by Goldy, 03/31/2008, 11:19 PM

The Stranger’s longtime reporter and news editor Josh Feit is stepping down and moving on…

It’s ironic, after nine years making a living hating on Seattle (and always with a plan to get back to the East Coast), I actually love it here these days (it has something to do with buying a fancy bike), and I’m angling to stay.

And Seattle will certainly miss hating on Josh. Of course, I’m sure Josh will quickly move on to bigger and better things, as the news biz is a thriving industry these days. (Or maybe he’ll just end up another sell-out, like Sandeep?)

by Goldy, 03/31/2008, 6:04 PM

47 Democratic challengers have now joined Darcy Burner in signing on to the Responsible Plan to end the war in Iraq, and she continues to rack up accolades in the national press, with Matthew Yglesias of The Atlantic Monthly the latest to chime in:

Now as [former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski] says, a serious effort to get out of Iraq is going to require a political and diplomatic component as well as the mere absence of U.S. troops. One of the good things about the Responsible Plan for Iraq from Darcy Burner and other House challengers is precisely its recommendation of the need for this kind of diplomatic engagement, which really is crucial to trying to minimize the inevitable fallout from the United States doing what needs to be done in military terms. I would note that on the diplomatic front, it’s probably easier to get Iraq’s neighbors to contribute constructively to stability in Iraq once we’ve decisively decided not to run together “stability in Iraq” with “Iraq becomes base for U.S. power projection and mad schemes to overthrow all the governments in the region.”

Of course, all this great national coverage lauding Darcy’s leadership won’t do her a hill of beans in November if she can’t get her message out locally, and as we all know, that requires the cash to compete with Reichert for airtime during the final weeks of the campaign… and lots of it. And with the end-of-quarter filing deadline approaching at midnight tonight, all eyes will quickly be turning toward the numbers.

So please help Darcy reach her targets and stay out in front as one of the leading Democratic challengers this election. Remember… the deadline is midnight tonight, so please give what you can to Darcy now!

Darcy Burner (WA-08) $

by Lee, 03/31/2008, 2:23 PM

I’m heading out now to Safeco Field for the opener. How do you like the M’s chances this year?

by Goldy, 03/31/2008, 1:00 PM

I know it’s kinda like pissing into the wind, but I strongly urge you all to read blatherWatch’s latest expose on the shameless myth-making behind Dave Reichert’s claim to fame as the man who allegedly caught the Green River Killer:

“[Dave Reichert] desecrated the victims. The public ought to know that,” says Seattle University journalism and criminal justice Professor Tomás Guillén… “He got elected based on Green River, when in fact, he didn’t solve it and he didn’t win against Gary Ridgway,” says Guillén who covered the Green River story for the Seattle Times from its beginnings and has written two books on the subject.

Really, the public ought to know, but they don’t, because our local media has been as complicit in perpetrating the myth as Reichert has himself, and they appear totally unwilling to admit their mistake. Reichert’s whole political career is built on a lie — a lie that permeates his discussion of nearly every issue…

Why is Reichert against choice for women? When asked, he’s told an interviewer: “I have a great respect for life. I’ve seen a lot of death in my career, worked Green River, seen lots of dead bodies.”

That’s just shameless, and quite frankly, our local reporters, who should know better, are doing themselves and their readers a great disservice when they let him get away with this. If Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations can be pronounced dead because she lied about the dangers on a tarmac in Bosnia — a tiny footnote in her personal biography — then surely Reichert’s political credibility should be called into question for fabricating his entire public persona.

Dave Reichert did NOT catch the Green River Killer! That is a fact. And our local media has an obligation to tell voters the truth.

by Will, 03/31/2008, 11:49 AM

Here’s part of a power point presentation that was delivered to the ST Board:

(The yellow is my editorial analysis)

The environmental benefits of building light rail, and of using mass transit, are pretty clear. But new riders don’t see the environmental bonus as something that’s changing their behavior. As much as we’d like people to clue-in to mass transit for carbon-related reasons, people have, and will, ride transit because it’s faster, cheaper, and more convenient than driving. Rather, when it’s faster and more convenient.

