Thursday, June 06, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Jane Mayer: "Obama’s Challenge to an Endless War"

Jane Mayer (The New Yorker):
One first impression left by President Obama’s much-anticipated speech re-casting U.S. counterterrorism policy is that of the contrast between Bush’s swagger and Obama’s anguish over the difficult trade-offs that perpetual war poses to a free society. It could scarcely be starker. While Bush frequently seemed to take action without considering the underlying questions, Obama appears somewhat unsure of exactly what actions to take. That is not a bad thing: at least he is asking the right questions. In fact, by suggesting that, after a decade and seven thousand American and countless foreign lives lost, and a trillion dollars spent, it might be time to start downsizing the “war on terror,” he is leading the national debate beyond where even most Democrats have dared to go. MORE...

"Seattle Against Monsanto" (LIVE STREAMING VIDEO)

Live Video streaming by Ustream This is the March Against Monsanto Seattle Ustream.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

REPLAY: "Andy Borowitz, Lizz Winstead, Hendrik Hertzberg and Jeffrey Toobin give their take on what the future holds for the USA." (video)

Andy Borowitz: The Borowitz Report, video (1:29:12)
Andy Borowitz, Lizz Winstead, Hendrik Hertzberg and Jeffrey Toobin give their take on what the future holds for the USA.
from http://howieinseattle.blogspot.com/

GOT INFRASTRUCTURE? If you were thinking of heading north out of Seattle, think again.



This is also an example of all the deferred maintenance that many have been concerned about. This "collapse" should not have been a surprise.

"Awake Zion: a Documentary about the Links between Rastas, Reggae and Judaism" (with video)


"Awake Zion: a Documentary about the Links between Rastas, Reggae and Judaism" (KICKSTARTER.COM), with video (01:53):
Zion – It’s closer than you think… Awake Zion is a documentary that explores the surprising and unsuspecting connections between Rasta, Reggae and Judaism - through one woman’s beat-laden adventure into the meaning of identity. All the way back to the alleged sultry affair between the Jewish King Solomon and the African Queen of Sheba, Jewish influence is evident in the spiritual history of Ethiopia - turning up consistently in Rastafarian lifestyle and, inevitably, Reggae. Uniting Jewish and Jamaican musicians, scholars, and historians in a celebration of roots and culture - Awake Zion travels from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where Caribbean and Jewish cultures share a history of adversity - to Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae - and ultimately to Israel, where a sizzling reggae scene thrives today. Awake Zion challenges our shared preconceptions of what it means to be Jewish, to be Rasta, to be white or black - and, most importantly, the universal search for “Zion”, and what it means to be "home". MORE...

Monday, May 20, 2013

the FIELD NEGRO: Telling "black folks business."


the FIELD NEGRO:
President Obama was at Dr. King's alma mater today, and he had some strong words for the young men there. Some of you Negroes are saying that he was just having a Sistah Souljah moment at the expense of the Morehouse men, and that he is always airing black folk's dirty laundry when he speaks to a large black group. I have to respectfully disagree. That message the president sent today was on point and it needed to be delivered. MORE...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cornel West: "where Obama is going wrong"

Hugh Muir (The Guardian (UK):
What of America? "We elected a black president and that means we are less racist now than we used to be. That's beautiful. But when you look at the prison industrial complex and the new Jim Crow: levels of massive unemployment and the decrepit unemployment system, indecent housing: white supremacy is still operating in the US, even with a brilliant black face in a high place called the White House. He is a brilliant, charismatic black brother. He's just too tied to Wall Street. And at this point he is a war criminal. You can't meet every Tuesday with a killer list and continually have drones drop bombs. You can do that once or twice and say: 'I shouldn't have done that, I've got to stop.' But when you do it month in, month out, year in, year out – that's a pattern of behaviour. I think there is a chance of a snowball in hell that he will ever be tried, but I think he should be tried and I said the same about George Bush. These are war crimes. We suffer in this age from an indifference toward criminality and a callousness to catastrophe when it comes to poor and working people." MORE...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Seattle Mayoral: "Deconstructing the Candidates' Yeses, Nos, and Maybes"


Josh Feit and Erica C. Barnett (publicola):
Many people in Seattle still aren't clear where the candidates for mayor "stand on the issues." Josh Feit and Erica C. Barnett try to herd their answers into some consistent semblance of "positions." It's tough job, since the candidates are politicians trying to make lots of friends, in a hurry.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

SEATTLE: "On higher ed funding, immigration, gun control and the failure of the Democratic Party" (video)


Josh Feit (publicola@SeatleMet) with video (58:00):
My "Last Night" isn't nearly as exciting as Erica's, probably because, rather than being about a pepper-spray riot, it's about a panel discussion I was on called "Civic Cocktail" where people like Seattle Times editor Joni Balter showed up and paid $15 to watch people like me talk about urban agriculture and higher education funding. And, of course, my theory about why the NBA told Seattle "No": it's because the current voting owners didn't want to sign off on a deal that set a precedent where they couldn't rely so heavily on public money and instead had to make a personal guarantee. I didn't actually talk about urban agriculture; that fell to a couple of wonks from the city's Department of Neighborhoods. (I don't know anything about urban agriculture except that Seattle's P-Patch program (editor's note: Josh thought they were called "pea patches," for peas) seems incredibly cool.) MORE...

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

"Andy Borowitz, Lizz Winstead, Hendrik Hertzberg and Jeffrey Toobin give their take on what the future holds for the USA." (video)

Andy Borowitz: The Borowitz Report, video (1:29:12)
Andy Borowitz, Lizz Winstead, Hendrik Hertzberg and Jeffrey Toobin give their take on what the future holds for the USA.

"Joan Walsh on the Progressive Agenda" (video)


CSPAN, with video (44:11):
Joan Walsh talked about progressives' agenda for President Obama and congressional Democrats, and she responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Topics included the first 100 days of President Obama’s second term, sequestration, and gun control and the NRA. She criticized Democrats for often compromising their constituencies rather than standing up to Republicans, citing as one example the bill allowing the Federal Aviation Administration more flexibility in dealing with sequester budget cuts. She said that Democrats should have demanded a fix for all sequester cuts rather than just one.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Super South Seattle Mayor’s Forum @ SSCC-Georgetown" (with video)


West Seattle Blog with video (01:30:40):
The eight candidates are starting off answering a question about the moment when they decided to run for mayor.
7:06 PM: The wi-fi signal in here is intermittent, which is preventing reliable live-chronicling. So we’ll point you to Twitter for the rest of the way – look for hashtag #seamayor (can’t get a direct link right now but find it via our account at twitter.com/westseattleblog) MORE...
Howie P.S.: For me the star of the night was the moderator, C.R. Douglas.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

John Stewart on The Daily Show on Guns, NRA and the CIA (video)


Comedy Central (The Daily Show), video (32:07):
The Senate fails once again, John Oliver proves that gun control actually does work, and Mark Mazzetti sheds light on the CIA's secret wars.

