Evergreen Politics http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/ Washington State politics and policy, from a progressive point of view en-US 2008-12-04T06:18:42-08:00 An Anger to Emulate http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/12/an-anger-to-emulate.html Folks in Mumbai are righteously angry. People are protesting the failures of the Indian government. (See here and here.) They are mourning the 173 dead in what some are calling India's 9/11, but they are also asking why the government wasn't able to stop it. “We’ve come to show our solidarity against the apathy of the government and we want the government to change and be proactive and not lazy,” said Abiti Phoksey, a 64-year-old woman who runs an upholstery business. “They have a duty towards the nation,” she added. Their anger is focused on the government's ineptitude and it... <p>Folks in Mumbai are righteously angry.&#0160; People are protesting the failures of the Indian government.&#0160;&#0160; (See <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iF4n3uJeLH6gKfyCGAfqLbufr99g%20">here</a> and <a href="http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008%5C12%5C04%5Cstory_4-12-2008_pg7_47">here</a>.)&#0160; They are mourning the 173 dead in what some are calling India&#39;s 9/11, but they are also asking why the government wasn&#39;t able to stop it.&#0160; </p><div style="margin-left: 40px;">“We’ve come to show our solidarity against the apathy of the government and we want the government to change and be proactive and not lazy,” said Abiti Phoksey, a 64-year-old woman who runs an upholstery business. “They have a duty towards the nation,” she added. <br /></div><p><br />Their anger is focused on the government&#39;s ineptitude and <a href="http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/deshmukh-removed-chavan-likely-to-be-new-cm/00/51/342203/">it is having consequences.</a>&#0160; India&#39;s Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, resigned early on.&#0160; Both the Deputy Chief Minister and the Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the main city, were forced to step down in the last day.&#0160; </p><p><a href="http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;hs=frk&amp;q=Mumbai,+mayor&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=news_result&amp;resnum=4&amp;ct=title">Some politicians get it</a>.&#0160; The mayor of the city asked the people to voice their concerns.&#0160; </p><p>The anger is fueled by a series of revelations that India was warned about a possible terror strike on Mumbai by sea several months ago.&#0160; The anger highlights the split between the new, highly educated and technically savvy folks, concentrated in Mumbai as it happens, and the old lumbering, bureaucratic institutions of government.&#0160; The obvious governmental failures in this critical national security area is likely to have significant repercussions in how India functions.</p><p>So, I&#39;m jealous.&#0160; I think we have something to learn.&#0160;&#0160; Why didn&#39;t New Yorkers force Rudy Giuliani to quit when it became clear that he was responsible for the death of hundreds of firefighters and police who didn&#39;t have up-to-date communications equipment?&#0160; Why didn&#39;t we rise up (in larger numbers) when President Bush turned his attention to Iraq when he should have been concentrating on Tora Bora and on assisting the moderates in the Arab world to bring their radicals back into the fold?</p><p>Partly, it&#39;s the timing.&#0160; The rallies in Mumbai were organized by text message.&#0160; The workers of Mumbai have now had a few years of living with streamlined ways of working.&#0160; I&#39;m basically convinced that the Internet would now prevent a war like Iraq from happening here.&#0160; And, of course, we managed to elect Barack Obama, a clear win for the more democratic and tech savvy amongst us. </p><p>Nevertheless, I think there is a lot to be learned from watching that raw righteous anger, unprotected by the institutional forces of savvy politicians and complicit media.&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160; </p> National and International Politics Taking Action Lynn Allen 2008-12-04T06:18:42-08:00 It's Official: Port of Seattle Committed Fraud http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/12/its-official-port-of-seattle-committed-fraud.html Kristin Millares Bolt reports that the Port of Seattle's investigation of itself (overseen by commissioners Bryant and Tarleton) shows the Port committed fraud while under the leadership of former CEO Mic Dinsmore. Not much of a surprise. Among other things, port employees steer[ed] contracts to favored contractors for work that was already done, lied to the Port Commission and broke up large contracts into smaller ones to avoid state bidding laws. (snip) The McKay report also found that Dinsmore, who led the port during the period in question, also violated the port ethics policy "when he used the services of... <p>Kristin Millares Bolt reports that the Port of Seattle&#39;s investigation of itself (overseen by commissioners Bryant and Tarleton) shows <a href="http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/390476_port04.html">the Port committed fraud</a> while under the leadership of former CEO Mic Dinsmore. Not much of a surprise.