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 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM
In case you missed it, Monday’s editorial in The Seattle Times opinion section argues that a cap on ride-sharing services in Seattle does not improve consumer safety and kills an emerging business model. The board also supports lifting arbitrary caps on taxi, for-hire and ride-sharing vehicles.
Let the market determine how many vehicles should be on the road. Don’t limit growth. Focus on consumer safety.
Discussions on insurance gaps must continue in light of accidents involving ride-share drivers in other markets. Lyft has started a committee to find some clarity. Seattle leaders should join that effort.
Ride-sharing quickly gained a following because it keeps more cars off the road and gives drivers a chance to make a living with an asset they already own. Like the taxi industry, many drivers for these new services are immigrants. The council should beware of picking winners and losers.
Agree with this view or not, the editorial board would like to hear from you.
Vote in the poll below.
February 25, 2014 at 6:25 AM
The Cascade Bicycle Club got valuable real estate on Monday with a front page Seattle Times story on the club’s pivot toward a “more inclusive” recreation-first group. But the CBC took advantage with a rather a creepy email to members. (Yes, I’m a member.)
Here’s an excerpt:
Let me introduce myself. I’m Bike “I’m smarter than you” Bot, the Director of Cascade’s Intelligence Agency.*
I’m not human. I’m an internet program that’s been trolling through how many emails you’ve been opening from the Cascade Bicycle Club and how many actions you’ve been taking.** (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 24, 2014 at 6:30 AM
America can hardly sleep more soundly because an elderly protester against nuclear weapons is behind bars. She and two others exposed the expensive joke behind high security for nuclear bomb components.
How about a few demotions, transfers and cancellation of some no-doubt sweet civilian contracts to “protect” the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.? The idea of Sister Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, and Michael Walli, 65, spending serious time in jail is offensive.
The incident dates to July 2012, and Rice was sentenced last week to 35 months in jail. Congress held hearings last spring on the dismal status of security. The Department of Energy said improvements included management changes and independent security reviews. Right, as if those were needed to discover anything.
CNN recounted how these three heinous peace activists moseyed into the compound. They cut through an outer perimeter chain-link fence, walked nearly a mile on the site, and then cut through three more chain-link fences. Then they spray-painted messages, hoisted banners and splashed human blood on the buildings housing highly secured uranium enrichment facilities.
Hours passed before a security guard, so to speak, eventually discovered them, and they offered him food and started singing.
Perhaps the only person who completely gets this “high security” farce is Edward Snowden. This Tennessee waltz into a secure area rates no higher than civil disobedience. Otherwise, they did the federal government a favor.
February 21, 2014 at 6:03 AM
The Seattle Times’ Monday editorial calling on Congress to extend unemployment benefits has received some heavy online traffic. Obviously, this issue hits a nerve for many of you out there who are searching for work or know someone who is. Here is an excerpt from the editorial:
In Washington state, at least 28,000 job-seekers so far have lost a critical financial lifeline. Many have put this money immediately into their local economies. It’s how they have afforded basic necessities such as rent, gas, groceries and utilities…
Without an extension, thousands more throughout Washington will continue to lose emergency federal assistance each week after their regular state benefits run out at 26 weeks.
Workers looking for jobs beyond that period now make up nearly 30 percent of the state’s unemployed population. There is an average of three applicants for every job opening.
There’s good reason for lawmakers to return from recess and re-start this debate. According to a January Quinnipiac University poll, 58 percent of respondents support continuing this financial lifeline for those who’ve exhausted their state benefits.
Share your thoughts with us in the form below. (more…)
February 20, 2014 at 6:08 AM
My Thursday column on sex trafficking and the foster care system opened with a line about the number of wards running away from homes they’ve been placed in by the state.
Below are three charts that show the extent of the problem between January 2010 and March 2013. These graphs from Columbia Legal Services are from the last report compiled by the state Department of Social and Health Services for a now-defunct working group called Missing from Care.
1. How many kids under the care of the state run away each month? DSHS reported a low of 116 runaways in January 2010 and a high of 172 in April 2012.
February 19, 2014 at 6:30 AM
The state House of Representatives took a big step early Tuesday morning with approval of an amended version of House Bill 2347, which seeks to reduce the risk of catastrophic oil spills from ships and trains. Now it falls to the state Senate, and its Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, to keep this important legislation moving.
Tracking the growing volumes of oil shipped through the state is necessary for local first-responders to be ready in the case of spills and resulting emergencies. Recent tragedies in North Dakota, Alabama, Alberta and Quebec reinforce the importance of being prepared for the worst.
State Rep. Jessyn Farrell’s legislation directs the state to gather and refineries to provide information about volumes of oil, types of oil, and the routes of vessels and trains. As the Democrat from Lake Forest Park notes, this will fill in gaps of knowledge about current routes and traffic on the Columbia River, around Grays Harbor and in Puget Sound.
The legislation empowers the state Department of Ecology to begin a study in 2014. A last-minute amendment would postpone any rule making inquiries until there is a permitted facility.
Communities need to be fully informed of the risks that go with the transport of vast quantities of oil. Local public-safety agencies need to know the nature of the hazards they might face. The legislation would gather basic information in response to the known risks that have claimed lives and destroyed property.
February 18, 2014 at 6:25 AM
At a meeting of Washington state county administrators last year, Jim Jones said one budget-busting scenario provoked the biggest wave of anxiety among the budget officers: a death penalty murder prosecution.
Jones, the Clallam County administrator and then-president of the Washington County Administrative Association, told me that five counties said the same thing: “If we had a death penalty case, and had to pay $1 million (in legal costs), we’d go bankrupt.”
In an editorial calling for the repeal of the death penalty, The Seattle Times editorial board cited the enormous cost of capital punishment. Counties, with the duty of paying for courts, front much of the cost. The most comprehensive study comparing the cost of death and non-death sentence murder cases estimated the difference at $1 million – including the costs of lifetime incarceration. Counties have to pay for multiple top-end, death-penalty-qualified lawyers, experts, investigations and trials that stretch weeks, if not months. (more…)
February 14, 2014 at 7:23 AM
On Friday morning, the Seattle City Council’s Committee on Taxi, For-Hire and Limousine Regulations will meet (again) to discuss what to do with app-based transportation companies such as Lyft, Sidecar and UberX. The three-member panel had planned to vote on a draft proposal that would have capped the number of ridesharing vehicles that can operate citywide.
That’s good. It means the council can avert the risk of passing a bad policy and punishing innovation.
Probably helps that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray weighed in throughout the week to express his concerns about the pending legislation. He tweeted this on Thursday: