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September 30, 2005

Challenge to the Washington State Republican Party

Daniel at "On the Road to 2008" has a post and a map of the state with the locations of the many Republican legislators who voted for the landmark transportation bill that Initiative 912 is trying to tear down.  Very cool.  Very instructive.  Over and over again, we have to ask, what are these Republicans doing?  Are they afraid of the nutso wing of their party, the guys like John Carlson and his cronies on right-wing talk radio?  Don't they see that what is going on at the national level with the same type of nuts is destroying their Party?  They have a small opportunity to build back to the responsible, forward-looking party of previous years and not get caught in what is likely to be a national revulsion with the Republicans.  But they are blowing it by supporting Initiative 912.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 30, 2005 at 08:32 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 29, 2005

Bigger than Teapot Dome

With the release of Judith Miller today and her testimony in front of the Grand Jury tomorrow, the house of cards is starting to fall on the Plame investigation.  How big will it be?  Who will be indicted?

Here’s Jane’s answer on firedoglake.com:

People keep asking me "how high up is this going to go?" And my answer is, as high as Fitzgerald can get anyone to talk. I can only guess, but the thing to keep in mind about this crowd is if you are counting on copious amounts of character to keep someone from ratting out the whole bunch, it's going to be flip city.

You think Bolton's gonna do 20 years to protect Cheney? Surely you jest.

I’ve been saying for the last several months that this national security scandal had the potential to bring down this administration.  I had two concerns though.  One, I thought it might be overly complex for the public to understand.  I always thought that the Iran-Contra scandal, which was truly a monumental constitutional issue that should have brought down the Reagan/Bush Administration was just too complex for people to understand.  Clinton’s sexual transgressions were so much easier for people to get their arms around.  Secondly, I wondered if the Democrats had the cojones to step up and lead after the Republicans fall. 

That was then.  As we watched Bush’s poll numbers drop as a result of the failing war in Iraq, the rising price of oil, and then the horrendous failures of Katrina, I realized that this would all make the American public more receptive to the potential Fitzgerald indictments. 

Now after the Frist investigation, the Delay indictments, the Abramoff link to organized crime and the mass of corruption scandals unfolding, it will be a lot easier for the public to grasp the extent of the culture of corruption and deception that the Republicans have let loose on our government and on us.

Hunter rants on at DailyKos, going off on the pathetic howling at the right-wing blogs about the unfairness of it all, the warnings to Democrats not to get too political about all this.  He includes this brilliant paragraph:

This is the world of the Republican Party, split open like a rotting pumpkin. Crime after crime after crime being investigated, all revolving around the Republican money machine. Every seed connected by the strands of money they share between them. Barely-laundered campaign money passed in the palm of every flabby handshake. Every player in boldface, underlined print in the Rolodex of every other.

I am no longer concerned that the American public will not be ready to understand the nature of the crimes committed in the Valerie Plame outing.  The specifics will not matter.  We get that they are simply corrupt to the bone.  Now, are we as Democrats and progressives ready to take the helm and lead effectively, to take this incredible mess we will be left with and resurrect our democracy and our economy? 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 29, 2005 at 11:11 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Governor's Trade Mission Wrap-up

Governor Gregoire has a nice piece up on her official site about the trade mission to Japan and China that she and several other officials, legislators and company representatives just returned from.  She talks about the importance of international trade to our economic well-being as a state and shares both what they accomplished on the mission and what they learned.  In an earlier phone conference, Gregoire shared information about how much Washington State stands out from other states for governmental and business officials in both Japan and China. 

Washington and Washington State products stand for quality in a way that no other state or state's products do.  A good place to be in, especially since we have a bunch of folks who know how to build on it.     

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 29, 2005 at 12:29 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 28, 2005

Network of Corruption

Ever wonder why they all seem corrupt?  Has this Republican culture of corruption no end? Chris Bowers clarifies it over at mydd.com today.  He starts off talking about Roy Blunt, who emerged as temporary House majority leader today after Tom Delay was indicted on charges of criminal conspiracy in Texas.  The trouble is, Blunt is not much better than Delay.  The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a list of 13 members of Congress, other than Delay, who were also knee deep in corruption, 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats.  Blunt was high on that list. 

Then Bowers addresses the underlying problem:

The major problem facing Republicans and conservatives right now is that they have built a powerful movement largely through superior infrastructure and extensive coordination. However, extensive coordination has also resulted in a select handful of individuals, most notably Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist and Karl Rove, serving as the ultimate coordinators and gatekeepers of this movement. As a result, there is almost no one in the conservative movement who DeLay is not already tied into. Thus, even as DeLay steps aside, he long reach has already tainted nearly everyone in the Republican leadership and the conservative movement.

With leaders like Cheney, Frist, Rove and DeLay, there is no escape from the Culture of Corruption for Republicans save total defeat and reorganization. The gatekeepers are all knee-deep in it, and everyone else is knee deep in the gatekeepers. Because of their unprecedented power, it has become impossible for any Republican who ever wants to go anywhere to attack these leaders. Because of their unprecedented power, it has become impossible for almost any Republican in office to extricate themselves from the ethical problems of this select group. The gatekeepers are corrupt, and no one passes through untainted.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 28, 2005 at 09:59 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 27, 2005

Republican Central Committee Endorses 912, No One Notices

Buried in an article by David Postman of the Seattle Times last weekend on the Washington Republicans’ decision to revoke Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment (not to speak ill of fellow Republicans) we hear that the party’s central committee overwhelmingly voted to endorse the November ballot measure, Initiative 912, that would repeal the recent gas-tax increase. 

Hm.  This seems kind of fishy to me – not that they would do this but that we’ve heard so little about it.  Could it be that the Republican Party doesn’t want us to know about this?  Why? For fear that this vote, if widely publicized, might splinter the Party?  We know that the business community is against 912 and we know that the tax-cuts-at-any-cost Republicans are for it. 

Daniel at On the Road to 2008 holds Dino Rossi responsible and thinks this vote will wreck his chances with voters in the future.  Interesting theory.  He says,

Pretty amazing. Dino Rossi supported the most recent nickel gas tax increase, and ran for Governor on a pro-business platform. Yet, this initiative, opposed by businesses across the state because it will set back road work improvements by years, if not decades, appears to be the stuff Republicans have decided to champion, thereby thumbing their collective noses at the support the business community has traditionally given to the GOP.

