Sunday, December 27, 2009

Security Theatre 3.0 - Just Don't Fly

Dumbassery in play is, at best, cranky-making. Regrettably, the new (and only partially disclosed) TSA/FAA "We're the gov't, and we're here to help!" crowds new rules (after the old rules worked SO WELL).

So far, discovered new idiocy includes:

1) Increased Gate Screening - which has worked *so well* in the past after modified to meet standards of political correctness. What it *will* do is lengthen lines, impinge on individual dignity and privacy, and cause more and more folks to reconsider whether the hassle is worth the flight - either abandoning optional travel OR traveling by other means whenever practical.

2) Passengers forbidden to leave their seats for the last hour of flight time. Umm. Biology happens. Your choices is only WHERE excretion happens, after a certain point, rather than when/if. And given our societies taboo's, for good or ill, passengers may get quite forceful about being allowed access to restrooms...and equally creative in expressing their dismay.

3) Passengers forbidden to have items on their laps. Oh fun. Flight W/O something to distract me from idiots and howling children on board? I can't have my novel to read? Valium, here we sure to scoop me off at the destination.

And, I am sure, there is yet more undiscovered fun...

So, to summarize...I'm not flying anywhere unless there's a damned good reason and I don't have a better choice available. Blogorado or large sums of money would both be "good reasons"....the average vacation or a trip to Europe or Asia? Probably not. Wait a few years and see if the idiocy passes.

If enough folks decide the same way....the collapsing airlines may persuade the various petty empire builders that "king of the dustbin" isn't the title they are really seeking.

Before you bitch - do the work.

Federal Contacts 2009

POTUS: President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Please include your e-mail address

Comments: 202-456-1111

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

FAX: 202-456-2461

DC Address: The Honorable Patty Murray
United States Senate
173 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4701
DC Phone:202-224-2621
DC Fax:202-224-0238

Local Office: Jackson Federal Building, Suite 2988
915 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98174

Voice: 206-553-5545
FAX: 206-553-0891

DC Address:The Honorable Maria Cantwell
United States Senate
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4704
DC Phone:202-224-3441
DC Fax:202-228-0514

Local Office: 915 Second Avenue, Suite 3206
Seattle, WA 98174
Voice: 206-220-6400
FAX: 206-220-6404

DC Address: The Honorable Jim McDermott
United States House of Representatives
1035 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4707
DC Phone:202-225-3106
DC Fax:202-225-6197

Local Office: 1809 7th Avenue, Suite 1212
Seattle, WA 98101-1399

Voice: 206-553-7170
FAX: 206-553-7175

Washington State Political Contacts

Governor: Gov. Chris Gregoire
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Voice: 360-902-4111
Fax: 360-753-4110

Dist #34 WA Senator Joe McDermott
230 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40434
Olympia, WA 98504-0434

(360) 786-7667

WA Rep. Dist. #34 Rep. Eileen Cody
337 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600

(360) 786-7978

District Office: 4711 44th Ave SW
, WA 98116

(206) 923-5463

WA Rep. Dist. #34 Rep. Sharon Nelson
338 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600

(360) 786-7952

Local Office: 4711 44th Ave SW
, WA 98116

(206) 923-5475

King County Political Contacts

King County Executive Dow Constantine
King County Chinook Building
401 5th Ave. Suite 800
Seattle, WA 98104

Main phone: 206-296-4040
Fax: 206-296-0194

Council District 1 Councilmember Bob Ferguson
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1001
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Council District 2 Councilmember Larry Gossett
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1002
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Council District 3 Councilmember Kathy Lambert
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1003
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Council District 4 Councilmember Larry Phillips
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1004
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Council District 5 Councilmember Julia Patterson
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1005
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Council District 6 Councilmember Jane Hague
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1006
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0398

Council District 7 Councilmember Peter Von Reichbauer
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1007
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Council District 8 Councilmember
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1008 (Staff Available)
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-205-5610

Council District 9 Councilmember Reagan Dunn
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1009
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Now, a lot of folks DON'T live in the same legislative/political district(s) that I do. However, that doesn't mean they should sit on their hands. Before y'all start whining - have YOU written your various politi-critters? Encouraged others to do so?

Or do you just have a political and touching belief that if you whine with sufficient skill and talent that your politi-critters will somehow pull their heads out of one sphincter or another and magically not only suddenly perceive your displeasure, but also act to alleviate it - all without your ever having lifted a finger or gotten your dead ass outta your armchair to contact them?

In person in their office is most effective. Second best is a letter. Then a fax, next a phone call, and finally, an e-mail.

Stop whining. Start working.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Obamacare Grouch

Short of enslaving the entire medical profession (immoral, even though some of them are kinda cute, and even then some bills must be paid), the bills (liability, wages, THEIR health care/benefits, student loan payments, rent, lights, power, equipment costs, etc, lawyers fees, etc) have got to be paid - whether by insurance companies, taxes, or out of pocket.

As it is, I've already had one good doctor shift to refusing to accept ANY insurance/medicatd/medicare/etc - and cut his staff to one employee, his wife who splits her time between reception/admin and her legal practice.

He's happy about it because he is able to spend appropriate amounts of time with patients rather than running a "patient mill" scrambling to crank through enough patients to get high-cost low-margin payments from insurance/medicare/medicaid. I liked it because he took the time to diagnose rather than use a checklist.

There is a huge difference between what we believe is right/desireable/deserved and achievable/affordable. The current collection of backroom deals, bought votes, and bad medicine should (but most likely won't be, requiring decades of repairs to even get back to "as good as we've got now", a deeply imperfect condition) be derailed, and a series of more careful and measured approaches implemented on a far more incremental basis, and that will be less likely to be tied up in the courts for the next three decades.

We best celebrate while we can...this is going to be a long ugly haul to 2012 and take us years to undo, so we can start over and try and get it right. One size fits all really sucks for jockey shorts - for something as diverse as the human medical condition, the mind boggles...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the Pierce County Deputies

I hope the deputies both make it and achieve full recovery. Five dead officers since Halloween, and now two more wounded are tragic at a number of different levels.

Hopefully, the usual anti-gun "dancing in the blood" can be kept to a minimum, but that may be setting an unreasonable standard of civilization for that crowd.

Regrettably, the media are already panic-mongering and employing "wild west" and "combat zone" comparison to gin up the level of public frenzy, so it's a bit late to hope for restraint or journalistic ethics from that quarter.

As we do Depression Lite and FDR redux, we can only expect things to get worse as existing criminals and already desperate folks go screaming round the bend wreaking havoc and mayhem (literally and figuratively) along the way.

The next few years are going to be a rough ride, made rougher in many ways by certain political groups regrettable beliefs regarding the improveability of human nature, and the ability of the demonstrably bad or mad to reform - where, however dismaying, quarantine is a better solution (and easier to undo than execution, in cases of "oops").

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gifts - Done.

Stocking stuffers - in an hour or so.

Frustrated w/ folks who claim they gonna do things and refuse to let others do them, despite any realistic evaluation indicating they *cannot* do them, largely due to refusal to follow (or in some instances seek) medical advice?


