Open Thread 12/26

- There’s more than one catch.

– I’ll believe these anti-Grover Norquist Republicans when they actually vote for something.

– If Patty Murray is a key to the budget deals, then I feel better about them (although still not great).

– I knew about Hamilton. And Eaton’s story sounded familiar when I read it. But the other two early American sex scandals, I didn’t know anything about.

– In the last couple months I got my driver’s license renewed and went to the doctor. And hands down the driver’s license was easier.

– I don’t understand what Boeing is doing trying to deny same sex married couples pension benefits.

– Salmon for Thanksgiving.


  1. 1

    Pete spews:

    I don’t understand what Boeing is doing trying to deny same sex married couples pension benefits.

    Yes, you do. It’s the same thing that drives every Boeing policy: making money. When was the last time Boeing willingly expanded an employee benefit, rather than being forced to by government or a strike threat? Ever? Certainly not in the last generation.

  2. 2

    wharfrat spews:

    Ditto on the DMV v. doc: Here in bucolic Keller, WA. I have to drive 55 miles to Republic to license the car and go to a different office to get a DL but only on the first and third Wednesday of the month and only from 9 to 3. Dr. Trevino, on the other hand, is at the Keller Clinic at the bottom of the hill and I’ve yet to need an appointment….electronic records, specialist consultation by InterNet link, pharmacy on-site for ordinary meds, overnight from Inchelium for others. No emergency room but for regular or quick-care it’s great. Part of the Community Health Centers of Washington.

    I have to express some concern that under ACA the states that do not participate in other than the required minimum are going to “encourage” potential patients/enrollees to move. California did that for TANF and SNAP by paying for bus tickets, transportation and temporary lodging to move folks from CA to Nevada and Oregon. There needs to be a bill-back mechanism so that if Butch Otter in Iderho goes tightwad and pushes the problem over the border to Spokane and Pullman, Washington can charge Idaho for, say, two years worth of treatment.

  3. 3

    wharfrat spews:

    @2 Duh, you moron….the word “ditto” means “the same”. You apparently meant just the opposite.

  4. 4

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    2) Good example with Idaho. Although I wonder if Otter would try to unload such cases on Montana? Although Governor Schewitzer was term-limited, don’t know if the incoming Governor-elect will be pushing Schwietzer’s proposal to copy Saskatchewan on healthcare.(Democratic Governor, with Republican-controlled legislature, although the outgoing governor really knew how to make a veto a publicity stunt, complete with branding irons on the capitol steps in Helena.) One take on Idaho and this year’s election, was the defeat of Propositions 1, 2, and 3, education “reform” measures that passed the legislature in Boise pretty easily(although some Republicans backed the Democrats by voting no), but enough signatures were submitted to force a referendum. All three measures were defeated. One had to do with reforming teacher evaluations, another on collective bargaining reform(which with Idaho being Right to Work, I thought there were no teachers unions to begin with), and another was on technology in the classrooms.(That one, Prop.3, just did not sit well with fiscal conservative voters). Referendums were rare in Idaho, but I wonder, could Idaho be seeing a repeat of what we are seeing here. Voters vote one way for political offices, but use the initiative process as a check and balance? If so, Idaho voters could be seeing more in the next few years.

  5. 5

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    “Cantor echoes Boehner: Obamacare has to be on debt chopping block.
    The White House has already answered this, saying that the Affordable Care Act is entirely off the table.”

    Republicans lost the presidency, lost seats in the senate and house and yet seem to think that resenting all Americans means doing whatever the republicans demand.

  6. 6

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    5) Lost seats in the HOuse? Could have lost the house if it were not for gerrymandering. I have always been a proponent of proportional representation, mainly the German Mixed-Member system(which combines single-seat districts with proportional party list systems), and the Irish system(ranking via Single-Transferable vote), but there are other examples. Although the German system would work with most state legislatures(except Nebraska), I would prefer states being able to do proportional systems for Congress based on what will work best, especially when it comes to delegation size.(Australian preferential voting would work with Montana, Wyoming, Delaware, North and South Dakota and Vermont, with the single seats), while the German system would work great with New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and California.

    Washington’s system of redistricting almost worked this year. The 1st District could have gone Republican, if they had a better candidate.

  7. 7

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    The 1st District could have gone Republican, if they had a better candidate.
    Do you think the republican primaries will keep crippling the republicans at the general election? Seems in Washington, the candidates that are most appealing to the social conservatives and corporate conservatives and what ever the tea baggers stand for, is far less appealing to the populace at large at the general election.

