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Friday, September 30, 2011

"Kudos to Sam Reed for having the courage to stand up to KIRO"

How Sam Reed bent his sword against KIRO-TV
The retiring secretary of state, a model of public candor, found that media don't always like accountability when it is turned toward them.
By John Hamer

As part of a national CBS-affiliate series of stories on voter fraud, KIRO7 ran two stories in the fall of 2008, shortly before Election Day. The first story, which ran on Oct. 15, 2008, alleged that thousands of felons had been issued ballots and many had already voted, although felons are not supposed to have voting rights. KIRO “investigative” reporter Chris Halsne interviewed a woman who supposedly was a convicted felon but said she had voted anyway. The second story, which ran on Nov. 3, 2008, alleged that more than 100 dead voters were still on Washington’s active voter rolls, with 15 of them actually casting “ghost” ballots. On her front porch, Halsne interviewed the widow of a man who supposedly had “voted” although he’d been dead since 1996.
However, both stories contained egregious factual errors, including these:
* The “felon” was not a felon. She had been convicted only of a misdemeanor, so she never lost her right to vote. KIRO failed to doublecheck that simple fact.
* The “dead” voter was not dead. The deceased man’s son, who has the same name, had voted. KIRO had confused the two men and ignored the widow’s statement to that effect.
In his complaint, Reed declared that two KIRO stories were “factually incorrect, incomplete, misleading, sensationalized, inflammatory, and unfair.” He said the stories “wrongly damaged” his office and “failed to include balancing facts or information.”
According to Dave Ammons, Reed’s communications director and former Associated Press political writer and columnist in Olympia, the KIRO delegation listened, but then declared that they would not run corrections or clarifications, nor would they remove the stories from the KIRO website.
The News Council reluctantly accepted Reed’s decision not to proceed with a hearing. However, the WNC then invited the public to participate in an unprecedented “Citizens Online News Council” to help judge KIRO’s journalistic ethics and performance. No news council in the world (and there are dozens of them, most members of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe) had ever done that before. We called it a “virtual hearing.”
KIRO got hammered. The votes were nearly all highly critical of KIRO and upheld Reed’s complaint (see vote results and comments). Of all those who voted online, only a few defended KIRO. Most voters added critical comments.

As president and executive director of the Washington News Council, I still find this case one of the most shocking examples of unprofessional, irresponsible journalism that I have ever seen. KIRO even got criticized by The Stranger and earned a “Dart” in the Columbia Journalism Review. KIRO played fast and loose with the facts, disregarding the truth. They refused to set the record straight even after being confronted with incontrovertible evidence that they were wrong. Then they tried to “bury” the stories by sneaking them off their website without telling anyone or admitting any errors. Yikes.

A recent national survey by the Pew Center for the People and the Press found public trust in the news media at about its lowest level ever. Stories like KIRO’s are part of the reason for that.

Kudos to Sam Reed for having the courage to stand up to KIRO. More public officials and individual citizens who are damaged by shoddy news reporting should do the same. Otherwise, bad journalists will keep committing media malpractice — which hurts journalism, the public and democracy.

Editor's Note: We endeavored to get KIRO to comment on this story but so far have not heard back from the station.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Who Are You, Really? Activists Fight For Pseudonyms
by Martin Kaste
September 28, 2011

Social media companies don't like people creating accounts under fake names. That's long been the case at Facebook, but over the summer, Google's new social network, Google Plus, surprised users by making a point of shutting down accounts with names that didn't look real.

Some online activists refer to Google's action as the "nym wars" — short for "pseudonym wars." They see it as part of a worrying trend to force people to use their real names online.

Trying To Weed Out 'Trolls'

It's a concern that goes beyond the social media sites themselves. More and more, social network accounts are becoming a gateway to other parts of the Internet.

"If you want to leave a comment, you have to be a Facebook user," says Jimmy Orr, managing editor of the online Los Angeles Times, one of several news sites now requiring commenters to use Facebook. He says it makes it harder for people to hide behind fake names.

"I'm impressed at Facebook's efforts at authentication. It's for real. You know, if I were just to join up on Facebook, for example, to leave a comment, and I made up a name, chances are it would not show up," Orr says.

Some of the Los Angeles Times comments sections still operate under what Orr calls the old "Wild West" system, where all you need is an email address. Those sections have more trolls — commenters who bait each other with racism or personal attacks. The sections with Facebook logins, on the other hand, are comparatively civil.

"The reason for that is trolls don't like their friends to know they are trolls," Orr says. "If you are who you are, you're less likely to leave a comment that makes you look bad."

Neither Facebook nor Google would comment for this story, but over the years, their executives have expressed impatience with Internet anonymity.

"One of the errors that the Internet made a long time ago is that there was not an accurate and non-revocable identity-management service," Google chief Eric Schmidt said at the Techonomy conference last year. "And the best example of an identity-management service today that's reasonably reliable is Facebook."

There's a lot of money at stake for both companies. Social networks are in the business of collecting information about their users, and that information is worth more when it's connected to real names. Schmidt went on to suggest that the anonymity of the Internet is a historical aberration.

"You know, 200 years ago, in a small town, you couldn't sneak around if people didn't know who you were," he said.

Seeking Freedom To Express Themselves

To be clear, Schmidt was talking about the kind of technical anonymity that facilitates cybercrime. But people who use pseudonyms for more benign reasons worry that "real name" culture is spreading across the Internet, with Facebook logins required everywhere they turn.

"There's a concern about being shut out of the conversation," says a woman who blogs and tweets under the Internet pen name Garidin Winslow. To her, it's an extension of the time-honored literary tradition of pen names — someday, she hopes to write a novel under the name. She wants the freedom to express herself without offending the sensibilities of, say, her boss — or potential future bosses.

