As Josh reported from Thursday’s gubernatorial debate, Dino Rossi voiced support for repealing Washington’s highest in the nation minimum wage (currently $8.05 an hour), tied to inflation by a citizen’s initiative. Rossi told the Association of Washington Businesses:
”The minimum wage was not meant to be a family wage. It’s meant to be an entry level wage.”
Rarely during this campaign has Rossi made the mistake of publicly stating his position on an issue on which he is so out of step with voters. Don’t get me wrong, Rossi is way out of step on a number of issues, he just refuses to talk about them, and so far our press has been mostly complicit in his silence. But this time he spoke loud and clear, and one would think that reporters might follow up.
It’s encouraging to see the Gregoire campaign quickly respond with an ad; I just hope they continue to hit him on the minimum wage. And harder.
Surprise! The Seattle Times urges No on Prop 1!
THE Sound Transit tax increase, Proposition 1, is a bad proposal. We opposed the same tax a year ago and do so again.
It’s not the same tax as last year, but more importantly, it’s not the same package, which is what the Times really hopes the reader will infer from that lede. They think they’re so clever.
First, it is too much. Half a cent on the sales tax adds up to a 9.5-percent tax in Seattle and about that much systemwide. That would be one of the highest sales taxes in the United States. It says: “Don’t spend your money here.” It retards our economy. It hurts the poor.
You know, if you’re really so concerned about the size of our regressive sales tax, then how about showing some support for a goddamn income tax? No? Really? In fact, WA’s state and local taxes as a percentage of personal income has been steadily dropping for the past decade and a half, and is now ranked about 34th nationwide, so you can complain all you want about the size of our sales tax, but if you actually cared about an informed debate you might want to add a little context.
Proposition 1 is being marketed as the solution to an immediate need. Salesmen have made up phrases like “immediately increase buses,” “immediate solutions to relieve gridlock” and their favorite, “Transit Now.”
But with Proposition 1, what you get is a Tax Now — a tax that goes to 9.5 percent Jan. 1. A few buses and commuter trains come soon, but most of your money would go to light rail not fully open to you until the 2020s. It is not “Transit Now.”
Yeah, God forbid we invest in anything we might need in the future. What a bunch of selfish little babies.
This bias against helping people now is why King County Executive Ron Sims argued to keep Proposition 1 off the ballot. As head of the government that owns Metro, the transit agency struggling to meet existing need, he didn’t want to wait until the 2020s.
So… is the Times suggesting we should add another half cent to the sales tax to buy more buses now? I didn’t think so.
Then the sales pitch shifts. The salesmen admit light rail is not about now. It’s about the future. It’s about getting people out of their cars.
Now they’re just making shit up, substituting their own internal dialogue for actual reporting.
This is an improbable view of the future. Most people don’t want to get out of their cars. As the world changes, they may buy cars that burn fuel from tar sands, canola, algae or wood chips. They may have electric batteries charged by power from the sun, the wind, nuclear reaction or the heat of the Earth.
But most will have their own wheels because they have their own places to go.
Um… has anybody on the Times ed board ever viewed the world from anywhere but Mercer Island? Where I come from, a lot of folks own cars and use transit. Maybe they don’t own as many cars as they would have without access to light rail, and maybe a lot of folks put off the expense of owning a car until they have kids… but they still own cars.
I’d say that an improbable view of the world is one solely predicated on a few decades of the sort of failed transportation policy that has gotten us into this mess.
No doubt, more people will take transit. But they will demand service over a wide area — and a price they can afford. Wide and cheap. A spider web of service.
In King County, that’s Metro: It costs 0.9 cents of tax on every dollar and has buses that go to more than 9,000 stops.
Really? So why doesn’t Frank Blethen take the bus to work? I’ve been by his house. (My dog peed on his security gate.) He lives a short walk from a bus stop, and there are buses that go straight to Fairview Fanny. So if buses are the be all and end all of transportation, why isn’t Frank riding ‘em. (Oh yeah, I forgot… buses are for poor people.)
If Proposition 1 passes, on every dollar you will be paying another 0.9 cents (the new 0.5 cents plus the existing 0.4 cents) to Sound Transit. The map of light rail in the mid-2020s will not be a spider web, but a simple “T.” It will have a few stops at hugely expensive stations.
Well now, that’s simply a lie. We’ll be paying the existing 0.4 cent tax regardless of whether Prop. 1 passes. They really should be ashamed of themselves.
And as for dismissing the light rail map as a simple “T,” um, really? Is your argument against expanding light rail really that we don’t have enough light rail now to make it worth expanding? Or that the package isn’t big enough? Do you actually read your own editorials before sending them to press?
Eyeball the station on Highway 99 at SeaTac. It is a monument — to something. But it is still one transit stop.
And your point is? That we don’t have enough transit stops? Um… that’s the whole point of Prop 1… to build more transit stops.
Buses have their drawbacks: They can get stuck in traffic.
They often smell of urine and poop.
But they can be unstuck with bus lanes. More bus lanes are coming — on Aurora Avenue, Northwest 15th Avenue in Seattle and on the proposed Highway 520 bridge.
And.. um… where else? And what about the sort of grade separated transit that much of the light rail line offers, zipping commuters over, under and around street traffic? Didn’t think so.
Buses are cheaper than rail and more flexible.
More flexible, yes, but that’s actually a downside if part of your goal is to encourage more dense development around the stops. As for cost, buses require a smaller capital investment, if all you’re going to do is put them on the existing roads, but they’re significantly more expensive to operate over the long run. Over the long run, rail is actually cheaper if you amortize the capital investment over the long life of the infrastructure.
Proposition 1 slights them: The two center lanes on the Interstate 90 bridge, which now serve buses and Mercer Islanders, become rail-only. Buses are kicked out. Buses will also be kicked out of Seattle’s downtown transit tunnel.
Well, you gotta admire their honesty. Since really, the Mercer Island based Times ed board’s entire opposition to light rail is based on the fact that it threatens their coveted single occupancy vehicle access to I-90’s HOV lanes. Under Prop 1’s plans, there will still be HOV lanes on I-90; they just won’t be open SOV drivers going to and from Mercer Island. Boo hoo.
But one more thing about trains vs buses. People like trains a helluva lot more than they like buses, and given their druthers they’ll almost always choose the former. So shouldn’t government be providing the services voters actually want, as opposed to the services the Times thinks we should want?
Finally, it is said that Proposition 1 is not about us, but our grandchildren. So it is. It is a proposal to extend two costly rail lines and to oblige our grandchildren to pay for them. The sales tax is raised to 9.5 percent. It is a lot, and it goes on for a very long time.
Um, let’s see now. I’m 45 and my daughter is 11. Prop 1 only authorizes the additional half cent tax to be levied through 2038, by which time I might have a grandchild about the same age as my daughter is now. So no… I don’t think it accurate to state that the measure will “oblige our grandchildren to pay” for the rail lines. Our children yes, but our grandchildren no.
However, our grandchildren will have the opportunity to ride this modern, grade separated, hydro-powered electric light rail system. And depending on where they choose to live, they’ll have the freedom of choosing whether to take on the additional expense of owning a car.
That seems like a pretty good deal for our grandkids, and our region. If only the previous generation had had the foresight and inter-generational generosity to build this thing 40 years ago, we wouldn’t have to pay for it now.
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo notes a Times of London article speculating that we Yanks could be treated to the ultimate hail-mary pass by the McCain campaign, in the form of televised nuptials between Sarah Palin’s daughter and her fiance.
Marshall is correct in warning us to take the British press with a grain of salt, but the televised wedding idea somehow seems so, well, Republican. In other words, cheap, cynical and designed to distract. From the Times of London:
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.
Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”
If nothing else, such a stunt would seem to be the penultimate test of what might be called the Maher Axiom, a reference to comedian Bill Maher, who has repeatedly expressed his fear that Americans are too stupid to be governed.
The NY Times highlights John McCain’s gambling problem. And it’s a problem on two levels.
As a two-time chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Mr. McCain has done more than any other member of Congress to shape the laws governing America’s casinos, helping to transform the once-sleepy Indian gambling business into a $26-billion-a-year behemoth with 423 casinos across the country….
“One of the founding fathers of Indian gaming” is what Steven Light, a University of North Dakota professor and a leading Indian gambling expert, called Mr. McCain.
The Times describes McCain as a “lifelong gambler, Mr. McCain takes risks, both on and off the craps table.” No shit, Sherlock.
But I’m curious if our local press, who has silently sat back (when not actively collaborating) and allowed Dino Rossi to slander Gov. Gregoire as “Casino Chris” for rejecting a tribal gaming compact that would have led to a tenfold increase in WA’s gambling industry… I wonder if they’ll ask the Republicans that ironic question about how they feel about the man at the top of their ticket, the “founding father of Indian gaming”…?
The Matt Millen era came to an end in Detroit this week, as the Lions’ General Manager was finally canned after a reign of ineptness that made Lions fans feel like the Bush Administration was running their team. Here’s how some of the fans celebrated:
A Detroit radio station gave the Matt Millen era a proper burial Friday, complete with a motorcycle-drawn carriage lugging a “Fire Millen!” sign in a custom-painted Lions casket.
