Drinking Liberally — Seattle


Join us tonight for another adventure in politics over a pint at 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 some folks show up before that for dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings this 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 Yakima chapters meet.

There are 177 chapters of Living Liberally, including fifteen in Washington state, four in Oregon and two in Idaho, so chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting somewhere near you.

Open Thread 12/8

- Even-the-liberal New Republic

Happy Bertha-Day!

– There’s a Viaduct joke with multiple meanings of settling but I didn’t have it last night or this morning.

– Over a long enough time horizon the universe will loose all of its energy, but Ross Douthat will still be making ridiculous columns.

The Obama Recovery Has Been Miles Better Than the Bush Recovery

– Hot fruit is disgusting. Case closed. (PS, I generally agree with Mike Schur but I make a great baked apple)

A Day That Should Live in Infamy

According to Crosscut, it was a year ago today that we first learned that the giant tunneling machine “Bertha” had become stuck in the muck beneath Seattle. One year later, Bertha remains stuck, and construction of a deep bore tunnel replacement to the teetering Alaskan Way Viaduct remains no closer to completion.

On this anniversary of ineptitude it is useful to remember whose brainchild this boondoggle was in the first place: none other than Seattle’s infamously faith-based “think” tank, the Discovery Institute! Yes, that Discovery Institute—the equally proud progenitors of the science-denying theory of so-called Intelligent Design! As I scoffed nearly 7 years ago today:

I once proposed building a gigantic rollercoaster along the West Seattle to downtown portion of the Monorail’s abandoned Green Line, and you didn’t see my joke of a transportation proposal picked up by the MSM, let alone labeled “visionary”. And yet the Seattle Rollercoaster Project is no less technically challenging nor politically, well, utterly fucking ridiculous than Discovery’s deep bore, crosstown tunnel. Engineering and economic feasibility aside, God himself could descend from the heavens with a blueprint in one hand and an infinite supply of cash in the other, only to be greeted by polar bear clad environmentalists and angry Eastside developers complaining that He isn’t doing enough to ease congestion on I-405. In a city where completion of a 1.3 mile vanity trolley line is feted like some transportation miracle, the very notion that local voters might commit more than a half billion dollars a mile to an untested technology is a dramatic tribute to Discovery’s primary mission of promoting the exercise of faith over reason.

Of course, with hindsight, I was wrong about the political feasibility. A cabal of elected officials ultimately shoved Bertha down our throats. Where it remains lodged to this day.

Bird’s Eye View/Street View Contests Final Tally

As I mentioned each of the last two weeks, this weekly contest has come to a close. Thanks again for playing and making this a fun weekly tradition here at HA. The winner of the final contest was GCM. It was in Boston.

The very first contest was posted at HA a few weeks before Obama’s election. Back then, I was still posting the pictures at reload.ws, which no longer exists. Since then, there have been over 300 contests with many winners. Here are the top winners over the years (everyone who won at least 5 contests):

milwhcky – 76
wes.in.wa – 58
Liberal Scientist – 21
Geoduck – 13
Mlc1us – 10
Sewventy2002 – 9
WaGuy – 8
Brian – 8
Poster Child – 6
Don Joe – 5
2cents – 5
zzippy – 5

I have two main reasons for moving on here, one of which is that since July, I’ve been working for HERE, Nokia’s mapping and location services group. I joined HERE via an acquisition, an incredibly fortuitous turn of events for a complete map geek like myself, but as I’ve gotten older and wiser, I’ve become more conscientious about keeping work and the blogging I do separate.

Second, I’m hoping that after the new year that I can begin putting together a weekly feature related to politics and current events once again. Being a parent with two small children hasn’t given me much time to do this, but my oldest has started kindergarten and I’m optimistic that I’ll once again have the bandwidth for it. I’m still formulating exactly what it will look like, but the basic premise will be about tracking anti-authoritarian movements across the globe. I know that there hasn’t been a lot of content in general here, but I’m hoping that things will pick up again at HA in the new year.

Again, thanks so much for making these contests fun. Hope to see you all in 2015.

HA Bible Study

Deuteronomy 22:23-24
If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.


Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

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

Puppet Nation: News of the week:

Ever notice how America is like a bad boyfriend.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about Sleep.

David Pakman: More guns = more crime, no matter what NRA feels.

Thom: The secret ALEC conference.

Black and White and Red All Over:

Mike Pesca: A tribute to Nancy Grace.

Sam Seder and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: The Republican mission to destroy climate action.

David Pakman: Nutburger Republicans consider banning Obama from delivering State of the Union Address.

Mental Floss: 26 little things that changed history forever.

Richard Fowler: The GOP plan to rig the 2016 election.

White House: West Wing Week.

Immigration Action Reaction:

Sam Seder: What the fuck is up with Uber?

Guess who’s coming to The Colbert Report.

Maddow: AZ, KS, and Florida GOP are trying to kill solar power.

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

University of Virginia Rape Story:

Young Turks: Glenn Beck sued for defamation by Saudi he constantly defamed.

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

Stephen thanks Nazis for getting Congress to agree on something.

David Pakman: Nutjob Christan pastor calls for killing gay people.


Obama speaks on the economy.

Richard Fowler: Voter proved he wasn’t quite dead yet.

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

It’s Time for Our Editorial Boards to Step Up and Urge WA’s Legislature to Raise Revenue

As much as I love to hate the Seattle Times editorial board, the truth is I actually agree with much of what they write. Sure, sometimes they’re just plain awful, like their shameful “death tax” lies. And sometimes they’re just hamfistedly insensitive and stupid, like Wednesday’s editorial that came off as placing more value on Black Friday than on black lives. But much of the time, and on many issues, I more or less agree with their general sentiment, however incoherently stated.