"WATCH LIVE: 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner"


MEDIAite with video from whitehouse.gov:
Tonight, Saturday, April 27th, the 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner will be held at the Washington Hilton Hotel. This year’s host, Conan O’Brien, is returning to the event 18 years after he first emceed the event towards the end of President Bill Clinton’s first term. O’Brien and President Obama are both expected to deliver comedy monologues to the crowd, which will include some of the most powerful people in Washington, Hollywood and the media. /blockquote>

"Let Stephen Colbert’s Nerd Prom Speech Remind You Want Kind Of President George W. Bush Really Was" (with video)


Matt Wilstein (MEDIAite) with video (24:10):
It is somehow fitting that our week of all George W. Bush, all the time is ending with the 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner. Because, while he spent the whole week basking in the glow of polite revisionist history, it was seven years ago on the dais of that event that Stephen Colbert delivered the definitive dismantling of our 43rd president, while he was sitting just a few feet away. MORE...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"President Obama Speaks on Common-Sense Measures to Reduce Gun Violence" (video)


whitehouse, video (18:20):
President Obama makes a statement from the Rose Garden following the Senate's vote to block common-sense measures to reduce gun violence. April 17, 2013.
Howie P.S.: The money quote from Obama: "A shameful day for Washington."

"A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip"


 Gabrielle Giffords (NY Times, op-ed):
SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them. MORE...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

(Updated) WA: "4/13/13-Auctioning off an assault rifle to raise money?" (with video)

UPDATE: Natasha Chart has come up with the word to describe this: "Gunsturbating.'

E-mail from Jaxon Ravens (Executive Director-Washington State Democrats) with video (00:18):
I guess we know how the Washington State Republican Party feels about gun violence. This weekend at their annual Gala Auction and Dinner, the Washington State Republicans actually auctioned off an AR-15 style assault rifle. This is the same type of killing machine used in Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO. 1 2 Republicans wonder why they have trouble connecting with suburban, independent, and moderate voters. They wonder why they haven’t sat in the governor’s office since 1985. It’s because of actions like this. This is nothing less than a slap in the face to all Washington families who fear gun violence. Click here send the message to the Washington State Republican Party: Washington voters support common-sense steps to reduce gun violence. It is more important than ever that we hear your voice on gun violence. The United State Senate will vote today on legislation calling for expanded background checks. Even though 90 percent of Americans support expanded background checks, the bill faces an uphill battle. 3 4 Gun control has also faced obstacles on the state level. Expanded background checks failed to pass out of the Washington State House in Olympia this session. 5 But gun control advocates aren’t giving up. They are gearing up for an initiative on background checks that may appear on the ballot in 2014. We need to start building momentum now. 6 The Washington State Democratic Party stands by common-sense steps to reduce gun violence, like expanded background checks. Click here and join us today. Thank you,
1 2 3 4 5 6

Friday, April 12, 2013

WA: "State Tax Knife May Slice Amazon, Microsoft"


Renee Butler (TheStreet.com):
Washington is a near-mythical state, where the trees tower higher than most buildings, pot is legal, and beaches or state parks are omnipresent. The state also offers another big reason people choose to live there: taxes, or rather a lack thereof. In the state of Washington, residents don't pay state income taxes and companies don't pay corporate income taxes. As for companies, they're required to pay a gross receipts tax that's fairly low -- 0.13% to 3.3%. The state also offers a variety of other tax breaks for corporations, making it a popular spot for companies to be headquartered, especially those in technology. Point in fact, Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT) both call Washington state home. Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing to cut the tax break on business and occupation taxes by 25%. Granted, Inslee's efforts are all part of a bid to patch together the more than $1.5 billion deficit projected for the budget ending in mid-2015 and respond effectively to a Washington Supreme Court ruling that the state isn't contributing enough to public education -- but he seems to have invoked a much broader reaction. However, that could all be changing. MORE...

"Michelle Obama: “Hadiya Pendleton Was Me" (with video)


Abby Ohlheiser (Slate with video (01:13):
Citing the death of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton, killed days after performing at Obama's inauguration, Michelle Obama entered the gun violence debate today in a speech to Chicago business leaders.
The First Lady's most quotable line of the day resonates with her husband's remarks following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. Michelle Obama, who grew up in the South Side of Chicago, said “Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her,” adding:
"But I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya? Oh we know that story. Just a week after she performed at my husband's inauguration, she went to a park with some friends, and got shot in the back. Because some kid thought she was in a gang. Hadiya's family did everything right, but she still didn't have a chance. And that story, the story of Hadiya's life and death, we read that story day after day, month after month, year after year In this city and around this country. I'm not talking about something that's happening in a war zone halfway around the world. I'm talking about what's happening in the city we call home. The city where we're raising our kids."
Michelle Obama attended Pendleton's funeral in February. After her speech Wednesday, the First Lady went to Harper High School, where 29 current and former students have been shot in the past year. Recently, the school was the subject of a two-part This American Life story that examined daily life amid Chicago's gun violence.

Although the First Lady's speech emphasized sustained community responses to combat endemic gun violence, the first lady's Chicago trip was not without reference to the president's effort to reform the country's gun control laws in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shootings. The White House has been pushing hard on gun control legislation this week. On Monday, the President spoke in Connecticut, standing with family members of Newtown shooting victims. Those family members were in Washington on Tuesday lobbying for gun control reform, which will likely face its first vote in Congress on Thursday.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

"Social Security: Can Democrats Save Obama From Himself?"


Robert Kuttner (alternet.org):
The plan to cut Social Security will destroy any hope of recovery. ---President Obama picked the very day that new job creation collapsed to propose a deflationary budget deal featuring cuts in Social Security and Medicare. This is perverse economics and worse politics, on several grounds. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I'm sure you noticed, but just in case: The "Professional Left" is not happy.

Monday, April 08, 2013

"Diaz Retiring Is Great for the City and McGinn, But the Leadership Vacuum at SPD Is Enormous"


THE PEOPLE LEFT BEHIND THE CHIEF: In front is retiring chief John Diaz. Behind him from left to right are police union president Rich O'Neill, Deputy Chief Nick Metz, police disciplinarian Kathryn Olson, new interim chief Jim Pugel, and Mayor Mike McGinn. 