“This is a special moment for us as we say good-bye to a legacy, to a reign of a general manager that brought us frustrations, brought us tears, brought us everything but a trophy,” DJ Spike, from the “Mojo in the Morning” program on WKQI-FM (95.5), said as the funeral lined up at 8 a.m. at Eastern Market.
An $85,000 Harley-Davidson hearse led the procession south on Gratiot Avenue to Ford Field. Inside the gleaming Honolulu blue-and-silver casket was a photograph of Millen’s face on a white, padded, silk pillow.
As about 30 people standing around the casket snickered, Spike invited fans to put mementos in the casket “to be buried forever along with the bad memories of seven years of Matt Millen’s reign.”
Like the Lions, the Seahawks have their bye this week. And also like the Lions, the Seahawks have their own fans who go a little too far (ok, in that case, a lot too far).
Just a couple more hours left in the Daily Kos “Hell to Pay” fundraiser for Darcy Burner, and they’ve raised over $18,000 $20,565. Huh. That’s great. But it’s still less than the $25,000 Al Franken raised last week. So if you haven’t yet given to the campaign (or you haven’t yet given all you plan to give), now’s a great time to give so that Darcy can air more effective ads like this:
A Rep. Jay Inslee bill (H.R. 7084) to prevent a dramatic increase on the fees that Internet radio sites like Pandora pay to the recording industry passed the House today.
Back in 2007, the federal Copyright Royalty Board passed a ruling raising the fees that webacsters had to pay—the rates would have gone up by as much as 300 percent, which would have crashed Internet radio.
SoundExchange, the group that collects the fees, said they were willing to negotiate lower rates, but any deal like that would have had no authority in light of the CRB ruling, which means SoundExchange always had the upper hand in the negotiations, and ultimately, could have collected the steep fees.
The effect of today’s vote, which passed unanimously on a voice vote, is to table the CRB ruling and give authority to any future deal that is struck between the recording industry and webcasters.
For background on the story go to SaveInternetRadio.org
There is a bizarre story making the rounds that John Elway’s new financee, actress Paige Green, was previously engaged to King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, and while I love juicy rumors like that, this one apparently turns out not to be true.
In reporting on the Dunn-Green engagement back in October 2006, the Puget Sound Business Journal described her as a “Hollywood actress.”
Two powerful local families will merge, with the recent engagement of 9th District King County Councilman Reagan Dunn to Hollywood actress Paige Green (”Ray of Darkness,” “Gory Gory Hallelujah” and more).
Here’s what I think happened. The AP reports that Elway’s Paige Green is a “former Oakland Raiders cheerleader,” while the IMDb entry for Dunn’s Paige Green also describes her as a “former professional cheerleader.” Perhaps either AP or IMDb is wrong. Or they’re both right, and it’s just a confusing coincidence.
In any case, while they’re both attractive, they don’t really look all that much alike, and Dunn’s Paige Green (on the right) appears quite a few years younger:
I’ve emailed Dunn asking him to set the record straight, but considering that his website says he and Paige were married in 2007, I’d say this rumor is pretty darn false. Good for Reagan… bad for us rumor mongers.
According to a KING-5/SurveyUSA poll, Washington state bucked the national trend, with a majority of viewers here saying that John McCain won last night’s debate.
Okay. I guess that’s possible. I’m often told that Seattle is different from every other place in the world, so why shouldn’t Washington state be different from the rest of the nation? But here’s the part that jumped out at me:
Immediately following tonight’s debate between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, SurveyUSA interviewed 1,000 state of Washington adults, of whom 631 watched tonight’s debate.
Really? Over 63% of Washington adults watched last night’s debate? That figure seems awfully high, especially considering that according to the overnight Neilsen ratings, only 30% of Seattle-Tacoma TVs were tuned in to the event. (39% in the Portland market.) The final data won’t be released until Monday, but if the trends from the 55 top markets hold true, then about 57 million Americans watched last night’s debate.
Let’s for the sake of argument assume that all 57 million viewers were adults, 18 or older (although I know for a fact that at least one was an 11-year-old girl), and that adults comprise about 75% of the roughly 305 million people who now populate our nation. That would mean that only about 25% of American adults (57/(305*.75)) watched last night’s debate.
Not 63%. I know we’re different, but not that different. In fact, according to Nielsen, Seattle-Tacoma’s debate ratings were actually on the low end, ranking only 46th out of 55 markets.
So, let’s just say I have some questions about the validity SurveyUSA’s sample.
Come on trolls… defend her. And while you’re at it, defend John McCain for cynically making such an unqualified choice for Veep.
Anybody else notice that the RNC is spending money buying Google Ads on my liberal political blog, urging people to register to vote before the deadline? That’s some targeted GOTV effort they have going there.
