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Daily News editorial

Word of the Year 2017: Earlier this week, posted on its website that “complicit” is its 2017 Word of the Year, which was defined as “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having complicity.”

ABC News reported that Jane Solomon, a site lexographer — a person who compiles dictionaries — said many events, “from politics to natural disasters, drove more people to look up ‘complicit’ ” at different times of the year, noting overall, the number of times the word was looked up “increased nearly 300 percent over 2016.”

The public’s interest in the word spiked several times this year, including after a March 12 “Saturday Night Live” segment about a mock-perfume ad. In the skit, actress Scarlett Johansson portrays Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, promoting the luxury fragrance, Complicit. Two of the taglines, or slogans, for the ad were “She’s beautiful, she’s powerful, she’s complicit” and “For the woman who could stop all this, but won’t.”

Another time was in April when Ivanka Trump commented, “I don’t know what it means to be complicit” during an interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning.” In October, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona announced he wouldn’t seek re-election to Congress, citing a “flagrant disregard for truth or decency” in President Trump’s administration, notes He told fellow Republicans, “It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.”

In picking a Word of the Year, tries to capture the intellectual, moral and cultural climate of a time.

The site hit the nail on the head when it chose complicit as the 2017 Word of the Year.

Veterans Administration failure: Various news organizations reported earlier this week that the Department of Veterans Affairs “failed to report 90 percent of potentially dangerous medical providers to a national database” designed to prevent the providers from crossing state lines and possibly endangering other patients.

According to a USA Today investigation published in October, Veterans Affairs has concealed medical errors and wrongdoing by health care workers for years. After that story was published, the VA said it would “overhaul how it reports” mistakes and misconduct.

It appears that did not happen.

After a recent analysis, the independent nonpartisan GAO, or “congressional watchdog,” confirmed the October USA Today findings in a report released Monday.

In addition, the GAO determined VA officials also did not disclose problem practitioners to state medical boards that could have pulled the practitioners’ licenses to practice.

The discoveries are based on a sampling of five VA hospitals going back to late 2013 where nine health care workers should have been reported. Though that seems like a small number, if the GAO findings are true, it means possibly hundreds of medical providers from approximately 150 Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals throughout the U.S. may not have been reported.

According to USA Today, VA policy states doctors and dentists under investigation for medical mistakes who leave hospitals must be divulged to the national database, as are clinicians whose clinical credentials are restricted or revoked because of poor care. In addition, medical providers who “raise reasonable concern for the safety of patients,” should be reported to their respective state licensing authorities.

Apparently, medical workers were not reported on because VA officials either did not have a good knowledge of the reporting policies or misinterpreted them. In addition, the GAO discovered the hospitals failed to sufficiently document medical care investigations that could have led to other reports.

USA Today stated the VA hospitals could not show proof clinical reviews occurred in about half of 148 providers required to have reviews after concerns were made regarding their care between October 2013 and March 2017.

The VA assured the GAO of its previous commitment to “overhaul its policies for reporting clinicians to authorities,” concurred with the GAO’s recent findings and noted it will have those “fixes” in place within a year.

We certainly hope so.

Clarification and correction?: A representative of the Economic Opportunity Institute, which was paid by the city of Seattle to help develop income tax legislation, called us asking for a correction to a recent Saturday Thumbs. In an effort to be as accurate as possible, here is a correction and a clarification, we think.

In that Saturday Thumbs, we wrote about the city of Seattle trying to implement an income tax. The paragraph below references court testimony by the Economic Opportunity Institute in an effort to get an income tax legalized.

In the Thumbs we wrote, “…the Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI) told the court to declare state law banning a local income tax unconstitutional and that it would like to see a statewide income tax implemented.”

To be accurate, the EOI did not say in court it would like to see a statewide income tax.

However, we found several instances where the EOI clearly has supported a statewide income tax. For example, an editorial published in the Everett Herald written by EOI Executive Director John Burbank spoke in support of a statewide income tax.

Correspondence between city of Seattle officials and the EOI includes documents titled, “Seattle: Creating the Pathway to a Statewide Income Tax.”

EOI Director of Communications Matthew Caruchet wrote TDN in an email, “We are supporting cities’ rights to implement tax structures that best serve their residents — that could be an income tax, and it could not be an income tax. As for a statewide income tax, it is not on our radar. We have not done the research on what a state income tax would look like, and are not pushing for it.”

While we appreciate Caruchet’s efforts to craft a message, in our opinion, the EOI and a small group of Seattleites, want to jam a very unpopular income tax down the throat of all Washington citizens.


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