by Goldy, 07/31/2010, 6:54 PM

So my daughter and I flew east today for our annual summer trip to the Jersey shore with my family. (For my daughter it’s a vacation, for me it’s, well, visiting family.)

At the time we booked the flight we couldn’t get two seats together; the best we could get were two middle seats one in front of the other. Not too much of a concern though, as this has happened before, and seats generally open up 24-hours before departure. And sure enough, when I went to check in online, there was an open aisle seat next to my daughter.

But rather than trying to accommodate a father and daughter flying together, fuckin’ US Airways insisted instead on charging me an extra $15 to upgrade to a “Choice Seat.”

You know, it’s not really the money that pisses me off. In the end, it’s never really the money; I mean, it’s only fifteen bucks. In fact, I wouldn’t even mind paying a little more to fly if I knew I was getting better service and a well-maintained plane. But this endless nickel and diming is just so goddamn irritating and insulting. You spend hundreds of dollars a ticket to fly, and then they want to charge you extra to sit next to each other? Fuck that. I mean, really.

The airlines may be raking in millions on these extra fees, but they’re sure as hell losing money on me. Because I simply loathe forking over money to companies who treat me like crap, I now fly maybe half as much as I used to, and considering they fly the only nonstop from Seattle to Philly, it’s mostly coming out of US Airway’s pocket. This year alone I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on tickets for my daughter and I to visit my mother in Florida, or to come in to Philly for my 25th college reunion. That’s four tickets in only a few months that US Airways didn’t sell, not because it cost too much, but because their whole customer experience sucks.

But, you know, they’re the experts, so who am I to tell them how to run their business?

UPDATE:
Yes, I know, my daughter and I arrived at our destination safely, and that’s all that really matters. But honestly, how many other legal products or services do we consume, where the most commonly accepted measure of customer satisfaction is not dying? Could we set the bar any lower?

by Lee, 07/31/2010, 2:44 PM

I’ve recently gotten into Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic’s sports-talk morning show. Now that I’m driving into work every day, it’s been my regular morning listen in the car. Earlier this week, they were discussing the report about the health violations at America’s sports venues. Greenberg was bothered by it, but Golic, their in-studio guest, and the vast majority of people writing emails into the show were largely ambivalent. Most people had the attitude that they’d rather not know what goes on on the other side of that counter. As long as the nachos taste ok, it doesn’t matter if there’d been rat feces in the box or if the employees didn’t wash their hands.

After listening to it, it made me realize that there’s an interesting parallel between that and how Americans in general have reacted to two far bigger news stories. The first was the Washington Post’s impressive expose of America’s bloated and disorganized intelligence bureaucracy that’s developed since 9/11. The second was the revealing of tens of thousands of secret documents on the progress of the war in Afghanistan.

Both of these stories are of huge importance. America’s expanding intelligence bureaucracy has no oversight, no organization, and is so unwieldy it does more to keep us from identifying and stopping actual terrorist threats than it does to actually stop them. The war in Afghanistan has been nothing but an unmitigated disaster for a number of years. It has no clear goal, no clear path to any improvement, and no easy way for us to get ourselves out without leaving behind a terrible situation.

But by and large, Americans shrugged off both stories. No one marched on the Capitol demanding that we stop wasting so much money on our various intelligence gathering operations. And Congressmen and Congresswomen who will mostly be re-elected in November dutifully voted to continue funding our occupation of Afghanistan, despite the fact that the public was reminded yet again that elements within Pakistan’s own intelligence services are actively supporting our enemy; and that the longer we stay there and keep killing civilians, the more we destabilize the region and minimize our influence.

Both of these stories (and the administration’s attempts to lash out at Wikileaks for releasing the documents) are certainly part of a pattern. The government, in its publicly stated desire to give Americans security, are doing so – whether foolishly or disingenuously – by following a totalitarian impulse. By believing that the normal mechanisms that restrain governments are a threat in and of themselves, we’ve allowed ourselves to go down a path towards an environment where government can’t be restrained at all. Students of history and those who’ve lived in other parts of the world understand the value of resisting this, but America still unfortunately has too many people who are neither.

