Thursday, November 29, 2007

Have a Safe Xmas

It's Xmas shopping season and there are kids to spoil, but will you also be poisoning them?

There were some scary headlines this year about tainted and toxic imported products. They made you wonder if your kids would get lead poisoning from their toys, if pet food would kill your dogs and cats or if your family was about to become a traffic statistic because of defective tires on your car.

You can visit the USW Stop Toxic Imports website to get more information on making it a safe Xmas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Murder By Musing

In the Bellingham Herald, Letters To The Editors:

Nov, 27, 2007
Muses about anti-war protests
Concerning the rioters at the shipyard in Tacoma. Where is the the National Guard unit that guarded Kent State when we need them?

Stu Hyatt Bellingham
How strange... the Editors of the Herald were so concerned about civility when the Mayors campaign got mean. But apparently wishing to see college students gunned down in the streets isn't a problem... as long as it's put in the form of a question.

The idea that the B'ham Herald would publish an eliminationist letter calling for murder didn't seem quite right, so I sent an inquiry...

To:Executive Editor Julie Shirley, Opinion Editor Scott Ayers

Julie & Scott,

I'm having a great deal of trouble working out what the Herald's policy on advocating murder in 'Letters To The Editor' is.

You printed a letter from Stu Hyatt which was titled "Muses about anti-war protests ". Mr. Hyatt says: "Concerning the rioters at the shipyard in Tacoma. Where is the the National Guard unit that guarded Kent State when we need them?"

That is unambiguously calling for the protesters to be gunned down. Putting it into the form of a question doesn't alter the fact that he is advocating murder.

A recent Herald "Our View" disapproved of the protests, saying: "The Friday protest was peaceful, unlike the recent thuggery in Olympia, where protesters have been attempting to block shipments of military equipment."

So is the criteria that it's alright to advocated killing people that the Herald Editors don't like?

An Opinion Blog entry titled "Peace must be made around Northwood Casino" said: "I had held out hope that once it became obvious that the Nooksack Tribe’s Northwood Casino was going to open that citizens opposed to it would give up their sometimes nasty fight to fend it off."

Since you disapprove of the continued protests of the Casino, would you print a letter that said; "Concerning the rioters at the Northwood Casino. Where is Sitting Bull and the warriors he brought to the Little Bighorn when we need them?"?

Unfortunately I haven't received a response.

just for fun....

this posted by Gen. JC Christian, Patriot had me laughing this am.....

Scrubbing the Oregon GOP
Amy Langdon
Executive DirectorOregon Republican Party

Dear Mrs. Langdon,

I writing to alert you to a breach of security at your website. As you recall, yesterday, I wrote you an email asking if you've made any progress in achieving the goal set out in Plank 7.5 of the Oregon GOP platform, the one that states:
7.5 Inter-jurisdictional agency cooperation shall be improved for more effective joint action against organized crime, drug cartels, terrorist networks and the Oregon Democratic Party.
Or at least it stated that before I sent my email to you. It's been changed since then. Someone's removed the last part, the words "and the Oregon Democratic Party." Certainly, it wasn't you. The Oregon GOP would never edit a plank that had been approved by delegates to its state convention. That'd be anti-democratic (so to speak). ............

he goes on.....and finishes......

Heterosexually yours in a chaste, biblically appropriate, and Larry Craig kind of way,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot
full post

hilarious and a great way to start the day........

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

IVAW has new Bellingham Chapter

A new chapter of Iraq Veterans Against The War has been formed in Bellingham (WA). B'ham Herald Politics Reporter Sam Taylor has posted the groups press release on his blog.

Their first action will be to confront WA-02 Congressman Rick Larsen (D) about his votes to continue funding of the war, during his "Conversation with Veterans" at a local American Legion Post.

The first comment left on Sam's Politics blog was by a local rightwing blogger, who wrote: "Does IVAW have which Codes of Federal Regulations were violated, that would clearly state that this an illegal war?I need more data..."

So in the spirit of helpfulness and civility, here's "more data..." an explanation of why the Iraq war is illegal:

Thomas Friedman

i recently heard this Thomas Friedman clip on the radio and was reminded how "complete nuts" get soooooo much media time here in our country......... and there are still people who read his books and listen to him as if..........yikes!!! guess we showed those Iraqi's.....even tho they had nothing to do with the attack of 911 and had no WMD....guess that was why "we could" as Tom says. ya ole Tom is guy i trust to tell me about how we should interpret and interact with the rest of the world.....NOT! yikes!

