Open Thread (Some Joke)

- I say let bikes and motorcycles run reds all the time.

– The first step of Seattle’s minimum wage hike is going into effect.

Six things to know about Shell’s plan to base its Arctic fleet at the Port of Seattle

In the real world moms carry their newborns around with them. It’s as natural as it gets. And it was charming.

– You guys, stop what you’re doing. They found Cervantes’ tomb! This is not a drill.

– Am I the only person here excited about Overthinking It’s Eurovision coverage? I am? Cool.

Yearly Yeats

So, it’s St. Pat’s again. Here’s Easter 1916. Maybe read it to your friends instead of getting too drunk and yelling outside my building like you do most years no matter if I have to get up or not.

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wingèd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone’s in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Dori Monson on Restaurant Closures: Lying or Illiterate?

Gotta hand it to my former KIRO radio colleague Dori Monson—he’s never so sure of himself as when he’s absolutely wrong:

Seattle restaurants are closing because of the coming of $15 an hour. … Seattle Magazine had a story about this. Queen Anne’s Grub restaurant closed Feb. 14. Pioneer Square’s Little Uncle shut down Feb. 25. The Boat Street Cafe will close May 30.

The restaurant owners said certainly there are a lot of reasons, but they said that $15 an hour is a major factor in all of this.

Uh-huh. Except, if Dori had actually read the Seattle Magazine piece, he’d know that not a single one of these owners mentioned the minimum wage as a contributing factor toward their restaurant’s closure. Grub’s owner sold out to pursue “future opportunities in this wonderful industry;” a new restaurant will open in its place. Boat Street Cafe’s owner is closing to focus on her three other restaurants and the two new ones she’s opening, while the neighboring Boat Street Kitchen expands into the cafe’s space. And Little Uncle’s owners say they closed because their “Pioneer Square location ultimately does not fit into the goals of our professional life and personal life,”—and are planning to reopen in a new location.

We did not close our Pioneer Square location due to the new minimum wage,” Little Uncle’s Poncharee Kounpungchart told PubliCola.

That’s weird, ha. No, that’s not why I’m closing Boat Street,” owner Renee Erickson told the Seattle Times when asked if her closure had anything to do with the minimum wage. (Yay, Bethany!)

So why isn’t Seattle’s $15 minimum wage a factor? It could be because it hasn’t happened yet! Also, the first step of the phase-in will have very little impact on these restaurants’ bottom line.

Starting April 1, small businesses (and these are all small businesses) will be required to pay tipped workers a minimum wage of $10 an hour. But Washington State’s minimum wage is already $9.47 an hour, so that’s not much of a raise. The ordinance requires a “minimum compensation” of $11 an hour—wage plus tips plus benefits—but most back of house staff at full service restaurants in Seattle already earn more than that. Maybe a few dishwashers will get a small raise. This isn’t restaurant armageddon.

In fact, restaurants close all the time—about 17 percent a year in Washington State, according to the article Dori cited, but obviously didn’t bother to read. And there is no evidence that Seattle restaurants are closing any faster than they normally do.

In any case, correlation doesn’t equal causation. So why Dori, who denies climate science, would find a handful of restaurant closures to be irrefutable proof of the “real world consequences” of a higher minimum wage, seems strange. Unless, of course, Dori couldn’t actually give a shit about the truth.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottlePlease join us this evening for a St. Patrick’s Day party peppered with political prognostication at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

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 happening this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, WA, and Shelton chapters also meet. The Lakewood chapter meets on Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets.

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

Boeing Courageously Defends Workers from Predatory Unions. Or Something.

Because if there’s any company that is dedicated to protecting the best interests of its workers, it’s Boeing:

The Machinists union on Monday asked for an election so about 2,400 Boeing production workers in South Carolina can decide whether they want union representation.

The aeronautics giant immediately responded that a union is not in the best interests of the company, the workers or the state.

Also not in the best interests of Boeing workers, apparently, is keeping their jobs here in Washington State. Or something. But we should trust Boeing management to always do what’s best for their workers.

Republican Presidential Candidate Roundup: Wait, They Said What?

