Damascus is doomed!
It will end up in ruins.
On Sept 21: Draw the Line on Keystone XL.
Ed: Trickle-down fails.
Susie Sampson’s Sister: Is sex fun?
Mental Floss: 48 names for things you didn’t know had names:
Weiner Goes Out Like a Dick:
Red State Update: Podcast Episode #43.
White House: West Wing Week.
Thom with The Good, The Bad, and The Very, Very Ugly.
Ed and friends: Is God really a Republican?:
Kimmel: This Week in Unnecessary Censorship.
Remembering September 11:
Meet the “Governor of D.C.”:
Thom corrects the Daily Mail on climate change.
Young Turks: NRA victory in Colorado.
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.
I see you’re considering opening a store in Seattle. That might be a problem. This piece, for example, says that you might have problems because of your owner’s intolerance of gay rights. Certainly, the hateful nature of his opposition to gay rights is disquieting in a city that favors such rights. That said, it’s fortunate that KIRO 7 managed to avoid the trap of presuming that because he’s a Christian, he opposes gay rights.
Sure, Washington consistently ranks among the least religious states in the country. But in a country that’s 85% Christian, a relatively secular city in a relatively secular state is still overwhelmingly Christian. The Seattle Christians tend believe that love your neighbor bits are more important than some clobber verses here and there. And Seattle Christians tend to say that the Biblical injunction against gay people isn’t particularly strong anyway. And Seattle Christians realize that when you bring up Sodom as proof that God hates same sex relationships, for example, the case isn’t as strong as you make it out to be.
So yes, sales will probably be lower than they might be in places with a more hateful interpretation of the Bible, because some folks from Seattle — Christian and otherwise — don’t want to support that sort of hate. But the real problem you’ll find is that Seattle has Ezell’s. Trying to compete in Seattle on fried chicken makes no damn sense. Seriously, try some Ezell’s before you open, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort.
The light rail over the bridge case has been decided on the side of Duh, Of Course They Can.
Not surprisingly, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled against Kemper Freeman Jr.’s long and futile legal struggle to block the construction of light rail across the I-90 floating bridge. In a 7-2 opinion (pdf), with the Johnson brothers dissenting, the court ruled that Sound Transit’s fair market lease of the bridge’s center lanes, and its reimbursement of WSDOT’s contribution to their construction, means that no state gas tax dollars are being spent in violation of the state’s 18th Amendment.
Article II, Section 40 says that all vehicle fees and gas tax revenue must be “placed in a special fund to be used exclusively for highway purposes.” The purposes of this Motor Vehicle Fund (MVF) do not include building light rail. But, the court ruled, because “any money that was previously expended from the MVF will be reimbursed, the language of article II, section 40 is not violated.”
Of course. Of course, of course, of course. Of course! I’ll look forward to going into Bellevue and shopping at a non-Freeman area. I’m glad of the region getting the chance to be a bit more connected. People in Bellevue will be able to experience game day light rail, one great thing about city life. In many ways, the East Side will get a little closer to Seattle, and Seattle will be a bit closer to the East Side. I’m glad this hurdle was cleared, and, frankly that it wasn’t really that much of a hurdle.
In the linked article, Goldy also makes mention of another section of the ruling that this may be an even better ruling for proponents of transit than it appears now. And it appears pretty good now.
Agriculture officials in Washington state are testing samples of alfalfa after a farmer reported his hay was rejected for export because it tested positive for a genetically modified trait that was not supposed to be in his crop.
If it is confirmed that the alfalfa in question was genetically modified, it could have broad ramifications, said Hector Castro, spokesman at the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
The piece about it in the Weekly (that gets the Hat Tip) makes a link between that and the GMO labeling initiative. That’s fine as far as it goes. This sort of thing might make people want to get non-GMO food, and of course labeling would be the best way to go about that.
But I’m more worried that it has happened twice recently. If the initiative passes or fails, surely the industry could better spend their $9 Million that they spent this week on a political campaign on not fucking this sort of thing up. Because frankly, those ads and mailers and whatever else can’t change the fact that this has happened. Twice in recent months.
– Whatever you were doing, stop doing that because Orcinus is back! You should go read it is what I’m saying. Also coincidentally, I just finished a book last night, and Neiwert’s is the next on the list.
– People who passed stopped school buses on the right are incredibly problematic. I literally can’t even fathom how anyone could think it was even in the same state as OK. Randy Dorn wants cameras on more (I couldn’t tell from the article if it’s all) buses, and says that’s part of the reason why.
