Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Thom: Texas rejects a woman’s right to choose.

“Holy Encyclical, Batman!”

David Pakman: Paul Ryan falls apart (again) on FAUX News…has no plan to replace ObamaCare.

Congressional Hits and Misses of the week.

WTF? Another Right-Wing Extremist Mass Shooting?!?

Mental Floss: 14 facts about parasites.

Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) gets a jump on Father’s Day

Young Turks: What woman should appear on the $10?.

Pap and Sam Seder: GOP trash economics sends Kansas back to the dust bowl.

VSauce: Dinosaurs.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about famous stories.

The 2016 Clown Parade—“Even More Clowns” Edition:

Mental Floss: Why do we blush when embarassed.

Farron Cousins: The death of another Republican talking point.

Kimmel: This week in unnecessary censorship.

Thom: How big money is undermining voter rights.

Racial Identity Politics:

White House: West Wing Week.

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

Just No

They’ve taken the tweet down and changed the headline, but for most of yesterday, The Seattle Times had headlined their story copy of an AP soty and tweeted “Concentrated evil” or “sweet kid”: Details on the suspect in Charleston church shootings. Ansel at Slog gives some context to the harm done by various attempts by the media to humanize these killers. And that’s an important thing to say.

That context is important, but this case it’s ugly enough on its own. We’re talking about a racist crime. We’re talking about terrorizing a community. We’re talking about a man who committed the grossest of acts. And it doesn’t matter if you can find some friend’s parent who vouched for him at some point “sweet kid” is disgusting.

Look, I’m all for finding out all about how the people who knew him felt about him before. If it’s in the wire story, I guess run it. But The Seattle Times chose to highlight that. And it’s a fucking disgrace.

Open Thread 6/19

My ancient laptop is acting funny so no links. Will try to do something on the commute home, but no promises.

An Open Letter To The Leaders of the White Community:

To the TV and radio hosts, the columnists, the leaders of White churches, to the parents of White people: You really have to take the lead in teaching our community not to murder Black people. There is a sickness in the White community where we excuse police, where we excuse people who saw an unarmed Black kid with Skittles, where we excuse anyone who says they’re scared of Black people killing them. While each time it’s horrendous, last night, we saw as the toxic racism of our culture that hardly bothers to condemn the murder of Black people came to a head in a Black church in South Carolina.

Yes, sure, there is more to deal with than looking for every excuse after a Black man or woman gets killed by the police or by someone with a gun. Yes, we need to deal more specifically with the toxic aftereffects of slavery, and of Jim Crow, and of redlining. And we need to end the pay gap between Black and White people. We can deal with the school to prison pipeline. We can take Black people seriously when they talk about their own lives. We can cut the micro-aggression bullshit. But we can at least start with condemning it when Black people are killed in this country. We can at least not look for excuses.

All of that has to start with White people. A white person bought Dylann Storm Roof a gun in the first damn place. White people are the ones whose paranoid fantasies give space for this sort of thing. We’re the ones who make excuse after excuse after goddamn excuse.

We’re the ones who after the fact say selling loosies should have been a death sentence. We’re the ones who say being put in the back of a police van should be a death sentence. White people, and especially those with a platform need to confront the deadly racism in our community. As long as we keep making excuses, there will be more.

Thread Status: Open! Date: 6/17/2015.

- Dear SPD: Get your shit together.


– Donald Trump isn’t going to be president, obviously. But him running probably solves his biggest concern: What if during the campaign, people aren’t paying attention to Donald Trump.

– Will there ever be a GOP candidate for governor who supports a minimum wage?

Maybe it’s best to accept that some of this big-picture planning is just happening on autopilot.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottleYou are invited to the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally tonight. Stop by for informal conversation over an ice cold beer.

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. 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 190 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.

WA Republican Anti-Taxers Have Lost the Editorial Boards on Capital Gains

Our state’s editorial boards love to complain about the budget impasse in Olympia, but for many years they have played a key role in the obstruction, consistently opposing any substantive new tax—especially on income—as fervently as the most dyed-in-the-wool anti-tax Republican. Until now:

Pigs Fly!

Victor Habbick |

A proposal in the Senate would apply a 7 percent capital-gains tax to 0.1 percent of the state’s residents, or about 7,500 residents. It would only apply to gains over $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for couples.

Instead of punting to committees and next year’s Legislature, they should buckle down and make the choice to begin taxing capital gains.

That’s the Seattle Times editorial board making the case that a “capital-gains tax is best option to fund education.” Seriously. And while we’ve been seeing their position evolve over the past few months, it’s still pretty stunning to see them state their support for the tax so bluntly.

And then there’s this from today’s Olympian:

A key element of our state’s F grade for effort was the comparatively low percentage of the state’s economic output that Washington has invested through taxes into K-12 schools. Part of the problem is our over-reliance and regressive tax system that ignores a large share of economic activity including the sales of services and such income-producers as capital gains.

