President Bush has hit a new low. Well… at least his approval ratings have: 33 percent. And that’s from Fox News for chrisakes. Now come on… can you rightie trolls really tell me that some of Bush’s bad juju isn’t going to rub off on your candidates this November?
Archives for April 2006
Howard Schultz loves women’s basketball
No, really… he absolutely loves women’s basketball:
Hmm. I know Schultz claims to have lost $60 million on the Sonics and Storm franchises over the past five years, but from the looks of it, it’s been worth every dime.
I’ll tell you what Howard… if you want me to help pay for your new arena, then next time, I get to be the one making out with Lauren Jackson.
It’s time to start throwing elbows at Howard Schultz
The Sonics have sent an ultimatum to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels: agree to a $220 million Key Arena expansion this month, or the NBA team will start looking to move elsewhere.
Under the terms of the Sonic’s proposal, the team would pay $18.3 million towards construction — less than 9 percent of the costs — plus $1 million a year in rent on a 20-year lease. In return, the Sonics would take over management of Key Arena, and keep all revenue from all events. But don’t you worry, the city would still own Key Arena… and be financially responsible for all major maintenance projects.
Such a deal.
Now personally, I really couldn’t give a shit whether the Sonics stay or leave, though I understand if these sentiments place me in the minority. But I’m pretty damn sure a majority of Seattlites share my disgust at the thought of billionaire Starbucks Chairman and Sonics owner Howard Schultz holding taxpayers hostage at a time we face so many other pressing needs.
Still, I’m nothing if not a consensus builder, and so I’d like to suggest a revenue proposal that not only satisfies the coffee mogul’s greedy demands, but also satisfies my own insatiate sense of irony: a Latte Tax.
Yes, what better way to finance a new arena whose primary purpose is to make a very rich man even richer, than to tax the business that made him so awfully damn rich in the first place? And what could be more delicious than a Marble Mocha Macchiato, than the spectacle of Schultz’s Sonics spending millions of Schultz’s dollars to convince voters to levy a tax on Schultz’s ubiquitous Starbucks?
Now I know what you’re thinking… voters already rejected Initiative 77’s Latte Tax back in 2003. But this Latte Tax would keep a professional basketball franchise in Seattle, whereas I-77’s Latte Tax only funded desperately needed preschool for low-income families, and really… who the fuck cares about them? It’s all about priorities.
What would it cost? Well, back in 2003 I-77’s sponsors estimated a 10-cent per shot tax would raise $7 million a year. The Sonics had previously backed a 20-year revenue package that would have provided $176 million for new construction plus $75 million to guarantee the bonds, so I figure a 20-cent per shot tax should more than cover the costs over 20 years.
We can quibble over the details — whether we’d need a higher or lower rate, or whether to extend the tax to drip coffee, beans and specialty items — but as long as Schultz is intent on reaming the citizens of Seattle, it only seems fair that voters ream his core business in return. And if he objects to a Latte Tax, well then, he’s free to follow through on his ultimatum… though I’m not so sure Schultz really wants to be remembered as the man who moved the beloved Sonics out of Seattle.
Basketball is a contact sport… but then, so is politics. Perhaps if city officials start throwing a few elbows, Schultz might be persuaded to negotiate a realistic deal.
That’s Nick for you… always looking for the pony. As for me, I’m wondering if I can get the city to pay to remodel my kitchen?
Daily open thread
The war in Iraq is now costing us $10 billion a month. Personally, I can think of better things to do with money… but what do I know?
Burner accepts Cheney’s offer to campaign on her behalf
As has been widely reported, Rep. Dave Reichert told a crowd at yesterday’s fundraiser that Vice President Dick Cheney offered to “campaign for your opponent if it’ll help.”
Well, Democratic challenger Darcy Burner has sent a letter to Cheney taking him up on his offer:
April 19, 2006
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. Vice President:
During your recent trip to Washington State to support White House endorsed candidates, you were quoted by both Seattle newspapers as telling 8th District Representative Dave Reichert that you would “campaign for your opponent if it’ll help.”
As Reichert’s Democratic opponent, I would like to take you up on your kind and thoughtful offer and I cordially invite you to come and spend a day campaigning with me in the 8th District. The district reaches from Microsoft’s Redmond Campus to Mount Rainier National Park and offers a microcosm of America. Here are some of the events I would like to plan for your visit to the 8th.