FYI, the deadline to change your registration, or to register to vote online or by mail is October 4. If you are a new voter and miss this deadline, you can register in person at our county auditor’s office until October 20.
Watching last night’s presidential debate at the jam-packed Montlake Ale House (a horde of DFAer’s pushing us DL regulars into the nooks and crannies), there was little question about who won the contest. Both the boisterous crowd and the CNN dial test audience agreed: it was no ass whooping, but Barack Obama came off as knowledgable, likeable and more in touch with average Americans than the often angry and ornery John McCain. And with this being the debate that focused on McCain’s alleged strong suit, foreign policy, that constitutes a win for Obama.
But afterwards, I stopped off at house filled with angry Irishmen, and the reaction was quite different. Strong Democrats all, they were drowning their sorrow in whiskey at what they saw as a pathetically weak performance by Obama, who failed to fight back against McCain’s frequent attacks. Almost as a chorus they complained that if Obama had said “I agree with Sen. McCain” one more time, they would have thrown a bottle at the TV set (and the Irish don’t waste the contents of bottle lightly).
They went into the debate smelling blood after McCain/Palin’s week of disastrous missteps, and they expected Obama to go in for the kill. He didn’t. And their initial and unanimous post-debate reaction was that this was big win for McCain.
Huh. Had we watched the same debate? So I went online to catch the spin and was fascinated to watch the consensus evolve over the next few hours. The early threads on the liberal blogs more closely matched the angry Irishmen than the cheerful DFAers, with many commenters lamenting the same lack of backbone and aggression, a sentiment echoed by a handful of CW pundits who quickly jumped to set the frame by calling the debate for McCain. But it wasn’t long before this spin got spun around, with McCain’s ornery demeanor, his refusal to even look at Obama, let alone make eye contact, and his failure to mention “the middle class” even once beginning to dominate the conversation.
Then the instant polls and focus group results came in, and the notion of an Obama win quickly took hold amongst a majority of the media commentators. By pretty convincing margins both independent and undecided voters consistently gave the edge to Obama, both in his performance and in his positives. Obama talked about issues and connected with voters, whereas McCain appeared “antagonistic”, even “contemptuous,” and while the latter may play well with McCain’s antagonistic and contemptuous Republican base, the folks in the middle… um… not so much.
I don’t know if Obama’s cool and collected debate demeanor is a strategy or simply who he is, but as much as I would personally like to see our candidate punch back as good as he gets—and better—I think last night’s approach ultimately serves him well. Not because voters don’t want to see their presidents appear strong—they most emphatically do—but Obama, perhaps uniquely, must carefully avoid appearing too strong. If you know what I mean….
Ahem… um… as McCain might phrase it, “the point is“… while we may have come a long way toward fulfulling Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, white America doesn’t much like its big, black men to appear aggressive or threatening… and in case you hadn’t noticed, Barack Obama is a big, black man.
Oh sure, on the football field or the basketball court such aggression is accepted and even celebrated, but in the political arena the standards are quite different. Yes, in politics, we still like our big, black men to be orderly and loyal, like Colin Powell, or quiet like Justice Thomas… or even a sweet, dumb, gentle giant like that character in The Long Green Mile.
But threatening? No, Obama can’t afford to come off as threatening, let alone contemptuous of an elderly white man like McCain. So as much as I’m with the brawling Irishmen on what I’d personally like to see from our candidate, I understand I’m not the typical swing voter, and nowhere near the mindset of an undecided independent. No, as much as it may pain me, Obama needs to show McCain respect, even when it is totally unreciprocated, if he is to win the hearts, minds and votes of the uncommitted.
He may not have stirred any passions in his base, but I’m guessing more voters than not came away from the debate with a greater sense of comfort in the notion of Obama as commander in chief, and that’s all he needed to achieve last night.
So I’ve scored this one for Obama. And now I’m going sit back and watch to see if my post-debate analysis is supported by the daily tracking polls.
John Cole at Balloon Juice aptly sums up the dilemma facing McCain over the emerging too contemptuous to make eye contact narrative:
SNL will probably drive the point home in a skit that will become the dominant narrative tonight, and McCain will become boxed in regarding his behavior in the second debate, much as Gore was unable to be as aggressive as he wanted in the second debate (I remember the running joke was that Gore had been medicated for the second debate). And if McCain does not tone down the contempt, it will simply feed the narrative. Or, if we are really lucky, as someone suggested in another thread, McCain will overcompensate and spend the entire time comically and creepily attempting to make eye contact with Obama (think Al Gore walking across the stage to stand next to Bush, and Bush looking at him as if to think “WTF are you doing?”).
