Wednesday, September 29

Gregoire Campaign

From email, the Gregoire campaign on stimulating the life sciences industry and other businesses in Washington State:

...Gregoire discussed Putting Washington Back to Work, her detailed and comprehensive plan to create 250,000 new jobs. Chris’ plan will create jobs by creating a new life sciences fund to put Washington state at the forefront of revolutionary new technology, and nurture thousands of high-waged highly skilled blue-collar and white-collar jobs throughout Spokane, the Tri-Cities and the I-5 corridor.

Gregoire also explained her plans to reform the B&O tax, streamline small business permits and offer a tax incentive to reward industries that use our state’s research labs.

“Dino Rossi says that all the Governor can do is ‘stifle growth and kill jobs,’” Gregoire said [Wednesday in Vancouver.] “I believe we need a governor who’s ready to get out there and fight to turn our economy around in every part of the state.”

Gregoire also discussed her plans to create a stem cell research institute in Washington so the state can lead the nation in potentially life-saving research for people with a range of diseases from diabetes to Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s. At their first debate, Dino Rossi said that there was no point in competing with California for stem cell research or the jobs it creates. ...

She's got their endorsement:

...Chris Gregoire has been endorsed by Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, Washington State Council of Firefighters, Washington State Patrol Troopers’ Association and Fraternal Order of Police. Together, these groups represent over 10,000 police officers and firefighters throughout Washington state.

Chris spoke [Wednesday in Spokane] about the impact of September 11 on our state’s thinking about public safety. She also addressed ways to strengthen partnerships between federal, state, tribal and local public safety agencies and the importance of maintaining the Washington State Patrol’s position as one of the nation’s premiere state law enforcement agencies. ...

The campaign has a blog, with fairly frequent updates, pictures of supporters on the campaign trail, and profiles of campaign volunteers. If you can join them in these last, critical days of campaigning, I'm sure they'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 28

News & Comment

Just started back to school this week, and If I study as much as it says I should on the label, I'm looking at 54 hours per week of school related program activities. So please pardon the light posting, & enjoy the following:

Bush's hometown paper endorses Kerry. A Kos diarist picked this up, and if you go down through the comments, you can read the story of the mayor of Crawford, TX, having also endorsed Kerry.

George Soros spoke at the National Press Club, and said in two sentences what many people have found themselves unable to say with long essays, emphasis mine: "The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was such a horrendous event that it required a strong response. But the President committed a fundamental error in thinking: the fact that the terrorists are manifestly evil does not make whatever counter-actions we take automatically good."

Another link from Atrios, Media Matters has an open letter from David Brock concerning the Republican ties of MSNBC commentator Frank Luntz.

Steve Gilliard talks about how bad things really are in Iraq, and how far from reality Bush's press conference with Allawi was.

Avedon at the Sideshow has an excellent collection of other things you should read, either because they will inform, enrage, or entertain you.

Obsidian Wings posts about the impending possibility that Congress will vote to legalize torture. Not actually allowing U.S. government personnel to perform torture, but allowing them to send suspects to countries that practice torture for the specific purpose of having them tortured. How this is morally different escapes me, but it does add a layer of deniability for P.R. purposes. Write your representatives in the House and Senate opposing this measure.

In closing, this is the last week for mail-in voter registration, so go out there and get people signed up. And if you can help out at all, please contact your local district party representatives, coordinated campaign headquarters, or favorite candidate headquarters to offer what help you can provide in turning out the vote. Thank you in advance.

Friday, September 24

Kerry's Terrorism Record

Thanks to Atrios for the link, a Washington Monthly article recounts the story of Kerry's fight against international terrorism in the Senate. Excerpt:

Two decades ago, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a highly respected financial titan. In 1987, when its subsidiary helped finance a deal involving Texas oilman George W. Bush, the bank appeared to be a reputable institution, with attractive branch offices, a traveler's check business, and a solid reputation for financing international trade. It had high-powered allies in Washington and boasted relationships with respected figures around the world.
All that changed in early 1988, when John Kerry, then a young senator from Massachusetts, decided to probe the finances of Latin American drug cartels. Over the next three years, Kerry fought against intense opposition from vested interests at home and abroad, from senior members of his own party; and from the Reagan and Bush administrations, none of whom were eager to see him succeed.

By the end, Kerry had helped dismantle a massive criminal enterprise and exposed the infrastructure of BCCI and its affiliated institutions, a web that law enforcement officials today acknowledge would become a model for international terrorist financing. As Kerry's investigation revealed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, BCCI was interested in more than just enriching its clients--it had a fundamentally anti-Western mission. Among the stated goals of its Pakistani founder were to "fight the evil influence of the West," and finance Muslim terrorist organizations. In retrospect, Kerry's investigation had uncovered an institution at the fulcrum of America's first great post-Cold War security challenge. ...

