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Crosscut's week in review (June 12)

Analysis, commentary, in-depth examinations of important topics: all that, plus breaking news, came from Crosscut's writers this week.

Crosscut's hardy band of writers does a lot of the analysis, commentary, and in-depth examinations of local news and culture so often missing from today's mainstream, for-profit media. They often take a discursive, magazine-style approach, taking us where none of the rest of the media have gone.

They aren't too bad at breaking the news either, as some of our stories this week demonstrated.

Knute Berger did just that early in the week, when he discovered that the budget cuts this year had made Washington the only state in the nation without a board for deciding on place names. As Berger noted, this can become an issue of public safety, since any confusion about location quickly becomes a challenge for emergency responders.

The story is here: "Budget cuts make Washington only state without board to decide place names."

Pete Jackson ended the week with the report that a University of Washington advisory committee is recommending the University of Washington pass on renewing its lucrative contract with Nike. The UW would become just the second major university to take that sort of action since a growing national movement has raised questions about the pay and treatment of workers in the overseas plants producing most athletic wear.

Here: "UW committee advises end to Nike relationship."

With all the attention focused on the Gulf oil spill, there has been remarkably little attention paid to BP's operations in the Pacific Northwest. So, we were pleased when Fred Felleman, a very knowledgeable activist (or "factivist," as I believe he sometimes says), offered us his thoughts on national and state spill-prevention and recovery policies. While the article pulled no punches about his beliefs, it is an important building block for intelligent discussion:

"BP, oil agenda have left state, U.S. unprepared."

Also on the spill, Anthony B. Robinson stepped back to provide a thoughtful reflection on some of the societal issues that may have been at work.

"The plume of oil reflects our obsession with scarcity."

Also on the environmental front, Daniel Jack Chasan brought his journalistic expertise in the subject to bear in a good look at how, if they chose to do so, the state's U.S. senators might be able to lead an intelligent discussion about the future of four lower Snake River dams. As he noted, a Republican senator from Idaho last year expressed an interest in such an examination.

"Let's really talk about taking down those Snake River dams."

On the local front, Jordan Royer provided a look at Seattle's sign law and how it has achieved its good purpose (halting a proliferation of billboards), it also stands in the way of some opportunities.

"Seattle sign law shouts 'stop' at city opportunities."

Dick Lilly knows education from just about every perspective, including as a former school board member and Seattle Times reporter, played off a report by the Times' excellent education writer Linda Shaw to give his insights.

"What do rising graduation rates tell us about school reform?"

Here's a few of the other reports we enjoyed presenting:

"Handmade pies tell a story of our evolving food culture."

"A surprisingly artful memoir of drug addiction and resilience."

"Signs point to a shaky tourism season in Washington state."

"Northwest New Works: campy, clever, and unpredictable."

"Shortage of primary care physicians could mean doctor will not see you."

Mark Trahant, the Kaiser Media Fellow writer of the health care article, has promised to come back with a second part on changes in primary care. We look forward to giving you that and a lot of other top work next week.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.


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