This week’s is a random location somewhere on earth, good luck!
The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies!
The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.
At his command the oceans dry up, and the rivers disappear. The lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade, and the green forests of Lebanon wither.
In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed.
Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence.
That Canadian Immigrant:
- Ted Cruz’s dad explains black people
- Liberal Viewer: Ted Cruz’s inappropriate joke after 9 year old kills instructor with Uzi.
Mark Fiore: The Presidential Painsuit.
Puppet Nation: ISIS Schmisis.
- Thom: Economic terrorism paid for by goons.
- James Rustad: Fight for $15:
- Thom: Workers speak out about low pay.
- Some economist debunks Republican ideas about minimum wage increases.
- The McDonalds McPoverty Meal
- José Díaz-Balart: Fight for $15 leads to massive food workers protest all over the U.S.
- Thom: The GOP War on Workers™ kills again
- Ed: VP Biden slams Republicans over their ‘War-on-Labor’
The Wrong Guys:
- Sam Seder: Scalia’s poster man for death penalty turns out to be innocent.
- Young Turks: 30 years of horrific injustice & how Scalia made it worse.
Mental Floss: 40 tremendous college traditions.
A Batty Story:
- David Pakman: Gun-toting militiamen catch “illegals” studying bats
- Young Turks: Armed border thugs BUST some people…biologists studying bats.
Richard Fowler: Go figure…Medicare is not such a budget-buster anymore.
What’s Black and Brown and Red All Over?
- Jimmy Dore on Steve King on Ferguson
- COPS: Ferguson
- Jimmy Dore: Voice mail from Bill-O-the-Clown
- David Pakman: Justice Dept. will conduct civil rights investigation of Ferguson PD
- Reid Report: “There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Eric Holder.
- Pap and Howard Nations: The police state of America.
- Jimmy Dore: Black protesters hold open carry rally
Obama visits Stonehenge.
Maddow: Rand’s burdens.
Puppet Nation: NATO Plays with itself.
The Politician–Industrial Complex:
- Sam Seder: What Eric Cantor is doing now will not surprise you.
- Chris Hayes: Cha-Ching! Defeated Congressman cashes in.
- Young Turks: Former politician resigns early to get cozy position he is unqualified for.
- David Pakman: Eric Cantor resigns and runs for the MONEY
Some nutjob Republican tries to argue that health care can be harmful to health.
ONN: The Onion Week in Review.
Fruits of the Political Season:
- Jon: The craziest Senate race ads
- Young Turks: Nutburger CO candidate claims challenger wants to behead Christians
- Another Honest Political Ad
- WaPo: Best ads of the primary season.
- Why Gil is going to New Hampshire
White House: West Wing Week.
Old McDonnell Had a Pen:
- A “sweeping conviction.”
- WaPo: The McDonnell trial in 3 minutes.
- The McDonnell corruption case: By the numbers.
- Ed and friends: Justice done.
Puppet Nation: Burger King hates America.
Jimmy Dore calls Mitt Romney:
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.
“Our background check law has stopped over 40,000 people in Washington State—felons, domestic abusers, you name it—from getting guns,” says former Bellingham Police chief Don Pierce in the first TV ad from I-594 sponsor Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility.
“But there’s a dangerous loophole in the law,” Pierce explains: “Criminals who fail a background check can simply go online, or to a gun show, and buy a gun from a stranger, no questions asked. 594 closes that loophole, helping keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Close the background check loophole,” Pierce urges, “vote Yes on 594.”
Hard to argue with that.
The problem NRA folks will have with truthfully refuting I-594’s message is that at their worst, background checks are little more than a nuisance. But it’s a nuisance that most gun owners have already gone through to purchase their current firearms, so it’s not like the prospect of closing this loophole is all that scary.
So don’t expect a truthful response.
[Full disclosure: I'm biased!]
Hey, remember how just a year and a half ago the oh so wise Seattle Times editorial board vociferously (and dishonestly) backed up Rodney Tom’s call to shut down GET (the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition Plan), deriding it as “too generous,” while arguing that “lawmakers should be seriously concerned about a projected $631 million future shortfall” in the program?
“Closing GET to new enrollees would cause a $1.7 billion hit to the state treasury,” the editors wrote in January 2013, back when they were editorializing in favor of, you know, closing GET to new enrollees. And yet just 19 months later, according to today’s Seattle Times, GET is now funded at 106 percent of obligations:
The state’s prepaid college tuition is no longer underfunded, and has fully recovered from the recession.
That’s right: following the editors’ sage advice would have cost Washington taxpayers an unnecessary $1.7 billion, while eliminating our state’s only college savings option that allows middle-class families to securely plan for their children’s college education. Oops. Not that this wasn’t entirely predictable. As I explained in my contemporaneous fisking of this insane editorial:
Why the fuck would we want to lock in a $1.7 billion loss that we’d never have to pay if we’d just fund higher education at the level we all say we want to fund it? I mean, that’s just crazy. Inflation has averaged between 2 and 3 percent over the past few decades. Limit tuition increases to 7.5 percent a year and the GET program easily outgrows its shortfall.
