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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Crooked Republicans 

The Girl Gets Away has a good summary of Republican shenanigans on voting rights here in Washington.



Inslee Rocks! 

Thanks to Seattle for Dean for the pick up.

Representative Murtha is a retired Marine colonel with 37 years of military service. He is the ranking member of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee and one of the House's leading experts on the military. He was also a supporter of the war in Iraq. Yet he has become convinced that keeping our military in Iraq is not bringing us closer to victory there, but is instead exposing our troops to harm, encouraging and uniting the insurgency, and weakening our armed forces at a time we can scarcely afford it.

Whether or not you agree with Representative Murtha's proposal, it deserved serious debate. Instead, Republican leadership embarked on a campaign to discredit Murtha and trivialize his bill.

Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, introduced a one sentence bill that stated: "it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."

Throughout the evening, Republicans referred to Hunter's bill as the "Murtha resolution." They repeated it so many times that several news outlets also took to calling it the Murtha resolution. But the fact is, Hunter's bill was a shell of Murtha's proposal that approached the subject of withdrawing American forces with the same lack of foresight and consideration that went into the decision to invade.

Instead of engaging in an important and much needed debate, House Republicans staged a piece of political theater stunning in its lack of responsibility and its lack of shame. Their goal was to back Democrats into a corner by forcing them to vote on a bad bill. I refused to take the bait, and joined my Democratic colleagues in voting no.

There is nothing I want more than to bring our troops home as soon as possible. I also believe that the Iraqi people deserve an opportunity to establish a stable democratic government. Our current course, an indefinite occupation with no exit strategy, is not moving us towards either of those goals.

Next week, I will be traveling to Iraq to meet with American troops and Iraqi leaders to learn firsthand about the challenges we are facing. I will report my findings to you when I return. Please rest assured that I will continue working to achieve peace in Iraq and to bring our soldiers home. Very Truly Yours, Jay Inslee."



More West Nonsense 

I know that you've got to defend yourself, but geez Jim, try to maintain some composure.

In strong, direct language, the City Council’s investigator also concluded West used his city-owned computer during the workday to view profiles and pictures of gay men posted at the Gay.com site.

West has repeatedly denied publicly he used his city computer to visit the Gay Web site during the workday.

“I find that Mayor West has engaged in a pattern and practice of linking discussions of sex with young men online with offers of city positions, both paid and unpaid,’’ Busto said in his report[...]

“He’s not a judge, he’s not a jury,” West said of Busto. “I don’t think a jury or a court of law would come to the same conclusion.”[...]

“This person is not independent,” West said of Busto, who specializes in employment law issues.
Boo hoo hoo.



Seismology 

$2 million buys a lot of kick ass. In the next half decade it will be used for:

. Producing high-resolution "Shakemaps" that track a quake's intensity in great detail.

. Making models to predict the vulnerability of the state's bridges and other structures.

. Compiling research into why some earthquakes, like Southern California's 1994 Northridge Earthquake, produce hundreds of aftershocks, while others, like the 2001 Nisqually Quake centered near Olympia, produce only a few tremors.



Friday, November 18, 2005

Leadership 

The Stranger this week is all about Mayor Gridlock. And mostly it's right on. I especially like this one by Dan Savage on leadership.

When I moved to Seattle 14 years ago I was shocked to discover that this progressive city, this environmentally conscious city, not only didn't have a rapid transit system, but didn't have any plans to build one. I voted for the first monorail initiative. It was a no-brainer: Seattle, choking on traffic, needed to offer its citizens an alternative to driving—a real alternative, a subway or an elevated train, something fast, which meant something grade-separated, which meant not light rail or buses. The monorail proposal wasn't radical. Seattle would merely be doing what Chicago, New York, Paris, London, et al, had done, oh, a century ago.

The monorail was a populist response to a problem that Seattle's political leaders couldn't solve: gridlock. Still, I was shocked when politicians reacted to the monorail plan like it was an attack on them personally, on their collective boner for light rail, on everything they had done, or failed to do, about Seattle's transportation problem in the past. What they refused to recognize was that Seattle voters were doing Seattle politicians a favor.

We're gridlocked. Drivers stuck in the traffic demand that politicians do something about gridlock. They want it fixed. But gridlock isn't a problem that any politician can fix. Gridlock is a fact of life in big, successful cities, which are, by definition, crowded cities. Gridlock is a badge of honor, a sign that a city is economically and socially successful. The only thing big cities do to "solve" the gridlock is provide an alternative to the car. They can provide rapid transit.

