by Darryl, 12/31/2007, 5:28 PM

If you are going to drink, take a cab or hop on a bus to get home. Under no circumstances should you do what this person did:

by Goldy, 12/31/2007, 3:25 PM

While most of the rest of us are preparing to celebrate the new year by eating and drinking too much, Darcy Burner is spending the day glued to the phone, calling potential donors to ask them for their help in meeting her all important 4th Quarter fundraising goals, and according to Darcy she is tantalizingly close to meeting one key target: she’s just $10,000 shy of reporting $600,000 cash on hand. Where Darcy’s fundraising stands at the end of the year in relation to her opponent and other Democratic challengers will help determine how much early support she gets from the DCCC and other organizations, so if you haven’t already given, please give to Darcy before midnight tonight.

Of course Darcy’s not the only progressive challenger out there who needs your help to leap past their fundraising targets, so please consider giving to the full slate of Blue Majority candidates, and help us make 2008 a very happy new year.

by Will, 12/31/2007, 11:18 AM

Casey Corr (my favorite out of all the loopy old timers at Crosscut) writes this after a visit to a outdoor supply store in Lacey:

But a day after news broke of an entire family murdered near Carnation by two other family members — one who allegedly told police “she was tired of everybody stepping on her,” I saw this sign posted at the Cabela’s entry:

“All firearms & bows that are brought in for repair; service or trade, must be opened & checked in at the Greeter’s Desk. This does not apply to conceal/carry permit holders.

Thank you, Cabela’s.

From what I gather, this is SOP at any store that sells guns. If you bring a gun inside, you have to check it upfront. That’s so they don’t have nimrods running all over the store with what-have-you.

But the news from Carnation and the gentle request that people check their guns put me on edge.

Really? How about the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” sign? Does that bend you out of shape?

The Anderson killings remind us we need to do more to make it less likely that guns are used in crimes. The irony, of course, is that many proposed gun reforms would not have changed the outcome of gun violence. That may even be the case with the Anderson family. We don’t know yet whether added delays on buying guns or extended background checks could have prevented the murders. Michele Anderson and Joseph McEnroe got their guns legally last summer, the P-I reported.

My views on guns tends to get me in trouble with my fellow Democrats, but I think it’s important to make a few things clear. Gun regulations tend to be pushed by those who don’t understand guns, who don’t understand the difference between what makes a rifle an “assault weapon,” or who don’t understand that law-abiding gun owners (the kind Casey ran in to down in Lacey) will abide by the law while criminals won’t.

Statistics may show that having a gun in your house makes it more likely you’ll shoot yourself or your kids. (If you drive a car, you’re much more likely to be in a car wreck, but I’ve never heard this fact used as the rationale for regulating cars.) I don’t know the people who are shooting themselves or their kids with their guns; the only gun owners I know are safety-minded folks who teach their kids that guns are not toys, no matter what it looks like on TV. (Spending a Saturday with Grandpa while he cleans his BAR was more fun than Playstation 2, or at least that’s what my friend’s daughter told me. She’s 9.)

So with guns, it seems to be a cultural problem between those who are ignorant of guns and want to pass laws to ban or restrict their sale, and the people who have guns, use and store them safely, and would rather the government stay out of their lives on the issue.

After the Capitol Hill shootings a while back, lots of people demanded new gun control policy. Specifically, a statewide ban on the sale of “assault weapons” and a closing of the state “gun show loophole.”

As the facts became clearer, it turned out that:

1) The shooter didn’t buy the guns at a Washington state gun show, and;

2) None of the weapons used were “assault weapons.”

This meant that any and all news laws being proposed would have done absolutely nothing to stop that crime.

As my opinions have migrated from serious gun control advocate to a somewhat passionate gun rights advocate, I have realized that the passage of new gun control laws are meant to assuage the nerves of people who are nervous about guns, and are less about preventing crime.

by Will, 12/31/2007, 10:16 AM

Which makes me, and others, fools.