Let’s start at Mount Rainier where we can take in the beautiful and precious parklands and forests. Here you may be able to see clearly why our district so opposed the Republican plan
Podcasting Liberally, 4/18/06
I was going to write that we had no special guests last night, but if you listen closely, really, we’re all kinda special in our own way. (Especially Will.)
Joining me in our celebration of specialness were Mollie, Will, Gavin, Carl, and newbie Jeremy, a writer and editor for Seattlest and the Seattle Sinner. Topic’s of discussion included Vice President
Darth Sidious Dick Cheney’s recent fundraising trip to WA state, Ron Sims’ proposed expansion of bus service in King County, my proposed latte tax to pay for a new arena for the Sonics, and the growing chorus of retired generals criticizing the Bush administration’s inept execution of the war in Iraq.
The show is 54:46, and is available here as a 34.6 MB MP3. Please visit PodcastingLiberally.com for complete archives and RSS feeds.
[Recorded live at the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally. Special thanks to Confab creators Gavin and Richard for producing the show.]
Reichert: “dirty politics” is in the (blind) eye of the beholder
Freshman GOP Rep. Dave Reichert has a well-earned reputation for being hot-headed and thin-skinned. But apparently, he’s also a hypocrite.
For example, remember that candidates forum back in 2004, in which Reichert dramatically walked out, whining that his Republican primary opponents (Luke Esser and Diane Tebelius) were playing “dirty politics”…?
“I’m disappointed that there are a couple of people who are on this stage with me today that decided that it’s more important to mislead and misinform the public, and as we refer to the dirty politics across the country and in our community and in our state, I, for one, am sick and tired of it.”
Reichert said that he wanted to run a clean campaign and that he has been doing so since he began campaigning.
[Bruce] Boram, Reichert’s spokesman, said the accusations were “cheap shots” and the sheriff wanted no part in that type of debate.
Funny thing is, at the same time Boram was defending his client’s public hissy fit, he was also preparing to launch some dirty politics of his own. It was Boram, in case you forgot, who was the local operative behind the US Chamber of Commerce’s unprecedented, multi-million dollar smear campaign against Deborah Senn in the Democratic primary for state Attorney General. It was Boram who refused to reveal the source of the money and who initially refused to comply with WA’s public disclosure laws.
When asked by KING-5 news if there was “any room for Bruce Boram” in a campaign that has disavowed “dirty politics,” Reichert said: “He and I are going to have a talk today to see where we go from here.”
Well, we can only imagine how that conversation went, because the next day, Boram purportedly resigned.
Boram, who was Reichert’s spokesman, strategist and a key fund-raiser, said he was stepping down because the furor over the ads was threatening to spill into the congressional race.
“When I’ve become the issue in the campaign, that’s just not good. So I decided it was just for the best,” Boram said yesterday afternoon. His resignation was effective immediately, he said.
Reichert said he had not asked Boram to leave, but said Boram made the right choice.
So imagine my surprise reading about Darcy Burner’s surging campaign in Roll Call last week, when I came upon the following quote:
“The 8th is a swing, Democratic district,” concedes Reichert’s political consultant Bruce Boram. “Any Democratic opponent who runs against Reichert starts at 43 percent [of the vote].”
Wait a second. I thought Reichert dumped Boram back in 2004 because somebody had to stand up to dirty politics? Perhaps Roll Call simply got it wrong? So I checked Reichert’s 2005 expenditures, and what did I find? 19 expenditures totaling over $90,000 to Boram and his company Catalyst Consulting… by far Reichert’s largest vendor thus far.
Um… apparently, Boram was too dirty for Reichert’s campaign back in the fall of 2004, but somehow managed to clean himself up by April of 2005. And he’s been on the payroll ever since.
So I’m not exactly sure what message I’m supposed to take away from this. Was Boram’s staged “resignation” merely a disingenuous act of political expedience? (You know… a lie.) Or has Congressman Reichert become so indoctrinated in the culture of Republican Party politics, that, dirty politics… eh… not such a big deal anymore?
Or perhaps there’s another answer. Perhaps Reichert is so disengaged from his campaign and so hands-off its operations, that he doesn’t really know or care about the personal and professional behavior of the people running it? You know, the way he didn’t really seem to care about the mismanagement of the Sheriff’s office during his tenure there, or the abusive behavior of many of his deputies? Or the way he doesn’t seem to care about the corruption rampant in the Republican controlled Congress?
I dunno… either way it looks like a pattern to me. Though, I wouldn’t want to be one to cast aspersions.