Spring has sprung, birds are singing, and Republican presidential candidates are slinging bullshit all over Iowa and New Hampshire. Here’s an incomplete list of some of the dumbest things that have been said over the last three days or so:

Mike Huckabee: The perennial presidential candidate does not use the diabetes snake oil  “miracle cure” that he’s paid to shill, reports the New York Times. This man is about as unserious as they come, but for some reason he’s treated like a real live human being wherever he goes. How is that?

Scott Walker: The Little Governor That Could got caught spinning a King Arthur-like fable about himself. Walker told a story in which Reagan’s family bible basically flew into his hands, as though he was the chosen successor to Reagan. The curator of the Reagan Library politely begged to differ with Walker’s fabulist take.

Ted Cruz: Speaking in New Hampshire this weekend, Ted Cruz’s toddler-like grasp of politics managed to terrify an actual toddler (starting at 0:34 in the below video):

Cruz’s response to the child makes absolutely no sense. He tells her that her world specifically is on fire, but then he says Republicans will make it “even better.” Even better than totally on fire? Does that mean burned to a cinder or not on fire anymore?

Rand Paul: The youngest living Ron Paul clone did some brand maintenance this weekend . He’s supposed to be the hippest presidential candidate in the game, so he made multiple appearances at Austin’s insufferably hip South By Southwest festival. And, in case you’re not already in awe of Paul’s hipness, he also held a live Twitter Q&A with his adoring public, using the hashtag #RANDSXSW. Here’s one exchange:

Okay, this analogy makes even less sense than Ted Cruz’s attempt to soothe a child by invoking the apocalypse. Using Paul’s own logic, wealthy people would be able to ensure that their packages arrive sooner than yours. Delivery companies would be able to hold your packages ransom until you agreed to pay a last-second delivery fee. The internet is and has always been a utility. If Paul could make an analogy using electricity, I might be willing to listen to him. But he can’t, so he’s going to tie the internet to that classic Republican target, the United States Postal Service. A whole lot of people will buy this dumb analogy on its surface, which is precisely why it’s so dangerous.

Bonus Rand Paul Round: Paul also claimed that he signed the traitorous letter to Iran because he wanted President Obama “to negotiate from a position of strength.” Uh-huh. Meanwhile, Deroy Murdock at National Review‘s Corner blog says nobody should be upset about that Iran letter because it wasn’t actually sent anywhere. It was just published on the internet where anyone can read and re-post it. Or does Iran already suffer from the socialist plague of postal neutrality? No wonder Senator Paul signed the letter!

Jeb Bush: The presumptive next Republican presidential candidate made his first royal tour of New Hampshire over the weekend, and the media loves him, presumably because Bush is granting them access. The press is swooning over Bush, calling him an “anti-Romney” and a “centrist.” Never mind the fact that Bush, who supposedly really cares about income inequality at the moment, claims that he sees “no need for a national increase in the minimum wage,” which should be the first step of any real plan to combat income inequality. Bush is totally a centrist man of the people, because he acts all chummy with the reporters who are assigned to his campaign. He’s the anti-Romney, okay? He just is. Shut up.

Open Thread March 16

- Are Seattle Restaurants Closing in “Record Numbers”? (Spoiler: No.)

– Continuing on the theme of Carl Ballard loves it when the New York Times realizes that Seattle exists, here’s a nice run-down of the Royal Dutch Shell lease.

– The Washington Alliance For Gun Responsibility wants you to sign a petition asking the gun lobby to knock off their lawsuit.

– Good for SPD for firing a creepy officer, and being open about why. Boo for some of the reaction to it on Facebook.

Why #BlackOutDay matters

– The M/V Sally Fox is looking pretty good.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Mental Floss: 23 bad business moves.

David Pakman: When did right-wing anti-intellectualism begin?

Pap: GOP is scamming its donors.

Young Turks: Megyn Kelly drops some reality sauce on Mike Huckabee’s head.


If Susan B. Anthony had a Vlog.

David Pakman: A President Lindsey Graham would deploy military against congress to reverse military cuts.

Sam Seder: The mainstream press fails Wisconsin Workers

SNL Weekend Update girl at a party on ISIS and Boko Haram.

Kerry spars with Rubio over ISIS

Anti-Vax Fever (with chills and light sneezing):

Jon mocks CNN’s Selma coverage of… a drone.

Thom: Why unions are the seeds of democracy.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about your lawn.

