by Darryl, 12/31/2012, 7:53 PM

AAAAaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..

by Darryl, 12/31/2012, 12:01 PM

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.

by Lee, 12/30/2012, 12:00 PM

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.

Two notes:
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

1

2

3

4

5

6

by Goldy, 12/30/2012, 6:00 AM

Job 3:2
He said:

Discuss.

by Lee, 12/29/2012, 9:53 PM

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.

by Darryl, 12/28/2012, 11:57 PM
by Carl, 12/28/2012, 10:21 PM

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

by Darryl, 12/28/2012, 11:47 AM

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.

by Carl, 12/27/2012, 5:19 PM

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?

by Carl, 12/27/2012, 8:02 AM

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?

- Split the difference.

- 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.

by Carl, 12/26/2012, 7:59 AM

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.

by Darryl, 12/25/2012, 9:56 AM

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.

by Carl, 12/24/2012, 1:24 PM

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.

by Lee, 12/23/2012, 12:00 PM

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!

by Goldy, 12/23/2012, 6:00 AM

Deuteronomy 28:22
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.

Discuss.

by Lee, 12/22/2012, 6:00 AM

Last Friday’s shooting shook this country to its core, arguably more than any single event since 9/11. The senselessness, the innocence of the victims, and the proximity to Christmas really jarred us into a new political reality – one where gun control efforts no longer feel like a political taboo. People I know who generally reject gun control based upon a vague notion of 2nd Amendment rights have begun to question the logical underpinnings of those arguments. And we’re starting to get smarter about recognizing that certain types of gun crimes and gun deaths do correlate with gun ownership rates.

The issue of gun control has always been a difficult one for me to navigate. I have been, and continue to be, rather skeptical that gun control efforts in this country can do much of anything on their own to fix this. Our fascination – or perhaps obsession – with guns is unparalleled in the world. I often hear arguments such as “if Australia and the UK can ban guns, so can we” and that translates to me as “if Saudi Arabia can ban alcohol, so can we”. No other country has the level of consumer demand for powerful and extreme firearms that we do.

Our problem is now a deeply rooted cultural one. It’s not that I don’t think it can ever change, I just don’t think there’s a set of realistic laws that can bring about that change by itself. It has to be a cultural shift over time. It will happen if the next generation of Americans grows up with a healthy measure of disgust over our obsessive gun culture and firearm extremism.

The best parallel I can point to is with cigarettes. Within a generation, we’ve greatly stigmatized being a smoker, while also passing a number of laws that didn’t outlaw smoking, but made it more inconvenient. It’s likely the laws did less than the information campaign to educate people about its unhealthiness, but both happened in parallel. And cigarette smoking was greatly reduced over my lifetime.

My background following the drug war also colors my perspective on this subject. I’m skeptical – even fearful – of overarching efforts to disarm all Americans. I still feel that it’s a fundamental right to feel secure in one’s one home and that we should have a right to privately own firearms for our own protection or for sport. But another thing we can learn from the history of drug regulation and prohibition is that smart regulations that steer demand towards safer products can sometimes work as well. Would an outright ban on assault weapons reduce the amount of damage that a mass shooter can do, or would those restrictions easily be circumvented by a black market that comes with with own significant security drawbacks?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I’ve heard smart arguments on both sides and there’s really no historical parallel that fits the mess we’re in. But one thing is clear, and it became much clearer after watching the insane spectacle of NRA President Wayne LaPierre’s remarks Friday morning. The NRA and other “pro-gun” lobbying groups have played an outsized and inexcusable role in getting us where we are today.

To understand what I’m talking about, this New York Times article about Newtown’s recent internal conflicts over gun rights is a good starting point:

But in the last couple of years, residents began noticing loud, repeated gunfire, and even explosions, coming from new places. Near a trailer park. By a boat launch. Next to well-appointed houses. At 2:20 p.m. on one Wednesday last spring, multiple shots were reported in a wooded area on Cold Spring Road near South Main Street, right across the road from an elementary school.

Yet recent efforts by the police chief and other town leaders to gain some control over the shooting and the weaponry turned into a tumultuous civic fight, with traditional hunters and discreet gun owners opposed by assault weapon enthusiasts, and a modest tolerance for bearing arms competing with the staunch views of a gun industry trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which has made Newtown its home.

It’s important to remember that the NRA doesn’t exist today to serve the basic interests of gun owners. It exists to protect the profits of gun manufacturers and others in the marketplace for firearms. Everything that LaPierre said yesterday makes perfect sense when you understand this. Every solution is always about more guns being purchased, even if it means via taxpayer money for absurd and unrealistic things, like putting armed guards in every American school.