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"> <p>Among other things, port employees steer[ed] contracts to favored contractors for work that was already done, lied to the Port Commission and broke up large contracts into smaller ones to avoid state bidding laws.</p> <p>(snip)</p> <p>The McKay report also found that Dinsmore, who led the port during the period in question, also violated the port ethics policy &quot;when he used the services of a port consultant, McBee Strategic Consulting, to obtain a paid internship for his daughter.&quot;</p><br /></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">&#0160;</p> <p dir="ltr">A few of the greatest hits:</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"> <li>That a port employee, prior to the bid submission date, shared &quot;a detailed internal port estimate&quot; with primary third runway contractor TTI Construction on a third runway contract and didn&#39;t tell senior port leadership. <p></p> <p>That port employees &quot;falsely represented a $2 million cost reduction as a $9.4 million reduction in an attempt to avoid commission scrutiny&quot; of a third runway embankment contract. Former Port Chief Executive Mic Dinsmore and current Aviation Director Mark Reis negotiated the contract at a steak house with TTI Construction.</p> <p>That a commission memo written about that TTI Construction contract by the port staff used &quot;overtly misleading language intended to lull the commission into taking no action.&quot;</p> <li> <p>That port staff steered work to their favorite contractors, &quot;often awarding contracts for work that had already been performed&quot;.</p> <li> <p>That port staff broke up large contracts into smaller contracts to avoid state and port bidding requirements.</p> <li> <p>That port staff &quot;amended a $25,000 no-competition &quot;emergency&quot; professional services agreement to more than $1 million and added work that was outside the scope of the original agreement, after the &quot;emergency&quot; window had passed.</p></li> </li></li></li></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">I&#39;ve been reading a lot of fiction lately, mostly from&#0160;<em>The Best American Short Stories of 2008, </em>and it&#39;s<em> </em>a very good collection. But it turns out that sometimes&#0160;the old saying, &quot;truth is stranger than fiction&quot;&#0160;still holds. And&#0160;the&#0160;port story&#0160;would be purely entertaining if it didn&#39;t include the sad fact that taxpayer dollars were used to commit the aforementioned&#0160;frauds.</p> <p dir="ltr">Well, we don&#39;t have Mic Dinsmore to kick around anymore. The question is, will current Port&#0160;CEO Tay Yoshitani make good on his promise to hold the offenders accountable?</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"> <p>Last December, Yoshitani said he would have &quot;zero tolerance&quot; for fraud. In a statement released Wednesday, Yoshitani said, &quot;I stand by my word. Any staff member who has committed fraud will be appropriately disciplined and potentially terminated.&quot;</p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">&quot;<em>Potentially</em> terminated&quot;? Please. Those people should probably be in jail. At the very least, we await news of their pink slips.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ironic Side Note: McBee Strategic Consulting is the same firm that <a href="http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2007/04/what_happened_t.html">Glynda Becker</a> (Karl Rove&#39;s liaison to the WA state GOP, during the firing of former US attorney John McKay) joined after leaving political life. Mike McKay, John&#39;s brother and also a former US attorney for Washington, conducted the investigation&#0160;of the Port of Seattle.</p> shoephone 2008-12-03T15:28:09-08:00 Doug Sutherland's Last Act as Lands Commissioner: A Middle Finger to the Puget Sound http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/12/doug-sutherlands-last-act-as-lands-commissioner-a-middle-finger-to-the-puget-sound.html Before toddling off into the sunset as a sexually harassing, corporate lackey has-been, Doug Sutherland signed off on the deal to transform the waters off Maury Island into a huge, polluting gravel mine. Environmental groups promise to file a lawsuit to stop the action. Hopefully, a judge will approve their claims against Sutherland's work order. Right now I'm feeling pretty thankful that Washington's voters saw the light, dumped Sutherland by the side of the road and elected Peter Goldmark to lead the state lands commision. The next four years are going to be very different. <p>Before toddling&#0160;off into the sunset as a sexually harassing, corporate lackey has-been, Doug Sutherland <a href="http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/390402_maury03.html">signed off on the deal</a> to transform the waters off&#0160;Maury Island&#0160;into a&#0160;huge, polluting gravel mine. Environmental groups promise to file a lawsuit to stop the action. Hopefully, a judge will approve their claims against&#0160;Sutherland&#39;s work order.