Archives for October 2006
The Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets tonight (and every Tuesday), 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E.
I’ll be out trick or treating with my daughter, so I won’t be showing up until a little later in the evening. But when I do, I’ll be wearing my super-scary Tim Eyman costume.
Not in Seattle? Washington liberals will also be drinking tonight in the Tri-Cities and Vancouver. Here’s a full run down of WA’s ten Drinking Liberally chapters:
|Burien:||Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub, 435 SW 152nd St||Fourth Wednesday of each month, 7:00 pm onward||November 22|
|Kirkland:||Valhalla Bar & Grill, 8544 122nd Ave NE||Every Thursday, 7:00 pm onward||November 2|
|Monroe:||Eddie’s Trackside Bar and Grill, 214 N Lewis St||Second Wednesday of each month, 7:00 PM onward||November 8|
|Olympia:||The Tumwater Valley Bar and Grill, 4611 Tumwater Valley Drive South||First and third Monday of each month, 7:00-9:00 pm||November 6|
|Seattle:||Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Ave E||Every Tuesday, 8:00 pm onward||October 31|
|Spokane:||Red Lion BBQ & Pub, 126 N Division St||Every Wednesday, 7:00 pm||November 1|
|Tacoma:||Meconi’s Pub, 709 Pacific Ave||Every Wednesday, 8:00 pm onward||November 1|
|Tri-Cities:||O’Callahans – Shilo Inn, 50 Comstock, Richland||Every Tuesday, 7:00 pm onward||October 31|
|Vancouver:||Hazel Dell Brew Pub, 8513 NE Highway 99||Second and fourth Tuesday of each month, 7:00 pm onward||November 14|
|Walla Walla:||The Green Lantern, 1606 E Isaacs Ave||First Friday of each month, 8:00 pm onward||November 3|
(And apparently there’s also an unaffiliated liberal drinking group in Olympia that meets every Monday at 7PM at the Brotherhood Lounge, 119 N. Capital Way.)
Mike Stark, a blogger, Marine veteran, constituent and first-year law student at the University of Virginia, walked up to Sen. George Allen (R-VA) after a rally in Charlottesville this morning, and asked the senator to release his arrest records and confirm or deny reports that he spit on or otherwise assaulted his first wife. In response, Stark was assaulted himself.
As the TV footage shows, Stark was tackled by Allen staffers who slammed him head-first into a glass wall before dragging him out of the Omni Hotel. Stark intends to file charges.
Stark was not a “protester” as the news clip reports. He is a blogger and citizen journalist — just like me. Allen had gone to the lobby to field questions from the media, and Stark had as much of a right to be there as any other member of the press. And he certainly had the right not to be physically assaulted by Allen’s thugs.
Allen has a reputation for using violent metaphors, famously saying of Democrats in 1994: “Let’s enjoy knocking their soft teeth down their whiny throats.” Well this time, some of his staffers decided to take him literally.
Right-wingers intentionally choose violent rhetoric like this because they want to intimidate the opposition. And when words don’t work, eventually some of their loyalists will attempt to follow up with action. This is thuggery. This is the stuff of fascism.
What we have witnessed today is a crime, the grounds for a lawsuit, and I hope, the end of Sen. Allen’s political career.
A story I first broke back in August continues to gain momentum, with the Everett Herald devoting a large chunk of their front page yesterday to the plight of the residents of the Cedar Springs Bible Camp. The residents — mostly retired ministers, missionaries and church workers — built permanent homes on land leased from the Bible Camp, but now face eviction at the hands of Pastor Joe Fuiten, who recently took control of the board.
The politically connected Pastor Fuiten has become an influential player in the Washington State Republican Party, using his Cedar Park mega-church as a platform for promoting right-wing causes and candidates. He is a close advisor to US Senate candidate Mike McGavick, serving as an original member of his exploratory committee, and giving the invocation at his campaign kickoff. Fuiten is also a fierce opponent of gay civil rights, and promises another effort to repeal the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
Fuiten, who normally craves the media spotlight, seems a tad annoyed at the unwelcome and negative press coverage he’s been getting.