John Oliver: U.S. Territories.


Amazon Prime for Women (because you deserve 78% satisfaction).

Jon questions Christie’s loyalty to NJ.

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

Mental Floss: Why do we get dark circles under our eyes.

Rep. Donna Edwards launches Senate bid.

Congressional hits and misses of the week.

Sam Seder and Cliff Schecter: Scott Walker butchers Wisconsin workers.

Racism in America:

Kimmel: Obama reads mean tweets:

Sam Seder: The legacy of Paul Wellstone.

White House: West Wing Week.

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

David Pakman: The Obama economy.

Sen. Patty Murray and other Democratic leaders cry foul over abortion language shamefully put into anti-human trafficking bill:

Vsauce: Human extinction.

ONN: Should unpaid interns be paid for fighting for their boss’ amusement?

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

Open Thread 3/13

- Remembering Trailblazing Abortion Provider Mildred ‘Millie’ Hanson

– Since the state Senate isn’t sure that humans caused global warming, I’m just going to go ahead and blame it on the bears who want to end their hibernation early.

One of the purposes of this blog has always been to, as I said, back in 2009, “present a way of life.” I hoped that it would encourage people to think differently and give them a window into a way of doing things they perhaps hadn’t considered. But these days, encouraging people to depend on transit seems naïve, even irresponsible.

– It’s interesting to think of downtown sub-components and hopefully how to better serve them with transit.

– As a former fetus myself, that guy is a jerk.

Election Endorsements Have Consequences

If the Seattle Times editorial board is so “depressed” about Republican science denial, perhaps they might want to stop endorsing Republicans?

THE state Senate this week had a brief but telling debate about climate change. It ended, depressingly, with a mostly party-line vote that very well could have taken place years earlier, with Republicans resisting the science on humankind’s clear role in reshaping our global climate.

Seriously… how many of these idiots has the Seattle Times endorsed?

Are Liberals Getting Played?

I was going to write a straight up post about how the Washington State House passed the Equal Pay Opportunity Act. Modeled on what some other states are doing, it would make it easier for employees to compare wages.

“This pay transparency allows employees the opportunity – the very information they need – to identify and challenge practices that lead to discrimination,” she said.

Washington’s working women make about 77 cents for every dollar men make.

In fact, a recent study released by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce found that the median salary for women in Washington state is $41,300, while the median salary for men is $53,000.

Awesome job House!

That said, I was going to start this post with a similar intro to the minimum wage post. Namely, that it’s a great, and vital, and necessary thing that the Senate is most likely either not going to take up or if it does that it won’t pass, or — best case — water down significantly. And I wonder if we’re getting these sort of things passed in the House (guns excluded) because they have no chance of passing the Senate.

What I mean is, they want to get lefty voters like the writers and many readers of this blog excited. We’re doing everything we can on raising the minimum wage and making sure there’s equal pay for women, and we passed Reproductive Health Act. Yes!

But they can turn around to the business community and let them know well your minimum wage isn’t raised and you don’t have to do anything new for equal pay for women, so don’t worry. They can turn to the insurance industry and let them know they don’t have to pay for abortions or other reproductive care. And I wonder if it would have been tougher to pass these things in the House if Democrats controlled the Senate. I mean women weren’t being paid equally when Democrats controlled both chambers. The Reproductive Parity Act didn’t become law when they had both chambers.

None of this is to say that activists should despair. Contact your legislator. Push your Senator to actually pass these things. Sometimes something will surprise you! Work to elect more and better Democrats. But honestly, I’d like to see some proof that this isn’t just pandering.

The Jinxiest Statement Ever Made About Hillary Clinton’s Inevitability

Republicans are excited about this Time cover because they think it makes Clinton look like she has devil horns. Seriously. Go check out National Review's blog if you don't believe me.

Republicans are excited about this Time cover because they think it makes Clinton look like she has devil horns. Seriously. Go check out National Review‘s blog if you don’t believe me.

If you are at all superstitious, this New York Times story by Nicholas Confessore, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman about the inevitability of Hillary Clinton ought to be triggering serious alarm bells for you. Get a load of this paragraph:

“Anytime you have all your eggs in one basket, it is a concern,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, acknowledging the risk Democrats were running by deferring to Mrs. Clinton. “Although if you’re going to have them all in one, this basket is a good place to be.”