While George Bush was busy trading Sammy Sosa away from the Texas Rangers in 1989, John Kerry was already working hard in the Senate to make sure terrorists would have a harder time laundering money and financing their operations. So tell me, who do you feel safer with?

News & Comment

First Draft on the Bush administration's EPA, and also with a post on how economic indicators fell for the 3rd straight month.

Go to Off The Kuff to find out everything you wanted to know about the DeLay fundraising investigation and local reaction to it. Kuffner has a thorough review of Texas media coverage, as well as a closing summary of the charges and timeline.

Iranian bloggers protest government news crackdowns. Now there's a group of people fighting the good fight.

From Talk Left, Alabama's attorney general convinced the parole board to reverse a parole grant for a prisoner whose prison record is clean, and is in jail for killing the husband who beat her and regularly sodomized her children.

Left Coaster: Parallels between Brazil and Iran regarding nuclear inspections, though no one is darkly hinting that Brazil should now be invaded. Contrary to what you might have been drilled on in government class, there is a fourth branch of Constitutional government.

Also thanks to the Left Coaster, a link to a post by Tristero on how closely (and I'm turning into a nutbar conspiracy theorist as I type this) the recent Republican agenda matches that of the John Birch society on five major points.

Highest icefields will not last 100 years, study finds. This Chinese study finds that the icefields in that country, approximately 15% of global ice pack, are fast disappearing. The likely consequences are initial flooding, followed by drought and desertification.

Millions Blocked From Voting In U.S. Elections:

..."There are individuals and officials who are actively trying to stop people from voting who they think will vote against their party and that nearly always means stopping black people from voting Democratic," said Mary Frances Berry, head of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights.

Vicky Beasley, a field officer for People for the American Way, listed some of the ways voters have been "discouraged" from voting.

"In elections in Baltimore in 2002 and in Georgia last year, black voters were sent fliers saying anyone who hadn't paid utility bills or had outstanding parking tickets or were behind on their rent would be arrested at polling stations. It happens in every election cycle," she said. ...

Finally, go read today's Sideshow and keep reading down the archive until you come to a post you recognize. Avedon has great media deconstruction stories in her link collections as recently posted.

Thursday, September 23

Help Patty Murray!

Democracy for America is holding a vote for which Senators and Senate candidates will receive DFA funding before the election. This is a crucial time for fundraising, when the ads, doorbelling, phonebanking and all those other wonderful activities have to be cranked up to a fever pitch.

Senate races are some of the toughest, because the amounts of money required are so large. Small individual contributions may do a lot more in statehouse races this close in, but the concentrated investment possible through an organization like Democracy For America could really help.

So please go and vote for Patty Murray at the DFA site. Our Senator needs your help.

Saturday, September 18

An interview with Barb de Michele (D-5th District)

This interview was recorded on September 15th, with Barbara de Michele.
Kayne: Good evening, this is the third in a three-part series of interviews with the Democratic candidates in the Fifth Legislative District. Tonight, I'll be speaking with Barbara de Michele who is running for the House of Representatives. Good evening, Barbara.

Barb: Hi, how are you?

Kayne: I'm doing really well. How are you feeling the day after the primary?

Barb: I'm very excited of course by the returns, and by the fact that more people in the Fifth District chose to take a Democratic ballot then chose to take a Republican ballot, and I think that it shows exactly what we've been saying since well over a year ago, when we first decided to look into running and that is that the Fifth District is definitely trending Democratic and in fact may be Democratic based on these returns. So we're really excited.

Kayne: The latest returns as of 4 p.m this afternoon put you 382 votes ahead of the incumbent, Glenn Anderson. Do you think that's going to the margin that will carry through to the general election, or would you expect it to change a lot?

Barb: A lot of people who I think are going to vote for me, probably chose to take a Republican ballot. So very frankly, I think I am going to do better than that.

Kayne: So you think there was some strategic voting?

Barb: Well, I think that my issues are schools and transportation, and in many ways those are bipartisan issues, and after eight years on the Issaquah school board, I know people who are Republicans but know that I did an excellent job on the school board. I have a number of supporters who know that I have a really good strong background in transportation and I know that they are Republicans. So I think that I am going to have some crossover voters in the general election that I didn't get this time. So I actually think it's going to improve the next time around.