As it turns out, the legislature ended up freezing tuition for two years. That and a booming stock market predictably led to GET’s full and speedy recovery.
Seriously… where do these clowns get off telling us how to run a government? Nobody should ever, ever, ever listen to their budgetary advice.
The Washington State Supreme Court held a hearing yesterday to give state lawyers a chance to explain why the legislature should not be held in contempt for failing to make adequate progress toward meeting the terms of the court’s landmark McCleary decision. And while I’ve seen a ton of media coverage on the hearing, I haven’t seen much mention of the ginormous elephant standing quietly in the back of the courtroom: taxes.
In McCleary, the court ruled that the state was failing to meet its constitutional “paramount duty” to amply fund our K-12 schools. Exactly how much more money McCleary requires the state to spend on basic education is unclear, but we’re talking billions. Roughly an additional $4.5 billion in the 2017-2019 biennial budget. Give or take. That’s equivalent to over 13 percent of our current $34 billion biennial budget!
And the honest to God truth is that there is simply no way to meet this obligation without raising tax revenue. Everybody knows it. There isn’t $4.5 billion in waste, fraud, or abuse available to cut. So there are only two choices: raise revenue, or defy the court.
If I wielded the unfettered powers of a benevolent dictator I’d just overhaul our entire antiquated tax structure and replace much of it with an adequate, fair, and sustainable income tax. Problem solved. But our non-dictatorial democratically elected legislators aren’t entirely without options either.
The first revenue item on the table should be a substantial hike in the state property tax, which is, after all, a school levy. Given our current fiscal crisis it is just plain stupid that the state is currently using only $2.39 per $1,000 of value (and falling!) out of its $3.60 per $1,000 of value statutory cap. We can’t responsibly use it all, for various technical reasons, but we could generate at least another $1 billion per biennium in state property taxes, easy.
Next (and I know this is being bandied about in some circles in Olympia) the state could raise at least another $1 billion or so per biennium through a targeted capital gains tax that only hit, say, the top one half of one percent of Washington households. It would be a new tax, with some ramp up time and administrative overhead, so it’s not as easy as just hiking the property tax, but it’s perfectly doable.
Hike the state school levy, tax capital gains, close a few hundred million dollars in unproductive tax “preferences,” and cross your fingers that a strong economy bumps up other revenues, and before you know it the supremes could be congratulating legislators on a job well done. But let’s not pretend that we have a snowball’s chance of meeting McCleary without raising taxes. It just can’t be done.
The sad truth is, we have more than just a structural revenue deficit in Olympia. We have a structural honesty deficit. And we can’t begin to address the former until we fix the latter.
- I guess there’s a game of foot sports today. Given how crazy the city got for preseason foot sports, it might be a good idea to leave downtown right now.
– Phyllis Schlafly has great ideas that sure sound neat.
– So if you could use a Taser instead of killing someone, then logically a civilized society would want police to have them. But I see no reason for Tasers to even be in the hands of cops if that’s the way they’re going to look at it.
– Pumpkin Spice is a real sign that this too hot summer is ending, so I’ll take it.
Republican challenger Pedro Celis’s chances of toppling Eric Cantor just got a little bit better. To bad for him, though, that he’s running against Democratic incumbent Suzan DelBene:
After a shaky primary-election showing, Republican congressional candidate Pedro Celis has reshuffled his campaign, replacing his campaign manager and hiring a pair of young strategists who helped tea-party challenger Dave Brat beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this year.
Brat’s campaign manager, Zachary Werrell, is now managing Celis’ campaign, replacing local Republican strategist Don Skillman, who had been campaign manager for the primary. Gray Delany, another Brat campaign staffer, is now Celis’ campaign spokesman.
Uh-huh. He can blame his former staffers all he wants, but the problem, according to people who have watched Celis in action, is that he is just an awful candidate. Flat. Unoriginal. Uninspiring.
This was supposed to be a competitive race: a first term Democrat in a midterm election being challenged by a well-financed Republican in a swing district. But the Republicans simply did not field a competitive candidate.
Writing in the New York Times, op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof recently pushed back against the notion many American whites have that racism isn’t really the vexing national crisis that it used to be. To this end Kristof lists several uncomfortable statistics illustrating the stark inequality between the races in areas like income, educational attainment, incarceration rates, life expectancy, and so forth, including the following headline grabbing bullet point:
The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid.
These are all indisputable facts. But you don’t need a bunch of statistics to intuit the reality about racial inequity in America. Just look at the composition and layout of our communities: 150 years since the end of slavery, and a half century after Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, socioeconomic lines and color lines are still largely one and the same in what remains a profoundly racially segregated nation.
Why? Well, if you think about it logically, there can really be only two explanations. Either African Americans (and other non-white communities) are being held back by institutional racism… or nonwhites are, on average, racially inferior.
