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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Local Businesses: Book Stores 

This is the first in a series of posts where I give free advertising to local businesses I like. Being located in King County there's no way I'm not going to focus on businesses closer to me. But if there's a store in Spokane or Walla Walla that you love feel free to talk it up in the comments. Or if there's something right in downtown Seattle I missed.

I've said many times here that Elliott Bay Books is my favorite bookstore. It looks and feels like a bookstore should. You can get lost. You can browse for hours. The employees are all first rate. My favorite memory is seeing Susan McDougall there. She was funny and passionate, and really just perfect.

If you believe Brenda, (and I do, but I hadn't heard it and I'd think I would) the same people who own Elliott Bay also own Third Place Books. I was living up North when Third Place came into town. It was the first bookstore in the area that wasn't "Christian" or "adult" (not that there's anything wrong with those, I was just glad to have something more general interest). The store also helped revive the commercial core of Lake Forest Park; the mall went from perpetually almost closing to vital commercial center. The Third Place Commons (not technically part of the bookstore) is a wonderful community center. I've seen David Sedaris there and got Hillary Clinton to sign a copy of her book outside the store. There's always something going on.

When I lived in Olympia, I couldn't get enough of Orca Books. It's definitely the best bookstore in town. It has a good selection and it's a good place to relax. Also they had a good number of events given how out of the way Olympia is.



Councilmanic 

There's a word I could say for ever. Councilmanic, councilmanic, councilmanic. But as fun to say as councilmanic is, the city of Seattle is racking up quite a bit of it.



Chemical Fire 

I'm 90% opposed to charging for this sort of thing. Mutual aid is hugely important to most fire departments. I mean after 9/11 taxpayers from all over the country paid for fire operations in New York. More locally you might have one department that specializes in HazMat, another that does technical rescue, another that has a bunch of personnel and equipment for swiftwater. If these three departments are close to each other they might always call the HazMat department for any HazMat call, the tech. rescue for any tech. rescue call etc. Also, of course, many large fires or large accidents require multiple departments pretty quick once you get out of Seattle or the other big cities.

And if you start charging the businesses in the next town over the department will be more reluctant to call in help. In a situation like the fire in Grandview you want too many people on the scene as quickly as possible. You need people right there in case anything goes south. Ideally you should have 8 people outside able to perform any sort of rescue (although the rule is 2 in and 2 out). This fire Yakima city and county did the mutual aid, next time it might be Grandview helping in Yakima.

If there was negligence involved, I'd say take them for all you can. But that doesn't seem to be the case.



Cheese eating plane buyer monkeys 

First off, that's the first time I've typed "cheese eating" as an anti-France insult. Cheese eating gets up to the top of the list? Where are the more fun anti-France stereotypes. Like drunk on wine and don't bathe? Cheese eating. Doesn't that describe most Americans? I mean I know the freedom fries set isn't very smart, and I know it's a line from the Simpsons, but honestly, how sad.

Anyway, Air France plans to buy several 777's for cargo flights.

Air France spokesman Jean-Claude Couturier said the 777 freighter is the favored option to replace its eight Boeing 747-200s. But Air France would not comment on a report in financial daily La Tribune that the carrier is about to become Boeing's launch customer by ordering seven of the 777 freighters.

Boeing said in November that it would begin offering a 777 freighter to customers, aiming to put the airplane into service by the end of 2008. But the company has yet to snag a launch customer that would make the new freighter program a reality.



Friday, March 25, 2005

Capitol Chat 

Adam Smith talks to the Olympian. He says the same stuff on bankruptcy as he has been. He also says some good stuff on the war and budget issues. They were tied together by a good question:

Brian, Guantanamo Bay Naval Station: If the US is fighting a "War on Terror" with no obvious end, What are your feelings about how long the Congress can justify wartime deficit spending? Is Congress talking about an "exit strategy" for Iraq?

Smith: Multiple questions there. I think the deficit spending in Congress is atrocious, and just to be clear I'm in minority. Republicans have run Congress and White House for the last four years and have chosen not to care about deficits. And it's not just spending on war. It would be one thing if they said we have this extreme threat of terrorism we have to address and deal with -- and I agree with that. But also in that time they have spent trillions in tax cuts. They've had several trillion in tax cuts and one trillion in increased spending on entitlements like the prescription drug bill. They don't care about deficits and feel they can put everything on a credit card for other generations to pay.

If we are going to effectively fight the war on terror, we're going to have to have the resources to do it, and to do that you're going to have to make some choices. on taxes and spending

Moderator: What do you think of the Bush budget so far?

