Open Thread 8-19

- This is What Climate Leadership Looks Like

With its own credibility on the line, the British Columbia government on Monday ordered an independent investigation of the tailings dam breach on Aug. 4 that sent huge quantities of water and metal-contaminated sand into important-salmon spawning waters.

– Yay for low income fare Metro trips.

– In case you’re interested in the proposed bike corridors in Olympia (and I can’t imagine you aren’t) here you go.

Yakama Nation to Coal: And Stay Out.

– Congrats to Scarecrow Video. Here’s hoping the transition to nonprofit works out well.


  1. 1

    Teabagger spews:

    I think maybe we should turn to technology to help resolve the problem with police abuse – have each police officer where a hat with a Go Pro video camera, filming every and all interaction with suspected criminals. Or google glasses. Film the shit. It will help protect them as well as the citizens. They have cameras in the police vehicles, maybe they need to be filmed from their view field at all times.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Coal is a conundrum. We don’t want to foul our air and water, so coal companies want to ship coal to Asia. But there’s a problem. Most low-cost U.S. coal is in western states, especially Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. While the corrugated Atlantic coast has many good harbors suitable for ports, the Pacific coast is almost devoid of natural harbors. If you can’t use the few spots suitable for coal terminals, they can export PRB coal only by rail shipment to the Gulf Coast and then through the Panama Canal.

    Of course, activists don’t want coal shipped from anywhere to anywhere; they want it left in the ground. Realistically, though, development in China and India requires enormous new sources of electricity, and they’re building coal plants and will burn coal regardless of whether of export ours.

    Asia has other sources for coal, notably resource-dependent Australia, which is happy to sell theirs, is much closer to Asian markets, and doesn’t have much of an environment anyway. But for the big American coal companies, exports may mean corporate survival, or not, as the case may be. They’re desperate, and they’re going to fight like hell for Pacific coal export terminals. So don’t expect this fight to be won easily or quickly.

    And if we ever get a Republican administration, well, you know how Republicans feel about coal; I would expect them to try to impose federal preemption on coal terminal siting and permitting, and Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rick Perry don’t give a damn about Columbia River salmon or native fishing rights. (A GOP administration also would mean reversal of Obama’s coal plant regulations.)

    So keeping a Democrat in the White House is essential for keeping coal out of the Pacific Northwest. You may have issues with Hillary (e.g., her Iraq war vote), but if she’s the nominee your choice will be no coal or coal, there’s no in-between, and there’s no way to hedge this. So when November 2016 comes, just remember, there are only two parties: The Coal Party and the No-Coal Party. The choice will be yours.

    (Full disclosure: Roger Rabbit owns coal stocks and will make money if the dirty rotten air- and water-fouling Republicans win. I say screw Roger Rabbit’s stock investments! Our environment and quality of life is more important.)

  3. 6


    Obama, Race, And The Right-Wing Media’s Heckler’s Veto

    Here’s a good quote:

    Through Obama’s two terms, most of the Beltway press has remained strangely silent about the astonishingly ugly race baiting that now passes for mainstream conservative media commentary. That same press corps is now turning a blind eye to the tangible damage that kind of rhetoric has done to public debate, or the chance of public debate, and how the right-wing media has tried to implement a heckler’s veto on Obama; to effectively shout him down.

    It’s fine for pundits to yearn for open dialogue and rhetorical leadership from the White House. It’s less helpful for them to ignore the unpleasant realities of nasty partisan politics in the age of Obama. It does no good to pretend race baiting hasn’t become a badge of honor and a professional path to success for lots of right-wing pundits.

    The right-wing asshole media has even sucked in that paragon of reason…the nihilist idiot uncle tom puddypussypissypants.


  4. 7

    Better spews:

    On my commute in, for the 10 minutes I could stand conservative radio, I learned from the talking heads that Michael Brown is the only responsible for his own murder and that Obama, (notice that they never ever EVER say PRESIDENT Obama, it’s just Obama, or Hussain Obama, or Barry) was unprepared for being president and what really can you expect from people like him and that Obama only cares about black people that vote for democrats.
    That was on THREE stations.

