by Goldy, 12/31/2006, 4:11 PM

It’s New Years Eve, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to stay home tonight, turn on the radio, and tune in to “The David Goldstein Show” tonight from 7PM to 10PM on Newsradio 710-KIRO. Subject to change, here are the topics for tonight’s show:

7PM: What will 2007 bring us? I’ll be making my predictions for the new year. Call in and give me yours.

8PM: Are you drinking and driving tonight? Well don’t. Sgt. Monica Hunter of the Washington State Patrol will join me for the hour to talk about the patrol’s stepped up DUI enforcement efforts this holiday weekend, and what you can expect if you’re pulled over and blow a .08. (It ain’t pretty.) We’ll also dispel a few popular myths about how to fool the breathalyzer.

9PM: Gen. JC Christian welcomes the end of the times. Gen. JC Christian of the far right-wing religious blog Jesus’ General comes back on the show to talk about the unique way he and his family celebrate the New Year, and to clue us in on his design proposal for the George W. Bush Presidential Library, and his plans to use robots to defeat Iran. Really.

Also, fellow HA blogger Will may call in from time to time with a live update on New Years Eve revelry from various Seattle hotspots. Won’t that be fun?

Tune in tonight (or listen to the live stream) and give me a call: 1-877-710-KIRO (5476).

PROGRAMMING NOTE:
If you’re not too hung over, tune in to 710-KIRO tomorrow afternoon from 4PM to 7PM, when I’ll be filling in for Ron & Don.

by Goldy, 12/31/2006, 3:16 PM

Saddam Hussein wasn’t the only person to die in Iraq over the weekend. According to icasualties.org — which Reuters describes as “an authoritative Web site tracking war deaths” — the US military death toll hit the 3000 mark on December 28 with the death of Spec. Dustin R. Donica. According to the same web site, US military personnel have also suffered an additional 46,880 non-mortal casulaties.

The 111 US fatalities suffered in December was the highest monthly total since November 2004, and the third highest since the US invaded Iraq in March 2003.

Here’s hoping for a happier new year for US military personnel and their families.

by Goldy, 12/31/2006, 9:55 AM

by Goldy, 12/30/2006, 6:57 PM

Tune in to a special Saturday night edition of “The David Goldstein Show” from 7PM to 10PM tonight on Newsradio 710-KIRO, as I fill-in for Frank Shiers. Subject to change, here are the topics for tonight’s show:

7PM: Do you hate America? Apparently I do. At least that’s what the angry righties are saying after I commented on Saddam Hussein’s execution by reminding readers of our government’s complicity in supporting Saddam’s dictatorship back when the convicted war criminal still served our interests. (You know, killing Iranians.) Hmm. How unpatriotic of me.

8PM: Are we building “concentration camps” to house illegal immigrants and their US citizen children? Author/blogger David Neiwert says yes, and what’s more, it’s time we start using the appropriate term.

9PM: TBA

Tune in tonight (or listen to the live stream) and give me a call: 1-877-710-KIRO (5476).

PROGRAMMING NOTE:
I’ll be on at my usual 7PM to 10PM time tomorrow night, and then filling in for Ron & Don, Monday from 4PM to 7PM.

by Darryl, 12/30/2006, 5:43 PM

Saddam Hussein was hanged early this morning in Baghdad. (He was hanged, not hung—big difference there.)

President Bush said he was “executed after receiving a fair trial.”

Fair trial, my ass.

Hussein was found guilty of crimes against 148 Iraqis from al-Dujail who were accused of trying to assassinate him in 1982. The people were convicted, sentenced to execution, and then executed. Hussein admitted that he ordering the trial of the 148 individuals, but argued that he was entitled to do so under the laws of Iraq. Apparently, Hussein’s crime was to use his powers as dictator to deny justice to these individuals. The 149 people were convicted by a court that likely failed judicial independence—in short, a kangaroo court.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending Saddam for any of his crimes. Hussein had a well-deserved reputation as a murderous and brutal dictator. It seems likely that he committed numerous crimes that warrant execution.

My problem with Hussein’s conviction and execution is that he was tried in a kangaroo court. The judicial process that Hussein was tried and executed under was highly flawed—essentially, little better than the kangaroo court Hussein used to execute other people.