Discovery Institute: thieves and liars

by Goldy, CitizenSteve 11/26/2007, 10:31 AM

In talking about congestion pricing on my show Saturday night, I couldn’t contain a brief outburst over how our local media and political elite continue to take seriously the Discovery Institute’s transportation proposals in light of its embarrassing role in promoting Creationism Intelligent Design. My frustration stems not simply from the fact that Intelligent Design is ridiculous anti-science, or that it is part of a well planned and executed multi-year campaign to undermine science education in the US at a time we face growing global economic competition… but that it has been promoted in such a shamelessly dishonest manner.

The Discovery Institute has proven again and again that it makes no distinction between scholarship and propaganda, and that there is no ethical boundary it will not cross in the interest of foisting its Christianist agenda on the American people. This blatant disregard for the most basic rigors of academia — or even fair play — was highlighted recently by a virologist/blogger who discovered that DI fellows had stolen and manipulated a Harvard University/XVIVO video for use in their own presentations, without attribution, permission or license.

Here is the original Harvard/XVIVO video, “The inner life of a cell”, with its scientifically accurate narration intact:

And here is a clip from a Discovery Institute presentation that features an excerpt of the video, now redubbed and retitled “The Cell as an Automated City.” Notice how the presenter describes the video as “state of the art computer animation,” implying that it is somehow the work of the institute:

As ERV points out in his her post, this isn’t just a naive case of copyright infringement. The Discovery Institute has plenty of lawyers on staff and on retainer, so they sure as hell know that scrubbing the Harvard/XVIVO copyright and credits off the video is not only dishonest, but illegal.

Maybe they think it is ‘okay’ because they gave the animation a new title (’Inner life of a cell’ became ‘The cell as an automated city’) and an extraordinarily unprofessional new narration (alternate alternate title– ‘ Big Gay Al takes a tour of a cell!’). Harvard/XVIVOs narration, all of the science, is whisked away and replaced with a ’surrealistic lilliputian realm’– ‘robots’, ‘manufacturing’, ‘circuitry’, ‘nano moters’, ‘UPS labels’. Maybe they think it is ‘okay’ because they turned all of Harvards science into ‘MAGIC!’

Hmm. From my point of view, as a virologist and former teaching assistant, this isn’t just copyright infringement. This is theft and plagiarism. Taking someone else’s work without their consent, manipulating it without their consent, pretending it supports ID Creationists distorted views of reality, and presenting it as DI’s work.

ERV further points out that if the DI fellows responsible for this were at his her university, they would be expelled for their plagiarism.

But this is just business as usual at the Discovery Institute, and it raises a question: if the Discovery Institute can’t be trusted to produce independent academic scholarship on its signature issue, Intelligent Design, how can its Cascadia Center be trusted to produce independent academic scholarship on regional transportation planning? Of course, it can’t, and the media, business and political elites who ignore the institute’s established track record of distorting scholarship and science in the single-minded pursuit of its own private agenda, are little more than willful dupes.

Our region’s transportation planning is too important to be trusted to a faux “think tank” with such a shameful and embarrassing record, and every time one of our local media outlets unskeptically cites one of its reports or recommendations, it grants the Discovery Institute credibility it simply does not deserve. Unlike a real think tank, the Discovery Institute produces “scholarship” to support its existing agenda, not the other way around, and thus it cannot and should not be considered a trusted partner in planning our region’s transportation future.


This post contains 13% of your daily recommended dose of irony -

Monday, November 26, 2007

Who's Advising the GOP Candidates?

My favorite liberal talkshow host/political analyst, Rachel Maddow updates us on what a bunch of sad losers the GOP Presidential candidates are.
Rachel Maddow's Campaign Asylum: Meet the STRATEGISTS!

Barring an extremely unlikely late entry by a dark horse candidate (no, Al probably isn't running), the roster of Presidential hopefuls is more or less set. Rachel looks at the "brain trusts" driving the campaigns of the major GOP contenders. The list of esteemed advisors includes a Blackwater war profiteer, an Ex-Quayle advisor, the last of the Neocons, and George "Say hello to Macaca" Allen. With friends like these...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Anti-government Forces Seize Bellingham Paper!

Ok., so it's a 'made you look' headline, at least I'm not an ass in an ape suit.

Sundays Bellingham Heralds "Our View" Editorial appears to have been written by Dino Rossi's campaign manager. It's a hit piece on Governor Gregoire and Democrats in general. It makes unsupported assumption and jumps to simplistic conclusions. It's analysis of the situation is flawed and its advice sucks.

Instead of reality this Editorial is based on Republican talking-points. It begins: "Gov. Chris Gregoire, bowing to mounting pressure late Monday, has finally called a special legislative session... " and then goes on to say "Gregoire made the right move, but she waited too long."

