Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Ann Telnaes: The flat earth candidate.

Jon: McCain’s anti-Rice agenda.

Red State Update: Elmo’s fall from grace.

Sam Seder: Bradley Manning speaks out on his abuse.

Liberal Viewer: FAUX News fake war on Christmas.

Maddow: Biden eats snacks at Costco!!!

SlateTV: Hillary Clinton says drug legalization wouldn’t stop violence.

Thom: Former FL GOP leader admits voter suppression.

Ann Telnaes: Mitch McConnell clings to hope, air

Young Turks: Nutjob Congressman says Obama is advised by Muslim Brotherhood.

General Petraeus’ sex tape leaked.

Mark Fiore: Pay attention!

Sam Seder: The teabagger’s insane idea to reverse the election.

Maddow: The War on Women—Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic faces closure.

Bashir: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and other right wing nut-cases.

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

The G.O.P. Good Ol’ Boy Club:

Thom: AZ joins the War on Women.

Glenn Beck’s Obama in Pee.

Maddow: Obama and Romney have a ‘turkey chili’ summit:

Pap: The GOP’s war on voters hasn’t ended.

White House: Bo Inspects the White House Christmas holiday decorations.

Red State Update: A farewell to Twinkies.

Al Gore gets autotuned.

Fiscal Cliff Notes:

Maddow: Congress still blocks closing of Gitmo.

White House: West Wing Week.

Young Turks: Mississippi’s only abortion clinic may close.

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

Stephen takes Boeing to task.

Ann Telnaes: Speaker Boehner’s good ol’ boy club.

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

Dragged by a Dump Truck

I forgot to link to this in this morning’s open thread, but this is sad. Glad she’s doing OK.

A woman was struck and dragged by a dump truck at Pike and Boren shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday morning. The 25-year-old was taken to Harborview in stable condition.


The woman appears to have no serious injuries or fractures, according to the Fire Department. EMTs arrived on the scene first and pulled her from under the truck.

She told firefighters she was hit and dragged by the dump truck. Medics then transported her to the hospital.

She’s doing well, and for this story, that’s obviously the most important thing. But these sorts of incidents are far too common. Sometimes reading Seattle Bike Blog is just a litany of horrible accidents.

Open Thread 11/30

- 6,000 speeders can’t be wrong.

- Your birthright is being one person ahead in this line.

- I wouldn’t have guessed the West Seattle Tool Library would be a hit, but clearly it’s doing something right.

- The Onion has the best explanation of our anti-tax moment yet.

- Glenn Beck does something ridiculous; day follows night.

- I’ve linked to the Seattle City Hall weddings for gay couples on the first day it’s available. but here’s some more information.

- It’s better not seeing what’s coming.

- Clearly the Tacoma Druggists is the greatest name for a baseball team ever.

R.I.P. The Orb

I was never really sure if he was as paranoid and crazy as he seemed to be, or if he was just playing with me (he at various times described me as “unpatriotic,” a “treasonous fraud,” and “a clear and present danger to the security of the nation”), but I always respected his passion, his impact, and his willingness to engage. And so it was with some sadness that I just learned of the untimely death of Jim “The Orb” Walker, the proprietor of the local right-wing news portal Orbusmax.

At the peak of the local right-wing blogosphere, Orbusmax was a traffic redirecting monster. I was never really sure why, but it was. The Orb must’ve been doing something right. And that’s something to admire, even if his politics was nuts.

So while I don’t mourn the death of Orbusmax, my condolences to The Orb’s friends and family.

Gears, How The Fuck Do They Work?

Howie has an interesting link to a piece on Obama and the drug war. Everybody go read it but please come back, because I’m going to nerd out on you about the graphic that illustrates it.

So, OK, there are 4 gears. But one of them, the CIA gear, isn’t part of what I’m getting at here. Just look at the bank gear, the prison gear, and the money gear. They’re interlocked. And you can’t have an odd number of interlocking gears.

Each gear turns the gear next to it the opposite way that it goes. So if the money gear is going clockwise, it will turn the bank gear counterclockwise that will turn the prison gear clockwise and it will go back and turn the money gear counterclockwise. So now that gear wants to go both clockwise and counterclockwise. So instead of a clockwork, it’s just a few unmoving gears.

Or maybe they’re not meant to be interlocking and they’re just meant to symbolize different gears in a larger machine. Then they should be further spaced out.

