by Jon DeVore, 08/31/2009, 10:41 PM

What Robert Reich says.

Adding, for overly obvious emphasis, that to have message discipline you need to have a message in the first place.

We’re getting our butts kicked out here, and the people who get paid to do this stuff need to get out the belt. I’m looking at you, Barack Obama.

by Darryl, 08/31/2009, 6:13 PM

The latest R-71 data release shows that the signature verification process is all but complete. A total of 137,881 signatures have been examined (a little more than the 137,689 they thought they had).

Total of 121,617 signatures have been accepted, giving a margin of 1,040 signatures over the 120,577 needed for the referendum to qualify for the ballot. I don’t believe all of the third-stage checks have been completed, so the number of valid signatures may increase some more.

Some 16,198 invalid signatures were found, for an cumulative rejection rate of 11.75%. The invalid signatures include 12,710 that are not found in the voting rolls, 2,093 duplicates, and 1,395 that did not match the signature on file. There are also 66 signatures still pending, so the number will change a bit.

The certification is scheduled for Wednesday.

What this means is that R-71 will (almost certainly) be be on the ballot, asking Washington citizens to confirm or deny the “everything by marriage” law that was passed last session.

In other words, if you want the law to take effect, you would vote YES on R-71. A NO vote is a vote to scrap the domestic partnership law.

There is one snag that may keep R-71 from the ballot. There is a pending lawsuit challenging two aspects of the signature verification process:

Arguments by supporters of the new law centered around the acceptance of over 35,000 signatures without a full declaration on the petitions signed by the signature-gatherer, and whether it is valid to accept signatures of people who signed up to become voters at the same time they signed petitions. The Elections Division has accept signers who are found on current lists of registered voters, and has not rejected voter signatures on petitions without the full declaration by the solicitor.

A ruling is expected on Wednesday morning.

An interesting thing about this case is the lawyers involved. The challengers are being represented by David Burman. You may remember him as one of the lawyers representing Gov. Gregoire in the 2004 gubernatorial election contest. Or maybe you recall him from the 2008 senatorial election contest in Minnesota.

The lawyer representing R-71 sponsors is Stephen Pidgeon. Last year Pidgeon represented a group that sued Sam Reed challenging Barack Obama’s eligibility to be President. The case (Broe v. Reed) was dismissed by the Washington State Supreme Court in early January.

I don’t think these particular successes and failures have much bearing on the success or failure of the R-71 court challenge, but they sure spice things up!

by Jon DeVore, 08/31/2009, 3:52 PM

Is the Yelling Marine, David Hedrick, going to run for Congress against incumbent Democratic Brian Baird in WA-03?

There appears to be a place-holder web site up for Hedrick.

Wonder if he’ll show up in Olympia tonight?

Meanwhile, 3rd District Rep. Brian Baird has moved tonight’s town hall to a new location: Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE in Olympia. It will run from 7 to 9 p.m.

Personally I hope Hedrick does run for Congress, and appears at forums and debates. Hard to say what the reaction might be from the two announced Republican candidates, David Castillo and Jon Russell. What’s also not known is what party Hedrick might ultimately decide to list, as his place-holder site doesn’t specify.

If Hedrick has the right stuff, he’ll do well. If not, he’ll quickly find out it’s not quite as easy as yelling into a microphone for three minutes and having someone put up a YouTube video so the right wing noise machine can fluff it.

People will want to know all sorts of stuff about the views a candidate holds. Fifteen minutes only lasts, well, about fifteen minutes.

UPDATE 8:48 PM– A friend of mine at the town hall tonight in Olympia reports that Hedrick did indeed show up, and apparently asked Baird to read the 10th Amendment from the Constitution. Hedrick wanted to know where in the Constitution it says Congress can oversee health care reform, or words to that effect.

Baird’s response, according to my friend, was to read the amendment for the crowd and point out different people (ed note-like perhaps the Supreme Court?) interpret it differently, and pointed out to Hedrick the Constitution also says nothing about veteran’s health care.