"I think it's better to err on the side of caution," Winslow says. "Your employer is going to be searching for you on the Internet — they're going to be looking for you by name."

"Real name" policies keep her off Facebook and Google Plus — but she is on Diaspora, a new social network still in the process of rolling out. At Diaspora headquarters in San Francisco, co-founder Max Salzberg says this network does not insist on real names.

"Certainly with Diaspora, it's not a requirement, and in fact it's not even something we could enforce, because Diaspora is open source," he says.

Open source means the software is open for anybody to see and rewrite as they please. Diaspora is also a distributed system, which means users can host and control their own social networking data. Some of those who worry about the "Nym wars" see Diaspora as the great hope for saving online pseudonyms. But Salzberg actually agrees with Google's Schmidt on one point.

"There is a place for people to be able to use their real name, and have some sort of verified, like — 'This is actually Max Salzberg responding to your question.' "

What big social media companies need to understand, he says, is that there's also a place for pseudonyms.

"Anonymity and pseudonyms are slightly different," Salzberg says. "A pseudonym that's well-constructed is something that that person values and wants to maintain at a certain level. It's still an authentic personality they have."

Innovations like Diaspora mean pseudonyms aren't likely to go away. But as Google Plus and Facebook increase their reach, the question is: On how much of the Internet will those pseudonyms be allowed?

Political and moral tone-deafness

Tea Partiers Should Seriously Consider Holding Their Applause
By Karl Frisch | September 27th, 2011

You know things are bad when you look back on the rancor and race-baiting of 2008 with nostalgia.
When NBC’s Brian Williams asked Rick Perry if he had ever “struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of [his 234 executions] might have been innocent” the Texan’s response that he had “never struggled with that [at] all” was met by boisterous applause.

Call me crazy, but a self-proclaimed God-fearing Christian should lose sleep over the killing of anyone. The political and moral tone-deafness is compounded when one considers the fact that four people on the Lone Star State’s death row have been exonerated and freed in the past four years alone — a figure that doesn’t include several cases where those executed could very well have been innocent.

With the storm of unflattering public attention that followed the audience’s applause, you’d think the elite base Republicans invited to sit in on these debates would have made a mental note to be on their best behavior.

You’d be wrong to jump to such conclusions. Logical thinking rarely applies with the Republican base. It seems logic, like the media and science, has a liberal bias.
CNN’s first mistake was letting the Tea Party Express co-sponsor the debate. It was the political equivalent of letting patients run the asylum. And sadly enough, the patients themselves were decidedly pro-patients dying.

If you’ve been brainwashed into thinking NBC and CNN represent the liberal media and that these two outbursts are simply the product of liberal antagonism, you must have missed the debate Fox News and Google co-sponsored.

Since Google was the official co-sponsor it seemed only fitting that the Republican White House hopefuls would be expected to take questions from, a Google property.

The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” had been certified just two days before the Fox News debate and as luck would have it, a gay marine submitted a video question. You can imagine what that meant. He asked the Republican candidates if they would work to “circumvent” repeal of the decidedly homophobic policy.

The marine’s question was met by a swift chorus of boos from the audience, louder than any debate audience display of idiocy yet. Not a single Republican candidate acknowledged the obvious insult or the marine’s service.

If a Democrat had stood by and said nothing during such a moment, Republicans in power would have called for the guillotine.
The next Republican primary debate is on October 11 in New Hampshire. I’m guessing the audience will enthusiastically cheer the “or die” portion of the Granite State’s official motto.

Thankfully it’s the American audience and not the irrational tea party Republican base that will ultimately have its say on the future of this country.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A matter of time....


It looks like the filmmakers spend a lot of time sliding around a frozen Wasilla, Alaska looking for sound bytes, good or bad, about the infamous Palin. Speaking with her family, ex-family, and even trudging through City Hall before being unceremoniously booted from the property. Broomfield manages to get some perspective on Palin’s career in politics as well as how she handles herself on and off camera. I’d say this sounds interesting if I wasn’t already utterly disgusted by her existence.

You Betcha! starts in select theaters at the end of the month, September 30th, so get ready to hear a lot of people say a lot of stupid things like, “She doesn’t use big gigantic words,” which is obviously a topic of interest for a lot of “smart” Americans. The film will likely split viewers just like Palin does herself. There’ll be people who love it because it makes her look like the fool that she is, and there will be people who hate it for the same reason. Sarah Palin is a menace and hopefully this documentary will knock some sense into those people who can’t seem to get past her friendly facade and actually listen to some of the idiotic things she says.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Perry: more show than substance?

Rick Perry's 'electile dysfunction'


Ana Navarro, of Miami-Dade and an advisor to Jon Huntsman, said Perry is more show than substance.

“Rick Perry is a Texas stud, a real macho-man who looks great in cowboy hat and boots and was supposed to come galloping on his stallion to rescue Republicans and lead us to the promise land,” said Navarro, an advisor to Huntsman’s campaign. “But it’s become increasingly clear he can’t perform. He has electile dysfunction.”

Saturday, September 24, 2011

glenn just can't resist making a fool of himself!

Ordering ham in a Jewish deli is like trolling for a gay encounter in a mosque.
in reply to olywords

Hmmmmm..... is this comment based on your personal experience, glenn?
in reply to glenn

Glenn, you are so wrong. Real Jewish Delis/diners serve BLT's, and other customer pleasing menu items. Don't you remember getting cold cuts including bologna and pigs feet in the delis.
in reply to glenn

Dude! I lived in Jersey and worked in Philly. I know what they serve in just about every deli there. I'm having fun and you're a spoil sport. Now leave me alone.
in reply to 1uncleduff

You'd be surprised. Haven't you heard of "reformed jew"? Oh and btw they hold annual gay parades in jerusalem compliments of the Sharon regime.
in reply to glenn

I said mosque!
in reply to Claribelle

Yes you did. Because you just can't help yourself. You're like my wifes pet poodle. The thing needs to pee on anything bigger than an acorn.
in reply to glenn

Well, I guess you measure up to an acorn. Now sit still - my aim ain't too good.
in reply to Intertubes

Read more:


Dude! I lived in Jersey and worked in Philly. I know what they serve in just about every deli there. I'm having fun and you're a spoil sport. Now leave me alone.
Yesterday 03:45 PM
in reply to 1uncleduff

You're not having fun, you're indulging flatulence in public. Now be a nice boy and eat your Beano.

