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December 12, 2014 at 6:01 AM

With mistrust running rampant, careful screening of potential cops is crucial

As daily protests prompt the nation to have uncomfortable conversations about police use of force, it’s important to also reflect on a powerful and persistent cop stereotype – namely that too many are hyper-aggressive, infatuated by weaponry, and so psychologically damaged that they’d be rejected by the military.

Ferguson protesters sit down outside Seattle Police Headquarters at conclusion of peaceful march, Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in Seattle. (The Seattle Times / Ken Lambert)

Ferguson protesters sit down outside Seattle Police Headquarters at conclusion of peaceful march, Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in Seattle. (The Seattle Times / Ken Lambert)

Those are big assumptions. However, some versions of them are probably shared by poor and minority communities disproportionately at the wrong end of night sticks and service pistols.

But I know most officers don’t fit that ominous caricature. Most are brave public servants who surpassed highly selective and costly recruiting standards that weed out far more applicants than are accepted.

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Comments | Topics: Ferguson, police reform

December 3, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Are Seattle’s Ferguson protesters hurting their cause?

Protests simmering through downtown Seattle for more than a week are increasingly aggravating. Like many places around the country, local demonstrators are upset with the recent grand jury decision against indicting a Ferguson, Mo., police officer for shooting an unarmed teenager. In Seattle, protesters have snarled traffic and disrupted holiday celebrations. They’ve been the source of attacks…

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Comments | Topics: Ferguson, john t. williams, Michael Brown

December 1, 2014 at 12:03 PM

America must re-define when police should use deadly force

In our eye-for-an-eye culture, the threat of deadly force is all the justification police need to return it.

A bullet fragment rests on pavement after authorities shot and killed a man who they say opened fire on the Mexican Consulate, police headquarters and other downtown buildings early Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in Austin, Texas.  (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Laura Skelding)

A bullet fragment rest on pavement after authorities shot and killed a man who they say opened fire on the Mexican Consulate, police headquarters and other downtown buildings Friday, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/ Laura Skelding)

That threat seems the pretext for Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson gunning down 18-year-old Michael Brown during an August altercation over walking in the middle of the street.

In his interview with ABC last week, Wilson – who has since resigned from the force – described Brown as a “very, very large, very powerful man.” Though the two men were about the same height, Brown’s reported 300-pound bulk dwarfed Wilson’s 210-pound frame.

When Wilson directed Brown to the sidewalk, he said Brown responded violently, landing a heavy blow to his face.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to survive another hit like that,” Wilson said.

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Comments | Topics: Ferguson, Michael Brown, tamir rice

November 19, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Critics should wait for Inslee’s carbon plan before bashing it

Corrected version

You don’t have to strain your ears to hear the steady drumbeat of politicians and policy advocates wailing about Gov. Jay Inslee’s imminent low-carbon emissions proposal.

Gov. Jay Inslee viisited the Green River in Auburn, Oct. 28, as part of his climate tour of the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee visited the Green River in Auburn, Oct. 28, as part of his climate tour of the state. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

Inslee appeared in Seattle Monday to accept recommendations from his Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce on a market-based carbon pollution plan.

“We also strongly encourage you to consider our substantive comments on your proposals, as the economic ramifications of those policies will ultimately determine their fate in Washington,” the legislative leaders wrote in a letter to Inslee.

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November 14, 2014 at 6:15 AM

LBJ events should steer Seattle toward a greater society

Seattle is being treated to a flourish of LBJ activity, and I can’t get enough.

Lyndon B. Johnson was a man of great ambition, bold vision and stark contradictions. (L.B.J. Library)

Lyndon B. Johnson was a man of great ambition, bold vision and stark contradictions. (L.B.J. Library)

Much of the hoopla is focused on 2014 being the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which President Lyndon Baines Johnson was instrumental in passing.

School children are taking up the subject, as Seattle Times colleague Jerry Large wrote Thursday. But some historic figures have as well.

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October 31, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Judicial candidate Sarah Hayne’s ‘misleading’ campaign statements no surprise

The King County Bar Association took the rare step of admonishing a district court judicial candidate Thursday.

It should come as no surprise that the candidate, Sarah Hayne, is affiliated with Citizens for Judicial Excellence, the political action committee made up of defense attorneys and dedicated to electing judges sympathetic to the plight of their many of clients caught driving under the influence.

Hayne, a former member of the group and wife of CJE co-founder Stephen Hayne, distributed campaign literature citing 22 years working as a pro tem judge, prosecutor and defense attorney. (Read the news side story by Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner.)

