The comment threads are dominated by just a few people. Some are great, some are trolls. Some are somewhere in between. But there are a lot of people who don’t comment. So, here on a lazy Saturday is a chance for those of you who don’t comment or don’t comment much to say “hi.” Or don’t: who in their right mind would want to interact with some of the commenters. Comments from regulars will be deleted.
I’m writing you as one of the few honest tunnel supporters who doesn’t seem to hate Seattle. One who opposes the cost overrun provision and has said at public forums that you think it matters and should be repealed. I know the cost overrun provision wasn’t on the agenda for the special session: how to fuck over education and public health slightly less badly than the Republicans tops the list. But now the tunnel will go to Seattle voters, and Seattle voters probably will reject it. This is probably your last chance to keep the tunnel, but the state is going to have to pick up the cost overruns.
I’m asking you to lead the charge to repeal the cost overrun provision and kneecap tunnel opponents like me. Repeal the cost overrun provision and commit the state to paying for a state highway. Repeal the cost overrun provision and take away an argument that resonates with Seattle. Repeal the overrun provision and stem the tide of anti-Seattle nonsense that the legislature keeps pushing.
Now, a repeal of the cost overrun provision won’t be enough to get me to support the tunnel project: it’s a bad project and Surface/Transit/I-5 is a much better option. Hell, the shit rebuild option is a much better option, at least I get to keep my on and off ramps. But repealing that provision would give some certainty to the process and would mean that for once in God knows how long the state isn’t actively trying to fuck Seattle up. It would make it more likely that city voters let the tunnel go through.
And yes, I know: Voters rejected a stadium and we got stadiums. Voters rejected a tunnel and we got a much bigger tunnel. But I wouldn’t count on that if you’re a supporter of the tunnel. The difference between those and this vote is that there wasn’t significant opposition to those things among elected officials. The only elected official who really opposed the stadiums, Maggi Fimia, got King County off the hook for cost overruns (at least for Safeco) despite most of the rest of county government supporting it. Imagine what you can expect when McGinn will veto any tunnel provision and has shown an ability to get anything that overrides his veto on the ballot.
Finally, this should give you a reason to confront the people who keep saying that the overrun provision is meaningless (while, oddly, not wanting it repealed). I know you don’t share that view, but it’s pretty common.
While this isn’t what you want to spend your time in the special session on, you’ve been given a time crunch by Judge Laura Gene Middaugh. And, of course, you’ve been given a time crunch by the Seattle voters (myself included) who signed the ballot measure. Please make the best of it.
– This piece on how Seattle plans on zoning for medical marijuana is interesting, but it’s more Lee’s than my bailiwick. But I would like to complain about the headline: It’s an online publication so headline space isn’t as valuable as for an actual newspaper. So don’t say “medical pot” say “marijuana” or “cannabis.”
– Seems like we ought to be able to do 520 right.
– Testing as a way to evaluate teachers is very misguided.
Quick summary of our last chapter: It’s 2220, and people you don’t care about exist. Space and Science Center. Nap time.
In chapter 2 Quixby dreams of the time he helped invent a jet pack. Or I’m kind of confused if it’s a jet pack or not. Something about wings and birds and play dough, but I’m getting ahead of myself. We start with Boeing recruiting him out of college, but please note, don’t try to make too much sense out of this:
It was inevitable that the first invitation to employment in its laboratories should be Boeing, the world’s largest and most advanced aircraft producer. Boeing executives already knew about his prowess as a fighter pilot in the Air Force three years before entering M.I.T. They had followed his career and knew that as soon as he graduated, he should be welcomed to the aircraft maker’s domain.
So he’s a fighter pilot. And he’s in the military 3 years. My guess is there was a war, that won’t get mentioned again. I mean Quixby made colonial in those 3 years (I assume). While I’m no expert that seems like a very quick rise unless a lot of people above him died (like the boy generals in the Civil War). And he’s a good enough pilot that Boeing wants him for his solo human flight designing skills?
