by Darryl, 02/28/2011, 11:39 PM

Remember that 2008 Republican primary candidate named Tommy Thompson? You know, that guy who demonstrated all the charisma of soiled laundry? Tommy was elected Governor of Wisconsin in the late 1980s. When elected, Illinois had had a Governor Jim Thompson in office for a decade. Big Jim was a Republican as well.

I don’t remember why, exactly—perhaps it was just a pissing contest over who the real Gov. Thompson was—but economic warfare ensued between the two neighboring states.

Gov. Jim struck first when a billboard appeared just over the Wisconsin border saying, “Gov. Thompson wants you to move your business to Illinois.” Cute. Gov. Tommy responded in kind, though I don’t remember the details. I moved out of Wisconsin as the battles raged. Not even sure who (if anyone) won the war.

Cut to 2011 :

After Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law a state income tax hike…New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels–all Republicans–pitched Illinois business to move to their states. Christie was the most aggressive, running newspaper and radio ads in Illinois and stopping earlier this month at the Union League Club in Chicago.

What is it with these Republicans and their desperate opportunism. You have to believe they’d sell the flesh of their own mothers if it might lure a business to their state. And they might not wait for death.

“What…you have a headache, Mom?”

“Well then perhaps you would you consider contributing some bits to my campaign to land our state a new Kibbles factory…MY PRETTY!

Let’s examine a Democratic and Republican response to this gubernatorial scavenging. First, the Democrat (my emphasis):

At the opening session press conference on Saturday, I asked Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat and the NGA chair, what she thought of governors coming to Illinois to steal jobs.

Going over and stealing from someplace else really isn’t the future for them,” Gregoire said. “Their future is building their own economic stability inside their state…my policy as governor is anybody who wants to come to Washington State is welcome. I am not out trying to steal a company from my colleagues.”

And now, the Republican:

NGA co-chair, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman responded that it is okay to poach “I believe in competition among the states and among the countries.” He then gave out his phone number.

See any difference?

And hear that, Boeing? Gov. Heineman wants poached Boeing. For a good time, call Gov. Dave Heineman at 402-471-2244…and re-relocate your headquarters to fricken Nebraskghanistan.

by Darryl, 02/28/2011, 2:57 PM

Q: Who is winning the hearts and minds of Wisconsin voters?

A: Not Governor Scott Walker.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) has released a new opinion poll today, taken from 24-27 of February on 768 Wisconsin voters. From PPP’s write-up:

…if voters in the state could do it over today they’d support defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett over Scott Walker by a a 52-45 margin.

The difference between how folks would vote now and how they voted in November can almost all be attributed to shifts within union households. Voters who are not part of union households have barely shifted at all- they report having voted for Walker by 7 points last fall and they still say they would vote for Walker by a 4 point margin. But in households where there is a union member voters now say they’d go for Barrett by a 31 point margin, up quite a bit from the 14 point advantage they report having given him in November.

It’s actually Republicans, more so than Democrats or independents, whose shifting away from Walker would allow Barrett to win a rematch if there was one today.

The poll details are here.

Keep this in mind when Gov. Walker starts “ratcheting it up” with claims of irreversible damage Democratic senators are doing to the state by preventing a quorum, or about how the people of Wisconsin are tired of the Senators’ “stunt.” More likely than not…he’s bullshitting.

The major damage the Democrats are causing is to Walker’s future in elective office.

by Darryl, 02/28/2011, 9:51 AM

Today is the 10 anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake that shook the Seattle region and almost brought down the Alaska Way viaduct. 

I celebrated the day by driving the viaduct…for the first time in my life.  I took it southbound…you know, the direction that would get me pancaked in a collapse.

I was on my way to West Seattle to get a root canal.

You might say I was wishing for The Big One.

No such luck, as  I’m writing this from my phone while waiting in The Chair for the Novocaine to kick in. 

Update: Well, that wasn’t so bad. Root canals have a bad rep. I hereby apologize to the residents of the Puget Sound region for wishing mayhem, death and destruction upon them over my endodontic anxiety.

by Darryl, 02/27/2011, 1:41 PM

The 4:00 pm closing deadline is here, and the bottom two floors of the capitol building in Madison is still filled with protesters. Will the police take action to clear the building? If so, some resistance is expected. Watch it live…

Update: The world is watching! At 4:30 pm CDT (2:30 pm here on the left coast), there are over 10,000 people watching this live stream.

