U.S. Rep. Denny Heck warned months ago that this year’s Congress would be defined by its fall over a series of policy cliffs, some of which might kill valuable programs or wreak havoc in our communities. So far, the Olympia-based Democrat has been right. More ominous, Heck is predicting that a government shutdown is likely to happen in the next month or two over party differences concerning the House-approved defense budget.
Having accurate information about a Superior Court or District Court defendant’s potential risk to the community is vital for Thurston County judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and the police. So is knowing which services an accused person might need for help with mental health or substance-abuse issues that, in some cases, are a contributor to the criminal actions that land a man or woman in jail and court.
For the Chinese, the Aug. 12 chemical explosion in the port city of Tianjin has been a multipronged tragedy. At least 114 people were killed, nearly 700 have been hospitalized and thousands have been evacuated.
The West has been on fire all month, with dream homes falling to a combustive punch, wild horses seared by flame and suffocated by smoke, even a rare “firenado” dancing across a landscape in which 7 million acres have been burned this year. It was shocking to be lazing through the rituals of summer at Lake Chelan, one of the world’s most beautiful bodies of water, in Washington’s eastern Cascades, when wildfires arrived.
On the 80th birthday of Social Security, we should recognize the program’s immense achievements, keeping millions of Americans out of poverty, not undermining its credibility using fear tactics not based in fact. Currently, attackers are claiming that the program is unsustainable and that its funding shortfall is “beyond comprehension,” throwing around figures in the trillions.
For some students, college debt can be a disincentive to attend or a crushing burden afterward. For others, many of whom are starting classes now, it is a reasonable investment in a degree that will lead to increased lifetime earnings. As they look for crowd-pleasing solutions to the college debt “crisis,” the Democratic candidates aren’t making the right distinctions.
The sudden turmoil in the financial markets is a reminder that when the preliminary hoopla is over and voters actually begin to select their presidential nominees, competence and cool will probably matter.
Most school-age children in South Sound are headed back indoors to the classroom soon. A piece of any family’s preparation for school ought to go beyond notebooks and include vaccinations for their kids.
Unfortunately, opt-out rates for vaccinations run higher in Washington than is good for the public at large.
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake,” Napoleon is supposed to have said. That maxim explains why so many Democrats can barely hide their glee every time Donald Trump lets loose a fresh torrent of idiotic bombast or a new poll reinforces his pre-eminence in the Republican field.
The state Board of Education made the right call when it recently decided to set a lower passing high school graduation score for next spring’s Common Core math and English tests. The standardized tests, known as the Smarter Balanced exams, will set a new bar for students beginning next spring. A score of 3 or 4 means students are ready for college and careers, but for next year, the passing high school level will be just above a 2.5.