And even when LaPierre doesn’t have actual events to springboard from, he makes them up. Throughout Obama’s presidency, he’s been loudly warning people that Obama is planning to take their guns away. This nonsense has had exactly the intended effect, higher gun sales. And even worse, this kind of paranoid rhetoric tends to focus that message on the already somewhat unstable. We no longer had a marketplace for guns that was mostly about hunting and recreation or for responsible folks who merely want to protect their home. We have more and more people building up arsenals of ridiculously powerful weapons they don’t need. We’ve ended up with folks like Nancy Lanza, a woman who – for reasons that make no sense to anyone – was preparing for some kind of apocalyptic scenario and stockpiling the weapons that would instead kill her and a classroom of small children.

After the Gabby Giffords shooting, a lot of folks on the right were quick to dismiss the connection to right wing politics, and they were right, but they were also missing the bigger point. Certainly Jared Loughner wasn’t a typical right-wing tea partier by any stretch. But he was mentally unstable. And even though Loughner wasn’t a true believer of right-wing politics, he was clearly influenced by an atmosphere were the rhetoric of gun violence was unusually commonplace. I think this is becoming the common thread, that more and more unstable and paranoid folks in this country don’t just have access to firearms, they’re constantly being bombarded with messages about how they need those firearms to protect themselves from some vague internal enemy. That, I’m convinced, is far worse than any lack of sensible gun laws.

The irony here, of course, is that the cultivation of this paranoia might actually lead to the scenario that many of them have been warning about. Obama has had no interest in gun control so far. It’s only now that we’re seeing mass shootings by unstable people at an unprecedented frequency that he’s being forced to take action. My worry is that those who expect new gun laws to be an automatic panacea are going to be mighty disappointed at their ineffectiveness. Our gun problem is a uniquely American one. It’s one that we should be far more ashamed of. And it’s one that I worry we may be dealing with for a lot longer.

by Darryl, 12/21/2012, 9:06 PM

New Battles in The War on Christmas™:

Maddow: Mark Sanford to hike the campaign trail

It’s The End of The World As We Know It (unless you are reading this):

White House: West Wing Week.

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

Fiscal Something or the Other:

Thom with even more Good, Bad and Very, Very, Ugly.

SlateTV: Sarah Palin isn’t influential…says Sarah Palin.

Shooting Children:

Barney Frank goes after Newt Gingrich over “God” comments.

Thom with more Good, Bad, and Very, Very Ugly.

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

by Darryl, 12/21/2012, 6:51 PM

Just over two weeks ago, my cell phone buzzed while I was in the middle of an afternoon work meeting. Usually I would ignore the phone in that circumstance, but I didn’t this time. It was from Kathy, and she doesn’t call all that often.

When I answered, she told me she was hiding in one room of the house after someone tried breaking in. She didn’t know if he was in the house. The Redmond police were on the way.

It was a Monday, and Kathy was working from home that day. The door bell ran. She ignored it, figuring it was UPS dropping off a package. After a long pause, the doorbell rang a few more times, and then a bunch of times.

Kathy walked from her study to near the front door and started to yell, “who is it,” just as the decorative windowpane closest to the door knob was punched in. Kathy yelled something and ran to her hiding spot, grabbing her cell phone on the way. She called 9-11 and then me.

The would-be burglar apparently took off. She could see through the hole that it was a male wearing a dark blue jacket with light lettering, and the police found nobody matching that description hanging around.

The physical damage was minimal. But for Kathy, this episode was emotionally difficult. For the five minutes it took the police to arrive, her home had gone from being a place of safety and comfort to being a terrifying prison.

When the police left, she talked to our friends a couple of houses down. These people have young children, which means they are well connected in the neighborhood and beyond. They sent out word warning other neighbors. Later that night a neighbor down the street send us images of all the cars and pedestrians that had passed his security camera watching over is driveway. After that, we were forwarded an email from a neighbor who was likely a target of the same individuals.

He was on the second floor of his house when a car pulled into the driveway. A clean-cut white male in his late 20s or early 30s, wearing a dark blue shirt with light blue lettering, got out of the passenger side of a silver late model Kia Optima and rang the doorbell. The home owner answered from the second floor window, and the ensuing exchanged established that the visitors had the wrong house number. The police obtained a written statement about this incident, but they have not “solved” the case, as far as I know.