Kayne: I did a little looking for your biography on the new web site, and that's definitely improved - and it says that you were in the Issaquah school district. You were on the school board right?

Barb: Right.

Kayne: Now you served on there during one of the most contentious strikes in recent history, and my first question to you is, what are you going to take away from that experience, now that you've sat through something that's just that bitter?

Continue reading "An interview with Barb de Michele (D-5th District)"

Friday, September 17

News & Comment

The Carlyle Group takes over U.S. nuclear program, sets sights on the weaponization of space.

Digby says stop the public handwringing over the Kerry campaign. We have the paid media to do that for us, and surely none of us will outwhinge them.

TalkLeft says a Republican convention-goer who kicked a protestor on video when she was on the ground seems to have been identified.

Daily Caucus on Arab family values, a court decision finding that the South Dakota legislature violated Native American voting rights by packing them all into a single voting district, and an example of how Republicans talk when it's just them:

Elephant brothers and sisters,

Larry Diedrich (R-Congressman hopeful) will be on campus [today] in front of the CSC from 3:30 to 4:30 PM. He will be shaking hands and answering questions that anyone might have about his campaign. Please show Larry your support and make an effort to stop by and introduce yourself. Politicians have to be great with names so make an impression on him and it might help you out in the future. If anyone wants to chat privately in a group-let me know-I will set up a time and email you all back. Help Larry defeat "Washington Witch" Stephanie Herseth by showing your support. What you do will be seen and followed by those who do not take initiative. So, stop by and simply say hi!

Thanks everyone,

Andrew Brown
Chair-USD Republicans

Kerry says Bush is "living in a fantasy world of spin". That's the spirit.

The Kofi Annan interview where he state that the invasion of Iraq was illegal in his opinion. Apparently Australia's PM, John Howard, is worried that it will hurt his party's chances in upcoming elections. If so, good. Bush was wrong to go in, but his major enablers provided a necessary fig leaf, and every one of them deserves to get booted from office. When a man is intent on hanging himself, some moral culpability can be assigned for handing him a noose.

What Dick Cheney used to think about sanctions on countries with unfriendly regimes.

How to Save the World has a fitting entry on things people would rather not think about, but probably should.

The Stakeholder has more detail on the DeLay ethics investigation.

Pinko Feminist Hellcat noted that a Maryland Senator decided to back voting paper trail legislation after an electronic voting machine misrecorded her vote in a demonstration. I'm glad, but you have to feel for whoever got chewed up for that public relations disaster. Or maybe, considering that they were trying to sell paperless electronic voting machines to the government, you don't.

Ampersand talks about what it would really mean to reduce the number of abortions, the various components of male privilege checklist, and why there aren't more women in politics.

MyDD exposes the first post-RNC convention poll as an outlier that substantially misrepresented the makeup of the voting public. Also, another sad milestone noted in Iraq; 2,000 coalition fatalities including contractors, official military personnel, and Iraqi security forces.

Seeing the Forest on right wing witness intimidation.

Feministing found a story on youth participation rates in politics, bringing the good news that they're way up.

The Left Coaster: The Wurlitzer is training its sigts on Iran. Some previews of the Kitty Kelley book.

Grover Norquist, a leading Republican strategist, had some harsh words for Ohio's Republican governor. Some scorching stuff, right there.

If you're going to go ahead an canvass a neighborhood or participate in a voter registration drive, Liberal Oasis has a handy cribsheet for when people have questions about John Kerry.

Thursday, September 16

Primary Results

The primaries have come and gone, and we'd like to thank everyone who had the courage to run for office, as well as everyone who participated. There was a lively and spirited debate this year over many issues that are important to our state, and this primary should not be the end of that discussion.

Here are the official state election results. They're not certified as of this posting, but are unlikely to show any reversals at this point. Congratulations to our Democratic candidates, we expect you to make us proud.

If you supported a candidate whose issues you really believed in, but didn't win their primary, please continue to raise that issue during and after the general election. There are too many important concerns on the table to wait around hoping that someone else will address them. Write your representatives, send letters to the editor, make calls, talk to your friends and listen to their concerns, register voters, walk your precinct, anything. If you're unsure where to start, the main King County Democrats page can hook you up with your local party chair or you could offer to help a campaign, and I guarantee they'll be happy to hear from a willing volunteer.

Of course, if you're able, please contribute to our Democratic candidates for Congress. But even a $2000 check can't man a phone or knock on a door, so whatever you can do, remember that your time is extremely valuable to our get out the vote efforts.

This is an important election year, and every effort counts.