Dominic Holden (SLOG):
A lot will be made of Seattle police chief John Diaz leaving just as the mayor's race heats up. For his part, Diaz nervously scratched his upper arm this afternoon as he told reporters that he's retiring, not because he's an albatross in the mayor's reelection campaign, but because "this is the time to go." Despite a notoriously bumpy three years, he's helped cast a reforms in a court settlement, seen through innovations for handling nonviolent crimes, and helped hush the city's crime rate to a 55-year low. "I don't leave from a fight," he said. But when Diaz steps down in the next 45 days, he will leave behind a leadership vacuum much larger than his position—a vacuum that he helped created while was in the job—but one that was particularly evident by looking at the people standing right behind him. MORE...

(Updated) "Seattle Police Chief John Diaz steps down amid use of force order"

UPDATE: From the Seattle Times story:
“He had a quiet leadership style that can be both very effective and ineffective,” Councilmember Bruce Harrell said this morning.

oregonlive.com:
SEATTLE — Seattle Police Chief John Diaz is stepping down as his department faces a court order to address issues involving use of excessive force by officers.
The disclosure came Monday after difficult negotiations led the Police Department to enter a court agreement with the federal Justice Department last summer to address concerns that officers were too quick to use force.
Diaz has been criticized for his leadership style.
City Councilman Tim Burgess, who is running for mayor, said Diaz was too slow to adopt new strategies for preventing crime and to embrace the changes sought by the federal agency.
Burgess had said he would fire Diaz if elected.
Diaz is a 33-year veteran and the department's first minority chief.
“This has been a profession that I truly believe in,” he said during a news conference. His retirement goes into in effect in May.
Assistant Chief Jim Pugel will be named interim chief, according to Diaz.

"Newtown families voice support for gun control" (with video)

CBS News with video (14:19):
"Newtown" is now synonymous with unimaginable tragedy. But many of the families who suffered through it call it something else,"12/14," the December day that they lost a son, daughter, or wife when a dark young man with dark dreams awoke, murdered his mother and drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School. More from parents of Newtown victims Nearly four months later, just last week, Connecticut passed a gun control law that expands background checks and limits ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. Tomorrow, these families will push for the same in Washington. They believe that their only chance is to keep the resonance of that date ringing. Something else we noticed about "12/14," add them together, and you get 26, the number of lives lost at Sandy Hook. MORE...

WA: "For Regulators, Marijuana Legalization All About 'Getting Into The Weeds'" (with audio)


Austin Jenkins (Oregon Public Radio) with audio (05:53):
SEATTLE – When Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana last fall, they handed the state’s Liquor Control Board a regulatory nightmare. There’s no manual for how to create a safe and legal market for pot – something that’s never been done before. State Representative Roger Goodman – speaking after a recent meeting on marijuana legalization – says the giggle factor is gone. “Initiative 502 largely is about making marijuana boring. Because who cares about all this detail, technical, regulatory stuff," he said. "Well that’s what it’s all about is to get down into the weeds so to speak.” No pun intended. Inside a secret location in the Georgetown neighborhood of south Seattle, Brent Miller shows off a dark room. It’s called a "bloom room" full of maturing marijuana plants. “This is just when they’re asleep," Miller says. "We run them 12 hours on 12 hour off. Twelve hours of daylight – under thousand watt grow lights – followed by 12 hours of nighttime – for eight to nine weeks until the buds are ready to harvest. Miller grows pot for a large medical marijuana cooperative in the Seattle area. He’s invited a group of representatives from the Washington Liquor Control Board to see his operation. Among them: Mike Steenhout a former state budget analyst. Steenhout heads the Liquor Board’s research team. His full-time job these days is to learn the marijuana business – from seed to market – inside and out. He wanted to come here to see how they grow healthy plants. He peppers grower Brent Miller with a list of concerns. “Of course pesticides, pest control, mold control, what kind of fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, trying to learn more about that. I’ve noticed a lot of folks take a completely organic approach. Because that’s going to be kind of a challenging issue.” Under I-502, Washington’s Liquor Control Board will have to write the rules on everything from proper pesticide application to how to recall contaminated marijuana products. “Ultimately it’s about quality assurance is what I’m looking at,” says Steenhout. Let’s take just one of the thornier issues. In the marijuana business it’s common to use solvents like Butane to extract THC from the buds and leaves of pot plants. Jim Andersen of a company called XTracted admits he did this illegally for years. Now he does it for the medical marijuana industry. Done right, Butane extraction produces high-potency hash. Done wrong and you can trigger an explosion or produce a solvent-laced final product. The Liquor Control Board staff has come here to learn how Andersen safeguards against both problems. In another room he proudly pulls out a wax paper covered sheet of the extracted product. “Can you smell that aroma?” he asks. It smells like very powerful marijuana. And it is. This oily, yellow smear – picture a very thin cow pie – is Butane-produced Hash Oil or BHO. This particular strain is called “Plushberry.” Anderson says the THC level in this stuff is nearly 80 percent – that’s really high. In its final form it’s often smoked or vapor inhaled. Andersen hopes the Liquor Control Board writes strict rules for extracting THC out of the marijuana. He says in the illegal market people sometimes use lighter fluid – they call it blasting tubes. He adds any product headed to the legal market needs to be tested for residual solvent. “Every time, whether you are a back yard tuber blowing it and blasting it or you’re a professional extracting company above board, you need to have testing period,” Anderson insists. That’s where marijuana testing labs come in. In Seattle’s University District, the Liquor Control Board staff is treated to a PowerPoint horror show – under-the-microscope pictures of things you don’t want in your pot. “We have a mite here, which is not uncommon and some remains of mites,“ says Randy Oliver. He is with a Cannabis lab called Analytical 360. “Another problem that we see is there’s a lot of mold you can imagine here in Washington.” Mites and molds are not the half of it. There are all the food borne pathogens the people who handle the marijuana can leave behind – like E. Coli. Oliver’s lab tests for those dangers too. But he says just like in the food business there’s no replacement for strict handling and processing rules – whether the marijuana eventually ends up in a pipe, a brownie or a liquid drop you place under your tongue. “You know cleanliness is really critically here," Oliver says. "The equipment has to be clean, the facilities have to be clean and everything needs to be documented properly.” The problem is there are no national standards for lab testing marijuana. Mike Steenhout of the Liquor Board calls it the Wild, Wild West. And it’s not like he’s getting help from the FDA – marijuana is still a no-no at the federal level. So Steenhout and his colleagues have to build the regulatory structure for legal marijuana from the ground up. They’ve hired a team of consultants and will borrow from the rulebooks for places like commercial kitchens. At the end of a long day I ask Steenhout if this is daunting, complicated, overwhelming? “I’d use all of those words," he replies. "It’s like an onion. Every time that we pull a layer off there’s just another layer of complexity and information to learn. It’s immensely challenging. It’s by far the most complex thing I’ve very encountered.” In the end, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will have to balance the need to regulate this new industry against the cost of doing so. As the state’s new pot consultant says: it’s a goldilocks problem. Too much regulation will drive up the price of legal marijuana and encourage a black market. Too little and unsafe pot will reach consumers.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

"The No. 1 coffee shop in America" is WHERE!?!? (with slideshow)

 
 seattlepi.com:
The No. 1 coffee shop in America, according to The Daily Meal? It wasn't in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco or other any city known for fancy coffee. Ultimo Coffee in Philadelphia won the crown for best coffee shop. It was praised for its pour-over drips, niche coffee roasts and a refreshing lack of snobbery that sometimes comes with high-end coffee talk.
Howie P.S.: I'm surprised Mr. Goldstein isn't All Over this. If you want to see their list of "Best coffee shops in Seattle" you will find it at the link above.

