Open Thread 10/30

- On Street Harassment

– I don’t know why we’ve developed a system where Microsoft gives any money to anyone.

– OMG look at all the ferrigners votin’ in R elektionz. Oh, wait, what? Facts?

The fact that so much misery was created for so little should permanently shame the justices who voted for it. It’s judicial review at its least defensible.

– I cannot tell you how much it warms my heart that K Records is getting involved in the Thurston County PUD race.

Light Up Your Ride

– The sunset was pretty spectacular last night.

Selected Washington Poll Results

The Washington Poll is an infrequent, but high quality, poll of Washington state races and issues. A new Washington Poll is out, just this evening.

The poll was sponsored by KCTS-9 and developed and directed by Prof. Matt A. Barreto at the University of Washington. The poll was in the field from Oct 17-24, and had 600 respondents.

Here are some of the highlights.

Initiative 594 (Closing the gun background check loophole)

Overall the initiative has much more support than not. If we include leaners, statewide, I-594 is up 64% Yes to 36% No, with 5.2% not saying. That is a pretty impressive lead.

We shouldn’t be surprised that, in the Puget Sound region, it is up with 73.1% in favor. But what is surprising is that I-594 is up by 56.2% in Eastern Washington, and leads 48.2% Yes to 40.9% No in the rest of the state.

This initiative will pass.

Initiative 591 (Prohibiting Washington state from adopting background check standards)

This one looks remarkably close! Statewide, the initiative is ahead 45.4% Yes to 43.4% No, but with 8.8% undecided.

Supporters of I-594 claim (and some other folks, like Chris Vance) that I-591 was put on the ballot to confuse voters, and it seems to have done so. That is the only reasonable interpretation of the fact that in the Puget Sound region, I-591 is nearly tied at 42.6% in favor and 45.7% against. That is irreconcilable with the Puget Sound I-594 results. With these numbers, it is certain that some people are voting YES on BOTH initiatives, something that makes no logical sense.

Initiative 1351 (Defining K12 class size goals )

This initiative will pass easily with 60.6% support to 31.6% against and 7.9% not saying. This initiative does equally well in all parts of the state.

Here are a few other selected questions:

How would you prefer to see the legislature attempt to reduce the state of Washingtons budget deficit?

The question is misleading, since the state doesn’t really have a budget deficit. But the question gives us a sense of how willing voters are to be taxed.

The top statewide response was (drum roll please): At 29.6%, the top choice was “divided equally between spending cuts and tax increases.”

The next most common response with “spending cuts only” at 22.7% and “mostly with spending cuts” at 22.5%. The answer “mostly tax increases only” got 12.3% support. Overall, almost 77% are willing to have their taxes increased at least a little to better the state’s financial situation.

The entire premise of Sen. Rodney Tom’s Republican coup was that previous initiative outcomes offered him the insight that voters did not want any tax increases.

It seems he was wrong. (Perhaps they simply want the legislature to have the gonads to pass the tax increases rather than making people vote to tax themselves directly.)

Do you agree or disagree with the creation of a state income tax on wealthy households?

Huh…48.3% in favor, 42.0% against. Maybe it is time for another go at an initiative?

Which party do you trust more to make the right decisions and improve economic conditions in Washington state?

Democrats come out on top statewide at 40.9% to 35.2% for Republicans.

Do you agree or disagree that the state legislature should provide more funding to education?

The people are channeling the state Supreme Court: 76.1% agree statewide, and the issue is ahead in all three regions.

Gay and lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry as straight couples

In Eastern Washington, 60% agree, and the numbers go higher from there.

Undocumented immigrants should be allowed to remain in the U.S. and eventually
become citizens

All regions of the state agree with this by at least 69%!

A proposal that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in Washington

Statewide, the issue is tied with 48.2% in favor and 47.8% against.

That is just a smattering of the 61 tables in the top-lines for this poll.