Local politico Sandeep Kaushik is ready to throw down a prediction for the Iowa caucuses—with one big caveat:

Only a fool would try to predict the outcome of the Iowa caucuses. It’s a suckers bet.

Having said that, Kaushik offers a prediction, and even a point-spread. He says:

Edwards wins Iowa cleanly:

Edwards 34

Clinton 27

Obama 25

I think Sandeep has it pretty much nailed. There are, however, a few days to go, so the numbers might move a little bit.

My prediction:

Edwards 34

Obama 28

Clinton 28

Richardson or Kucinich comes in 4th

On the GOP side, I’m a little less specific:

Huckabee BEATS Romney, with McCain coming in 3rd

I invite my fellow HA contributors to add their predictions to this post!

UPDATE:
In a surprise upset, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg wins the Democratic caucus, while Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel takes the top spot for the Republicans, despite the fact that neither is running. Or maybe vice versa. Because DC sage David Broder just couldn’t be that wrong.

by Will, 12/31/2007, 9:46 AM

by Goldy, 12/30/2007, 6:44 PM

Tonight on “The David Goldstein Show”, 7PM to 10PM on News/Talk 710-KIRO:

7PM: Radio Kos with Kagro X and BarbinMD
Daily Kos contributing editors Kagro X and BarbinMD join me for the hour for a year-in-review, and a look ahead to 2008… or at the very least, this week’s Iowa caucus.

8PM: Are you getting ripped off?
In his new book “Gotcha Capitalism: How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day — and What You Can Do About It,” Bob Sullivan reveals the surprising costs of hidden fees, and how you can save as much as $1000 a year avoiding them. Sullivan writes the popular blog The Red Tape Chronicles for MSNBC.com; he joins us for the hour to take your calls.

9PM: TBA
Liberal propaganda.

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

by Lee, 12/30/2007, 1:00 PM

I posted up at Reload about the recent story about the informant in Cowlitz County who tried to frame an innocent 21-year-old Kelso man for drug dealing.

by Goldy, 12/30/2007, 12:13 PM

I hear the phrase “exit strategy” and I automatically think about Iraq, and the Bush administration’s lack of a strategy (or desire) to get out of that ill-conceived war. So as we exit 2007 it’s important to pay attention to our own strategy for exiting the disastrous policies of the past seven years. Looking at the obstructionism of the Republicans in Congress and their party’s steadfast determination to stay the course at home and abroad, my personal exit strategy begins with more and better Democrats… and locally, that begins with Darcy Burner.

The 4th Quarter fundraising period is drawing to a close, and where Darcy stands in relation to Dave Reichert and to her fellow Democratic challengers will largely determine the level of financial and logistical support she will initially receive from the DCCC and other organizations. A strong showing will put Darcy near the top of the list, positioning her to make a strong run out of the gate in 2008. A disappointing showing could set her campaign back into the second tier of competitive races, giving Reichert the breathing room he so desperately needs.

Darcy needs your help to prove to the folks in D.C. that she has what it takes to kick Reichert’s ass, and that’s why I’m asking you to give whatever you can to help push Darcy’s 4th Quarter results over the top. Darcy is hoping to raise an additional $25,000 by the end of the quarter — if we all chip in, she can do that and more, and we can all do our part in bringing change to the other Washington.

Please give to Darcy Burner today.

by Goldy, 12/29/2007, 11:03 AM

Yeah, well, I haven’t been posting all that much recently, have I? Between a near nine-day stretch of broadcasting, the holidays and a stamina sapping cold, I’ve had neither the time, the enthusiasm nor the energy to give HA the attention it demands. Um… sorry.

Anyway, the fill-in gig for Dave Ross is over (oh man did it feel good to sleep in this morning,) the holidays are winding down, and the cold… well, that damned cold has to loosen its grip sometime, so consider me back, if not actually recharged. Besides, it’s not like I write because I really want to write, or even enjoy it. It’s because I have no choice. That’s the nature of being a writer.

