Open Thread 12/22

- Where to Get a Hot Meal for the Holidays

Four Reasons To Be Hopeful for 2015

You know what else? Every one of these fuckers who brings up The Great Dictator would, given the chance, have joined the red-baiters who kicked Chaplin out of America.

– I am digging Emmett’s Gross Happiness Index of Washington, and may have to play around with the data a bit.

– It seems both happy and sad that it’s 2014 and the President one time only calling on women in a press conference is news.

– Have you done all of your Christmas shopping? I should probably start mine (kidding, sorta).

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Thom: Politically correcting Bill-O on his crazy climate change statements.

Season’s Greetings:

James Rustad: Ted Cruz…a rebel without a clue.

Thom: You don’t frack with New York.

Jon hits Hannity over referring to Jay Z as a “crack dealer”

The Cuban Mingle Crisis:

Congressional Hits and Misses.

Ed and Pap: Another corrupt Bush seeking White House?

Young Turks: Andrew Hawkins has some powerful words:

Megyn Kelly: When things go weird with Obama.

Torture in our Name:

Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show promo.

Sam Seder: Jeb Bush and the Republican clown car.

Obama talks about his own experience with racial profiling.

Thom: Is a climate disaster lurking off of the coast of Washington state?

Poison Pills:

White House: West Wing Week.

“Mom…you’re embarrassing us!”

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

Obama takes a swing at Keystone.

Sony and Kim-J:

Jimmy Dore: Ben Stein reveals his racist side talking about Ferguson.

Mental Floss: 13 inventions and innovations creating a better future for women.

Matt Binder: Ten Sandy Hook families sue gun maker.

Maddow: On Putin, GOP & FAUX News must eat their words:

Jimmy Kimmel: The YEAR in unnecessary censorship.

Does Stephen Commit Comicide?:

Thom: Is George Zimmerman right?

Sam Seder: Ted Cruz “own goals” the G.O.P..

Farron Cousins: Jeb Bush is the worst Republican traits on one package.

Not Mental Floss: 13 thing you think are true but aren’t.

Nutbag Republican state lawmaker proposes women have to ask men’s permission to have an abortion.

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

If Republicans Don’t Like Governor Inslee’s Tax Plans, the Onus Is on Them to Offer an Alternative

If I were still working at The Stranger or free to blog full time here on HA, all I would be writing about right now is Governor Jay Inslee’s welcome new tax proposal. After years of stupidly austere all-cuts budgeting, Inslee has finally made the boldly responsible move to propose significant new revenue: $1.4 billion from new capital gains and carbon taxes in the next biennium. (And yes, it is an awful commentary on our political culture that I just strung together the phrase “boldly responsible.”)

Kudos Mr. Governor.

But of course, I’m not still Slogging or blogging full time, so I don’t have the time to go into the details. But what I will say is that as politically risky as a tax increase is traditionally presumed to be, Inslee’s proposal puts state Republicans in a much less enviable position than they might at first imagine.

As I have previously written, Washington State is on the verge of a constitutional crisis. It is simply mathematically impossible to meet the state Supreme Court’s McCleary mandate to fully fund K-12 education, without raising substantial new revenue. Can’t be done. There simply isn’t enough truly discretionary spending left in the general fund (let alone the mythical budget items waste, fraud, and abuse) to “reprioritize” to public schools. Inslee’s tax proposal is a recognition of that cold hard truth.

So when the Republican-controlled Senate rejects Inslee’s tax plan (and they will), what will they propose in its stead? Politically suicidal cuts like double-digit tuition hikes, emptying our state prisons, and eliminating health and human services? Or will they just defy the McCleary mandate, leaving the state in contempt of court?

Obviously, the latter.

To make matters worse for Republicans, how do they plan to pay for the twice deferred transportation funding package? Their own constituents are demanding long-promised road maintenance and expansion projects—projects Inslee’s carbon tax would fund. So if they reject the carbon tax, this leaves Republicans in the uncomfortable position of either opposing freeway expansion or championing an always unpopular gas tax! Pick your poison, GOPers.