Of course, for my part, I believe I-912 is something all Washingtonians should be against, not just business leaders. We have hundreds of transportation project needs that are in desperate need of money, and this initiative simply cuts off the largest source of funding available to them. For mere pennies we could raise billions of dollars that will fully fund 241 projects, and partially fund the mega-projects that need the money to position them to a level that they can be considered realistic endeavors, as opposed to simply necessary, yet unfunded pipe-dreams. For example, the tax that I-912 would cut would raise 50 to 65 percent of the money needed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

I-912 now not only looks like it will kill a plethora of important safety improvement and congestion relief projects if it passes, but it now appears it may kill the
political future of Dino Rossi, whether it passes or not. As the de facto leader of the Republican party, there is no chance that this endorsement does not have his blessing, and if so he will surely face a political backlash from the business community that he and his party have now decided they are willing to stab in the back.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 27, 2005 at 11:18 PM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

Josh Marshall Nails It

The Republican pattern of corruption is coming into focus.  It's huge.  It ties together Abramoff, Delay, Norquist, Reed and the whole lot of the pay for play gang.  Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has the goods.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 26, 2005 at 09:15 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 25, 2005

Good vs. Bad Government

The city-fathers of the gorgeous Italian hill city of Siena commissioned a set of two paintings in the early 14th century that illustrate the differing effects of good and bad government on the people. The paintings, by Ambrogio Lozenzetti, were able to present an incredible picture of the value of holding government accountable – this to people who were unable to read. Filling one great wall of a large old city hall is the painting entitled “The Effects of Good Government”. It depicts lush fields, sturdy horses and plentiful storage sheds. The people are working and talking and enjoying themselves. On the far wall is “The Effects of Bad Government”. It depicts poorly-tilled fields, strawny horses, badly-kept houses and little stored food. The people are under-fed and brutish, and have raised arms against each other. 

I remember being so struck by these paintings and the brilliance of the folks who commissioned it. Over 650 years ago, the city elders were thinking about the rule of laws, about collective governmental responsibility to the people and of the citizens responsibility to pay attention to how their government functions. I saw the paintings about 10 years ago. I remember turning to my traveling companion and noting that this idea was not fully understood by any number of folks around the world. At the time I was thinking of the Soviet Union or eastern Europe.

Ha! The rest of the world would be pleased if we took this to heart now.

We have seen a lot lately about how badly the national government is currently run and how so many of the Republican governors, i.e. Fletcher of Kentucky and Taft  of Ohio, are both corrupt and running their state governments into the ground.

I am also grateful to the Democratic leaders of this state. I have enormous respect for Governor Gregoire and for the diligence, energy and thoughtfulness she and most of our Democratic leaders put into running this state. I was on a conference call with several print reporters on a call from the Governor and three agency heads from Beijing two days ago. Several local reporters wrote pretty detailed accounts of the bi-partisan trade mission that the governor led. Kristi Heim of the Seattle Times and David Ammons, AP reporter whose work appears in the PI, both had good articles.

What jumped out at me as I listening to them all, is how hard the governor, her predecessor, Gary Locke, and the other members of the mission were working. They are talking with their counterparts in Japan and China in order to find new ways for companies in Washington State, large and middle-sized, to sell goods and services over there. They are talking to agencies and companies that might use Washington’s agricultural, telecommunications, banking, software, biotech, transportation, and pollution control products just for a start. 

In addition, they are working to lower trade barriers; they are talking about how Washington companies can help with the 2008 Olympics. They are very aware of the importance of relationships with their Asian counterparts. They presented a bi-partisan front with the inclusion of Republican legislators. Lastly, they were aware of selling a brand – Washington State. And they seemed to be doing a very good job of it.

It reminded me again of how lucky we are that they were representing us and how lucky we are to be living in a state that seems to understand the importance of good government.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 25, 2005 at 05:13 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bring ActBlue to Washington State

Brian over at Washblog has a nice post up about bringing ActBlue to Washington State.  Sooner rather than later since they will be here one way or another in the next couple of years.  Yeah!  ActBlue is a key part of our Internet-reclaim-our-Party-and-our-nation infrastructure.  They will be very helping progressives raise money. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 25, 2005 at 01:57 PM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 23, 2005

Seattle Entrepreneur Uses Homeless to Advertise Internet Site has been approved

Dan Bakkedahl, the Daily Show's new correspondent, makes a great debut interviewing an unscrupulous Seattle entrepreneur who pays the homeless $3 a day to advertise his Internet site on their street signs. The entrepreneur calls it 'Bumvertising' - I call it sick. We'll see what the Washington Department of Labor calls it.

If you're offended, consider making a donation to Real Change, Seattle's homeless newspaper. Real Change vendors earn 65 cents for each copy of the newspaper that they sell on the streets. The interaction between the vendors and the buyers provide a connection that helps tear down the stereotypes which create labels such as 'bum' and allow some of us to be so disconnected from the plights of those less fortunate.

'Bumvertising' is a new take on a necessary evil

'Bumvertising' stirs debate

Posted by Jeff on September 23, 2005 at 09:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Politics on Internet Time

It occurs to me that the progressive blogs at the national level are driving politics at a speed unheard of in our history.  Collectively we do the research, share the results, prod the MSM and the Democratic politicians, urge people to become involved, and hold people accountable for their actions.  Do you think Tim Russert doesn’t feel the hot breathe of Arianna Huffington breathing down his neck?  Or the Republicans and wayward Democrats in Congress don’t feel the wrath of their constituents when Josh Marshall pesters them about their stand on Social Security or their votes on the bankruptcy bill or the new Democratic-sponsored bill to roll back the Gulf Coast Wage Cut? Do you think the MSM media would have noticed that Judy Miller may well be hiding in jail to protect herself rather than standing up for a principle if bloggers hadn’t consistently pointed this out?  Or kept up the drumbeat of information on the amazing amount of corruption of Republican leaders at the national and state levels without sustained information coming out of the blogs?

Today, the netroots finds itself in a place similar to Apple or Google or one of the other more nimble, innovative companies in relationship to both the Democrats and the Republicans, in different ways.  The Democrats are the old IBM or one of those old regulated phone companies.  They are lucky to have Dean in there trying to make a turnaround.  The Republicans are the Enron, flying high on buzz and deception, imploding on itself when it is seen as being hollow to the core, having nothing of substance to sell. 

The progressive blogosphere is a culture that knows how to communicate and to take in information from everyone who has it to give and to self-correct when it goes wrong. Over time, and rather quickly, we have used this amazing technology to help us formulate how we want to deal with the jokers who have been running this country and behaving so badly – in the government, in the media and in the Unions and in our Party.  We are having this amazing conversation in front of the world.  And we are testing the reach of our influence and power. 

