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December 30, 2004

The Lynch Mob Gathers for McDermott

One issue that hasn't been raised here yet is the fact that the Republican majority in Washington now seems to be setting its sites on taking down McDermott. Clearly, our progressive Congressman is a top target for them...I don't think ethics are their concern (if it were they wouldn't have recently changed the rules to allow Tom DeLay to remain as majority leader).

We should be talking about how to frame the debate to allow for a fair investigation of McDermott - if one is warranted - or to fight like hell for our democratic right to be represented by our chosen elected officials.

Posted by Jeff on December 30, 2004 at 04:20 PM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Sam Reed Comes Out Magnanimously

So, while Reed misses the opportunity in his first term to reduce the margin of error in state elections and standardize the way registration and ballots are handled...he does come out magnanimously - looking like the Secretary of State every state in this country deserves. A Republican honoring the outcome of a disputed election his party lost. Reed is the Secretary of State Florida and Ohio deserve - the Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell and Katherine Harris never dreamed of being.

Posted by Jeff on December 30, 2004 at 04:13 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Timebucks - alternative currency, based here in Seattle

Timebucks.org is a community Web site promoting alternative currency and volunteering. Nice interview on KUOW's The Works this week.

Alternative currencies have a place in building communities outside of the corporate model. He made some interesting comments about how the IRS actually restricts people from offering to trade the skill they earn their living from - why might this be? what impact does this have on a person's ability to provide for themselves? I thought we lived in a free country.

Posted by Jeff on December 30, 2004 at 11:42 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nice job framing, Peter Hurley

On KUOW's conversation yesterday, Peter Hurley of Transportation Choices called in to comment on the debate about the Critical Areas Ordinance - but he didn't just comment, he reframed the entire discussion. Peter's been reading his Lakoff.

He reframed the debate over the Critical Areas Ordinance as a dispute between one property owner who wants to raze his land for development and the harm it would cause to neighboring property owners who would be hurt by soil erosion, flooding and other costs.

Nice work, Peter. We need more activists making an effort to apply our strengths...

You can listen to the audio from the show here.

Posted by Jeff on December 30, 2004 at 11:40 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Dino wants a revote?

Wow, if he hadn't asked Christine Gregoire to concede before the votes had even been counted - perhaps we could entertain this idea...but the English language may simply lack the words to articulate how ridiculous Rossi's request for a revote is at this point.

Hey Jim Baker, could I get a revote in Florida in 2000? Or a manual recount even?

Update: A friend reminded me that the Republicans had asked Gregoire to do a statewide recount not just King County - and she and the Democrats went out, raised the $700,000 and did so. They did as they were asked to by the Republicans.

Posted by Jeff on December 30, 2004 at 11:35 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An open letter to responsible Republicans

Dear Responsible Republicans,

While you and I have some pretty significant differences over matters of policy, I know that we all share a common faith in our democratic institutions and a committment to the rule of law.

Our state faces many critical challenges in the coming months and years. Citizens of all political stripes will need to work together in an atmosphere of collegiality and trust in order to develop practical solutions to the real problems we face together -- educating our children, providing access to health care for all, and protecting our state's natural heritage.

Dino Rossi and Chris Vance's ongoing comments attacking the legitimacy of Governor-elect Christine Gregoire and the integrity of our elections system itself are irresponsible and contrary to the democratic ideals that we all share. Not only do these comments damage the credibility of those who make them, but they make it more difficult for Washingtonians to come together to build a positive future for our state.

I call upon you now to acknowledge that the actions of your party's current leaders, Dino Rossi and Chris Vance, are contrary to these ideals of democracy that all Washingtonians share. And I call upon you to choose new leaders for your party who show respect for their political opponents, respect for the law, and respect for our state's democratic institutions. Washingtonians deserve nothing less.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 30, 2004 at 10:24 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 24, 2004

Analyzing MoveOn

Chris Nolan takes at the evolution of left-wing wunder-org MoveOn in a tough, informative two part piece entitled "MoveOn: No Longer a Start-up or an Upstart." Worth a read for anyone who is reflecting on how to rebuild a progressive movement in this country.

