Open Thread 7/15

- I want to support the Off-Peak Discount for Metro, but I don’t think it’s very rational. I don’t know, maybe just because it went up so much in recent years.

- “Why I Use Birth Control”: 11 Women Speak Up

- It’s rather striking to see how many states have ultrasound requirements, biased counseling sessions, mandatory waiting periods, and regulations on the abortion pill.

- But there’s no question as to whether the GOP chicken or the Democratic egg is responsible for it. It may be true that President Obama has used executive powers in unprecedented way in some discrete instances but unless the presidency really is a ceremonial position or a potted plant, the GOP has left him no choice. Their bad faith is obvious.

- It turns out cops may not have a right to shoot your dog.

- I can get behind a This product was delivered by a bicycle label.

- I have been slowly re-reading Vonnegut, but I have avoided Slaughterhouse 5, Mother Night and Cat’s Cradle because I’m afraid I won’t like them as much as I did when I was 14. Anyway, I’ll probably have to get over that with Slaughterhouse 5 to get the full effect of this.

Forward Seattle’s Anti-$15 Minimum Wage Referendum Mathematically Eliminated from the Ballot

With 15,004 of their 18,928 signatures processed, but only 11,412 signatures validated, there are now fewer signatures remaining on Forward Seattle’s petitions than would be needed to reach the 16,510 signature threshold required to qualify their anti-$15 minimum wage referendum for the ballot. So, yeah, as I wrote yesterday, stick a fork in it.

Signature verification

Again, the petitions are holding steady at about a 76 percent validation. Even under the best possible circumstances, Forward Seattle would need a validation rate better than 118 percent on the remaining signatures in order to qualify for the ballot. Which is, of course, mathematically impossible.

It should be noted that a 76 percent validation rate is not unusual per se, but is certainly at the low range of normal. But maybe if you are willing to tolerate such sloppy and/or dishonest tactics on the part of your paid signature gatherers, you should expect sloppy and/or dishonest work in return. I sure hope for their sake that Forward Seattle’s contract with the notorious Citizen Solutions includes a refund for invalid signatures, considering they were reportedly paying as much as $4 a pop.

Speaking of which, as late as last week, Flying Apron Bakery co-owner Angela Cough loaned Forward Seattle $15,000, presumably to cover the expense of the last batch of signatures. Talk about throwing good money after bad.

Of course, as incompetent as all the smart, successful business owners behind Forward Seattle were at running their referendum, a lot of the credit for their failure must go to labor-backed Working Washington, which ran an effective “decline to sign” campaign that certainly made signature gathering more difficult, as well as a novel signature withdrawal campaign that added some last minute insurance. Kudos.

Gun Nuts Exercise Their 1st Amendment Right to Use Their 2nd Amendment Right to Threaten Our 1st Amendment Right

Gun target

Source: LWV

Hey, let’s not jump to conclusions—it could have been an angry Seattle Metropolitan Parks District supporter:

An anonymous individual (or individuals) left a target riddled with bullet holes on the doorstep of the Seattle-King County League Women Voters‘ Capitol Hill office over the recent holiday weekend—a message, the LWV believes, about the state chapter’s support for I-594, which would require background checks for gun sales online and at gun shows. A volunteer for the group found the target over the weekend.

… In a statement, Seattle/King County LWV president Ellen Barton said, “This apparent attempt to intimidate us will not dissuade us from our work. The League of Women Voters will continue to be a forum for dialogue, research and education on gun laws and gun violence, and we look forward to reasonable, robust dialogue in the months ahead.”

Couple of thoughts. First, if you want to persuade voters here that we don’t need mandatory background checks on all gun sales, threatening to shoot them isn’t the best way to do it.

Second, my God, what a crappy shot! I mean, look at that target—it’s all over the place! I shot better targets than that when I was 12 years old. If you’re gonna threaten a bunch of old ladies, the least you could do is use a target from somebody who actually knows how to shoot.

If anything, you’re just encouraging us to come for your guns, now that we know you couldn’t hit the side of a barn. Just sayin’.

Shorter Seattle Times: We Hate Teachers!

The Seattle Times editorial board is attempting to use the endorsement season to send a message to legislators on education. And that message is clear: “We hate teachers!”

5th LD House: Incumbent Rep. Chad Magendanz (R)
Magendanz’s campaign focuses on ways for the state to fulfill the state Supreme Court’s McCleary education-funding order… He is a clear choice over his two Democratic opponents, education activist David Spring and Colin Alexander, who lack Magendanz’s experience.

