Open Thread!

Despite the latest setbacks (and the fact that I was originally anti-tunnel) I still think we have an obligation to press on with the bad idea. There was a vote and that still matters.

That said, the safety doesn’t seem all that assured. Maybe we should close the Viaduct before the tunnel gets to under it. That sounds bad for already bad traffic, but then again so does pretty much everything about this project from jump.

The Viaduct is always a downer to write about so feel under no obligation in an open thread. Talk about whatever!

Republican Clown Show Open Thread

I’m heading over to the Roanoke Park Place Tavern (our DL bar) to meet a couple of friends and watch the “debate”. Please join me if you feel so inclined. Otherwise join the fun in the comment thread below.

5:47: Talking heads populate the tube in the Roanoke.

5:53: Reince Priebus makes the laughable claim that the Republicans are the party of diversity. Riiiiiigggggghhhhht.

5:58: Goddamnit. If they are going to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the start of a debate, I fucking want a ball, referees with whistles, timeouts, injuries, and the occasional physical altercation.

6:04: What the fuck the Canadian guy dodges the question about employment and economic growth to babble about Obama not mentioning “prisoners” that Obama knew were not prisoners? What a putz!

6:08: Kasich is in a particularly babbly mood this evening. No idea what the take-home was from that.

6:10: Chris Christie thinks Americans are cowards!

6:12: It is funny watching Cruz and Christie try to make something evil out of the Iranian incident. It is like they’ve rehearsed and rehearsed and then when it turns out to be absolutely nothing, they couldn’t not go ahead with their talking points.

6:16: Rubio seems angry….

6:17: Carson suggests that we no longer have “airforces” in 21st century warfare.

6:19: Paris has the “strictest no-good policy”, says Trump? It seems Trump got together before the debate to share in his stash of babble pills.

6:21: Ted Cruz does not seem to understand the difference between the news branch and the editorial branch of the NYT.

6:22: Cruz admitted he made a “paperwork error”. He’s toast. G.O.P. rule #12, “Never admit to an error!”

6:27: Birferism! Birferism!

6:30 Holy fuck…Trump bringing up how well he is doing in the polls borders on psychopathology. Totally inappropriate and awkward.

6:32: Cruz delivers a zinger, “I’ve been arguing before the Supreme Court…and I am not going to talk legal advice from Donald Trump.”

6:37: Really, Rubio? Common Core is a threat to our nation? Somebody’s been dipping into the Drama Pill stash.

6:43: Someone should point out to Kasich…he is the Bernie Sanders of the Republican field.

6:47: So far, Donald Trump has make a total ass of himself. Ben Carson and John Kasich have engaged in quasi-random babble. Ted Cruz has offered Trump the VP slot. Christie has endorsed Rubio. Rubio has come off as an angry psychopath. And Jeb Bush has almost smiled. Once.

(Terrible news for Puddybud)

7:03: Wait…why is Cruz babbling on about NY?

7:03: Oh…for punchline, “Not a lot of conservatives come from NY”. Trump: “Well…William F. Buckley….” Trump does a nice job modulating down to make Cruz come off as a bit hyper.

7:05: Trump goes all Rudy on us. 9/11 9/11 9/11

7:06: Jeb Bush points out that the U.S. Navy is only 1/2 the size as it was in Desert Storm. Ummm…someone should inform the Gov. that most of the decline happened under his brother.

7:13: Someone should point out to Marco Rubio during this debate that he is not running against Obama.

7:14: FAUX Business moderators went out of their way to humiliate Lindsey Graham by calling him out as an audience member. Classy!

7:15: Carson is embarrassingly clueless about all things international. Please make him stop talking…for his own sake.

7:24: Please Donald….tell us you want to torture the baby of the two TERRIBLE San Bernardino people.

7:27: Again…Rubio goes after Obama instead of Clinton. Is he fishing for the KKK demographic?


8:04: Kasich created a task force about a year ago. Clearly qualified to be POTUS.

8:16: Holy crap…this is a Debate Moderator FILLIBUSTER!

8:22: Christie; “…fight…fight…fight…fight…fight…” Ummm…this isn’t a man I want in charge of the nuclear codes….

8:27: Trump: Iranian wise guys?!? Didn’t three of them visit Jesus?

Business Insider puts Washington state at the bottom of the list of state economies

Business Insider has published a ranking of state economies, and Washington State is at the very bottom of their list. Right down there after 49 other states and D.C. Oh…wait, the list is in descending order of rank.

Whoa, whoa, whoa…since when did Business Insider become a socialist-loving, minimum-wage-increase-approving, leftist pinko publication?

I suppose their methods account for something like per-capita arugula sales or Kumbaya downloads, no?