PROGRAMMING NOTE:
Josh and Erica from The Stranger join me tonight at 7PM for a year-in-review recap of local politics, and a look ahead to 2008. Then at 8PM, local comedian Kermet Apio will be in the studio, making me look very unfunny by comparison.

by Lee, 12/29/2007, 1:06 AM

by Darryl, 12/28/2007, 8:17 PM

King County Executive Ron Sims talks about trails and rails:

(More videos from the past week in politics are posted at Hominid Views.)

by Will, 12/28/2007, 6:13 PM

I’m not the Horse’s Ass resident film critic, but I want to give a shout out to one of my favorite films of the year, and also to address some of the blogger reaction to the film.

“Charlie Wilson’s War” is about a Texas congressman, a wealthy right-wing socialite, and a CIA agent, and the covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. You can get details about the film, the book, and what really happened elsewhere, but after seeing the movie, I want to get a few things out there.

Lynn writes at Evergreen Politics:

The CIA provided money and weapons that enabled the mujahideen to defeat the Soviet Union and the Communist government it was supporting in a humiliating fashion. It also strengthened the role of the warlords who have ruled Afghanistan ever since. The war helped provide a fertile ground that attracted and nurtured radical Islamists and Arabs from all over the Middle East – people like Osama bin Laden of Saudi Arabia and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri of Eqypt and Abdullah Azzam, born in Palestine. With the defeat of the puppet Communist government of Babrak Karmal, conditions were set to enable the Taliban and al Queda to sweep across Afghanistan into positions of power and influence in Afghanistan and dismantle centuries of culture (as they are again set to do, BTW).

I think Lynn skips a few steps. While it’s true that after the Soviet Union skedaddled in 1989, there was a power vacuum in Afghanistan which was eventually filled by the Taliban. But the relationship isn’t casual. As depicted in the film, Rep. Wilson pushed for money for Afghanistan reconstruction, but he was rebuffed (this is from the film):

Congressman: Nobody gives a shit about Pakistan, Charlie.

Wilson: Afghanistan.

It was a great scene. Lynn continues:

We pretty much forgot all about Afghanistan until 9/11. Those who feel they can interfere with impunity in the affairs of other countries tend to be careless.

Well, yes, that’s true. But America has also been at it’s best when interfering in the affairs of other countries. Take the Balkans, a place America was very active during the 90′s. It is a success story. (There is an actual goddamn street named after General Wesley Clark, who was cheered and greeted with flowers by Bosnian-Americans during a recent visit to the Seattle area.)

Ultimately, I have to disagree with both parties, and with both non-interventionist Democrats and neo-conservative Republicans. America’s involvement in the world should be based on America’s national interest. All other considerations are less important. Was the covert war propagated by Wilson in America’s best interest? Yes. Was America’s neglect of the post-Soviet occupation Afghanistan in our best interest? Hell no.

Using this measuring stick is especially important these days. Moron Republicans think that bombing Iran is a good idea. Is it? Of course not, especially considering that most young Iranians are much more pro-American than other countries (like Eqypt, where common folks resent the hell out of the USA for supporting their ruler-for-life). President Bush neglected the reconstruction of Afghanistan in favor of a sexy new war in Iraq. (“That new war smell!”)

Considering the truly awful things the Soviet military did to the Afghan people (booby-trapping children’s toys, cutting open pregnant women, massacring entire villages with helicopter gunship fire), and also the very nature of Soviet communism itself, it’s really hard to think of the intervention there during the 80′s as being on par with such disasters as the Iraq War. After all, the biggest mistake in the whole affair has to be America turning her back on Afghanistan after the occupation ended.

Like Congressman Charlie Wilson said:

“Those things happened and they were glorious, and then we fucked up the end game.”

No shit.

by Carl, 12/28/2007, 3:38 PM

Flotsam Media have their pre-playoff power rankings, and they sure said a lot about the Seahawks.

This is a lazy Friday open thread.

by Paul, 12/28/2007, 2:01 AM

Am I the only one who thinks Jon & Stephen have something up their sly little sleeves in returning to their shows?