 

31st LD Senate: Cathy Dahlquist (R) over incumbent Senator Pam Roach (R)
Roach says she voted against a critically important teacher-evaluation bill this year because she was angered by her leadership’s push for the Dream Act. She refused in an editorial board meeting to say whether she supports the Washington Education Association’s costly Initiative 1351, which would require the hiring of thousands of additional teachers, even in upper grades where benefits of lower class size are unclear. Dahlquist takes the responsible position on these issues: yes for reform, no on the WEA’s unfunded mandate.

 

31st LD House: Drew Stokesbary (R) over Mike Sando (D)
Stokesbary’s consistent positions offer a contrast with Democrat Mike Sando, who appears conflicted. A schoolteacher and a member of the Enumclaw City Council, Sando draws inspiration and financial support from the Legislature’s moderate-Democrat faction. Yet as a local teachers’ union president, he supports the Washington Education Association’s budget-busting Initiative 1351, and he cannot suggest where to find the necessary billions. In contrast, Stokesbary deplores the measure and embraces education-reform measures.

 

33rd LD Senate: Incumbent Senator Karen Keiser (D)
In 2012, [Keiser] supported a bill that would have streamlined health-insurance offerings for teachers and might have saved them money — despite opposition from the Washington Education Association, which benefits from the current system. … While Keiser disappointingly opposed including student test scores in teacher evaluations , neither challenger has the civic résumé or the knowledge required to take on a lawmaker of her stature.

 

33rd LD House: Incumbent Rep. Mia Gregerson (D)
For instance, she told The Times’ editorial board she would have voted for a controversial bill mandating the use of test scores in teacher evaluations — if Democratic-party leaders had allowed it to come to the floor of the House — despite opposition from the state teachers’ union.

 

37th LD House: Daniel Bretzke (R) over incumbent Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D)
While Santos should be focused on the Legislature meeting its court-mandated obligations to fully fund education, she wants to make the challenge worse. She supports Initiative 1351, the teachers union-backed measure that requires class sizes across all grades to be reduced, the hiring of thousands more teachers and building of more classrooms. Yet, there is no funding mechanism in sight.

 

37th LD Senate: Pramila Jayapal (D)
Jayapal should strive for independence on issues that might not always appease the many liberal and labor groups that have endorsed her, including Fuse Washington, four separate SEIU unions and the Washington Education Association. On education, she must remember the Legislature’s top priority is to fix a broken system, not to prop up unfunded mandates.

 

1st LD House: Edward Barton (R) over incumbent Rep. Luis Moscoso (D)
On the critical issue of education, Barton is rightly skeptical of the state Supreme Court’s heavy-handed education-funding mandate, but advocates for additional funding through the so-called levy swap proposal, which has been advanced by some key House Democrats. But his independence contrasts with Moscoso, a two-term Democrat, who indicated he defers to House Democratic leadership on key education funding — the most fundamental issue facing the Legislature. Every elected official needs to be en pointe.

 

32nd LD Senate: Chris Eggen (D) over incumbent Senator Maralyn Chase (D)
[Eggen] is skeptical of the expense and mechanics of Initiative 1351, which would reduce classroom size with no revenue attached. He also understands the need for a workable role for student test scores in teacher evaluations and eligibility for federal funding.

And no, I’m not cherry-picking. Those are all nine legislative endorsements published so far, and the only one that doesn’t implicitly attack teachers, their union, and their interests is the Magendanz endorsement. But in case you’re wondering, yes, Magendanz opposes the WEA-backed class-size reducing I-1351, which is the litmus test of all litmus tests for the Seattle Times: “This seems like it is serving the adults in our education system,” said Magendanz on TVW. And by “adults,” he means “teachers.”

It is also worth noting that the editors have urged voters to toss out three of the five Democratic incumbents as punishment for supporting teachers—endorsing one Democratic and two Republican challengers. The only Republican incumbent they haven’t endorsed is bat-shit-crazy Senator Pam Roach—who refused to state a position on I-1351—and they endorsed another Republican in her stead.

So yes, legislative hopefuls, that was the editorial board’s secret phrase: “No on I-1351.” Congratulations to those of you who passed the test.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottleThe Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally meets tonight, and every Tuesday evening, for some political discussion over an ice cold drink.

We meet 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. We’re in the back room.

Can’t make it to Seattle? Check out another Washington state chapter of Drinking Liberally over the next week. The Tri-Cities and Shelton chapters also meet this Tuesday. The Lakewood and South Seattle chapters meet this Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Spokane and Tacoma chapters meet.

