Monday, November 30, 2009

Let 'em eat magnetic ribbons.

The unemployment rate for veterans who left the military during the past three years is 18 percent, nearly twice the national average. The average for all veterans is about 11.6 percent. Even those numbers, however, may not reflect the situation as the economy worsened.
You're very welcome for our service and all, but, well...

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Have I mentioned lately…

…that I hate what they're doing to my Army?

Military divorces edge up again in 9th year of war

Army suicides set to hit new high in 2009

Colonel Lang raises a good point...
There are a lot of village and towns in Afghanistan, even if one only considers Pushtun villages. The active army is stretched pretty thin. The suicide and attempted suicide rate is becoming a serious matter. People with families can not be pushed emotionally beyond a certain level of alienation from home and hearth. Perhaps it was not such a good idea to build the force around middle class married soldiers.
Perhaps, in fact, it was a terrible idea.

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It's time for...

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Good question…

…from Chris in Paris.
Is it ethical and morally acceptable to maintain the posh Wall Street lifestyle when we are seeing so many Americans falling so far behind?
Not in my America.

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Magnanimous in victory...

...or divided in loyalty?

Little of each, I suppose. The kids in Coug Corner at the perfect tavern were a lot of fun on a tough day for their team.

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$26,809 per minute.

Over $14 billion per year. That's the cost of prohibition in America.

As if we had the money.

Lee has more fun facts here.

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Gearing up for the...

What'll it be - Dawg redemption or another Cougar miracle? Ignore the spread, it's the Apple Cup. Anything can happen.

If you're looking for a friendly mixed crowd of Huskies and Cougs (OK, mostly Huskies...) to watch with, may I suggest the perfect tavern? 3:30 kickoff - be there!

Postgame update: Dawg redemption, 30-0

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Bellevue 19, Union 13

Next up, Liberty for the 3-A Championship

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I'm always thankful...

...for music. For (random) instance...
Cheap Trick - Aint That A Shame
Robert Earl Keen - Whenever Kindness Fails
Rig The Jig - Please Don't Bury Me
Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come
Al Kooper - Get Ready
Ben Harper - Steal My Kisses
Grateful Dead - Dark Hollow
Jimmy Buffett - God Don't Own A Car
Ian Tyson - Blue Moon
The Manhattan Transfer - Operator

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Snark of the day.

Goldy, on Senator Margarita Prentice's declaration that yet another state sponsored gambling game is " absolute necessity.”
Absolutely necessary? I’m sure Sen. Prentice could find other creative ways to raise an additional $30 million. Just taxing the contributions of payday lenders to her own campaign could get us a significant portion of the way there.
Wouldn't be funny if it weren't so close to true.

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What I had for Thanksgiving...

Great company. The feast was magnificent, of course - the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left's alter-ego is Queen of Thanksgiving - but I've reached the point where who I eat it with matters more than what I'm eating. There were plenty of folks I wished could be there, but we're all pretty spread out and overcommitted these days. No matter how much I missed those who were missed, though, those boys fill any holes in Grandpa's heart very nicely.

Hope you found similar joy somewhere in the day.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Congrats, Jesse & Nita!

Jesse Lee has been a friend of this blog throughout his journey from the D-Trip to the Speaker's office and now the White House. He's nothing less than the best damn institutional blogger in the biz. He has, apparently, other charms unknown to me but appealing to MoveOn's Nita Chaudhary, who said yes when he used the occasion of the state dinner for the Indian Prime Minister to propose marriage.

All the best to two of the best!

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Quote of the day.

The Speaker speaks...
"I think we have to look at that war with a green eyeshade on."
Yep, we do.

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These guys are coming to dinner...

...which is reason enough to be thankful.

Hope your day is as good as I expect mine to be.

And I'm thankful for each and every one of y'all, too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I have no doubt…

…that whatever form the health insurance reforms that finally come out of Congress and on to the President's desk take, the bill will be but a pale shadow of the sweeping reform in health care delivery that I think our country needs.

I am dismayed that, in the end, the greatest beneficiaries of those reforms will likely be the health insurance companies themselves. More food is not a cure for tapeworms.

I don't imagine that, assuming something called a "public option" is part of the final bill, that the surviving "public option" will be an option for much of the public.


I have no doubt that lives will be extended because people with a need for long term treatment will not be denied those treatments because they're coverage has hit a lifetime maximum.