“Yet she told KCBA that she worked on a limited or part-time basis during the bulk of that period,” according to a bar association news release. “As a result, KCBA finds those written statements to be misleading.”

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Comments | Topics: citizens for judicial exellence, judicial elections

October 31, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Ebola aid workers can’t be trusted

Corrected version

Whatever tattered remnants that were left of American health care workers’ benevolent image is now gone.

Nurse Kaci Hickox leaves her home on a rural road in Fort Kent, Maine, to take a bike ride with her boyfriend Ted Wilbur, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  The couple went on an hour-long ride followed by a Maine State Trooper.  State officials are going to court to keep Hickox in quarantine for the remainder of the 21-day incubation period for Ebola that ends on Nov. 10. Police are monitoring her, but can't detain her without a court order signed by a judge. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty)

Nurse Kaci Hickox leaves her home on a rural road in Fort Kent, Maine, to take a bike ride with her boyfriend Ted Wilbur, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty)

They can thank Kaci Hickox for that.

The Maine nurse, who heroically spent a month treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, has undone her noble act of charity with a defiant, in-your-face flouting of the voluntary, 21-day self-quarantine that several states have adopted for aid workers returning from the stricken nations of West Africa.

By refusing to abide by the quarantine – she took an unsanctioned bike ride Thursday – Hickox has dispatched the iconic image of emotive nurses and selfless physicians, replacing them with an all-too-believable caricature of arrogant caregivers and jerk doctors.

Farewell Florence Nightingale.

Hello Nurse Ratched.

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Comments | Topics: craig spencer, ebola, kaci hickox

October 28, 2014 at 6:03 AM

U.S. Ebola workers should self-quarantine before coming home

There’s something completely more frightening about a doctor coming down with Ebola than someone from the general public.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) speaks, as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (R) listens, during a news conference on the status of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer and New York's new Ebola policies October 26, 2014.  (EPA / JASON SZENES)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) speaks, as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (R) listens, during a news conference on the status of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer and New York’s new Ebola policies October 26, 2014. (Jason Szenes / EPA)

More than anyone else, physicians know how to protect themselves from deadly contagions. That’s why the latest case of Ebola in America is so troubling.

About a week ago, New York Dr. Craig Spencer returned to his home in the most populous city in America after spending a month treating patients of the contagious killer in Guinea.

You’d think that someone whose occupational ethos is “first, do no harm” would take extraordinary precautions. Instead, Spencer followed existing protocols, answering airport questionnaires and registering his possible exposure with U.S. immigration and health officials when he returned to the only American metropolitan area with 20 million inhabitants.

Once home, he monitored his temperature twice a day for any change. That change came Thursday. He notified local health officials of his worsening condition, and was whisked into isolated care.

I’m no epidemic chicken little, but monitoring and testing for infection after entry to the U.S. seems too passive and reactive a policy for an active epidemic killer.

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Comments | Topics: ebola

October 27, 2014 at 6:03 AM

DUI attorney PAC shows why Halloween and Election Day go hand-in-ghoulish-hand

It’s no small matter that the final stretch before Election Day comes in the build-up to, and afterglow of, Halloween.

What other holiday more accurately reflects the spirit of American elections than the ghoulish, netherworldly exaltation of All Hallows Eve?

And like the most terrifying haunted house, the dark arts of campaign politics are not for the faint of heart.

A common spooky campaign practice I’ve noticed is to put a candidate with the same name as an incumbent on the ballot. The fake candidate will invariably siphon some of the incumbents’ electoral support, thereby increasing the chances of the opponent.

It doesn’t always work, but it’ll always scare the hell out of an incumbent.

Until recently, those kinds of shenanigans rarely found their way into judicial campaigns. Typically those contests operated above the common fray of Philistine behavior, deceptive ads and big money.

But now, even judicial elections are subject to eerie campaign tactics.

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Comments | Topics: citizens for judicial exellence, elections, judicial elections

October 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Dave Chappelle’s status as racial commentator-in-chief reflects loss of faith in leaders and institutions

There was a time when Barack Obama was the go-to figure in conversations about race for most of white America.

As a 2008 presidential candidate, he riveted the populous with an exploration of the nation’s “racial stalemate.”

Those days are over, thanks largely to the popularity loss that comes with being a two-term president. And Obama hasn’t helped his own case as the nation’s racial healer-in-chief.

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Comments | Topics: barack obama, cdc, congress

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