It was left to Quixby to solve the last remaining problem in the design of the revolutionary flying device. The fuel problem had already been solved by Boeing engineers. After years of experimentation, they came up with a combination of hydrogen and three other chemicals that would power the small but sturdy and dependable booster attached to the flying uniform. One more serious hurdle remained: How to sustain flight for hundreds of miles and rise to ordinary flight levels.
H + Some Chemical + Some Other Chemical + Yet Another Chemical → fuel, or something. I feel perhaps there is too much science in this fiction, but I’ll attempt to go on:
Boeing engineers had solved every problem with personal flight except the bit about people flying significant distances. So they had someone with no engineering experience outside of a classroom but who did help us beat the Krouts in WWIX (maybe?) lend a hand. He solved this problem the way everyone solves problems: birdwatching.
It was Quixby and his own research that solved the problem. After diligent studies of the total wing structure of eagles, he determined that, among other things, the project needed a new type of material to simulate the muscle structure of the eagle. It had to be material that was simultaneously strong as steel and supple as play dough.
I don’t care that the in the 21st century we call the product Play-Doh. Maybe it’s called something more boring in the future. Anyway, Quixby’s contribution to the project is having someone else invent a magical substance and another somebody test it out. Anyway, flying is a great success and Boeing patents it. But Quixby in one sentence convinces them to share their patents with anyone else who wants it. I understand that there’s precedent with friction matches. But I’d be more interested in how corporations decide that profit shouldn’t matter than I am with eagles and magical chemicals.
Then Quixby and the Washington Congressional delegation flies from Seattle to DC.
The televised coverage of the seven fliers as they approached the airport in the capital and went in for a smooth landing created a sensation in the United States and in every country in the world. This was no longer the stuff of which science-fiction was made! This was the real thing!
Holy shit, we get it. Science fiction. Is this going to be every chapter?
As soon as the news spread over what had happened, people were calling the Boeing company to ask how much the personal-flight machines cost and how soon they could place an order. Nothing like it had ever been experienced in American or world history. Immediately, political leaders in virtually all the capitals of the world were asking their governments why they hadn’t developed such an extraordinary vehicle.
I like how it’s virtually every capital. In Guzzo’s mind there’s some country, I’m guessing Prussia, that isn’t interested in this but everyone else wants in. And is every other country communist, because otherwise the governments might not be the ones tasked with inventing these things.
Then Guzzo talks about what this did to the economy in pretty much the same manner that he explained it in chapter 1. So we’re out of ideas. Then Jean Marshall wakes Quixby up and tells him to call “General Bennett at the Science Center.” They work for the Space and Science Center, so I feel like Marshall has been through these conversations a lot with a senile George Quixby:
Jean Marshall: General Bennett on the phone.
George Quixby: Who?
Marshall: Our Boss. The commanding general of the Space and Science Center.
Quixby: Right, I work there. Who is this Bennett fellow?
Marshall: He hired you away from Boeing like 30 years ago or whatever.
Quixby: Hey! I used to work for Boeing. Is that where this Bennett person is from?
Marshall: No, please answer the phone. It’s General Bennett of the Science Center.
Quixby: I knew that!
I know I made a lot of assumptions based on what amounts to just shitty writing. But I’m committed for 14 chapters and I think speculating wildly will help speed this thing along. Anyway, end of chapter 2.
– Newt is running.
– And well, OK, I guess I won’t take Newt Gingrich seriously.
– What the fuck, Judy Clibborn?
– Florida outlaws sex with humans (among other animals).
– The incentives for steroid use in Baseball have changed pretty dramatically in the last few years, but I’m not sure I buy this argument entirely.
Goldy notes the irony of suburban screw Seattle people who support sub area equity getting screwed by it (while getting a deserved jab at Rob McKenna).
Of course, that’s not how “sub-area equity” was originally billed. No, McKenna and other backers pushed it as a way to protect the rest of the Sound Transit taxing district from evil/greedy Seattle, which otherwise would have presumably sucked in all their tax dollars to build transit here. How’s that working out for you, Federal Way? Be sure to appropriately thank Mr. McKenna for his head-up-ass transit balkanization policy when he runs for governor in 2012.