Update: The feed went dead around 4:32 CDT/2:32 PDT. Huh…imagine that.

Update: Mother Jones reports via Twitter that the internet has been cut off. Nobody is sure why.

Update (2:50 PDT): For now, you can follow the live stream at FOX News. Hold you nose, if you must, but it is just a feed…no commentary from the FAUX News entertainment gallery.

Update (3:15 pm): FOX News pulls the plug on their live stream.

Update (3:55 pm): Eric Kleefeld files this report from inside the capitol building.

Update (4:10 pm): Back to live (not–see below)…found a new video feed. (This one contains commentary.)

Update (4:18 pm): Fugitive Senators in Illinois have no plans to return to Wisconsin.

Update (4:30 pm): Okay…so the embedded “live stream” is not live. Here is a stream from someone’s iPhone that is, supposedly, live.

Update (4:59 pm): There are unconfirmed reports flying around the Tweetosphere that “Republican Sen. Dale Schultz will vote no on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill”. This was just mentioned on the iPhone live feed too. “This is the crack in the armor!”

Update (5:00 pm): Apparently…capitol police are allowing protesters to spend the night. This is an impressive symbolic victory for the protesters.

Update (5:15 pm): Yep…the announcement has come that the protesters can stay for the night. And pizza will be delivered.

Update (5:32 pm): Ok…the current iPhone live feed from brandzel here.

Update (5:38 pm): Just heard on NPR bottom-o-the-hour newscast that Walker was “clearing the Wisconsin capitol building.” Someone needs to have a little talk with NPR’s news department about Twitter….

Update (6:01 pm): Rachael Maddow looks into Scott Walker’s disastrous attempt at busting unions while Milwaukee County Executive:

Finale (7:47 pm): Well…that was exciting.

Here is, I think, the take-home from this little episode of Walker’s War on Workers. First, tonight could have been just another evening of protesters in the Wisconsin capitol…a protest sleep-over like those of the preceding fortnight. But with the announcement that the protesters would be evicted from the capitol building on Sunday at 4:00 pm, the State Department of Administration created a huge confrontation. And both the old media and new media took a keen interest in the outcome. I didn’t really plan to live-blog this event. But with the live video feeds and instant reporting available through Twitter, the confrontation came alive–an epic battle was about to unfold between Walker and the protesters.

And the protesters won–big time. Tonight was a PR disaster for Walker.

The protesters won because the Administration had no choice but to back down. With a heavy media (old and new) presence, images of handcuffed teachers, students, firefighters, construction workers, etc. being dragged from the building would have been a disaster an order of magnitude larger that what we saw.

The protesters won because Walker’s cocksure posture has now been shown to be a façade, and one that is cracked. Walker is vulnerable.

The protesters won because the media saw police and firefighters, uniformed and off duty, stand with and even join in with the protesters. It does raise the question of whether the State Department of Administration made the decision to back down or whether the capitol police simply refused to clear the protesters out of the capitol.

The protesters won because, apparently, Republican Sen. Dale Schultz has decided to vote “no” on the bill. Yeah…it could be a trick. And, yeah, the Democrats need at least two more Republicans to kill the bill. But a Republican Senator rejecting the bill is huge (if actually true—I remain cautious). A week ago, I did not expect anything but the usual monolithic Republican support for the bill. If one Senator can bail, so can others. And now that the people of Wisconsin see that they can have a voice in the process, many more citizens will feel it worthwhile to write or call their elected leaders.

The protesters won through their longevity. A week ago, I could not imagine that the protests would be sustained through the week. Hell…a week ago I though it was unlikely that the bill would be killed. Now I’m not so sure. Tonight may be a defining moment—a turnaround—in Gov. Walker’s War on Workers.

Stay tuned!

by Lee, 02/27/2011, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was won by wes.in.wa. It was along Lake Sammamish.

Here’s this week’s, which is related to something in the news from February. Good luck!

by Darryl, 02/27/2011, 9:54 AM

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) has made the claim that dismantling collective bargaining rights for most state workers is necessary to balance the budget:

“The bottom line is we are trying to balance our budget and there really is no room to negotiate on that because we’re broke,” the Republican governor said.

This is a lie. In fact, the public employee unions have offered fiscal concessions close to those imposed by the controversial legislation:

Top leaders of two of Wisconsin’s largest public employee unions announced they are willing to accept the financial concessions called for in Walker’s plan, but will not accept the loss of collective bargaining rights.