The Myth of “Relinquishing the Market”

In the Huffington Post, Lucia Graves repeats one of the biggest myths of the entire I-502 campaign:

As voters in Washington state this month legalized marijuana for recreational use, they overrode the concerted lobbying of a conspicuous interest group: The dispensaries that already had the right to sell marijuana for medical use, and who now risk relinquishing that lucrative marketplace to new competitors.

Though one might assume that legalization would be opposed primarily by law enforcement and social conservatives, nearly all of the money donated to fight the ballot measure in Washington came not from such groups but rather from the existing medical marijuana industry, according to state campaign contribution filings.

All things told, the anti-502 forces dabbled in far more fantasy and myth-making than those who supported the initiative. But the idea that the anti-502 crowd was simply a bunch of greedy dispensary owners trying to protect their turf was also a fantasy. As a supporter of the initiative, I mostly bit my tongue throughout the campaign over this point, but now that the vote passed, I feel compelled to kill off this myth once and for all.

The opposition to I-502 from the activist and medical marijuana community had two primary reasons. First, it was a result of various aspects of the bill. The per se DUI provisions were a very big part of that, but so was the lack of home growing and the 1 ounce possession limit. What New Approach Washington (the group behind I-502) saw as necessary regulations to appeal to undecided voters, many activists and medical marijuana patients saw as new open doors for the police to go after medical marijuana patients and even regular users.

The second reason was due to longtime internal divisions in the state’s activist community. When Sensible Washington was trying to get a legalization initiative on the ballot in 2010, an expected source of funding mysteriously dried up at the last minute. At the time, I tried to investigate (this was long before I had any affiliation with the group), but couldn’t get anyone to divulge what happened. The leaders of Sensible Washington blamed Alison Holcomb (who eventually founded New Approach Washington), and since then, there’s been a serious rift in the community between the two groups. If you look at the folks who were most outspoken in opposition to I-502 this year, almost all of them had some affiliation with Sensible Washington. In fact, they even wrote the No on I-502 argument for the voter’s guide.

In her post, Graves writes about how the funding for the opposition came primarily from the medical marijuana community, but that’s only because the opposition received almost no funding at all. The I-502 campaign raised $5.6 million, compared to the opposition’s $16,000. If the medical marijuana dispensaries were in such a lucrative marketplace and needed to guard their turf, they could’ve scared up far more than $16,000.

Beyond that, Graves is simply incorrect when she talks about “dispensaries that already had the right to sell marijuana for medical use”. Dispensaries in Washington state are still technically illegal (thanks to Governor Gregoire’s veto in 2011). It’s only in Seattle and a limited few other places where the authorities have generally looked the other way. In that environment, it’s possible that some folks were making good money, but just about any of those people would stand to benefit far more by becoming a totally above-board dispensary that sold to everyone. If anyone was opposing I-502 because they wanted to keep a system where they were quasi-legal and could only sell to a smaller segment of the population, they’re likely too dumb to stay in business for that long anyway.

Sadly, one of the biggest purveyors of this myth was our friend Dominic Holden from The Stranger. Back in April, he wrote this in the New York Times:

In late February, Dr. Gil Mobley, a physician with a local clinic providing medical-marijuana authorizations, began a campaign called No on I-502, a new name for a group that, before, called itself Patients Against I-502. It anticipates donations from lawyers and doctors, said its treasurer, Anthony Martinelli, and pot dispensaries may also finance a fall volley of television commercials.

Needless to say, the pot dispensaries never did that. There wasn’t a single anti-502 television ad made. And Holden never explained what basis he had for saying that. He never quoted any dispensary operators who opposed it. Nor did he explain what Mobley’s financial motive was. In fact, because I-502 bans home grows for non-patients, Mobley’s clinic will likely see increased profits from folks who still want a doctor to authorize their green thumb to cure whatever ails them. And at no point this year did anyone manage to explain how it made financial sense for the state’s few dispensary operators to oppose I-502.

At the end of Graves’ article, she quotes several dispensary operators who opposed the measure, and they all repeated what has long been known:

Trek Hollnagel, a spokesman for the Conscious Care Cooperative in Northern Seattle, also dismissed the notion that his dispensary fought the measure out of self-interest, saying that while the law does take away some patient “rights” — he again cited the provision on driving — he added it’s a victory to a certain extent, because there will be some form of arrest protection for everybody.