Let me take a moment here for a preemptive strike against our treasured Wingnut readers. My arguments here involve complex issues of international law and the Iraq legal system. If you are not willing to read this essay carefully, just shut the fuck up and go smoke your little green footballs or whatever it is you do to maintain a postmodern haze over reality. If you read carefully, you will learn that this essay isn’t about Hussein. Rather, it is about flaws in the process used to convict him—a process ill conceived by the arrogance and stupidity of the Bush administration. They fucked up another opportunity to offer Iraq some semblance of legitimacy.

All Americans have common ground in wishing for a peaceful, legitimate Iraq. It would solve our collective needs to get the hell out of Iraq and stop hemorrhaging money and American lives in support of the Bush administration’s past mistakes. Until late 2006, the Neocons wanted to pretend that Iraq was stabilizing, that the government was achieving legitimacy within and outside of Iraq, and that the U.S. had made the right decisions for post invasion Iraq. No more.

Last July when Bush held a joint press conference with Putin, he said (video):

I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world, like Iraq where there’s a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same.

To which an incredulous Putin sniped back:

We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq…quite honestly.

Free press and free religion is a joke for a nation under the grip of violence and chaos. (That Bush would even suggest something so idiotic to Putin is beyond belief!)

The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT or Tribunal), likewise, has caused harm to any semblance of legitimacy that the Iraqi government may have had. There are many reasons for this. Some reasons result from the execution of the Tribunal itself, but ultimately the problems boil down to (1) uninformed decisions made under the rule of the Coalition Provisional Authority (i.e. while the U.S. occupied Iraq), (2) prior “issues” the Bush administration had with the International Criminal Court (ICC), and (3) rotten decisions made under the fog of wingnuttery.

The realization of the Tribunal was a debacle from the get-go. We all cringed in embarrassment as Hussein managed to make a mockery of the court’s early proceedings. The whole world squirmed as events unfolded. We squirmed as two defense lawyers were killed—not just because the murder of a defense lawyer is unconscionable (although “spraying” one in the face with bird shot can be pretty darned entertaining), but because replacement of a defense lawyer threatens the integrity of the defense. Didn’t we all want to take the high-road by convicting Hussein through an unimpeachable process? We squirmed when one judge was killed. Finally, we flinched in embarrassment as the Iraqi government removed the chief judge in a second Tribunal for making minor statements that appeared sympathetic to Hussein. What integrity remains knowing that the government removed a judge for some minor statements? Can we really believe that judges in the first trial were completely free to weigh the evidence for and against Hussein with judicial disinterest?

In fact, the SICT was established outside the normal Iraqi judicial system. It was enacted on 10 Dec 2003 as the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) under Order No. 48 of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The Iraqi government later abolished the IST and reestablished it, nearly wholesale, as the SICT under Law No. 10 on 9 Oct 2005.

The IST is at the root of the court’s kangarooness. The laws under which Hussein was tried were, largely, a U.S. concoction that fails standards of international law, Iraqi law, and even U.S. law.

You may recall an awkward period following the capture of Hussein when the Coalition had no idea what to do with their prized prisoner. Would there be an international tribunal in The Hague (a la Bosnia)? Would there be an Iraqi tribunal with assistance of the International Criminal Court (a la Rwanda Sierra Leone)?

In fact, neither of these happened. The Coalition (i.e. the U.S.) could not accept oversight by an international court for a number of political reasons, like the fact that the Bush administration had been openly hostile to and attempted to undermine the ICC, and eventually withdrew from the treaty. Perhaps the most important political consideration, though, was that any oversight by the ICC would exclude the death penalty for Saddam Hussein. That was “unacceptable to the Iraqi people,” as the Bush administration told us. But more importantly it was unacceptable to the Bush administration.

Instead of relying on the ICC, BushCo decided to “roll their own” and they established a Tribunal that took an unprecedented, and legally questionable, track: they established an Iraqi national extra-judicial process to prosecute Hussein and others for international crimes. This had never been done before. In fact, such special additions to a national judicial system by an occupying power are explicitly prohibited by article 23 of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and Convention IV of the Fourth Geneva conventions of 1949. The short story is that these binding international conventions prohibit occupying powers (i.e. the U.S. at the time) from changing the legal system, changing the status of judges, changing the penal system, changing any tribunals, or even prosecuting anyone for acts committed prior to occupation. In legal parlance, the construction of the IST effectively made it an instrument of victor’s justice, the very thing that international laws attempt to prohibit.