With 202 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.

Stick a Fork in It: Forward Seattle’s Anti-$15 Minimum Wage Referendum Will Not Qualify for the Ballot

Just got the latest signature verification numbers on Forward Seattle’s referendum, and it doesn’t look good for the anti-$15 minimum wage crowd:

Referendum No. 2 (Forward Seattle)

Number of signatures submitted18,928
Number of signatures reviewed8,389
Number of signatures verified6,409

With about 44 percent of the signatures verified, that’s a validation rate of just 76.4 percent, far short of what’s necessary to produce the 16,510 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. The first batch of 3,353 signatures validated at 75.5 percent rate, so at first glance the validation rate appears to be trending slightly in Forward Seattle’s favor. But some of this improvement is due to a small number of “signature miscompares” being rehabilitated under review from supervisors, and then folded back into the total, so it’s not really possible to entirely compare validation rates from one batch to another.

And in case you think there’s something fishy about such a low validation rate, think again:

Forward Seattle Signature Challenges

As you can see, the bulk of the rejected signatures are from people who are either not registered to vote, or are registered outside of Seattle. There’s nothing subjective about that. Meanwhile, since the number of duplicate signatures tends to rise exponentially as the sample size increases (for obvious reasons), that number should jump to close to 200 by the time the process is completed.

Given just the numbers above, Forward Seattle would need an impossible 95.8 percent validation rate on the remaining signatures in order to qualify for the ballot. Not gonna happen. But there are also an additional 455 verified signatures out of 567 submitted from a second referendum drive. If these are added to the total (and it’s not clear that they legally can), Forward Seattle would still need a 91.5 percent validation rate on the remaining signatures. Again, not gonna happen. And that’s not even counting the “hundreds” of signature withdrawal affidavits Working Washington collected.

So stick a fork in it, this referendum is done! And it’s not even close: Forward Seattle will fall a couple thousand signatures short of the threshold. There will not be a $15 minimum wage referendum on the November ballot.

 

Seattle Times: Two Hispanics in Washington’s 147-Member Legislature Is One Too Many

Ed Barton, yet another white guy for state legislature!

Ed Barton, yet another white guy for state legislature!

The Seattle Times has endorsed Republican Edward Barton over two-term Democratic state Representative Luis Moscoso in the 1st Legislative District, and omigod, I don’t even know where to start with this one.

First of all, this is now the second race (that I am aware of) in which the editors have endorsed making the state legislature even whiter. As if that’s possible. By my count there are currently only ten nonwhite members of the 147-member legislature (none in the Republican caucuses, unless we want to go back to counting the Irish).

Moscoso is one of only two Hispanics currently serving in Olympia, while Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos is one of only four Asian Pacific Islanders. The Seattle Times would prefer to replace both of them with middle-aged white guys.

Second, the editors’ pre-House biographical description of Moscoso as simply “a former Community Transit bus driver,” is an absolutely stunning lie omission, even for an editorial board that has raised lies of omission to the highest form of art.

Yes, Moscoso drove a bus. But more significantly he was a union organizer and four-term president of ATU Local 1576. He was the Government Relations Director for the Washington Public Employees Association, and served three terms as Secretary of the Washington State Democratic Party. Moscoso has also served on numerous other boards and committees including the Puget Sound Regional Council and NAACP of Snohomish County, but it is his union organizing and Democratic Party activism that makes up the bulk of his professional resume. And it is also the biographical detail to which the anti-labor editors truly object.

And last, but certainly not least, I have to admit I had trouble falling asleep last night after reading this favorable description of Barton’s education policy:

On the critical issue of education, Barton is rightly skeptical of the state Supreme Court’s heavy-handed education-funding mandate, but advocates for additional funding through the so-called levy swap proposal, which has been advanced by some key House Democrats.

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

How many times do I have to explain that the “levy swap” provides no additional funding for education?! It just doesn’t! I’ve laid out in detail how a levy swap would would work. I’ve shown my math. It is an accounting trick, pure and simple, to preposterously claim that a levy swap provides “additional funding” to K-12 education.

To repeat, a levy swap is by design revenue neutral. It merely replaces local levy dollars with state levy dollars—any increase in state school spending is offset by decreasing aggregate local school spending by an equivalent amount. Furthermore, in “property rich” urban and suburban districts like Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond (communities whose interests the Seattle Times allegedly serves), a levy swap would substantially raise our property taxes while providing zero additional funds for our local schools. In fact, a levy swap would actually erode our local K-12 funding over time!

