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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for September 2007

Pull that ripcord

Scottish scientist James Dewar said, “Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they’re open.”

Unfurl yours here at Friday’s loose thread, open wide for your opinion of the day.

Letter: Suing ourselves?

Seems to me, Gov. Gregoire is a typical conniving attorney. According to The Spokesman-Review today, she is entertaining ideas about filing a lawsuit against us for health care coverage for the poor and public employees (“Gregoire threatens lawsuit over kids’ health,” Sept. 25). Lawyers spend vast amounts of money advertising. You know the pitch. One phone call, that’s all. I wonder if she ever chased ambulances?

As our former state attorney general, Gregoire tried to blame an underling for a $20 million loss of taxpayer revenue recklessly spent in a state court case. It’s noteworthy, if she sues us, as taxpayers we pay for our defense, and we also pay to sue ourselves.

Dick Adams

Do you think Gregoire’s threatened lawsuit against the federal government would be counterproductive?

Death penalty for Yates

The Washington Supreme Court decided this morning to uphold Pierce County’s death sentence for Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates Jr.

Read Richard Roesler’s story.

In a Spokane case, Yates was sentenced to 408 years in prison for other killings.

Please join the debate. What do you think of the court’s decision?

Staff photo

Letters: Growth, not blight

(…) More houses per acre is not a good environmental solution. It increases human waste, it increases traffic that ruins our roads and adds to our already suffering air quality, it strains our natural resources, looks terrible and yes, destroys the quality of life here.

Some of us like living in the Spokane area and have no desire to see it become an overcrowded, poorly planned Seattle Jr. I am not anti-growth; I am anti-blight. Building houses six feet apart with postage stamp-size lawns (like the houses currently being built on Hatch Road north of Spokane) is not beneficial in any way. It is also impossible to drive in this area without running into traffic revisions or road closures due to the need to expand services for these clowns.

It would be nice if those in charge of approving such development cared about the beauty of this area and not about expanding the tax base while being puppets to the ever-increasing wealthy developers. (…)
Steve Manning

In their opposition to development in their backyards, most people say they aren’t against growth but it is being done in the wrong way in this case.

What would the right way look like?

Governor taps emergency fund to monitor sex offenders

This morning’s news includes this announcement from the Washington governor’s office.

Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to spend $400,000 to ramp up the electronic monitoring of the state’s high-risk sex offenders.

Read the story here.

How do you think the state should deal with high-risk sex offenders who have served their time and now return to the community?

Staff photo

Bill O’Reilly said what?

Seems the Fox News commentator had a racial epiphany while dining at a soul-food restaurant.


After eating dinner at a famed Harlem restaurant recently, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly told a radio audience he “couldn’t get over the fact” that there was no difference between the black-run Sylvia’s and other restaurants.

It was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun,” he said. “And there wasn’t any kind of craziness at all.”

He really needs to get out more. So, will Mr. No Spin be able to spin his way out of this one?

(AP photo)

Mars Attacks! Iran next?

Been tracking the visit to New York of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And the images from his visit connect in my weird brain with the 1996 Tim Burton sci-fi spoof movie Mars Attacks! in which the president, Congress and ambassador types are very friendly to Martians who suddenly appear.

The aliens vaporize to skeletons several people during these friendly overtures by U.S. leaders. And the trusting United States folks keep giving the Martians another chance. Finally, in Congress, the aliens say a few words in alien-speak and then vaporize Congress with their vaporizer guns.

If Iran does harm to the United States in years to come, as some predict and some fear, will Ahmadinejad’s visit here make us seem as naive as the U.S. leaders look in the movie Mars Attacks!?

Just some off-beat Tuesday afternoon wonderings. Blog lines are open.

(AP photo of Ahmadinejad)

Letter: Freeway too pricey

(…) The data contained in the Urban Mobility Report, released Tuesday by Texas A&M University, supports what a local nonprofit group has been preaching since the beginning of the new millennium: our regional traffic congestion can’t be used to justify spending billions of dollars on the north Spokane freeway.

The mobility report demonstrates that Spokane’s congestion problems are the smallest of the 85 metropolitan areas studied nationwide. The Spokane area’s head transportation manager is quoted as saying that this mobility report is the “top authority when it comes to national traffic trends.”

By the time the state’s department of transportation is finished with the new freeway, Washington taxpayers will have shelled out more than $3 billion. It is fiscally irresponsible to be spending billions on an unnecessary project when serious congestion problems go unfunded elsewhere in the state.

