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March 5, 2014 at 6:30 AM
Members of Congress do not, cannot, will not agree on anything, but the prospect of one proposed change has bound them together. The Federal Communications Commission is contemplating allowing cellphone calls on planes.
Listen to the howling. Virtually no one likes the idea, including the federal Department of Transportation. Airline passengers are already shoe-horned into tight spaces, and seething about the cost of air fares, and the payment of fees for, well, everything.
Now those passengers must contemplate being squeezed next to some yammering idiot for hours and hours. Opposition among passengers who have flown four or more times in recent months pushes 80 percent. This is a truly horrible idea.
This is all about phone calls. Those loud, chatty confabs that would go on and on and on –endlessly. This is not about using tablets or smartphones or music players. The FAA lifted a ban last fall on using that electronic gear to send emails, text or surf the Internet during takeoffs and landings. Go for it.
Want a preview of what it would be like for even a fraction of a typical flight? Ride a crowded morning or evening commuter bus. The conversations – not fast calls home or to work – often share too much information, are too loud and too long. The annoyed looks from those trying to read or doze cross genders and generations among riders miffed about audio violations of precious space.
Chatting on cellphone calls has not been allowed on planes for 23 years. No reason exists to change that.
February 27, 2014 at 6:30 AM
Here is how a stunning PBS documentary describes itself:
“In Secrets of the Vatican, FRONTLINE tells the epic, inside story of the collapse of the Benedict papacy and illuminates the extraordinary challenges facing Pope Francis as he tries to reform the powerful Vatican bureaucracy, root out corruption and chart a new course for the troubled Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion followers.”
Viewers might easily imagine they’ve heard it all. Oh that. Why bother? Take everything you have ever heard about the Catholic Church and the global clergy child sexual abuse scandals, the dodgy Vatican bank, add in drug abuse, and multiply it all by ten. A primary insight is that Pope Benedict really did not step down from the papacy so much as flee the job.
Watch the video below:
No one could make up what this documentary reveals. For all of the horror on display, the reality is basic: arrogance, hubris and insularity will bring down any organization, even one ordained to do God’s work on earth. A human organization manifests all human frailties. Allow it to make its own rules and hide, and the worst happens. (more…)
February 24, 2014 at 6:30 AM
America can hardly sleep more soundly because an elderly protester against nuclear weapons is behind bars. She and two others exposed the expensive joke behind high security for nuclear bomb components.
How about a few demotions, transfers and cancellation of some no-doubt sweet civilian contracts to “protect” the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.? The idea of Sister Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, and Michael Walli, 65, spending serious time in jail is offensive.
The incident dates to July 2012, and Rice was sentenced last week to 35 months in jail. Congress held hearings last spring on the dismal status of security. The Department of Energy said improvements included management changes and independent security reviews. Right, as if those were needed to discover anything.
CNN recounted how these three heinous peace activists moseyed into the compound. They cut through an outer perimeter chain-link fence, walked nearly a mile on the site, and then cut through three more chain-link fences. Then they spray-painted messages, hoisted banners and splashed human blood on the buildings housing highly secured uranium enrichment facilities.
Hours passed before a security guard, so to speak, eventually discovered them, and they offered him food and started singing.
Perhaps the only person who completely gets this “high security” farce is Edward Snowden. This Tennessee waltz into a secure area rates no higher than civil disobedience. Otherwise, they did the federal government a favor.
February 19, 2014 at 6:30 AM
The state House of Representatives took a big step early Tuesday morning with approval of an amended version of House Bill 2347, which seeks to reduce the risk of catastrophic oil spills from ships and trains. Now it falls to the state Senate, and its Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, to keep this important legislation moving.
Tracking the growing volumes of oil shipped through the state is necessary for local first-responders to be ready in the case of spills and resulting emergencies. Recent tragedies in North Dakota, Alabama, Alberta and Quebec reinforce the importance of being prepared for the worst.
State Rep. Jessyn Farrell’s legislation directs the state to gather and refineries to provide information about volumes of oil, types of oil, and the routes of vessels and trains. As the Democrat from Lake Forest Park notes, this will fill in gaps of knowledge about current routes and traffic on the Columbia River, around Grays Harbor and in Puget Sound.
The legislation empowers the state Department of Ecology to begin a study in 2014. A last-minute amendment would postpone any rule making inquiries until there is a permitted facility.
Communities need to be fully informed of the risks that go with the transport of vast quantities of oil. Local public-safety agencies need to know the nature of the hazards they might face. The legislation would gather basic information in response to the known risks that have claimed lives and destroyed property.
February 12, 2014 at 1:19 PM
Speculation abounds the mammoth tusk found at a South Lake Union construction site is a remnant of a prehistoric tunneling project. This would take a lot of pressure off a contemporary cousin, that white elephant Bertha.