“I would say it’s kind of a mixed emotion,” Hollnagel said.

Hollnagel continued that the new law might be good for business, because it would make patients feel more comfortable about seeking help.

“In my professional opinion I think this will be beneficial for the cannabis industry as far as the dispensaries and all aspects of business go,” he said.

A lot of people don’t want to believe this for one reason or another, but it was the truth. Dispensary operators were somewhat caught between a rock and a hard place. They had customers who vehemently opposed the measure (and who on Facebook tried to identify dispensaries who didn’t oppose it and organize boycotts), but also knew that I-502 would have some pretty serious benefits as well. In the end, most dared not offend their customers. And now that I-502 has passed, a lot of them could potentially make a lot more money in a fully regulated system.

Concerned About Tim Burgess

With Romney’s loss, despite a strong push from the White Evangelical community, the influence of that particular group is waning. But in the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s and throughout the Bush years, these politically conservative Evangelicals had quite a bit of power and money behind them. And with that came a large group of scam artists.

People made good money telling white conservative evangelical Protestants who were afraid of the other — afraid of gay people, afraid of black folks and black churches, afraid of women who acted in any way other than submissive to their husbands or virginal, afraid of women who’ve had abortions, scientists, anyone who isn’t Christian, anyone who is Christian in a way they don’t approve of — that their fear made them good Christians. These modern day witch-prickers ruined lives for money and when they’re questioned they found clobber verses and said “it’s in the book.”*

If this didn’t have any political impact it would still be awful. It would still cause people to abandon their gay children. It would still cause women to stay in abusive relationships because of these antiquated notions of gender roles in marriage and on the nature of divorce. It would still cause divisions among people based on their religions.

But of course, it also has a political dimension. They lobby hard against the rights of gay people and women, and they make policy worse.

Among the worst of the bunch are Tim and Beverly LaHaye: He had a horrible combination of John Birch Society and apocalyptic (I don’t even want to say Biblical, since what he describes and what’s in the Bible are so different) predictions that eventually lead to his co-writing the Left Behind books. And she founded the organization Concerned Women for America that pushed some of the worst of this hatred out there.

And why this history is relevant to a Washington State blog is that before running for office, newly minted Seattle mayoral candidate Tim Burgess worked at a firm that did consulting for Concerned Women for America. As Erica C. Barnett explained when he first ran for City Council.

Burgess, however, has a client in his past that won’t sit well in progressive Seattle. Burgess’s ad firm provided media planning, copywriting, media buying, and other consulting services to Concerned Women for America (CWA), a fundamentalist Christian group that’s best known for fighting against equal rights for gays and lesbians. Gay former council member, Tina Podlodowski, who has endorsed Burgess, says CWA is “not a group I could ever support. Clearly, he made a big mistake.” Among other things, CWA advocated against making emergency contraception available over the counter, arguing that access to it would encourage promiscuity; has said that legalizing gay marriage would destroy the fabric of society; actively opposes the Equal Rights Amendment; and believes that “politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.”

The firm Burgess cofounded, now called Merkle/Domain, services non-profits. According to Burgess, the firm represented CWA for eight or nine years. “We generally did not have an ideological screen on clients. We’ve served all kinds of groups, [including] some others that I don’t always agree with,” Burgess says. According to the Washington Secretary of State’s corporation listing service, Burgess’s clients did not include any liberal equivalent of CWA. They did include the African Wildlife Foundation, Mercy Corps, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.**

Look, Burgess should be judged more on his time in office than for a consulting gig a decade ago. But it seems to me that this is a window on his character. He saw a scammy group that was doing harm to people’s lives and claiming to be Christian. And rather than use his position as an outspoken Christian to denounce that, Tim Burgess figured out a way to get a cut. Given that a lot was made out of it by activist groups when he first ran for City Council, you would think it would at least play a part in the biographies people are running now. But so far, I haven’t seen it.

[Read more...]

Open Thread 11/28

- Not really Only in Seattle, so much as one building designed around bicyclists.

- What Pierce County Prop 1′s loss means for transit.

- Does Donald Trump realize he’s a joke?

- The Deep South is more pro-Obama than 4 years ago (also, I can’t figure out Upstate NY. I was talking to Darryl about it yesterday, and he hadn’t seen the map but thought it might be a reaction to Sandy. Maybe, but CT and Downstate changed in the other direction).

