Last week’s contest was won by ‘Siberian dog’. It was College Place, WA, near Walla Walla.
This week’s is related to a news item from December, good luck!
When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean.
To be clear, the Republicans in Congress were willing to shut down the government unless we extended tax cuts to billionaires, even at the cost of $900 billion in additional national debt, but the home mortgage interest deduction…? Well, that they’re not sure our nation can afford.
Merry Republican Christmas.
How is this anything other than a complete contradiction?
Frank Abe, spokesman for Constantine, said the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has many outlets for exercising free speech, including the purchase of ad space elsewhere.
“It’s been claimed the decision to rescind acceptance of the ad is due to public pressure,” he wrote in an e-mail. “It is not.”
Metro’s policies restrict material that can lead to harm or disrupt public transit, Abe said. “This proposed ad did not originally fit that definition, but now falls within it because of the global firestorm over the ad.”
Our freedom of speech should never conditional upon whether it makes people angry or uncomfortable. That’s why capitulations over a cartoonist’s ability to draw Muhammad are cowardly, and why Metro’s decision not to display these ads is just as cowardly.
I’m not necessarily opposed to some kind of pension reform this legislative session; truth is, I haven’t really studied the issue closely enough to have formed an educated opinion one way or the other. But I do have an opinion on the rhetoric used by the Seattle Times editorial board to close their argument in favor of reform, an opinion I can pretty much sum up in two words: fuck you.
State employee benefits come out of the pockets of the average citizen. That person does not have a plan with annual pension increases and has no chance of ever having such a thing. The average citizen will support Gregoire’s proposal.
The Times, who constantly calls for bipartisanship, and who rails against class warfare (in the form of raising taxes on the wealthy) once again promotes its economic race toward the bottom by attempting to turn working people against each other, rather than against the corporate and political elites who have had their boots on the throats of the middle class for most of the past few decades. It is the same argument the editors use in favor of slashing the wages and benefits of public employees—you don’t get it, so why should they?—a mean-spirited appeal to society’s lesser angels, and the antithesis of the guiding principles of the labor movement that led to astonishing gains in workplace conditions, personal income and standard of living for nearly all Americans throughout the first three quarters of the twentieth century.
To be clear, what the Times calls “pay increases for beneficiaries” is nothing more than cost of living increases of the kind enjoyed by Social Security recipients. And no doubt when the Times eventually argues for eliminating that too, they will make a similar argument to the younger workers paying into the system to support the current retirees: “You won’t collect this benefit,” the editors will argue, “so why should they?”
Until eventually, nobody has much of anything, but for the lucky few who remain at the top.
– Goldy beat me to it on the Pat Robertson news. It’s hard to understand how Robertson could have a more enlightened position on this than our state legislature, who’ve failed for several years in a row to decriminalize marijuana.
– Speaking of state marijuana laws, I was putting together a state-by-state progress report when I noticed that Russ Belville has already put together this handy chart on state medical marijuana laws. More info and charts from Russ here.
– Here in Washington, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles has released a draft of her medical marijuana bill that would finally legalize dispensaries and provide arrest protection for patients. The bill can be read here.
– The ACLU of Washington continues to fight for a medical marijuana patient who was fired from her job solely for failing a pre-employment screening, even though she didn’t use her medicine at work and was fully able to do her job.
– Dominic Holden writes about the medical marijuana industry in King County that’s now starting to come out of the shadows.
– If any of you have driven on I-5 north of Tacoma, you’ve probably seen this billboard, which Sensible Washington intends to have up all year as they once again push to have an initiative on the November ballot.
I wasn’t going to post this particular graph as it should be pretty damn obvious from the previous post that full-time equivalent (FTE) state employees couldn’t possibly be growing out of whack, what with state government steadily shrinking as a percentage of the economy, and employee compensation representing the largest chunk of government outlays. But the question was raised in the previous thread, along with the word “bloated,” so, well, here it is.