1. These guys know really bad comedy. They can spoof really bad comedy. They can flop on demand.

2. Watch for digs at their corporate overlords. They’ll be subtle. But you’ll know ‘em when they make ‘em.

3. ZombieTV. They’re back! But with little blanderizers embedded into the back of their necks. Pod People cum (new meaning for) Podcasters.

Other speculations? Do we really think they’ll be anywhere near as funny?

by Geov, 12/28/2007, 2:00 AM

The biggest item in the news today is international: the chaos in Pakistan and the complete lack of good options in Washington following the assassination of the Bush administration’s favored pro-Western alternative to the endangered, U.S.-backed dictator Pervez Musharraf.

Locally, as our top story, you’ll be relieved to know that six members of a Carnation area family, shot and killed on Christmas eve, are still dead. Otherwise, the P-I’s three other lead stories were also all either chasing local angles on non-local stories (local Pakistanis react, tigers can’t get out at local zoos) or more follow-ups to old stories (Carnation, the tigers, and the shocking news that the guy who was shot after running onto I-5 Tuesday was “depressed.”)

Over at the Bothell Seattle Times, we learn that “Bremerton woman says generator fumes killed her cat.” Seriously. That’s a story you won’t find in the P-I. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same: Carnation, Pakistan, I-5 guy. Tune in next Wednesday when the news starts again.

And local television — aww, don’t make me weep. (KIRO-TV, to its, um, credit, did pick up the Bremerton cat story.) At least, in TV and print both, the fatuous year-end stories are coming on thicker and thicker. By Sunday, they may make up the whole paper.

by Lee, 12/27/2007, 8:57 PM

I haven’t read Jonah Goldberg’s new book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning,” and I probably never will. But I’m amazed that anyone even tried to make the argument he’s trying to make.

One of the main reasons why I started blogging a few years back was because I read Mein Kampf. As hard as it was to read a book that’s not just extremely racist but led to the deaths of people I’m related to, I felt like I had to wrap my head around how something like the Holocaust can happen. To try to compare the sentiments expressed in Mein Kampf to anything you hear on the American left today is a stretch of the imagination that I can’t comprehend. If Goldberg claims to have read Mein Kampf as part of researching his “thesis,” he’s either lying or crazy.

Dave Neiwert does a good job picking apart some basic errors, like pointing out that despite Goldberg’s claims that the Nazi’s were “socialists,” the first people sent by the Nazis to Dachau were actually Socialists and Communists. People who called themselves socialists back then were as close to real socialists as the people who today call themselves conservatives – but believe in starting war after war in the Middle East – are to real conservatives. But the whole book seems to be based upon this very basic error in understanding the history of Nazi Germany.

The Sadly No! crew actually have a copy of the book and have been posting some of the most ridiculous passages. His larger argument is that the desire by liberals and progressives to improve society through government is the direct path to fascism and relates back to the Nazi movement. Now while it’s certainly possible for left-leaning movements to become authoritarian, it’s not what’s happening in America right now, it’s not how fascism evolved in 1930s Germany, and one can really only reach the alternate conclusion if they believe that things like universal health care are more anti-liberty than torture. I think Brad may have located a major part of Goldberg’s mental block:

Giving out free food isn’t fascism. Look, Jonah, I’ve done some research into the matter and have determined that giving out free food is one of the least fascist things a government can do. Call this hyperbole if you will, but if the very worst thing the Nazis had ever done was to give people free food, they’d have probably gone down as the greatest government in history.

When Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, his vision had nothing to do with economics. His vision was pure paranoia, where he blamed the “Jewish press” for weakening support for the war effort during World War I. He viewed the influence of immigrants as a direct threat to the nation. He also railed against pacifists, Communists, capitalists, the ruling class, ethnic minorities, and fellow soldiers who faked injuries to get out of the war. As Germany was subjugated by the victors of WWI in the post-war period, his paranoid outlook found an audience, but his message was never one of socialism, it was of nationalism. In Chapter V of Mein Kampf, he shared his thoughts on what happened during World War I:

After the very first news of victories, a certain section of the press, slowly, and in a way which at first was perhaps unrecognizable to many, began to pour a few drops of wormwood into the general enthusiasm. This was done beneath the mask of a certain benevolence and well-meaning, even of a certain solicitude. They had misgivings about an excess of exuberance in the celebration of the victories. They feared that in this form it was unworthy of so great a nation and hence inappropriate.

