Archives for February 2009
The respective mayors of Vancouver and Portland announced an agreement yesterday concerning the Columbia River Crossing, the project to replace the aging spans between the two cities known as the Interstate Bridge.
The mayors of Portland and Vancouver say that a new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River should have 12 lanes.
They also propose a bistate commission to manage the new bridge, along with the Interstate 205 crossing upstream, including tolls, high-occupancy lanes and transit fares “to reduce vehicle miles traveled and pollution.”
So over at NPI Advocate, a poster named Brock raises concerns about how all this is going to cause more sprawl, destroy farms, etc. Basically they’re the same concerns voiced by some folks in Portland about a “huge” new bridge, with a fair amount of focus on the number of lanes on the bridge itself.
– I was chatting with Dan Robinson last night at DL, and he was telling me about an encounter he had during his latest call-in for jury duty. An older gentleman, when asked if he thought the accused had done something wrong, responded by saying “well, he must have done something wrong, or he wouldn’t be here.” The examples of why it’s a bad idea to believe that are far too numerous to mention, but another huge one surfaced last week.
Over at Reason, Radley Balko breaks another story involving corruption in Mississippi. In this case, an old video surfaced showing Michael West, a forensics expert working on a case from Monroe, Louisiana, intentionally putting bitemarks on a toddler who’d drowned in a bathtub. The defendant who was eventually convicted in the case, Jimmie Duncan, has been sitting on death row for 10 years.
Balko has long covered the case of Mississippi’s main medical examiner and West’s colleague, Steven Hayne (more posts here). Hayne has been doing autopsies in Mississippi for 20 years (and doing far more than other forensics experts say is even possible) and has testified in thousands of trials. There have already been a number of people who’ve been exonerated by DNA or other evidence after being sent to long prison terms, or even death row, by Hayne’s testimony.
– Josh Marshall writes about Sir Allen Stanford, the nation of Antigua, and how the latter owes the former $100 million.
Now, I have an affinity for the place because I’ve been there three times. Not that I’m some big Caribbean island hopper or world traveller. It’s the only place that I’ve ever been in the Caribbean. But I’ve been there three times. So I know the place a bit. And Stanford’s flameout has completely upended the whole place because he had made himself such a player there. As a funny illustration, a few days ago I went to the website of the local newspaper, the Antigua Sun, to try to find out the latest on what was happening down there. And I couldn’t find anything about it, which struck me as weird. And then I dug a little deeper to discover that … well, the Antigua Sun is owned by Sir Allen. So maybe that explains it.
The country has been hit by a major banking panic, not surprisingly. And the entire population has been in a panic over what’s going to happen to the country. Today the government announced that it is confiscating the land that Sir Allen owns in the island “to protect the national economy.” And that makes me wonder if more of that might be afoot because a few days ago the Prime Minister revealed that the government of Antigua owes Stanford “more than $100 million.”
And in good news for rich Americans looking to do business in the Caribbean, we might be able to play in Cuba again soon.
– Legendary drug warrior Calvina Fay speaks out against the California bill to regulate marijuana:
“If we think the drug cartels are going to tuck their tails between their legs and go home, I think we’re badly mistaken,” Fay said.
“They’re going to heavily target our children.”
Calvina, they already heavily target our children. Not just as customers, but as employees too. If you legalize marijuana, you’ll no longer have 16 year old kids standing on the street selling it. You’ll have old hippies in a head shop or maybe a state liquor store doing that. And the unscrupulous people who still try to sell drugs to young people? Well, we’ll finally have the police resources to catch them when we’re not wasting our time trying to arrest Michael Phelps.
– Finally, with Jenny Durkan looking to become the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, what will happen with the case against Marc Emery, the Canadian marijuana seed-seller who’s long been fighting extradition by the previous two U.S. Attorneys here?
Goldy and friends speak frankly and directly on three critical topics. They begin with a bar-room-inspired analysis of Obama’s address to the joint session of Congress. A few swings get thrown at Bobby Jindal and the pursed-lipped ninnies sitting on one side of the chamber. The topic then turns to former Governor Gary Locke, who is on his way to the other Washington to have his tax returns scrutinized. Regardless of a few jabs and hooks, Goldy really does like Locke. Really! Finally, at risk of a total brawl, the panel undertakes the task of fixing Washington State’s budget problems….
The show is 37:35, and is available here as an MP3:[audio:http://www.podcastingliberally.com/podcasts/podcasting_liberally_feb_24_2009.mp3]
Not exactly a profile in courage:
US Representative David G. Reichert’s first mention that he “voted no twice on the stimulus package” earned him a standing ovation that echoed through the Elks Club auditorium. A declaration that “we should be angry” provoked screams of, “We are!”
