Inside Opinion

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

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Category: Caught my eye


The New York Times vs. the tea party: Mistakes were made

The New York Times editorial board is doing some after-the-fact damage control over its enthusiastic support last year for Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party groups.


Taxpayers should be encouraged by complaints from Tea Party chapters applying for nonprofit tax status at being asked by the Internal Revenue Service to prove they are “social welfare” organizations and not the political activists they so obviously are.

Note the subject-less, passive-voice headline on its new editorial: “The I.R.S. audits are condemned.” Who, exactly, condemned them? (Please don’t ask.)

In politics, this grammatical evasion is standard fare for

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Mothers gone wild

You may have caught this story on the National Geographic channel already. If not, take a look. You may find it as amazing as I did.

Leopards are not noted for their charity. They catch something, they eat it. It’s how they make a living.

Yet this female leopard was captured on film trying to mother a baby baboon. The film crew had been following Legadema – as they’d named the cat – for months. One day, it killed a baboon. Poking around, the leopard found a tiny baboon hanging on to its dead mother.

Here’s the Mother’s Day

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Myths about missing children

It’s parents’ worst nightmare: Their child has disappeared.

Every parent has experienced that gut-wrenching panic at least once. Even if a child has wandered away at the store, it can create a heart-rending couple of minutes. The mind races: Has someone taken my child?

But David Finkelhor, a national expert on crimes against children, points out in an article for The Washington Post that as sensational as stranger-abduction stories are, they’re by far the rarest reason kids disappear, accounting for only one-hundredth of 1 percent of all missing children.

He also debunks four other myths about missing children. Read more here: Read more »


Congratulations, Pierce County Library

First lady Michelle Obama presented Pierce County Library Executive Director Neel Parikh and Jo Cruz of Spanaway with the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service today in Washington, D.C. PCL was one of 10 institutions to receive the award, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, and the only Northwest recipient.

As a regular Pierce County Library customer (usually at the University Place branch), I much appreciate the resources available to me and the friendly folks who are called upon a lot for help.

According to Susan Hildreth, director of the

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Political recruiters are looking for a few good women

Last year as election filing time neared, I bemoaned in a blog posting the scarcity of women candidates who had announced that they would be seeking statewide office. “Where are the female candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, public lands commissioner, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction?” I asked.

One notable exception: two women were running for secretary of state (Kim Wyman won).

This time of year is candidate-recruitment season, and a new article in The Atlantic might persuade more women to run. Writer Molly Ball says, “These days, political consultants take for granted that, all else being equal, women make more desirable candidates.”

Why? Women candidates are seen to embody the kind of change frustrated voters seek. And, consultants say, voters “tend to assume women are more trustworthy, less corruptible and more in touch with everyday concerns. In a white-male-dominated political system, women are seen as outsiders.”

So why don’t more women run? Citing Gallup researcher Deborah Jordan Brook, Ball writes: Read more »


Up close and personal with terrorists

This is too long to fit into our pages (Foreign Policy has a lot more room), but readers shouldn’t miss it.

You Can’t Tell a Terrorist by His Eyes

Jessica Stern (The Hoover Institute)
Jessica Stern (The Hoover Institution)

By Jessica Stern
2013, Foreign Policy

A few times, I have felt myself in the presence of true evil. At those times, I learned what it means to have the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It’s not just an expression. It happened to me when I met with a leader who recruited cannon fodder for his “jihad,” and on a few other occasions in the last couple decades that I’ve spent interviewing terrorists to learn why they do what they do. But, more often, the evil I’ve witnessed has been banal. I have found myself able to understand the mistaken moral logic that can turn a boy into a terrorist.

Here’s a surprising thing. Almost everywhere — in Pakistan, in Indonesia, in Texas — terrorists offer you tea. Sometimes a full meal.

Otherwise, they are quite different from one another. Their motivations vary — from irredentism, to pleasing the God they claim to worship, to cleansing the Earth of the mud-people that contaminate the world of purity in their minds. Some live in war zones with grievances that are easy for outsiders to grasp; for others, living in the cushy West, the war that is taking place is principally in their own minds, often over identity. Some are paid, some are blackmailed. Some are recruited, and some recruit themselves to their own holy war, whether at home or far away.

That latter seems to be what happened with Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who, according to the latest reporting, recruited themselves to their own “jihad” against America, based, in part, on their opposition to the U.S. role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When it comes to understanding — and stopping — these kinds of leaderless resisters and small cells, we need to understand how terrorists think as individuals. Read more »


Responding to a friend’s racist jokes

Ever been having a nice time with friends or family and someone tells a racist joke? It’s happened to me a few times, and I’ve struggled how to respond adequately in a way that conveys my discomfort but doesn’t cause some kind of scene.

So I was very interested when I saw this headline on The Root, an online source of opinion from various black perspectives: “How to respond to a friend’s racist joke.” I think the article by Jenée Desmond-Harris offers some useful advice, including this:

Take your friend aside before you leave and have a chat. “Something

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Spanaway’s on the state’s tourism map, but not Lakewood?

We got an email notice today that the Washington Tourism Alliance has released its 2013 official Washington State Visitors’ Guide. The new print guide is linked to, the official state tourism web site.

Just out of curiosity, I wanted to see what the state website had to say about Lakewood, where I live. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed.

Go to the website, click on Regions and Cities, then on Metro Seattle (which includes King, Pierce and Thurston counties). Then click on Lakewood, and up comes a map – which designates the city with just

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