Of course that’s true enough. But I was actually a bit surprised. Typically, cities do better than suburban and exurban areas in public transit funding. King County pays Seattle more for Metro than it gets back, for example. Schemes like 40-40-20 and sub area equity tend to hurt Seattle, but typically the more dense an area is, the better suited for public transit. The better suited for public transit, the more public transit there is.
If the cities were a drain on the rest of the state or county, schemes like sub area equity would make a bit of sense. But we only seem to get them on things like transit funding that benefit urban areas. Somehow, we never hear about the need for sub areas to pay for themselves on a whole host of state and county things that Seattle pays the bulk of.
If going back a few decades, the state had sub area equity for road building, we could afford to have that gold plated tunnel I keep hearing about. If we had sub area equity in education, Seattle and other King County school districts wouldn’t have to pass so many bonds. If we had sub area equity in social services, Seattle could move toward ending homelessness for real rather than just talk about it, sometimes. If King county had sub area equity for road building, I doubt very much that we’d have had to close the South Park bridge. If we had sub area equity for police, directing them to trouble spots like Belltown wouldn’t be so difficult a choice for McGinn. If we had sub area equity for sewers, well maybe when I say I’m going to the throne, it wouldn’t be a metaphor.
Of course, there are good reasons not to have sub area equity in those things. Rural King County needs those cops too; I’ve been very grateful for rural King County cops on a number of occasions. The entire state benefits from educating children in areas that don’t pay as much in taxes. I just wish we could see the benefits in the areas where Seattle and other urban areas don’t pay as much as they get back.
I think we can all agree with the maxim, always, always, start with a worn out cliche. But I don’t need to tell that to one of the most respected newspaper editors in Seattle history (true fact, kids, you can look it up). Well done Guzzo:
Colonel George Quixby tapped the buzzer at his desk, and in seconds the door to his office opened to let in his secretary, Jean Marshall. She was a sight for sore eyes — or for any eyes, for that matter, and the colonel smiled, as he always did when she entered. They had been a working team for more years than he could count, and he hoped it would go on for ever — as well it might thanks to the latest experiments at the U.S. Science and Space Center he commanded.
Sight for sore eyes, I’m glad they’ll still use that phrase in the future. More important, can Quixby not count very high? My cousin’s kid impressed us all at a Mother’s Day get together with his ability to count to 100, and he’s 4. The next paragraph says they’re 50 and 74, almost 75. So Quixby can’t count half as high as a 2011 4 year old.
Also, we’re a paragraph in and I’m pretty sure Quixby is Dixy, you know, in the future and a man. The only question now: is Guzzo Jean Marshall? OK, another question: how up its own ass can the first page get?
The advances in human living they’d seen in the previous century and the early 2200s might have read like a science-fiction novel to their American neighbors a century or two earlier.
You’re writing it, dummy.
Anyway then someone from Illinois calls to complain about the fact that the Space and Science Center has the same initials as the Nazi SS. Ignoring the center part, I suppose. He threatens to blow the center up (even though it’s in New Mexico) but don’t worry, they soon find out it wasn’t that the person doesn’t like Nazis, it’s that the Space and Science Center made his wife younger, and she left him. Telephones still exist in 2220, and they can be traced by some random secretary, so that’s awesome. Then Quixby reminisces about the fact that people can live longer and reads that they might be able to live forever. Quixby and Marshall talk about how good it will be to live forever. Jet packs were invented in 2185 because they had just invented hydrogen fuel, so no cars. But don’t worry, the trucking industry still survives, for now:
The colonel paused a moment to draw a deep breath, then continued. “Only the large cargo-carrying vehicles — for example trucks, cargo planes, and cargo ships — survived and, in fact, did very well with the roads and highways all to themselves. Maybe we’ll soon find a way to make them obsolete if our experiments here at the Science Center materialize. Downstairs in the lab our people report their longtime research will soon bear fruit. They are sure they can transmit any solid object molecule by molecule from one site to another — even across oceans. What was once pure science-fiction is now reality.
