Archives for December 2012
Turning schools into a Battle Ground
Perhaps she is going for a dark horse Fucking Idiot of the Year award?
Or maybe this is one of the emotional scars of having attended a school by the name of Battle Ground High School?
It’s Hard to say. But it’s truly idiotic. Washington state Representative Liz Pike (R-18):
…wants to bring up a bill that would let teachers carry concealed guns in the classroom.
Under Pike’s proposal, teachers at schools like Salmon Creek Elementary could volunteer to go through mental evaluations and week-long gun training at their own expense. They would also buy their own guns to bring into their classes and wear on a belt or in a holster – not in a purse or drawer.
A good way to protect students and teachers? Hmmmm.
You may have read, just last week, about an “incident” in a New Jersey police station:
A shootout broke out in a suburban New Jersey police station on Friday when a 39-year-old man who had been taken into custody attacked a police officer, stealing her gun and shooting her and two other officers before he was killed.
I’ve been told numerous similar stories from my father and step mother, who were both Chicago police officers for most of their working lives. Fortunately, the cops usually win these spontaneous altercations without losing control of their guns. But police officers are rigorously and recurrently trained in self defense, weapons handling, and dealing with aggressive persons.
Teachers? Not so much.
Additionally, teachers work, day in and day out, with a much higher proportion of crazy people than do the cops. By, “crazy people”, I mean most adolescent males who need at least a decade to learn how to handle the new phenomena of being constantly hepped up on sex hormones. And I’m just talking naturally produced stuff….
What we definitely don’t need in schools is to provide impulse-control challenged adolescent males new opportunities to exercise their testosterone-induced aggression instincts with the temptation of a loaded gun for victory! Doing so is a recipe for more gun-related deaths in schools—not fewer.
So, yes…Rep. Liz Pike does gets my vote for the 2012 Fucking Idiot of the Year award.
Bird’s Eye View Contest
Last week’s contest was won by milwhcky. It was the dental office in Fort Dodge, Iowa that was at the center of a recent court case involving a dental assistant who was fired for being “too sexy”.
This is the last contest of 2012 and since it’s the fifth Sunday of the month as well, I’m going to do a special year end contest. Normally when I do the month-end contests related to a news item, I try to avoid particularly sad events like shootings. Unfortunately they dominated the news this year, especially in the past month. Far too often, we saw some unbalanced jackass with a gun end the lives of random, innocent people. The six pictures below are all from tragic mass shootings within the past year. Good luck, happy New Year, and may there be far fewer of these in 2013.
1 – All views are default orientation (up is north) and a mass shooting is defined as any event where a gunman kills multiple people indiscriminately
2 – The “no political comments” rule will be strictly enforced in this thread – feel free to send me an email if I don’t peel myself away from watching football quickly enough
HA Bible Study
The House I’m Destined To Live In
Mark Kleiman accuses Eugene Jarecki, director of the anti-drug war movie “The House I Live In”, of engaging in some truthiness:
I saw a screening of the anti-incarceration documentary The House I Live In some months ago. The film is right that prisons are horrible places and that we have vastly too many people in them. And it’s right that the “war on drugs” causes untold needless suffering. But the film strongly implies that the mass-incarceration problem consists mostly of non-violent drug dealers serving ludicrously long terms. False.
In fact, only about 20% of U.S. incarceration is on drug charges, and by no means are all of those folks non-violent. That’s still way too many drug prisoners; have drugs-only incarceration rate higher than the total incarceration rate of anyplace we’d like to compare ourselves with. But if we let them tomorrow, we’d still have four times our historical incarceration rate and four times the incarceration rate of any other OECD country, instead of five times.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can’t say for sure that Kleiman is misrepresenting Jarecki’s viewpoint, but his use of “strongly implies” rather than “says” makes me very suspicious that he is. If Jarecki is merely saying that the drug war is primarily responsible for our mass incarceration problems, he’s correct. And Kleiman’s response that only 20% of those incarcerated are there for drug charges misses the bigger picture by a mile.