  5. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “The White House has rejected a request to publicly disclose documents relating to the kinds of security software and computer systems behind the federal health care exchange website on the grounds that the information could “potentially” be used by hackers.” — From the link @4 above

    Oh my, how controversial!

  6. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Should we assume puddypissypants is in favor of hackers breaking into and disrupting government websites? Maybe he does it himself?

  7. 10


    Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back To Honduras

    Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

    Yeah. Who would have thought that would happen.

    ANOTHER win for these fucking Republican assholes.

    Five dead brown children.



  8. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Daily Police Blotter

    1) A California Highway Patrol officer caught on video beating the crap out of a mentally disabled homeless black woman could face “potentially serious” charges, a CHP spokesperson says.

    2) The Seattle Police Guild immediately jumped on Mayor Ed Murray for saying at a press conference, in reference to Ferguson, Missouri, that police should be demilitarized. Of course, the Guild is a union, so you expect them to be thugs.

    3) Although HA commentary has centered around the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white Ferguson police officer, the Stranger continues to follow (and report on) the pepper spraying of an innocent black passerby by a white Westlake Mall security officer. What the Stranger has learned: The security officer was fired by the Department of Corrections from a prison guard job at Monroe after only one week on the job.

    4) Another facet of the Westlake Mall case is that when an SPD officer arrived on the scene, and numerous bystanders tried to tell the badge and gun carrying cop that the pepper spray victim was innocent, the cop brushed them off with, “Let him [the security guard] do his job.” Sounds like Ferguson isn’t the only city stuck with dumb cops who have no listening skills. When a cop sees a private citizen being led away in handcuffs by another private citizen who has just pepper sprayed the citizen in handcuffs, isn’t the cop supposed to (a) interview witnesses, (b) find out what happened, (c) determined if the guy who committed the assault broke any laws?

    5) A CNN anchor is being criticized for suggesting Ferguson police should have used “fire hoses” to break up the crowds. She’s not some young chick just out of J-school, she’s old and experienced enough to know better, but perhaps she doesn’t understand the cultura signficance of “fire hoses-black demonstrators-police” in the U.S. because she (a) was born and raised in Belfast, (b) was educated in Australia, and (c) has covered mostly international beats for CNNs. So maybe she didn’t realize she was sticking her head up her ass when she offered what she perhaps thought was a helpful suggestion.

    6) A guy in jail for an alleged double murder in Seattle is now a suspect in two other alleged murders in other states. Sounds like a psycho who needs to be off the streets.* (*Subject to all suspects being presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.)

    7) Two people allegedly were murdered at an alleged Kent gas station this morning, and two alleged persons of interest allegedly are in police custody.

    As you can see, we have a busy police blotter today.

  9. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is signaling it intends to overturn lower court rulings setting aside state bans on gay marriage. Today, SCOTUS stayed a ruling setting aside Virginia’s ban; in January, it stayed a a ruling setting aside Utah’s ban.

    That’s a sure sign the five Republican white males comprising a narrow court majority intend to uphold those bans and think they have enough votes on the court to do it (they only need their own, which includes keeping Justice Kennedy from straying off the party line, as he sometimes does).

    The prospect of a decision from SCOTUS affirming the party line that “marriage consists of one man and one woman” raises some intriguing questions and potentially opens a Pandora’s Box. Will the Court say religious fanatics have a constitutional right to live in a heterosexual-marriage-only country? (Remember, a key argument of theirs is that two gay people getting married in San Francisco undermines the marriages of straight people living in Vermont, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, and Texas.) This looks like a stretch.

    Or will it say states are allowed to limit the right to marry to heterosexuals? (It’s hard to see how you can do this without violating gays’ equal protection rights, but then, I thought that about minorities’ voting rights, too. So we have to be ready for anything, especially as the Court is signaling its unwillingness to let bans on the ban take effect.)

    If this happens, the corollary is that states also will be allowed to let homosexuals marry, so the question then becomes what is the status of gay marriages where they’re allowed in states where they’re not allowed if a gay couple moves from one state to another?

    That would likely be a followup case, kinda like if the Supreme Court says police can’t beat confessions out of suspects, so the next case will deal with whether they can waterboard them. It would probably take 100 years to work through all the possible permutations of whether gay marriages legal in one place must be recognized in other places.

