by Goldy, 10/31/2007, 5:38 PM

Of course, it’s not much a of a holiday amongst my orthodox Jewish neighbors either, but really?

UPDATE:
Just got back from trick or treating. My daughter hauled in a load of candy, that she’ll typically forget about in a week or two. As usual, I put on my gorilla suit and went as Tim Eyman hawking I-807. Scary.

by Goldy, 10/31/2007, 4:22 PM

Your want to see something really scary this Halloween? Go read Postman’s fisking of the Reject campaign’s claim that this ad is deceptive. Ethel Adams was seriously injured as an innocent bystander in a road rage incident, and Farmers (which has already contributed over $1.5 million to the Reject campaign,) denied her claim, saying it was technically not an “accident.” The bastards only paid up after Danny Westneat publicly humiliated them, and state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler threatened to pull their license.

But, you know, those damn trial lawyers and all that, right?

by Goldy, 10/31/2007, 2:18 PM

It’s official. Rep. Richard Curtis has resigned. But he’s not gay.

curtisresigns.gif

by Goldy, 10/31/2007, 2:13 PM

If you want a measure of how much it really costs the citizens of this region not to have viable mass transit solutions, just take a look at Jane Hague’s latest PDC filings. So far she has put into her race $106,800 of her own money, bringing her total dollars raised to $432,628! Against Richard Pope, for chrisakes. When this whole thing is over Brett Bader should buy Pope a nice fat gift out of the $200K he’s already billed Hague.

I keep asking people who know these things, and while nobody’s willing to put money on a Pope victory, I don’t know anybody who would rule it out either. No wonder Hague is nervous. And if only she had the opportunity to hop on a train instead of flopping behind the wheel of her car, she’d have cruised to victory without it costing her a dime.

CLARIFICATION:
After the Dems launched their write-in campaign, I stated that I would endorse whoever won the August primary. This promise was made before we learned of Hague’s DUI’s, resume lies, and PDC shenanigans, and was mostly intended as a statement of principle.

Recently, I’ve heard from a couple folk wondering when I was going to live up to that promise and officially endorse Richard Pope. Truth is, I thought that my promise was my endorsement, and hadn’t really intended to post on it one way or the other, because I don’t generally do formal, ed-board-like endorsement posts. But so as to avoid any confusion: I endorse Richard Pope for King County Council. Of course, I’d previously endorsed Pope for Seattle Port Commission, so make of that what you may.

by Will, 10/31/2007, 10:00 AM

Oh my gosh…

I stumbled across this website at Craig’s List. It’s run by Rossi superfans, and I think they got a little too carried away:

rossiposse_z998.jpg

…which looks super similar to this:

011507010201011611200710309fe86fe2f57507ae480045a8.jpg

Way back when, the local GOP stirred up all sorts of fake outrage when the WA Dems put a bumper sticker on their website for 5 seconds. (The sticker, if you don’t remember, made the allusion that Christians could be hypocrites, which we all know isn’t true.)

And no, I’m not saying Dino Rossi is a Nazi (cool your heels, Don!) The Iron Cross had a long history before being corrupted by Adolf Hilter. But if I was a Republican running in a race that’ll be tough enough already, I’m not sure I’d be happy if my fans were putting my name on Nazi-ish iconography.

[UPDATED]

A Maltese cross, while very similar to an Iron cross, is not the same thing:

600px-maltese-cross-heraldrysvg.png

[Oops, the above should read "Maltese cross" and "Cross pattée"]

Alright, I’m officially freaked out about how much I know about this stuff…

by Geov, 10/31/2007, 6:00 AM

Happy Halloween. Wonder what Jane Hague will be going as this year? And where? And how?

In today’s Scary Politician news, an anti-gay Southwest Washington Republican (natch) state rep goes to Spokane to watch gay porn and hit on gay strangers. After all, Spokane’s thriving local gay scene did such wonders for Jim West’s career. State Rep. Richard Curtis’s semi-local newspaper, The Columbian, lays out the sordid details.