In another page of the power point, rider satisfaction is shown to dip slightly in 2006, just when the fuel crunch really hits, and ST buses (along with Metro buses and others) become packed with new riders. It’s the downside of transit popularity.

by Goldy, 03/31/2008, 9:02 AM

For those of you keeping track of Bush Administration officials and other top Republicans who have resigned due to criminal conduct, it is time to update your spreadsheet.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced Monday he was resigning after seven years on the job.

Jackson, 62, is under criminal investigation and has been fending off allegations of cronyism and favoritism involving HUD contractors for the past two years.

by Goldy, 03/30/2008, 6:48 PM

by Will, 03/30/2008, 12:11 PM

I was poking around the internets today, looking for stuff on megahouses that are supposedly taking over Seattle’s neighborhoods, (check out what Paul, a fellow HA blogger, had to say about the issue here) when I came something else.

I ran across the minutes of a Laurelhurst Community Council meeting, at which skateparks were under discussion:

Dillana Crawford emailed on 9/18 to express strong opposition to a skatepark at the Playfield (she lives across the street). She thought a skatepark would bring more traffic and pointed out that there are already parking and speeding problems. She was concerned that a skatepark would become another place for teenagers to hangout in the evening and lead to more nighttime disruption and underage drinking. She also had concerns about noise and graffiti. Stacy Graves emailed on 9/19 to say she hoped there would be no skatepark anywhere near Laurelhurst. She said that kids that hang out at skateparks look like delinquents. She is worried about property vandalism and negative role models for neighborhood children.

I know Laurelhurst to be one of those WASP neighborhoods where Jews weren’t allowed to live until about 1958. Lots of WASPs who gave birth to children, and those children turned into rich, bored kids, who spent their weekends drinking themselves into oblivion. So the idea that a skatepark might bring in underage drinking… well. I’ve probably been to house parties in these people’s basements.

While these comments are somewhat ignorant, I DO like the old folks who go to bat for a skatepark:

Fred Wemer emailed on 9/20 to say he likes the idea of a skatepark in the neighborhood. He is 68 years old and said he wouldn’t use it, but maybe his grandchildren would use it instead of watching television. Mimi Winslow emailed on the same day and said she also supported a skatepark. Debbie Jenner emailed on 9/25 to express strong support for a neighborhood skatepark. She is an ex-skateboarder and mother of three school age children (12, 10 and 7) who are avid skateboarders. The only options are skateboarding in Ballard, in Fremont where it costs $8 per person or on the street. Jenner thinks that a skatepark in the neighborhood would bring kids from Laurelhurst Elementary, Eckstein, Villa, Assumption and nearby high schools together to socialize.

It’s funny that the people who have an inkling of what skateboarding really is have no problem with a skatepark in their neighborhood. Especially that 68 y/o guy (bless his pea-pickin’ heart). Don’t sell yourself short, Fred.

by Goldy, 03/30/2008, 10:24 AM

Arianna Huffington explores one of life’s great mysteries… how John McCain — despite his recent gaffes on Iraq, his insistence that renewed violence is evidence “the surge is working,” and his promise to continue the war for another hundred years — leads both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in national polls on the question of who is most capable of dealing with the war in Iraq, in the face of overwhelming support for withdrawal.

So what the hell is going on here? What accounts for such a major — and potentially disastrous — disconnect?

In short, Democratic candidates up and down the ticket are facing a message gap when it comes to Iraq. McCain’s rah-rah pitch is very simple and upbeat: “Vote for me and I will win the war.” Democrats have a tougher time trying to answer the question: “What are you going to do about Iraq?”

Part of the problem is the unrealized promises of 2006. Dashed hopes often metastasize into cynicism and mistrust. So this time around, voters want to hear more than “I am going to end the war.” They want to know how. Specifically. Concretely. In detail.

Enter Darcy Burner, a Democratic challenger who is running for Congress in Washington state. Working with national security experts and retired military generals such as Major Gen. Paul Eaton, the officer in charge of training the Iraqi military immediately after the invasion in 2003 and 2004, she developed “A Responsible Plan to End the War,” a comprehensive approach to Iraq based on legislation already introduced in Congress.