We ranked the economies of all the states and DC on seven measures: unemployment rates; GDP per capita; average weekly wages; recent growth rates for nonfarm payroll jobs; GDP; house prices; and wages. For more on our methodology, click here.

What the?!?

Here’s what they found:

Washington state scored extremely well on most of our metrics. Its Q2 2015 annualized GDP growth rate was a stunning 8.0%, by far the highest among the states and DC. The November 2015 average weekly wage of $1,073 was the second highest in the country, and was 5.6% higher than the weekly wage in November 2014, the third highest wage growth rate.

Huh…there goes Seattle’s minimum wage law utterly destroying our state again.

So Now The Plan Is To Take Money Directly From Other Sources?

If the people who supported charter schools still want it in the wake of the recent state supreme court rulings, they might do well to find a new source of revenue. Maybe an income tax! Definitely an income tax! OK, maybe some other tax that can be dedicated to charters.

But that’s tough when charter school supporters are writing press releases about how they’re going to take money out of the Washington Opportunity Pathways account to pay for it. I’m not going to quote the whole thing, but I wanted to highlight a few things:

The legislation, sponsored in the Senate by Litzow and Sens. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah and Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, makes a series of updates which include directing charter school funding to come from the state’s Opportunity Pathways Account, which contains state lottery revenues not restricted to common schools.

I emailed Litzow’s office on Sunday asking about what in the fund the bill would cut to make room for charters and he didn’t respond (in the same email, I also asked about the demographics of charter schools and we’ll get to that in a bit). It seems pretty obvious to me that if you want to pay for charters with an existing pot of money that you’ll have less money in that pot to pay for the things it’s paying for now. So I wanted to know if the plan is to take all of the money from one thing or to partial it out a bit from each.

For reference, here’s a list of the programs the Washington Opportunities Pathways fund goes to now:

  • State Need Grant
  • College Bound Scholarship
  • State Work Study
  • Passport to College Program for Foster Youth
  • American Indian Endowed Scholarship
  • Health Professional Loan Repayment & Scholarship Programs
  • Federal/State Loan Repayment Program (FSLRP)
  • Health Professional Loan Repayment Program
  • John R. Justice Loan Repayment
  • Aerospace Loan Program
  • Alternative Routes to Teaching

You can get more info about any of those programs at the link above. There is a pretty big disparity in how much money goes to each thing, and the press release doesn’t say how much the charter schools cost. But any dollar you add to charters under the plan has to come from one, some, or all of them. It seems like taking any money out of any of those is going to be taking money away from education at a time when we need more money in education. Maybe charters are better than some or any of them. But supporters make it seem like they found a new pot of money instead of using a pot of money that’s already allocated.

The press release also talks about low income and minority children: The title of the release says it will help “address education inequality” and it quotes Senator Pettigrew (who I generally like) as such:

“The opportunity to get a great education should be available to everyone, regardless of their zip code or the color of their skin. But many students, especially students of color, are not getting the education they deserve in our current system,”

I agree! That is important! It’s so important it’s why we have have public education in the first place. But the press release just takes at face value that the charters do a better job educating minorities. It certainly doesn’t provide any evidence that they’re better than public schools at this. The press release didn’t mention how they would ensure that charters would serve minorities going forward. Or for that matter even track if it does.

I asked what the demographics of the current charters are versus the state as a whole and versus the districts where charters were set up. Since the legislation doesn’t propose changes to the charter system as far as I could tell, that seems like a fair proxy for how they work at that goal at least initially. But again the email wasn’t answered.

Open Thread 1-13

The legislature started Monday, and I haven’t done a what are you hoping to see post. So here it is: Ideally they’ll fix McCleary without crushing social services. As long as I’m dreaming, I’d like to see the Reproductive Health Act, or whatever they’re calling it now, pass.

I’m afraid that even with a Democratic governor and one house of the legislature controlled by Democrats, I’ll be mostly defense. So I’m a bit worried that some charter school measure will pass (constitutionality of the initiative be damned). I’m a bit more worried that we’ll have massive cuts to pay for McCleary. I’m a bit worried that there will be smaller cuts to social services and we won’t even get significant education funding.

So that’s me, how about y’all?

State of the Union Open Thread

Okay…I’m late. Long day at work and bad traffic. But here ya go!

6:16: Are you better off today then you were in 2009? Almost everyone with an income under $200,000 should say yes, unless ordinary scenescence has brought you down. And then, you have health insurance, so there ya go.

6:20: It’s hard to take Obama seriously for this State of the Union Address…what with Eddie Munster sitting behind him and all.

6:24: Obama isn’t really introducing policy…rather he is systematically laying out the case why most Americans should be Democrats.