And Gee-whiz doesn't that sound bad... but at least here the truth slips in for a moment when the Editorial admits it's being a stenographer for partisan rhetoric: "... as the Republicans and Dino Rossi have claimed. Rossi and the Republicans wasted no time in demanding..."

Perpetual candidate Rossi and his Republican pals can make all sorts of ridiculous claims and outlandish accusations because they don't have to face any consequences. They don't have to figure out how to keep things running and produce the services citizens demand. Nor do they have to consider whether their grand schemes would actually work, they can just make grand pronouncements and walk away.

Now, away from the Herald's Editorial and Republican talking-points, in the real world Governor Gregoire has taken the responsible course and looked into ramifications of the Court decision before calling for action. Here in her letter to the leader of the State Legislature the Governor explains: "As you know, the Washington State Supreme Court recently invalidated Initiative 747, the 1% limit on property taxes. I have spoken with the Attorney General and after thorough review, he is not moving for reconsideration. Like you, I am very concerned about the effects of the court’s decision on the property taxpayers across the state. "

We haven't heard any criticism of the Republican Attorney General for not moving for reconsideration... have we! We also don't know how long the Republican Attorney General drug his feet before telling the Governor... do we! But the Editorial says; "The nearly two-week delay makes her seem indecisive, ..."

I guess in the Heralds View, there's no place for careful consideration in the machinery of government. Apparently everything should be based on knee-jerk reaction.

The Herald also said that it was "preposterous" for the State Supreme Court to think that voters might have been confused by the wording of the initiative... Obviously the Herald's Editorial writer doesn't talk to many voters. Voters aren't stupid, (well most of them aren't) but many of them haven't researched initiatives and referendums before they vote and the wording on the ballot is often unclear. A sentence or two on the ballot can't explain the ramification of a seemingly simple change to the law.

The Herald draws conclusions that aren't supported by facts, like: "It’s disturbing that some politicians couldn’t recognize what should be painfully obvious: Voters want to limit government’s ability to raise taxes. "

There's no evidence that "some politicians" don't recognize voters desire to limit tax increases. One of the dilemma's elected officials are faced with is how to provide the services that voters expect (and that are mandate by law) and not raise taxes.

Finally the Herald says; "We’re counting on lawmakers to reinstate the 1 percent limit. It’s a no-brainer. " Hmmm, I guess it's a no-brainer if you've had your brain rotted out by listening to nothing but rightwing propaganda. It sounds to me more like expecting lawmakers to bow to an election year media campaign.

The State Supreme Court ruled "that wording on the initiative was so confusing that voters may have misunderstood how they marked their ballots", so the logical and obvious thing to do is put a clearly worded referendum on the ballot and let the Voters indicate whether or not they were confused. (a temporary 1% cap could be enacted until next November)

Instead of regurgitating Republican propaganda that separates cause from effect, the Herald should be contributing to a serious and reasoned discussion of how to maintain the government services we've all come to count on... like schools & police & roads & clean drinking water(!). Nobody enjoys paying taxes but at the same time, there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fratboy Friday

Bush & company have shown us over and over again that they don't give a damn about anyone but themselves and their elite pals.

If you're getting ready to go shopping for Xmas presents, here's something to think about as you try to figure out which toys won't poison the kids;
Industries Paid for Top Regulators' Travel
Two Heads of Product Safety Agency Accepted Trips From Manufacturer Groups

By Elizabeth WilliamsonWashington Post Staff Writer Friday, November 2, 2007; Page A01

The chief of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and her predecessor have taken dozens of trips at the expense of the toy, appliance and children's furniture industries and others they regulate, according to internal records obtained by The Washington Post. Some of the trips were sponsored by lobbying groups and lawyers representing the makers of products linked to consumer hazards.

The records document nearly 30 trips since 2002 by the agency's acting chairman, Nancy Nord, and the previous chairman, Hal Stratton, that were paid for in full or in part by trade associations or manufacturers of products ranging from space heaters to disinfectants. The airfares, hotels and meals totaled nearly $60,000, and the destinations included China, Spain, San Francisco, New Orleans and a golf resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Notable among the trips -- commonly described by officials as "gift travel" -- was an 11-day visit to China and Hong Kong in 2004 by Stratton, then chairman. The$11,000 trip was paid for by the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory, an industry group based in an office suite in Bethesda whose only laboratories are in Asia. (more)
You can check for information about toy safety... it's sponsored by the Toy Industry Association and they might not being lying, at least not as much as Nancy Nord and the rest of the Bush Administration.

And now for an appropriately themed musical interlude:
Pink- Dear Mr President

H/T to Juan Cole

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkeys in Iraq

So here's the answer to why the "surge" wasn't a good idea. It's stated purpose was to give the Iraqi government breathing room to make progress on the "benchmarks". The flaw in the "surge" strategy/PR campaign was that the Iraqi government was and is an ineffectual mess that isn't capable of coming together to accomplishing anything.