No doubt Republicans thought they wanted to run against Inslee in 2016 as a tax-and-spender, but his budget puts them in a bit of quandary: Either they propose an alternative that finally names exactly which popular programs they seek to gut, or they risk branding themselves as obstructionists against funding roads and public schools—two programs that are broadly popular with voters, even their own tightfisted constituents.

Again, they’ll choose the latter, driving our state into a constitutional crisis and our roads and highways into further disrepair. And Inslee won’t just ask voters to reelect him in 2016, he’ll ask voters to give him the Democratic majority necessary to actually get shit done.

State Senator Doug Ericksen Is an Asshole

Governor Jay Inslee proposed a politically ambitious cap-and-trade-ish plan on greenhouse gas emissions yesterday. No doubt a complex proposal on which there is plenty of room for policy analysis and political debate.  But this is how the Republicans responded:

Sen. Doug Ericksen, asshole

Sen. Doug Ericksen, asshole

State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who chairs Senate’s energy and environment committee, called Inslee’s cap-and-trade plan “an energy tax, which is really a tax on mobility — which is a tax on freedom.”

So, um, Senator Ericksen, I sincerely hope you take my criticism in the most constructive way possible, but you, sir, are an asshole.

Seriously. Governor Inslee proposes pricing carbon in a way similar to British Columbia, California, and a number of northeastern states—a modest and much studied market-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by forcing polluters to pick up just a small portion of the externalized costs—and you respond by accusing him of taxing our freedom? Because he hates our freedom, right? Just like Al Qaeda!

Of all the assholery an asshole could have devised, this has got to be the most assholic.

This is not a tax on freedom. If it is a tax, it is a tax on carbon emissions. Period. And only an asshole would equate carbon with freedom.

Please Help HA Blogger Emeritus Geov Parrish Get Back on His Feet

Twenty years ago today Geov Parrish got a new lease on life when he became the rare recipient of a double organ transplant—pancreas and kidney. But that lease didn’t come cheap: Two decades of health care costs and crises have taken their toll. That, combined with a low-paid career in journalism and social justice activism, has left Geov virtually broke and homeless. As Geov explains in his pretty damn depressing holiday letter (pdf), it’s been a tough year:

I was getting sicker, and we discovered that I also was, after the stress and couch- surfing of the summer, suffering from dangerously high blood pressure. By the time I got that under control I was also dealing with a dental emergency – I finally got a tooth pulled and immediately started feeling a lot better. Best my guess is that I was suffering from an infection (via the tooth) that was doing a number on my health for two months. Welcome to America, where dental care isn’t considered health care. I’ve still got a lot of dental work pending that I cannot even remotely contemplate affording – $7,200 was the estimate two years ago.

While dealing with the tooth and the elevated blood pressure, it also emerged that my transplanted kidney was in trouble. A biopsy in September showed that about a third of my non-native kidney was permanently damaged, with scarring in progress on another sixth. I also had some sort of liver blockage. A surgery to remove the liver blockage in September cleared the way for a steroid treatment to attack a suspected kidney infection – but at that point my kidney function suddenly got better. It was probably a function of the tooth infection, not an infection of the kidney, but the long-term kidney damage is still real and worrisome. Usually, you’d expect my non-native pancreas to have problems first, but (knock wood) it’s doing great. The kidney prognosis is still unclear, though. I expect that in 2015 there’s a good chance I’ll be added to a transplant list for another kidney, to replace the one that’s done so well for so long.

If it sounds crazy that our health care system would pay to give Geov another kidney transplant, but not pay to provide the dental care that might have prevented the infection that damaged his first transplant, well, God bless America!

Whatever. At least Geov has friends. On Monday I asked HA readers, many of whom have enjoyed Geov’s writing here on this blog, in the Seattle Weekly, and in Eat the State, and your generosity has been heartening. The link has been making the rounds on Facebook, and Geov tells me that he received about $2,500 from about 40 different people over the first 24 hours. A big thanks to everybody who has given.