Again, I know the Republicans and their surrogates in the media keep pounding home the point that state and local government spending is out of control, but that doesn’t make it true.
Yesterday I posted a couple graphs showing how Washington state has chosen to devote an increasingly larger portion of our economy toward imprisoning our citizens, at the same time we’re devoting an ever smaller portion toward educating them. I leave it to you to judge the wisdom of such spending priorities.
Today’s graph is also about priorities, in that it shows that when push comes to shove over the past fifteen years, our lawmakers have consistently chosen to keep taxes low. Indeed, between 1994 and 2001 WA’s rank in state and local taxes as a percentage of personal income dropped from 11th nationwide to 32nd. And WA has remained below the national average since 2000; it stood at 30th in 2008.
It is true that revenues briefly rebounded between 2003 and 2007, but this was not due to legislative action. Rather, easy consumer credit and a booming housing market spurred consumer spending, resulting in a surge in taxes relative to personal income in this heavily sales tax dependent state. But even this bump in revenue—and subsequent bump in spending, largely to fund the class size and teachers pay initiatives—left both spending and revenue near the bottom end of the fifteen year average.
Republicans and their surrogates on the editorial boards insist that our current budget crisis is the result of profligate government spending, but this simply isn’t true. With consumer spending having collapsed in advance of incomes, and recovering at a much slower pace, combined state and local government in the next biennium will consume a smaller portion of our state economy than at any time in the past three decades, and a substantially smaller portion than it did just fifteen years ago.
So as the Governor and the Legislature prepare to make all those tough budget choices—largely consisting of slashing spending on education and health care—remember… this is their choice. There are two sides to a budget, revenue and spending, and how we balance the two depends on our priorities.
Washington has chosen to become and remain a low tax state, come hell or high water, and with all the negative impact this lack of public investment will bring on future economic growth… not to mention the inevitable immediate suffering of the poor, the sick and the young.
So, what do Lee and the Rev. Pat Robertson have in common? They both oppose the criminalization of marijuana:
“I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing it’s just, it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That’s not a good thing.”
I don’t know if Robertson’s support helps or hurts the cause with rational people, but rational people aren’t generally writing these laws, so I’d call this development a net plus.
One of the most moving moments of last summer’s Netroot’s Nation, was when our very own Joan McCarter gave Lt. Dan Choi’s West Point ring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, insisting that he not give it back until Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. Today, Sen. Reid gave Lt. Choi his ring back.
I dunno… sure does sound like a definitive statement of fact to me:
The Legislature cannot raise taxes.
But of course, that’s not true. The Legislature can raise taxes. It would require a remarkable display of bipartisan support—exactly the kinda bipartisanship the Seattle Times editorial board so often breathlessly pines for—but it can be done, even under the unconstitutional two-thirds strictures of I-1053.
For example, let’s say there was some kind of devastating natural disaster, a tsunami or an earthquake that required hundreds of millions of dollars in immediate emergency spending for relief and reconstruction… could (and should) the Legislature raise taxes to meet these needs, despite statewide voters “emphatic votes on three separate ballot measures” this past November?
I’d like to think so. So isn’t this really just a question of priorities? And isn’t that what politics is always about: priorities?
So no, neither the Legislature, nor the governor, nor the voters, nor the Times gets off that easily. We can raise taxes, if we want to. And if we don’t raise taxes to help offset the proposed devastating cuts to education and social services, then the human suffering and long term costs these cuts create is on our heads.
Please join us tonight for another 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 8:00 pm. Some of us will be there even earlier for a quiet dinner.
Not in Seattle? There is a good chance you live near one of the 235 other chapters of Drinking Liberally.
– Larry David thanks Congress for the tax cuts.
– Tyler Cowen discusses income inequality.
– Ballard resident Tom Nissley is kicking ass on Jeopardy.
– Here’s the video of the shooting of John T. Williams. After watching that, I have trouble seeing how that could’ve been a justified use of force.