As a result, we’ve reacted to these stories with a shrug and a “why should I care?” To a great extent, we’ve lost something that used to be central to American culture. The world has become so small and our view of its many complexities so all-encompassing, that far too many of us have become believers in predestination over free will. The idea that we have the power to affect changes has given way to a belief that we have no real control over the vast array of forces around us. The only thing that seems to trigger the opposite impulse is a terrorist attack or anything else that might kill us. That gets us off the couch and screaming for action, but it’s still not enough to get us angry when that action isn’t the right one. We’ve conceded our ability to control anything less than blindly allowing our government to do whatever it wants when it comes to fighting terrorism.

And that’s creating a major distortion in our ability to deal with what actually threatens us. The way that we’re responding to terrorism – by wasting trillions of dollars on futile wars and on vast government bureaucracies that inefficiently gobble up all of our communications – will actually harm us far more than any unstable religious fanatic with a grudge against American foreign policy ever will. And of course, the more American foreign policy follows a totalitarian mindset without Americans giving a fuck, the more unstable religious fanatics there will be with a grudge against our foreign policy. The money spent on that never worries us in the same way that money spent on safety regulations or infrastructure or education worries us. Even though that’s the kind of stuff that’s far more likely to affect us.

But as long as the nachos don’t kill us, we’ll keep buying them.

by Darryl, 07/30/2010, 11:46 PM

(And there are links to some 40 more media clips from the past week in politics at Hominid Views.)

by Goldy, 07/30/2010, 6:03 PM

Dino Rossi is holding another one of his last minute, barely publicized, “underground” meet-ups this weekend, and if any of my HA regulars would like to politely attend, maybe make a small donation to Dr. Coday to assuage suspicions, and surreptitiously record the events, I’d love to have some audio or video.  Here’s the invite:

Dear PSCU Members,

If you were part of “Art’s Army” this past spring and supported Dr. Coday’s bid for the Senate, he could now use your support in his campaign for State Representative. Even if you don’t live in the 32nd District, helping to elect Dr. Coday will benefit all conservatives. (His Democrat opponent supports a state income tax!) Bringing a principled, common sense conservative to Olympia, with the bonus of someone who has first hand experience in Medicare and Medicaid, will be a welcome change.

The Kickoff Event for Art Coday’s State Representative campaign is on Sunday, August 1, at 5:30 pm at the Hess family’s home in Kenmore.

Senate candidate Dino Rossi will be there as will conservative talk show host Kirby Wilbur, both to talk about Art’s campaign and the need for conservatives to be elected this November so they can make positive changes both in Olympia and Washington DC.

This Kickoff Event will include a great BBQ meal for the family!

Donations to Dr. Coday’s campaign are encouraged, so please remember to bring your checkbook with you. If you want to meet Dino, meet Kirby, and support Art, please RSVP here:

http://www.meetup.com/PugetSoundConservativeUnderground/calendar/14164105/

or directly with Dr. Coday’s campaign by emailing: info@artcoday.com

They may ask folks to take the batteries out of their cameras and cell phones, so hide an extra recording device in your underpants or something. Be creative. And be sure to play the part of a teabagger and ask whether he supports some of their issues. I mean, the public deserves to know what he’s saying in private, right?

And again, be polite and well behaved, even if they’re not; we don’t want to disrupt their events any more than we want them to disrupt ours. And if your hosts are unfriendly, try to record that too.

UPDATE:
Oh… and if you do go, on your way out, say hi to Kirby for me.

by Goldy, 07/30/2010, 4:48 PM

Imagine on a beautiful day like today, taking your kids to play in an amazing playground like the one highlighted above. Or, imagine taking your kids to a glass museum.

You choose.

UPDATE:
Oh, and by the way, NYC’s Imagination Playground also serves to illustrate how ridiculous and unfair the Seattle Center’s “process” really is. The Chihuly proposers had a year and a half to put together the details of their project, while every else had just a few weeks. The Imagination Playground took five years from conception to completion.

by Goldy, 07/30/2010, 3:23 PM

tranforming

If you wonder why more governors don’t follow Gov. Chris Gregoire’s lead and create an online suggestion box to solicit cost-saving ideas for voters, just take a look at the most popular suggestions on her Transforming Washington’s Budget page.