Can we help get Paul Hackett, a total newcomer on the national scene, elected to a seat in a Congressional District which is deep red?  Almost.  Can we keep John Bolton from being confirmed as ambassador to the U.N. by the U.S. Senate. Yes.  Can we get the people in the good state of Washington to realize that it is in their best interests to defeat Initiative 912?  Maybe.

It looks like the world likes this conversation and finds our ideas both appealing and compelling.  At least our world of blues and blue-leaners likes it.  Chris Bowers of mydd, gleaning information from a recent Pew poll, comments on how much Democrats and Independents are thinking a lot like the writers of the progressive blogs.  He is beginning to think our reach is enormous:

People often accuse me of overstating the power of the netroots and the blogosphere, but perhaps even I have been dramatically understating it. I mean, if the blogosphere plays a central role in the political life of over two million of the most politically active progressives, and those people tend to be the influentials in their family and social circles, how could we not be basically driving the progressive zeitgeist nationwide?

This conversation that we are constantly having on the blogs is one that people like to pay attention to – whether by reading, commenting, writing or discussing what they’ve read with friends or family.  Especially now, in the aftermath of the shock of having the myths of our country and our country’s leadership momentarily revealed, we are having an impact.

And that impact will only become more pronounced.  We have, even more than cable TV perhaps, pushed politics into Internet time.  And we know how to operate in that time.  Others don’t, haven’t learned how to be nimble or collaborative. 

In the process we are rapidly competing with the old Democrats for the heart and the soul of our people.  A few politicians get it and jump aboard.  Others don’t quite know how to come on over.  Some still don’t get it.  With luck the ones who do get it will serve as a bridge to the ones who don’t, pulling them along, with us nudging them all along the way.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 23, 2005 at 11:14 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 21, 2005

Time for a National Alternative Energy Policy

Hold on to your wallets!  Prices at the pumps will be going up, more so in other parts of the country than here, but we will feel it as well.  Darksyde has a diary up at DailyKos about the horrendous impact that this new hurricane, Rita, is likely to have on gas and oil prices.  He also says that we are about 10 years into a 25-30 year cycle of high hurricanes in the gulf region.  It's a good read for those of you who like the details.

Then he says the obvious: it's time for some of our national Democratic leaders to get out in front with an energy policy for these times.  Here's the last paragraph:

It seems to us an excellent plank in the campaign of any forward looking politician would be alternative energy/fuels. I don't care if it's fusion research or solar or wind or just plain old conservation and improved design on existing technology. The first credible national contender who comes up with a bold JFK 'moonrocket type speech' calling for a national crash course on alternative energy sources -- and sounds like they mean it--is probably going to get ahead of the pack. Because there's going to be some real pain at the gas pump even if Rita disintegrates. That would be an asset and a gold star on any politicians platform, although given Bush's track record on words Vs deeds I doubt it will do him much good. It would be a damn fine idea imo for a dem leader wannabe to start thinking about it; the only question is, will any of them take that open invitation and start leading?

 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 21, 2005 at 09:37 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

912 and our Core Values

The Seattle PI has a thoughtful editorial up this morning on the values underlying the choice to vote against 912.  Stephanie Bowman, the author, talks about the inherent values of taking responsibility and fairness, paying for what we use and need.  Here's an exerpt:

To what extent do we believe in responsibility? Knowing you live in a hurricane zone and that your city's infrastructure can't withstand the inevitable Category 5 storm seemed to most of us outside of Louisiana the height of irresponsibility. Here in the Puget Sound region we live in an earthquake zone and know the Evergreen Point Bridge won't withstand the inevitable large earthquake. And yet we're considering a ballot measure that would cut funding that's already in place to fix these problems?

To what extent do we value fairness and the idea that if you use it, you should pay for it? Since 1944, the Washington state constitution has guaranteed that transportation taxes can be used only to pay for transportation projects, so everyone who uses the roads and bridges pays a little bit to fix them. This system has worked well for half a century, and yet now the proponents of I-912 think we should change that, that we can find the money to fix roads from somewhere else, maybe from money currently set aside for education and health care.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 21, 2005 at 08:35 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 19, 2005

What We Are Working Toward

Stirling Newberry writes the Inaugural Address for the Democratic winner of the 2008 election.  It is a piece of writing that we should all print out and paste on our bathroom wall to remind ourselves of what we are working to make happen and why.  Here's the first paragraph:

We, the people, have come to this place, as our ancestors did, to begin anew the American adventure. To renew her covenants, to restore her honor, to rebuild her cities, towns, and farms, to re-establish her credit, and to reshape her future. Last November we had an American revolution; it is now our task to enact an American restoration.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 19, 2005 at 09:04 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 18, 2005

Picking a Peck of Pickled Parties

So, I voted my first Washington State "pick-a-party" primary ballot today. (Yeah, I'm an absentee voter.) Contrary to the expectations of many Washingtonians, the world did not end.  As I checked the "Democrat" box [you mean "filled in" the "Democrat oval", right? - Ed.], the FBI didn't show up at my door.  Nor, thankfully, did Chris Vance.  Or Paul Berendt.  Hair didn't sprout from my palms.  Fire didn't rain down from on high.  Adorable kittens did not die needless deaths.  Representative democracy, it appears, will survive the process of allowing only the people who actually identify with a particular party to choose that party's nominees. 

You may go back to worrying about issues that actually matter now.

Posted by Jon Stahl on September 18, 2005 at 10:18 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Power of the Blogs?

Chris Bowers has a new post up commenting on the new poll out by the Pew Research Center confirming last week's Newsweek poll on the 12% advantage to the Democrats, meaning 40% would vote for a generic Republican vs. 52% for a generic Democratic.  Some key strength for Democrats:

  • 27 to 55 advantage from Independents
  • 39 to 57 advantage with young people, aged 18-28
  • 38 to 55 women

This is good but it gets better.  Chris then goes on to ponder the influence of the progressive blogs on the results.  He makes an astounding but compelling argument that the progressive blogs are having an enormous effect on how Democrats, Indepentents, and Moderate Republicans, especially the young, feel about politics: 

Considering the similarity of these polling numbers to the general outlook of the progressive netroots, I have to wonder about the role of blogs in all of this. Just like the Democrats in this poll, the progressive blogosphere is often pissed off at leaders of the Democratic Party. However, like the Democrats in this poll, it is rabidly partisan, and it isn't taking its votes anywhere in a general election for public office. Also, by overhwelming, two-to-one margins, Democrats do not feel the Party is standing up for its traditional values, a regular online complaint. Further, the younger the voters in this poll are the ones most pissed off at Republicans and most likely to vote against them. As I have previously reported, the progressive blogosphere is a lager source of news for younger Americans than all of the cable news networks combined (and the progressive blogosphere has more than doubled its audience since I made that report). This could all be coincidental, but it could mean that the progressive blogosphere is becoming the heart and soul of the rank and file opposition to Republicans nationwide. People often accuse me of overstating the power of the netroots and the blogosphere, but perhaps even I have been dramatically understating it. I mean, if the blogosphere plays a central role in the political life of over two million of the most politically active progressives, and those people tend to be the influentials in their family and social circles, how could we not be basically driving the progressive zeitgeist nationwide?

