May 16, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Reform health care
As a woman from a family in which breast cancer runs rampant, I found Angelina Jolie’s story particularly interesting [“Jolie puts a stark choice in spotlight,” page one, May 15]. While I have never considered Jolie an ideal role model by any means, I appreciate her decision and honesty regarding that decision.The article by Carol Ostrom brought to my attention some issues regarding patents and insurance that I had previously been unaware of. It is appalling to me that one is able to patent a human gene and prohibit tests from being used outside of research.
Cancer is an incredibly serious and prevalent issue, and it is amazingly selfish of these private companies to withhold treatment and a potential cure from those who need it. Hopefully there will be a reform in the health-care system in the near future.
Lauren Henderson, Seattle
May 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM
King County needs to manage money better
Guest columnist and King County Executive Dow Constantine tells the state to think of King County as a business and give it the carte blanche he needs in order to freely tax at away for transportation funding because — keeping with his metaphor — that’s good business [“Allow King County a local option to fund transportation,” Opinion, May 14].
Well, if good business is the thought of the day, then how about focusing on the principle of watching the nickels and dimes and letting the dollars take care of themselves?
As an example, Constantine pushed to have the county run its own boat shuttle service, even though it is costing the taxpayers about three times more than when the service was contracted out to a private vendor. That’s like jumping around the money tree for more tax dollars while buckets of dimes and quarters are rolling down the hill.
How about spending more time focusing first on the details of monetary management before lobbying for authority to open the sluice gates of spending?
Tom Ruszala, Seattle
May 16, 2013 at 7:57 AM
Questions about genetically engineered spuds
The J.R. Simplot Co. should be applauded for trying to keep their biotech potato a potato rather than creating a frankenfood [“Company a believer in biotech spuds,” Business, May 15].John Miller’s article does not really reveal how the potato was created and only states that the process is quicker than traditional crossbreeding of potatoes.
While I believe what Simplot has done should be applauded, I would like it if the following two questions be answered before using the method in the field: 1. Can it be evaluated for non-spud genes by an independent lab, and 2. Can the new potato plant cross with non-genetically modified potato plants? If it passes both tests, then it’s probably still a potato and worthy of eating the next time I have fish and chips. If it won’t cross with other potato plants then maybe the lab technique needs some refinement. It seems worth doing if you end up with plants that still fit in with the evolutionary character of plants on our planet.
Keith Wellman, Freeland
May 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM
Obama administration could have done more
I’ve flown jet fighters in and out of the Aviano Air Base in Italy innumerable times and I know that — even with the vintage aircraft of that day — we could have, with drop tanks, readily flown to Benghazi, conducted combat and returned to safe soil [“The Benghazi attack, redacted,” Opinion, May 13].
Jet fighter missions are complex and subject to countless variables. Therefore, I will not support the Obama administration’s claim that it would have been impossible for Aviano-based fighters to have reached and saved Americans in Benghazi in time is phony.But my Aviano knowledge, coupled with the current and conflicting stories attendant with the fog of excuses emanating from Washington, definitely make me suspect that, contrary to administration claims, we could have saved lives with our jet fighters in Benghazi.
Gerald Stiles, retired major, U.S. Air Force
May 16, 2013 at 7:05 AM
IRS doing its job
The current furor over the Internal Revenue Service investigations of conservative groups needs a second look [“Growing outrage over IRS: criminal probe, new details,” page one, May 15].
No organization is entitled to tax-exempt status if its primary purpose is political. If it applies for such status and its title contains “tea party” or a similar conservative catch phrase, it is mandatory that the IRS check it out thoroughly, especially if its application “indicated that the organization did not intend to conduct campaign activity but elsewhere described activities that appeared in fact to be such activity.”
If the IRS investigates all organizations that apply for tax-exempt status and have political titles, it is simply performing its job.
Robert and Susan Stanton, Seattle
May 16, 2013 at 6:33 AM
State programs are ineffective
The so-called benefits of workforce programs — higher salaries, reduced social service costs, taxes paid — are simply a ruse. They help certain individuals at the expense of others [“Workforce development is not a cure for unemployment,” Opinion, May 6].
