Don’t Discriminate, Florists

In a victory for common decency, the Benton County florists who wouldn’t sell to a gay couple for their wedding were in violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act [h/t]. Here’s the text of the AG’s office press release.

A Benton County Superior Court ruling today held that a Richland florist violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act by refusing to serve a same-sex couple seeking to buy wedding flowers in 2013.

“The law is clear: If you choose to provide a service to couples of the opposite sex, you must provide the same service to same-sex couples,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “Washingtonians have enacted laws recognizing equality for same-sex couples, and I will continue to vigorously uphold these laws. I appreciate the judge’s decision and am very proud of my team’s hard work to stop this unlawful discrimination.”

I haven’t read the whole ruling but it’s here (.pdf)

It’s important that we as a state not just passively don’t discriminate but that we’re actively a place where you can’t discriminate. While the law was quite clear, it’s still good for the couple and good for the state that it was upheld.

Let the Free for All Begin!

Seattle City Council Member Sally Clark announced today that she will not seek reelection:

“After almost 10 years of service to the people of the greatest city in the country, and with tremendous and valued colleagues, it’s time for me to start a new chapter. I will not run for re-election to Seattle City Council this fall.”

The sudden availability of an open at-large seat is sure to create a bit of a commotion. Hmm. Tempting.

UPDATE: Did Mayor Ed Murray just engineer a council coup? Council member Nick Licata didn’t want to run against a colleague, and so he had waited for months for Clark to make up her mind about whether she would run again. Reportedly, Clark eventually told him she would, So Licata announced his retirement. Then today, Clark suddenly announces that she would not seek reelection, and a couple hours later Murray’s legal counsel, M. Lorena González, sends out a prepared press release announcing that she will be seeking Clark’s seat. The timing sure does make it look coordinated.

I don’t know anything about González, perhaps she’s great, and it’s about time Seattle elected its first Hispanic. And nothing against Ed. But I’m not so comfortable about the idea of the mayor attempting to pack the council with allies (and that goes for your continued efforts to recruit a candidate to challenge Kshama, Ed).

Minimum Wage Opponent Joins Crowded District 1 Council Race

Vowing “to end the cycle of career politicians,” West Seattle restaurateur Dave Montoure has jumped into the crowded race for Seattle’s city council District 1. Montoure is the co-owner of West 5, and a former chair of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce board. He is also a fierce opponent of the $15 minimum wage, having donated $1,000 to Forward Seattle’s doomed and dishonest effort to file a charter amendment that would have repealed Seattle’s historic $15 minimum wage ordinance.

So, yeah, West Seattle—now you know which of the dozen or so candidates in that race not to vote for.

Give Washington Voters the Choice Between a Gas Tax and a Carbon Tax

Normally I’m not a big fan of asking voters to do the legislature’s job, but I’m beginning to think that the transportation funding package currently under negotiation should be an exception. Governor Inslee had creatively proposed  funding transportation improvements with a carbon tax, whereas the Republican-controlled senate prefers a good old fashioned regressive gas tax hike. (Not that most of their members will vote for it—they just want revenue-desperate Democrats to do their dirty work for them.) So why not put that choice before voters?

Whatever sucky transportation package Democrats ultimately sign on to—and it almost certainly will be sucky, because I just don’t believe that Democrats collectively have the balls to stand up in defense of labor, the environment, and transit—should be sent to voters with two options: A) a gas tax hike, or B) a carbon tax. If we really want to take all the partisan ideology out of the debate—as the editorialists disingenuously insist we should—then just let voters decide.

We’re the ones who will be paying the tax, either directly or through higher prices for goods and services from carbon intensive industries. So let us tell legislators which tax we truly prefer. Political problem solved.

But then, Republicans have never much been into solving political problems, so I’m guessing my constructive input will be once again ignored.

Nine years and fifty one weeks of Drinking Liberally — Seattle


It’s Tuesday, and the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally will, once again, meet. As it happens, this meeting is the last week of our ninth year since the inaugural meeting of the Seattle chapter. That’s right…next Tuesday will be the tenth anniversary of the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally. That’s a huge number of meetings, and a boat-load of political conversation floating in an ocean of beer.