Feel free to argue the latter explanation if you like, although there is no science to support it. And even if you insist that there is some sort of cultural, rather than genetic inferiority that is holding back black Americans, that still doesn’t let you off the white supremacist hook.
So if we accept the premise that we are all more or less born equal (and what could be more American than that?), how else can we explain the stark disparity in life outcomes that stubbornly sticks to racial lines? Institutional racism is the only logical explanation.
If we define “institutional racism” as any kind of system of inequality based on race, then that is what we have here in America. The outcome is the proof.
- In a previous open thread, I had mentioned that Tim Eyman was probably just looking to part suckers from their money by opposing the local minimum wages. Andrew at NPI has more.
– It is really awful that a woman was killed biking on 2nd Ave. And yeah, what Seattlish said about comments for these types of stories.
– Your semi-regular reminder that Miranda July is brilliant.
I am writing this post from my new office on the 28th floor of the Russell Investments Center in downtown Seattle, where I have just started my first day of steady part-time work for America’s premier self-loathing plutocrat, Nick Hanauer. I have been hired to put my research, analysis, and writing skills to work advancing a broad range of public policy issues—obviously, income inequality and gun violence prevention, for example—but notably, not education reform, because Nick is totally deluded about charter schools, so it’s not even worth the two of us having that conversation.
So yeah, I have sold out, in the sense that I’m being paid decent money to help Nick advocate on issues for which I have previously advocated for free. But rest assured that I am still the same arrogant, know-it-all, incorruptible, holier-than-thou Goldy, and I will continue to use my powers solely as a force for good, not evil. Only now I’m getting paid for it.
So suck on it, Goldy-haters: I’ve landed on my feet.
What does this mean for HA? Well, obviously I’ll have a bit less time for blogging. But it’s not like I’ve been blogging full time since leaving The Stranger, anyway.
Over the past several months I’ve been paying the bills through various freelance journalism and ghostwriting gigs, and in fact this job leaves me free to continue to take on interesting freelance work, time permitting. But more importantly, this job also leaves me free to blog about whatever I want—even, say, the ever more pervasive and destructive role of big money in politics.
Which brings us to the purpose of this post: think of it as a form of voluntary public disclosure. I’m certainly under no legal obligation to tell you who pays me and for what, but if I’m going to continue blogging—particularly on pet issues like income inequality and gun violence—then my readers deserve to know that I’m being paid by this really rich guy to work on issues like income inequality and gun violence. It’s only fair.
But let’s be clear, Nick is not paying me to blog. As always, all opinions I post here to HA are my own. And he’s certainly not paying me to be passionate about his issues—no amount of money can buy that. What he is offering me is a really great opportunity to continue to make a difference on issues I care deeply about, while earning a decent living in the process. And that is an opportunity I’d have to be stupid to pass up.
So there you go. Full disclosure. I am a sellout. Sorta. Make of it what you will.
On the home page of the Seattle Times website right now is a headline touting “Times poll: 84 percent support elephant-exhibit closure—which would represent impressive results, if they were produced by an actual, you know, poll. Instead, this number is the result of an entirely unscientific and easily freeped online poll, a totally noncredible bullshit methodology perfectly befitting this totally noncredible bullshit editorial page.
“Certainly the poll reflects a measure of self-selection,” cautions editorial columnist Erik Smith. No, Erik. The poll reflects nothing but self-selection. I too think the elephant enclosure should be closed, but these online polls are click-bait, pure and simple. Nothing more.
Vote early, vote often!
Please join us this evening for a celebration of labor along with some political conversation over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.
Can’t make it to Seattle? Perhaps you can check out another Washington State chapter of Drinking Liberally over the next week. The Tri-Cities chapter also meets this Tuesday. The Lakewood chapter meets this Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets. Finally, the Enumclaw chapter meets on Friday.
With 203 chapters of Living Liberally, including eighteen in Washington state, three in Oregon and three in Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting somewhere near you.
A great example of why church and state should always remain absolutely separate:
The mayor of Winter Garden, Fla. on Thursday had a man removed from a City Commission meeting after he refused to stand during an opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
As an atheist, I absolutely dread those stand and pray-or-pledge moments. And while I like to tell myself that I now stand out of respect to others, the truth is, my obeisance comes as much from a fear of standing (well, sitting) out as it does the desire to politely observe a societal norm. I got my share of nasty stares and verbal attacks when I was younger and more defiant. It just didn’t seem worth it.
But I never recite the Pledge of Allegiance—the “under God” part just sticks in my craw. And ironically, were I an observant Jew, I’m not sure I could pledge my allegiance to a flag regardless, a notion that sure does seem to contravene the second commandment prohibition on bowing down to graven images, at least in spirit.
So while some might click through the link and come back to argue that the man was tossed out for refusing to stand for the pledge, not the prayer, I’d argue same difference. As long as “under God” is in there, the pledge is a prayer. And as such it can always be used as a tool for ostracizing, excluding, and bullying nonbelievers.
Last week’s contest was won by everyone who didn’t leave racist comments.
This week’s contest is a location related to something in the news in August, good luck!