Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.
January 22, 2014 at 6:03 AM
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in King County and Washington state. As the editorial board argued in this Jan. 13 editorial, smoking rates have declined, but wide health disparities persist between smokers and non-smokers. Here’s a previous Opinion Northwest blog post with charts illustrating the problem.
Smoking prevention and cessation efforts nationwide and in Washington should focus on populations more likely to smoke, including the less-educated, low-income, ethnic minority groups and people suffering from mental illness.
Last Friday, acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak unveiled a new list of illnesses caused by smoking and tobacco use. The photos below are from the latest report’s executive summary. (Read this related news story in The Seattle Times.)
Health problems highlighted in red are new associations, including chronic diseases such as macular degeneration, congenital defects and orofacial clefts in babies, tuberculosis, diabetes, ectopic pregnancy, erectile dysfunction in men, rheumatoid arthritis and immunal dysfunction. The surgeon general also added liver and colorectal cancers to the list of consequences.
With regard to secondhand smoke, public health officials have added strokes in adults to the list of health consequences:
January 21, 2014 at 6:30 AM
A delegation of chamber of commerce officials from cities in Sichuan Province, Washington’s official cultural and commercial sibling in southwestern China, was yet another reminder of a powerful truth. In the opening sentence of “The Post-American World,” journalist Fareed Zakaria noted “This is not a book about the demise of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else.”
The Friday morning session at Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce headquarters was hosted by the World Affairs Council of Seattle, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle and the Washington State China Relations Council. The five Sichuan delegates were greeted by the China council’s new CEO Kristi Heim, and other local and state trade officials.
Washington state and Sichuan province have had a sister-state-province relationship since the 1980s. Seattle and Chongqing have had a sister-city bond for decades.
I don’t think we in this country truly get the nature of the competition we are up against, and the benefits we enjoy with China’s prosperity. Washington leads the U.S. with $14 billion in exports to China. A bounty to be nurtured and encouraged to grow.
The revelation for me – OK, shocking reminder – came in a presentation called, with perhaps a bit of errant linguistic candor, a “propaganda film of Sichuan Province.”
These cities are booming. I was in Chengdu 20 years ago. I visited again about five years later. I was amazed then at the change. Friday morning I about flopped out of my chair.
Chengdu is now home to more than 1,000 U.S. companies, including General Electric, Intel, Texas Instruments and nearly 30 Walmart stores. The population tops 14 million. The Chengdu skyline makes Seattle look like Fargo, N.D.
The cities of Nanchong, population 7.5 million; Bazhong, population 4 million; and Luzhou, population 5 million; and Guangyuan, population 3 million; are eager to show off their highways, waterways, container terminals, airports, rail lines, manufacturing facilities and training centers. They are working it, and they are selling what they have to offer to Volvo and Damco.
Even discounting a predictable measure of hyperbole and unvarnished promotion, they have a lot to offer, and the message is getting through.
In the meantime we have a bumbling Congress and cheapskate state Legislature that will not invest in infrastructure, as our roads crumble, bridges fail, transit is threatened and commercial truckers sit in traffic because of an ancient Columbia River bridge on Interstate-5.
We sit still at our peril. The rest of the world is on the move, without us. Every lawmaker in Olympia needs to sign up for a trade mission.
January 20, 2014 at 6:45 AM
PARIS, France – Allez Seahawks.
“It’s our turn,” Tacoma native Krystal Romano said early Monday morning, Paris time, when the Seahawks won the NFC championship game in Seattle. “We haven’t won a Super Bowl yet. This team, this puzzle full of misfits and last picks – we made it work.” (more…)
January 20, 2014 at 6:08 AM
As The Seattle Times’ Martin Luther King Jr. Day editorial suggests, this is a time to reflect on how far King County has come toward accomplishing the civil rights legend’s dream of a fair and just society — and how much farther we have to go.
Two must-reads that inspired our board’s view are King County’s Equity and Social Justice Annual Reports in 2012 and 2013. Both are a punch to the gut. They represent public health officials’ courageous effort to lay bare a simple fact: Race and place are directly linked to opportunities for better health, higher incomes and longer lives. (more…)
January 17, 2014 at 6:00 AM
On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced the IN-STATE for Dreamers Act of 2014, a measure that would provide states more money to help low-income kids pay for college tuition, regardless of their citizenship status. As The Seattle Times’ Kyung Song reports in this news story, Murray suggests paying for the $750 million cost by increasing student visas fees for international students.