Today 10:12 AM
in reply to glenn

Read more:

I-1183 does NOT impose a 27% tax!!

Court Said No, But Liquor-Privatization Opponents Use Tax Claim in Ad Anyway

Measure’s Backers Urge Stations to Pull Ad – Opposition Strategy Becomes Clear
By Erik Smith, Staff writer/ Washington State Wire

OLYMPIA, Sept. 23.—
A claim that was rejected by a Thurston County Superior Court judge is being featured in a TV campaign ad, and backers of Initiative 1183 are crying foul.
They are demanding that TV stations yank the ad, which claims that the liquor-privatization measure will impose a “brand-new 27 percent tax.” Here's one problem. Whatever it does, the measure doesn’t impose a tax. It is a rare case where the argument already has been tested in court. It’s not a matter of opinion anymore. A judge said no.
“It’s not a tax,” declared Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Pomeroy during a court hearing June 17. “It’s a fee.”
And while the measure imposes a new licensing fee on booze sales, it also doesn’t mean that I-1183 will jack the price of Jack by 27 percent. The measure would eliminate a state booze markup that is already twice as high, at 51.9 percent.
“As the opposition well knows, that deceptive ad is false and is a blatant attempt to mislead voters,” said Kathryn Stenger, spokeswoman for the liquor privatization measure. “I-1183 eliminates the outlandish state markups.”

An Argument for Conservatives

By raising the issue in their latest TV ad, it appears that opponents are aiming at the very voters who might find the initiative most appealing. I-1183 would shut down the state liquor stores through which Washington residents have been buying their booze since Prohibition. For the first time Washingtonians would be able to buy their hard liquor in supermarkets and big-box stores, as they do in most other states. The measure, backed by Costco Wholesale, restaurants and retailers, is pitched at conservative and middle-of-the-road voters who might wonder what the state is doing in the booze business in the first place.
On the other side are the state-employee labor unions, who stand to lose jobs, and liquor and wine distributors who fear that the liberalization of Washington-state alcohol-sales rules will set a national precedent that will cut into their business. You don’t really hear those arguments much in the campaign, though – they’re not the sort that sway voters.
So in the latest TV ad, now airing on stations statewide, the opposition campaign is claiming that the measure would impose a new tax on booze. For testimony it offers up Alice Dietz, owner of The Brits, a café in Longview:
“The big corporations behind 1183 say it increases funding for government programs. But they don’t pay for it out of their corporate profits. Instead, you and I pay with a brand-new 27 percent tax. In this economy, I’m just trying to keep my doors open for my employees and customers. The last thing we need is higher taxes. I’m voting no on 1183.”
The impact of the argument is made clear by a Facebook posting from Chris Vance, the former state Republican Party chairman who is acting as a consultant to the no-on-1183 campaign.
“Watch our new ad,” he says. “Conservatives need to understand that 1183 includes a $400 million tax increase.”

Replaces Existing Markup

The claim concerns a hefty license fee that would be paid by retailers and distributors under the initiative. The idea is to replace that hefty markup that is charged at the state liquor stores, so that state and local governments would continue to reap big money from booze sales.
It gets a little complex, but in most cases booze would go first to distributors. They would pay the state a 10 percent cut of sales the first two years, and then 5 percent after that. Then retailers would pay the state 17 percent.
You can add those figures together and get 22 to 27 percent. But it doesn’t mean the price of booze would go up 27 percent, because it would be replacing the existing 52 percent markup.
What it’s going to do to booze prices is really anyone’s guess. Certainly retailers will want to cover their costs, but in the free market shopkeepers get to set their own prices. They could charge more than the state already does, it's true. But a retailer that charges more than his competition probably isn’t going to move a lot of merchandise.
Meanwhile, state and local governments actually would make more money under the initiative than they do under the current system. According to the state Office of Financial Management they would make somewhere between $400 million and $480 million more during the first five years.

Argument Rejected by Court

Is it a tax? Is it new? Can anyone really say how much prices would go up? And is the argument fair?
Most of the time campaign arguments are a subjective matter of opinion. But this time, the questions have already been tested in court, and the decision was a resounding no. What happened was this.
Last June the state attorney general’s office wrote a ballot title, description and summary for the measure. That’s what voters see on the ballot and in the state voters’ pamphlet. The attorney general’s office is supposed to be as neutral as possible. And as nearly always occurs in an initiative campaign, opponents filed suit, as much to put a negative spin on the wording as to delay the signature drive.
At the June 17 hearing, the tax argument was raised by Joseph Rehberger, representing the Washington Coalition Against Substance Abuse and Violence, and by Knoll Lowney, a lawyer active in progressive causes, who technically was representing a client he described as “a mother, she also works at a Safeway store.”
Both argued that the ballot description ought to say that the measure “imposes a new tax of 22 to 27 percent.”
Judge Pomeroy rejected the argument before the lawyers could even begin. The legal difference between a tax and a fee is crystal-clear, she said.
“I’m going to tell you, I don’t like the word tax,” she said. “It’s not a tax, it’s a fee. I've been here long enough to know that tax and fee mean two entirely different things, so you are at a disadvantage as you begin here. But I am telling you, I don't like the word tax, because it is not a tax, people don't like the word tax, and it is a fee. It's a fee, it is a licensing fee, so I am going to tell you that.”
All right then, Lowney argued. Whatever the court wanted to call it, the ballot description should still use the 22 to 27 percent figure, “to get some idea of the magnitude in here.”
But Jay Geck, representing the state attorney general’s office, said that would be “misleading” to voters, because there’s no increase. “The context there is critical,” he said. “That [state markup] goes away, [and] private business gets to decide what its markup will be. Private business is now going to pay a licensing fee that reflects that they are going in and taking over a share of the state monopoly. How that affects the public when they buy a bottle of spirits or hard liquor is anybody’s guess. It is going to vary quite a bit, I would assume, across the state.”
And once lawyers finished arguing the point, the judge said she was done with it, refused to consider further argument, and moved on.

