It’s getting cold out there.
Archives for January 2009
King County Councilmember Larry Phillips has announced his intention to run for county Executive. Publicola has the press release.
I know Larry has a lot of fans in the pro-transit community, but with Ron Sims’ status still up in the air, I think I’ll take some time before attempting to take sides in this race. So all I’m willing to say about Larry right now is that he’s tall.
And it looks like he’s not shy about visually emphasizing his altitudinous stature on his new website.
Yup, Larry’s a tall guy.
From The Columbian:
Businesses that were drawing down loans to fund these projects have been told by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that their credit is frozen. These borrowers are being encouraged to seek other financing within the next 90 days. They make up an unknown portion of the 1,000 borrowers whose $400 million worth of loans were seized from the Bank of Clark County on Jan. 16.
“The (FDIC) is going to leave me with unfinished homes that cannot be refinanced, rented or sold,” said a local home builder, who asked The Columbian not to publish his name because he did not want public comments to affect his negotiations with the FDIC.
That TARP thing sure is working well. If it works any better you won’t be able to charge a hamburger.
Unrelated but obvious: anonymous bloggers are a threat to Western Civilization. Anonymous developers get to call newspapers and have their complaints published. Seems equal to me.
From The New York Times:
Inspections of the plant in Blakely, Ga., by the state agriculture department found areas of rust that could flake into food, gaps in warehouse doors large enough for rodents to get through, unmarked spray bottles and containers, and numerous violations of other practices designed to prevent food contamination. The plant, owned by Peanut Corporation of America of Lynchburg, Va., has been shut down.
A typical entry from an inspection report, dated Aug. 23, 2007, noted: “The food-contact surfaces of re-work kettle in the butter room department were not properly cleaned and sanitized.” Additional entries noted: “The food-contact surfaces of the bulk oil roast transfer belt in the mezzazine [sic] room were not properly cleaned and sanitized. The food-contact surfaces of pan without wheels in the blanching department were not properly cleaned and sanitized.”
A code violation in the same report observed “clean peanut butter buckets stored uncovered,” while another cited a “wiping cloth” to “cover crack on surge bin.” Tests on samples gathered on the day of that inspection were negative for salmonella.
Props to Marler Blog.
How much does a tax cut stimulate people who lost their job?
It’s already been a lousy year for workers less than a month into 2009 and there’s no relief in sight. Tens of thousands of fresh layoffs were announced Monday and more companies are expected to cut payrolls in the months ahead.
Lots of lucky duckies at places like Sprint, GM, Caterpillar and Pfizer.
Seriously, I want these Republican Congress-critters who represent some of these districts to go home and tell their constituents they simply must increase the percentage of tax cuts in the stimulus bill, even as job losses mount. They might run into some actual “real” Americans going “WTF are you talking about, I just lost my job and my house!”
Everyone knew the GOP wouldn’t be satisfied with 40% of the package, even though they are in the minority. Enough of this bipartisan artifice, it’s not anything people outside Washington, D.C. care about very much, if at all.
We need to do what we need to do, and if Republicans don’t like it, they can bring it up at the next election.
Yup, HA had a little hiccup there, so I’ve had to rewind slightly to figure out what went wrong. On the bright side, you know I’m working.
Over at News Junkie, Sandeep’s hearing rumors of yet another round of layoffs at the Seattle Times, and when asked for comment, Times spokesperson Jill Mackie gave this non-denial denial:
“We have no announcements to make at this time regarding further layoffs,” Mackie wrote back. “Generally speaking, we try not to comment on rumors, and, out of respect to our employees, were we to have an announcement to make, we would certainly want to discuss it first with employees before commenting in the media.”
Huh. I guess that makes Sandeep “media.” Welcome back, Sandeep.
Meanwhile at Publicola, Josh talks to Seattle P-I managing editor David McCumber, who fears that Seattle could be on its way to being a no-newspaper town.
By any measure, Washington state Dems have done well under Dwight Pelz’s chairmanship. Under his leadership WA Dems have won high-profile US Senate and gubernatorial races, taken back the Commissioner of Public Lands office in a closely contested race, and built near supermajorities in both house’s of the state legislature. Meanwhile, party coffers have been relatively flush, and voter registration rolls have swelled.
You can argue whether Pelz deserves much (or any) of the credit for his party’s success in recent years, but if you’re keeping score, you can’t argue that times have been pretty damn good for WA’s donkeys.