I sometimes joke that I’m the only non-lawmaker who still reads the editorial pages, but of course that’s not true. Editorial board endorsements may not be nearly as influential as they were even a decade ago, but they still play a role in shaping public opinion. Or at least, reinforcing it. And anti-tax legislators no longer have the “serious” people behind them in obstructing all efforts to tax income.

Washington’s tax structure is absurdly regressive. I’ve been saying that since my very first blog post, more than 11 years ago. There’s simply no arguing with that fact. And now the editorial boards have finally acknowledged that our revenue system is insufficient as well. Republican lawmakers should take note that they are on the wrong side of the editorial boards on this issue, and that if we fail to pass the additional revenue necessary to satisfy McCleary, the editorial boards won’t be shy about pointing out which lawmakers are to blame.

Given my fierce criticism over the years, you might think that I’d hate to give the editorial boards credit for finally advocating for responsible tax policy. Not at all. Responsible tax policy is all I ever really wanted. And it’s great to see the Seattle Times on board.

[Cross-posted at Civic Skunkworks]

o-p-e-n! t-h-r-e-a-d? 6/15/’15

- Pro-Choice and Pregnant? Yeah, It’s Really Real

Increasingly it looks like this whole P.C. boo-hoo is just a weaponized version of Those Were The Days.

– Being a GOP presidential candidate gets you the opportunity to scam the elderly out of their homes, eventually.

– Wow, Councilmember O’Brien.

– The legislature should pass a resolution saying they don’t know if longer fire seasons caused by global warming are real.


HA Bible Study: Dueling Creation Myths!

Genesis 1:24-28
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Genesis 2:7-22
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

[…] And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.


Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

SlateTV: Spiders falling from the sky.

Ann Telnaes: The elusive G.O.P. ObamaCare replacement.

Obama: Health Care in America:

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

The 2016 Clown Procession:

Jon: Awkward moments between CNN’s Chris Cuomo and NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Farron Cousins: Sarah Palin—The candidate the GOP deserves.

Richard Fowler: Ben and Jerry’s delicious environmental mission.

Here is what you need to know about MERS.

Pelosi announces opposition to trade bill.

Forgotten Assholes of History: Money hungry witch hunter.

David Pakman: Glenn Beck quits America.

Pap: Mitch McConnell’s anti-American journey to spite Obama.

Thom: Kansas’s reagonomic disaster and Minnesota’s economic miracle.

Obama sometimes responds to letters that call him an idiot.

VSauce: The Moon Terminator Illusion:

SlateTV: What are the chances of getting hit by asteroid?

Officer Friendly:

Young Turks: Why Dems (w/ GOP help) torpedoed Obama’s big evil trade deal.

Reid: GOP governing ‘crisis by crisis’.

Kimmel: This week in unnecessary censorship.

Thom: Listen when Greenpeace says “Shell NO”.

Mental Floss: Does hitting the snooze button help?

Pap and Sam Seder: Red states are screwed if Obamacare is repealed.

PsychoSuperMom: Voter fraud is (still) a fraud.

Farron Cousins: The Republican War on the Poor™ continues.

Thom: The Good, The bad, and the very very bathetically ugly.

Maddow: NH Republicans reject FAUX News as debate moderator.

Songify the News: Of murder and catfish.

WaPo: Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, phase I.

Is this Cig-ghazi?

Rummy Raises His Ugly Head:

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about the weather.

White House: West Wing Week.

Young Turks: Hastert’s pedophile obsession proves gross hypocrisy.

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

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


I don’t even understand what Dori Monson is trying to say here.

I have good news for the wildlife of our state. They’re getting their own overpass on I-90.

I don’t know enough about the overpass but roads are pretty bad for the environment so something like that to mitigate some of the problems is probably a good thing. There are reasonable discussions about cost and about what else we could do with that money, I suppose. But that isn’t really the issue here. The issue is superlatives:

The world’s most wildlife-friendly highways.

I don’t want to be obsessive here, but it comes up later: Most wildlife-friendly according to who?

How come everything we do has to be a world record? The [Seattle] tunnel was going to be two feet smaller in diameter, which would have made it the second largest tunnel in the world. They said no, no, no – let’s add two feet so that it can be the biggest drill ever. They were so obsessed with a world record sized drill that they cared more about that then building a drill that would actually drill.


I was pretty critical of the tunnel machine for a long time, but I’m pretty sure Dori just made that story up.

Everything has to be a world record because they’re spending our money. I could set all kinds of world records if I could just spend other people’s money to achieve my goals.

Something something wasting Bonneville International’s money on the dipshittiest radio show.

Maybe we don’t need to have the world’s most wildlife-friendly highway ever.

Well, there are places that have more fragile ecosystems. Islands and like rainforests and shit. But I think it makes more sense to see the value of the project on its own merits rather than pointing out that you could do something similar in the Brazilian Amazon. Also, we didn’t answer who deemed it that. So if you want, you can just call it the antepenultimate and nobody will care.