"Connecticut Governor Eviscerates NRA Boss While Laying Into CNN’s Crowley" (with video)


Garrett Quinn (MEDIAite with video from CNN):
After passing some of the toughest new gun laws in the nation, Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy took to the airwaves to trash the NRA and others that oppose background checks. “Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus. They get the most attention and that’s what he’s paid to do,” Malloy said referring NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on State Of The Union. Malloy expressed frustration with how the gun that was used in the Sandy Hook massacre was legally purchased in hist state before continuing to trash LaPierre. “This guy is so out of whack, it’s unbelievable. 92% of the American people want universal background checks. I can’t get on a plane as the governor of the state of Connecticut without somebody running a background check on me. Why should you be able to buy a gun?” Malloy pleaded with host Candy Crowley to bring NRA officials that are against gun background checks “back to reality” on her program. Malloy went further and chided Crowley for not being tough enough on gun rights advocates. “You’re asking me about whether everyone should carry a gun and that’s the road to safety when in fact it is not,” said Malloy. MORE...

WA: "Medical question mark for state’s pot market"


 "In Washington’s marijuana policy hothouse, where views are balkanized, pot advocates are divided about what — if anything — needs to be done about medical weed."

 Bob Young (Seattle Times):
In a nondescript Seattle building, with a strip-mall Starbucks across the street, dozens of marijuana plants sway under electric fans in 79.5-degree warmth, their limbering, strength-building version of hot yoga. To some this is a garden of Eden, full of healing plants that will be sold in the medical-marijuana dispensary out front. To others in the strange new world of regulated, taxed recreational pot, medical marijuana has become a threat, a rival dealer, an enemy of the state. The state’s pot consultant, Mark Kleiman, says competition from medical marijuana could easily undercut the recreational system the state is trying to create, siphoning away millions in potential taxes. MORE...

Friday, April 05, 2013

Melber: "Republicans may be winning the sequester press war – but the framework is all wrong" (video)



MSNBC-The Cycle, video (03:52):
Ari Melber explains why, despite media reports that Republicans are winning the sequester, the narrators aren’t the ones feeling the crunch of the crises – the audience is.
Howie P.S.: Ari busts out a few Seattle nuggets at the end of the clip.

"Poll: Should Washington stop bars from allowing pot usage?" (with slide show)

Jake Ellison (seattlepi.com):
News that a couple of bars in Olympia and Tacoma were allowing customers to smoke marijuana caught the attention of state leaders and inspired them to demand a crackdown on the activity.
The state Liquor Control Board has been quick to respond. Earlier this week the board said it wouldn’t stand for it, and today the board announced it was taking the first step in creating new rules that would ban the practice for establishments that sell liquor.
The board is now open to public comment until May 10 on its proposal “to create a new rule to prohibit marijuana consumption at liquor licensed premises.” After the comment period, the board will write the new rule, publish it and seek more comment on it.
“It is important that the Board clarify now that consuming marijuana in a state liquor-licensed establishment is not acceptable,” Board Chair Sharon Foster said in a press release. “Public consumption of marijuana is clearly illegal under Washington’s new law.”
What’s the problem?
On the one hand, Initiative 502 sought to stop this kind of thing before it got started with rules that seemed to pretty clearly prohibit the public consumption of any marijuana. However, the activity in those two bars just barely slipped through an unforeseen loophole.
The Associated Press reported the bars were trying to “get around the ban on public use of marijuana by having ‘private rooms’ with a nominal membership fee required for entrance” or “by allowing only the vaporizing of marijuana — a method that involves heating marijuana without burning it.”
From The Associated Press story:
The upstairs marijuana bar at the Stonegate is run by Michael Schaef’s Greenlight Expo, a medical marijuana dispensary. Medical marijuana patients can buy cannabis at the bar, but others have to bring their own and rent a vaporizer or pay to have one prepared for them.
“What the board has to understand is that people have always been mixing alcohol and cannabis,” Schaef said. “If they don’t allow this, what we are doing is forcing people to break the law by sneaking to some dark area to do it.”
Jeff Call, the Stonegate’s owner, agreed.
“They’re just going to go out to the alley or their car,” he said. “It seems like the board wants to steer it toward having separate pot clubs. You’re just going to have pot clubs spring up next to liquor bars, and people are going to be going next door and then coming back over to the bar.”
Also, state officials (Gov. Jay Inslee, for one) are doing their dead-level best to keep the feds from suing the state to stop implementation of I-502 by creating rules and enforcement that will keep marijuana in the state and its use out of sight.
What do you think?
Should the state stop all marijuana consumption in bars?
  • No – some use should be allowed (69%, 142 Votes)
  • Yes – all uses (31%, 64 Votes)
Total Voters: 206
MORE...

"Obama’s Dangerous Game"

Josh Marshall (TPM):
In conversations with the president’s key advisors and the President himself over the last three years one point that has always come out to me very clearly is that the President really believes in the importance of the Grand Bargain. He thinks it’s an important goal purely on its own terms. That’s something I don’t think a lot of his diehard supporters fully grasp. He thinks it’s important in longrange fiscal terms (and there’s some reality to that). But he always believes it’s important for the country and even for the Democratic party to have a big global agreement that settles the big fiscal policy for a generation and let’s the country get on to other issues — social and cultural issues, the environment, building the economy etc. This has always struck me as a very questionable analysis of the where the country is politically and what it needs. But I put it forward because I don’t think these moves can really be understood outside of this context. MORE...

