by Darryl, 07/31/2011, 11:33 PM

Still have that ballot sitting on your kitchen table?

Fuse has produced their Progressive Voter’s Guide for this election.

Actually…they only have a voter’s guide for nine of Washington’s 39 counties, but if you are reading this, there is a good chance you live in one of those nine counties.

Do you vote in King County? Fuse recommends a yes vote on Prop. 1 that would renew a levy to fund some veterans & human services.

Oddly enough, the Seattle Times recommends a yes vote as well. Strange bedfellows. No, wait, that’s the other daily….

Whatever…just make sure you vote.

by Lee, 07/31/2011, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was won by It was the location of a deadly shooting in Grand Rapids, MI.

This week’s contest is both a location in Washington AND it’s related to something in the news from July. Good luck!

by Goldy, 07/31/2011, 9:36 AM

Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Luke 12:49
I came to cast fire upon the earth. How I wish that it was already ablaze!


by Darryl, 07/29/2011, 11:21 PM

Congressman Deadbeat Dad:

Newsy: Register to vote…get free pot.

Ed: Voter suppression in Wisconsin.

Beck massacres Kilmeade and Ingraham to become Worst Person in the World.

The Media Responds to Norwegian Terrorist Attack:

Bill-O the Clown beats out Michele Bachman as Worst Person in the World.

Jon on the perpetual victims at FAUX News:

Lawrence O’Donnell: Teen suicide rate high in Bachmann’s bigoted Anoka-Hennepin County school district.

Sam Seder: Scumbag NewsCorpse gives mourning mother a phone and then hacks it.

Anthropogenic C****** C*****:

Jon on Twitterized newscasts.

Seattle city councilman Tim Burgess rapping (via Slog).

Rep. Billy Long defeats FAUX’s MacCallum, and Lush Rimbaugh for the title Worst Person in the World.

The Republican Primary Asylum:

Ralph Goneau, 79, and Richard Wilhelm, 87, waited 41 years to say “I Do”.

ONN: Social Security reform bill encourages Americans to live faster, die younger.

Ed: Florida voter suppression.

Young Turks: FAUX News infotainer says cut Medicare to fund wars.

Newt triumphs over Rep. Culberson and Glenn Beck Worst Person in the World.

New Fuel Efficiency Standards:

Lawrence O’Donnell: Right wing wackjobs let FAA funding expire.

Jon does an extended interview with Juan Williams.

Olbermann with Robert Reich on America widening wealth gap.

Newsy: Seven billion and counting.


White House: West Wing Week.

Newsy: God’s 52% approval rating.

Olbermann wit Rep. Keith Ellison on (Peter) ‘King’-sized fearmongering .

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

by Carl, 07/29/2011, 4:17 PM

The Pro Tunnel people are running an ad trying to link Tim Eyman and Mike McGinn to the opposition to the tunnel. Tim Eyman opposes tolling but hasn’t done much one way or the other on the tunnel. This ad isn’t the first place to imply an alliance between them despite, you know, evidence. But since this narrative is out there, I’d like to remind people what Mike McGinn actually thinks of Tim Eyman (emphasis mine):

Let’s speak honestly about what’s happening to education in the State of Washington. Tim Eyman has set this state on a path that will let our schools collapse and our children fail in order to save a few dollars. Mr. Eyman, you may have talked the rest of the state into destroying what we hold dear. But we are drawing a line around Seattle, right at the city limit. And we’re saying it won’t happen here. We’re not going to stand by and watch our children fail. That’s why we’re doubling the Families and Education Levy. I ask Council to stand with the community and stand for Seattle values and place this levy on the ballot.

Further cementing this alliance, McGinn is opposed to Eyman’s latest initiative.

I do not support Eyman’s initiative. If we toll a road, the state should be able to use the tolling revenue to fund transit for people who can’t afford the tolls. In fact, that’s the only fair way to do tolling.

McGinn isn’t a one issue obsessive, unlike the people who call him one!

by Carl, 07/29/2011, 7:22 AM

- Darryl has already mentioned The Stranger’s endorsements. Also, Cascade Bikes and NARAL.