Daily open thread
So… “Lobbyist Mike” McGavick says he’ll balance the budget by cutting taxes, and he promises never, ever to raise taxes under any circumstances whatsoever, regardless of national emergency or unexpected crisis or anything, anything at all!
Uh-huh. Sure. I guess that’s his idea of responsible governance.
The Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets tonight (and every Tuesday), 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E.
Apparently, our weekly podcast has been growing in popularity, with last week’s show logging over 500 downloads thus far. We’ve also had a number of requests from people who want to listen in live as we record it, so we’ll be adding a number of headphones tonight for those interested. First come, first serve.
For those of you on the other side of the mountains, please join Jimmy at the Tri-Cities chapter of DL, every Tuesday from 5:30 onwards, Tuscany Lounge, 1515 George Washington Way, Richland.
Will rail critics get on the bus for Sims new transit plan?
Light rail opponents like to ridicule transit planners for ignoring what they see as a cheaper, more flexible, quicker to deploy alternative: buses. Well, now is the time to see if these rail critics will walk the walk… or in this case, ride the bus.
King County Executive Ron Sims will announce today a plan for the largest expansion of bus service in over two decades:
The plan, nicknamed “Transit Now,” promises Metro Transit runs between downtown Seattle and West Seattle, Ballard and Aurora Avenue North every 10 minutes, with equally frequent trips from Bellevue to Redmond and along Pacific Highway South.
Other Metro proposals under the tax plan include:
Voters approve of Gov. Gregoire
Hmm. Anybody notice the latest Survey USA poll that shows Gov. Gregoire now enjoying a 48% to 44% approval/disapproval ratio less than a year since Dino Rossi’s frivolous election contest was dismissed with prejudice?
Hmm. Looks like voters are starting to evaluate her on the job she does, rather than the lies they were told about the election. So much for all that backlash we were promised.
Daily open thread
And we all know what happened to Marie Antoinette….
McGavick & Reichert like Dick
Vice President Dick Cheney is in Washington state today to raise money for local Republican candidates, and both Mike McGavick and Dave Reichert are welcoming Dick with open, um… arms.
Both McGavick and Reichert attempt to sell themselves as moderates (a charade the Seattle Times seems more than willing to accommodate) but their willingness to enthusiastically suck up to Cheney despite his appallingly low public approval ratings shows just how indebted the two candidates really are to the neo-con’s Dark Sith, and the corrupting power of the money he raises.
Cheney’s visit also brings a welcome spotlight to the most important vote either candidate would cast should they be elected: the vote for Senate and House leaders.
Should the Democrats fail to take control of either house, Sen. Bill Frist will remain the Senate Majority Leader, and Rep. Dennis Hastert will remain Speaker of the House. The committee chairmanships will all remain firmly in the hands of loyal neo-cons, thus no investigations will be launched, no subpoenas issued, no check and balance applied to an increasingly rogue Bush administration.
Cheney’s fundraising trip to Washington state should make one thing clear in the minds of Washington voters: if you like Dick Cheney, and you like the direction our nation is going under his leadership… if you want more domestic spying at home, and more ill-conceived military adventurism abroad… if you want exploding budget deficits, multi-billion dollar no-bid Halliburton contracts, and lie after lie (WMDs, Valerie Plame, Hurricane Katrina, etc.)… then by all means, vote for McGavick and Reichert.
Do you want to drill in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge? Vote for McGavick and Reichert. Do you want Roe v Wade overturned? Vote for McGavick and Reichert. Do you want to nuke Iran? Vote for McGavick and Reichert.
Because even if they occasionally cast strategic votes to display their supposed independence from the GOP leadership, their most important vote will be the one that puts this leadership in place. Dick Cheney is spending $193,079.41 of taxpayers money to fly out here and support McGavick and Reichert, because he knows that when push comes to shove, McGavick and Reichert will support him.
And that’s all voters really need to know about the mid-term election.
Carl reminds me that Bill Frist is leaving the Senate to pursue his lifelong dream of coming in fourth in New Hampshire. So, some other neo-con will be elected Majority Leader should the R’s retain control. Same difference.
HA has been experiencing some intermittent technical difficulties… you know, like not being able to load pages at all for hours at a time. (There’s nothing to suggest that this is due to malicious hacking, but then, it really wouldn’t really surprise me.)
Anyway, please be patient while we get this thing fixed.
Daily open thread
I’m busy with family and stuff, so go talk amongst yourselves. Or read what Will has to say about what Danny and Peter have to say about the lack of affordable housing in Seattle. (By the way Will, back in Philadelphia, we called them “row houses”… and there are tons of them.)