This isn’t enough for Walker, whose real motive is to destroy most public employee unions. (The exceptions found in his legislation are the unions that supported his election campaign.)

Even today Walker continues his lie on the Sunday morning talk show circuit:

“If we do not get these changes, and the (state) Senate Democrats don’t come back, we’re going to be forced to make up the savings in layoffs, and that to me is just unacceptable.”

In fact, Walker could have had all the budget savings necessary simply by negotiating compensation adjustments with the unions.

You know…like Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-WA) did!

This morning on NPR’s Weekend Edition, host Liane Hansen spoke with Gregoire (who is suffering laryngitis) about public employee unions and the Washington state solution:

Last fall, Gregoire was elected Chair of the National Governors Association, establishing that she has the trust and respect of her peers.

So in this forth year of the Bush Recession, when almost every state is struggling with budget issues, maybe newly elected gubernatorial nut cases like Scott Walker should study and emulate the successes of the more experienced and respected Governors in the nation.

by Goldy, 02/27/2011, 6:00 AM

Numbers 31:7-18
They attacked Midian as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.

Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived. After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the generals and captains[a] who had returned from the battle.

“Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the Lord’s people. So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

Discuss.

by Darryl, 02/27/2011, 1:08 AM

Pro-democracy, pro-worker rallies were held in all 50 states on Saturday. People were protesting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s move to take away collective bargaining rights from public employees (at least those in unions that did not support Walker’s election campaign). More generally, people were protesting the Republican War on Workers.

Here in Washington a rally was held in Olympia where

…several thousand union workers faced off with hundreds of tea party enthusiasts in competing rallies.

King 5 has a gallery of photos of today’s event in Olympia.

The main even in Madison, Wisconsin drew, perhaps, 125,000 people—seemingly the largest protest ever in a city known for big protests. (FWIW, the Madison police provide an estimate of from 70,000 to 100,000 protesters.)

Even police officers joined the protesters in a remarkable show of solidarity:

“Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside.”
[...]

“Police [...] announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’

Here is the video:

And even though the right wing lunatics will claim that all those protesters in Wisconsin were bussed in by George Soros with help from ACORN and Van Jones, there were, apparently, enough people left behind to put together an impressive number of rallies all over the U.S.

Here are some estimates from the numerous other locations that I was able to find Saturday evening using The Google:

Here is a nice collection of photos from protests around the country.

As I mentioned previously, Walker may well get his way in Wisconsin. But he will pay dearly for it in Wisconsin.

A recent USA Today/Gallup poll shows that “61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.” If Republicans in other states join in on Walker’s War on Workers, the damage will certainly spread to them.

Update: As Dave points out, I missed Spokane. I’ll include an addenda. Leave a comment if you find news of another demonstration from the weekend:

Update: Fifty more photos.

by Darryl, 02/26/2011, 12:37 PM

Man…since moving to The Stranger, Goldy has undergone some changes:

“Perhaps if I advertised that I was looking to have sex with a dishwasher, I’d have more luck?”

And we were led to believe that the Maytag repairman was “lonely.”

In any case, drop Goldy a line if you have a portable dishwasher in “decent working condition” that you no longer need.

by Darryl, 02/25/2011, 11:21 PM

Newsy: Texas bill aims for guns on college campuses.

Young Turks: Nutcase Republican proposes to outlaw miscarriages. Punishable by death penalty:

Liberal Viewer: FAUX News hates trains?

Cenk: Town hall death threat against Obama.

Revolution in the Mideast:

Rahm wins.

Glenn Beck’s insane rant: Wisconsin Unions, Muslim Brotherhood, Google, all part of New World Order (via TalkingPointsMemo).

Maddow: The Kansas terrorists known as Operation Rescue.

Newsy: Justice Thomas goes silent for five years.

Greenman: What the ice cores tell us, and how deniers distort it:

Anderson Cooper advises Christine O’Donnell on Dancing With The Stars.

Young Turks: Defending the crusades, Santorum style.

The Big Week in Gay Issues:

Ann Telnaes: House GOP cuts 61 billion from discretionary spending.

Pap: Democrats should abandon the South.

O’Donnell: Glenn Beck apologizes to Jews.

ONN: Obama denies accusations he does not love his dog.

Revoltion in the Midwest:

ONN Radio News: KKK member struggles to blame blacks for his hangover.

Young Turks: Newt gets called out by student over his hypocrisy.

The White House: West Wing Week.

Sam Seder: Stupid states do stupid things.

