Open Thread March 16

- Are Seattle Restaurants Closing in “Record Numbers”? (Spoiler: No.)

– Continuing on the theme of Carl Ballard loves it when the New York Times realizes that Seattle exists, here’s a nice run-down of the Royal Dutch Shell lease.

– The Washington Alliance For Gun Responsibility wants you to sign a petition asking the gun lobby to knock off their lawsuit.

– Good for SPD for firing a creepy officer, and being open about why. Boo for some of the reaction to it on Facebook.

Why #BlackOutDay matters

– The M/V Sally Fox is looking pretty good.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Mental Floss: 23 bad business moves.

David Pakman: When did right-wing anti-intellectualism begin?

Pap: GOP is scamming its donors.

Young Turks: Megyn Kelly drops some reality sauce on Mike Huckabee’s head.

#47Traitors

If Susan B. Anthony had a Vlog.

David Pakman: A President Lindsey Graham would deploy military against congress to reverse military cuts.

Sam Seder: The mainstream press fails Wisconsin Workers

SNL Weekend Update girl at a party on ISIS and Boko Haram.

Kerry spars with Rubio over ISIS

Anti-Vax Fever (with chills and light sneezing):

Jon mocks CNN’s Selma coverage of… a drone.

Thom: Why unions are the seeds of democracy.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about your lawn.

John Oliver: U.S. Territories.

Wrong-email-address-ghazi!!!!!11!1!11!!!!

Amazon Prime for Women (because you deserve 78% satisfaction).

Jon questions Christie’s loyalty to NJ.

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

Mental Floss: Why do we get dark circles under our eyes.

Rep. Donna Edwards launches Senate bid.

Congressional hits and misses of the week.

Sam Seder and Cliff Schecter: Scott Walker butchers Wisconsin workers.

Racism in America:

Kimmel: Obama reads mean tweets:

Sam Seder: The legacy of Paul Wellstone.

White House: West Wing Week.

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

David Pakman: The Obama economy.

Sen. Patty Murray and other Democratic leaders cry foul over abortion language shamefully put into anti-human trafficking bill:

Vsauce: Human extinction.

ONN: Should unpaid interns be paid for fighting for their boss’ amusement?

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

Open Thread 3/13

- Remembering Trailblazing Abortion Provider Mildred ‘Millie’ Hanson

– Since the state Senate isn’t sure that humans caused global warming, I’m just going to go ahead and blame it on the bears who want to end their hibernation early.

One of the purposes of this blog has always been to, as I said, back in 2009, “present a way of life.” I hoped that it would encourage people to think differently and give them a window into a way of doing things they perhaps hadn’t considered. But these days, encouraging people to depend on transit seems naïve, even irresponsible.

– It’s interesting to think of downtown sub-components and hopefully how to better serve them with transit.

– As a former fetus myself, that guy is a jerk.

Election Endorsements Have Consequences

If the Seattle Times editorial board is so “depressed” about Republican science denial, perhaps they might want to stop endorsing Republicans?

THE state Senate this week had a brief but telling debate about climate change. It ended, depressingly, with a mostly party-line vote that very well could have taken place years earlier, with Republicans resisting the science on humankind’s clear role in reshaping our global climate.

Seriously… how many of these idiots has the Seattle Times endorsed?

Are Liberals Getting Played?

I was going to write a straight up post about how the Washington State House passed the Equal Pay Opportunity Act. Modeled on what some other states are doing, it would make it easier for employees to compare wages.

“This pay transparency allows employees the opportunity – the very information they need – to identify and challenge practices that lead to discrimination,” she said.

Washington’s working women make about 77 cents for every dollar men make.

In fact, a recent study released by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce found that the median salary for women in Washington state is $41,300, while the median salary for men is $53,000.

Awesome job House!

That said, I was going to start this post with a similar intro to the minimum wage post. Namely, that it’s a great, and vital, and necessary thing that the Senate is most likely either not going to take up or if it does that it won’t pass, or — best case — water down significantly. And I wonder if we’re getting these sort of things passed in the House (guns excluded) because they have no chance of passing the Senate.

What I mean is, they want to get lefty voters like the writers and many readers of this blog excited. We’re doing everything we can on raising the minimum wage and making sure there’s equal pay for women, and we passed Reproductive Health Act. Yes!

