Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Suburbs and Kyoto 

So I was looking at this list of the cities that have signed on to Mayor Nickels' Kyoto plan for cities. And a lot of them are out in the 'burbs. Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kirkland, Edmonds, Renton. It's not just the big cities. I don't know what that means, but it's interesting.

Jim West 

Is Dead

Some Upcoming Events 

Cool Aqua has info on John Dean and David Sirota coming to town.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Island Blogging 

Land for sale in the middle of nowhere on a crappy gravel road. If you want to head down there more than once, you might want to use a tougher car than my Carola.


Empty Republican promises in the North Sound. Or maybe it doesn't cost any money to build a new VA facility.

Pharmacy Board 

Thank goodness.

The Nature Shop 

I'm sure someone can relate this to the chapter in CTG where they say we should pay our organizers. But for the Audubon Society, nicely done.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Some interesting discussions in this week's Stranger.

Freeway Blogger in Seattle 

Totally totally awesome.

So Many Drinking Liberally Pictures 

I like this one the best of the ones this week that I'm in. My second chin isn't too obvious, Nick doesn't look like he's posing for a photo. 3 women is more than there were at any time in the first 6 months of Drinking Liberally. Michael is looking well trimmed. If Switzerblog could just turn his head toward the camera, we'd be golden.

And this Nick/Switzerblog picture is solid gold.

...And I like this one too. Ellen is a part of the conversation. And looking good as always. I'm, I don't know, trying to get water out of my ear.


I don't know how serious he is or how much he'll be able to take from either candidate. But there's a libertarian in the 8th district race. Kent City Council member Bruce White. So here's to him being a righty libertarian who can take from Reichert's base instead of an I hate discrimination against the gays and war libertarian like some libertarians I know.

On the Farm 

I'm still not sold on helping out farmers at the expense of the rest of the state and the country. But Jim Davis, the head of the Washington Farmers Union and former candidate for the 4th district makes the case in a nice interview over at Evergreen Politics.

The federal farm programs began with FDR and continue today. Over the years the program particulars have changed with the times but the goal remains the same, which is to provide support for our farmers and ranchers in order to provide food security for Americans. The farm program design also introduced soil and water conservation to avoid another "dust bowl". Many of the farm program benefits to farmers are designed to provide environmental protection for fragile lands that wildlife is dependent on.

Frankly the public support for the Endangered Species Act can be a win-win for farmers, species, and the public if the conservation elements of the farm program are properly designed and administered.

Each county has an elected Farm Service Agency County Committee of farmers that are elected by the eligible farmers in the county that serve as a governing 'civilian' body for farm program implementation and/or arbitration. The county Committee is a local control interface for farm program administration and is unique in federal administration of federal laws and policy for any federal agency or department. Each state has a State Committee that oversees the County Committees and the members of this committee are appointed by the Administration that is in power and they serve at its pleasure.

These farm programs are a good investment for everyone in this country because they ensure cheap, safe, and quality food. It means the food has been grown using registered herbicides, with American laborers. People who pay taxes and are stewards of the land care about the land. American consumers need to understand that when wheat sells at $4/bushel, and a bushel makes 79 loaves of bed, the farmer is not getting much of the profit from that wheat.

Consumers benefit from the high quality, safe food that is produced by American farmers. I do not believe that it is in the national interest for Americans to become dependent on imported food any more then it is in America's interest to continue our dependence on foreign oil imports. Most civilized countries in the world consider food to be a priority security issue. We Americans, unfortunately, take the food that is so cheap and readily available, for granted. Our federal farm programs are designed to provide the food security that the people of the United States depend on so that we cannot be held hostage to foreign supplies of overpriced, poor quality, unsafe foods.

Not Necessarily a Popular Position 

In a comment on today's DKos straw poll, I make the case for Hillary Clinton. Although, the last sentence should read "She'’s supported some of ours, like netroots candidate Darcy Burner, early on." But in my rush, I wrote retardely.

If Only We Had a President 

Half as committed to curing diseases as our software people. Anyway, thanks Bill.

Sims on KUOW 

In the 10:00 hour thread.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Let's Say You Buy a House 

Let's say it's way back in 2001. And hypothetically, you found a nice house in Queen Ann for $200,000 (I know, but let's say it was a bit dumpy, and the outside was a strange green color). And let's say that over the course of the last half decade you put $70,000 into that house. We can ignore the tax breaks you get for owning a home in this country. Although that $70,000 includes the property taxes you paid.

Then, let's suppose that yesterday you sold your house for $350,000. I'm not sure there is anybody who would listen to your complaints that you just can't make a profit in the Seattle housing market. Because add a few zeros and that's what the Sonics will be telling us for the next year.

Also, is it strange to anybody else that the total loss by the Sonics has gone up $10 million between late May and now? That second link is King Kaufman, Salon.com's sports writer. He does a pretty good job of explaining the economics.

Sonics spokeswoman and Storm chief operating officer Karen Bryant says Schultz's ownership group, Basketball Club of Seattle, has lost $70 million since buying the Sonics and Storm in 2001, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. That sounds pretty rough until you consider that Schultz's group paid $200 million.

You can see why a business that has appreciated in value by 75 percent in five years can't afford to build its own headquarters and has to go to the taxpayers for help. The taxpayers, of course, will be told in the ramped-up campaign that a new or renovated arena will be a moneymaker for the city, which will lead to the question, "So if it's such a cash cow, why don't you build it yourself?"