[…] But in the short term, Reichert acknowledges that the stimulus bill will deliver tangible good news to his constituents. By April, they are to start seeing the bill’s tax cuts reflected in slightly larger paychecks. Within months, there may be job listings for construction projects, perhaps for the high-speed rail corridor – one of 10 nationwide to share in $8 billion in new funding – that runs along Reichert’s district. By the end of the year, local companies in this tech-centric area may be reaching for some of the money to improve the digital infrastructure of the healthcare industry.
“I feel a responsibility at this point to make this still work,” Reichert said.
What absolutely (and absolutely typical) shameless hypocrisy. When the Seattle Times lauds Reichert for his “conscience-driven independence,” I guess they’re really referring to his independence from an actual conscience.
(Oh, and speaking of the Times… why the hell am I reading this article on Reichert in the Boston Globe, instead of the Times, P-I or TNT?)
Back in March of 2004, the Wall Street Journal profiled two rising “state-level stars“…
Barack Obama is a Third Culture Kid — born in Hawaii of a Kenyan father and white American mother, raised in Indonesia, educated in New York and Cambridge, Mass. Now he’s favored to win a Senate seat in Illinois.
Dino Rossi sells commercial real estate, work that blends seamlessly into the Chamber of Commerce brand of Republican politics. In a state with few Italians and Catholics, the son of a grade-school teacher and beautician doesn’t blend in altogether. Which is good for his hopes to become governor of Washington state.
Odds are you haven’t heard of Mr. Obama, a 42-year-old Democrat, or Mr. Rossi, a 44-year-old Republican, above the truculent din of the Kerry and Bush campaigns. But both genial politicians, breaking molds, are candidates that could make a mark on their states, and perhaps the nation.
Last night President Barack Obama delivered his first speech before a joint session of Congress. And Dino Rossi…? He’s busy preparing for a spring-roll eating contest.
Well I guess, in the WSJ’s defense, batting .500 ain’t too bad.
WTF? I swear I was just going to ignore the guy, but really.
When Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivered the official Republican response to President Obama’s speech last night, he blasted elements of the economic stimulus package as “wasteful spending”– among them, “$140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’”
“Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.,” Jindal said.
What was that all about? Well, Congress authorized some of that $140 million to be spent on volcano monitoring, but not all of it, ProPublica notes in a blow-by-blow of the economic recovery package. That line, ProPublica says, is directed to “U.S. Geological Survey facilities and equipment, including stream gages, seismic and volcano monitoring systems and national map activities.”
Just another Republican idiot. You don’t hear Democrats calling NOAA “wasteful spending.” See, here’s the thing–Louisiana is full of our fellow American citizens, and I’m happy the federal government funds research and prediction efforts regarding tropical storms and hurricanes. It’s a necessary and rational function of the government, just like having the USGS monitor volcanoes.
Good lord. Guess Jindal never heard of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, some 45 miles or so as the crow flies from my location. It was in the news and everything at the time.
UPDATE 11:15 PM PST– Now Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard, a retired military officer and no shrinking violet, has weighed in (via CNN. com:)
“Does the governor have a volcano in his backyard?” Royce Pollard, the mayor of Vancouver, Washington, said on Wednesday. “We have one that’s very active, and it still rumbles and spits and coughs very frequently.”
Pollard, a former Army officer who has served as Vancouver’s mayor for 14 years, said USGS equipment used to keep tabs on volcanoes is frequently damaged or destroyed. He said he wasn’t sure how many jobs the money could produce, but, “For us and the people who live closer to it than Vancouver, it’s important.”
“We lost lives the last time, and we could lose them again,” he said.
Yeah sure, I’m a cynic, but I’m guessing I wasn’t the only American watching Bobby Jindal stride up to the camera last night to instantly assume that the equally cynical Republican leadership cast the first-term Louisiana governor in that role, primarily based on the color of his skin. Gives new meaning to the phrase the minority response.
The GOP is an overwhelmingly white party, and predominantly old, white male at that, and so their relentless efforts to present a diverse face by touting young governors like Jindal and Sarah Palin as party leaders just comes across as pathetic. No doubt Jindal and Palin bring more to the table than a little melanin or estrogen, but if the Republicans are really interested in rejuvenating and recasting themselves, instead of just putting their same-old, same-old rhetoric in the mouth of a younger, darker face, they’d do better for themselves and the nation by elevating the likes of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist… a silver-haired white man, sure, but at least one who appears willing and able to question party orthodoxy during these extraordinary times.