Another Way to Win

What the no-on-1183 campaign couldn’t win in Thurston County, it is trying to win in the court of public opinion. Campaign spokesman Alex Fryer says, “The impact on a consumer’s wallet is the same if it’s a fee or a tax. It’s the government taking your money. I’m surprised they would want to argue about that. If they want to have a conversation about what 27 percent means to the public, we’re happy to have it.”
And after the no-on-1183 campaign was notified by Washington State Wire that the ad was being challenged, it went on the offensive Friday, pumping out a press release that trumpeted, “The TV Ad That Costco Doesn’t Want You to See.”
Meanwhile, the initiative’s supporters are demanding that TV stations pull the ad. The judge's decision in Thurston County has no bearing on what television stations choose to air. But in a letter to Seattle-area broadcasters, Michael Vaska, attorney for the yes campaign, warns that they could be sued for airing ads that make false statements. Political ads for ballot measures aren't protected, as they are in federal campaigns.
“By making these false statements, the No-on-1183 campaign is cynically attempting to dupe voters about ‘new taxes’ to distract them from the merits of whether the state should be in the business of selling liquor. As Justice Brennan once said, ‘the use of the known lie as a tool is at once at odds with the premises of democratic government and the orderly manner in which economic, social or political change is to be effected.’”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Look who surfaced again!

    • hickgirl
      Glenn!!! I haven't seen what seems like months! I miss your posts buddy!! (Sorry to be off subject!)
    • glenn
      I was incarcerated in the abyss of blocked comments because I offended the moderator. Have you noticed how well my behavior modification classes have done? I'm a different person now. I put ice in my scotch instead of straight up. I don't consider progressives to be socialists anymore - they are feral democrats now.
      I now believe that obama is our Lord and Savior.
      I now believe that Nancy Pelosi is beautiful.
      I now believe that Harry Reid is an honorable man.
      I now believe that I'm going freakin nuts!

      It's good to hear from you too. Whoops! I'm late for my People's Party reeducation class. I have to get my mind right.

  • sage1
    I'm glad to see your re-education has worked. Your Marxist Kenyan Overlord is pleased with your progress. :)

  • hickgirl
    Oh :( But I loved the old qualities that you had...even if the O didn't. I got your back slick...behavior modification or not!
    Lord and Savior....ugh!!!! I HOPE NOT
    Beautiful? I woulda thought only her mother would think that.
    Honorable man?...UHHH NOPE!
    Going nuts??? ALL OF US ARE!!! WELCOME TO THE CLUB!
    As for straight up compared to on the rocks...on the rocks is better anyway. :)~

  • glenn
    I'm having flashbacks of my old self. Wait - I think they're taking over again. Oh Lord, I hope lemmings, sage, eieio, and the rest of the socialists have their body armour on (verbal of course - they would automatically assume that I care enough about them to harm them - bwahahahaha).

  • hickgirl
    Uuuugggghhh!!! Don't get me started on Lemming and Sage!!! (Especially Lemming) I get sooo frustrated reading their posts!! I just end up turning the computer off....don't waste my breath on the liberal extremists (aka Nobama rah rah terrorists) :/

  • Read more:

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Cheney-- "sowing discord among the opposition"?

    Bill Clinton: Cheney trying to cause 2012 mischief

    Former President Bill Clinton says he has high regard for Dick Cheney's political skills even if the former vice president tries to cause mischief for Democrats.

    Cheney recently praised Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as one of the Obama administration's "most competent" members and said it would be "interesting to speculate" how she might be as president.

    Cheney suggested, tongue in cheek, she might want to challenge Barack Obama in 2012, and said he wouldn't discourage a primary fight.

    Bill Clinton tells CBS' "Face the Nation" he's "gratified whenever anyone says anything nice" about his wife, but one of Cheney's skills "is sowing discord among the opposition" and he doesn't want to help Cheney's strategy succeed.

    Clinton did elbow Cheney, saying, "I admire that he's still out there hitting the ball."

    Some Questions for Rick Perry

    Most of the Republican candidates are bashing Governor Perry for his comments on Social Security, while giving him a pass on some other issues where I, for one, would like some answers:

    1. Governor Perry, you tout your record for creating jobs in Texas. In reality, Texas simply "stole" these jobs from other states, most notably California. Does your definition of "job creation" include transferring jobs from other states? How many of the jobs that Texas "created" are actually new jobs, and not merely taken from somewhere else? And -- how do you think the voters in California will react to this "job creation" effort?

    2. Governor Perry, it wasn't so long ago that you were leading an effort to have Texas secede from the Union (not that we would miss you). Given that effort, isn't it just a wee bit hypocritical for you now to be saying that you're the right person to be the leader of this great nation?

    Just askin'. Somebody's got to.

    OK, since you assholes think you're so good at reading lips, how about reading mine?

