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Top of the Ticket Political commentary from David Horsey
William Shatner boldly goes after Northwest water for California

On the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, Mr. Spock was always the logical one, while Captain Kirk led with his heart. No surprise then that William Shatner, the actor who played Kirk in the original "Star Trek" television series, has boldly gone where few have dared by proposing a $30-billion pipeline to carry water from the Pacific Northwest to drought-ravaged California.

Shatner says there is too much water in places like Seattle, so no one would miss it.

”How bad would it be to get a large, 4-foot pipeline, keep it aboveground — because if it leaks, you’re irrigating!” Shatner told an interviewer. “It’s simple. They did it in Alaska — why can’t they do it along Highway 5?”

Well, as Spock would respond, “It’s not logical.”

Despite the stereotypical image that most people in the country have about the far, upper left hand corner of the United States, it doesn’t always rain there. In fact, New York City gets more total rainfall than Seattle. The difference is that Seattle rain is generally...

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Demographic trends favor Democrats, but GOP could still win in 2016

It is hard to say when it will come, but our democracy faces a tipping point in the not-to-distant future when a fearful, ticked-off generation of conservative white voters will have passed on and a multiracial, socially liberal generation finally gets the voting habit. When that happens, the Republican Party risks going the way of the 19th century Whigs because, year after year, the GOP’s constituency has been growing older and even more white.

For the campaign of 2016, though, the demographic advantage still could go to either party.

Inspired by the chance to elect and then reelect the first nonwhite president of the United States, young people, blacks, Latinos and Asians joined with white liberals to give Barack Obama solid victories in 2008 and 2012. But, in the midterm elections, the story was different. Determined to defend the conservative hold on the American agenda that was established by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and solidified by the GOP capture of the House of Representatives...

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The Civil War did not end at Appomattox

The American Civil War ended with the notorious assassination of a great man, but was that man Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King Jr.?

That question will not make much sense to anyone who learned in school that the war came to a close with Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House 150 years ago this month and that the shooting of Lincoln on April 15, 1865, just six days after the surrender, was merely a sad coda to the conclusion of a tragic fraternal conflict. That is what generations of Americans have been taught, but historians now are suggesting another way to look at it. John Wilkes Booth’s murder of the president can be seen not as a final desperate act of a lost cause but the opening shot of a largely successful guerrilla war that rolled back the gains made by blue-uniformed liberators on the battlefield.

Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia disbanded and went home after Appomattox, but Union troops did not. They spread out to occupy the defeated...

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Latino voters may be wary of the Republicans' 'three amigos'

Republicans should be in better shape than ever before to make an appeal to Latino voters. Two of their announced candidates for president, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, are sons of Latino immigrant parents and another soon-to-be-announced candidate, Jeb Bush, speaks fluent Spanish and has a Mexican-born wife.

The situation is not quite that simple, of course. The Republicans’ three amigos look about as phony to many Latinos as the trio of actors-pretending-to-be-Mexicans played by Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short in the 1986 movie, “Three Amigos!”

Start with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who officially launched his presidential campaign this week. He is full-blooded Cuban and, at one point, was his party’s great hope to capture the Latino vote. A handsome young man with an attractive family and deep roots in the immigrant community, Rubio was speaker of the Florida House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Though staunchly conservative on most issues --...

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Despite vicious attacks awaiting her, Hillary Clinton is running

I have a friend who is one of the top political consultants in the country. He was a major player in the Clinton campaigns in the 1990s and had a significant role in Barack Obama’s two runs for president. He is such a seasoned veteran that he doesn’t bother to jockey for a slot on the Sunday political talk shows on the major networks or even bid for an appearance with Rachel Maddow. He doesn’t need to strive. He’s above all that.

Right after the 2012 presidential election, I was invited to a dinner at my friend’s house and, with about a dozen of us gathered around the dining room table, he asked who we thought would be the Democratic and Republican nominees in 2016. Predictions on the Democratic side did not stray far from Hillary Clinton until the guessing game came round to my friend. Given that he knows Hillary pretty well, I was interested to hear his insights.

She will not run, he said. She is too tired physically and too spent emotionally after years of fighting with Republicans....

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Cop's killing of Walter Scott is stark proof of policing crisis

With the death of Walter Scott, the 50-year-old black man shot in the back by a white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., there are fewer Americans who will argue that we do not have a policing problem in America.

Concern about the interactions between cops and members of distressed minority communities ramped up last August with the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The Justice Department stepped in and produced a scathing report detailing police bias against blacks in Ferguson. Significantly though, the investigation was unable to reach a clear conclusion about Brown, the figure who became the focal point of protests throughout the fall and winter. Yes, he was unarmed, but he may not have been without blame in the altercation with a white police officer that led to his death.

Brown, though, no longer needs to be the prime example of an innocent victim killed by a cop. More compelling and appalling examples keep showing up. There was John Crawford in Beavercreek,...

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