  8. 8

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    7)I don’t know if it is our Top Two primary or not having an effect. Although Koster had been running for a couple years now for Congress, prior to the rise of the Tea Party. Back when we had the Pick Your Party Primary we could have been more susceptible. People are still getting used to the new system, that we have had since 2008. The problem with our primary is that it is in August. GOP candidates that are in the National mold probably will not work out here too much. The 1st District has multiple consituencies, Urban, Micro-Urban, Suburban, exurban, and rural, with industrial, service sector, and agricultural employment. The national platforms do drag down both parties in certain places. The GOP platform had some bad language calling cities re-distribution centers. The 1st District includes part of Seattle, Everett, Mount Vernon and Bellingham. The 10th District has a major source of employment the GOP really likes to go after, Government Employees, although they do claim to support one part of that sector. The 10th includes Lakewood(home to Fort Lewis/McChord Field, the “good’ government employees in the GOP eyes), and Olympia/Tumwater,(state employees, the ‘bad’ government employees).

  9. 9

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    One case of the GOP anti-urban platform here, although I don’t know if it was in the WA GOP Platform, was McKenna’s time on the King County council. He did a little redistribution of Metro service hours, to the East and South King County, affecting Seattle for years. It benefited the Eastside(mostly Republican areas), and South King County(which in the days of the partisan council, had a couple Republican seats, plus a swing-seat) Many Seattle bus routes were already overcrowded, and a state law that dated back to when Metro got started, kept Seattle from starting an alternative service.(At that time, Seattle had a bus system that had it’s problems, such as replacing buses powered by cheap electricity with diesel buses), and the suburbs had very little, provided by a private company that was going broke. Metro had to have Seattle Transit on board or it would not have worked.

    The GOP platform, claimed highway money was diverted toward rail, but some of that, was a Reagan-era funding formula.(Just like he had a special gas tax formula as Governor that put surplus gas tax money into Mass Transit in California, and when it came time to benefit, Governro Schwarzenegger diverted the money to balance the state budget). San Diego is probably California’s reddest city, although with GOP attacks on rail-based transit elsewhere, one would find it hard to believe the San Diego Trolley(now over 30 years old), was the first Light Rail system built from scratch in the US(I don’t count San Francisco or Boston, their lines in the seventies and eighties were upgraded legacy lines) in the US in a long time. One of the congressional districts in the San Diego area was picked up by the Democrats this year.

  10. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 Looks like we’re going over the fiscal cliff. It’s increasingly clear the unteachable Republicans, who learned nothing from their election defeat, want to pick a fight.

  11. 13

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 1: You are right, but more specifically, Boeing has been going after the pensions at each and every bargaining year for a renewal of the contract. Older Boeing workers rely upon their pensions for retirement, but Boeing wants to substitute 401(K) type contributions instead (where the employer can reduce payments in a bad year and the employee bears all the risk in the markets).

    Boeing keeps pushing for IAM and SPEEA to create a two-class structure where the older workers are “grandfathered in” to the pension system (but under recent proposals to SPEEA, pension benefits would be age-limited). Younger workers would get no pension benefits, and be limited to 401(K) types of retirement programs. So far, both IAM and SPEAA have been able to hold the line, reasoning that they represent ALL workers, including retired workers, older workers, younger workers, and those who will be employed in the future.

  12. 14

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    A couple of months back, Tom Hartmann felt we would miss the budget deadline and then after a week or so, come to a sane compromise. Think that’s still an option?

    And are you all calling your senators and representative and urging them to hold fast to progressive ideals during negotiations?

  13. 15

    rhp6033 spews:

    Tired of being continuously overturned by the courts, Tim Eyman is no considering actually spending a few bucks on a lawyer to make sure his initiativews are constitutional. Instead, he’s trying to immuninize his initiatives to legal challenge:

    Eyman works to end legal challenges to local initiatives

    The article suggests that this is limited to his traffic-camera initiatives, but if one looks closely I expect you would find that he’s trying to slip through an attempt to have all court challenges to initiatives, such as his anti-tax initiatives, free from legal review as well.

  14. 20

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @17 YLB, the trolls have retreated. We are free to cross the bridge without being impeded by their ugly troll BS.

  15. 21


    Bruce Bartlett’s latest article in The American Conservative is freaking hilarious:

    I had written an op-ed for the New York Times in 2007 suggesting that it was time to retire “supply-side economics” as a school of thought. Having been deeply involved in its development, I felt that everything important the supply-siders had to say had now been fully incorporated into mainstream economics…

    I said the supply-siders should declare victory and go home.

