by Carl, 01/07/2014, 8:00 AM

- I knew that Seattle was GOP territory not that long ago, but seeing that King County went for Reagan is a bit of a surprise.

- What is happening with Don Benton and Ann Rivers (Columbian link)?

- With social media at their disposal, the students are thinking big. They plan to organize, nationwide, a “Z-Day” on Jan. 31 to protest the forced resignation of Eastside vice principal Mark Zmuda after his same-sex marriage last summer.

- Even by The Daily Caller’s low standards, this is pretty stoopid.

- Anyone else going to Reproductive Health and Rights Lobby Day 2014 or any other lobbying efforts in Olympia?

- You have no idea how much I tried to come up with an “it’s Spokane’s fault” joke for the fault line running through it. But no.

- I hate that there was a car crash in LFP but a couple pedestrians on the Burke-Gilman trail are pretty awesome.

- Any thoughts on Cascade’s new logo?

28 Responses to “Open Thread 1/7”

1. Roger Rabbit spews:

L.A. Sheriff Bows Out

Los Angeles County has a shitty sheriff’s department with some of America’s most abusive cops on its officer rolls.

As rot usually comes from the top, so it’s probably welcome news that L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca, 71, announced today he won’t seek re-election.

“In an emotional statement outside sheriff’s headquarters, Baca said the major reason for his decision was the ‘negative perception’ the upcoming campaign would have on his department. ‘I didn’t want to have to enter a campaign that would be full of negative, contentious politicking,’ said Baca, 71, who has spent 48 years in the Sheriff’s Department since becoming a deputy.”

Yeah, well, blame politics instead of taking responsibility for your crappy management.

“Last month, federal prosecutors indicted 18 current and former sheriff’s deputies for alleged crimes that included beating inmates and jail visitors, falsifying reports, and trying to obstruct an FBI probe of the nation’s largest jail system.”

Cripes, they even beat up visitors? No wonder the FBI got complaints.

“U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said the indictments showed that ‘some members of the Sheriff’s Department considered themselves to be above the law’ and ‘demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized.’”

What do you call six L.A. sheriff’s deputies in a coffee shop? A Klan meeting.

“The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Sheriff’s Department in 2012 saying the sheriff and his top commanders had condoned violence against inmates. The organization released a report documenting more than 70 cases of misconduct by deputies.”

Doesn’t sound like an occasional isolated incident, does it? How can top management not know this is going on? Answer: He did know.

“A federal jury in October found Baca personally liable for $100,000 for failing to stop inmate abuse by deputies in Men’s Central Jail in a case brought by a man who said he was severely beaten while awaiting trial.”

Given the position of veneration that cops enjoy in our society, an elected sheriff has to really work at it to be held personally liable by a jury for injuries inflicted on a criminal in jail.

But hey, as long as the crime rate is low, the voters will keep sending you back and back and back …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/07/la-county-sheriff-lee-baca-retire_n_4555386.html

2. czechsaaz spews:

Re: Daily Caller

Many people, including 100% of my extended family who are either cops or married to cops, believed the satirical website which proclaimed a surge in pot overdose deaths on the first day of sales in Colorado.

Perhaps the next generation will pause for a moment before passing on something they read that fits their worldview but can’t possibly be true.

3. Roger Rabbit spews:

“1. Dan Evans, John Spellman (and other moderate Republicans like Slade Gorton) that started their careers in the 1950s and 60s came from out of King County. Both Gorton and Spellman were elected in 1980, so (even though Spellman lost in 1984 to Booth Gardner) its likely that the ‘main stream’ Republican mojo in Puget Sound was strong in the early 1980s. From what I’ve read, Spellman’s loss to Gardner had more to do with Spellman being a bad manager than party identification. …

“3. The social conservative wave didn’t seem to crash in Washington State until the 1988 Republican presidential caucuses. That year, conservative Christians took over the party caucuses and threw off the moderate business friendly brand, voting for Pat Robertson. Eight years later, Ellen Craswell repeated history, taking the Republican nomination for governor (but getting beat by a lot by Gary Locke).”