DeLay To Get Away With Fundraising Shenanigans

According to a story from The Hill, courtesy of DailyKos, Washington State Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA 4th) will be part of burying an ethics investigation into Tom Delay's (R-TX) fundraising tactics. To its credit, the Seattle P-I ran a brief AP story on the investigation, but failed to mention that a Washington State representative would be involved in the decision to let Delay off the hook.

Kos listed the members of the committee and their D.C. office numbers. If you live in Hastings' district, give him a call.

Doc Hastings (WA-4)

If you live in another state, head over to Kos and see if there's a representative serving on the committee you can talk to in your area. If you live in the same state, but not the same district, call your own representative and ask them to please raise a fuss about it.

Wherever you live, check your local paper and see if they mentioned this conflict of interest in any stories they may have written. If they haven't, consider sending a polite letter with links to these stories, and be sure to mention the involvement of any representatives in your state who might be involved. Ideally, we can get a few members of the press to start calling their offices for statements.

This Working For Change article lists the donation amounts made by DeLay's tainted PAC to four of the Republicans supposed to be sitting in judgement on him. Hastings, for example, received $1,410 from ARMPAC in what the FEC report declared to be in-kind contributions. None have recused themselves. This should matter to everyone, if only because DeLay is one of the most powerful men in Washington, and his legislative agenda is what our representatives get to vote on.

So please, do something about it today. Even if you only make two phone calls or send out a couple of emails, it counts.

Tuesday, September 14

Patty Murray: Supporting Port Security

According to Roll Call as reported in the Seattle P-I, the Senate voted last Thursday against increasing the funding for port security. HR 4567 lost 45-49. $450 million doesn't seem like a lot of money to spend compared with the damage that one attack on a major U.S. port could do, and according to Senator Murray, the program received $1 billion in grant requests last year. Murray's office cited another figure as well:

The Commandant of the Coast Guard has testified that it will take more than $7 billion, including $1.5 billion this year, to implement the port security plans which were mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act.

The same day, Roll Call reports that another amendment to that same bill would have shifted $70 million from consultants to first responders. The money would have upgraded emergency services communication gear so that the different services could all talk to each other during a crisis.

Both of our Washington Senators voted to increase funding for port security and first responders, but they were overruled by the Republican majority.

Senator Murray is a strong voice in the Senate for keeping us safe here at home. She supports using our money effectively in the war on terror, and protecting our state's vital economic interests. So, make sure and send her back to the Senate this year, she's doing a fine job.

Primary Today

If you're reading this page, the announcement that today is the WA State primary is unlikely to come as news to you. So I'd like to take a moment out of the widespread complaint about our new primary system to talk about the New Hampshire primary system.

I went to New Hampshire to volunteer with the Dean campaign, and one of the things I ended up doing (besides visibility event and political tourism), was acting as a poll watcher on primary day. The Granite State doesn't have caucuses, instead you have to show up at the polls as though it were a regular election. And one of the more noticable features of that day was the number of people I saw and heard complaining about their ballots.

In New Hampshire, you have to register by party or as an independent. If you're registered as either a Republican or Democrat, that's the ballot you get, end of story. If you're registered as an independent, you may choose the ballot of either party, but there's a catch. Choosing that ballot automatically registers you with that party, unless you specify to the poll worker that you would like to be switched back to independent.

There were a number of people who showed up asking for the ballot of one party, only to be told that they had to take the ballot of the party they'd voted with last time. With the small compensation that they could switch back to independent after casting the day's (frustrating for them) primary vote.

So if you hear people unhappy about the new primary system, or if you're unhappy with it yourself, realize that people in the rest of the country probably have little sympathy. It's comparatively rare not to have to register by party, though I realize that some might consider it a small favor.

Other primary news:

The attack ads we've all been seeing run against Deborah Senn were entirely funded by the national Chamber of Commerce. See the P-I & Times' stories. The Chamber of Commerce will be running hit pieces against John Edwards later in the election cycle, according to some reports, so keep an eye out.

The PI's voters' guide, election headlines and endorsements.

The Times's election headlines and endorsements.

Kayne McGladrey brings us a local Legislative District news aggregator, for more on local races.

News & Comment

This past Saturday, Kerry gave the Democrats' radio address, on the anniversary of 9-11.

Paul Krugman's Tuesday op-ed talks about how the situation on the ground in Iraq is putting the country in danger, and why Kerry should say so, loudly and often.

Over at Seeing the Forest, there's a post on what 'character' means in political terms, the story of how rightwing rumors become news (also mentioned in this LA Times forgery claim timeline), and a pointer to excerpts of a prescient story written in 1935.