</p> <p>Right now I&#39;m feeling pretty thankful that Washington&#39;s voters saw the light, dumped Sutherland by the side of the road&#0160;and elected Peter Goldmark to&#0160;lead the state lands commision. The next four years are going to be very different.&#0160;</p> Candidate Races Environment Policy The Politics of Business shoephone 2008-12-03T00:31:17-08:00 President-Elect Obama's Thanksgiving Day Address http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/11/presidentelect-obamas-thanksgiving-day-address.html I almost wrote President Obama. It seems like we have a split presidency right now. Obama is doing the real leading - like dealing with the economic collapse and bolstering our confidence; Bush is attending to the ceremonial functions like talking to the APEC leaders in Peru and pardoning the national turkey. So, here is our real president's Thanksgiving Day Address. Lovely. Arianna Huffington talks about why she is thankful to the Obamas. She clarifies what makes me tear up the most about having Barack and Michelle preparing to move into the White House. Their total decency.I'm particularly thankful for... <p>I almost wrote President Obama.&#0160; It seems like we have a split presidency right now.&#0160; Obama is doing the real leading - like dealing with the economic collapse and bolstering our confidence; Bush is attending to the ceremonial functions like talking to the APEC leaders in Peru and pardoning the national turkey.&#0160; </p><p>So, here is our real president&#39;s Thanksgiving Day Address.&#0160; <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XblF3z-ST0Y&amp;eurl=http://www.dailykos.com/&amp;feature=player_embedded%20">Lovely</a>.&#0160; </p><p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/thanksgiving-08-teachable_b_146804.html">Arianna Huffington talks</a> about why she is thankful to the Obamas.&#0160; She clarifies what makes me tear up the most about having Barack and Michelle preparing to move into the White House.&#0160; Their total decency.</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;">I&#39;m particularly thankful for all the non-political teachable moments we are getting from the Obamas: It&#39;s not worth holding a grudge (see asking Hillary to be Secretary of State). There is no one better to help you raise your kids than grandma (see asking &quot;First Granny&quot; Marion Robinson to move into the White House to help Malia and Sasha adjust to life in DC). No matter what they throw at you, stay calm, centered, and collected (see &quot;Muslim,&quot; &quot;Socialist,&quot; &quot;palling around with terrorists&quot;). All great lessons to bring home with us this Thanksgiving holiday.</p> Lynn Allen 2008-11-27T09:37:24-08:00 T-Minus 57 Days and Counting http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/11/tminus-57-days-and-counting-.html DarkSyde, a leader in the DailyKos community who specializes in science and global climate issues, posted a piece today at DailyKos, with the title I am also using. Darksyde shares a NYT opinion piece written by Alan Stern, a NASA upper echelon scientist. Stern wrote about the ineptitude and corruption that's been rampant at NASA. This is bigtime whistleblowing and could be the beginning of a flood of current and former government workers telling us what isn't working so we can have a crack at fixing it. Endemic project cost increases at NASA begin when scientists and engineers (and sometimes... <p><em>DarkSyde</em>, a leader in the DailyKos community who specializes in science and global climate issues, posted <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/11/24/7757/0906/426/665719%20">a piece today at DailyKos</a>, with the title I am also using.&#0160;&#0160; <em>Darksyde</em> shares <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/24/opinion/24stern.html?pagewanted=1&amp;_r=2&amp;ref=opinion%20">a NYT opinion piece</a> written by Alan Stern, a NASA upper echelon scientist.&#0160; Stern wrote about the ineptitude and corruption that&#39;s been rampant at NASA.&#0160; This is bigtime whistleblowing and could be the beginning of a flood of current and former government workers telling us what isn&#39;t working so we can have a crack at fixing it.&#0160;&#0160; </p><div style="margin-left: 40px;">Endemic project cost increases at NASA begin when scientists and engineers (and sometimes Congress) burden missions with features beyond what is affordable in the stated budget. The problem continues with managers and contractors who accept or encourage such assignments, expecting to eventually be bailed out. It is worsened by managers who disguise the size of cost increases that missions incur. Finally, it culminates with scientists who won’t cut their costs and members of Congress who accept steep increases to protect local jobs.