“That’s part of what fries me about these yahoos out there when they accuse us of not being interested in the poor,” Fuiten said. “We bless them with an inexpensive place to stay and they call us all kinds of names in the media.”
For the record, here’s one of those “yahoos” Fuiten is fried at:
Pastor Fuiten called this 80-year-old retired minister a “yahoo.” Hmm. That’s not very Christian of him.
Well, at least he didn’t call her a “Christian-hating Jew and homosexual.” (I believe that particular epithet was aimed at me.)
The lease dispute centers on Fuiten’s refusal to include an automatic renewal, a provision the residents have enjoyed for the past 40 years, and without which their homes become worthless. If Fuiten truly is interested in the poor he would find some way to accommodate elderly retirees like Rev. Cohrs-Thackwell, who has devoted her entire life to serving the same Assemblies of God denomination that Pastor Fuiten claims to represent.
And he better come to an accommodation quick, because this story is not going away. The residents now have competent legal representation, and are prepared for a battle of attrition. And the further the local media delve into this dispute, the further they will delve into Pastor Fuiten’s tangled web of financial and real estate dealings.
So to all my friends in the press who haven’t yet looked into this slowly unfolding scandal, I encourage you to take a gander. There’s plenty of story here to go around.
Just follow the money.
The civil war in Iraq continues to escalate, with American soldiers caught in the middle. A bomb tore through a crowded Baghdad market yesterday, killing at least 31 and injuring 51 others. At the same time, a marine fighting in Iraq’s Anbar province became the 100th US serviceman killed in October, the highest monthly death toll since President Bush famously announced “mission accomplished.”
Meanwhile, $133 million worth of weaponry has gone missing — nearly 4 percent of the pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other arms the Pentagon has supplied Iraqi security forces. Not that we could track these arms if we wanted, considering that the Defense Department has registered the serial numbers of only 10,000 of the 370,251 weapons it provided — less than 3 percent.
Both these wire stories appeared somewhere in today’s Seattle Times, but apparently neither was important enough to warrant a mention on the op-ed page of the our state’s largest newspaper. Instead, our fair city’s solemn guardians of public discourse chose to dedicate scarce column inches to yet another one-sided, partisan attack: “Denounce the ad, Darcy Burner.”
Compare that to the Seattle P-I, who on the very same morning chose to editorialize on trivial matters… you know… like the escalating violence in Iraq.
The president can’t be held directly responsible because he’s not up for election again. Short of impeachment and history’s harsh judgment, he won’t pay the price for a foreign policy folly that has made the world a more dangerous place.
But those who continue to aid and abet him in this disastrous policy are up for election, in just over a week, and voters across the country can and should hold them accountable.
Unless, of course, we want to stay the course.
As the P-I editorialists point out, in this election, “War is the issue“… an issue their colleagues at the Times seem determined to avoid until after election day. Because the Times knows that if voters do follow the P-I‘s advice, Dave Reichert will lose.
That’s why instead of addressing issues that voters truly care about, the Times editorialists are busy focusing on inside horse race bullshit, and rhetorical legerdemain like demanding Burner pull an accurate ad that she did not run.
Deconstruction anyone? Let’s see…
But there is one TV ad benefiting Democratic congressional candidate Darcy Burner that is beyond the pale, not because of what it says but because it violates a copyright of TVW, Washington’s public-affairs network.
Oh my. In an age when Karl Rove takes a war hero who left three limbs on the battlefield, and morphs him into Osama bin Laden, it’s an alleged copyright violation that the Times finds “beyond the pale.” How shocking.
But the thing is, the DCCC ad doesn’t violate anybody’s copyright. Reichert spoke for about 20 minutes that day, and by any legal definition the few seconds excerpted by the DCCC constitutes “fair use.” I myself have posted to HA longer clips from Reichert’s speech, and I’ve yet to receive any cease and desist orders from TVW. And if I did, I wouldn’t comply.