Some of the choicest morsels:

What started out as an on-line political revolution turned over the course of the election into little more than upbeat marketing chatter designed to keep the customers happy and paying.

MoveOn disappointed many it involved. When it came to executing on the ground, its Election Day field efforts were fraught with difficulties. The absence of a "true" on-line community—as opposed to a giant focus group where only the leaders get to stand behind the one-way mirror—is also seen as a shortcoming.

For all its talk about openness and process, MoveOn is more like the self-conscious websites run by political candidates and officeholders, concerned more about their reputation and message discipline than in nurturing the vibrant decentralized give-and-take that is coming to characterize activist community sites like DailyKos or Democratic Underground.

But a virtue in tech can be a mixed blessing in politics, particularly when your profile – Vanity Fair photo shoots, praise from Wired magazine -- is as high as Boyd and Blades' and your rhetoric often glaringly out-of-step with your actions. "When you have an organization that's as broad as MoveOn's is – and it's as broad as their imaginations – it's going to frustrate people," says one Washington-based political insider, issuing what might be the ultimate back-handed compliment. "You don't have to develop any depth. You can be a mile wide and an inch deep."

The organization that now calls consultants "professional election losers" paid the Denver-based Media Strategies and Research almost $14 million in 2003 and much of 2004 for ad buys and other services, according to information collected by the Center for Public Integrity, which has culled through spending records for much, but not all, of this year. California political strategist and ad-man Bill Zimmerman did well, too, cashing more than $1.7 million in MoveOn checks. Washington DC public relations impresario David Fenton's services have so far cost the organization $869,152. Blades mentions Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg in passing, noting that for a time, MoveOn couldn’t communicate with him or his firm, Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research (which received $1.9 million for its services from the organization) because the firm had gone to work for the Kerry campaign.

The problem appears to be in the mode of listening—or not listening—done by the group’s leadership. "They almost lost me initially, because they just couldn't get organized on the ground in Seattle and there was no good way to contact them, except going through the black hole of their national website," said Carolyn McConnell, who volunteered for MoveOn in her Seattle neighborhood. McConnell is – like many people who worked the polls on Election Day – reluctant to criticize MoveOn's intentions, which she still sees as potentially very effective.... "After the election, I had very little way of continuing to connect with the MoveOn community in Seattle and my neighborhood," she said.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 24, 2004 at 01:36 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

King Country added less votes than 6 other counties in recount

Nice post from Tim here: 

I’ve been listening to the Republicans for the past couple of days, and took notice each time they have implied that King County was manufacturing votes; “at least enough to give Christine Gregoire a win.” This made me wonder? Did King County add more votes to their final tally than did other counties? From listening to many Republicans, I was left with the impression that King County must have, by magnitudes, found more votes than any other county.
Well...I decided to run the numbers. And guess what? King County wasn't the lead vote finder. Nor were they second. Or third. Or even fourth, fifth or sixth. Nope. The top six counties to add votes to their final tallies were counties that Dino Rossi won.
King County tied for 7th place in percentage of total votes added to their final tally.
To see a chart listing the top ten counties in order of total percentage votes added to their final tallies, please visit my blog at:
The votes that the Republicans are clamoring about were legitimately cast, legal votes. To argue that King County should not have counted them is odd in a democratic election where legal votes are ALL that matters.
Is that what we've come to? In an effort to win at any cost, the Republicans are going to argue that King County shouldn't have counted legal votes?


Posted by Jeff on December 24, 2004 at 09:38 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 23, 2004

Global warming hits Washington state ski industry

The headline didn't mention global warming - but the story should have. Skiers and snowboarders in the Northwest know that this is yet one more bad year in a mix of bad years over the past five to six. Will the ski industry lobby the state to pass California's stricter vehicle emission law and help put pressure on the auto industry to make cars pollute less? Will the ski industry lobby the Bush administration to get more involved in Kyoto-like agreements - or will they just diversify into golf courses?

Posted by Jeff on December 23, 2004 at 08:38 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2004

Chris Gregoire: our newly elected governor

Well, the votes are in.  And Chris Gregoire won.  Now, some folks might expect the loser, Dino Rossi, to concede.  But apparently Dino and "Chairman" Chris Vance have some other things on their mind.  Let's take a close reading of the headline article on the Washington State Republican Party website. (Empahses added.)