In a long overdue development, Talk Left informs us that U.S. prison inmates can sue prison officials over rape in cases where there's evidence that officials allowed abuse or refused to investigate complaints.

The Stakeholder says that even moderate Republicans are impatient with the administration's refusal to implement the 9-11 commission's recommendations, but wonders if that's the only thing that's tickled their consciences.

Pandagon: The truth about trial lawyers. If this story is correct, then the man who pulled strings to get Bush into the guard was later able to blackmail him into granting a government contract to a company he represented in exchange for his silence.

The Sideshow with a meaty entry on what compassionate conservatism means in practice.

Ms. Musings on the current face of feminism.

Under the Same Sun on how marketing turns kids into users.

In case you didn't hear on the Daily Show, Robert Novak now believes that reporters should reveal their sources. Unless, I'm guessing, that reporter is him, and the source in question is a highly placed member of the Bush administration who publicly revealed the name of CIA agent along with a CIA front company for good measure.

MyDD notes that IBM confirms Bush documents could have been produced on their typewriters.

Matt Yglesias shares a Libertarian's case against Bush, and his security issues reading list.

Yglesias also pointed to a Talking Points Memo post on Bush's jump in the polls that, as Matt says, is almost certainly right.

Atrios notes that Bush has been lying about his service record for years, links to an op-ed in PC Magazine where a typography geek explains patiently that being able to imitate a document in MSWord doesn't mean that only MSWord could have produced it, and points to someone who knows what they're talking about when they speak of Bush administration incompetence. Of the many stunning notes in that last article, this one made me jump in my seat:

...Astonishingly, according to information the commission received between the writing of the staff reports and the final report, the secretary of defense, upon learning of the two attacks in New York, simply returned to the work he had already been doing in his Pentagon office. ...

I think we'd all be happy if the comments of this Kos diarist made it into the Kerry campaign's talking points:

"Mr. president, Colin Powell told you about this war that 'if you break it, you own it.' And now you're going around talking about an 'ownership society.' Well, Mr. President, let me tell you what you own. A million jobs lost. You own that. A thousand soldiers lost. You own that. 1.4 million new people living below the poverty line. You own that. 1.2 million less people covered by health insurance. You own that. A seventeen percent medicare increase. You own that. Health care costs skyrocketing. You own that. The tax burden increasing amongst the middle class. You own that. Mr. President, if you want to talk about an ownership society, let's talk about what you own."

Just about sums it up.

Monday, September 13

An Important Contribution

Voting is a wonderful thing, and the ultimate currency of elections. But to get those votes, money has to be raised, forces have to be marshalled, ads have to be run, and it makes my head spin to think how many phone calls need to be made.

To do my bit in supporting this, I urge visitors of this site to contribute to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, so they can help narrow the gap in the House. I've suggested donations go to Washington State races, to help maintain a strong Democratic party presence in our slate of federal candidates. The fact is, though, that as much as political parties (including the King County Democrats) and candidates need money, they usually need volunteers even more.

Meteor Blades over at dKos talks eloquently about why one of the biggest contributions you can make is walking your local precinct. The Bush campaign is not entirely wrong about how much this election might hinge on turning out the base vote. And your local party would undoubtedly tell you that Republican majorities in statehouses and governor's mansions make a big dent in how things run. If you live in a safely Democratic area, your efforts could be a huge windfall for statewide candidates. Even if you live in a red area, don't let the Republicans take it without a fight, make them spend money where they think they're 'safe.'

To steal a line from Howard Dean, you do have the power to take this country back. So please, do what you can, because every bit helps.

Friday, September 10

Dave Ross (D WA-8th CD)

Radio talk show host Dave Ross thinks that he’d do a good job in the 8th district’s open Congressional seat. He decided to join the already crowded race after a poll initiated by the State Democratic Party indicated that Ross had 80% name recognition in the district, and some chance at winning the seat given enough effort. He believes that he’d be able to reach across both sides of the aisle, and points to long experience as both a journalist and talk radio host as an indicator of his ability to talk with people, and not just past them.

As a foreign policy priority, Ross says that the U.S. should make sure that we’re marketing our culture as effectively as Islamists are spreading theirs. He says that foreign aid is too low, and that the U.S. isn’t competing with other country’s cultural centers. From some perspectives, he says that the U.S. “looks to many countries like a money-grubbing, materialistic culture with no morals,” even though allowing people to be free isn’t the same as sanctioning their lifestyles. He says the U.S. should be reminding people that it doesn’t have territorial ambitions.