<br /><br />The result? The costs of badly run NASA projects are paid for with cutbacks or delays in NASA projects that didn’t go over budget. Hence the guilty are rewarded and the innocent are punished.<br /><br />&lt;snip&gt;<br /><br />This cancer is bad, but it is curable. The new presidential administration could begin by accounting for cost increases more honestly, using the initial basis on which missions are started, rather than today’s practice of neglecting certain kinds of cost escalation. Further, scientists and engineers should be required, when formulating missions, to ensure their scope matches their budget. And NASA should be charged to reduce or cancel development projects that are not performing to cost. Of equal importance, Congress should turn from the self-serving protection of local NASA jobs to an ethic of responsible government that delivers results.<br /><br />Yes, controlling the costs of space missions, while ensuring their success and safety, will be a steep challenge for NASA, but NASA’s workforce, from technicians to top executives, is among the government’s most dedicated and capable. This is a challenge that can be met with appropriate leadership.<br /></div><p><br />I&#39;m guessing that Obama&#39;s team is a magnet for folks who have been horrified at how inept and corrupt the Bush Administration has been.&#0160; It will be interesting to see how much the folks from the inside will be able to assist in uncovering some of the huge problems that we will have to deal with.</p> National and International Politics Lynn Allen 2008-11-25T06:22:07-08:00 Lieberman Stinks up the Place on MTP http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/11/lieberman-stinks-up-the-place-on-mtp.html Joe Lieberman appeared on Meet the Press this morning in an effort save his reputation, but he's still the Democrats' number one traitor. He lied and played the refusenik whenever Brokaw pressed him on why he hasn't apologized for campaigning for the Republican presidential candidate and for supporting Palin's most offensive statements about Obama. "I regret some of the things I said" just isn't going to cut it. Not with Democratic voters, anyway. Obama made a serious mistake letting this backstabbing creep retain his powerful chairmanship of the Homeland Security Commmittee, a position he has already stained with his incompetence.... <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lppodwM4SiE">Joe Lieberman appeared on Meet the Press</a> this morning&#0160;in an effort&#0160;save his reputation, but he&#39;s still the Democrats&#39; number one traitor. He lied and played the refusenik whenever Brokaw&#0160;pressed him on why he hasn&#39;t apologized for campaigning for the Republican presidential candidate and&#0160;for supporting Palin&#39;s most offensive statements about Obama. </p><br /> <p>&quot;I regret some of the things I said&quot; just isn&#39;t going to cut it.&#0160;Not with Democratic voters, anyway. Obama made a serious mistake letting this backstabbing creep retain his powerful chairmanship of the Homeland Security Commmittee, a position he has already stained with his incompetence. And, please, don&#39;t anybody bore me with that tired old saw, <em>the magical number of 60</em>. Lieberman looks out for nobody but Lieberman.&#0160;How this reality escapes&#0160;anyone simply boggles the mind.&#0160;</p> <p>I&#39;m sickened by the current fetishism of bipartisanship. It&#39;s especially loathesome when one considers that Republicans are not/will never be interested in working with Democrats. The people who brandished the &quot;nuclear option&quot; are still in&#0160;power and&#0160;still in control&#0160;of their party. They are only interested in obstruction. Dday, over at Digby&#39;s place,&#0160;<a href="http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/new-era-of-comity-and-bipartisanship-by.html">elaborates on this point quite well,</a> first by quoting Senate Minority Leader&#0160;Mitch McConnell, and then by coming to the obvious conclusion:</p><br /> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"> <p>“What I’m saying to the new president and the new administration: ‘Do big things, and do them in the center, and you’ll be surprised at how much support you might have,’ &quot; he said at the news conference.<br /><br />Otherwise, McConnell warned, his party would stand together and block a far-left agenda.<br /><br />“You&#39;re likely to have very significant unity among Republicans,&quot; he said.<br /></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><br />(under the Employee Free Choice Act, if 30% of the workforce wants an secret ballot election <a href="http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=11&amp;year=2008&amp;base_name=that_the_crypt_would_simply"><font color="#0000cc">they get one</font></a>. Thought I&#39;d put some facts into the mix)<br /><br /><strong>This is what Barack Obama is stepping into. He&#39;s going to offer a hand of friendship and Senate Republicans are going to bite it off. They are thoroughly disinterested in compromise. They view it as a threat.