You’ll find such bright ideas as “cut government waste,” “require proof of legal residency,” “limit salaries” and “English only.” What you won’t see anywhere near the top of the list are realistic, specific proposals that reflect a willingness to accept the kinda dramatic cuts in government services that would make a substantial impact on the budget… you know, things like “slash state funding of K-12 education,” “shut down the state ferry system,” “privatize the state universities,” or, you know, “raise our taxes.” Most of the suggestions either wouldn’t save much money (for example, the state doesn’t own the land or buildings housing most of its liquor stores, so there’s nothing to sell off), and/or wouldn’t be possible (ie, federal law prevents the state from taxing tribal casinos without their permission).

Meanwhile, the number one suggestion, which admittedly would raise a significant amount of revenue while cutting costs, presents its own legal and political hurdles. And while Gregoire’s office assures the pothead community that she’ll consider “Legalizing Marijuana” as a “legitimate idea,” it’s hard to imagine this governor actually following through.

One thing this public suggestion box does illustrate, is that as frustrated as voters may be with the current budget crisis, they don’t really want smaller government. They just want government to be cheaper. And that something-for-nothing attitude is, of course, at the heart of our structural deficit.

by Goldy, 07/30/2010, 11:08 AM

It sometimes seems like Dino Rossi has been running a nonstop campaign for more than six years now, so it’s easy to understand why journalists and voters alike feel that we know the man so well. Too well, perhaps.

But in light of his hard, rightward veer in recent weeks, it is past time for all of us to question whether this is really the same Dino Rossi who ran such a strategically bland, blank-slate campaign back in 2004, or whether Rossi circa 2010 is an entirely different beast? You know, is he just saying and doing the crazy righty things he thinks he needs to do to win the election… or, has Dino Rossi been radicalized?

No Republican can win statewide in Democratic-leaning Washington by running an aggressively conservative campaign (see John Carlson and Ellen Craswell), a fact Rossi knows damn well. Indeed his nearly successful, 2004 tabula rossi strategy has been a model for Washington state and local Republicans ever since.

The trick is not simply to run to the middle, but to run away from the very notions of ideology and partisanship in an effort to snare independents and soft Dems; this can prove an especially effective contrast in a state like Washington where the Democratic base is so proudly partisan, a trait that can admittedly turn off both swing voters and the press. It is this strategy that Rob McKenna effectively executed against Deborah Senn in 2004, and that led Dan Satterberg to victory against Bill Sherman in the 2007 race for King County Prosecuting Attorney.

Of course, this strategy is not without its dangers or its nuance. The candidate who fails to strongly define himself risks being defined by his opponent (Susan Hutchison and David Irons come to mind). Meanwhile, Mike McGavick’s clever twist of attempting to use Cantwell’s very effort to brand him as a wedge against her in his battle to win swing voters, while brilliant, backfired spectacularly. Still, Democrats hold a substantial edge in Washington state, so a Republican’s gotta do what a Republican’s gotta do.

But in 2010, not Dino Rossi.

The same candidate who used to shrug off questions about reproductive rights by quipping that he’s not running for Supreme Court, now seems eager to take the lead on a number of very conservative, very partisan, very Republican issues. Let’s be clear: there’s a difference between opposing the health care reform bill as passed, and signing on to the Tea Party’s “Contract From America” that pledges to “Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care,” (presumably, including Medicare). And there’s a huge difference between saying that he wouldn’t have voted for the recent Wall Street reform package as is, and being the first senatorial candidate in the nation to pledge to repeal it.

Rossi’s more aggressively conservative posture has not only won him millions of dollars from Wall Street, the insurance industry and the usual corporatist suspects, it’s also earned him endorsements from far-right-wing lions like Sen. Jim DeMint, FreedomWorks, and Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council. Does Rossi, like Perkins, consider “homosexuality, bi-sexuality and transgenderism” not to be “acceptable alternative lifestyles or sexual ‘preferences.’ “…? And if so, how will that play with the vast majority of Washington voters on both sides of the political spectrum who believe that what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom is nobody’s goddamn business?

It’s a curious strategy for Rossi to take, one which our media has thus far appeared to mostly brush off with their usual “politicians say the darnedest things” attitude, but at some point, shouldn’t we start taking Dino Rossi at his word? When, like fellow Republicans Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, his rhetoric proves to be counterproductive, shouldn’t we reasonably question whether his public proclamations represent the real Rossi, rather than just a political misstep?

