Mike's blog

Washington State is Coming up Short

in so many ways... but let's start with revenue. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons, svilen.milen The Olympian reported (so it might be true) that the Gov is calling the legislature back in special session to deal with a revenue shortfall of at least 1.3 billion dollars. It's probably a 2 billion dollar deficit, but the accountants are still penciling that out. So the legislators are coming back sometime in November to address the shortfall. The tea party tax initiative that passed last general election cycle requires a super majority for the State to raise taxes, and the repub side has not yet warmed to the necessity of taxes for essential services, so this is likely to be another session devoted to finding things to cut. The activists who like education and essential services like medical care, disability services and more will be doing all they can to oppose another all-cut budget, but it's going to be a struggle. There are arguments over whether the super-majority initiative is constitutional, whether closing tax loopholes (that could produce the 2 billion) are subject to the super-majority rule, but it's an uphill battle. You have to give the Norquist puppiteers credit for creating a wildly successful and destructive political agenda, but what is the end game? When the success of trickle down, unregulated, free market economics is the meltdown of 2008, it does raise the question of "where do we go from here?" Further down the right wing rathole?

Come to Olympia if the Economy has put you on the Street

What better place than Olympia to gather if the economy hDo you know where your children are?as put you on the street? Come to Olympia to assemble and petition for redress of grievance. Come and sit on the streets of Olympia as a demonstration and act of free speech. Come to Olympia and greet the legislators and the policy makers who will have to step over you, or walk around you, as they move around in their daily lives. The City of Olympia is criminalizing poverty in the downtown area, but the First Amendment comes in... uh... First! We have the right to sit, recline, sing, grieve, and beg for good public policy in Washington State. Come to Olympia. Camera and I not getting along yesterdayIf you get hassled by the Olympia Police Department for exercising your free speech rights, email the particulars: Where, when, police officer name to olympiacopwatch@gmail.com and we will challenge the City and the Police Department to justify the violation of your first amendment rights. I know that some folks get scared when they have to be close to houseless people. I encourage those folks to come down to the Artesian Well during daylight and introduce themselves to the people who move through that setting. There are lots of tattoos, piercings, and a fair amount of cursing, but there is also a lot of openness, music, support, and community.

Georgia Executed a Man Today Who Was Probably Innocent

I don't know what to say. This is the state of our justice system. Troy Davis

Now He Wants to Fight?

Wiki CommonsSo little, so late. So many squandered opportunities, and now Obama wants to take a stand. Is this because the poll numbers show his job is now on the line? I am eager to see the guy use the bully pulpit to push good public policy, but I have very little confidence in this guy. I hope I am wrong about him. Maybe he has hit an "aha" moment where he understands what he needs to do, but he does have a significant history of talking the good talk, then caving in to right-wing demands. And the pattern has strengthened the right-wing, so progressives/liberals/scientists (however we might identify ourselves) now face a Republican party that would repeal the law of gravity on behalf of corporate interests if they could. We are moving in an election cycle where the Dems have a very large number of Senate seats in play and where the mood of the country provides fertile ground for demagoguery. It may have finally dawned on President Obama that despite serving corporate interests pretty loyally during his term in office so far, that the "deciders" don't really need him, the deciders can do quite nicely with Romney or Perry. Which one of these guys is a fictional character?   Wiki Commons public domain So I have two questions about President Obama's sudden commitment to taxing the rich: 1.

Talkin 'bout a Revolution

if you're talking about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out... I share John Lennon's ambivalence about the revolution, but I think there are revolutions coming. Maybe a revolution doesn't have to include the choreography and armament to take the Bastille? How about a revolution in agriculture? We watched a video about colony collapse disorder last night: Vanishing of the Bees. Well done, sobering, broad review of the situation for our pollination partners. I used to keep bees. Most beekeepers develop a pretty strong connection to their hives, to the collective being that is a beehive. The beekeepers in this movie certainly showed that connection. I don't want to give the story away, so I will just say that I think the filmmakers are correct to identify bees as "canaries in the coal mine." I think we need a revolution in the way we approach agriculture and food. Global food. What should it look like? Also thinking about our global economic system. Tikkun has a piece by Leonardo Boff on the Crisis of Capitalism. This is an interesting read. I do have a sense that the current global economic crisis is qualitatively different from previous downturns. We face some pretty staggering demands from the natural world. We now live in a world of more extreme weather and the likelihood is that the trend to more extreme weather is just getting started, so the solution is a really major retooling of the world economy where sustainability rather than profit is the goal. Stabilizing the environment is going to require more than a game of three card monte based on cap and trade. The shell game has always been entertaining, but the game is fixed and the outcome is about fleecing the mark.