Bingo. Hit the nail on the head in both paragraphs. The WSRP committed political suicide when it let the Bible-thumping book burners purge all the moderates. Centrist Republicans are still around in our state, but they call themselves Democrats now, because there’s no other place for them to go.

Spellman wasn’t a bad manager, he was a horrible manager, but most of all he was a nasty little prick.

In case you weren’t here in the 1980s, here’s what he did to state employees during the Reagan Depression. Then, as now, the economy was lousy and our sales-tax-dependent had to make cuts. So Gov. Spellman decided to switch the state from a monthly to a bimonthly pay schedule. But the state continued to hold back a month’s pay, so during the transition period, state employees had to wait 6 weeks for their next paycheck.

Spellman sprung this on the state workers without warning. He announced the move on a Thursday before a Friday payday. Instead of getting paid the next day, as expected, over 100,000 state workers and their families were told they would have to wait 6 weeks for their next paycheck.

Spellman knew damn well this would cause hardship. So, to mitigate that, he issued a statement asking banks and lenders to voluntarily forego imposing late fees on state workers who couldn’t make mortgage and car payments because they didn’t get paid by their employer. But in typical Republican style, this was a “request” to the banking community, not a legally binding order, so of course none did.

It didn’t stop there. Spellman issued an executive order to DSHS requiring that agency to automatically deny food stamp applications filed by state employees, some of whom otherwise qualified for food stamps. DSHS had no choice but to comply with the governor’s order, so families went hungry because of that vicious little asshole.

There was, of course, a reason for this. The state did have the money to pay the workers. By keeping that money in its bank accounts for an extra six weeks, the state earned an extra $4 million of interest. That was just a piss in the bucket of a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall that didn’t really help the state’s finances in any noticeable way, but that’s beside the point. The interest income was just an excuse to fuck with state workers, which was Spellman’s real intention all along.

The reason for the food stamp edict was that if DSHS gave food stamps to state workers who qualified because of the governor’s hijacking of their paychecks, the cost to the state of those food stamps would have wiped out most or all of the $4 million “profit” that Spellman made by hijacking the payroll money and diverting it into the state’s interest-bearing bank accounts.

Evergreen Legal Services filed a class-action lawsuit against DSHS on behalf of three named state workers, and two years later, the courts ruled that Spellman’s executive order was illegal and ordered DSHS to issue the food stamps to all state workers who applied for them and were denied because of Spellman’s order. So, in the end, that bit of Spellman chicanery ended up costing the taxpayers millions more than it “saved.” But that didn’t matter, because Spellman had succeeded in making children go hungry as punishment for having parents employed by the state.

These parents were social workers, prison guards, truck drivers, receptionists and secretaries, lawyers, accountants, computer technicians, crime lab specialists, state troopers, contracting officers, you name it — and they were pissed.

The state employees were never a homogenous voting bloc. Until then. Given a state workforce of about 105,000 at the time, I figure these shenanigans may have cost Spellman as much as 200,000 votes in the next election, by the time you add in the spouses and adult children of the state workers he deliberately and gratuitously abused.

This wasn’t just bad management or bad politics. It was insane politics. Even if you hate a large group of people like state employees and their families, why go out of your way to piss them off, if there’s no political advantage to it? As it’s safe to assume that tens of thousands of them would have voted for Spellman, why deliberately throw away those votes, in return for nothing? This went way beyond stupid politics; John Spellman was one sick little bastard to do that.

Kind of like Hitler killing six million Jews because a Jewish girl once turned him down when he asked for a date, or Stalin starving millions of Ukranians because he was a Georgian and Georgia lost a soccer game to Ukraine, or some damn thing like that. In other words, mean and petty on a huge scale.

Spellman is still alive, so I hope he reads this, John you fucker. My family was one of those state employee families you gratuitously screwed over just because you don’t like public workers, and I haven’t forgotten and will never forget what a lousy little asshole you are. And if I ever meet you on the street or at a bar association function, I won’t hesitate to tell you to your face exactly what I think of you. This is personal, you mean little shit. You didn’t have to do that. You did it because you’re a prick. It hasn’t been forgotten and will never be forgotten.