    Petty controversy: Misreading Michelle Obama's lips

    The hardline conservative blogosphere insists the first lady badmouthed the flag — even though no one heard what she said

    The controversy: Several far-right bloggers, claiming to be lip-readers, are accusing First Lady Michelle Obama of disparaging the American flag, based on video from a ceremony honoring victims of the 9/11 terrorism attacks (see the video below). In the clip, Mrs. Obama leans toward President Obama and says something — we can't hear what — as a bagpipe band plays and uniformed men fold a flag. The president nods in agreement. Though the first lady's mouth is partially obscured, many bloggers insist they know what she said — either "all this just for a flag," "all that for a flag," or "all of this for a damn flag" — because they can read her lips.

    The reaction: This has to be "one of the dumbest flaps I've ever seen," says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. This "garbage" only shows how "deranged the Obamas' detractors really are," and why "taking these bloggers seriously is a mistake." Sorry, but the video is plain enough, says James S. Robbins in The Washington Times. Mrs. Obama certainly "appears to say, 'All this for a flag.'" She's on record saying she was never truly proud of America until her husband ran for president, so why wouldn't she "dismiss a flag ceremony as just so much nonsense"? The only nonsense is that at "the heart of the modern Republican Party," says Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog. "Kill one crackpot theory — birtherism — and [right-wingers] will breed a hundred more. And you'll never persuade them that what they believe is delusional."

    Watch the video for yourself:


    Friday, September 16, 2011

    “Tea Party rock star” encourages destruction of public lands that belong to all Americans

    New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce Incites Vigilantes to Destroy Public Lands

    Otero County Plans Renegade Logging; Catron County Bulldozes San Francisco River

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Incidents of vigilantes tearing up public lands — including the unauthorized bulldozing of 13 miles of the San Francisco River by Catron County — are on the rise in New Mexico following calls from U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) for counties to seize control of federal public land.

    Field visits by Center for Biological Diversity staff and a letter to Catron County from the Forest Service confirm that Catron County officials in August trespassed across private land to bulldoze 13.5 miles of the San Francisco River on the Gila National Forest. The river is designated critical habitat for the threatened loach minnow; the bulldozed section includes an inventoried roadless area downstream of Reserve.

    In a press release dated Aug. 3, 2011, seven days before the bulldozing incident, Pearce highlighted the fact that sheriffs in counties that patrol the Gila will not enforce roadless rules or the Forest Service’s “travel management plan,” which manages off-road vehicle use. The only federal response from the Obama administration has been a multiagency tour of the area and a letter from the Forest Service to the county.

    “Public and elected officials should not be encouraging or engaging in vigilantism on private and federal public lands,” said Cyndi Tuell at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This radical anti-environmental agenda is as dangerous and misinformed as it is out of touch with Americans’ public-lands values.”

    At an August town hall in Eager, Ariz., Congressman Pearce urged counties to take control of all the land within their boundaries, including federal public land. Pearce, who was called a “Tea Party rock star” by the White Mountain Independent newspaper reporting on the event, praised New Mexico and Oregon counties for “taking control,” including the Otero County sheriff who threatened to arrest any Forest Service staff interfering with the county’s logging on national forest land. Pearce’s own legislation, H.R. 1202, would exempt national forest logging from all environmental laws.

    On Sept. 17 Pearce and Otero County officials plan to begin logging on the Lincoln National Forest under a plan approved by Otero County that forgoes U.S. Forest Service policies and approvals on national forest land. Congressman Pearce has applauded the plan and has vowed to fell the first tree.

    “Violation of private property rights by local government and destruction of public lands that belong to all Americans are behaviors that should be condemned by public officials, not encouraged,” said Tuell.

    Republicans lack compassion

    Where are the compassionate conservatives?

    By Published: September 15

    We heard plenty of contradictions, distortions and untruths at the Republican candidates’ Tea Party debate, but we heard shockingly little compassion — and almost no acknowledgement that political and economic policy choices have a moral dimension.

    The lowest point of the evening — and perhaps of the political season — came when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul a hypothetical question about a young man who elects not to purchase health insurance. The man has a medical crisis, goes into a coma and needs expensive care. “Who pays?” Blitzer asked.

    “That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks,” Paul answered. “This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody. . . .”

    Blitzer interrupted: “But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?”

    There were enthusiastic shouts of “Yeah!” from the crowd. You’d think one of the other candidates might jump in with a word about Christian kindness. Not a peep.


    They betrayed no empathy for, or even curiosity about, the Americans who depend on the spending that would be cut. They had no kind words — in fact, no words at all — for teachers, firefighters and police officers who will lose their jobs unless cash-strapped state and local government receive federal aid. Public servants, the GOP candidates imply, don’t hold “real” jobs. I wonder: Do Republicans even consider them “real” people?


    I believe the Republican candidates’ pinched, crabby view of government’s nature and role is immoral. I believe the fact that poverty has risen sharply over the past decade — as shown by new census data — while the richest Americans have seen their incomes soar is unacceptable. I believe that writing off whole classes of citizens — the long-term unemployed whose skills are becoming out of date, thousands of former offenders who have paid their debt to society, millions of low-income youth ill-served by inadequate schools — is unconscionable.


    The common denominator

    The 10 poorest states in the US.  What is the common denominator?

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Do what I say....


    The core idea is simply stated, but profound and far-reaching in its implications. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life – as long as he simply respects the same right of others to do the same.
    Another way of saying this is that libertarians believe you should be free to do as you choose with your own life and property, as long as you don't harm the person and property of others.

    With this thought in mind....

    why doesn't Ron Paul pay for his own campaign instead of soliciting donations?

    I thought this was settled long ago....

    A Right wing op-ed in Boston quotes from the author....

    Who are they to vote for in next year’s Democratic Senate primary? A woman or a black man? Who wins the victimology sweepstakes this cycle? 

    Let me racism or bigotry.....right, Rightees?

