Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: March 2011

March
24th

It shouldn’t be too easy to opt out of vaccinations

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

When it comes to legislation pertaining to childhood vaccinations, state lawmakers should heed the experts – like the Washington State Medical Association and the Washington Academy of Family Physicians.

They should politely but firmly reject the medical opinions of people who get their information from questionable Internet sites and quacks.

The legislation in question is House Bill 1015 and its companion Senate Bill 5005. It requires that parents who don’t want their children to be immunized against such diseases as polio, whooping cough, measles and diphtheria submit proof that a health provider has informed them of the risks and benefits of immunization.

Immunization is required for children to enter public school, but parents are allowed to waive that requirement by signing a form claiming medical, religious or philosophical reasons. Public health officials are concerned that so many parents are opting out that the “herd immunity” benefit of immunization is in danger of being lost – threatening the outbreak of diseases not often seen anymore in this country.
Read more »

March
23rd

Attack on Libya looks like the right move

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Military interventions have a perverse way of becoming justified or unjustified only after they’re over.

Stopping the North Korean communists seemed a terrible idea to many Americans when the Korean War exploded. Stopping communism in Southeast Asia seemed a great idea a decade later.

Barack Obama’s decision to join what looks like a half-hearted international attack on Moammar Gadhafi’s Libyan regime will be judged by the same standard: ultimate success or failure.

Given what we know, America’s involvement in the offensive is defensible. From a humanitarian point of view, the world could hardly sit back and eat popcorn as Gadhafi’s forces massacred the Libyans who have attempted to overthrow his vile dictatorship.

Military support for the rebels also serves American foreign policy interests. Read more »

March
22nd

Stadium Roofgate leaves fans out in the cold

The roof overhang in the newly rebuilt Cheney Stadium is too small to shield many fans from rain. (Staff file photo)

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Tacoma’s new $30 million Cheney Stadium isn’t even finished yet, and already there’s nostalgia for the old one.

Or at least for the old one’s roof, the one that covered a good portion of the cheap seats.

Even fans in the premium uncovered box seats would often move up under the roof and be sheltered if it started raining – which is known to happen in these parts. On sunny days, it was nice for those whose winter-white skin was starting to burn to be able to move to a shaded seat.

That’s going to be a little harder to do in coming seasons. The new roof won’t extend out very far, and at least 1,700 seats will lack the coverage provided by the old stadium. The stadium doesn’t have a field-view concourse like Safeco Field, so fans who want shelter from the rain or sun but still want to watch the game will be out of luck.

What’s curious about all this is that the formal requirement provided to those bidding on the renovation contract was that the new design provide at least as much roof coverage as the old stadium.

So how did this design, the only one with a greatly shortened roofline, win the bid? Read more »

March
21st

Fukushima threat: 1 part real, 10 parts psychological

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Maybe radioactivity needs a better PR firm. The radioactive particles leaking from Japan’s stricken nuclear plants are dangerous, but not remotely as dangerous as many people think they are.

Terror of nuclear fallout is rampant in Japan – which is understandable, given that it’s the only country to suffer a nuclear attack. Americans have less reason for panicking over the radioactive releases from the Fukushima reactors.

Every competent scientific authority in the United States has been assuring the public that those releases pose absolutely no threat to the health of anyone this side of the Pacific Ocean.

People up and down the West Coast have still cleaned out retailers’ supplies of potassium iodide pills, desperately trying to protect themselves against a nonexistent threat – thyroid cancer from Japanese radiation.

The pills themselves are potentially harmful to a few people, which makes them a bigger danger in this country than the Fukushima reactors.
Read more »

March
20th

Undergrads in overtime: Move on or pay up

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Long ago, in a universe far away, the State of Washington had enough money to subsidize the education of students lingering in college long after their peers had moved on in life.

That day is gone, and lawmakers should make it official by passing Senate Bill 5868.

SB 5868 is straightforward: It would require so-called perpetual students in public colleges to bear 100 percent of the cost of their educational expenses.

This would apply to most undergraduate students who’ve accumulated more than 125 percent of the credits needed to graduate. It would not apply to dislocated workers being retrained for jobs, teachers continuing their educations or students who demonstrate that they haven’t been able to graduate for reasons beyond their control. Read more »

March
19th

Another revenue forecast, another reality check

Employment rebounded much more quickly during the 1981-82 recession than it’s doing today. (Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council chart)

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

One graph sums up the grim economic predicament lawmakers face as they struggle to write a new state budget.

Released Thursday – along with yet another forecast of falling revenue – the chart tracks current job losses against the 1982-1982 recession.

Back then, the state had seen slightly more than 50,000 jobs evaporate by the time it hit bottom, but they’d all come back about 27 months into the downturn.

This downturn makes that one look like the good old days. The economic slide that began at the end of 2007 kept sliding for more than two years – and slaughtered 200,000 jobs along the way. We remain down 179,000 jobs down more than three years in. The trajectory looks like a submarine that made a crash dive and is still scraping along the ocean floor.

The message: Get used to it. It’ll be a long time before we see the sun again.
Read more »

March
18th

Chuckles Explains a Nuclear Meltdown

Have you ever noticed that, during our most somber hours, our favorite comics disappear? Jon Stewart goes on vacation, Letterman regurgitates reruns, and Leno, well, Leno, just isn’t funny anymore.

But, sometimes, during such hours, a clown is born. In the 24-hour news cycle, it seems one is born every minute.

Last Thursday night, I was wallowing in a rather somber hour as I waited for The Daily Show to come on. I turned to CNN, hoping for some good news.

My mom had died two weeks earlier, a dear friend had just relayed the bad news about a mass in her lung, while another was living with lymphoma. And, the last I’d checked, my sister was out of work, the American Dream was given last rites, and the working class was in the trenches of an all-out war on unions, while the poor were a forgotten bunch altogether.

I couldn’t imagine things getting gloomier. But they did, and then some.
Read more »