I'm delighted that rescission of benefits, absent actual fraud, at the time of need and denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions will no longer be features of our health insurance system. It's bad enough that we don't cover people who can't pay for coverage, but it's insane that we've refused to cover people who can, and in the case of rescission, have paid for coverage.

Whatever the final health insurance reform bill looks like, I'm sure it will mean that coverage will be extended and improved for millions of Americans. I'm certain that it will mean saving and extending millions of lives.

If the bill only offers, and it seems certain to offer, the elimination of lifetime maximums, denial for pre-existing conditions and rescission in the absence of fraud, it'll be worth doing.

The heavy lifting for real health care reform will remain to be done, but this is definitely a case where doing damn near anything is better than doing nothing. People's lives are at stake.

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I must'a missed a news cycle somewhere...

...because I just heard that President Obama has pardoned two turkeys and I didn't even know Cheney and Rumsfeld had been convicted.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My own personal councilmember…

…is the cheese.
Bob Ferguson is the new King County Council chairman.
Congrats, Chairman Bob!

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"Share The Sacrifice"

Obey, Rangel and Murtha are in now - looks like this train could be rolling downhill.
Dubbed the “Share the Sacrifice Act,” the six-page bill exempts anyone who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan since the 2001 terrorist attacks as well as families who have lost an immediate relative in the fighting. But middle-class households earning between $30,000 and $150,000 would be asked to pay 1% on top of their tax liability today — a more sweeping approach than many Democrats have been willing to embrace.
"More sweeping" is better. It's way past time for a lot more Americans to get at least a little bit of skin in the game.

All aboard.

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From the "Times change" file.

Pudentilla describes the current situation...
an american conservative is someone who believes that

a) the vatican ought to decide our domestic policy;
b) israel ought to decide our foreign policy;
c) communist china ought to decide our economic policy; and
d) osama bin ladin ought to decide who gets tried in our courts.
Used to be the lefties who were the internationalists, while the right was, to various degrees, isolationist. The right may still have trouble with the idea of domestic multi-culturalism, but they've fully embraced a radical brand of multi-nationalism. Prudentilla wonders "why they bother to call themselves American." They sure don't seem to care much about America at all.

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If there's gonna be a war…

…there oughta be a war tax.
"There ain't going to be no money for nothing if we pour it all into Afghanistan," House Appropriations Chairman David Obey told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "If they ask for an increased troop commitment in Afghanistan, I am going to ask them to pay for it."
One quiblle, Mr. Chairman. Don't ask. Tell.

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Monday, November 23, 2009


Four U.S. service members were killed in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan, NATO said, bringing the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan in November to 15.
Damn, damn, damn, damn.

Bring 'em home, Mr. President.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The first time I ever saw...

...grown men weeping openly on a public street was November 22, 1963. It made a powerful impression on my 12 year old mind. We still can't measure what we lost.


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Bellevue 34 Glacier Peak 7

Next up, Union, then the Championship!

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It's time for...

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Quote of the day.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
"Ted would be happy."
Me too.

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Random ten…

…or geezer grab bag?
Peter, Paul & Mary - I Dig Rock And Roll Music
The Beatles - Bad Boy
Jerry Lee Lewis - Lewis Boogie
Hank Williams - Jambalaya
The Temptations - The Way You Do The Things You Do
The Swingin' Medallions - Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)
Bob Dylan - Simple Twist Of Fate
Rickie Lee Jones - Sunshine Superman
The Wailers - Out Of Our Tree
The Battering Ram - Broad Black Brimmer
Hey, at least they're on an ipod, not an eight track

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Friday, November 20, 2009

From the Department of Redundancy Department…

…via Steve Benen
Sen. Tom Coburn, a right-wing Republican from Oklahoma, is apparently not above callous opportunism.
So, there's a right-wing Republican that is above callous opportunism? See, I always thought right-wing Republicanism was callous opportunism.

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It's worth keeping mind…

…that while Landrieu, Nelson, Lincoln, et al may be a problem, they're not the problem. (Ben, in fact, seems to be coming around.) E.J. Dionne explains…
As of last Monday, the Senate majority had filed 58 cloture motions requiring 32 recorded votes. One of the more outrageous cases involved an extension in unemployment benefits, a no-brainer in light of the dismal economy. The bill ultimately cleared the Senate earlier this month 98-0—yes, that is a zero.