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    OK, Olympian-- put up or shut up!

    Comment posted to Most citizens are allowing a few voters to make decisions

  • eieio
    The editors of the Olympia want to get more people to vote, especially in local elections.  Ok, editors, let's see some follow-up on your own exhortations.

    - Create a page or part of a page on pending legislation in your print edition. 

    - Make it easy to find.  Always put it on the same page, and format the page exactly the same way, clearly blocked out to list major pending legislation at the federal, state, city (Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater), and county levels.  If there isn't something to list at some level, say so, don't just entirely omit information on, say, Tumwater.  Otherwise we don't know why it's not there.

    - Provide the official name and number of each bill.  List briefly the intended effects and identify supporters and opponents of the bill, along with web links to find supporting and opposing materials from each side, and opinion and analysis from informed third parties.

    - Identify lobbyists for and against the legislation.  How much did they spend on lobbying?  Whose campaign did they contribute to, and how much?

    - List the bills in the order in which they're expected to come up for a vote, highlighting bills that are up for a vote that week.

    - This should be run at least once each week.  Always run it on the same day(s).  Don't run it say, every Monday and then sometimes on Thursdays if there have been significant changes.  People need to know that if they want that information, they can find it in the Thursday paper, or whenever.

    - Prominently feature a page on your website with all this information, including live links to the formal text of the bill, and to supporting arguments and information from each side and from third parties.

    - On the website, make it possible to have a discussion thread on each bill.  Moderate these threads closely, according to clearly stated guidelines, e.g. substantial comments only, no personal attacks or insults against other people posting in that thread or against public figures, no allegations of nazi, communist, or fascist sympathies or similar, etc.

    Editors, if you want more people to become engaged in the political process, you would do well to step up to your own challenge.

  • Read more:

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Don't let facts get in the way, Michele

    FROM last night's "Republican Debate"......

    MICHELE BACHMANN: Obama "stole over $500 billion out of Medicare to switch it over to Obamacare. ... These are programs that need to be saved to serve people, and in their current form, they can't."
    ROMNEY: "He cut Medicare by $500 billion. This is a Democrat president. The liberal, so to speak, cut Medicare. Not Republicans, the Democrat."

    THE FACTS: "Stole" is a hyperbolic way to describe the kinds of shifts in budget priorities that happen every day in Washington. To pay for expanded insurance coverage, Obama's health care law cuts $500 billion in payments to the Medicare Advantage program — which a congressional agency said was being overpaid — and to hospitals and nursing homes. Nearly all House Republicans, including Bachmann, later voted for a GOP budget plan that retained the same cuts Obama had made.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    One person's view of the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum

    Hollowed ground
    Steve Cuozzo

    9/11 Memorial leaves our critic empty — though it may eventually transcend its bleak design
    Last Updated: 10:44 AM, September 11, 2011

    Seven years since its design was unveiled, and $700 million in public and private funding later, the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum is at last upon us. Following today’s ceremony exclusively for victims’ families, part of the site will open to everyone starting tomorrow with an online reservations-only policy.

    I howled over the Memorial plan in 2004 and 2005: “It stinks.” I recoiled from its “morbidity, “open storm drains,” and “earth-hogging mediocrity.” The design seemed to ignore that 9/11 was defined by selflessness and heroism as well as by loss. My impression was based on drawings and models. Now that it’s a granite reality, what will you find?

    It may depend on the weather — although not in the way you might expect. It took an awful afternoon of teeming rain and wind to make this austere, coldly beautiful monument to our dead come alive for me. What a pity that to experience anything like catharsis a visitor must be willing to get drenched.

    I was fortunate to lose no one on 9/11. But I lost no one in Vietnam, either, and Maya Lin’s famous Washington wall made me well up. At the World Trade Center, site of mass murder far more recent than the war, I expected more than a dispassionate rekindling of sorrow that’s muted by the passage of 10 years.

    If anything made me want to cry, it was the process that led to the designation of the design by gifted architect Michael Arad, who was later partnered with landscape architect Peter Walker to soften Arad’s original bleak vision. Arad’s “Reflecting Absence” was chosen in a blind competition by 13 judges appointed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (Yes, the same LMDC that took nine years to demolish the Deutsche Bank building.)

    As New Yorkers know from renderings, the centerpiece of Arad’s scheme — on nearly half of what was once called Ground Zero — is the pair of square, reflecting pool waterfalls set within the Twin Towers’ footprints. Their scale is eye-popping: two cataracts, on each side as long as a city block.

    But while they’re bound to be insanely popular with tourists, they suggest less the heartwrenching dispatch of souls to oblivion than massive industrial runoff.

    The Memorial has engaged New Yorkers’ hearts more than any of the World Trade Center site’s other elements. Former Gov. George Pataki decreed it the “centerpiece” and forbade building on the “hallowed ground” of the Twin Tower footprints. Because the project is weighted down by so much political and emotional baggage, it was regarded as impolite — even impermissible — to criticize it too bluntly, as if to do so were to speak ill of the terrorist attack’s victims and their loved ones.

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Rick Perry on the topic of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme

    Do we want someone who thinks SS is a Ponzi scheme in any position to affect it? I sure don't!
    [Cartoon from]

    Perry’s Ponzi-Talk Implies Social Security Fraud
    By David J. Lynch - Sep 8, 2011
    Experts on both Ponzi schemes and Social Security say Perry is wrong. “Ponzi schemes are, by definition, fraud,” said Mitchell Zuckoff, author of “Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend.”
    “Social Security is above board,” he added. “We can argue about whether it’s a good system. But you can’t call it a fraud.”

    Initiative 1183

    Has anybody besides me noticed the commercials by the police and firefighters who are campaigning against Initiative 1183 which would allow more sales outlets for liquor? Nearly all of them are wearing their uniforms and including their taxpayer-owned vehicles and/or buildings in those commercials. I don't think those are legitimate uses.