Smith: All of those budgets have basically said "we will spend far more money than we take in to meet the needs of the moment at the expense of the future" in his first four years in office. We've run up an extra 1.5 trillion in debt. Some of that is in response to the war on terror, is absolutely necessary, no question. But we've never gone to war without raising taxes. He went to war and cut taxes, plus we've been spending on other programs, like the prescription drug bill. He'll make whatever tax cuts to make people happy at the expense of the future, and I don't think that's responsible.
Also he deals with where he differs from the party pretty well.

Michael, Kirkland: In recent years, you've broken with most of your caucus on a host of issues, from the war in Iraq to the estate tax to the Patriot Act. You've even publicly flirted with supporting the president's plan to privatize Social Security. Wouldn't your district, which has become increasingly Democratic since you were first elected, be better served by a Democrat who actually acts like one?

Smith: In the first place, my district has not become increasingly Democratic, if you look at the numbers. In the second place I still think I represent my district more than my party. Some disagree. I think my job is to represent everyone in my district, and in some degree the country. Also, I never supported the president's plan for privatizing Social Security. I do not support his plan. I think it would devastate Social Security and I do not support his plan.

Further, I am a strong Democrat. I think President Bush's fiscal, foreign and health care policies have been very bad for our country and I have opposed him on a number of those issues to reflect that. I've opposed his tax cuts and his drug benefit plan -- which is basically a giveaway to insurance companies at the expense of senior citizens. And I still think the Democratic Party best pursues the goals of equality and opportunity, and I will continue to be a strong Democrat. But I will not simply be a rubber stanp for whatever the party wants. I don't think that's what my constituents elected me to do.



Moral Values 

Those Republicans. They sure know how to treat a lady. I didn't even know "YOOOOOOOWWWWWSER!!!!" was a word.



Open Thread 




Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ballots 

Evergreen Politics takes a look at the declining number of initiativesthis year. And they urge you to pledge to gather 20 signatures for I-901.



Run Chris Run 

Kos has some polling for the Senate race. I don't know how much it's a reflection of name recognition, and how much it's a statement of support. But the Rossi number is disturbing. And SV is pretty partisan.

Strategic Vision (R). 3/19-21. MoE 3%. (No trend lines)
Cantwell (D) 40
Rossi (R) 49

Cantwell (D) 49
Dunn (R) 39

Cantwell (D) 50
Nethercutt (R) 40

Cantwell (D) 52
Vance (R) 37



Pacific NW Portal 

Carla mentions the PNP in this diary. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if you recommend it, let a few more Kossaks know what's up.



Fairwood 

King County is looking at creating a new city near Renton.

The county said it will convene a citizen task force to help oversee a feasibility study of the proposed city. The first meeting is scheduled for March 24. Consulting firm Berk and Associates will help prepare the study, the county said.



Let's See If Blogger Publishes This Today 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and the Coalition for a Jewish Voice organized a protest of the people who decided to compare the Holocaust to stem cell research. Fred Taucher a survivor of the Nazi medical experiments is at the front and center.

Taucher was captured by Nazis when he was 12. He doesn't usually discuss what happened at SS headquarters -- he simply says he got beat up or they weren't very nice to him. But in front of the Capitol on Tuesday, he told how Nazi scientists plunged him into baths of ice water and then baths of boiling water, burning his skin.

"This was not scientific research, this was simply to find out how far they can push a human being," Taucher said. "Well, I was a 12-year-old boy, and I passed out."
I don't understand why they won't just apologize. They went too far with their rhetoric and they got called on it. There is no moral equivalence. None. Stem cells that will get discarded anyway and hold better hope than adult stem cells are not the same as people. Actual research isn't the same as genocide.



Wednesday, March 23, 2005

UW Basketball Thread 

Against Louisville tomorrow at 4:10.



State of the County 

Goldy was there for Sims' speech and he gives a good account. Also Irons' pathetic response.



Support the Troops 

Unless their family needs a medical procedure you find icky. Then charge them $3000. There will be a federal case in April over whether or not the government can charge Jane Doe for an abortion of her brain damaged fetus, a procedure they said they would pick up.

When she learned that she was carrying a baby with almost no brain and no chance of survival, a devastated young Navy wife from Everett pleaded with a federal court in Seattle to force her military medical program to pay for an abortion.

"I could not imagine going through five more months of pregnancy, knowing that the baby will never survive or have any kind of life whatsoever," the woman, then 19, told a federal judge in August 2002. "I understand that even if the baby is born alive, it will probably die after it takes a few breaths. I am really terrified of the prospect of giving birth, then watching the baby die."

She won her case and had the abortion. But more than two years later, the federal government continues to fight her, trying to get the woman and her sailor husband to pay back the $3,000 the procedure cost and trying to cast in stone a ban on government-funded abortions.



Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Bankruptcy and Adam Smith 

First off, yay! Ivan is writing diaries on Kos again. He stopped when he got a job with the party, but that ended in November. I talked to him about starting up again and then a few months later he does.

Anyway, this post is on Adam Smith. There was a townhall meeting that he put on a while ago and the 34th District Dems (who Ivan is the Chair of) presented a letter on the bankruptcy bill that Smith supports.

Then we got to bankruptcy "reform," and there Adam is on shakier ground. He did clarify the Hastert letter somewhat, telling us he had signed it before the Senate passed its version, and that there were a lot of things in the Senate version he does not like. He said that if the House version includes an unlimited cap on "asset protection trusts," he would vote against the entire bill. That's one we'll be watching closely.

He also said the House GOP leadership doesn't want any amendments, that they are trying to avoid Conference Committee. The Senate bill is a handout to credit card companies, and that's the way DeLay and his sock puppet Hastert want it to stay.

As he did in his letter above, he tried to make bankruptcy "reform" a small-business issue. But by and large, the audience wasn't buying it. Liz, one of our PCOs, told Adam she had worked as a paralegal, representing creditors in foreclosures, for 15 years, and she had seen virtually NO "frivolous" bankruptcies in that time. She told Adam these people were going into credit card bankruptcy over basic necessities like food and medicine and clothing, and that it was her business to know that.



Spam 

The EFF just asked for the email addresses of all the employees at DSHS and Dept. Of Ecology. Over at EFF'd Up they think those employees will be getting some spam soon.



Baird 

Ms. American Pie wanted to know in the open thread why a good guy like Brian Baird would vote for the insanity of the Schiavo mess. Columbian Watch has his floor speech.

I do not know what to do tonight. I honestly do not. If Terri Schiavo were here, she could tell us what she would like her fate to be under this circumstance. Those who say that we are condemning her to death by starvation -- that may be so, if action is not taken tonight. But it may also be so that you may be condemning her to a life that she might not choose were she here to choose that.

Some of us have spoken on both sides of the aisle of holding our loved one in our hands as they died, having made the decision not to have heroic measures. For 23 years before working in this body, I served as a clinical neuropsychologist. I have been with many patients in persistent vegetative state.

I wish life were different. I really wish it were. The stories about sudden recoveries, where people almost miraculously or magically are better and return to their former state, are apocryphal for the most part. After years of coma, people do not return to who they were before. What happens is we have a brain stem that is miraculously robust at protecting breathing and heart rate, but it is our cortex that makes us who we are and that cortex dies when it is deprived of oxygen and we effectively die with it. And I am sorry about that. It is so tragic. [...]

But let no one who leaves this body somehow imply that whichever the vote is taken, one side or the other does not respect life in its richness.

We are all pro-life. We all feel for this family. And also let no one believe that we are somehow saving this woman from a horrific fate, whichever route we choose.


Stilwell also responds. Pointing out how the Republican lie machine is at work, and it's a shame that while everything Baird said is true, his vote is still a cop out.

They attack our schools. They attack our libraries. They attack gay people. They attack the Constitution and its doctrine of separation of powers. They attack science. They attack our beliefs if they are different. They attack the Bill of Rights and say that it doesn’t say what is says.

They tell lies. They lie about teachers, they lie about Democrats and anyone else who dares to disagree with them, they lie about this country’s history and they lie about the reasons they started a pre-emptive war. They lie about being conservative, when in fact they are would-be revolutionaries who would make this country a theocracy.

They lie about the chances of someone with a virtually non-existent cerebral cortex making a recovery, they lie about what has already happened from both a medical and judicial review standpoint, and they lie about what constitutes a smile and what constitutes the random reaction of a brain stem. They stand around foolishly waving giant plastic spoons in support of someone who can’t swallow food.

They bring their lies to the House of the People. “Extraordinary” doesn’t begin to describe what happened there late Sunday night. “Ghoulish” and “repulsive” might do for starters.

And what, in the face of this monstrous perversion of democracy, did Baird choose to do?

He copped out.



Patty in Iraq 

She's part of a delegation with Harry Reid and 5 other Senators.

"I saw today tremendous insecurity" in Iraq, Murray said in a conference call with reporters. "It's a time of hope and opportunity, but incredible obstacles ... and certainly a lot of danger ahead for that country."[...]

"The amount of security that is there, the danger that is there, no one talked about it 2 1/2 years ago. Really, we're doing nation-building," Murray said.

"Having said that, I'm well aware we are there now. We must have security (to protect) the infant democracy. I still am concerned that we don't have a strong enough plan."[...]

Asked if she thought Iraq was capable of becoming a functioning democracy, Murray said she was not sure.

"I don't think we can answer that question today," she said. "The question will be answered when Iraq has a democratic government in place that respects all minorities as well as women."