Maliki's public feud with Sunni official highlights Iraq's divisions

By Bobby Caina Calvan - McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007

BAGHDAD — The sniping is incessant, the skirmishes bruising. For months, the verbal warfare between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, and his Sunni vice-president, Tariq al-Hashemi, has been escalating.

Now Iraqi politicians and American diplomats and analysts fear that the very public feuding between two of Iraq's most influential leaders will doom even the minimal hopes that exist for progress on a host of key benchmarks — such as holding provincial elections and equitably sharing oil revenues. ...

.... Despite a dramatic decline in violence, there's been no sign of reconciliation among Iraq's leaders and no progress on many key issues, according to U.S. and Iraqi assessments. Without progress, the open warfare between Iraq's many factions that seems to have eased in recent weeks, is likely to resurge, once the United States begins reducing the number troops in Iraq. ...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Conservatives Don't Want To Hear It

Zogby/Lear Center Poll: Extensive National Survey on Politics and Entertainment

UTICA, New York – Rush Limbaugh touts himself – mostly in jest – as having “talent on loan from God” and credits that talent for his huge listenership and dominant perch atop the world of talk radio in America, but an extensive five–month polling and research project by ZogbyInternational and the Norman Lear Center at the University of SouthernCalifornia’s Annenberg School shows his popularity may have more to do withpre–set beliefs in the minds of his listeners than with his presentation skills.

Actually, Limbaugh was ahead of the curve in recognizing the source of his ratings success. He often says it is because he is merely confirming what listeners already believed, not because of his powers of persuasion. ...

... They don’t like a lot of things on TV, but their two favorite channels are Fox and Fox News. ...

Well Gee... Conservatives are narrow minded and don't/won't listen to people that disagree with them... what a surprise.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

1 Sky

this is really a great movement and this is a powerful video...

national day of climate action....Bellingham

1% Emergency?

Governor Gregiore has called for a special session of the Legislature to reinstate the 1% cap on property tax increases.

The Democratic Majority in the Washington State Legislature seems to be ready to go along with the Governors request:

House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, supports plans for a special session.
Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said the Senate is supportive of a much more comprehensive change to property tax code.

"The 1 percent limit has been in place for five years and there are still people out there who are struggling with property taxes," she said, adding that she would have preferred to wait to work on a more thorough process to set the right limit. "We are letting the governor take the lead on this."

Frankly I don't see the emergency. This is a tempest in a teapot and could easily wait to be addressed during the regular session of the Legislature. In spite of what the lying dogs Republicans say, Democrats do not live to raise taxes.

The State Supreme Court said voters were misled about the impact on existing law. However, it was a close decision with four dissenting Justices saying the voters weren't misled or confused.

I don't like the idea of having the '1% property tax increase cap' rushed through the Legislature. My preference would be to send this back to the voters. It should go to the voters with a clear explanation of the law and unbiased information about the ramifications. Then the voters can decide if they want to put an absolute 1% cap on property tax increases, understanding that they also would have to stop whining about all the things "the Government" isn't doing/fixing because there aren't enough funds in the State treasury.

I want the anti-tax, "government-is-always-bad" people who clamour for arbitrary inflexible limits on taxes, instead of a reasoned discussion of state policies and goals, to own the ramifications. No blaming "the government" for grid-lock when there isn't enough money to build new hiways or rapid transit. No blaming "the government" when there's no funds to hire more police to keep tabs on sex-offenders. No blaming "the government" when a sink hole swallows your Hummer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bar-auction for Obama

had the pleasure of attending a fundraising Barack-tion (Auction) for Obama last saturday evening. had hoped for a photo op......... maybe next time. it was a wonderful social evening. i met some great folks i had not met before and saw some folks i see often....i acquired an original painting by a strong local Obama supporter. people were so generous with their donations and was great fun!!!! there is a large, diverse, enthusiastic group of Obama supporters here. another thing i found fascinating were the number of people who just recently became politically active......reminded me of myself 3 1/2 years ago....very cool. i really find it hopeful and inspiring......puts Obama on my shorter short list of who i will support at caucus.
thanks everybody!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Enough fear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we must not allow the extremist theocratic warmongers in this country to use their fearmongering rhetoric to scare us about the extremist theocratic warmongers in Iran.....we the people in both our countries need to stand up and say no more Shock Doctrine disaster capitalism and war profiteering. this world needs to come together to save the planet for those to come. no more red zones and green zones.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Vague Memories of NAFTA

So NAFTA is just a vague memory to Senator Clinton...

