Here’s this week’s, good luck!
Archives for February 2010
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
When people blithely talk about how only a “moderate” can win down here in WA-03, I feel like pulling my hair out. But then I’m reminded that the machinations of politicians often mean little compared to what the public actually thinks.
From The Columbian’s newly revived political blog, concerning a poll commissioned by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and done by Research 2000:
In a follow-up question, voters were asked whether they would favor or oppose “the national government offering everyone the choice of buying into a government-administered health insurance plan — something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get — that would compete with private health insurance plans.” A whopping 66 percent favored the idea; 24 percent opposed it, and 10 percent were undecided.
Presumably, using today’s commonly accepted definitions of what constitutes a “moderate,” nobody in their right mind would campaign in favor of government involvement in health care, because the Tea People hate the gubmint. It’s a scary year, at least to the easily scared, and we should just cower behind the pants leg of any sugar daddy we can find. (Note: this strategy is properly known scientifically as “The Democratic Party Formula for Failure Before Howard Dean Came Along.)
The problem with pat conventional wisdom is that, er, it’s pat conventional wisdom, passed around the tribe until it either becomes a fait accompli or is proven to be wrong. Hopefully the sillly notion that one can even define “moderate” in a multi-faceted district like WA-03 dies a swift death.
“Moderate” doesn’t even mean anything, it’s just a bit of pablum that indicates one member of the tribe prefers a certain member of the tribe. Do you know many Democratic Party politicians who, these days at least, conceive of themselves as immoderate? We’re talking about delivering a vital social service, health care, not starting a vegan commune in the woods with lots of naked people running around creating a vastly different consciousness (nothing against the latter if that’s your thing, though.)
But if a strong majority in in WA-03 likes the idea of a “Medicare for everyone” type plan, then I guess the sensible course would be to favor single payer, huh? Imagine that, the people in backwoods-y, hicksville WA-03 actually get it. I guess the Uncle Sam billboard on I-5 isn’t a majority down here after all!
Please do yourself a favor, and cast any remaining assumptions about WA-03 provided to you by certain Democratic Party illuminati and a certain Seattle alternative newspaper overboard. I try to shy away from absolute predictions, so I can only predict this: Craig Pridemore isn’t going to shy away from this race, and if more voters get to know Craig and his compassion for regular citizens, he’ll stand a great chance of winning in November.
I’ve been busy this week helping out the Sensible Washington folks with their signature gathering efforts. They now have their donation page set up, so please visit and throw a few pennies their way. This is a huge statewide volunteer signature gathering effort and they could use all the help they can get.
– The arrest and prosecution of Olympia Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Hyer for somewhat petty marijuana charges has given rise to a number of questions. There are tens of thousands of transactions like the one that Hyer was busted for happening in the state of Washington every month. Why was he specifically targeted despite clearly not being a large-scale dealer? Who was the confidential informant that Thurston County Narcotics Task Force used to bust Hyer? The Cannabis Defense Coalition is now trying to find these things out – and to highlight the fact that this arrest was likely politically motivated.
– In addition to being a high ranking political official who has both enemies and a pot plant, there’s one other thing that makes you far more likely to be busted for marijuana in this state: being black.
– I recently posted on the rogue DEA agent in Colorado, Jeff Sweetin, who openly violated the Obama Administration’s policy towards medical marijuana. Colorado Congressman Jared Polis is now fighting back. Last Thursday, President Obama was met by protests in Denver.
– Amanda Knox is not the only American being fucked over by the Italian legal system.
– As bad as the Italian legal system is, Utah might be worse.
State Republicans are trying to use our current budget crisis as an opportunity to sell off our state store system, and privatize the sale of hard liquor. Why? I’m not sure even they know why. I guess they just believe that privatization is always good, kinda like the same way some Republicans believe that humans coexisted with dinosaurs.
But as Rev. Jimmie James and Rep. Zack Hudgins point out in a Seattle Times guest column yesterday, privatization just isn’t worth it. Under our state store system Washington has the highest compliance rate in the nation in terms of restricting the sale of liquor to minors, and one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption… and its inevitable social impact. All this while adding over $300 million a year to the state budget.