Big props to neighborhood activists (including HA’s own Paul Andrews) whose years of hard work paid off Tuesday when a hearing examiner did what neither Greg Nickels’ crony-fied Parks Department nor the City Council would do: put an end to the ill-conceived zoo parking garage scheme. Let’s be clear: the zoo’s garage was never about allowing more of the masses (and their kids) to see cute furry animals. It was all about hosting revenue-producing special events for companies, trade groups, and other people with the money to burn on them — just like the recent Seattle Aquarium Expansion, the GasWorks Park Summer Concerts series, the city’s count-’em three taxpayer-built convention centers (the big one over I-5 and the two new competitors, one the Port of Seattle’s Pier 66, the other adjacent to Qwest Field), and so on. In the case of the zoo, it would have dumped that much more traffic into an area of two-lane arterials already seeing a glut of new high end condo-complex construction along Phinney Ridge. A bad idea, illegally implemented, finally shot down not by local constituents’ elected officials, but by the legal process.

Speaking of less car traffic, it was announced yesterday that nationally and locally, FlexCar and Zipcar will be merging. FlexCar is based here in Seattle; the larger Zipcar is based in Boston. The new company will be Zipcar, based in Cambridge.

Not much in the Bothell Times this morning (we learn that “blueberries are Washington’s blue gold,” and that — do I smell a Pulitzer? — Proposition One doesn’t fully fund a new SR 520 bridge), but the P-I has a piece with a local angle on Sen. Ted Stevens’ FBI corruption probe: whether he pushed legislation that benefited the seafood industry while his son was a lobbyist for that industry. The son is a charter member of the Corrupt Bastards Club. And dad, well, dad stands to be the club’s patron saint. What do you think?

OK, this isn’t a Jane Hague joke. Honest. KING-TV reports that the county councilwoman is now being sued for defamation by opponent Richard Pope’s campaign manager over what he claims are false allegations by the Hague campaign that he’s been convicted for domestic violence. Oh, and our friend Richard (will someone hire this guy to do permanent opposition research?) has also discovered, according to the same KING story, that when Hague’s mother died last year she left Jane out of the will. (Fill in obligatory David Irons punchline here.)

Here’s an excellent example of how supposedly objective journalism isn’t, from a lede this morning on that old warhorse, local housing prices, in the P-I:

Home-price appreciation in the Seattle area led the nation for the 12th month in a row in August, but indications were not entirely positive, according to a national index report released Tuesday.

Catch that? Inherent in the lede is the assumption that having the highest home appreciation rates in the country for a year running is “positive” (though other indicators, maybe not so much). If you already own a house and aren’t on a fixed income (a category that includes, presumably, P-I reporter Aubrey Cohen), that’s true: it means your biggest asset is performing nicely as an investment. But if you’re one of the 50% of our city who rents, chasing the ever-receding hope of affordable first-time home ownership, or if you’re on a fixed income and getting squeezed by the higher property taxes that inevitably come with a housing boom, not so much. And if you’re in one of those latter categories, what the P-I has just “objectively” told you is either, at best, that you don’t count, or, even worse, that you don’t exist.

by Darryl, 10/30/2007, 10:53 PM

With a little over a year to the 2008 election, there have already been over 100 statewide polls that pit Hillary Clinton against Republican challengers in a general election match-up. These polls can be combined to give us an early glimpse of the national mood (albeit one likely soured by years of Bush administration’s military misadventurism).

I’ve been collecting these polls for awhile now, and finally got around to an analysis of the Clinton—Giuliani head-to-head state poll outcomes. My analyses differ from the typical national head-to-head polls because (1) I am concerned with estimating the electoral college results from the statewide polls, rather than estimating a national popular vote, (2) I make extensive use of Monte Carlo simulation methods to examine the probability that each candidate wins, and (3) by combining multiple polls the sample sizes are much larger.

For example, here is the result of 100,000 simulated elections using all the 2007 state poll data I’ve been able to find:

The red line is drawn at 269 electoral college votes—a tie. The area to the right of the red line are Clinton wins, those to the left are Giuliani wins. (There are a few ties. A tied election would almost certainly result in Clinton being elected since the House Democrats currently control 26 state delegations, and the Republicans control 20 state delegations. The 2008 election will probably increase the Democrat’s control of the House.)