The most widespread damage done by the drug war isn’t necessarily that low-level drug offenders go to jail for a long time. The damage is done by the downstream effects of having that in your criminal record for the rest of your life. Even if someone arrested for simple drug possession never goes to jail, they often take plea deals that leave them with a criminal record. And that follows them everywhere, making it extremely difficult for many of them to get money for school, get into public housing, or find employment. People caught in this situation often become destined to a life of more serious and more violent crime.
So to imply that 80% of America’s prisoners would still be there regardless of the war on drugs is incredibly off-base. A significant number of those prisoners had their first contact with the criminal justice system as a result of the drug war and – as a result of that contact – were set on a path of likelier criminality. This phenomenon is explained very well by Michelle Alexander in “The New Jim Crow”. And with over 1 million drug arrests occurring annually, we’re putting enormous amounts of Americans down this path, particularly minorities and the poor.
In addition, this analysis doesn’t even take into account the fact that many of the violent offenders in the criminal justice system are there because of the prohibitionist policies that lead to violent confrontations within black markets in the first place. As one of the commenters to the post pointed out, the Global Commission on Drug Policy points out quite simply that “Drug Policy and the incarceration of low-level drug offenders is the primary cause of mass incarceration in the United States.” I have trouble believing that Kleiman would dispute that, but his post “strongly implies” that he does.
Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!
Young Turks: Republican Santa?!?
Rappin’ up 2012
Young Turks: Dick Armey’s armed teabagging coup:
Sam Seder on Social Security hater Alan Simpson.
- Sam Seder: Fiscal Cliff? US Deficit shrinking at fastest pace since WW II.
- Young Turks: CNBC anchor completely flips out over fiscal cliff
- Obama makes statement on avoiding a middle class tax hike.
- Sam Seder: When Republicans say, “broaden the base,” they mean “screw the middle class.”
- Young Turks: Debt ceiling fear mongering.
- Sam Seder: Why the U.S. doesn’t have a debt crisis.
Thom: The Good, The Bad, and The Very, Very Ugly.
Young Turks: DUI for a dry politician?
Guns, God, Kids, and Schools:
- Ann Telnaes: NRA’s Body Language.
- David Gregory shows high-capacity ammunition magazine on ‘Meet The Press’ (via TalkingPointsMemo).
- Young Turks: Military grade weapons show up at gun buy-back
- Nutjob Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants ‘armed posse’ to protect Arizona schools (via Crooks and Liars).
- Liberal Viewer: Gun control or God control?
- Red State Update: Gun Control.
- Mark Fiore: Bumper Sticker Action.
- Young Turks: Celebrities call for gun control.
White House: West Wing Week.
How Republicans will raise your milk prices (via Crooks and Liars).
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.
Tim Sheldon is a Fucking Idiot
I hadn’t read this New York Times piece on the GOP takeover of the Washington State Senate until today. It’s pretty much a standard recap, but I hadn’t heard Tim Sheldon’s view that Jay Inslee doesn’t represent the state.
“Seattle-centric,” said Senator Tim Sheldon, a two-decade veteran lawmaker and Democrat from a district west of Olympia, summing up the combination of forces that alienated him: safe seats in Seattle, campaign money raised in safe seats but spread around, and a caucus that rewards and reinforces the safe-seat equation with powerful leadership posts. “They’re not representative of the state,” he said.
The fact that Gov.-elect Jay Inslee, a former Democratic congressman, will take office in January having won majorities in only eight liberal counties* while losing in the other 31 only bolstered the case for change, said Mr. Sheldon, who said he voted for Mr. Inslee’s opponent, Rob McKenna, the state’s attorney general and a Republican.
He lost the counties 8 to 31, but we don’t vote by county. We have human beings vote. And the human beings pretty easily supported Inslee. To imply that Jay Inslee is less representative of Washington because he didn’t do as well in Adams or Mason counties is the height arrogance.
Those of us who live in Seattle, in addition to funding the schools in Tim Sheldon’s district, in addition to funding social services in his district, have the right to vote. If Tim Sheldon is out of step with the state as a whole when we vote for governor, well, maybe that’s because the state is more Seattle centric than he is.
