by Lee, 11/30/2011, 10:28 PM

Six months after derailing a very well-crafted medical marijuana bill, Governor Gregoire joins Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island to ask the DEA to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug. Leaving aside the argument that marijuana probably shouldn’t be a Schedule II drug either (the same as cocaine and certain forms of methamphetamine), this is clearly the most progressive position on marijuana we’ve seen from the Governor. But I also agree with the Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann here:

“The governors’ call for rescheduling marijuana so that it can be prescribed for medical purposes is an important step forward in challenging the federal government’s intransigence in this area,” said Nadelmann. “But their call should not serve as an excuse for these two governors to fail to move forward on responsible regulation of medical marijuana in their own states. Governors in states ranging from New Jersey and Vermont to Colorado and New Mexico have not allowed the federal government’s ban on medical marijuana to prevent them from approving and implementing statewide regulation of medical marijuana. Govs. Gregoire and Chafee should do likewise.”

As the federal pressure on medical marijuana grew over the summer, Gregoire and Chafee were the two governors who balked and scrapped sensible regulations supported by the people of their state and passed by the legislature. This happened even as both Republican Chris Christie (NJ) and Democrat Peter Shumlin (VT) moved forward with their states’ programs despite the threats. It’s good to see Gregoire have the courage to stand up to the DEA (many still won’t), but there’s certainly more she can and should do.

by Carl, 11/30/2011, 6:33 PM

The Columbian has a bold strategy to plug the horrible budget hole without the hassle of raising taxes or cutting programs that people depend on. Magic? No, silly. Reform. But without getting very specific or putting a price tag on it.

This special session was necessitated by a projected $2 billion revenue shortfall. Many lawmakers talk about dealing with this only by various combinations of spending cuts or revenue increases. Again, though, state Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield, the Republican leader on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, is advocating a third tactic that never seems to draw the attention it deserves: reform.

Oh. Reform. Of course. If we do things better then things will be better.

And Washingtonians have to wonder why reform never carries more clout in these agonizing budget discussions. After all, the concept of reform is largely (though far from totally) nonpartisan. Reform means simply changing the way government does its business, maximizing efficiencies. While conservatives advocate budget cuts and liberals insist on boosting revenue, both sides ought to agree that a bigger bang for the taxpayers’ buck would be a good thing.

It couldn’t be that there isn’t much money in the so-called reforms. That will require the rest of the article to mention some of the ones that will have the most “bang for the taxpayers’ buck” and really delve into them. How they effect the programs, how they effect the workers tasked with implementing them. That sort of thing. Or I guess quote one state senator.

Even with the limited attention given to reform, Zarelli points to steps already taken by legislators in that direction: “more choice for injured workers, a refocusing of the Basic Health Plan and disability lifeline, and clamping down on fraud and abuse involving food and cash assistance to low-income people,” all accomplished with bipartisan support.

You guys, all we have to do is cut the fraud and abuse budgets! Also, if we make Workers’ Comp and Basic Health less effective, it’s not a cut, it’s reform. Anyway, you know what would make this article the best ever? More vague suggestions from the same person without any attempt to see what they would do to state services and state workers let alone how much they might save or cost.

Surely, that cannot be the end of what can be done. In his article for The Herald, Zarelli advocated focusing on “long-term obligations that are huge cost drivers, such as state-worker pensions, health-care services, paying off the state’s debt and efforts to bring our K-12 education system into compliance with court rulings” plus at least having discussions about “services for non-citizens, state liability, non-Indian gaming, state workplace efficiencies such as competitive contracting and defined-contribution pensions, and how the state subsidizes low-income child care.”

Almost all of those things will cost money, or are cuts (except expanding gambling). This article promised something other than “combinations of spending cuts or revenue increases” and yet pay down debt is on the list? How do you expect to pay down debt without raising taxes or cutting spending?* Hopefully the next paragraph will answer some of those questions instead of being a whiny nonsense metaphor.