Modern digital analysis — finger pointing between the contractor and government agencies — lays the blame on a big steel pipe or a rock that did not come up in earlier chats. Tsk, tsk. (more…)
February 12, 2014 at 6:30 AM
The NFL season is over, the Seattle Seahawks are Super Bowl champs, but everyone is still talking about the parade through downtown Seattle.
Steve Raible, the popular play-by-play announcer for the Hawks, was a favorite with the – what was it, two million? – fans who turned out in the frigid weather to cheer the team.
My gratitude and appreciation for Raible goes back to Jan. 19 and the NFC Championship between the Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. Seemingly minutes and one field goal into the game, the electrical power went out in my neighborhood and lots of others in North King County. (Expletives deleted.) (more…)
February 7, 2014 at 6:30 AM
Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell offer a timely reminder about the vitality of the state’s viticulture.They have introduced a Senate resolution celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Walla Walla Valley American Viticultural Area.
The wine region was created on February 6, 1984 with four wineries. As the senators’ note in a press release the region now has nearly 130 wineries that generate more than $500 million annually for Walla Walla County and Washington state.
The industry numbers are as dazzling as the 30 plus varietals produced by the state’s 750 wineries. Washington has more than 350 grape growers using 43,000 acres. For more statistics to amaze your friends over a pinot gris or merlot, check out this site for Washington wine stats.
Read about a family’s generous gift to support the Wine Science Center under construction at Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland. The announcement was made this week at the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers conference in Kennewick.
A common link for the extraordinary local success of the science and business of wine is Washington State University. Raise a glass to WSU Viticulture & Enology.
February 3, 2014 at 9:17 AM
Super Bowl Champs. How sweet the sound. The pure delight of the Seahawks’ 12th Man fans is part of the magic of Sunday’s extraordinary win.
Yes, an extraordinary victory. The Denver Broncos, and their knighted, sainted quarterback, Peyton Manning, were expected to be all sorts of trouble. Would the Seahawks be competitive? Yes, of course. Could the Seahawks beat the Broncos? Certainly. Would the Hawks grind Manning and his team into dust? No one imagined that might happen.
The Broncos were attracting favorable predictions from all corners – how’d that game look to ya Gov. Christie? Denver was getting lots of high marks that all drifted back to Manning and his skills and abilities and leadership. Yes, the Broncos had an awesome season by any standard.
Typical of the admiring prose was a piece Sunday in The New York Times by Frank Bruni. His homage to Manning’s maturity explained how the NFL veteran would guide the Broncos to glory. Well, some things don’t work out. The terrified look in Manning’s eyes as the ball sailed past his head on the first play of the game was a grim omen.
The Seahawks combined offensive and defensive prowess into a complete performance. Kudos to coach Pete Carroll and his staff for creating that magic blend of talent. Go Seahawks. A stunning win. The Lombardi Trophy is the perfect exclamation point on that judgment.
January 31, 2014 at 6:30 AM
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford offered some crack sports analysis and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie weighed in with a similar opinion. Both predict the Denver Broncos will beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.
Christie thinks Peyton Manning will lead his team to victory in a close game, Denver by three points. Ford expects the Broncos to win by more than two touchdowns.These prognostications won’t bring traffic to a screeching halt, though Christie could probably arrange that. Super Bowl Sunday is taking place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Having these two go for Denver is one of the most encouraging things I’ve heard leading up to the game. If nothing else, tea party voters in Washington might want to remember Christie’s pick if he shows up on the GOP presidential ballot in 2016.
January 28, 2014 at 6:30 AM
Now the rest of the world knows why Seattle loves Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and their ode to Velour jumpsuits, gator shoes and flannel zebra jammies. The 2014 Grammys also celebrated their artistry, talent and tenacity.
The night could have ended early with the seven nominations for the independent rap group, and Macklemore and Lewis no doubt would have been ecstatic. But it did not end there. They won in four categories: best new artist, best performance, best song for “Thrift Shop” and best album for “The Heist.”
Macklemore, aka Ben Haggerty, and Lewis have been working it hard for years. Writing, producing and performing music and lyrics, with the talented support of other artists. These quote, unquote overnight successes have nurtured their gifts and entertained legions of fans.
To have them garner all this glory and attention is indeed special, and a true point of pride for Seattle. Read this excellent and encyclopedic report by Seattle-based writer Charles Cross that was featured in The Sunday Seattle Times. Team Macklemore includes Michael Wansley, on “Thrift Shop,” Ray Dalton, “Can’t Hold Us,” and Mary Lambert, “Same Love.”
The Grammy performance of “Same Love,” a musical theme for the campaign to legalize gay marriage, provided a prime-time setting for 33 couples to exchange vows.
Macklemore and Lewis, who, as Cross points out, own their songs, will do well. And good for them. Successive No. 1 songs are part of their rap sheet. Let the industry whiners and jealous competitors find creative inspiration in their hissy fits.
Seattle could care less. This city knows trash talk.