– I would have thought similar reasoning would have prevented Syria from using chemical weapons in the first place.
– But I do think that diplomacy can win out.
– It simplifies things when we can write-off the thoughts and opinions of other people by assuming they’ve taken the easy way out, that they’re just trying to be popular and liked. It’s oddly affirming to tell ourselves that we’re the ones living counter-culturally, we’re the ones taking all the risks for the truth, we’re the ones getting persecuted for our right and true beliefs.
It’s September 11th, so I guess this is as good a time as any to let you know that The Muslims are Coming!
And they want you to die!
Ummm…I mean, they want you to die laughing. You know…figuratively.
Here’s the deal:
The Muslims Are Coming! is an independent comedy film that hits back against Islamophobia. It will be in Seattle theaters for a one week run starting tomorrow (Friday).
Here is the blurb:
A group of Muslim-American standup comedians go on the road counter Islamophobia using the only weapon they have: jokes. The Muslims Are Coming! follows these comics as they visit big cities, rural villages, and everything in between to do shows, meet locals, and counter the haters. Commentary from pop culture icons like the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, Janeane Garofalo, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, David Cross, and Lewis Black pepper the film as the comedians travel through middle America. Will audiences laugh? Will they make a difference? Will they make it back? Rest assured, you’ve never laughed this hard at a Muslim!
And here is the trailer:
The film is playing at the Grand Illusion Cinema. Tickets are available here.
I’m pro-the initiative process in theory. But man alive does how much money gets thrown at it make me not like it in fact.
Major agribusiness companies and grocery chains appear set on a “Shock and Awe” approach to defeating Initiative 522 on Washington’s November ballot, and have poured nearly $9 million into the cause over the last two days.
The latest big bucks include $3.2 million from Dupont, on top of $171,281 previously given; a $562,000 pledge from Dow Agrisciences and a $500,000 pledge from BASF Plant Science. Montsanto made the biggest investment earlier in the week with a $4.5 million contribution to the No-on-522 campaign.
I mean really, $9 Million in just two days. That attempt to buy having the law what they want is just stunning. Even if you don’t like food labeling, that should be enough to put you into the “sure, why not” camp. I can’t imagine anyone thinking Dow and Monsanto should be able to keep the law as they like it if they have enough money. But we’ll see.
That said, I would be interested in how well the frankenfood industry does here. The last few examples of big industry buying their way to success in the initiative process (Costco’s liquor store privatization, the plastic industry defeating the Seattle bag fee and the junk food industry keeping extra taxes off sugary foods*) don’t bode well. But, I’d suspect that labeling is more popular than taxes and liquor stores. This might be a tougher task than those.
I meant to note this in an earlier open thread, but over the weekend, some of the state ferries didn’t run for a bit (Seattle Times link).
The Kitsap Sun reports dozens of runs on three routes -Point Defiance-Tahlequah, the north end of Vashon Island, and Port Townsend-Coupeville – were canceled for lack of crew.
Dispatchers ran out of relief and on-call workers who were needed to fill in for regular employees on vacation or medical leave.
This is what happens with years of cuts and cuts and cuts. Service gets cut. Most of the time people are able to make things work but when there are fewer options available, the potential for trouble increases.
Now, I think our Washington State Ferry system is great: I’m glad to have used it and almost certainly will use it again in the future. But I didn’t need any of those particular runs, on that particular day, so by GOP logic, I shouldn’t care about other people inconvenienced. But of course, we’re all a community, so it does harm. And of course the more things like this happen, the more cops and fire get cut from local communities, the more our road and bridge repairs get put off, the more likely any problem is to hit any of us.
Please join us for evening of political conversation over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally. This evening President Obama will address the nation on Syria at 6:00 pm, so show up early to hear the speech.
We meet tonight and every Tuesday evening at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Our normal starting time is 8:00pm.
Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out the plethora of other DL meetings over the next week.
Tonight there are also meetings of the Tri-Cities and Vancouver, WA chapters. On Wednesday, the Bellingham chapter meets. On Thursday the Bremerton chapter meets. And on Friday, the Centralia chapter meets. Finally, next Monday, the Yakima and Olympia chapters meet.
With 207 chapters of Living Liberally, including eighteen in Washington state, four in Oregon, and three more in Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting near you.
– For serious, don’t text and drive.
