Saturday, July 30, 2011

Seattle Times, Editorials: Republican budget drama comes at a real cost for taxpayers

The Republican establishment supporting, big business championing, Seattle Times Editorial Board is throwing the Tea Party Republicans to the wolves (in this case, that's you). The facts are that the Congress has already committed, and in most cases spent, the money they are failing to borrow. The federal government passes a budget to appropriate (buy) funds beyond the amour of money it will take in so it can give billionaires a tax cut they didn't earn by providing the jobs they claim they are using the money for, and to fund two long wars.

The bills are coming due, pay them, or nobody will lend you money (or charge us more in interest to borrow money we are transferring to billionaires).

HOUSE Republicans favoring gimmicks over governance pushed the federal government to the brink of default on U.S. debt and obligations.

Self-righteous political partisans might find virtue in plunging the economy into a deadline-focused discussion of excess spending — if not skimpy revenue measures — but the theatrics come at a cost.
Editorials | Republican budget drama comes at a real cost for taxpayers | Seattle Times Newspaper


The Tea Party Republicans are jumping off head first into an imaginary pool of economics that doesn't exist. They have it half right, families pay their bills, where they have it completely wrong is that (unlike the Tea Party Republicans) when the bills are due for payment on the things they appropriate money for, we pay those bills, or our credit rating goes down.

It is pretty simple, the Tea Party Republicans didn't get way in the budget process and are now wanting another chance at the budget process. But they failed to notice that a majority of Congress voted for the COMPROMISE budget this borrowing is supposed to pay for. And a majority of Congress will raise the debt ceiling to pay for that budget.
The establishment Republicans (that includes the Seattle Times Newspaper) are siding with reality, and not with you.

The pendulum swings back from the crazy conservative side.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Seattle Times: Anti-tunnel campaign apologizes for attack on pro-tunnel environmentalists [perpetrated by Ben Schiendelman ]

Ben Schiendelman gets the brushback pitch from environmentalists.
Goldman, a big contributor to progressive political candidates, including former Sierra Club activists Mayor Mike McGinn and O'Brien, chalked up the comments to "this kid" who "made a mistake."

Still, Goldman said, it was "totally inappropriate" to challenge the credentials and environmental experience of tunnel backers because they disagreed about the project.

The environmental community has been sharply divided over the $2 billion tunnel. The Sierra Club, Sightline Institute and Earth Day co-founder Denis Hayes have all blasted the project for encouraging driving, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and squandering transportation dollars that could be better spent on less-polluting alternatives.

But other environmentalists, including Fletcher and Goldman, argue that removal of the viaduct allows for the creation of an appealing green space along the waterfront, restoration of shoreline habitat, reduction of auto emissions and storm-water runoff, and the elimination of a huge source of noise pollution.

"There's an honest difference of opinion whether this is the best environmental solution," said Goldman.
Seattle Times, Anti-tunnel campaign apologizes for attack on pro-tunnel environmentalists


Ben Schiendelman is not helping the debate with the comments he and his minions, have made in regard to other environmentalists.
Who is Ben Sciendelman?
Acceding to the blog he has contributed to over the past 4 years, Seattle Transit Blog, it says this:
Contributor Ben Schiendelman joined in 2007 to better consolidate news and information about our upcoming transit expansions, and to build a better base to further grow our system. He previously wrote the blog Higher Frequency, and worked on the 2008 Mass Transit Now campaign. Ben refuses to own a driver’s license.

He found his love for transit, density and walkability in Japan, on the Shinkansen and in Kyoto, and later cemented it in France, both Strasbourg and Paris.

Ben is deeply involved in political activism for transit.

So, he isn't just "some kid". He is promoted by very minor media outlets as somebody that has written extensively on mass transit, is an activist, and apparently is well known enough to appear on KUOW as some sort of authoritative voice on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project that is capable of forming a knowledgable opinion and participating in a debate.

