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Opinion Northwest

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

Category: Video
July 28, 2014 at 6:05 AM

New York Times joins Seattle Times in calling for marijuana legalization

Update, 4:35 p.m., July 29: On Monday, David Firestone, on the New York Times Taking Note blog, gave a nod to The Seattle Times editorial board for calling for marijuana legalization in 2011. He was writing about the timing of editorials in influencing policy issues. The conclusion: We’re glad to have joined The Seattle Times and…

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June 27, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Video: A debate about gun initiatives I-591 and I-594

Corrected version Confused about the two state initiatives coming in the Nov. 4 election about gun control and gun rights? Check out our editorial board interviews with supporters and opponents of Initiative 591 and Initiative 594. TVW produced video of the interviews. Initiative 591 would prevent Washington state from background checks for gun buyers that are stricter…

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Comments | Topics: gun control, initiative 591, initiative 594

June 23, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Rewind: Video hangout on survival after college

Are you a recent college graduate? Wondering how you’re going to find a job and support yourself? From the changing nature of internships and job advancement, to crushing student debt and moving back in with parents, this generation of graduates faces many hurdles.

Join our on-air video hangout on Google+ on Tuesday at noon to discuss the challenges facing this generation of graduates and possible solutions.

This is an open hangout, which means anyone can join as a participant with a Web cam. Please keep in mind that this is an on-air hangout and your comments and images will be broadcast on The Seattle Times website, Youtube and Google+. The Seattle Times Terms of Service apply to this hangout.

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Comments | More in Live chats, Video | Topics: college, unemployment

March 14, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Video: Workers struggle with loss of federal unemployment benefits

Corrected version

Unemployment is not an easy topic to write about. Much of the focus in media coverage is on faceless numbers and reports. Too often, Republicans and Democrats twist those figures for political purposes, sometimes accusing the jobless of abusing government assistance and refusing to better themselves. The naysayers forget the unemployed are real people struggling to raise families and make ends meet. The challenges they face are vastly different from one another, too.

Nearly 2 million Americans are struggling with long-term unemployment, which means they have not been able to find work after receiving a total of 26 weeks of state jobless benefits. Since 2008, Congress has kicked in emergency assistance at the 27-week mark to help these workers pay their bills as they continue to look for work. In December, Congress failed to extend this important lifeline, profoundly affecting the lives of people who are used to working, paying taxes and contributing to their local economies.

Calvin Graedel and Nichole Clemens are among the nearly tens of thousands of long-term unemployed Washington residents who stopped receiving temporary assistance after Dec. 28.

Watch their stories below.

Graedel, 60, worked as a regional sales manager until he lost his job in November 2012. Though he did well, saved his money and  invested in retirement, finding work has been anything but easy. He recently shared his story with us from his West Seattle home, which he is planning to put on the market this month:

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Clemens, 36, worked as a medical-records clerk until March 2013. The single mother of two daughters says she was making $16 an hour. She feels the longer she has gone without work, the harder it has become to get an interview. She shared her story from an apartment in Kent, where she is behind on rent.

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Comments | More in Video | Topics: congress, federal unemployment extension, poverty

February 26, 2014 at 6:24 AM

Increased vigilance needed to prevent, treat obesity

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.

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Comments | More in Video | Topics: cdc, childhood obesity, michelle obama

February 24, 2014 at 1:02 PM

RIP, Alice Herz-Sommer

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.

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Comments | More in Video | Topics: alice herz-sommer, holocause, obituary

February 7, 2014 at 6:06 AM

President Obama says a prayer for Kenneth Bae

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.

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Comments | More in Video | Topics: kenneth bae, north korea, Obama

January 22, 2014 at 6:59 AM

Seahawks: The 12th Man around and on top of the world

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.

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January 16, 2014 at 6:15 AM

As Kenneth Bae remains imprisoned, PBS ‘Frontline’ exposes real North Korea

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.

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