Please join us. We meet every Tuesday evening at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. Our starting time is 8:00 pm, but some folks stop by earlier for dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, WA, and Shelton chapters also meet. The Kent chapter meets on Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets.

There are 189 chapters of Living Liberally, including seventeen in Washington state, four in Oregon and two in Idaho. Chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting somewhere near you.

Open Thread 2/16

- Senate Republicans unveil pavement-heavy transportation plan laden with bad provisions

– The GOP braintrust is really a thing to behold.

It has been enlightening to watch this entire spectacle play out over the past week. There are now intelligent people going on television to tell us that the president should not use the word “crusade” to describe … The Crusades. The problem is history. Or rather the problem is that there is no version of history that can award the West a stable moral high-ground.

– Pam Roach is the worst.

– I know, I know, Carl is impressed that The New York Times has heard of Washington is pretty boring. But I don’t care: I’m glad they know we’re working on weaning ourselves off of coal.

Sometimes one note will do.

State Senate Dems Should Not Compromise on Sound Transit Taxing Authority

Please, please, Democrats, remember that the Seattle Times editorial board simply cannot be taken seriously:

In a nod to the populous Pierce, King and Snohomish counties, the package also includes authority for Sound Transit to ask voters for up to an estimated $11 billion in new taxes to expand the light-rail system. Advocates say that amount falls $4 million short of their request. This is a time for everyone to compromise.

Oh god, where to start? First, maybe with the fact that the Sound Transit taxing authority in the package falls $4 billion short—billion with a “b”—not $4 “million” as the editors report. Yes, it’s just a typo, I know (or at least I hope), but you’re the editorial page of the largest daily in the state, for chrisakes, so I mean, fuck.

Second, “a nod to the populous Pierce, King and Snohomish counties” … really? You mean a nod to more than half the population of the state? And not a nod, exactly—more like a middle finger. Sound Transit asked for $15 billion in authority, because that’s how much it  figures it needs, and the Republican controlled senate says, “Fuck you, you’ll get $11 billion and thank us for it!” Based on what?

Which brings us to my third point: It’s not their money, and it’s none of their fucking business! We’re not asking for $15 billion. We’re asking for permission to ask local voters for permission to tax themselves to build the transit system they need. It’s not like we’re a fucking welfare queen like Sen. King’s Yakima County, greedily suckling at the state taxpayers’ teat. We here in King County send $1.61 to Olympia for every dollar we get back. All we’re asking for, after subsidizing the rest of the fucking state, is to be allowed to tax ourselves to take care of our own needs for a change. How hard is that?

Now, if this were a fight over which tax to fund the transportation package, or how much to tax, or how those limited tax revenues should be divvied up amongst the 39 counties, then yeah, I suppose we all need to compromise, because the final deal would impact all the voters in the state. A dollar spent here is a dollar that’s not spent there, after all. But that isn’t this fight. This is just envious Republicans outside of the prosperous Puget Sound region intentionally fucking with us, just because. The goal is to set Sound Transit up for failure by forcing it to propose a sales tax heavy package that doesn’t build enough in each subarea to attract a majority of voters. Just like they did to Metro by denying it MVET authority.

So no, this is not a time for everyone to compromise, at least not on this issue. Adequate ST taxing authority should be a precondition of any transportation funding package. Enough of their fucking games. If they want Democrats to take the heat for voting to raise everybody’s gas tax, then they need to give us the local taxing authority we want and need. Period. Otherwise, the senate Republicans should use their precious majority to pass this package themselves.


HA Bible Study: Matthew 5:31-32

Matthew 5:31-32
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.


Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Mental Floss: Misconceptions from television.

Sam Seder: New PA Gov. suspends death penalty.

John Green: Understanding Boko Haram:

Thom with The Good, The Bad, and The Very, Very Ugly.

The Fog of War:

Jon: FAUX News wants a Muslim King for President.

Thom: More Good, Bad, and Very, Very Ugly.

Ann Telnaes: Alabama resists civil rights again.

Young Turks: Senator Inhofe caught using fake photos of Russian invasion to push for military aid.