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 18, 2005 at 10:50 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is the Washington State Democratic Party Operationally Competent?

Kayne McGladrey, chair of the Fifth District Democrats, reports on a recent meeting of the State Democratic Party Technology Committe, where he received some not-all-that-shocking revelations about the way the party's master database (the "Voter File') is managed.

We have a very nice Technology Director who doesn't have authority to make design changes to the Voter File. He's not on the Executive Board. This is the same as a technology director at a major corporation not being invited to the table when business decisions are being made. He's also the Chair of the Technology Committee, which must ultimately be frustrating.

The Party owns the data and is responsible for updating the data. This sounds fine as a concept, except that Washington is a big State and there's less incentive to update the whole State at a time, because it costs time and money. Instead, voter file updates are targeted to areas of strategic importance. These are areas with established Democratic representatives. I don't live in one of those areas. Eastern Washington doesn't live in one of those areas.

The Voter File is -- or at least should be -- the single most important asset that the State Democratic Party has.  It's the ultimate place where all information collected during their long hours of doorbelling and phonebanking needs to be stored.  And the most important places to have great data are in swing districts (like the 5th!) where a strong field effort can make the difference between victory and defeat.

I'm not a Democratic Party insider like Kayne, but I've long suspected that this kind of operational incompetence was rampant at party central in Olympia Seattle.  The fact that the grassroots "face" of the party -- PCOs, District Chairs, etc -- aren't allowed to update the Voter File suggests more than just bad business decisions by Paul Berendt and company.  It speaks to a philosophical problem of not valuing the grassroots of the party, of not valuing field campaigning, and of not wanting to make the unsexy back-office systems investments that actually win close races.

Posted by Jon Stahl on September 18, 2005 at 08:24 AM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 17, 2005

Gearing Up to Fight 912

It’s time to get serious about defeating 912, an ill-conceived plan to make government far less workable by repealing the Transportation bill that the legislature, business and community leaders, and the governor worked so hard to enact at the end of this last session.  That’s all it is.  The proponents of 912 don’t care about the gutting of the much-needed transportation projects.  They are of a kind with the political hacks at the national level, and those that appointed them, who neglected the real needs of emergency preparedness when they took over FEMA. 

Our own right-wing conservatives want to hamstring the legislature, the governor and the progressive movement in this state.  If this initiative is passed, it will be much harder for the legislature to take up critical issues that raise taxes of any kind.  It will be much more difficult for them to govern in a way that looks to the future. 

So, it’s time to raise the awareness of the importance of defeating 912 and take the steps necessary to doing so.  Here are some starters:

1)       Become knowledgeable about the impact of the defeat of 912 – on your county and on the counties of family members and friends.  The list is extensive and includes both useful transportation projects and absolutely necessary projects similar to those that might have saved the levees breaking in Louisiana:

·         Washington Defense has a list of the 274 transportation projects that would be impacted by the passage of 912, listed by county

·         The Association of Washington Cities has a county-clickable map with the same information.  They also have put up the parts of that Transportation bill that deal with accountability.  It is substantial and reassuring.

·         The state Dept. of Transportation has a slightly clunkier version of the above.  

2)       Get involved in the emerging campaign to defeat 912:

·         Talk to friends, family and neighbors, especially those in the redder counties about the very read need to defeat this initiative

·         Write letters to the editor and add you support to blog writers by commenting on our supportive posts

·         Volunteer with Washington Defense and/or contribute money to them.  This is a grassroots organization that has sprung up in the absence of any organized business, Democratic Party or community group.  If “Get Washington Rolling”, the business organization that formed to defeat 912 ever begins to take action, Washington Defense will happily join in with them.

3)       Put pressure on State leaders – Democrats, Republicans, and business and community leaders to come out against 912:

·         Write Paul Barendt, Chair of the state Democratic Party.  The Party has come out with a letter opposing I-330, another ill-conceived initiative regarding medical malpractice suits.  They can take action on this far more important issue.

·         Write Governor Gregoire and your legislators.  Gregoire worked very hard to put together the agreement for that Transportation bill and she has come out publicly against 912 but she needs to pick up the pace of opposition.  All our government officials need to step up to lead on this issue, as citizens, understanding they are not allowed to as government officials.

·         Talk to your local business and community leaders and ask them to speak out

·         Put pressure on Dino Rossi to weigh in against 912, as Goldy suggests.  Rossi has not done so which puts him on the side of the folks who wish government to fail.

I want to end with a quote from Seattle PI columnist Robert Jamison about the destructive nature of initiatives such as 912:

The Spirit of Eyman wears down the infrastructure of society.

We do need seismically sound roads and bridges and reliable communication networks. We do need properly equipped fire and police personnel as well as adequately funded cities and small towns.

The importance of these services becomes even more painfully evident during an epochal crisis.

Anti-tax types don't like this kind of talk.

Katrina ought to shake common sense into people who buy into the mindset that less government is more. They'll get their less government, all right -- just when they need it the most.

For New Orleans, the wake-up call was last month's big hurricane. 

For Seattle, it will be the catastrophic earthquake that seismologists say is coming.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 17, 2005 at 11:16 AM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

Really Funny Photo Montage

A diarist at DailyKos put together a series of photos from the U.N. yesterday and captioned them in a hilarious way. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 15, 2005 at 08:32 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 13, 2005

Yawn, Roberts

I gotta tellya, I'm having a hard time getting worked up about John Roberts.  Sure he's a slippery, evil conservative.  But so was Rehnquist, whom he's replacing.  He's not gonna tilt the court any further to the right.  It's the next nomination, to replace Sandra Day O'Connor's swing vote, that we gotta watch out for. 

On a semi-unrelated note: did you see the bootlicking from the Judiciary Committee Repubicans -- that was unbe-freakin'-lieavable.  Have they no pride?  No arrogance?  Aren't they Republicans?