Our manufacturing base has all but disappeared and the promised information-age jobs are in India. The middle class is slowly vanishing from America. I want Senator Clinton to stop laughing.

There's a report on NAFTA at the Economic Policy Institute:
Revisiting NAFTA - Still not working for North America's workers

It begins by saying:

Despite its name, the primary purpose of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was not to facilitate trade among separate sovereign societies. Rather, it was to promote an integrated continental economy and establish the rules to govern it.

As a former foreign minister of Mexico once remarked, NAFTA was “an agreement for the rich and powerful in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, an agreement effectively excluding ordinary people in all three societies.” It should, therefore, be no surprise that NAFTA rules protect the interests of large corporate investors while undercutting workers’ rights, environmental protections, and democratic accountability. Hence, NAFTA should be seen not as a stand-alone treaty, but as part of a long-term campaign by the conservative business interests in all three countries to rip up their respective domestic social contract.

H/T to Chad (The Left) Shue

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Congressman Larsen (WA-02) - A Progress Report

Here's a letter to the Editor from the Lynden Tribune.

Says Congress moving forward
EDITOR, The Tribune:
  One year after the 2006 elections, I thought it might be helpful to update you on some of the new Congress’ accomplishments.
  To address concerns about ethics and the culture of corruption, the House passed tough reforms to tighten reporting rules for campaign contributions and ban gifts and meals from lobbyists. To address our homeland security needs, we passed the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations to help prevent future terrorist attacks and make America safer.
  This Congress made the single largest investment in college financial aid since the 1944 GI Bill, boosting aid for students and cutting interest rates on subsidized student loans in half – all at no new cost to taxpayers. For example, the College Cost Reduction Act will make higher education more affordable for over 4,500 students at Western Washington University and Bellingham Technical College alone.
  To help many of the 16,000 veterans in Whatcom County, the House and Senate passed the largest increase in VA funding in 77 years. Our bill would give the Veterans Administration resources to hire more qualified doctors and nurses, reduce waiting times for medical appointments and continue providing essential services to local veterans. With more veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we need to ensure that all our veterans get the high quality care they need and deserve.
  We have done all this without adding to the nation’s fiscal deficit. In fact, this Congress has earned the fiscally responsible label by sticking to strict “pay-as-you-go” rules.
  In the coming year, we will keep working to provide opportunities for family farms and small businesses to thrive. We will keep working to support our service men and women, end U.S. military involvement in Iraq’s civil war and refocus on fighting terrorists. We will push the President to sign our comprehensive energy bill into law to help make America energy independent. And we will keep working to pass legislation to provide health care coverage to 10 million children across the country, and extend health care coverage to thousands of kids in Northwest Washington who need it.
Congressman Rick Larsen
Second District
Northwest Washington

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Progressive - Yes

Here's a couple of great little (30 sec. each) videos I ran across... enjoy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lawsuit Accuses BIAW of Skimming Millions

From KGMI 790AM - Local News:

B'ham groups suing Building Industry Association

Two Bellingham groups are filing a class action lawsuit, accusing the state's largest builders' lobby of taking money from small businesses to support politically conservative candidates. Bellingham's "A-1 Builders" along with the non-profit group "ReSources for Sustainable Living" accuse the Building Industry Association of Washington of skimming millions-of-dollars off the top of its Workers Compensation insurance refunds. A spokesperson for the B-I-A says its members know how the association spends its money.

In recent years the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) has been a controversial rightwing player in Washington State elections. The funding structure of BIAW's political actions have always seemed questionable to me.

A Seattle PI story has more details about the accusations against BIAW:
Builders lobby accused of withholding refunds from state

Monday, November 12, 2007


thinking of Riverbend and the over 4 million refugees inside and outside of Iraq i reread Riverbend's recent post....she puts a human face on the last 4 and a half years of war(briefly) and occupation ....endlessly. now she is living every day as a refugee she decribes this way........

"A refugee is someone who isn’t really welcome in any country- including their own... especially their own."

and this as she describes standing in line with other Iraqi refugees.....interesting thinking of Sunnis, Shia and Kurds standing together, just like they lived before our attack, invasion and occupation. heartbreaking....i am sure i would not be as brave and strong as her.

........"We spent the four hours standing, crouching, sitting and leaning in the line. The sun beat down on everyone equally Sunnis, Shia and Kurds alike. E. tried to convince the aunt to faint so it would speed the process up for the family, but she just gave us a withering look and stood straighter. People just stood there, chatting, cursing or silent. It was yet another gathering of Iraqis – the perfect opportunity to swap sad stories and ask about distant relations or acquaintances."

freedom is on the march.....

read Riverbend's full post here

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Toxic Toys: A Poisonous Affair is the home of the Campaign for America's Future. Imported toys from China with dangerous levels of lead end up in U.S. stores. Yet, Nancy Nord, the acting head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, opposes efforts to strengthen her agency. Plus, she's taken trips paid for by the industries she regulates. It's clear: Nancy Nord must resign.