And as for the 45 Democratic challengers who have now signed on to the Responsible Plan?

It’s worth noting that this is no collection of “make love, not war” pacifists. Massa is a 24-year Navy veteran. Edwards’ father was in the Air Force. Burner’s brother served in Iraq. And they are all clear that there are real threats facing America, and that our military needs to stop being distracted — and depleted — in Iraq, so it can better address the mounting dangers in Afghanistan and the areas of Pakistan where al-Qaeda has reconstituted itself. So, for national security reasons, they are united in their commitment to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq and begin to repair the damage the war has done to America’s standing in the world.

The idea is to band together a group of challengers running on a shared platform who, if elected, will be able to head into Congress armed with a mandate, supported by allies, and wielding a specific legislative agenda designed to end the war. Call it A Contract to Restore America.

It is also an effective way to let voters know that this is a group of Democrats who won’t cave in every time the GOP accuses them of cutting-and-running or not supporting the troops, or when the media once again float the “precipitous withdrawal” meme.

The national media is starting to show Darcy the love she deserves, so with only two days left in the reporting quarter, shouldn’t you show your love too? By helping Darcy and her fellow challengers beat their fundraising targets you’ll not only help a promising class of challengers reach Congress, you’ll also help convince more challengers to sign on to the Plan and promise to bring a responsible end to this disastrous occupation.

Support the original ten endorsers of the Responsible Plan:

Darcy Burner (WA-08) $
Donna Edwards (MD-04) $
Eric Massa (NY-29) $
Tom Perriello (VA-05) $
Chellie Pingree (ME-01) $
Jared Polis (CO-02) $
George Fearing (WA-04) $
Larry Byrnes (FL-14) $
Stephen A. Harrison (NY-13) $
Sam Bennett (PA-15) $

by Lee, 03/29/2008, 7:49 PM

With the possibility of snow this evening, I may not get out tomorrow to pollute the wooded areas of a small patch of Western Washington with poorly struck Titleists, but it also reminded me of a conversation I had with my wife earlier this month.

She mentioned that when she was in elementary school in South King County, she was taught the famous adage that March goes in like a Lion, out like a Lamb. I was taught that too in Elementary school (in Pennsylvania), but I was kind of surprised that it was an expression here too. After all, the weather doesn’t change all that much over the month of March here. So I just looked up some numbers.

If you look at the average temperatures between February and April in other American cities, the expression makes sense:

New York
February – [avg temp (F)=33.6, avg extreme weather days (< 32 F)=20]
April – [avg temp (F)=52.5, avg extreme weather days (< 32 F)=1]

February – [avg temp (F)=25.4, avg extreme weather days (< 32 F)=25]
April – [avg temp (F)=48.6, avg extreme weather days (< 32 F)=7]

February – [avg temp (F)=44.8, avg extreme weather days (< 32 F)=11]
April – [avg temp (F)=61.5, avg extreme weather days (< 32 F)=0]

The changes from February and April in all three places are only matched by the reverse changes in November. But here, the average weather changes between February and April are less pronounced than several other three month swings:

February – [avg temp (F)=44.3, avg extreme weather days (< 32 F)=4]
April – [avg temp (F)=50.4, avg extreme weather days (< 32 F)=0]

So, I guess my question here is for the Seattle (and Washington State) natives. Is that a common expression here?

by Will, 03/29/2008, 4:54 PM
  • Thanks to everyone who donated during Goldy’s fund raiser for yours truly. I am very thankful. If you still feel like donating, click here.
  • New media, old people. I wonder what the average age is over there at the ‘cut? I remember a forum on “News On The Web” which featured Crosscut’s Chuck Taylor. He was asked what his website was going to do to attract younger folks. His answer was , “I don’t think we have to.” Bless his pea-pickin’ heart.
  • Ron Paul superfans to Sen. McCain: “You’ve got T-Rex Arms”
  • If you haven’t already, meet Meghan McCain. Apparently, she’s “socially liberal and economically conservative.” My favorite?

    And what will the young McCain do at the end of Election 2008?

