Friday, January 14

We're Moving

This blog is being incorporated into the main King County Democrats' site, which has moved.

The new King County Democrats' website is here for now.

Sunday, January 9


A Kos diarist gives their take on the King County redistricting proposal in what's probably approaching the final form.

Wednesday, January 5

Social Security

Digby explains the motive for the Republican plan to kill Social Security:

...Their motive for destroying social security is that it puts the lie to their contention that government can't be trusted to do any positive social good. They are wrong and social security proves it. That's why they must create the lie that it won't work even while it's clearly working. As the quotes above prove, they've been crying wolf for decades and yet the program continues to provide millions of old and disabled people a bare minimum of income when they are past their working years and it will continue to be funded, fairly painlessly, for at least another forty years. It's very existence is a slap in the face to the Republican philosophy. That's why they must destroy it. ...

That's the why, and the post talks about the recently leaked Republican memo that outlines their plan to axe our social safety net. Write your representatives in the House and Senate and ask them to fight this.

Army Reserve

The story sort of speaks for itself:

The head of the Army Reserve has sent a sharply worded memo to other military leaders expressing "deepening concern" about the continued readiness of his troops, who have been used heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan, and warning that his branch of 200,000 soldiers "is rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force."

...His pointed remarks represent the latest in a chorus of warnings from military officers and civilian defense specialists that the strains of overseas missions are badly fraying the U.S. Army. The distress has appeared most evident in reservist ranks. Both the Army Reserve and the National Guard last month disclosed significant recruiting slumps.

...Designed to fill key support roles during wartime, the Army Reserve has been heavily taxed by the demands of Iraq and Afghanistan. About 50,000 Reserve members are now on active duty, the majority of them in the United States freeing up other forces for overseas assignments. But many Reserve troops are abroad -- 17,000 total in Iraq and Kuwait, 2,000 in Afghanistan -- serving as military police, truck drivers, engineers, medics and civil affairs specialists.

...Highlighting the dwindling number of Reserve troops available for future deployments, Helmly included computations showing that only 37,515 remain out of 200,366 soldiers in the Army Reserve.

Go read the whole thing, it's disturbing.

Recount Review

David Neiwert of Orcinus is back from holiday break with a detailed review of the governor's race. Partial excerpt:

...Let's be clear: At every step of the process, the Democrats followed the letter of Washington law. The state's election statutes are very clear that there are three potential counts of the vote: If, after the general-election tally, a race remains within 1 percent of the total vote, a machine recount occurs automatically. If, after that count, one of the candidates requests it, a manual recount of all ballots occurs. The candidate, however, has to put up a deposit for the costs of the recount, which is reimbursed if the challenge is successful.

Those are the rules. And the most important one is this: Whoever comes out ahead in the final, manual tally is the winner. Period.

And, indeed, Gregoire promised to accept the outcome of the manual recount, even if Rossi won by only a single vote. Rossi, however, refused to match her pledge. That, of course, was the giveaway to what followed.

...Washington Republicans pretty early on resurrected the phony memes of the Florida debacle, particularly those that favored maintaining the original vote outcome giving Rossi the slender victory. This included the outrageous claim that machine recounts are "more accurate" than hand recounts, which turns all established precedents regarding vote counts on its head.

The anti-democratic nature of the party, though, really came to the surface when election officials in King County -- home to more than a third of the state's entire votes -- announced the discovery of several hundred ballots that had been improperly disallowed in the first count.

Now, this is the kind of clear mistake that manual recounts are intended to correct, and ordinarily it would be considered uncontroversial for them to be included in the recounts. Indeed, similar mistakes were uncovered in other counties and the votes, logically, counted.

But King County was one of the few places where the votes trended Gregoire's way, so Republicans -- playing the same kind of cherry-picking tactics they had earlier accused Democrats of using -- decided to contest the counting of those ballots in that county only, by filing a suit to prevent it. So much for having faith in the voters, not lawyers.

What was especially noteworthy was that all of the discoveries of mistakes in King County were mistakes that heavily favored Rossi. That is, what they actually signalled was the possibility that Republican operatives within the elections office had made "mistakes" that gave Rossi an illegitimate win and let him claim an initial victory. But using the reverse offense tactics that became famous in Florida, Republicans took to the airwaves charging that the discovery of these mistakes could only be explained by fraud or incompetence on the part of Democrats. ...

The post continues on to explain the so-called 'phantom votes' which the Republicans haven't even looked for in counties that favored Rossi.

Tuesday, January 4

News for the New Year

Hi there! Hope your holidays were all festive and that you got to enjoy the clear weather we've had for most of the last couple weeks. But getting back to our regular routine, here are some top stories from the Seattle Times & PI.

Four plans have been proposed for the voter approved shrinkage of the King County Council. There's still time to attend one of the two remaining redistricting meetings.

Rossi's team gets fresh hope over what they claim are glaring inconsistencies, though county level election workers disagree.

'Temporary' King County taxes designed to pay for upgrading Seattle's sporting facilities could be made permanent if the professional sport franchises get their way.

Controversy is rising over the Alberto Gonzalez torture memo, wherein the current nominee for US Attorney General attempted to legally justify torture. The memo is part of the chain of evidence linking the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay directly back to the White House.

The founder of VoteHere, an election auditing company, writes an editorial on vote security.

IAEA finds evidence of a nuclear research program in Egypt.

Walmart's unhealthy relationship with its workers and community.

The year ahead for Microsoft.

Thursday, December 30

Please Help Tsunami Victims

I don't expect many people to be reading this page, considering the previously announced hiatus until the new year, but if you are...

Here's a list of aid funds for tsunami victims (including Doctors Without Borders), here are a few more, and here's Amazon's one-click donation form for the Red Cross emergency appeal.

This is a time for Americans to prove their generosity when other countries are in need, when over 100,000 people have been suddenly killed, and many more are in danger from a lack of food or sanitation. This is a time to say thank you for the outpouring of kindness and sympathy extended to us after 9/11.

Please donate today, please help.