The reform menu keeps getting longer, doesn’t it? Why, then, are legislators so reluctant to place their orders?

It’s because most of those reforms are bad ideas, cuts by another name, or bland generalities. While some of them may be part of the solution, this article doesn’t make the case for any of them, and certainly doesn’t weigh the pros and cons. The legislature is trying to solve a $2 Billion budget gap, and the Columbian is proposing gimmickry and trickery while demanding we take them more seriously.

Read the rest of this entry »

by Carl, 11/30/2011, 7:59 AM

- I remember Nick telling me that Hillary should drop out in 2008, so I’m glad to see he’s come to my side on primary elections being good for whoever wins them.

- Late night taxi stands

- The new iPhone hates women (h/t).

- Awesome job Washington Post.

- I can’t decide if I think #Q4Jon is awesome or horrible.

- Predatory birds spreading seeds via lizards.

by Darryl, 11/29/2011, 4:10 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 some folks will show up earlier for a quiet dinner.

Damnit! It looks like we won’t have Herman Cain to kick around anymore. Apparently, “conservatives” are telling him, “Nein, nein, nein.” So…enjoy whilst you can:






Can’t make it to Seattle? The Tri-Cities chapter of Drinking liberally meets every Tuesday night. Drinking Liberally Tacoma meets this Thursday. Also next Monday, there are meetings of the Olympia chapter, the Yakima chapter, and the South Bellevue chapter.

With 227 chapters of Living Liberally, including twelve in Washington state and six more in Oregon, chances are excellent there’s one near you.

by Darryl, 11/29/2011, 1:18 PM

I consider myself to be from Wisconsin. My family moved to Madison in 1970. They’re still there.

I skipped my usual summer trip back home this year. In fact, I haven’t been back to Wisconsin since right-wing nut-case Gov. Scott Walker took office on January 3 of 2010. And this past week, Kathy and I decided we would not head back to the Midwest for Christmas.

It isn’t, exactly, that I am boycotting the state (and definitely not boycotting my family). But when I go to Wisconsin, I do my Christmas shopping there, rent a car, go out to eat with friends and family, and buy lots of groceries and stuff—that is, I contribute to the economy of Wisconsin.

This year the revenue will go to Washington; because, with a nearly balancing set of trade-offs for and against a trip home, the Walker Factor has tipped the scale in favor of not going. It’s a protest more than a boycott—my small way of saying, “fuck you, Gov. Walker, for trying to turn Wisconsin into a Republican wasteland.”

It looks like my protest can come to a satisfactory end soon:

Activists pushing to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) announced on Monday evening that they have collected more than 300,000 signatures for the effort in just 12 days.

To trigger a recall election, Walker’s opponents—coordinated by the group United Wisconsin—need to collect 540,208 valid signatures by Jan. 17, which is 60 days after the campaign launched. Organizers said they are aiming for 600,000 to 700,000 signatures.

I sense some anger towards Walker.

How are Republicans responding? As you might expect. With violence. You know, vandalism, threats of vehicular assault, destroying petitions (here and here)…the usual. And the fun has just begun.

I’m already making plans for a summer trip back home.

by Carl, 11/28/2011, 6:50 PM

I’m still processing the news of the protests in Olympia, but so far it’s been pretty inspiring. Things like this create the space to do, if not good, at least less bad. Still, there’s a 2/3-or-a-vote requirement to pass any tax increases. The Democrats still have a record of spinelessness, and the Republican agenda is still horrible. The budget hole is still awful.

So, I have a bit more hope for the special session than I did this morning. But I’m still skeptical that the actual gritty work of legislating will produce the kind of budget that Washington needs. We’ll see.

But we’ll also act. So those of us who can’t be down in Olympia can still call or email your legislator. You can write on a blog, or social media. You can call into talk shows and write letters to the editor.

by Carl, 11/28/2011, 7:56 AM
by Lee, 11/27/2011, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was won by wes.in.wa. It was Grandview, WA.