The vote came only after the Republicans launched three filibusters against the bill and also tried to lard it with unrelated amendments, delaying passage by nearly a month. And you wonder why it’s so hard to pass health care?
If the Democrats in the Senate don't stand together it could be a disaster, both on policy and political ground, but it will be a disaster designed, pursued and celebrated by Republicans. Pulling things down and tearing things apart is all they have left, and obstruction is their primary legislative tool.

Hat tip to Howie.

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Chart of the day.

Via Darryl...

You can make the chart bigger with a click. Making the war bigger involves death, destruction and debt.

The right way in Afghanistan is out.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

You go, Gov!

Go get it from them that got it, that is. Andrew reports…
Minutes ago, at Senator Jeanine Kohl-Welles' sixteenth annual post-election analysis fundraiser, Gregoire declared emphatically that cuts cannot be the only answer to the $2.6 billion shortfall the state is facing. "It's not an option," Gregoire said firmly, to rousing cheers and applause from assembled Democrats.
Where was that Governor Gregoire last year? And what's the Speaker got to say about this opportunity wrapped in a crisis? Is it finally time for a tax on high incomes?

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Blue Gal.

She's Left. She's right. She rocks.

And she needs deserves your support. Go click the green button for Fran.

Do it every day.

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If it's jobless…

…and "revenue-less," maybe it's something less than a "recovery."

Just sayin'…

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When they're right, they're right.

Tennessee Republican Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. displays his gift for the obvious...
There is nothing conservative about the war in Afghanistan.
Of course, there's really nothing conservative about Conservatism these days, either.

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From the "Who'da thunk it?" file.

Maybe Democrats can win elections by acting like Democrats. They can lose when they don't.

Who'da thunk it?

Mike Lux spells it out…
Bragging about an improving GDP and explaining how jobs are lagging indicators which will someday trickle down to the unemployed is political death at a time like this. What Democrats should be doing is fighting like cats and dogs for every job that they can deliver, to their districts and to the country. Show that they are moving on this urgent need: get a new jobs bill passed, get a roads/infrastructure bill passed. Show more toughness when the most protectionist country on earth, China, lectures us on being protectionists (they liked us being saps for all those years.) Fight like crazy for new jobs in every venue, every forum, every chance you get- and tell people no matter how many jobs you produce that it is never enough, that you will keep fighting for more.
We can argue all we want about policies and priorities in DC, but if we let the Republicans steal the jobs issue, we probably deserve to lose a lot of seats.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of the day.

Levi Johnston on his child's grandmother, via Tengrain...
She’s lying and losing.
Kid has a future writing bumper stickers.

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Good question…

…from aimai.
Elvis Impersonators make good money imitating Elvis. Tina Fey made good money imitating Sarah Palin. Why shouldn't Sarah Palin make good money imitating a Presidential Candidate?
Nothing, I suppose, as long as she keeps us laughing...

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Monday, November 16, 2009

It's the floundering Vice Presidential campaign…

…version of a book tour. Charles Lemos...
...her book tour kicks off in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the 66th largest MSA in the country. She'll tour reliable GOP hotspots like Noblesville, Indiana and Washington, Pennsylvania. Apart from media visits to New York and Chicago, the largest city on her itinerary is Cincinnati though she will stop by in Bloomington, Minnesota which is part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA, the 16th largest MSA in the country. Two military bases are on the route, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood which was added after the shootings that left 13 dead and 31 wounded. And she'll revisit some of her more memorable rally spots from the campaign like Orlando, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque.
A B-list tour for a B-list "author." Sure, it'll fire up a bit of the small town base, and might provide some measure of amusement for the rest of us, but there's no there there.

Wake me when she says something worthy of ridicule.

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Literally. Glen Greenwald...
This is literally true: the Right's reaction to [the New York terror trials] announcement -- we're too afraid to allow trials and due process in our country -- is the textbook definition of "surrendering to terrorists."

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's time for...

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Saturday, November 14, 2009


No. 1 Bellevue rolls past Mount Si, 49-17

Yeah, it's been a long time since graduation, but, hey, it's winning football, a scarce commodity hereabouts this year.

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The AP reads...

…the Palin autohagiography so you don't have to. Ron Chusid quotes extensively, but this sums it up pretty well...
THE FACTS are somewhat in dispute.
One begins to wonder if she could tell the truth if she tried, but we may never know, because she never tries.

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Once again...