Thursday, April 04, 2013

"America's Best Coffee Shops Slideshow"


The Daily Meal:
30. Zoka Coffee, Seattle
Another roaster and shop in Seattle, Zoka has been a staple of the coffee scene since it opened in 1996. With carefully sourced, small-batch roasts (two have been top finishers in the Cup of Excellence awards) and an impressive lineup of teas, Zoka draws in residents for its atmosphere and customer service. Its four locations in Washington (Zoka has additional locations in Tokyo as well) have something for everyone — and it's known for being laptop-friend

17. Victrola Coffee, Seattle
The coffee shop on 15th Avenue has been called "the living room of Capitol Hill" — which makes us wish our own living rooms were filled with Victrola coffees, coffeehouse conversations, and a homegrown Arabica coffee tree. (Seriously, its own coffee bean tree!) Victrola, a staple on the Seattle coffee scene since 2000, ranked highly not only for its quality coffee but also for the atmosphere and customer service at each of its three cafés. Stop by the roastery and café for cuppings and a light, sunny coffeehouse vibe; head to Victrola Coffee and Art on 15th for a quirky atmosphere filled with art openings and neighborhood events; and stop by the Beacon Hill location for a neighborly feel. The company is named for the popular phonograph of the 20th century, and owner Dan Ollis has compared the era of the 1920s with the era of coffeehouses today. Said Ollis in an interview with CoffeeTalk magazine, "We believe that Jazz was about innovation and the creation of something new. We find the parallel in our connection to people at our coffee shops — a comfortable social place, interestingly eclectic music, unique and great coffee, great people, great conversations, and finding how they all connect. Our innovation comes from roasting and blending these unique coffees with the same passion for excellence as those Jazz musicians from the past."

12. Milstead&Co., Seattle
Owner Andrew Milstead has been praised for taking the most difficult approach to the coffee shop model — the multiroaster model — and excelling at it. That means Milstead balances a slew of different roasters, from roasters as big as Stumptown to as small as Heart Roasters in Portland, Ore., to put forth the best coffee possible — and that’s not always as easy as it looks. Writes Jordan Michelman in Seattle Met, "Coffee professionals regard the multiroaster model as the most difficult to pull off. It’s akin to a chef who works with different purveyors from week to week, a bartender who never sticks to the same base bourbon, or a band that plays a different set every night. The target is always moving, the parameters steadily shifting." But it's Milstead’s dedication to the coffees he serves that makes it rank so highly on our list for its quality. With more than 30 different coffees on the menu to sample at a time, you’ll never get a better education about coffee than at Milstead & Co. Stop by for a single-origin espresso or an Aeropress or Clever drip coffee, and consider yourself schooled in the art of coffee. Said Milstead in an interview with Seattle Coffee Gear, when explaining why they don’t serve Venti-sized coffees or decaf coffee, "We’re doing things a little differently… we’re totally quality coffee-focused. The coffees that we have are of the utmost quality and intended to be enjoyed on their own… and we seem to have a basic clientele that seems to enjoy coffee on its own."
Howie P.S.: This concludes the list of Seattle shops listed in the Top 33.

Seattle Kid Gets His Really HUGE Big Break: "Return Of Mr. Nice Guy: MSNBC’s Ari Melber Talks To Mediaite About Rebranding Political Talk"


Noah Rothman (MEDIAite):
MSNBC newest host, Ari Melber, has worn many hats on his way to becoming a prominent political analyst. From a practicing lawyer, to an investigative reporter and editor, to the latest addition to MSNBC’s The Cycle, Melber has carved out a niche as a left-of-center political analyst who skillfully presents controversial opinions and issues in a fashion that does not alienate his opponents. Melber sat down with Mediaite to discuss his approach to political commentary – an approach which has resulted in a relatively speedy rise to prominence.

Mediaite asked Melber about his good-natured approach to political dialogue which stands out in an increasingly acerbic cable news-talk landscape.
“I think politics is always about dialogue,” Melber told Mediaite. “I think journalism ranges from dialogue to monologue, and there are times when different poles are necessary. But if you’re serious about engaging a wide range of views from people who agree with you on most things to people who disagree with you on most things, then you want to be respectful and approachable as possible without giving up your core beliefs.”
But does Melber’s intentional withholding of the red meat that other cable news hosts regularly serve up frustrate his audience? Melber said that he almost never gets criticized for being too deferential to those who do not share his political philosophy. “When I get serious criticism – if I get serious criticism – it’s about how I’m thinking and engaging in a topic,” he noted. “I can’t think of an example of someone saying ‘you’re too nice.’”
“I think the challenge for anyone in a visible industry, whether it’s media, government, or political organizing, is to take serious criticism seriously, and not to live in the shadows of the noise and the concern trolls,” added Melber.
RELATED: MSNBC Officially Welcomes Ari Melber As The Newest Member Of The Cycle
One could be forgiven for thinking that being a television host is a dramatic change from his previous role as either a practicing lawyer or an investigative reporter. Melber informed us that those roles are not only similar but complimentary.
“Good lawyering is usually cerebral and impersonally,” he said. “You can convince a judge with a mastery of facts, detail, and precedent – not a story from the gut about how you feel a certain way.”
“I think good political journalism is rooted in facts and precedent, but it swings for feeling,” Melber observed. “Facts without feeling don’t get you very far. Feelings without facts can send you far in the wrong direction.”
Melber said, however, that much of the criticism the media is subject to in the modern era comes from what he calls the “understandable concern” that the media has fallen out of touch with the core needs of their audience and the civil society of which they are a part.
[There is a] lot of data that suggests public thinks congress and DC is broken and the economy isn’t working for most people. Broadly, we see times when press covers boundaries of Washington as if that’s the boundaries of public debate. The White House tours is a big issue, but public housing and the sequester’s impact is not. Too much of the media’s focus is on the Washington conversation over the impact on people lives is a problem.
Much of Melber’s focus on how politics in Washington affects the lives of average citizens can be traced back to what Melber considers a defining moment in his political maturation.
“When the New York Times reported the depth of the warrantless surveillance of American citizens that was occurring under the past administration — and has been supported by this administration in the expansion of the national security state – that was one turning point where I remember, before reading that, I didn’t think the political system would go along with something that so fundamentally contravenes the Constitution,” Melber revealed. “I remember feeling like, ‘wow, okay, the accountability checks aren’t working.’
“I think, for many of us regardless of your political party, when we saw what was happening, we said ‘that’s not us. That’s not America,’” he continued.
Melber said that he is deeply indebted to the production staffers who work tirelessly behind the scenes at MSNBC to create the polished production that viewers enjoy at home. He added that he is awed on a daily basis by the scope of the mission before of him, and of the accomplishments of the people who once strode the halls he walks today.
“From the top down, this is an organization that is committed to fact-finding and excellent news reporting, and it deploy journalists around the world who put themselves at risk,” Melber said of the historic institution that is NBC News. “The media’s political echo chamber focuses on certain parts more than others, but what most impresses me – and as anyone in this building will know – are the memorials for all the journalists who died while reporting. You cannot look at that and think about what that means without getting a strong perspective for where you fit in.”
In the political commentary space which MSNBC occupies, Melber added that his employer deserves credit for expanding the definition of what was thought to be a successful model for cable news.
“MSNBC has been given a lot of well-deserved acclaim for expanding what is possible in terms of political policy and intellectual discourse in the country,” Melber said. He noted that his network performs “deep analysis of federal and state policy that rivals anything else on TV. Period.”
Like his predecessor, Steve Kornacki, Melber will certainly add to MSNBC’s most unpredictable show with his own brand of civil, informative and analytical commentary.
Howie P.S.: Mr. Melber attended Garfield High School (like my daughter) and worked on the student newspaper there (like my daughter),   Jus' sayin'---or Full Disclosure, if you prefer.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