</strong></p></blockquote> shoephone 2008-11-23T13:39:00-08:00 A Couple of Gems http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/11/a-couple-of-gems.html There have been so many items I've seen over the last two weeks that have touched my heart about why Obama and the Democrat's win is going to make a difference. Here are two:Desmond TutuLet's begin with Desmond Tutu's take, as he considers the impact on the world, in an article entitled, "The Man of Tomorrow: His election has turned America's global image on its head", published a few days after the election.But it is true, exhilaratingly true. An unbelievable turnaround. I want to jump and dance and shout, as I did after voting for the first time in my... <p>There have been so many items I&#39;ve seen over the last two weeks that have touched my heart about why Obama and the Democrat&#39;s win is going to make a difference.&#0160; Here are two:</p><p><strong>Desmond Tutu<br /></strong><br />Let&#39;s begin with Desmond Tutu&#39;s take, as he considers the impact on the world, in an article entitled, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/07/AR2008110702896.html%20">&quot;The Man of Tomorrow: His election has turned America&#39;s global image on its head&quot;</a>, published a few days after the election.</p><div style="margin-left: 40px;">But it is true, exhilaratingly true. An unbelievable turnaround. I want to jump and dance and shout, as I did after voting for the first time in my native South Africa on April 27, 1994.<br /><br />We owe our glorious victory over the awfulness of apartheid in South Africa in large part to the support we received from the international community, including the United States, and we will always be deeply grateful. But for those of us who have looked to America for inspiration as we struggled for democracy and human rights, these past seven years have been lean ones.<br /><br />&lt;snip&gt;<br /><br />Because the Bush years have been disastrous for other parts of the world in many ways, Obama&#39;s victory dramatizes the self-correcting mechanism that epitomizes American democracy. Elsewhere, oppressors, tyrants and their lapdogs can say what they like, and they stay put, for the most part. Ordinary citizens living in undemocratic societies are not fools; they may not always agree with U.S. foreign policy, but they can see and register the difference between the United States, where people can kick an unpopular political party out, and their own countries.<br /><br />&lt;snip&gt;<br /><br />The renowned African scholar Ali Mazrui has pointed out that Obama could never have gotten as far as he has without an exceptional level of trust on the part of white Americans. In this, his achievement is similar to what Nelson Mandela had achieved by the end of his presidency; Mandela&#39;s party may never have drawn a majority of white votes, but he has come to be revered by white as well as black South Africans as the founding father of our democracy.<br /><br />Mazrui likens Obama to Mandela in other ways, saying that both men share a readiness to forgive and show &quot;a remarkable capacity to transcend historical racial divides.&quot; Both, Mazrui says, are &quot;potential icons of a post-racial age which is unfolding before our eyes.&quot;<br /><br />&lt;snip&gt;<br /><br />Obama is the son of a Kenyan man and a Kansan woman. He spoke movingly about his background during his long campaign. Now he&#39;s the president-elect. His triumph can help the world reach the point where we realize that we are all caught up in a delicate network of interdependence, unable to celebrate fully our own heritage and place in the world, unable to realize our full potential as human beings, unless everyone else, everywhere else, can do the same.<br /></div><p><br /><strong>Lawrence Tribe</strong></p><p>One of the best jurists of our time, Lawrence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard, a man considered to be, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_Tribe">according to wikipedia</a>, &quot;one of the foremost constitutional law experts and Supreme Court practitioners in the United States&quot; writes about a former student of his.&#0160; Tribe said that Obama was the most impressive student he had ever taught. </p><div style="margin-left: 40px;">In 1989, I had met Barack Obama and hired him as my research assistant while he was still just a first-year Harvard law student. His stunning combination of analytical brilliance and personal charisma, openness and maturity, vision and pragmatism, was unmistakable from my very first encounter with the future president.