Which will lead to the answer, "Because by threatening to move to Oklahoma City, which now seems like a much more realistic possibility because we're not Seattle people, we're Oklahoma City people who have clearly stated in the past that we want to bring an NBA team to our town permanently, we can really hold your elected officials' feet to the fire, since they do not want to be the elected officials who let the area's first professional franchise get away.
And yes, he's forgetting the Seattle Mets. But that's my only complaint, so let's move a couple paragraphs down.

I'm not being entirely fair here about Basketball Club of Seattle's profits. Because of inflation, the teams' appreciation in value from the 2001 sale to this week's was more like 58 percent than 75. The $200 million Schultz's group paid in 2001 is worth something like $222 million today, according to a consensus of online inflation calculators, which I'll admit isn't terribly scientific but gives a rough idea.

So, counting the reported $70 million in operational losses, debt financing and interest payments that the team claims -- and don't think that number can't be inflated when it serves a team's purpose, such as when crying poverty in arena talks with the city -- Basketball Club of Seattle's profit isn't $80 million, or $16 million a year, but somewhere between that and $58 million, or $11.6 million a year.

Poor Howard Schultz. The man has been bled dry by the basketball business! The least you can do is go buy an extra-double venti whatever thing.

Stem Cells 

Electing Darcy Burner gets us one vote closer to overriding the veto in the House. As she said:

The voters of the 8th district deserve someone who understands that using science to save human lives is something worth fighting for.
You can give her some money here (and yes, I promise legislative candidates soon).

Old Farts 

This week's podcast is all about the old folks. As such, I'm not in it, but it looks like fun, and I'll be listening to it fairly soon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I still think he's still quite a longshot, but it's nice to see Peter Goldmark outraised McMorris last quarter (scroll to the bottom).

Selling When The Selling Was Bad 

Howard Schultz still made a killing on the (Super)Sonics. The consortium just made $90 Million profit on a team that will probably have to stay in the no hockey small digs or pay the costs to move into a smaller market. And that has a shit radio gig. They say they could get more for a team ownership that would move the Sonics (I wonder if Clayton Bennett will flip them?).

When Schultz put the team on the block, I laughingly pointed out that if he'd got the offer he wanted, he would have made $140 million profit on a 5 year investment. So assuming that the team's numbers are accurate (and hey, maybe there's a pro-team ownership that tells the truth about these things somewhere, and if there is, why not the Sonics?) subtract $50 million, and you get the $90. It may come as no surprise to you, but I'm not an accountant, and these are based on only the roughest of numbers.

So when we hear in the future that this team can't make any money, we should just remind them that the previous ownership made $18 a year over the 5 years. And got to hang out with basketball players. And got PR out of the deal. And the prestige, so much prestige.

Also, the new owners say they aren't moving, but that doesn't mean a whole lot. And if the Sups do leave, I blame the Storm. Think about it (but not too hard): Every professional non-men's basketball team that's won it's league's championship has not existed in Seattle soon after. And yes, people who aren't Stafan Sharkansky, I do understand basic statistics.

Drinking Liberally 

At the Montlake Ale House tonight.

Dear Dori Monson; 

So when are you going to call for George W. Bush to be fired? I mean he said "shit." And unlike someone who works for Ron Sims, he's the president. Now we already knew he called people major league assholes for reporting on him. And that his Vice President, from the well of the Senate, tells Senators that they can go fuck themselves. But still, this new piece of information is worth at least the hour you spent on someone in a bar on their own time jokingly saying "fucking."

Good night, and good rectum,

Carl Ballard


Monday, July 17, 2006

Independent Investigation 

Good on Mayor Hession.


I hate Tim Eyman.


Josh Feit thinks he's figured out why Mayor Nickels is going socially conservative (for Seattle) all of a sudden.

Here’s the deal: Nickels is worried that his other policy play—tampering with longstanding zoning regulations to promote density—is politically dangerous. Nudging Seattle toward big citydom makes a lot of Seattleites uncomfortable and makes Nickels a bad guy to old-school Seattle. So, he’s made the political decision to couple his efforts to transform Seattle into a big city with a simultaneous war on nightclubs to win points with the voters he may be alienating with his density stuff. (Not to mention winning points with developers.) It’s actually a smart political calculation. Clampdowns are sexy and high-profile. He’s going to get a lot of ink for his war on fun, and it will inoculate him against the charge that he’s abandoning Seattle’s small-town charm with his development agenda.
I'm not sure it's a smart calculus if it's true. I mean the people angry about density aren't going to be won back to his side by titty bar rules that are likely to be overturned. There may be people who imagine that density leads inexorably to crime, and they're silly. But are they really going to be moving into one of the neighborhoods that is going to have clubs late at night?

As to if Nickels really believes in the policy he's promoting: who gives a shit? This is like those people who ask if George Bush was really trying to promote Democracy and find WMD or if he was pure evil. Who gives a shit, we're stuck in an intractable war and he's clearly not looking for a way out.

Darcy Burner 

What Kos mcjoan said. And P.S. to Dave Reichert, this is the kind of press coverage your opposition gets when you chicken out on having a debate.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Open Thread; 


I don't know what this mostly make believe about many politicos, including Cantwell that they're so nice and wonderful in person but oh, just so horrid in big groups. I think most people who saw Cantwell at her event with Obama came away happy with her speech, even if they thought she needed to be rescued by Sims (so what?). But anything that helps kill the perception that she's bad on communications, is helpful. So overall, I think Feit is right, even if the premise is a bit silly.

Spokane is Going to Hell 

Holy cow!

South Sound Freight Center 

Looks good to me.

Stephen Stills 

Darcy Burner gets the man to secure the aging hippie vote if Crosby and Young are out of your budget.

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