Less Terrible

Well, good news.

Yesterday Metro announced a series of new savings that will reduce the overall service cut from 550,000 annual service hours to 400,000, or about 11%.

That’s still going to be a tough hit. It also won’t save the cuts coming later this month. But that combined with if Seattle votes yes on Prop 1 in November maybe within Seattle city limits, we’ll still be able to get around OK. And it’s sad that OK in the places we need it most is the best we can hope for, but I guess that’s what happens when the voters reject transit.

In the long run, trying to fill the gap with more and more concessions from transit workers is not going to work. The more you go the less fat there is to cut. These big important things are expensive and we can’t do them on the cheap. If we want good transit, we have to pay for good transit.

Seattle Times Figured Voters Didn’t Need to Know About KC Council Member Reagan Dunn’s Drinking Problem. You Know, Because.

I genuinely feel sorry for Republican King County Council member Reagan Dunn. He’s had a couple tough years. His political ambitions suffered a major blow when he lost his race for Attorney General. He’s recently divorced with two young children, and that totally sucks. And now we learn of his struggle with alcohol addiction and his guilty plea to a drunk driving charge.

I feel for him. And I sincerely hope he manages to stay dry and get everything but his political ambitions back on track. But I gotta say, I’m pretty stunned by this admission from the Seattle Times:

In discussing the plea, Dunn said he had voluntarily completed an inpatient alcohol-treatment program in the Los Angeles area in 2011.

(The Times learned of the treatment just before the August 2013 primary race for his seat, but after investigating it chose not to publish the information because it was two years old, Dunn had not committed a crime and there was no evidence that alcohol was affecting his job.)

So, I’ve got two problems with that decision. First, I think it’s just plain wrong. Voters deserved to know that Dunn had an alcohol problem so severe that it drove him to seek treatment (and anybody who has dealt with alcoholism and/or alcoholics knows how severe the problem must get before an alcoholic is generally willing to take that step). Maybe there was no evidence that Dunn had committed a crime or that his drinking was affecting his job, but drunks with cars tend to drive drunk. They just usually don’t get caught. And it’s hard to believe that an addiction so severe that it drove Dunn to seek treatment, hadn’t affected his job. So yeah, voters deserved to know.

And I gotta wonder if the editors would have been so protective had they possessed such devastating information about Dunn’s Democratic opponent?

But my second problem is: Who the fuck do they think they are to take it upon themselves to make this decision in the first place? The only daily newspaper in town, that’s who. And so they play the role of gatekeeper, however poorly, just because they can.

I’ve raked my fair share of mud over the years. And I don’t always enjoy it. But this was legitimate news, goddammit, and as a newspaper, the Seattle Times had an obligation to report it.

The Post-Trickle Down Era

Looks like my new boss’s “middle out” message is beginning to gain traction with political candidates:

That’s former President Jimmy Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter, running for governor of Georgia: “The best way to have a strong economy is to have middle class people with money in their pockets.”

And the other day, an AP news report made this matter of fact statement: “That report ties the slowed [sales tax revenue] growth to rising income inequality, which appears to stunt overall economic growth.”

This is the new conventional wisdom (as it should be) that income inequality is bad for the economy. Welcome to the dawning of the post-Trickle Down era.

Open Thread 9-18-2014

- Even when Rand Paul is probably right on policy and making fun of John McCain, he’s still such a problem.

– It was pretty nice out last week, but still no surprise that better biking infrastructure brings out more bikes.

You cannot defend abusing a child just because you like to cosplay on Sundays and eat yourself into a nacho coma

We have the power to shape our online experiences, and this is my vote for yours to be beautiful. Have a wonderful day.

– Wait, am I going to have to start reading GQ?

70 years is pretty great.

– Random fact that I learned from too much Wikipeding instead of actually writing: Ambrose Bierce’s middle name was Gwinnett.

