Inside Opinion

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

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Category: Taking notice


Connecticut shooting won’t change views on guns

I hope that headline, which came in on the wire story by Petula Dvorak of The Washington Post (below), is wrong. I hope that today’s tragedy in Newtown, Conn., will change views. I hope there will be greater resolve to make it harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them: by closing the gun-show loophole that allows too many buyers to avoid background checks and by restricting assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Whether changes like that would have prevented today’s massacre, I don’t know. But maybe it would prevent some future ones. All I know is we shouldn’t be making it easy for people to get their hands on high-powered weapons.

Here’s Dvorak’s story:

By Petula Dvorak

We live in a society that makes it very, very easy to kill kids.

Though we want to pretend that isn’t true.

Because the kids gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday were swaddled in federally-regulated, fire-retardant blankets, rode in elaborate car seats plastered with safety stickers, learned to ride bikes with elbow pads, knee guards and safety helmets and were never left alone with a plastic bag. Some of them may never, ever have had a Twinkie.

Cribs, bouncy seats, cough medicine, scooters, sugary snacks — we have no problem regulating the everliving life out of those.

But how do we keep them safe in their sweet, little elementary school when we live in a culture that has convinced itself to accept guns? Read more »


Leonard Pitts Jr. at the convention

We’re running a column by Leonard Pitts Jr. in today’s print edition. He also moved this bonus column, which we’re posting for our online readers.

Walking the gauntlet in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — To reach the Convention Center, you must first walk the gauntlet of dead baby parts.

It’s one of the newer and more gruesome tactics in the fight over reproductive choice, protesters hoisting large color placards depicting aborted fetuses torn in chunks as a group of men preaches an unending sermon on the evils of abortion. As rhetorical tactics go, it is a bludgeon.

The street preachers have other things on their minds, too: Muslims are bad, homosexuals are worse, and if you vote Democrat, you’re going to hell in the fast lane. Also, if you don’t believe as they do, then you don’t know Jesus like they know Jesus.

But always, they return to the medical procedure they deem child murder.
Most people walking to various functions in the Democratic National Convention ignore them. Some don’t. Read more »


Scary CDC graph shows state’s whopping whooping cough increase

A great website to read about science, tech and science fiction is One posting caught my eye with its headline: “This graph of whooping cough cases in Washington State should scare the crap out of you.” Here’s the link.

The Centers for Disease Control graph shows the 1300 percent increase in pertussis cases from early 2011 to June 16, 2012. While the nation is experiencing a pertussis epidemic, the incidence in Washington is far worse – more than seven times the national average. The likely reason: Washington’s high percentage of “antivaxxers” – parents who either don’t or

Read more »


Remembering William Raspberry

William Raspberry

Some readers might remember that we ran William Raspberry’s Washington Post column on our pages until his retirement in 2005. The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, who died today at age 76, was one of the first black journalists to appear widely in the mainstream press.

Here’s the Post’s obit. And here’s a column Raspberry wrote in 2005 shortly before his retirement. Its subject – on civil disagreement – seems particularly timely.

Our civil disagreement


I’ll breeze right past the fact that the heaviest mail day of my career as a newspaper columnist came when I announced the end of that career. What I want to think about instead is something that is enormously flattering and still a little mysterious.

The dominant theme of the letter writers was that they appreciate my attempt at balance and fairness and, most of all, thoughtfulness. Listen to one letter I’ve just opened from a “white, more-or-less conservative Republican”: Read more »


Adam Smith on the ‘scary’ prospect of Bush-Cheney officials in a Romney administration

Here’s an interesting piece by U.S. Rep. Adam Smith writing for Foreign Policy. It moved on the wire late this afternoon – too late for us to run over the weekend in the print edition. It might get in the paper next week.

Romney’s Embracing Cheney Is a Scary Thing Indeed

By Adam Smith
(c) 2012, Foreign Policy

A large majority of Americans agree that President Barack Obama has a strong record protecting our nation’s security and that he has the right vision for American leadership in the world. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s proposals, in contrast, promise to return us to the discredited doctrines and reckless policies of the George W. Bush administration. We’ve seen that movie before, and it doesn’t end well.

That is why it’s particularly worrisome that on Thursday, Romney attended a GOP fundraiser hosted by former Vice President Dick Cheney at his home in Wyoming. It’s fitting, really, since Romney has called Cheney a “person of wisdom and judgment.”

As Romney considers possible running mates, it’s worth remembering that he pointed to Dick Cheney as the “kind of person I’d like to have” working with him. Likewise, the policies that Romney has advocated – like indefinitely leaving our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example – are continuations of the Bush-Cheney doctrine, version 2.0.

It’s no secret that Cheney was the driving force behind the Bush administration’s failed foreign policies: starting the war in Iraq with no plan to finish it, bullying our allies around the world, and watching while Iran and North Korea moved forward with their nuclear programs because the Bush White House couldn’t bring the international community together to confront these threats. Read more »


Pierce Transit board wants out of its tango with The Traveller

The Pierce Transit Board at the moment could be likened to a woman who has a few too many, gets picked up by a lowlife, wakes up in his grungy, broken-down bed and says, “How the hell did I get here? And how do I get out?”

The lowlife is Robert “The Traveller” Hill, a virtuoso stalker and harassment artist who’s tangled with the police and the courts dozens of times. He is sitting in the Pierce County Jail on a felony conviction for criminal intimidation of a judge.

The Pierce Transit Board wound up figuratively in bed with Hill on Monday in the worst possible way: It appointed him to write a statement for the voters pamphlet opposing the sales tax measure it will have on the ballot in November.

The board would have done less damage by appointing Hill to write the argument for the proposition. The way it happened, it looks as if the board deliberately picked one of the most disreputable human beings in sight to discredit the opposition. It’s the kind of move that alerts and mobilizes the enemy.

Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and other members of the board are excruciatingly aware of the smelly impression they’ve made. She said Thursday that she’s moving to persuade the board to seize an option it rejected Monday: Hold a special meeting before the Aug. 7 deadline to pick a credible committee to write the opposing statement.
Read more »


Advice for judge wannabes

Here’s some unsolicited advice for judicial candidates: Ask your campaign volunteers not to break any laws while they’re out posting your signs. It just looks bad when they do.

Here’s the scenario I observed this morning on my way to work: At the busy intersection of Pine and Center Street, a tall, bearded gentleman carrying a sign in one hand and a hammer in the other walked across Pine while the pedestrian signal clearly said not to cross. He pounded the sign in, giving everyone stopped at the light a good look at the name on it (a candidate for

Read more »


Tidbits from the candidate

We often learn unexpected tidbits when talking with candidates for their endorsement interview. State Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens was in today and mentioned that she went to a concert Sunday by singer-songwriter Ben Harper at the Crocodile in Seattle. It was a benefit for Owens’ benchmate, Steve Gonzalez, who was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in January and is running to retain his seat.

Turns out, Harper and Gonzalez are cousins; their mothers are sisters.

Owens also mentioned that she was one of the elected officials walking in the Seattle gay pride parade Saturday.

“I’ve never

Read more »