What’s more, I’m taking it out on your fellow Republicans. I used to be a ticket-splitter, but that was the last time I ever voted for a Republican for any office. After you lost re-election, I couldn’t retaliate against you personally anymore, so I’ve been retaliating against your party ever since. And will continue to do so until I drop dead.

Fuck you, John Spellman, you miserable little worm. I hope you drown in rabbit shit.

4. Roger Rabbit spews:

Well, GOPers are back to their old tricks. Sen. Mitch McConnell is demanding a one-year delay in implementing Obamacare as the price of the GOP going along with a 3-month extension of unemployment benefits. Harry Reid should (and no doubt will) tell McConnell to take a hike.

Republicans are desperate to postpone Obamacare’s implementation until after the 2014 elections, to give them one more chance to knock it out at the ballot box, because they know damn well that once it’s in place and the American people begin getting its benefits they’ll never be able to get rid of it.

Meanwhile, GOPers have been telling us for years that Obamacare is holding back the economy, preventing hiring, etc. That’s complete bullshit. Obamacare didn’t even start until Jan. 1, 2014. That’s one week ago. Until then, no business had to comply with anything, so how can Republicans argue that Obamacare has been preventing economy recovery for the last four years? That’s total bullshit. The GOP is a pack of liars.

5. Roger Rabbit spews:

A news item this morning says the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling fleet has succeeded in scattering the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean. That’s a victory for the good guys.

Japanese whalers are criminals. A loophole in the international whaling treaty allows limited harvest of whales for scientific research. As I recall, limited aboriginal consumption also is allowed. Japan exploits this loophole under the pretense that its whaling activities are “research.” That’s nonsense.

Every winter, during the Antarctic summer, the Japanese whaling fleet invades the Southern Whale Sanctuary with the aim of killing 1,000 whales for commercial sale. Eating whale meat is part of Japanese culture, and whale meat is readily available in restaurants and meat markets throughout Japan. A single whale is worth upwards of $1 million, so this is a billion-dollar-a-year industry. And make no mistake; what the Japanese are doing is commercial whaling, not scientific research.

In recent years, Sea Shepherd’s aggressive counter-whaling tactics have consistently been successful at holding the Japanese whale harvest to 500 whales or less. Any is too many, but that’s a lot better than 1,000 whales killed every year.

The Japanese have responded with violence, including ship rammings, water cannons, and gunfire, and by aggressively pursuing legal actions against Sea Shepherd and its activists in international courts. They’ve tried to label the activists as “pirates” and their own courts have issued arrest warrants for them. They’ve even sent warships to the Southern Ocean to “protect” their illegal whaling ships, so there’s no question that the Japanese government sanctions and encourages this criminal treaty-violating hunting.

Australia’s government has taken a circumspect approach to opposing the whaling, no doubt because Australia has a resource extraction economy and sells a lot of mining products to Japan. Most of the Southern Whale Sanctuary is legally within Australia’s territorial jurisdiction, but Australia has been reluctant to deploy its military forces to keep the Japanese whalers out or enforce the treaty. Instead, they monitor the situation, and provide a home port for the Sea Shepherd fleet and a sanctuary for activists whom Japan is trying to extradite under their bullshit arrest warrants.

Sea Shepherd is doing noble work in opposing the Japanese whaling bullies, and has long been on my charity list. I give them a modest tax-deductible donation every year. These donations help pay for fuel, food, and other expenses. The people who crew the Sea Shepherd ships, who hail from many countries, are volunteers who work without pay. This is truly an international volunteer conservation effort.

The goal here is to make sure the Japanese whalers work without pay, too. I once asked Captain Paul Watson, the founder and head of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, what it would take to shut down the Japanese whaling. Take the profit out of it, he said. It’s big business, and if it loses money, they’ll stop. Watson says Japanese organized crime is involved in the whaling, and he considers the whaling a criminal enterprise.

Watson also says the Obama administration has been completely useless in the fight against illegal Japanese whaling. They won’t take it on, because Japan is an important trade partner, and we also have important military ties with that country. So Obama looks the other way at the illegal Japanese whale slaughter. In other words, he’s just another politician who bends with the wind.