Open Thread 10-28

- Join Mayor Murray on a vigil walk for 7-year-old struck on MLK

– I don’t know why you would want to be Ray Rice for Halloween this year, but don’t.

– Wait, some people don’t mark their ballot based on how they feel about the undead?

– The background checks initiative looks like it’ll pass, still vote, for goodness sake.

It’s led to countless pieces scrutinizing the president’s policies less on the merits and more on their capacity to be emotionally satisfying. Obama is often expected to respond to crises the way a pundit would, and when he doesn’t, his actions are deemed necessarily flawed, often with little regard for merit.

– Oh, but I like their tofu.

My Triumphant Return to Slog!

Well, sorta. I have a standing offer to freelance for The Stranger, but given the nature of my departure I’d still rather write for free here on HA than give them my byline for cheap.

But when the Yes on Prop 1B folks offered to pay me zero to write their guest op-ed on Slog, I put aside any hard feelings and jumped at the opportunity. You know, for the kids. So click on over to Slog and enjoy a thorough fisking of Sally Soriano’s ridiculous Prop 1A guest op-ed.

And remember, it’s a two-part question: Vote Yes on Prop 1, and then vote for 1B on question two.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottle Have you mailed your ballot yet? It’s about that time. With a week to go before the election, maybe tonight would be a good night to join the conversation and down 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 chapter meets. On Wednesday, the Bellingham and Burien chapters meet. The Woodinville chapter meets on Thursday. And next Monday, the Yakima, South Bellevue and Olympia chapters meet.

With 201 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.

The Right Time

After the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting, Goldy quite rightly said that now is the time to talk about this, including in ways that are politicized. It’s happening and if we can’t talk about reasonable solutions for dealing with these things as they happen, they’re going to keep happening.

But the other question is when the fuck would be the time we talk about them?

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I had a roommate who was murdered.* It was the better part of a decade ago, and shit still sets me off about it sometimes. I mean I literally cried about it this weekend (and writing this post), and certainly part of the reason I’ve been thinking about it more now is it is the gun debates in the air. But they’re still worth talking about, because they’re the only way we figure out policy.

Shit sets me off sometimes. It was pretty close to where I was working, and for at least a year I would drive past where it happened at lunch or after work even though it was a little out of the way. One time I stopped my car and got out and had actually ate just looking at the building, but usually I just drove past. A couple years ago, I had jury duty and they asked the jury pool about crimes that had been committed to people who we knew. I told the story, as I’d done before without incident, and I don’t know if it was the judge saying “I’m so sorry” because sometimes strangers saying that is more of a problem than people I know, or because I woke up early and it was just a stressful day but I just couldn’t concentrate the rest of the day. I have a cousin who I love very much but who is a big ol’ NRA person and sometimes I argue with him about these things, and it’s super draining.

And so I’ve been reluctant to get involved in this particular debate beyond some snarky posts because, as important as it is, it also sometimes seems like just a big ol’ chance to feel like shit. I have some family who are pretty actively volunteering on the campaign, and for a while I thought I should too, but I just can’t. And I don’t know if there will be a right time for the family and friends at SPU. And I don’t know that there will be a right time for people whose families have just been victims of street crime or suicide with guns. I don’t know that there is or that there will be a right time for me in the future, but I’m still glad we’re having the debate because it’s the only way we can prevent the next one.

[Read more...]

Stop Michael Bloomberg Before He Kills Again!

In the immediate wake of last week’s tragic shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, the chatter on gun rights websites like immediately focused on the obvious culprit: a Michael Bloomberg funded “false flag” conspiracy. Because cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing:

False Flag

“Perhaps they organized his break up with the girl. Add a little fake cyber bullying, maybe a little behind the scenes mind control? Supply a few drugs?? Plant some ideas in his head?? Get him really ticked off at everybody! Help make things happen. Then hide their tracks and wait for the shooting to begin.”