Seattle Times Labels Imaginary Seattle Municipal Broadband Network a “Failure”

There goes the Seattle Times editorial board just making shit up again:

As efforts to develop publicly owned networks have failed, competition between multiple providers seems the best way to improve service.

Um, what effort to develop publicly owned networks? We’ve had no effort here in Seattle. There was an effort in Tacoma, and that’s been up and running and providing reliable service for years. And recent municipal broadband networks using more advanced technologies have proven even more successful—for example, the affordable gigabit Internet the residents of Chattanooga now enjoy.

But while there has certainly been chatter about developing a municipal broadband network here in Seattle, and there have been a couple of studies over the years, there has been no actual effort to build one. None. Zero. Zilch. So please, stop lying to your readers, Seattle Times, in defense your inflexible pro-corporate/anti-government ideology.

Open Thread 9/16

- On the one hand, you have to admire the audacity of street dealers trying to poach pot shops. On the other hand, I’d think that would be the worst place to sell. Maybe it’s like when there’s a Wendy’s next to a Burger King? Also, don’t threaten people.

How Not to Manage Parking

– A couple different takes on Danny Westneat not having a car for a little while. You can read the column here, but there isn’t much to add.

– I’m glad that Maria Cantwell is leading the charge to get the Washington NFL team to change their name.

– Waiting periods for abortion really are just calling women uninformed about their own bodies.

The guide to e-holes

New Report: Over-Dependence on Sales Tax Is Stunting Washington’s Economic Growth

If the fairness issue can’t move the serious people to start the conversation on tax restructuring (and Washington State does have the most regressive tax structure in the nation), perhaps the negative economic impact of our current tax structure will?

Washington is among the states that depend most heavily on sales taxes for revenue, and a new report links a decline in growth of such funds to the rising concentration of wealth for the richest U.S. households.

The study by credit-ratings agency Standard & Poor’s shows a significant decline in annual average state tax growth among the 10 most sales tax-dependent states, which includes Washington.

That report ties the slowed growth to rising income inequality, which appears to stunt overall economic growth. S&P also links it to a slowdown in average yearly gains in state tax revenues.

Washington is in fact the most sales-tax-dependent state in the nation, and it is crippling our ability to make the human and physical infrastructure investments we need. Our state’s inability to fund McCleary? Blame the sales tax. King County Metro’s 400,000 hours of service cuts? Blame the sales tax.

Seriously, serious people, we need to add some sort of tax on income and/or wealth into the mix.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle


Please join us tonight for an evening of politics over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday evening at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. The starting time is 8:00 pm, but some folks show up before that for dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities and Shelton chapters meet. The Lakewood chapter meets this Wednesday. And for Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets.

With 204 chapters of Living Liberally, including seventeen in Washington state, three in Oregon and three in Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting somewhere near you.

Open Thread 9/15

- Guest Editorial: To Fix Washington State’s Problems, We Need Real Talk on Taxes

– Good on the groups flying Goodell Must Go banners over NFL games this week.

– I’m not sure Marco Rubio knows what defeat means.

– We should probably just raise the voting age to whatever Fox News’ median is.

Do you know who I am?

– Apparently the kids today are all entrepreneurs. Not because capitalism has failed them so they’re doing something, but because that’s how kids do, freedom, etc.

Officers Beat Deaf Man for Signing, then Charge Him with Assault

These sort of stories—a deaf man allegedly Tased, beaten, and arrested by Hawthorne, California officers who mistook his attempt at sign language as a physical threat—generate the usual outrage over excess use of force. But there’s one detail consistent with nearly every excessive force incident that doesn’t seem to generate the outrage it should:

In February, Meister had been loading boxes of winter clothes and a snowboard that belonged to him at a friend’s house when a neighbor mistook him for a robber and called police. When officers Jeffrey Salmon, Jeffrey Tysl, Erica Bristow, and Mark Hultgren arrived on the scene, they encountered Meister and ordered him to stop. The only problem is that Meister is deaf and couldn’t hear the officers so he couldn’t obey their commands.

