Inside Opinion

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

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China should rein in North Korean lunacy

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

As the craziness emanating out of North Korea keeps ratcheting up, one almost longs for the good old days of the Cold War. At least then we knew our adversary and had a certain level of confidence that the Soviet Union had no interest in self-destruction – the inevitable result if it launched its ICBMs at us.

We can’t be so sure that’s the case with the hermit kingdom of Kim Jong Un, which in recent days has done some unusually bizarre things.

A month after North Korea’s third nuclear test, it said it would “exercise the right to a preemptive nuclear attack” on South Korea and the United States. Last week it posted a strange, militaristic video on its YouTube channel, titled Read more »


Give DNR more tools to deal with derelict vessels

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Many Washingtonians have a love affair with boats. But when the romance wears off, owners often walk out on them. And guess who ends up footing the bill for these derelict vessels?

The taxpayers, of course. Now legislation is moving that would prevent many problems in the first place and, when that fails, make it easier to go after abandoned boats’ owners to assume responsibility.

Derelict vessels can be found in waterways all along Puget Sound, often one bad storm away from sinking. When that happens, they can spill fuel, asbestos and other toxins, posing a hazard to marine life and potentially obstructing commerce.

A couple recent examples: Read more »


The Republic of Hollywood

Clint Eastwood in "Dirty Harry" (Warner Bros.)
Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry” (Warner Bros.)

Just in time for Sunday’s Academy Awards comes this op-ed from The Washington Post: “Welcome to the Republic of Hollywood.” Author Jim Cullen writes that “in Hollywood, as in politics, one of the recurring themes is our national ambivalence about powerful institutions — religious, economic, military or political — and their influence over everyday life.” In this op-ed, he looks at how six Oscar-winning actors tell the story of America.

By Jim Cullen/Special to The Washington Post.

A box office is not a voting booth, but they have their similarities. Neither is entirely democratic in the ways it offers choices, and each is a little too deferential to market forces. But both tell stories about the state of the nation, produced by teams that are fronted by star performers.

In politics, some of the most successful performers take on multiple roles. Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama: Their stories have offered versions of the country — where it had been, where it was headed. Some were stories of restoration, others of progress.

In the Republic of Hollywood, it’s movie stars, not politicians, who rule. And in Hollywood, as in politics, one of the recurring themes is our national ambivalence about powerful institutions — religious, economic, military or political — and their influence over everyday life. Read more »


Get tough on Ugly Gorilla and other Chinese hackers

21ehackersThis editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

If you can’t innovate, steal.

That’s likely the rationale behind years of Chinese cyberattacks against U.S. companies in such fields as aerospace, satellite and telecommunications, information technology and scientific research.

A private U.S. technology security firm, Mandiant Corp., announced earlier this week that it has linked a massive cyberattack campaign to the Chinese military (China steadfastly denies any role). Mandiant says that 141 companies and governmental agencies were targeted, 115 of them in the United States, by such entertainingly named hackers as Ugly Gorilla, Dota and SuperHard.

All of the hackers seem to operate out of one place – a Shanghai office building operated by the People’s Liberation Army cyber-command unit. Among the unnamed companies whose security has been breached are military contractors and ones with responsibility for parts of the U.S. power grid, water supply, and oil and gas pipelines.
Read more »


Yes on Prop 1: Modern schools for Tacoma’s students

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

A few dates will tell you why Tacoma must keep investing in its school buildings –
and why its Feb. 12 bond measure needs passing.

The Tacoma School District is both old and very large, with 28,000 students in 53 schools. At any point in time, it has a cohort of vintage buildings slipping into decrepitude.

The district once kept its buildings renovated with periodic bond measures supported by the city’s taxpayers. But bond proposals in 2006 and 2009 failed to win the necessary 60 percent of the vote.

In 2010, voters did approve a $140 million capital levy – which required only 50 percent approval – to reconstruct two middle schools and an elementary, and tackle urgent projects across the district. But that measure didn’t come remotely close to keeping Tacoma’s schools in timely repair.

The age of the schools to be replaced under Proposition 1 demonstrates the need.

Washington Elementary was built in 1906 – 107 years ago.

Grant Elementary was built in 1919; Wainright Elementary in 1922; Arlington, McCarver and Lyon elementaries in 1924. They date to the age of ink wells, biplanes and the Model T. They must be rebuilt for the digital 21st century.

Hunt Middle School and Wilson High date to 1957 and 1958, respectively – more than a half-century ago. Wilson was half-modernized with the 2001 bonds; Proposition 1 would finish the job for $40 million.

This isn’t just a matter of replacing old bricks and mortar with new bricks and mortar. At a certain point, old schools just can’t accommodate modern education.
Read more »


On this day, the stories of 2 historic figures converge

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Today in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama will be sworn in as president of the United States for the second time. Also today, we honor the nation’s most influential advocate of civil rights, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

The convergence of these two events is noteworthy. The first likely would not be taking place if it were not for the work of the other man. And so, we think it appropriate that we let the president’s own words pay tribute to King. They were spoken in October 2011 at the dedication of the King Memorial on the National Mall.
Read more »


An Eisenhower asks the NRA: ‘Have you no sense of decency, sirs?’

This op-ed came in Friday from The Washington Post. We don’t have room to get it into the print edition, so it’s running online only.

In it, Dwight Eisenhower’s granddaughter Susan comments on the NRA’s ad “suggesting that the president is an ‘elitist hypocrite’ because his children have the benefit of armed protection at school and the nation’s children as a whole do not.”
Needless to say, she thinks the NRA is off target. Here’s the article. Read more »


A teacher afraid of kids?

Did you hear about the Ohio teacher who is suing her school district for discrimination because she was transferred from a high school to a middle school? She claims she’s afraid of young children, so the transfer amounts to discrimination.

A teacher afraid of kids? Sounds as screwy as a journalist afraid of deadlines. Or a surgeon afraid of wearing a mask. Or a politician afraid of shaking hands. (Wait a minute, we had one of those as our assessor-treasurer!)

Now clowns . . . I can see being afraid of them. Who isn’t, right?

If you didn’t catch the

Read more »