- Jim McDermott on how hitting the debt ceiling might cause a ripple effect to the UW.

- Dear drivers, for the love of God, stop hitting cyclists.

- In case you were concerned that the News Corp scandal wasn’t seedy enough (h/t).

- It’s 2011, and cankles are still a thing human beings talk about. About cabinet officials no less.

- Socialist!

by Carl, 07/28/2011, 6:58 PM

I’d be a lot more wiling to go along with this if I thought East King County would return the favor if the situation were reversed.

This afternoon, the Sound Transit board’s agenda features a resolution selecting the preferred Eastside alignment for Link light rail, which includes a tunnel under downtown Bellevue. However, the tunnel would cost $329 million more than the amount allocated for this portion of the project when voters passed the ST2 extension in 2008. To cover that cost, the City of Bellevue has pledged to chip in $180 million and that leaves—depending upon various methods to slice and dice the shortfall—$138 to $150 million unpaid. Although Sound Transit staff have reportedly considered various options (selling real estate, shrinking the scope of the Eastide alignment, and delaying the project to save money on bonding), those weren’t the chief idea presented to regional leaders yesterday. Several sources say that Sound Transit staff specifically asked leaders in the North King sub-area cities (again, mostly Seattle) to contribute $150 million to support the East Link tunnel.

Of course the reason we have sub areas in the first place is that East and South King County (or at least their ST representatives) were opposed to the thought of having to pay for any of Seattle’s light rail. When we were building light rail in Seattle, we had to balance it out with East Side bus routes and park and rides. We had to build much of it at grade. We had to cut the Graham Street Station from the final route. So, no, if we have any money left over, I think a Graham Street Station and putting the money into bus service lost if King County cuts routes would be a better way to go.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve used the East Side buses and park and rides, and I think they have value. Also, I’d like to have good rail on the East Side. I don’t even mind paying for it as a Seattle person. Logically, with capital intensive projects like light rail sometimes the money should flow to Seattle and sometimes it should flow out of it. What I object to is that the money only seems to go one way.

And one more thing; during the last Seattle budget, Bellevue and other East Side people told me how awful it was that Seattle was raising parking meter rates. They were going to steal away business with their cheap parking and out compete Seattle. Now they want to use Seattle’s healthy budget to pay for rail on the East Side!

by Darryl, 07/28/2011, 1:54 PM

Earlier this week I offered Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna some solid advice:

[T]he sitting state Attorney General should NOT have his campaign stooges give uninformed legal babble opinion—it reflects badly on the legal prowess of the Attorney General.

But now, McKenna is doubling down on this sort of idiocy…by mailing out a fundraising letter built around a whopper of a lie, built on their fringe legal theory.

Publicola reports on McKenna’s letter that starts out:

The leading Democratic contender, Congressman Jay Inslee, has a war chest of over $1,000,000 in his re-election campaign for Congress. This week the media is reporting that he intends to illegally transfer that money to his state campaign for governor.

By “the media”, the McKenna campaign means this AP piece that was carried by numerous media sources.

A plain reading of the AP piece yields these facts (reordered):

  1. McKenna had $40,000 left over from his 2008 campaign
  2. McKenna didn’t segregate the money into a surplus account; rather, he rolled over those funds to his 2012 campaign
  3. The rolled-over funds commingled with new money and, therefore, are subject to campaign contribution limits
  4. Inslee has $1.2 million surplus from past campaigns squired away in a separate account.
  5. Inslee asked the PDC for permission to use the surplus, with donor consent, for his gubernatorial bid.
  6. About $1 million of Inslee’s money never commingled with new money so it would not be subject to campaign contribution limits
  7. The McKenna campaign characterized Inslee’s money as “illegal,” and claimed that Inslee was circumventing Washington state law
  8. The PDC disagrees with McKenna’s intrepertation; they agree that Inslee can, with donor consent, use about $1 million for his gubernatorial campaign without contribution limit issues
  9. The only challenge to the PDC’s interpretation of the law in the article comes from McKenna

This last point is important. It means McKenna’s fundraising letter is premised on a lie. It says:

This week the media is reporting that [Inslee] intends to illegally transfer that money to his state campaign for governor,

Not true. The media does not suggest the proposed transfer would be illegal. Here is what an honest McKenna could say:

This week the media is reporting that [Inslee] intends to transfer that money to his state campaign for governor. The PDC says this is legal. We disagree.