In fact, the radicalization of Dino Rossi is nothing new, and is part of the reason why he lost by 200,000 votes in 2008 rather than 129. Rossi was clearly embittered by the 2004 election, and it came through in 2008. He proved an angrier, less likable candidate the second time around, but more importantly, one much more eager to embrace divisive, partisan issues. For example, the 2004 Rossi never would have publicly spoken in favor of cutting the minimum wage, but the 2008 Rossi couldn’t help himself.

Yeah sure, blame a lack of message discipline if you want, but don’t forget to question where this lack of discipline comes from: Rossi’s understandable resentment over his (misguided) belief that crooked Democrats stole the 2004 election. The 2008 Rossi proved a more stridently partisan candidate than voters saw in 2004, and the 2010 Rossi is proving more partisan still. Democrats aren’t mere opponents anymore; we and our policies are “the greatest threat” to the American dream. Thus for Rossi, this no longer a battle for the electoral middle, but rather a battle between saints and sinners, good versus evil.

Exactly the kinda rhetoric one might expect from a radicalized Dino Rossi.

by Lee, 07/30/2010, 8:12 AM

[via here]

by Goldy, 07/29/2010, 3:56 PM

I know it’s been mentioned elsewhere, and the Dems have certainly attempted to pound it home in their press releases, but it really is worth emphasizing that the first (and so far, only) Republican senatorial candidate to come out for repealing Wall Street reform wasn’t crazy Sharron “2nd Amendment Remedies” Angle or nutty Rand “I Wouldn’t Have Voted for the Civil Rights Act” Paul… it was our very own Dino Rossi.

Makes you proud to be a Washingtonian, huh?

by Lee, 07/29/2010, 1:19 PM

Earlier this week, Nate Silver coined the term “Broadus Effect” to describe a phenomenon he was seeing with the polling on California’s Proposition 19. He noticed that polls done via automated polling were showing higher support for marijuana legalization than polling done via live operator. The difference was particularly stark for minority groups.

This got me thinking back to some of the discussions that were happening late last year around pushing a ballot initiative for 2010. At the time, the ACLU (and Alison Holcomb specifically) was arguing against putting a full legalization initiative on the ballot this year. Their rationale was that the internal polling they’d done was not showing strong enough support for it. In an email to me, Holcomb indicated that their polling showed support for legalization was only between 33-40%. I found that figure to be hard to believe (considering that 44% of Nevada voters supported legalization at the ballot box in 2006) and wrote up a post about it.

As I-1068 was formed, Holcomb and the ACLU remained convinced that a marijuana legalization initiative couldn’t pass. The I-1068 folks largely left them out of the planning and then later requests for their support ended with them making a public refusal to endorse it. This lack of support eventually doomed the initiative’s ability to raise money from other Democratic groups who otherwise saw big benefits from getting it on the ballot.

So this week, I emailed Holcomb about Silver’s post. And it looks like the ACLU is now re-evaluating their previous pessimism over their internal polling in light of the “Broadus Effect”.

UDPATE: Governor Gregoire’s office responds to the fact that legalizing marijuana is still the top vote getter on the website they launched last week to take suggestion on how to fix the state budget.

UDPATE 2: Alison Holcomb wrote to me directly complaining that I didn’t properly characterize her email response that spurred this post, so I’m posting her follow-up email right here:

Your question was, “I’m curious if you’ve thought about the ACLU’s previous polling on marijuana legalization with respect to what Nate Silver has dubbed ‘The Broadus Effect.’” Indeed I have, and I’ve compared the margins our polls show on hypothetical proposals to WA voters with those described in Silver’s piece on the CA polling of Prop 19. What I’ve seen hasn’t given the ACLU reason to “re-evaluat[e our] previous pessimism.” Instead, we are thinking about how best to do necessary follow-up research that might, in part, test the existence and extent of a “Broadus Effect” in Washington – assuming the actual vote in CA provides additional support for the theory. This is what I meant when I said in that same email, “And it’s figuring prominently in thinking about future qualitative and quantitative research.”