I know folks at the Seattle Times read me—I can see the traffic coming in from nwsource.com.  So there is absolutely no excuse for continuing to perpetuate this lie.

Reading between the lines of the paper’s endorsements this year, the editors have clearly made education reform their overriding priority… if by “reform” you mean busting the teachers union, promoting the Gates/Walmart-backed corporate education agenda, and defying the Supreme Court’s mandate to spend more tax dollars on public schools. I suppose that’s their right. I just wish they had the integrity to be honest about it.

Also, Maybe You Need to Stop Endorsing So Many Republicans?

Good on the Seattle Times editorial board for voicing support for US Senator Patty Murray’s efforts to protect reproductive health care from the Supreme Court’s dangerous Hobby Lobby ruling…

Republicans and other Democrats in the Senate and House need to step up to this legislation, and its basic protections. Does anyone really believe that employees surrender their religious beliefs and civic prerogatives to their employers?

Shuffle the demographics, ethnicities and roles a bit, and no doubt the GOP opponents would be outraged by some potential employer-employee scenarios.

Timely and appropriate legislation in Congress restates the history and intent of existing federal laws so it will be clear, even for the nation’s highest court.

Of course, Murray’s bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. So, you know, if they really cared about defending women’s access to reproductive care, perhaps the editors might want to stop endorsing so many goddamn Republicans for Congress? Just sayin’.

HA Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 6:1-4

1 Corinthians 6:1-4
If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church?

Discuss.

Forward Seattle Petition Falling Short of Necessary Validation Rate

I’ve yet to see the exact numbers, and they don’t appear to be available online, but word is that King County Elections has reviewed about 4,000 of the approximately 19,500 signatures Forward Seattle submitted on their anti-$15 minimum wage petitions, and validated only 75 percent on the first pass. That’s far short of the 84.6 percent rate necessary to produce the 16,500 valid signatures required to qualify a referendum for the ballot.

I’ve no idea if those first 4,000 signatures were a random sample or a contiguous batch of petition sheets, but either way it’s bad news for Forward Seattle, which would now need an 87.1 percent validation rate on the remaining signatures to meet the threshold. That’s not impossible; all of the rates posted above are within the range of past experience. But 87.1 percent would be more of an optimistic outlier than the norm.

And that’s before considering the “hundreds” of signature withdrawals Working Washington tells me they collected.

Considering the lengths Forward Seattle had to go to generate signatures—you know, lying to voters about their petition—a 75 percent validation rate would not be surprising. It takes low standards to run a signature drive this way, and those low standards almost guarantee a degree of sloppiness and cheating.

In other words, you get what you pay for. A maxim the business owners funding Forward Seattle might want to take to heart in reconsidering how they compensate their own low wage workers.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Ann Telnaes: America’s selective righteousness.

Sam Seder: The Hobby Lobby decision is already getting worse.

Rubin Report: Easiest and hardest places to live.

Mental Floss: 20 misconceptions about sex.

Maddow: Why Rick Perry will never be Prez, Part I
Maddow: Why Rick Perry will never be Prez, Part II

Thom: Time to fine-tune Washington’s pot laws.

John Oliver: Antartic tourism.

David Pakman: House may spend more on Banghazi panel than Veterans Affairs Committee.

Boehner, Bachmann & Steinweitz: Attorneys against deadbeat Presidents:

Washington Goes To Pot:

Maddow: Right-wing Republican hypocrisy on prostitution scandals, Part I.
Maddow: Right-wing Republican hypocrisy on prostitution scandals, Part II.

Sam Seder: Fox and Friends humiliated by a child.

Young Turks: Obama is first ‘Jew-Hating’ President claims FAUX News nutjob “hate expert”.

Pap with Digby: Corporate media enables Teabagger oddballs.

Mark Fiore: Blasy the Drone, To Protect and Swerve.

Jimmy Dori: Luke Russert’s stupid tweet.

Sarah Palin’s Comedy Corner:

Sharpton: Boehner unveils bill to authorize his stunt ‘lawsuit’ against Pres. Obama.

Rubin Report: The reality of who actually earns minimum wage.

Grace Parra’s Pretty Strong Opinions: Batten down the snatches:

WaPo: Things to do in Denver when you are Prez.

What’s the Matter With Kansas?

Ed: ‘Obama economic growth’ ruins GOP’s HATE-talking points.

Young Turks: Bob Beckel earns his pay as FAUX News’ clown ‘liberal’ racist.