But I hope we can do more. So please give by clicking on the “Donate” button, or by sending a check:

Geov Parrish
PO Box 85541
Seattle WA 98145

Also, Geov and Revel are still looking for an affordable apartment that won’t set off her multiple chemical sensitivity disorder. If you’ve got a place for them to stay for a few weeks, it would be greatly appreciated. If you’ve got a lead on an apartment, let us know.

Geov has given a ton to the community over the past 20 years. Please give a little something back to help him get through this very difficult time.

Open Thread 12/17/2014

- On top of everything else, the idea of a 2/3 vote for raising taxes is such an arbitrary number. Why not pi/5? Why not 8/11? Why not 100%?

– Don’t be a seat hog.

– Something something our trolls are always saying Obama is sooooo weak on Russia.

– Looks like Governor Inslee’s budget might be surprisingly not terrible.

– Looks like Dick Cheney is still not surprisingly terrible.

– But Ron Wyden is a good counter to Dick Cheney being terrible.

When is torture torture? A thought experiment

Nominees for the Equine Posterior award

As most of you know, the Horsesass in the title of this blog was inspired by Tim “Biggest Lie of My Life” Eyman. Specifically, Goldy purchased this domain name as part of his initiative that, if passed, would have declared Mr. Eyman a horse’s ass.

The fate of the initiative in qualifying for the ballot and, ultimately, succeeding at the ballot cannot be known, as the meddling state Attorney General sued Goldy to keep the initiative off the ballot. And, no, it wasn’t Rob McKenna—who certainly was an irrational Goldy-phobe. No…it was actually AG Christine Gregoire.

Goldy stuck with the Horsesass brand name, if only to give former FEMA Director Michael “Heck-of-a-Job-Brownie” Brown a little bit of irony in his life.

Goldy’s little local lefty blog has, apparently, inspired more than just McKenna and Brownie. People for the American Way who, among other things, have a project called Right Wing Watch, have an annual award that seems related to this blog:

The Equine Posterior Achievement Award has been created to honor that leader whose abilities to misrepresent an issue, manipulate his/her followers, brazenly disregard reality or pander to our baser instincts reach such ridiculous levels that we don’t know whether to laugh or cry. In other words, a genuine “horse’s patootie.”

Huh…it sounds like something Tim Eyman could qualify for…I mean, if he was actually a leader and had something approaching a national profile.

In any case, since you are reading a blog called Horsesass, might I interest you in voting for the most worthy recipient of the Equine Posterior Achievement Award?

This year’s nominees are Ted Cruz, the Benham Brothers, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Jody Hice, Texas State Board of Education, Glenn Beck, Pat Robertson, Ben Carson, Bryan Fischer, and Kevin Swanson. Them are some good nominees…but you can, instead, write-in your own favorite horse’s ass.

But don’t bother writing in Eyman. He’s no longer relevant.

Somebody Please Introduce the Seattle City Council to the Sunk Cost Fallacy


“The tunnel project is 70 percent completed, according to WSDOT, so there’s no turning back at this point,” [Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess] added. “It is city government policy that this project be completed. The governor agrees. The mayor agrees. We must move forward.”

Look, I’m not suggesting that now is necessarily the time to pull the plug on the deep bore tunnel (or more accurately, put a plug in it). I’m not privy to enough information to make that decision one way or the other. But we should at least be open to that possibility, regardless of how much money we’ve already spent on the project.

No doubt Burgess understands this. If the engineers were to estimate that it would cost an additional, say, $20 billion to “move forward” and complete the tunnel, I’m guessing Burgess would be more than willing to turn back at this point. But would he turn back if the cost of completion was another $1 to $2 billion? How about $4 billion? Or how about $10 billion?

The money we’ve already spent on the tunnel is a sunk cost (in more ways than one), and as such should have no impact on our future spending decisions. What matters from here on out, given the known cost overruns and risks, is whether we’re likely to get more for our taxpayer money completing the remaining 30 percent of the project, or whether it makes more sense to to turn back and pursue a different option. Our prior expenditure of both financial and political capital should in no way influence our decision.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle


Join us tonight for some politics under the influence at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday evening for friendly conversation (sometimes it gets a little harsh, but we stop short of torture) 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 also meet. The Lakewood chapter meets on Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets.