These results suggest that Hillary Clinton would have a 73% probability of being elected President, but only if the 2007 polls in toto reflect the national mood for election day, 2008.

In reality, attitudes change with time, so it is helpful to restrict the analysis to the most recent polls whenever possible.

Here is what happens if we restrict the analysis to polls taken in October, 2007 (unless there are no polls in a state for this month, in which case we take the most recent poll, or, if there are no polls at all, we give the electoral college votes to the party that took the state in 2004):

After 10,000 simulated elections, Hillary wins 9,991 times and Giuliani wins 9 times. Clearly, over the course of the year, Hillary has become more acceptable, Rudy has become less acceptable, or some mixture of both has occurred. (In fact, further analyses reveal that Rudy has made a bit of a comeback from his worst showing in mid-summer.)

The polls to date put Clinton in an extremely strong position to win the 2008 election. Giuliani has a tough row to hoe just to become competitive. He’ll need a lot more than just fear-mongering over 11 Sep 2001 to pull off a win.

(I provide a more complete description of the methods and results here.)

by Darryl, 10/30/2007, 4:38 PM

Join us tonight for a fun-filled evening of politics under the influence at the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally. We meet at 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E.

We will have two special guests this evening: George Fearing, a Democrat running to replace (non)Doc Hastings in the 4th congressional district, and Jimmy McCabe of McCranium, who is running as a write-in candidate for Richland City Council Position 3.

Tonight’s theme song: I Ran (So Far Away) by A Flock of Seagulls.

Not in Seattle? Check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.

by Will, 10/30/2007, 3:48 PM

front1.jpg

This hit piece, paid for by the BIAW of Whatcom County, is hilarious. The BIAW is supporting some pretty right wing candidates and instead of running ads about how great their candidates are, they’re trying to smear the other side.

Voters don’t know what Progressive Majority is or what they do. Most of all, they don’t care. Voters do care about sustainable development, protecting neighborhoods, and protecting the water quality of Lake Whatcom. Unfortunately, all three of the BIAW’s candidate’s don’t do very well on any of these points.

What’s more, Progressive Majority isn’t even organizing the bus campaign. Who is? The Washington Bus, an organization that gets young people who are left-of-center involved in politics in a fun way. Here’s what they look like:

wa-bus-01-cheering.jpg

and this:

bus1.jpg

A bunch of hippies? I think not. Those kids look like they’re having fun getting involved in politics.

Goldy wrote about this recently:

Why the fearful reaction to progressive organizers, and the sudden public embrace of non-partisan ideals? Because in a region where Republicanism has been discredited perhaps more thoroughly than anywhere else in the nation, these nominally non-partisan races are the only chance most Republicans have of ever holding public office.

Non-partisanship has become the last refuge of political losers.

Speaking of losers, I can’t wait to see how much more money the BIAW will flush down the drain on crap ads like this one.

by Goldy, 10/30/2007, 3:12 PM

It ain’t looking so good for state Rep. Richard Curtis (R-La Center) when the Columbian prints a lede like this:

State Rep. Richard Curtis had sex with a man he met in Spokane last week who subsequently tried to blackmail him for $1,000 and threatened to expose the incident, according to court records filed Tuesday morning.

castagna.jpgCurtis, who has opposed most gay rights legislation, apparently rented two gay porno movies, and went back to his hotel room with Cody M. Castagna, a man he picked up at the Hollywood Erotic Boutique. Police have warrants seeking surveillance video and other records from the porn shop and the hotel to verify Castagna’s story. Yesterday Curtis insisted that he is “not gay.” Well here’s a picture of the man he was “not gay” with. (Higher resolution, explicit photos of Castagna are available at GayPicsPortal.com, but I wasn’t about to spend the $29.95 to view them. I’ll leave that up to the folks at Slog.)