WA: "Washington’s tax code is so full of holes it’s a doily"


Jonathan Martin (Seattle Times, op-ed):
Gov. Jay Inslee took off in the summer-in-spring sun last weekend for a long ride to Centralia on his vintage Cinelli road bike. It probably was a good time to be out of town. His $1.2 billion education funding plan released last week makes him, by design, a political target. As he explained in the governor’s office this week, he intended to have “cleared space for legislators” to find a viable path toward more education funding. “They now have $1.2 billion of room to maneuver,” said Inslee. “I think leadership does involve getting out ahead of the curve on occasion, and that may be where we are. It’s the proper role for a governor.” To borrow a baseball metaphor, Inslee deserves credit for framing the strike zone. MORE...

"GongZilla!!" (with audio)


Sunday, March 31, 2013

"High court poised to upend civil rights policies"


Associated Press/Eric Gay - In this March 5, 2013 photo, University of Texas senior Bradley Poole poses for a photo on campus near the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Austin, Texas. Poole, an advertising major, became president of the school's Black Student Alliance, seeking camaraderie after noticing he often was the only African-American in his classes. In two pivotal legal cases, one on affirmative action and another on voting rights, a divided U.S. Supreme Court may be poised in the coming weeks to rule that racism is largely a relic of America's past. The question is apt as the nation nears a demographic tipping point, when non-whites become the country's majority for the first time.

Hope Yen (AP):
In the seven or so states that enacted bans on affirmative action at their public universities, freshman enrollments of blacks and Hispanics almost always fell afterward — as much as 50 percent at UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley — although in some cases they later rebounded. Those states now include Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington. A Supreme Court ruling that further restricts affirmative action could shake up college admissions policies nationwide, perhaps shifting focus to low-income students or low-performing schools. MORE...

"White men have much to discuss about mass shootings"


Charlotte Childress and Harriet Childress (WaPo op-ed):
Imagine if African American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year. Articles and interviews would flood the media, and we’d have political debates demanding that African Americans be “held accountable.” Then, if an atrocity such as the Newtown, Conn., shootings took place and African American male leaders held a news conference to offer solutions, their credibility would be questionable. The public would tell these leaders that they need to focus on problems in their own culture and communities.
But when the criminals and leaders are white men, race and gender become the elephant in the room. Nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years — not just Newtown, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson and Columbine — have been committed by white men and boys. When white men try to divert attention from gun control by talking about mental health issues, many people buy into the idea that the United States has a national mental health problem, or flawed systems with which to address those problems, and they think that is what produces mass shootings. But women and girls with mental health issues are not picking up semiautomatic weapons and shooting schoolchildren. Immigrants with mental health issues are not committing mass shootings in malls and movie theaters. Latinos with mental health issues are not continually killing groups of strangers. MORE...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

WA: "Booth Gardner: A visionary who loved junk food"



Joel Connelly (seattlepi.com):
TACOMA — The old saying is that a person dies twice, once physically and again when others stop telling stories about him or her. A Saturday memorial service for former two-term (1985-93) Gov. Booth Gardner delivered an unmistakable message: Booth Gardner will never die. Gardner, who passed away at 76 earlier this month, was admired — but also loved. Ex-Gov. Christine Gregoire’s voice broke as she remembered her onetime boss as “a mentor, a friend and a really fun guy,” and Gardner’s long fight with Parkinson’s disease. U.S. Rep. Denny Heck wiped tears from his eyes remembering Gardner’s multiple personal kindnesses, saying: “Booth had time for everyone.” The celebration of Gardner’s life, at the University of Puget Sound, was a bipartisan blast from the past. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I worked on a few political projects that were either inspired, financed or endorsed by Booth Gardner. The description that comes to mind is a class operation.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Very Last Word (MSNBC): "Howard Dean on DOMA" (video)



MSNBC with video (01:07):
On Wednesday’s Very Last Word, former Gov. Howard Dean discussed the implications of the Supreme Court striking down DOMA.

WA: "Consultant: Tax revenues on pot won’t be half of what’s projected"

Bob Young (Seattle Times):
Washington’s new pot consultant has one overarching, discouraging message for lawmakers and state budget writers: don’t look at weed as an ATM. Potential tax revenues will probably be less than half of the $450 million that’s been projected, said Dr. Mark Kleiman, in a interview Thursday night with TVW’s Austin Jenkins. More important, Kleiman said, to rely on money from pot — like money from gambling, alcohol and tobacco — means relying on abuse and addiction, which are not necessarily desirable state goals. “The brute fact,” said Kleiman, a UCLA drug policy expert, is that those activities depend on heavy use by a few, not moderate use by many. Just 20 percent of users consume 80 percent of all weed in the U.S., Kleiman said. (Forty-six percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. is part of drinking binges, he added). “The only way to get a lot of revenue is to sell a lot,” he said. “The only way to sell a lot is to sell to people who use a lot.” Policy-makers may not want the state “fostering disease,” he said. But Kleiman stressed he is not the state’s drug czar and is not here to argue legalization. “We weren’t asked if this was good idea. We were asked to help the (liquor control) board implement a law that had been passed,” he said. In doing so, Kleiman suggested one coming disappointment: State-licensed pot stores probably won’t open until late spring, although the state may meet its goal of implementing rules for a recreational pot system by December. The trickiest part, Kleiman said, will likely be setting prices. There are many tangled priorities implicit in pricing. Higher prices means less use, but also less revenue, and a stronger black market. Lower prices could cripple the black market but increase youth use and adult abuse, as well as exports. As an academic and Californian, Kleiman said he was glad to see this grand experiment unfold in Washington not California. He’s said he’s been impressed by the smarts and morale of state officials. ”We’re obviously pleased that drug policy that doesn’t take an ideological edge is in demand,” he said of winning the state’s consulting contract. “It hasn’t been.” And he stressed that this remains a state experiment that could be challenged at any time by a federal government that views marijuana as a dangerous drug. “We’re only trying to cause a legal market because the federal government is in the background.”