That's why an angry driver in New York who complains to the mayor about being stuck in traffic wouldn't be taken seriously. "If you don't like being stuck in traffic," the mayor of New York might say (once he finished laughing), "then take rapid transit."



Recall Jim West 

The Ballots are heading out, and you can watch videos, read all about why and print out anti-West stuff. The only off putting thing to me is the Iraq flag colors.



We're Already The Best Place To Have A Heart Attack 

But now we're less likely to have one.



Streetcar 

I've been linking to Pike Place Politics a lot lately. But this is quite funny. The Streetcar is going to be replaced by a bus. But it's ok, because it's a fake streetcar. But on the other hand, free is free.

...link fixed



The Uncaring Washington Three 

Yesterday the House of Representatives voted down a Republican scheme to steal $35 Billion from the poor to help finance another $70 Billion tax cut for their pals. The vote was finally posted today and (no surprise here), Washington Republicans McMorris, Hastings, and Reichert voted with their financiers and against suffering people in America.

Isn't this reason enough to ship these three assholes off to the lobbying jobs that lie in their future?

Note: This disgusting piece of legislation reportedly passed early this morning after the Republicans pressured their members to change their vote. But not McMoron, Sergeant Schultz, and The Sheriff Who Took All the Credit. They had already sold out.



Initiative Madness 

Can't we, I don't know, breathe a little bit between election and crazy ideas?



Thursday, November 17, 2005

That's a Hell of an Excuse 

Jim West is a piece of work.



ERW Gay Marriage Petition 

I don't think that the legislature is going to step up to the plate on this one. If the courts rule in favor of gay marriage, wonderful. If they rule against it, well then the legislative tract is still the best option, but it won't happen for a while. Especially with a governor who's not bad on the issue, but could be better, and hasn't indicated that she'd sign something like a gay marriage law into effect.

But I think pushing for the extreme position (and yes, letting two people who love each other get married is still extreme) will help with compromise. The pro-gay rights legislators will be able to compromise to civil rights in many areas if not marriage. So I'd encourage you to put your name forward, and put yourself on record for total fairness in marriage.



More Gregoire Doing Good 

She's the first governor to speak at one of them Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conferences despite the last four being held in the 21st century. So even with a sizable gay community in the state and plenty of allies, this is a big deal.

It's certainly a sign of Gregoire's enlightenment that she didn't hesitate to accept this morning's invitation. "She was delighted. I don't think there was any big decision to be made," Gregoire aide Carol Andrews told me. "Washington state has a history of breaking glass ceilings and Chris has broken a couple of those herself."

In her speech this morning, Andrews expects Gregoire to acknowledge her advocacy on behalf of the civil rights bill and her commitment to see it pass. Then, quickly, she's expected to turn to the bread-and-butter issues that the people attending the conference care about as much as does anyone else.

As for same-sex unions, Andrews says the governor is waiting with the rest of us to see what the court will do.



Except 

I have to disagree with Belltowner here. Gregoire did come out against I-912. It wasn't the strong anti-912 that some people wanted, and it was later than many would like. But it was an anti-912

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire made a pointed plea for residents to vote against 912, which would roll back the 9-1/2-cent-per-gallon gas-tax increase approved by the state Legislature during the 2005 session. Money from the tax is slated to go toward major transportation projects statewide.

She pointed to the Sunday-morning rock slide on Interstate 90, which she said is delaying truckloads of hay and apples that need to get to the ports for overseas shipment. She said Washington needs to learn from cities beset by natural disasters.

She noted that officials in Kobe, Japan, say their port-driven economy still hasn't recovered from a major earthquake 10 years ago.



Crooks Get a Bit of Comeuppance 

The FERC eventually decided that Enron should pay $1.5 billion for, you know, stealing many times that from us.



Downtowns 

In a post on downtown growth since the 70's, Cascadia Scorecard has some interesting info about our area.

But most relevant to the Northwest is this: in percentage terms, Seattle ranked second of all 44 cities in downtown population growth. As a whole, the city of Seattle grew 7 percent total in 3 decades -- a fairly slow pace of growth. But the downtown population grew by 86 percent. Similarly, Portland ranks sixth on the list for downtown growth, with a population increase of 56 percent since 1970. Meanwhile, Boise's downtown population fell by a quarter -- which is a bit of a surprise, given how quickly the city is growing. Overall, only 15 of the 44 cities saw their downtown populations increase between 1970 and 2000 -- this despite a fairly widespread increase in downtown populations in the 1990s.