There are 177 chapters of Living Liberally, including fifteen in Washington state, four in Oregon and two in Idaho. Chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting somewhere near you.

Geov Parrish Needs Our Help!

HA blogger emeritus Geov Parrish recently sent out one of the most depressing holiday letters ever, describing the many health and financial woes that have struck over the past year, leaving him virtually penniless and homeless. And so I’m asking HA readers to join me in showing Geov a little emotional and financial support.

Wednesday will mark the 20th anniversary of Geov’s double organ transplant—pancreas and kidney—and while his two decades of survival on immunosuppressive drugs makes him a bit of a medical miracle, it has also taken a physical and financial toll. As has his poorly-paid career as a journalist and social justice activist—Geov founded Eat the State, and has written for The Stranger, the Seattle Weekly, Mother Jones, In These Times, and of course, HA, and has worked for little money on numerous political campaigns, including most recently the surprising election of socialist city council member Kshama Sawant. He also gets no income from his eternal stint on KEXP’s “Mind Over Matters.”

Geov has given a ton to the community over the years—not to mention nearly a hundred posts here on HA—and now he needs the community to give a little back.

You can read a pdf of Geov’s letter here—”2014 – It Was Not A Very Good Year“—but the gist of it is that their dual medical conditions (Geov’s fiancée Revel suffers from MS and multiple chemical sensitivity) have left them broke and homeless. They need both financial help over the holidays, and a place to stay for a few weeks in a home that does not trigger Revel’s sensitivities (older construction with bare floors or natural fibers, not painted recently). Also, if you have a lead on an affordable apartment in Seattle that would fit this description, they would be grateful.

But in the meanwhile, they really need some cash. Geov has a PayPal page where he is accepting donations: please join me in giving what you can (click on the Donate button in the right column). You can also send a check to Geov at PO Box 85541, Seattle WA 98145.

The HA community has proven awfully generous to me over the years when I needed your support to keep me writing. I hope you can be equally generous to Geov.

Open Thread 12/15

- Merry Christmas Jose Padilla

– How did your gun assholes rally go?*

Top 10 Other No-longer-existing Groups House GOP Should Vote to Deny Federal Funding

– Poor Ark Encounter

- I think my feelings about The Santa Clause can best be summed by this (100% true) sentence: It took me literally an entire day to get through this 90-minute movie because I kept getting pleasantly distracted by YouTube videos of farmers lancing cow abscesses. Happy holidays.

* Also, putting those two stories next to each other really puts the lie to the gun asshole’s claims that their guns are for freedom. Because stockpiling guns sure as fuck didn’t prevent us from using torture. Seriously, where the fuck were these defenders of freedom when they could have made the tiniest bit of difference?

HA Bible Study: 1 Kings 11:1-3

1 Kings 11:1-3
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.


Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Mental Floss: 90 facts about the 1990s.

Thom: Is the Koch brothers’ curriculum coming to your kid’s school?

Congressional staff walk out to protest police killing black men.

Mike Pesca: Please say something nice about your opponent:

Jimmy Dore: Racism is dead…just like all the black people police killed.

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

Alyona: Nutburger Michele Bachmann want to bomb Iran for Christmas.

Jon knows how to beat ISIS: Send more Millennials.

Torture in Our Names:

David Pakman: Republican plan to cancel Obama State of the Union gains traction.

Stephen interviews Smaug Burns…a very serious conservative.

Pap: Will wage theft derail minimum wage movement?.

Chris Hayes: Was Darren Wilson’s STAR witness #40 even there???.

Sam Seder: Scott Walker wishes his Jewish friends a “molotov” Hanukkah!.

White House: West Wing Week.

Maddow: Bad predictions about protests from Bill-O-the-Clown and Megyn Kelly.

David Pakman: Idiot Rick Perry thinks inequality is not a prob. because the Bible predicts poor people.

Puppet Nation: News of the week.

Just Pain Ugly:

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about your house.

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

Slate: $0.00 is the Cost of Making Public Colleges Tuition Free.

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