Posted by Jon Stahl on September 13, 2005 at 10:42 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Our Future is at Stake

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Chief Justice taking place in the Senate this week are critical to the future of our country.  Considering Supreme Court nominees is the most serious thing US senators do except for declaring war.   In a conference call to bloggers around the nation, Ted Kennedy emphasized the importance of giving Roberts a careful look.  He said, "Will he continue the march toward progress, or follow the stingy view of conservatives" like Scalia and Thomas?

Chris Bowers of mydd.com, commenting today that the majority of America really isn’t paying a lot of attention to Roberts anymore, largely because of Katrina, says “This is a tragedy, because in the midst of Bush's greatest failure, he is on the brink of securing his greatest victory.”

There are both key political and key legal issues at stake.  First the political issues:

  1. Despite requests from the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, the Bush Administration, in an unprecedented move, has not turned over many of the documents requested, more significantly they have turned over none of the internal documents about what Roberts did while Principal Deputy Solicitor General under Kenneth Starr, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. 

  2. Former Senator Fred Thompson, the handler appointed to shepard the Roberts’ nomination through committee, has said that Roberts doesn’t have to pierce the veil of attorney/client privilege while he worked for the government.  Thompson is saying he doesn’t have to answer to Congress about what he did while working for the Executive Branch.

  3. The Senators need to stand firm on the above, especially given that there is a second nomination coming down the pike, a nomination that could alter the court more even that the confirmation of Roberts.  If the Democrats stand firm and the vote is lower than expected for confirmation or if, by any chance, the Roberts nomination goes down, the President is less likely to nominate another right-wing candidate. 

  4. Roberts has been less than forthcoming about his membership in the Federalist Society and about his role in the 2000 Florida election. 

  5. Roberts has great political skills and, therefore, has a much better opportunity over time to get the swing votes to come over to his position.  The Republicans have got a personable nominee here; this is no Scalia or Thomas. 

  6. He is the darling of corporate America – he was rated the #1 Circuit Court Judge by the US Chamber of Commerce.

  7. Roberts worked as a significant collaborator with the cabal of right-wing legal beagles like Kenneth Starr, Ted Olsen, and Ed Meese, to roll back the clock on progressive issues.

The three key legal issues that are at stake with the nomination of John Roberts are the right to privacy, civil rights and the interstate commerce clause.  More on each of these after the fold.

Privacy

 

Armando lays out the issues related to privacy today at DailyKos.  He says that this is the issue that is most threatened by a Roberts confirmation and suggests that the Democratic Senators on the committee try to obtain Roberts’ opinion of a key decision, Griswold v. Connecticut, a case that concerned police searches of the marital bedroom for contraceptives.  In overturning the Connecticut decision, the Supreme Court said:  

The present case, then, concerns a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees. . . . Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.

Civil Rights

The article on John Roberts at DKosopedia indicates that Roberts has compiled a staunch record of hostility to civil rights.

 

After a 1980 Supreme Court decision, Mobile v. Bolden, dramatically weakaned certain sections of the Voting Rights Act, Roberts was involved in the administration’s effort to prevent Congress from to making it easier for minorities suggest that Roberts played a significant role in supporting the Reagan Administration’s “race-neutral” approach to combating discrimination. With regard to remedies for segregated public schools and employment discrimination, Roberts advised the Attorney General about the Justice Department’s disagreement with a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report, which had asserted that mandatory busing and “the fullest use of…affirmative action” were necessary. Roberts explained the Department’s position that, “the objective of a proper desegregation remedy” was simply “the end to official discrimination on the basis of race,” a position that effectively eliminated much of the government’s traditional role in working to eradicate the effects of prior discrimination. to successfully argue that their votes had been diluted under the Voting Rights Act by the ruling. The Supreme Court had decided, despite a lack of textual basis for this interpretation of the statute, that plaintiffs claiming certain violations of the Voting Rights Act, such as minority vote dilution, had to prove that the discrimination was intentional rather than just having a discriminatory effect. Roberts joined the Administration in opposing the “Section 2” extension of the Act, strongly supported by both the House and the Republican-controlled Senate, which would have reinstated the effects standard. Instead, he participated in the effort to amend the extension of the Act so that voting rights plaintiffs would continue to have to prove discriminatory intent, a much harder task.

In addition,

He has taken a strongly pro-government position in the Guantanamo Bay case Hamdan last week, ruling that prisoners there have no enforceable human rights.

In private practice, wrote a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that Congress had failed to justify a Department of Transportation affirmative action program. (Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Mineta, 2001). He also argued against Title IX as applied to the NCAA in NCAA v. Smith.

Interstate Commerce Clause

The DKosopedia also has information about Roberts’ position on interstate commerce.  It too is not hopeful.  This is where the concern about overthrowing the New Deal comes into the Roberts confirmation questions.  The settled understanding of the interstate commerce clause, since the time of FDR, provides for a broad sense of what Congress can regulate.  However:

In recent commerce clause cases such as U.S. v. Morrison and U.S. v. Lopez however, the Supreme Court has reverted to the right-wing judicial activism that was repudiated almost 70 years ago.

Roberts’ dissent in Rancho Viejo v. Norton, discussed in this article under Environmental Protection and Property Rights, relied on an expansive reading of Morrison and Lopez to assert that Congress cannot regulate collateral damage (such as the killing of arroyo toads) caused by interstate commerce, unless Congress demonstrates to the satisfaction of reviewing judges that the collateral damage itself substantially affects interstate commerce. By preventing Congress from establishing national standards for limiting collateral damage caused by interstate commerce, the views expressed in Roberts’ dissent could lead to a race to the bottom, as states compete with each other to offer the most relaxed regulatory environment to lure major commercial activity.

Roberts clerked for Rehnquist, who has been instrumental in reducing the power of Congress under the interstate commerce clause. NPR reported that Rehnquist is known to insist that his clerks share his views on the interstate commerce clause.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 13, 2005 at 10:27 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2005

Opportunity for Young People to Learn About Islam

The World Affairs Council is hosting a Youth Summit on Saturday, Oct, 8th, 3:00 - 8:00, called "Beyond Islam: Understanding Muslims in Our Communities and Beyond".  It's at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center in Redmond.  It's free.  If you are interested in attending or know someone who is, please contact the organizers by email at globalclassroom@world-affairs.org with student name, school name, and grade of each participant.

The event is organized by the World Affairs Council Global Classroom Youth Leadership Program.  For more information, please contact the Global Classroom, globalclassroom@world-affairs.org.