    According to GQ, “(McCain) insists she wants to properly commemorate the experience’ by getting another tattoo at the end of the campaign. (She already has a star outline on the top of her right foot, a souvenir of spring break in San Diego last year.) She and her friends are batting around ideas. The only proposal that’s gained any traction so far is to have McCain written in Old English on the small of her back.”

    As Vince Vaughn would say, it “might as well be a bullseye.”

  • Ballard Denny’s? Landmark. Seattle’s longest continually running hotel? Not a landmark. Go figure. Thing is, the folks who own The Sorrento actually want it to have landmark status, while the owners of the shuttered Ballard Denny’s don’t.
  • Cigar bars? Illegal, but maybe not for long.
  • What do you do when your favorite band never leaves Austin? Watch their concerts on YouTube, that’s what. Besides blogs, YouTube is the best thing about the web.

What’s more:

  • The hardest part about baking a cake? The frosting. Add too much water, and the frosting looks like- well, it looks bad. The cake part is so easy. The frosting part- not so much.


  • If you emailed me at “” in the last several months, I just now got your email. Sorry. It was busted for a while, and Goldy just fixed it. I didn’t much mind since most of it was awful, awful spam, but some of it was really important, time-sensitive hate mail. Oh well.
by Goldy, 03/29/2008, 12:06 PM


The other day I posted a little fundraiser for Will, my most prolific co-blogger, and at last report Will says he’s raised $700 from fifteen contributers. Thank you all for your generosity. (Well… all fifteen of you.)

If you haven’t put a little change in Will’s cup yet, here’s another chance to show your appreciation for the kind of hard work that helps make HA the leading progressive blog in WA state… but not so progressive that we don’t occasionally enjoy poking fun at the anti-rail polar-bear-huggers at the Sierra Club.

Please click on the Donate button; any amount is appreciated. Thanks.

by Darryl, 03/28/2008, 11:53 PM

Seattle’s Winlar shares his mother’s advice (and you can sing along):

(There are some 60 other clips from the past week in politics posted at Hominid Views.)

by Goldy, 03/28/2008, 5:51 PM

Really. These guys are nuts. Totally fucking nuts. And any politician who curries their favor or seeks their endorsement should be asked to condemn them and return their dirty money.

Last month BIAW Stormwater Field Representative Mark Musser had the poor judgment to compare the state Department of Ecology to Nazi Germany, but if you thought he might follow up with an apology, think again, for in the latest issue of the BIAW’s newsletter Building Insight, Musser actually defends his comparison by offering readers a little history lesson: “Hitler’s Nazi party: They were eco extremists.” I kid you not.

Knowing my parallel would illicit screams of protest—how politically incorrect of me to mention Hitler and Nazis in the same breath as DOE or the environmental lobby—I explored the actual connection between environmental extremism and Hitler’s Nazi party.

You mean the modern environmental movement has its roots in Nazism? You know, the way the modern Northwest militia and Christian identity movements have their roots in the BIAW? Fill us in on the details, Mark.

The German Nazi party expressed many of the ecological refrains we hear today. Nazis were the vanguard of conservationism—they sought to remedy the increasing alienation of people from the natural world, deforestation, urban sprawl, the destruction of ecosystem balance, the extinction of species and the indiscriminate slaughter of animals.Hitler himself was a sometime vegetarian and an animal lover, and the Nazi government implemented some of the first laws protecting animal rights.

Hence, all vegetarians and animal lovers must be Nazis! (Well, maybe the folks at the Sierra Club.) Mark’s a logical guy.

The Nazis also blamed capitalism for destroying the European continent and believed environmental holism was the solution. They investigated sustainable forestry and institutionalized organic farming to advance experimental homeopathic cures and medicines.

I’m not sure if that stuff about sustainable forestry is true, or what the alleged connection is between organic farming and homeopathy, but I’m confused… is Musser trying to slander environmentalists or rehabilitate Hitler? (And, oh, by the way Mark, when he wasn’t weaving hemp or raising free-range chickens, I think Hitler also started a world war, firebombed London and exterminated six million Jews. I’m sure there’s a footnote in your history book about that stuff somewhere. Look it up.)

