Fucking His Own Constituents

Back when Rodney Tom was complaining about the Seattle Sick Leave / Safe Leave and minimum wage laws, I thought it was horrible. If you’re a State Senator, you should at least ostensibly have the interests of the state in mind. And you know, he was promoting terrible policy. But at least I understand if you’re going to try to argue that the Eastside is better than Seattle, you’re going to have to argue with what you have. So claim East King County’s bad labor laws compared to Seattle are an advantage for business, sure if that’s your thing. But if you represent a city that just passed a sick leave / safe leave law, embrace it.

Not so much with Senator Baumgartner. He has prioritized pushing against his own constituents’ being able to take off if they’re sick or having an emergency!

Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner introduced Tuesday what he’s calling the “Seattle quarantine” bill, which would prevent city councils across the state from placing new worker rules on businesses. As currently written, it would void laws already such as the family and medical leave ordinance which the Spokane Council passed Monday over Mayor David Condon’s veto but Baumgartner conceded Tuesday existing laws would likely have to be grandfathered in later discussions.

You know quarantine. When you force sick people to go to work lest they risk being fired. Quarantine. It’s also an admission that his side can’t win on ideas qua ideas. Can’t have his constituents seeing what good is happening in Seattle.

Quarantine Spokane from Seattle. When Spokane people elect leaders running on a platform of workplace rules like this, and those same people enact that agenda. That’s why they need to be quarantined.

Also, the bill would stop Seattle the same as anywhere else. And if places are grandfathered in, Seattle is still prevented from doing future workplace stuff. So quarantine doesn’t work to describe the thing it’s meant to describe even close to correctly. And don’t get me started on how quarantines generally are supposed to be temporary. All around, solid metaphoring.

“The goal of the bill is not to gut what’s already been done, it’s to prevent future damage,” he said.

Damage like a decent minimum wage and a bit of sick leave or safe leave. That’s damage. Damage of local elected officials saying the minimum set out by the state can be improved on. Is damage.

Baumgartner referred to the Spokane Council as a “mini Me” to the Seattle council, where the minimum wage is being raised to $15 an hour in phases over the next two to five years. “The state cannot afford to have labor laws made city by city by liberal city officials chasing progressive fads,” he said.

Excellent reference. I’m sure all the kids today are making Austin Powers jokes. Or not even jokes so much as half-assed mentions of a character who only appears in the sequels. I’m sure Baumgartner is fun at parties. He probably quotes Monty Python, blurting it — and other ancient pop culture ephemera — out at inappropriate times. I bet this has happened at at least one of his fundraisers:

“This music is kind of loud.”
“Well it goes to 11.”
“Oh, I wasn’t expecting you to make a horribly dated reference for no reason.”
“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”
“Yeah, Baby!”
“I’m leaving.”
“Running away, eh? You yellow bastards!”
“There’s only one of me and you already made a Monty Python reference. Now I’m leaving for real.”
“Come back here and take what’s coming to ya! I’ll bite your legs off!”

It’s possible I’m reading too much into that Mini-Me thing and have lost the thread. So… back to the larger point. Spokane made a choice. For the record, one that this Seattle resident approves of whole hog. But it was ultimately Spokane elected officials who ran on a platform enacting that platform.

The only way that Seattle had something to do with it is how our (and Sea-Tac’s) example worked so far. If we had become the horrible shit hole that minimum wage opponents claim, we wouldn’t be an example. Also, we, and Spokane can reverse course. If this $15 minimum wage thing doesn’t work out, elected officials can change it. If opponents of the sick leave / safe leave law don’t like it, and can elect people who’ll repeal it, it’ll get repealed. But so far, advocates of these sorts of laws that have generally been reelected, and when they haven’t been, it’s for other reasons.

Rather than quarantine yourself from a large part of the state — one with outsized economic and cultural influence — you can embrace it. We’re doing great things, and in many ways it’s transferable to the rest of the state. I guess, if your economic ideas are more dated than your movie references, maybe Seattle is a problem. But if you actually look at what’s happening with the $15 minimum wage and the sick leave / safe leave laws, you can see why other places might want to imitate it.

Wednesday Open Thread

One thing I didn’t include in Monday’s piece on Spokane’s sick leave/safe leave law was this amazing paragraph in the Spokesman-Review’s write up.

Condon said his veto stemmed from his opinion that such employment requirements should be mandated by state government, not a local municipality. He added that he would not lobby for such a change in state law.

When politicians say they oppose doing a thing at whatever level, it’s usually not a spirited defense of doing that thing at another level. Mayor Condon clearly opposes the sick leave/safe leave law. He could have opposed it on its merits (such as they are) rather than complain that the state should do it. And if he thinks the state should do it, he could push that.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottleTim Eyman’s hostage anti-tax measure was declared unconstitutional, Sarah Palin has re-emerged, and we’re down to a week until the Iowa caucuses. This calls for a drink! Please join us tonight for an evening of politics and conversation over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. You’ll find us in the small room at the back of the tavern. We start at 8:00pm.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings happening this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities chapter also meets. On Wednesday, the Burien chapter meets. The Woodinville chapter meets on Thursday. And next Monday, the Yakima and South Bellevue chapters meet.