    According to:
    RCW 42.17A.555
    Use of public office or agency facilities in campaigns -- Prohibition
    -- Exceptions. (Effective January 1, 2012.)

    No elective official nor any employee of his or her office nor any person appointed to or employed by any public office or agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition. Facilities of a public office or agency include, but are not limited to, use of stationery, postage, machines, and equipment, use of employees of the office or agency during working hours, vehicles, office space, publications of the office or agency, and clientele lists of persons served by the office or agency. ...


    I just saw a pro-I1183 commercial: lo and behold, participants in that commercial were also "exploiting" taxpayer-paid vehicles, etc.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    More lack of decorum during (and following) the President's speech


    In case you haven't already figured it out, Bachmann is an idiot. She didn't make it to the speech, blaming it on floods, even though it didn't seem to have stopped other members of Congress. She did arrive in time to make her own speech, though, casting the president's speech she wasn't there to hear as misguided and political.

    Lawmaker's sign cracks decorum at Obama job speech
    By LAURIE KELLMAN - Associated Press

    Rep. Jeff Landry knew not to yell at President Barack Obama during his jobs address Thursday night to Congress. That move made Rep. Joe Wilson famous a couple of years ago, and not necessarily for the better. Instead, Republican leaders urged their members to show up, keep an open mind and be polite — voters were anxious and Congress' bickering had angered large majorities of them.

    So Landry, R-La., instead printed out a small white sign to raise when Obama mentioned how, exactly, he planned to put more Americans to work.

    "Drilling(equals)jobs," it read in big black letters. Seated two rows behind the well-mannered Wilson, R-S.C., Landry held it up when Obama acknowledged that Republicans might have ideas different from his $447 billion jobs package.

    It was only a modest departure from decorum, but a sure signal that more than policy disagreements remain between Obama and congressional Republicans whose standoff over raising the debt ceiling last month brought the country to the brink of default. The markets and recession-weary Americans didn't appreciate the suspense. The nation's credit rating suffered for the bickering, and Congress' favorable ratings dropped to around 12 percent.

    Aware that some conservatives planned to boycott Thursday's speech, Republican leaders urged lawmakers returning to Washington this week to be cool. They said that they were listening for ideas they could agree upon to put some of the 14 million unemployed Americans back to work. And they declined to issue a formal, televised response.

    Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Republican presidential candidate, didn't make it to the speech, blaming floods in in the rain-ravaged capital. But she did arrive in time to hold her own news conference afterward, where she cast the president's speech as misguided and political.

    "Our patience for speeches, gimmicks and excuses has run out," she said.

    In the House chamber earlier in the evening, there was little joy in the face-to-face meeting between Obama and lawmakers. The White House and House Republicans had sparred even over the date of the address: Obama had proposed Wednesday, at the exact time of the Republican presidential candidates' televised debate in California. House Speaker John Boehner proposed Thursday instead. The two agreed on 7 p.m., more than an hour before the kickoff of the National Football League season.

    "I've encouraged my colleagues to come tonight and to listen to the president," Boehner said Thursday morning. "We ought to be respectful, and we ought to welcome him."

    In the evening, the speaker and the president greeted each other respectfully.

    Democrats smarting from Obama's recent criticisms of Congress were stingy with the whoops, hollers and sustained standing ovations that peppered Obama's previous addresses to Congress.

    Obama called Congress "a circus," without specifying Republicans, phrasing that many Democrats noticed.

    Republicans openly chuckled when Obama insisted that his plan to tax rich people more "isn't political grandstanding."

    Some Republican lawmakers skipped the speech entirely, making it clear to reporters they felt they had more important business to attend.

    Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., tweeted a live town hall from his office, said his spokeswoman, Meredith Griffanti. And Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., was home in the Chicago suburbs hosting a meeting with small business owners. South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who calls himself "Sen. Tea Party," had planned to skip town before the speech, citing a meeting in Charleston, S.C., with officials and employees of the Boeing Co. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., planned to listen carefully from home, where he wanted to watch the New Orleans Saints play the Green Bay Packers.

    But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., scheduled a vote Thursday night immediately after Obama's speech that kept DeMint, Vitter and the rest of the Senate in Washington.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    To the party of NO!

    I just watched President Obama's speech to Congress. He has punted the ball into the Congressional NO-sayers' court. If you are one of those, you will drop this ball at peril of your future in Congress!


