Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.
February 26, 2014 at 6:24 AM
A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published in The Journal of the American Medical Association indicates obesity rates have dropped among some toddlers, but the overall prevalence of the disease in kids and adults remains high.
Public health policies must continue to focus on prevention, especially among kids.
At the national level, First Lady Michelle Obama has fought hard to combat childhood obesity by launching the Let’s Move! campaign. She has appeared on Sesame Street and on late-night television numerous times to convince people of all ages to be active and to make healthful eating choices.
Here she is with Big Bird in the White House kitchen:
And here’s a hilarious (and highly effective) video encouraging Americans to be active, featuring the First Lady and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon in a segment called “Evolution of Mom Dancing”:
Obama makes exercise look fun and hip, but for many Americans— changing behavior is incredibly difficult.
Though this New York Times news story highlights a promising 43 percent drop in obesity among 2 and 5-year-old children over the last ten years, the CDC reported no significant reductions among other groups during that same period. (more…)
February 24, 2014 at 1:02 PM
Alice Herz-Sommer may not have set out to change minds, but her essence and love for the piano transcended time, politics and the horrors of Hitler’s concentration camps.
The world’s oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor passed away over the weekend. What a life she lived. She won’t be remembered as a victim, but for her incredible sense of optimism.
“Every day in life is beautiful,” she would say. And she believed it, despite a life of profound suffering over the course of her 110 years, including the loss of her home in Prague, her parents and her husband after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.
I had not known about Herz-Sommer’s life story until Friday night, when I saw the Oscar-nominated documentary short film based on her life, “The Lady in Number 6.” Here’s a preview of this poignant meditation on survival, aging and music as salvation.
February 7, 2014 at 6:06 AM
Former Washington resident Kenneth Bae gained an important ally on Thursday when President Barack Obama personally called for his release from a North Korean labor camp.
The president mentioned Bae in his remarks during Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast, which can be viewed at about the 16:39 mark in this video from the White House’s YouTube channel:
The Seattle Times has written numerous editorials (including this latest one posted Jan. 26) encouraging the U.S. State Department to help Bae’s family, based in Edmonds and Lynnwood. The 45-year-old American citizen was captured in November 2012 while guiding tourists through North Korea.
Obama’s attention to this issue can only help. On Wednesday, Reuters reports the four last surviving members of Congress to serve in the Korean War wrote a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asking for Bae’s release on humanitarian grounds.
Hopefully, the North Koreans take notice. (more…)
January 22, 2014 at 6:59 AM
Seahawks fans sent images of themselves from around the world in 12th Man gear in response to my Monday blog post about a Tacoma native living in Paris.
The most impressive entry came from Gordon Prinster of West Seattle, who shared a video of himself planting a 12th Man flag at 22,837 feet on Mount Aconcagua in Argentina on Jan. 4. Aconcagua is the tallest peak in the Americas.
January 16, 2014 at 6:15 AM
If you want to get a real sense of life inside North Korea, stop looking at the photos of Dennis Rodman’s ill-advised trip earlier this month to Pyongyang to celebrate Kim Jong Un’s birthday.
Instead, watch the latest “Frontline” from PBS called “Secret State of North Korea.” Here’s the trailer:
Director Jim Jones worked with journalists to obtain grainy, sometimes-horrifying video from inside the country. Glimpses of daily life there show mass oppression, orphaned children, fake luxury storefronts, and over-the-top efforts to exalt Kim’s image. (more…)
January 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM
CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo grilled Dennis Rodman on Tuesday about imprisoned American Kenneth Bae, and the former NBA star lost it.
Watch the video below. Rodman and a team of ex-NBA players were interviewed from Pyongyang, where they are scheduled to participate in an exhibition game Wednesday with North Korean players.
Rodman’s incoherent answers are a poor attempt to deflect attention from North Korea’s recent human rights abuses. Aside from the recent execution of leader Kim Jong Un’s once-powerful uncle, the regime has held former Washington resident and tour operator Kenneth Bae for more than one year.
