Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Facebook


Organ scarcity’s the real transplant dilemma

Sarah Murnaghan, left, lies in her hospital bed next to sister Ella prior to receiving a lung transplant June 12 at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.(Murnaghan Family/The Associated Press)
Sarah Murnaghan, left, lies in her hospital bed next to sister Ella prior to receiving a lung transplant June 12 at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.(Murnaghan Family/The Associated Press)

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

A Pennsylvania family’s legal fight to get a lung transplant for Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old with cystic fibrosis, ultimately proved successful. She is now recuperating after receiving adult lungs that under federal rules wouldn’t have been available to her because of her age.

Sarah’s story has a happy ending. But medical ethicists are rightly concerned about health decisions being made by a judge rather than by transplant experts.

In Sarah’s case, a federal judge ordered that she have access to lungs from adult donors — essentially circumventing rules set up by the national transplant system overseen for the federal government by the nonprofit United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Those rules give children under 12 top priority for lungs from other children and second priority for lungs from donors 12 to 17 years old. They don’t get adult lungs unless there are no adult transplant candidates in the area — something that rarely occurs. Read more »


Open season on trolls

Fair warning.

People who follow our blogs will note that comments must now be shifted to Facebook. Love it or loathe it, Facebook requires commenters to post actual names. We’ve already noticed a big improvement in the quality of the conversations, which is exactly what we were hoping for.

Our letters blog in particular had turned into a nest of vipers. Writers with the courage to sign their names were being spattered with noisome fluids by small souls hiding behind idiotic handles.

When you see a troll’s post, picture a 47-year-old loser living in his mother’s basement, hunching over his

Read more »


No need to force applicants to provide social media access

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Consider this scenario: You apply for a job. Your prospective employer shows up on your doorstep and tells you the only way you’ll be considered is if you let him go through the mail that comes to your home for the next month.

That mail might include medical information, revealing facts about your private life, even personal products that come “packaged for your privacy.” But you really want that job . . .

No employer would do that, of course, but according to some job seekers, a high-tech version of that is happening: They say employers and universities increasingly are demanding that applicants turn over their user names and passwords to such social media sites as Facebook to learn more about them. In response, some lawmakers plan to introduce legislation forbidding employers from seeking access to private Internet sites. Read more »


Social media should be out of order in the courtroom

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

We can all probably agree that there are a few places where it’s inappropriate to tweet or post something to Facebook about what’s going on.

The bathroom comes  immediately to mind. Talk about oversharing.

But what about the courtroom? Increasingly, cases are being affected – and verdicts overturned – because some jurors are all too eager to share their opinions through social media like Twitter and Facebook. And according to a Wall Street Journal report, attorneys are even searching social media for comments that could provide fodder for costly new trials or appeals. Consider a few examples:
Read more »


After routing SOPA, Web giants must protect creators

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

America saw political history made Wednesday. Think colonial Minutemen decimating formidable redcoats – but firing from the Web, not fences and trees.

The British army in this case was a powerful alliance of film makers, music labels, media companies and artists – creators and copyright-holders whose films, recordings, software and products have been getting plundered or counterfeited by Internet pirates.

They had the lobbyists; they had the money.

The colonials were such Internet upstarts as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia, and countless Web enterprises that depend on user uploads and links.
The creators desperately wanted Congress to approve the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act, a measure that would have made it far easier for them – too easy – to threaten even websites unintentionally linked to thieves. Lawmakers looked all but certain to send the president a version of SOPA or its Senate cousin, the Protect Intellectual Property Act.

No bills so well-greased may have been smacked down so quickly. SOPA and PIPA were demolished by an online onslaught that culminated Wednesday when popular websites staged blackouts and Google steered its users to condemnations of the legislation.

Some of the bills’ most fervent supporters suddenly discovered reasons to back down: “Not ready for prime time,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch – one of PIPA’s original cosponsors.
The clash demonstrated the muscle and reach of the Web’s new giants – and their power to push around the old media giants of Hollywood, music and publishing. And now, Congress itself.
Read more »


In Seattle, terror drives the First Amendment underground

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Terrorist intimidation has just cost a Seattle cartoonist her freedom. Her crime: exercising her First Amendment rights.

That’s Seattle, as in the United States. There doesn’t seem to be a Seattle in Yemen.

Molly Norris, whose work appears in the Seattle Weekly, gained international attention last spring after she drew a mock promotion of an imaginary event, “Everbody Draw Mohammed Day.” The spoof poster, published on Facebook, depicted various inanimate objects – including a coffee cup and a domino – each claiming to be the true likeness of the founder of Islam.

Norris drew it as a satirical comment on Comedy Central’s censorship of two South Park episodes in which cartoon characters refer to another character – inside a bear costume – as Muhammad. Comedy Central backed away from those episodes because of death threats from radical Muslims.

The poster proposed “Draw Mohammed Day” to – in its own words – “defend a little something our country is famous for … the First Amendment.”

Taken seriously by many, the fictitious event went viral. Pakistan – one of the world’s largest countries – has responded by shutting down Facebook within its borders. Anwar al-Awlaki, a fugitive U.S.-born cleric, has issued a fatwa calling for Norris’ death.

Some fatwas are more to be feared than others. This one is apparently much to be feared. The Seattle Weekly’s editor-in-chief, Mark Fefer, wrote Wednesday that “Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly.”
Read more »