Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.
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.
July 15, 2013 at 7:38 AM
On Friday, KTVU TV in the Bay Area reported the names of the Asiana pilots on air, and named four fake Asian-sounding names: “Captain Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Bang Ding Ow.” Here is the video of the news report.
Get it? Captain Sum Ting Wong rhymes with Captain Something Wrong.
After the social media world went after KTVU and the nonprofit Asian American Journalists Association started asking questions, the National Transportation Safety Board apologized and acknowledged that a summer intern “erroneously confirmed the pilot names,” in a Friday news release. KTVU also issued an apology Friday.
AAJA released a statement saying, “Those names were not only wrong, but so grossly offensive that it’s hard for us at the Asian American Journalists Association to fathom how those names made it on the broadcast.” In fact, a KTVU staff member hung up on AAJA President Paul Cheung when he called to ask how the names appeared on air, according to Cheung.
To put this in context, this is an aviation disaster in which three people died, many were critically injured, possibly paralyzed, and the government agency charged with investigating the crash made a joke of it.
When the agency held a news conference reporting the final minutes of pilot dialogue before the crash, should we consider that a joke too? Perhaps it would be helpful if the agency’s final report about the Asiana 777 crash in San Francisco was issued in gibberish, which the NTSB could claim was Korean. (more…)
July 15, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Frankly, not many media outlets or people seem to care about Kenneth Bae, the American sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in a North Korean prison for alleged “hostile acts” against the state. Bill Richardson is an exception and the highest-profile American since former NBA star Dennis Rodman to call for an “unorthodox” approach to getting the Lynnwood tour operator back home with his family.
Last week, the former governor of New Mexico and one of the country’s foremost experts on North Korea appealed for journalists to keep attention on Bae, a tour operator who has been detained since last November. CNN recently obtained video with a plea from Bae for help, but the video has not gained much traction with the public.
During remarks at a Thursday Asia Society event called “Searching for Peace with North Korea,” Richardson said, “Somehow, the cries for his release, humanitarian release has not been as strong as other detainees.”
Watch the full event below in video provided by the Asia Society. For the parts about Kenneth Bae, forward to about 6:00 and 1:10:30 in the video.
July 3, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Update 3:01 p.m.:
CNN has obtained exclusive video from Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean organization, showing Kenneth Bae’s first interview from a hard labor camp where he is serving a 15-year sentence for “hostile acts” against the country. In the video, Bae speaks in Korean. CNN translated his comments as follows:
“Although my health is not good, I am being patient and coping well,” Bae said. “And I hope that with the help of the North Korean government and the United States, I will be released soon.”
Kneeling on the ground and wearing a prison uniform, a visibly thinner Bae revealed July 4 is his father’s 70th birthday.
Also, I just learned via Twitter (h/t @randallito) about this change.org petition by Jonathan Bae, who identifies himself as Kenneth Bae’s son. The petition calls on President Barack Obama to send a delegation to North Korea to secure Bae’s release.
We can’t seem to get enough of The Worm and his worldly ways. If NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman can use his celebrity to smooth relations with North Korea and secure the release of Lynnwood’s Kenneth Bae during his August trip back to the land of Kim Jung Un— then I say he deserves some serious props for diplomacy.
Of course, Rodman wants more. Have you seen him on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated?
According to this July 2 preview story by SI correspondent Ben Golliver, the former Chicago Bull says he deserves to be considered for a Nobel Peace Prize after his recent foray into North Korea with a crew from Vice Media. Rodman’s visit was the subject of Vice on HBO’s season finale. (I’ve embedded a fascinating four-minute clip at the end of this post.)
From Golliver’s write-up:
Rodman plans to return to North Korea in August. “I’m just gonna chill, play some basketball and maybe go on vacation with Kim and his family,” Rodman says. “I’ve called on the Supreme Leader to do me a solid by releasing Kenneth Bae.” The Korean-American missionary was recently sentenced to 15 years of hard labor on charges that he tried to topple the North Korean regime. He’d organized tours into the isolated state.
“My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries,” Rodman says. “Why it’s been left to me to smooth things over, I don’t know. Dennis Rodman, of all people. Keeping us safe is really not my job; it’s the black guy’s [Obama's] job. But I’ll tell you this: If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.”
It’s great to see Rodman hasn’t forgotten about Kenneth Bae.
June 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Washington is not Texas. Thankfully, lawmakers here are not pursuing misguided regulations to curb reproductive rights for women. But I still think the massive response to Tuesday’s nearly 12-hour filibuster in the Texas Senate by Wendy Davis demonstrates why we cannot take the right to make our own private decisions about our health for granted.
Look at what’s happening nationwide.
Last week, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1797, a far-reaching measure that would restrict the time frame in which abortions are allowed, from about 24 weeks down to 20 weeks after conception. According to The New York Times, several states have already done this or something similar.(Read former Seattle City Councilmember Judy Nicastro’s harrowing Times op-ed on her late-term abortion at this link.)
The supporters of such measures — mostly Republicans — often say they are protecting women’s health. That’s misleading, considering this Guttmacher Institute Q&A that cites studies showing less than 1% of U.S. women suffer major complications after they undergo a safe, legal abortion. As long as the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling is in place, anti-abortion forces are really doing everything they can to chip away at access. Hence, the measures we saw the GOP attempting to pass in Texas, including a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and a slew of regulatory procedures designed to make it difficult for doctors to work and for clinics to remain open.