What's the bizarre philosophy that causes the Bush Administration to ignore its duty to enforce consumer protection laws and allow toxic toys to come from China to America?

Erin Burnett on MSNBC's "Hardball", August 10, 2007:

A lot of people like to say, uh, scaremonger about China, right? A lot of politicians, and I know you talk about that issue all the time. I think people should be careful what they wish for on China. Ya know, if China were to revalue it’s currency or China is to start making say, toys that don’t have lead in them or food that isn’t poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up and that means prices at Wal-Mart here in the United States are going to go up too. So, I would say China is our greatest friend right now, they’re keeping prices low and they’re keeping the prices for mortgages low,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

County Council and Ferndale Council - Cliff Hangers

Saturday's ballot counting is done and we still done know who's won. With 52,196 of 55,428 ballots counted the winners of the Whatcom County Council District 2 seat and two of the Ferndale City Council seats are still not certain.

In early counting Ken Mann was ahead, but now Sam Crawford has taken the lead. With an unknown portion of the 3232 uncounted ballots coming from the 2nd District, the outcome is still unclear. Crawford's 725 vote lead could evaporate when counting resumes Tuesday.

In the 1st District Bob Kelly continues to lead with 54.68% of the vote. Since the count trend has favored him from the start, Bob's 1300+ vote lead doesn't seem beatable.

In Ferndale, the leaders in two races have changed... again. At the end of counting Friday, Jim Elliot and Paul Ingram were tied, now Paul has jumped to a 4% lead. After being behind, Connie Faria has inched ahead of Mike Reilly. With what looks like about 200 ballots left to count for Ferndale, these two City Council races are still cliff hangers.

Mel Hansen has clearly been re-elected and Steve Malpezzi's 148 vote lead makes him the likely winner.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Blogosphere Frightens Karl Rove

Rove Decries ‘Nutty’ ‘Vitriolic’ Bloggers Who Spew ‘Bad Words’

Yesterday, ThinkProgress attended a Yahoo-sponsored Citizen 2.0 event in Washington, DC, at which Karl Rove discussed the intersection of politics and the Internet. Rove lamented the loss of civility in politics on the web, but then proceeded to use his speech as a partisan bashing of the netroots. According to Rove, bloggers are “nutty,” “vitriolic,” and “kooks.” The Washington Times reported on his remarks:

“The Web has given angry and vitriolic people more of a voice in publicdiscourse,” said Mr. Rove, who served as one of President Bush’s top strategists until he resigned this past summer, and is a noted technology nut.

“People in the past who have been on the nutty fringe of political life,who were more or less voiceless, have now been given an inexpensive and easily accessible soapbox, a blog,” Mr. Rove said during a speech about politics and the Web at the Willard InterContinental, a hotel just blocks from his former place of employment.


What this means is that the left blogosphere, the netroots, scares the bejeezus out of Karl Rove and his Republican Party. Unlike the Rights online echo chambers, the netroots is made up of real live independent activists.

The Right has taken its marching orders from either Republican Headquarters or one of its religious demagogue allies.

There's nothing centralizes about the netroots, it's a movement, sprung from millions of disgruntled citizens turned activist. You can never tell what we might dig into or where we might pop up.

Rove's comments are just the latest in an ongoing whine and snivel-fest. The Rights dream of controlling the flow of information to Americans has been squashed like a bug on a windshield. The days when snotty Whitehouse aids can talk of creating their own reality are long gone. Tom DeLays 'permanent Republican majority' was just a mirage in the glare of the Texas sun.

All that's left for Karl Rove to do is complain about how F'ing awful we are.

Oh yeah, before Bill O' come shrieking by... an extra early merry xmas to you all.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday Thinking... From Whatcom County

Voter Turnout
It's good to see my impression about voter turnout being confirmed. Looks like Auditor Shirley Forslof's earlier estimate of 55% is going to be close to the correct number. Today's update on the County Auditors webpage shows the turnout at 53.6%, so far.

I had the feeling that a majority of those who were going to vote were waiting (at least figuratively) until the last minute to caste their ballots.

I don't have a provable explanation for why folks waited to vote. It was just "in the air". I picked up the feeling people were holding off on putting their ballot in the mail.

I do have a theory; all of the rumors and dirty politicking made people wait to see if there would be any last minute revelations that would make them want to change their mind about who to vote for. The Bellingham mayors race got most of the press coverage but it wasn't the only race where rumormongering ran wild. Ferndale city council races had their share of whisper campaigns and the County government races had plenty of manure being flung by the building industry and local Republicans.

