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Opinion

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16, 2004

Deadbeat parents get a reality check

The following excerpt is from an editorial published Sunday in the King County Journal. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Spokesman-Review's editorial board. Law enforcement is giving kids in King County a helping hand this month. Deadbeat parents are being rounded up and made to cough up the child-support payments they owe. We're cheered at the news.

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Bush says little to ease concerns

AUSTIN, Texas – Such comfort. At the close of the G-8 summit, described by President Bush as "very successful" (except we didn't get anything we wanted), the president offered us comfort on the uncomfortable topic of torture: "Look, I'm going to say it one more time. The instructions went out to our people to adhere to the law. That ought to comfort you." "We're a nation of laws," he went on. "We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books. You might look at those laws, and that might comfort you."

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Correction

The National Civic League announced on Saturday that it has designated Spokane as an All-America City. An editorial published Tuesday about the honor described the award incorrectly.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2004

All-American title a springboard

National recognition for a job well done can mean everything. In 1987, the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States bestowed its first community award on Coeur d'Alene to honor the city's long fight against racism. Afterward, when the national media visited to cover an Aryan Nations convention or parade, Coeur d'Alene representatives pointed with pride to the award as proof that they were involved actively in the human rights struggle.

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Opinions on Reagan go either way

In his 1987 memoir, "Man of the House," former House Speaker Tip O'Neill, D-Mass., argued that while he believed Ronald Reagan ranked among the nation's worst presidents, "he would have made a hell of a king." On the other hand, National Review, the intellectual flagship of the traditional right, has for many years praised all things Reagan. As the nation mourns the loss of the man the New York Times called "one of the most important presidents of the 20th century," there is the inevitable struggle to place his life and, in particular, his presidency in perspective.

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Twin hurdles remain in Iraq

When I went to Baghdad, Iraq, in early January as a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority, I believed that a democracy of sorts could gradually be constructed in Iraq, despite the formidable obstacles. Although I had opposed the war, I accepted the invitation because I believed that the United States could not allow postwar Iraq to sink into chaos and that the Iraqi people deserved an opportunity to live in freedom. This did not seem to me to be an unrealistic goal.

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MONDAY, JUNE 14, 2004

Ruling ends primary debate

The Supreme Court of Washington deserves credit for acting promptly on what should be — cross your fingers — the final legal maneuver over the state's primary election system. Unlike the Legislature, which took the entire 2004 session coming up with a plan to replace the state's invalid blanket primary, the court acted with dispatch. That spares the state the prospect of political chaos in a wide-open election year. It also gives state and local elections officials and campaign organizations valuable certainty about the structure they'll be dealing with for the Sept. 14 primary election.

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In their words . . .

"This is not just a question of running faster, jumping higher. We need to ensure the fusion and sharing of all intelligence that could have helped us to avoid 9-11." — Former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a member of the 9-11 commission, talking about some of the recommendations the commission is expected to make.

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SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 2004

Met allowed free rein for too long

If you want to believe that the demise of Metropolitan Mortage & Securities was the sad consequence of well-meaning people making honest mistakes, don't read the special examiner's report. If you want to believe that accounting firms provide all the checks and balances needed, don't read the special examiner's report. And if you want to believe there's a sufficient amount of government regulation for the securities industry, you might want to skip the entire Metropolitan Mortgage story. The special examiner's report is a devastating indictment of the leadership of an Inland Northwest institution. Read it if you want to understand why the 36,000 investors who have lost some or all of their life savings are out for blood.

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Mobiles have changed privacy forever

BOSTON – The flight ends, the ritual begins. Wheels down, cell phones up. Within seconds the woman standing behind me in a crowded airplane aisle has called her office and begun a cranky and noisy inquisition. Has the memo gone out warning that "Ken was not a suitable candidate for trafficking director?"

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The other side of Reagan's reign

The Reagan Revolution began in 1980 in Philadelphia, Miss. Philadelphia, a speck of town north and east of Jackson, is infamous as the place where three young civil rights workers were murdered in 1964 for registering black people to vote. Now here came Ronald Reagan, Republican presidential aspirant, opening his campaign at a fair that for generations had served as a forum for segregationists and offering thinly veiled support for their cause.

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All children deserve health care coverage

Low-income families in Washington who were stressed about how they could afford health care for their children can relax, at least for another year. Gov. Gary Locke decided this week to delay a plan to charge families a modest premium for children's Medicaid coverage. At least "modest" is the term most households would apply to the $10 to $15 monthly fee the state intends to charge families, per child, for the health care coverage that's now free. Affected families – those who earn between 150 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level – include about 74,000 children. An estimated 4,000 of those kids would drop off the Medicaid rolls, because the trifling fee would be prohibitively expensive for their parents.

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SATURDAY, JUNE 12, 2004

Chief Spokane Garry needs help

For years, Michele Carmack has felt both sad and angry while driving past Chief Garry Park on East Mission in Spokane. A statue in honor of Chief Spokane Garry – a 19th-century tribal and community leader – is in disrepair. Vandals have chipped away most of his fingers. To those who drive by the park, it appears the statue is making an obscene gesture. Its nose is gone, and sometimes vandals use chalk to draw genitals on the statue. "To see this statue mutilated is so disrespectful," Carmack said.

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Salmon-barging experiment is promising

Big changes often begin small. Hopefully, two recently announced policies signal a strategy change for Columbia River salmon recovery. Last month, NOAA-Fisheries decided to count genetically acceptable hatchery fish in calculations required by the Endangered Species Act. This week, the Bonneville Power Administration announced another potentially cost-reducing measure, an experimental reduction in water spilled over dams to flush juvenile salmon to sea. Except for very good water years, virtually all water spilled to benefit salmon could be put to other beneficial uses, notably irrigation and power production. Spilling water for salmon costs the federal government (BPA and Treasury) hundreds of million of dollars annually in lost power revenue, sums that often approach or exceed the cost of all other Columbia River salmon conservation programs. Finding less expensive measures is an obvious priority.

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Make a difference through action

The big divide in this country is not between Democrats and Republicans, or women and men, but between talkers and doers. Think about the things that have improved our lives the most over the past century – medical advances, the transportation revolution, huge increases in consumer goods, dramatic improvements in housing, the computer revolution. The people who created these things – the doers – are not popular heroes. Our heroes are the talkers who complain about the doers.

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