To argue that the DCCC has violated TVW’s copyright would be like arguing that I have violated the Seattle Times‘ copyright by block-quoting the paragraph above. If that truly represents Times publisher Frank Blethen’s expert interpretation of the “fair use doctrine” then I challenge the Times to sue me now, because I promise you Frank, I’m going to violate your copyright again. And again and again and again. In fact, you know what Frank..? I’m going to violate you again right now:
Burner should denounce the ad and call for its removal.
Take it like a man Frank, and get used to it… because in this new media landscape of excerpts and aggregation, you’re my bitch.
As to the Times‘ admonition that Burner should call on the DCCC to pull the ad, well, either their editorialists are getting their election law advice from the same quack advising them on fair use, or… they’re simply being disingenuous with their readers. (I’m guessing the latter.) Burner can’t call on the DCCC to pull the ad; that would be illegal. The FEC strictly prohibits coordination between campaigns and organizations engaging in independent expenditures, because otherwise the expenditure wouldn’t be, um… independent.
Like their feigned outrage over nonexistent copyright violations, the call for Burner to pull the ad is a red herring. As is the Times‘ tangential reference to the fact that the Burner campaign had ordered a copy of the tape months ago, as the video has been freely available on the internet to all comers since it first aired in May. (I linked to it way back on June 1.)
In fact, the entire editorial is nothing more than an elaborate (if poorly constructed) straw man argument intended to distract from the simple, devastating truth behind the DCCC’s ad: Dave Reichert publicly admitted that the Republican leadership tells him when to vote against them.
The Times refutes this, accusing the DCCC of taking the quote out of context:
The TV ad depicts Reichert at a meeting saying GOP leadership comes to him and tells him how to vote, and he’ll take the vote.
It omits his next line: “There are some times when I say, ‘No, I won’t.’ “
But what the Times omits is the five minutes of rambling preamble in which Reichert puts the disputed quote entirely in context:
I’ll tell you that back in Washington there are lots of games played and I just want to give you, we talk about freedom and we talk about America and we talk about the dream. The dream has to include everybody and there has to be compromise and we can’t have, I’ve been to district meetings in my district where people have said, “why in the world should I vote for you. It’s just like voting for a democrat for crying out loud.” I am going to vote libertarian and I said, “you know what sir, that would be a huge mistake and here’s why.” I’ve tried to explain to this person how things work a little bit back in Washington D.C. and why certain votes have to be taken. Sometimes the leadership comes to me and says “Dave we want you to vote a certain way” and they know I can do that over here. Another district isn’t a problem but over here I have to be very flexible of where I placed my votes. The big picture here is to keep the seat, keep the majority, and keep the country moving forward with republican ideals. Especially on the budget and protecting our troops who’re protecting this country and how that will be responsible with taxpayer dollars. That’s the big picture. Not the vote I place on ANWAR that you may not agree with or the vote that I placed on protecting salmon. You have to be flexible. So when the leadership comes to me and says , Dave you have to vote over here because we want to protect you and keep this majority, I do it. There are sometimes when I say no I won’t. There are sometimes when things come to the floor like Schiavo. I was one of five republicans that voted with the Democrats on Schiavo because that was the right thing to do.
Yes, Reichert broke with the GOP leadership on the Schiavo vote. He’d personally been through a wrenching end-of-life decision in his own family, and so he says he voted his conscience. (It didn’t hurt that he also voted with his district.) But that’s the only vote of conscience he cites.