Ross cites the State Department as saying that the way to win in the Middle East is to tell them that policy is changing, and that the U.S. won’t support despots anymore. He says there are some improvements in smaller countries in the region that have the beginnings of democracy, and are moving towards more freedom and equal rights. Yet he says they see the U.S. supporting Cold War allies with little regard for human rights, and they blame the U.S. for bad conditions.

Ross now says that Iraq didn’t pose a sufficient threat; that the U.S. should not have gone without more solid financial support, and should have waited until Saddam got impatient and created an excuse. He says he doesn’t know how he would have handled it if he were in Congress. Ross believed that the evidence looked solid before the war, and he thought the administration wouldn’t dare get the intelligence wrong. At the time, he says the president implied that the resolution would garner international support, giving him a strong hand at the U.N. Now he says that Senator Patty Murray’s speech against the war “sounds better and better the more you play it,” and he says he wished that he’d given it.

Currently, Ross says that Iraq and the war on terror have become the same, with the war in Iraq becoming a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment. He says the war “made [the terrorists’] commute shorter.” Ross says he doesn’t think Saddam was the kind of person who would share power or weapons, and that it’s probably more important to prevent the abandoned Russian nuclear arsenal from falling into the wrong hands. Another consequence he says came from the Iraq war in that North Korea seems to have learned the lesson that the way to keep the U.S. from attacking you is to have nuclear weapons.
Domestically, Ross’ positions are similarly wide-ranging.

For healthcare reform, Ross says that a “critical mass of frustration” is necessary before reform is possible. He says that right now, many people think they won’t get sick and don’t want insurance. He proposes that doctors should accept credit card payments that would be tagged as a medical expenses, and at the end of the year, government should reimburse those expenses on a sliding scale.

Ross opposes what he says seems to be the position of some unions that laws should be made to stop outsourcing. He says that corporations always get around laws preventing the export of jobs, and what’s important is to create new industries and repurpose the existing workforce. As an example, he says that Boeing employees could be put to work building rapid transit. Going forward though, he says it’s important to educate people better, that you can’t tell people a high school education is enough anymore. Yet Ross expects increases in college tuition to continue. He says the United States is the envy of the world in higher education, and the government can’t guarantee the money for everyone to go.

Along those lines, Ross says, “Everybody’s in favor of [education], but nobody wants to pay for it.” He says it’s necessary to fund good schools in order to face increasing global competition. He opposes federal legislation that imposes costs on schools without providing the funding to pay for them, and also believes that education should be managed as close to the classroom as possible. He opposes the way standardized testing is being used in the state as more of a penalty than an educational tool.

Ross offers charter schools and greater flexibility as solutions to current problems in K-12 education, especially the care of disabled students. He says that schools should be able to pull disruptive or disabled children out of mainstream classrooms where they can jeopardize the learning process. Ross suggests that the funding for special needs education should be a national responsibility, instead of telling school districts whose students have extremely expensive cases, “too bad.” He says that charter schools could also be set up with teachers who specialized in care for disabled students, and that a charter school system wouldn’t end up leaving them out.

Environmental protection is another issue Ross says everybody is in favor of, but doesn’t want to pay for. He says the “burden of proof should be on people who want to pump bad stuff into the air, not those of us who don’t want to breathe it.” Yet he also believes that consumer responsibility is an important component of environmental protection, as reflected in choices about things like fertilizing lawns, buying highly packaged food, and car choices. He says that if dealerships were mobbed for hybrids like the Toyota Prius he drives, every manufacturer would have hybrid cars.

On affirmative action, Ross says that everybody should get their chance. He suggested that instead of changing standards, recruiters should look farther afield, and make a deliberate effort to recruit anyone who might have talent. He says that race is still a qualification for minority community policing, sting operations, and is sometimes used by schools looking for a certain mix. Ross noted that the successful 1998 Washington State ballot initiative opposing affirmative action had made an exception for law enforcement purposes, and said he thought it was odd that it was okay to use affirmative action to entrap someone, but not to help them.

Ross speaks about social issues like faith-based social funding, gay rights and abortion in terms of faith, but says that “nothing destroys a church like giving it state power.”

Ross says that he sees no problem with faith-based programs, that no one is compelled to use them if they don’t want to, and that they might have some good ideas. He says that money would be going to organizations responsible for showing results, not to churches, and that these organizations need to keep records and be evaluated. He says “you have to decide if you want to help people or make a political point.”