More Citizen Involvement and Higher Voter Turnout
A comment was left recently asking what I thought would increase voter turnout. I don't have 'The Magic Answer' however I do know of a way to encourage more people to run for office and get more people involved in the process.

That way is Publicly Funded Campaign's. I know some people preemptively reject the idea because it involves tax money. What those people are shutting their ears to is the diversity of candidates that could run without being considered "fringe candidates" and how much 'tax money' could be saved by electing candidates who owed their undivided allegiance to voter instead of contributors.

Here in Washington State we have Everyone should look over the website and think about it. With Publicly Funded Campaigns, anyone who was willing to put in the effort could run for office, no special interests or insider connections needed. Plus, any candidate would have a credible chance of winning, as long as their ideas appealed to a majority of voters.

With more diverse candidates, I think more citizens would feel it was worth being involved. More citizens would work on campaigns because they felt invested in a candidate. Voter turnout would increase, especially in primaries, because citizens could feel their votes would be meaningful.

In September, we covered a presentation sponsored by the local League of Women Voters on Clean Campaigns.

Authoritarian Followers - aka conservatives
What I've distilled from reading the 'Conservatives' comments on the B'ham Heralds website and a couple of local rightwing blogs:
1.) Knowing the answer to all questions before the question is asked makes rightwingers very smug.
2.) For rightwingers, no matter what the question is, the answer is always the same; "Clinton did it."... or some variant on that theme.
3.) Neither scientific evidence nor unimpeachable eyewitnesses can prevent rightwingers from blaming "Clinton".
4.) When rightwing ideas fail, they always blame it on "media bias".

And speaking of Authoritarianism
KGMI program director and rightwing radio host Debbie Chavez has used the bad behavior of some commenter's as a excuse to control all comments on the blog. Those wishing to comment must now email their submission to Debbie for consideration. She sez she's taking the "highroad" but she's actually set up a way to filter out all the non-conservative comments.

Here's a thought; have people register before they can post comments, then they can say whatever they want but they've got to own it. It would take less time to verify each registration than it would to review every comment.

a few more moments from election night......

it was a great evening starting in Ferndale at Chihuahua's Restaurant in Ferndale with Team Jensen/Steve Oliver and then to the Democrat's Victory party at Bayou On Bay Restaurant and finally waiting for results at Whatcom County Courthouse....great big fun!!

and a few videos here.....

more video

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Voter TurnOut in Whatcom County?

I just got back from a visit to the County Courthouse and was impressed by the steady stream of people dropping off their ballots. Two volunteers were preventing a traffic jam by taking ballots from motorists and putting them in the drop box.

It gave me hope that there will be a bigger than expected turnout.

We'll soon be off to the election eve festivities, first in Ferndale, then in Bellingham and then over to the Courthouse to get the initial vote tally.

UPDATE: The election night parties were great fun. Ferndale topped Bellingham went it came to the chow.

Here's a photo that catches the big moment of the evening; at the courthouse, Dan Pikes reaction as he reads the initial vote results.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Whatcom County - Ken Mann vs. the carpetbaggers

Yes, I said carpetbaggers! County Council candidate Sam Crawford is backed by the Building Industry Association (BIA) which has a long history of opposing good government and promoting rightwing cronyism in the pursuit of quick profits at the expense of communities.

The BIA has launch an attack on Ken Mann, attempting to paint him as being beholden to outsiders. A truly ironic twist since the Building Industry owns Ken's opponent.

Whatcom County County District 2
Sam Crawford – Nearly 64.6* percent of contributions come from businesses, PACs and individuals involved in construction, development companies and realty.

SOURCE: B'ham Herald - Politics blog

Ken Mann has done a good job of responding to these trumped up charges of outside influence on KGMI and on his campaign website.

The Building Industry Association (BIA) has launched an attack ad! (Listen to Ken's Response on KGMI radio!) This national lobbying group has mailed a caricature of Ken's supporters to voters, labeling them "out of area" groups promoting a "national agenda." Their so-called "evidence" is a picture of a woman stepping off of the bus during a recent doorbelling event--in fact, the woman is Sarah Jaynes, and she was born and raised in Lynden--the heart of Ken's district!

The BIA, itself a developer and realtor lobbying group with their own national agenda of limiting government regulations, wants to subdivide, pave, and sell Whatcom County to the highest bidder. DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT.

Keep up the fight for working farms, livable communities, and efficient government. See you on Saturday!