<br /><br />&lt;snip&gt;<br /><br />Barack Obama&#39;s unique ability to explain and to motivate, coupled with his signature ability to listen and to learn, and linked with the calm that marked his nearly flawless campaign, will serve him--and all of us--well as we grapple with as daunting a set of problems as the nation has faced in three-quarters of a century. It is of course true that only time will tell just how successful this brave, brilliant and caring man will be in charting a new course for the country, something that will depend only partly on decisions that Obama will make as president.<br /><br />But one thing is already certain: The very fact of Barack Obama&#39;s election at this defining moment--quite apart from the programs he pursues and the ways in which he pursues them--already speaks volumes to everyone on the planet. His election in and of itself displays how dramatically America has moved to transcend the divisions of its past and bids fair to give us a new lease on life in a world that had come, and not without reason, to see us in an awful light--a world that will now give this nation a fresh look and a second chance.<br /></div><br /> National and International Politics Lynn Allen 2008-11-22T18:42:08-08:00 Municipal League to Port of Seattle: Don't Do It http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/11/municipal-league-to-port-of-seattle-dont-do-it.html The Municipal League has a message for the commisioners at the Port of Seattle: The Port of Seattle has not been transparent about what particular economic development the additional taxes will purchase or the necessity to spend the money in 2009. (snip) We were quite disappointed by the Port's misleading attempt to portray the agency's proposed $8.1 million increase in the levy as a tax decrease for homeowners. It is true the Port is proposing to lower the levy rate per $1,000 of property value from $0.225 to $0.219. That's a decrease of 2.7 percent. However, this reduction is more... <p><a href="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2008421433_opin22muni.html">The Municipal League has a message</a> for the&#0160;commisioners&#0160;at the&#0160;<span id="fck_dom_range_temp_1227399017670_532"></span>Port of Seattle:&#0160;</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><br /> <p>The Port of Seattle has not been transparent about what particular economic development the additional taxes will purchase or the necessity to spend the money in 2009.</p><br /> <p>(snip)</p><br /> <p>We were quite disappointed by the Port&#39;s misleading attempt to portray the agency&#39;s proposed $8.1 million increase in the levy as a tax decrease for homeowners. It is true the Port is proposing to lower the levy rate per $1,000 of property value from $0.225 to $0.219. That&#39;s a decrease of 2.7 percent. However, this reduction is more than offset by the double-digit increase in the assessed value of the average residential property in King County. The Port states that a homeowner with property assessed at $300,000 would pay less in 2009 than it paid in 2008. <strong>This argument is misleading because property assessed at $300,000 for tax purposes in 2008 would almost certainly be assessed at a much higher value in 2009, with the result that the homeowner would pay a higher tax, even at the lower rate. The Port&#39;s position is even more troubling because many homeowners cannot sell their homes at current tax appraisal values due to the recent decline in home prices.</strong></p></blockquote> shoephone 2008-11-22T16:18:43-08:00 The More We Trust the Obama Crowd, the More We Can Do Ourselves http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/11/the-more-we-trust-the-obama-crowd-the-more-we-can-do-ourselves.html I feel like I'm at a workshop that is being very well run. I don't have to try to help the process. They've got it handled. Or riding in a car with an excellent driver. When the folks in charge do a good job of "process", it allows us the opportunity to focus on "content". In a less needy time, that might mean fully enjoying our personal lives; now it also means figuring out how best to help out with this project of holding our country and the planet together. Personally it allows me to read and write more about... <p>I feel like I&#39;m at a workshop that is being very well run.&#0160; I don&#39;t have to try to help the process.&#0160; They&#39;ve got it handled.&#0160; Or riding in a car with an excellent driver.&#0160; </p><p>When the folks in charge do a good job of &quot;process&quot;, it allows us the opportunity to focus on &quot;content&quot;.&#0160; In a less needy time, that might mean fully enjoying our personal lives; now it also means figuring out how best to help out with this project of holding our country and the planet together.&#0160; Personally it allows me to read and <a href="http://www.forwashington.org/node/89">write more about the perils of stormwater</a> on the health of our waterways, and then to use that information to take immediate action by<a href="http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/11/puget-sound-needs-our-attention-now.html%20"> commenting at the Puget Sound Partnership hearings</a> or on learning to make movies so that I can talk about the importance of organizing our neighbors better.