Take for example yesterday’s editorial urging legislators to protect funding for early and higher education:

MORE money will flow into Washington’s kindergarten through high-school programs in the next two years, but state lawmakers must ensure that doesn’t come at a cost to early and higher education.

The state’s education system should foster student success from ages 3 to 23…

Well, of course. Who could disagree with that? It’s great to see such commonsense advocacy coming from the editorial board of our state’s paper of record. And 3-to-23 education isn’t the only worthwhile program on which the editors have advocated spending more money. The problem is they’re missing in action when it comes to advocating for raising the revenue necessary to pay for it. In fact they’re worse than missing in action—they’re goddamn obstructionists!

The editors assert that it will cost the state an additional $10 billion over the next two biennial budgets to fund both McCleary and Initiative 1351. Whether you trust their numbers or not (and you usually can’t) it’s a lot of money. And the editors’ only revenue suggestion? “Raising the sales tax another percentage point would be unpopular, but effective.”

Unpopular, maybe, but effective, not so much. A percentage point increase in the sales tax would raise about $1 billion a year. So even in that unlikely scenario in which we pass a sales tax increase through the Republican-controlled state senate, where’s the other $1.5 billion a year coming from, let alone any additional money to fund early and higher education? On this the editorial board is silent.

What’s so frustrating about this editorial is that they’re almost there! They recognize the need to spend billions more on 3-to-23 education, and they even appear to understand that it will require significant sources of new revenue. But they just can’t bring themselves to take the lead in moving our state closer toward an actual solution. Which is what we need—especially after their years of knee-jerk obstructionism on revenue issues.

Washington is a very affluent state. We can easily afford to invest in education. But more importantly, our future prosperity depends upon it. It is past time to stop arguing about whether to raise taxes, and to start arguing about which taxes we’re going to raise. And if our editorial boards really want to live up to the civic role they claim for themselves, they might want to start leading this debate.

WaPo’s Harold Meyerson, Seattle Times’ Jerry Large, and Me! Talking Income Inequality, December 11 at Town Hall Seattle

Reclaiming Prosperity, Dec 11, Town Hall Seattle

Apparently, all the other real journalists were busy, so I’ll be joining the Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson and Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large in a discussion of local and national income inequality trends (and from my perspective, the role of the media in covering them)—”Reclaiming Prosperity: Economic Prosperity Through Equality,” December 11, 7:30PM at Town Hall Seattle. That’s next Thursday, so buy your tickets now!

Open Thread 12/5

- The most confusing thing about this is that Dori Monson seems to think that crime is higher in Seattle now than it was when he was growing up.

The Great National Whitewash Continues

– I support the Graduate Assistants at the University of Oregon.

This stops today: Seeking strategies to end discriminatory policing

SeaTac has charged Kshama Sawant with disorderly conduct. If you would like to complain to the City Attorney’s office — politely — you can do so here.

Existing While Black

– We should probably integrate the monorail into ORCA, and the lease to operate it being up is as good a time as any. I actually use it for non-touristy stuff fairly frequently, and it would be pretty nice (usually I walk or bike it, but not always).

NRA Spokesman Who Belittled Jews for Supporting Stronger Gun Laws Emerges from Hiding to Lobby Olympia

It looks like the longest flight in aviation history is finally over, now that the NRA’s Brian Judy has been sighted in Olympia. Way back on July 28, hours after I posted embarrassing audio of Judy offensively comparing gun background checks to Nazi Germany, the NRA spokesman and lobbyist brushed off PubliCola’s questions, telling them he was boarding a plane and would get back to them later. Judy hadn’t been heard from since.

Four months later—on the day Initiative 594 goes into effect—Judy’s plane has apparently finally landed back in Olympia, where he’s reportedly lobbying legislators ahead of the coming legislative session.

Speaking to a pro-gun audience in Silverdale, WA on July 23, Judy went after I-594’s biggest funder, Nick Hanauer* for supporting “the same policy that led to his family getting run out of Germany by the Nazis,” provoking outrage from Jewish groups nationwide. “These people…” Judy continued, “it’s like any Jewish people I meet who are anti-gun … you come to this country and you support gun control? Why did you flee to this country in the first place? Hello! Is anybody home here?”

Listen to Judy’s full remarks below, and then email your legislator to ask them whether they can seriously do business with an anti-semitic buffoon like him?


* Full disclosure: I now work for Hanauer.

Open Thread 12/3

- Protections for free speech are awesome, but I don’t think they covers threatening to murder your estranged wife.

– It strikes me as strange that we didn’t know who would be the GOP leadership if they’d won the state Senate, but now we know.

If you’re terrified of mostly-peaceful protesters, imagine what it’s like to be terrified of the police every day of your life.

– While I fully admit that I don’t understand all the technical issues, I would like quicker Internet in Seattle, pleez.

– As sad as the perpetual closing/almost closing of neat theaters in Seattle is, maybe it’s the market speaking?

Drinking Liberally — Seattle


Please join us tonight for another evening of politics and conversation over a drink at 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 some folks show up before that for dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities chapter also meets. The Lakewood chapter meets on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets.

There are 178 chapters of Living Liberally, including fifteen in Washington state, four in Oregon and two in Idaho, so chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting somewhere near you.

Open Thread 12/1

- Sally Clark should resign if that’s the attitude she takes after hitting a bike.

– I can’t even imagine wanting to follow protesters around with guns.

My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK

– Jeff Merkley is right about ending too big to jail as a concept.

Instead of trying to fix this problem by telling our daughters what they can’t like, I think it might be better to work toward a society that accepts scientists, programmers, and CEOs that like unicorns and the color pink just as much as those that don’t.

– Reasonable complaints about women’s soccer in the UK.

HA Bible Study: Job 1

Job 1
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.