A Cautionary Tale from New Orleans (pronounce Nawlins, please)

Do Feel Safe, Punk?  courtesy John Martinez Pavliga Wiki CommonsI got email from DOJ - civil rights division that two NO police officers were sentenced in the killing of Raymond Robair:
Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Two Former New Orleans Police Officers Sentenced in Connection with the Death of Raymond Robair

WASHINGTON – Two former New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers were sentenced today in relation to the beating death of Raymond Robair and subsequent cover-up, the Justice Department announced today.

 

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon sentenced former NOPD Officer Melvin Williams to 262 months in prison for violating the civil rights of Robair by beating him to death, and for obstructing justice in the wake of that beating. Former NOPD Officer Matthew Dean Moore, who was working as Williams’ partner on the day of the beating, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for obstructing justice and for making false statements to the FBI during a federal investigation into Robair’s death. Williams was also ordered to pay $11,576 in restitution and Moore was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

 

The Power of Clicktivists! Really? Is there any power there?

Signed a petition this morning online through PDA to ask the super committee to save a trillion dollars by fixing Medicare Part D. The change requested would allow the Feds to negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma instead of the current model. I haven't studied this hard, but you don't have to study much to know that the ability to negotiate prices is a good idea. It's kind of free market stuff, isn't it? Doesn't the right love the power of the free market? Let's see how far this thing goes. Senator Kyl has jumped off talking about savings from attacking Medicare fraud, but the CBO guy told him point blank, this approach does not address the deficit and tax changes needed. I also responded to a request from the FCNL - Friends (quakers) Committee on National Legislation and sent the following letter to my Senator, Patty Murray:

I live in Chehalis, Wa and have been pleased to have you as my Senator.

In my lifetime I have watched the tax table leveled and it has had disastrous effects on the US economy and US politics. The well-to-do, the middle class, and the poor continue to pay their fair share. The "haves" and "have mores" as George Bush called them have had their tax burden greatly relieved and now we face a budget deficit that is a pretext for cutting essential government services that are important to the majority of Americans, but mean little or nothing to the have mores.

Olympia, Safe and Beautiful, Step 2

So, therPants on Dogs!e is lots of discussion about how scary it is downtown. It's not just dirty, with houseless people urinating on the sidewalks, it's just downright scary!!

Olympia, Safe and Beautiful, Step 1 of 2

let's do the Downtown Oly two step. Let's tackle beauty first: Step 1: Holy smoke, there has been a lot discussion about how scary and disgusting it is to walk the street of downtown Olympia. The latest installment of this sad story ran in the Daily Zero on Sept 4th. It led with a line about drunks urinating on the sidewalks. Boy, is this a sad old story with an axe to grind. But, let's just take it straight. Do drunks urinate on sidewalks in downtown Olympiawiki commons - sometimes people need to . I think that could happen. Probably mainly at night because there are so few bathrooms available in downtown Olympia after hours unless you have the bills to buy a plate of food to get bathroom access. I am downtown quite a bit and it just doesn't scare me or disgust me. I get asked for money, I give it. I am tied in to this really old and weird spiritual tradition that included some lunacy about "ask and it shall be given'" and "love your enemy," and relied on an economic model of trusting that when you need a coin or two, it will mysteriously pop out of the mouth or gut of a fish (apologies to my vegan friends, I don't fish anymore) or will appear from a tiny seed. I digress... Back to bathrooms. It seems to be a fact that if you have had the good fortune to be born into this world, it's just going to be a matter of time before you will need to find a bathroom. And not just once. and not just during daylight hours.

Labor Day 2011! Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

Thanks for the tunes and the soul, Joe Zawinul! I know there have been a lot of covers of this tune, but I like the Cannonball Adderly version with Joe at the keyboard. Knocks me off my feet.
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