Inside Opinion

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

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Category: Snark bites

March
31st

Nature red in tooth and claw

In a doomed attempt to upstage PETA, the Global Anti-Hunting Campaign is staging “the first of 50 funeral motorcades for the animals” on Friday; it will proceed from Seattle’s Volunteer Park in Seattle to Bellefields Nature Park in Bellevue.

Description:

Funeral Motorcade for the Animals is a solemn event, conducted in the same spirit as a funeral for a loved one. It is for all the non-human sentient beings that have died at human hands, through the ages and right now. In our grief we speak, that all killings of sentient beings must end!

I’ve always been

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March
24th

Give the guy a break

How about 10 percent off the sentence for being such a nice guy?

By GREG BLUESTEIN
Associated Press Writer

ATLANTA (AP) — A white collar criminal sentenced to 845 years in prison is asking a federal appeals court to reduce his sentence.

Sholam Weiss was sentenced in February 2000 by a federal judge in Florida who said he should be removed permanently from society. Weiss wasn’t there because he had fled overseas while a jury was deliberating.

Austrian authorities eventually found him and sent him back, and now his attorneys want the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to order

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Feb.
9th

So why not the Kent Cutthroats?

The Indoor Football League has rolled out a new franchise, the Kent Predators. Yes, you read that right.

The IFL originally intended to create the team in Wasilla, Alaska, where it would have played as the Arctic Predators. Up there, the name would have conjured up wolves, grizzlies, polar bears, even fluffy little snow foxes.

Down in urban Western Washington, “predators” has a whole different set of associations. As in: Ted Bundy, The Green River Killer and all the wonderful folks we try to keep locked up on McNeil Island (and who nonetheless always seem to be able to get

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Jan.
20th

Double standard for cheesecake?

The big news du jour, of course, is the Massachusetts senatorial race, won by previously unknown Scott Brown. I’ve read all the analysis of how the Republican was able to beat the Democratic candidate in a deep blue state, and I get it: Martha Coakley ran a spectacularly poor campaign, and he ran a brilliant, grass-roots race that appealed to everyday folks. Throw in a good dose of voter discontent with the party in power and voila: an upset.

What I don’t get is why his 1982 cheesecake spread in Cosmopolitan apparently helped him, according to some commentators. I can’t

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Nov.
4th

Baby Einstein = Baby Gump

It turns out that Baby Einstein isn’t all that smart. I’m not surprised.

A couple years ago, I did some looking into the cutting edge of brain development research, a lot of which is happening at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.

Researchers there had done what has become a well-known experiment. They’d had a Chinese graduate student read a child’s book – in Chinese – to 10-month-old babies, just for a few weeks. Those children were tested when they were older, and they proved to have the ability to hear sounds in spoken Chinese that are normally inaudible to English-speakers.

Interesting result. Then they repeated the experiment. Only instead of having the grad student read to 10-month-olds in person, they showed the babies a video of the same woman reading the same book, replicating the same inflections and facial expressions.

Result: The children absorbed no recognition of uniquely Chinese sounds.

Young children learn from people, not screens. Technology is just no substitute for flesh-and-blood moms and dads.

A Chicago Tribune editorial on the subject:

Baby Einstein videos were marketed with a promise many parents found irresistible: Park your kid in front of the television, and let us make him or her, if not a genius, then at least above average.

That pitch was brilliant: A beleaguered parent (that is, every parent) can merely slip in the $15.99 video, flip on the television and voila! Baby gets brainier!

Except … apparently it doesn’t work. One study even suggested that it could have the opposite effect: Watching Baby Einstein an hour a day was associated with slower acquisition of new words.

Recently, under legal pressure, Walt Disney Co. offered a refund to anyone who bought a Baby Einstein video in the last five years.
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Oct.
14th

Fire departments are political hotbeds – take it from an old Roman emperor

This, I submit, is rich.

After reading Sunday’s News Tribune report that the Tacoma Professional Firefighter’s Union has been the top contributor to Tacoma City Council races, and after watching firefighter-lobbyist Keven Rojecki mount his formidable campaign for a seat on the council, I recalled something I read years back.

I read a lot of history. I like to read original documents, the unfiltered stuff.

One such document was a letter the ancient Roman emperor Trajan received 1900 years ago from one of his provincial governors, Pliny the Younger.

Pliny wanted to know if it was OK to create a fire department in the city of Nicomedia:

Do you, my lord, consider whether you think it well to organize an association of firemen, not to exceed 150 members. … since they would be so few, it would not be difficult to keep them under surveillance.

Trajan’s answer:

We must remember that the peace of your province, and particularly of those cities, has been repeatedly disturbed by organizations of this kind.

Whatever name they give them, and for whatever purpose, men who have gathered together will all the same become a political association before long.
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Oct.
11th

Nobel Peace Prize should have gone to me

Some cynics and naysayers have implied that President Barack Obama did not deserve to win the Nobel Peace Prize. I disagree. I congratulate our president on this historic honor, one he earned through his vast experience in the private and public sectors and his accomplishments (too numerous to mention) during his first nine months in office. Indeed, to quote the Nobel Committee, President Obama has made “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy.”

But I think I should have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here is why I should have been the 2009 Nobel Laureate. When I was in college, I attended

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