This should be terrifying for the McCain campaign for two reasons. First, the base will not understand it. To them, a sneering, contemptuous jerk is a feature, not a bug. When they try to tone down McCain, it will turn off the diehards. Look at the reaction of the base to Palin’s RNC speech- they LOVED that she was, for all intents and purposes, nothing but an asshole the entire speech. They loved the “zingers” that were written for her. The rest of the country recoiled in horror, and Obama raised ten million the next 48 hours.
I feel like I’m in pretty good company when James Fallows posts a pretty similar analysis:
Obama would have pleased his base better if he had fought back more harshly in those 90 minutes — cutting McCain off, delivering a similarly harsh closing judgment, using comparably hostile body language, and in general acting more like a combative House of Commons debater. Those would have been effective tactics minute by minute.
But Obama either figured out, or instinctively understood, that the real battle was to make himself seem comfortable, reasonable, responsible, well-versed, and in all ways “safe” and non-outsiderish to the audience just making up its mind about him. (And yes, of course, his being a young black man challenging an older white man complicated everything he did and said, which is why his most wittily aggressive debate performance was against another black man, Alan Keyes, in his 2004 Senate race.) The evidence of the polls suggests that he achieved exactly this strategic goal. He was the more “likeable,” the more knowledgeable, the more temperate, etc. Update: though he doesn’t have to say “John is right…” ever again during this campaign.
So speaking of debates, the Dino Rossi gubernatorial campaign (Prefers People Not Know He’s a Republican Party) has apparently ditched a scheduled Oct. 13 debate in Vancouver because of a measly half-hour scheduling conflict. Reporter Kathie Durbin writes at The Columbian’s succinctly named Politics Blog:
Gregoire’s campaign said the governor adjusted her schedule twice to accommodate Rossi, finally agreeing to an 11 a.m. -to-noon televised debate on the 13th. The Rossi campaign initially agreed, but then changed its mind, notifying organizers that Rossi had to be finished by 11:30 a.m. so he could make it to a noon fundraising lunch.
Rossi accused the governor of trying to back out of debating at the last minute.
Of course, since Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, says she will be ready to debate anyway, Rossi is rather bizarrely “pulling a McCain” on this one by being a drama queen about a half hour difference.
Nothing like emulating the erratic and ridiculous behavior of a fellow Republican to ensure Republican loyalty among the Republican faithful. It’s a sure way to get nominated for Miss Congeniality of The Republican Party. Because Republicans are nothing if not congenial.
As usual, a Republican is playing dumb games trying to squeeze any tiny competitive advantage out of a situation. According to a news release sent yesterday by the Gregoire campaign, the time period Rossi (the Republican) seems to be trying to avoid is the noon news cycle.
You know, the noon news, when regular people might be watching during a child’s nap or a quick lunch break from work. Otherwise the only people who will see the debate in real time will be those folks who can go downtown or work downtown during the workday. For instance, this would include developers and firms that cater to them, which apart from the thriving criminal justice system seems to be the main type of business in downtown Vancouver. (Note to nitpicky types in the Comments Cesspool: even if the debate is at a hotel over by the mall, the same principle applies. Most regular folks can’t go hang out at the Heathman at 10:30 AM on a Monday.)
And let’s face it, most normal people just don’t watch government access channels, so while replays could certainly be made available, that’s kind of like sitting down to watch Oregon State manhandle USC when you already know it’s over.
Despite Gregoire agreeing to an 11 AM time, the Rossi campaign has seemingly concluded things could potentially spill over into the noon hour, carrying the risk a reporter might say the dreaded words, “Dino Rossi, Republican.”
Things are so bad for them that even in Clark County, which the Republican Party has steadfastly claimed as a bastion despite real-world evidence (such as election results) to the contrary, they can’t risk people turning on the tee-vee only to hear and see Dino Rossi described for what he is, a Republican. The unique media blackout we live in down here, in this instance, works in favor of Republican Dino Rossi.
I happened to be in Seattle during last weekend’s debate up there, and while I only caught the tail end of it on television from a hotel room, I can’t say I really blame the Rossi campaign. I’d try to hide him too.
Of course, I could be wrong, and Dino Rossi could prove me wrong by showing up for a live televised debate in Clark County on Oct. 13. I’m sure the wait staff at his fundraiser can keep his developer pals well plied with food and beverage for an extra half hour.
Where is Rossi’s fundraiser? According to the Clark County Republicans, it’s at the Red Lion at the Quay, right in downtown Vancouver. If the debate organizers were able to secure the Vancouver Hilton, that would be about a two minute drive for Rossi. Even if the debate were held over by the mall, it would likely be a fifteen minute drive mid-morning.
And what is Rossi doing in this oh-so-crucial half hour between 11:30 AM and noon that he couldn’t possibly debate Gregoire? He’s having photos taken with supporters.
At $500 per person.