    WASHINGTON — When Mitt Romney and Rick Perry thumped their chests over their job-creation records as governor during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, they left the bad parts out.
    Yes, employment has grown by more than 1 million since Perry took office in Texas. But a lot of those jobs are not well paid.
    True, unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent when Romney was Massachusetts governor. But the state's employment growth was among the nation's worst.
    A look at some of the claims in the debate, and how they compare with the facts:
    PERRY: "Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that we've created have been above minimum wage."
    THE FACTS: To support the claim, the Perry campaign provided federal statistics for December 2010 showing only 5.3 percent of all jobs in Texas pay the minimum wage.
    But those figures represent all workers, not just the new jobs, for which data are unavailable. And that does not account for low-wage jobs that may be barely above the minimum wage. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 51 percent of all Texas workers make less than $33,000 a year. Only 30 percent make more than $50,000 a year. Nationally, Texas ranked 34th in median household income from 2007 to 2009.
    About 9.5 percent of Texas hourly workers, excluding those who are paid salaries, earn the minimum wage or less, tying Mississippi for the highest percentage in the nation.
    ROMNEY: "At the end of four years, we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent. That's a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in the entire country."
    THE FACTS: To be sure, 4.7 percent unemployment would be a welcome figure nationally. But Romney started from a much better position than President Barack Obama did. Unemployment was only 5.6 percent when Romney took office in 2003, meaning it came down by less than 1 percentage point when he left office in 2007. Obama inherited a national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
    PERRY: "Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt."
    ROMNEY: "Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor."
    PERRY: "That's not correct."
    ROMNEY: "Yes, that is correct."
    THE FACTS: Romney was correct.
    Romney accurately stated that George W. Bush — even without his predecessor — saw jobs grow at a faster rate during his 1994-2000 years as governor than Perry has during his 11 years governing Texas. Employment grew by about 1.32 million during Bush's six years in office. Employment during Perry's years has grown about 1.2 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    As for Perry's claim about Romney's record and that of Dukakis, he was at least in the ballpark.
    Democratic Gov. Dukakis saw Massachusetts employment grow by 500,000 jobs during his two divided terms, 1975 to 1979, and 1983 to 1991, a rate of more than 41,000 jobs a year.
    Romney, governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, saw employment grow from 3.23 million to 3.29 million, growth of about 60,000 jobs, or a rate of 15,000 a year. That means Dukakis' job growth rate was nearly three times Romney's.
    MICHELE BACHMANN: "Obamacare is killing jobs. We know that from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, but I know it firsthand from speaking to people. We see it this summer. There are 47 percent of African-American youth that are currently without jobs, 36 percent of Hispanic youth."
    THE FACTS: The health care law that Obama pushed and Congress passed last year has long been labeled a job killer by Republicans, who often cite a Congressional Budget Office analysis to buttress their claims. But the CBO at no point said the law would result in job losses. Instead it made the more nuanced assertion that fewer people would chose to work.
    "The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount — roughly half a percent — primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply," the CBO said in an analysis. That's not job-killing, that's workers choosing not to work because of easier access to health care. The budget office said some people might decide to retire earlier because it would be easier to get health care, instead of waiting until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.
    The Minnesota congresswoman also states the percentages of unemployment among minority youth. But there is no evidence that the health care law is responsible for that level of unemployment. In fact, the health care law is still largely unimplemented, with some of its key provisions not taking effect until 2014.
    PERRY: On global warming, "The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans' economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet, to me, is just, is nonsense. ... Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy."
    THE FACTS: The scientific consensus on climate change is about as settled as any major scientific issue can be. Perry's opinion runs counter to the view of an overwhelming majority of scientists that pollution released from the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the planet. The National Academy of Sciences, in an investigation requested by Congress, concluded last year: "Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by human activities, and poses significant risks to humans and the environment."
    BACHMANN: "It's wrong for government, whether it's state or federal government, to impose on parents what they must do to inoculate their children."
    THE FACTS: She was correct that Perry supported mandatory immunization of girls to reduce future risks of cervical cancer, although the measure was blocked by Texas lawmakers and parents would have had some ability to file a conscientious objection to the requirement. Perry signed an executive order in 2007 directing his state health department to make the human papillomavirus vaccine available to "mandate the age-appropriate vaccination of all female children" before they enter sixth grade. Texas would have been the first state to require the immunizations.
    PERRY: "What I find compelling is what we've done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade." He specifically mentioned successes in reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 58 percent and ozone levels by 27 percent.
    THE FACTS: Texas has reduced emissions as Perry described, but most of those reductions were required under the federal Clean Air Act. However, the Environmental Protection Agency recently rescinded the state's authority to grant some air pollution permits because the state did not comply with federal regulations. Texas, home to America's oil and gas industry, still emits more carbon dioxide — the chief greenhouse gas — than any other state in the country, according to government data. Several metropolitan areas in Texas still violate health-based limits for smog, and the county that is home to Houston is one of the biggest emitters of hazardous air pollution in the country. The Texas Legislature also passed, and Perry signed, a law that will delay enforcing stiffer clean air regulations by two years.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    NO FIREWORKS!!! They are not necessary for life as it is now!

    Fireworks in the hands of three foolish, undisciplined kids (two 12 y.o. boys, one 11 y.o. girl) on the edge of a steep, heavily wooded area with homes all around.... NOW will the idiots here in Thurston County who support their "rights" to set off fireworks at any time, anywhere, understand why so many other county/city residents don't want fireworks to be set off at any time in THEIR neighborhoods??? At least the kids admitted what they had done and didn't confound the problem by lying about it.... gotta give them that. But why didn't their parents know that they had fireworks and what they were doing with them? Kids of those ages should not be just turned loose without any supervision!!
    21 acres at Beckett Point burned from fireworks-caused wildfire

    Three juveniles playing with fireworks on Labor Day were the cause of a blaze that, fanned by high winds, whipped across 21 acres of hillside above Beckett Point, say fire investigators. [snipped]

    Jefferson County Sheriff Tony Hernandez said three juveniles, all younger than 18, had admitted to their roles in the accidental fire.

    “When we spoke to the juveniles, they admitted what had happened,” Hernandez said. “They were using a can of WD-40 to light bottle rockets. We’ll probably forward this to the prosecutor’s office and let them make a decision [on charges and prosecution].”

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Yeah, well, Cheney, U.S. would be different if SCOTUS had declared Gore the winner in 2000!

    Cheney: US different if Hillary Clinton president
    AP September 4, 2011

    Hillary Rodham Clinton isn't president, but Dick Cheney says that if she were in the White House rather than Barack Obama, then things might be different today in the country.

    Cheney isn't getting into specifics, but he does think that "perhaps she might have been easier for some of us who are critics of the president to work with."

    The former vice president tells "Fox News Sunday" that it's his sense that the secretary of state is "one of the more competent members" of the Obama administration and it would be "interesting to speculate" about how she would have performed as president.

    Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic nomination to Obama, who went on to beat Republican John McCain in the general election. Obama named Clinton as the country's top diplomat.