Self-Annoyance for not starting *much* earlier?


Next year?

Start much earlier, go selectively deaf, and plan on "do it myself" despite protests/etc to the contrary.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seattle Men's Chorus - A revival?

I've been a fond supporter of the chorus on and off since the early '90's, making a special point of attending first their free (and since abandoned) midnight concerts on Christmas Eve in an old theatre on Capitol Hill, to their delightfully silly and subversive holiday presentations that brought a twinkle to my eye and a wee giggle to my holiday cheer.

Some years ago that began to fade, concluding in the excessively artsy debacle of the '08 concert - where chorus leadership lost track of a key piece of reality...that most of us attending with such dedication have come to appreciate the Christmas Concerts as a cherished holiday tradition. We attend to giggle, to feel a little bit naughty, and to have our nostalgia stroked - to be reminded of the good, the festive, the fun in Christmas, and of the traditions and portions that didn't sting.

This years concert was an improvement over '08. While the first portion of the event consisted largely of in-jokes between music majors with occasional bashful hints at actual humor and mischief, the second act (barring an utterly repugnant hip-hop beat-box rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy") allowed the troupe "Captain Smarty Pants" (where it seemed all the humor and fun of past years had been increasingly quarantined, lest the rest of the chorus become infected) on stage and (thankfully) things began to pick up with a delightful "TV Holiday Show" skit, the return of "Silent Night" complete with two signed verses (ASL), and an absolutely FABULOUS performance of "Santa Baby" by drag star "Arnaldo" - one of the few queens who soars above the rest by the act of actually *singing* (and damned well) rather than indulging in that second-rate imitation, lip-synch.

That "Silent Night" was back was a joy...that it was followed by two Michael Jackson tributes (one a bit of liberal treacle, the other a holiday zombie tune), and Arnaldo's admittedly incredible number...rather less so.

I could've done without the Michael Jackson numbers entirely, but in recognition of the fact that Jackson (not unlike Judy Garland in a prior generation, or Bette Midler and Madonna in mine) has a large following in the community, I'm willing to grit my teeth and understand what I consider a distinctly overwrought response to his passing. And I loved Arnoldo's number.

However...after watching the chorus for a few years, and other events in other venues...when you have a piece as lovely as "Silent Night", particularly with the signed verses (don't knock it till you've seen it), that's what you end with - bring the house lights down at the end, back up, take your bows, and get off stage - leaving that warm fuzzy feeling behind to bring us all back another year.

Don't put us in that head space, then grab it away with a couple of pieces of fluff, and a DISTINCTLY raunchy rendition of Santa Baby (complete with very scantily clad bits of beefcake)...

Over-all, I'd say the Chorus may be making progress towards the irreverent, naughty, and joyous concerts of old - but that it has away to go from the recent trends towards terminal artsiness and pretension. Call it a "C+" with the note "The Chorus is obviously very talented, but the leadership could do far better in song selection and order. They struggle with a tendency to pursue their musical interests to the exclusion or at the expense of audience enjoyment. They do, however, show improvement."

If you read this, and you're going - think about making your arrival in time for intermission so you can enjoy the good part of the show.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just a thought...

It's NEVER a good thing when the response to a civil question is the use of armed security to haul off the questioner and/or threaten journalists...

Climategate - it's usually proof that someone has something to hide, or is downright lying, when they need to use armed security to haul off journalists...

Furnace Company Foolishness

Ran across American Fresh Air through ValuePak coupons offering $75 furnace duct cleaning. Came in, high pressure sales technique to 84yo depression era woman results in leaving w/ check for $700.00. And didn't consult the customer named on the invoice (moi) despite my being readily available by phone. I am unamused - sufficiently so that I am willing to act on it.

Representatives of American Fresh Air left external doors standing open at ground floor level, unplugged power to a server room and took down two web & mail servers, the core of my local network. 2nd Mail server going down killed outgoing e-mail for employer. Just for icing, the "techs" unplugged, and left unplugged various other electrical devices w/o consulting w/ homeowner.

Between security issue (open doors), actual damages (servers down), inflated prices, high pressure sales techniques American Fresh Air has engaged in sufficiently questionable practices that stopping payment has already occurred that the question of where we go from here becomes critical.

When I've hired an ATTORNEY they've cost less, on an hour for hour basis. When I've had a MD on hourly, it cost less. $350/hr for two furnace techs with no parts replacements seems a bit much when hiring an attorney to come in and clean furnace ducts would be $100/hr less, in my experience.

Given American Fresh Air's results on Yelp, recounting a similar tale again and again with various customers, I'm surprised that they haven't merited media coverage, AG investigations, or other severe business-impacting adventure. Sadly, I only "Yelped" after the fact...discovering their history a bit too late. Silly me.

I'm not sure whether to merely blog and yelp about it, approach the licensing board, talk to the BBB, call the cops on an "irish traveller" scheme, chat w/ the office of the State AG with passing mention of elder abuse and consumer fraud, get KOMO4 News problem solvers involved, do a general press release, or just file a class action - or all of the above. Their representatives comments and actions this morning will seriously affect my decision. I am *not* a happy camper.

I do suggest that avoiding this organization if at all possible should be a priority for prudent consumers. In the meantime, however, it's off to inquire whether they care to try and stay my hand.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I can't really abide...

I'm afraid I broke and became a bit cranky yesterday.

After listening to the surviving parental unit go on and on about various medical issues, how limiting they were, the level of pain, etc since September or so...but refusing to even consider making a medical appointment until various and magically appearing events took place...a never-ending supply of such events as the kvetching went on and on...I'm afraid I snapped yesterday morning for pretty much the rest of the day.

She now has appointments with her regular doctor, her back doctor, and the furnace duct cleaning folks. Her new freezer was delivered this morning.

Best friend got caught in backlash when he started whinging "I don't WANNA go anyplace, it's TOO COLD!!!" after my mornings adventure - and found himself in sudden possession of long underwear, socks, earmuffs, and gloves.

A certain reasonable of whinging is perfectly ok and good, tending to keep the blood pressure down and such. But more than a day or so, and neither any action to explore or resolve issues, nor any reason for such lack of action beyond "whhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine"...someone in your orbit needs to apply a swift verbal kick in the slats and blast you outta your rut.

And today I'm off to try and dissuade "excessive creativity" in favor of "keeping it simple is CHEAPER"....

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Ball Cookies


1 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp water
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar; add water and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour and chill for 3 to 4 hours. Shape into walnut-sized balls. Dip in red or green colored sugar. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet about 25 min at 325 degrees. Doubling or Tripling the recipe is a GOOD thing.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Perhaps a different Christmas...

Now that the nieces are pretty well taken care of for the holiday, perhaps a different sort of Christmas is in order - one that does a bit of good for the nation, while still massaging the "tradition nodes".

Much as I love it, perhaps given the jacked up electricity rates, I can manage to do without the outdoor lights this year. And the outdoor wreath. The tree, however, will remain sacrosanct. And if enough folks jump on board, perhaps we can undermine the new "revenue creation" rate plan attempting to cover the vast deficit the city is running as a result of equally vast over-spending.

