Open Thread 11/13

- I like most of these ideas for Revenue-Positive Policy Changes Made Politically Possible By Low-Income ORCA. I’m not sure about 4, although it would probably quicken up the tunnel.

– There is a long space between good and better than the Ferguson PD

A gated democracy

– On the one hand, the airlines throwing everything against the wall and generally being assholes is pretty much par for the course. On the other hand, what a bunch of assholes.

– You can’t just arrest people for being dipshits who don’t understand the law they were opposed to.

– They haven’t even taken back the reigns of the Senate, and already the GOP can’t help but look at a government shutdown.

– Congrats to the European Space Agency.

Kirk Cameron seems neat

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottle

Please join us tonight for a Veteran’s Day gathering of the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday evening at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. The starting time is 8:00 pm, but feel free to show up earlier to watch election returns.

Can’t make it to Seattle? Check out one of the other Washington state chapters of Drinking Liberally that meets over the next week. The Tri-Cities, Redmond, and Vancouver, WA chapters also meet on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Bellingham and Spokane chapters meet. The Bremerton chapter meets on Thursday. And next Monday, the Aberdeen and Olympia chapters meet.

With 202 chapters of Living Liberally, including seventeen in Washington state, three in Oregon and three in Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting somewhere near you.

Minority Leader

After any election loss, there is — or should be — a tendency to look at changing leadership. Since the election, it seems like there should be some consideration of who will lead the Democrats in the Senate (and the House, but we didn’t just lose it in the election). I haven’t seen much discussion of who it should be, so maybe the caucus will just keep Reid without much of a fight.

That would be fine, but since it’s as good a time as any in the foreseeable future, I’d like to see at least a good little fight for it. The fact that the Senate has been dysfunctional has largely been due to GOP obstruction. But Reid hasn’t been particularly able in his time in the Senate to get through that obstruction, at least when the Democrats didn’t have large majorities. The ACA and the stimulus were important, and we shouldn’t diminish them. But he wasn’t able to do much with Democrats’ majorities in the last election.

He is also more conservative than a lot of the caucus on some critical issues. The big one is that he’s anti-choice. It’s a problem making the full throttled argument against the GOP on reproductive rights issues when the leader of the Senate caucus isn’t even there on the issue. I’m sure there are some Red State senators who feel the opposite, and that we should look for ever more centrism. It’s a worthwhile argument to have.

My choice would be Patty Murray, because doy it is, but I could see several people who I’d prefer to have in the position instead of him. Do any of y’all have someone you’d like to see, or do you want to stay with him.

Open Thread 11/10

- Oh hey, it looks like the class size initiative is probably going to pass.

– I’m glad to read about the good work being done by the UW chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops [h/t]

– It’s a little late, but an immigration reform executive order sounds pretty OK.

– Chuck Todd is bad on policy even if he knows process.

– Welcome, Oregon to the you can get stoned at a gay wedding club.

– Oh man. The culture war is really heatingzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

– I know that light very well. The worst is then if the bridge is up.

HA Bible Study: Hosea 13:16

Hosea 13:16
The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.

Discuss.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Sam Seder: FAUX News contributor Ben Stein claims, “Obama is the Most Racist President in American History!”

Funny or Die: Republican Bruce Springsteen.

Sam Seder: FAUX News contributor pastor claims Starbucks puts semen in their coffee.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about pregnancy.

Pot legalization: Which states are next?

What Election?

Barack Obama: Lame duck or cool duck?

Sam Seder and Cliff Schechter: #PointerGate!

White House: West Wing Week.

Young Turks: Crazy shit actual U.S. Senators believe.

Jimmy Kimmel: This week in Unnecessary Censorship.

Political Climate Change:

Jon says NBC is confused for going to him about “Meet the Press”.

David Pakman: Boehner hires two lawyers to sue Obama…they both quit.

Maddow: AZ town censors biology…gives textbook an abortion.

Sam Seder: Does Jeb Bush seriously think he’ll become President?

Mental Floss: 23 money tips for any occasion.

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

ACLU’s Alison Holcomb to Lead National Campaign, Signaling End to City Council Ambitions

Good for her:

Alison Holcomb, who has been called the architect of marijuana legalization in Washington state, and who is criminal justice director of ACLU Washington, has been named national director of the ACLU Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, according to a release from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Holcomb wrote Initiative 502, the measure that legalized recreational marijuana in Washington state, and led the successful campaign to pass it.

Holcomb had been publicly mulling a city council run against Socialist Alternative incumbent Kshama Sawant, but recent polling reveals Sawant to be in a much stronger position than the establishment types imagined. This new job is a much better fit for Holcomb, and if successful, more impactful:

“We’ve had 40 years of widening the criminal justice net too far and have relied too heavily on punishment to address social and health problems,” Holcomb said in the release. “We’ve drained coffers and cut people off from jobs, housing, and family stability – the very things they need to succeed in society.”

More than 2.2 million adults are in the nation’s jails and prisons, according to the ACLU. The organization says it hopes to cut the nation’s adult jail and prison population numbers in half by 2020.