It is time for this ill-conceived project to be downsized, phased out and integrated into the county’s existing transportation grid.

John Covert
President, Citizens for Sensible Transportation Planning

Is hope for the North Spokane Corridor not worth the price?

Iraq: Up Close and Spokane Personal

On Wednesday, for one hour, Lt. Darel Maxfield and his wife Lesley visited editorial board members. Maxfield is on leave from Iraq. Maxfield, a social studies teacher at Ferris High School in Spokane, is a member of the Army Reserves and is training Iraqi soldiers in a base where there are only 28 other Americans.

The hour was powerful, poignant and Jamie captured it so well in her Sunday column. Treat yourself and read it all.

Here are two excerpts:

Between the pages of a newspaper, it’s easy to reduce the war in Iraq to an intellectual exercise. Across the table from an American officer and his wife sharing 18 precious days of leave together, a discussion of this war expands with the human emotions of anger, sorrow and joy.

…As a journalist, my role is to pursue truth and frame commentary. But as a colonel, Maxfield must execute the plan of the president and the Pentagon. His stance must be unquestioning. My questions rarely end.

On Wednesday afternoon he patiently answered one after another. In the end, I came to understand just how difficult this war is for those who devote their lives to it. I recognized why military members deserve to hear their work described in tones of gratitude and deep respect. And I came away still convinced thoughtful people must ask important questions of the leaders who decide to wage it.

Listen to audio of Col. Maxfield explaining what people can do for the troops.

Listen to Lesley Maxfield talk about her feelings about her husband’s tour in Iraq.

(Rebecca Nappi photo)

Downtown housing crisis

This Sunday’s editorial examined the low-income housing crisis Spokane faces now that Otis Hotel residents have received eviction notices.

It calls for tackling the problem with creativity and innovation. The bottom line is this: The entire city loses if more people are forced to sleep on the city’s streets this winter.

Read the editorial.

What do you think will be the most promising solutions to the problem?

Letter: Human values paramount

Steve Adams has posed an important question (“Arts readers turned off,” Sept. 16): Is The Spokesman-Review’s reduction of visual arts and RV lifestyle coverage consistent with the paper’s aim “to reflect the life of our community every day in all of its wholeness and complexity”?

Desultory support for the creative arts and social growth may very well represent the attitude of the majority of the community’s citizens. Simultaneously, overwhelming support of “growth and development” activities may accurately reflect the self-interest core beliefs of the same community. Perceived economic benefits lead to more and more attention to real estate, commercial construction and other profit-motivated activities while less and less attention is directed at creative and social behavior. In the communication business, including politics, this means more attention to presumed economic growth and less attention to the growth of human social values.

If the true aim is to be a mirror for the community, The Spokesman-Review is on target. But if there is any intention on the part of the newspaper, or local political or business leadership, to make Spokane a humanly better community, a different course must be set.

Human values trump economic values every time in the history of durable cultures.

Jack Poole

Question: Does the S-R have the responsibility to promote visual and creative arts whether or not the market demands such coverage?

Loose thread — TGIAF

Thank God it’s almost Friday! I tried to include a picture on one of the posts today and it didn’t work for an unknown reason.

But that won’t keep you from bringing up what bugged you today. And here’s the place.

Our View: Give cleaner cars a green light

Today’s editorial urges the EPA to act on the waiver California and other states seek in order to set their own emissions standards for vehicles. None of the arguments against this state right hold water, in our opinion.

Would a higher gas tax be an incentive for you to purchase a low-emission, high mileage vehicle?

Letter: No reason to lie

How many of us would gladly and freely compromise our integrity? I think the answer would be “very few.” This is why I am appalled at the response from the Democratic Congress (and a few Republicans) regarding the accusation that Gen. Petraeus is lying when he says the “surge” is working and offers his recommendations.

Why would a four-star general lie about his recommendations to our president? It took the general many years to reach the level and the expertise expected of a four-star general. I do not believe he would lie or compromise his integrity to anyone, especially not our president. Furthermore, I do not believe for one minute that our president, George Bush, would have asked or even wanted the general to lie. President Bush is looking for answers to the situation in Iraq.

People who actually believe there is a lie involved here are suspect to be liars themselves. They must be people with no integrity of their own and therefore assume a person would/could give up their integrity. (…)

Joan Jans Haupt

Question: Is “it takes one to know one” the force at work in the response to Petraeus?