This week’s contest is related to something in the news from November, good luck!

by Goldy, 11/27/2011, 7:00 AM

Luke 19:23-27
Why didn’t you put my money in the bank? On my return, I could have had the money together with interest.”

Then he said to some other servants standing there, “Take the money away from him and give it to the servant who earned ten times as much.”

But they said, “Sir, he already has ten times as much!”

The king replied, “Those who have something will be given more. But everything will be taken away from those who don’t have anything. Now bring me the enemies who didn’t want me to be their king. Kill them while I watch!”

Discuss.

by Darryl, 11/25/2011, 11:23 PM

Stephen: Supreme court tapes.

David Shuster with Janeane Garofalo The double standard of Republican rhetoric.

Young Turks: IAEA’s questionable report on Iran & nuclear weapons.

Thom: Who’s screwed now that the Supercommittee has failed.

America Occupied:

Red State Update: Michelle booed at NASCAR.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly are Worst Person in the World.

White House: West Wing Week.

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

Alyona: Black Friday gets headlines as the EU crumbles.

Young Turks: Citadel child sex scandal.

Stephen on The Media.

This Week’s Republican Primary Asylum:

Alyona’s Fireside chat: Millions go hungry in the U.S.A..

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

Young Turks: CIA gets outsmarted by Hezbollah.

Focus on FAUX:

Young Turks: Glenn Beck goes ballistic over Fallon’s dis of Michele Bachmann.

Alyona: Oregon puts death penalty on death row hold.

Jonathan Mann: Pizza is a vegetable.

Thom: How Wal-Mart killed “mom and pops”.

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

by Darryl, 11/24/2011, 12:31 AM

Here are a few slices of politics for your Thanksgiving feast. There are some real turkeys in here….

Thanksgiving on the right.

TPM: Top 5 Turkeys of Campaign 2012:

Best Thanksgiving day movies.

A conservative cultural warrior explains how to talk about same-sex marriage at Thanksgiving (via MoJo).

Flashback: Sarah Palin’s Thanksgiving Massacre!:

Mac and Cheese virgin Pat Robertson asks, Is Mac and Cheese a “Black Thing”?

Mark Fiore: A cartoonist gives thanks!

Megyn Kelly’s thanksgiving:

Obama pardons some turkeys.

Newsy: Cost of Thanksgiving dinner rises 13%.

Kimmel’s Charlie Brown Thanksgiving cum GOP debate:

by Carl, 11/23/2011, 9:05 PM

We’re faced with a Godawful budget hole, and there are no good options. The best thing to do would be to just deficit spend, like mad until the economy goes right. But since that’s off the table, Gregoire will push a sales tax increase. It’s regressive and doesn’t raise enough, but it’s better than losing services.

So, my question is what would you like to see in the special session? More taxes? If so what taxes? What specific cuts? Even though it’s budget related, they can pass whatever they want, so is there some other area you’d like to see them work on while the session is going on?

by Carl, 11/23/2011, 8:35 AM
by Darryl, 11/22/2011, 5:06 PM

Woo-Hoo! It is another evening with some crazy fellows. I’ll try to live blog from the Montlake Alehouse.

5:07: Somehow I expect that tomorrows press will be all about Michele’s white outfit.

5:10: Rick Santorum blames Barack Obama for the economy?!? That’s simply precious.

5:10: Mitt makes a funny! (“Yes, Wolf, its my first name”.) Newt?

5:11 Newt puts limits on “innocent until proven guilty.” If we think you are a terrorist, it doesn’t apply.

5:12: Watch Mitt Romney throughout this debate. Some consultant once told him he needed to be a better listener. Now he makes a show of it, by which I mean, it looks very contrived.

5:17: Ron Paul, crazy as he is, schools Newt on the emergence of the police state.