Pap: The Republican 50 state strategy.

The NSA spying scandal.

Nutburger Immigration Conspiracy Theories:

White House: West Wing Week.

Bill Maher: GOP and FAUX News refuse to stop telling stupid zombie lies about Obama.

Pap with Abby Martin: Blackwater’s criminal history.

Young Turks: ‘Legitimate Rape’ idiot takes back his apology and doubles down.

UCB Comedy: Senatorial Candidate for Human-Dog Marriage.

Ann Telnaes: Pandora’s Hobby Lobby box.

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

Just Finding A Balance

I mentioned in the last Open Thread that Governor Inslee has released a clean water plan. The piece I linked to had mentioned Senator Mark Schoesler’s objections. I’ve now read the relevant press release, and I’m not sure why they needed to quote it.

Water-quality standards need to increase and any new standards must balance a cleaner environment with protecting family budgets and jobs. Most people can’t afford to have their sewer bills jump to $200 per month. Any extreme increase in regulations jeopardizes jobs and hurts the poor. Extreme measures, like what we’ve seen in Oregon, won’t bring the balance we need to make this work for everyone.”

OK. So we’re looking to find balance. Just finding the right balance. Senator Schoesler and I would probably disagree about where that balance might be, but at least we can all agree that we should look both at environmental concerns and at economic and other uses of our waters.

Obviously, Governor Inslee did that. Senator Schoesler may disagree with where he found that balance. Hell, I might disagree. Let’s see what balanced questions Senator Schoesler is asking.

  • How much local fish do Washington residents actually consume, and if we don’t know, why don’t we know the real number?

Well, it varies. I’m not much of a fish eater. But a lot of people eat a lot of fish. Of course you want to protect the people who eat more. There are plenty of people who eat more than 23 meals with seafood a month, and plenty who don’t.

So far, the balance of questions is 1 for less regulation and 0 for more.

  • The City of Bellingham estimates that sewer bills will increase to $200 per month. How will low-income families and households on fixed incomes afford $2,400 per year for their sewer bills?

Wait, to $200? What is it now? If it’s $199.99 that’s very different from if it’s free (to take two extreme examples). Also — and this will shock you from a GOP press release — there’s no link to the actual source. But I highly doubt that this is in relation to the governor’s plan given that the plan had been out less than a day when this press release was put out.

I’m all for municipalities figuring out how to make bills more based on people’s ability to pay than on just the cost of providing those services. But I don’t think we should wait until they figure that out to act on clean water.

Two questions for less regulation and zero for more. Balance.

  • If 90 percent of fish that people eat is from a foreign source, how will we measure the benefits to people’s health?

Again, no source. And again, it’s not going to be perfectly balanced. Some people, people who fish or who look for local food in particular, are going to be affected by this decision more than people who buy imported fish. If we can figure out ways to protect them too, that would be great. But those are the people who eat fish who Washington State can best protect.

Balance update: 3 questions for less regulation, 0 for more.

  • How will cities, counties and businesses comply without the necessary technology to meet the new water standards?

I’m not 100% sure what the question is. Is it how does technology advance to meet needs or is it what if businesses and municipalities don’t want to pay for the technology? If it’s the first, you know markets tend to be pretty good at figuring that sort of thing out. If it’s the later, um, tough shit that’s why we have regulations.

Balance: 4 questions for less regulation 0 for more regulation.

  • What is the real economic impact in lost jobs, wages and community economic health that your regulations will cost us?

The question assumes that nobody looking into those standards considered economic impact. Or perhaps, this is supposed to hang on the word “real.” You know: we should all assume that because some GOP press release wanted to know “the real impact,” that that any talk about the economic impact is fake. Also, toxic chemicals in the water may have negative consequences, even real economic ones.

So final count: 5 questions for less regulation, 0 for more. So “the balance we need” is just as little regulation as possible.

Know Thine Enemy

Goldy, January 29, 2010:

[C]ategorizing Freeman’s market philosophy as somewhere to the right of Rich Uncle Pennybags, well, that’s about as speculative as predicting a Seattle Times editorial endorsement. (November, 2012: “Rob McKenna for Governor; a different kind of Republican.” You mark my words.)

The Seattle Times, October 6, 2012:

Rob McKenna is the best candidate to replace Chris Gregoire as governor of Washington. … McKenna has an independent mind. He is willing to work with Democrats and he is willing on occasion to buck his party.

I don’t lay claim to any peculiar powers of prescience. This is just who they are and what they do.