&#0160; There is a lot to be done but having Obama and his folks moving to take charge is very heartening.</p><p>The transition seems to be moving along well.&#0160; There is a tone I really like, a tone of non-arrogant confidence.&#0160; And, aside from the drama that inevitably hangs around the Clintons, there has been a very clean roll-out so far.&#0160; I may not agree with all the choices, but I love the process and I am encouraged by what I see.</p><p>I feel like we are in good hands.&#0160; These guys are going to run a good government.&#0160; Not to say they won&#39;t make mistakes.&#0160;&#0160; But I think we will see a thoughtful vision behind what is being done.&#0160; Obama is doing a range of smart things in a business-like fashion; this is just what he did as he got himself elected.&#0160; He is also avoiding distractions.&#0160; Whew!&#0160; Is that ever a relief.&#0160; When I consider even that the Joe Lieberman thing might be a way for Obama to set a different tone and not get caught up in disabling distractions, I have to give pause to my dismay on that as well.&#0160; </p><p>Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security.&#0160; The idea of a sane person running that agency takes me a while to get my mind around.&#0160; Is it possible we might rethink what we call &quot;homeland security&quot;?&#0160; Every time I go through a security line at the airport, I&#0160; think we are spending huge amounts of money on the dumbest things.&#0160;&#0160;&#0160; </p><p>Also, we hear that Tom Daschle will take on Health and Human Services.&#0160; <a href="http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=11&amp;year=2008&amp;base_name=tom_daschle_health_czar">Ezra Klein</a>, a writer and journalist, explains why this is such good news:</p><div style="margin-left: 40px;">You don&#39;t tap the former Senate Majority Leader to run your health care bureaucracy. That&#39;s not his skill set. You tap him to get your health care plan through Congress. You tap him because he understands the parliamentary tricks and has a deep knowledge of the ideologies and incentives of the relevant players. You tap him because you understand that health care reform runs through the Senate. And he accepts because he has been assured that you mean to attempt health care reform.<br /></div><p><br />Much of the famed Obama team will be with him at the White House.&#0160; Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod will both be senior advisors.&#0160; Hurrah!&#0160; Every time <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYJzg5IJN8o">I see Jarrett on the news,</a> I am struck by her basic common sense, confidence and calm.&#0160; This is going to be so interesting.&#0160; </p><p>So, what are you doing?&#0160; What might you do?</p> Lynn Allen 2008-11-20T07:41:54-08:00 Lieberman the Traitor Survives http://www.evergreenpolitics.com/ep/2008/11/lieberman-the-traitor-survives.html TPM commenter GMFord sums up my feelings precisely: I sent an email to my Senator pointing out how hard I and millions of others worked to elect more and better Democrats this year. I contrasted that to Joe Lieberman not only working to defeat Democrats at every level but speaking out against a Democratic majority, advancing the notion that Obama might not be patriotic, and applauding when McCain's audience boo'ed our presidential candidate. Perhaps some of us could have had an hour or two more sleep leading up to the election if we weren't also fighting against a traitorous member... <p>TPM commenter <a href="http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/11/lieberman_allies_using_obama_t.php#comment-3286195">GMFord</a> sums up my feelings precisely:</p><br /> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"> <div class="comment-content"> <p>I sent an email to my Senator pointing out how hard I and millions of others worked to elect more and better Democrats this year. I contrasted that to Joe Lieberman not only working to defeat Democrats at every level but speaking out against a Democratic majority, advancing the notion that Obama might not be patriotic, and applauding when McCain&#39;s audience boo&#39;ed our presidential candidate.</p> <p>Perhaps some of us could have had an hour or two more sleep leading up to the election if we weren&#39;t also fighting against a traitorous member of our own party.</p><br /></div></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">The vote of the Democratic Caucus was 42-13. They must be proud of themselves, <a href="http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/11/reid_vast_majority_of_dem_cauc.php">continuing to enable this traitor</a>. Want to know how your senators voted? Don&#39;t waste your time.&#0160;It&#39;s a secret ballot. </p> <p dir="ltr">&#0160;</p> <p dir="ltr">Update:&#0160;<a href="http://firedoglake.com/2008/11/18/its-official-lieberman-won/">FDL reports</a> that Patty Murray&#0160;stood with Harry Reid at a press conference to defend the outrageousness of their actions. </p> shoephone 2008-11-18T09:35:29-08:00