At the same time, non-niece Christmas gifts look likely (aside from stocking stuffers) to morph to gingerbread. No sales tax on the ingredients, easy to make, and usually received with glee.

Give it some a whole new meaning to starving the beast, doesn't it?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter Cooking - Lasagne

Doing a lasagne mid-summer is doable, but less fun - but now we approach the cool months, and as soon as I can find a large enough group so I'm not noshing on aging lasagne for a month...


1-1/2 c Olive Oil
1 lb Lean Ground Beef or Bison
1 lb Medium Italian Sausage
1 Onion, Finely Chopped (1/8” or less)
3 Bulbs (not cloves) Garlic, Finely Chopped
2 cans, 28 Oz ea. Crushed Tomatoes
1 can, 8 Oz. Tomato Sauce
1 can, 8 Oz. Tomato Paste
Tabasco Sauce
Chili Powder

3 tsp Basil
3 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
15-25 Lasagne Noodles (Depends on your pan)
1 container (15 Oz.) Ricotta Cheese
½ c. Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 to 1 ½ c. Freshly Minced Parsely
1 egg
1 ½ lbs Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

If Italian Sausage is fresh, freeze it. Once frozen, take out and slice each sausage twice lengthwise, quartering it along the length of the sausage. Cut each quarter in ¼” thick slices, and place in bowl.

Heat Olive Oil (I prefer Extra Virgin) in large wide saucepan; add the ground beef (or bison), the Italian sausage, half the onion, and half the garlic. Saute, stirring regularly, until the meat browns (10-12 minutes)…should have a strong onion – garlic scent.

Once the meat is browned, transfer contents to a 6+ quart kettle, place on a low to medium heat, and add the crushed tomato’s, the tomato sauce, and the tomato paste. Stir well. Now add the basil, oregano, and ½ of the remaining garlic and onions. Add 4 shakes of Tabasco, a handful of chili powder, and salt and pepper. Stir THOROUGHLY and taste. Add spices as needed. Remember, with this sauce if you can’t see the spices, you’re doing something wrong. Simmer for 3-4 hours over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add remaining onion and garlic as needed – feel free to mince and add more if you believe it will help.

Finely mince fresh parsley (leaf only, leave the stems for the rabbits) until you have about a cup to a cup and a half of the stuff. Toss into a clean large bowl with the ricotta, the egg, and the parmesan. Beat mixture together, cover, and place in the refrigerator.

Cook lasagna noodles in plenty of salted boiling water (I usually add a good dose of olive oil to keep them from sticking to each other) until ready. Rinse in cold water until you don’t see the oil coming off them anymore.

Heat oven to 3500F and select a deep baking dish or pan 8x13 or larger. Add enough of the sauce to thinly cover the bottom of the pan. Lay down your irst layer of noodles on top of the sauce. Dot the noodles with the ricotta mixture, splash liberally with the red sauce, and sprinkle a layer of mozzarella across the top. Repeat this process as needed till the next to last layer of noodles. Add all remaining ricotta mixture, cover thoroughly with sauce and Mozzarella, add a final layer of noodles, cover with wsauce, then thoroughly cover with Mozzarella (you shouldn’t be able to see the sauce).

Bake lasagna for 45-50 minutes in your pre-heated 3500F oven. The top should be a golden brown when completed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Climate Change & Critical Thinking

First off, science is *never* "settled". Some theories, having endured for decades without serious challenge, are perhaps less likely than others to be upset by new evidence to the contrary - but it is the very height of arrogance to assume that as a species we've discovered all there is to know on any given topic. That's the fundamental principal of science - that it's ALL up for grabs if you can produce replicate-able experimental data contrary to current theory...the debate is magically open know, that funny thing called the "quest for knowledge".

A good second thought on science is that valid science rarely ever meshes 1:1 to pre-existing political agendas. Any time someone makes allegedly science based claims that somehow magically seem to endorse the policy objectives of one interest group or political party (say "get rid of cars, promote mass transit, get rid of modern industry" or some form of creationism) it's a hint for anyone with more than a couple of neurons to rub together that odds are getting pretty significant that some level of scientific fraud is in progress, or at least that great skepticism should be employed until all data and data collection methods are examined openly.

Spin, baby, spin!

Now, given that the prime propagators of global warming have refused to disclose their data sources repeatedly, waged a political war in the world of science against those who hold differing views, and been frantically making claims that the "science is settled on global warming" - anyone with the aforementioned two simultaneously firing neurons should have already been good and skeptical some time back. Well, unless they found it *convenient* to their political agenda...

There's a word for it....fraud....

And now the dam begins to crack, and evidence begins to pour forth of selectively choosing evidence that favors a given political/theoretical agenda, suppressing evidence to the contrary, ignoring both scientific practice and actual law by failing to release data, and apparently, in some cases, destruction of inconvenient data.

This is neither the first nor the last time that alleged scientists have failed their ethical obligations and turned out to be naught but spin doctors in drag, but it is certainly one of the most expensive and crippling such faux pas.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Perchance something is going on..

The recent Monfort case, where the alleged perpetrator started out burning down police cars and escalated to a lethal ambush of police officers, killing one and injuring a second is, to put it mildly, a bit unusual in Washington.

This morning we have a second targeted ambush of police officers in Parkland, WA near Tacoma and the McChord Air Force Base/Ft. Lewis complex. Four officers were, according to early accounts, huddled around their laptops over assorted beverages at Forza Coffee. According to early reports, two armed individuals then burst in, shooting and killing the four officers. Local officials are currently describing this as a targeted killing.

Investigations continue.

Even as early as it is, and as certain as it is that more will come to light as the investigation continues, we can learn a few things from these recent tragedies - though I will gladly bow to the wisdom of those more knowledgeable than myself on such matters.

It seems to me that as private individuals we need to take note that, as the economy continues to tighten, that more individuals of greater desperation and ever less appreciation for consequences are running about loose attempting bad things to resolve their personal bad situations.

Further, many individuals, when things go south, have been spoon-fed the "oppressor-victim" tripe, and what is a symbol of authority in such a meme, but an oppressor?

In short, things are getting a bit frisky out, and likely to get moreso until the economy begins to improve. Stupid folks, making stupid choices, resulting in various levels of drama and tragedy are and will continue to increase in numbers until such time as prosperity returns to the land - which seems unlikely under the current administration.

With that in mind, upgrading situational awareness while hardening both ourselves and public servants as targets seems a meritorious project.

Be aware of what's around us, recall that a tool in a gun safe or on a nightstand isn't much use when YOU are at the bookstore or the coffee shop, and accept that no matter how good the police organization - they are not (and will not in the near term be) telepathic or precognitive, they have plenty to keep busy with, and that for the first few moments of a given incident..odds are, you will be *on your own*. Make choices accordingly.

As for hardening ourselves as targets - get training on shooting, defensive tactics, and how to avoid bad situations if you can find or afford it.