    I decided to write a book elaborating my argument…

    After careful research along these lines, I came to the annoying conclusion that Keynes had been 100 percent right in the 1930s. Previously, I had thought the opposite. But facts were facts and there was no denying my conclusion. It didn’t affect the argument in my book, which was only about the rise and fall of ideas. The fact that Keynesian ideas were correct as well as popular simply made my thesis stronger.

    I finished the book just as the economy was collapsing in the fall of 2008. This created another intellectual crisis for me. Having just finished a careful study of the 1930s, it was immediately obvious to me that the economy was suffering from the very same problem, a lack of aggregate demand. We needed Keynesian policies again, which completely ruined my nice rise-and-fall thesis. Keynesian ideas had arisen from the intellectual grave…

    I found myself joined at the hip to Paul Krugman, whose analysis was identical to my own. I had previously viewed Krugman as an intellectual enemy and attacked him rather colorfully in an old column that he still remembers.

    For the record, no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy’s problems than Paul Krugman. The blind hatred for him on the right simply pushed me further away from my old allies and comrades.

    The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal—and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today. Viewed in historical context, I see Obama as actually being on the center-right.

    At this point, I lost every last friend I had on the right. Some have been known to pass me in silence at the supermarket or even to cross the street when they see me coming. People who were as close to me as brothers and sisters have disowned me.

    Oh this is just too sweet! Bartlett is not the only guy who DESPITE still self-identifying as Goldwater conservatives NOW find themselves considered CENTER-LEFT!

    He concludes:

    Honest to God, I am not a liberal or a Democrat. But these days, they are the only people who will listen to me. When Republicans and conservatives once again start asking my opinion, I will know they are on the road to recovery.

  16. 30

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    A few nights ago, I mentioned an interesting special election in Canada. The By-Election for the Federal Riding of Calgary-Centre should not have made the news, usually goes to the Conservatives with 60+% of the vote. Right now the race is close.(Most Canadian elections are on Mondays). There is a good chance that the only reason this seat does not go Liberal Red(The Conservative Part in Canada is Blue, New Democratic Party is Orange) is a strong showing by the Green Party candidate taking votes away from the Liberal.(The Green party leader probably would have not had her candidate step aside on this one, as she probably would not want to be a caucus of one).

  17. 31

    doggril spews:

    @23 – Wow. That was a great clip–of one of the most abrupt endings to an interview I can recall.
    I see that interview, as well as Bruce Bartlett’s latest column, as well as Chambliss’ publicly giving the finger to Norquist, as part of a very hopeful pattern. For too long Right Wing bullies have pulled the strings at the Republican party. Their power was such that no one dared to cross them–at least without major professional and personal consequences. But, like all bullies, their power eventually begins to weaken, and then their world comes crashing down upon them.
    One can only hope the momentum continues.

  18. 32

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Sunday Night, I was watching on the NBC Sports Network, the Grey Cup, the 100th edition of what started as the top amateur trophy for Canadian Football, but is now the title game for the Canadian Football League. I have always liked this game, along with the NFL and the Super Bowl, but one of the reasons I was watching this one, was one of the QB’s for the Calgary Stampeders is Bo Levi Mitchell, the QB from Eastern Washington University(Eagles) 2010 National Championship Team. EWU got him as a transfer from Southern Methodist University(he is from Katy, Texas, I believe). Unfortunately, since in the Grey Cup, their is a higher chance of a host city’s team being in it, the Toronto Argonauts seemed to have the Home Field Advantage.(Game was held in the Rogers Centre, formerly the SkyDome).

    As for EWU, we made the playoffs, but unfortunately we drew Wagner, from Staten Island. Could have been worse, if we had lost to Portland State in the final game of the regular season.(Eastern is in the Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision). We get the home field advantage in the first round of the Inferno of Roos Field(Eastern’s home turf in Cheney, which recently was changed to do a play on BOise State’s Blue turf). I was pulling for Montana to beat Montana State in the Brawl of the Wild(Montana’s version of the Apple Cup), but unfortunately, the Grizzlies are not that good this year, and Eastern beat them in Big Sky conference play, only to lose to the Bobcats(Montana State). I saw parts of that game on Root Sports, and during commercial breaks, they were showing political ads from both states. In the Senate race, not much from Cantwell or Baumgartner, but the Tester/Rehberg race, they were really going at it.