After grabbing his hand, a startled Meister began communicating the only way he can- by using sign language. As he desperately tried to make them understand him, the cops decided that Meister was trying to resist and assault them. So they jumped him, took him to ground, shot him twice with a Taser and punched and kicked the crap of him until they finally arrested him and charged him with assault.

This automatic charge of assaulting an officer and/or resisting arrest nearly every time officers assault a suspect is one of the more pernicious practices of modern policing. I understand that police use it to justify their actions, and that it gives prosecutors and city attorneys leverage in negotiating plea deals or in persuading victims to drop lawsuits (“We’ll drop our charges if you drop yours”).

But the officers are lying.

It is one thing to be so fucking stupid as to beat and arrest a deaf man for not adequately responding to verbal commands. But by the time those charges were formally filed, everybody involved had to be totally aware of what had actually transpired. And yet they filed the assault charges anyway.

If I were to knowingly file a false report with the police, it would be a crime. Officers who file false reports to cover their tracks should be held criminally liable too.

HA Bible Study: Deuteronomy 21:10-14

Deuteronomy 21:10-14
When you go out to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.


Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Thom: Why Republicans are embracing over-the-counter birth control.

Puppet Nation: Resurrecting Christie.

Cillizza: How close is the Senate race?

Thom: The REAL cost of a Big Mac.

David Pakman: Nutburger Rick Santorum thinks secularism is a religion and should be banned from school.

Young Turks: Ted Cruz booed off stage by Christians sick of his BS.

Bill Maher: “History will treat [Obama] very kindly”.

ONN: The Onion Week in Review.

The Drums of War:

Thom: Republicans have forgotten the victims of 9/11.

Mental Floss: 36 facts about cats.

Young Turks: Palin family caught in a drunken brawl.

White House: West Wing Week.

David Pakman: Scott Brown’s cringe-worthy introduction.

Ed: North Dakota nutburger Kramer things Obama has a “War on Potatoes”.

Sam Seder: Surprise. Latest Right Wing hero is a total fraud.

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

Cops Do The Darnedest Things:

Bill Maher: The target Representative.

Obama: The 11th observance of 9/11.

Puppet Nation: Just go with Mitt.

Sharpton: Michelle Obama campaigns in Georgia while Republicans demonize ‘Black-voting.

Jimmy Dore chats with Arnold about Maria cheating:

David Pakman: Louie Gohmert wishes Central American kids were more like North Koreans.

Young Turks: GOP filibuster bill to overturn Citizens United.

Thom: Why we need to prosecute OUR torturers.

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

This Post Would Be More Relevant 3 Months Ago, Or Never

I was walking home the other day along the waterfront. The Mariners were playing, so there was a nice partisan crowd* walking to the stadium. It’s more touristy than I generally like on my commute, but still I’m glad it’s there, and I’m glad to live in a city where that walk is possible. We can (and have and likely will) discuss the merits of what we’d like to see there in the future. But one thing I think we can all agree on is the people on Pedicabs need to turn their damn music down.

Now, don’t get me wrong! I like that there are people on bikes taxiing people around: It seems like a great sort of thing. I’ve never taken one, but it seems like a fun way to get to see a city. Perhaps someday when I’m lost in some other city, I’ll take one. If I’m offered a choice between normal volume or no music, I’ll probably take the no music, but if there’s just normal volume, that’s fine.

The problem only comes when I’m walking and it drowns out my headphones. Especially if I’m caught behind them. The tinniest speakers belting out music so loud I can’t think kind of ruins that segment of the walk.

Weirdly, I don’t even mind when people play music loud at the park. I can just keep going and find somewhere else. I think the combination of it being in a throughfare and of being stuck behind it was the problem. And to be clear, this post isn’t advocating for a law against it. It seems like the enforcement would be worse than the problem. I just want to register my complaint.

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