UPDATE: The shooter is apparently now deceased, after an unsuccessful encounter with a Seattle Police officer at approx. 0245 12/1/09.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Insights of a recovering liberal

At the Bredalucion today, I discovered a linked piece "The Wilding of Sarah Palin" that made some very good points while reminding me of the truism that nobody is more enthused about a given cause than a new convert.

While in many instances in agreement, I found portions of the article bore sufficient resemblance to the classic feminist trope that it made my headache as the urge to grasp the author by the shoulders and shake, while declaiming "you have come so far, Grasshopper, but yet remain so far!"

Regardless, I agree with Breda that it should be recommended reading for a number of reasons. The article does provide some valuable insights on how many liberals approach gender, race, and orientation and the view (common to both parties) "they are just fine as long as they are useful" meme regarding a given parties designated body of useful idiots - the ones that party regulars consider "gimme" voters, that they don't have to placate or consider, because it is simply beyond unthinkable to conceive that said stereotype group might go elsewhere or stay home.

The problem I have with the article is where it goes over the top with a fair amount of fluff and emotion where logic will do the job quite nicely. Just as fundamentalists on the right, women/race-based demographic groups/LGBT folks are welcome in the Democratic Party precisely as long as they are not strong, charismatic, or a terribly demanding.

A strong liberal woman, such as Hillary, provides a classic example of this misogyny, as the article in question points out. I have to ask if Jesse Jackson is really representative of the black community of 2009 (as most folks in that community I've run across are not, umm, quite so...vile?) And as a gay man, surely there must be someone better than Barney Frank to act as the LGBT poster boy on Capitol Hill? Barney Frank a simply horrifying figure on the scale of "Mr. Frank, could you PLEASE go be straight, now? Or at least retire?"

Feminism, to my eye, went awry a long time ago when it bought into the whole "designated victim group" mindset and became beholden to a political party. And that error is perpetuated to the extent that feminists flock to the Democratic Party Mammon (just as Christian Fundamentalists flock to the GOP version).

The beliefs that all persons are entitled to equality before the law (meaningful equality, not just lip service), that all persons deserve respect or condemnation based on their individual characteristics (as opposed to membership in one demographic group or another), and such...isn't really restricted to one party, and need not be.

More on this later.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Fudge-Packing Tale

Some years ago, a good friend was hotting up to come screaming out of the closet and do his year of madness, and consulting me as a more experienced sort and/or supportive person. His situation was a little different as his Dad had come out when he was in his early teens, followed by a vindictive divorce, and generally shabby treatment of his father and father's new partner - and refusal to tell my friend how/why his father had passed or was buried.

My friend had a little irritation stored up. His proposed Plan A was to stand up at holiday dinner at Grandma's house, come out with a vivid description of what, precisely, he enjoyed...followed by a 45 minute detailed declamation of "fuck you, I'm done".

It was my suspicion that this might be a less than ideal approach, with possible long term consequences, and thus to be averted if at all possible.

Thus, I suggested a trip to the lumber yard. We went down and picked up a bundle of 4'x2"x.25's and some 8' 1x12's and headed back to the house and the table saw, where we made about three dozen old-style wooden crates, before venturing forth to shop again. We bought straw, cling-wrap, and cards.

Mom walked my buddy (carefully not telling her what the ultimate goal was) through the process of making a quality old-fashioned fudge. Buddy goes home, and makes MUCH fudge. Waits for it to cool. Cuts it up in bite-size pieces, and cling-wraps it into about three dozen bundles, and returns to my place, fudge in hand.

On his return we fill the boxes with straw, carefully laying a bundle of fudge in each and a layer of straw atop it, before laying a card into each crate, and stencilling a logo upon each crate top before nailing each crate closed.

That year, my buddies relatives all got a very nice box of fudge. In an old-fashioned classy wood crate. Stencilled "Well-Packed". Containing a little Santa card with the signature line "From your favorite fudge-packer, *GC's Buddy*". Fully 3/4 of them never got it, but buddy felt vindicated and had only one other priority on his settling up list...which is a tale for another day!

Have some well-packed fudge today!! Happy Thanksgiving!!


Garlic Chicken Soup of Doom re-posting

I usually repost this once or twice a year, when colds and flu are especially dreadful. Tastes good, and tends to clear crud out of a persons head'n'chest for about 45 minutes if made properly. Good Luck!

Garlic Chicken Soup of Doom

2 Large Cans Campbells Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup*
1 lb Boneless Chicken Breasts, cubed to ½” to ¼”
1 8 oz. Can peas
1 8 oz. Can carrots
1 8 oz. Can sliced potatoes
1 8 oz Can Kidney Beans
2½ c. Chopped Garlic
6 tbsp Oregano
6 tbsp Basil
Chili Powder
Tabasco Sauce
Olive Oil

Coat the bottom of a large fry pan with olive oil. Add 3 tbsp of chopped garlic, 2 tbsp Oregano and Basil, and sauté over low heat until garlic shows just a hint of brown, stirring occasionally. Add chopped chicken breasts, stir vigorously until intermingled thoroughly with spices, then continue to stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked white all through.

Meanwhile, drain all vegetables and place in large crock pot (slow cooker) with Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup. Add water to within 2" of top of pot. Throw in a couple of handfuls of pasta to thicken, if desired. Add remaining garlic and spices at this time, put crock pot on high setting.

When chicken is sautéed white all through, dump entire fry pan contents into crock pot, stirring in. Simmer for at least one hour.
Returning, take test sip. Add garlic until the soup begins to taste salty. Then add another tablespoon.

Now, add chili powder and Tabasco GENTLY, a bit at a time, until when you take a test sip it goes down smoothly…but you feel a distinct heated bite at the back of your throat after imbibing. (Note, if you over do, just let the soup boil down a bit, add some more water and pasta, let that boil down – repeat as needed…and all will be well).

*substitute any preferred chicken stock, and if substituting fresh vegetables rather than canned, be sure to increase cook time for proper spice saturation.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wound a little tight, are we?

There appears to have been a great kerfluffle over amidst the liberals, and in a rare display of corporate restraint, the kiddo's over at Google have exercised some restraint and refrained from censorship of, what at base, is an inoffensive but uncomplimentary image of Michelle Obama.

The truth is that none of us can be pretty all the time, and - what with being human and all - Michelle Obama is just as vulnerable to a bad camera angle or maliciously timed shot as each and every one of the rest of us.

As for the monkey comparisons? Tacky, disrespectful, and possibly racist (certainly one feeble attempt at humor I saw while searching the relevant image was) - but after 8 years of the left deriding Bush II as a chimp, my "give a damn" is sharply limited.

"As ye sow, thus shall ye reap", after all...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Now and again...

I get to watch, dumb-founded, as those I would consider to have interests hostile to civilization practice some variety of "extend foot, open fire"..

THIS is such a moment. ACORN seems more an organization of corrupt thieves, frauds, bigots, traitors, and idiots every day. RICO anyone?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ye gawds, not again...

Generally, I find FoxNews less actively irritating than many of the other talking heads of national news (but still basically a dumbed down and thoroughly spun version of reality, just from a different direction that most of the rest of the electronic mass media - just a different spin).

Hell, I even like Huckabee's folksy manner. But what peeves me about Fox (and Huckabee, specifically) is their fundamental confusion about "separation of church & state = GOOD THING for all involved".

Faith groups of one sort or another when funded, protected, or promoted by government are inherently corrupted by and beholden to the government(s) in question - and on the flip side, when by force or persuasion clerics start getting elected to office, rational thought on public policy tends to leave the room in favor of "because it feels good" or "GAWD TOLD ME SO" and variants thereupon. Right up there with "for the children" and "if it saves just ONE life" for sheer irrationality and fear-mongering.

So, not surprisingly, when Huckabee has Chuck Colson on for a PR moment for Colson's nutjob theocracy promoting group and its' thinly disguised bigotry I'm less than amused. Grrrr......

Zero Tolerance, Overzealousness, & Dumbassery in Action

In general, "Zero Tolerance" is one of those things that sounds good to the unthinking, but in practice rules out the use of handy things like common sense, rational thought, or logic - it's "Zero Tolerance" after all, one size fits all, regardless of circumstances - right?

When combined with petty empire building, self-righteousness, and a distinct preference for emotive rather than logical thinking - this kind of thing inevitably leads to drama, injustice, and/or tragedy. It's not uncommon to hear of a child or youth expelled for having aspirin or a pocket knife with them in the educational environment, and now we hear of a case in Chico, California.

16yo Gary Tudesko had been out for a lovely morning hunting with a friend, and was intent on making class on time. Aware of school rules about firearms, he carefully parked off campus. Police dogs on some kind of dragnet mission alarmed on his truck, and when summoned from class, he stated he'd been hunting and that there were unloaded shotguns and ammo secured in his vehicle, and gave police permission to search his vehicle where they did indeed find such items. He was subsequently expelled, a matter now under appeal.

This leads us to a critical learning moment, one that we can't teach our youth too early - that authority is not necessarily your friend, and being "nice" is not necessarily your best course.

Tudesko would have been better advised, IMHO, to refuse any comment on the contents of his vehicle and declined to allow a search until a warrant was produced, thus making it far more difficult for the overzealous sorts now hassling him to find something to hassle him *with*. If arrested, his best course would have been to demand an attorney and a parent (as a minor) and refuse to state anything beyond his personal identifying information until such were supplied.

Now, it sucks that things in California (and sadly, many other places) have gone so far awry that someone with a generally favorable view of law enforcement such as myself is cheerleading for such a hard care and uncooperative approach. But short of advocating insurrection against a nanny state gone mad, minimizing cooperation in ones own destruction is probably the best path to damage control when faced with a bunch of zealots on the rampage du jour.

Tudesko is likely more or less screwed, barring moving to a more sensible state. It's unlikely in the extreme the high school junior will be re-admitted, and if he is, he will be stigmatized and under a microscope for the remainder of his academic career at Willows or any other California school, and they will more than likely do their darnedest to mess with his college prospects. He can pretty well kiss graduating with his friends goodbye. Good luck to him, but I am less than optimistic, and certainly wouldn't wish the joys of a "correctional" or "remedial" California school upon him.

Helpful soul that I am, the folks on the Board at Willows Unified School District that expelled this young man can be reached at :

Sherry Brott President 934-7573
Alex Parisio Vice-President 934-3656
Susan Domenighini Member 934-2084
Jeromy Geiger Member
James "Buck" Ward Member


The superintendent who advocated for this action can be best reached at (since he apparently declines to publish his district contact info on the web) via:

Kim Schmies, Administrative Assistant
Tel 530-934-6600, Extension 2
Fax 530-934-6609

Friday, November 20, 2009

Q & A courtesy of Mayor McGinn's Transition Team & a Certain Cynic

How do we build the strongest possible team to achieve the policy objectives and values set forth during Mike's campaign?

By carefully avoiding true believers and with equal care selecting phlegmatic pragmatists dedicated to the proposition of a "city that works", and that dreams are best kept as icing. Values and objectives don't feed starving, arrest the criminal, protect the innocent, buy a fire engine, or fill a pothole.

As a city, Seattle is in deep fiscal trouble, and can't *afford* much in the way of dreams or new initiatives. What we need is a strong dose of "back to basics", volunteerism, and task-shedding until the economy improves and the City can again afford the secondary services and luxuries to which our residents have become accustomed.

How do we build public trust in the new administration?

Ending the practice of ignoring the expressed wishes of the electorate - if they vote to build a monorail, man up and build it - even if you don't like it. If the electorate says no to stadiums, grit your teeth and accept the will of the people. End the Nickels legacy of vindictive petty tyranny and governmental dysfunction.

Specifically, pull the hated parking meters from Ballard/Fremont. Restore the 4-lane striping on Fauntleroy, and rather than a long single turning lane...implement smaller selective ones at intersections where left turns are actually frequent, finding the space in either street expansion or minimal reduction of parking the Queen Anne firehouse that Nickels spitefully obstructed. Try honesty and listening rather than arrogance and bullying.

What do you view as the incoming administration and the city’s greatest challenge – what should we do first out of the gate?

Roll back the Nickels debacle, and with it, the pretentiousness. Call a spade a spade - SDOT is an over-glorified Street Department - call it a "street department" and be done with it. Let SPD hire cops, not statisticians and administrators. Return the City to it's core missions, which with luck it can actually pay for - fire, police, emergency medicine, and streets - and perhaps, operating City Light, though it could easily be argued that City residents would be better served by City Light as a separate agency with independently elected officials.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Glimmer of Light

I love the LGBT community and in many senses, most of its members. I enjoy the diversity, the vibrant nature of the community, the "less BS per square inch" nature of the bars, and the vibe...and who knows, I might get a date.

Of course, all this usually comes to a screeching halt outside of a very few trusted friends when it comes to political discourse...where there seems to be an amazing lack of diversity, acceptance, and tolerance for differing views, and disapproval is expressed with all the enthusiasm and charm of a rabid weasel. Logic is irrelevant, ad hominem attacks are good, and variation from the party line is an offense worthy of public verbal lynching and getting ostracized.

Now and again, however, there will be a breath of fresh air wafting through the flatulence-laden miasma, and I'd like to thank Tam and FarmDad for being gracious enough to first point out and then remind me of this one, so that I might write this post.

In general, personal attacks cheapen political discourse and tear down the attacker as much as they damage the attacked - a questionable strategy. Humor and smart-ass comments are a different critter, as are attacks on a mindset or concept - it's the personal attack, the ad hominem "this person is bad, thus anything they might say is tainted" that has led to the much-bemoaned lack of reverence and respect for our "fearless leaders"...

The multiply linked article above is a step in the right, if they start saying kindly things about Sarah Palin...well...

If it walks like a duck...

Over at Walls Of The City, Linoge is running an occasional word substitution project not unlike the "Bigotry Test" I've proposed from time to time.

Take a quote, any quote, about a group of folks...and substitute a *different* group of folks that it's not politically correct or terribly prudent to demonize for each original description....and see if the statement in question sounds so high and noble....or just vile and bigoted. Test seems to bear up pretty well under usage, and after a bit, you find yourself spotting a much higher amount of "spin"...and bigotry.