Talk about tempting fate! I’m an atheist, but just reading this quote makes me want to throw salt over my left shoulder while making the sign of the cross and bellowing the word “JINX” 137 times, because everyone knows that if you say “jinx” an even number of times it doesn’t work due to the law of double negatives. My mind is reeling with other things Governor Markell could have said:

“Anytime you try to kill the golden goose in hopes of figuring out how it makes the golden eggs, it is a concern,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, acknowledging the risk Democrats were running by relying on Democratic voting demographics to turn out in 2016 for a candidate who will go through essentially no serious primary challenge. “Although if you’re going to murder your golden goose, this one certainly seems to be asking for it!”

“Anytime you try to count your chickens before they hatch, it is a concern,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, acknowledging the risk Democrats were running by deferring to Mrs. Clinton. “Although if you’re going to count them before they hatch, these eggs sure do look awfully healthy, don’t they?”

“Anytime you ask what could possibly go wrong, it is a concern,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, acknowledging the risk Democrats were running by deferring to Mrs. Clinton. “Although, to be frank, what could possibly go wrong with a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign?”

Look. I think Hillary Clinton could be a very strong candidate. I don’t believe this e-mail imbroglio is really going to amount to much in the eyes of the general public, the same way Benghazi and Whitewater only matter to the conservative fringe. And as much as Republicans love to hate her, I believe Clinton would enjoy a tremendous groundswell of support among independents and even centrist Republicans in comparison to the unfettered (racist) vitriol that Obama has had to deal with.

But if we’re seriously looking at a race between Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, I think this is a sign that the Democratic Party could be in for some lean years ahead. Where are our options? Why aren’t any young up-and-comers willing to give this a shot? Are they afraid of retribution from the Clintons? Is everybody just willing to sit this cycle out and politely wait their turn? This isn’t elementary school. It’s real life, and in real life, the unexpected happens. This is the reason why we have cliches about eggs in baskets and counting eggs and golden geese. For the sake of the party, will no young Democrat heed these very important pieces of bird-related advice?

Seattle Times Accuses Mayor and Council of Siding with Nonexistent Fast Food Workers Union

If there’s anything the Seattle Times editorial board hates more than the $15 minimum wage, it’s unions!

It is easy to substitute McDonald’s corporate face for the word “franchise” and feel no pang of sympathy. But in reality, franchise owners are often small, family-owned businesses, which get the use of a copyright, advertising, training and group buying discounts. In exchange, franchises typically pay between 4 and 7 percent of gross profits.

Unions dislike this business model and the low wages usually paid by quick-serve retailers, and have worked with some success to unionize fast-food workers. In the political pressure cooker of the $15 Now movement last year, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council sided with the unions, and against the small-business owners who are franchisees.

… In siding with the union pressure, Seattle sided against not only fast food chains, but also against pet groomers, barbers, businesses providing in-home care to elders and people with disabilities, and others.

Yup, that’s the Seattle Times’ narrative, and they’re sticking to it: this is a struggle for survival by small, locally-owned businesses (like McDonalds, Burger King, and Subway) against the dastardly political machinations of the IBFFWS (the International Brotherhood of Fast Food Workers or Something), the all-powerful—yet curiously nonexistent—fast food workers union!

What a load of crap.

To be clear, there is no fast food workers union, and while there was certainly a successful effort to organize fast food workers, there was no real attempt to actually unionize them—a virtually impossible task given our weak labor laws and the franchised structure of the fast food industry. So no, the mayor and the council most certainly did not “side with the unions.” They sided with the fast food workers who risked their jobs by walking out in demand of a $15 minimum wage.

The Seattle Times’ effort to spin this into a clash between small business and BIG LABOR is simply bullshit. The story of declining wages in America is the story of the declining bargaining power of labor, and fast food franchise workers are the most disenfranchised workers of all. “We beat them on the federal level, and we beat them on the state level,” International Franchise Association lobbyist Dean Heyl recently bragged at a meeting called by the Koch-backed ALEC to strategize opposition to local minimum wage hikes like Seattle’s. And that’s what this lawsuit is really about: a Koch/ALEC/IFA plot to keep fast food workers as powerless as possible.

Shame on the Seattle Times.