Mediocre Depression?

The Waterboarded Economy?

The Flip-That-House Hangover?

Irrational Indigence?

The Binge and Purge?

Derivative Diarrhea?

The Cave Bear Market?

The Great Sheriff’s Auction?

Was it a recession or was it a depression? That depends … did you lose your job?


For Friday: Sotomayor reflects court’s evolution

Because the Constitution vests the power to nominate justices in the executive, members of the Supreme Court are chosen by multiple presidents over a period of decades. The result is a court that – very roughly – reflects the temper of the voters who pick occupants for the White House. That system, created by the founders, argues for the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor.

If you have comments or questions about these topics, please email them to Editorials represent the consensus view of The News Tribune’s editorial board.