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December 12, 2013 at 7:33 PM
Technology companies need to decide if it’s worth violating their users privacy to comply with agencies like the NSA
As recent news reports have stated, the NSA has been monitoring people’s activities for a while [“U.S., Brits spy on fantasy gamers,” page one, Dec. 10].
Now even virtual massively multiplayer online game worlds have been breached by the agency, and there is no telling how much further the fingers of the NSA have reached into the average person’s life.
While monitoring the many facets of Internet communications in the interest of safety is a good purpose, the corruption of this interest that happens makes it a complete violation of people’s right to privacy. The biggest problem with the NSA’s monitoring is that it’s assuming that everyone is to blame. People who don’t have any history of criminal activity and are law-abiding citizens are being treated like suspects of a crime that hasn’t even been committed yet. The vision of the U.S. is freedom and liberty, but the NSA monitoring treats the American citizen like an animal that cannot be left alone because it’s going to do something bad.
December 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM
High-quality education can help high school graduation rates and military entrance exam scores
I applaud your editorial supporting the Strong Start for America’s Children Act [“Pass early learning plan,” Opinion, Dec. 6].
As a retired Coast Guard admiral, I would like to add that high-quality early childhood education is also important for our future national security. The Department of Defense estimates that 75 percent of young people nationwide cannot serve in the military, and poor academic achievement is one of the leading reasons.
In Washington state, almost one in four young people does not graduate from high school on time. And of those who graduate and try to join the military, one in six cannot pass the military’s entrance exam.
December 12, 2013 at 7:36 AM
Not enough to simply increase penalties
Recently, there has been talk of what to do in Washington to diminish the number of DUIs [“Anti-DUI work group: Yes to random checkpoints, no to alcohol bans ,” Online, Dec. 4].
A recent Times article written by Brian M. Rosenthal included a report that said the way Washington should reduce DUIs is through “increasing penalties and establishing random sobriety checkpoints.” Although this may deter some, I believe this is not the most effective option. Fear of punishment may help to stop people before they consume alcohol. But once the alcohol affects the brain, the intoxicated person can easily forget or at least not care about the punishments of a DUI or the sobriety checkpoints.
December 12, 2013 at 7:03 AM
New taxes and new jobs will generate additional revenue
Very recently, Washington state legalized marijuana as a recreational drug that the people of our state can enjoy if they are over the age of 21 [“The growing pains of marijuana legalization,” Opinion, Dec. 11].
But this isn’t just the stoners of our state to get their way, recreational marijuana is a great way to help Washington’s economy in this tough time.
With the new product we also see new taxes that come along with it. These taxes that the state would not have had before can be put to use in our education system that needs the extra money. Along with the new tax helping what our state funds, the new product of recreational marijuana will also open up new jobs in our state. With any new business also comes new jobs.
December 12, 2013 at 6:29 AM
When GM produces quality cars that exceed fuel efficiency standards, then we can call it a success
While I agree with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on his statement that without the money given to GM the U.S. would have lost over a million jobs and might have slipped further from a recession to a depression, I have to ask why the American people didn’t have a voice in this decision [“$10.5 billion price tag for federal GM bailout,” Business, Dec. 10].
Granted taxpayers cannot be informed on all the issues specific to the auto industry, but, in principle, bailouts should be the topic of a larger discussion and specific legislation regarding when such rescue maneuvers are appropriate.
Today, some say President Obama made good choices that led to a recovering auto industry, but the truth has yet to be revealed. How the money was truly used and how much of the $26.8 billion in cash that GM now has on hand will be “returned” to the tax payers is still an unknown.
December 11, 2013 at 7:31 PM
$15 is still not enough
Outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn assures us that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will have no negative effect on employment or consumer prices [“$15 pay push: Seattle’s turn,” page one, Dec. 5].