I’ve also been examining our crosstabs to see whether sufficient samples of various races existed to draw any conclusions as to where, for example, African Americans were as a group on the questions we asked. I’m interested in testing messages about the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws, how that contributes to the shame and stigma Silver identifies, and whether we can do effective public education around this issue in a way that helps us build a broader coalition of support that includes our communities of color.

by Goldy, 07/29/2010, 12:53 PM

by Goldy, 07/29/2010, 10:43 AM

I’m all for greater accountability in the Seattle Public Schools, but honestly Lynne, could you have found a stupider and less convincing bit of data to support your thesis?

Let’s move from fattened paychecks to misplaced and stolen district property. (Feel free to pause here to get a drink, take some deep breaths — I had to.)

Thanks to generous voters of technology levies and other funding, Seattle’s schools boast $56 million in multimedia equipment, including laptops, televisions, digital cameras and camcorders. But auditors found $7,412 in inventory missing.

The district’s response — shoddy record keeping means some lost items will turn up eventually, others will be replaced — is too blasé for the gravity of this.

That’s right… auditors could only account for 99.99% of the district’s technology inventory! Oh. My. God.

Really Lynne? Did you take that drink after you ran across those numbers, or before?

I wish I knew where 99.99% of my stuff was, and I’m guessing most private corporations would simply drool over the same. In fact, $7,412 worth of missing inventory out of $56 million is so bizarrely low, that I just have to assume that either Varner or the auditor got the numbers wrong, for there’s absolutely no way an operation that big and that distributed can possibly keep track of that much inventory that reliably.

Again, I’m not arguing against greater accountability — we should always strive for our taxpayer funded institutions to be as accountable as humanly possibly — but there are real problems in Seattle Schools, and if Varner’s numbers are right, this sure ain’t one of ‘em.

by Goldy, 07/29/2010, 9:43 AM

As the Seattle Center prepares to sell off a chunk of precious open space to a for-profit, paid-admission Chihuly gallery/gift shop/catering hall, purely for financial reasons, the city might want to take a look at what’s happening in New York City, where in the midst of the Great Recession the city is building a series of innovative, kick-ass playgrounds… as economic development tools!

NPR’s Planet Money has a piece up on NYC’s new Imagination Playground, a $7 million project that reimagines urban play spaces from the cookie-cutter collection of slides, sandboxes and jungle gyms with which we’re all familiar, into a space where kids can use their imaginations to play in a less structured way. And according to NPR, playgrounds like this are popping up all over the city, despite falling tax revenues and tight budgets.

Why? Because when you build family friendly amenities like this, it attracts families with children, raising surrounding property values and drawing customers to nearby businesses. And isn’t that what the Seattle Center is really looking for? More repeat business for its existing tenants to help finance its operations?

Take a few minutes to watch the video above and listen to the Planet Money report below, and then try to tell me that something like this wouldn’t be a more valuable addition to both the city and the Center than the Chihuly proposal. In other words, you know… use your imagination.

by Goldy, 07/29/2010, 8:58 AM

KUOW’s Steve Scher is talking about sex this morning, and honestly, I can’t think of anybody I’d rather hear talk about sex than Steve Scher. Can you?

by Goldy, 07/28/2010, 4:54 PM

As Eli at the The Stranger confirms, President Barack Obama is coming to Seattle on Aug. 17 to hold a fundraiser for Sen. Patty Murray. What’s so special about Aug. 17? It’s primary election day.

And as Eli explains:

There aren’t very many Senate races in the country that get the president’s personal attention. So it’s a sign of both Murray’s good relationship with the White House, and the seriousness with which national Democrats view Dino Rossi’s challenge to Murray’s re-election, that Obama will be here.

Yeah, true, though I’d add that taking the race seriously and “knows she’s in trouble” (as the Rossi campaign asserts) are two different things. I would sure as hell hope the Democrats would take this race seriously, regardless of the opponent, just as Murray and the Democrats took George Nethercutt’s challenge seriously back in 2004. Indeed, one of the big differences between 2010 and the electoral disaster of 1994 is that Democrats are taking damn seriously the possibility of a Republican wave… thus making one that much less likely.

So if I were a WA Republican, I wouldn’t exactly be buoyed by news of a presidential visit.