Furthermore, despite all their talk about supporting small business, the Republican proponents of privatization obviously couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the mom and pop private contractors throughout the state who would lose their shirts while the sale of liquor was monopolized by out of state giants like Safeway, Albertson’s, 7-Eleven, and Kroger’s (QFC & Fred Meyer).
So, you sometimes gotta plan a little ahead if you’re running low on liquor. Suck it up. Hell, if you ask me, tobacco should only be available in the state stores too. Along with pot. Now that would generate the state some serious revenue.
Rod Arquette, the program director who cancelled my show at 710-KIRO, has himself been canceled, according to a report over at BlatherWatch.
Of course I feel empathy for Rod, as I would for just about anybody losing their job, but sympathy… not so much. It’s nothing personal, but the radio biz is as fickle a mistress to program directors as it is to talent, so Rod’s departure is really just a circle of life kinda thing. In fact, considering the station’s sliding fortunes over his tenure, I’m kinda surprised he lasted this long.
When I started at KIRO in 2006, the longtime AM powerhouse was live and local 24/7 (with the exception of Bob Brinker on the weekends), a reliable cash cow, and a local icon, and while my personal schtick was political talk, I was honored to be a part of the station’s broader news coverage. Sitting at home in the cold and the dark with my wind-up radio in the aftermath of the December 2006 windstorm, I knew that there was one station I could rely on 24 hours a day to bring me the latest updates on the ongoing power outage, and for those few hours a day sitting behind the mic in the warmth and light of the studio, I was proud to be the one providing this service to my community.
And today, I can’t even find KIRO on the dial anymore.
Under Arquette’s watch, 710-AM reformatted to sports talk, while the venerable news/talk franchise moved somewhere in the FM band. The newsroom suffered a series of cuts, ceding the lead in that market to KOMO-1000, while the station abandoned its longtime commitment to live and local, replacing me and other hosts with syndicated fare. I feel a perhaps misplaced degree of loyalty and affection toward KIRO for giving me an opportunity I hadn’t really earned, but these days, given a breaking news event, even I tune in to KOMO. I know where they are on the dial, and I know they’ll never be broadcasting some syndicated crap.
And that’s kinda sad.
I was awfully disappointed when Arquette let me go, though not bitter. I never had much interaction with him, but he always seemed like a pretty nice guy, even while axing me. So I wish him all the best.
But I wish even better for KIRO under new management.
Rep. Deb Wallace (D-Vancouver) is accusing Rep. Jaime Herrera (R-Camas) of shirking her duties by being absent from the House floor “for hours on end” during key votes over the last few weeks in order to campaign — a charge Herrera flatly denies.
Wallace, who recently announced she is dropping out of the WA-03 race to replace retiring Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., doesn’t seem to have an obvious motive in leveling this accusation against Herrera. If this would help anyone it would be the other major GOP candidate in WA-03, David Castillo.
It sounds like Wallace said something at a small gathering, which was then emailed around, and it wound up on the Inter-Tubes. If you do a Google blog search for “Jaime Herrera” you will quickly find that pro-Castillo bloggers down here were rending their garments and howling about this almost immediately, while throwing kitchen sinks, tire irons and brickbats Herrera’s way. (Sorry, I won’t link to those people.) So score one for the brickbat crowd, and remember this the next time someone pleads for civility. These people only have one speed, full on attack, at all times.
As for whether Herrera is actually absent from her Legislative duties too much, a charge she vigorously denies, the rest of the Columbian article pretty much amounts to she said, she said. There are all sorts of legitimate reasons for a member to not be sitting on the floor, of course, but with the near-death of the Olympia press corps I’d wager we’d know more if this were two or three years ago. So I’m not sure what the affect will ultimately be on the Congressional race, unless someone wants to sift through 8 million hours of TVW coverage.
For the time being I’m reserving judgment, and I’ve put out a couple of emails to other members asking for their opinion. If I hear anything back I’ll post an update.