Washington Supreme Court changes the rules!

Actually, what the Supreme Court actually said was that King County correctly applied state elections law in deciding to re-examine the 753 disputed ballots.  The Court cited a 1926 case as precedent.  It's hard to see how this amounts to "changing the rules."  What did change, though, was the winner. And I think that's what Rossi and Vance are steamed about.

This recount is not over! 

Actually, it pretty much is.  King County will count its disputed ballots tomorrow, giving Christine Gregoire a few more votes in her margin of victory.  Then, the election will be over.  And Dino Rossi has lost.

This battle is not over!

That's your choice, Dino.   But now you're the one who's operating outside of the law.  The election process is now over.  You lost.   Take it like a gentleman and save what remains of your political career.  (Chris, you're career is probably just about over after your ham-handed handling of this recount process.)

We know of hundreds of people statewide – including members of our military – whose votes for Dino Rossi were not counted. But we didn’t think existing rules allowed us to do anything about that. Now the Supreme Court has changed the rules and we will fight hard to make sure these votes are counted.

First, that's an incredibly cheap politicization of the military.  Shame on both of you.  Second, the rules have been clear all along -- counties have the discretion to recanvass in order to correct errors.  That's what the law has said all along, and that's what the Supreme Court affirmed.  I think it's more that you were so arrogantly sure that you could win without counting all of the votes that you didn't bother to do your homework while the process was still in motion.  Now the election is over, and you've lost.  You have only your own arrogance and incompetence to blame -- hardly grist for more lawsuits.

Rest assured we will continue the fight to protect Dino Rossi’s legitimate election!

George Lakoff teaches us that "by their Orwellian language ye shall know their weakness."  I'm paraphrasing slightly, but this should serve as sharp reminder to all that it is Christine Gregoire who has been legimitately elected by the voters.  This is the key message that progressives should keep in focus over these next few days.

Finally, the Republicans have their spin already up on their website. Not to mention a TON of background on their side of the recount story.  The Democrats still have yesterday's headlines -- and mostly general election content.  Why so slow?  Maybe Paul Berendt can use some of the recount refund to beef up the communications team.  Just a thought.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 22, 2004 at 07:19 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dino, You Hypocrite, Concede

The good folks at Progressive Majority have put up a handy online action alert that you can use to send a message to Dino Rossi calling on him to concede.  The process is over, Dino.  You lost.  It was really, really close. But you still lost.  Fair and square.  For the good of the state, it's time to show the voters some respect and call it quits.

UPDATE: Embarrassing typo in title corrected. ;-)

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 22, 2004 at 05:31 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Supremes say: "Count every valid vote."

The Washington State Supreme Court showed some uncommon sense in as it overruled Pierce County Superior Court and ordered King County to count the 700-odd mistakenly-invalidated ballots that were found during the recount process.

Republicans argued that a recount should be a mere retabulation, and said seven weeks after the election was too late for counties to go back and correct errors. But the court unanimously said state law specifically allows county canvassing boards to correct mistakes during a recount.

This will almost certainly put Chris Gregiore over the top.  Film of Chris Vance's head exploding at 11.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 22, 2004 at 02:12 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Post-Election Christmas Carol

Evergreen Politics Special Olympia Correspondant Thad Curtz sends along this holiday jingle, which was sung at his doorstep last night by some friends of his.

To the tune of "Let It Snow"

Well the calendar says December
And we voted in November,
But we still don't know the score.
Count some more, count some more, count some more!

Well it could be Christine or Dino,
So let's open up the vino.
Hey, is that a ballot on the floor?
Count some more, count some more, count some more!

When we finally do decide,
How the loser will hate to concede.
But with lawyers on either side
We counters may never be freed!

Well Gary's already packing
And Santa's getting cracking
So although it's become a bore
Count some more, count some more, count some more!


Posted by Jon Stahl on December 22, 2004 at 11:33 AM in Candidate Races, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2004

Gregoire by 8 votes

The AP is reporting that King County has given preliminary totals to both parties - and that Gregoire has won by eight votes. Rossi's campaign is now saying it's too close to call.