Rep. Pelosi goes after Republicans over health care repeal for special interests. (via TalkingPointsMemo).

Cenk: Gov. Mitch Daniels’ (R-IN) double standards.
Anderson Cooper advises Christine O’Donnell on Dancing With The Stars.

ONN: al Qaeda attacks internet with photo of adorable piglet:

Maddow: Wall Street says G.O.P. budget is disastrous.

Thom with The Good, The Bad, and the Very, Very Ugly.

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

by Carl, 02/25/2011, 3:43 PM

If you can I’d encourage you to attend one of these rallies Saturday:

The Walk for Choice in Seattle. Noon to 3:00. At Broadway and Pine.

If you’re in or can make it down to Olympia, there’s a rally in solidarity with Wisconsin’s public employee unions. At the Tivoli Fountain. (updated originally had the wrong location, and updated again with a better website).

by Lee, 02/25/2011, 1:25 PM

Still a lot of activity on drug law reform in Washington state:

- The medical marijuana bill in the Senate, SB 5073, passed out of the Ways & Means Committee to the Rules Committee yesterday. There was one positive amendment, the elimination of the requirement that health-care providers provide quarterly reports of their authorization record and for patients to meet with their health care providers quarterly. But an attempt to restore arrest protection for those who refuse to sign up with the state registry failed.

- The Seattle Times has once again urged the legislature, and specifically House Speaker Frank Chopp, to hold a hearing on HB 1550, which would eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana possession and allow for sales through the existing state liquor stores. In response to the Seattle Times’ bold embrace of common sense solutions, Gil Kerlikowske (former Seattle Police Chief and now Obama’s Drug Czar) has requested a meeting with the Seattle Times editorial board.

- Sensible Washington has announced on its Facebook page that it’s re-filing their marijuana legalization initiative after initially receiving ballot language that they didn’t like. Sensible Washington hasn’t posted anything publicly as to why they didn’t like the ballot language or what (if anything) they’ve changed for their re-filing.

UPDATE: Ryan Blethen adds more thoughts on the reaction to the Seattle Times editorial that has the Drug Czar ready to fly across the country.

by Goldy, 02/24/2011, 10:26 PM

lynnallenLynn Allen was one of the first political bloggers I met, way back when the local liberal blogosphere was just taking shape, and while she may not have been one of the best known or most read, within our community she was certainly one of the most loved, often playing the role of den mother to our group of rowdy children.

Lynn died today at the age of 63, after a brief battle with ovarian cancer.

Politics is a mean, nasty, vicious business. But cancer is meaner.

by Lee, 02/24/2011, 12:25 PM

Remember this incident from last May?

Christine Casey, patient coordinator of North End Club 420, tells the Weekly that the detectives from the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team (WestNet) who came to her house in Olalla (west of Vashon Island) handcuffed her 14-year-old son for two hours and put a gun to his head. They also told the kid to say good-bye to his dad, Guy Casey, because the dispensary owner was going to prison.

And as the detectives looked for cash to prove that the dispensary was illegally profiting from pot sales, Casey says, they confiscated $80 that her 9-year-old daughter had received from her family for a straight-A report card. Where did they find it?

In the girl’s Mickey Mouse wallet, according to Casey. She also claims that the cops dumped out all her silverware, busted a hole in the wall, and broke appliances. She alleges too that the cops finger-wrote “I sell pot” in the dust covering the family’s Hummer, which the cops then seized. (WestNet did not return repeated calls seeking comment.)

At the time, I wrote:

Once again, WestNET is claiming that a “police operative” repeatedly bought marijuana from the Caseys without showing a medical marijuana authorization. The Caseys deny it. If the Caseys are telling the truth, it’s just another reason to put pressure on our state’s Congressional delegation to eliminate WestNET’s federal funding.

Today, the Tacoma News-Tribune reports what nearly everyone in the medical marijuana community has known for quite some time:

Pierce County prosecutors have dismissed numerous drug charges filed last year against two men who run a Tacoma medical-marijuana cooperative.

Guy Lewis Casey and Michael Jonathan Schaef – who operate the Club 420 cooperative on Oregon Avenue – had been scheduled for trial in April.

Deputy prosecutor Jennifer L. Sievers filed paperwork Tuesday dismissing the case, saying that after further investigation she had “doubts as to the veracity” of a confidential informant who fed information to police.

