Inside Opinion

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Tag: Barack Obama


A red line for Syria – and for President Obama

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

What does “red line” mean? What does “game changer” mean?

Either Barack Obama or Syria’s Bashar Assad will come to regret those words. In the near future, we’ll find out which.

When the president of the United States issues a warning that dire, he’d best be ready to back up the words with action. Assad’s government appears to have crossed Obama’s portentous line by using chemical weapons against rebels – such is the assessment of Britain, France, Israel and now the U.S. secretaries of Defense and State. What next?

If the evidence of nerve gas attacks is established beyond a reasonable doubt, Obama must come through – somehow – on his unspecified threat.

A U.S. invasion of Syria cannot be an option; the Middle East is enough of a mess already without a herd of American elephants stomping into a conflict few people on this side of the planet understand.

We want to help the good guys win, but it’s hard to figure out exactly who they are. Assad is a brutal tyrant, but some of his enemies are friends of al-Qaida, which makes them enemies of ours.

One of the best reasons to tread cautiously is the possibility that sarin – which is 500 times more toxic than cyanide – might fall into the hands of people who rejoiced at the sight of mangled Americans at the Boston Marathon.
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Why Michelle Obama’s Vogue cover matters

michelle-obama-vogueOne of our wire services provides articles from The Root, a daily online magazine featuring commentary from a variety of black perspectives. This article, on why Michelle Obama’s Vogue cover matters, came in too late to get in over the weekend but might get into the print edition next week. It’s by The Root political correspondent Keli Goff.

Why Michelle Obama’s Vogue cover matters

By Keli Goff
(c) 2013, The Root

Every presidential administration has one or two moments it is best remembered for – some good, some bad. President Nixon will always be better remembered for Watergate and his final farewell wave following his resignation than for any of his policies. President Obama will always be remembered for the night he made history by becoming our country’s first black president. But he will also be remembered for his wife. Read more »


Government operates best in the light of day

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

This week is Sunshine Week, when newspapers and civic watchdogs remind public officials that their paramount duty is to the citizens, not to their own self-interest. That duty is best carried out openly and transparently, not hidden behind closed doors and secret documents.

That reminder is badly needed, if action in the Legislature is any indication.

Proposed bills that would have made state and local government more transparent have already died. Now  the Washington Coalition for Open Government is just playing defense against several bills designed to obstruct the public’s right to know.

The bill with the most life in it is Read more »


Dennis Rodman, diplomat?

koreaVirtually all the national commentary and editorial cartoons have ridiculed Dennis Rodman for his trip to North Korea and subsequent pronouncements about what a great guy dictator Kim Jong Un is, how much the people there love him and how President Obama should just give Kim a call.

Yes, “The Worm” comes off as either naive or hopelessly uninformed about the reality of that totalitarian state, especially after Kim proclaimed his willingness to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States. But in Foreign Policy magazine, writers Joel Wit and Jenny Town take a somewhat different view. They write:

“Dennis the Menace” may have unwittingly stumbled onto an important truth about how to deal with Pyongyang. There can be a diplomatic upside to a political system based on one-person, one-family rule. North Korean leaders have a history of issuing “on-the-spot guidance” — pronouncements that instantly set policy. So reaching out directly to Kim Jong Un might not be such a bad idea, particularly since he is still new on the job.

Here’s the entire article. Read more »


No, Mr. President, it’s a VULCAN mind meld

I cringed when I read that President Obama said he can’t do a “Jedi mind meld” with Republicans to avoid the sequester.

As an original trekker, as we like to be called, I know that the Jedis of the “Star Wars” saga may have their mind tricks, but the Vulcans of “Star Trek” (such as Mr. Spock) are the ones who do the mind meld. In fact, that’s how Spock was able to be brought back to life after being killed off in one of the “Star Trek” movies.

One thing about the Vulcan mind meld I could never figure

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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.
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Mars Hill pastor challenges Obama’s faith

The founding pastor of Mars Hill Church, the Seattle-based megachurch that bought the historic First Congregational Church in Tacoma last year, has kind of stepped in it. He essentially said that President Obama doesn’t know God. That might be news to the president, who attended church before his swearing in Monday and a prayer service today.

Before Obama’s inauguration, clergyman Mark Driscoll tweeted: “Praying for our President, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.”

According to our reporter, Steve Maynard, Mars Hill

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Arctic oil drilling looks increasingly risky

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The Arctic Ocean is believed to hold vast reserves of oil and gas, worth trillions of dollars. But can they be safely extracted and shipped?

Given recent events, experts are increasingly skeptical. The challenges posed by extreme weather and sea conditions of the far north appear – at least for now – to be beyond the abilities of the oil company seeking to drill there.

Two of President Barack Obama’s closest advisers – former Environmental Protection Agency head Carol Browner and John Podesta, who headed the president’s 2009 transition team – are saying they don’t see any way to safely drill for oil in the Arctic. Their concerns are echoed by departing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as well as a key insurance market, Lloyd’s of London, and the French oil company Total.
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