Oh man the Ale House is packed. You’d think there was a championship football game or something. Maybe I’ll post some observations, maybe I won’t, but if I do, I’ll probably eventually get bored or distracted.
McCain: “I’ve not been feeling to great about a lot of things lately.” Huh. I’m guessing it’s his prostate.
McCain, first to use an antimetabole.
Jim Lehrer sounds downright animated. (Or perhaps that’s just relative to John McCain.)
John McCain has a pen. I didn’t know that. Also, he apparently thinks that the corrupt congressman serving prison sentences are victims of the earmark system or something.
So if Republicans buy McCain’s criticism of Obama for rejecting earmarks only after he started running for president, will they buy Darcy Burner’s criticism of Dave Reichert for his new found (and temporary) anti-earmark religion? (Oh… and Obama does indeed have prominent ears. He reminds me a bit of that Vulcan character on Star Trek: Voyager.)
I love the fact that Jim Lehrer is letting the rules slide a bit, and allowing more of a back and forth between the candidates. This has been one of the better political debate formats I’ve seen.
“The point is…” How many times has McCain said “the point is” in the first half hour alone? The point is, if you have to constantly be saying “the point is,” you’re not making your point very well.
When asked about what he plans to cut from the budget, McCain mentioned Boeing. Needless to say, he got rather loud boos from this partisan Seattle audience.
Obama finally hit the softball on what he wants to cut: the $10 billion a month we’re spending in Iraq. Cheers all around.
McCain wants to make sure that we don’t put health care in the hands of the government. You mean, like Medicare. (”Keep government’s hands off my Medicare, dang nab it!”)
The dial test people really like the word “orgy”. It went through the roof. Now there’s a political platform.
By the way, he didn’t quite say it this time, but every time I hear McCain warn against putting our health care in the hands of “government bureaucrats,” I have to point out that it is already in the hands of insurance company bureaucrats. A bureaucrat is a bureaucrat is a bureaucrat, and at least theoretically, the government bureaucrats are supposed to work for you rather than the interests of the shareholders.
McCain: “The next president will not have to decide whether to send the troops into Iraq.” No… the next president will have to make the decision whether to send troops into Iran. That’s what I’m afraid of.
Dial test folks really liked Obama crediting the “extraordinary performance of our troops.” If he can only manage to get “extraordinary orgy of our troops” into a sentence, I think he’ll have this election wrapped up.
Question: Is McCain’s perpetual shit-eating grin the result of his various surgeries? His torture at the hands of the Vietnamese? Or just his personality? Just curious.
Applause and laughter at CNN’s pan of the two debate watch parties: the Democratic watch party was younger, multi-ethnic, and engaged… the Republican watch party was a bunch of dour, white old people.
Did McCain just say he knew Alexander the Great?
McCain wants to set the record straight on bombing Iran, and it is true, that he’s never actually bombed Iran. And if he had tried, he probably would have been shot down.
To his credit, McCain is coming of a helluva lot more coherent than Sarah Palin, and she sets a very high bar. In limbo.
Are those McCain’s real arms? Behind that podium he looks like a muppet.
McCain: “The Iranians have a rotten government, and therefore their economy is rotten.” So… our economy is rotten, ergo….
What the hell is wrong with McCain’s eyebrows? It’s like they’re painted on his face. I know it’s petty, but it’s really distracting me.
In all seriousness, according to the polls, foreign policy is by far McCain’s greatest strength, and while there are no knock out punches or major gaffes, I think Obama is doing very well for himself. If he can close the gap in this one area, McCain is in trouble.
McCain just got pissed about “my friend Henry Kissinger” and nearly lost it. Not very presidential, and the dial test folks didn’t like it. Obama should have gone in for the kill while McCain was on the edge of blowing up..
I look into McCain’s eyes and see three letters: “LOL”
I don’t know if Obama is winning this debate on points, but he sure as hell isn’t losing it, and as the new kid on the block, that means Obama wins. I don’t see how truly undecided voters watch this debate and determine that Obama doesn’t have the demeanor, temperament, knowledge and ability to lead on foreign policy issues. In other words, I don’t see how this makes voters uncomfortable with the notion of Obama as commander in chief. So yeah… I’m partisan… but I think this is a win for Obama. And on top of the bad week McCain has had, I think that makes it a loss for him.
McCain: “Jim, when I came home from prison…” A last gambit of a desperate man.
Join me tonight for a special Friday night edition of Drinking Liberally, as we gather to see if the suddenly unsuspended John McCain actually shows up to debate Barack Obama. The debate starts at 6PM, and folks will start gathering around 5:30PM at our usual haunts, the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Ave E., in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood.
Democracy for Washington will be handing out Debate Bingo cards, and the first three winners will receive some DFA swag and a free round of beers. So join us for an evening partisan cheers, jeers, and of course, beers.