Honestly, I feel bad for Rep. Curtis. Either we’ve just unfairly dragged his name through the mud, or he’s been living a terrible lie. Neither one is a good place to be.

UPDATE:
I think the KXLY.com headline says it all: “Cross-dressing state lawmaker blackmailed following late night tryst

State Representative Richard Curtis says he’s not gay, but police reports and court records indicate the Republican lawmaker from southwestern Washington dressed up in women’s lingerie and met a Medical Lake man in a local erotic video store which led to consensual sex at a downtown hotel and a threat to expose Curtis’ activities publicly.

[...] Curtis, according to a search warrant unsealed Tuesday, went to the Hollywood Erotic Boutique on East Sprague on October 26th at approximately 12:45 a.m. The store clerk, who had talked with Curtis, referred to him as “The Cross-Dresser” and said that during their conversations he confirmed he was gay and was married with children at home.

During his visit to the video store Curtis was observed wearing women’s lingerie while receiving oral sex from an unidentified man in one of the movie viewing booths inside the store.

I’m guessing there’s going to be an open seat next year in the 18th LD.

by Paul, 10/30/2007, 2:44 PM

After more than three years of public protest, the Woodland Park Zoo’s proposed mammoth parking garage has been ruled illegal by the Seattle Hearing Examiner. This is a huge victory, not just for garage opponents but for Seattleites and citizens everywhere who care about parks and the pernicious trend toward commercialization of public spaces.

“The Zoo garage was one of the biggest threats facing Seattle’s parks,” said Jeannie Hale, president of the Seattle Community Council Federation, an appellant in the case along with the Phinney Ridge Community Council and Save Our Zoo. Had the garage been permitted, “every park in Seattle would have been vulnerable to mall-sized parking structures and other buildings that were never intended to be placed in city parks,” Hale added.

More to come, but today is a day of celebration for civic activists, neighborhood advocates and average citizens everywhere who dare to fight City Hall. For more information and background, see the Save Our Zoo Web site. The Hearing Examiner ruling and a press release both are posted on the Save Our Zoo site.

Postscript: Dampening celebration over the decision is that Seattle environmental attorney Mickey Gendler, who eloquently argued the public’s case before the Hearing Examiner earlier this month, suffered a tragic bike accident on the Montlake Bridge on Sunday, injuring his spinal cord. Partially paralyzed, Gendler remains hospitalized with an uncertain prognosis. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.

by Paul, 10/30/2007, 11:46 AM

New York Times: “Dodgers Could Reunite Torre and Mattingly”. Almost makes you wish they’d never moved from Brooklyn!

by Goldy, 10/30/2007, 10:27 AM

In the comment threads, Tim Eyman claims that “I-960’s policies have strong voter support,” but a recent KING-5/SurveyUSA poll suggests the initiative itself does not:

Initiative 960 is defeated 2:1 in a vote today. Women and greater Seattle voters oppose by 3:1. Those who have already voted oppose 2:1. A third of voters are Not Certain how they will vote on 960. If all of them vote Yes, the outcome could be close. Otherwise, the measure will be defeated.

Of course I take this and all pre-election polls with a lump of salt. I-960 has a very favorable ballot title (written by Timmy’s personal attorney, Jim Pharris,) and that’s always worth a few extra points at the polls. Still, if I were initiative financier Michael Dunmire, I’d start worrying about having flushed yet another half million dollars down Timmy’s gold-plated toilet.

It is interesting to note that Eyman’s success at the polls appears inversely related to the personal effort he puts into getting his initiatives on the ballot. While he’s never invested much money in promoting his measures, there was a time when the bulk of his signatures were gathered by volunteers, and the bulk of his money came from an army of small contributors… efforts that required real grassroots outreach and mobilization. But in lazily relying on lump-sum payments from Dunmire to buy his way onto the ballot, Tim has abandoned the grassroots campaigning that once generated the buzz and support that carried his initiatives to victory. Long past are the days when Tim can send out an email and instantly generate a crowd of supporters for some publicity stunt or another; now it’s pretty much Tim, Dunmire, the Fagins and a rented costume.

