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Hillary stands alone

And now for a look at the Democratic presidential field for 2016 — hey, hold on, where’d everybody go?

We grow, but poverty remains

It has been awhile. We are not accustomed to so much good economic news, not all at once, so last week’s Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce presentation on regional trends was like breathing our first fresh air in months. It was good news, tempered by the realization that our new prosperity is unevenly shared.

Cool, then lobby

They call it the “Friday-to-Monday” problem, or the revolving door effect. Top state officials work for the people on Friday, walk out the door and walk back in Monday morning as lobbyists, paid to persuade the public agencies they managed days before.

Honesty in fines

Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, has introduced legislation to limit citations issued via red-light cameras to no more than $25. How seriously to take this proposal we do not know. What is certain is it is likely to eviscerate the red-light camera business in Washington, chopping the lucrative fines down from the current $124 standard. As with most bills that hack down government moneymaking schemes, this probably won’t get far.

Iran’s emerging empire

While Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb has provoked a major clash between the White House and Congress, Iran’s march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked. In Washington, that is. The Arabs have noticed. And the pro-American ones, the Gulf Arabs in particular, are deeply worried.

Disease is out there, waiting

We human beings, so naive, so gullible. We forget so quickly. We are easily lulled into a kind of amnestic stupor. We are warm and secure and beyond well nourished, so much so that the fears that haunted our ancestors have disappeared. Our memories are clean and we are happy and ignorant, and it seems that absent corporate conspiracy or devious government schemes, not much can hurt us.

Port delays hurting us badly

In July, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association began negotiations for a contract to cover the tens of thousands of dockworkers along the West Coast. Now, in January, those negotiations still have not concluded. With each passing day, I hear examples about the negative impact the lack of resolution is having on communities across the state and the country. That is why I am glad to hear that the parties have jointly requested federal mediation as my colleagues and I have urged. However, the hard work ...

For college, taxing the savers

Imagine, you are the middle of middle class. You are the person whose welfare every politician says they worry about. The president of the United States even named his analytic specialty after you — “middle class economics.” You and your spouse have reasonably steady jobs, your combined incomes pay for your house and mortgage, taxes, transportation, expenses and a couple of kids. Life is not easy, but for now ends meet.

The mushrooming welfare state

America’s national character will have to be changed if progressives are going to implement their agenda. So, changing social norms is the progressive agenda. To understand how far this has advanced, and how difficult it will be to reverse the inculcation of dependency, consider the data Nicholas Eberstadt deploys in National Affairs quarterly:

Stehekin Road a slap at wilderness

I agree with Cliff Courtney that a trail utilizing the remaining riverside roadbed above the Stehekin River’s Car Wash Falls would be lovely. This is an exceptionally beautiful route and would be great as part of a loop. Indeed, there has been nothing stopping the National Park Service from building such a trail since they made their determination in 2006 not to rebuild the road along the river, except that they have a decades-old backlog of billions. There is no funding to build new trails, or new roads.

Looking for a little bipartisanship

“There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for — arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.