Climate Change and Denial:

Obama: “Can I live?” The Buzzfeed video.

Young Turks: A woman without an identity.

West House: West Wing Week.

Perpetual War:

Mental Floss: 23 weird awards.

Joe Biden misses his butt buddy?!?

David Pakman: NYC Mayor Calls for $15/hr minimum wage.

Matt Binder: The Crusades were in self-defense?: The bizarre Wingnut historical revisionism.

Jon is Leaving:

Elizabeth Warren preempts GOP on Dodd-Frank rollbacks for large banks.

Young Turks: FAUX News caught reading RNC memo word for word.

Pap with Howard Nations: The IRS is soft on dark money.

Thom: Don’t be fooled…the Koch brothers are NOT social liberals.

Maddow: Dearth of inspectors raises pipeline risks:

Mental Floss: Why is the heart associated with love?

President’s Day: February’s sexiest holiday.

The 2016 Clown Parade:

Thom: Even more Good, Bad, and Very, Very Ugly.

Maddow: Elvis leaves the Mississippi GOP.

Ann Telnaes: A flock of media sheep:

Kimmel: The collective wisdom of Pat Robertson.

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

Open Thread 2/13

I’m feeling a lot better, and am headed back to work. But I didn’t prepare anything in the last couple sick days. So, yeah.

Open Thread 2.11

I’m feeling a bit blah today. It’s probably nothing, but I’m going back to bed.

First World? Problems?

I don’t want to pick on the Spokesman-Review since this is a pretty wide spread phenomenon. Still, their Spin Control blog has a piece about bills that are getting a hearing that are “first world problems.” I’m not sure they’re either first world issues in general or, for that matter, problems.

For example: How many tasting rooms should Washington wineries have? Current law says two, a proposal before a Senate committee last week said that should be four, to better extol the goodness of the state’s fruit of the vine. Why four, asked Sen. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma. Well, Oregon wineries get three, he was told.

Expanding the number of tasting rooms seems like something they could do in a country in Sub-Saharan Africa, for instance. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I just Googled “African wine” and the first hit was a pretty interesting Wikipedia article on South African wines. Seems like a long history, and something ripe for tasting rooms.

I’m also not sure how having 2 or expanding it to 4 is a problem. It seems like we’re having success with the tasting rooms we have and want to expand. Is it a problem because, 4 is still pretty small for the state? I honestly don’t know!

Or a bill recognizing the fourth Saturday in July the National Day of the Cowboy, which another Senate committee took up. The hearing revealed – maybe you knew; I sure didn’t – that cowboy is gender neutral and refers to both male and female cow-persons. Both deserve recognition because of their legendary integrity, said supporters, who brought honorary headgear for Government Operations Committee Chairwoman Pam Roach, R-Auburn.

Look, if there’s one thing we can agree about the first-world, it’s that we are the exclusive domain of people who recognize agricultural workers. Also, it seems like not a problem. It seems like kind of a neat thing to celebrate. Were they not getting celebrated before? I still don’t see a problem.

The House State Government Committee took up an issue that annoys a sizable chunk of us two days a year, the switch between Standard and Daylight Savings time. There’s a bill to keep the state on Standard time year-round, and a resolution aimed at keeping us on Savings Time.

Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe, offered perhaps the quintessential First World Problems defense of her Standard Time bill, albeit with a smile: “It’s still a hassle to change all the clocks. . . It’s a hassle for pet owners whose pets wake them up an hour early. I hear that milk cows are particularly annoyed.”

This is the closest in that it mostly involves actual first world stuff, is stuff, kinda. And technically identifies a problem: I was kind of surprised, but if you look at the map of countries that use daylight savings, it’s primarily Europe and North America. But there are plenty of Middle Eastern, African, and South American countries that use it.

Also, I don’t think it’s a problem. We get somewhat more sun, but it doesn’t work for everyone, depending on your job and your temperament. Also, in the age before all your clocks automatically changed, it was slightly annoying to have to remember, I hear. It seems like on balance, it does more good than bad. Maybe we should only spring forward, and every year, we’ll move an hour ahead of everyone else.

In conclusion, they have clocks in Uruguay and Namibia.