Congratulations, Alison, and best of luck.

Open Thread 11/6

- I’m glad Godden and Murray are being serious about fixing the pay gap for city employees. Here’s hoping that it’s more than just words.

– Well, much of the rest of the country is going to shit, but it’s nice that the Northwest is still OK.

– Of all of the story lines to come out of this election, I think Mitch McConnell as an agent of change might be the dumbest.

#DudesGreetingDudes

Christie & Cuomo’s guide to Ebola

For the Umpteenth Time: The Ballot Deadline Is Not the Bottleneck!

Every election the editorial boards demand that we change the ballot deadline to received by election day, and every election I have to explain—using data and math and stuff—that they don’t know what the fuck they are talking about. It is not the ballot deadline that is the bottleneck. It is the ballot processing:

Take, for example, King County Elections (KCE), which counted 556,083 ballots on election night. That was only marginally more than the 521,786 it had received by the Friday before the election. In fact, it took three more days of counting just for KCE to catch up with the 749,097 ballots it already had on hand election night, let alone begin to work through the 147,744 ballots that arrived the next day. Statewide, Washington tallied on election night only about two-thirds of the ballots it had on hand.

So how could moving the ballot deadline speed up the results? It can’t.

Sure, the piece quoted above is a couple years old, but I’ve been tracking ballot statistics since 2009, and it has proven true year after year: the only way to speed up ballot counting is to spend a lot more money counting them. That’s what Oregon does—we stop on Tuesday at 8pm, while they count ballots 24 hours. It is simply a fact. And one the editorial boards have never bothered to refute. Because they don’t know fuck about ballot processing. Whereas I know this elections stuff inside out. Seriously.

Furthermore, even if moving the ballot deadline would speed up counting by a day or two—and it won’t—to what end? The overwhelming majority of races can be called on election night. I fail to see the harm in being asked to wait a day or two longer to learn the final outcome of a handful of others.

What the editorial boards are pitching is a solution in search of problem—and a solution that simply won’t work.

Catharsis Through Elections

Other people have written more elegantly about last night’s election than I will. But I would like to tell a little story about the I-594 victory party: The results had already come in and the mood was pretty good. People mulled around a bit before a round of speechifying.

At some point in that time they played a video montage of various points in the campaign. Probably the toughest was Gabby Giffords’ testimony before the legislature. As it was playing I looked around the crowd and saw several people embrace. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sure looked more like holding one another up embraces than victory embraces. At that moment, I thought of how many people in that room were there because of gun violence. How many people this was personal for.

On top of the fact that this will make policy a bit better in the state, I think the win was good for the people in the room in a more personal way. That’s probably not the best reason to make laws, but I was glad to be a part of that.

There’s Got to Be a Morning After

I’m quoting the theme song to the Poseidon Adventure in my headline because let’s face it, yesterday’s election was a fucking disaster for Democrats, though just like any disaster flick, not exactly a surprise at the end. But I don’t really want to talk about that. Old people voted and young people didn’t. And so Republicans won big, giving America exactly the kind of crotchety, dyspeptic, backward thinking government the crotchety, dyspeptic, backward thinking electorate asked for.

But there was a silver lining here in Washington State and in Seattle in particular. Not for Democrats—they don’t control the state senate either. But with the ballot measures.

With the historic passage of Initiative 594, Washington is now the first state to approve gun control restrictions at the polls, and by an impressive 60-40 margin. And this wasn’t just asshole Seattle liberals forcing our immoral lifestyle on the rest of the state—I-594 actually won a few Eastern Washington counties, and did respectably well in a number of others. Meanwhile the intentionally confusing anti-background-check Initiative 591 is going down to a resounding defeat.

Together that shows up the NRA for the paper tiger it really is, and sets an example for how to defeat the gun-nuts with sensible gun control ballot measures throughout the nation. And once the NRA goes down at the polls a few more times, perhaps our politicians will begin to lose their fear of Charlton Heston’s shadow.

At the same time Seattle voters overwhelmingly approved measures funding both transit expansion and universal preschool. Nobody really expected the former to fail, but with all the public confusion over Metro’s finances, I guess anything was possible. And universal preschool faced a surprisingly hostile and mean-spirited opposition from folks with whom I’m usually aligned, so I figured anything could’ve happened. But the Seattle electorate came through once again, voting to tax itself to fund the programs we desperately need.

Over the past year Seattle led the charge on the minimum wage, and following our success here, voters approved minimum wage hikes yesterday in a number of cities and states. In fact, San Francisco will actually beat us to $15 after voters massively approved a straight-up three-year phase-in for all workers by 2018—not exemptions, no tip credit, no nothing.

We need to remain vigilant as Seattle’s preschool program is implemented in order to fend off the corporate reformers. But my hope is that if we successfully implement a program here, cities and states throughout the nation will eventually follow our lead, just like they are doing on the minimum wage.