Ross described a Constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage as “a ridiculous idea.” He compared it to endorsing gay promiscuity, and said he thought that religious people opposed promiscuity. Ross believes there’s no need for the government to either insist churches accept them, or take away people’s rights to enter a “solid, monogamous relationship.”

Ross, a Catholic, says he understands the concern religious people have about abortion. He says they think “God will punish America with fire because of the large number of abortions. And what I ask them is, ‘are you sure that outlawing it will reduce the number of abortions? Because if it doesn’t, God will still punish us with fire. …If you cover up the problem, he’ll still see it.’ …They think passing a law will avoid God’s wrath.”

Ross doesn’t think the anti-choice side is being upfront. He says that if they’re talking about giving full rights at the moment of conception, they should demand that conception certificates are issued. That if there’s no birth after nine months, a missing person investigation should begin, and without a satisfactory the mother be arrested and tried for murder. He says the problem is that laws against abortion probably won’t work and that they only affect half the population. Ross says that he doesn’t personally support abortion, wryly declaring that he “would never have one.”

As to making adherence to Catholic doctrine on abortion a political issue, Ross says that God is also against murder. He said, “the Pope spoke out against the Iraq war. Perhaps we should deny communion to every politician who supported that.”

To find out more, visit his website.

Unintentional Hiatus

Sorry about the dearth of posting. Last week there was a dental emergency with attitude, and this week, Blogger hasn't been working. Both situations seem reasonably well resolved, and God knows there could be worse problems to have.

Without further delay, the 8th Congressional District candidate interview series will conclude with Dave Ross.

Tuesday, September 7

1000 Dead In Iraq

Washington State Congressman Jim McDermott on the floor of the House today:

It would be nice if we could give each of the dead a minute of silence... But we can't. Because we would be standing here for sixteen and a half hours.

Congressman McDermott proceeded to read the names, ages, and ranks of the dead from Washington State. He asked other members of the House to do the same for the fallen from their states.

Update: This post did not go up on the day it was entered because of a Blogger malfunction.

Friday, September 3

Post RNC Reflections

Well, the Republicans had their convention, and they must be relieved beyond belief that Bush didn't flub his lines. I have to give it to him that when he was talking about having met with injured soldiers, he convinced me for the first time in the last four years that he was displaying a genuine emotion besides spite, confusion, or glee. I'm glad we've all been privileged to go through this process of helping him develop emotional depth. Was it good for you?

A short way into his speech, Bush said of Kerry, "To pay for that spending, he is running on a platform of increasing taxes-and that's the kind of promise a politician usually keeps." That would be a 180 roll from Bush himself, who prefers to spend limitlessly without paying for it at all. But I digress. It reminds me once again that Bush should know what kinds of promises are usually kept. Indeed, his campaign promises regarding taxes are the only ones he seems to have bothered remembering once he got into office.

First it was because the economy was going great, and would go on being great as far as the eye could see, and the government was getting too much extra money. Then it was because we were in a recession, and the tax cuts would help pull us out. Now it's being argued that making them permanent will help push us over the top, at the same time that they say the economy they inherited was doing badly before they even got there. Oh, the flip-flopping.

It's one thing to get new evidence and change your mind. Not to do so would be considered plain stubborness; of the kind that some people call 'steadiness', and that others call 'boneheadedness.' It's another to radically change your explanation of an action or event based not on new information, but to manipulate the opinions of others. But now that we're all participating in the live action version of short attention span theater, it hardly matters:

..."Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty," Kerry said, turning his aim to Bush. "Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation.

"Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit.

"That, my friends, is the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney -- and that only begins to scratch the surface."

Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, called the speech "another example of John Kerry trying to divide America over the past." ...

Ah yes, the past. Which, according to Schmidt, should apparently be reckoned in terms of mere hours. It could once be said by William Faulkner that "The dead past isn't dead -- it isn't even past." If only that were true in this country today beyond the small handful of people who watch politics as though it were a sport, endlessly reliving Nixon-McGovern and Bush-Dukakis.

Of course, the media is the ultimate in aiding the loss of attention span, watching politics as though it were a fashion show. But as Richard at Seeing the Forest reminds us, they're just doing their jobs. So maybe the Bush campaign will get away with trying to suggest that the last four years should be put behind us, spilled milk. Maybe they've taken this as their motto:

"Nobody with a good car needs to be justified. ...Where you come from, is gone. Where you thought you were going to, weren't never there. And where you are, ain't no good unless you can get away from it." - Ministry Jesus Built My Hotrod, extended version

So let's go with something that's in progress, and see if the administration can get away from it. The September edition of the Harper's Index reports that over $85 million set aside for water programs in Iraq will be diverted to the operating costs of the U.S. embassy in that country. That's some brass. Apparently no one has explained to Ambassador Negroponte the nontrivial chance that if the water doesn't get going again, that embassy may end up acting as the last staging area for an ignominious retreat.