Finally, the Tribunal violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that requires fairness, openness, and competence in trials, requires independent and impartial justice, that is conducted by established applicable law (i.e. it explicitly prohibits special tribunals). As I explain below, the Tribunal bore no real resemblance to Iraqi law.

The Tribunal’s difficulties began immediately. Salem Chalabi, nephew of the infamous Ahmed Chalabi, was appointed General Director of the IST upon its establishment in May of 2004. He, in turn, created the structure for the IST, and appointed the initial panel of seven judges and prosecutors. Whether or not Salem Chalabi was qualified for the position (he is a U.S. educated lawyer), his appointment by the Executive branch, and the nepotism, certainly gave the appearance that the U.S. was running the show. This was confounded by serious conflicts of interest in his U.S. business and ties to “Neocon Central”—The Project for a New American Century. In August, 2004, an arrest warrant for suspicion murder was issued against Salem Chalabi while he was in London. The charges were later dropped, but Chalabi resigned as the IST General Director. The U.S. took over administration for the duration of the IST, a clear violation of judicial independence that further undermined any sense of legitimacy.

With much fanfare, Paul Bremer announced that the IST would be funded by $75 million from the U.S., a figure that was to double. The U.S. Department of Justice subsequently provided teams of investigators and prosecutors to collect evidence and develop legal strategies. The U.S. trained all the Iraqi judges and prosecutors.

In 2005, the Iraqi government took the IST decree and passed it legislatively as the Iraqi Special Criminal Tribunal, thus lending the Tribunal some legitimacy. The damage was done, however. A Tribunal initiated in violation of international and domestic law is a pariah, and can, at best, achieve bastard status in the eyes of Iraqis and the international community after being patched. Unfortunately, the ISCT was not changed to be consistent with the Iraqi system of laws. Nor did it correct other legal problems as they existed in the IST. As the courtroom drama played out, there was nothing to dispel the perception that the victor’s justice was being served.

An immediate concern with the Tribunal law was that Iraqi law had no prior provisions for crimes against humanity, war crimes, or some other crimes that the Tribunal was charged with investigating. Thus, the Tribunal violates the nullum crimen principle that is fundamental to every modern legal system. This principle prevents retroactive application of criminal laws against a defendant. If the laws were not on the books prior to 2003, Hussein and his henchmen cannot be prosecuted for violations of a law decreed (by the occupying power) in 2003 and passed legislatively in 2005. Note that if the ICC had prosecuted the case, this would not be an issue, since these laws were established internationally. But, international prosecution would have excluded a capital sentence. Here is a clear example where a Bush administration political requirement undermined the integrity of the process.

A huge difficulty with the Tribunal is that its procedures bear no resemblance to the Iraqi legal system. Rather, it is based on the U.S. legal system. Iraq’s laws are based on the Egyptian legal system which, in turn, is modeled after the French legal system. Under the French inquisitorial system, the judge acts as an investigator, using evidence provided by prosecutors prior to trial. The U.S. legal system is an adversary-accusatorial system complete with introduction of new evidence and cross-examination occurring during the trial. The roles of judge, prosecutor, and defense lawyer differ significantly under the two systems.

It can hardly be surprising then that the Tribunal started off with an air of incompetence. None of the participants had any experience with the American-style legal system. And it showed. As one scholar described it:

The proceedings were choreographed as an American hearing where an investigative judge read an indictment and asked the defendant to plead guilty or not guilty, and was thus more American than Iraqi. There is no such procedure in the Iraqi criminal justice system. The investigative judge, sitting behind a table facing Saddam, was obviously uncomfortable. On the table where he sat facing Saddam Hussein was a copy of the 1971 Iraqi Code of Criminal Procedure, which does not provide for such an American-style arraignment procedure. The investigative judge asked Saddam to enter a plea, something unknown in the Iraqi system, and Saddam, who has a law degree, realized this.

As a result, Hussein not only succeeded in disrupting the proceedings, but he succeeded in undermining the court’s credibility. Imposing a system so foreign enforced the idea that this was a kangaroo court. When the arraignment took place on 1 Jul 2004, both supporters and detractors saw an illegal concoction, created by an occupying power, and designed simply to convict and execute Hussein and other Ba’ath party officials.

This view was reinforced by numerous anomalies in this case. For example, the indictment against Hussein was apparently not handed down until 15 May 2006, almost two years after the arraignment and seven months into the trial. This violates all legal principles (including International and Iraq domestic law). Due process demands that a defendant be promptly notified of the charges brought against him prior to the start of trail.