It's a good chance to learn more about Muslims at home and abroad and meet other open-minded and interested young people.  Participants will have an opportunity to views parts of stories of American Muslims and hear about the history of Muslims in America.  It ends with joining together with local Muslim communities for the traditional dinner which follows the breaking of the fast for Ramadan.

For four days prior to the conference, from Oct. 3-7th, the Collections & Stories of American Muslims exhibit will be on display at the Seattle Vocational Institure at 2120 Jackson St. in Seattle.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 12, 2005 at 10:11 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Tipping Point

The visionary Stirling Newberry writes in a diary at DailyKos about the historical dimensions of this time we are in.  I went to bed last night feeling in my gut that we were at the point where Bush and his cronies were on their way out.  The American people have had enough.  This morning I read this most extraordinary and poetic post by Newberry.  He says that Bush is burying the past and that the age is dying because a corrupt executive and corrupt legislature are losing the ability to govern.  In a nutshell:

George Bush has declared two wars, and is losing all three. He said he would defend the homeland, and like Canute, could not hold back the tide. He said he would defeat Al Qaeda, and can no more catch bin Laden than the US Army could catch Geronimo. He said he would bring democracy to Iraq, and instead has restored chaos. But he came to power because he represented one choice of accomplishing what the vast general consent was to accomplish: protect the past from the present.

Here is a powerful exerpt toward the end:

We should expect over the course of the next year, not a decline, but a crescendo of the corruption and cronyism that has marked this era and marred its politics. The thieves will be intent on throwing the last bags of loot before the robbery is over. Expect that the billions spent on Katrina's aftermath will leave Haliburton above the water, and hundreds of thousands below the poverty line. Piratization is the ethos of these last days of untrammelled and unchecked power.

And it is this that will overthrow them. The naked greed will shock a jaded public, one that will turn elsewhere, any where, for leadership and vision. They will recall in previous, even darker, hours, how the nation came together, and in that unity found achievement. They will ask why this time there was such a failure. They will not blame themselves - for in the minds of the public, they did what they were asked. Instead, they will blame the leadership to whom power was given.

Now, today, this instant, it is time to answer the call to arms. Some will protest, but more important is to contest. In 14 months time America will have a new revolution. Do not waste another minute, lest you be forced to admit that you were not there. The relief effort needs aid and comfort now. Candidates across the country need volunteers now. These two projects - to relieve the suffering and then to end it - must occupy every spare moment and ounce of energy. For it is the will of the people, that drives the wings to victory. And from victory to vindication of that which we have so long believed: that an America reborn, is an America redeemed.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 12, 2005 at 08:00 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 11, 2005

Advertisers to Boycott

The following companies advertise on KTTH radio, home of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved et al...probably worth making sure you're not a customer of these:

770 KTTH ADS:

A&W's Builder Showroom
206-767-2700
www.buildershowroom.net

Abbey Carpet of Puyallup
253-445-1122
www.abbeycp.com

Added Dimensions
www.addeddimensions.org

Agrishop Lawn and Equipment Centers
Auburn-253-833-0870
Redmond-425-883-4444
Tacoma-253-272-9331

Allwood Furniture
253-839-3095

AllState Lending
206-423-6556

America's Oscar Limousine
1-800-596-6525
www.americasoscarlimo.com

Argosy Cruises
206-623-1445
www.argosycruises.com

Bellevue Roofing
425-746-9867
www.bellevueroofing.com

Benchmark Lending
1-800-680-4000

www.benchmarklending.com

Blackfish Marine
206-675-0480
www.blackfishusa.com

Brotherton Cadillac
425-981-1000

Buddy Sills, Realtor
John L. Scott, Lakeside
www.buddysills.com

Capital Writers
1-800-665-3070
www.capitalwriters.com

Casual Conservative.com
www.casualconservative.com

Compass Investment Partners
1-877-770-0052
www.compass401k.com

Conley Hat Manufacturing
1-206-322-1868
www.halcyon.com/hatter

CounterFabPlus
1-866-355-1339 Ask for Kevin!
www.counterfabplus.com

Custom Garage Interiors
425-637-8828 or toll free 866-637-8828
www.customgarageinteriors.com

Door Depot
1-866-YES-DOOR
www.yesdoor.com

Essential Surfaces
425-289-0198
www.essentialsurfaces.com

Everett Steel
425-258-4505

First Choice Business Machines
425-681-5400
www.fcbm.com

First Independent Mortgage
Eric McNamee 206-240-9750

Fischer Plumbing
206-510-3833

Goldberg Jones Attorneys
1-800-DIVORCE

Gutter Helmet
1-800-452-0128
www.gutterhelmet.com

H.D. Hotspurs
253-854-5653

Heritage Heating and Cooling
1-888-628-2211
www.heritage2211.com

Imagine Painting
206-293-3943

www.raimaginepainting.com

Integrity Auto Repair
425-557-8665
www.integrityautorepair.com

J&E Miracle Products
www.less-wrinkles.com

Jeremiah's 2911
1-877-433-0711

Juice Up Your Life
1-888-35-JUICE
www.juiceupnow.com

Kanopy Kingdom
253-922-7725
www.kanopykingdom.com

Kiel Mortgage
1-888-778-KIEL
www.kielmortgage.com

King, Mochovak & Peters
1-800-551-2020

Kitchen Solvers
253-639-9000 or 1-800-479-4919
www.kitchensolvers.com

LaseHair USA
253-838-4889
www.LaseHairUSA.com

  Lynnwood Tile
425-774-8112
www.lynnwoodtile.com

Major Brands
206-623-3550

Mark's Japanese Auto
1-888-55-MARKS
www.marksjapanese.com

May Palmer, The Northwest's Own Diva
425-771-7517
www.maypalmer.com

Millwork Outlet
1-425-432-5189
www.millworkoutlet.com

Nature Bee
1-866-834-8355
www.naturebee.com

Northwest Mechanical, Inc
206-267-HEAT (4328)
www.nwmechanical.com

Northwest Nasal Sinus Center
1-800-425-NOSE
www.nwface.com

Pabla Indian Cuisine
425-228-4625
www.pablacuisine.com

Pacific Galleries
206-441-9990
www.pacgal.com

Providence Point
1-800-648-1818
www.providencepoint.com

Puyallup Carpet Center
253-848-3523

Quality Transmission
425-827-8272

Ranicke Medical
425-825-0990
www.r-medical.com

Raynproof Roofing
206-935-1400
www.raynproofroofing.com

Rebecca Campbell
Coldwell Banker Bain Associates
206-786-0052

Seattle Home Appliance Bothell
425-485-0551
www.seattlehomeappliance.com

Seattle Piano Gallery
www.seattlepianogallery.com

S.R.C. Milgard Windows
1-800-870-2488

Sundance Yachts
206-633-2850

TAP Plastics
1-800-246-5055
www.tapplastics.com

The Camera Shop
Tacoma-253-627-4159
Puyallup-253-841-3164

The Generals BBQ
253-437-5250

Toward Tradition
253-236-3046

Volunteers of America
Car donation
1-888-CAR-4VOA
www.CAR4VOA.com

Watermill
206-367-1403
www.thewatermill.com

West Coast Vinyl Windows
1-800-468-4474
www.westcoastvinyl.com

Western Roofing
206-361-9037

Woodcraft Seattle
206-767-6394

World Vision
1-800-813-2255(CALL)

ZeroRez
1-866-937-6739

Posted by Jeff on September 11, 2005 at 04:15 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 10, 2005

Governing vs. Grandstanding, etc.