At the same time, the Washington State Republican Party has continued its decline under the chairmanship of Luke Esser. Sure, they managed to hold on to WA-08 (in a district that has never elected a Democrat) and they picked up a couple seats this year in the otherwise lopsided legislature, but they’ve had some awfully big losses, including a spanking in a governor’s race that just a couple years ago was widely considered to be a gimme for ex-party-savior Dino Rossi.
So how’d the two party chairs do in their respective bids for another term? Well, they both won, but…
Pelz won by 98-64 over former Snohomish County Democratic Chairman Mark Hintz. […] Esser was re-elected without opposition at a GOP meeting in Tukwila.
That’s right, Pelz is rewarded for his winning ways with a serious challenger, whereas Esser—Rob McKenna’s cabin boy—faces zero opposition in the wake of the losingest record in recent party history.
I think that tells you everything you need to know about the personality of the two parties… and perhaps, a bit about their relative success and failure.
Cocaine was first discovered in 1860 by Albert Niemann, a German chemist who identified it as the active chemical compound in the coca leaf. Before 1914, when cocaine was still legal in the United States, it was consumed primarily as an ingredient in tonics, ointments, wines, and other products. It was the original “Coca” in Coca-Cola. Vin Mariani, a well-known coca wine, had the face of Pope Leo XIII on its label. Leo and his successor, Pope Pius X, were both fans of the drink. During the temperance movement, however, cocaine was banned along with other drugs in the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. Over the next few decades, its use dropped significantly in America as amphetamines started to become more popular.
In the late 1970s, however, the use of cocaine began to rise again. Instead of being an ingredient in various products, though, people were ingesting the drug straight up their noses as a powder, a method that had far more intense effects for the user. Just as alcohol prohibition led to the consumption of alcohol in more dangerous ways, the prohibition of coca eventually led to a trend of ingesting the drug in ways that were baffling to South Americans, where chewing on coca leaves or brewing them in tea has been commonplace for many generations.
Sometime over the next day or so we’ll be introducing a new feature, with posts from Publicola (and eventually, other JOA blogs) occasionally appearing “cross-posted” to HA, and vice-versa. Of course cross-posting is nothing new—I occasionally cross-post to Huffington Post—and on the surface, it won’t appear like much of an innovation to the casual reader. But JOA’s new integrated cross-post works a little differently.
How is it different? Well, when I cross-post to HuffPo, I create two separate posts, one here and one there, with two separate comment threads and two separate audiences. But a JOA cross-post is a single post that merely appears in multiple places; edit the source on Publicola, and the changes instantly appear on HA. And more importantly, a JOA cross-post has a single comment thread, allowing JOA sites to not only share content, but also, share community. So don’t be surprised is click on post at HA and find yourself in a comment thread on another blog.
This is admittedly a baby step toward a much larger vision, but a step nonetheless, and a demonstration of where I think this little experiment of ours needs to go. Ultimately, the goal is to share revenue as well content, and integrated cross-posting could play an important role in efficiently distributing quality content to the widest audience possible while proportionately rewarding both content producers and traffic drivers for the value they create.
In a monetized environment, cross-posts, links and even block-quotes all have monetary value: if I link to Publicola, I should get a piece of the revenues generated from the page views I create, while Josh should get a proportionate piece of the revenues generated from my page views that include his content. How big a chunk each partner gets should be left to the market, but I’m pretty sure that it is only through the creation of a shared co-operative that a market for shared content can be created without giving up the largest chunk of the revenue stream to the entity who sets the rules and facilitates the transactions.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Look for the new cross-post thingy. And look for more new features coming soon.
From The Oregonian:
Two students in a foreign exchange program died and seven other people were injured Saturday night when a 24-year-old man with a gun opened fire outside a popular underage nightclub in downtown Portland.
Police identified one of the victims as Ashley Wilks, 16, of Happy Valley. People familiar with the student exchange program said Wilks — a Clackamas High School sophomore — was preparing to head to a foreign country for study.
It appears authorities have yet to name a suspect, who according to the newspaper shot himself and is in critical condition. At this point police seem to believe the shooting was random.
How utterly awful.
[This is the first in a six part series on Vice President Joe Biden and his background as one of America’s staunchest drug warriors. Parts 2-6 will be posted each morning this week]
In the fall of 1982, the Reagan Administration’s Justice Department introduced a plan to spend up to $200 million for anti-drug enforcement efforts. The plan was to create a more coordinated network of FBI and DEA agents, along with the Coast Guard and the military, to bring down the drug trafficking networks that were operating in major American cities. Delaware Senator Joe Biden was quoted in the New York Times as saying that it wasn’t enough, and that we needed to have a “drug czar” to oversee these operations. By the end of Reagan’s second term, Biden’s request had become a reality, as the Office of National Drug Control Policy was created. Secret gambling enthusiast Bill Bennett was named as America’s first Drug Czar.
