Who will investigate when newspapers disappear?
McClatchy’s investigative reporters aimed their pens at Moody’s Investors Service recently.
Investors are guided by Moody’s when they issue, upgrade or downgrade a company. The reporters noted a Securities and Exchange Commission report that blamed profit motives for undermining the integrity of the ratings at Moody’s.
Bonuses, stock options and the company going public influenced Moody’s shift from its previously conservative and ethical environment to the present “business friendly” culture. Unfortunately, the lack of objectivity and arms-length distance from the businesses Moody’s and its competitors rate helped contribute to the market downfall. The result was devastating losses for private investors, universities, hospitals and governments. Mortgage-backed securities with AAA ratings are an example of the toxicity that polluted the ratings industry.
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Our insistence now should focus on tough regulatory reform that will protect citizens and investors from these predatory practices. With the finance industry providing $200 million in campaign contributions, our lawmakers are facing a tough opponent.
The story was brought to light by time honored investigative reporting. Due to the gradual demise of the newspaper industry, we have less investigative reporting. Our traditional news media are being replaced by Internet blogs and opinionated screaming heads on cable TV whose job is not to inform, but to scare, brainwash and entertain.
What will happen when newspapers finally print their last story? Will it be an autobiographical obituary posing as an investigative report on why newspapers died? Who then will be left to shine the light of day on excesses of business and government?
CHARLES SHELAN, Olympia
It doesn’t get any better than Aspire
While letters to the editor are often a diatribe on some public entity, personality or policy issue, I’d like to take a moment, instead, to sing the praises of the North Thurston Public Schools.
Though the district has been facing difficult budgeting challenges, like all our school districts, it stepped back and took the time to recognize the importance of re-thinking how to educate our children.
When they needed to add another middle school to accommodate the growing number of students in the district, rather than just adding another generic middle school, the district had the foresight to create the Aspire Magnet Middle School for the Performing Arts.
This school brings together middle school students that share a love for the arts and surrounds them with incredibly dedicated teachers and administrators. Though it just opened this fall, it is already proving to be fabulous success.
The core classes require more work for my daughter than she’s ever had, and yet she loves to go to school every day. While receiving a terrific education in math, science, English and social studies, she also has the opportunity to study dance, music and theatre. For a child with a passion for musical theater, it doesn’t get any better than this.
North Thurston Public Schools deserves a standing ovation for being bold enough to try something new, and providing this spectacular learning opportunity for our children.
GINGER EAGLE, Lacey
Leadership opportunity applauded
As a parent of five children in the North Thurston Public Schools, I am writing to comment on a recent opportunity my eighth grade Chinook Middle School child was given.
Before the start of the new school year, a handful of incoming eighth graders were selected to be WEB leaders for the seventh grade orientation. As a WEB leader, he was asked to share information about the school, entertain the kids at orientation, be a resource for incoming students with questions and reach out to kids having trouble adjusting to their new environment.
My eighth grader was honored to be selected for his leadership skills, but enjoyed the opportunity to be a role model for his younger brother and incoming seventh graders.
I was so happy to see our school creating such a positive experience for so many kids. Creating leadership opportunities like this for today’s youth is critical in their future success. Our community will benefit most from our children becoming good students, leaders and role models. Thank you Chinook Middle School staff for all you do for our kids!
LYNN GRANTHAM, Olympia
Sentencing laws merit a second look
In many stories of crime, there is much harangue about repeat offenders.
Why do we not focus on a remedy to repeat offenders? With present day budget cuts, our systems are cutting back on food for the incarcerated, cutting back on personnel, and therefore security, and cutting back on programs that rehabilitate and prepare people for their return to society. These are counterproductive measures and will come back to bite us.
We actually have always set these people up for failure, and this punitive mentality has been backfiring and causing us serious problems. Until our legislators take a good look at our sentencing laws, at treatment and rehabilitation methods in our prisons and address criminal justice reform accordingly, we will continue to see recidivism and we will be enabling repeat offenders.
CHLOE BELL, Olympia