I-960 could still pass; it’s got an appealing ballot title, and nobody likes taxes. But if it fails, Tim only has himself to blame.

TANGENTIAL ASIDE:
Do you think Tim recognizes the irony that he has been reduced to commenting in the threads of a blog named after an initiative to proclaim him a horse’s ass?

by Lee, 10/30/2007, 9:55 AM

Max Blumenthal keeps tabs on the craziest people in America so that you don’t have to.

by Goldy, 10/30/2007, 9:22 AM

Man… and I thought the comment threads here on HA were a little nutty. Take a look at this gem from a comment thread over on (u)SP:

Who ARE you? Stephan may know, but I don’t. [...] I want to know who you are. You are rude, ill mannered, and how dare you insult my perm? I have it done by the same person who does perms for a very well liked, very powerful and very well respected elected woman in the Republican Party.

Watch who you insult. With that in mind, I will make sure that this elected official is informed what you think of our hairdresser. She will definitely not like it. This could come back to bite you and seriously hurt your political career if you are who I think you are.

In addition, do understand that I am a professional business woman, and there is monetary value attached to libel.
Posted by: Ruth Gibbs on October 26, 2007 10:42 PM

Threatening a libel suit over an insulted perm… that’s either the work of a brilliant satirist, or a typical Republican candidate in an overwhelmingly Democratic district.

by Paul, 10/30/2007, 12:41 AM

Weeks at a time go by without a peep from Greg Nickels on anything. Then, on the eve of his hosting a U.S. Conference of Mayors “Climate Summit”, he’s everywhere, he’s everywhere!

Down at South Lake Union, symbolically test driving a new red streetcar. “It’s kind of like back to the future,” Hizzoner said. We could forgive him the cliche if it were actually true, but not even the most publicity-whoring fatcat of Seattle yore would have built a 1.3-mile glorified amusement-park ride for the equivalent of $47.5 million inflation-adjusted dollars. Back in the day, streetcars were for transportation. They ran across town, they ran to Fremont, to Phinney Ridge.

As for the SoLa streetcar, I’d rather walk a few blocks and burn the calories. Or ride my bike and get there a lot quicker, with zero! carbon footprint!

Speaking of which…no sooner had the Mayor relinquished the photo-op wheel of the streetcar than it was off to City Hall for the big Progress Report on Climate Change. The short take: Seattle is down 8 percent in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990, putting us within the Kyoto Protocol target of 7 percent reduction by 2012, as long as we don’t blow it in the coming four-plus years. The summary of the report does not give much actual data on how the figures were arrived at, and I’m skeptical that there isn’t some book-cooking going on here. But even if we accept the summary’s conclusions, it’s just plain crass for the Mayor to time this thing so close to the national hoo-hah. After this weekend I doubt we’ll hear a peep about the Kyoto Protocol till Nickels announces his candidacy for re-election in 2009.

Meanwhile, there was Mayor Nickels again yesterday, patting himself on the back for the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, another brick in the reduced greenhouse-gas wall. On Monday, the plan goes before the City Council, and let’s hope the Council can find a way to reconcile its worthy goals with its lousy (so far) implementation, starting with the mess at Stone Way. Originally slated for full bike lanes, this crucial north-south bike commuter route was pared back to the confusing, mixed-signal “sharrow” markings after Fremont mogul Suzie Burke complained the bikes would interfere with truck traffic. As a result, cars and bikes have to criss-cross each other’s right-of-way on Stone Way, creating a certifiable death trap that helps neither side and endangers both. From Erica’s report it seems light bulbs are going on in Council chambers, albeit dimly. The good folks at Cascade Bicycle Club, who led two protest/solidarity rides around Fremont this summer, are on the case as well.

To sum up: Is an ego made of carbon, and if so, does it have a footprint? I would love to give Mayor Nickels the benefit of the doubt in all things green, because I support what he supports and believe in what he says he believes in. On the other hand, I don’t promote a mammoth parking garage in Woodland Park Zoo while talking about the need to discourage car culture in Seattle. I don’t extol greenhouse-gas reductions while pimping a waterfront tunnel, a gargantuan SR-520 Interchange and a Trojan Horse highway expansion levy (Prop 1) in the guise of rapid transit. And I don’t talk about more liveable and lively neighborhoods while seeking to cram “69,000 new jobs and 56,000 new residents” into them.