Recall Rodney Tom?
In 2006, I worked my ass off to get Rodney Tom elected as my state senator. Representative Tom had just switched parties—from Republican to Democratic. His challenge was to beat Senator Luke Esser, a friendly, but solidly Republican, incumbent.
In Tom’s favor, the 48th LD district was increasingly turning blue.
Tom has now, essentially, switched back. And in doing so, he has shit upon the people who elected him.
Yes, I’ve heard Tom try to explain why he will caucus with the Republicans. “It’s bipartisan!,” he exclaims.
Bullshit. When you are elected under the label “Democrat,” it is not bipartisan to caucus with the Republicans and, in doing so, turn over control of the Senate to the Republicans. If the voters of the 48th wanted that, they would have elected a Republican.
“But, but, but, the voters have spoken on the issue of new revenue,” he proclaims.
How odd, then, that when the voters spoke directly by electing a Democratic senator, Rodney Tom forgot to listen! Yet somehow, based on “related” issues, Tom can divine that the voters want Republicans in charge and a zero revenue budget. Bull. Fucking. Shit.
In many states, Tom would be subject to a recall election simply for this betrayal of his constituents. In these states a recall election is a political act.
In Washington state, the Constitution specifies a higher bar and a different purpose for recalling a politician. From Article I Section 33 of the Washington State Constitution (my emphasis):
Every elective public officer of the state of Washington expect [except] judges of courts of record is subject to recall and discharge by the legal voters of the state, or of the political subdivision of the state, from which he was elected whenever a petition demanding his recall, reciting that such officer has committed some act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, or who has violated his oath of office, stating the matters complained of, signed by the percentages of the qualified electors thereof, hereinafter provided, the percentage required to be computed from the total number of votes cast for all candidates for his said office to which he was elected at the preceding election, is filed with the officer with whom a petition for nomination, or certificate for nomination, to such office must be filed under the laws of this state, and the same officer shall call a special election as provided by the general election laws of this state, and the result determined as therein provided.
Man…that is one run-on sentence! But what does this mean? Is switching party, throwing control of the Senate to the other party an act of misfeasance or malfeasance? RCW 29A.56.110 defines the terms:
(1) “Misfeasance” or “malfeasance” in office means any wrongful conduct that affects, interrupts, or interferes with the performance of official duty;
(a) Additionally, “misfeasance” in office means the performance of a duty in an improper manner; and
(b) Additionally, “malfeasance” in office means the commission of an unlawful act;
(2) “Violation of the oath of office” means the neglect or knowing failure by an elective public officer to perform faithfully a duty imposed by law.
Additionally, RCW 29A.56.140 specifies that any petition must be reviewed in Superior Court for “(1) whether or not the acts stated in the charge satisfy the criteria for which a recall petition may be filed, and (2) the adequacy of the ballot synopsis” and that “[t]he court shall not consider the truth of the charges, but only their sufficiency.”
In practice, Superior Court judges have been reluctant to allow recall petitions to go forward unless clear violations of the law are involved. Some Wingnuts learned this the hard way in their 2005 attempt to recall Secretary of State Sam Reed. More recently, an attempt to recall Public Lands Commissioner, Peter Goldmark, suffered the same fate.
So, no. Short of some remarkable revelation of legal wrongdoing, Rodney Tom is not going to go through a recall election. But I note that my pessimism isn’t shared—it hasn’t stopped one of my activist neighbors from purchasing the domain RecallRodneyTom.com. I hope she uses it to bring attention to the “Tom issue.”
Tom has another fate. When he comes up for reelection in two years—if he bothers to run—he’ll lose.
The 48th LD is now solidly blue. No matter what party Tom claims to “prefer,” his actions are unambiguous. He’s a Republican now. And the 48th LD is most certainly NOT going to elect a Republican state senator.
As I said in today’s Open Thread, McGinn announced the next step on the Missing Link. So it’s that Seattle will conduct an Environmental Impact Statement.