Nazi bioengineers were also very concerned about construction maintaining harmony with the natural landscape—the autobahn freeway in Germany was designed by Nazis with the utmost ecological care in mind and presented as a way to bring Germans closer to nature.

I hadn’t realized the autobahn was “bioengineered,” or that environmentalists were so into building freeways. Huh. I guess you learn something every day.

The Nazis also came up with far reaching land use restrictions and centralized environmental planning for the same purposes, and were very zealous about protecting wetlands and other ecological sensitive areas.

You know, just like Ron Sims. Ergo, Ron Sims must be a Nazi.

Thus green building and smart growth ideas are not something new.

Again, I’m not conceding anything to Musser on the facts, but is he implying that “smart” growth ideas are a bad thing?

Another familiar refrain—the Nazis complained the degradation of German soil was due to the landless, capitalistic, greedy Jews who pillaged and raped the European landscape for money and power. Today’s environmentalists still blame capitalism for the destruction of the natural world—greedy builders are routinely accused of pillaging and raping the landscape for money.

So, um, what you’re saying Mark, is that BIAW members today, under the regulatory regime of the Democrats in Olympia, have it as bad as my grandparents’ extended family did under the Nazi occupation in Poland and the Ukraine? Really? See, last time I checked, nobody was rounding up contractors into camps, starving them, gassing them, and shoving their bodies into ovens. But then, Europe’s Jewry didn’t have to contend with DOE’s stormwater regulations, so I guess they had it easy.

Of course, this Nazi environmental zealotry was insanely tied to German nationalism (racism), which relied heavily on the ideals of social Darwinism, a doctrine which some environmentalists have kept alive in spite of its evil reputation. When radical environmentalists oppose famine relief, medical aid and sanctuary for refugees because of overpopulation concerns, the whiff of Nazism is unmistakable.

Mark, are you sure you’re not getting environmentalists confused with your friends in the militia movement, you know, like all this local Minutemen with long ties to the BIAW?

Less vocally strident enviros are not quite sure what to do about overpopulation, aside from an insane obsession with anti-development, urban sprawl land use restrictions. Hitler, of course, had his own solution—wipe out the Slavs so the Germans could enjoy greater ecological health. Himmler had all kinds of grandiose ecological plans in mind for a depopulated Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Again, no mention of Hitler wiping out six million Jews. Must not be in Musser’s history book.

What environmentalists offer today, instead of the racist German National Socialism that defined the Nazi party, is an international environmental socialism, an amalgam of Nazism and communism—an international environmental socialism with a centralized planning scheme. But this amalgam is increasingly at odds with itself, causing a rift within the environmental lobby, with builders caught in the middle.

I was at a Washington Conservation Voters workshop this summer at Islandwood, and the tension between the neo-Nazi wing of the movement and the neo-Stalinists was palpable.

Case in point: Builders in Washington State are being squeezed by an environmental movement which extols ecofascism on the one hand (where the most important thing on the construction jobsite is not a house but “Earth First”), while on the other hand they are micromanaged to death by an ecological bureaucracy that would make any Soviet commissar green with envy. This communistic ecological micromanagement is perfectly exemplified in DOE’s breathtakingly detailed, 976-page stormwater manual and BMPs.

It’s not so much a stormwater “manual” as it is a manifesto.

So, much like Stalin and Hitler were divided on how to best go about their socialistic schemes, environmentalists are also divided over how to best go about their socialistic scheme of controlling human development—either by burning houses down with Molotov cocktails, or slowly squeezing the life out of it through extensive, Sovietesque micromanagement. Homebuilders are thus caught between militant ecofascism (radical environmentalists like ELF) and communistic bureaucracy (DOE).

Yup, that pretty much sums up the entire environmental movement: we’re all either ecofascist terrorists, or Stalinist butchers. Some of us are even both.

For the time being, it is the suffocating Soviet version which is winning this war, but the recent arsons claimed by ELF, and the mainstream environmentalists’ refusal to denounce them, demonstrate the other side’s “ecological blitzkrieg” approach could be gaining traction.

