Cheers: To technology that unites us. Army Sgt. Ryan Mose serves his country in Afghanistan, but was able to be virtually present for the Dec. 8 birth of his daughter, Stella, thanks to webcams and the Internet. Mose and his wife, Robbie, have a regular weekly chat via the Internet, so when it was time to schedule her Caesarean section at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, they asked permission to bring the technology into the operating room. Permission was granted, and Mose was able to witness the birth from halfway around the world. Ironically, he’d missed the birth of the couple’s first children, twin daughters, by 10 minutes. “It was awesome,” Ryan said later. “I was glad I was able to be there.”
Jeers: To the new Oak Tree Casino, opening Saturday in Woodland. The cardroom will offer several types of games and is likely to bring a large volume of additional business to the existing restaurant where it will be housed. The city stands to collect some useful tax revenue, too. But we’ll reiterate what we’ve said many times before: Gambling results in more losers than winners. The cost to gamblers and their families isn’t worth the gain to business and government. And even though the first money won’t be wagered and lost until Saturday, the proprietors are already talking about building a second cardroom next door.
Cheers: To Washington State University closing all of its campuses for the week between Christmas and New Year. The university staff suggested the measure to regents earlier this year as a way to save money. Two of the days will be paid holidays, but employees will need to use annual leave to be paid for the other days, and the university will also save on utilities, such as heating and lighting, on what is generally far from a business-as-usual week. WSU will reopen on Jan. 2 and classes don’t resume until Jan. 9. Note the WSU Clark County Extension office at the Heritage Farm on 78th Street follows county office hours.
Jeers: To the effects the Occupy the Ports movement has had on small businesses. Protesters gummed up the works at Longview, Portland and several other West Coast ports this week, causing perhaps slight inconvenience to the multinational firms they claim to resent and considerably more harm to home-grown business. Vancouver-based Mitchell Bros. Truck Line had 35 drivers idled for the day when port gates were blocked Monday, and RoadLink saw eight owner-operators left without work. The protest’s most measurable result was the number of truckers and other workers sent home without pay. Talk about inequality!
Cheers: To accurate baggage scales at airports. With airlines charging unprecedented baggage fees — one story in the news this week says more airlines are weighing carry-ons — the Department of Agriculture inspected 179 baggage scales at airports throughout Washington. Only one — at the Tri-Cities Airport — was found to err in favor of the airlines. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, state inspectors checked 120 scales at 13 airlines and found eight defects. Four scales weighed in favor of the passenger and four others didn’t display the weight to passengers, violating a federal requirement.
Jeers: To the $480 million budget “fix” the Legislature produced. The package of noncontroversial spending cuts, delayed spending and other accounting tricks is alleged to be the best the Legislature could do in what was supposed to be a monthlong special session, but it doesn’t even go 25 percent of the way to solving the estimated $2 billion deficit. Though the politicians try to spin it as a good start, suppose you tried sending the bank $480 toward your monthly $2,000 mortgage payment. What do you think would happen?