That would be an honest summary of the situation.

Instead this whole episode leaves us with a troubling picture of McKenna:

  • He (or his campaign) fucked-up their own cash roll-over, apparently through ignorance of the state’s campaign laws
  • He espouses a fringe legal theory about campaign cash roll-over, one that is contradicted by the PDC
  • He is willing to blatantly lie to his potential donors

The episode not only throws into doubt if he has the integrity to be Governor, it throws into doubt his competence as our state’s top lawyer.

by Darryl, 07/28/2011, 10:22 AM

The Republicans are still trying to find a credible opponent for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in 2012. Former Bush Deputy White House spokesperson and Bush-Cheney ‘04 Press Secretary, Scott Stanzel is considering it.

But I said “credible.”

And now Seattle Weekly‘s Mike Seely writes:

…lately we’ve been hearing somewhat credible rumors that 8th District Congressman Dave Reichert might be up for abandoning his seat and challenging Cantwell. So is this chatter serious, or is there a stealthier factor at play here?

By “stealthier factor” he means that Reichert is using such rumors to leverage a more favorable redistricting outcome.

Seely ponders:

But what if Reichert’s motives are more pure? What would ensue would be a fascinating race between polar opposites: Cantwell, the wonkish brainiac who takes on issues of substance yet struggles with retail politics and staff retention, versus Reichert, the dull knife who gets by on Ken-doll looks, law-enforcement legend, and timely tacks to the center.

That would be fun! I like it. Reichert is, for sure, a stronger opponent for Cantwell than is Stanzel. But a Reichert challenge would accomplish two things. First, it opens up the Democratic-leaning 8th CD (which, of course, may be unrecognizable by 2012). Second, it means Republicans would dump lots of money into the race. Less so with Stanzel; Republicans would find more promising races upon which to spend their spoils.

This is Reichert’s big Window of Opportunity…but could he win?

In a statewide competition against an uberwonk, Reichert would not get away with his usual strategy of dodging all things substantive. He’ll have to speak in public and try to come off as intelligent and informed. No more “I’ve looked in a microscope and seen the heartbeat of a stem cell” moments; no more, “I don’t know enough about this issue, so I’ll pass on the question” answers like he gave in his 2006 debate against Darcy Burner. No more confessions of voting the way the leadership tells him to vote. The Cantwell campaign would eat him alive for such blunders.

So, no, he can’t. If Reichert sticks his head through that Window of Opportunity…he’ll get his freakin’ throat slit….

by Carl, 07/27/2011, 9:18 PM

As I mentioned in the Open Thread, I’m trying to say something about how the County Council couldn’t decide what to do with Metro. But I really don’t know what I’m getting at.

Not knowing what’s next, hopefully there’s some behind the scenes maneuvering going on (I mean obviously there is; hopefully it actually moves things). Hopefully service keeps running into the future.

Still, he best case is buses remain crowded. I took the bus South of Downtown last Sunday, and it was standing room only at about 7:00 in the afternoon. It’s regularly crowded during rush hour, and worse when it rains. And I understand why the council doesn’t want this on the ballot. Not every policy decision needs to go to a vote, and if we have the majority, we ought to be able to pass it.