My friend reports Hedrick’s face “went dead” and he had nothing else to say, and that Hedrick left a short while later.

My friend is not a reporter, nor a blogger, so I’ll be interested to see how the traditional media reports this exchange.

Still no word, official or otherwise, if Hedrick really intends to run for Congress.

UPDATE TWO–9:21 PM–Brad Shannon of The Olympian has this initial nugget in a breaking news post.

One man who said he is a U.S. Marine from Camas insisted that reforms such as House Resolution 3200 are unconstitutional. He said, when quizzed by Baird, that he also believes Medicare is unconstitutional.

Well, okay. As one commenter at The Olympian put it, you’d think that if Medicare is actually unconstitutional, someone would have proven it in a court of law by now.

UPDATE THREE–9:57 PM– A fuller account comes from Brad Shannon of The Olympian, via the News-Tribune:

Baird took a more conciliatory approach in his evening event, and although a few critics got heated in their remarks, Baird urged the audience not to interrupt and to let speakers have their say – including David William Hedrick, who questioned the legality of the reforms.

Hedrick, who said he was a U.S. Marine from Camas, said members of Congress “have no right” to mandate coverage, and he challenged Baird to pull out his pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution, then read from Article 10, which Baird did.

“I presume you are saying Medicare is not constitutional,” Baird said. “Correct,” Hedrick replied.

Baird said there is much debate but many scholars believe Medicare and similar programs are within the scope of the Congress’ powers. “You are not the only person who gets to interpret the Constitution, sir,’’ Baird added.

Wonder if Baird’s rejoinder will be on Fox Noise? Yeah, right.

by Goldy, 08/31/2009, 11:17 AM

Isn’t it at least a little ironic that while Dave Reichert may have won a third term in Congress, Darcy Burner is actually having a greater impact on the all important health care reform debate?

An organizer for liberal House Democrats says the bloc “isn’t bluffing” as it prepares to take a reputation-defining stand to protect a public insurance option in the health care overhaul.

Darcy Burner, executive director of the American Progressive Caucus Policy Foundation, said the health care debate has rallied traditionally disparate Congressional liberals to hang together, while galvanizing support for their position from an array of left-leaning outside groups. The result, she said, is that Democratic leaders will not be able to clear a package through the House if it does not include the public plan.

“We have never had the Progressive Caucus organized the way it is right now,” Burner said during a Friday roundtable with Roll Call. “This is not the normal scenario. And Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] knows it.”

Not that you’re likely to read anything about Darcy’s efforts in a local press that made up its mind about her early on, and is about as likely to reevaluate her as it is to admit the truth that Reichert did not really catch the Green River Killer.

by Goldy, 08/31/2009, 9:48 AM

What a bunch of crybabies:

GOOGLE is a wonderful thing. It is also a dangerous thing, as it keeps demonstrating in its quietly rapacious way.

The latest is from Italy. The Italian newspapers are complaining that Google News Italia is using their content without permission, and without payment. Under Google’s rules, they can withhold their work from Google News Italia only at the price of excluding their pages from all Google searches.

You let us use your work for free, or we don’t let our customers find your Web page.

That is Google’s take-it-or-leave-it deal — in Italy and here, too. Google’s paid minions make this arrangement sound like philanthropy, but its fairness is more apparent to Google than to anyone else. The statements that count most are financial, and what they tell is a story of market dominance.

Google has two-thirds of the market in search — a share more than three times bigger than the No. 2 in the market, Yahoo. In the Bush administration, this seemed to bother regulators only on Wednesdays and Fridays. They blocked Google’s deal with Yahoo, which stopped Google from increasing its dominance. The Bush people did little to deprive Google of the dominance it already had.

The book publishers did get together and sue Google over the theft of their content by Google Book — and, last November, Google agreed to pay them for their property. Maybe the newspaper publishers need to do the same.

