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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Category: Interactives
April 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Interactive: Where do your federal taxes go?

William Brown / Op Art

William Brown / Op Art

Happy Tax Day.

Did you get a refund this year? Or were you like me and surprised you did not withhold quite enough in 2013 to avoid having Uncle Sam shake you down for a bit — or maybe a lot — more?

For many, Tax Day is a mindless ritual. We get that refund and spend it, forgetting it was our money all along. But admit it: When some citizens are forced to pay more by April 15, all those headlines about waste and fraud in government programs become a little more relevant. Even the most bleeding-heart liberals might think twice about where their dollars are going, and whether that money is being spent wisely.

No matter your feelings about this day, check out the taxpayer-receipt interactive below from the White House. Input your


Comments | More in Interactives | Topics: federal government, tax day, taxpayers

March 24, 2014 at 6:49 AM

Interactive map: Where the uninsured are and life expectancy in King County

The Seattle Times’ Sunday editorial discussed how the Affordable Care Act has the potential to reduce health disparities across Washington state and King County. Below are two interactive maps that use the latest data available to show obvious differences between the northern and southern parts of the county. The map on the left side shows the…


Comments | More in Interactives | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health, Obamacare

November 22, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Do you remember the day JFK was assassinated?

Well, yes I do. I was rising out of a chair to leave Mrs. Benson’s freshmen high-school English class, when someone burst in with the news. I remember being shocked, but really more confused. President Kennedy and the first lady, Nov. 22, 1963.(OFF/AFP/Getty Images) Assassinate the president? Shoot the President of the United States? That does not happen…


Comments | Topics: Cuban Missile Crisis, Dallas, Kennedy assassination

July 24, 2013 at 7:42 AM

Anthony Weiner, Mike McGinn and Whole Foods

In the New York mayor’s race, they’re talking about a fresh batch of explicit text messages uncovered that were sent by mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner to women other than his wife.

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In Seattle, we’re talking about Whole Foods. The incumbent, Mayor Mike McGinn wants to block the development of a Whole Foods in West Seattle over wages. News columnist Danny Westneat wrote about the “juicy debate” in columns on Wednesday and Sunday.

Every year I build a spreadsheet, for my own notes, comparing positions as candidates come in for editorial board interviews. And when it came down to debating who the board would recommend, I looked through the chart and realized that there’s not much separating the mayoral candidates on the issues. (BTW, here are our editorial board’s recommendations to the voters for the Aug. 6 primary election.)

The major points of difference:


Comments | More in Interactives

July 19, 2013 at 7:16 AM

Detroit was Seattle 60 years ago

Seattle cannot afford to get complacent about its economic success. Unemployment is dropping to pre-Great Recession rates. It would be easy to gawk at the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy, as detailed in an Associated Press news story. It’s the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. But it’s a cautionary tale of squandered success, and one that political candidates and elected officials should reflect on.’s cloud services and 787s are to Seattle today what the Fords and Cadillacs were to Detroit in the 1950s. Like South Lake Union, Detroit boomed along with the auto industry. Back then, Detroit was Motor City and Seattle was Jet City.

Putting aside the differences in making planes and automobiles, the difference was that Seattle was able to reinvent itself by attracting new businesses like Microsoft, which drove growth through the 1990s, bolstered by Starbucks and Costco. Now is driving a boom. What companies will drive the next round of economic growth? Is government doing enough to foster its incubation?

Check out this interactive graphic on the bankruptcy from the Associated Press.

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Jon Talton wrote in a Sound Economy blog post from the news side that the real competition is not Seattle vs. Bellevue, but a competition against Shanghai and Amsterdam for talent. And, I would argue, to grow that talent at home. The state Legislature’s investments to keep higher education tuition stable was a good start. Congress helped by reversing a doubling of student-loan interest rates.


Comments | Topics: economy

July 16, 2013 at 7:49 AM

Microsoft reportedly gave NSA a backdoor to Hotmail,, SkyDrive

While we were all distracted by the upheaval of Microsoft’s Red Wedding reorg, I missed this report from the Guardian: Microsoft gave the NSA back-door access to its email service before it even launched last year.

Citing new documents Edward Snowden provided to the Guardian, the report said that Microsoft gave the NSA access to chats on, pre-encrypted emails from and Hotmail, SkyDrive and Skype video calls.

Information from SkyDrive and Skype went to Prism, and that data was shared with FBI and the CIA, and one NSA document the Guardian saw described it as a “team sport.”

I have asked Microsoft whether it has a comment on this report and will update this post when I hear back. (And check out this Associated Press interactive graphic on the global chase for Snowden, aka the Bourne Privacy.)

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If true, the Guardian report contradicts Microsoft’s early protestations that it only responded to specific requests for information. Here is the statement Microsoft gave to our business news reporter Janet Tu on June 6, which she quoted in a Microsoft Pri0 blog post:


Comments | Topics: Microsoft, nsa, privacy

July 5, 2013 at 6:00 AM

U.S. House Republicans should debate, support immigration reform

Our Independence Day editorial doesn’t mince words. Now is the time for the U.S. House to give full consideration to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform package, S. 744.

Remember how Latinos overwhelmingly supported Democrats during the 2012 elections? Afterward, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., called on the GOP to “modernize” and be more inclusive of minorities. Now is her party’s chance to do something substantive, and it’s stalling…

Some politicians might be too caught up in their own self-interests to take timely action. The Wall Street Journal reports only 38 of 234 House Republicans nationwide represent districts where Latinos represent 20 percent or more of the population. Those representatives have nothing to lose by stalling.

An overhaul of the system is long overdue and should include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living and working in the shadows, including roughly 230,000 undocumented immigrants in Washington state.

Here’s a link to that Wall Street Journal report cited in the editorial. If you’re looking for an easy-to-read, concise breakdown of what’s in the Senate’s bill, I suggest reading this summary by the Migration Policy Institute.

Here’s an Associated Press interactive on U.S. immigration policy, including a searchable listing by state showing how senators voted. Washington senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both voted for passage.

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The bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a start. The process of becoming a full-fledged American will be anything but easy.


Comments | Topics: house, immigration, labor

May 9, 2013 at 6:20 AM

Five years of Seattle bicycle collision data makes case for cycle tracks

On a normal day, bikes trickle like a stream across Seattle’s Fremont Bridge at morning and evening rush hour. This May, the official Bike to Work month, it has been a river. I counted about 120 bikes stacked up when the bridge went up at 6 p.m. earlier this week. The bridge went down, the dam burst…


Comments | Topics: bike, Seattle Department of Transportation, streetcar

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