Human rights forum

Chief Kirkpatrick is hosting a human rights forum this evening. Will you be attending? If so, what’s your main concern?

“Come prepared to voice your opinions on tolerance, diversity, respect and dignity in interactions between police officers and the public,” Kirkpatrick wrote in a letter sent to many of the protesters arrested by police that day or who had contacted the department afterward.

“We ask that you follow only one rule: To act within the bounds of civility and respect,” Kirkpatrick wrote. “We’ll do the same and the meeting will be valuable and rewarding.”

(S-R file photo)

Let teachers pack heat?

Battleground: Ashland, Ore. A teacher is battling for her right to bring a gun to school.

Her catalyst is an abusive relationship, but she thinks it’s a good idea in general for school safety.

That would be illegal in Washington state. Should she be able to?

Gimme an ‘A’!

Avista wants to cut natural gas rates. How many letters to the editor do you suppose this will generate? My guess is nowhere near as many as when they raise rates.

Why is that? Your theories are welcome here.

Letter: Widen political gene pool

Career and politician: two words that should never have found their way into the same sentence. Freshmen in Congress are seldom involved in the scandals that plague seasoned bureaucrats. Seniority often leads to contemptuous behavior and the delusion of being above reproach.

Headlines of unsavory conduct in public restrooms would be rare at best with term limits. Companion articles to this scandal missed the point concerning the larger problem, specifically the extra helping of pork that tenured senators bring to the state they represent. If accrual of power did not rule the day, the needs of the many would be more important than the needs of the few; for example, the construction of a bridge in Minnesota instead of Alaska.

Nepotism should be eliminated as well. If the Democrat heir-apparent were to be elected, that is far too many terms that a Bush or a Clinton has occupied the Oval Office. For all the uninformed voters that the village failed to teach math, that would potentially add up to 28 years. It is past time we cast a line into the deep end of the gene pool and just hope we don’t hook a Rodham.

Jim Glenn

Question: Are 28 years of Bushes/Clintons reason enough to look for some new blood?

School levies

The editorial board just finished meeting with proponents of the simple majority requirement for school levies. They said equity was the main goal of the proposal; schools shouldn’t have to drum up more support than local governments, the Legislature or anyone else when they need more property tax money in order to carry out their mission.

To me, it appears that the key philosophical issue is the definition of basic education: is the state fulfilling its constitutional duty to fund it? If we’re still using the 1970s definition, most would say yes; but those we met with today argue strongly for a redefinition.

What do you think constitutes basic education?

Monday’s Loose Thread

How about them Cougs! How about them Seahawks! How about them Mariners! Well, 1 out of 3 ain’t bad.

How about some thoughts from you on the topic of your choice?

weekend loose thread

If you have something for us and other readers to chew on, post a loose thread here. Or would a loose thread to chew on be better described as floss?

Can we rescue Rescue?

Saturday’s Our view has its fingers crossed that some hopeful steps in Congress will forestall the removal of Fairchild Air Force Base’s 36th Rescue Flight.

OJ: If he did it, part 2

Looks like O.J. Simpson is back in hot water with police, according to BBC News.

Sounds like Simpson is saying it was all a misunderstanding, but either way it should boost sales of “If I Did It,” published by Beaufort Books yesterday.

Your daily loose thread

What should we be talking about on this blog? Here’s your chance to expand the menu.

Letter: Whale attackers

OK, blog-mates, enough procrastinating for me. Here’s something to chew on:

The wounded whale was headed toward the Pacific Ocean when it died due to being shot 21 times and harpooned by five members of the Makah tribe (Sept. 9). These five so-called Native Americans deserve the severest penalties provided by law. Their elders and ancestors must be weeping with shame. Their cultural rights may have been restored by an 1855 treaty with the federal government, but how about the wounded, bleeding whale that finally died due to this cowardly act?

I for one think it is time the immigrants from Asia assimilate into the culture of the country in which they live. They have their special rights, their reservations, their nontaxable status and affirmative action, not to mention their gambling cartel.

I guess in a way one should thank these punks because of the disgust the rest of us have for their mean-spirited, cowardly act. We can only hope some good can come from exposing these five as having committed a crime even the federal government cannot protect from our outrage.

Howard Roach

Question: Which will win out: cultural sensitivity to the tribal traditions or concern for the whale population?

AP photo

Cell blocking

Is today’s communications technology a boon or a bane when put in the hands of teenagers? Read today’s Our view for one viewpoint. Add yours by posting a comment.