Democratic State Party Chair Paul Berendt says it's time for Rossi to concede. Why can't Democrats ever seize the high ground? Those results are going to raise the ire of every Republican in the state - and they are so close as to be meaningless at this point.

I think it's time for King Co. to report their final results - then to hear the Supreme Court's decision on the other ballots, then I think there is a state-mandated recount required with the change in result.

I say - Rossi deserves due process here.

Oh - and Dem's get their $1M recount fee back. Paul - you going to distribute those checks back to donors?

Posted by Jeff on December 21, 2004 at 10:06 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

You know you're getting desperate when...

... your "friends" at the Building Industry Association of Washington invoke Richard Nixon in an amicus brief.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 21, 2004 at 07:10 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Drumbeat Continues for Taxpayer Financed Key Arena Remodel

The Seattle Times continues to dump now its third story on the Sonics and Mayor Nickels plan to rebuild Key Arena at taxpayer expense. And yet again, they mention nothing about how the externalization of costs like these by corporations like the Sonics is a drain on our already tight budget.

Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis said the Mayor's Office plans to work with the Sonics to get the financing plan through the Legislature. He said any package would have to ensure Seattle taxpayers are protected by paying off the $58 million in debt remaining from the last remodeling.

"We don't want to be left holding the bag," Ceis said.

The money would not come from any new taxes. The proposal, while not completed, would ask legislators to redirect King County hotel- and sales-tax revenue that helped finance the construction of Qwest Field and Safeco Field.

Some of the tax money is dedicated to paying off the baseball and football stadiums for more than a decade. The Sonics and Nickels want the Legislature to shift the revenue to KeyArena once the other sports facilities are paid off. If that wins approval, Seattle would sell tax-anticipation bonds to provide upfront cash for construction.

I wonder if when Ceis says "We" he means "Us" and I wonder why he considers an extension of an existing tax to benefit the Sonics not a new tax. If a tax should be retired, extending it is a new tax. How does the Seattle Times get away with publishing this crap?

Mayor Nickels - we deserve better than this...better than you.

Posted by Jeff on December 21, 2004 at 08:55 AM in The Politics of Business | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Former Gov. Locke in Traffic on 520

My money's on Gov. Locke taking a job with Microsoft in January. When he gets stuck in traffic on 520 on the way home after his first day, I wonder if he'll think to himself: "Someone should do something about this damn traffic!"

Posted by Jeff on December 21, 2004 at 08:49 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2004

Costco: Company for the People

After allowing me to pan Microsoft, the Seattle Weekly proved its willingness to highlight corporations that do better by workers and customers in our community. This week's feature is Costco: Company for the People by Nina Shapiro.

Shapiro praises Costco for paying workers a high wage, treating customers right and worrying less about short term pressure from Wall Street. And the strategy is working...

Posted by Jeff on December 19, 2004 at 10:39 PM in The Politics of Business | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Count Every Vote Rally: Sunday 3PM at Dino's place

The Governor's race still hangs on a knife edge.  The folks at Democracy For Washington just organized a  Count Every Vote Rally at Dino Rossi's campaign headquarters.  Kudos to them for going on a media offensive in these last, critical days.

As organizer Ray Minchew writes:

I know firsthand that these votes are valid, they are secure, and they should be counted. And I know firsthand that if all the votes are counted, Christine Gregoire is our next Governor. You know what? The Republicans know it, too. Let’s get together tomorrow and let them know it’s only right to count every vote!

Washington State Democratic Party Recount Director David T. McDonald, who has hung in there against full-court media press by the Republicans, remind us:

The ballots at issue in King County are valid ballots from duly registered voters: These are all absentee voters and no absentee ballot can be issued except to a duly registered voter whose signature matches the signature on record with the government. These absentee ballots were timely returned to election officials. They remain in sealed envelopes. The absentee oath on each envelope is signed under penalty of perjury by the registered voter. The signatures on the envelopes in fact match the signatures from the registered voters to whom the ballots were issued. The only problem with these ballots is that Rossi Republicans believe that counting these ballots will confirm what everyone already knows: Rossi lost. That's why he spent so much time trying to convince Chris Gregoire to concede. He knew in his heart what the results will be when all the votes are counted.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 19, 2004 at 04:12 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 16, 2004

Look who's suing now

Now, maybe my memory is a little bit fuzzy, but I thought that just last week Chris Vance and his band of sycophants were beating the drum about the need to keep our governor's race out of the courtroom.   