Here's what other people had to say about the proceedings:

John McCain suggests that Zell might not play right with swing voters. And if McCain says it, we all have to sit up and take notice. For some reason. But let's hope he's right.

MyDD inspires some discussion about how to talk like a Republican while making use of the gift of the Bush record.

Political Animal: Kevin Drum has his own Zell roundup, and points to a debunking of the claim that Kerry voted against all modern military equipment. Ezra Klein talks about the unexpected play to the base, when everyone expected the convention to be geared to the swing vote.

American Prospect Online: Robert Reich talks about what an ownership society really means. Mark Goldberg on the Kerry haters.

DailyKos is apparently swamped in traffic, so clicking through is dicey, but Kos relates that the letter Bush read that was supposedly from a soldier was indeed too good to be true. Kos pointed to Oliver Willis, who finds that it was written by someone who also happens to be a fellow at a conservative think tank.

Thursday, September 2

An interview with Kathy Huckabay (D-WA 5th LD)

Kayne: Good evening, this is Kayne McGladrey of Pleasing to Remember. This is our second in a three part series on the contenders in the Fifth Legislative District. Tonight, I'm speaking with Kathy Huckabay, who's running for the Washington State Senate. Good evening, Kathy.

Kathy: Hello Kayne.

Kayne: Hi.

Kathy: I'm delighted to talk with you again.

Kayne: Good to see you again - it's been a couple of weeks. I know most of your background, so this interview is mostly for other folks. You were the Mayor of Sammamish, right?

Kathy: Yes.

Kayne: How many terms?

Kathy: One term. We have a city manager form of government, so we have a professional city manager and we have 7 council members and each year the council members elect a mayor and a deputy mayor. So this is my first year as Mayor, and that term will end on December 31st.

Kayne: So you've been elected before.

Kathy: Yes. I've been elected to the city council for two terms. I was one of the founding members of the city of Sammamish. After working very hard to create the city, I decided to run for election, was elected in 1999 to an interim city council, which lasted for 18 months, ran again and was elected to a four year term. I was the highest vote getter out of the seven people who ran.

Kayne: All right. Name something specific that you did as Mayor of Sammamish which you're really proud of, and will endure beyond your term as Mayor.

Kathy: I think what I'm most proud of is the fact that we had a long and arduous relationship with the county council, particularly on the Sammamish trail issue. Coming into office I've been able to change that relationship and we're moving forward as rapidly as we can to allow the trail to go to the city. That is a legacy that we're going to leave for our children. We're also working with the King County Council on obtaining some of the property in Soaring Eagles Park, which is a 640 acre parcel just to the northeast of the city for ball fields. Again, it would be a true legacy. I guess the other thing I'm truly proud of is we were able to bring Beaver Lake park into the community as well and to provide that for our citizens.

Kayne: Good, so you've done a lot of things involving parks and trails out there, and Sammamish is a beautiful city.

Kathy: Thank you.

Kayne: That's great to see. And now you're moving onto bigger and better things, running for the Senate. How long have you been campaigning for?

Kathy: Well, I started talking with people a year ago now. So I began laying the groundwork for that campaign by going out and speaking to people. I spoke to Loren Skaggs, who had run for the State House prior to this, with Judy Clibborn, I met with Ross Hunter, and Paul Berendt, to get an idea on whether it was even a viable possibility of winning this position. And at that time, we were talking about a House position. We did not know that Dino Rossi would be stepping aside to run for Governor, so we were considering a House position. Everything was very encouraging, I heard a great deal about the changing demographics of the Fifth District which would tend to indicate that our district would be more Democratic leaning. Certainly the issues that everyone laid out were the education issue, and the health care issue; two leading Democratic issues which are big concerns for a candidate. So, I formally decided to start running and have been running now for four months.

Kayne: So you're keeping busy. Let's talk about a current issue and then we'll talk about some policy things. Yesterday, I was a guest on the Robin and Maynard show - it's a radio call in show - a guest with Secretary of State Sam Reed. It was a conversation about Washington's new Primary election system. Secretary Reed said that he fully expected that I-872, which is put out by the Grange to rescind the new Primary and give us a top-two vote getter primary would go ahead. What would you do if you were elected in the Senate and the will of the people was to go ahead with a top two? Would you support a challenge to it or would you go with the Initiative?

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