Just as with the Bruce Olson case, the WestNET drug task force used the word of an untrustworthy “informant” in order to justify their invasions on law-abiding members of the medical marijuana community. Again, it’s time for our representatives in Congress to ask why this group continues to receive federal funding in order to destroy the homes of innocent people and terrorize their families.

by Darryl, 02/24/2011, 10:57 AM

Remember the Taliban before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan?

They were embattled politicians made up of religious fundamentists using extreme interpretations of ancient religious texts to justify their oppression of women and the murder of people with whom they disagreed.

So…how is this any different?

Last week, South Dakota’s legislature shelved a bill, introduced by Republican state Rep. Phil Jensen, which would have allowed the use of the “justifiable homicide” defense for killings intended to prevent harm to a fetus. Now a nearly identical bill is being considered in neighboring Nebraska, where on Wednesday the state legislature held a hearing on the measure.

The legislation, LB 232, was introduced by state Sen. Mark Christensen, a devout Christian and die-hard abortion foe who is opposed to the prodedure even in the case of rape. Unlike its South Dakota counterpart, which would have allowed only a pregnant woman, her husband, her parents, or her children to commit “justifiable homicide” in defense of her fetus, the Nebraska bill would apply to any third party.

“In short, this bill authorizes and protects vigilantes, and that’s something that’s unprecedented in our society,” Melissa Grant of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Nebraska legislature’s judiciary committee on Wednesday.

Behold, the resurgence of the American Taliban.

Update: Matt Yglesias points out the more pernicious effect of the legislation from South Dakota and Nebraska:

…there’s actually no need whatsoever for such a bill to pass. You just need several state legislators to introduce the bill, hold hearings, popularize the idea, generate press coverage and discussion, etc. Soon enough we’ll have another assassination of an obstetrician and the perpetrator will use the justifiable homicide defense. Say 20 percent of Nebraskans decide that, yeah, abortion is murder to killing abortion providers is justifiable homicide. How’re you going to get a unanimous verdict from a jury?

by Lee, 02/24/2011, 7:52 AM

This video from CNN’s Ben Wedeman is a beautiful sight that many folks have waiting a long time for. Embedding is disallowed, but it shows a massive crowd in Benghazi, Libya celebrating their victory over Gaddafi’s hired mercenaries and other loyalists this past week. Wedeman compares the welcome he received to an American soldier arriving in Paris in WWII. It gives you an idea of how much it matters to countries like Libya when oppressive rulers aren’t able to operate in the dark.

Unfortunately, the capital Tripoli is still being fought over, with paid mercenaries terrorizing the city. But with much of the country already lost and many of his loyalists and allies turning on him, it’s just a matter of time before we see similar celebrations in Tripoli.

by Darryl, 02/24/2011, 12:57 AM

Rick Santorum has identified the true problem with America. He is launching his own crusade to stop the spread of Medieval smears (via Politico):

Rick Santorum launched into a scathing attack on the left, charging during an appearance in South Carolina that the history of the Crusades has been corrupted by “the American left who hates Christendom.”

Really…it’s about time somebody had the cohoes to not just attack, but to launch into a scathing attack on the evil leftist, Crusade-hating, eleventh through thirteenth century history revisionist element in our society.

“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,” Santorum said in Spartanburg on Tuesday. “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom.”

I know!!! I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to correct Christendom-hating leftists on their shallow understanding of the crusades. Their ignorance of the benevolent nature of the Crusades is leaving its stain on America.

santorum3

I mean, it’s no wonder Congress has been unable to pass a budget. And that so many Obama appointees are stuck in the Senate confirmation process. Crusade confusion has caused banks to fail. And some say it played a big role in the Enron scandal.

He added, “They hate Western civilization at the core.”

An no greater an expression of hate is there than the spread of misinformation about the Crusades. Thank you Mr. Santorum for cleaning up that stain.

That’s the problem.

That, and The Scientists’ pernicious work on human-animal hybrids….

This guy is sooooooo, sooooooo totally ready for the Oval Office!

by Lee, 02/23/2011, 5:22 PM

Now that Goldy isn’t the head honcho here any more, I think I’ll pick on him today. Over at Slog, he posts:

Following the success of last year’s local initiative outlawing red-light cameras in his hometown of Mukilteo, Eyman’s taking his latest for-profit/anti-government gimmick on the road. This year, he’s cosponsoring copycat measures in Bellingham, Monroe, Wenatchee, and Longview. But while Eyman provocatively characterizes the cameras as the “crack cocaine” of city budget writers and “taxation-­by-­citation, just another way for government to pick the pockets of taxpayers,” a definitive new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds that red-light cameras save lives.

