Omigod, I’ve Got a New Podcast!

Missed the mellifluous sounds of my whiny high-pitched nasal voice? Then you’ll want to tune in to the premier episode of my new podcast: The Other Washington!

Each episode, co-host Paul Constant and I and the rest of the troublemakers at Civic Skunkworks will take you on a deep dive into a single issue, exploring the nexus between policy and politics from a uniquely Washington State perspective. Our first topic? The $15 minimum wage, of course! How did $15 go from “insane” idea to political reality, and what does this teach us about the rest of the progressive agenda? Tune in and find out.

Huge thanks to our producer, Tina Nole of Larj Media, for making us sound like more than just a couple of opinionated assholes crowding around a mic. We’re still learning by doing, and I expect the podcast to evolve over time, but if you agree with me that it’s a damn good start, then please go to iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts) and leave us a good review. (Or if you hate it, just leave a nasty comment in this thread.)

Open Thread 2-5

It is always amazing to me when I read things like this. “I’m old enough to remember the shock, replaced quickly by compassion fatigue, when urban homelessness first energed as a problem in the early ’80s,. Before then, hard as it is to imagine now, cities didn’t have homelessness issues – just a few random drunks and what were then quaintly called hoboes.” Geov isn’t the first person I’ve read with similar observations, and while I believe it, it’s tough to internalize. What seems like an intractable problem that has been there forever is actually a bit younger than me.

Low Energy

Donald Trump has been taunting Jeb! as being low energy. Judging from the need to add a high-energy punctuation mark after his name, I’m thinking that The Donald might be right on this one.

And this is kind of embarassing:

It brings back memories of this 2008 GOP low energy superstar:

On the other hand, Ronald Reagan was pretty low energy so it isn’t like energy level is all that Trump cracks it up to be.

And at least Jeb! doesn’t suffer from an abnormal chromosomal makeup.

Open Thread 2-3

This (autoplays) is a few days old (they make Iowa Caucus predictions) but I just listened to it yesterday on my way to Drinking Liberally. It got me thinking about the foreign policy philosophies of the Democratic candidates. I would dispute that Clinton’s foreign policy philosophy is just about competence. I’d say that women’s rights are human rights was an animating idea during her tenure at State and in the Senate.

I asked a few people at Drinking Liberally how they would sum up Sanders’ foreign policy. And we found some interesting things about his record, but I don’t know if it’s predictive for voters or for the bureaucracy if he gets elected. I’d very much like to know more about his foreign policy, but I haven’t seen it yet. It’s one state down, so we may well see something that crystallizes it going forward.

(this has been edited a bit to make it clear I’m just talking about foreign policy)

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottle

Huh…can’t imagine what people want to talk about tonight. If you think of something, please join us for an evening of politics and conversation over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. You’ll find us in the small room at the back of the tavern. We start at 8:00pm.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings happening this week. The Long Beach, Tri-Cities and West Seattle chapters also meet tonight. The Lakewood chapter meets on Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets.

There are 186 chapters of Living Liberally, including eighteen in Washington state, three in Oregon and one in Idaho. Find—or go out and start—a chapter near you.

If Our Editorial Boards Want to Be Taken Seriously About Education Funding, They Need to Start Talking Seriously About Revenue

 Newspaper toilet roll

I suppose, good on the Seattle Times editorial board for pushing legislators to solve Washington’s education funding crisis sooner than later: “State must start working harder to find an education-funding fix.” But considering the decades-long role our state’s editorial boards have played in obstructing funding reforms, I have a hard time taking them seriously when they offer weak sauce prevarication this:

Fixing a financing problem built for decades will be complicated, require a massive shift in property taxes and probably should include a new revenue source, such as a capital-gains tax. These are tough, but necessary, political tasks. The court set a deadline of 2018.

Okay. First of all, let’s be absolutely clear that the “massive shift in property taxes” that they’re talking about—the property tax levy swap—produces no net new revenue for our public schools. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It helps address the equity issue, yes, but it merely shifts funds from local levies to the state levy. So the editors should really look up the words “swap” and “shift” in the dictionary before misleading readers that this “shift” represents a funding solution (unless, of course, misleading readers is their intent).