  19. 33

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    SOmething else interesting up north, Canada seems to have ways of dealing with corrupt mayors. In Quebec, the mayors of Laval and Montreal have resigned in recent weeks over corruption probes, the latter city seeing it’s first Anglophone mayor appointed in a long time, and in Ontario, the mayor of London is facing a no-confidence vote after being charged with criminal offenses, and the Mayor of Toronto(a conservative, by the way) is on the verge of being removed from office by the courts(Mayor Rob Ford is saying he will fight it).

    I would not want to be the mayor of Windsor if this keeps up. If he was in charge on the other side of the river, in Michigan, the Governor in Lansing could remove him from office, or at least until this month, appoint an emergency manager.(The law that was passed last year was voted down by the voters). Although in Michigan, it was possible a few years ago for a mayor to be removed from office by the Governor for misconduct. I remember that when they were trying to get Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick out of office.

  20. 34

    Tea for everyone spews:

    Heh Libs, I just saw that if you follow the “Buffet Rule” and tax the rich it will only take 514 years to pay off the 2011 deficit.

    Well on the way to financial collapse I’d say!

    Great Job. I can hardly wait to see the 21 or 22 Trillion meltdown.

  21. 38

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    An update to the post on the special elections up in Canada. The Conservatives did hold Calgary Centre, and the NDP did hold Victoria, but the former was probably giving conservative PM Harper a tough night. To see a neighboring seat(he also represents part of Calgary) that normally goes to his party be held by a narrow margin. In Canada, the Federal parties can have no bearing on the provincial parties, as in the case of the BC Liberal Party that runs the show in BC, they are more of a conservative party. Some NDP officials in Victoria have run federally as Liberals, and a former Conservative cabinet official actually has warned the provincial Conservatives not to split their votes in next May’s election, because in the situation the BC LIberals are in, polling wise, it would most likely see the BC NDP return to government in BC.(For strategic reasons, he was warning conservatives in BC to support the Liberals and not to vote for their own party, even if it is regaining popularity. BC like us, uses winner take all, although the voters had to change it a few years ago. It’s not something to use, when the premiership, their equivalent of Governor, is on the line).

    As for the Toronto Mayor, he was popular, despite his combative style(maybe because of that), and was credited a little with the Conservatives managing to take seats within the Greater Toronto Area from the Liberals in last year’s Federal Election(hence the current majority government in Ottawa) but blamed by some for the failure of the Progressive Conservatives(the Ontario provincial Conservative party), to win the government in the recent provincial election. His response, was, he did not see his name on the ballot. Thunder Bay, Ontario has two provincial legislative seats, Thunder Bay-North and Thunder Bay-South, and is home to a major assembly plant for Bombardier Transportation, specifically, passenger rail rolling stock. His first act as mayor was to cancel Transit City, his predecessor’s massive expansion of the surface Light Rail network in Toronto, and had campaigned on replacing the existing streetcar network with buses(which Torontonians had fought in the past). The latter did not happen, because the cost of canceling the contract, would have seen the money evaporate to buy the buses! The contract, was for about 200 LRVs to replace Canadian-built streetcars that replaced the old PCC Cars 30 years ago. The bidding process to build them was contentious enough, not easily helped by the specs of the legacy system(curves, turnback loops, low overhead wire and trolley poles, not to mention the broad-gauge track), plus a rule that much of the assembly had to be done in Ontario, which benefited Bombardier. An order that big, plus the follow-on contract(which wss saved by Metrolinx, the Greater Toronto Transit Authority) for about 200 more, built to a different spec(more modern LIght Rail standards), probably caused a lot of bad blood. When the Ontario Liberals survived the election with a minority government that survives at the whim of the NDP, probably just about every seat was in play.

  22. 39

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    In FLorida, the decision by Governor Scott(despite resistance from GOP legislators) to reject Federal High Speed and Intercity Rail funding, might have helped cost the Republicans Florida. The majority of the swing voters are in the I-4 corridor(Orlando-Tampa), and that was where the first phase of the project would have been. Turned out, the project was popular.

    Already, Florida East Coast Industries, which owns the Jacksonville-Miami Florida East Coast railway is already working on a privately financed proposal for Miami-Orlando(a new spur from Coco Beach to Orlando would be built), with a proposed future extension to Tampa, and a regional transportation planning organization is proposing commuter rail on I-4 between Tampa and Orlando.

    In a way, the Florida East Coast proposal, called All Aboard FLorida, is returning the FEC in particular, and railroading in General, to it’s roots, a real-estate development measure. They are planning a major shopping and mixed-use development around the Miami terminal, which will be built from scratch. In Japan, some of the railroads that operate out of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, besides running trains, also own shopping centers in the station, including department stores, in a way subsidising the train services(depending if their train need subsidising in the first place).