There are 186 chapters of Living Liberally, including eighteen in Washington state, three in Oregon and one in Idaho. Find—or go out and start—a chapter near you.

Spokane Sick Leave/ Safe Leave Law

Spokane is moving toward having its version of a sick leave/ safe leave law. It would be require employers with fewer than 10 people to have 3 days of sick leave and employers that are larger than that to have 5 days. While Mayor David Condon has vetoed it, it did pass 6 to 1. So it’ll likely still pass the council.

I have to say, I’m really glad that they’re passing something, but this makes me pretty nervous:

Calling the law “arbitrary,” Condon said his decision to veto also came from a lack of clarity on how the city would enforce the new requirements, or how much it would cost the city. He suggested he prefers incentives to requirements.

“I’m more of a carrot than a stick type of person,” Condon said.

Here in Seattle, we’ve had a tough enough time enforcing our sick leave/safe leave law with mayors who ostensibly support it. I hope he’ll enforce it when it does become law, but if you want to contact him and make sure, you can do that here. If you want to contact the city council and ask them to override the veto, you an do that here.

Also, just like in Seattle, this is a sick leave/ safe leave law, not just a sick leave law. News reports I’ve been reading about this don’t mention it, and they really should.* I couldn’t figure out exactly what qualifies people for safe leave on Spokane’s website, but all their material is pretty clear that it’s a part of the law. If anyone has more details, I’d love to know them.

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Open Thread Monday!

Over the weekend, I took a ride on the new streetcar! Here are some random thoughts I had while riding it.

  • It seems like similar cars to the ones in South Lake Union.
  • Still, I was super excited riding it. It felt very much like it will be integrated into the city in a way that the line in South Lake Union hasn’t been.
  • Unlike when the light rail opened, all of the stops are places that are easy enough to get to, as a downtown resident who walks and bikes most trips. It still was pretty cool seeing familiar places through a streetcar window.
  • The next stop projection at the front was a nice touch. It was several stops ahead rather than just the one. Might make it easier for tourists or other people unfamiliar with the area. I’d like to see that on ST trains and maybe on buses going forward.
  • Traffic was an issue. A car tried to get too far forward in a turn when we were coming and the streetcar had to break pretty hard. It was the sort of thing a bus could maneuver around, but we had to stop while the driver sorted themselves out. It’ll probably be worse in rush hour. Still, once people are used to the light rail, maybe they’ll drive better. Or, that’s not how Seattle drivers work traditionally. We’ll see.
  • Maybe it’s the fact that I lived in London and have fond memories of hopping off and on the circle line more or less at random, but when I look at the map, I feel like we could eventually make the streetcar a big circle. It seems like there would be some engineering challenges crossing I-5 in the Northern part of the map, and I don’t know about the parts that are single track. But it seems like a long-term goal for the streetcars.

HA Bible Study: Revelation 9:7-10

Revelation 9:7-10
The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. They had what looked like gold crowns on their heads, and their faces looked like human faces. They had hair like women’s hair and teeth like the teeth of a lion. They wore armor made of iron, and their wings roared like an army of chariots rushing into battle. They had tails that stung like scorpions, and for five months they had the power to torment people.


Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Matthew Filipowicz: My NSFW Phone-Banking Call With An Angry Conservative.

Farron Cousins: How bad will Republican hate get in Obama’s final year?

135 years of warmin in 30 seconds.

The 2016 G.O.P. BaffoonFest:

President Obama asked about tampon tax by YouTuber Ingrid Nilsen.

Bill Maher wants Barack Obama for his 60th birthday.

Red State Update: Benghazi movie flop.


Why #Blacklivesmatter protests are happening all over America:

How to become a millionaire in one easy step.

White House: West Wing Week.

David Pakman: Conservatives are loosing it over “gender-inclusive” bathrooms.

Malicious Militia Men:

Thom: Finding America’s missing voters.

David Hawkings’ Whiteboard: Congressional factions.

How the Tea Party is splitting the G.O.P.

This billionaire thinks you should be paid more.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about memory.

Making a Killing: Guns, Greed & The NRA.

World of Water Woes:

Follow the money: The truth about Citizens United.

Seth Meyers: Bernie and Hillary.

Comedy Central: Wrestling with History in Whitesboro, NY.

Thom with The Good, the Bad and The Very, Very Cleocentricly Ugly!

How to build a car.

Trevor Noah: Breaking down the Republican and Democratic debates.