Republicans are understandably envious (and increasingly alarmed) at the Democrats’ growing success with minority voters, but it seems they have the cause-and-effect behind our nation’s political segregation exactly backwards. Minorities don’t vote for Democrats because we have more minority leaders; Democrats have more minority leaders because we are a fundamentally more inclusive party that supports and promotes policies that better serve the needs of minority communities. And Republicans just can’t slap a Jindal or a Michael Steele in front of a gaggle of rich, old, white men and magically bridge that gap.
Jindal may indeed be smart and wonky, and perhaps may yet earn his reputation as a rising star, but he is only 37-years-old, and his three years in Congress and one year as governor of one of the most endemically corrupt and mismanaged states in the union hardly recommends him as a national leader. And judging by the early reviews, last night’s performance didn’t do much to enhance his stature:
National Public Radio’s Juan Williams said that Jindal’s presentation was “sing-songy” and that Jindal looked “childish” compared to Obama. “I think he had a really poor performance tonight, I’m sorry to say,” Williams said on Fox News Channel.
MSNBC’s political site was critical as well: “The Louisiana governor, a Rhodes scholar, is a serious guy who’s known for sometimes being too wonky and even somewhat humorless. Well, he tried too hard NOT to look wonky and humorless. But it didn’t work … his speech seemed to be too much of a brochure about himself rather than about his party and its ideas.”
And then there’s conservative commentator David Brooks’ scathing instant assessment on PBS’s The News Hour:
Still, I guess that’s okay; Jindal wouldn’t be the first young governor to flop in that role, so it’s hardly a career killer. Indeed, if history is any guide, Jindal might someday have a promising career as Commerce Secretary.
President Barack Obama this morning officially introduced former WA Gov. Gary Locke as his third (and presumably final) pick for Commerce Secretary:
“I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone that we’ve tried this a couple of times,” Mr. Obama said while introducing Locke at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. “But I’m a big believer in keeping at something until you get it right. And Gary is the right man for this job.”
I don’t know anybody who doesn’t think this will be an easy confirmation, and that Locke is clearly qualified for the job.
Not continuing to subsidize a polluting business that closed down part of the operation for which it was given a subsidy in the first place is crazy! Or so says Don Brunell of the Association of Washington Business in his weekly
advertisement column in The Columbian. (Still waiting for that weekly labor column from the paper. Yeah….)
The state budget may be horrific, but the bidness guys and gals gotta have their cut, even if they are from Canada. (Nothing against the fine regular citizens of Canada.)
I don’t know why liberals don’t understand the free market better, it’s really pretty simple. First a Columbian reporter writes an article highlighting a modest proposal from Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, then an editorial appears from Don Brunell or another writer, then the free market continues giving a foreign company tax breaks. Econ 101, people.
I say aim the budget ax at the wee kiddies instead, the little monsters. The ingrates certainly don’t deserve clean air, let alone instructors.
I give the non-SOTU speech a grade of “B.” Lots of good stuff about education, health care, energy and foreign policy, but he’s still not really dealing with the pressing question of the moment, namely what to do with the insolvent large banks.
Whether this is because he’s going to outfox the Tranche Class in the end or because the Tranche Class is well represented in his administration is not known. Yeah, sure, it’s all about utilitarianism, but since everyone from Greenspan to Krugman is saying what needs to be done, well, you know, it needs to be done. Not sure what bigger platform Obama could have had.
Obama explains things well in a lot of ways, and can form sentences. It’s rather jarring after all this time. The president is not a buffoon! Hurrah!
Also, it’s fun to watch Republicans look at each other and go “darn, we have to stand up and clap or we look like even bigger uncaring jerks.” The distaste on some of their faces was priceless. They looked like a bunch of old southern white guys in suits.
Some folks will show up earlier for dinner, or to watch President Barack Obama give
the State of the…State of the Union…or State…ah… Speech to the Nation…whatever you want to call it—Speech to the Nation…. an address before a joint session of Congress. That starts at 6:00 pm.
Not in Seattle? The Drinking Liberally web site has dates and times for some 320 chapters of Drinking Liberally spread across the earth. Find one near you.
For those of you who, like me, have kind of missed having Dino in the spotlight these last few months, The Stranger‘s Paul Constant informs us that the former Republican gubernatorial standard-bearer will be bellying up to the table for the International District Spring Roll 2009 spring roll-eating competition this April.
His competition? King County executive candidate Dow Constantine!
In addition to Constantine, who represents the district, Rossi will chow down against Constant, former Husky football star Brock Huard, and a few other local quasi-dignitaries.
To the credit of all involved in potentially embarrassing themselves on stage, proceeds from the event, where tickets start at $90, go to Seattle Chinatown Internaional District community development programs.