Hey Seattle Times, I just used your work for free… why don’t you sue me too? Come on… I dare ya!

First of all, perhaps I missed it, but I don’t ever remember the Times editorializing in favor of breaking up any of hometown Microsoft’s monopolies, and few companies in recent American history have acted more intentionally monopolistic than our neighbors in Redmond. To dismiss Microsoft as “so last century” is to miss the point; the Times had no problem with Microsoft’s monopoly as long as our local economy benefited from it.

But the larger issue here is: quit your whining!

Again with the Google is stealing our business crap; indeed far from it. Google doesn’t steal readers, it drives them to your site, as evidenced by the Times own bullshit “1.4 million people read The Seattle Times newspaper” banner they’ve been plastering at the top of every page. You think the bulk of these individual readers has bookmarked the Times, or intentionally typed in its URL? No, the bulk of them have clicked through links on Google and elsewhere, teased by the exactly the kind of “theft” about which the Times so vociferously complains.

The Times and most of the rest of the newspaper industry isn’t suffering because search engines and bloggers are stealing their content, but because of poor business decisions and an inability/refusal to adapt to changing technologies and tastes. And the quicker they come to terms with this, the quicker they’ll halt, and possibly even start to reverse, the appalling collapse of the local press.

by Lee, 08/30/2009, 8:58 PM

I have some family in town this weekend, so I haven’t had any time to blog, but something happened today while driving out to Snoqualmie Falls that just baffled me. We were driving south on I-5 past the 45th/50th St exit when an SDOT-type vehicle (the ones with the big flashing signs on top) got on the freeway and immediately started to swerve wildly across the four lanes of traffic back and forth. Somehow, the vehicle didn’t crash into anyone, but the cars on I-5 were all slowed to well below the speed limit. I quickly got over to the left lane and took 520 instead of 90 so I don’t know if there was anything ahead on the freeway. Does anyone know what the fuck was going on?

UPDATE: Response from SDOT here.

by Lee, 08/30/2009, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was won by Deathfrogg. It was the transplanted London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Here’s this week’s, good luck!

by Goldy, 08/30/2009, 10:29 AM

One of the best eulogies for Sen. Ted Kennedy was actually one given a year before he died, by Sarah Vowell in the New York Times:

ON Monday night at the Democratic National Convention, Caroline Kennedy introduced a tribute to her uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, by pointing out, “If your child is getting an early boost in life through Head Start or attending a better school or can go to college because a Pell Grant has made it more affordable, Teddy is your senator, too.”

To my surprise, I started to cry. Started to cry like I was watching the last 10 minutes of “Brokeback Mountain” instead of C-SPAN. This was whimpering brought on by simple, spontaneous gratitude.

I paid my way through Montana State University with student loans, a minimum-wage job making sandwiches at a joint called the Pickle Barrel, and — here come the waterworks — Pell Grants. Thanks to Pell Grants, I had to work only 30 hours a week up to my elbows in ham instead of 40.

Ten extra hours a week might sound negligible, but do you know what a determined, junior-Hillary type of hick with a full course load and onion-scented hands can do with the gift of 10 whole hours per week? Not flunk geology, that’s what. Take German every day at 8 a.m. — for fun! Wander into the office of the school paper on a whim and find a calling. I’m convinced that those 10 extra hours a week are the reason I graduated magna cum laude, which I think is Latin for “worst girlfriend in town.”

Twenty years after my first financial aid package came through, I have paid off my college and graduate school loans and I have paid back the federal government in income taxes what it doled out to me in Pell Grants so many, many, many, many times over it’s a wonder I’m not a Republican.

[...] I am a registered Democrat. That first night’s convention speech by Senator Kennedy about his life’s work reminded me what being a Democrat means. I have spent the last eight years so disgusted with the incompetent yahoos of the executive branch that I had forgotten that I believe in one of the core principles of the Democratic Party — that government can be a useful, meaningful and worthwhile force for good in this republic instead of just an embarrassing, torturing, Book of Revelation starter kit.