Davis’ marathon filibuster stopped this nonsense — for now. Gov. Rick Perry has called a second session and placed these abortion bills back on the agenda.
Washingtonians, Texas women need our support from afar and we must remain vigilant. We are fortunate to live in a state that has long respected a woman’s privacy. (Check out this write-up at HistoryLink.com for more and my Jan. 23 blog post about public support for the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling.) In fact, Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights advocates worked hard this year to pass the Reproductive Parity Act to protect insurance coverage for abortions, albeit unsuccessfully. (more…)
June 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Comprehensive immigration reform is easy to bash when you look at a bunch of policy reforms on paper.
Many Americans get it. Some don’t. This is really about people. Living, breathing human beings. There’s no better way to understand the need for changes to the way we treat the issue of citizenship in the United States than to hear the personal stories of individuals who are living in the shadows.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray delivered a strong opening speech before Congress Wednesday as the chamber opened the floodgates to a national debate on reforming immigration laws. She outlined a pragmatic approach to the problem while standing beside a a giant poster-sized photo of two Washington state sisters, Mari and Adriana Barrera. The two were raised by a single mother and began working from a young age. When one sibling fell terribly ill, the other pledged to become a doctor. Unfortunately, she recently had to drop out of the University of Washington because she could not afford tuition and did not qualify for financial aid. That’s the price young people have to pay when they are raised in and thrive in the U.S., but lack a valid nine-digit code known as a social security number. It’s inhumane for us to limit their talent and brain power, which are often cultivated in American schools.
Watch Murray’s 15-minute speech below. As the debate continues, I hope other lawmakers bring forth similar stories of determination and survival. They should remember these stories before they vote.
Whatever happens in Washington, D. C. in the coming months will affect our state in profound ways, whether we’re talking about laying the groundwork for the high-tech sector to maintain jobs here or keeping up with the labor demands of our agricultural economy. As this February Slate map shows, there are approximately 230,000 undocumented immigrants within Washington. They make up about 3 percent of our statewide population and 5 percent of our total labor force (and very likely a much higher percentage of our farm workers).
June 5, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Ick. Gross. Unacceptable. Stop military sexual abuse. Now.
That’s my gut reaction after watching a good portion of the U.S. Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing Tuesday. The nation’s top military leaders were ordered to appear on Capitol Hill to testify on the issue of curbing sexual abuse. Over and over, they promised zero tolerance for assaults within their ranks, yet they refused to change a status quo process that allows those crimes to persist and often go unreported. (Go to this link to watch the C-SPAN video. The hearing included three witness panels and lasted several hours.)
Credit goes to the seven female members of the U.S. Senate Armed Forces Committee for bringing a much needed perspective to the table. For years, the male-dominated committee has wrestled with this issue and swept it under the rug, as reported in this June 2 New York Times news story.
During Tuesday’s hearing, we heard a little bit from the “old guard” in the form of this comment from U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., who opposes a bill that would shift the power to pursue allegations from commanders to military lawyers: “Gee whiz … the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we’ve got to be very careful in how we address it.”
What? Someone rewind that video and let the senator listen to himself. (more…)
May 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Forty-five bucks, a backpack and a Twitter account.
That’s all it took for Mark Horvath — more widely known in the Twitter-verse as @hardlynormal — to find his calling as an advocate for the homeless. His story reinforces my belief in that old cliche: one person truly can make a difference, especially when the medium is the Internet and the messenger is a former television marketing guru.
I heard Horvath speak Tuesday night at a Social Media Club of Seattle event in South Lake Union. He doesn’t sugar-coat his own struggles. Horvath says his passion comes from experience. He has found himself living among the homeless. Though he could get a desk job these days, the Los Angeles native prefers traveling the country and using his social media prowess to raise awareness about the key ingredients to ending homelessness: housing, jobs and health services.
The way Horvath tells it, he was once a skeptic of Twitter. But he began to see it as a tool for gathering donations and giving the homeless a megaphone to share their stories. His tweets have proven so effective that Ford Motor Company has sponsored his cross-country drives to collect stories from homeless people. Hanes has donated 2 million pairs of socks (which is how he often breaks the ice with the subjects of his interviews). He created InvisiblePeople.tv, as a place to post videos of the people he encounters. Seeing and hearing them speak is powerful and adds some nuance to a common notion of homelessness as an issue that only afflicts veterans, alcoholics and drug addicts.
Since arriving in the Emerald City a few days ago, he’s already put a human face on Seattle’s homeless epidemic. In the videos below, meet Laura, a mother of two living out of a tent, and Sabrina, a Spokane native who now lives under a bridge.
So what happens now? Horvath is a one-man machine, but he emphasizes everyone has the ability to listen to the homeless.
“We’re either maintaining homelessness, or ending homelessness,” he says. Clearly he’d prefer the latter, which means giving short-term things like food may not always be the best solution.
Horvath encourages us to help homeless people access resources. (Here’s a link to King County’s list of phone numbers and organizations.) He insists they are not “service-resistant,” but they are accustomed to roadblocks and need “tangible social interaction.”