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

Open Thread 1-22

I had to get up early on Wednesday, and I’m still messed up today. Really feeling the lack of sleep, even an hour or so, is kind of an adult thing. I’m sure when I was a teenager and didn’t get home until super late, I’m sure it screwed me up just as bad. But I think I just pushed past it. I’m actually feeling it now. A couple days later.

Stop Shooting People

Oh hey, another day another pointless shooting in a movie theater.

A woman was shot Thursday night at a movie theater at The Landing in Renton, according to police.

Crews responded to the scene after reports of a shooting after 8 p.m.

She was taken to Harborview Medical Center but her condition is unknown. Police are searching for the shooter: one male.

I hope the best for her physically and psychologically. And I hope everyone at the theater who had to witness that shit gets the help they need.

But also, just a note to anyone thinking of getting drunk with a gun and shooting a theater. Or shooting a theater without getting drunk: Just don’t. Just fucking don’t. Leave your gun before you start drinking. Don’t shoot people. Whatever reason is going through your mind, whatever justification you’re making, don’t shoot people. Don’t shoot anyone. I’m so sick and tired of this.

Schadenfreude Alert: Watch Tim Eyman Learn a Court Has Ruled I-1366 Unconstitutional!

As expected by just about everybody with even a cursory understanding of the law (you know, everybody but Tim), King County Superior Court Judge William L. Downing ruled today that Initiative 1366 is unconstitutional on grounds that… well… really… it’s hard to find a ground on which I-1366 isn’t unconstitutional.

Initiative I-1366 would have slashed the state sales tax by a penny starting in April (at a cost of about $1.4 billion a year), unless the legislature put a 2/3 supermajority for tax increases constitutional amendment on the November ballot. But Downing tossed it out in its entirety, ruling that I-1366 “exceeds the scope of the initiative power,” that it “violates art XXIII the Washington constitution in usurping the role of the legislature by proposing precise terms for a constitutional amendment,” that it “abridges the plenary powers of the 2016 legislature by tying its hands in an impermissible way,” and, of course, that it violates the “single subject” clause of Article II, section 19 by including “three separate subjects and purposes [that] cannot be said to possess a rational unity.”

Congratulations, Tim, on winning the quadfecta of unconstitutionality!

No doubt Downing’s decision will be appealed—but also no doubt it will be upheld, and his quick ruling takes the distraction completely off the table for the current 60-day legislative session. As for Tim, I could watch his pained expression all day long. What a horse’s ass.

WA State Rep. Mary Dye (R-Scoldville) Asks Lobbying Teens If They’re Virgins

Open Thread 1-20-2016

You would think that despite all the very real differences between Democrats and Republicans that the legislature could come together and figure out getting rape kits tested. But it turns out that testing rape kits isn’t free. And while real progress was made last session, it’s still not there and we still need to pay for them.

So the new bill going through the legislature is mostly to the good. But Seattlish explains why an admissions tax on strip clubs is not the best way to pay for rape kits.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle


Last week we had the first week of the WA legislative session, the State of the Union Address, Republican and Democratic debates, and big things happening on the foreign policy front. Oh…and the Seahawks. So let’s call this a Debriefing Edition of the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally. Stop by and chat about it.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. You’ll find us in the small room at the back of the tavern. We start at 8:00pm.

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 meets on Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Tacoma, Bremerton, and Spokane, chapters meet.

There are 186 chapters of Living Liberally, including eighteen in Washington state, three in Oregon and one in Idaho. Find—or go out and start—a chapter near you.

Open Thread 1-18

I had a thought in the last few minutes of yesterday’s game that I’ve had a few times when a team is down 9 or 10 points with a few minutes left and driving. I wonder if it might make more sense to just kick the field goal as soon as you get within the kicker’s range. Like 2nd and 5 but you made it to somewhere that you trust the kicker, just bring him on.

My thinking is that you save however much time you would have taken if you get closer but still get the field goal. So if you can get the ball back, you have more time, and you know it’s 4 down territory the whole way.

The downsides are: (a) When there are 10 points: 2 touchdowns wins but a touchdown and a field goal only sends it to overtime. So maybe it only works on 9 points.(b) It maybe sends a message to your offense that you don’t trust them. I don’t think that’s true. Maybe tell them you’re going to go for 2 if they score if that will make a difference. (c) Something something momentum. Every football announcer talks about momentum like it’s a thing so 7 points is momentumier than 3. But I don’t buy momentum as a thing. (d) The other team only needs to get a field goal to put it away. Maybe, but the point here is that you trust your defense. If the other team can get to field goal range, they’ve probably eaten enough clock that the game would be over if you’d dilly dallied around for a few minutes before kicking the field goal.

I’m sure there are others downsides that I haven’t thought of. Generally the coaches who live and breathe this stuff know more than some jerk who has seen like half of the games. But the open threads are fast becoming a random thoughts column, so here’s another one.