See ya there.
The raging debate over the true cost of Proposition 1 grew more heated today, with the release of new figures from light rail advocates that estimate the actual cost to taxpayers of this year’s Sound Transit expansion measure at only $2.8 billion—a full $15 billion less than the widely disseminated $17.8 billion figure that appears on the fall ballot.
The new estimate was arrived at by taking the actual cost of construction and financing, and projecting backwards 40 years to 1968—the year the $1.15 billion “Forward Thrust” rapid transit package failed with only 51% at the polls—and was released by a coalition of noted Sound Transit critics-critics, consisting of… me.
And if that seems like a flimsily sourced and, um, silly way to calculate the cost of a major construction project, well it’s no more flimsy or silly than the bizarre and totally unsupported $107 billion, 45-year cost projection the Seattle P-I’s Larry Lange used yesterday to fictionalize the notion that there is a genuine debate over Prop. 1’s actual costs.
But others argue the cost could be much higher than what Sound Transit has estimated.
Transportation planner and Sound Transit critic Jim MacIsaac estimates approval of the measure would authorize collection of more than $107.3 billion over 45 years, including $55.8 billion for the expansion, and the per-household expansion tax bill would be $284 annually next year and increasing in later years.
I’m an “other.” I’m a “critic.” Four times in his article Lange refutes Sound Transit’s math with the simple phrase: “critics say.” But who the fuck are these critics, and what the hell makes Jim MacIsaac any more credible than me?
Or even remotely as credible as Sound Transit, without a doubt the most audited and heavily scrutinized public agency in the state? The King County Superior Court judge who approved the ballot title accepted the $17.8 billion figure. The conservative Washington Policy Center, who opposes Prop. 1, accepts the $17.8 billion figure. Hell, even the pro-roads/anti-rail Seattle Times accepts the $17.8 billion figure. But some guy named Jim pulls a $107.3 billion estimate out of his ass, and you tell your readers that the true cost of light rail is “under debate”…?
I mean… what the fuck?
This is the worst sort of journalistic equivalency (or as Prop. 1 spokesman Alex Fryer called it, “54 column inches of phony debate“), the kind of lazy controversy mongering that all too often makes our news media worthless, if not downright detrimental to informed public discourse. You know, like when the overwhelming majority of climatologists agree that carbon emissions are warming our planet with potentially devasting results, but the media highlights the handful of dissenters in an effort to be “impartial.” Or when 99.99% of scientists accept the basic tenants of evolution, but reporters get tricked by the anti-science Jesus freaks at the Discovery Institute into “teaching the controversy.” Or when for decades, the tobacco industry sponsored its own faux-science in a conspiracy to lie to consumers about the safety of their lucrative product, and the media dutifully reported that the health effects of smoking were “under debate.”
$107.3 billion? Why not $200 billion? Hell, why not $700 billion… they’re all equally inpenetrable numbers, and Lange does little to explain, let alone challenge the assumptions on which Sound Transit’s “critics” base their patently absurd cost estimates. For example, Sound Transit estimates the proposed half cent increase in the sales tax will cost the typical household $125 a year, while “critics say” we’ll be paying at least $284. But as Erica C. Barnett points out on Slog:
If the “typical household,” whatever that means, actually spent $284 on a half-percent sales tax increase, that would mean that a typical household in the Sound Transit taxing area spends nearly $57,000 a year on goods subject to sales tax–which excludes food, utilities, and rent. [And motor fuel.] Considering that the median household income in the Sound Transit taxing area is only around $64,000, that’s a pretty hefty chunk to be blowing on clothes, iPods, and lattes.
Lange could have done that simple math. But he didn’t. No, some guy tells him the annual cost is actually 2.3 times higher than Sound Transit’s estimate, and Lange uses that as evidence that the numbers are “under debate.”
Well, I’m some guy too, and I say Prop. 1 will cost the typical household less than twenty bucks a year, so as long as the P-I is inviting crackpots and liars to the table, I expect to have an equal say in this so-called “debate.”
I’m waiting for your call, Larry.
Around 10 o’clock last night, as Dino Rossi was leaving Blaine, Washington, a rural town 20-minutes north of Bellingham on the border with Canada—where he and Governor Chris Gregoire had just sparred in their second debate—the GOP hopeful stopped at the Yorky’s Grocery, a convenience store attached to an Exxon gas station.
Garner Palomata, the 36-year-old Filipino working behind the counter, recognized Rossi from the candidate’s TV ads. “Hey, you’re the Rossi guys,” Palomata said—a little awed that “someone famous,” with two other guys in suits and ties in tow, had just strolled into his brightly-lit gas station grocery. Thursday night mostly stars a stream of regulars from the fishing town buying beer and cigarettes.