This overpass is going to cost $6.2 million. Watch and see how much it ends up costing. It’s supposed to open in 2019 and cost $6.2 million. I’m going to guess 2023 and $20 million. I’ll go triple the cost that they’re estimating right now.

Calendared. I’m sure he’ll let us know if WSDOT’s prediction turns out to be correct. Also, is this a standard we can apply to all road projects or just the ones that don’t have to have safety improvements or to account for the weight of moving cars and trucks, so are probably less likely to come in over budget?

Civil Liberties Roundup

Last week, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, a very modest reform of the NSA’s surveillance capabilities, still leaving much of what they can do intact.

The main reform is the end of the bulk collection of metadata under Section 215, which has been ruled illegal in multiple courts since Edward Snowden fully disclosed its existence two years ago. In its place will be a system where telecoms archive their data and NSA can only pull metadata after going through the FISA Court that will have a privacy advocate overseeing the proceedings. Although there’s a provision that could allow for a six month “transition period” to this new protocol.

In looking at these changes, Bill Scher argues that civil libertarians lost:

In an interview with Democracy Now just before passage, Edward Snowden confidant Glenn Greenwald triumphantly declared “the only reason why the Patriot Act is going to be reformed is because one person was courageous enough, in an act of conscience, to come forward.” But minutes later, Greenwald conceded that “it leaves overwhelmingly undisturbed the vast bulk of what the NSA does, and it’s very unlikely that there will be another reform bill, which means that the NSA’s core mission and core activities will remain unreformed and unchanged.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who opposed the USA Freedom Act as too tough on the NSA, thundered on the floor before the vote that the bill amounted to a “resounding victory for Edward Snowden.” But the civil libertarian two-stepping exposes the truth: Snowden lost.

As one former intelligence official told the Daily Beast, “What no one wants to say out loud is that this is a big win for the NSA, and a huge nothing-burger for the privacy community.” Turns out one of the main reform planks – having telecommunications companies instead of the NSA collect personal metadata in bulk – is a logistical efficiency, not a restraint on surveillance. “It’s very expensive and very cumbersome,” said the official. “Good! Let them take them. I’m tired of holding on to this,” said another.

What this reminds me of is the debate in the wake of Obamacare’s passage. In many ways, Obamacare fell way short of the ideal health care legislation. Obama conceded significant reforms in order to get something passed, making deals that left significant inefficiencies and profiteering in the health care industry intact.

But the passage of Obamacare was a victory in some real ways. It was a baby step in the right direction and it put to rest the idea that health care reform of any kind was impossible. The passage of the USA Freedom Act is a victory in the same way. It changes the longstanding dynamic towards giving government agencies greater leeway in national security matters and it put the defenders of an unrestrained national security apparatus on the defensive for the first time in many years.

The “former intelligence official” quoted above seems not to understand the significance of the reform as well. The main problem with the Section 215 collection of metadata wasn’t simply the existence of the metadata itself. It was the potential for that information to be abused. The changes implemented make it harder for NSA to cross that line. That’s a victory, even if it’s a small one in a giant box of other needed reforms.

News items from the last two weeks…
[Read more…]


- Trans* Women Are Women

– Getting names is making East Link really feel concrete

There is literally no problem on earth that lowering taxes on business people will not solve.

Polish your lenses, oil your tripods, search your archives – the seventh Panda’s Thumb photography contest, begins – now!

– Ping pong tables in parks is kind of fun, but I don’t know why we have to ruin it with pretending it’s going to stop crimes.

Great News, Assholes

One of the most infuriating arguments against Roe v Wade is from people who claim that they’re for abortion rights, but wish it had come from the states, legislature by legislature. The idea being, I guess, that women, trans men and other people who can get pregnant controlling their own body should be subject to the whims of legislatures and not a fundamental right. It always seemed like such a dodge to me.

But now that state legislatures and Congress are proposing and enacting more and more anti-choice legislation, and at least some courts are upholding them, it’s surely time for the people who have been making that argument to step up and oppose these things legislatively.

Because now Texas is pushing TRAP laws and the court isn’t intervening. Now 20 week bans, pre-viability, are sprouting up across the country. Now states are banning medication abortions with consequences. Now, if you care about abortion, but for some ungodly reason think it has to be legislative victories, you can act. Abortion rights are coming under attack, and it’s time, it’s past time, for pro-choice people to fight back.

So sure, in Washington we’re fighting to increase access. But it isn’t like the Reproductive Rights Parity act has passed. Or for that matter that the budget will be anything like friendly to reproductive rights. Of course the main reason to oppose these anti-choice measures is that they’re harmful to the people who live in those states who can get pregnant. But now the people who have been waiting for abortion to be a legislative thing, can finally get in the game. Unless it was just an excuse not to participate in the first place.