“Trends indicate that Seattle will become even denser, and that’s good news for our climate,” the report states. Hold on: It’s only good news if the density in Seattle reduces suburban sprawl, halts highway expansion, diminishes reliance on the automobile and curbs wasteful growth. So far, the tradeoffs just aren’t there, and all the mayor’s press releases and all the mayor’s men can’t put that Humpty together again.

by Goldy, 10/29/2007, 11:48 PM

I’m still waiting for Will to post his first-hand take on Monday’s briefing at city hall, where Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced that the city is on target to meet the Kyoto Treaty goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. But while I wait, I thought I’d make a quick observation that most of the other published reports seem to have missed: hitting the target was, um… pretty damn easy.

The report shows that in 2005, Seattle’s total emissions were 8 percent below 1990 levels — 11 percent below on a per capita basis. And most of these reductions were due to conservation and climate-friendly policies on the part of Seattle City Light.

A skeptical Erica C. Barnett dismisses these reductions as “the low-hanging fruit for Seattle,” and while that’s kinda-sorta true, it should be noted that this fruit was a helluva lot less low for Seattle than it would be for most other cities. City Light already relied on emission-free hydropower for 90 percent of its electricity, so whatever reductions and offsets the utility achieved, they only had 10 percent of their generating capacity to play with. By contrast, cities that rely on fossil fuel fired plants for the bulk of their power have a lot more room for improvement.

President Bush backed out of the relatively timid Kyoto accord claiming the economic costs would be too much to bear, but Seattle’s efforts thus far have not only been painless, they went nearly unnoticed. If the rest of the nation were to follow Seattle’s lead, it is likely many cities would far exceed our modest reductions, and at little or no cost to rate payers. I think that’s the real news in Monday’s announcement.

No doubt Seattle faces huge obstacles in maintaining these reductions over the next five years — and the goals themselves likely fall far short of what is necessary to slow or reverse global warming — so I fully expect cynics to dismiss the reductions as little more than a short-lived, symbolic victory. But symbolism has a knack for inspiring action, and if Seattle’s early success leads other cities to attack their low-hanging fruit too, well that at least would be a first step in the right direction.

by Carl, 10/29/2007, 7:20 PM

Now with the morning news on this site every day, This Week in Bullshit is less relevant than ever:

* Rush Limbaugh knows where your children go to school.

* Mickey Kaus is an idiot. But on the other hand someone who may or may not exist accuses Hillary Clinton of doing something, so you decide.

* FEMA learned their lesson from Katrina: No more press at the press conferences.

* We may lose another member of the coalition in Iraq. The contractors. But only if they’re ever held accountable for their actions.

* How did you spend your Islamofascism awareness week? I opened presents under the meaningless word that’s a pretext to bomb Iran tree.

* And is there anything that isn’t OK to the far right if it ends up harming a Clinton in some way? Bill Clinton’s distant cousin was raped? Well shit parole the rapist, you’ll be praised by columnists for the liberal New York Times later on, even if they go on to kill one or two women.

Locally:

* Dino Rossi has been a quantum candidate. Both a candidate for governor and not at any given time. But now he’s in. I hope he’ll take his idea man’s advise and try to ban boxing.

* Mars Hill is going to unleash their bunnies and blatant homophobia on another Seattle neighborhood.

This is an open thread

by Goldy, 10/29/2007, 2:47 PM

Or so Will tells me. He just got back from a briefing in the mayor’s office, that concludes that Seattle his hit the 7-percent reduction in carbon emissions targeted under the Kyoto Protocol. But then, Mayor Nickels drives a car, so I guess that’s meaningless.

More from Will later.

