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.


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.


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.



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

Vote, Goddammit!

I know that there are some states in which the powers that be make it difficult to vote, forcing you to produce documents you might not have, or making you take off from work to stand in long lines during inclement weather. But Washington State is not one of them. Here we vote entirely by mail. All it takes is a couple minutes, a pen, and a stamp. And while I can’t guarantee it, the stamp is pretty much optional.

So really, you’ve got absolutely no excuse not to vote. If you don’t trust the mail, King County Elections has 22 drop boxes and vans located throughout the county. Lost your ballot? You can print a replacement online, and return it by 8pm tonight via mail, fax, or email (though you’ll have to send in a paper copy by the certification deadline in order for your electronic ballot to count).

It’s easy!

As for how to vote, that’s up to you. I’ve voted for I-594 (gun background checks), against I-591 (stoopid NRA initiative), for I-1351 (reduce class sizes), for Seattle’s Prop 1B (universal preschool), and for Seattle Transportation Benefit District Prop 1 (more money for Seattle bus service). Also, for all the Supreme Court incumbents.

As for what to expect, the only contest above that’s likely to be close is Seattle Prop 1. Not sure if it passes, and if it does, I’ve no idea whether 1A or 1B prevails. The only other intriguing local contest is the 43rd LD race between Democratic incumbent House Speaker Frank Chopp and Socialist Alternative challenger Jess Spear. Chopp will win, but he should be awfully embarrassed if Spear tops 30 percent.

I doubt Dems take the state senate, and I’m pretty sure they’ll lose control of the federal one. So that sucks. But whatever. Vote, goddammit. Or don’t ever, ever complain about the guvmint.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottleIt’s election day! Get that ballot in, and then join us for an evening of conversation, drinks, and election returns 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 feel free to show up earlier to watch election returns.

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

With 201 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.

New PPP poll weighs in on ballot initiatives

A new PPP poll, conducted on behalf of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, provides a preview of how some ballot measures will do tomorrow night.

For the most part, the poll reinforces what we saw in the recent Washington Poll. There is one interesting difference between the Washington Poll and the new PPP poll. The Washington Poll was taken Oct 17-24, so mostly prior to the 24 Oct Marysville-Pilchuck high school shooting. The PPP poll surveyed 636 likely voters from 30 Oct to 1 Nov, after the shooting.

How did the gun initiatives do? Initiative 594, that would close the background check loopholes, gets 59% support in favor and 38% against, with 3% unsure. This is a small drop in support from the WA Poll’s 64% Yes to 36% No. We can expect it to win handily.

Initiative 591, that would prohibit the state from imposing background checks, is losing 41% in favor to 52% against and 8% not sure. Compare that to the WA Poll’s 42.6% Yes and 45.7% No. That spread has more than doubled from three points to seven. Of course, this could be sampling error, different polling methods, etc. in addition to or instead of an actual change since the shooting. But this poll certainly suggests that I-591 will very likely lose on Tuesday.

The primary reason I-591 is on the ballot is to confuse voters. It directly competes with I-594 yet the numbers in the WA Poll suggest that a chunk of voters were saying YES to both measures–that is, some voters are confused.. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but the increased opposition to I-591 in the PPP poll may reflect voters being more informed about both measures.

Open Thread 11/3

- I know y’all know this but since it’s my last open thread before the election (depending on how late Tuesday’s is, but most post offices will probably be closed), hey everybody vote please. Our trolls are voting, so, you know at the very least cancel them out. But if you need a reason, here are some Spine-Chilling Reasons to Vote in These Midterms.

It seems many of the president’s detractors were so eager to declare a new “Obama’s Katrina” – the 11th in a series – that they overlooked the nagging detail that the federal response to Ebola has actually been quite effective.

– The Koch Brothers spending money on knocking out Jeff Merkley this late in the game seems a bit strange, especially in Oregon where most of the ballots should already be in.

Is it not true that your program is fundamentally socialistic to take over private business? With more taxes?

– You guys, I’m really sad for Mars Hill

#ILookGoodOnAPronto looks like a fun little event.

Separated at birth?

OK, which of the gentlemen (sic) shown below is sleazy discredited pastor Mark Driscoll? Which one is sleazy discredited initiative whore Tim Eyman?

I’m sure I’m not the only person around who’s noticed a resemblance between these characters.


Yes, I’m coming out of a long hiatus on HA just to publish this bit of frivolity. If you wish, you can consider this to be an open thread.