December 31, 2013 at 6:00 AM
You’re thinking about those New Year’s resolutions, right? In 2014 you’re going to shed those extra pounds! Get healthy. Sleep more. Be 100 percent debt-free.
How many have failed time and again to accomplish big, broad goals because of the rush to achieve results? Maybe they didn’t examine the process. Or form a realistic plan. My own tendency to attempt extreme changes is rarely sustainable beyond a few days, whether it’s getting up at 5 a.m. to work out or attempting a juice cleanse.
Maybe we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Change things up by starting really small, says BJ Fogg, a social scientist and director of Stanford University’s Persuasive Tech Lab. Watch his TED Talk below on forming tiny habits to reach long-term goals:
According to a recent University of Scranton survey published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 45 percent of Americans make new year’s resolutions. Eight percent are successful; 49 percent report “infrequent” success; 24 percent report they’ve failed each year.
Below is a list of the study’s top resolutions for 2014. Look familiar? (more…)
November 2, 2013 at 6:08 AM
Join us for a Google Hangout at noon Monday on money, media and elections.
Our guests will be joining us from all over the country to talk about the influence of big money on political equality just in time for election day on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
John Nichols is co-author of “Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America.” Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers.
Robert W. McChesney is co-author of “Dollarocracy.” He is a professor of communication at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Washington and he received his bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College.
Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the nonprofit Free Press. He joined Free Press in 2004 and speaks across the country on media, Internet and journalism issues. Craig is a frequent guest on talk radio and is quoted often in the national press. His commentaries also appear regularly in the Guardian and the Huffington Post. Before joining Free Press, he was an investigative reporter for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch and the managing editor of In These Times magazine.
Thanh Tan, multimedia editorial writer, will moderate the Hangout. Tan is a former broadcast journalist for a local news station in Portland and the PBS station in Boise.
Lance Dickie, editorial writer, will also join the hangout. Dickie closely follows media consolidation and the Federal Communications Commission for the editorial board.
August 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM
This Seattle Times news account of state Sen. Ed Murray’s marriage last Saturday to his long-time partner Michael Shiosaki warmed a lot of hearts, including mine. Murray, a Seattle Democrat, fought well over a decade to convince a majority of his fellow lawmakers to support legalizing same-sex marriage. Patience pays off. The two wed exactly 22 years from the day they met during a hike to Mount Rainier.
The political wedding of the season happened just a few days before the highly anticipated documentary film “The Campaign” is scheduled to screen Thursday at SIFF Uptown in Seattle at 7:30 p.m. KCTS 9 will broadcast the film next Sunday at 11pm. Here’s a preview:
Aw, that’s right. Four years before Washington state voters made history by becoming one of the first electorates in the union to affirm marriage equality, there was the 2008 campaign in California for and against Proposition 8, a measure by same-sex marriage opponents to define marriage in that state’s constitution as a union between one man and one woman. Two lower courts ruled the amendment was unconstitutional before the case reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Last June, the justices ruled they had no authority to decide on the case, thereby allowing California to resume same-sex marriages. (Read the Wikipedia explanation of this rather complex legal battle at this link.)
The stunning outcome of that election raised our collective consciousness and ignited a revolution (and lots of fundraising) in states outside California, including right here Washington. It forced a mainstream discussion about gay marriage not just as a social or political wedge problem but as an issue of human rights and personal freedom.
August 13, 2013 at 7:50 AM
This week’s biggest surprise: Actor Ashton Kutcher gives a surprisingly inspiring and smart speech at the Teen Choice Awards. In a brief acceptance speech, Kutcher channels Apple founder Steve Jobs and champions nerds with three pieces of advice.
Juju Chang of Good Morning America posted it on Facebook, calling it “remarkable.” I could not resist watching and now you can be the judge.
Kutcher will play Steve Jobs in an upcoming movie, “Jobs.” Here is a Los Angeles Times story about his role. And it looks like he’s already echoing Jobs’ talent for inspiring people with his speeches.