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Projected annual revenue Mexican drug cartels stand to lose from pot legalization in Colorado and Washington : $1,400,000,000"

"Legalizing marijuana: Initiative 502 — The movie" (with video)

Joel Connelly (seattlepi.com) with video (02:39):
“Evergreen: The road to legalization in Washington” was a hit when screened Sunday night at the home of TV travel guru Rick Steves, and hopefully will be coming soon to your cable TV screen or a Seattle movie screen. After all, the Emerald City hosts, in Hempfest, the largest marijuana legalization event in North America. “The film isn’t so much about pot as politics,” director Riley Morton says of the 82-minute flick. It follows the 2012 campaign for Initiative 502, which sought to free one state from an odious, counterproductive, hurtful and vastly expensive aspect of the “War on Drugs” — arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The campaign to legalize, regulate and tax the growing and sale of marijuana to adults was mounted by physicians, lawyers, two former U.S. attorneys and the ex-head of Seattle’s FBI office. “It’s an important story,” Morton added. “What a groundbreaking change. What a huge problematic change. This was definitely NOT your usual stoners trying to legalize weed.” Indeed, at Hempfest, advocates of I-502 ran into vocal opposition from the medical marijuana industry, with shouting exchanges in what is normally the city’s mellowest summer festival. Morton and co-producer Nils Cowan were there to film it. “Evergreen” is, curiously, a film without an ending either happy or sad. The U.S. Department of Justice has yet to announce what it will do about I-502, which contravenes the federal Controlled Substances Act. Eight former bosses of the Drug Enforcement Administration have urged DOJ to head for a courtroom and overturn the initiative. After all, it challenges a 42-year-old bureaucracy that has wasted billions of dollars, arrested hundreds of thousands of people, and concentrated its enforcement efforts against the young and specifically African-American and Latino youth. “It ends in a giant question,” said Cowan. And it borrows a phrase coined by Ronald Reagan, as it challenges his successor: “President Obama, tear down this wall.” “Obama is about as far as you can go after being a stoner in high school,” joked Cowan, referring to the future 44th president’s self-described use of marijuana (“and a little blow”) as a 1970s high school student in Honolulu. The film follows, from beginning to end, an 18-month campaign. It shows the super-respectable opening news conference, the fiery debates at Hempfest, and goes on the road to Spokane, Wenatchee and Leavenworth as Steves stumps for the initiative. I-502 penetrated the “Cascade Curtain” and won in places like Ferry, Okanogan and Whitman counties. The interviews range from campaign director (and ACLU drug policy director) Alison Holcomb to Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes; from Don Pierce of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to Stranger city editor Dominic Holden; from ex-FBI agent-in-charge Charles Mandigo to Hempfest co-founder Vivian McPeak; as well as “marijuana suppliers and pot related businesses,” and “drug dealers and local citizens on the street.” “Evergreen” was a hand-to-mouth operation. Steves sent out an appeal for money to finish the project, which was completed, in Cowan’s words, with “a gift donation from Europe through the back door.” No strings were attached to the needed dollars. The co-producers are now seeking a distributor who will give “Evergreen” a national audience. They predict it will be seen “late spring to early summer.” Inaccurate to the point of self-parody and hilarity, the anti-marijuana movie “Reefer Madness” was nonetheless a promotional vehicle for the “War on Drugs” that President Richard Nixon launched in 1970. It sent thousands of people to jail. Nixon, of course, received a presidential pardon for his crimes in office. “Evergreen” deserves a national audience. It shows a path to common sense after a decades-long march of folly.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School: Episode One" (video)


PBS.org, with video (1:55:40):
This special gives space and breadth to our nation’s education reform debate by giving the audience a first-hand view of what happens in a school that meets the needs of the most challenged students in new and sometimes non-traditional ways.

Monday, March 25, 2013

TYT: "Is Medical Marijuana Too Strong?" (with video)

TheYoungTurks, with video (05:25):
"My brother is a weed scientist. Every weekday morning, he drives to work in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, throws on a lab coat with "Northwest Botanical Analysis" stitched over the pocket, and starts putting tiny samples of ganja through a gas chromatography machine, among other gadgets.* He tells breeders and the "dispensaries" that that currently distribute pot under the local medical marijuana system the potency of their various colorfully named strains as well as the relative amounts of the many subtly different compounds, called cannabinoids and terpenes, that make each one a different experience to smoke. He checks for mites, pesticides, and mold (a common problem with bud grown in Seattle's damp basements). These days, he's talking to the state Liquor Control Board as it works on the rules and regulations for retail sales of dope starting later this year."* Is medicinal marijuana too strong? Some say yes, that it's too much for them to use on a more casual basis, and that they want a much softer high from it. Is there a market for more subtle strains? Ana Kasparian, John Iadarola (TYT University), and Desi Doyen (Green News Report) discuss. MORE...

"Jim Carrey Mocks The Late Charlton Heston And Gun Nut Penises In ‘Cold Dead Hand’" (with video)


Tommy Christopher (MEDIAite) with video (05:55) from FunnyorDie:
Comic actor Jim Carrey riled conservatives up pretty good just by tweeting about his new anti-gun musical satire “Cold Dead Hand,” dedicating the then-forthcoming Funny or Die song to the “heartless motherf%ckers unwilling 2 bend 4 the safety of our kids.” MORE...

"David Rolf: The man who would make unions matter again"

"David Rolf, president of the state's powerful service employees union for health care workers, has a lonely job as one of the few labor leaders in the country to call for major changes in the way unions do business." 

Tyrone Beason (Seattle Times):
ONE DAY when David Rolf was a kid growing up in Cincinnati, his grandfather, a man with an eighth-grade education who'd worked at a General Motors plant in Ohio and read little more than the Bible, Reader's Digest and the United Auto Workers' Solidarity newsletter, posed a simple but important question. "Do you know why I have all this?" he said, looking around the house he'd bought with the income from his union job. Rolf thought the answer was because the powerful UAW had fought to secure good wages for its members. But his grandfather added a twist. "Because I walked a picket line three times," he answered finally. "What that taught me was that the union is the workers," Rolf says. The lesson seems obvious. But Rolf, president of the Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union for health-care workers, and current international vice president of SEIU, knows that unions today don't always act that way. MORE...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Frank Rich on the National Circus: How Iraq Wounded America"



"A US Marine covers the face of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's statue with the US flag in Baghdad's al-Fardous square 09 April 2003. The world was stunned when iconic images of US marines and Iraqis pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein flashed across television screens. The toppling of the statue was immediately seized on as symbolising the overthrow of one of the world's most notorious despots. But four years later, some Iraqis say the symbol has turned into a sign of the brutal violence that has devastated their country. The square and its surroundings have changed dramatically since the launch of the invasion in March 2003." AFP PHOTO/Ramzi HAIDAR (Photo credit should read RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images)