SHOCK! Those anti-gun folks...are BIGOTS of the first water. I know we're all surprised - but use the above test, and read their writings...heh.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thinking Ahead...2010

Fresh from the '09 election and prior to installing the new harvest of idiots and miscreants to office, it's time to think ahead a bit unless we want to be stuck with the usual choices between marginally different piles of ambulatory defecation that have passed for political candidates in recent years.

Regrettably, merely bitching about the dearth of worthwhile candidates is deeply unlikely to improve matters. The very best candidates (i.e., the ones that would largely leave the population alone, barring some kind of vast emergency) are frequently reticent about running and require substantial urging, while the BFN (Bloody Fucking Nightmare) candidates are only too glad to jump in on the race.

So, as good little activists with GOALS, we need to step up to the plate and either (god forbid) run ourselves...or vastly less trying, recruit up candidates that serve as a voice of sanity and minimalism. In either case, the time to do that for a Fall 2010 election is *just about now* as it takes TIME to roust up cash and supporters for the candidate du jour and begin properly undermining the opposition!

Have YOU considered running for Sheriff today? Or your friendly local legislature/town council/county council/etc? Or do you have someone handy to start nagging to do so?

Start now, beat the rush!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Local Custom

For left to another discussion...Colorado doesn't recognize WA Concealed Pistol Licenses, declines to issue non-resident concealed carry licenses, and doesn't recognize non-resident licenses issued by other jurisdictions (whose licenses Colorado DOES recognize for residents of same jurisdictions.

Result? A whole bunch of folks at Blogorado complied with the law....and went open-carry, some of us for the first time.

Mischievous as I am, at home I usually go CPL-route because despite the amusement value inherent to freaking the mundanes, in my daily life I'm a fan of peace and quiet - and bent-brained mundanes can quickly lead to exciting discussions of the (likely unconstitutionally vague) WA brandishing statute with local law enforcement, followed by substantial expenditure of time and treasure - particularly likely in more PC locales.

Thus, among many other new and pleasant experiences at Blogorado, I open-carried on an *intentional* basis for the first time of any length. And while I haven't parsed out the political/activism pro's/con's of the Open Carry movement - I've a whole new appreciation for just how darned good it feels not to be fretting about concealment and such...

Whether it's generally prudent is another matter...but the up-front honesty, for lack of a better term, of Open rather charming.

Home Safe...

Cynical self is TIRED...and facinig a 5 day Auto Show...and doing laundry.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Drive Home...

A wistful breakfast as friends new and old parted, at least for the moment, to wend their way to their far-flung homes, abodes, and troll caverns via plane, train (well, not so much), and automobile – Blogoradans lingering over their coffee, recognizing this rare and special event was winding to an end.

Farmgirl and Snarky ventured forth, only to croak an engine…even as Ambulance Driver began to resuscitate his vehicle with FarmDad’s assistance, that he and his waif might limp the sacrificial Ram back to the bayou’s. Christina_LMT and I ventured forth to discover our failed stereo and an odd squeak-whine under the hood. Others trod their sundry paths back to their domiciles, with news bulletins rolling in slowly.

En route, after much discussion and logic-chopping, Christina came to the conclusion that Las Vegas no longer meets her needs personally, professionally, or in any other sense. She’s MOVING. To TEXAS. Down near JPG and Matt G.

Christina, multi-talented woman that she is, is good at many MANY things. Sadly, asking for help is not upon this list of skills. Soooo…..

Start calling and asking her when the Christina Convoy forms up. Send her move money. Decent soul that she is, massages may well happen in exchange. No, calling her and breathing heavily into the phone does not help! Hurry, Hurry Peoples!

Note, the theme song of the Christina Convoy will be “Convoy” by C.W. McCall. Fun is a semi-secondary objective. Requests for snack and recreation stops will be considered.

Many, MANY thanks...

Verily, let it be proclaimed upon the land, that FarmGirl, she of slender yet distinctly feminine build (let no person cast aspersions upon her feminity, for in truth, all gossip aside, she does indeed have bosoms and buttocks of proper form and shape, and is most unlikely to vanish utterly if turned a mere ninety degrees) and legendary hostess skills hath, in conjunction with her marvelous, hospitable, and congenial family performed a vast and complex task in service of that body known as Gun-Blogging Community, gathering the most talented and gracious among them into a single event known as Blogorado where many loud noises erupted and sulfurous fumes emitted (and yea, know ye that guns were fired also).

The lithe and lovely FarmGirl didst most skillfully arrange a guest list of convivial persons, and in conjunction with her fabulous family (aka FarmFam), didst coordinate Blogorado such that attendees were buried beneath multiple mighty trenchers of marvelous food, arranged an amazing range coordinated with assistance from the Jims Of Legend, and steeds were ridden by parties of frame ranging from waiflike to “of substance”.

Therefore, let all know by this writing that these persons are to be congratulated and honored for their skilled, effective, and talented services.

Blogorado #3

With more than 6,000 rounds downrange, the Blogorado crowd retired as dusk fell (and the range policed up for re-loadable brass) to the long and mighty jaunt into town, led by the redoubtable Ambulance Driver in his mighty white Ram Charger, thundering down the local highway into town – a device carefully calibrated for speed, weight, and penetration – when lurching forth from the brush burst a mighty white tail buck.

With a weave to the right, and a jog to the left, Ambulance Driver pursued his vicious prey and with a great THUD struck the miscreant deer while seeming striking a mortal. wound upon the sacrificial Ram, hurling the buck into the brush as it leapt into the nearby field only to collapse after brief flight and pass on to the great cornfield in the sky.

Lest my own role be forgotten, I leapt forth accompanying AD in his great mission, standing in awe of his potent and original invective, and loaning him a .45 lest the yet unfound buck attack again from a slit trench hidden amongst the weeds.

About 100 yards in, the corpse appeared in the glowing light of many many LED light sources, and after a few pokes and prods, the deeply non-aggressive status of the buck was determined.

Meanwhile, the rest of the valiant Blogorado crowd rolled up, impressed with the skill and timing of the intrepid hunter and his vehicular sacrifice to bag a 20” spread 8pt buck.

Springing into action, the most experienced accident response team west of the Pecos leapt to assist the frazzled AD – summoning the local minions of Law, Order, and EMT as if with a chalked pentacle centered on the highway. Between LawDog, MattG, OldNFO, Ambulance Driver his own bad Paramedic-Instructor self, JPG, and Farm Dad an unparalleled concatenation of talent and experience had already flooded the scene long before the "official" officials arrived..

In several flashes of red and blue lights, the minions appeared, with a faint smell of diesel with a tinge of bacon and the faint aroma of Krispy Kreme - only to find the buck largely dressed out, with the head mounted upon the hood of the Ram, dressing out well in progress.

Before their very eyes did appear the spectacle of the angry Cajun Truck-Dead dance, involving much pelvic thrusting and many frantic war cries, “Youse! See What Happens when you have opposable thumbs?!”