Preferably, I’d like to see the legislature just let King County (and other counties) do what King County (and other counties) wants to do without arbitrary impositions like the 2/3. Still, if for the foreseeable future we have this 2/3 requirement, and the legislature is going to impose it on King County for various things, maybe we should shrink the council down to 3. That way any majority is a 2/3 majority. I mean we have the dumbass precedent for shrinking the council to 9. Why not go to 3?

by Darryl, 07/27/2011, 1:30 PM

The last time Jane Hague ran for re-election to King County Council (district no. 6), it was discovered that she had been hiding a DUI arrest, and was abusive of the arresting officers. We learned that she had lied about having a college degree. She also got hit with multiple PDC complaints. Alas, most of this came to light too late for a strong candidate to challenge her.

She has some serious electoral competition this year, with three challengers. One challenger, Richard Mitchell, is rated “Outstanding” by the King County Municipal League. Hague is rated “Good.”

And what does the Stranger have to say for this race?

Mitchell is the most accomplished and promising challenger to Jane Hague on the Metropolitan King County Council, and earns [our] endorsement. In our interviews with the four candidates for this seat, he stood out for his quick mind and grasp of detail.

[...] The County Council is nonpartisan, but when asked Mitchell said he is a Democrat because of that party’s identification with immigrants, civil rights and environmental justice. He describes his politics as “fiscally conservative and socially progressive.”

“Accomplished, ” “Quick mind,” “grasp of details”? Typical reality-based blather from a left-wing rag.

Oh wait…my mistake, that was the Seattle Times endorsing Mitchell over Hague.

I know, I know…the bland writing was a dead giveaway. Here’s another giveaway:

Our concern about Mitchell is that he might be too quick to raise taxes. That caveat noted, he is one of the most attractive new faces on the local scene, and we endorse him for the County Council.

Hmmm…somebody on the Seattle Times editorial board is rather aroused by this candidate….

Here is what The Stranger had to say:

The Stranger Election Control Board wants to have Richard Mitchell’s baby. Mitchell is intelligent, passionate, progressive, eloquent. We’d vote for Mitchell for anything. City council. School board. Legislature. Cruise director.

If there are issues on which Mitchell and the SECB disagree, we’re probably wrong. The man could dig a deep-bore tunnel that even the SECB could get behind.

Mitchell can walk on water. He can raise the dead. He can even manage to answer a reporter’s question directly, without a hint of equivocation, all the while remaining nuanced. That’s not meant as a slam against fellow challenger John Creighton, a pleasant surprise as a port commissioner, but a stereotypical waffler as a politician. Oh wait. We guess it is.

Mitchell is exactly the sort of smart politician everybody says they want, but who never seems to get elected.

Without hesitation, Mitchell said he would approve a $20 car tab to avert a devastating 17 percent cut in Metro bus service and believes in a minor sales tax bump to rescue the county’s underfunded criminal-justice system. Vote Mitchell.

I’ll take that as The Stranger’s endorsement with a medically-concerning extended duration erection.

Here’s his web site and an intro video:

by Carl, 07/27/2011, 7:25 AM

- I don’t know if it’ll come together, but I’m working on something about King County punting on Metro.

- Rachel Beckwith’s story has been discussed in the comments already, but for those who missed it.

- I haven’t said anything about Norway because what I don’t know what I could possibly add. But David Futrelle and William Saletan (h/t) explore the narratives that surrounded him online. Neil Sinhababu notes who might be happy about the whole thing. And Glenn Beck can still go fuck himself (h/t).

- Figgins’ line is “.182/.236/.240 on the season. Each of those numbers feels dramatically worse than the last.

- What scandal?

by Lee, 07/26/2011, 8:19 PM

Just as it was before the events of the last legislative session, Tacoma is the flashpoint for the fight between those working to create access points for medical marijuana patients and the anti-drug establishment trying to turn back the clock. The News Tribune’s Jordan Schrader, who is – unlike his paper’s editorial board – both competent and sane, provides the latest news:

Tacoma’s push to shut down more than 30 medical-marijuana sellers inched forward Monday, even as outlets in unincorporated Pierce County received letters from the Sheriff’s Department putting them on notice.

Sheriff Paul Pastor said his office sent letters to about 15 dispensaries late last week to notify them about the county’s interpretation of a state law that took effect Friday.