It’s commonly said that the modern drug war was launched by Richard Nixon a decade earlier, after he ignored his own commission’s recommendation to decriminalize marijuana and instead decided to wage war on potheads. But the escalations of the drug war in the 1980s have arguably had far more devastating consequences than anything Nixon did.
The tragic overdose death of college basketball star Len Bias in 1986, after he’d been selected by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA draft, prompted the biggest wave of anti-drug legislation in our nation’s history. Congress passed new laws targeting the drug trade, including a number of mandatory minimum jail sentences for various offenses. This legislation included the infamous 100-to-1 disparity between crack and powder limits, a distinction that made it easier to fill our jails to the brim with African-Americans, who were not only tend to be targeted for drug laws, but have been far more likely to be in possession of cheaper crack-cocaine in lower income neighborhoods. In the meantime, it’s done much less to disrupt the trade among wealthier (and whiter) powder cocaine sellers and users.
When the Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1986 was signed, President Reagan made the following comments:
The magnitude of today’s drug problem can be traced to past unwillingness to recognize and confront this problem. And the vaccine that’s going to end the epidemic is a combination of tough laws — like the one we sign today — and a dramatic change in public attitude. We must be intolerant of drug use and drug sellers. We must be intolerant of drug use on the campus and at the workplace. We must be intolerant of drugs not because we want to punish drug users, but because we care about them and want to help them. This legislation is not intended as a means of filling our jails with drug users. What we must do as a society is identify those who use drugs, reach out to them, help them quit, and give them the support they need to live right.
Two decades later, America has seen its jails filled with 25% of the world’s prisoners, despite having only 5% of its population. This legislation did exactly what Reagan said it wouldn’t do. It filled our jails with non-violent people with drug problems and failed to give people the support they needed to live right. And he had no greater ally in the Senate for setting all of this in motion than Joe Biden. After Biden became chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in November, 1986, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
Other than reviewing judicial nominees, Biden said his priority as Judiciary chairman would be the creation of a “drug czar,” a cabinet-level officer to coordinate the nation’s war on drugs.
Not only did Biden succeed, but he created an office that was truly Orwellian in nature. By law, the Drug Czar’s office is required not only to oversee law enforcement activities, but it’s also required to actively oppose legalization efforts, even if that requires them to ignore science or lie. In 2003, Congressman Ron Paul accused the ONDCP of using public funds to propagandize and spread misinformation. The General Accounting Office responded by telling Paul sorry, but that’s what the law requires them to do.
This is why Drug Czar John Walters was able to travel to Michigan this summer – on the taxpayer’s dime – and campaign against their medical marijuana bill. Something that’s illegal for many federal officials under the Hatch Act of 1939 is actually part of the job description for the Drug Czar. It would be like requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services by law to campaign against universal health care; or commanding the director of the EPA to propagandize for one side in the global warming debate regardless of what scientists are saying. Thankfully, the voters of Michigan still voted overwhelmingly to pass their initiative.
In recent years, the horrific outcome of the sentencing disparity has become so great to ignore that even Joe Biden has been working on legislation to fix it. But the drug war escalations throughout the 1980s and the creation of the Drug Czar’s office has caused far more damage than just giving this county a quarter of the world’s prisoners. It has been devastating to our allies, our foreign relations, our inner cities, our civil rights, and our reputation as a nation that was premised on treating individual liberty as an ideal.
As a foul-mouthed blogger, I’m grateful there are smart, nice, civil people in the world like Reich. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
Funny how uncivil and lying behavior by the right is so accepted as part of the media landscape that you rarely see traditional outlets get all upset about it, and in the case of the falsehoods about Reich’s views traditional media figures like Lou Dobbs at CNN have also spread them quite deliberately. As we have seen countless times in the past, deliberately telling outright lies is not just wrong, it warps rational discourse and causes stupid people to believe whatever the hell they want, facts be damned.
And it’s only when the DFH wants something totally insane like health insurance coverage for all Americans that we get the preachy editorials about civility and bi-partisanship.
This country is in a crisis. We can no longer afford to let stupid people believe lies, they must be told the truth. Stupid is what got us here in the first place.
Last week’s contest was won by ‘Change in Time,’ who found the view at 20th St and Mississippi St in San Francisco. And speaking of changes in time, this is the last contest that will be posted at this time. Starting next week, I’ll be posting these up on Sunday at noon (Pacific Time).
Here’s this week’s, good luck!