It is easy to say that Saddam Hussein got what he had coming to him. However, the Tribunal, to be successful, had to administer real justice in a way that lent credibility to the fledgling (but now failing) Iraqi government. Instead, Saddam Hussein was convicted and executed under a cloud of illegitimacy not unlike that he used to execute 147 residents of al-Dujail in 1982. Sadly, his execution will make him a martyr to some and will deepen the civil war.

What bothers me about this is that it could have been done correctly. An international court exists and has the experience and mandate to prosecute crimes against humanity and war crimes. A conviction in that court (with the likely outcome of permanent incarceration) would have avoided making Hussein a martyr and likely would have been far less disruptive of the Iraqi government. Now it’s too late.

Chalk it up to another massive fuck-up by a Bush administration driven by incompetence and ideological extremism.

by Goldy, 12/30/2006, 11:40 AM

Of course, I was being intentionally provocative when I commented on Saddam Hussein’s hanging by posting a picture of Saddam shaking hands with Donald Rumsfeld, followed by the simple caption: “Hmm. One war criminal down.” That so many readers chose to infer “one to go…” is out of my control, though surely understandable given the historic context.

What I found a tad surprising though is the earnestness in which some on the right are determined to use Saddam’s execution as an opportunity portray their political opponents as allies of the brutal dictator. And the vehemence in which they have attempted to go personal. For example, over on the local right-wing Drudge-clone Orbusmax, my post was featured under the following headline: ‘PROGRESSIVE’ 710 KIRO TALKSHOW HOST ON RUMSFELD: “Hmm. One war criminal down…”

Huh.

Of course, that’s intentionally misleading. Saddam Hussein was the only war criminal executed yesterday, so of course my caption was referring to him, not Rumsfeld. As far as I know, Rumsfeld is still breathing, so could not possible be “down,” and besides, I never once described him as a war criminal. Still, it’s a catchy headline, so thanks for driving some traffic my way Orb.

But notice, that though I have made my mark as a liberal blogger, and the post in question appeared here on HA, that Orb chose to describe me as “710 KIRO TALKSHOW HOST.” I assume it’s not because he wants to promote my radio career. And it wouldn’t be the first time that some on the right have attempted to generate outrage over something or other that I have written or said in the hope that it might convince KIRO to take me off the air.

I find it flattering. And revealing. And in any case, futile.

KIRO knew full well what they were getting when they gave me a shot back in June, and as far as I know they have no plans to dump me. I’m still a relative novice and have tons to learn about the medium — and I don’t yet feel that I have completely found my on-air voice — but KIRO seems to be giving me every chance to succeed. And if in fact my blog creates the occasional controversy, then all the better. Advertisers don’t really care if the audience likes me or not, as long as they’re tuning in and hanging on through the commercials.

So for those of you angry righties who just discovered HA through Orb’s courteous link, I invite you to tune in to 710-KIRO tonight from 7 to 10PM, when I will surely have more to say on Saddam’s execution. And if you don’t like what I have to say, then give me a call at 877-710-KIRO and tell me to my face.

by Goldy, 12/29/2006, 8:41 PM

Rumsfeld & Saddam

Hmm. One war criminal down.

by Goldy, 12/29/2006, 3:25 PM

I apologize for the dearth of posting this week, but between the holidays and the fill-in work on 710-KIRO and my daughter being out of school on Winter break, I simply haven’t had the time. It’s not that four hours a day on-air is so exhausting (though that fourth hour does take some getting used to,) it’s just that I’m simply unaccustomed to waking up so damn early day after day.

It’s not unusual for me to be up until 2AM reading the next day’s papers and writing a post or two, but I rarely wake up much before 7:30 or 8AM. This week I’ve been rising at 6AM to prepare for the day’s show, but it’s taken the full week to convince my head to fall asleep a couple hours earlier. Should I ever get a daily a gig I’m confident I’ll be able to keep up the blogging… after I get my sleep pattern adjusted to fit the schedule.

In any case, I hope the audience enjoyed my daily gig this week as much as I did. It was a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. Dave and Ron’s producer Tina was a huge help, and never shy about offering criticism… something desperately needed by a relative novice like me. I’m spoiled now, and actually kinda dread putting together another show without her.