So yeah… I’m actually not so bummed the morning after. Dems lost as big as I expected Dems to lose, and that totally sucks. More on what we need to do to turn that around in a subsequent post. But on the ballot issues that will have the most immediate impact on our city—preschool, transit, and gun control—Seattle residents won big.

Focus on the local. That is the lesson—in more ways than one—that progressives should take from yesterday’s election.

Election Night Open Thread 1

I’m not sure if Goldy will be liveblogging tonight, so I’ll start a thread with sequel possibilities.

Hey! There’s an election going on. So far, not terrible for Democrats. Leave your observations in the comment thread.

Having lived in Pennsylvania for a decade I am personally quite pleased to see the Republican incumbent go down in ballots.

6:27: Food’s here. Good time for a break….

6:39: Next I’m hoping Wisconsin does what PA does. Walker (R) has the lead with 5% in, but the first 5% are very different than the last 5% of precincts reporting in Wisconsin.

6:41: Kansas! Kansas! Kansas! Kansas!

6:47: “U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) lost his reelection bid to Democrat Gwen Graham in Florida’s 2nd District Tuesday.” HuffPo

6:50: Looks like Portland residents won’t have to visit Vancouver for their recreational indulgences….

7:04: Maine! Maine! Maine!

7:06: Roughly one hour until the WA SOS will have some results for us.

7:08: Goldy has entered the house.

7:18: In my estimation, Democrats are still somewhat outperforming expectations. But the expectations have been so negative for the past month, that isn’t saying much.

7:20: Mark Udall goes down in Colorado. Darryl, “Yeah…his supporters are too stoned to bother voting.” Lee, “Nope…Udall hurt himself by not connecting with young voters in any way, including not getting behind legalization.”

7:24: Upon seeing that Cory Booker was re-elected Goldy quips, “President Booker wins!”

7:40: Boooooo. Scott Walker wins his THIRD gubernatorial election in FOUR years.

7:47: Rhode Island elects its first female Governor. And she is a Democrat.

7:54: Jeanne Shaheen is the project winner in NH. Playgirl model Scott Brown (R-MA) refuses to concede.

8:00: Kansas goes red. Boooooooo! The amazing thing is that Kansas was in play in the first place. So I’m grateful for the money diverted to Kansas from other states.

8:13: Early returns have I-584 winning in every county reporting except Walla Walla.

8:16: Oddly, I-581 is also losing in Walla Walla.

8:20: King County is thrown into the mix, and I-594 is up and I-591 is down.

8:22: My Representative, Suzan DelBene (D) is up 54% to 46%.

8:24: Looks like pseudo-Democrat Sen. Rodney Fucking Tom will be replaced by real Democrat Cyrus Habib in WA-48.

8:29: 57% in favor legalization on our southern border.

8:32: The U.S. Senate goes red. Okay…maybe tonight was as bad as the projections.

8:34: On the other hand, overreach by a rabidly Republican Senate can lead to more victories for Dems in 2016 when election results can have far greater consequences.

8:45: I mention to Goldy that Joni Ernst (R-IA) seems like she could be the most batshit crazy of the new crop of GOP Senators. Listening to her victory speech, Goldy quips, “She is the new Michele Bachmann.”

8:49 Kitzhaber survives!

8:50: If there is any question that I-591 was maliciously designed to confuse voters, consider this: Clallam, Mason, Pierce, Clark, Spokane and Asotin all voted YES on both I-591 and I-594. Q.E.D.

9:16: Washington saves face: Teabagger Clint Diddier loses to moderate Republican Dan Newhouse. This is “Doc” Hasting’s seat, so the Washington state congressional delegation likely got a whole lot more respectable.

9:30: What can you expect voters to do when we have a President that leaves us with dropping gas prices, led us out of the Bush Recession and brought us down to low unemployment, reduced combat deaths in Afghanistan to ZERO last month, and has provided the safety net of health insurance for 9.5 an additional Americans. I, for one, blame Obama.

9:43: Connecticut gubernatorial race has Tom Foley (R) 359,272 to Dan Malloy (D) 358,518.

9:53:

10:02:

10:04: As a person who grew up in, and still has family in, Wisconsin, I was feeling sorry for all my fellow Wisconsinites. Then I realized who the real victims of tonight’s Walker victory are: The 2016 G.O.P. presidential field.

Open Thread 11/4

- Anyone doing anything on election night? I’ll probably mostly be at the I-594 party since they’re the people most likely to be having fun on what’ll probably be a depressing night.

– I wonder how much of the various museums’ collections are as problematic as what the Burke is returning to Peru. Still, good on the Burke for actually returning the skulls and artifacts.

– How do we deal with problematic, but still wonderful, artifacts from the past like the work of Hitchcock?

– There may be some rose colored glasses in this piece, but how Democrats and Republicans in the Washington delegation work together is going to be an interesting question going forward for DC.

– I would not have guessed some lady writing a novel would be an attraction, but I have walked by Gabriela Denise Frank writing at the library and watched her go for a while. It’s oddly inspiring, even though I’m no novelist.

The Dark Knight ROI’s