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home : opinion

It's time to have an honest conversation about race
Once again we are reminded the world is a dangerous place. This time a church in Charleston, South Carolina was the site of the evil that lurks in the hearts of men.

Following the tragedy was a press release from 2nd Amendment Org (2AO) suggesting that it is time to arm our churches. According to 2AO it is time for "comprehensive gun training and safety awareness in church communities in order to protect themselves and their fellow parishioners from the potential of both foreign and domestic terrorist attacks."

For his part, President Obama continued the rhetoric that "guns are too easy to get in America." Suggesting that we must begin to address the issue of gun violence. While he didn't actually say it, he was clearly making a plea to repeal the second amendment and pass more stringent gun control legislation.

Both sides of this debate are wrong. Bringing guns into the church would be a sad contradiction to the teachings of love and forgiveness of the Christian church. And limiting the freedom of law abiding citizens does not address the real issues that create these despicable acts of depravity.

Thursday, June 25, 2015 More...

Climate anger - Last refuge of the alarmists
For purveyors of climate alarm, emotional displays of intolerance are increasingly crowding out reasoned argument. But remember the adage: "Hate hurts the hater more than the hated."

Consider President Obama. At the White House Correspondents Dinner, the president used the lighthearted occasion to shout at those who doubt his climate-change narrative. "It is crazy! What about our kids? What kind of stupid, shortsighted irresponsible bull..." said the president before a comedian jokingly cut him off.

The current elephant-in-the-room for climate alarmists is the "pause" or "hiatus" in global warming.

Green activists have preached that the Earth's temperature would rise steadily into a global crisis. For the 1990s, their model predictions appeared plausible. But global temperatures have slowed considerably since 1998, despite steadily rising levels of carbon-dioxide emissions (the alleged cause of warming).

Thursday, June 25, 2015 More...
State budget negotiations
Friday brought a series of important announcements from our Senate majority's budget leaders, their counterparts in the House of Representatives, and Governor Inslee. Taken together they suggest that talks toward a new state budget have finally turned an encouraging corner with just eight days left in the Legislature's second special session.

Here is how our chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Senator Andy Hill, put it this afternoon: "In March, we released a budget that fully funds education and makes college affordable without new taxes. We've held to these principles and are grateful that both the governor and House have agreed to support them. With new taxes off the table and a commitment to reducing tuition to make college affordable again, we should be able to work through the weekend to reach a final resolution.

We have said all along that $3 billion in additional revenue is enough to make major investments in schools, college affordability, mental health and the social safety net. We are very glad that we can agree on these principles with the governor and House."

After two months of negotiations the general framework of a budget agreement is already in place. For instance, the Senate and House are already aligned on much of the new spending for K-12 education, for mental-health services and for state parks. The sticking points, as Senator Hill's statement indicates, have been taxes and tuition.

Thursday, June 25, 2015 More...
Is it finally time to be scared of bonds?
Three years ago, I wrote a fascinating, but terrifying, article about the perils of bonds. Like anyone else who was paying attention, I was worried that interest rates were going to rise, and rising interest rates are bad for bonds. However, since that time, rates are still near all-time lows, and bonds have averaged a gain of approximately 2 percent per year (per the iShares Core US Aggregate Bond Index). While a 2 percent gain is nothing to get excited about, it's also no reason to write scary articles. So I'm done making predictions about interest rates and bonds.

However, I do think it's good to understand why bonds are scary if interest rates ever do begin to consistently rise. First, a little background on bonds is important: If you buy a bond, you are loaning money to the issuer of that bond. You are essentially a bank, and you'll demand a higher interest rate if you perceive a higher risk. If the entity issuing the bond is the United States Government, your rate will be low; but you are very likely to get your money back (I'm resisting the urge to make a cynical joke). If, on the other hand, you buy a bond issued by the government of Greece, you'll get a much higher rate, but you might lose huge chunks of money. Most bonds, of course, lie somewhere in between the two.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 More...
'Old liberal' challenges 'old publisher'
This week's mail included the following letter from a reader on the wet side. The problem is that the individual who submitted this did not include a phone number and there is no listing in the Issaquah phone book for this name. So, I am taking a chance that the letter is a hoax, but it is well written and espouses a point of view that requests and deserves a response. First, the letter:
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 More...
Why Washington's environmental policy has failed
One sentence sums up the last ten years of Washington's environmental policy.

"I will stay away from the math and instead tell you all a short story about my son."

That is how former Washington State Department of Ecology Director and President of the Washington Environmental Council Jay Manning began his e-mail to legislators justifying more taxpayer subsidies for electric vehicles. As one of the leaders on the environmental left, his choice of words reveals how environmental policy decisions have been made for more than a decade: forget the math and science and listen to an emotionally satisfying story.

Ironically, the story he told contradicts the point he was trying to make.

Manning noted that his son recently leased a Nissan Leaf thanks to taxpayer subsidies. He wrote:

"...he leased a brand new Nissan Leaf. His first new car and boy is he excited. He doesn't make a lot of money - he's 25 and just getting started. Nevertheless, he made this purchase without our help and without borrowing money. He simply could not have done it without the benefit of the federal tax credit and the sales tax exemption he received as part of the lease." 

Manning assumes that without subsides, the car would not have been purchased. 

People face this problem every day, however. They take out car loans. They save their money for a bit, take the bus for a while, and pay for the car themselves. Manning's assumption is that the desire of buyers to buy an electric car is so weak they won't tolerate any delay or pay for the car out of their own pocket. Why borrow from a bank, however, when you can get the money for free from taxpayers?

Thursday, June 11, 2015 More...

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