“We are eager to complete the Missing Link, and conducting a full EIS is the best way to break the legal log jam on this project,” said McGinn. “We are also moving ahead on safety improvements on the street that can be implemented quickly to help everyone share the road.”
“For over a decade the City has been working to complete the Burke-Gilman Trail. I am confident that with careful planning both bicyclists and freight and industrial traffic will be able to co-exist successfully in Ballard,” said Rasmussen, chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee.
“The Burke-Gilman Trail is a busy, multi-use trail that provides an important connection to residents and businesses in Ballard. I’m glad to see that the City is moving ahead with its plans to close the Missing Link and with these other safety improvements,” said Davidya Kasperzyk, Founding Board Member of Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail.
For the past decade and a half or so, I’ve been skeptical and excited about the next step on the missing link pretty much whatever the next step is. So hopefully the EIS will get done and we can finally go ahead on completing it. But who knows?
Open Thread 12/27
It’s a pretty slow week here, but here’s an open thread.
– The Murdoch empire is reprehensible. Also, who didn’t know crossing the Rubicon?
– When I say I hope The Seattle Times survives, it’s because of stories like this on a Seattle program to help people living in their cars and how it’s off to a slow start.
– Here’s hoping the next step on the missing link is a decent one. The fact that it’s being announced between Christmas and New Year’s makes me think it won’t be very popular.
– Today in doooooooooyyyyyyyyy
– If you’re looking for something to do with that $25 from grandma, I can think of worse things than a Kiva loan. I’m on the Friends of Bob Harris team.
FYI, in the new year, open threads will probably be Monday-Wednesday-Friday.
Rodney Tom’s Majority Relies on Abusing Staff
During the budget coup, Rodney Tom’s magical mystery majority relied on Pam Roach coming back into the GOP fold. And as you may remember, there were some issues.
In a letter obtained by The Seattle Times and others, an attorney for Republican Senate Counsel Mike Hoover contends Hoover has been the brunt of abuse from Roach for years. Allowing her back into the caucus — after she had been banned for past behavior — makes Hoover’s job with the Senate untenable, the attorney says.
“Mr. Hoover understandably has no faith that the caucus can or will take any steps to protect him or other staff from Senator Roach’s behavior in the future,” the attorney wrote in the letter to Secretary of the Senate Tom Hoemann.
Roach, R-Auburn, was banned from her caucus in 2010 over her treatment of Hoover. She was able to vote but was barred from the caucus room where her colleagues discussed legislation, and she could not deal directly with caucus staff or counsel.
In an interview last month, she said she was allowed back into the caucus when she cast a key vote that allowed the Senate Republicans, with the help of three Democrats, to pass their own version of the state budget.
I assume the GOP would have kept her on no matter the situation. But this deal gives her more power, and more opportunities to abuse the staff.
Holiday open thread
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, or Quanza, or Chinese Food Takeout Day, or Festivus, or engaging in The War on Christmas™, may your holidays/warfare be blessed with good cheer, loving family, best friends, good times, lots and lots of loot, plenty of vacation days, as well as sober, competent designated drivers….
Michelle Obama reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Canada says, “Merry Christmas America”: A Boxing Day Primer.
The War On Christmas™:
Christmas at the White House.
UCB Comedy: A Christmas message for parents.
Ann Telnaes: Happy Holidays from the Obamas.
Christ almighty, what the fuck is going on any more?
A 30-year-old Seattle man was killed and another man wounded in a shooting at a crowded bar in Bellevue early Monday, police said.
The shooting broke out just after 1 a.m. at Munchbar at Bellevue Square, an upscale shopping center about 10 miles east of Seattle, said Carla Iafrate, a spokeswoman for the Bellevue Police Department.
Police officers were outside the bar when gunfire erupted because a large crowd had gathered there, she said.
More than 600 people were inside the venue at the time of the shooting. “It was a very complicated scene,” Iafrate said.
Bird’s Eye View Contest
Last week’s contest was won by Liberal Scientist. It was the concert grounds at the Tulalip Casino.
This week’s is related to something in the news from December (it was hard, but I found something not related to a shooting). Good luck!
HA Bible Study
The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
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