  23. 40

    rhp6033 spews:

    The Onion named N Korean dictator Kim Jung Ill as “the most handsome man alive”. The Chinese daily papers, not knowing anything about the Onion, picked up on the story and published that a major American newspaper had picked Kim Jung Ill as the most handsome man alive, citing his cherubic round face, “modern” haircut, sturdy frame, and sense of fashion.

  24. 41

    rhp6033 spews:

    Okay, it’s been about three weeks since the election, and the Republicans have done a lot of soul-searching about their loss. Was it caused by their attachment to the financial interests of the one-percenters? Nah. Was it because of their groveling to Grover Norquist? No. Was it because of their kow-towing to the most ignorant among the Tea-Party types who controlled the primary process? No.

    The problem, they decided, was demographics. Or more specifically after several years of demonizing hispanics and campaiging on a platform to keep them as second-class citizens and run them out of the country (or “self-deportation”, as Romney called it), they were surprised that hispanics actually voted and overwhelmingly rejected the Republican Party.

    So, the problem as they saw it wasn’t a substantive problem with the racist part of their platform, one that required them to actually make any changes. The problem, as they saw it, was a P.R. problem – how to get hispanics to vote Republican even though they kick them in the shins at every opportunity.

    While this may seem patently ridiculous, remember that it has worked for Republicans in the South and mid-west for several decades, as they persuaded blue-collar workers to support their anti-employee agenda in favor of the on-percenters for the same amount of time.

    So, enter their new savior-in-waiting: Jeb Bush. He was seen in Washington D.C. recently consulting with the senior advisors to George W. Bush. He insisted it was a meeting to advance his education reform plans. But with a hispanic wife, and being fluent in Spanish and a convert to Catholicism, he seems to Republicans as an answer to the “hispanic problem”.

    So, expect the usual cast of players in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries (Gingrich, Bachman, etc.), plus George W. Bush. And expect Karl Rove to be driving the campaign wagon for the Bush family yet again.

  25. 42

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 37: I can see a train system being very popular in Florida. People who don’t visit there very often forget that it takes an entire day to travel from the base of Florida to the tip, and a trip further along the Florida Keyes may take even longer. Yet most tourists fly into only their destination: Orlando, Miami, Tampa, etc. They would have to rent a car to spend a week at Disney World and then another week at the beach. A rail service would open the doors to tourist spreading out their money a bit more to more destinations in Florida.

  26. 44

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    40)That is why I am hoping the All Aboard Florida proposal works out. It would provide more service than what Amtrak already has, the Silver Star and Silver Meteor(the Auto Train is a non-stop service, not a factor on Intrastate travel, and the Palmetto turns back in Savannah, Georgia, plus the Sunset Limited is still suspended east of New Orleans, since Katrina). Amtrak has also been negotiating with the FEC for a proposed Jacksonville-Miami via Daytona and the cape service. THe private proposal to Orlando would have several trips a day. The FEC once served the Florida Keys, in fact the current Overseas HIghway was originally the Overseas Railway. It was pure politics that affected Scott’s decision, and the same with the GOP legislators in Tallahassee trying to sue the Governor to make him take the money! Scott was also under pressure from some to veto another rail project, but a major employer in that particular county(Orange) was for the project, and that employer had the resources to give Scott a hard time in 2014. It was the SunRail project in Orlando, the employer pushing him to sign? Disney! The locomotives for Sunrail will be remanufactured locos(saving a little money)from Motivepower in Boise. It is this project that the counties in the Tampa area want to connect to.

  27. 45


    Rising home values, more hiring and lower gas prices pushed consumer confidence in November to the highest level in nearly five years. And steady consumer spending appears to have encouraged businesses to invest more in October after pulling back over the summer.

    Those trends could boost economic growth slightly in the final three months of the year.

    Wow! I don’t get it. The trolls like Bob said Obama’s “socialist” policies could only mean we’d be trending downward towards a double dip recession (where Europe’s austerity policies led) instead of trending upwards..

    Oh but the other shoe drops..

    But the real payoff could come early next year _ if the automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff” can be averted. Businesses that have postponed expansion plans could move forward with projects. That could lead to more hiring.

    Ahhhhh.. Doesn’t everybody see now the right wing’s ace in the hole? Election sour grapes and moronic tea-bagger madness in the Congress.

    Nice bunch the right wing – to hold the economy hostage like this..