Let’s start with the most taxing of all:
Your Their Oklahoma City Sonics stunk out the joint against Orlando last night, losing 103-76 in a game that wasn’t that close. Rashard Lewis, one of the two Sonics stars dumped in the offseason by new Oklahoma owner Clay Bennett, had 19 by halftime. The Sonics are now 0-8, and, having lost the last five games last year, have now lost 13 straight over two seasons, a new club record.
Lee may well be right that the plot may be to make the Sonics so bad that nobody will care if they leave, but if so the ploy is backfiring: the Sonics are so bad one can’t help but watch, like a slowly unfolding car wreck or a grisly horror movie. They’re that bad.
The local papers are reporting this morning what HA readers already know: EHJR 4204 is now passing. The measure to allow school districts to pass levies with 50 percent, rather than 60 percent, of the vote, while dropping the requirement of a 40 percent voter turnout, has pulled ahead primarily on absentee ballots from King County, which has solidly supported the measure (unlike much of the state).
King County Council passed three new taxes yesterday: a one-tenth of a cent hike in the sales tax for a dedicated fund for substance abuse and mental health programs; 10 cents per $1,000 valuation in additional property tax to pay to repair substandard flood control levees; and 5.5 cents per $1,000 valuation to pay for new passenger ferry district.
Anti-war protests continued yesterday at the Port of Olympia, where protesters poured cement onto railroad tracks to try to keep trains from leaving the Port with military shipments. The brief, unbylined Seattle Times article on the topic is notable for relying solely on Olympia police as a source, without bothering to pick up the phone and call, you know, anyone from the Port or any protesters. Without any context at all (e.g., the protests that have been going on since last Friday down there), the article is a complete cipher. If you want context, try this much better piece from yesterday’s Olympian.
Nationally, after carefully taking a full working day to consider the seven hours of public testimony at last Friday’s FCC public hearing in Seattle, on Tuesday FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin issued details of his proposal to further deregulate broadcast station ownership, specifically lifting a ban on newspaper/TV cross-ownership in any one market. A tale of two headlines: New York Times: “Few Friends for Proposal on Media.” The always-friendly-to-DC-bureaucracy Washington Post: “FCC Chief Offers New Plan On Cross-Ownership.” Amazingly, neither article mentioned the overwhelming public opposition to Martin’s proposal, choosing largely to focus on the Tribune Co., Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., and other large broadcasters that would be affected by the change. The Times’ “Few Friends” headlines refers to broadcasters who want still more lenient rules — not the public that thinks media has already consolidated quite enough, thank you. But then, it’s kind of hard to expect that public concerns would be acknowledged, let alone that we get (God forbid) balanced coverage on this issue, when both the Post and the Times have extensive newspaper and broadcast media properties themselves.