    Obviously, you don’t have this problem and they spare themselves future work by saying gay marriages must be recognized everywhere (well, maybe not in the Islamic State, but it doesn’t matter there, because they’ll kill all the gays anyway, along with all the journalists, infidels, Christians, Jews, and Yazidis, and especially Jews), which is the only clean way to do it.

    But it doesn’t look like that’s where the Republican Court is heading. SCOTUS and the House of Obstructionists are the only two federal entities of any consequence that Republicans control right now, so they have to make the most of what they have, and with respect to SCOTUS that means allowing Republicans to run gay couples out of their states, the same way Republicans run pastors who marry gay couples out of their churches, as a sort of consolation prize if they can’t get clearance to execute gays.

    Which, of course, is the Big Kahuna, the Holy Grail, lusted after by the Bible Belt’s Christian religious fanatics. Who have more in common with the Islamic State’s Muslim religious fanatics than they realize.

  10. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 The GOPers won’t mourn them because they all would have grown up to be Democratic voters.

  11. 14


    Missouri Councilman Explains Racist Facebook Posts: ‘I Was A Very Active Republican’
    By AHIZA GARCIA Published AUGUST 20, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT

    A Republican city councilman in Missouri apologized this week for posting racist messages about President Obama on Facebook, citing his own strong engagement with the Republican Party as the reason behind his actions.

    That’s rich!!!

  12. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    More Proof The Vaunted Private Sector Is Much Much Better Than The Jack Booted Government

    “A former merchandising executive at teen apparel retailer Aeropostale Inc … was sentenced to eight years in prison [for] defrauding the company and taking more than $25 million in kickbacks from a key vendor. … Finazzo entered into an illegal deal with Douglas Dey, a movie producer and the owner of South Bay Apparel Inc, … once a major clothing supplier for Aeropostale. Under the deal, … Finazzo … caused the company to buy more than $350 million [of] items from South Bay … in exchange for about 50 percent of the vendor’s profits, prosecutors said.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Personally, I think so many businessmen are so effing dishonest we should have more, not less, government oversight of companies and the people who run them. Oh and don’t expect me to agree to letting private businesses build and run more nuclear power plants without having government inspectors and regulators looking over their shoulder at everything they do. They’ll cheat on everything from pipe welds to safety paperwork if they aren’t policed down to the most minute details. That’s just the way private businesses are.

  13. 16

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    7) Limbaugh was demoted in Pittsburgh. WPGB had fallen to 11th in the Pittsburgh market, so the station owner flipped it to country music. WJAS picked up the Premiere Radio Conservative line up. WJAS is half the power, and on AM. WPGB, by the way, is owned by Premier’s parent Clear Channel.

  14. 17

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Interesting update on the train crew consist battle. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen is joining the fray. Them and the Sheet Metal, Airline and Rail Transportation Workers Union have not been united in the past, so will be interesting. They had a bitter battle ten years ago over who got to operate remote control locomotive systems. If a mandate for two person crews does by some miracle get passed, it does not mean SMART represented crewmembers would be the second person in the cab. If the title is assistant engineer, BLET could be their representative.

    With the tentative agreement between SMART and BNSF, this time the union is being proactive, and facing a backlash from the rank and file. 20 years ago, SMART’ s predecessor, the United Transportation Union, fought a bitter battle to preserve the jobs of brakemen, and lost. The proposed agreement does not apply to trains carrying hazardous cargo.

  15. 18

    Better spews:

    @10 That is one of the contradictions of conservatives. They fight so hard to ban the act of abortion and yet will do nothing to give the tools and skills to the women to avoid needing an abortion in the first place, unwilling to support empowerment, or contraction.
    Then when the baby is born, they want to have nothing to do with it. And don’t let the baby be of color. It cost upward of 60k to adopt a newborn white baby, but less than 10k to adopt a baby of color. Conservatives, by and large, don’t want brown babies, so the cost goes down. Conservatives don’t want to pay for education, food stamps, head start. They will demand prisons but won’t support rehabilitation. So I’m not surprised at all that conservatives could care less the kids are being killed when they are sent home.