Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.
November 22, 2013 at 6:15 AM
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.
Assassinate the president? Shoot the President of the United States? That does not happen now. That was Abraham Lincoln, and all that Civil War stuff. Not our young president, with a pretty wife and little kids.
I was in elementary school when John F. Kennedy was elected. The politics were generally lost on me, but he was replacing that old guy, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Sure he was a former general and all that, but World War II ended 15 years before the 1960 election. Ancient history.
Richard Nixon was the candidate in the TV debates with the sweaty upper lip and needed a shave. Hadn’t he given a speech about his dog Checkers, or something weird like that? Nixon and Ike were relics of the boring 1950s. Kennedy was for the Sixties, the future.
Kennedy won office and was the cool president. He gave speeches about space travel, and promoted 50-mile hikes and physical fitness. As a result, in grade-school gym class we were serenaded with choruses of “Go, you chicken fat, go!” Kennedy was the Peace Corps and the Green Berets. The Cuban Missile Crisis was scary, but Kennedy backed down that shoe-pounding commie Khrushchev.
Suddenly the news is of shots fired in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Then the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, and later seeing him gunned down on television as he is escorted by police. And the picture of Vice President Lyndon Johnson being sworn in with JFK’s widow next to him. All to be followed by decades of conspiracy theories.
November 22, 1963. A long time ago. Share your memories.
Eventually the question will be asked: Where were you on Sept. 11, 50 years ago?
August 16, 2013 at 7:43 AM
Sherman Clay, the piano store in Seattle that opened more than 100 years ago, is closing downtown. The owners of Sherman Clay, a chain of piano stores on the West Coast, has decided to exit the piano business and has been closing stores. Seattle is the last one standing, and will close when the last piano exits the building or Sept. 30, whichever comes earlier, according to Tom Austin, the president of Sherman Clay’s retail sales division. Four salespeople will lose their jobs.
As a pianist, I’m still working through my emotions. I’m writing on an opinion notebook entry mourning its closure on Friday, and I would love to hear from readers who have memories of the Sherman Clay store.
We’ll share the best responses here.
August 6, 2013 at 6:16 AM
Jeff Bezos is one of the creators of the modern economy around here (and I literally mean around here, because Amazon.com’s buildings are a few blocks of The Seattle Times). He has made a success of Amazon. Maybe he can make a success of one of the country’s best daily newspapers.
I interviewed him only once. It was 1999, or maybe 1998. I was a business reporter at the old Seattle P-I. Amazon’s offices were in a seedy block of Seattle’s Second Avenue near the Pike Place Market, across the street from the Green Tortoise hostel and above an Indian restaurant. Bezos was then worth $9 billion in stock: Amazon’s sales were already large and growing, though I believe it had not yet made a profit.
The chief financial officer was there. I asked him about the company not making a profit and he said it could have a profit any time they wanted. All they had to do was slow the rate of growth–but they didn’t want to do that. They would make a profit later. Don’t worry.
He was right. Lots of dot-coms failed soon after that. Amazon didn’t.
Whether Bezos is right in buying the Post nobody does. But he is willing to commit big money, which is good, and he is patient, which is good. He has deep pockets. Also good.
Some people worry about his politics, which are libertarian. Well, so are mine, so I am not terrified, nor am I in the slightest bit worried that America will have a shortage of liberal newspapers. But I don’t think Bezos is buying the paper to stuff it full of his political opinions. He’s too smart to do that, and also too busy running Amazon.
I like that the Washington Post will be owned by a person, not a public corporation. Bezos’ name will be on it, his pride in it. Good.
Bezos is a long-term thinker.
Update 8:06 a.m.
Check out this interactive timeline from the Associated Press on the history of the Washington Post.
July 24, 2013 at 7:42 AM
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.
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:
July 19, 2013 at 7:16 AM
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.
Amazon.com’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 Amazon.com 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.
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.
July 16, 2013 at 7:49 AM
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 Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com, pre-encrypted emails from Outlook.com 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.)
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:
July 5, 2013 at 6:00 AM
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.
The bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a start. The process of becoming a full-fledged American will be anything but easy. (more…)
May 9, 2013 at 6:20 AM
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 and a school of blinkered cyclists swam into North Seattle. The Seattle Department of Transportation Fremont Bridge bike meter counted 1,436 crossings alone at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
If there were more than 50,000 crossings in rainy February, May is going to be off the charts. Seattle, rain and hills be damned, is a great bike city.
But the death of Lance David, a 54 year-old veteran cyclist killed last week on his way to his job at Expeditors International (via Seattle Bike Blog), is a stark reminder that roads shared with two-ton cars, let alone multi-ton trucks, requires vigilance, by bikers and by drivers.
It also calls for dedicated, separated bike paths – aka the city’s proposed cycle tracks – on the high-traffic routes. I was nearly winged this morning by a car door flying open on the Dexter Avenue bike lane, which is separated by just a strip of paint. The driver apologetically threw up his hands.
Seattle Times data guru Justin Mayo compiled this excellent interactive map of bike and pedestrian collisions in Seattle since 2007 (below, and a Seattle Times link). The cluster of accidents downtown makes as clean, strong case for a cross-downtown cycle track, which the Seattle Department of Transportation is currently studying, and for cycle tracks in the works on Broadway (See the city’s streetcar plan, Linden Avenue North and Westlake Avenue.
April 9, 2013 at 6:05 AM
However oblique the references, it was reassuring to have China’s President Xi Jinping complain about North Korea, his country’s goofy neighbor and longtime ally.
Reassuring might overstate the feeling, but if Kim Jong Un and his sycophantic entourage in Pyongyang is going to listen to any adult advice, the stern voice would have to come from China.
The Chinese president, who is new to the job, told an economic forum in southern China that, “No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains.” His comments Sunday surely resonated in North Korea’s capital. (more…)
April 5, 2013 at 6:20 AM
When I stared at the cornmeal colored dirt around the Kaesong Industrial Complex in 2006 from an observation point at Panmunjom, the North Korean site was all about the future.
Six miles beyond the Demilitarized Zone, Kaesong had been open for three years. The talk was the site would be fully developed by 2012 and provide jobs for 16,000 North Koreans. When Pyongyang shut down South Korean access to the industrial park on Wednesday, the complex employed 53,000 workers.
North Korea’s bellicose rants about military plans, and nuclear aggression are one thing, but for the dirt-poor nation to close an enterprise that returns $90 million in wages is truly alarming. What indeed is this wacky regime up to? Turns out those in Pyongyang apparently crave respect as much as a steady paycheck. Suggesting the North Koreans would never tamper with their source of hard currency is an insulting provocation in itself.
Kaesong grew into the home of 123 companies with North Korean workers using South Korean technology and market access. The intent was to create a pragmatic bond between the two countries. Closing down Kaesong is not without precedent. It happened in 2009 when Pyongyang was miffed by joint U.S.-South Korean military operations. The complex has stayed open during even more tense times.
News accounts of the latest tensions noted the last remaining hotline between the North and the South was cut. During my visit to Panmunjom, a U.S. Army captain, a West Point grad from Wapato near Yakima, explained her job was to maintain a 24-hotline with the Korean People’s Army. The hotline, as such, was a combination of a 1960s field phone, an aged fax machine, and a bull horn, if all else failed.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has maintained the appropriate diplomatic mode: keep talking. Predicting the whims of North Korea and its young leader Kim Jong Un requires imagination.
Here is an Associated Press interactive graphic on North Korea. Click on to page 2 in order to see a map of Kaesong.