On this particular day, I had promised my students a 6:00-7:30 pm review session for their final exam, so I really had no time to catch a bus home and then make it back to work. When I went to The Ave for a quick dinner, I stopped at Radio Shack and picked up a few blinking LED assemblies. After fixing the hole that evening, I set up the blinking LED assemblies near all ground floor entrances to make them look like part of an alarm system. Out of my electronics junk box, I dug up a small keypad that used to be attached to a radio. I affixed it on a wall near the front door.

Kathy appreciated my faux alarm system, but wanted the real thing. “I don’t care what it costs. I want a real alarm system and some video cameras!”

Okay…I can deal with that. As it happens, good alarm systems are quite affordable and straightforward to install. In the bad old days, an alarm system with sensors on every door and window would be a pain the the ass, if only because one would run wires from each sensor back to the control unit. Modern alarm systems are entirely wireless, and can include door and window sensors, motion sensors, glass breakage sensors, water sensors, smoke detectors, heat detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, natural gas detectors and even remote panic buttons. The control unit can be programmed to call an alarm monitoring service if you chose; or, you can program it to call your own series of numbers. You can add a dedicated cell phone “line” to most alarms. Some can even utilize the internet to email messages.

So four days later, I had an alarm system in hand. An evening later I had installed a bunch of motion sensors and all the door sensors. It took another evening to put in all the window sensors. Piece of cake.

I also picked up a video surveillance system that can continuously monitor and record video from multiple cameras around the property. That was a bit trickier to install because even with wireless transmission of the video, you need to supply 5 volts to power the cameras. An interesting feature is the ability to monitor the cameras via the internet on computers or a cell phone.

So that’s what I’ve been working on for the last two weeks. I enjoy that kind of geeky tech work.

What I’m not quite comfortable with is this new security mentality around our house. It feels like I’ve enclosed our home in virtual barbed wire or something. What’s next, a metal detector at each entrance? I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon enough, but for now it feels a little icky.

What I’ve done, basically, is to make it undesirable for a common thief to burgle my house. The flashing lights, the cameras, the security decals in windows are all notices to a would-be thief that they would have a much easier time going somewhere else.

In other words…I’ve made it my neighbors’ problem.

by Carl, 12/21/2012, 8:01 AM

- Plan B was just to not have the votes, I guess.

- Speaking of Plan B, Patty Murray made a funny.

- Speaking of Patty Murray, Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

- King County wins the Brightwater lawsuit and so good news for ratepayers.

- Best Year Ever

- The gun monsters.

- This miserable little genus.

- The Sirens would have been a better name than Seattle Reign FC (although the lack of a creepy eagle logo is a plus).

by Carl, 12/20/2012, 7:11 PM

I’ve been thinking about what the state can do as far as gun control in the next session. Most sensible regulations will get caught up in Rodney Tom’s GOP Senate. And I’m not sure I’d want to test our state constitution or the current US Supreme Court, even now. But it seems to me that we could probably fine the gun manufacturers for every death by a gun in Washington.

I’m thinking something large enough that it would impact their bottom line, but not enough that it would put them out of business. So every murder, every suicide, every hunting accident, every police officer shooting that ends with a death gets, say, a $2000 fine for the manufacturer of that gun assessed at the end of each year. Doesn’t matter if it was legally purchased, stolen, or whatever — you made the gun, you pay a price.

We can use the money to go to gun safety programs if you like. Or victim compensation. I’d be fine with just putting it in the general fund, but I wouldn’t want the legislature to become dependent on it, since the goal is to have it not produce any money. In any event where the money goes isn’t as important as getting it in the first place.

A fee like that would encourage gun manufacturers to make their guns in a way that won’t be involved in killings any more. A problem with regulation is that the manufacturers will just do the minimum. Putting a direct cost on dead people will encourage them to make guns that won’t cause problems, and will let the market decide what’s the most effective way.

If the best way to prevent gun deaths is safety training, the manufacturers will invest in that. If it’s locks or fingerprint technology, the manufacturers will invest in that. If it’s designing guns that are fine for hunting, but bad for school shootings or street crime, they’ll do that. If it’s just not having super, super irresponsible ads,* they’ll do that. In any event, let’s put a price on dead people and make the people who manufactured the tool of death pay.

All that said, I know that the legislature probably won’t do that with a GOP senate that has a pretty gun loving chair of the Law and Justice Committee. And depending on what the courts say it might need a 2/3 majority since it’s a fee; if that does happen, put it on the ballot.

Read the rest of this entry »