Saddle up anyway…

The recent revelation that Mother Teresa lingered in a dark night of the soul for 50 years is still being discussed in the mainstream press.

Today on our editorial pages, we ran an excellent column by Kevin Horrigan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He pointed out that Mother Teresa’s dark night resonated with folks, regardless of religious beliefs.

Most people wrestle with dark nights, but it’s very hard to admit in our think-positive culture. Maybe it’s a wavering commitment to a marriage, a child, a job, a workplace, a church, a community.

The column ended this way:

I bring my own biases, but I find myself even more moved by her courage than I was before, and that was profoundly. It’s one thing to write a check to the United Way; it’s quite another to scoop lepers off the streets of Calcutta and wash their sores.
I find myself, speaking of secular saints, remembering a quote that’s been ascribed to John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway.”

Was there a time where you were scared to death, but kept a commitment to keep going anyway?

Blog lines are open.
(AP photo)

Letter: A Question of Authority

An Associated Press article in the Sept. 8 Spokesman-Review stated that President Bush addressed the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, in Australia, as “OPEC” (the cartel of oil-producing nations).

Later in the same speech, according to the AP, President Bush turned to Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who’d gone to Iraq a year earlier, to commend soldiers from his country who were fighting there, and called them “Austrian troops” instead of Australian troops. The AP article says, “Though tapes of the speech clearly show Bush saying ‘Austrian,’ the official text released by the White House switched it to ‘Australian.’ “

I’m a strong believer in the democratic process, and if we as a nation voted in a president, a fallible human being like ourselves who makes mistakes, it remains important to me that we respect the man and his position.

Yet, if public remarks made by the leader of the most powerful nation on earth are being edited, my question is, who has the authority to edit the president’s remarks and, more bluntly, just who’s in charge at the White House?

Rocky Wilson
AP Photo

Question: Do you think this correction is a bad sign?

Streaming commentary

A public hearing will be held at 6:30 tonight in the Student Union Building at Spokane Falls Community College. The topic? A pending plan for cleaning up the Spokane River. You can attend and make your views known. You can also comment here, as we did in today’s editorial.

Employer provided health care up 6 percent

Health insurance costs are up only 6 percent. In the world of health care, that’s considered good news.

The bad news is that the rise is about double that of average wages and triple that of inflation. Fewer employers are offering coverage. Workers are picking up more of the tab. The number of uninsured continues to rise. Insurance companies show gaudy profits for the eighth straight year.

What will be the tipping point for managed care in this country? We seem to have incredible patience for this mess.

Sew what

Seamstresses say you’re supposed to snip a loose thread, not pull it. Frankly, we disagree. We’re offering you a loose thread and inviting you to pull it for all it’s worth. Have something to say? Do it here.

Overdoing it

I’m no fan of the war in Iraq. Moreover, I’m an absolutist when it comes to free speech. But the demonstration that took place today during Gen. Petraeus’ and Ryan Crocker’s congressional presentation left me shaking my head. It would be a stretch to call what the protesters in the back of the room did an example of free expression. It was an attempt to interfere with a presentation they disagree with. I’m sure it was well received by many ardent foes of the war and the Bush administration, but I seriously doubt there was one war supporter or anyone who’s still wrestling with his feelings on the issue who was recruited to the anti-war side by the spectacle.

What’s in a name?

Changes may be coming for some familiar geographic names in our region. Before you toss it off to political correctness run amok, look at it from the viewpoint of native Americans. For starters, read today’s Our view, then post your reactions.

Leap of faith

Spokane’s Muslim community has broken ground on a mosque, which will become a more conspicuous presence as well as an invitation to others to learn more about the faith. Saturday’s Our view offers some thoughts on that development. You can add yours by posting a comment here.

The Bad Die Old

Osama bin Laden has apparently released a videotape that is apparently current because he mentions current events. See story.

Anyway, he apparently dyed his beard and looks better than in past videos and nowhere near his death bed, so the kidney failure rumor wasn’t true.

Had a discussion the other day with some friends in which we wondered why some good people seem to die too young while men and women who have been emotional terrorists in other people’s lives or abused their bodies for years can sometimes last into their 80s and 90s. One of life’s further ironies.

And here’s bin Laden, alive and dying his beard rather than dying, period.

(AP photo)

Placeholder or contender: You decide

In the kind-of-continuing Larry Craig scandal, one debate is whether Gov. Butch Otter should appoint a placeholder to replace Craig or someone who will really be a contender.