 Frank Rich (New York Magazine):
We should not forget that (as with Vietnam) many Democrats in Washington eagerly signed on to the war plan, and that many “liberal” pundits succumbed quickly to the war fever sweeping the Beltway. The Washington Post editorial page was as fervently a proponent (and defender) of the war as The Wall Street Journal. Virtually every top news organization, from the Times to the broadcast network news divisions, was better at abetting than vetting the White House propaganda campaign that fictitiously tied Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and the threat of nuclear Armageddon. MORE...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Washington State ‘Pot Czar’ On CNN Clearly Unamused By Erin Burnett’s Questions" (with video)


Andrew Kirell (MEDIAite) with video (03:48):
The man chosen to help Washington state implement its marijuana legalization policy appeared on CNN’s OutFront last night, and he was not amused by host Erin Burnett‘s line of questioning, dismissing her characterization of pot activists and, at one point, outright telling her: “That’s probably the wrong way to ask the question.” MORE...

Horsey: "Shooters rejoice: Feinstein's assault weapons ban is dumped" (with cartoon)

(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)
 David Horsey (Los Angeles Times):
Whether or not the assault weapons ban would make any difference is an open question. Even if it were law, it would not affect the 3.5 to 4 million military-type rifles that are already in private hands. Still, Feinstein and numerous military leaders and police chiefs argue it is patently crazy that such powerful weapons are so easily available. Their argument apparently is going nowhere. On Tuesday, Feinstein announced that her ban would not be part of a package of gun legislation that is heading to the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told her the votes just are not there and he does not want to scuttle the rest of the bill by anchoring it to assault weapons. Feinstein’s proposal will still get voted on as an amendment, but Reid predicts it will be lucky to attract 40 votes in the 100-member Senate. Feinstein sounded a bit weary in defeat. “America has to stand up,” she said. “I can't fight the NRA. The NRA spends unlimited sums, backed by the gun manufacturers, who are craven in my view.” The political reality is that no gun legislation will make it through the Senate and House without the OK of the NRA, and that pretty much guarantees that tomorrow’s mass shooters will continue to have no trouble acquiring the legal means to their evil ends. MORE...

"50 Seattleites Who Are Changing the World"

SeattleMet.com:
Ed Murray State Senate Democratic Minority Leader, Age 57:
The state senator from Capitol Hill—and 2013 Seattle mayoral candidate—leads the defensive effort against the Republican coup in Olympia. The expert political tactician ushered a series of gay rights laws through the state legislature, culminating last year with the gay marriage bill and the only successful tax increase in the last decade (a gas tax to pay for transportation infrastructure, which like the gay marriage law was also affirmed by a public vote). Watch for Murray to not only trip up the GOP agenda but to maneuver some more liberal items through the legislature as well.
NEXT MOVE He’s pushing for a capital gains tax. And his run for mayor will elevate the debate from picayune neighborhood squabbling to bigger issues of governance. MORE...

Howie P.S.: C. R. Douglas, Sally Jewell, Alison Holcomb, Suzan DelBene, and Reuven Carlyle are some of the other "political" figures on the list.

Monday, March 18, 2013

WA: "State’s First Big Marijuana Grow Operation is Announced, and Here’s the Fun Part – It’s in a Public Building"


Erik Smith (Washington State Wire):

OLYMPIA, March 16.—Here’s a sign of how the world has changed since Washington voters passed a first-of-its kind marijuana-legalization initiative last November. A Seattle entrepreneur has taken out a lease for what he hopes will become a big indoor grow operation. Unthinkable enough just a few months ago, but get this: He’ll be growing the once-forbidden fruit in a public building.
Seattle restaurateur Marcus Charles will take over a part of vacant sawmill complex at the Port of Willapa Harbor in Raymond, Wash., a coastal community hard-hit by decades of downturn in the lumber industry. Port officials say Washington’s new cannabis industry is a good fit. They have the buildings. Charles has the capital. And isn’t that the way economic development is supposed to work?
And so, under the brave new world created by Washington’s Initiative 502, it looks like all that campaign talk about green jobs is coming true. It’s just not what political leaders had in mind during the last campaign when they were talking about windmills and soybean-powered airplanes. “We appreciate that there are no odors, no wastewater, no on-and-on,” said port manager Susan Chaffee. “But for us it is the jobs. It is the jobs.
“We have lost jobs and lost jobs, and we have high unemployment. We are losing our young people, we are losing our family-age working people, and our population is aging. We are the classic rural community that is just struggling to survive. We no longer have shipping, we no longer have rail, we don’t have good highway access – I mean, the list of what we don’t have goes on and on. But we do like living here. It is a nice community, and we think this could provide an opportunity for us.”
An Evergreen-State Business Opportunity
Where marijuana once was rather frowned upon, to say the least, you can definitely say there’s a new attitude in business and government. Initiative 502, one of two marijuana-legalization initiatives approved in this country last year, opens the door to legal investment in a business that already generates well over $1 billion in sales ever year. This state arguably is further along than Colorado, because the legalization measure in the Mile-High State did not prescribe the new market structure with the same level of detail. In Washington, I-502 created an intricate taxation scheme and a “three-tier” market structure for production, processing and retailing, much like that which exists for alcoholic beverages nationwide. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but unless the feds go to court to snuff the budding industry, state officials expect to finish drafting regulations in June and begin awarding production licenses. The grow season for Washington’s new cash crop might begin as soon as August.
Enter Marcus Charles, a successful entrepreneur in the restaurant and bar trade in the Seattle area. Charles, 39, has launched a series of bars and restaurants in Seattle since age 23, starting with Pioneer Square’s Marcus’ Martini Heaven. Currently he operates the Crocodile, a music venue, and the nearby Local 360 restaurant and bar. “It seems kind of weird talking about it, because it has been such a taboo, but how often does a new industry present itself in a lifetime?”
Charles says it’s all about business. Marijuana really wasn’t on his mind during last year’s initiative campaign – and he certainly wasn’t part of the political movement that gathered the signatures that placed the measure before the Legislature last year and ultimately forwarded the issue to the ballot. “I personally have no great passion about marijuana,” he said. “I am not a big smoker. I did not vote for the initiative. I was just indifferent.”
But when it got 55 percent of the vote – that’s when he sat up and took notice. “I think there’s a business opportunity here, and I think my skill set is suited to it.”
A Thumbs-Up From Government
Former sawmill office at the Raymond facility that will provide headquarters location.
"Former sawmill office at the Raymond facility that will provide headquarters location." MORE...