Gauging popular opinion
A recap of the past year’s issues and our readers’ responses
WHEN IT COMES to our monthly Debate,
we look for topics to engage our members’
minds. More often than not, you all are willing and eager to share your opinions.
Hot-button issues that produced decid-
edly one-sided votes included teenagers using
tanning salons, schoolchildren being taught
cursive writing, whether obesity is a disease
and a few political questions, which always
lead to impassioned responses. It’s clear the
majority of respondents favor less regulation,
think writing longhand is necessary to a civi-
lized society, believe obesity is a condition
within each person’s control and believe teens
should be free to change their skin tone at will.
Here are the issues we looked at in 2010:
January Yes 24% ✔No 76%
Should tanning salons be off-limits for teenagers?
Yes David M. Pariser, M.D., president of the
American Academy of Dermatology
No Dan Humiston, president of the Indoor
July Yes 41% ✔No 59%
Should it be harder to filibuster?
Yes Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
No Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina
CAMERA: DIGI TAL VISION/JUPI TER IMAGES
August Yes 40% ✔ No 60%
Is traffic photo enforcement a good idea?
Yes Anne McCartt, senior vice president
for research, Insurance Institute for
James Baxter, president, National
February ✔Yes 84% No 16%
Is civility dead?
Yes P.M. Forni, founder, Civility Initiative at Johns
Hopkins and author of The Civility Solution:
What to Do When People Are Rude
No Peter Post, director of The Emily Post Institute
March Yes 18% ✔ No 82%
Should air travelers be required to undergo
whole-body security scanning?
Yes Adrian Moore, vice president of research at
the Reason Foundation
No Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic
Privacy Information Center
September ✔Yes 89% No 11%
Should students still be taught
Yes Todd Misura, Write Here Right Now, Inc.
No Melissa Shepard, principal of Sue Reynolds
Elementary School in Augusta, Georgia
April Yes 23% ✔No 77%
Is obesity a disease?
Yes Scott Kahan, M.D., co-director of the George
Washington University Weight Management
Center and faculty at Johns Hopkins
No J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst at
the Center for Consumer Freedom
October Yes 29% ✔ No 71%
Should the government raise the
Yes Alicia H. Munnell, director, Center for
Retirement Research at Boston College
No Richard L. Trumka, president, AFL-CIO
May Yes 34% ✔No 66%
Should judges be elected?
Yes Chris W. Bonneau, associate professor of
political science, University of Pittsburgh
No Rebecca Love Lourlis, former Colorado
Supreme Court justice
November ✔Yes 94% No 6%
Should the sponsors of political ads
Yes Fred Wertheimer, president,
No John Samples, director, Cato Institute’s
Center for Representative Government
June Yes 17% ✔ No 83%
Should wild animals be used for our
Yes Jack Hanna, host, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild
No Elliot M. Katz, president and founder of In
Defense of Animals
December ✔Yes 54% No 46%
Is it ever OK to walk away from an
Yes Brent T. White, associate professor,
James E. Rogers College of Law
No Shari Olefson, partner, Fowler
White Boggs law firm
You can reach us with your Debate comments and suggested questions by e-mail at debate@
costco.com; by fax at (425) 313-6718; or by mail at P.O. Box 34088, Seattle, WA 98124-1088.