...ten from my Shuffle, shuffled.
Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On
The Temptations - The Way You Do The Things You Do
Steve Earle & The Dukes - Sweet Little '66
Tim O'Brien - Less & Less
Lyle Lovett - San Antonio Girl
k.d. lang & The Reclines - Three Days
Don & The Goodtimes - Louie Louie
Freddy Fender - Across The Borderline
Andy Hill & Renee Safier - One Too Many Mornings
George Hamilton IV - Abilene

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Just wondering…

…where the Iraqis in this group are (Mohammed's a Kuwaiti-born Pakistani)...
Four men—the two Yemenis, a Saudi and a Pakistani-born Kuwaiti—will face trial alongside Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, accused of helping finance and plan the attacks of 11 September 2001 in which nearly 3,000 people were killed.
I mean, I get why we went into Afghanistan originally. They were harboring criminals from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait and Pakistan, but we short-sheeted Afghanistan to invade Iraq. And that was because….?

Another one, I suppose, for the "What if there were no rhetorical questions" file.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Include me out.

As you might gather from the new links on my sidebar, I'm not joining in the financial boycott of the DNC and OFA because Congress and the Obama administration proposed by some so-called "A-list" progressive bloggers.

This isn't a "progressive" blog. This is a capital-D Democratic blog, and while I'm not totally satisfied with the positions or the priorities of all of my Party's office-holders, neither am I interested in joining some kind of "progressive" clone of the Club For Growth. I'm just not full enough of myself to take my ball, such as it is, and go because the President or any other member of my Party fails to meet my every exacting standard or adopt my entire agenda.

Just one of the reasons that, like Blue Gal

…though there's little risk of that happening no matter how hard I try.

Of course, I'm not actually sorry at all. I'm a Democrat, without apology. Nothing to be sorry about in that.

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It's the something-somethingth anniversary...

...of the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left's 29th birthday. Please join me in wishing my best friend and the love of my life the very best day possible.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You're welcome, but...

I've heard several expressions, personally and generally, of thanks for my service in the US Army today. I appreciate that, of course, but I can't help thinking that the best way to express appreciation to veterans is to stop sending the active duty troopers to missions unworthy of their service.

Mine was probably the last generation raised to believe that military service wasn't a sacrifice, and certainly wasn't a matter of heroism, though some did serve heroically. We were raised to believe that doing your time, either voluntarily or when called, was an obligation of citizenship. My dad and three of my uncles served in the Pacific theater during World War II. Three more uncles served in the European theater. The cost they paid ranged from a lost leg (Uncle Bill) to malaria (Dad). They all saw active combat. None of them considered themselves "heroes."

My brother preceded me in Vietnam, and if you suggest his Purple Heart is a badge of heroism, he'll laugh at you.

We all served honorably. Heroically? That's someone else's call.

We served, though, and if you appreciate that, well, you're welcome. But, please, don't make any new heroes on our account, unless it's in circumstances where the need to serve is so obvious that thanks become superfluous.

And to all my comrades of every service in every era, welcome home.

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120 years ago today...

Of course you can click it bigger.

Happy birthday Washington.

Kinda scary, though, to be almost half as old as my state.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

With friends like that…

Via Sam Taylor at the Bellingham Herald...
A close friend of Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen shot one of Owen’s sons in an apparent workplace dispute Monday afternoon and then shot himself in the head, the lieutenant governor said.
Owen's is the definitive DINO in these parts, but this is tough in a way beyond politics. Best wishes to his son for a full and fast recovery.

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Semper Fi… Dad, Uncle Ed and big brother Pat. Thinking of you all on the 234th birthday of your Corps.

A happy one to all y'all old jarheads from this old dogface, and a snappy salute to Gordon for the reminder.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Half a loaf?