Businesses say the law gives them a way to keep operating, but Pastor said it puts limits on any seller wanting an “atmosphere of lots of clients and easy access.”

“They’re allowed as long as they conform to the law,” Pastor said. “It’s my understanding that would strongly limit what they were able to do.”

I have a feeling that both Sheriff Pastor and the lunatics at the News Tribune editorial board are going to be somewhat disappointed. While the new law certainly disallows direct sales to any authorized patient who comes in off the street, individuals who want to set up a storefront and run a business will likely still be able to do so by organizing their customers into a series of different gardens and possibly even rotating them in and out of those gardens in order to conform with the law. Even without rotating them, a single person can belong to many different gardens and therefore maintain a fairly large network of patients from a single location and still stay within the letter of the law.

And in a post from Seattle Weekly today, Keegan Hamilton reports that Ed Troyer from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office struck a far more reasonable tone when asked how aggressive they’d really be. It’s possible that over the course of the past few days, Pierce County officials are realizing that the mess created by the partial veto did little more than force dispensaries to reorganize their business models.

Of course, no one seems to have any idea what the law exactly allows. And even fewer people know what the hell the folks at the News Tribune editorial board are smoking. They see Seattle’s tolerance of these medical marijuana access points as a cover for drug trafficking, but that makes absolutely no sense. By having them operate above ground, it’s far easier to ensure that they’re not selling to unauthorized people. In Tacoma, on the other hand, if city and county officials are successful at putting those who want to play by the rules out of business, the drug traffickers win. It’s nothing short of amazing that the city’s main newspaper can’t figure that out.

The bigger potential problem here, however, is that with medical marijuana still illegal under federal law, there’s a genuine concern that overzealous local officials could invite in federal enforcement to take down even the providers who follow state law. And Tacoma voters will provide a good gauge of how popular such a move would be when they vote in November to make marijuana law enforcement the city’s lowest priority.

by Darryl, 07/26/2011, 5:10 PM

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. Starting time is 8:00 pm, but a few folks show up earlier for dinner.

Can’t make it tonight? The Burien chapter of Drinking Liberally meets tomorrow (Wednesday), July 27 at the Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub. Starting time is 7:00pm.

And with 230 chapters of Living Liberally, including seven in Washington state, chances are excellent there is a chapter near you.

by Darryl, 07/26/2011, 2:08 PM

Gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna (R) has his undies all atwist over gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee’s (D) plans to forward up to $1 million of congressional reelection surplus to his gubernatorial election war chest:

Republican candidate Rob McKenna’s campaign, responding to an inquiry from The Associated Press, characterized the money as simply “illegal.”

“He’s trying to claim that because it would be convenient for him to try to grab that money and evade Washington state law” McKenna campaign manager Randy Pepple said.

“Babbled” would have been a better last word for the sentence.

He added that the campaign or someone else would likely challenge any formal opinion that would allow the money transfers.

The PDC has reviewed the law and, in their opinion, finds such a transfer acceptable:

PDC staff believes Inslee’s interpretation is correct, and agency spokeswoman Lori Anderson said past candidates have taken similar steps.

“I don’t think that’s a fuzzy area,” Anderson said. “It’s spelled out well in our statutes and our rules.”

PDC officials pointed to a section of state law that allows candidate’s with dedicated surplus funds to roll them over to future elections for the same office without the money being subject to contribution limits. Because Inslee is running for a different office, officials also turned to a separate section of law that allows candidates who are running for a new office to get approval from donors to use past donations for a new campaign.

Those laws combined show Inslee’s interpretation is correct, Anderson said.

Three amusing observations:

First, the sitting state Attorney General should NOT have his campaign stooges give uninformed legal babble opinion—it reflects badly on the legal prowess of the Attorney General.

Second, the AP story points out:

After his 2008 campaign for attorney general, McKenna rolled an extra $40,000 over to the 2012 election cycle. Because that money was mingled with new cash, it is all subject to campaign contribution limits, according to the PDC.

Anderson said that McKenna could have placed that money into a dedicated “surplus” account and got the same benefits as Inslee.