Speaking of which, I’m assuming management didn’t think I totally sucked, as I got a couple more fill-in slots. In addition to my regular show this Sunday (New Year’s Eve) from 7-10PM, I’ll be sitting in for Frank Shiers tomorrow night (Saturday) from 7-10PM and for Ron & Don on Monday (New Years Day) from 4-7PM. That’ll make ten days straight on the air, a bit grueling, but great practice. If I’m not a better host at the end of this streak than I was at the beginning, I don’t deserve to be doing this.

Thanks again to 710-KIRO management for giving me this opportunity. And thank you all for bearing with me during this posting drought.

by Goldy, 12/29/2006, 11:03 AM

Ooops. The show is already half over, but here’s the line-up today as I fill in for Dave Ross and Ron Reagan on Newsradio 710-KIRO from 9AM to 1PM:

Hour 1: Who is snobbier? Eastsiders or Seattlites?

Hour 2: Why don’t you believe in global warming?

Hour 3: Newsradio 710-KIRO movie critic Tom Tagney joins me to giveus his top 10 movies of 2006.

Hour 4: What New Years resolutions do you want from your elected officials?

Tune in (or listen to the live stream) and give me a call: 1-877-710-KIRO (5476).

by Goldy, 12/29/2006, 6:45 AM

I love irony.

You know, like when a snotty suburban newspaper like the King County Journal runs a divisively arrogant editorial bashing the region’s urban core (“While suburbs shine, Seattle seems shabby“)… only to learn a few hours later that they’re being shut down by their new corporate owners.

Talk about shabby. At least some of us urine-stained, crack-addicted city folk still read newspapers.

I don’t particularly like the Journal — it’s not an engaging read and its op/ed page often out-Blethens the Blethen-owned Seattle Times — but I don’t particularly celebrate the passing of any daily newspaper. Not even the sucky ones.

Still, you gotta love the irony.

by Will, 12/29/2006, 12:40 AM

Who are you supporting for President in 2008?

The folks here at Horses’ Ass have our picks. Here they are:

Goldy: Al Gore
David only supports candidates who have both a blockbuster film and a best selling book to their credit. That means it was either Al Gore or Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who starred in I Heart Huckabees, and wrote the best selling book Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork.

Geov Parrish: Mitt Romney

Geov remarked once that he wanted a President who was progressive on health care issues AND wore that weird Morman underwear. Well, one out of two ain’t bad!

Darryl: Well… um…
Darryl is undecided at the moment. It’s either Tom Vilsack or Barack Obama. It’s a battle between Obama’s knowledge of the soybean market, versus Vilsack’s charisma and energy. I’ll get back to you with Darryl’s answer.

Will: John Edwards
I am personally inspired by the guy. Any candidate who wants to end poverty is somebody who is not playing it safe.

But nevermind us experts. Share your picks in the comments.

by Will, 12/28/2006, 9:07 PM

I remember when it happened.

It was the fall of ’04. In the P-I was a puff piece about Mariners players and how they were going to vote in the presidential election. No surprise, as the team favored Bush by a large margin. Mariners second baseman Bret Boone was quoted saying this:

“I wouldn’t say I’m a hard-core conservative, but I don’t like a lot of Democratic views,” second baseman Bret Boone said. “I don’t like big government. I like small government.”

Considering Boone’s former workplace, Safeco Field, is a publicly funded facility, you have to ask: was this guy hit in the head a few too many times? Does he understand that a “big government” handout provided him a means to make a salary? What a goof!

So, that’s “when it happened,” or in other words, when I stopped supporting government subsidies for professional sports.

It wasn’t always that way for me. I supported the Mariners and the Seahawks in their effort to build new stadiums. After all, the Kingdome was a dump. It was an awful place to watch baseball. For football, it was only slightly better than Memorial Stadium. I felt the argument could be made that they needed new digs. I also believed, erroneously it turned out, that pro sports were a boost to the economy. In any case, I like baseball and football, so who cares, right?

The Sonics were too busy winning during the 90′s to worry about asking for public money for a new stadium. Still, in 1996, they got one. Key Arena opened, with all the idiots in City Hall and the newspapers talking about how great it was that an arena could be financed so “creatively.” Turns out it was a bunch of bullshit, and that the Sonics couldn’t keep making payments out of their luxury boxes because, well, they couldn’t sell many of them at Sonics home games. See, the deal was that the Sonics would pay rent from revenues produced trough selling certain amenities at Key Arena like luxury boxes. This worked well during the “Reign Man” and “The Glove” era. Boxes are easy to sell when the team is winning. But when the team started sucking, new ownership, in the form of coffee dork Howard Schultz, wanted out of the deal.

