Thumbs up to state Rep. Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, and five other lawmakers for introducing legislation that would close the books on an ugly chapter in Washington history.
Fitzgibbon's bill would remove a 1951 statute inspired by the McCarthy-era Red Scare from the state's law books.
The law, among other things, forced state employees to pledge that they were not "subversive." The requirement was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964, but the law remains on the books.
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"I don't think we should have unconstitutional laws on the books even if they're not being enforced," Fitzgibbon told the Seattle Times.
Thumbs up for Kyle Williams, the hapless special teams player for the San Francisco 49ers whose poor handling of two punt returns ended his team's chances for a trip to the Super Bowl.
Williams' exploits on the field were so disappointing to 49ers fans that some of the more dim-witted among them delivered death threats to the second-year pro player.
But his behavior off the field was praiseworthy. On Monday morning, Williams stood at his locker and calmly accepted responsibility for his season-ending blunders.
"It's something I made a mistake on. I'll move through it. I promise you that," he told a room full of reporters. No hiding, no whining and no excuses.
The rest of the 49ers were equally impressive, rallying behind their teammate.
Thumbs up to the Department of Energy for announcing plans to begin manufacturing small modular nuclear reactors in the United States within a decade.
There's a lot to like about the plan, starting with the hope that pursuing the technology could reap a windfall for a proposed clean energy park at Hanford.
We also like DOE's emphasis on establishing cost-sharing agreements with private industry to support the design and licensing of the small reactors. The private money could help maximize the return on investment for taxpayers.
It's past time to take a serious look at this promising technology. The possibility exists for fail-safe, cookie-cutter, carbon-free reactor modules that could be linked in whatever array meets immediate needs.
That's worth pursuing.
Thumbs down to circumstances that forced Lourdes Health Network to close Wilson House.
The facility, which provided a safe, caring environment for people recovering from mental illnesses, ran out of money earlier this month.
People with long-term mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression came to Wilson House to socialize and learn skills to help them lead fulfilling lives.
Its closure will make an already challenging process that much tougher.
Thumbs down to the apparent absence of any sense of urgency in Olympia regarding the state's $2 billion budget deficit. The state spends $41 million every day, draining resources at a rate that only compounds the problem.
Every day that lawmakers go without initiating new savings, the deeper they'll have to cut to balance the budget.
On Dec. 5, Marty Brown, director of the state Office of Financial Management, urged lawmakers to pick up the usual pace. "If we go to February or later, our assumed savings drop and other more difficult decisions need to be made," Brown wrote.
That was 57 days ago, and February is two days away. Brace for more difficult decisions.