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To protect our privacy, make the FISA court act like a real court

The expiration of key surveillance authorities this spring will force Congress to grapple with the sprawling spying activities exposed by Edward Snowden. Defenders of the status quo sound a familiar refrain: The National Security Agency’s programs are lawful and already subject to robust oversight. After all, they have been blessed not just by Congress but by the judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court.

Annie Cubberly — Money spent on kids now saves us a bundle later

The Grays Harbor Early Learning Coalition applauds the Washington State Legislature for its strong bipartisan effort to pass the Early Start Act. Now, as we launch into the state budget process, we encourage the Legislature to fully fund the bill and affirm our state’s commitment to high-quality early learning programs that create long-term, positive outcomes for our children.

Anne Steckel — Without immediate renewable fuels standard, biodiesel industry faces uncertain future

The large-scale production of domestic biodiesel should be something President Barack Obama strongly supports, due to his commitment to slowing the pace of climate change and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. After all, the Environmental Protection Agency has certified that biodiesel can cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost 90 percent when compared to diesel made from petroleum.

Let’s debate the Trans-Pacific Partnership before OKing it

This spring, President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress want to use an outdated process used to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement more than 20 years ago — a rule called “fast track” — to force through trade deals without a real debate or any amendments. And fast track would be used to speed passage of the giant Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade deal.

Rekha Basu — Should satire be as clueless as ‘The Interview’?

The dust-up between Sony Pictures and North Korea gets more bizarre and complicated by the day, opening once unimagined scenarios of a foreign government resorting to information-hacking to retaliate against perceived offenses by a private business. A movie studio cancels its film release to avoid more embarrassing leaks of its information, and a Japanese-owned corporation with a large American presence gets thrust into a foreign policy role. The studio’s decision gets criticized by the U.S. president, who says he should have been consulted. Our government may have retaliated by cutting off North Korea’s Internet access last Monday night.