The emphasis is mine, and it pretty much sums up what I believe to be the major ideological difference between the two parties today: Democrats fundamentally believe in government, while Republicans don’t. And based on the historical evidence, that’s why I’m a Democrat.

It’s a great piece.  Read the whole thing.

by Darryl, 08/29/2009, 5:28 PM

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA-01) held a town-hall meeting in the North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo earlier today. Kos diarist Pen gives a brief write-up:

The usual suspects were there with their “keep the feds out of my healthcare” signs and their baby killer signs. They were perhaps 25% of a large crowd that filled North Kitsaps auditorium full.

I was immediately handed a flier about ‘Death Panels”. I took it, perused it, then said to the woman handing them out: “So you really believe there are death panels?”

“Not yet,” she told me, “But there will be.”

“Oh, there ARE death panels right now, “I assured her, ” and since Obamas been president, the health insurance industry has presided over the deaths of 18,000 Americans.”

I handed her flier back and didn’t stick around to listen to her blathering as I walked away. I had seen the fear in her eyes when I brought up the REAL death panels going on today. It’s the talking point that literally destroys the right wings platform.

Read the whole thing.

Tomorrow Inslee holds another town-hall meeting at the Woodway High School in Edmonds from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Attendees are asked to RSVP by email at inslee.rsvp@mail.house.gov or by phone at 206-361-0233.

by Goldy, 08/28/2009, 10:22 PM

My daughter and I saw Julie & Julia tonight, and amongst other things, it turns out to be a movie about blogging. Who knew? Good movie, awesome performance by Meryl Streep as Julia Child.

by Jon DeVore, 08/28/2009, 6:30 PM

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USYJyayJTew[/youtube]

This is video of St. Francis, Minn. city council member LeRoy Schaffer addressing the town hall held by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.-06. It’s kind of not surprising that reporters might have had trouble understanding what he was saying.

After carefully listening on headphones, I think he’s a performance artist. I think he might actually want reform, or maybe a role in a remake of “Blazing Saddles.”

Maybe we can start a new movement, the “Top Hatters.” Well, maybe not. But we could all dress as Monopoly pieces, that would be fun. I get to be the car.

What’s awesome is that the crowd is cheering him when he says “socialism” because they haven’t figured out what he’s actually getting at yet. Or so it seemed to me.

(Props to Firedog Lake for the video find and the Gabby Johnson reference.)

by Goldy, 08/28/2009, 3:47 PM

When my friend Carla at Blue Oregon dared to accuse lobbyist Hasina Squires of feeding negative stories to the press (a skill, by the way, that’s pretty much part of the job description of “lobbyist”), angry trolls swarmed the comment threads, raising the threatening (if silly) specter of defamation. And how did Squires and/or her surrogates ultimately respond to Carla’s charge? Apparently by doing a little op-research on Carla, and attempting to feed a negative story to the press.

Doncha just love the irony?

It’s bullshit of course, but at least one reporter is asking questions; whether  anyone runs the smear—which appears to be a feeble attempt to cost Carla her day job—remains to be seen, and largely depends on how lazy the reporter is, or how in bed with the Salem establishment. We’ll see.

by Jon DeVore, 08/28/2009, 1:59 PM

Correction: Think Progress has issued an update:

The Minneapolis Star Tribune quoted more of Schaffer’s words and it turns out he was defending Social Security. “I’m on Social Security and I’ve got Medicare,” said Schaffer, 70, before entering the auditorium. “I have socialized medicine. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.”

UPDATE–Here is the fuller passage from the Star-Tribune:

Among more than 100 people who waited in line for over an hour to get into the event was St. Francis City Council Member LeRoy Schaffer, who was decked out in a tuxedo with a black top hat. Schaffer, who has become controversial for comments that led his fellow council members to censure him, dismissed the claim of some Republicans that the Democratic plans amount to socialized medicine.