Second, fixing the financing problem will “probably” require a new revenue source? Really? Just “probably?” Um, how the fuck else do you suppose we’re going to close the “eye-watering” funding gap that even the editors acknowledge to be “about $3.5 billion?” Glad to see them on board with a capital gains tax, but the estimated $800 million it might raise would still only get us less than a quarter of the way to the McCleary mandate; modifying the need for new revenue with a big fat “probably” isn’t likely to help lead us the rest of the way there. I mean, if the editors (or Republicans, for that matter) have any realistic suggestions for slicing $3 billion or so from elsewhere in the budget, let’s hear it. No? That’s what I thought. So enough with the “probably” already.

This isn’t my opinion folks. It’s math. There’s simply no way to meet McLeary without billions of dollars in new revenue. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.

Quite frankly, if our state’s editorial boards want to play a serious role in solving this very serious crisis, then they’re going to have to start talking about it seriously. And that means leveling with their readers that we need to raise about $3.5 billion in new revenue. Whether that means a substantial increase in our perversely regressive state sales tax and/or an expansion in the sales tax to services (or even food) and/or a hike in our state property tax levy without slashing local levies in return and/or the repeal of billions of dollars of tax “preferences” (exemptions, loopholes, whatever) and/or a spanking new capital gains tax — or the serious and sensible alternative: a modern, sustainable, and less regressive tax structure that taxes income like almost every other goddamn state — well, the voters will ultimately have the final say on the specifics. But we’ll never get to that point until our state’s so-called “opinion leaders” start having a serious conversation about the facts, however painful and unpopular they might be.

This is an opportunity for our editorial boards to reclaim some relevance by helping to lead our state toward a serious and sustainable education funding solution. And it may be the last opportunity they have.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza

Conan and Zach Galifianakis talk about shushing the president.

Will humans be obsolete after the new industrial revolution?

Seth Meyers: Late Night Demopublican presidential debate:

Stephen gets a straight answer from Donald Rumsfeld.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about animals.

The microbes of New York.

Trever Noah: Getting personal at the CNN Democratic Town Hall.

Honest political ads: Puppets.

The 2016 Lunatic Asylum Squad:

Maddow: Who is to blame for Flint’s water problem?

A different kind of rape control.

Seth Meyers polls some Iowans.

Stephen holds a town hall meeting.

Matthew Filipowicz: Military games in Washington state Part I.
Matthew Filipowicz: Military games in Washington state Part II.

Young Turks: Will Obama become a Supreme Court Justice.

Planned Parenthood Surprise:

Stephen: Bernie Sanders promposals.

Farron Cousins: Is Sarah Palin the worst parent EVER???

Stupidest laws in the United States.

Conviction.

White House: West Wing Week.

Mental Floss: Life hacks tested and debunked.

Malicious Militia:

Stephen: A Simon & Garfunkel tune for every candidate.

Florida politicians sell out sick babies.

Why does Iowa get to pick first?

Farron Cousins and Sam Seder: Obama finally fights back against Republican obstruction.

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

Open Friday Thread

With the Iowa Caucuses a few days away, I think this is the furthest in a contested primary that I’m still up in the air. I like Sanders and Clinton quite a bit. While there have been some moments that have been quite a problem, by and large, the process has been good. I think it has forced Hillary Clinton to address economic issues and Black Lives Matter in a way that she might not if she was running in a general. It has moved Sanders in ways I like on guns and reproductive rights. Whoever wins the caucus and ultimately the nomination will be well situated for the general.

G.O.P. Debate (sans one Trumphole)

Its happening tonight starting at 6pm local, another FAUX News Republican Debate.

And there WILL BE BLOOD…from whereever. (Hmmmm…reminds me of this debate from the 2008 campaign.)

There will be one notable change: There will be no Donald J. Trump at this debate. It seems that Donald Trump is afraid of a girl.

I’ll liveblog when I get the chance. Use the comment thread for your own penetrating analyses.

Or, just fling your own poo.

6:08: You can stream the debate live at foxnews.com.

6:09: Rubio, in his opening salvo, still comes off as irrationally angry and defensive like an adolescent. Or…as Atrios puts it…

6:15: Kasich is so general that is words get lost.

6:17: Ben Carson: “We need people who can think out of the box.” Let’s call it “Pyramid Thinking.”

6:19: Earth to Marco: ISIS is NOT the most dangerous terrorist group ever. Not even close.

6:30: Please, please, please, Ted…WALK OFF STAGE!!!!!

6:30: Let’s sell…Rubio attacked Ted over whining about moderators inciting attacks on Ted…

6:34: Rubio seems to think his path to electoral success is his daring stance to send people to Gitmo.

6:36: Rubio is continuing with his petulant ‘tude. Sorry, Marco, it is getting really old.

6:38: Ben Carson seems to believe we would “defeat ISIS” if only we could collectively stop being politically correct. What a moron!

6:39: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Megyn Kelly got a nose bleed?

6:40: Someone should mention to Gov. Kasich…he is wearing his flaggy flag flag pin WAY TOO HIGH on his lapel. What a dork.

6:49: Chris Christie boasts about trashing women’s health care access in NJ. Way to go tough guy! No White House for you.

6:51: Cruz unloads a big fat lie about negatives of ObamaCare. Lies, lies, lies.

6:54: O’oh oh. We are into to the “Science Denial” segment of the debate.

6:57: Rubio talks Cap & Trade with the same petulant, alarmist tone that he talks about ISIS. Hope he can find peace-o-mind in a bunker somewhere.

7:01: Now Marco is getting defensive and angry over immigration. One trick pony!

7:01: Jeb! “I’m kind of confused…”

7:07: Ted Cruz totally dodges talking about his support of the immigration bill.

7:08: I think Rand Paul just cleaned Ted Cruz’s clock!

7:09: Ted…isn’t it about time for you to WALK OFF STAGE???

7:10: Apparently Ted Cruz flip-flopped on amnesty AND mean questions.

7:14: Jeb: “Dulce Candy is now an entrepreneur of The YouTube” (The Ghost of Ted Stevens takes notice.)

7:16: Ted: “Am not the candidate of the career politician of Washington” says the man who want to spend the next 8 years as exactly that.

7:30: Rubio delivers an ANGRY answer on how Americans are the most generous people on earth.

7:32: Aqua Buddah talks his virtuous philosophy. (Dodging the real question.)

7:34: Ben Carson: “Putin is an opportunist.” Can you say PROJECTION?

6:39: Wait…did Chris Christie just TOTALLY dodge the “ground troops Libya” question by talking about Hillary Clinton dodging questions??

7:44: The debate turns to the topic of SEX. Specifically…a brief 20 year old affair.

7:49: Cruz obfuscates his unpopular (in Iowa) position on Ethanol subsidies by confusing the hell out of everyone.

7:58: Carson just plagiarized 90% of his closing statement….

7:59:

8:02: Carson: “I’ve had more 2am phone calls than all here on the stage.” No shit. Get some sleep, man!

8:10: Megyn Kelly seems pained having an on-air conversation with Charles Krauthammer.

Fucking His Own Constituents

Back when Rodney Tom was complaining about the Seattle Sick Leave / Safe Leave and minimum wage laws, I thought it was horrible. If you’re a State Senator, you should at least ostensibly have the interests of the state in mind. And you know, he was promoting terrible policy. But at least I understand if you’re going to try to argue that the Eastside is better than Seattle, you’re going to have to argue with what you have. So claim East King County’s bad labor laws compared to Seattle are an advantage for business, sure if that’s your thing. But if you represent a city that just passed a sick leave / safe leave law, embrace it.

Not so much with Senator Baumgartner. He has prioritized pushing against his own constituents’ being able to take off if they’re sick or having an emergency!

Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner introduced Tuesday what he’s calling the “Seattle quarantine” bill, which would prevent city councils across the state from placing new worker rules on businesses. As currently written, it would void laws already such as the family and medical leave ordinance which the Spokane Council passed Monday over Mayor David Condon’s veto but Baumgartner conceded Tuesday existing laws would likely have to be grandfathered in later discussions.

You know quarantine. When you force sick people to go to work lest they risk being fired. Quarantine. It’s also an admission that his side can’t win on ideas qua ideas. Can’t have his constituents seeing what good is happening in Seattle.

Quarantine Spokane from Seattle. When Spokane people elect leaders running on a platform of workplace rules like this, and those same people enact that agenda. That’s why they need to be quarantined.

Also, the bill would stop Seattle the same as anywhere else. And if places are grandfathered in, Seattle is still prevented from doing future workplace stuff. So quarantine doesn’t work to describe the thing it’s meant to describe even close to correctly. And don’t get me started on how quarantines generally are supposed to be temporary. All around, solid metaphoring.

“The goal of the bill is not to gut what’s already been done, it’s to prevent future damage,” he said.

Damage like a decent minimum wage and a bit of sick leave or safe leave. That’s damage. Damage of local elected officials saying the minimum set out by the state can be improved on. Is damage.

Baumgartner referred to the Spokane Council as a “mini Me” to the Seattle council, where the minimum wage is being raised to $15 an hour in phases over the next two to five years. “The state cannot afford to have labor laws made city by city by liberal city officials chasing progressive fads,” he said.