From today’s news story about it:

Congressman Mike Simpson, who also had been considered, removed his name from the running Thursday. Simpson urged Otter not to appoint a “placeholder,” but to choose a candidate who would run for re-election and build up seniority in the post.

We debated this briefly among editorial board members the other day and both options have pros and cons — and precedents.

And remember, sometimes placeholders evolve into surprising contenders.

For instance, Lindy Boggs was elected in a quick special election after her husband, Louisiana Congressman Hale Boggs, disappeared in a plane crash. It was seen as a placeholder move, but Lindy quickly became a major Congressional player and was re-elected eight times before being named ambassador to the Vatican in 1997.

In the non-political arena, my favorite placeholder-turned-contender story concerns Pope John XXIII who was considered a placeholder pope when elected in 1958. Surprise, surprise, he called Vatican II which basically overhauled the entire Catholic church.

So placeholder or contender? You decide.
And/or remind us of other placeholders turned contenders, in any arena.

(Photo from National Women’s History Museum Web site)

TGIF Loose Thread

To get your mind started this morning, ponder this quote from Eckhart Tolle:

Not infrequently, tribes, nations, and religions derive a strengthened sense of collective identity from having enemies. Who would the “believer” be without the “unbeliever”?

Now that your mind is warmed up, what’s on it?

Abu Ghraib: No Convictions

From our editorial today:

And so the accountability phase of the Abu Ghraib scandal ends without a single officer being convicted of a crime and America’s reputation left unprotected. Yes, some officers were demoted. Some were fined. But a key general was allowed to resign rather than answer questions under oath about interrogation techniques. And contrary to typical prosecutorial practices, the colonel who confessed to overseeing interrogation methods that violated military protocols and the Geneva Conventions was granted immunity to help nail subordinates at their courts-martial.

Was justice served here? Blog lines are open.

(Associated Press photo)

Homework before the Petraeus Report

There’s been a surge in assessments of events in Iraq. Here’s three that have recently been released.

Congressional Research Service: Iraq near collapse

Jones Commission: U.S. needs smaller footprint

GAO: Iraq misses most benchmarks

Next week, it’s the Petraeus Report.

Former governor: “I am a gay American”

From today’s op-ed page column by James McGreevey, former governor of New Jersey who resigned amid a same-sex scandal and has now found peace in his life because he no longer has to lie about who he is.

Ultimately, like Sen. Craig, I resigned for the perceived good of my family, state and political party. And in so doing, I at long last accepted a fundamental truth, namely, that I am a gay American. In my soul, I found peace. In my heart, I found love. In my psyche, I disassembled the twisted separate strands of my life to create a healthy integrated person. And with my God, I found purpose.

I can only pray that Larry Craig and his loving family come to peace with his truth, whatever that may be. To those who judge him harshly, I ask that they fill their hearts with compassion and equanimity. The senator did not have a lover on the payroll, as I did; nor did he engage in sexual relations for money or use his office for unethical professional or personal gain.
I pray that the tide of American history continues to sweep toward the inevitable expansion of freedom that recognizes the worth and dignity of every individual — and that mine is the last generation that is required to choose between affairs of the heart and elected office.

Stay in the closet and save your public life or walk out and save your personal life?
Blog lines are open.

(AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)

Craig’s List: Your Turn

In today’s editorial, we listed the reasons Larry Craig should do as he intended and resign.

Now it’s time for your reasons. Yeah or nay?
Blog lines are open.

Teacher Time: Who Influenced Your World View?

If you need a break from Larry Craig news this afternoon, take a read of the syndicated column we ran on our pages today by Linda Campbell of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She writes about a teacher who changed young lives.

In her fashionable black dress with the pleated hem and very-high-heeled pumps, Maria Reyes might be an advertising account saleswoman. A litigator. A motivational speaker.
What she doesn’t resemble is the gang member and insolent juvenile offender who showed up for her first day of high school English wearing an ankle monitor.
“This is probably worse than being in juvenile hall,” Reyes recalled thinking about her first encounter with teacher Erin Gruwell more than a dozen years ago at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif.
With all the naiveté of an idealistic new teacher, Gruwell tried to cut through the rude resistance of her underachieving students by having them read about Anne Frank and other young people under siege, then write about their own damaged lives.

Schools are opening this week for the new school year all through the Inland Northwest. So walk down memory lane and tell us what teachers opened up your world view?