These programs have not created one job (except for the state-paid trainers). The number of jobs, unemployment rate and overall state economy remain completely unchanged. The state’s money is entirely wasted. Naturally, those people paid by the state to perpetuate this fiasco try to fool us into thinking otherwise.
Doug Hjellen, Mill Creek
May 16, 2013 at 6:02 AM
Don’t blame the state
My heart goes out to the Owen-Mayer family for their loss and devastating injuries, but to blame the state for their own actions is wrong [“Family files claims against state over crash,” NWWednesday, May 15].
There were warnings issued and heavy news coverage of the weather conditions. If the state protected them from all weather conditions, the roads would be closed every time we had high winds, snow or ice.
When we do have bad weather, people are urged to stay off the roads, but they still go to work, shop and ski. Don’t expect others to pay for your bad decisions.
Kathy Butler, Shoreline
May 15, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Election process corrupt
As a Pakistani living in Seattle, the past two days have seen me glued to my computer, following Pakistan’s national elections [“Pakistan’s ex-leader poised to win,” page one, May 12]. Both Pakistani and international media have failed to provide a complete picture of what is actually happening.Social media is full of eyewitness accounts and visual evidence of blatant rigging by both the victorious party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and by the Muttahida Quami Movement.
Right at this moment, large numbers of people are out on the streets peacefully protesting against the rigging and demanding re-election in certain constituencies. There has been at least one instance of the police and other individuals using force against the protesters, including a brief round of weapons firing, which the local media has barely acknowledged.
I have heard firsthand accounts from friends and family who have seen rigging carried out in various forms — officers and voters at polling stations being threatened with guns, the tearing up of filled ballots, purposeful eight-hour delays in opening up polling stations as people waited in line, men looking over women’s shoulders as they voted with scarcely veiled threats, and more. The international media need to take note immediately.
Nabeeha Chaudhary, Seattle
May 15, 2013 at 7:07 AM
No more pet bills
Once again, state legislators can’t get their work done on schedule and they’re moving to another expensive special session [“Inslee narrows top priorities for special session,” seattletimes.com, May 13]. This recurring problem happens because legislators have their priorities backward. They spend most of the session working on lower-priority pet bills and leave the budget — the most important task — to the end.
Here are some of the bills that legislators thought were more important than getting the budget passed: a crucial “sip and spit” bill allowing culinary students to taste alcohol, a vitally important bill changing “freshman” to “first-year student,” and a bill to create “National Rifle Association” license plates. There were also useless resolutions, including ones honoring Catholic schools, Kiyokazu Ota (Who?), and National Day of the Cowboy.
That’s what some of our legislators toiled on before and in lieu of working on the budget. Sure, non-budget bills can be beneficial, but if they can be passed before the budget is finalized, then they can be passed after it’s finalized, too.
Solution? No pet bills, no silly resolutions — nothing — until the budget is done. And special sessions should be limited to the budget. If legislators dillydally and don’t finish the budget by the last day of the session, then boo hoo, no other bills get passed that year.
If this requirement were implemented, we would see the end of extra sessions. In fact, the budget would probably be completed in a week, as legislators would rush to get to their own bills. A cost-saving win-win for everyone.
Matthew Barry, Issaquah
May 15, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Put a price on carbon
While it’s true that 400 parts per million (ppm) is only slightly more damaging than 399 ppm, the sad news is that this new “record” is sure to be broken in a matter of months, first by 401 ppm, then 402 and 403 [“Atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels hit worrisome milestone,” News, May 12].
When will it stop? Whenever we decide to finally stop using fossil fuels. How can we stop such a routine part of our day-to-day lives? By putting a price on carbon, preferably at the source, with the income rebated to all citizens. Join Citizens Climate Lobby to help make this happen. We have a lot of work to do; let’s do it now.
Fran Koehler, Seattle
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