Well, maybe he isn't an authority on every aspect of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project, and maybe the media should stop acting as if he is.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Al Franken says, "It's time"

Listen up. This doesn't mean that Al Franken and I will be forced to leave our respective (and wonderful) wives and marry each other. It means that another married couple will not be denied the rights and privileges that other married couples have.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Al Franken <no-reply@alfranken.com>
Date: July 22, 2011 2:59:47 PM PDT
To: Michael Baker
Subject: It's time
Reply-To: info@alfranken.com

Al Franken - U.S. Senator, Minnesota

Dear Michael,

There's no good argument against marriage equality. There's no good argument for the Defense of Marriage Act, one of the most unfair laws passed in my lifetime. And there's no good argument for leaving it on the books.

What are we waiting for? The country has evolved -- Americans support the repeal of DOMA. So does President Obama. So does President Clinton, who signed it into law in 1996. So does Bob Barr, the Republican who wrote the darn thing.

I say it's time. It's time for gay and lesbian Americans to enjoy the same rights as the rest of us. It's time to toss the bigotry and the fear into the dumpster of embarrassing history where they belong. And you know what? It's time for progressives like you and me to stop waiting around for someone else to make this country what it ought to be.

It's time to repeal DOMA. Let's start right now, you and me. I've written a petition to get the ball rolling -- click here to add your name now!

Marrying Franni was the best thing that ever happened to me. And it's always pained me to know that our country denies that right to millions of gays and lesbians.

Over the years, those of us who support marriage equality have had to put up with a series of nonsensical arguments from those who support marriage discrimination. And, one by one, their ridiculous objections have been proven wrong.

Same-sex marriage doesn't hurt straight couples. It doesn't hurt kids who grow up in loving same-sex families. It doesn't hurt anyone. DOMA, on the other hand, is an ugly stain on our country. And every day we don't repeal it is another day we're making millions of Americans second-class citizens.

Let's make today the day -- sign my petition to repeal DOMA and let's get this done already.

I think we can do this, and I think we can do it now. But we can only do it if we convince decision-makers in the Obama administration and Congress that we won't shut up until this gets done.

So let's show them how many of us are prepared to fight for this -- right now. Sign my petition and tell Washington it's time to repeal DOMA.

This is going to be a tough fight. But it's a matter of simple fairness. We're right. And we can win. Are you ready to fight alongside me?

Thanks,

Al Franken

P.S.: The first step is signing our petition. But if you're ready to do more right now, how about forwarding this email to ten people or sharing it with your friends on Facebook? Or Tweet about it -- and make sure to use the hashtag #itstime.

Paid for and authorized by Al Franken for Senate 2014

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Seattle Times: Seattle arts patron Bagley Wright dies at 87

Artsfund, Seattle Arts Museum, the Reparatory Theater, Space Needle and World's Fair; keep in mind that it isn't always a matter of wealth but a vision of what you want your community to be. Seattle was fortunate to have someone that possessed both wealth and vision.

Bagley Wright, the influential Seattle arts patron, philanthropist, and one of the original investors in the Space Needle, died Monday following a heart attack. He was 87.
Seattle Times: Seattle arts patron Bagley Wright dies at 87

Friday, July 15, 2011

Village Voice Media, Seattle Weekly's parent company, is on the wrong side of child sexual exploitation

Seattle Weekly is on the wrong side of child sexual exploitation. It's that simple.

[this is a long story for a blog page, get over it]
From the mayor:
News Releases

7/15/2011  
Mayor Mike McGinn meets with Village Voice Media to discuss underage sex trafficking
Asks Backpage.com to pull down their ads until they put stronger
safeguards in place

SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn, Councilmember Tim Burgess, and Assistant Chief Jim Pugel of the Seattle Police Department met today with representatives of Village Voice Media, which owns the Seattle Weekly and Backpage.com, to impress upon them the seriousness of underage sex trafficking and the need for them to act now.

"We specifically asked them to pull down all their adult ads until they have safeguards in place against underage trafficking. That should include a model presenting photo ID in person showing that they are of legal age, said Mayor Mike McGinn. "They were not prepared to agree to that request immediately, they indicated that they were taking that request seriously and would respond within 1-2 weeks. We have made our position clear and we expect them to take the actions we requested immediately. They need to clean up their act."