Maybe so. The health insurance bill passed by the House isn't the bill I'd like to see, and as I expected, isn't one that's going to do a great deal for me. Being required to purchase insurance that I can't really afford and that, because of likely co-pays and deductibles, I can't really use, isn't anything like the single payer plan I've been advocating for decades. Still, as The Littlest Gator says...
I know we had some bad defeats in this. I know they beat up on women as usual, I know it is not single payer, I know that the "robust" public option is not going to be robust enough. But let's just remember-- WE GOT RID OF PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS! If nothing else were to have passed, this alone, this one thing, is going to save lives, heartache, family homes, family savings. Just that one change.
Nope, it's not the bill I would have written, but it will save lives. It's not the bill the AFL-CIO would have written either, but they're on board because
It will end the national scandal of medical bankruptcy—the number one cause of personal bankruptcy—by eliminating lifetime caps on insurer payments and limiting annual out-of-pocket costs. Medical bankruptcies affect up to 4,000 families every day in the United States—and 78 percent of them are fully insured.
· It ends abusive insurance company practices, including the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions and “rescissions”—the practice of canceling coverage when patients file claims.
· It provides subsidies to help middle-class and lower-income families afford coverage.
· Through an exchange, it offers people a wide range of choices of insurance, including a public health insurance option that competes with private insurers.
· It narrows the “donut hole”—the gap in Medicare coverage for prescription drugs.
· It creates incentives to increase the number of doctors and boosts funding for community health centers.
· It allows young people to be covered by their parents’ insurance up to age 27.
· It creates a new fund to help employers give health coverage to early retirees.
· It provides for efficient, computerized medical records and other tools to streamline medical care and increase quality.
· It cuts costs to the federal government as well as to families, reducing the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next 10 years—thanks, in part, to the existence of a public health insurance option, which lowers costs across the system.
· Ad it’s fairly funded—through employer responsibility and a surtax on the very highest earners, not a tax on middle-class health benefits.
It's also not the bill that the Human Rights Campaign might have introduced either, but they, too, find enough right to get over whatever's wrong, citing important gains for the LGBT community...
· Health Disparities - the bill specifically designates LGBT people as a health disparities population, opening up health data collection and grant programs focused on health disparities related to sexual orientation and gender identity. With collection of data and funding of research, we can better address the specific health issues facing LGBT people.
· Unequal Taxation of Domestic Partner Benefits - the bill ends the unfair taxation of employer-provided domestic partner health benefits, incorporating the language of the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act. Without this tax penalty, more people will be able to afford employer-provided coverage for their families, and more companies will be able to offer these important benefits.
· Early Treatment for HIV under Medicaid - the bill also incorporates the Early Treatment for HIV Act, which allows states to cover early HIV treatment under their Medicaid programs, instead of withholding treatment for Medicaid recipients until they develop full-blown AIDS, This will dramatically improve the quality of life for low-income people with HIV, as well as saving taxpayers money and reducing the transmission of the virus.
· Comprehensive Sex Education - the bill provides funding for comprehensive sex education programs that focus not only on abstinence, but also reducing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. After more than $1 billion wasted on failed and discriminatory abstinence-only programs, this funding will provide youth, including LGBT students, with the tools they need to live healthy lives.
· Non-discrimination - the bill prohibits consideration of personal characteristics unrelated to the provision of health care. HRC worked with a coalition of civil rights groups to develop and lobby for this language and we believe it will help protect LGBT people from discrimination in the health care system, where there are currently no federal protections for our community.
There's going to be a lot more to do - including moving the discussion from insurance to care - as we go forward, but first, let's get this done. It's worth doing, no matter what it doesn't do. It's not time to stop, but this is a place to start.

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From the "Cunning Plan" file…

George Soros should revisit his plans for global domination investment strategy and give more money to the Club for Growth. They’re way more effective than the Democratic Party.
Heh™ or hmmm? You make the call.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

It's time for...

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

The morning after…

…the big double-drop at King County Records & Elections, Shoreline City Council candidate Shari Tracey's still holding on to 51% and a fraction. It was a lead too small to call just a day or two ago, but I'm satisfied that she's going to unseat incumbent Cindy Ryu. There's about a 44% turnout based on the votes already counted, and I don't imagine that's going to change by more than a point or two as late ballots are counted (I understand that everything on hand has been reported.)

That means from top to bottom, there were only two races that came out differently than my ballot. For Port Commission, Tom Albro defeated Max Vecich, not the ideal outcome but hardly as awful as it would have been had Rob Holland lost to the conservative ideologue David Doud. My nostalgic pick for County Assessor, Gene Lux, finished fifth in a field of five, but that wasn't a surprise and I felt perfectly comfortable with either of the front runners, Lloyd Hara and Bob Rosenberger, who had split Democratic endorsements and ultimately over 60% of the vote between them. Lloyd, a fixture in Democratic politics for decades, won, and that's fine.

Other than that, though, I called 'em all. I can't remember being so satisfied with an overall election outcome. Good on all y'all who voted the right way.

And they finally seem to have straightened out the mayoral mess in the big city down south. Good on them, too.

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Ten more...

...from my Ipod, always set to shuffle.
Waylon Jennings - Willie, The Wandering Gypsy And Me
Sara Gazarek - The Circle Game
The Dubliners - Molly Maquires
The Beatles - Two Of Us
Susan & The Surftones - Wipe Out
BeauSoleil - Bon Temps Rouler
Sam & Dave - I Thank You
Dinah Washington - Back Water Blues
Rig The Jig - Carolina Star
Little Milton - Grits Ain't Groceries

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Fair enough...

Bill Owens' victory in New York's 23rd was the good news for Democrats this week and continued the party's winning streak in competitive House special elections. But the dynamic that helped Owens win -- including a divided Republican Party -- can't be ignored and aren't likely to be replicated again. For now, his reelection next year is a Pure Toss-Up.
…but it bears noting that as recently as last month the election, let alone re-election, of a Democrat in NY-23, a safe Republican haven since the 19th century, seemed like a fantasy. Toss-up? That's an incredible advance.

And that Republican divide? That's not going away anytime soon.

Hat tip to Political Wire.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Regarding Fort Hood...

...I've got nothing, really, outside the obligatory expressions of shock and sympathy. That's because I know nothing, really, except the broad outlines you all know.

One of the things I specifically don't know is why Major Hasan would do such a thing, regardless of his name. Neither does anyone who says they do at this point.

But I am shocked, and my heart goes out to the Fort Hood troopers and their families directly affected by this tragedy.

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It's almost a wrap.

Tonight's results make at least a couple of my cliffhangers safe to call. I may be the last to admit it - I almost can't believe it - but Referendum 71 has opened a five point lead and looks sure to pass. My home state is the first in the nation to expand civil rights for gays and lesbians at the ballot box. That's something. Of course, it took a better than two to one vote here in King County to make it happen, but it happened. Huzzah!

In the local races I'm tracking, it's going to be Will Hall for Shoreline City Council Position 3, having expanded his lead by a couple hundred more votes overnight. The trend has been consistent enough to be convincing. I voted for Will, happily, but Patty Hale was a worthy candidate for the Council as well, a dedicated community volunteer and neighborhood activist. It's a shame she got caught up in controversy during the campaign, but it was a controversy of her own making because of her apparent inability to simply say "I was wrong" and get on with it when she was reprimanded for discussing her campaign with an English class while she was on the clock as their substitute teacher. I'm sympathetic to the value of student involvement but it seems to me that Patty was in a perfect position to cadge a couple of invites to speak to social studies classes as a candidate, off the clock. It didn't help that she didn't seem to understand the difference.

At any rate, Will comes with his own record of community involvement and relevant professional experience to boot. He picked up a late endorsement from the local Democrats after incumbent Councilmember and Party favorite Janet Way came in third in the primary. Janet, who I voted for then, endorsed him as well. I didn't use the Party sample ballot as a template for my own picks, but his willingness to identify with the Democratic Party, a requirement for the endorsement, does count as another point in his favor. Congratulations are in order and extended.

Challenger Shari Tracey continues to hold a slim lead over Position 5 incumbent Cindy Ryu, with a margin of about 400 votes. A margin of one, of course, is sufficient, and it seems that Shari will likely win. I'd like a bit more certainty than "likely," though. (Insert grumble about mail ballots and glacial counts here.) The replacement of Ryu, appointed to the essentially honorary position of mayor by the current Council, will be a major shift in the power center and culture of city government. Ryu, a Democratic State Committeewoman, is a local landlord and developer with close ties (she's on the board) to the Chamber of Commerce, where the ill-fated write-in effort against Keith McGlashan was spawned. Based on the vote totals, Keith appears to be the most popular politician in town this week. I see the election of Shari Tracey, which, though not yet written in stone is growing more likely by the day, as the neighborhoods giving notice that they don't like their city being run by the Aurora corridor business community. I think that's a healthy thing.

So, I'm down to one I won't call. Happily, I don't have a horse in that mayoral mess in the big city to the south. I'm sure Slog and Goldy can keep you up to date on that.

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One of these Dick Armeys…

…is not like the other. Space Cowboy busts the "Lord of the Teabags"...
And guess who tried to help Hoffman out when it became clear he had no grasp of local issues? Lord of the Teabags, Dick Armey:
Coming to Mr. Hoffman's defense, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, who accompanied the candidate on a campaign swing, dismissed regional concerns as "parochial" issues that would not determine the outcome of the election.
So, now that Hoffman has been defeated (how he even got vote 1 is beyond me), take a look at what Armey has to say about the cause of his defeat:
"The fact of the matter is, he didn't pay enough attention to the local concerns, and they were able to tag him as being unaware of the local needs and concerns," Armey said.
Ideology aside, Hoffman would have been better off reading Tip O'Neill than listening to Dick Armey.