And that was one of the more thoughtful posts; at least he prefaced his paranoid fantasy with the word “if.” You should watch the video that attempts to connect the shooting to Bloomberg, pondering “what are the odds” of it happening just two weeks before the election? (Or rather, you shouldn’t watch it.)

The conspiracy theorizing isn’t all that surprising. Some gun nuts are nutty. But it is a little frightening how people with guns are so quick to believe that gun control advocates would happily murder children to advance our political agenda. At least when we demonize the opposition as an imminent threat to our life and liberty, we lack the deadly weapons with which to act on our paranoia.

Open Thread 10/27

- What’s broken about Mars Hill is the misogyny and homophobia more than the way one guy wrote about it, or even the money stuff.

I’d like to take a step back and urge you to question why you or anyone would take to the internet to insult a celebrity to begin with.

– Downballot races like County Crank deserve more attention.

– There’s all sorts of Halloween stuff. I don’t think I’m going out this year, but if I do it’ll be as sexy Carl Ballard.

– All the best to Kevin Drum

– Did You Know about cities are some of my favorite Tom The Dancing Bug.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

The gun lobby lap dogs of Congress.

Young Turks: Obamacare’s worst nightmare hilariously coming true for Republicans.

Chris Hayes: Mr. President, “Don’t touch my girlfriend!”:

Thom: Fukushima radiation on the West Coast.

A Nation Is (Still)Born

There’s help: creepy British child syndrome.

Mental Floss: 29 dumb facts about deserts.

Young Turks: Young hot women should date, not vote, says FAUX News.

Sam Seder: George Carlin finally gets his “way”.

John Oliver: Translators.

White House: West Wing Week.

Political Ebola:

Chris Hayes and Howard Dean: Vermont’s funniest gubernatorial debate moments.

Debate crowd laughs at carpetbagger Scott Brown (via Crooks and Liars).

ONN exclusive: A one-on-one interview with GOD.

Alex Wagner: Four Blackwater guards who murdered 17 civilians are convicted.

David Pakman: Louie Gohmert discusses gay massages to argue against gays in the military.

Young Turks: His-Panic.

The Republican War on Low Wage Workers:

Mark Halperin critiques Joni Ernst’s “closing” ad (with hogs) (via Crooks and Liars).

Thom: America’s lost generation.

Ed and Pap: Republicans blocking the vote at all costs.

Maddow: Alabama top Republican indicted on corruption.

Harry Shearer’s: “Nixon’s The One”.

Young Turks: Bill-O-the-Clown explains votes for Democrats.

The Asshats of Alaska:

Maddow: Late ‘churn’ in voting rules sows confusion.

Sam Seder: How bad is GOP Governor Paul LePage.

Alex Wagner: Ted CRUZ goes totally wacko over marriage equality.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about food.

James Rustad: #StopTheGOP theme song:

Ed, Pap, and Joy: A voter’s guide to telling when Rick Scott is lying.

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

Now Is Exactly the Right Time to Politicize Gun Violence

Dare to connect today’s tragic shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School to the availability of, you know, guns, and gun rights advocates will excoriate you for politicizing a tragedy. But of course, the immediate wake of yet another tragic shooting is always exactly the right time to debate the wisdom of our gun culture, and the public policies that sustain it.

After all, if someone were to somehow die in a background check gone horribly wrong, you can be sure the NRA crowd would be screaming about it. So there is no shame in pointing out the role of the gun in this tragic shooting.

Our goal should be to make future gun tragedies less likely. If that requires a painful conversation, so be it.

GOP Endorsements

In case you were wondering how to vote on the initiatives, vote the opposite of this:

VOTE YES ON INITIATIVE I-591– The WSRP joins the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA), and 7 county sheriffs to support I-591. I-591 protects our national guidelines which prohibit the state from confiscating firearms from law abiding citizens without due process. Initiative I-591 would also prevent government interference in temporary gun loans to friends or relatives, and blocks the state from creating a universal gun registry that would set the stage for future confiscation.