5:19: Michele Bachmann, feeling her sound bite didn’t get enough headlines last time, rekindles the crazy “Obama outsourced the Justice Department to the ACLU” talking point. Still falls flat, I suspect.

5:21: Mitt agrees with Newt.

5:22: Wait. Rick Perry wants to “privatize the TSA”?!? Isn’t that exactly what we had on 9-11? You know, before George W. Bush enacted one of the largest expansions of the federal government by federalizing airport security?

5:23: My dinner has arrived, and I am having trouble eating the refried beans while Rick Santorum is speaking.

5:27: Cain, “I’m sorry Blitz, I meant ‘Wolf’” Wolf: “Thank you Cain”.

5:29: Huntsman sneaks in congressional term limits in a foreign policy debate.

5:30: Bachmann: “Pakistan is the epicenter of terrorism.” Where was she when George Bush was selling his Iraq war?

5:31: Oh my Gawd! Michele uses nuisance in discussing Pakistan. What happened to naive black and white issues and answers?

5:33: Here is a useful metric of how low Rick Perry has fallen: Michele Bachmann points out that his Pakistan “policy” is naive—and she is right!

5:36: Look at Mitt’s hair. It looks like a wig made of black fish line. What the fuck is up with that?

5:39: Huntsman is toast…there is, what looks to be, dandruff on his coat.

5:42: What the hell kind of pin is Newt wearing? Is that a Free Masons pin?

5:51: Cain: “If we pull out of Afghanistan too soon, Iran will help fill that power vacuum….” He should have just said, “9-9-9.”

5:53: Rick Perry is starting his fade-out phase of this debate.

5:56: Bachmann: Obama shuts down U.S. energy independence by stopping a pipeline with Canadian oil (being shipped to Louisiana for export). Right.

6:01: Mitt: “Obama has pursued an agenda of being friendly to our foes and being hostile to our friends.” I mean, yeah…he has certainly been courting Republicans at the expense of his base. Good point Mitt. Not bad for a member of a party trying to harm the U.S.

6:08: Perry has some super Super-committee rage! As only a Commander-in-Chief can have….

6:12: When Rick Santorum answers questions, he always looks like he wants to bite someone’s nose off of their face.

6:25: Rick Perry will shut down the borders within 12 months of “the inaugural.” Congress (and the Supreme Court) might have something to say about that.

6:27: Cain claims terrorists have snuck into the U.S. at the Mexican Border?!? Really? I missed that news.

6:30: Santorum: “trickle down.” Now there’s an UGLY picture.

6:31: Newt is gathering a few flakes, himself.

6:32: Michele’s lipstick is beginning to migrate to the rest of her face.

6:35: Even Mitt is showing a few dandruff flakes. Wait…why aren’t his flakes dyed black?

6:38: Or maybe it’s Santorum’s spittle on everyone else’s coat.

6:44: Wow…CNN allowed a genuine war criminal (David Addington) to ask a question!

6:46: Okay…Rick Perry is officially in babble mode now.

6:52: Mitt Romney just gave America an erection.

6:53: Why does Rick Perry refuse to wear an American flag?

6:54: Santorum is concerned about the spread of Socialism. Well, I suspect Socialism is concerned about the spread of Santorum.

6:59: Mercifully…it ends. It got a little hard to hear toward the end, as the “Occupy Montlake Alehouse” crowd showed up and started arguing about what they really stand for.

I thought this debate was substantively better than the CNBC foreign policy debate. Perhaps this means that the candidates just learned their talking points better.

CNN is trying to make a big deal about Newt’s answer on the “illegals” question. In fact, I think Newt is being savvy and more realistic than most Republicans on this issue.

by Darryl, 11/22/2011, 2:17 PM

DLBottlePlease join us tonight for a pre-Thanksgiving 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 some folks will show up as early as 5:00 pm to watch the Republican melee debate and eat dinner (not necessarily at the same time). I’ll try to live-blog the debate.

