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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for March 2010

YMCA to be bought and torn down

Do you like this deal? Do you think using Conservation Futures tax dollars on this rather than greater acreage elsewhere is a good idea?

Drill, baby, drill

That’s an interesting development.

Consider this your loose thread for the day.

Pop quiz!

The Dow is at its highest point since Sept. 26, 2008 (a Friday). What happened on the following Monday?

March 29 thread

Consumer spending up a bit in February for the fifth straight month. Wages haven’t budged.  Discuss this and other news here. Note themed threads on health care, education and global warming.

Stimulus/Fed report card

Most economists in this Wall Street Journal survey said the economy would be worse without stimulus. The Fed gets the most credit.

Thirty-eight of the 54 surveyed economists, not all of whom answered every question, said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act boosted growth and mitigated job losses, while six said the legislation had a net negative effect.

On average, economists estimated that the stimulus added one percentage point to growth in 2009; they forecast gross domestic product would expand 3% this year, compared with 2.2% in the absence of stimulus. They estimated that the February unemployment rate, reported at 9.7% last week, would have been 10.4% without the stimulus.

But the Fed’s interventions likely played a bigger role in pulling the economy out of its tailspin, economists said. In their paper, Messrs. Sinai and Edelstein estimated that the Fed’s actions boosted GDP growth by 1.9 percentage points in 2009 and would add 3.3 points this year.

Sound about right to you? What would’ve been a better course of action?


March 26 thread

New thoughts here, fellow travelers. Note the themed threads for discussions about health care, education and global warming.

The March 24 thread

Post your new thoughts here. Note the themed threads below, especially the health care one, which is rivaling the reform bill in length.

Oh, and unlike the vice president, keep it clean.

The March 22 thread

Orange you glad you didn’t fly to New York for the Zags game?

Loose thoughts assembled here. Note the health care thread, just in case anything of importance happened on that issue.

Friday’s loose thread

Hey, it’s Friday again.  The stock market is sagging in the early going, but not enough to seriously erode a strong performance this week. Spokane County reports sales tax receipts are turning at least slightly upward. Gov. Gregoire celebrates a report showing job growth in the “green” sector.

What do you think, will the recession be a thing of the past by Monday?

Comment here about that issue or whatever else is on your mind.  Or add to ongoing  conversations (below) about education and health care reform or the 2010 census. 

2010 census

The 2010 census is getting under way. Some folks see it as a vital mechanism for getting resources to the places they’re needed. Others see it as an intrusion.  What about you?

Or if you have other topics to address, consider this Wednesday’s loose thread…

Thursday’s loose thread

There’s a nice conversation under way under yesterday’s post (originally headlined “Show of hands, please”) about the 2010 census.  So I’ve renamed it “2010 census” and I’ll keep it running near the top of the blog as long as the topic continues to sustain interest and attract comments.

Meanwhile, if you have other issues on your mind,  this is a great place to launch them.

Judging judges

I may have raised this issue here before, but I’m always interested in hearing thoughts about it. It came up yesterday when I had a chance to chat informally with a man who is running for a judicial office.

Candidates for the bench generally refrain from going into much detail about their philosophies, lest they run afoul of the canons that forbid them from expressing views about cases that may come before them.

Yet there’s more to it than simply applying the law faithfully and impartially. Otherwise, what difference would it matter whether Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Antonin Scalia sat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Different justices, different outlooks, different outcomes.

In Washington, where we elect judges from the Supreme Court on down, how do voters get a handle on which outlooks a candidage for judge embraces?

Time and technology march on

I had a tech meltdown last night. It made me want to blow up every computer or digital device in my path.  Fortunately for a dinosaur like me, I’m surrounded in the workplace by young whizzes who can talk me through these challenging moments. 

Speaking of talking, it’s your turn…

Monday’s loose thread: Testing 1, 2, 3…

This is really Monday’s loose thread, so post away with whatever is on your mind. Here’s what’s on mine:

Washington’s high school students face a new proficiency test this week, one that replaces the controversial WASL.  It’s interesting to hear Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn boast that he has delivered on his promise to change the state test. 

But can the state have it both ways?

The new test will place more emphasis on objective methods — multiple-choice questions, for example — instead of subjective  methods such as essay exams.

The WASL was designed in the first place to rely more on subjective tests, which give a clearer picture of what a student knows, but those cost a lot more to grade.  The new test will cost less, but will give a clearer picture of what a student can guess.

So the state will save money, but will sacrifice precision.

The WASL had other problems besides its cost, of course, but is this a step forward?

Don’t Stop Believin’

I’ll be off next week. Found this video uplifting. Maybe you will, too.

Be nice to each other.


March 12 Thread

Remember to move your clocks forward on Saturday night. Good riddance to early darkness.

New topics here. Themed threads below.


March 11 Thread

Dang, those Cougs are jinxed.

New topics here. Themed threads below.

March 10 Thread

New thoughts here. Themed threads below.

Here comes March Madness. Oh, and I think a basketball tournament is approaching, too.


March 9 Loose Thread

New thoughts here. Themed threads below.

March 8 Loose Thread

Note the themed threads below. Posts on other topics go here.

Blog changes

I received some good tips on making the blog experience better. Some are technical, and I’ll have to consult with smarter people. But the one I can do now is to organize debates with themed blog posts. Below you’ll see Health Care Reform, Education and Global Warming. I can add other topics if those heat up (like the planet).

The purpose is to have the debates in one place, rather than across multiple threads. I can keep those threads front and center as long as they’re still drawing comments.

Also, the Loose Threads will be named by date, rather than day of the week to avoid repetition (e.g., two “Monday Loose Threads”.) I’ll try to keep posting those, so that people can discuss items that don’t fit the themed threads.

Thanks, gmorton, for the suggestions. Sure glad I didn’t have to check with the government first.

If  anyone else has ideas on topics or the blog itself, shoot me an email. It’s

March 5 thread

Random thoughts here. Themed threads below.

A state income tax proposal. Hmm … let the people decide?

“Death With Dignity”

Here is a 10-month report. At least 36 people have taken lethal doses.

Could you ever imagine doing this? Are you for it or against it as a law?


The March 4 Thread

Note the themed threads below. Conversation on other topics go here.


The March 3 Thread

Post on topic of choice. Note the themed threads below.

The March 2 Thread

Random musings here. Note the themed threads below.


The March 1 Thread

Put your random thoughts here. Note the themed threads below before posting here.

Some hockey match, eh?

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