Comparing crash statistics between 1992–1996 and 2004–2008 in the 99 US cities with populations above 200,000, researchers found a 35 percent reduction in red-light fatalities in cities that implemented red-light-camera programs, versus a 14 percent reduction in those that did not.

But the cameras’ benefits actually proved to be much bigger. When all crashes at signaled intersections were tallied, not just those due to red-light running, total fatalities dropped 14 percent in cities with cameras, while rising 2 percent in cities without.

This should be fairly obvious, but the evidence described in the third paragraph doesn’t exactly bolster Goldy’s assertion. It’s proof that there are a number of other factors causing declines in vehicle fatalities other than what’s happening at red light camera intersections. These could be related to safer car construction, fewer miles traveled, changes to traffic patterns, or something else. If there’s a reduction of 14 percent in red light crashes in cities that didn’t implement red light cameras, then there are another explanations for the decline. And that explanation could perhaps also explain why there was a gap in the overall statistics from city to city.

Here’s a page from the National Motorists Association that criticizes other aspects of the study, and another page from them that details out some studies which have shown that red light cameras increase accidents.

The National Motorists Association is an organization with a strong bias in this matter, and they often play up the increase in rear-end collisions that are seen with the implementation of red light cameras, while ignoring the decreases in side-angle crashes (which are more likely to cause fatalities) from the very same studies. In the end, I think there’s a case to be made that red light cameras provide some benefit, although I find this study to be completely unconvincing in the effort of making that case. In fact, this part at the end of their press release gives you an idea of how little their numbers are actually telling them and how they understand them even less:

Results in each of the 14 camera cities varied. The biggest drop in the rate of fatal red light running crashes came in Chandler, Ariz., where the decline was 79 percent. Two cities, Raleigh, NC, and Bakersfield, Calif., experienced an increase.

“We don’t know exactly why the data from Raleigh and Bakersfield didn’t line up with what we found elsewhere,” McCartt says. “Both cities have expanded geographically over the past two decades, and that probably has a lot to do with it.”

But Chandler has easily been one of the fastest growing cities in the United States over the past 20 years as well. Why did it experience such a dramatic decrease in vehicle fatalities while Bakersfield and Raleigh saw increases? There are certainly reasons for it, but it should be evident that red light cameras aren’t one of those reasons. When looking at red light cameras and trying to figure out whether or not they work, any study that isn’t looking at specific intersections and comparing data isn’t really worth much in this debate.

by Darryl, 02/23/2011, 10:24 AM

Via The Ave:
WalkkerQaddafi

by Darryl, 02/23/2011, 12:04 AM

Seattle PI’s Joe Connelly nails it:

How did teachers, nurses and child-care workers find themselves in a bullseye? It’s about power — an underlying campaign by corporate wealth to assume unchallenged command of American democracy.

Government workers did not cause the Great Recession. Nurses did not strip value from 401(k) plans. Schoolteachers did not torpedo Wisconsin school districts’ investments. Care workers did not render WaMu stock worthless, or employees in Washington jobless.

Public employees have not asked for bailouts and then demanded big bonuses as an entitlement. While hidebound at times, their unions have agreed to forgo benefits.

As numerous observers have demonstrated with actual numbers, the actions by Wisconsin Republicans are not about austerity, “saving” the state, or fiscal responsibility. They are a pure Republican attack on public employee unions. The public employees have largely agreed to the fiscal measures in the legislation. They have not agreed to the non-fiscal demands of the legislation–measures that would seriously undermine their rights to collectively bargain.

The public employees offered these concessions even as the Legislature and Governor have engaged in blatant corporate welfare:

Gov. Scott Walker has just signed into law $117 million in corporate tax breaks; the Badger State’s immediate shortfall totals $137 million.

Is it a coincidence that anti-public employee legislation has been introduced nearly simultaneously in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio? I doubt it. Rather I suspect Republicans have taken more from the 2010 elections than the electorate was offering.

Republicans “felt the love” in the 2010 election and proceeded to turn that into a mistaken cocky arrogance. The fact is, in 2010 the electorate was consumed by restlessness and unease over a prolonged nation-wide recession that hit the country under the Bush administration. But political unease almost always swings against the party in power–such is the natural antiphon of politics.

By reading their gains as an endorsement for their war on the middle class, Republicans badly miscalculated. They have overreached. I strongly suspect it will not go unnoticed by the people.