Can’t make it to Seattle? The Tri-Cities chapter of Drinking liberally meets every Tuesday night. The Bellingham Chapter also meets tonight. And tomorrow the Burien chapter meets.

With 227 chapters of Living Liberally, including twelve in Washington state and six more in Oregon, chances are excellent there’s one near you.

by N in Seattle, 11/22/2011, 10:44 AM

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated 48 years ago on this date. My memory of that day, of the following weekend, is clearer than my recall of yesterday’s lunch.

Some small part of this phenomenon might be benign senile forgetfulness [jokes and insults at my expense expected, and welcomed]. But CRAFT syndrome, as it’s commonly known, explains, if anything, only the second half of the comparison. The vivid immediacy of November 22, 1963 in my mind’s eye is something else entirely.

For Americans of my age group (I was 13 at the time), the shocking murder of JFK is the seminal moment of our lives. That day irrevocably altered the way the world worked for us. In my opinion, every single one of the 17,532 days since then exists on the continuum that began that afternoon. What Pearl Harbor was for my parents’ generation, what 9/11 probably represents for more recent generations, 11/22/1963 was the “where were you when … ?” moment for me and my fellow Baby Boomers.

For the record, where I was was Heritage Junior High School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Along with the other members of the school band, I had just returned from outdoor practice — we were going to play at the next day’s high school football game, a contest that never happened — and was stowing my instrument when the principal informed us of the shooting over the PA system. The news was too much to process immediately, so we mostly sat in stunned silence. The school was on the far side of the township from my home, but I have no real memory of the long ride home with a passel of fellow adolescents in that yellow school bus. I do remember the weekend, as the whole family stared endlessly at the TV news reports. We watched the lying-in-state at the Capitol. We watched Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald on Sunday. We watched the state funeral on Monday. We were in shock throughout.

We had made plans to spend Thanksgiving with relatives in the DC suburbs that year. It was a very somber holiday indeed. While there, we went to Arlington Cemetery to pay our respects to the President. On a bright, cold, and windy afternoon, we joined a long line of our fellow Americans, shuffling slowly and silently (except for the sobs) past the freshly-dug gravesite. It was so soon after the event that we had to carefully step over the eternal flame’s gas line, which had not yet been buried.

Over the years, I’ve written a number of November 22 essays on my blog, Peace Tree Farm. In addition to a version of the 2008 DailyKos diary linked above, they are: Forty years (2003), The end of the innocence (2004), and 43 … and 46 (2006).

For me, the death of JFK marks the day on which “The Sixties” began. The idea of a counterculture was inconceivable on November 21, all but inevitable on November 23. We can argue about when The Sixties ended (probably somewhere between the 1972 election and the first Rolling Stone article about disco, in September 1973), but I think it would be a real reach to put their birth anywhere other than the Kennedy assassination.

by Carl, 11/21/2011, 6:53 PM

Ken Schram is upset about McGinn’s apology for his police using pepper spray on peaceful protesters. Not for the police using pepper spray, but for the apology.

What is it that we expect of police?

To protect people and property throughout the community. Professionalism. Integrity. They don’t always meet those standards, of course. No group of people will 100% of the time. So I assume this will be a post about how we better handle that? Awesome! We rarely have the chance to discuss that at that level.

I ask that rhetorical question in light of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn apologizing for cops who pepper-sprayed Occupy Seattle protestors last Tuesday because there were some who refused to obey their legitimate orders.

Really you think, “What is it that we expect of police?” is a rhetorical question? It’s not foundational? It’s not the basis for how media folks like Ken Schram ought to deal with the police?* Anyway, if you’re wondering what we can reasonably expect from Seattle police, well good news, there’s an SPD Manual (large .pdf). We can judge them against that, for starters.

So let’s play this out.

Would Mayor Mike have issued a mea-culpa if it had been a Ku Klux Klan demonstration and some elderly racist had taken a face full of pepper spray for ignoring police orders?

