Dr. Phil examines elections and photo tickets | Andy Hobbs

Editor: Dr. Phil, the Federal Way election season has been relatively quiet so far. When will we see some action?

Dr. Phil: It's time to get real. The only election that matters in 2012, in the minds of mainstream voters, is the presidential election in November.

Editor: But what about those other races? I wish voters saw the impact they could make by participating in local and state elections. Instead, the masses leave it up to a handful of party hardliners and political junkies who decide for us all.

Dr. Phil: Son, I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, so don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. Even with a hypothetical 100 percent voter turnout, there would still be that top tier of pundits and opinion leaders who set the agenda for the rest to follow. Speaking of which, what's this I hear about The Mirror canceling the October debate between Congressman Adam Smith and Republican challenger James Postma?

Editor: Our editorial board endorsed Smith for the primary and general election. In the August primary, Smith netted 61 percent of the vote in the newly redrawn 9th District. If Smith had a credible challenger, then maybe another debate would be necessary. But that primary debate in July was a disaster. The challengers drowned themselves, and the audience, in whacky rhetoric and conspiracy theories. It felt like we owed the audience an apology.

Dr. Phil: Look, I don't care how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides. Speaking of which, I understand The Mirror printed a report on how to challenge these controversial photo tickets. Are y'all really that irritated over paying the penalty for speeding and running red lights?

Editor: As long as a machine issues the tickets, as opposed to human hands, the photo tickets will never be 100 percent credible.

Dr. Phil: Listen, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas. Instead of whining and giving excuses, Federal Way residents should be thankful. These cameras generate money for the city and encourage drivers to be more careful at intersections.

Editor: That awareness helps create the conditions for smoother traffic flow and fewer accidents. Plus, police can focus on the public safety and investigative aspects of their jobs.

Dr. Phil: Awareness without action is worthless. Am I right, audience? (applause) In the big picture, a headline like "How to fight photo tickets" won't teach the public to become better drivers. Speaking of headlines, what's this I hear about The Mirror posting an uncensored version of the alleged death threat to the president?

Editor: We eventually replaced the F-words and their companions with the word "expletive" in brackets. It's best to err on the side of decency. We redacted the swear words in both the online and print editions. Besides, by replacing each obscenity with the word "expletive" in brackets, we allowed readers to use their imaginations and figure out the actual words for themselves. That creates a better reading experience, don't you think?

Dr. Phil: Listen, if I wanted smoke blown up my [expletive], I'd lock myself in the closet with a rubber hose and a pack of Virginia Slims. Speaking of smoke, what's this I hear about a bunch of Seattle marijuana dispensary owners facing prison time for drug trafficking charges? I'm told one of them operated a marijuana dispensary for a few months in Federal Way.

Editor: Apparently, these marijuana dispensaries were "medical" in name only, and law enforcement caught on. Do you think the owners understood the consequences of dealing pot out in the open?

Dr. Phil: Son, as I've learned over the years, some people don't know [expletive] from Shinola.


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