But they can turn around to the business community and let them know well your minimum wage isn’t raised and you don’t have to do anything new for equal pay for women, so don’t worry. They can turn to the insurance industry and let them know they don’t have to pay for abortions or other reproductive care. And I wonder if it would have been tougher to pass these things in the House if Democrats controlled the Senate. I mean women weren’t being paid equally when Democrats controlled both chambers. The Reproductive Parity Act didn’t become law when they had both chambers.

None of this is to say that activists should despair. Contact your legislator. Push your Senator to actually pass these things. Sometimes something will surprise you! Work to elect more and better Democrats. But honestly, I’d like to see some proof that this isn’t just pandering.

The Jinxiest Statement Ever Made About Hillary Clinton’s Inevitability

Republicans are excited about this Time cover because they think it makes Clinton look like she has devil horns. Seriously. Go check out National Review's blog if you don't believe me.

Republicans are excited about this Time cover because they think it makes Clinton look like she has devil horns. Seriously. Go check out National Review‘s blog if you don’t believe me.

If you are at all superstitious, this New York Times story by Nicholas Confessore, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman about the inevitability of Hillary Clinton ought to be triggering serious alarm bells for you. Get a load of this paragraph:

“Anytime you have all your eggs in one basket, it is a concern,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, acknowledging the risk Democrats were running by deferring to Mrs. Clinton. “Although if you’re going to have them all in one, this basket is a good place to be.”

Talk about tempting fate! I’m an atheist, but just reading this quote makes me want to throw salt over my left shoulder while making the sign of the cross and bellowing the word “JINX” 137 times, because everyone knows that if you say “jinx” an even number of times it doesn’t work due to the law of double negatives. My mind is reeling with other things Governor Markell could have said:

“Anytime you try to kill the golden goose in hopes of figuring out how it makes the golden eggs, it is a concern,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, acknowledging the risk Democrats were running by relying on Democratic voting demographics to turn out in 2016 for a candidate who will go through essentially no serious primary challenge. “Although if you’re going to murder your golden goose, this one certainly seems to be asking for it!”

“Anytime you try to count your chickens before they hatch, it is a concern,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, acknowledging the risk Democrats were running by deferring to Mrs. Clinton. “Although if you’re going to count them before they hatch, these eggs sure do look awfully healthy, don’t they?”

“Anytime you ask what could possibly go wrong, it is a concern,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, acknowledging the risk Democrats were running by deferring to Mrs. Clinton. “Although, to be frank, what could possibly go wrong with a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign?”

Look. I think Hillary Clinton could be a very strong candidate. I don’t believe this e-mail imbroglio is really going to amount to much in the eyes of the general public, the same way Benghazi and Whitewater only matter to the conservative fringe. And as much as Republicans love to hate her, I believe Clinton would enjoy a tremendous groundswell of support among independents and even centrist Republicans in comparison to the unfettered (racist) vitriol that Obama has had to deal with.

But if we’re seriously looking at a race between Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, I think this is a sign that the Democratic Party could be in for some lean years ahead. Where are our options? Why aren’t any young up-and-comers willing to give this a shot? Are they afraid of retribution from the Clintons? Is everybody just willing to sit this cycle out and politely wait their turn? This isn’t elementary school. It’s real life, and in real life, the unexpected happens. This is the reason why we have cliches about eggs in baskets and counting eggs and golden geese. For the sake of the party, will no young Democrat heed these very important pieces of bird-related advice?

Seattle Times Accuses Mayor and Council of Siding with Nonexistent Fast Food Workers Union

If there’s anything the Seattle Times editorial board hates more than the $15 minimum wage, it’s unions!

It is easy to substitute McDonald’s corporate face for the word “franchise” and feel no pang of sympathy. But in reality, franchise owners are often small, family-owned businesses, which get the use of a copyright, advertising, training and group buying discounts. In exchange, franchises typically pay between 4 and 7 percent of gross profits.

Unions dislike this business model and the low wages usually paid by quick-serve retailers, and have worked with some success to unionize fast-food workers. In the political pressure cooker of the $15 Now movement last year, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council sided with the unions, and against the small-business owners who are franchisees.

… In siding with the union pressure, Seattle sided against not only fast food chains, but also against pet groomers, barbers, businesses providing in-home care to elders and people with disabilities, and others.

Yup, that’s the Seattle Times’ narrative, and they’re sticking to it: this is a struggle for survival by small, locally-owned businesses (like McDonalds, Burger King, and Subway) against the dastardly political machinations of the IBFFWS (the International Brotherhood of Fast Food Workers or Something), the all-powerful—yet curiously nonexistent—fast food workers union!