What I don’t understand, though, is why only $15? An annual income of $30,000 is hardly a livable wage in a city where the average home price is in the mid six figures. So why not a $40 minimum wage? $80,000 would be a much more livable wage in Seattle.
So tell us, Mayor McGinn, why are you not proposing a $40-an-hour minimum wage?
— David Ossorio, Newcastle
Raise the minimum wage gradually
I think it is great that workers are taking a stand ["Seattle on front line of push for raising minimum wage," Online, Dec. 7]. Although minimum wage workers are only a small section of our local workers, it is just as important that they at least have the ability to live. People in such extreme situations, such as Dallas Brazier, a Burger King worker, deserve better pay for what they go through.
I also support the idea of making it a gradual process. Raising the minimum wage by nearly $6 overnight would be very tough on all businesses that will be affected by the raise.
— Adam Derr, Bellevue
December 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Advancing technology could make a large impact on our lives
I like the idea of Amazon.com delivering their products with drones [“Amazon delivers some pie in the sky with drones plan,” Business Dec. 3].
It is a unique idea that allows me to order something on Amazon and see it delivered as soon as 30 minutes later. However, I can also see many things that could go wrong with this idea.
I don’t know if I should trust drones to deliver my products because drones couldn’t operate under all weather conditions. The packages could be a target for thieves who could watch where the drones flew. If drones are being used to deliver products, the sky would be filled with drones.
December 11, 2013 at 7:35 AM
SeaTac Proposition 1 requires a $15 wage and some paid sick days for about 6,500 workers at the airport and related businesses. The voting results are important because they could guide the conversation for higher minimum wages throughout Washington and the U.S. Proponents believe this measure will ease poverty and increase consumer spending, thus boosting the economy. Opponents believe the measure will force businesses to raise prices and cut staff, hurting the economy. Articles from last weekend highlighted Seattle joining the fight for a higher $15 minimum wage.
Below readers share their thoughts:
$15 is too much
Raising the minimum wage to $15 will harm businesses, employees and those trying to get jobs [“SeaTac $15 minimum wage survives recount,” NWTuesday, Dec. 10].
If businesses have to pay their workers nearly $6 more per hour, that would increase their costs. To accommodate for the higher wages, companies would lay people off and hire less frequently.
Also, young people just entering the workforce will have an even harder time finding a job. If employers are paying their workers so much, they will want someone with experience and not someone new to work.
December 11, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Choose a safe alternative with more assets than liabilities
I do not understand these foolish drives for free, sustainable power that, if truly evaluated, do not realize our perceived reality, and are actually damaging [“U.S. to give wind farms 30-year pass to kill eagles,” page one, Dec. 7].
Wind power is killing birds (and destroying the beauty of our open spaces). If it were not for the benevolence of taxpayers and rate-payers providing subsidies, it would cease to exist.
Solar power also invalidates the beauty our landscapes and again would not exist if not for the charity of the taxpayer (see: Solyndra). A search for the effectiveness of corn-ethanol fuels provides mainly pro and con rhetoric and opinion with little scientific data — apart from supposedly raising food prices and potentially damaging engines not designed to run on a high-ethanol-content fuel. And though electric vehicles are clean running, how much coal must we burn to produce the needed electricity?
December 10, 2013 at 7:30 PM
It is about revenue because corporations are profit-generating entities
The Times’ article on the reaction of Internet firms to Edward Snowden’s revelations missed a critical detail [“8 Internet firms unite in call to rein in U.S. spying,” page one, Dec. 9].
It is true that telecom operators have not joined Internet companies in actively lobbying Congress for public controls over NSA spying. The article attributes this to a more libertarian ideology among new tech firms versus a more pro-government ideology among old tech firms.
There is a much less abstract explanation for this difference in behavior. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc., derive large portions of their income from international markets. So their bottom line would be threatened by other governments encouraging the use of open-source software (like Brazil and Venezuela have), or the European Union and/or the Mercosur trading block in South America promoting local alternatives to Gmail and Yahoo.
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