Another nuance that Eli fails to mention is that this is one of the regions where support for the president and his policies is strongest, and thus one region where a presidential visit is nothing but good news for local Democrats. In fact, you could say that Obama’s visit symbolizes one of the most striking contrasts between the two campaigns: the degree to which the candidates’ stance on major issues is in or out of step with public opinion.

For example, Sen. Murray fights and votes for President Obama’s health care reform bill, and then brings the president home to this Washington to fight for her, while Rossi promises to repeal health care reform after heading to D.C. for a closed-door, high donor fundraiser hosted by anti-HCR GOP senators. Sen. Murray fights and votes for President Obama’s Wall Street reform bill, and then brings the president home to this Washington to fight for her, while Rossi promises to repeal Wall Street reform after heading to Manhattan for a closed-door, high donor fundraiser hosted by hedge fund manager Paul Singer. Sen. Murray fights and votes for President Obama’s DISCLOSE Act, and then brings the president home to this Washington to fight for her, while Rossi refuses to support these tough new public disclosure rules after heading to D.C. for a closed-door, high donor fundraiser hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

See a pattern here? Sen. Murray is bringing President Obama to our Washington to campaign for her because the policy agenda they mutual share is totally in step with the values of Washington voters, whereas Rossi has to slink off to NYC and DC to quietly raise money from powerful corporate interests, because the policy agenda they mutual share is totally out of step with WA voters.

Out of sight, out of mind, I guess his handlers hope.

I mean, if Rossi is so intent on repealing the Obama agenda and returning us back to the George Bush era, why doesn’t he bring former President Bush out here for a high-profile event? In fact, I dare him.

by Goldy, 07/28/2010, 1:46 PM

If you thought yesterday’s post on dog poop bags was just a quick toss-off, well think again, for the moment I saw the Seattle Times/AP piece on cash-strapped Everett spending $8,430 on plastic dog poop bags, I immediately recognized an opportunity to provoke a conversation on what I believe to be the most pernicious aspect of today’s conservative movement: its stubborn insistence on choosing ideology over reality.

And at least in this regard, my comment thread did not disappoint:

6. Rae spews:

How about dog owners’ be responsible and thus, bring their own poop bags? This isn’t a public service at all, but yet another way the liberal government is sending a message that people aren’t or don’t have to take responsibility for their own actions. Want to have kids? Let someone else feed them, clothe them, provide day care for them. Want a dog? Provide poop bags. Get real.

07/27/2010 AT 10:21 AM

22. The Riddle of Steel spews:

Why cant dog owners(who apparntly can afford to own a dog) purchase their own shit-bags instead of making everyone else pay for them?

This has to one of the stupidest fucking govt programs I have ever heard of. Its shit like this that pisses people off and keeps them from voting for higher taxes.

mommy govt at its finest…..

07/27/2010 AT 4:30 PM

Of course, in a sense, both Rae and Riddle are right; dog owners should be more responsible about cleaning up after their pets, and there are many other things I’d rather spend taxpayer money on than plastic poop bags. Personally, I rarely leave the house without a ready poop bag in my back right pocket, and neither should any other conscientious dog owner. (Next time you see me, ask me to show you my poop bag; I bet I’ll have one.)

But this ideologically driven, moralistic approach ignores the fact that the free-dog-poop-bag policy itself has proven damn effective at keeping dog shit off the soles of our shoes, and out of our waterways.

Fecal coliform bacteria is one of the most serious pollutants in many of our nation’s urban streams, and modern DNA tests routinely trace the majority of the contamination back to dog waste. That’s why, in an effort to combat both this very real health concern, and the general nuisance factor of unpicked-up poop, municipalities nationwide have pursued a coordinated campaign that includes general public outreach and education, the creation of dedicated off-leash parks with adequate waste handling facilities, and yes… providing and stocking taxpayer funded poop bag dispensers at parks, trails and other popular dog walking routes.

Municipalities maintain this expense, even in the face of dramatic budget cuts, because it works… not just due to the convenience, but because the mere visible presence of these bag dispensers and waste receptacles is socially reinforcing, resulting in a dramatically higher compliance rate with existing pooper scooper laws. From a public health and quality of life perspective, few public expenditures produce such bang for the buck as the $8,430 Everett spends on plastic poop bags.