My old writing teacher used to say that you have to put your characters under pressure to see what they are made of.  George Bush and his cronies have been put under pressure quite a bit in these four years, much of it of their own making.  Many of us saw what they were made of when they used the events of 9/11 to install fear and suspicion in the public and then used that to make it easier to enact crummy Patriot Act legislation, take us into war in Iraq, and diminish services for the public at large. 

With the aftermath of Katrina, more people are seeing this for what it is – a terrible inability to actually govern.  When Bush and his cronies spend their time grandstanding, providing opportunities for their large contributors to make a ton of money, and covering up what they are doing, they are not governing. 

What we are hearing out of the Katrina aftermath suggests that this inability to govern, coupled with the corruption and arrogant bullying tactics, is what caused the fiasco in New Orleans.

Some politicians actually work quite hard to serve us, the public, and govern in the fashion they believe we deserve.  Serving the public as a politico is some ratio of governing vs. PR/campaigning.  Governing requires a lot of time listening to their constituents, understanding their issues, analyzing potential solutions and then educating and negotiating with other legislators to get bills passed.  The people who govern well spend probably 85-95% of their time governing and the rest talking about what they are doing, giving interviews to reporters, and campaigning for the next election.

It is clear we are being led at the national level by a lot of folks in the Bush Administration, starting with the President himself, who don’t have much interest in the actual hard work of governing as distinct from grandstanding in front of the camera and raising money from their pals. Their ratio of governing to grandstanding is a little different. Nothing has made this as clear as the Katrina disaster. 

Putting Political Flaks in Charge of FEMA

The Bloomberg Washington Report has an article by Michael Forsythe that sums it up:

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency's upper ranks are mostly staffed with people who share two traits: loyalty to President George W. Bush and little or no background in emergency management.

Director Michael Brown served as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association for a decade before coming to FEMA in 2001. Acting Deputy Director Patrick Rhode is a veteran of Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, and Acting Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks Altshuler worked in the White House in 2001 planning presidential trips.

More after the flip.

The article quotes Paul Light, a professor of organizational studies at NYU who says,

It also marks a reversion to the days when the agency was treated as a ``turkey farm'' -- a place where political operatives could get high-level jobs -- after being led by professionals during the Clinton administration, he said.

``These guys kind of have a deer-in-the headlights look; they haven't been through this kind of thing and it shows,'' said Light, the founding director of the Center for Public Service at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based research group. ``I'm afraid FEMA has gone backwards in time to the old era of a more traditional campaign-loyalty position.''

The disrespect for finding qualified people reaches out to the states as well.  The Seattle Times has an article about the lack of experience and qualifications of the NW Regional Director of FEMA, John Pennington, who had been a 4-term Republican legislator from Cowlitz County and co-chair of the Bush for President team for Cowlitz County.  Pennington may actually be good but his lack of experience does not bode well.

Trying to Govern Well

The Wall Street Journal gives us some background on the difficulty that the folks who wanted to govern well had working with the Bush Administration, who had very different goals.

Retired Gen. Ralph Eberhart, who was the senior officer in Northern Command until late last year, frequently complained that he had to get approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense before he or his senior staff could work together with the Department of Homeland Security, said military officials who worked with the general

....About a year ago Gen. Eberhart pitched a solution to senior Pentagon officials, some of his former staffers said. He pushed to create a permanent task force that would include people from Northern Command, the Pentagon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Justice Department, the Coast Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration. The members of the task force would plan and train together and during a crisis would form the core of a headquarters to oversee the relief effort. The task force would be headed by a civilian who would oversee all relief efforts if and when there were a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.

Many in the Pentagon thought it a good idea, said one senior military official involved in developing the concept. But other crises — such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — took precedence and the idea was put on the back burner, this military official said.

Strong-arm Tactics to Try to Gain Full Control

During the fall campaign, the Bush guys acted like the swaggering bullies on the schoolground. Evidently they tried some of that on the local government officials just a few days after the hurricane struck.

 

Last night, NPR had an interesting timeline of events on the official responses to the hurricane.  A DailyKos Diarist, who heard more of the report than I did, had this to say about some strong-arm tactics of Bush.

 

The report stated that Bush met with Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin on Friday (four days after the hurricane hit) aboard Air Force One and told them he would release the National Guard only if Blanco, Nagin, and the Guard took their orders from Washington.

While the report doesn't state so directly, it clearly implies that Bush intentionally kept the Guard out of New Orleans for four days. If so, he directly contributed to the deaths of a still uncounted number of New Orleans residents.

Nancy Pelosi on Bush

A few days ago at a news conference, in a discussion about then head of FEMA, Michael Brown, Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, related that she had urged Bush to fire Brown.

''He said 'Why would I do that?''' Pelosi said.

'''I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'''

''Oblivious, in denial, dangerous,'' she added."

They don't even know what good governing is.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 10, 2005 at 05:36 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 08, 2005

Slow Response Blamed on Need to be Politically-Correct

This is wild.  The New York Times has an article in tomorrow’s paper that suggests that the Bush Administration sat around and tried to see how they could be sensitive to a Democratic woman politician, Governor Kathleen Blanco, so as not to offend her.  That’s why they took so long to respond in Louisiana.  You see, they didn’t have that problem with the good-ole governors of Mississippi and Alabama – nice, white, Republican guys who had each previously done their stint as staff with the Republican National Party.   

Could it be possible that they are going to try to blame the slow reaction of the federal government on the need to be politically correct? 

Ladies and Gentlemen, a two-fer.  Get people to believe that President Bush tried to do a good job but was stymied by the need to be sensitive.  So, in the future, let’s not allow petty little things like actually communicating with the people who are also involved to us to interfere with our ability to respond properly.  That is too politically correct and we don’t have time for it in a “time of crisis”.