The notion that the press (which was of course run by Jews and treasonous Germans) was insufficiently patriotic during the war and had a bias towards pacifism and international institutions like the League of Nations was central to his outlook. It’s the polar opposite of what the American left stands for today, and it’s why comparisons to Ann Coulter and other extreme voices on the authoritarian right aren’t all that far-fetched. At the same time I started blogging back in 2004 and wrote that post, Jonah Goldberg wrote the following:

In the process of debating the merits of publishing, and now continually hyping, the Abu Ghraib photos, I keep hearing that it is contrary to the American journalistic tradition to let patriotism or concern about the negative effects of bad news interfere with coverage. I have no idea where this idea comes from.

You know where the idea comes from, Jonah? It comes from people who’ve actually taken the time to study and to try to understand the roots of fascism, rather than just attempting to draw nonsensical parallels between Hitler and the people who make fun of you on the internet.

by Will, 12/27/2007, 5:11 PM

I have seen both “Knocked Up” and “Juno”, and I liked both movies. In short, they deal with the sensitive issue of an unexpected pregnancy. Both sets of characters consider abortion, but choose against it. The sexy female TV personality in “Knocked Up” (played by Katherine Heigl) and the 16 year-old high school kid in “Juno” (played by Ellen Page) find serious and tender moments in their respective stories. But, I gotta say, I liked “Juno” more… and so do some anti-choice advocates. What the fuck?

Recently, some conservative media have begun “claiming” these two films as being “anti-abortion.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reviewed “Juno”:

“Juno” (Fox Searchlight) is a smart, funny and ultimately moving comedy-drama with a strong pro-life message.

Hizzah-wha? Really? Lou Lumenick of the NY Post comments:

As someone who is strongly pro-choice, I came away from this movie with exactly the opposite message. True, the pregnant title character decides against having an abortion; she decides to carry the fetus to term and to give it up for adoption. The key word here is that Juno makes a deliberative choice. She makes this decision without consulting with her very supportive parents. They make it very clear when she announces her choice that they would have also strongly supported Juno if she decided to go ahead with “the alternative,” as Juno’s stepmom puts it. Pro-choice means a woman is free to choose not to terminate a pregnancy as well to choose to have an abortion. I also applaud “Juno” for making clear that there are emotional consequences of giving a child up for adoption, just as there are consequences of having an abortion.

The right wing morons who are claiming “Juno” as one of their own are too stupid for words, are show themselves to be easily confused.

by Paul, 12/27/2007, 9:02 AM

Today’s headlines are so lame — the “breaking news” has to do with the bus tunnel reopening — that I thought it would be more interesting to project a few headlines for 2008 that you probably won’t read anywhere else. After all, murderous rampages, even when they happen, or perhaps especially when they happen, on Christmas Eve, have become so commonplace it’s impossible to find something compelling to say any more. I can only breathe a sigh of relief that the story broke today instead of yesterday, when its pairing with the P-I expose of lunatic unlicensed bicyclists riding amok on city streets would have been a thorny call for the Page 1 editor as to which got the banner head. In other transportation news, the streetcar has stalled twice (something my bike has never done, but then it didn’t cost $52 million) and wait, this just in, OMG, snow is forecast for the region!

So now for the 2008 Roundup. We’ll start with the local headlines:

Overbuilding Crisis: Can It Happen Here? As more hi-rises and condos and townhouses continue to get built while the ones already on the market sit unsold, alert local media sense “excess inventory” in the housing market. Not wishing to offend real-estate advertisers, however, they cast the meltdown in upbeat, forward-looking platitudes like “brief lull,” “fleeting aberration” and “not as bad as Florida.”