This afternoon I hit a bit of a milestone in my effort to teach myself how to develop iPhone apps, marking the first time I successfully searched my old rhyming dictionary database from within the iPhone simulator, and displayed the results. The core functionality is now, well, functional, and considering where I was a just a couple weeks ago, that feels awfully damn good.
There’s a ton of work still left to do, but I’ve left most of the learning curve behind me. I guess my brain isn’t quite as old as my body.
The other day the Seattle Times singled out House Finance Committee chair Ross Hunter for his willingness to consider raising taxes to ward off some of the most crippling and counterproductive impending budget cuts:
This is a failure of leadership. Hunter, in particular, disappoints us because he was supposed to be a moderate.
That’s right, because in the Times’ Bizarro World lexicon, true “leadership” always consists of defending the status quo, and the status quo around here is last year’s all-cuts budget. And of course a true “moderate” would never consider raising taxes, only cutting them, because moderation never involves looking at both sides of the budget equation.
The Times had no gripe with Hunter and his committee when their primary business was considering and passing innumerable tax breaks and exemptions, but the minute he considers pushing revenue in the other direction, well, that’s a failure of leadership.
I was reminded of the Times’ immoderate attack on Hunter while reading Eliot Spitzer’s latest column in Slate, in which he effectively debunks the popular conservative meme that higher taxes inevitably result in lower GDP. It’s worth a read, especially within the context of our current state budget debate in which the Times and its surrogates in the Republican caucus (or is it the other way around? It’s so easy to get confused…) reflexively argue that raising taxes will inevitably hurt our economy, while totally ignoring the economic, let alone human impact of spending cuts.
But I was particularly struck by the following passage, in which Spitzer lays out a bit of history the 21st Century reader might find rather startling:
Leaders of a century ago invoked justice in remarkable language that is unimaginable today. President Woodrow Wilson called paying taxes “a glorious privilege.” Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. observed that “taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “In this time of grave national danger, when all excess income should go to win the war; no American citizen ought to have a net income, after he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000.” That $25,000 is the equivalent of $323,208 in today’s dollars. Can you conceive of a modern president suggesting that no American should earn more than $323,000 after taxes? (President George W. Bush went to war twice without once calling for such a common sacrifice to pay for it.) And President Harry Truman in 1948 vetoed a broad-based tax cut, even in the face of an expected and eventual congressional override, and then asked for a tax increase following his upset victory.
On the subject of leadership, I hate to give Ross Hunter the pleasure of lumping him in there, no matter how momentary or tangentially, with the likes of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., but… well… you know…
Regardless, just like there are two sides to the budget equation, there are two sides to the question of whether in an economic downturn like ours, tax increases are more damaging than spending cuts, so in the interest of an informed public debate, I really wish the Times would stop operating on the assumption that their side of the argument is a given.
Please join us tonight for an evening of politics under the influence at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally. We meet at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. beginning at about 8:00 pm. Some of us will show up even earlier.
Not in Seattle? There is a good chance you live near one of the 346 other chapters of Drinking Liberally.
Props to the dirty hippies spreading this on the Facebook.
Yesterday I griped about the Seattle Times myopic focus on the revenue side of the state budget equation, while providing very little coverage of the steep spending cuts in virtually every state agency and program:
You wouldn’t know it from reading the Times, because that doesn’t fit in with their lazy waste/fraud/abuse meme. No, the Times never writes about the thousands of state employees who have lost their jobs — further depressing our local economy — because they’re too busy expressing outrage that the remaining state employees still enjoy the same kind of health care benefits newspaper employeesused to enjoy as recently as a decade ago.
And today, as if on cue, the Times initial coverage of the just released Senate budget proposal focuses exclusively on tax increases.
If all you read was the Times, you might not remember that the legislature and governor addressed last year’s record revenue shortfall with a dramatic, all cuts budget, and you might think that the Senate is looking to close this year’s additional $2.7 billion gap entirely on the back of taxpayers. No, you’d have no idea that the Senate budget proposal includes another $838 million in additional cuts.
I’m just sayin’…