Schultz saw how much money was being made around the NBA by owners with teams in pimped-out, ultra-modern facilities. Howard also wanted the revenue earned by the arena when the Sonics weren’t even playing (like a Paul McCartney concert, or a comic book convention, or whatever). Other owners in other cities were able to sweet talk government into paying for these arenas, making them even more profitable for ownership. (Read lots more about the reality of pro basketball stadiums here)

When Schultz went to Olympia to get his money for a new building, he was turned down, and went home in a huff. He and his group sold out to Oklahoma City business folks headed by Clay Bennett. I don’t hold any ill will against Bennett for buying the team and subsequently doing his best to get public money to build an arena in Renton or Bellevue, but I still don’t want to give it to him. I’m not of the same mind as Goldy; I don’t think that a dollar used to refurbish a stadium is necessarily a dollar taken out of a Washington state classroom, but it’s starting to feel that way. When Rep. Ross Hunter rules out any kind of state income tax on election night while some government leaders are jumping out of their skins at the chance to fork over public dough to sports teams (hello, Sen. Margarita Prentice!), a guy can get a little pissed off.

Here’s the new plan. Until the NBA can fix it’s business model, no public dough. If it means the Sonics are gone to OKC, that that’s a-OK with me. Oklahoma City is dying for a team (they wanted to keep the New Orleans Hornets, but they flew home after the flood). Let them have the headache of pro sports. I’m finished with assholes likes David Stern who come into our house trying to shake us down for cash. Fuck him. If the NBA can do without Seattle, then Seattle can do without the NBA. Same goes for those NASCAR guys. Until their plan for a speedway in Kitsap County looks less like a pyramid scheme and more like a good investment, no money should be spent.

If we’re going to subsidize sports, let’s put some cash into Chehalis’ rodeo park (whatever the fuck that is). Let’s build that hockey venue in Kent so the Seattle Thunderbirds can ditch the Key Arena, which has always sucked for hockey. We should fix up baseball stadiums in Yakima and Spokane. Pierce County and Tacoma should look into a new ballpark, with the State Legislature chipping in. How about a new ballpark right down by the water, near downtown? We could extend that dope streetcar right to the ballpark. Tacoma folks, chime in and tell me what’s what.

Our leaders should never close the door to investing in sports, but we’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Let’s say “no” to whoring ourselves to the NBA and say “yes” to our minor league teams and the cities that host them. At twenty bucks for a family of four, Tacoma Rainiers baseball at Cheney Stadium is a mighty fine deal. That’s where I’ll be this spring. With a cold one, of course.

by Goldy, 12/28/2006, 9:00 AM

I’m filling in this week for Dave Ross and Ron Reagan on Newsradio 710-KIRO from 9AM to 1PM. Here’s a peek at today’s line-up:

Hour 1: The Sonics want a new arena and NASCAR wants a new track… and both want hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidy. Are public funded arenas a good economic investment, and can elected officials really justify financing an arena the voters have rejected?

Pro sports stadiums don’t bolster local economies

Hour 2: As per-student state education funding continues to lag behind inflation, schools are increasingly relying on PTA’s to make up the difference… leaving schools in poor neighborhoods at a loss for cash. Is this really a reasonable way to fund public schools?

Hour 3: A proposed compact with the Spokane tribe could spark a massive expansion of gambling in WA state, but does nothing to address our growing epidemic of problem gambling. Jennifer McCausland of the Teen Gambling Prevention Project joins me.

Hour 4: TBA

Tune in (or listen to the live stream) and give me a call: 1-877-710-KIRO (5476).

by Will, 12/27/2006, 3:23 PM

It took forever, folks, but it’s up here. I’m not doing the usual write-up. We talked about the s&*# we normally talk about, yadda yadda yadda. You’ve got your new episode. Stop whining.

by Goldy, 12/26/2006, 10:11 PM

Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States died today. He was 93.

The man was President. He lived a full and relatively healthy 93 years. You don’t mourn a death like that. You celebrate the life.

I’m a pretty partisan guy, but apart from pardoning Richard Nixon, I hold nothing against President Ford. In fact, I think we were pretty lucky to have somebody like him in the White House at that very tumultuous moment in our nation’s history. While I was only 13 at the time, I actually secretly preferred Ford over Jimmy Carter in the 1976 general election. (My personal misgivings about Carter were misplaced, but my political instincts proved to be dead on.)