R.I.P — Jennifer Dunn

Former Washington Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn died today of a blood clot. She served six terms in Congress before stepping aside in 2004. She was quite the political pioneer in Washington state.


Dunn’s political career was a series of firsts: first woman to chair the Washington State Republican Party; first freshman woman to win a place in the House Republican leadership team; and the highest ranking Republican woman in leadership as the vice chair of the conference.

(AP photo)

Wednesday’s Loose Thread

From spiritual writer Thomas Moore:

Writers and editors are often in search of what is newsworthy rather than what is insightful. They do their best but their ideas on the deepest questions are not any more sophisticated than the average person’s. Still, they form opinions.

So our challenge today: Let’s get insightful. What’s on your mind? Form your opinions, share them, and we’ll share ours.
Blog lines are open.

Stand by your friends — or not

It’s eerie how quickly a news story can disappear. Larry Craig announced his resignation from the Senate Saturday, amid a sex scandal.

My colleague Gary Crooks took an interesting look at the “friend” who didn’t stand by in his Saturday column Smart Bombs.

One friend and politician showed support, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter. Jim Camden And Betsy Z. Russell of the S-R reported:

“I have known Larry and Suzanne Craig for almost 40 years,” Otter said, noting he’d worked with Craig in Boise and Washington, D.C.
“As a public servant who has made mistakes in my private life, I am mindful that you don’t really know who your friends are until you stumble,” Otter said.
“I want Larry and Suzanne to know that Lori and I stand by them.”
Otter’s career was blemished by a 1992 DUI and a win in a bar’s “tight-fittin’ jeans” contest when he was the state’s lieutenant governor. He came back from that low to later serve in Congress and be elected governor.

Catholic and Christian teachings are big on compassion, forgiveness and throwing the first stone only if you are blameless.

So the question here: What determines whether you’ll stick by a friend in really tough times? Have you done it in the past? If so, was it easier to do because you had once “stumbled” and people stood by you? And what happened in your own life because you stuck with a friend through tough times?

This is being simulblogged at Journey to Vatican III.

(S-R file photo from 1991 movie Thelma and Louise.)

Letter: Chinese trade costly

Here’s a letter to kickstart the post-holiday-weekend discussion.

Because unscrupulous lenders have conned millions of gullible borrowers into taking out loans with so many hidden costs that the borrowers are now forced to default, the interest rates of more responsible savers will now take a dive (“Dow jumps on hopes of rate cut,” Aug. 30).

Instead of saving, I guess I should have taken out a second mortgage so that I could have gone down to Wal-Mart and bought more cheap, poisoned, counterfeit, plastic stuff built by slave labor with environmentally destructive technologies which the Chinese have stolen from us.

We used to think that the old-fashioned socialist communism was bad, but it is not nearly as diabolical as this newfangled Chinese “free”-market-based communism! Did you know that the Chinese have brought 200 million rural citizens into the cities to work in their factories? These workers don’t get health care, their children don’t have access to free primary education, and if they attempt to leave for a better job, they stand to lose several months of their below-subsistence-level back pay.

I know that “free” trade, like supposed “freedom,” is not free, but why do both have to be so damned expensive?

William Betz
Newport, Wash.

Anybody have an answer?

Costly text message

If you are a college student, or the parent of one, you might have a view to share after reading today’s editorial. Add you comments by clicking below.

The Wild Waters of Teen Labor

My Labor Day weekend column today was about Stacey Lavin, developer of Wild Waters in Coeur d’Alene. We were high school buddies and recently, while floating the water park’s new Lazy River, we reminisced about how we all had to work summer jobs in our teens and now, 30-plus years later, we’re glad we did because of the lifelong work lessons.

Now, teens seem to be able to opt out of summer employment due to family vacations and other priorities. This low-teen-working trend makes it challenging each summer for Stacey to find teen workers for the water park.

Tech note: If there is a blank spot below and no audio prompt, refresh your browser and it should appear. If that doesn’t work, you may need to download the free Flash9 program here.

Here’s a version of that column in audio-slideshow form.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

What did you learn from your summer jobs?

With friends like this …

Mr. Smart Bombs is not impressed with the compassion shown by Larry Craig’s political friends, especially presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

But who cares what he thinks? What do you think?

Long weekend — long loose thread

Late-season yard work…football…picnics…football…readying for a new school year…celebrating a new football season…listening to the Spokane Symphony Monday evening at Comstock Park…reflecting on Saturday’s football game…
What’s on your mind this Labor Day weekend?

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