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Yep, there were more results yesterday...

…but I was already on duty at the perfect tavern when they were released. After the second vote drop, the relative cliffhanger races that I'm tracking, R-71 and Shoreline City Council seats 4 and 5, are all near where they were after the first. That means my picks are still slightly, or slightly more, ahead. There's another drop in a couple hours with, hopefully, some more definitive reports. I'll hold my analysis until then.

Meanwhile, so far so good.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009


…for the "Whatever happened to hope and change?" crowd. John H. Richardson invites you to "Consider the record…"
A week before he was sworn in, Obama jammed part two of the bank bailout down the throat of his own party — a $350 billion accomplishment.

Two days after he was sworn in, Obama banned the use of "harsh interrogation" and ordered the closing of Guantánamo.

A day later, Obama reversed George W. Bush's funding cutoff to overseas family planning organizations — saving millions of lives with the stroke of a pen.

Three days after that, Obama gave a green light to the California car-emissions standards that Bush had been blocking for six years — an important step on the road to cleaner air and a cooler planet.

Two weeks after that, Obama signed the stimulus bill — a $787 billion accomplishment.

Ten days after that, Obama formally announced America's withdrawal from Iraq.

A week later — we're in early March now — Obama erased Bush's decision to restrict federal funding for stem-cell research.

In April and June, Obama forced Chrysler and GM into bankruptcy.

In June, Obama reset the tone of our relations with the entire Arab world with a single speech — an accomplishment that the Bush administration failed to achieve despite a series of desperate PR moves (anyone remember Charlotte Beers?) and a "public diplomacy" budget of $1 billion a year.

Also in June, Obama unveiled the "Cash for Clunkers" program, a "socialist" giveaway that reanimated the corpse of our car industry — leading, for example, to the billion-dollar profit that Ford announced on Monday.

I haven't even mentioned Sonia Sotomayor, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the order to release the torture memos, Obama's push for charter schools, his $288 billion tax cut, or the end of Bush's war on medical marijuana. Or the minor fact that he seems to have — with Bush's help, it must be said — stopped the financial collapse, revived the credit markets, and nudged the economy toward 3.5 percent growth in the last quarter.
Actually, that "Bush's help" bit? Needn't be said at all. There might even be a kernel of truth to it, but there's no requirement to say it whatsoever.

Regardless, that's evidence of some significant change, if not every change we hoped for.

There's still hope, though.

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Brilliant prognosticator or influential pundit?

You make the call, but if current trends hold, my city council picks will go 4 for 4. At least two of those look pretty solid right now.

Keith McGlashan's was the only name on the ballot for Position 1, but there was an active write-in candidacy against him. That could have presented a couple of problems. Since no opponent was named, some voters might have skipped over the race, thinking their vote would have no influence. It was also the first write-in campaign conducted via our new vote by mail elections, and I wondered if voting at the kitchen table might make it easier for folks to write in an alternative choice.

Well, there was a drop-off, but it didn't accrue to the benefit of Keith's late-entry opponent. The well funded write-in campaign, beneficiary of a third-party smear via an anti-McGlashan independent expenditure, picked up less than 20% of the first ballot count, while Keith posted the highest vote total of any council candidate, despite a drop-off of more than 1000 votes for the Position 1 race.

The other one that looks done is in Position 7, where Chris Roberts holds a 57%/42% lead over incumbent Ron Hansen. Hansen brought some troubles to the race - his CPA license was suspended, then revoked because he didn't observe the conditions of the suspension, which led to his Municipal League rating being revoked, which, well, it was a messy business. The real credit should be given to Roberts, who teaches political science at U-dub while working on his doctorate. On top of that, he's practically a full time Democratic activist and he devoted that time and activity to this race. With a margin of over 1000 votes on the first drop, all his efforts seem to have paid off. Electing young, smart, energetic liberal Democrats to public office seems to be an unqualified good thing to me.

For Position 3, Will Hall's about 400 votes ahead of Patty Hale. Again, although Hale stumbled, both when she used her position as a substitute English teacher to recruit student volunteers for her campaign, and again in her response to the reprimand her recruiting drew from the school district, but it was really a combination of Hall's experience as a legislative analyst for Snohomish County and the fact that I just like the guy that tipped me in his favor. It's a slim margin, but it's a small electorate, and it should hold up. I hope it does.