“I’m on Social Security and I’ve got Medicare,” said Schaffer, 70, before entering the auditorium. “I have socialized medicine. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.”

UPDATE 2–The original Roll Call article that Think Progress linked to does not appear to have been updated as of about 3:15 PM PDT. It’s a very different quote (see my original post below.)

Here is the original post I wrote:

Roll Call reports on a town hall meeting held in the district of Michelle Bachmann, R-MN-06.

LeRoy Schaffer, a St. Francis city council member, dressed in a tuxedo and top hat for the occasion. Shaffer got visibly emotional asking Bachmann about the future of health care and the role of special interests in Washington.

“I’ll be danged if I am going to give up my Social Security because of socialism,” Schaffer said, before being booed by the crowd.

As the saying goes, it burns, it really burns.

This isWe all know what the insurance industry wanted: a debate so off the rails that you can’t even begin to reason with ignorant fools, so widespread and hysterical are the lies streaming down the right wing puke funnel. I suppose we can forgive the ignorant, who are luckily just a vocal minority, but we can’t forgive nor back down from the cynical corporate royalists who pay for the noise machine.

Now that August is nearly over, and what an August it has been, it would be entirely appropriate for the left to stage a series of peaceful political actions this fall and winter aimed directly at certain for-profit insurance companies and their astro-turfing operations that are known to be bad actors in all this. I’m not arguing for any specific tactic, and I’m not sure that the old “hey hey, ho ho” thing works any more, so some thought and creativity would have to go into it.

One lesson from this month, though, is that obnoxious, uncouth behavior combined with unprincipled distortions seems to work, at least in the short term. It’s actually an old lesson the right has demonstrated time and again in the last decade, from the Brooks Brothers riots in Florida through the lie-up to war and now the Guns of August health care “debate.”

Lesson duly noted, although we can make our case without the unprincipled distortions. But I’m all for uncouth, and I say we go into insurance executive’s offices and eat with our mouths open and blow our noses into our sleeves, it’s an appropriate and fitting response to this month. It would also be at the same intellectual level as the health baggers, so it seems appropriate. (And you know they would then start complaining that we’re not addressing the issues!)

The left has more than a few assets in Hollywood and elsewhere who could be quite effective at shaming the health care robber barons. Crackers the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken should go on a nationwide tour. Hell, there should be an army of Crackers the Corporate Crime Fighting Chickens.

And maybe I’m dreaming here, but that big personality whose name also start with “O” might want to think about helping out again. That would pretty much pass the public option right there, because nobody can stop her, Rosie is awesome.

Yeah, I’m just one little blogger at a state blog, so we’ll see, it’s just an idea. I don’t exactly have a direct line to well, much of anyone.

As always the right wants a bare-knuckle fight, so if people actually want health care reform they’re going to need to be willing to wrestle with pigs. Who have human knuckles. You know what I mean.

Get the chicken suits dry-cleaned.

(Props to Think Progress on the Bachmann article above.)

by Goldy, 08/28/2009, 12:30 PM

I suppose I could hurl invective at Carl while revoking his posting privileges for daring to contradict me on the front page of my own blog, but… conflict makes for better reading, and I have always given my co-bloggers explicit instructions to write whatever they want. And, apart from the headline, he didn’t really contradict me all that much.

So I thought I’d just take this opportunity to explore the possibility of a Murray for Mayor write-in campaign a little further, while laying out my own take on the candidates and the current state of the campaign.

First of all, my main problem with Mallahan is not really Mallahan himself, but the fact that I’m kinda offended by the very premise of his campaign. No, I don’t think being a corporate executive should disqualify one from office, even here in granola-crunching Seattle, and in fact I do think that his years as a T-Mobile exec make for an impressive bullet point on his resume… but not in and of itself.