Taken in the context of the entire speech, Reichert makes it absolutely clear that conservative Republicans should ignore his handful of moderate votes on things like the environment because “certain votes have to be taken” in order to “keep the seat.” Reichert bluntly (and stupidly) told the audience that the leadership tells him when to vote against them, and that is exactly what his audience of Republican elected officials understood him to say. How do I know? Two of them told me. State Rep. Toby Nixon (R-45) called the confession “shocking,” but went on to explain…
To be clear, by saying “it was shocking” I was expressing the surprise I felt at the time that Rep. Reichert was so open and frank about being approached in this manner, not at the fact that it happened. It is, in fact, quite common for majority party leadership to go to freshman members of their party and provide such guidance, in order to provide cover for those freshmen in their first re-election campaign when they are most vulnerable to challenge. It happens quite frequently in the Washington State House of Representatives, too.
Surely, the Times editorialists understand this. They read my blog. They’ve seen Nixon’s quote. They know how the political game is played.
And yet they continue to defend Reichert’s cynically manufactured image as a “conscience-driven independent,” because they also understand that his reelection hopes pivot on his ability to separate himself in the eyes of voters from President Bush, the Republican leadership and their failed policies at home and abroad.
That is what this latest anti-Burner editorial is all about. The DCCC ad is devastatingly effective because it uses Reichert’s own words to debunk his myth of independence. It also shows up the Times‘ stubborn defense of Reichert’s fictional independence as either stupid or dishonest. (Again, I’m guessing the latter.)
Indeed, the Times incessant Burning-bashing is almost comical in its logic. When Reichert’s media folks aren’t making up quotes out of whole cloth, they rely on single-word quotations like an ad for a bad movie… and yet it’s the Democrats who the Times accuses of lifting quotes out of context. And while Reichert has run a relentlessly negative and at times sexist campaign, it is Burner who Times editorialist Kate Riley accuses of “conjuring rage.” (Curiously, in her unsigned editorial endorsing Reichert, Riley criticizes Burner for her lack of public service, yet apparently believes she’s more than qualified to represent the voters of the 4th CD. Go figure.)
Yes, Burner has attempted to define her opponent through strongly worded TV spots, but then, so has Reichert. No wonder so many readers, bloggers and journalists have found it absolutely impossible to take seriously the Times‘ one-sided, I’m-rubber-you’re-glue, reality-distorted portrayal of this race.
The truth is, the Times doesn’t want their readers to take this race seriously, because if they seriously discussed the issues at stake — the issues that matter most to local voters — Reichert would lose. That’s why instead of editorializing on the Bush administration’s failed policy in Iraq — a policy Reichert has given every indication he would continue to support — the Times has instead chosen to focus on a bullshit, manufactured, campaign ad dispute that voters couldn’t care less about.
Reichert said what he said: he votes the way the leadership tells him to vote. And that is why he’s going to lose this election.
The latest round of polling from Constituent Dynamics and RT Strategies shows Washington’s 8th and 5th Congressional Districts both within the margin of error just two weeks prior to the election.
In WA-08, Democrat Darcy Burner now leads incumbent Dave Reichert 49% to 47%. In WA-05, incumbent Cathy McMorris leads Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark 51% to 46%. Both polls were conducted Oct 24-26, and are within their 3.1% margin of error.
I haven’t had a chance to look at the cross-tabs, but it’s interesting to note that when you have an incumbent as well known as Reichert, undecideds tend to swing towards the challenger. As for Goldmark, climbing within five points is incredible considering that two years ago McMorris won by 20, and he’s only been campaigning since April — if the wave is big enough, Goldmark is in a position to be swept into office.
Both races will be determined by turnout.
Courtesy of SNL, via Crooks and Liars
Again, a crappy day for Birds fans (Seahawks and Eagles) so I’m just going to take out my anger and frustration by trash-talking some politicians tonight on “The David Goldstein Show” on Newsradio 710-KIRO, from 7PM to 10PM.
7PM: Do multimillionaires need yet another tax break? Multimillionaire Seattle developer Martin Selig has sunk nearly a million dollars into estate tax repeal Initiative 920, and multimillionaire Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen has contributed the blood, sweat and rhetorical tears of his entire editorial board. But in a state with the most regressive tax structure in the nation (by far) can one possibly justify making estate tax repeal a top priority? No on 920 spokesman Sandeep Kaushik will join me to field your questions, and hammer a few more nails into the initiative’s coffin. Kaushik, a former newspaperman himself, will also join me in ranting on the way this self-serving initiative has distorted the editorial process at many of our state’s leading newspapers.