Bewildered and bedazzled, the minions wandered boggled into the night (even the hot young deputy that many desired as a chew-toy), having seized the horned trophy fetish and the attached head for their own arcane uses.

Relieved, the Blogoradans loaded fresh venison upon the designated vehicle of burden as well as the mighty hunters lesser weapons and accessories, and the Atomic Nerds attached a strap of fiber and steel to the stricken Ram, dragging it hence that it might be either healed or buried with proper honors.

Matters resolved, even the waif gathered amidst the merry band at the sacred meeting place to recount events of the evening amidst laughter and song, beer and beef distributed in limitless quantity, as the hero of the night was succored and his weary muscles kneaded into submission. Proudly he emerged seemingly unscathed with a happy smile upon his face and a slightly dazed look about the eyes…

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blogorado #2

Fun, boom-time, and good social moments had by all yesterday. Breda took honors a couple of times, and it turns out it's really neat to shoot after a long time away from the range with some fairly experienced and talented instructors right handy. Speeds up the rust-scraping process on the skills, and such.

Horses today, more turning $ to smoke'n'noise. Got to play with an AR or two yesterday (YES! There ARE centerfire rifles I can get away with!) , some exotic firearms (at least to me), and generally a good time was had by all.

Off to breakfast to greet the last of our latecomers!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blogorado #1

Landed in Vegas (always fun, one of my favorite airports) Wednesday night, and met Christina_LMT at baggage claim. As the ever-useful drivers license vanished (May Ve See your Paperz, Please?), life grew temporarily complex and intriguing during the pick-up of more sensitive items of luggage...but the re-appearance of the drivers license made things all better.

Twenty hours on the road w/ stops only for food, potty, and a 45 minute nap up till the last hours wandering the back roads of rural Colorado in the dark, wondering if we were *really* on the right road...educational. Consensus? If this comes down next year, we all fly into Amarillo and drive here while looping "CONVOY" on car sound systems, with OC starting at the Texas Border.

Open carry is a bit of a hoot. I haven't OC'd much at all (at least on purpose) in the past, and it's a new and liberating experience. The notion of our herd of 15-20 OC folk toodling around to lunch and such is more than a bit of a hoot, particularly depending on what setting you imagine this in...

Smartassery and snarkiness abound here, and FarmFam is providing some AWESOME bbq meals and snacks...wondrous host-peoples. More later. Time for brekkies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"I carry a gun, because cops are too heavy..."

SPD is a really top-flight department...but until they become precognitive, the very best they can do is to investigate, mop up the blood, and fill out the forms.

All worthwhile, but not a huge help when one is busy being the subject of violent crime.

It's not ironic, so much as cleverly expressed wisdom...have you SEEN a cop lately? Even a young spritely one, weighed down with the ever more popular bat belt, could throw someones back out....45 Para (w/ or w/o gold plate, rhinestones, and salacious engravings) is MUCH lighter than 200+ lbs of cop...

Monday, October 19, 2009

FWIW, My General Election 2009 Endorsements

Dedicated to all three of my readers...

Off and running, in an off-off year we're not bothered with electing legislators (aside from rare exceptions), Governors, Lt. Governors, or a wide variety of other critters - we get ballot measures, some muni-critters, the occasional mayor, and oddball hospital board and port director slots.

Initiative 1033, to borrow an oft-used descriptor, is a "starve the beast" small government initiative, with mandatory donations to a constitutionally protected rainy day fund and a "refund the overages to the citizenry" provision - with the proviso that the citizenry can make exceptions by a vote. Problem with this is that it a *statutory* critter...and thus amendable by the Legislature in the first two years by a 2/3 majority of that august body..and by a simple majority thereafter. Odds are good it will suffer the same fate as the the similarly concieved Initiative 695 and be gutted at the first moment it becomes inconvenient to the dominant majority du jour. Nevertheless, I endorse it, albeit less than enthusiastically, as a *gag* "message" measure...a relatively subtle hint to our elected sorts that voter patience is wearing thin....

Referendum 71 is an attempt to repeal the "Everything But Marriage" '09 Domestic Partnership bill. While I'd much rather simply see the state get entirely out of the business of "marriage" and leave it to the religious sorts, limiting itself to *domestic partnership for all* with all the current legal encumbrances, responsibilities, and dysfunctions of the legal side of the institution - I don't see that happening, realistically, any time soon. The act was and is a "good first step".

The funky way Washington phrases such things, a vote "for" or "to affirm" keeps the law in force, "no" or "reject" repeals it. The arguments I've heard for it "but it will force churches to marry same sex couples against their tenets" (specious - have you heard of the Catholic Church being forced to marry divorcee's? It's a first amendment thing.).

To gently fisk the folks over at SoundPolitics a tad...

Unfortunately, laws affecting children, property ownership, health and retirement benefits, inheritance and a host of case law are based on the traditional one man, one woman definition of marriage.

And the same could be said some years ago of various Jim Crow laws. Simply because something is, or is traditional, is a null argument that things should continue thusly. The same can be said of equating "good" and "new" - meaningless mouth noises emerging from shallow minds, OR, more sophisticated sorts trying to manipulate shallow-minded sorts with inadequate analytical skills.

What harm is derived by allowing same sex couples to protect their children, their wealth, share their health and retirement benefits, and bequeath their worldly goods as they see fit? What good, beyond satisfying Bertha Betterthanyou, is served by denying simple equality before the law?

A few states have expanded marriage to include same sex couples while others have revised the laws regarding adoption, benefits etc. by passing so called "domestic partner" legislation. Senate Bill 5688 falls in the latter category just short of the Gay community goal of full marriage but it opens the door to all manner of law suits and legally forced acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.

Lifestyle implies choice. In most cultures, honesty is considered a virtue - and the average LGBT person is presented with the same choice they have regarding gravity ...they can either admit to themselves and others who they are and live honestly...or bury themselves in self-deception, the deception of others, or both - and all the dysfunction that attends upon such a dishonest choice. Such a choice is no choice.

Acceptance? That cannot be forced. "No Touchies"? That is a worthwhile goal. It's called *tolerance*. As in keep your paws to yourself, tend to your own relationship(s), and should you feel a need to *comment* have at it - though you may not enjoy the response. The only legally enforced acceptance is recognition of equality before the law - the ability to enjoy all the privileges and responsibilities of a consenting adult with a mutually consenting sort in a long term relationship.

Much of what is in Senate Bill 5688 is currently available to domestic partners. It comes too close to redefining marriage and threatens my right to hold a biblical view. What's next, polygamy? However, I fully recognize there are strong differences of opinion. Many leading citizens of good will, including some in the religious community, approve of Ref. 71.

Again, deceit. First a little side step about "much" - equality before the law dictates *all*. Redefining marriage? Take it up with your pastor - other folks relationships are none of your business, so long as they are adult and consenting. And the "threatens your right to hold a biblical view" is simply a scaremongering farce - nothing in the Act restricts your viewpoint (merely your ability to inflict it on others via force of law), or to express your views publically or privately. One can only conclude a conscious or subconscious agenda of bigotry hiding behind rationalization of greater or lesser effectiveness.