Now that it looks like enough uncounted ballots have been found to push the race to Chris Gregoire, the Republicans are racing to the courthouse to overrule King County elections officials.

Putting aside the rank hypocrisy, do we really want to have a Governor installed by the courts? Or do we want to count all the valid votes and let the chips fall where they may?

It's important to keep our eyes on the facts.  As the P-I reports:

King County Elections Director Dean Logan said the absentee ballots were not counted originally because there was a problem with how the voters' signatures had been scanned into the county's computer system. Election workers should have checked the paper files for signatures, but instead the ballots were mistakenly rejected.

It's not a question of whether the votes are secure -- they're still in their security envelopes. It's not a question of whether the voters followed the rules -- they did.  The whole point of a recount is to give "the system" a chance to fix its own mistakes.   And the system is working.  A mistake was found, large enough to possibly swing the race. We need to let the process continue to unfold without dragging the courts into it.

A final note to responsibile Republicans -- you should seriously think about doing some housecleaning at party HQ -- starting with Chris Vance.  He's doing you more harm than good right now.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 16, 2004 at 10:16 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 13, 2004

Seattle Times Publishing Work of Right Wing Wackos

This guest editorial in the Seattle Times provides more of the same push for deregulation of Washinton state so that corporations can further externalize their costs on taxpayers and make shareholders wealthier and wealthier - while leaving Seattle's citizens homeless, uneducated and/or stuck in traffic.

The "Discovery Institute" "thinktank" that this author is a "fellow" of has a link to an article discussing whether evolution is fact or theory on its home page (Evolution: Call a theory a theory). I'd say the idea of deregulation leading to job creation is more theory than fact, but I'll bet on evolution any day.

The Seattle Times refuses to put a writer advocating sustainability or tax investment on their editorial pages.

Posted by Jeff on December 13, 2004 at 11:55 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Please debunk this

Someone with more economics credentials than me should debunk this piece of claptrap from the Discovery Institute, which tries to claim that Washington State's exports are in trouble and then claim that the obvious answer is... less regulation! (No surprise there, the pseudo-experts at the Discovery Institute already know the answers before they even consider the problem.)

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 13, 2004 at 10:48 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Talking sense about hybrid buses

Alan Durning's response. to today's Seattle PI article about the apparently-disappointing fuel economy numbers for Seattle's new hybird buses is thoughful and to-the-point. [Unlike the sensational of those natteringly negative nabobs over at the PI. --Ed.]

Durning's key points are:

1) That hybird buses are way better on emissions, even if fuel economy is only slightly better.

2) Metro isn't using hybrid buses on the types of stop-and-go local routes where they'd get better mileage; instead it's using them on long-haul suburban routes that lead to the downtown bus tunnel.

Good, thoughtful commentary.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 13, 2004 at 07:54 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

They Found Them: Uncounted Ballots in King County

Looks like King County has found over 500 wrongly discarded votes in the Governor's race, apparently enough to swing the election to Gregoire. It's small comfort for the disaster of the 2000 presidential election and we're likely to see some moral gymnastics on the part of the Republicans, but it's something.

Posted by Michael Gilbert on December 13, 2004 at 05:38 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (3)

December 12, 2004

Kevin Reardon's First Year

Emily Heffter at the Seattle Times covers Kevin Reardon's first year as Snohomish County Executive. Reardon is a hard-charging, young (34!) Democrat who has apparently ruffled a few Republican feathers his first year.

I'm not in any position to comment on the specifics -- for all I know the guy's a total jerk. (But I doubt it.) What I do know is that one thing I like to see is Democrats being depicted as take charge, no-nonsense, get-things-done leaders.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 12, 2004 at 09:20 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 11, 2004

Buy Blue: Proactive political purchasing

The consumer boycott is an organizing tactic with a great deal of history to it. In the past ten years, the environmental movement has done an impressive job of reinventing it into a "markets initiative" -- a strategic campaign designed to put economic pressure on a company to end a specific destructive practice.