What a load of crap.

To be clear, there is no fast food workers union, and while there was certainly a successful effort to organize fast food workers, there was no real attempt to actually unionize them—a virtually impossible task given our weak labor laws and the franchised structure of the fast food industry. So no, the mayor and the council most certainly did not “side with the unions.” They sided with the fast food workers who risked their jobs by walking out in demand of a $15 minimum wage.

The Seattle Times’ effort to spin this into a clash between small business and BIG LABOR is simply bullshit. The story of declining wages in America is the story of the declining bargaining power of labor, and fast food franchise workers are the most disenfranchised workers of all. “We beat them on the federal level, and we beat them on the state level,” International Franchise Association lobbyist Dean Heyl recently bragged at a meeting called by the Koch-backed ALEC to strategize opposition to local minimum wage hikes like Seattle’s. And that’s what this lawsuit is really about: a Koch/ALEC/IFA plot to keep fast food workers as powerless as possible.

Shame on the Seattle Times.

Open Thread RIGHT NOW!

- Who says there isn’t bipartisanship in the state Senate? Why just yesterday they passed a usury bill for Moneytree and other payday lenders.

– And speaking of bipartisanship, who knew it wouldn’t work on the national level? Except so many people.

– Look, humans may cause climate change. Or maybe it’s monkeys. Maybe it’s God, did you even think of that??? Maybe those glaciers were just tired of hanging out and are leaving.

the lie that made me give up

Immigrant Songs sounds like a great project.

Partisan Hackery v. Obvious Intent

Jeb Bush’s Catastrophic Health Care Plan Would Be Catastrophic

 

Jeb Bush beer koozie. Now available at millennialsforjeb.com for eight lousy bucks!

Jeb Bush beer koozie. Now available at millennialsforjeb.com for eight lousy bucks!

Hello! My name is Paul Constant and I am currently the lowest possible form of life in the 21st century: a “content creator” without a “platform.” My old/new coworker Goldy was kind enough to loan me the keys to this blog (Horse Sass? Fun name! Is this blog about bronies?) until Nicktopia launches its own internet clubhouse. Thank you in advance for putting up with me.

So. Jeb Bush. A compassionate conservative. Or rather, I mean, a man who’s passionate about transforming America into a kinder, gentler nation. No, wait. What’s his schtick? I’m a little rusty at this…oh, yeah! He’s all about the Right to Rise. And what does that mean, again? It means Jeb Bush really wants us to know that he cares about income inequality. Because he’s supposedly the smart Bush, you see, and he knows that income inequality will be a defining factor in the 2016 presidential elections. Of course, all of the ideas Bush has floated as the solution to income inequality so far have been the same old Republican tropes wrapped up in a shiny new package. Could anyone seriously believe that cutting corporate regulations will somehow provide poor people with higher wages? Does even Jeb Bush believe this bullshit? It’s doubtful.

But this is pretty standard Republican boilerplate. Since Ronald Reagan first bestowed trickle down economics upon an unwitting nation, Republicans have been contorting the same three ideas—fuck you, pay me, and fuck those other guys, too—into an endless variation of gimmicks that always result in “less government, more business.” The vexing thing about trickle down economics as an idea is that it’s proven to be very flexible. Consider the fact that “job creators” became a major issue in the 2012 election. That’s just trickle down economics, repackaged into a Romney-friendly phrase. “You didn’t build that” as a Republican National Convention theme? That’s trickle down. So Bush’s goal this time around is to somehow repackage trickle down into a theory that supposedly fixes income inequality. It’s going to be tough going.

So yesterday, Politico‘s Jennifer Haberkorn published a piece recounting Jeb Bush’s thoughts on the Affordable Care Act. Unsurprisingly, Bush calls Obamacare a “monstrosity.” This is not a surprise; Republicans have been beating their thesauri into coughing up synonyms for “Nazism” ever since the Affordable Care Act was first proposed. But the next thing Jeb Bush says–remember, he’s supposedly the smart one in his family–is un-fucking-believable. Get a load of this:

“The effort by the state, by the government, ought to be to try to create catastrophic coverage, where there is relief for families in our country, where if you have a hardship that goes way beyond your means of paying for it, the government is there or an entity is there to help you deal with that,” Bush said in Iowa last weekend. “The rest of it ought to be shifted back where individuals are empowered to make more decisions themselves.”