This is a man with no recent record of public service, who from his public comments appears not very knowledgeable about the majority of issues facing Seattle, and who has clearly not put much thought into the challenges of running city government, at least not prior to throwing his hat into the ring. Hell, he hasn’t even voted consistently in recent years. Running government more like a business may make for good campaign rhetoric in the post-Reagan era, but government is not a business. Folks can tease Tim Burgess all they want after the fact about passing up what might have been an easy path into the mayor’s office, but at least he seemed to realize that he needed a little more seasoning on the council before taking on the task. Mallahan apparently lacks this sort of self-awareness, in that “hey, I’m a successful wealthy guy, I can do anything” mode that seems to afflict so many of our region’s nouveaux riche.

I don’t doubt Mallahan is a smart, capable guy, and I don’t question his motives. But I don’t know that he has the skills or the management philosophy necessary to be an effective mayor, and he’s said and done nothing to assure me that he does. And that’s where pumping his own money into his campaign really works against him in my book.  Had he come out of nowhere to raise the money and profile necessary to knock an incumbent mayor out in the primary, I would have been impressed by his political prowess. But he didn’t. He bought himself into frontrunner status, which is not a knock in itself, but which shows me absolutely nothing about his political skill and determination.

McGinn on the other hand has proven himself everything that Mallahan has not. He’s a lifelong activist with a couple of big victories to his credit, who ran a surprisingly successful, grassroots sleeper of a primary campaign that certainly shows his political chops. It also doesn’t hurt in my book that I agree with him on most major issues (his proposal to take over the school district is painfully stupid on so many levels, but, well, you can’t have everything), and unlike Mallahan, I have absolutely no question about where McGinn stacks up in terms of values.

But… and this is a huge but… I have very real concerns about McGinn’s ability to work and play well with others.

Back in June when I wrote about the surprising lack of support for McGinn and his fellow Sierra Clubee Mike O’Brien from their colleagues in the region’s broader environmental coalition, I got a lot of public and private push-back from the community assuring me that no, they really do like and support Mike… O’Brien. But McGinn, not so much. And on primary election night when news flashed about McGinn’s unexpected standing at the top of the polls, the sentiment I heard from many of his fellow environmental leaders was more along the line of “oh well, I guess we kinda have to endorse him,” rather than the outright enthusiasm one might have expected.

It’s not that his colleagues dislike him (well, some of them do); from all accounts McGinn is a great guy. It’s just that they don’t particularly like working with him.

It is ironic then, that after kicking out a mayor largely because voters couldn’t stand his allegedly abrasive, unilateral style, we might replace him with man with a reputation for having an equally abrasive and unilateral style. Combine that with McGinn’s total absence of any significant executive experience managing large enterprises… not even running a department at a wireless phone company, for whatever that is worth… and, well, I’m understandably wary. And, like Mallahan, McGinn’s lack of legislative experience doesn’t bode well for his ability to wade through the process oriented pool of molasses that is our city council.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the notion of citizen legislators. But a citizen executive with little real government experience under his belt is a much more troublesome concept.

That brings us to Ed Murray.

I personally like Ed, and think he’s been one of our most effective state legislators, but I’m certainly no fan boy. If this were a race to succeed US Rep. Jim McDermott, a seat Murray clearly covets, I doubt I’d be in his camp, as I’d prefer being represented by someone with a less cautious and run-of-the-mill political style. (For example, I’m a huge Barney Frank fan.)

But exactly the same qualities that turn me off in terms of Murray’s congressional aspirations help make him perhaps the most qualified politician on the local scene today to serve as mayor. Mayor Nickels, as much as I like and respect him, hasn’t exactly had a rapport with either the council or Olympia, and unlike McGinn and Mallahan, Murray has the skills, experience and personal relationships to help turn this around, and fast. And while there are certainly issues on which I disagree with Murray, and others on which I desperately wish he’d take a leadership role, there’s no question that his values fit squarely with those of a majority of Seattle voters.

