To the Reflection Cafe for fostering an open dialogue on a range of thorny and personal issues in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
The group meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month at Rosy's Diner in Richland, and the folks who show up get much more than a lesson in current events.
Exposure to new and different points of view is valuable to anyone who wants to grow and improve. It's the best way to test the worth of our own views.
But more importantly, patrons of the Reflection Cafe are reviving the lost art of conversation. Now you're talking.
To Sen. Patty Murray for her determination to provide appropriate health care for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
As chairwoman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Murray has vowed to keep pressure on the Army until every soldier with PTSD is diagnosed and treated.
Murray's latest actions are consistent with her long-standing support of America's military veterans.
To everyone involved in the decision to reopen Eltopia's library.
Patrons of the little branch library at Merrill's Corner deserve kudos for keeping the pressure on the Mid-Columbia Libraries board.
And a pat on the back to library board members who found a way to keep the facility open despite concerns about costs.
The library district will continue to monitor operations at the branch to ensure that it's getting enough use to justify the costs.
If everyone who complained about the branch closing starts using it, that won't be a problem.
To the urge to boycott businesses that advocate political positions that differ from our own.
Such action cannot win converts to a particular side, but it does discourage people from sharing what they think.
That's bad for democracy.
Besides, it requires some uncomfortable mental gymnastics, because virtually every business operates in some shade of gray.
Starbucks coffee is the latest target, when the National Organization for Marriage recently called for a boycott because of the company's support of Washington's new same-sex marriage law.
No so long ago, the National Gun Victims Action Council and other anti-gun groups launched a boycott against Starbucks to protest the company's resistance to demands it refuse to serve customers carrying weapons.
We're not sure how much overlap there is between proponents of stricter gun control and opponents of gay marriage. We are certain there are plenty of coffee lovers who fall into one camp but not the other.
What to do?
Buy the products and services you find useful, necessary or enjoyable, and if the company espouses some belief you disagree with, be grateful you live in a country where it can.
To Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Legislature for enacting a law that prevents the family of a murdered Pasco man from garnishing his killer's pension.
Al Anthis was shot and killed in 2005 by Walter Copland, a retired Tacoma police captain who is serving a 12 1/2-year prison sentence for first-degree manslaughter.
The amendment that safeguards Copland's police pension was added to pending legislation just days after the state Supreme Court ruled Bonnie Anthis was entitled to garnish his retirement pay to collect almost $1 million owed on a civil wrongful death lawsuit.
State law allows for garnishment of pensions in divorce decrees, child support enforcement orders and federal court orders. To exempt judgments against those who cause serious injury or death to another person is indefensible.
To the Western Electricity Coordinating Council for levying a $26,600 fine against the Benton Public Utility District for alleged violations of new rules designed to ensure the reliability of the nation's electric grid.
Benton PUD expects the fine to be reduced but a better move would be to rescind it.
The council has an important job -- enforcing regulations written to reduce the nation's vulnerability after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
In this case, Benton PUD found that its paperwork documenting compliance with the new rules wasn't complete. It reported the problem to the council and promptly fixed it.
The council's aim ought to be compliance, not punishment, especially since the ratepayers will bear the cost.