- I have to be pretty far out of town earlier in the day, but I’m going to try to make it to the Balloon Juice meetup in Seattle on Saturday.

The End of Dangerous Home Grows

It’s good to remember that if I-502 is implemented without federal interference, incidents like this will be a thing of the past in this state. People will still have small personal grows (which is still legal for authorized medical marijuana patients), but large-scale commercial grows will finally be where they belong, in non-hidden commercial spaces regulated by the state.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle


It’s Tuesday already. So please join us tonight for a pint and discussion at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

We meet every Tuesday at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Starting time is 8:00pm. Some people show up earlier for Dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle’s DL tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings over the next week. The Tri-Cities chapter also meets tonight. On Wednesday, the Bellingham chapter meets, as does the the Burien chapter. And on Monday, the Yakima, South Bellevue and Olympia chapters meet.

With 230 chapters of Living Liberally, including fourteen in Washington state, four in Oregon, and three more in Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter that meets near you.

Social Justice And Environmental People Don’t Hate Each Other

There are a lot of angles you could take writing about Tim Harris writing a positive piece about McGinn’s downtown public safety program. Taking two paragraphs to set up how much you assume the ideas are at odds, as Josh Feit (?), does here doesn’t strike me as particularly helpful.

McGinn started his term with the support of an unlikely alliance of social justice lefties (like Real Change director Tim Harris) and urbanist greens (like the Sierra Club, where McGinn once served as chairman); typically those factions are at odds, with the social justice activists criticizing the urbanists as bourgeois and the urbansits criticizing the social justice advocates as provincial.

McGinn had some success keeping the coalition together, vetoing the panhandling ordinance for example. But as he pushed hard on urban density and light rail he has rubbed some advocates for the city’s lowest-income and homeles sresidents [sic] the wrong way; they’ve argued that density and high-cost rail transit increase the cost of living for Seattle’s poorest.

I mean, I’ve always felt it was a natural alliance. People in Seattle are generally supportive of both goals. And given that bad environmental things are generally shitting on poor people, they’re pretty intertwined. Really, wanting to put transit in poor neighborhoods isn’t as opposed by social justice activists as the piece assumes (although dealing with higher prices, etc. that can come from it absolutely is part of the social justice agenda). Now recently, I’m not so sure how solid McGinn’s commitment to social justice is with his response to the DOJ on police accountability, for example.

Funding With Magic

Goldy’s piece on how if we want to save education in this state, we’re going to have to pay for a lot more of it at the state level got me thinking about how the response to McCleary has been sold to us by both Democrats and Republicans.

Inslee and McKenna both more or less ran on magical solutions. Inslee thought we’ll grow our way out of it: hopefully OK for the short term, but not really a sustainable solution. And McKenna’s solution was to take money out of Puget Sound schools and put it into the rest of the state. Not really OK when Puget Sound schools are in trouble too. We were also told that charters would bring the magic of the market to education.

But no, we’re going to have to pay for it if we want better education, as Goldy says:

Instead—and here’s a novel and straight forward idea—why don’t we just raise the state school levy from the $2.26 per thousand dollars of property value rate it stands at now, to the maximum statutory $3.60 rate it stood at during the mid-1980s, the era of peak K-12 funding equity? That would add over $1.1 billion in new K-12 spending, about $1,000 per student. Sure, everybody’s taxes would go up, but by far the largest share would still be shouldered by those of us in “property-rich” districts, thus increasing both equity and funding. If local voters then want to cut their own local school levies, that’s up to them.

But of course, people would scream bloody murder if that were to happen. They’ve been told that they can fund education with magic. The debate is simply what magic to use.

Open Thread 12/26

- There’s more than one catch.

- I’ll believe these anti-Grover Norquist Republicans when they actually vote for something.

- If Patty Murray is a key to the budget deals, then I feel better about them (although still not great).

- I knew about Hamilton. And Eaton’s story sounded familiar when I read it. But the other two early American sex scandals, I didn’t know anything about.

- In the last couple months I got my driver’s license renewed and went to the doctor. And hands down the driver’s license was easier.

- I don’t understand what Boeing is doing trying to deny same sex married couples pension benefits.

- Salmon for Thanksgiving.

HA Bible Study

Malachi 2:2-3
If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.

“Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it.