So in my mind, in a three-way race between Murray, Mallahan and McGinn (hey… what a great name for an Irish law firm), it’s a no brainer. And if Murray’s name was actually on the ballot, I’m pretty damn confident that money, endorsements and votes would flow his way.

But of course, Murray’s name won’t be on the ballot, so… should he run a write-in campaign?

If Murray truly believes that neither Mallahan nor McGinn is qualified to be mayor, and can make a compelling case in that regard, and he believes he can raise enough money to be competitive, and he’s willing to put in the time and effort necessary to make this a serious challenge, and in doing so he’s willing to put his reputation and credibility on the line… why the hell not? Even if he’ll likely lose, which, considering the daunting challenge of mounting a write-in campaign, he probably will.

Some have suggested that running as write-in would make Murray some kind of spoiler or poor sport, but that’s a load of crap. Our system envisions and allows for write-in campaigns, while making them exceedingly difficult, as they should be. So there’s nothing unfair or anti-democratic about it. And if either McGinn or Mallahan (or both) can’t draw more votes than a goddamn write-in, then they certainly don’t deserve to be mayor.

And as for whether such a potential folly might hurt Murray’s future aspirations, if he runs a good, compelling, honest campaign, I don’t see how it could. If anything, it would only enhance his visibility and name ID across WA-07 in advance of a future congressional campaign, perhaps even setting him up as the frontrunner I’ve always assumed he imagines himself to be. And if the same labor and business sources who funded that recent poll are willing to put up the money to help Murray do that, more power to him. (Perhaps quite literally.)

Politics is a tough, tough business, and if Mallahan and McGinn choose to whine about Murray launching a nearly-Quixotic write-in challenge, well that would only prove to me my suspicions that they’re not up to the task.

by Goldy, 08/28/2009, 9:11 AM

As both a veterinarian and former elk rancher, Idaho Republican gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell must be pretty familiar with manure. So why can’t he seem to avoid stepping in it even deeper?

After criticizing Gov. Butch Otter for not buying the first grey wolf hunting tag that went on sale, he responded to an audience question about “Obama tags” by saying “Obama tags? We’d buy some of those.”

Of course, when criticized for, you know, threatening the life of the president, Rammell excused himself in typical wingnut fashion, by claiming it was just a “joke.” And now, I suppose to reinforce the point, he sends out the following Tweet this morning:

Obama hunting tags was just a joke! Everyone knows Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue tags in Washington D.C.

Ha, ha.

I remember a news story from my youth, when after President Reagan was shot, a university student wrote in a school paper that he wished Hinckley had succeeded, only to find himself dragged out of his dorm room by armed federal agents in the middle of night. Hell, I remember during the Bush administration when just wearing an anti-war t-shirt to a Bush rally was enough provocation to get you arrested.

But Obama? No tags necessary, for in the land of the free and home of the wingnuts, it’s apparently always open season on Democratic presidents.

by Carl, 08/27/2009, 9:48 PM

Goldy and I believe the exact opposite thing about the possibility of Ed Murray running for Mayor. While I would absolutely support Ed if he decided to mount a write in campaign, I hope he sits it out. I voted for McGinn in the primary, although “for” is probably too strong a word: I voted against that self funded asshole, Mallahan. I wouldn’t say it was the strategic decision described here, McGinn did make the best case for the next 4 years, and was the least reflexively corporate whore of the pack.

Mike McGinn would definitely be a better mayor for the environment, and for public transportation than Mallahan. Less concretely, he would not feel the same sense of entitlement as someone who bought his way into the office. The liberal position ought first and foremost be to beat back Mallahan, and the polling shows Ed Murray in second right now to Mallahan; he’s probably taking away more votes from McGinn. Although you can ask the right questions and get Murray up to first, that won’t be how the write in ballot is worded.