Into this landscape comes Buy Blue, an interesting new effort to identify companies that have a clear direction to their political giving, and to allow consumers to make purchasing choices from companies that support progressive politics, while avoiding the companies that power the conservative machine.

It's a fledgling effort, but one well worth keeping an eye on.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 11, 2004 at 01:32 PM in The Politics of Business | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 10, 2004

Excellent critique of Mayor Nickels' Tunnel Advocacy

Cary Moon has a thoroughly outstanding critique of the Mayor's plan to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct with an tunnel in this week's Stranger.

The mayor is right to say that freight mobility is a vital issue for the economy of Seattle and the region. But the viaduct is only used for 4,000 to 5,000 freight trips a day --out of 110,000 total trips--and freight-only lanes on arterials or I-5 would easily accommodate them.

WSDOT's own data reveal the delusion of the agency's insistence on capacity replacement. The computer models WSDOT uses to predict future traffic flow are based on assumptions about driving behavior. One of these assumptions is that as the region's population grows, the demand for car trips will continue to increase as well. They project that if the viaduct is torn down and not replaced, I-5 will be gridlocked by about 2030. Sounds bad. But when you compare that to WSDOT's projection in which the viaduct is replaced with a tunnel, I-5 still reaches gridlock--9 to 13 years later. Why would we spend billion of dollars and waste our one chance to reclaim the central shoreline if it only buys us a 9-to-13-year delay? Buying larger pants doesn't mean you're losing weight--it means you've got pants that you can grow into. Let's solve the problem, not delay it.

And I don't even think her 9-13 year window excludes the time it takes to reconstruct the viaduct. My thought has always been if we'll have to live without it for 6 years during construction - can't we live without it permanently?

Posted by Jeff on December 10, 2004 at 05:02 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 08, 2004

The Death of Liberalism?

Adam Werbach, former boy-wonder president of the Sierra Club, gave a pretty bold speech today in which he argues that progressive politics-as-usual need to die in order to be reborn.  The full text isn't online yet, but here's an interview he gave to Lakshmi Choudury of Alternet in which he previews the rhetorical ground he covered.

Here are some of the choice tidbits:

The fact that despair is increasing – which it will – is not going to lead to the rebirth in liberalism. That’s not why they think that they’ve gotten this way, and it’s not how they think they’re going to get themselves out.

So you can’t really address it directly. It’s almost hackneyed to say it, but the antidote to fear is hope and opportunity. So we’ll need to talk about hope and opportunity because those are the other important things that people believe in.

OK, so what is a core element of this new narrative?

Simply stated, a soul. When I talk about fulfillment, I'm really talking about something I want to believe in and fight for. It should be a powerful antidote to fundamentalism, be as powerful as fundamentalism is to people. It should be unchallengeable in the way liberalism was in the post-Depression era.

What you really have is power in the Democratic Party decentralized into these interest group institutions—Sierra Club, NAACP, NARAL, ACLU—which organize people in what we might call stove pipes rather than towards a single end, which is to build political power.

It is similar to the intelligence failure [over the 9/11 attacks]. The FBI and the CIA each had their particular institutional goals that they were trying to reach, but they didn't reach their common goal, which was protecting America. They failed at their primary mission even while they were succeeding at their institutional missions. I think that’s the same critique you can apply to interest groups—Democratic interest groups.

I do think that the Sierra Club, for example, is one of the groups that has the capacity to make that change. They have a grassroots base. They get people in real communities working on real issues. But I think that groups like NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council] are going to find it more challenging because they rely on the idea that if you have smart scientists and lobbyists, you can actually win the day. I think that is discredited at this point.

I’ve been trying to tell my friends at the Sierra Club that the most important battle for the Sierra Club in the next two years might be over public education. That is the battle line over collective activity, interdependence, the values we care about – much more so than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. That's a skirmish along the way that’s not strategic. It's way off to the side.