Open Thread 




Monday, March 21, 2005

Lunacy 

I should preface this by saying that I don't generally listen to KIRO radio unless I know someone I like is going to be on. Especially now that there's Air America. But Randi was talking about the rap song she wrote when she was a DJ in Texas. So I was hitting the buttons on my car radio trying to get away from that, and I came across a call in on the Tony Ventrella Show.

Someone called in to say that "Terry Schiavo is Christ". Apparently because she's teaching the world that science is bad because you can live without a brain. Crazy people are free to call into people's show, and I can even sort of understand letting them through if you want to have as little screening as possible. But Ventrella didn't say "hey asshole (or FCC approved language) Jesus is more than a braindead woman." He was sympathetic to this lunatic.

As I say, I don't listen to Ventrella's show much so I don't know his politics. But what the hell? This guy is also an anchor on the local TV news net.



Taxes 

I guess the major new taxes in the proposed 2005-2007 budget are a $.20 raise per pack of cigarettes and a restoration of the estate tax, but on estates over $2 Million and with an exemption for family farms.

There wasn't an increase in the property or sales taxes. So that's probably a good thing. It'll be tougher for Timmih to get many people upset at a tax on $2 Million estates (he'll try). The tax on cigs is more tricky. The demand is so inelastic that jacking up the price isn't going to get too many people to quit. On the other hand, it will deter newer smokers.

Of course the main way that she balanced the budget is through program cuts. And accounting gimmicks:

Transferring $244 in surplus funds from several state accounts to the general fund, which pays for day-to-day operations of government.

Saving $524 million by delaying increases in pension contributions.

Saving $75 million by reducing estimates of state employee benefit costs.



The Budget 

Here's a press release dealing with the budget from the Governor's office.



Northwest Portal 

Blogger ate my last post, but check out the improvements to the NWP.



Sunday, March 20, 2005

Letters 

The General sends Rep. Anderson a letter on his inability to distinguish between the Holocaust and stem cell research:

That's why I'm asking you to pass legislation requiring the redeployment of the Washington National Guard from Iraq to the United States so that they may bring freedom to the billions of Blastocyst-Americans living in stem cell research facilities. You need to do this as soon as possible. Thousands of Blastocyst-Americans die every moment you hesitate.

Sure, withdrawing that many troops from Iraq will cause a manpower shortage there, but that's nothing new. We've been dealing with the problem of an inadequately sized occupation force since day one. The important thing is that we free up some soldiers to invade medical research facilities. We have a holocaust to stop here in America, and by gosh, we have to act quickly. We can always go back to Iraq and kill more brown people later. They're not going anywhere.



Duty to Help 

The state house just overwhelmingly passed a law to mandate that people who know of crimes have to do something. The law could be over broad, but they've taken efforts to avoid that.

Under the proposed law, misdemeanor criminal charges could be filed against people who do not summon assistance if they know a crime has occurred and the victim is hurt or faces serious harm. It requires only that people attempt to get help, such as by calling 911. They would not be expected to jeopardize their own lives.

"That's not too much to ask, given what's at stake," Satterberg said.

A conviction would carry a 90-day jail sentence and $1,000 fine.[...]

Previous legislation faltered amid concerns that law enforcement might apply it too broadly, even questioning inaction by innocent passersby. There also was concern that good Samaritans might face arrest or liability for getting involved. Revisions made this session limit the law to those who witness the crime and know that the victim suffered harm.

"What this does is codify what we recognize as appropriate and desirable behavior," Ellis said. "It's hard to tell if people will be inspired to do the right thing because of potential criminal liability."
The examples of things that people ignored were pretty heart wrenching. A man left to die in a ditch where people knew and did nothing. Someone kidnapped and the owner of the place she was hidden not telling the police.



What You're Willing to pay for 

Two AP articles in today's King County journal deal with "the 'T' word" because apparently the headline writer can't write the word taxes. One deals with the general Republican reluctance to raise taxes and how they'll blame Democrats for any tax increases. The other article deals with transportation and the bipartisan consensus that tax increases to pay for transit are good. So Republicans are willing to pay for roads to nowhere but not education or healthcare for children. Pretty disgraceful.



Local Blogging Around 

As often with these, with big ups to the Pacific Northwest Portal.

The Terry Shavio case has caught the attention of many local bloggers. Shaun at Upper Left sees this as rightwing attack on marriage. Blather Watch is depressed by the spectacle.

Cascadia Scorecard points out that in Washington, one in 9 people under 65 is without health care.

The Left Shue is angry about off budget funding of the war. He points to this letter (.pdf) by Congressman Inslee about his vote on this latest Emergency Supplemental Budget Request on the war in Iraq.



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