In other words…McKenna’s campaign royally fucked up its own campaign cash roll-over. And now they presume to tell the PDC how the process is supposed to work for Inslee?!?


Third, as Jerry Cornfield points out, if the McKenna campaign sues the PDC over its interpretation of the law…

…[t]his could create an interesting situation down the road because McKenna’s office typically defends PDC interests in court.

That’s an amusing irony—kind of. And it reminds me of an episode from the chronicles of Horsesass involving McKenna’s predecessor.

Back in early 2003, when it became clear that Goldy’s Horses Ass Initiative, I-831 might conceivably make it to the ballot, then state Attorney General Christine Gregoire sued to keep it off the ballot.

Goldy lost the case. But just in case he won, and the initiative subsequently became law, Goldy was prepared to sue over the legality of the law. Doing so would have put Gregoire in the position of defending the new law.

Of course, McKenna has an easy out, by virtue of his own precedent: McKenna could simply refuse to provide the PDC with legal representation.

Problem solved.

by Darryl, 07/26/2011, 12:32 PM

Via Goldy:

Oregon Democratic Rep. David Wu announced today that he would resign from Congress in the wake of sexual assault allegations.

But if you think Republican Party insiders are rejoicing at the news, think again. Wu, who’d already been the subject of conjecture and criticism due to his increasingly erratic behavior, had been seen as a vulnerable target in this otherwise safe Democratic district spanning parts of Portland and the surrounding counties. But his resignation all but hands the seat to popular, progressive, Democratic Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.

Blue Oregon’s Carla Axtman points out to Goldy that “this is very bad news for the Republican Party of Oregon…. Without Wu to run against, they have no game.”

Wu, a former college roommate of Sen. Bill Frist, created some controversy during the last election when some of his staff resigned after demanding an intervention for his increasingly erratic behavior.

Hmmm…maybe he was just all giddy with love/infatuation at the time, a la former South Carolina Gov. Mark Stanford. Except, apparently, unreciprocated for Wu.

by Carl, 07/25/2011, 7:46 PM

Although not a defense of NOTW.

I can imagine a situation where some Democratic operative came up to me and said, “we hacked into Rob McKenna’s phone and found something important.” Sure, almost certainly not me; a more reputable journalist, columnist, or blogger. But hear me out.

So let’s say this party hack came to me with definitive proof that some Republican of import had broken the law in some way that was worse than phone hacking itself. I’d imagine that I’d post something about it, or at least dig further based on their hacking. I’d presumably mention the hacking in the post if if was worthy of a post. Basically if it’s important enough a story, I can imagine being honest and letting the chips fall where they may.

That’s a very different thing from finding out whatever Jude Law and Hugh Grant are doing. And of course corrupting the police and deleting messages is so beyond the pale, I can’t imagine there ever being a circumstance I’d find it OK.

The point isn’t of course to exonerate News of the World or News Corp, only that calling it a phone hacking story kind of makes it sound not as terrible as it is.

by Carl, 07/25/2011, 7:36 AM

- (a) This was a horrible column. (b) “Americans Elect” sounds to me like an attempt to reference the country’s puritanical roots. (c) I feel like a decently organized group could sway them, and cause trouble. If Democrats all decided to nominate a conservative to draw votes away from the Republican nominee, for example.

- Why not Washington indeed.

- The Weekly seems to have no standards.

- “You can drop a subcontractor as easily as you can cancel a date. That’s not a good union job. That’s not the kind of job that Longview needs” (h/t Ivan on Facebook)

- You can’t look into what News of the World did if there’s anything worse going on anywhere in the world.

- There is a value in sending people into space beyond the scientific value.

by Lee, 07/24/2011, 9:44 PM

If this is where we’re at right now with the debt ceiling negotiations, I’m starting to become legitimately worried that Republicans in the House will succeed in driving this country over a cliff.

by Lee, 07/24/2011, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was another really tough one. After a clue, came up with the right location. It was La Center.

This week’s contest is related to something in the news from the month of July. Good luck!