Rossi told Palomata he had just debated Governor Gregoire, and he had won. “We’re in good shape,” Rossi said. Then he bought a king-size package of King Henry Boston baked beans, wintergreen Certs, and a Red Bull for $20 in cash (one of his entourage paid, actually) and headed out of town.
Later that night at Yorky’s—I was on a junk food run— Palomata said he planned to vote for Rossi. “I’m a Republican. I like the Palin thing.” He was glad that Rossi thought the night had gone well.
I told Palomata about one of the main standoffs in that night’s debate, a point that seemed germane to the clerk. Both candidates were asked if they thought the minimum wage was supposed to be a “living wage” and would either one consider scaling it back.
“I don’t know of anybody getting rich on the minimum wage,” Gregoire told the hostile crowd (the debate was sponsored by the Association of Washington Business and the questions came from their membership). “The people of Washington are struggling. They go to the gas pumps and can’t afford to fill up the car, they go to the grocery and can’t afford to put food on the table…Washingtonians need to be able to provide for their families. Plenty of people are working minimum wage jobs that need to provide for their families, and I want to stand with Washingtonians.”
She said she supported the voter-approved minimum wage, $8.07 an hour. She also said she supported training programs for teen workers.
Rossi took the opposite point of view. Touting his Washington Restaurant Association endorsement (the most adamant opponents of the minimum wage), he said: ”The minimum wage was not meant to be a family wage. It’s meant to be an entry level wage.”
The news pissed off Palomata. ”If he lowers it,” he said, “I don’t want to vote for him. I’d be cutting my head off. I don’t want to demote myself.” Palomata and his girlfriend live in a rented cabin in Birch Bay, just south of Blaine, where the median family income is $44,000. (By way of comparison, the median family income in Seattle is $65,000.)
While Rossi’s line on the minimum wage didn’t play well with the Blaine convenience store clerk, it did play well with the crowd on the right side of the tracks in the 6,500-square-foot Semiahmoo Grand Ballroom at the Semiahmoo Resort Golf Spa, the classy hotel tucked away on the northern shoreline of the Puget Sound where AWB members drank red wine and nodded in approval at most of Rossi’s answers.
If you were to judge by the crowd reaction—the AWB gave Rossi an award earlier in the day and interrupted him several times during the debate with applause—Rossi was right when he boasted to Palomata about his successful night. He hit the themes he has hit before: Gregoire has increased spending 33 percent, created a $3.2 billion deficit, and raised taxes by $500 million. He also points out that Washington has one of the highest rates of small business failures in the U.S.
In contrast, Rossi says he will create an “entrepreneurial state,” balance the budget (”I’ve done it before and I will do it again”), and scrap all the requirements that he says are keeping insurance companies from coming to our state and creating a competitive health care climate.
Rossi’s most successful turn came when he accurately busted the governor for not being the deciderer on the Viaduct. “The big problem we have with transportation in this state is that we can’t make a decision until everybody is holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya,’ ” he said. “Sometimes you just have to make a decision.”
While Gregoire wasn’t an audience favorite, she was authoritative and forceful and certainly landed some blows herself. She unraveled Rossi’s talk of deregulating health care by linking Rossi’s GOP philosophy to the Bush-era disaster on Wall Street saying: ”His other solution is deregulation, well, that worked great for the financial institutions of America.”
She also scored points (and even got a laugh from the otherwise unfriendly audience) when she answered a question posed by Rossi about her budget. Each candidate got to ask the other a question and Rossi asked if Gregoire had the chance, would she do her budget differently? The laugh came when she started by saying “unlike you” she would answer his question—Rossi had just dodged her question to him which asked what policies he disagreed with President Bush on.
Then she hit her main anti-Rossi theme (that his values are out of sync with the voters), saying she stood by her budget: “I balanced the budget and I will do it again…and not on the backs off children and seniors like he did, but by understanding the values of the people of Washington.” Rossi’s 2003 budget raised taxes on seniors in nursing homes, cut education funding by almost $1 billion, and threw 40,000 low-income kids off health care.
As they did in their first debate, the pair continued to fight over the projected $3.2 billion budget deficit. Gregoire maintains the state has a surplus and Rossi maintains Gregoire has spent the state into the red.
One final note that I found newsworthy in its own right beyond the debate: Governor Gregoire said the family leave act, a pet project of the liberal Senate, including Democratic Senate Majority leader Sen. Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane), was “suspended.” Gregoire noted this when she was asked to detail her plans to deal with the projected deficit. (Rossi’s only specific to the same question was that he would cut the governor’s office budget, which he said Gregoire had increased by bulking up her “entourage.”)