– Usually a primary election moves people away from the center (or at least the conventional wisdom of what the center is), and a general moves them toward it. I love that that’s not really the case in the Seattle mayoral election.
– Try treating women like people instead of props, and also try being funny. Hell, I occasionally watch Top Gear because it’s funny despite the fact that the hosts are shitty, lying, conservative jackasses. But if you want to be the next Mythbusters, note that they manage to be funny, progressive, and pretty damned scientifically rigorous for a 30-minute TV show. It’s not impossible.
– It’s surprising to me that local TV news didn’t start in King County until this date in 1951.
The Washington State House Republican Caucus is upset that we’re going to get exchanges soon. They’re so upset that they have a whiny press release.
Though many of us have grave concerns and opposition to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, Congress has not repealed it and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld nearly all of it. Washington state is moving forward.
Yes, it is. It’s legal and it’s going forward. And yay, because you know what, it’s somewhat better than the status quo. If the GOP had a better idea, or better than vague platitudes about the market or something something health savings accounts without any specifics, they forgot to mention it in the last few years. Anyway, let’s see what some of the House Republican problems are.
Health care exchange lacks enough choices, variety of plans
Hey, you know what would be another choice that the legislature could add? Yeah. If the GOP wanted more variety, they could get behind adding a government plan along with the corporate and a cooperative plan that already exist in Washington. You know more choice.
The Insurance Commissioner initially denied five of the nine health insurers plans from being sold in The Exchange; however, three of the insurers successfully appealed and the Insurance Commissioner has now approved seven insurance companies to offer 43 plans for individuals in the exchange. At its Sept. 4 meeting, the Exchange Board certified 35 plans. The federal Office of Personnel Management had previously approved the other eight plans which are classified as multi-state plans. There is one additional insurer that could be approved in the near future.
This is the part where they’re complaining that there won’t be any choices.
Meanwhile, just one company, Kaiser Permanente, says it will offer insurance plans for small businesses in the exchange. This is not the competitive marketplace we were promised as Obamacare was being debated in Congress. Washington House Republicans have long believed our state’s health insurance laws and regulatory processes have limited choice and competition. Those challenges are being more exposed as we implement federal health care reform. Read more about these problems in the articles to the right.
This claim feels pretty dubious to me. I work for a small business in Washington, and don’t have Kaiser Permanente, and there’s no discussion of changing plans. So there seems to be more choice than they’re letting on. In any event, a state level public option would certainly go a long way toward providing more choice. In fact, it would double it for small businesses if their dubious claims are to be believed.
An argument for universal coverage
Universal single payer would be pretty awesomesauce. That’s what you’re talking about, right? Right?
Avik Roy, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a health care writer at Forbes Magazine, argued that the status quo is no longer working, however. We must reduce the costs our federal government is currently spending on health care.
The status quo isn’t working and we need more than the unfortunately small 43 plans and growing. But not a public option. Hey, let’s quote that guy.
“The U.S. government spends more per capita on health care than the governments in many socialist states. However, the countries that achieve some form of universal coverage at the very lowest cost are not the highly socialist systems but the market-oriented systems, countries like Switzerland and Singapore.”
The Swiss System where they have a mandate stronger than our mandate? This is just trolling, right? I’m being trolled by a press release from the State House GOP? Anyway, that’s the whole section. I agree we need a health care mandate if we’re not going to have universal single payer. The good news is we got one, press release complaining about Obamacare. It’s part of Obamacare. For what it’s worth, I care more about health outcomes than if some asshole is going to call it socialism. There are some vague platitudes about health savings accounts without any discussion of how they would work in the state, but it’s still nice out, so I’m going for a jog.
– In case you’re wondering if there’s still time to register to vote in Washington, congrats! There is.
– I kind of like that the rest of the country doesn’t think all that much of us (also, the maps that the post links to are as interesting as Emmitt says).
– Fox News knows the best thing for poor kids is to starve them.
– Goldy’s piece on universal preschool in Seattle is important. I don’t think the dynamic of how the state level would react is quite spot on. I’d think they would spend more time trying to kill it in Seattle/King County than they would implementing it statewide, but hopefully I’m wrong.
– I think there’s a great value in apologizing, but yeah, a lot of them are empty and that can be problematic.
The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. They had what looked like gold crowns on their heads, and their faces looked like human faces. They had hair like women’s hair and teeth like the teeth of a lion. They wore armor made of iron, and their wings roared like an army of chariots rushing into battle. They had tails that stung like scorpions, and for five months they had the power to torment people.