First off, original ideas for science fiction: Jet packs and transporters. Second, if you’re thinking maybe I took the part where Quixby is most condescending to his secretary, let me assure you that I skipped the part where he calls her (and remember she’s 50) a “good girl.” So, no, explaining that cargo ships carry cargo isn’t as bad as it gets. Third, do planes and ships use roads in the future? Fourth, the most exciting thing that happens in the whole chapter is someone calls in from another state and then someone in that other state talks to him.
Then Quixby takes a nap. End of chapter 1.
– This post brought back strong memories of doing flash cards with my mother on the train to her parents’ house.
– This is 100% factual.
– This looks like a hoot, but I’ll be at Drinking Liberally tomorrow.
– I wouldn’t say genius.
– I’m sure glad we voted for a Republican house, or we might never get a vote on this shit.
So, a little background here. Over at the old blog, one of our favorite people to goof on was Lou Guzzo. He wrote strange rants about how rock music was ruining things, how billboards were ruining things, and how Democrats not named Dixy Lee Ray were ruining things since FDR turned the party all socialist. Fun stuff. In addition to writing odd columns for his webpage (and before that writing in and editing the P-I!), he’s written several books. This science fiction nonsense looks like it’s the best (I mean worst, obviously) of the lot. I plan to go through it Deeky style over the next several weeks.
Anyway, spoiler alert, I think I have a pretty good idea of the plot based on this post. We’ll dive in shortly, but today, a few thoughts on the book before I start to read: “The Amazing World of Tomorrow: Is It Really Science-Fiction?”
Does he think that we might think the “World of Tomorrow” might not be science fiction? The Amazing World of Tomorrow, is this Really Historical Fiction? wouldn’t work. Anyway, the legal disclaimer clears up the fiction part “All characters in this book are fictions, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.” So I guess the question: is this science? And I’m going to go ahead and guess the answer: no.
Also, I’m not sure who this book was written for. It’s 100 pages of relatively large type. Perhaps this is supposed to be young adult fiction? I don’t see anything to indicate that Guzzo thinks it’s for young adults, or frankly, knows people exist who were born after 1977 (if I’m generous). Maybe he just ran out of steam.
– Dear Sarah Palin,
Don’t try to use a semicolon; you’ll only embarrass yourself. And yes, the odd punctuation is like the 4th worst thing about this tweet.
– This is the most depressing story I’ve read in a long time (hat tip here and here, it’s the story of a rape, and while the link isn’t gratuitous or sensationalist, it may be triggering or not safe for work).
– And speaking of things that make me sad for Texas high school kids, what ABL said.
– I’m surprised this happened so in the open.
– This looks like a lot of fun, Tacoma people.
The Seattle Times has an opinion piece* claiming “Washington Legislature should get serious about budget solutions.” Then they proceed to act like spoiled assholes.
THE value of the two-thirds requirement to pass a tax bill is amply demonstrated by most of the revenue bills offered in Olympia.
The value of writing in the active voice has never been demonstrated by The Seattle Times.
There are a few exceptions. Being heard Wednesday is Senate Bill 5947, sponsored by Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way. This would repeal the sales-tax exemption for bull semen and fuel for heating chicken coops. We have been hearing Democrats talk for years about these breaks as if they were big and important. The Republicans should do the gracious thing and vote yes. The bill, however, raises only $5 million a year, which is about two ten-thousandths of the state budget.
The Republicans won’t. Because they fuck bulls and are worried about having to pay taxes. There, I said it. Prove me wrong, Republicans, but as long as you vote against this tax hike that even The Seattle Times supports, that must be why.
Anyway, The Seattle Times calls in their headline for the Leg to “get serious” and then throws out a misleading number. Who cares what percent of the budget we’re dealing with? Tell us the percent of the budget hole. That, while still a small amount, comes to much more (the special session is to fill the budget hole, after all).
Also being heard is SB 5945, sponsored by Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island. It raises $245 million a year. But it raises all preferential rates of the business-and-occupation tax by 25 percent, whether the preferences make sense or not. It wipes out a preference for first mortgages. This bill raises 50 times more revenue than the first one, and is much more difficult to justify.