6. Deathfrogg spews:

@ 5 RR

having dated a couple of Japanese women over the last few years, I’ve asked about the subject. They generally support the right of the Japanese whaling fleet to harvest the animals, but they also will say that whale meat is fucking disgusting and nobody they know will eat the shit.

7. ArtFart spews:

Over on the other coast, our old pal The Piper practically spooged all over his Facebook page today about Tim Eyman’s latest cockamamie initiative campaign.

8. czechsaaz spews:

So you’ll hear the usual suspects saying the current cold snap is proof that climate change (AKA Global Warming) is fake because weather and climate are obviously the same. If that logic is true, explain Australia.

A few nuggets:

“At Narrabri [in NSW], the 47.8 degrees observed on 3 January surpassed the previous record by 3.6 degrees, the largest such margin at any Australian location with 40 or more years of data.”

“More than 10 per cent of Queensland and almost 15 per cent of NSW had their hottest day on record.”

“During the heatwave, Roma in southern Queensland broke its record high temperature on three separate days – December 29 and 30, and on January 3.”

Where’s Cereal? This was a favorite of his. Again, weather isn’t climate but if you’re trying to make a generality based on a small piece of the globe

9. Roger Rabbit spews:

Mullaly Nixes Microsoft Speculation

Alan Mullaly said today he’s staying at Ford, effectively taking himself out of consideration for the CEO job at Microsoft.

10. Roger Rabbit spews:

@7 Why does he care? He doesn’t pay taxes here anymore.

11. Nope spews:

The Cascade logo should be a biker riding slowing in the middle of the road ignoring traffic.

12. Roger Rabbit spews:

@8 Yep, over on the Brand X blog, they’re already crowing about “climate warming” scientists stuck in Antarctic sea ice.

13. Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. spews:

There is absolutely no reason for whaling. The Japanese and Norwegians need to knock it off and stop hunting whales.

14. Liberal Scientist is the "Most vile leftist on this blog!" spews:

@12
Puddidiot was chewing on that bone several days ago – it’s funny, from a sociological perspective – to watch these little self-soothing, misunderstood factoids ricocheting around the wingnuttosphere, the little wingnuts completely oblivious to how DUMB it makes them appear.

15. Pete spews:

Oh. The Cascade logo is a chain link. I get it.

Most bicyclists will. But do you know what the logo says to people outside the tribe? An individual, the sole focus of attention, oblivious to the rest of the world. Or: a world that’s black and white, stark, humorless. In other words, reinforcing the two most common stereotypes of bike activists. They couldn’t have done a worse job if they’d tried.

16. Liberal Scientist is the "Most vile leftist on this blog!" spews:

Maybe making the outer rim of the ‘C’ in the logo look like a sprocket. Then the ‘open mouth’ of the ‘C’ looks like the thingy the pedal attaches to.

17. Steve spews:

“But that didn’t matter, because Spellman had succeeded in making children go hungry as punishment for having parents employed by the state.”

Well, Roger, it looks like nothing has changed. Children are fair game for those assholes.

The Christie administration is busted,

Unkown Person: “Is it wrong that I am smiling?”

Wildstein: “No.”

Person: “I feel badly about the kids. I guess.”

Wildstein: “They are the children of Buono voters.”

Buono is the Democrat whom Christie defeated in last year’s gubernatorial race.

18. ArtFart spews:

@8 He’s probably out somewhere on his back forty, trying to figure out what to do with frozen sheep.

That being said, I miss him. For all his curmudgeonly faults, it was at least possible to have something resembling an intelligent dialogue with him, and he often gave the impression that deep down inside he actually cares about people. By comparison, dealing with Puddles is like trying to hold a conversation with a pile of burning tires.

19. No Time for Fascists spews:

@17. Some the comments on this story are insightful.

>> Image what the tea baggers and GOP crazies would say if this was done by a democratic politician, for example Obama? They’d say he is a terrorist and should be sent to g.bay. Yet if fat duck does this, it’s okay because that’s how politics work and he is not even aware of this, people responsible are long gone, it’s ok. Imagine if some remote federal office spends 14 dollars on an extra toner cartridge for their printer? Obama should have known this and should have fired everyone responsible, however if Christie’s direct aid on his behalf closes lanes on the GWB, it’s okay, he didn’t know.