8PM: What can we expect from a Democratic Senate? Um… a Democratic state Senate, that is. Washington Dems currently hold a nominal 2-seat majority in the state Senate, with two conservative Dems often voting with the Republicans on key issues. But Dems are poised to pick up as many as five seats in close races throughout the state. Two of the party’s most promising new candidates, Eric Oemig (45th LD) and Yvonne Ward (31st LD) join me to talk about their races, and what we might expect from a real Democratic majority.
9PM: Obama-rama hit town this week. Did Seattle just meet the next President of the United States? Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was greeted by standing-room-only crowds in the wake of his kinda-sorta announcement that he might in fact be considering a run for the White House. Obama was in town hawking his book and campaigning for Darcy Burner and Maria Cantwell, and local blogger Andrew Villeneuve will give us a firsthand account of the big rally. Can Obama win? Is America ready to elect its first black president? Do you just not get the whole Obama thing? Give me a call and share your thoughts.
Tune in tonight (or listen to the live stream) and give me a call: 1-877-710-KIRO (5476).
Well, if they’re gonna run racist ads down in Tennessee, the least the GOP could do is be honest about it. (Courtesy of The General.)
This morning on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos asked House Majority Leader John Boehner if he he thought Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “has to go.” Boehner’s answer?
I think Donald Rumsfeld is the best thing that’s happened to the Pentagon in 25 years.
Let’s be absolutely clear what November’s election is all about, at least when it comes to the war in Iraq. The Republican leadership continues to unflinchingly support President Bush’s failed policies in Iraq… and both Dave Reichert and Cathy McMorris continue to support the Republican leadership. Should Reichert and McMorris win reelection, they will vote to retain Boehner as Majority Leader — or perhaps even promote him to Speaker of the House. Should Darcy Burner and Peter Goldmark win in November, they will vote for a new House leadership, one that will finally hold the Bush administration accountable for its failures. This is a choice between “stay the course” and a “new direction.”
So if you think Rumsfeld is “the best thing that’s happened to the Pentagon in 25 years,” vote Republican.
Elsewhere in the interview, Boehner claimed that “the President is listening to the commanders on the ground.” Hmm…
Major General John Batiste
Sometime last year Darcy Burner and I had a conversation about what role the netroots might play in the upcoming election, and I told her what I told all candidates: don’t expect us to raise much money. In fact, I was so convinced that the local netroots were not yet developed enough to function as an effective fundraising tool that I only created HA’s Act Blue page as an afterthought, sometime near the end of March. I thought maybe we might manage to raise a couple thousand dollars.
Man was I wrong.
Your incredible generosity has already accomplished two very important goals. Your contributions helped demonstrate the grassroots support that brought big donors and the DCCC into these campaigns. Without you, these races never would have become competitive.
And… your contributions have also helped demonstrate the growing power and efficacy of the netroots. If we were a PAC, our $30,000 would have made us one of the largest grassroots PACs in the state. This is the kind of money that forces politicians to take notice.
HA’s fundraising is even more amazing when you put it in perspective. Over the past seven months HA’s daily readership has averaged about 2,500 unique visits a day. (It’s now up to about 3,300.) That means on average, about one in every seven HA readers has contributed via our Act Blue page. Even more impressive, we’ve raised about $12 for every reader — that’s about four to five times the dollar-per-reader ratio of high profile sites like Daily Kos. Astounding.
So I want to thank all of you for your generosity and trust. When I first started pitching for Darcy and Peter, you had no assurances that either would make their race competitive. I promised you that you wouldn’t be throwing your money away, and you trusted me with your hard-earned cash. So again, thank you.