Vote YES to affirm on R-71. And may the signers of the petition and the donors to the campaign be well-publicized throughout the land - let the sun shine in!

City of Seattle Proposition 1 - A massive housing levy. In better times, I might say differently - but with the city 60+ million in the hole, and the state waltzing into a 9 billion dollar fiscal black hole, voting to spend money we don't have is sheerest idiocy. Now is the time to be *cutting* programs, not expanding them. Leave this to charity and family, and get back to your core mission - keep stuff from burning down, blowing up, getting shot up, fill the potholes, and keep the streets clear when it snows. All else, for a city, is optional...and right now, we're running out of options. VOTE NO.

King County Executive - Dow Constantine is, by all accounts, a really nice guy. And I like his campaign staff - not only smart, but stunningly cute. However, he's more of the King County Liberal Democrat establishment - and King County needs someone to pull the flush handle, not more of the same. Vote for Susan Hutchison - she's been working in the non-profit sector since leaving the TV news biz, and doing a good job. That she appears libertarian/conservative is only a bonus - she won't likely be able to overcome the Establishment Inertia, but just perhaps she'll be able to shake things up and put a stop to some of the sillier antics at County level...say, maybe, starting by letting the Sheriff negotiate contracts with the Sheriff's department employee's.

Sheriff - Sue Rahr is running unopposed (NEVER a good thing), but thus far she's done a good job and advocated for public safety even-handedly, and stood up for her department against some fairly underhanded attempts to undermine her at the expense of public safety. Vote for Sue, but still...unopposed, never a good thing.

Port Commissioners 1, 3, 4 - it's VOTE AGAINST THE INCUMBENT real winners here, unless you have a special interest the port can serve, then who looks easiest to boggle/manipulate might come into play. Rob Holland, who I've met, seems nice enough...but too young, and too easily influenced from my impression.

City of Seattle
Mayor - we're presented with competent evil vs incompetent evil. The kindest thing I can say about Mike McGinn is that in his arrogance and certainty of his own moral virtue, he may do less damage simply because it will be easier to see his particular variety of really vivid idiocy early on, before it can do much damage.

Joe Mallahan, on the other hand, comes from a management environment and may actually be able to worm some of HIS variety of especially festive ninnyhood past the spectators and get it done before anyone notices or is able to do much about it.

Neither, if elected, will serve more than one term as the Nickels legacy will eat alive whoever is elected, and then crap them out on a hill of fire ants for emphasis. I'm torn on this one...the coin came down for Mallahan, mainly on the theory that the city can't put up with another 4 years of government of "because I wanna" and "because it FEEELS SOOOO GOOOD".

City Attorney Pete Holmes is a regrettable "please, Gawd, let it only be one term" choice, but given Tom Carr's performance as City Attorney, he's the least bad choice. Vote Holmes on this one.

I've run outta steam...but...DUMP CONLIN, KEEP LICATA...and Sally Bagshaw seems like a nice, if well-meaning, sort...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On Referendum 71 and its' supporters

In the 2008-09 Legislative Session, the WA Legislature passed an "all but in name" domestic partnership bill. After a hotly contested signature drive, featuring a federal judge ordering the names of petition signers concealed (a first ever in State history, and in contradiction to State law), a referendum to repeal this act will be on the ballot.

To make it better, the way WA does referendums will mean that voting *for* the referendum will preserve the law, and voting *against* will repeal domestic partnership benefits. This opens a can of worms for all kinds of shenanigans.

The below is a recent editorial response of mine...

I have to ask - are heterosexuals so easily influenced and insecure in their relationships that the prospect of others enjoying the same rights as they do puts heterosexuals marriages in dire danger?

Is their commitment to their partner so insincere that it can only be preserved by denying others the same rights they enjoy?

Or are the proponents so flawed in their own eyes that they can only distract themselves from their inner agony that they must seek to control and denigrate others?

Does the fanaticism of their faith drive them to attempt to force us, a diversely populated state, to adhere to questionably constitutional (i.e., "God Told Me So" is inherently suspect as a reason for law-making) legal tradition at the expense of families, children, and communities?

Is it really necessary to legislate bigotry against the LGBT community, a historic scapegoat du jour?


Sunday, October 11, 2009

On Undeserved Prizes, and the wisdom of accepting them...

President Obama, he of questionable wisdom (and citizenship, and probity) and unmatched skill at cleverly and strategically hurling allies under sundry buses, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2009 - less than a year into his first term as U.S. President, after an ineffectual career as a U.S. Senator, part-time state legislator, sometime attorney, and occasional author.

"I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize," he said. "I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st century." - Barack Obama, 9 Oct 2009

He'd be better off humbly rejecting it, and the award itself better served.

When an individual accepts an obviously undeserved award historically given for vast accomplishment for, essentially, "we sure hope you make the United States more European and self-emasculating" rather than any actual achievement - that individual is lessened, and their credibility diminished... tarnished by accepting an award unjustly given.

At the same time, when a committee gives an award such as the Nobel Peace Prize for, effectively "being black AND not George Bush", it tarnishes the award for all future recipients by ladling layers of political whimsy over what is intended as an award to recognize actual human achievement (rather than often unused potential).

The committee ill-served both the award and the recipient, damaging both. Obama made the second best available response to such egregious ass-kissing, and did himself and the nation no favors in making that choice - the wisest course would have been to graciously decline the Prize, and express hope that, after he steps down as President, perhaps the committee will be better able to evaluate his achievements.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stereo's, Manslaughter, and Justice

This is a sort of continuation of my last posting, but from a more objective and less personal viewpoint. I posted this elsewhere a little bit ago on the same incident.


In general if you're involved in a situation where there's a body cooling or looking like it might be right soon...STFU is a good rule to follow until your attorney is not only present to do your talking for you. "Name, Rank, Serial#" probably won't get you into trouble, but beyond that it gets perilous as far as I can tell...

This principal often applies elsewhere.

Now, with that said -

1) I think rifle fire is an overenthusiastic response to stereo theft.

2) I think prosecuting someone for manslaughter when they (a) observe theft in progress, (b) firmly suggest the thieve(s) stop, and (c)observe said thief, having been ordered to stop, engage in an apparent "arming motion" is *ALSO* a bit overenthusiastic (even if said shooter utters "I didn't mean to...." subsequently. I say this even in light of our shooter having declined the opportunity to step back.

Right and wrong are not an "on-off" switch most of the time. In this instance, I suggest that while bad choices were made...they were made by all parties, and that the departure from this veil of tears of a car prowler (even if excessive) at the hands of his victim is not worthy of prosecution at a felony level - a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor time-out for over-enthusiasm on the part of the shooter seems a more appropriate charging.

The RCW grows every year...and seldom to the benefit of the public, as redundant and/or unreasonably vague/conflicting laws are added to the books in the name of "it feels good", vote-buying, or "looking busy/tough" - something this situation might cause us to consider. Is the *law* as it currently stands, dysfunctional?