James Dobson and Focus on the Family and all the evangelical groups believe they’ve won Social Security and a flat tax code at this point. Now they’re going after public education. They don’t believe that the government should be socializing Americans in non-religious education.

Posted by Jon Stahl on December 8, 2004 at 11:45 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 06, 2004

Stupid as all get out: recounting touch screen votes by hand

This may be the stupidest act you'll ever read about. Two Washington counties will be printing out their touch screen votes on 8 1/2" x 11" pages in order to recount them by hand.

Most counties bracing for a statewide hand recount of the governor's race have boxes upon boxes full of ballots.

Not Snohomish and Yakima counties, the only two in Washington where people voted on touch-screen computers.

Before their recounts can begin, Snohomish and Yakima counties will have to print out paper ballots to record tens of thousands of votes cast at the polls Nov. 2 on the computer-voting machines.

"It's going to be a long, long process," Carolyn Diepenbrock, Snohomish County's election supervisor, told The (Everett) Herald.


Snohomish County has to print out more than 96,000 ballots to record the votes of those who turned out at the polls on Election Day. Yakima County will have fewer ballots to print, since it had about one-quarter as many participating voters.

Each touch-screen vote was recorded on electronic data cartridges, technology that speeds up machine counting. A hand recount is another story.

Starting Wednesday, election officials will begin downloading the data to create a computer file for each ballot, saved in portable document, or "pdf," format, Diepenbrock said.

The ballots will then be printed out, each on its own sheet of 8  1/2-by-11-inch paper.

"We are going to have five different computers with five printers, and they are going to be printing for five days," Diepenbrock said.

Posted by Jeff on December 6, 2004 at 09:34 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 02, 2004

Strange recount fundraising angles

So, Christine Gregoire said today she only wants a recount if the Democratic Party can pay to recount the entire state. The Democratic Party is saying they don't yet have the money for such a campaign. Yet, the Sierra Club has sent out a calendar for the recount and is collecting volunteers to observe - if you read their email - it sounds like the recount is a foregone conclusion.

If the recount puts Gregoire on top, the state has to repay the Democratic party for the recount - what happens to donor money then? Is it returned to donors? Kept by the party? Given to Rossi personally as a parting gift?

Posted by Jeff on December 2, 2004 at 04:04 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Prosperity Parody

Last week, Rick Anderson had a great piece in the Seattle Weekly called Prosperity Parody. I think it's a must read for any left-leaning politico in Washington.

The story covers a recent summit between wealthy Washington corporate honchos and public hacks like Mayor Nickels who buddy up with them. Job creation is code for corporate tax breaks.

Drewel says the partnership's intent is to devise a strategy to create 100,000 new jobs by 2010, and, as leery Seattle City Council member Nick Licata told me, "How can anyone be against jobs?"... Locke had said the Boeing pact shows how the state is "open for business in a way we have never been before."...Public affairs consultant John A. Wilson saw the incentives as inevitable and says the entire state tax system needs revising—"Microsoft recently paid out $32 billion in dividends, and $18 billion of that went to Washington residents," he said. "The state treasury got no part of it." ...

Is this potential new public debt really necessary? Washington, home to three of America's 10 richest businessmen (Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer), ranks fourth nationwide for business-friendly environment, seventh in "wealth friendliness" (keeping wealth out of the reach of state government), and ninth in favorable business-tax rates, according to various studies. Locke says there was a net gain of 61,000 jobs last year, a stunning 10,000 last month, and that Washington has "virtually" regained every job it lost since 9/11. Even without the 100,000 jobs Prosperity Partnership hopes to create, Washington will add an estimated 290,000 more positions by 2010. Earnings growth is twice the national average, and based on gross state product, if Washington were a country, it would rank 21st, between Sweden and Austria. Is it possible we don't need no more stinkin' partnerships?

Bob Watt, Boeing Commercial Airplane's avuncular vice president for government and community relations, told the assemblage, "We have the opportunity of leaving this room [having] created something that doesn't exist." The only thing I could figure they overlooked was a taxpayer exemption from corporate welfare.

Posted by Jeff on December 2, 2004 at 12:23 AM in The Politics of Business | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack