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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Number 18 

The UW Business School moves up 9 spots to the 18th ranked in the country by US News and World Report. But I really like that the U is celebrating being number 18:

"The progress is the result of outstanding effort and collaboration among our students, staff and faculty, coupled with tremendous support from the business community in the Pacific Northwest," said Dave Burgstahler, acting dean of the UW Business School, in a statement.



Two-Quarter Averaging 

That's wonk speak for better unemployment benefits for seasonal workers. It just passed the state house and is more iffy in the senate. Currently it's a 4 quarter average so seasonal workers are SOL for the time they're off. This bill would only be a temporary thing until the legislature can come to a more permanent solution. But thank goodness it passed on April fools day so people could make hilarious jokes about how our legislators did or didn't like the bill.

"It is not a charity, it's an insurance," said Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Centralia. "I'm praying the speaker is going to turn around and say 'Ha, just kidding, April fools!' ... We have no credibility today."

The bill's supporters said changes were necessary to help families who are struggling to survive after layoffs.

"What more appropriate day to correct a foolish mistake we made two years ago?" said Rep. Geoff Simpson, D-Covington. He said the bill was a promise to Washington workers: "If you do a dangerous seasonal job like logging or construction, your family won't have to starve during the winter time when you're out of work."

The Boeing Co. and the Machinists' union both supported the bill, as did the Washington State Labor Council.

"This bill stops the bleeding so we can take a closer look at whether the changes enacted in 2003 were fair to both employers and unemployed workers," Rick Bender, president of the state labor council, said Friday.



Canned Meat 

Joe at Boston Steamer doesn't like the proposal in the senate budget to tax canned meat.



John Paul II Thread 

Discuss the good and the bad. The anti-war actions. The pleas that saved people in death penalty cases. The moral outrage at communism. The role of women in the Church. The devotion to Opus Dei. The inability to deal with the child sex scandal.



Republicans Pissed at Election Reform 

Maybe if they just told the Eastern Washington counties to "be like King" they wouldn't have to storm out of a committee hearing in disgust. Damn that standardization and enhancing record keeping. We need to solve a make believe problem that even Republicans aren't contending happened in the Governor's race. And that's people voting without ID's.



Friday, April 01, 2005

I Give Up 

You know, when I started this blog a year and a half ago lefty Washington State blogging was a pretty barren place. I didn't know of the fine work at Upper Left, the Spokane County Young Democrats, Kendall Miller, Chad Johnson (or rather I was vaguely aware of him through PolState, but hadn't paid him much attention), or Pacific Views and so I decided to fill a niche that was already inhabited by someone wonderful folks. It was the beginning of the 2004 legislative session, and there was a campaign for governor, and nobody at Kos wanted to talk about that.

So I started blogging. Some people liked it, but mostly I think there just wasn't much choice out there. But I had some real life stuff to do and Brenda filled in magnificently. When I got back into the swing of things, there was a greater community out there. Semi official people were doing stuff I had just done from home. And they had the audacity to do it better than my lazy ass. NW Progressive and DFW and DFV and Progressive Majority WA and yes I said "and" too many times.

While being the only game in town was my niche for a while, soon people who figured quality would win them some converts started popping up. The sadly no more Lawdawg (and yes, if you're going to reference that movie, boo boo kitty fuck is probably a better way to go) and Evergreen Politics were doing good work. Now there's a flood of good stuff. Goldy of course. Columbian Watch. Oly Scoop. Kitsap Pundit. Blatherwatch. All brilliantly catalogued at the NorthWest Portal. Suddenly you have to have more to say than "open thread" to get people coming back to your sight.

Well fuck that shit. I quit. As of right now, 8:30 April Fools Day 2005, I give up. Enjoy the rest of your lives.



Winding Down 

We're in the last calendar month of the regular session. It ends the 24th. While there are a lot of details to work out, there probably won't be a massive budget fight. So we could have the second year in a row without a special session. What will we tell the children?



Wow 

I know a while ago when I posted on the new column for the paranoid rightwinger in the city's lefty mag, some people thought that the Stranger had jumped the Sharkansky (I'm pretty sure I stole that from someone, maybe Goldy?). Or even that it had peaked a few years ago. But they still put out some amazing stuff.

Pretty much anything with Sanders' name on it is going to be good. But his coverage of a hate crime a while back may be the best reporting since he started writing on the AIDS organizations.

The defense attorneys, in contrast, were a motley crew. Savchak's lawyer, Peter Connick, appeared in haggard suits and tied his narrow ties in a way that gave one end extremely short shrift, so that the other end of the tie could make the heroic journey over his impressive mid-section. He played a sort of Columbo character, poking fun at himself and pretending to bumble around when in fact he was laying neatly constructed legal traps. Kravchenko's lawyer, Timothy McGarry, seemed the nice guy, sporting a University of Washington lapel pin and smiling sweetly as he asked barbed questions. And Samusenko's lawyer, Thomas Olmstead, was the wildcard.

Samusenko's parents went looking for a Christian lawyer and found one in Olmstead, an unpredictable born-again Pentecostal from Poulsbo. His business card sports an ichthus (Christian fish) and he is best known in Seattle legal circles for having once sung a Christian hymn for his closing argument in federal court. (The federal judge, Olmstead recounted, told him to "sit down and shut up.") He was "saved" by Christianity in 1969, and has since defended people who have blockaded or set fire to abortion clinics, regularly proclaiming God's law to be higher than any civil law. During jury selection Olmstead told a lesbian joke to make a point about homosexuals being too overprotected by the PC crowd (no one laughed). He also announced to the court that he didn't even like to use the word "gay" because it had been "destroyed" by homosexuals.

The defense constructed a layered argument to explain why their clients should not be found guilty of either a hate crime or first-degree assault. An unspoken tension hung over the proceedings for Kravchenko and Savchak. Neither are U.S. citizens, which means that after they serve their jail time here they could be deported back to their home countries.

A different defense was used for each defendant, but the common themes went like this: First, the defense lawyers argued, Samusenko was drunk and so couldn't have formulated the intent to do anything. Second, even if he and his two friends had intended to do something, it wasn't because Painter was gay. Third, even if they had all noticed Painter was gay and were then heard calling him a "faggot," and after that got out of their truck and ran to attack him, the attack on Painter was actually self-defense, because Painter had been on meth and had fought back. Fourth, Savchak and Kravchenko were just trying to break up the fight when they joined in. And fifth, any witnesses to the contrary were high on drugs or drunk and couldn't be believed. (And one more thing: The gun Samusenko pulled on Evans was fake.)[...]

McGarry, Kravchenko's lawyer, told jurors the incident was not a hate crime but just "spontaneous combustion." Connick, Savchak's lawyer, appeared to suggest that the Seattle police and prosecutors had more interest in pleasing gay activists than in pursuing justice.

"There's no vast gay conspiracy against these three defendants," prosecutor O'Donnell said when he rose for his rebuttal. Then he reminded the jury that Micah Painter's clothing and mannerisms were not the issue. "Micah Painter is not on trial. He's allowed to wear tight pants. He's allowed to have his shirt off on a city sidewalk. And when someone challenges him with a broken glass bottle, he's allowed to stand there and protect himself."

Two days later, after 8 hours of deliberation, the jury agreed.



"a retread cast-off from the 18th legislative district" 

Tom Mielke decides the 49th district is a perfect fit for him.



Letters, I Get Letters 

This one from ERW.

Please Read, Act, and Forward
http://EqualRightsWashington.org/action/fairness.html

Email Your Senator Now For Equality

In the next weeks, the State Senate will be voting on whether LGBT Washingtonians will be treated equally under the law. Contrary to popular belief, it is legal to fire someone simply because they are gay or lesbian. Please contact your State Senator in support of the Anti-Discrimination Bill. It will take just 30 seconds.

You don't even have to know the name of your Senator - Equal Rights Washington has a web page to look that up and send the email for you. You can learn more here:

http://EqualRightsWashington.org/action/fairness.html

The Anti-Discrimination bill will make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and other public accommodation. Sixteen other states have passed this legislation, and it is time for Washington State to join them. The bill has passed the House, and is now waiting for Senate action. Last year, supporters of equality lost by one vote. This year's vote is expected to be just as close - your email to your Senator can make a difference.

Please let your state senator know where you stand.

http://EqualRightsWashington.org/action/fairness.html

At most, one or two Senators stand between us and victory. But, all Senators are being heavily lobbied by those opposed to equality. Every Senator, left, right, or center, needs to hear from equality supporters. So, please forward this email to friends, neighbors and relatives throughout Washington State. Victory requires giving our friends the chance to help.

This is our moment. Take a stand, then spread the word.

Thank you.

Please Read, Act, and Forward
http://EqualRightsWashington.org/action/fairness.html



Green Buildings 

Now that's what I like to see.



Surprise surprise 

I'm sure nobody in the evil brain trust could be bothered with the fact that Whitman, Stevens, Adams, and Walla Walla counties didn't even seem to bother to check anything in their provisional ballots, and that their error rates with those were in the single digits (whereas King County was less .07%) because they had much more pressing issues. Their leader was um terribly busy calling anybody points out that dead civilians are bad in front of a vet unAmerican. And others were calling tax increases "girie." So that's much more pressing than the fact that they're full of shit on provisional ballot signatures.



Thursday, March 31, 2005

$26 Billion 

The senate passed a budget quite similar to Gregoire's the major changes were a dollar on a liter of liquor and more education and higher education spending. The house will pass a budget probably Monday.



Sure but What About the Rise in Blogs? 

Actually, this is a disturbing story. 10% fewer news media outlets in the state.

Jane McConnell, publisher and editor of the directory said consolidations, purchases and closures accounted for the decline in the number of media outlets in the state.

"Western Washington radio has experienced the most volatile changes month-to-month over the past three years," she said in a prepared statement.



Eastside Mass Transit 

I'll assume this study by ST is viable. It would be good to head East on the I-90 corridor with a mix that is heavily light rail. The biggest advantage of monorail in Seattle is that it can defy grade. Obviously that isn't a factor over the lake.



Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Right to Starve 

Stilwell has the info on what passing the BIAW initiative might mean for Washingtonians.



ERW 

Evergreen Politics points to the Equal Rights Washington petition. It's simple enough:

I pledge to learn the positions of my legislators
regarding equal rights for LGBT Washingtonians.



Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Light Posting 

As blogger and time constraints make posting tough. I did want to point you to this proof that Senator Dave Schmidt doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

Therer is no means of verifications of sexual preference because it is self-proclaimed. The definition of sexual orientation creations a protection that a person could invoke one day and then deny another day. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not the same as discrimintion of the basis of race. You cannot make what someone does in the bedroom a law.

HB 1515 creates special rights for homosexual people.

Homosexual men and women, just like hetrosexual men and women, can live their whole lives without ever having to make their sexual preference an issue - black people cannot avoid the color of their skin.
Obviously we're not trying to see if people are GLBT, but if they were discriminated against because someone else thought they were (or any other sexual preference). But honestly, if you're renting a house to a gay couple is it really that tough to figure out that they're gay? Same with if someone takes time off work and comes back the other gender, I don't think the boss is going to be fooled. And of course it doesn't create any special rights. I can be fired for being straight in parts of the state, under 1515, I couldn't.



Monday, March 28, 2005

Loans 

Blogger ate last post. Not universal healthcare, but it's still good that we have Democrats in charge. Yeah it should be more broad. Blah blah blah.

The state House is considering a bill that would restrict the marketing of credit cards to college students on the state's public school campuses. The Senate already approved it.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, a professor at the University of Washington and the bill's sponsor, said the debt students face after college or graduate school keeps growing -- and part of it is from credit cards.

``The marketing techniques make them so enticing, but the reality of all that debt isn't that good,'' said Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.

The days of needing a job or an income to get a credit card are long gone.

Credit card companies recognize that most unemployed college students will find a job after graduation -- and there's the few whose parents will foot their bills, said Marie O'Malley, the vice president of marketing for Nellie Mae, the student loan organization.

``It is easier now,'' O'Malley said. ``(The credit card companies) have made policies that say students that go to college are good credit risks.''

More than 80 percent of college students have at least one credit card, according to a 2001 survey done by Nellie Mae.



We're entitled to just make up felon voters now? I'm not associated with the rightwing noise machine, but I'll give it a try. A Dino Rossi of Samammish is clearly a felon, and he voted. I don't need evidence, I'm probably a quarter right.



Fucking Bastards 

The Building Industry Assholes of Washington (sorry, working on something more cutting) are proposing an initiative to make this a "right to work" state. In other words to screw the state unions. Here's the Times' account. But they're trying to be fair to a bunch of loons. So it might be better to read what Goldy thinks of the BIAW. Here's the paragraph that explains in a nutshell why I don't use my real name.

These are the fucking bastards who fraudulently obtained the signatures of hundreds of voters by sending them sham surveys with $10 “thank you” checks… who devoted their entire staff towards producing a felon list that carelessly defamed the names of hundreds of innocent voters… and who sources tell me have hired private investigators to dig up dirt on public officials and other “enemies.” (I’ve noticed a suspicious inquiry on my own credit report.)



Open Thread 




We Should Have Adopted it a Long Time Ago 

Public health officials are proposing several new steps to be more proactive in fighting HIV-AIDS. The big one is to have public health officials tell partners about the possibility they've been infected. This cuts out having to deal with an ex. It means that someone with lots of info who isn't just reeling from the fact that they've been infected is giving information. It also means that the state can get people tested more quickly.



Sunday, March 27, 2005

Hip-Hop Hymnal 

Happy Easter.



Court Dates 

In the Rossi v. Common Sense case.

The hearing to determine most of the schedule will be April 5. The depositions will start on the 18th.



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