Whu-huh? Excuse me? There’s so much to unpack in this statement that I’m not even sure where to begin. First of all, I guess, let’s be clear that catastrophic coverage for the poor is exactly the health care system we had before Obamacare passed. Health care for poor people meant that they only went to the emergency room when they absolutely had to, when their health became a matter of life and death, and then they had to skip out on the bills because they couldn’t afford them. This made everyone’s bills higher. So to formalize catastrophic care into the standard health care for America’s poorest citizens would mean we’d be denying a huge percentage of the population access to preventative care, to basic check-ups, to screenings and vaccinations and all the medical care that every single American should be allowed to enjoy.

Secondly, it sounds to me that in the above quote, Bush is suggesting that we ought to adopt some sort of single-payer catastrophic health care plan, which is in some ways an even more liberal concept than Obamacare. If we establish a safety net of catastrophic coverage for every American citizen—albeit a safety net that hangs about two feet above an unforgiving concrete floor—does that mean we’ll have catastrophic death panels to determine when to cut coverage off? Will there be a catastrophic tax to pay for the catastrophic coverage? What’s to stop some future Democratic president from upgrading catastrophic single-payer coverage into Canadian-style single-payer coverage? Did Bush think this idea through at all?

The questions keep hurtling into my head faster than I can process them. Does Bush think he’ll actually be able to sell this idea—and it’s frankly charitable to even call it an “idea”—to the American voting public? Can trickle down survive this adaptation into the medical arena? Is America ready for a health care system as horrifically imbalanced in favor of the wealthy as our economic system is? Does Bush really expect poor people to swallow this? Is his message of hope for the poor people of America really going to be “you’re only allowed to visit a doctor on the single worst day of your life?”

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottlePlease join us this evening for some politics over a pint, some civics over cider, some campaigning over champagne, or some electioneering over…um…Everclear? Whatever your taste in governing or guzzling, stop by for this week’s gathering of the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

We meet every Tuesday evening at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. Our starting time is 8:00 pm, but some folks stop by earlier for dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle on Tuesday night? Check out one of the other DL meetings this week. The Tri-Cities and Redmond chapters also meet on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Bellingham and Spokane chapters meet. The Bremerton and Kent chapters meet on Thursday. And next Monday, the Aberdeen and Yakima chapters meet.

There are 189 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.

HA Bible Study: Numbers 31:7-18

Numbers 31:7-18
They attacked Midian as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.

Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived. After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the generals and captains[a] who had returned from the battle.

“Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the Lord’s people. So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

Discuss.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Mental Floss: 30 weird apps.

Bibi Goes To Washington:

Pasco Police kill man but don’t know ‘use of force’ policy:

Jimmy Kimmel on his anti-vax haters.

Sam Seder: Nutcase Rep. Louie Gohmert thinks we can’t fight Boko Haram because of THE GAYS!.

Wrong-email-address-ghazi!

Funny or Die: An apology from Uber.

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

They told this DEA agent not to enforce drug laws in white areas.:

Health Care Challenge:

Congressional hits and misses of the week.

Thom: The Good, The Bad, and the Very Very Banausicly Ugly!.

David Pakman: Sheriff who refused Obamacare now begging strangers to pay medical bills.

Mental Floss: How does a two-way mirror work.

The 2016 Clown Parade:

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about allergies.

Bill Maher: Republican’s obsession with whether Obama loves America enough.

David Pakman: 57% of Republicans say dismantle Constitution, make Christianity national religion.

Thom: Welcome to the new corporate feudalism.

Ferguson’s “Officers Friendly”:

Sam and Pap: How stupid has the GOP made America?

White House: West Wing Week.

David Pakman: Unemployment rate down to 5.6%, 212,000 new jobs.

“Senator Barb” paved way for Senate women:

Bill-O-The-Liar:

Young Turks: Nutbag conservative blogger doesn’t like Spock because of Obama?!?

Greenman: Climate change elevator pitch from Mauri Pelto.

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

Open Thread Threes Icks

- The Yakima example in this Think Progress piece, Cities Are Quietly Reviving A Jim Crow-Era Trick To Suppress Latino Votes is pretty interesting. [h/t]

– Oh man remember when the elephant ban wasted everyone’s time and just mentioning it was a hilarious joke in Seattle for like 3 years? Turns out that and similar pressure around the country has caused Ringling Brothers to phase out its elephant acts.

– I’m more concerned about the emails than Peter Daou, but in general, what he said about Hillary Clinton’s detractors.

RIP, Grandma Otter!