Richard Conlin to Run for Mayor. Someone who actually practices sustainability to take on someone who just preaches it.

Streetcar, Metro Bus Collide, Injuring Both Passengers.

Oklahoma City Bans Sonics. Says it desires professional basketball team.

7.7 Quake Levels Viaduct. God weighs in on surface-street option.

Transit Measure Defeated at Polls. By a ___ to ___ margin, voters have turned down a ____________-___________ plan, costing ________ billion, to be built from ___________ to ____________ by the year _____ in order to solve the region’s growing, critical, urgent, yikes-we’re-all-doomed transportation crisis.

And now for the national headlines:

In Replay of Great Depression, Stock Market Crashes and Banks Collapse. Bush remains upbeat about economy, calls mass suicides on Wall Street “misoverreaction.”

Bush to Seek Third Term. Attorney General, citing loophole in law, says president can run if he changes his legal name.

Bush Bombs Iran. President declares martial law “to protect the safety of our country.”

Suspected Terrorist Plot Disclosed. President declares martial law “to protect the safety of our country.”

Republicans Score Landslide Win After Osama Bin Laden Brought Into Custody on Nov. 1. Faced with riots by angry voters, President declares martial law “to protect the safety of our country.”

snowride
License that man!!!

by Will, 12/26/2007, 1:15 PM

The P-I writes:

Motorists help pay for roads with gas taxes, tolls and license tabs. Boaters subsidize maritime programs with vessel registration and boat launch fees.

Maybe bicyclists, too, should pitch in for the costs of their trails and lanes.

It’s a suggestion — sometimes born of sincerity, other times of snarkiness — that drivers, tax-weary citizens and others make whenever politicians and cycling advocates talk about investing public money into cycling facilities. Some raised the idea again in recent weeks after the Seattle City Council and Mayor Greg Nickels endorsed a $240 million, 10-year plan for new bike lanes and street upgrades.

I read the story and the “comments” section at the end of the story (“Sound Off” is what it’s called), and the kinds of people who want to register bikes are the kind of people who hate cyclists. I hate some cyclists, but I also hate some drivers as well. It’s all about equal opportunity.

But cycling saves taxpayers money. If large numbers of people switched from SOVs to bikes, we would all save money on road maintenance. The mayor’s ten year cycling plan is cheap as shit compared to any other transportation investment.

Josh Feit writes:

I’m not sure where I stand on the idea of making bikers register. My gut tells me it’s not as simple as angry car owners make it out to be. Car owners gripe that they pay for roads through car fees, so why shouldn’t bikers help fund roads and bike lanes and bike trails?

Well, actually car owners pay for roads mostly through gas taxes, not car fees.

And here’s the real rub: Car owners are the ones who use and batter roads and cause congestion and emissions—all things that spike the cost of living for all of us.

Meanwhile, bikes save us all money—lowering congestion, easing emissions, and barely leaving any wear and tear on roads. So, why should government put up a barrier to getting more people on bikes?

Josh and the gang may not know where Federal Way is, but he’s dead on here.

Side note:

One night after doing the last hour of “The David Goldstein Show,” Goldy was giving me a ride home to Belltown. Underneath the Monorail tracks, 5th Avenue is divided in half, with the center of the street obstructed by the columns. Each half of the one-way street has (I believe) one traffic lane and one parking lane. Me and Goldy were on the left side of the pillars, and as we passed a car going much slower on the right side, I pointed the sight to Goldy:

Me: “Hey look, bicyclists, two abreast, blocking the whole lane.”

Goldy: “Fucking assholes. That’s why people hate cyclists.”

BTW, the cyclists were dressed totally in black with no helmets. Nice. Thankfully, for their sake no gravel trucks were in the area.

by Lee, 12/26/2007, 9:45 AM

From the General: Ron Paul supporters blame “Jewish Cabal” for anti-Semitism charges.

This is an Open Thread.