Underage sex trafficking is a serious problem in Seattle. A City of Seattle Human Services Department report published in 2008 estimated there are 300 to 500 children being exploited for commercial sex each year. In the last 12 months, 185 cases of underage sex trafficking were identified in King County.

Backpage.com is a well-known accelerant of underage sex trafficking. Since the beginning of 2010, 22 children advertised on Backpage.com were recovered by the Seattle Police Department. No juveniles were discovered on any other sites in that time - that includes ads on craigslist, The Stranger, and other adult sites. The problem is specific to Backpage.com. The Aim Group estimated that Backpage made $2.1 million in revenue off of erotic services since January 2011.

# # #

Office of the Mayor
And this, from Seattle Councilman Tim Burgess:
7/14/2011
More Facts on the Sexual Exploitation of Seattle Children

I acknowledge, this is not a pretty subject, nor is it one we enjoy talking about.  Many would rather never deal with it.  We certainly don't want to acknowledge that it occurs in our city. But the facts are irrefuteable. 

Some children in Seattle and King County are forced into street and Internet prostitution.  It is an ugly, violent and totally degrading experience for the victims of the predatory men who use and abuse these kids.  And this terrible crime is being facilitated by a company that claims it is only defending the First Amendment: Village Voice Media/Backpage.com.

Over the past three years, 18 criminal investigations, all resulting in criminal charges being filed in King County Superior Court, have produced evidence that Village Voice Media/Backpage.com has been used as a vehicle in the prostitution of  children.  Five of these cases have resulted in trial convictions. Seven resulted in plea convictions.  Six are pending trial.

First, some background.  I’ve been deeply involved in the issue of prostituted children since the beginning of my Council term back in 2008.  We know the facts. (You can read all of my earlier posts on this topic here.)
And because we do know the facts, we are intensely focused on rescuing these kids and protecting them and caring for them.

Our police officers in Seattle have shifted from their traditional approach; now they view these kids as victims, not criminals.  Their effectiveness is evident.  For each of the past three years, we have led the nation in the number of children rescued from prostitution as reported by the FBI. 

Village Voice Media/Backpage.com may want to debate the scope of the problem, but that’s nothing but a massive distraction.  We know the facts, the reality on the street.  We’re not debating whether it’s a problem or not, we’re working hard to stop it and help these kids.

In fact, 13 months ago, Seattle became just the fourth city in the United States to establish a safe-haven, a residential facility run by YouthCare where these children can receive the care, therapy, education and love they need. 

And the need for all of us to stay engaged and united on this topic continues. Over the past 13 months, YouthCare has engaged with 185 children—some referred to YouthCare by police and other organizations, others identified by YouthCare staff involved in outreach efforts—who acknowledged being commercially sexually exploited through prostitution.  Of this total, 119 enrolled in a YouthCare program and 23 of these reported being prostituted through Village Voice Media/Backpage.com. 

So Village Voice Media/BackPage.com can try to minimize the problem if they want, but we know the facts.  Mayor McGinn knows the facts.  My Council colleagues know the facts.  The detectives who work in our High Risk Victims Unit know the facts.  I know the facts. City government is united and resolute.  We will act to protect our children and we will speak the truth about those who assist and facilitate harm upon our children. The facts compell this reponse.

Village Voice Media/Backpage.com knows the facts, too!  

Everyone can see the facts because they are held in the case files in the King County Superior Court.  They are clear and irrefutable. In case after case over the past three years, Dan Satterberg's prosecutors have established that Village Voice Media/Backpage.com is used to assist and facilitate the commercial sexual exploitation of children. 

It doesn't have to continue. Village Voice Media/Backpage.com could chose to follow the very simple steps that other publishers follow that would make it almost impossible for this exploitation of children to take place.  Their corporate irresponsibility is harming our community; it’s harming our children.  That’s a fact.

I have headline news feeds on the right hand side of my web page, Seattle Weekly is no longer one of the sites listed. I encourage you to be on the correct side of child exploitation, and not support businesses that choose to minimize and deflect. Newspapers are a reflection of community standards, I am counting on the community to have higher standards.

It's that simple.

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