Hmm. I wonder if President Ford will be given the same sort of lavish state funeral afforded President Reagan?

by Goldy, 12/26/2006, 3:16 PM

The Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets tonight (and every Tuesday), 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E.

Had a busy holiday visiting with family? Need a drink to recover? Come join us for some hoppy beer and hopped up political schmoozing.

Not in Seattle? Washington liberals will also be drinking tonight in the Tri-Cities, and a full listing of Washington’s 11 Drinking Liberally chapters is available here.

UPDATE:
Oops. Turns out the Montlake Ale House is closed tonight. So no Drinking Liberally tonight. Oh man… I’m getting the DL DT’s.

by Goldy, 12/26/2006, 8:38 AM

I’m filling in this week for Dave Ross and Ron Reagan on 710-KIRO, so tune in from 9AM to 1PM and hear me make an ass out of myself. Or maybe I’ll be good. Who knows?

We’re still working out today’s lineup, and I’ll update this post as the day firms up, but here’s what it looks like now:

9AM: Do the super-rich have an inner life? Thomas Goetzl writes in today’s Seattle P-I about the growing gap between the megawealthy and the rest of us, with top executives getting $40 million bonuses, average folk struggle to get by. But then Goetzl goes on to ponder whether all this money actually makes the rich folk any happier. Hmm.

10AM: Can we end homelessness in Seattle?

11AM: Is America ready for its first Moslem congressman? Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) will be sworn in on Jan. 4, and he’ll be swearing his oath on the Koran. Why is this creating such a controversy in a nation that deliberately separates church and state?

12PM: What’s happening in the other Washington? Former TNT political correspondent Ken Vogel is now an investigative reporter for the new Capitol Hill publication The Politico, and he joins us to talk about the upcoming session. What can we expect from the new Democratic majority? Call in and ask Ken.

Tune in (or listen to the live stream) and give me a call: 1-877-710-KIRO (5476).

by Will, 12/25/2006, 11:01 PM

I’m watching a forum on C-Span from February of this year. It’s moderated by Tim Russert and includes former RNC chief Ed Gillespie, Democratic advisor James Carville, and columnists E.J. Dionne and Peggy Noonan.

You can watch it here.

by Goldy, 12/25/2006, 8:13 PM

Merry Christmas. Talk amongst yourselves.

by Goldy, 12/24/2006, 5:38 PM

It may be Christmas Eve, but it sure as hell won’t be a silent night on “The David Goldstein Show” from 7PM to 10PM tonight on Newsradio 710-KIRO. I don’t have any scheduled guests at the moment, but I’ve got a number of topics I’m just itching to discuss, including:

  • Is it time for a state income tax? Republicans complain that Gov. Gregoire’s new budget will result in budget deficits several years out, but our sales tax heavy tax system would produce long term deficits even if we freeze the size of state government. At what point do we face reality and either reform our tax structure (the most regressive in the nation) or just simply accept our destiny as the Alabama of the West?
  • Is this a Christian nation, or just a nation of Christians? And either way, why do so many politically prominent Christians feel so comfortable getting so damn pissy about it? Locally, mega-church preacher and Republican activist Pastor Joe Fuiten describes Jews as a bunch of money-grubbing merchants who should thank Jesus for their yuletide profits… and barely anybody bats an eye. Nationally, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) warns that if we don’t reform immigration “there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office.” Heaven forfend.
  • Who’s afraid of the big bad Rossi? For two years now we’ve been hearing from the WA GOP about how they’re going to get revenge for the 2004 gubernatorial election, which they claim was stolen, but which actually turned out to be an excruciatingly close tie that broke just barely for Gregoire, in turn breaking the hearts of Republicans who came oh-so-close. First it was Ron Sims who was supposed to pay the piper, and I-912 was supposed to be a shot across the bow. Then Mike McGavick was supposed to benefit from a statewide backlash. (Yeah. How’d that work out for you?) And now a new poll shows Gregoire besting Rossi 51 percent to 40 percent. Ouch. So, is Dino Rossi a one hit wonder, or the next governor of Washington?

Tune in tonight (or listen to the live stream) and give me a call: 1-877-710-KIRO (5476).

PROGRAMMING NOTE:
I’ll be filling in for Dave Ross and Ron Reagan all week, from 9AM to 1PM.