I checked; it’s the March issue of Building Insight, not an April Fool’s edition. But either way, over-the-top, fantastical hatemongering like this, coming from one of the most powerful political organizations in the state, is no laughing matter. Musser’s BIAW sanctioned paranoid rants are not only batshit crazy, they are downright offensive.

As a Jew whose entire extended family in Eastern Europe was exterminated by the Nazis, along with most of the rest of European Jewry, I take personal offense at efforts to diminish Hitler’s historically unparalleled war crimes in the service of rank political partisanship. How dare the BIAW trivialize the deaths of tens of millions by comparing the DOE to a psychotic war machine that tossed babies into mass graves in the name of racial purity and lebensraum?

And how dare our elected officials — in both parties — grant credibility to the insane, hateful and extremist rhetoric of the lunatic fringe at the BIAW by appearing at their functions and pocketing their money.

If our political and media establishment continue to ignore the BIAW’s violent rhetoric, then eventually it will be deemed an acceptable part of our political discourse. And eventually, some crazed nutcase will act on it.

by Goldy, 03/28/2008, 12:45 PM

Over the coming months I plan to roll out a series of updates to HA, including more content, more features, and better layout. Some of the changes will be rather trivial, and some quite dramatic (including the total redesign I’m currently elbow deep in coding.) And some might be only passing fancies, as I intend to experiment freely, modifying or even tossing “improvements” as I go along. It will be a work in progress.

The goal is to provide the HA community a better and more compelling user experience, and so I hope you not only tolerate the disruption, but work with me to help get it right. I’m willing to consider anything, no matter how radical, so if there’s something you’d like to see HA do better — or completely different — please consider this comment thread a suggestion box, and freely offer me your input over the coming months.

(Oh… and if a professional graphics designer wants to offer me some pro bono service, I could use the help.)

by Lee, 03/28/2008, 11:45 AM

Ever wonder what kind of grizzled veteran of world affairs and international trade has the kind of credentials to win a $300 million Pentagon bid to supply ammunition to our troops overseas?

Well, you can check out his MySpace page.

The whole amazing story about how a tiny Miami company being run by a 22-year-old was being paid with our tax dollars to send boxes of ancient ammunition to our troops is right here (more at TPM here).

by Goldy, 03/28/2008, 10:25 AM

With 44 Democratic challengers now having signed on to the Responsible Plan for ending the war in Iraq, the national media is beginning to pay attention not only to the Plan, but to the “infectiously energetic” force behind it: Darcy Burner. From today’s Washington Post, page A3:

Rejecting their party leaders’ assertions that economic troubles have become the top issue on voters’ minds, leaders of the coalition of 38 House and four Senate candidates pledged to make immediate withdrawal from Iraq the centerpiece of their campaigns.

“The people inside the Beltway don’t seem to get how big an issue this is,” said Darcy Burner, a repeat candidate who narrowly lost to Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) in 2006.


One criticism of Democrats in past elections is that they have railed against President Bush on Iraq without having a plan of their own. But 38 Democratic House challengers along with four Senate contenders have decided to run on a common platform outlining a strategy of withdrawal from Iraq.

[...] The plan was introduced about a week and a half ago, after six months of preparation. The plan combines existing legislation in Congress, packaged by Darcy Burner, a candidate for Washington’s eighth congressional district, with assistance from national security experts and retired generals.

And from The Nation:

At the plan’s unveiling, Burner–articulate, impressive and infectiously energetic–refused to be pessimistic. Despite the White House’s indifference, despite the war’s diminished presence on the front page, the people want the war to end.

“We can do this,” she said.

This fall, Rep. Dave Reichert will attempt to run as a Beltway outsider, fighting the entrenched D.C. establishment, while characterizing Darcy as just another Nancy Pelosi clone, blindly adhering to the Democratic party line. Don’t you believe it. Darcy is obviously not your typical politician — that’s what so endears her to the netroots, and that’s what’s beginning to endear her to the national press.

by Lee, 03/27/2008, 5:00 PM

This week, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank plans to introduce a bill to decriminalize the personal possession and use of marijuana. When announcing it on Real Time with Bill Maher, he jokingly referred to it as the “Make Room for the Serious Criminals” bill. Out here in Washington State, Edmonds resident and travel show host Rick Steves continues to fight for similar reforms. He has a column in the Seattle PI and, as always, he does a great job of explaining why we need to completely re-think our marijuana laws:

Some concerned U.S. parents are comforted by the illusion of control created by our complete prohibition of marijuana. But the policy seems to be backfiring: Their kids say it’s easier to buy marijuana than tobacco or alcohol. (You don’t get carded when you buy something illegally.) Meanwhile, Dutch parents say their approach not only protects their younger children, but also helps insulate teens over 18 from street pushers trying to get them hooked on more addictive (and profitable) hard drugs.