Look, if you’re going to loan a murder weapon to someone, the state shouldn’t be involved. It’s especially true if you’re deluded enough to believe that the state is somehow in the process of setting “the stage for future confiscation.” Honestly, saying out loud that you think the state might “set the stage for future confiscation” is proof beyond proof that you don’t deserve a gun, and the state should take it away. They won’t, of course, but they should at that point.

VOTE NO ON INITIATIVE I-594 – The WSRP joins the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA), and 17 county sheriffs in opposing I-594. While supporters of I-594 claim it is about “background checks,” actually it is an 18-page document of complex regulations and restrictions that pose a severe danger to our Second Amendment rights, and criminalizes the actions of law-abiding gun owners. None of the modern mass shootings would have been prevented by the regulations in this initiative. I-594 would expand the state government database of lawful hand gun owners, and in sweeping language it would severely restrict private loans and transfers of guns between friends or relatives.

Um, isn’t “criminalizes the actions of law-abiding gun owners” an oxymoron? I mean if what they’re doing becomes criminal, and they keep doing it, then they’re no longer law-abiding. Unless you think any regulation on guns “criminalizes the actions of law-abiding gun owners” and if that’s the case, then maybe you aren’t in a position to talk intelligently about potential gun regulations. Also, it wouldn’t restrict the transfer of guns between anyone, it would mean that you’ll have to fill out some paperwork some times.

VOTE NO ON INITIATIVE I-1351 – The WSRP supports our school teachers. However, this initiative in the guise of “reducing class size,” actually requires four billion dollars of extra spending in the next biennium with two-thirds going to administration and overhead. This budget busting initiative provides no funding mechanism for this additional spending, so it would lead to tax increases and pressure to impose a state income tax.

We support school teachers, but not at the cost of doing anything to support school teachers. We support the idea of school teachers in the abstract. We support the political good will that comes with saying you support school teachers. We support looking like we care about education.

Also, but not for nothing this paragraph pretty casually admits that you can’t have lower class sizes without an income tax. The state GOP basically can’t come up with non-income tax related ways we might pay for this initiative. I thought there was all that waste fraud and abuse just lying around to save us. Turns out, no.

Open Thread 10/23

- A suspension of sweeps of Tent City 3 is great news indeed. Now maybe the city can work on more permanent solutions to homelessness.

With no further ado, I give you the ten best reasons to ban me from the Bay Area Science Festival after I retweeted a tweet that linked to a blog post revealing a horrible thing someone else did:

– A more walkable Olympia would be nice.

Artist stitches catcalls into beautiful needlework

– Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ Q&A about innovative policies won’t answer questions about innovative polices.

– Since I mentioned unnecessarily quoting the founders last week, I don’t even understand why you’d go out of your way to misquote them.

Weird Clint Didier

This falls more under the category of bizarre amusement than actual controversy, but in the Republican–on–Republican battle in Washington’s 4th Congressional District, something weird happened. And I don’t simply mean the existence of Clint Didier as a possible future Congressman from Washington state. No…this weirdly amusing thing comes from a “PAC backed by former Republican U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton” that produced this ad against Didier:

Didier: “Get your ham radio. Get it in a metal box and get it buried in the ground!”

Narrator: “The more you listen, the weirder Clint Didier sounds.”

Yep. Can’t argue with that.

So…I’m a ham radio operator. And a pretty active one, at that. Some of my ham acquaintances on a list server I belong to were outraged by their perception that the ad implied that ham radio was weird.

But what is weird is Clint Didier. I don’t know the full context of the quote, but putting a ham radio in a metal box and burring it in the ground doesn’t make for a very good radio or for bountiful farming.

It sounds to me like Clint is some kind of wackjob prepper with a dose of paranoia, and he probably doesn’t know squat about ham radio, emergency communications, or disaster readiness.

Sure enough…a search of the FCC database reveals that Clint Didier is not a licensed amateur radio operator.

At least not under his REAL name….