It is awesome to behold.

More after the fold. 

These may be business-people but they are not good business-people.  I spent 15 years training managers and teams in large corporations.  Good businessfolks treat people well and build alliances and plan ahead.  Good managers don’t play the blame game.  They communicate with everyone and listen and pull the common agendas together and put together a solution that all are able to work with.  They work together for the greater good and take care of their own agenda, but only as part of the whole, not instead of it. 

The arrogant Republicans don’t see building relationships with the folks on the ground, who are actually doing the governing; they don’t see a reason to communicate with people who aren’t fully loyal.  They aren’t accustomed to treating everyone in a respectful, thoughtful way.  They don’t bother to plan ahead for the very real emergencies of life that we can only really deal with as a large, generous community. 

When you don’t spend time governing and building relationships, bad things happen.  We also hear that the folks in the Bush Administration couldn’t communicate amongst themselves either.  When you require that everyone agree with you, you don’t get the full picture.  You don’t get the most innovative ideas; you have people going off on their own because they can’t see good coming from working as a larger group.  You get out of the practice of communicating in a real way.

So, last week, they realized that they had made another big, wrong assumption.  Still from the same article, Administration officials,

began to realize that Hurricane Katrina exposed a critical flaw in the national disaster response plans created after the Sept. 11 attacks. According to the administration's senior homeland security officials, the hurricane showed the failure of their plan to recognize that local police, fire and medical personnel might be incapacitated and unable to act quickly until reinforcements arrive on the scene.

These folks had made a very big mistake that cost the death of hundreds if not thousands of people and caused untold additional mayhem and dislocation.  It, like the time of the immediate aftermath of the Iraq War, was simply something they hadn’t thought about.

Why not?  Hubris, I venture to guess – a sense of absolute entitlement.  No sense that it was worth bringing other people into the mix or asking the people on the ground to determine what to do and then supporting them to do it – ahead of time.  No sense of governing. So, instead of actually governing well, when these guys make mistakes and this form of management always brings large mistakes, these guys spend their time spinning.

The authors go on to say,

Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential.

They’d had some earlier difficulties.  She was not one of the good ole guys.  And she may well have made some mistakes herself.  But, gads, do we have to buy this nonsense?  They guys were bad managers from the beginning and we are all reaping the sour harvest. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 8, 2005 at 10:04 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

The Governor Says "No Way"

Earlier today, state Republicans, under cover of the national fear of yet higher gas prices, requested that Washington State suspend all gas taxes for three months.  The NPI blog clarified why this is such a bad idea. 

The governor's office issued an immediate response to the House Republicans' proposal to suspend the state gasoline tax for three months.  "This proposal has not been thought through.  It would strap our ability to cover basic needs in education, health care and other vital services to people in Washington state." 

Citing national Republicans, like House Majority Leader Tom Delay and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who are against rolling back national gas taxes, Gregoire said it was a bad idea.  Several other prominent state Democrats jumped in to support her. 

We urge the Governor to take this opportunity to focus our state instead on increased conservation efforts and alternative energy sources.  These will provide solutions long-term and prepare us for any additional impacts to oil production or distribution that may come along as a result of natural or man-made increases in demand or decreases in supply. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 7, 2005 at 06:03 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 06, 2005

Ferguson vs Edmonds

The King County Council District 1 Democratic primary, in which incumbents Carolyn Edmonds and Bob Ferguson are facing off, looks like it's shaping up to be a tight, testy race.

Bob, considered by many to be the underdog, has won a bunch of grassroots Democratic endorsements, and a later-declared-invalid local nominating convention.  He also picked up a nod from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce (Alki Foundation) because of his support for downsizing the King County Council.

Carolyn has a most of the other big establishment endorsements locked up, including Washington Conservation Voters, whose ex-staffer John Wyble is now managing her campaign.  She and John have decided to go negative against Bob on transportation issues, launching an attack ad and website that they've been pitching to local bloggers. 

But, according to the Seattle Times:

Ferguson, who rides the bus to work and who supported the initial Sound Transit light-rail plan, angrily denies Edmonds' claim in a campaign flier that he "is on record opposing public transit." (Ferguson in 2003 opposed a revised Sound Transit plan for a system seven miles shorter than the plan approved by voters.)

I heard them both on the radio back in August -- Bob came across as much more progressive, much better informed on a wide range of issues.  Carolyn seemed to speak in more guarded tones, devoid of many real specifics.   That said I don't feel like I have a real good sense of either of these candidates.

So, my questions to you, dear readers:

1) Carolyn or Bob?  And why?

2) What do you think of negative attack ads in local Democratic primary races?  My gut says "bad idea" even though I know they sometimes work.  What do you think?

3) Is it a good idea to pitch your attack ads to local progressive bloggers as "news?" (Apparently it works, but is this kind of publicity better than no publicity?)

Posted by Jon Stahl on September 6, 2005 at 05:23 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 03, 2005

Rehnquist Dies

Cheif Justice William Rehnquist died tonight.  As if politics wasn't interesting enough already.

The New York Times has a lengthy article.

Ren

Posted by Jon Stahl on September 3, 2005 at 08:41 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dear Governor Gregiore

Carl is right about Josh Feit being right.  You need to get out there and lead the charge against I-912, or as I like to call it the "Dead Motorists Initiative."   

You signed the gas tax increase into law (with strong bipartisan support).  That was leadership.  Now you need to get out there and use the power of your bully pulpit to defend it against the talk radio reactionaries whose idea of government is one that's on display in New Orleans.  Your invisibility is making you look like, well, Gary Locke. 

Posted by Jon Stahl on September 3, 2005 at 08:37 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Katrina and "Two Americas"

John Edwards, writing over at TPMCafe, connects Katrina race and class:

During the campaign of 2004, I spoke often of the two Americas: the America of the privileged and the wealthy, and the America of those who lived from paycheck to paycheck.  I spoke of the difference in the schools, the difference in the loan rates, the difference in opportunity.  All of that pales today.  Today - and for many days and weeks and months to follow - we see a harsher example of two Americas.  We see the poor and working class of New Orleans who don't own a car and couldn't evacuate to hotels or families far from the target of Katrina.  We see the suffering of families who lived from paycheck to paycheck and who followed the advice of officials and went to shelters at the Civic Center or the Superdome or stayed home to protect their possessions.

NWPT64

Posted by Jon Stahl on September 3, 2005 at 02:14 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack