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Saturday, May 07, 2005

I Hope I'm Not Picking on Them 

But damn. Last time I linked to the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, they were excited about a new Starbucks. Now reviews of movies that came out almost a year ago featured prominently on the main page. I know it's tough to find content, but how about a review of more recent movies. I liked Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. And Kung Fu Hustle. Both hilarious. I'm not saying that the Union-Bulletin didn't review them, I'm just saying they didn't have the prominence of a year old film.



Open Thread 

Who says there isn't much posting on Saturday?



Friday, May 06, 2005

Well 

2 weeks late but Microsoft finally does the right thing on gay rights. Now if only there was a legislative session going on in the state where they were based.



Gay Isn't The Story 

OlyScoop has a post on Jim West that hits some important themes. First that the homosexuality was pretty much an open secret around the Capitol. For the record, I didn't know about West, but I was never much of a roamer around the Capitol. I was as likely to go for a protest as lobbying when I was down there.

I'm shocked! Shocked, I say, to find out there are closeted gay Republicans.

To those who have roamed the halls of the Legislative Building hearing publically that Jim West is gay is like finding out marble is a hard surface.
For the record I'm reasonably sure about another local anti-gay politico being gay. But it's really none of my business, so it won't get reported here. I think there should be a big line between a politicians personal life and their private life, even when their policies suck. For me, judging a story that involves homosexuality, I look at would it be a story if it was straight sex. Here, I think the answer is yes.

The two things that made this story a story were the sexual favors for positions in government, and the abuse. Joel makes some good points on both of them, especially questioning the abuse in light of the Wenatchee insanity a few years ago. But people have said on the record and in a deposition that he molested them. Under penalty of perjury. Surely that's news.

As to the favors for positions in government, sure the Spokesman-Review probably entrapped West. I guess that means that if it was police, this evidence might not get into court. But I tend to grant the press more leeway when it comes to this sort of thing because they don't have the full power of the government behind them.



Importation 

Gregoire is going to have a fight on her hands on drug importation. Of course willingness to pick it was a good first step.

Gregoire said she was ready for the battle with the federal government over the issue.

"I'm stepping to the forefront of this national debate to make the future better for Washington seniors," she said at the signing ceremony at Wesley Homes, a retirement community in Des Moines.

Canadian price controls and a favorable exchange rate enable U.S. consumers to buy some medications there for half-price or less.

"This bill says to the federal government, 'Show us what's wrong with Canadian prescription drugs,"' Gregoire said. "Why shouldn't our citizens be allowed to buy safe, affordable prescription drugs?"



Roadless 

Another reason why who's the governor matters. Yes, Gregoire isn't being as forceful as some of us would like. But she's pretty much opposed to opening up roadless areas in Federal land Washington.



Redmond - Future Ghost Town? 

According to John Dvorak, Redmond may have a bright future as a one-industry ghost town.



Community 

At drinking liberally on Tuesday Goldy was talking about the things that he does to build community on his blog. He thinks that the community is more important than the posts. I think that's nutty, but then again he gets more comments in a day than I get unique visitors. So maybe there is something to that.

For me, there are a few online communities that I'm a part of. Whatever's developed around this blog. Kos. Patriotboy. And a more general community of local blogs. No offense to the people who comment here, or other kossaks, but the last one is the most interesting to me.

There are some wonderful tools out there to build that community like the Northwest Portal. But mostly it's an organic thing. Shaun found me without knowing that he had been the chair of my legislative district. And I've found a bunch of wonderful people. Aside from Shaun and Goldy, I didn't know any of the locals from Adam (or Eve) before they started writing their blogs.

And now, I'm actually meeting some of them in real life. At the blogoversery, I saw Shaun for the first time in a long time as well as meeting N in Seattle. N also shows up at drinking liberally, along with Goldy, and some new folks to me like The Him and Nick.



Thursday, May 05, 2005

Well 

West is certainly innocent until proven guilty. But the charges against him, and the evidence that the Spokesman-Review collected are pretty damning.

One man, Robert J. Galliher, claims in a court deposition that Jim West molested him in the mid-1970s when he was a boy and West was a Spokane County sheriff's deputy and Boy Scout leader.

A second man, Michael G. Grant Jr., also accuses West of sexual abuse during the same era, including an incident at Camp Cowles, a Boy Scout camp on Diamond Lake.

In addition, an investigation by The Spokesman-Review has revealed that 17 months after leaving the state Legislature, West has used the trappings of the mayor's office to entice and influence young men he met on a gay Web site.

On one recent occasion, West offered a man he believed to be an 18-year-old – whom he met online at Gay.com – gifts, favors and a City Hall internship, Internet dialogues retained by the newspaper reveal. The 18-year-old was actually a forensic computer expert working for the newspaper.
A lot of it is concentual sex with legal people. So, I wish that the paper had steered away from that even though, yes, West was horrible on gay issues. Still, most of the stuff deals with abuse of his position either as sheriff, legislator, or now mayor. And of course the child sex.

Like Galliher, Michael Grant has battled addiction. He's currently in jail in central Washington, facing his seventh felony drug conviction.

Grant said he was sexually abused twice by Hahn and twice by West when he was 7 or 8, including once at Camp Cowles, the Boy Scout camp on Diamond Lake north of Spokane in Pend Oreille County.

Hahn and West used a federal grant in 1977 for a weeklong summer camp for troubled kids, who were commingled with regular Scout campers at Camp Cowles. West denies that any sexual abuse happened at the camp, and said he had no idea his friend Hahn was a pedophile.


...More from Big Brass Blog and Goldy.



Spokane Mayor Funtime Summary 

Carl provides the blow-by-blow account of how Thoroughly Republican Spokane Mayor Jim West is dealing with the onset of male menopause. If you want to avoid the intimate details, Spokesman-Review Editor Steven A. Smith gives us a quick summary of their investigation.

I have always viewed the Spokesman-Review from afar as a right-wing rag. If my impression is even remotely true, then the decision to pursue and to publish this investigation is remarkable. Now, perhaps they will look into the guys using the screen names dirtydocfrompasco and icaugghtthegreenriverkiller. These guys are up to no good.



Reserve in Renton 

I'm not a huge urban/suburban warrior. Much of the suburbs are quite liberal these days. Brenda is a suburbanite, and I was for many years. Still, it is interesting to see the dynamic play out as the ring cities grow into cities in their own right. Here the major ones are Redmond, Renton, Shoreline, and of course Bellevue. The change to major cities in those cases is quite remarkable.

If they had tried to purchase land that far away from the city center 50 years ago, people would think the Fed was crazy. Now it does make sense.



KIRO Radio - Nonunion? 

It seems that some employees of KIRO-710 are moving to decertify their AFTRA union representation. Naturally, a closet rethugnican is behind it.

Lou Pate, overnight host of KIRO, is leadng this move. Although the claims to be a balanced news host, anyone who has listened to Pate for over three minutes knows that he is a talentless Rush O'Hannity clone who calls people names and champions the hard right at every opportunity. His show is a waste of the public aether.

More from Entercom Seattle,* where rumors abound of a merger with national-owner Cumulus, one of the largest radio chains in the country. Cumulus is reputedly a better owner than Clear Channel, but I don't like media consolidation. However, Entercom is a minor media giant based in Pennsylvania, so it may not matter in the long run.

*Entercom Seattle owns KIRO-710, KQBZ-100.7, KTTH-770, KBSG-97.3, KMTT-103.7, KISW-99.9, KNDD-107.7, and four low power translators in Seattle, Everett, and Port Angeles.



Quitting 

An operations program manager at Microsoft just quit because of their cowing to an anti-gay preacher.



Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Open Thread 




Free Media 

So 5 columns in short order for Eyman. I can see why people keep saying the media is so liberal. After all, couldn't any prominent Democrat get that?



Most Impressive City Skylines 

Skyscrapers.com has released its list of the Worlds 100 most impressive City skylines. Seattle is #38 and Vancouver is #25. Surprisingly, neither Portland nor Forks made the list.



Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Washington Gay Rights in Salon 

Today, Salon has a nice article (after watching a short ad ) about the progress of gay rights in Washington State.



Drinking Liberally 

I'll be there tonight, but I'll be distracted and will leave early. Goldy will also be there, but instead of leaving early, he'll probably get there late.



Parking 

Seattle is making it easier to provide less parking in dense neighborhoods. I'm of two minds on this. Yes, it would be nice to have fewer cars. But transit is pretty bad in the U district. In the other neighborhoods, it's fine.

