John Laird: Banishing Boldt, distrusting drones and pushing peace

By John Laird, Columbian Editorial Page Editor

Published:

 

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering why Rush Limbaugh spends so much time insisting he’s not “a racist, bigot, sexist, homophobe”:

Don’t ban me, Bro — As of Saturday, Republican County Commissioner Marc Boldt still was not listed among “Officeholders” on the Clark County Republican Party’s website (http://clarkcountygop.org). Local GOP pooh-bahs are still pouting after Maverick Marc dared to serve his constituents instead of his party. Funny thing, though, the website still lists The Columbian among “News Sources.” Hey, reckon this means they like The Columbian more than a Republican county commissioner?

What’s that buzzing above Seattle? — Last Sunday I warned against the increasing use of domestic drones by various groups including law enforcement agencies. I also reported that the agency nearest Clark County that has been authorized by the FAA to use drones is the Seattle Police Department.

Three days after that column, Seattle Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh told the Seattle Council: “We probably could’ve done a better job in communicating to the city. I apologize for that.”

Seems the city councilors were surprised by the drone permit. Kind of makes you wonder how many more surprises and apologies might fall from the skies in months and years to come. Better behave in your backyard!

Vaccines are like seat belts — The anti-immunization crowd is emerging as an increasing threat to public health. Much of their argument appears to be based on anecdotal evidence. Uncle Jethro got this weird rash after a vaccination years ago, so a whole family of kids goes unprotected today.

These crackpot crusaders are similar to people who warn against seat belts because the confining devices can be deadly in a burning car. True, but rare.

Folks, if you’re not going to listen to your physicians, at least base your research on science instead of anecdotes. Vaccines and seat belts prevent far more deaths than they cause.

Spiking the political football — When the other party does it, it’s shameless showboating. When your party does it, well, it’s a foreign-policy update. Meanwhile, members of both parties wonder why so many Americans remain independent.

Whining liberals — Now that U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has been redistricted out of a job, Democrats in Washington are shocked -- shocked! -- that the uber-liberal from Cleveland is considering running for Congress in our state. Dwight Pelz, chairman of the state Democratic Party, huffed indignantly: “We just don’t want Dennis Kucinich.”

Fine, Dwight, but who is “we”? And what’s wrong with Ohio’s prince of peaceniks parachuting into our state and giving it a go? If he gets pummeled, as Pelz promises, Pelz looks like a genius. How is that a bad thing? If Kucinich wins, the people will have spoken, and for the supposed “party of the people,” how is that a bad thing? What are Pelz and the Democrats afraid of?

Speaking of peace — The Institute for Economics and Peace has compiled its United States Peace Index for 20 years, using five statistical areas: homicides, violent crimes, incarceration rates, number of police employees and availability of small arms. This year’s rankings were announced recently. Among the most peaceful states, Washington is No. 7 and Oregon is No. 13.Even more interesting are rankings of the most peaceful metropolitan areas. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett is No. 3 in the U.S. and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro is No. 10. Of course, that lofty USPI ranking won’t keep the Hounds of Whinerville from yelping about the Crime Train mainlining all those marauders from Portland.

But back to the state rankings. Trust me, I would never maintain that Republicans are more violent than Democrats. But among the USPI’s 10 most peaceful states, eight voted for Barack Obama in 2008. And among the 10 most violent states, eight voted for John McCain. Again, though, I would never maintain that Republicans are more violent than Democrats.