The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

March 19, 2013
Rise & Opine: Is cap-and-trade working in California?

Kudos to Thomas Elias. He's one of the first columnists statewide to suggest that California's cap and trade system, despite all the naysayers, might actually be working.

He might be right. It will take several auctions to know for sure if the state is on the right track. Dana Hull of the San Jose Merc has answers to 13 big questions about the state's cap and trade.

But Elias makes a good point "The fact most businesses paid nothing for 90 percent of their pollution allowances is a real positive." That's true, and hardly the message of some pundits who trash California's attempts to lead on reducing impacts of climate change. At the least, they should acknowledge that the state's first two auctions have defied the naysayers, including the litigious -- and often critical of litigation -- California Chamber of Commerce.

March 12, 2013
If you don't know Jack (Ohman), come meet him March 20

Jack Ohman photo.JPGHe blogs. He tweets. He's on Facebook. His political cartoons appear five or six times a week in The Sacramento Bee, and are syndicated nationally to more than 200 newspapers. In the parlance of modern newspaper-speak, he's the ultimate multi-platform content provider.

He's also entertaining in person. Don't believe me? Find out for yourself on Wednesday, March 20. That's when The Bee is hosting a free public event -- "Meet Jack Ohman" -- here, at 2100 Q Street, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Ohman, as I noted when we hired him back in October, is one of the most talented and lauded cartoonists working today. He has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award, the national SPJ Award, the National Headliner Award and the Overseas Press Club Award. Last year, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. This year, he was a finalist for the Herblock Prize, one of the nation's most prestigious contests for cartooning.

He's also written and illustrated ten books, many of them about his off-time obsession, fly fishing.

A native of Minnesota, Ohman previously worked at the Columbus Dispatch, the Detroit Free Press and The Oregonian in Portland before joining The Bee at the start of this year. He succeeds our friend and great colleague Rex Babin, who passed away in March last year after a 15-month struggle with cancer.

If you want to check out Ohman's cartoons, daily blog and a video of his first day at work, find them at www.sacbee.com/ohman.

If you want to meet him in person, and hear his take on the Sacramento scene and California politics, attend the March 20 event. You can register by clicking on the "Bee Events" tab at www.beebuzzpoints.com.

March 11, 2013
Rise & Opine: 1,620 words to brag about downsizing?

The most emailed story on the New York Times web site, as I write this, is Graham Hill's provocative piece about getting rid of most of his worldly possessions, which he compiled after launching an Internet start-up and then deciding to live the good life in a 420-word apartment.

My only question is: Why he couldn't detail this in a 420-word story, instead of one nearly four times that length?

Don't get me wrong: I embrace longer-form journalism, and Hill's piece, at 1,620 words, isn't really very long. But if you are arguing for economy you should embrace it in every form. Walk the walk, talk the walk, and write the write.

Hill's piece could have been much shorter to make the same points -- longer than a tweet, but shorter than 1,620 words.

Suppose it were a series of very honest tweets? Some possibilities:

OMG: Too much stuff. Need to downsize. Maybe I could do it and sell the NYT Mag on a story, recouping some costs?

Oh crap, I have to get rid of my fondue pot? I really wanted to use that thing!

No room for nephew who just popped in! Wish I had rented a bigger crib so I wouldn't have to live with this weenie.

Magazine article sold. So glad I downsized. Famous! Maybe now I can move into a mid-century modern and buy some stuff.

Next stop for Hill: Buy a mansion and write some novels.

March 5, 2013
Rise & Opine: Why is telecommuting even an issue?

Rise & Opine offers opinions on opinions, on days the writer is properly caffeinated.

hXZfN.Xl.4.jpeg.jpgShould employers let their employees telecommute? Certainly. It shouldn't even be an issue. But it becomes one when employers are lax about the conditions set on employees who work from home, either on a regular basis or temporarily.

All that is being lost in the furor over Yahoo!'s Marissa Mayer and her edict on telecommuting.



About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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