The BIA put Bellingham Mayoral candidate Dan Pike's name on their mailer, but Dan Pike says:

Unfortunately, candidates have no control and no say over independent expenditures. The BIA has decided that I am the mayoral candidate of their choice in this election--which is probably tough for them in a race with two progressives--and added my name to their mailer as a result. The cynic in me suggests that they may also be trying to capitalize on my progressive credentials to broaden the appeal of Sam Crawford and Chris Hatch.

For what it's worth, I endorsed Ken Mann for County Council, the only race I made an endorsement in.

I hope this clarifies that I in no way approve of the mailer or candidates, and also had no say or knowledge in its production and

That quote is from a comment I just noticed in the B'ham Herald's Letters to the Editor section:

Pike's Whatcom Dem board comments:

I want to provide the following to indicate my own position regarding the BIA endorsement:

First, both Dan McShane and I interviewed for the BIA endorsement, but on thinking the matter over, I turned it down. We don't know what Dan McShane would have done, because to my knowledge he was not offered the endorsement.

When the BIA indicated to me that they viewed me as the better of two imperfect choices, I turned down their proposed endorsement because while I appreciate their green building initiative, I have disagreed with their broader agenda, and have been disturbed by some of their past tactics.

I am disturbed also at the manner in which they gathered the photos used in the mailer. In fact, someone used that occasion to target my own campaign, by 'spoofing' a threatening letter to the photographer so it appeared to be sent by me. Herald reporter Sam Taylor talks about this tonight in his blog:

Unfortunately, candidates have no control and no say over independent expenditures. The BIA has decided that I am the mayoral candidate of their choice in this election--which is probably tough for them in a race with two progressives--and added my name to their mailer as a result. The cynic in me suggests that they may also be trying to capitalize on my progressive credentials to broaden the appeal of Sam Crawford and Chris Hatch.

For what it's worth, I endorsed Ken Mann for County Council, the only race I made an endorsement in.

I hope this clarifies that I in no way approve of the mailer or candidates, and also had no say or knowledge in its production and promulgation.

Dan Pike
Pro Pike, anti-BIA Homepage 11.04.07 - 11:22 am #

Saturday, November 03, 2007

National Day of Climate Action

Rep. Jay Enslee spoke about his new book he co-wrote at the Bellingham Step It Up 2007 event.

the event benefited Re Sources and was co-sponsored by Village Books.

he was introduced by one of our local environmental heroes Carl Weimer

his message tonight and in his new book is a message of hope, something in short supply and welcome.

the Ten Energy Enlightenments here... starting with #1. Opportunity is best found in crisis.

Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean-Energy Economy(Hardcover (Cloth)) by Inslee, Jay , Hendricks, Bracken

Friday, November 02, 2007

Republican Party, Fading Away

Although some people would like to dwell on disputes within the Democratic Party, it's the Republican Party that is losing ground with every day that passes.

A Year Ahead, Republicans Face Tough Political Terrain
October 31, 2007

A year before the 2008 presidential election, most major national opinion trends decidedly favor the Democrats. Discontent with the state of the nation is markedly greater than it was four years ago. President Bush's approval rating has fallen from 50% to 30% over this period. And the Democrats' advantage over the Republicans on party affiliation is not only substantially greater than it was four years ago, but is the highest recorded during the past two decades.

The public continues to express more confidence in the Democratic Party than in the Republican Party as being able to bring about needed change, to govern in an honest and ethical way and to manage the federal government. The Democratic Party's advantages on these traits are much wider than during the last presidential campaign. Moreover, they remain about as large as they were just prior to the 2006 midterm election, in spite of rising public discontent with the Democrat-led Congress.

The voters' issues agenda also appears to benefit the Democrats. Along with Iraq, the economy, health care and education rate as the most important issues for voters. Compared with the 2004 campaign, fewer voters now place great importance on the issues that have animated Republican political unity in recent years – including gay marriage, abortion and terrorism. ...(more)

The GOP had their chance to government, to implement their 'conservative' ideas and proved they are incompetent, corrupt and unworthy of the trust given to them by conservative and moderate Americans.

But it is no surprise that conservative rule has been a failure. Overshadowed by right-wing propaganda is the fact that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America were all liberals and the core principles of liberty and equality, that make America the great nation that it is, are liberal values. Conservative rule can only diminishes Americas greatness and undermine liberty.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Naomi Wolf - The End of America

This is an amazing talk. She has done so much homework and articulates this moment in history so clearly. She offers us a choice to use our senses, understand our situation and do the things we need to do to reclaim our living democracy and say no to these wanna-be dictators.

as i am preparing this post Randi Rhodes announced she will talk with Naomi today....looking forward to that.
and Buzzflash is featuring the book today. if you are going to buy consider buying through them and support their great work.

and from The Guardian.....
Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all...
Tuesday April 24, 2007