The closest race is for Position 5, where my choice, Sheri Tracey, starts out a scant 152 votes ahead with the first drop. If that expands tonight, Sheri will likely win. If it shrinks sharply or disappears, it could be days before we'll have a clear picture. The closest thing we had around here to the classic downtown v. neighborhoods battle that's a regular feature of politics in the big city down south, this one will be worth a closer look as it develops.

So, it's a ways from done but so far, so good.

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On the statewide side…

the results range from excellent to encouraging. Tim Eyman's I-1033 didn't lose everywhere, but it lost pretty much everywhere the people are, whether the people in question are Puget Sound liberals or Palouse wheat farmers. Folks who grow hops and grapes seem to be pretty much over Eyman, as well. Here's the map. The good guys (No voters) are in yellow...

Things are a bit dicier for R-71, and the geographic spread is a lot smaller. Seems like those wheat farmers don't like gay folks any more than they like Tim Eyman. The measure is clinging to about a 2 point lead right now, but the geographic concentration of the Yes vote is a source of encouragement, since the largest portion of outstanding votes comes from the good guy region, this time in green…

Most of the commentary I've seen seems to expect the final count to widen the margin of victory and provide a measure of increased protection for domestic partnerships. I think so too, but I'd sure like to see another big drop from King County before I pop the corks for this one.

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Good guess.

greg on NY-23…
I guess the Rockefeller Republicans are now Palin Democrats.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The people have spoken.

Or written. Or filled in the blanks. Whatever you want to call what we did since ballots started appearing in mailboxes, we've had an election. King County has counted all the votes they're going to count today, and those early returns appear decisive in several races.

Dow Constantine is sitting on 57% of the vote and about a 35,000 vote lead over Susan Hutchison for King County Executive. I don't know if Hutchison has conceded, but Constantine has declared victory and he seens to be on safe ground doing so. This is a big Democratic win in a "non-partisan" election.

For King County Assessor, my old friend and mentor Gene Lux is holding 5.11% of the vote. I'm part of the .11, I guess. It's hardly a surprise - I'm not sure Gene's campaign extended beyond a voter's pamphlet statement. At any rate, it looks like former Seattle City Treasurer and Port Commissioner Lloyd Hara will get the nod, with a little over a third of the votes in a crowded field. That's fine.

For Port Commission Position 3, Rob Holland has nearly 55% of the votes counted and should handily, and happily, defeat David Doud. Max Vekich didn't fare so well, drawing little over 42% of the first day's vote count. Tom Albro, the apparent winner, wasn't my choice, but he was the choice of a lot of folks I respect and, frankly, he's not as bad a choice as Doud would have been in Position 3. I wish it was Max and Rob, but the Holland win is still one to savor and celebrate.

So far so good.

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Thanks, I needed that.

Steve M. offers a little perspective before we start sifting the election entrails for omens...

* A Republican might win by an eyelash in the gubernatorial race in New Jersey -- a state that's had Republican governors for 16 of the past 28 years.

* In Virginia, a Republican will almost certainly win the governor's race -- which means that the Virginia governor will be of the party opposite that of the president who was just elected ... just like the last eight governors of Virginia, each of whom was elected a year after a presidential election and none of whom was of the president's party.

* A Democrat is probably going to lose in New York's 23rd congressional district -- a district that's changed shape over the years, but has mostly not sent a Democrat to Congress since the 19th century.

File it all under "Big whoop."

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Last day to mark 'em and mail 'em.

With our new all-mail elections, I suppose we don't really have an election day so mush as a deadline day. Whatever you call it, it's here. Ballots for the 2009 general election have to be postmarked by midnight tonight. If yours is still on a desk or counter at your own personal world headquarters, mark it and mail it. Now.

Election/Deadline day has arrived without my pithy analysis of my local city council races. My apologies to the mini-micro audience to which that might have mattered in any way. You've got my picks, for what they're worth to you. I'll try to review some of the reasons when I recap the results.

I know it's a cliché, but one of the reason clichés become clichés is that they express something obviously true. People really have died so you can do this.


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Monday, November 02, 2009

Hardly time to blog...

...this morning with a double shift at the perfect tavern looming, but still time to remind you that you have enough time to get that ballot marked and in the mail.

Yes, I mean now.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

It's time for...

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