Yes it’s Saturday morning, and yes, it’s ugly-raining outside, and it’s the season of peace and goodwill and you only have single-digit days left to do your Christmas shopping. You rightfully expect it to be one of the softest news days of the year. But we know all you HA addicts out there cannot help yourselves. On the off-chance one of us tireless scribes has somehow seen fit to post a new set of calumnies, buffoneries and outrages, you just have to click. Doncha…
We will try not to disappoint. There actually is a lot of stuff happening out there, for a Saturday in December. Maybe the ever-cynical powers that be are trying to slip things by us during the holidays, the way the Bushies like to disclose illegal initiatives and unconstitutional policies on Friday afternoons.
The Times trumpets an $8 million proposal by Gov. Gregoire to actually do something about physician/counselor sexual misconduct, a courageous act typical of a politician entering a re-election year. In one of those mercilessly cold-eyed observations that only hardened journalists have the guts to print, the story notes “Gregoire said several of her initiatives are in response to a 2006 Seattle Times investigation, ‘License to Harm,’ which brought the registered-counselor loophole to light.” Yes, let’s close that gaping loophole nearly two years after the fact while patting ourselves on the back without even the meekest challenge over why it took so damn long to do anything. After all, Gregoire’s failure to act last year might well have cost The Times a Pulitzer. We still eagerly await a newspaper investigation that does something to warn and protect readers from society’s ills in time to be meaningful, rather than react with high dudgeon to the damage done. But then, that might mean getting on the guv’s bad side, or the legislature’s, or…remind me, how did that “loophole” get into law in the first place?
Not that the P-I can’t wring hands with the best of them. Its lead story has to do with the mortgage-induced plight of an Iraq war veteran. (As if to provide a helping hand, the paper also offers a companion piece, 7 Tips to Sell Your Home. Tip No. 1: Have the local rag write a Page 1 story about it.) Nothing surprising, but give the P-I credit: Iraq war, mortgage crisis. D’ya think there could be a connection? We are left to connect the dots ourselves, of course, while marveling over riveting prose like: “For a soldier, the mortgage crisis is the same as for civilians, but also quite different.” Wow, who edits this stuff?
Lines like that kept folks like Will Durst from becoming a journalist, more’s the pity. One pimp-slap of Gov. Gregoire and he’d be back at the Eastlake Zoo, scanning the help-wanted ads. Local cynics of the Durst cloth will note the quiet resurrection of the waterfront tunnel boondoggle now that tunnel-basher and surface-option-backer Peter Steinbrueck is leaving the City Council. Yes, the public voted down a tunnel, but wait, that one was different. This one “would not follow the shoreline and would be deeper beneath downtown.” Jan Drago for one is on the case: “We need to make better use of the real estate we have … including our subterranean assets.”
What makes this all ironic as only Seattle’s incestuous little political circle can be is that Drago just last night, at Steinbrueck’s going-away party at City Hall, was singing paens to his “tireless passion” for preserving Seattle’s civic and environmental integrity: “Many times I would go into my office on weekends, and who would already be there but Peter,” she effused. No doubt trying to figure out how to counteract Drago’s latest Big Development rape-n-pillage scheme. Steinbrueck will, however, continue as one of Seattle’s biggest above-ground assets, teaching at the U.W. and writing a column for Crosscut.com, Drago having handed him a great initial topic.