YAY: Olympia leads on LGBT
The City of Olympia improved its status with the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights. The group studied six cities in Washington state as part of its study of 353 municipalities nationwide, including the 50 state capitals. Olympia earned a perfect 100 score this year, as did Seattle, well above the national average of 59.
Cities were judged on their non-discrimination laws, inclusiveness of city services, employment policies, relationship recognition, law enforcement and municipal leadership on matters of equality.
YAY: Twin sheriffs
South Sound criminals might think they’re seeing double, but there really are two identical twin sheriffs in town. And they’re both named Snaza. Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza’s twin brother, Rob, was recently elected Lewis County Sheriff. John is 14 minutes older, a fact he often uses to torment his (younger) brother.
YAY: No voter fraud
It’s been two weeks since the midterm election, and not one case of voter fraud has been reported in states like Washington that do not require a photo ID to vote. On the other hand, in the 11 states that have enacted Republican-led voter identification laws, complaints from people who were unable to cast ballots were up 30 percent from 2010, according to the nonpartisan coalition Election Protection. Maybe voter fraud only occurs when Democrats win.
YAY: Early education tax
One bright spot in the recent election occurred in Seattle. Voters overwhelmingly approved a property tax hike to pay for a city-subsidized preschool pilot program. Known as Proposition No. 1B, the measure also sets academic standards and increase pay for preschool teachers.
The victory shows that people are willing to tax themselves to pay for programs that clearly have a long-term socio-economic benefit.
BOO: Evil in Nigeria
Boko Haram, which kidnapped 275 Nigerian schoolgirls six months ago, has dashed all hopes of a deal to release them. “If you knew the state your daughters are in today, it might lead some of you to die from grief,” said Abubakar Shekau, addressing their parents. He says they’ve been married off to Boko Haram fighters. This, truly, is the essence of evil. And the Nigerian government seems incapable of stopping it.
YAY: Landing on a comet
The mind boggles at the complexities of landing a research probe on a rock more than 300 million miles from Earth, and swirling through space at 84 thousand miles per hour. The project will not only reveal information about the universe and its origins, but prepares us to take preventative measures when another comet or asteroid approaches our planet on a dangerous trajectory.
BOO: Racism in music
Country music singer Brad Paisley was already embroiled in controversy over his song “Accidental Racist,” so he should have known that his ill-considered attempt to make a racially charged joke at the recent Country Music Awards show would draw more criticism. It did, and it was deserved.
But Paisely pales in comparison to the stunning lack of judgment displayed in rapper Nicki Minaj’s video featuring anti-Semitic Nazi imagery. It’s insensitive to trivialize the horrors perpetuated by Hitler’s Third Reich. Shame on her.