[UPDATE! -Will]

I’m spending the afternoon and evening at the UW doing research, so I give my thoughts on what I saw when I get a chance, but not just yet. Here’s part of the press release:

The report shows that in 2005, the latest year studied, the city’s greenhouse gas emissions were about 8 percent below 1990 levels. And on a per capita level, the reduction was about 11 percent below 1990. The city has adopted the standards of the Kyoto Treaty, which call for reducing climate pollution to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

“This is a remarkable milestone that shows how cities can lead the way in the fight against global warming,” Nickels said. “It is a success that we can all celebrate. But it is just the start of our work. To beat global warming, we must not only maintain this achievement but
go a magnitude beyond these numbers. That’s why we need everyone’s help in taking action.”

The Mayor explained his general policy positions, and then the staff people filled in the details.

No word yet from Lomborg, but this seems to be a very big deal. Probably not to some folks, but you can’t win ‘em all.

[From Paul HOLD THE LAUDITS!]

This thing stinks of cheap political opportunism (see my comment below @4), but I’m willing to keep an open mind (obviously!) till I actually read the report itself. Still, let’s not get all in a lather over self-congratulation…

[Update: I'm so busy with hw right now, but I gotta add something -Will]

ECB:

Kyoto is an extremely modest goal. The latest science says that we must reduce emissions worldwide by 80 percent—and in the US by more than 90 percent—to prevent catastrophic global warming.

Kyoto failed in the US Senate 95-0, with even Vice President Gore indicating he wanted to see developing nations take on more responsibility before the treaty would be brought to a deciding vote.

When I listened to the Mayor, he made it clear that two things must happen:

1) Cities can’t do it by themselves. We need a new POTUS before any significant federal legislation can become law.

2) For Seattle, some of the easier stuff has already been done. The next big thing to tackle is transportation.

The transportation waters are full of land mines. Seattle doesn’t have the tax base to build light rail all over the city by itself. Congestion pricing is another way to go. It’s likes saying to people, “See those roads right there, the ones you’ve been driving on, the ones you’ve already paid for? Guess what: they’re not free anymore. Oh, and also, we’re not building any light rail for you. Take the bus or more to Fremont.” Not even Ron Sims could sell that, and he can sell anything. (Example: Ron actually convinced Snohomish County to take loads and loads of King County’s shit for decades. Not proverbially. Literally.)

So, maybe we should put people into North Korea-style residential towers, feed them soylent green, and jail them for not recycling. If that’s what gets us from 7% reductions to 90% reductions, then bring it on.

by Goldy, 10/29/2007, 1:56 PM

Call me naive, but despite my occasionally harsh criticism of the folks on the Seattle Times editorial board, I’m always genuinely surprised every time they sink to a new level of rhetorical shamelessness. Take for example their endorsement of Tim Eyman’s patently ridiculous and unworkable I-960. I never saw it coming.

I-960 would, amongst other things, require a two-thirds supermajority in the legislature for passing tax and fee increases, as well as other budgetary actions; failing that, such measures can be put before voters for simple majority vote at the polls. The goal, as even the Times admits, is to send a message to legislators, and bind their hands (though not “too much.”) “This is not a great solution, but it’s about all the people can do by ballot,” the Times writes. “We think it would have a wake-up effect on legislators.”

Of course, what neither the Times nor Eyman is willing to clearly articulate is exactly why they feel such a dramatic wake-up call is needed. The Times feebly argues:

Initiative 960 deserves the people’s support. In this decade, the Legislature has raised statewide taxes on cigarettes, liquor, inheritances and gasoline. Initiative 960 makes further tax increases a bit more difficult…

Oh… it’s because the people need a stronger voice in approving or rejecting tax increases, right? Except that A) both the gas tax and estate tax were challenged via initiative; and B) given the opportunity, voters overwhelmingly rejected repeal of these taxes at the polls! So what’s the problem? Voters had the chance to reject these taxes, but refused. Looks to me like the system is working.

It is curious to note that the Times never called for such extremist measures when Republicans controlled the legislature, or at least posed a reasonable threat to do so, but now that Democrats have at least temporarily gained dominance by winning the battle of ideas, the Times and the GOP want to change the rules. No longer is a simple majority a sufficient standard for deciding the basic operations of government, as it has been throughout our nation’s two-plus-century history. No, its party unable to win much more than a third of the seats in the state House and Senate, the Times now argues in favor of granting the Republican minority a veto over the democratically elected majority.