That’s it. I won’t be asking you for any more money this election cycle. But if you still want to contribute to Darcy and Peter they could definitely use your time. Personally, I plan to contribute a few hours via MoveOn’s innovative Call For Change program. Just sign up online and MoveOn will give you a script and some phone numbers to call.
Both races are going to be awfully close. Whoever turns out the most voters wins. Let’s do whatever we can over the next 10 days to make sure that the winners are Darcy and Peter.
Perennial candidate and HA regular Richard Pope received a much needed boost to his campaign for King County District Court, when the Seattle Times today endorsed his opponent, judge pro-tem Frank LaSalata.
Pope’s colleagues at the King County Bar Association rate him as “not qualified,” their lowest category, citing him for a history of unprofessional conduct. The Times suggests a vote for his opponent, judge pro-tem Frank LaSalata, whom the association pegs as “well qualified.”
So congratulations Richard, on the Times editorializing against you. It puts you in great company.
At about 11 am today I challenged the HA community to raise an additional $4,600.00 for Darcy Burner and Peter Goldmark over the next 24 hours. The goal is take us over the $30,000 mark by 11 am Saturday.
Since then, 25 of you have contributed an additional $2,666.00, taking us more than halfway towards our target in only 10 hours. Our running total of $28,090 leaves us a tantalizing $1,910 short of our goal.
This is it… the final 14 hours of HA’s last fundraising drive of the 2006 election. With your help, we can take back the House. So please dig deep into your pockets and give now.
Peter Goldmark has officially been added to the Fourth Wave of the DCCC’s Red to Blue program. It’s the generous support of people like you who have helped Peter take WA-05 from a safe Republican district into one of the most competitive in the nation.
8 AM and we’re up to $29,560.39! Three hours left in the drive, and only $440 to go. Who wants to put us over the top?
Over in the 26th Legislative District, Democrat Larry Seaquist is in a surprisingly tight race with Republican Ron Boehme for the state house seat vacated by Derek Kilmer. I say “surprisingly,” because while the highly respected Seaquist is the retired commander of the Battleship Iowa, Boehme is a certifiable nutcase who the Tacoma News Tribune accurately describes as “about as far right as they come.”
But it’s not simply Boehme’s far-right religious beliefs that make him out to be so nutty… although they do — Boehme has written that Satan controls our public schools and that America needs “a severe spanking.” It’s just that when Boehme says “I am a prophet,” and claims that God audibly talks to him, well… it gives one pause considering the man’s unstable family history.
Specifically, I’m talking about Boehme’s father, who the candidate proudly mentions in the opening paragraph on the About page of his campaign website:
His father, Robert Boehme, arrived in Port Orchard in 1950 at the request of the local Chamber of Commerce who were looking for more doctors. “Doc Boehme” served the medical needs of South Kitsap for over thirty years.
And, um, you know what else Robert Boehme served? Three years in prison for attempting to murder his third wife. That, after having been previously acquitted of attempting to murder his second wife. According to a Seattle Times article from July 11, 1986:
Boehme, 66, was a successful Kitsap County physician in 1961 when he was accused of trying to kill his second wife, Dorothy, by injecting poison into her arm with a syringe.
Boehme was acquitted of that charge in 1962. Three months after the trial, Dorothy Boehme, who had stood by her husband during the trial, died of staphylococcal meningitis.
But don’t you worry, Robert Boehme quickly rebounded from the tragedy.
In July 1963, Boehme married a former airline flight attendant who had been divorced from Boehme’s brother, a San Francisco physician. They are still married.
In September 1965, Boehme was charged with trying to kill that wife, Mary, by injecting her with a poison.
Oops. On TV they call that an M.O.
Robert Boehme was convicted in 1966, and served three years in prison.
So… here’s a self-proclaimed prophet who hears voices in his head and thinks Satan controls the public schools, and… well.. it just makes you wonder what curious personality quirks Boehme might have inherited from a father who infamously poisoned at least one, if not two of his three wives. (No word on what sad fate befell wife number one.)
But mostly, it makes you wonder how such a fringe candidate managed to win the Republican primary?