After a decade of regulating marijuana, Dutch anti-drug abuse professionals agree there has been no significant increase in pot smoking among young people, and that overall cannabis use has increased only slightly. European and U.S. government statistics show per-capita consumption of marijuana for most of Europe (including the Netherlands) is about half that of the U.S., despite the criminal consequences facing American pot smokers.

When it comes to marijuana, European leaders understand that a society must choose: Tolerate alternative lifestyles or build more prisons. They’ve made their choice. We’re still building more prisons.

To be fair, though, I should probably point out this news article from November to provide an example of the how dangerous this drug can be:

Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne fired back Thursday at criticism of his leadership and allegations of inappropriate behavior published in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported that Cayne was playing bridge and golf and was often out of touch from his embattled Wall Street firm this past summer while its hedge funds collapsed and helped to spark a credit crisis in global financial markets.

The Journal said that during what it described as 10 critical days of the crisis in July, Cayne was playing in a bridge tournament in Nashville, Tenn., without a cell phone or an email device.

Cayne shot back in a memo to Bear Stearns employees that he “stands by” his 14-year record at the firm and that allegations of “inappropriate conduct” are “absolutely untrue.”

The paper also reported that Cayne has sometimes smoked marijuana after bridge tournaments, citing attendees at the tournaments, although the paper did not say whether he did so in Nashville in July.

Cayne denied one specific alleged incident in 2004 that the paper asked about, but it reported that when it asked more generally whether he smoked pot during bridge tournaments or on other occasions, he said he would respond only “to a specific allegation.”

Remember kids, if you smoke pot, the stock holdings in the company you run might fall from $1 billion to less than $100 million. Stay away from that shit.

by Goldy, 03/27/2008, 1:00 PM

Presenting Recession: the Movie….

by Goldy, 03/27/2008, 11:45 AM

The folks at Crosscut got ahold of an in-house Seattle Times memo, and well, things aren’t looking so rosey these days over at Fairview Fanny. Print revenue is down 10.7% for January and February compared to the same two-month period last year. That’s worse than the 9% drop Times publisher Frank Blethen had been predicting, and considerably steeper than the 7% average decline for the newspaper industry last year. But the news only gets worse:

An even more ominous stat is the drop in the Times online revenue for January and February. That number was down 6.5% from the same period last year, according to Kelly’s memo.

The Times, like the rest of the newspaper industry, has been banking on the continued brisk growth of its online ad numbers to head off the well-documented drop in print advertising, as readers move to the Internet…

I’ve never been shy about airing my beefs with Blethen and his paper, but I’m not one of those bloggers who cheers the decline of the legacy media. I love the dailies, and typically browse at least a dozen a day. Indeed, I consider myself as much a media critic as a political commentator or reporter, which in itself should be understood as an act of love and respect. (You wouldn’t become a theater reviewer if you didn’t love the theater, or restaurant critic if you don’t appreciate dining.)

So let me offer a bit of free advice to Frank and the next generation of Blethens preparing to replace him: the medium is not the message. You can’t just move your content online, add a comment thread, and coast through the rest of the 21st century. If you want to thrive in this new medium pioneered by upstart bloggers like me, you need to do more than just update your technology. You need to update your content. You need to think a little more like a blogger.

Or maybe… you could just hire some of us. Really. You could benefit from a little blogger perspective (not to mention a more engaging writing style), and I could benefit from… well… a steady paycheck.

So Frank, gimme a call. Let’s work something out before I get a job offer from an industry that isn’t seeing its revenues decline ten percent year over year.