6:32: Shit…now Republicans are going to start denying Sputnik…

6:37: Obama mentions “tea partiers”. Still conflict averse, or he would have said “tea baggers”.

6:38: I wonder if Obama, Biden, and Eddie coordinated their ties in advance….

6:58: What the fuck is up with dwelling on Kim Davis? She is a circus freak. Only deserves about 3 seconds….

The Socialist State of the Union Response!

Assuming I get my blown-out tire replaced in time (thanks, I-5 through Tacoma!), I’ll be at Drinking Liberally live tweeting the State of the Union. But afterwards I invite you to join me for what’s become a Seattle tradition these past few years: city council member Kshama Sawant’s annual Socialist response.

I’ve embedded the live stream above. And remember all you Bernie-come-latelies: we’ve been electing Socialists here in Seattle since before it was cool!

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottlePlease join us this evening for a State of the Union edition of 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. Normally, we start at 8:00pm…but show up early for the 6:00pm (PDT) start of Obama’s final address.

Note: We’ll have sound and video for the State of the Union address. But the pub has other customers, so the sound may not be as loud as you want, especially with the background noises of a busy tavern and peripheral conversations. If you are intent on hearing every word, I recommend you bring stuff to stream the audio. The pub has free wifi available.

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

There are 188 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 111

The local sports club seems to have pulled off a victory in the cold Minnesota winter. It wasn’t pretty and frankly there was as much luck as anything else with the last play. Still, it was well fought and well won.

One thing I didn’t like was there seemed to be a lot of complaining about the refereeing. I’m not saying that they got it right with that last minute pass interference penalty. It’s just that that when you lose because of the refs, complaining is almost always covering for bad play. And always always poor sportsmanship. And when you complain about it after a win, it’s just pathetic.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

The 2016 Festival of Clowns:

Over the counter birth control is very exciting.

Late Night Democratic presidential debate.

Unclear Nuclear:

Greenman: Exxon knew about climate change in the 1970s.

Preview: Obama’s Final State of the Union Address:

Jimmy Dore: GOP vows to pursue more nightmare policies in 2016.

Mental Floss: 29 facts about dinosaurs.

Gun Violence in America:

Ann Telnaes: White Americans are boiling mad.

Colbert: Beware of the Franken-Lincoln.

Malicious Militias:

Congressional Hits and Misses of the week.

Farron Cousins: Koch brothers and ALEC team up to protect white collar criminals.

Water Emergency in Flint:

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

Open Thread Jan. 8

We should have a lot more access to our local governments. Most of the public records stuff could probably be done automatically. But it’ll take a fair amount of time and money to make it happen. It seems like a state mandate and state money (if we ever have it) either from the legislature or an initiative would be able to to do that in a more systematic way. Not just someone overwhelming public records requests.

If Obama Was Taking Your Guns Away, You Wouldn’t Be Buying More

Every time President Obama makes the slightest moves toward gun safety, the right does two things. They claim that President Obama /liberals in general /the government is about to take away your guns (not linking to any terrible people, but if inexplicably you need some evidence that they’re out there), and also they buy a lot of guns. At this point the gun buying at the first tiny hint of any minor restrictions is such a cliche, that Wall Street now bets on gun manufacturers (h/t).

But if you think about it for a minute, if you actually thought your guns were about to go away, you wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars or more on getting guns. It would be like spending money on Budweiser futures in that interim period between when the 18th amendment was passed and when it was implemented.

So either we all know President Obama isn’t taking your guns, or markets don’t work. Despite having lived through the .com bust and the housing bubble, I still don’t think that investors would be putting their money into a business that’s about to go away. That leaves people don’t think Obama is taking their guns.

Given what the president — and what governors including Inslee — have proposed, perhaps people are buying more guns now because they don’t think they’ll meet the criteria to buy them in a bit. That seems more economically rational. If you think he’s going to tighten the background checks in the future, better get your gun while you can. If you’ve got a history of domestic violence or have already set up a trust, you’re maybe hoping to slip in before that.

Open Thread 1-6

Now that Jim McDermott has made it official, it’ll be interesting to see who replaces him. I don’t have any favorites really, but I’d sort of prefer not voting for a person who thought they should primary him. One worry that came up at Drinking Liberally would be someone running as a Prefers Republican Party candidate could slip past a crowded primary field and make it into the general if there are enough Democrats. I don’t think that’s an issue.

So, any preferences?

Drinking Liberally — Seattle


How about this for a New Year’s Resolution: Join us for drinks, laughs, and political conversation at this week’s 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. The Long Beach, Tri-Cities and West Seattle chapters also meet tonight. The Lakewood chapter meets on Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets.

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