So while I hope he sits this one out, I’ll also gladly support Senator Murray if he does make the foolhardy decision to run. While I don’t always agree with him, Ed Murray is one of the few politicians I trust in this state to have people’s best interest at heart, and he’s the only member of the Seattle delegation in Olympia I’d be sad to see lose a primary. He has been a real champion for education and for public transit, two things that the delegation is bad at in general. Of course his work on gay rights has been outstanding.

In November, I’d hate to both have Mallahan as mayor and to say I didn’t do everything to elect an actual liberal, so if Murray runs, I’ll do my damndest to get him into office. If not, it’s McGinn all the way. Still, I’d like to have someone to vote for, not just someone to be against.

by Jon DeVore, 08/27/2009, 7:41 PM

The Spokesman-Review reports that prosecutors allege a Spokane man threatened a Colorado doctor’s family not long after the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

A man said people from Utah were going to travel to Colorado to kill the family of William Hern, founder of the clinic and one of the few doctors in the country known to perform late-term abortions.

Authorities traced the June 23 phone call to Spokane.

Two days earlier, The Spokesman-Review had published a front-page story detailing Hern’s practice, Boulder Abortion Clinic, and the increase in business he’d seen since Tiller’s murder.

Prosecutors say Donald Hertz, 70, made the threat after he read that story, said Hertz’s lawyer in Spokane, Russell Van Camp.

And before anyone excuses this as just the rash bluster of some old coot, let’s remember that the asshole who walked into the Holocaust Museum with guns blazing was 88 years old.

What we are witnessing in this country is the sad end result of decades of right-wing lunacy. Here’s a little factoid from the S-R story that leaves you shaking your head. (emphasis mine)

A retired real estate developer and insurance salesman with no criminal record, Hertz was taken into federal custody Wednesday morning and appeared in U.S. District Court in Spokane that afternoon.

He’s not in custody now but is scheduled to appear in federal court in Denver next month. Van Camp said he’ll try to move the case to Spokane.

Good thing he wasn’t wearing a pro-Constitution t-shirt at a Republican rally, they might have locked him up while he awaits further legal proceedings. I mean, did this guy even have to post bail? Wouldn’t want to trouble the old gent too much.

by Darryl, 08/27/2009, 6:11 PM

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5QaIRZuf1I[/youtube]

by Goldy, 08/27/2009, 2:15 PM

As a blogger, I’m thrilled by the possibility that Sen. Ed Murray might launch a write-in campaign for Seattle Mayor, and welcome the news that a new poll shows him right in the mix.  I mean, what a great story.

As a voter, not particularly enthralled with either Mike McGinn nor Joe Mallahan, I’m definitely intrigued.

But as a political observer, I’m still a bit dubious, especially now that Seattle Times editorial columnist Joni Balter is urging Murray to jump in. I’m already concerned about whether there might be a massive disconnect between the political establishment and the electorate in regards to the acceptability of the two mayoral finalists, and uber-establishment Balter’s endorsement, well, that can only be viewed as a giant red flag.

Still, as much as I hate to agree with Joni Balter… I agree with Joni Balter: Run, Ed, run! I’m not exactly sure if you’ll get my vote, but it would certainly make covering the race a helluva lot more fun.

by Jon DeVore, 08/27/2009, 1:15 PM

From The Plum Line:

In case you missed it, the RNC sent a mailing, obtained by a local paper in Washington State and now rocketing around the political world, that contained the following loaded question:

“It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to determine a person’s political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system. Does this possibility concern you?”

RNC spokesperson Katie Wright concedes to me that the question was a foul-up, though she says there are still legit reasons for Americans to worry about privacy.

And they sent the mailer to Washington state, where we don’t have political parties voter registration by party.

UPDATE (Goldy):
The Washington Independent has obtained a copy of the survey from 64-year-old Raymond Denny of La Center.

question

You can view the whole survey here.