On the eve of my retirement, Times Editorial Page Editor Kate Riley suggested I pick my favorites from the 342 columns I’ve written for The Times since 2000. Here are 10, with my own headlines:
1. “Games With Words,” April 12, 2000. This was my takedown of the World Trade Organization protesters, who used loopy logic to justify their disruption of an international conference.
2. “A Republican War,” April 9, 2003. I hated the Iraq war and wrote three columns against it before President Bush started it. This one was written while U.S. soldiers were on the way to Baghdad. In it, I predict that the conquest of Iraq would result in an electoral disaster for the Republicans in 2004. I was wrong; the disasters came in 2006 and 2008.
3. “Eight Parking Places at a Strip Club,” August 27, 2003. Here I sort-of defend former City Councilwoman Judy Nicastro, while making a larger point about how minuscule this scandal was. (My claim that no law had been broken turned out to be wrong, but I don’t think that matters much.)
4. “The Perfect Program for Liberal Seattle,” July 2, 2003. Here I argue that the Seattle Public Schools’ “racial tiebreaker,” a system later declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, was designed to make white progressives feel good.
5. “A View to the Canal,” March 10, 2004. I wrote several columns about land use and zoning in Seattle. This one, about a towboat company on the Ship Canal, was my favorite.
6. “Forget Scooter Libby,” July 11, 2007. This was my reply to media progressives who insisted that the Scooter Libby story blew the cover off the Bush administration. I thought they were barking at a sideshow.
7. “The Downside of Free Breakfasts,” January 10, 2007. I loved the way some folks thought this column about the federal free and reduced-price school meals program was beyond the pale.
8. “Seattle School Board ‘Discovers’ the Math Book They Wanted,” May 13, 2009. My columns arguing against the “discovery” or “reform math” garnered more reader response than any other local issue. This was my favorite.
9. “In Defense of Clint Didier,” May 26, 2010. This was my answer to the defenders of the social-benefits state who think it’s so delicious to find a critic of that state who has accepted its goodies. Here I defend their “hypocrisy,” and admit that I participate in it myself.
10. “An Evening with Thor’s Hammer,” October 10, 2012. My defense of legal marijuana: So I can smoke it. I got a bigger reaction on this column than just about any other. (And no, I’m not going to spend my retirement stoned… Well, maybe once in a while.)