Excellent reference. I’m sure all the kids today are making Austin Powers jokes. Or not even jokes so much as half-assed mentions of a character who only appears in the sequels. I’m sure Baumgartner is fun at parties. He probably quotes Monty Python, blurting it — and other ancient pop culture ephemera — out at inappropriate times. I bet this has happened at at least one of his fundraisers:

“This music is kind of loud.”
“Well it goes to 11.”
“Oh, I wasn’t expecting you to make a horribly dated reference for no reason.”
“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”
“Yeah…”
“Yeah, Baby!”
“I’m leaving.”
“Running away, eh? You yellow bastards!”
“There’s only one of me and you already made a Monty Python reference. Now I’m leaving for real.”
“Come back here and take what’s coming to ya! I’ll bite your legs off!”

It’s possible I’m reading too much into that Mini-Me thing and have lost the thread. So… back to the larger point. Spokane made a choice. For the record, one that this Seattle resident approves of whole hog. But it was ultimately Spokane elected officials who ran on a platform enacting that platform.

The only way that Seattle had something to do with it is how our (and Sea-Tac’s) example worked so far. If we had become the horrible shit hole that minimum wage opponents claim, we wouldn’t be an example. Also, we, and Spokane can reverse course. If this $15 minimum wage thing doesn’t work out, elected officials can change it. If opponents of the sick leave / safe leave law don’t like it, and can elect people who’ll repeal it, it’ll get repealed. But so far, advocates of these sorts of laws that have generally been reelected, and when they haven’t been, it’s for other reasons.

Rather than quarantine yourself from a large part of the state — one with outsized economic and cultural influence — you can embrace it. We’re doing great things, and in many ways it’s transferable to the rest of the state. I guess, if your economic ideas are more dated than your movie references, maybe Seattle is a problem. But if you actually look at what’s happening with the $15 minimum wage and the sick leave / safe leave laws, you can see why other places might want to imitate it.

Wednesday Open Thread

One thing I didn’t include in Monday’s piece on Spokane’s sick leave/safe leave law was this amazing paragraph in the Spokesman-Review’s write up.

Condon said his veto stemmed from his opinion that such employment requirements should be mandated by state government, not a local municipality. He added that he would not lobby for such a change in state law.

When politicians say they oppose doing a thing at whatever level, it’s usually not a spirited defense of doing that thing at another level. Mayor Condon clearly opposes the sick leave/safe leave law. He could have opposed it on its merits (such as they are) rather than complain that the state should do it. And if he thinks the state should do it, he could push that.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottleTim Eyman’s hostage anti-tax measure was declared unconstitutional, Sarah Palin has re-emerged, and we’re down to a week until the Iowa caucuses. This calls for a drink! Please join us tonight for an evening of politics and conversation over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. You’ll find us in the small room at the back of the tavern. We start at 8:00pm.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings happening this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities chapter also meets. On Wednesday, the Burien chapter meets. The Woodinville chapter meets on Thursday. And next Monday, the Yakima and South Bellevue chapters meet.

There are 186 chapters of Living Liberally, including eighteen in Washington state, three in Oregon and one in Idaho. Find—or go out and start—a chapter near you.

Spokane Sick Leave/ Safe Leave Law

Spokane is moving toward having its version of a sick leave/ safe leave law. It would be require employers with fewer than 10 people to have 3 days of sick leave and employers that are larger than that to have 5 days. While Mayor David Condon has vetoed it, it did pass 6 to 1. So it’ll likely still pass the council.

I have to say, I’m really glad that they’re passing something, but this makes me pretty nervous:

Calling the law “arbitrary,” Condon said his decision to veto also came from a lack of clarity on how the city would enforce the new requirements, or how much it would cost the city. He suggested he prefers incentives to requirements.

“I’m more of a carrot than a stick type of person,” Condon said.

Here in Seattle, we’ve had a tough enough time enforcing our sick leave/safe leave law with mayors who ostensibly support it. I hope he’ll enforce it when it does become law, but if you want to contact him and make sure, you can do that here. If you want to contact the city council and ask them to override the veto, you an do that here.

Also, just like in Seattle, this is a sick leave/ safe leave law, not just a sick leave law. News reports I’ve been reading about this don’t mention it, and they really should.* I couldn’t figure out exactly what qualifies people for safe leave on Spokane’s website, but all their material is pretty clear that it’s a part of the law. If anyone has more details, I’d love to know them.

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