Ironically, it was only two weeks ago that the Times editors vociferously argued againstthe tyranny of the minority” in urging approval of EHJR 4204, a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the 60-percent super majority requirement for passing local school levies:

Fifty percent plus one is how our democracy works.

What the fuck? Surely the Times is not suggesting that “fifty percent plus one is how our democracy works” at the polls, but 66 percent plus one is how democracy should work when it comes to representative democracy? Indeed, on the very same page the Times endorses I-960, they make the opposite argument in opposing SJR 8206, a constitutionally mandated rainy day fund that would require a 60 percent supermajority to tap:

Voters should say “no” because this measure binds future legislatures to the thinking of today and does so in an all but permanent way.

Anyone who believes in representative democracy — and in lawmakers in future years making important budget decisions based on what they know at the time — should decline this obviously tempting measure.

So let me get this straight: fifty percent plus one is how democracy works, except when Democrats dominate the legislature, and if we believe in “representative democracy” we don’t want to bind the hands of future legislatures to a 60 percent supermajority, but we do want to bind the hands of the current legislature to a two-thirds one? I mean… what the fuck?!

When the editors of our state’s largest daily willfully contradict themselves on the same page, on the same day, it is an embarrassment to themselves and to the entire region. And it begs the question: are the Times editors really this stupid… or do they merely think their readers are? In other words, are they fucktards or fuckwads?

Oh, the Times argues that the difference between SJR 8206 and I-960 is that of a “concrete” versus an “earthen” dam, but this sort of naked sophistry is laughable within the context of the larger philosophical arguments the Times itself has raised. “Tyranny of the minority,” “50 percent plus one,” “representative democracy,” “lawmakers… making important budget decisions based on what they know at the time” — all these lofty principles are tossed aside in the service of punishing and embarrassing a Democratic legislature that dared to tax Frank Blethen’s heirs.

With so many other editorial boards getting it right, it is hard to fathom how the Times could get it so wrong, and in such a poorly argued and/or disingenuous manner. And while the Times editors admit that I-960 “is not a great solution,” unlike their colleagues, they stubbornly refuse to educate their readers by explaining why:

The Olympian
“The measure, which will appear on the Nov. 6, general election ballot, is murky, expensive, mired in bureaucracy and might be unconstitutional… I-960 is clumsily written and will be challenged in the courts, costing taxpayers millions of dollars… Voters should reject I-960.” ‑ September 23, 2007

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
“I-960 will be expensive and is not necessary. We urge voters to reject the proposal.” ‑ October 27, 2007

Tacoma News Tribune
“Voters really can’t know what exactly I-960 would do…The initiative also goes astray by being overly – and oddly – prescriptive. For advisory votes, it calls for doing away with the usual voters’ pamphlet explanation…and mandates that the ballot question describe the issue at hand in 13 words. That’s not a recipe for informed voting.” ‑ October 19, 2007

The Columbian
“The Columbian strongly recommends a ‘NO’ vote on I-960, joining a large chorus of organizations, public officials and other newspapers… Colorado tried twisting a similar tourniquet around legislators’ work, and the effort there failed miserably, with sharp declines in national rankings for education funding and health care… If enacted, [960] would make our state government bigger, slower, more cumbersome and more expensive… Let’s say a natural disaster or some other catastrophe hits our state. If legislators were constricted by I-960, the response to that disaster would be brought to a dangerously slow pace. That’s why police, firefighters and nurses oppose I-960.” ‑ October 8, 2007

The Times endorsement puts Blethen and the gang in pretty lonely company, but the way they wrote it — blatantly (or stupidly) contradicting their own editorial page — has them standing alone. What kind of paper argues for a measure they admit is bad, to solve a problem they refuse to enunciate? Are they idiots or liars? Fucktards or fuckwads? You decide.

{democracy:2}