If Congress agrees to pass Murray’s bill, the money would certainly help students in her home state. Look at the chart below, which shows how many of the state’s lowest-income students over the years have been served or turned away by the State Need Grant program.
Washington state could qualify for federal funding because it provides in-state tuition rates to all students, including the undocumented. So let’s encourage Congress to pass Murray’s legislation.
The timing is interesting because in Olympia, the state Legislature is considering the Washington State Dream Act, which would allow undocumented students to apply for the State Need Grant program. The Seattle Times editorial board published an editorial Friday supporting the effort, which sailed through the House within hours of the session’s start on Monday. HB 1817 is currently stuck in the Senate Higher Education Committee. Chairwoman Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, should give it a hearing and advance it to the floor. (more…)
January 16, 2014 at 6:25 AM
The specter of Seattle being on the hook for Highway 99 tunnel cost-overruns has been repeatedly raised (see: McGinn, Mike, former mayor) and repeatedly debunked, according to Seattle Times news reports.
But you can’t blame tunnel opponents like Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien for raising them once again, with tunneling machine Bertha shutdown for a month.
At a council hearing Monday focused on the tunnel and the Seattle seawall, O’Brien conceded that the state was on the hook for the tunnel itself. “From the city’s perspective, I feel comfortable for now that is your deal,” he told Washington State Department of Transportation secretary Lynn Peterson.
But O’Brien noted there are other side deals between the city and state on the massive $3.1 billion project. Namely, the $290 million contract, paid by the state, to decommission the Battery Street tunnel, tear down the viaduct and replace Alaskan Way. (more…)
January 15, 2014 at 6:09 AM
Seattle and San Francisco’s football teams play Sunday for the NFC championship title. Clearly, the Seahawks should win. Here are my reasons below.
And check out San Francisco Chronicle editorial writer Marshall Kilduff’s reasons in an Opinion Shop blog post on why the 49ers should win.
Thank you to the Hawks fans who helped me come up with this top 10 list. (more…)
January 14, 2014 at 6:08 AM
Tuesday’s editorial in The Seattle Times focuses on the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Surgeon General’s report linking tobacco use to health risks. Please read it and help raise awareness about this public health crisis. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in King County and Washington state. And we can do something about it.
It doesn’t matter that about 88 percent of King County residents don’t use tobacco. We still have to worry about the 12 percent who do. They are the targets of the tobacco industry’s robust marketing campaigns. Low-income people are more likely to take up the habit, as are minorities and the less educated.
Nearly 4,800 kids take up smoking every year and 244,000 more minors are exposed to second-hand smoke at home. In Washington state, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reports 7,600 people die every year from tobacco use; about 124,000 under the age of 18 will die prematurely from smoking. Click on this link to see more disturbing statistics, including estimates that annual health care costs in Washington caused by smoking has reached nearly $2 billion.
January 13, 2014 at 12:52 PM
A defiant and visibly emotional Dennis Rodman faced a throng of reporters after landing in Beijing over the weekend.
Watch the CNN video below:
Regardless of his tearful non-apology apology, the former NBA player deserves to stay atop the “loser of the week” list a while longer. That’s what he gets for throwing fellow American Kenneth Bae under the bus. In a ridiculous CNN interview last week, Rodman suggested Bae deserved his 15-year sentence in a North Korean labor camp. Oh, that was just a drunken rant, he later said in a written statement, spurred on by the stress of realizing he’s the only guy in the room defending a brutal dictator.
The Worm’s style of “basketball diplomacy” is about as bad as his attempt to channel Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song. But at least the collapse of his latest goodwill efforts will remind the world that Kenneth Bae is experiencing serious health complications under the watch of Kim Jong Un’s prison guards.
Lucky for Rodman, Bae’s family in Washington state issued a statement last Thursday accepting his apology: (more…)
January 13, 2014 at 6:30 AM
Nothing happens without the money to make things happen. I get that part. But the Washington Supreme Court’s recent follow-up on its 2012 McCleary decision was almost too much about the money. I was looking for a cautionary admonition not only about raising the cash, but also spending it wisely.
No one watching the debacles with the Highway 520 Bridge and the downtown Seattle tunnel can ever imagine that money truly compensates for poor prior planning.
I will stipulate that all I know about legal matters I learned from watching “Perry Mason” reruns. Go ahead, denounce my comments as incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial. (more…)