I would hope so. Everybody has a right to protest. And even despicable people don’t deserve to be pepper sprayed. It’s impossible to know, except presumably YOU COULD HAVE ASKED HIM. What with you being a TV and radio personality, and all.

I don’t think so.

You’re on TV, for Christ sake, you don’t really have to just guess. Call him up and throw the hypothetical at him. That’s what we expect of our news people.

Also, are there lots of demonstrations that McGinn disagrees with that are getting pepper sprayed? If so how about write about them? If not, then it sort of disproves your point, doesn’t it?** Finally, your analogy doesn’t hold up since the Klan have never, to my knowledge, made a commitment to nonviolence, as Occupy Seattle have. So, really, awesome metaphor all around.

What’s obvious here is that police need to be given a list of protesters that we absolutely won’t tolerate breaking the law, and a list of protesters that we give a wink and a nod to when they do something illegal because we agree with what they’re demonstrating against.

Or how about a specific set of standing orders. Like in the Manual linked to above that says (OC Spray is what’s commonly referred to as Pepper Spray, bold mine):

Personnel assigned OC spray, Patrol C.A.R.T or TASER less lethal force options are authorized to use these agents or devices during Unusual Occurrences (UOs), consistent with Department policy, unless otherwise directed by a Supervisor or the Incident Commander. Officers should weigh the capabilities and limitations of these force options in a crowd control setting. Less lethal force, specifically OC spray (Oleoresin Capsicum) or other riot control agents, shall not ordinarily be used to overcome passive resistance by nonviolent and/or peaceful protesters, absent additional compelling factors, or unless previously approved by the Incident Commander.

So it’s true that anyone, regardless of ideology, shouldn’t get pepper sprayed by the cops when they’re acting nonviolently. That seems like the logical thing.

If Mayor Mike would just inform police which illegal actions deserve his dispensation then SPD could save their pepper-spray for those whose protests genuinely offend his sensibilities and political points of view.

Nobody is saying don’t do anything. They’re saying don’t pepper spray people when it goes against procedures, and when you do, it’s right to apologize. People were willing to get arrested, and the police should have complied, but this is beyond that.

Also, Ken Schram often complains that the government is too big, wasteful, and out of control. Take for instance his most recent commentary that there must be waste out there somewhere in Washington State. Really, how someone like that says if you don’t obey police orders, you should be pepper sprayed is beyond me.

If Mayor Mike wants selective law enforcement, the least that should be expected of him is to do the selecting.

You still haven’t proved that he wants selective enforcement; you’ve only had a pointless hypothetical where you compared nonviolent protesters to people who engage in lynching. If McGinn supported selective enforcement, I think there would be camping at Westlake, the food tent wouldn’t have been removed, the city wouldn’t have ticketed people who honked in support, and the police wouldn’t have cleared the nonviolent protests at various places at all, pepper spray or no. Here, to cite one example, McGinn makes the point that he isn’t going to make specific exceptions for Occupy Seattle. “But when it comes to free speech, government does not get to do that. We are not allowed to favor one type of speech over another. That is anathema to the Constitution.”

With that, we’ll all be clear on exactly what we expect of police.

We should expect professionalism from them at all times. We give them a gun, we give them TASERS, we give them pepper spray, and we expect them to use it in a manner consistent with the rules. It doesn’t look like the officer who used pepper spray on peaceful protesters did that, but there will be an investigation. I support the due process rights of the officers who used pepper spray, and if there were orders, to use pepper spray, etc. I’d like to know that.

Read the rest of this entry »

by Carl, 11/21/2011, 7:41 AM
by Lee, 11/20/2011, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was won by tomas (who correctly identified it as Tony Soprano’s house in The Soprano’s) and Liberal Scientist, who found the actual location in North Caldwell, NJ.

Here’s this week’s contest, a location somewhere in Washington. Good luck!

by Goldy, 11/20/2011, 8:00 AM

Isaiah 34:7
And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

Discuss.