Of course, these figures may be misleading in some respects. Some cities, particularly in the industrial midwest and along the eastern seaboard, started out with comparatively dense and populous downtowns in the 1970s, but have seen substantial declines since then; Detroit, St. Louis, and Baltimore fall into that camp. Still, even if those downtowns lost population in absolute terms, they may still be far denser & more populous than the downtowns in many of the newer cities in the US west. Just so, Seattle's downtown started the 1970s with a fairly small population base -- so an 86 percent increase, as big a deal as it is in relative terms, is small potatoes in absolute terms.



Jay Inslee 

He was wonderful on New Yorker Vinnie earlier today. I can't find audio or a transcript. He talked about Iraq and he's going there at some point. But it wasn't on his web page so I don't exactly know when.



Dave Reichert 

So what if he doesn't want his constituency to know his opinions on government stuff. It's not like he's in the government.



Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Domenici and Hanford 

I didn't realize he'd been inflexible before. I guess this is part of the strategy of avoiding the hell out of what it means to be a republican.



Open Thread 

Light posting as I'm at Dow Constintine's Birthday and I don't know if Kells has WiFi.



Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Wow 

The Republicans are crooked.



Endangered 

The Orcas found in the Sound are about to be endangered.



Investigating the Whitehouse Iraq Group. 

It's nice that one of the most conservative Democratic reps outside the South and one of the most liberal could not only get together on something this important but are genuinely working together. So go check out what Adam Smith and Dennis Kucinich have to say.

These calls for investigations are quite interesting. Both the executive session of the Senate and this. As the election draws closer, the Republicans will be put further and further in a bind. They know that if we take back the House we'll be able to do all sorts of investigations that they have no control over. And not even being willing to investigate the Whitehouse at this point is pretty silly at this point. But many of them don't want the investigations because it will keep the focus on many bad things the Whitehouse has done. The best thing for them would be to not side with crooks, but it's a bit late for that.



Drinking Liberally 

A hoot an a hollar to be had.



Monday, November 14, 2005

Northern Counties 

I'm more skeptical of a county-by-county analysis of voting patterns than Andrew. After all the counties out here are so big that aside from a few rural counties, San Juan, and Island there is no homogeneity. In a statewide race, those few hundred votes could have easily come from North Bend and the outcome would have been the same, but King County would be more of a yes. Still it's good to see most of the I-5 corridor vote against I-912.



Letters They Get Letters 

The General writes a letter to Alaska's own crazy sumbitch Senator. And links to me.

Then there's her criticism of your Bridge to Nowhere. Doesn't she understand that the less than 50 residents of Gravina Island are special Americans. Given their specialness, she should gladly support giving spending more than $6.3 million/per resident so that they can burn more gasoline driving to Ketchikan. On what would she spend the money? Rebuilding New Orleans? Providing food and healthcare to children? Those things won't help Alaskans, or at least they won't help the important Alaskans who matter.



Bubbly 

Well some people still think the Seattle Area is a good place to own property.

MG Properties has been busy in the Puget Sound market. The company purchased the 132-unit Gateway Pointe in Renton in October 2004, and the 252-unit Park South Apartments in Seattle in November 2004.

The Arbor Chase investor plans to spend an additional $600,000 on improvements and "cure significant deferred maintenance."



Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hey Pro Choice Women 

Run for office. And get trained by EMILY's List.



$5 on West 

Har.



The Importance Of South County 

I'm as guilty as Eat The State! in labeling South King County as the 'burbs. Of course I love the 'burbs. Places close to the cities are wonderful.

But the point is that the South Sound is becoming more and more urban. All up and down the East side of the Sound is pretty cityesque. If we could figure out a way to integrate them better, that would be nice. But it is important to recognize that the reality is more than Everett, Tacoma, and Seattle with a bit of Bellevue mixed in.



Bellingham Fluoride 

This is for Nick. It's still too close to call, but it looks like the fluoride measure will fail and Bellinghamsters will keep looking like the English.



Privatization 

Shit on a stick.



A Tunnel 

I still support the tunnel option, although I don't think it's nearly as ugly as Darryl. In fact some of the best views of the city come running North on the Viaduct. It's nicer than the Space Needle. But that said, I do agree that the waterfront would be nicer without it. I'm much more concerned with the safety aspect than I am with the aesthetics.

Also Goldy and the Northwest Progressive are also for the tunnel.



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