A serious discussion demands that we reinflate the housing bubble while we cut Basic Health, K-12 Education, and Higher Ed. Anyway, they go on, with the same nonsense mentioning a proposed tax increase and then saying something stupid. Why call for a serious discussion and then not even try for seriousness?
Kudos, Seattle Times: I didn’t think Civil Disagreements could get sillier. So, it’s a bit surprising that ostensible liberal Joni Balter and ostensible guy who can grow a mustache Ryan Blethen are the new faces of the thing (I guess, maybe Lynn and Bruce are on vacation). Anyhoo, here’s their first, (I guess) one. It’s super current.
Ryan, I was happy to see the Seattle City Council decided to replace the old ticky tacky Fun Forest with the new Dale Chihuly glass art pavillion [sic] at Seattle Center. I know you feel much [sic] differently. Let me make my case.
I know the vote happened on Monday, and this is a weekly feature. So, yes, this is the first time they can talk about the vote that happened. But wouldn’t people who believe they influence the debate want to talk about something before it happened? We’ve known it’s going to happen for quite some time. In fairness, I just wrote about the NLRB’s Boeing decision, so timeliness isn’t everything, but on the other hand fuck Joni Balther and Pedostach (PS, new sitcom: Balter and Pedostach, Cop show, maybe, should be a good pitch meeting). And, yes, now that you mention it, I do have questionable facial hair.
To me, Seattle Center is neither a greensward-like Central Park, nor a place completely frozen in time. The Fun Forest was truly enjoyable while it lasted. But as an attraction, the fun and the forest were slipping; rent became a problem. The whole center needs an upgrade. In the old days, the Center was an eclectic collection of venues and it remains so today. Chihuly glass adds to the ballet, opera, theater, EMP, the fountain and everything else.
Look, it was fun, it was enjoyable, it was great for children. But it’s no glass whatever. Anyway, here’s my favorite paragraph:
I really like Chihuly and am not bothered by the fact that he shows and — gasp, sells — his stuff in Vegas, Venice and many other places. He is a one-of-a-kind talent who has trained many disciples.
Gasp. Straw men feel so offended that he sells his art in Venice! And he’s super unique, but has many, many, many people who he’s trained to be just like him.
Anyway, then Ryan Blethen says Joni is right, but he’ll be sad. Civil Disagreements, folks.
– People keep telling me that McGinn is obsessed with Highway 99, but when I read his Facebook, Twitter, and official blog, I’m not sure it’s even the highway project he spends the most time on.
– Those green bike lanes look pretty snazzy.
– Shorter Pudge: The fact that all those people didn’t believe Obama was really American proves that there’s something bad. About Obama.
– Is HA Back on track for everyone? I haven’t noticed anything funky on the front page/comments the last few days, but the first time I tried to post this, WordPress ate it.
One of my least favorite arguments ever is about how little difference there is between the parties. Yes, the Democrats are spineless and often plain bad on policy. But there are huge, important policy differences. At some point in those arguments, someone always brings up how it’s important to get the right federal judges in place. After all, with lifetime appointments and so many important things going on, no doubt the direction of the judiciary matters a hell of a lot. While this is true, because of those lifetime appointments, the judiciary tends to change slowly. In all my lifetime, for instance, the Supreme Court and much of the Federal judiciary has been very conservative.
By comparison, federal boards and commissions turn over much faster. In some cases like the debt commission, the balance is pretty much even, and it wasn’t going to be much more liberal than if a Republican was President. But with things like the National Labor Relations Board, the pendulum swings much faster in the other direction: 2 and a half years into his first term, Obama has already appointed 4 of the board members and the 5th is vacant. And this is largely true with any president: When a Democrat sits in the White House, the NLRB works for workers rights and when a Republican gets to appoint the board, it pushes the agenda of the already powerful.
So it is when the NLRB made a decision to actually enforce the labor rights of Boeing workers. This decision means the broad middle class in Western Washington will continue to grow. That if you maybe didn’t go to college, but are willing to work hard now, that a good job that feeds your family is still within reach. While Microsoft and others are important to the economy of the region, Boeing has always been a great way for many to move into the middle class. And I don’t think an NLRB appointed by McCain would have ruled the same way.