>>When is issa going to start looking in to it?

>> If Christie were president, can you imagine him saying “Don’t send FEMA to LA after the earthquake, California didn’t vote for me”.

20. Liberal Scientist is the "Most vile leftist on this blog!" spews:

If Christie were president, can you imagine him saying “Don’t send FEMA to LA after the earthquake, California didn’t vote for me”.

Yes, yes I can imagine him saying that – and most any Republican politician these days, too. They are the epitome of ‘us versus them’ – their whole world view depends on defining, and hating, ‘them’.

21. Steve (Pudge is my trained monkey) spews:

Wingnuts really do love our country. It’s just that they hate most of the people who live here. Kind of like a comment Rags posted over at (un)SP today. Loves Seattle, hates the people.

Ever notice how the haters have no sense of humor whatsofuckingever? What miserable lives they must live, always hating on something.

22. Steve (Pudge is my trained monkey) spews:

“Yes, yes I can imagine him saying that”

We’ve already heard enough of that kind of shit out of those greedy, hate-filled bastards already with Hurricane Sandy.

No compassion. No empathy. No sense of humor. Nothing but hatred. I’m fed up of their bullshit.

So whatever happened to rounding the fucktards up and putting them in FEMA camps? Sigh! Obama disappoints again. Heh.

23. Roger Rabbit spews:

Proof the rich can afford higher taxes (and don’t use tax breaks to create jobs):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/basquiat-painting-dustheads-fetches-record-graffiti-art-christies-auction_n_3284836.html

24. ArtFart spews:

Once the Legislature convenes, I wouldn’t exactly hold my breath expecting anything to be done to help Metro out of its predicament, but watch how fast Rodney Tom moves to deliver the next truckload of money WSDOT is demanding to patch up the busted pontoons for the new 520 bridge.

25. Roger Rabbit spews:

Republicans are as predictable as winter rain in Seattle. They haven’t had a new idea since Reconstruction. Their whole platform consists of the same tired old recycled and discredited proposals.

Sen. Marco Rubio proposed today replacing federal poverty programs with grants to the states. This is, of course, a ruse for dismantling those programs.

It’s much easier for the GOP to get control of some state governments, because they’re not competitive nationally. By converting programs like food stamps and the earned income credit to federal grants to states, they can hijack that money at the state level and use it to cut or eliminate business taxes.

And that’s exactly what they will do with it if they can sink their claws into it. We saw an example of this in Wisconsin, GOP Gov. Scott Walker extracted $123 million of givebacks from public workers “needed” to balance the state budget, then less than two weeks later eliminated the state’s manufacturing tax, which showered a $128 million gift on rich business owners.

26. Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. spews:

I just saw a Democrat from Colorado say that the federal government should butt-out when it comes to legalization of marijuana. I could not agree more with that opinion.

27. Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. spews:

I just saw a Democrat from Colorado say that the federal government should butt-out when it comes to legalization of marijuana. I could not agree more with that opinion.

28. Roger Rabbit spews:

Did we just see a budding GOP presidential campaign implode?

“What’s so damaging to Christie about these revelations is that they expose him and his brain trust as breathtakingly venal and vindictive. Respectable politicians don’t block ambulances to retaliate at political opponents (in the parlance of right-wing talk-radio hosts, that’s called ‘bare-knuckle Chicago politics’ and is practiced only by Democrats). The messages also shatter Christie’s carefully constructed image as a ‘nice’ jerk fighting for the little guy. They show that he is, in fact, an entirely different kind of jerk, and that the little guy can go to hell.”

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-08/fort-lee-bridge-closing-scandal-shatters-chris-christies-nice-guy-image-imperils-his-presidential-campaign#r=read

Roger Rabbit Commentary: I can already visualize the Independent Issue Campaign attack ad. The voiceover says, “In September 2013, Governor Christie ordered a retaliation against the citizens of Fort Lee, New Jersey, because their Democratic mayor refused to endorse him for re-election,” against a film backdrop of Nazi soldiers rounding up French women and children and locking them in a barn as other Nazi soldiers walk up with gasoline cans …