But that’s not good enough for the personal responsibility crowd. The mere notion of spending public dollars on something individuals should do for themselves offends their sensibilities. And so they would prefer to see their public sidewalks, parks and trails covered in shit than admit that sometimes, reality trumps ideology.

Substitute poop bags with condoms or sex education or health insurance or the minimum wage or unemployment compensation extensions or carbon credits or marriage equality or “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” or any number of other issues, and you begin to understand why conservatives are so passionately opposed to so many of the policies we in the reality-based community consider no-brainers.

This is the real problem with modern conservatism… not the ideology itself, which even I admit has something to contribute to the public debate, but its relentlessly dogmatic exercise. Today’s conservatives seem so obsessed with how people should behave, that they have little or no tolerance for how people actually do behave. So steeped in faith — faith in God, faith in the market, faith in American mythology, faith in their personalized reading of the Constitution — nothing will stop today’s conservative leaders from advocating what should work over what actually does.

And that’s why, when finally given the reins over both Congress and the White House, the Republicans so spectacularly stepped in it.

UPDATE:
In the thread, HA reader Rae only reinforces my thesis by attempting to defend her previous comments:

I don’t know if I should be flattered or po’d. But you’ve missed the mark. By providing poop bags, the government has just reinforced their beliefs that the population is incapable of being responsible. And I personally object to being thought incapable of being responsible.

She objects, on principle, to a policy that works. Exactly.

by Goldy, 07/28/2010, 11:07 AM

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has blocked parts Arizona’s new immigration law, just one day before it is scheduled to take effect. Good for her.

“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new [law]. … By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a ‘distinct, unusual and extraordinary’ burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose.”

Think about it. Let’s say you are a latino, legal resident or citizen, stopped for a traffic violation, and you don’t have your papers on you because, well, you don’t have any papers, because like most Americans, you don’t walk around carrying your passport. Under the AZ law, you could be arrested.

Perhaps that’s the kinda America that some people want to live in, but not me.

by Goldy, 07/28/2010, 10:48 AM

Well, no, the Seattle Times hasn’t endorsed Sen. Patty Murray, yet. But as I’ve predicted before, they will, and not just in the primary.

What makes me so confident? Well, the Times ed board is so pertinaciously ungenerous to the candidates they oppose, that if they weren’t already preparing to endorse her, they would have never gone out of their way to throw Murray a compliment like this, and so close to a contested election.

THE timing could not be better. As consumer confidence dipped again in July over worries about a sluggish job market, Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have pushed for a new small-business lending fund.

[...] The amendment is part of a larger package of legislation for small business and Main Street America that has attracted scant Republican interest or support. Nothing should be more nonpartisan than putting people back to work.

And a dig at Dino Rossi’s Republicans to boot. Talk about telegraphing your intentions. And with realtors, cops, fire fighters and the Times all endorsing his opponent, talk about yet another Rossi campaign going flat.

by Goldy, 07/28/2010, 9:49 AM

Judging from his response, I’m not sure Mayor Mike McGinn realizes it, but he was the big winner in the Seattle City Council’s decision to delay until February signing contracts with the state on the Big Bore tunnel. For in a region where inertia, not money, is the mother’s milk of politics, anything that delays the project makes McGinn’s dream of stopping it all the more possible.

As for the council, what were they thinking? They had the votes by an 8-1 margin to pretty much do as they please, and a pro-tunnel media establishment to to back them up (they coulda routed an off-ramp through McGinn’s living room, while sticking him personally with the cost overruns, and the Seattle Times editorial board would’ve cheered their conscience driven independence). But inexplicably, they balked. Now McGinn has six more months to talk up his side of the controversy, and while he hasn’t quite yet gotten the hang of the mayoring thing, he’s certainly an accomplished talker.

If, as the council seems to be counting on, the bids from the two remaining tunnel contractors come in under budget, they should have little political trouble signing an agreement with the state. But if the final bid comes in over budget, well, Katie bar the door!

I’m just sayin’.

by Darryl, 07/27/2010, 6:30 PM

DLBottle

Please join us tonight for another Tuesday 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 be there even earlier.

Note to Bill-O: That’s Dr. Madam to you!



Not in Seattle? There is a good chance you live near one of the 309 other chapters of Drinking Liberally.