And to the people who say, Seattle was built for cars: not these neighborhoods. First Hill was bustling before the car was invented. Capitol Hill became a place when the street cars went up there. Yeah, much of Seattle was designed with cars in mind, but not the older parts, and that's mostly where these parking reductions are taking place.

Council members said they hope the reduced parking requirements will encourage people to use alternative transportation and allow developers to build more affordable housing.

The parking space requirements were reduced for Capitol Hill, First Hill and Pike/Pine neighborhoods and for part of the University District.

The reduced parking is in keeping with city development policies for dense urban center villages near the city center, where people can live, shop and work and theoretically not rely on their cars.



Monday, May 02, 2005

Arbitron Ratings 

Blather Watch has some early numbers, and they don't look good for KIRO. I don't listen to anything on KIRO but Dave Ross, and I hardly listen to him, so there you go.



Spokane Valley Library Annexation 

It makes sense to me. Library districts should be big. I love my King County library card because there's access to pretty much everything at one of the libraries. But I don't know all of the local dynamics. And some people are nuts about local control. And in the Spokane Valley, some people are just nuts. But if someone from the area has more info, please chime in.

But the interesting thing is that this is all mail ballots. Normally when you have a special election it brings out the people who are passionate about one side or the other, and leaves the people who know the issue, but aren't invested. So I don't know how this will play out.

Some voters who enjoy going to the polls might have been surprised to receive a mail-in ballot. Counties are required to hold mail-in-only elections once every two years to verify addresses. Spokane County chose the May election to fulfill that requirement.

Ballots must be postmarked by May 17. If voters prefer dropping them off, they can do so ahead of time at the Auditor’s Office in the Spokane County Courthouse, 1116 W. Broadway Ave. in Spokane, or at the Elections Office, 1033 W. Gardner Ave., also in Spokane. On election day, voters can bring ballots to the Valley library branch, 12004 E. Main Ave.



Proportional Analysis 

Judge John Bridges, the reason Republicans wanted to have their election contest in Chelan County ruled in a split decision. Yeah, the mathematically dubious proportional analysis will be allowed, but it will be allowed in subtracting illegal Republicans too. And Republicans still have to prove that they would have won, not just that you can't know.

So here's Dino Rossi's argument in a nut shell: Felon voters and other illegal voters vote exactly the same as the public at large. And if you subtract their votes, the outcome of the election will change. That's a pretty tough sell, not the least because it's insane.



Sunday, May 01, 2005

Dear William Safire, 

It’s blurbtopia. And, yes! skippy coined a similar phrase!

Love and Kisses,

Carl Ballard

PS. Why don’t you drop a few more names, geez, I’d hoped you’d stop that when you stopped writing about Israel.



I Love the Yes Men 

And if you haven't seen it, you might want to check it out on Tuesday.

Come watch
The YES Men at The First Ever Better Donkey Movie Night!

Our plan is foolproof: Awesome movie, superfun people, and bartenders who know their stuff. Better get there early though--seating is limited!!

Details details…

Where: Jewel Box Theatre @ The Rendezvous / 2322 2nd Ave.

Date: Tuesday, May 3

Time: 6:30 Doors -- 7:30 Movie



Gregoire Profile 

It's mostly a look at the good and the bad of Gregoire's first legislature. The look at the gas tax versus her promises during the campaign are certainly fair to bring up. But I do get sick of reading lines like this, "Many voters still do not view her as the legitimate winner." Ok. Many voters didn't believe George W. Bush was the legitimate winner of his last 2 elections, but especially the first one. Many voters believe Jesus is about to come back to Earth and snatch a few people away then rain fire down on the rest of the world. But you don't have to bring it up as a tangent to your point.

But aside from that one line, the piece was fine. One of the nice things was the contrast between her style with the legislature and Locke's. She takes a more active roll in getting her agenda passed.

She testified before more legislative committees during her first month as governor than Locke did during his entire eight years. And toward the end of session, she marched upstairs several times a day to lobby lawmakers.

Democratic leaders said it was sheer tenacity in the session's final days that enabled Gregoire to rescue the centerpiece of her agenda: a bill to create a billion-dollar Life Science Discovery Fund for biomedical research.

"My predecessors told me during my inauguration that I wouldn't like the legislative process because no rule is really a rule and it gets messy," Gregoire said. "Much to my surprise, the opposite is true: I really enjoy it."



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