Monday, June 30, 2008
My argument is that only a Ron Paul type Republican could beat Brian Baird this time around. Well, a financed Paul Republican, but that would require some support from the local Republican establishment and maybe they're not ready for that yet.
Ok, here's my argument: Baird is a great in-district guy. No one on his staff is allowed to run for local office (no link for this fact, I just know its a fact). There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it emphasizes that Baird doesn't like to face off against local Republican leaders in the field.
So, the typical "he's forgotten about us" argument won't work against Baird. Therefore it would also be hard to gain traction against him with the local chamber of commerce, Lion Clubs folks.
Cheryl Crist is making a run at Baird from the left, but with Olympia only being a very small portion of the district, and Baird being an incumbent from her own party, she'll have a harder go at it.
So, where does that leave us? People not taken to insurrection (chamber types) are out. The progressive community can't make a run at Baird from the left, so the best candidate would be from the right who could attract protest votes from the left and mobilize disaffected conservatives.
If someone is to knock off Baird, it will only be an anti-war righty, Michael Delavar.
By the way, over at Politics is a blood sport blog, they seem to be pointing to a inter-party fight down in Clark County between the Delavar folks and Webb folks. Maybe Delavar can pull it off.
Friday, June 27, 2008
FromGruesome Cargoes blog, a blog about early 20th century "horror fiction," Binns wrote a story called The Last Trip:
“I would have died long ago if it hadn’t been for her. I was blown up and shot to pieces … they brought back what was left of me, and put me away. I waited my chance until tonight, when I came to find you!”
The blogger comments:
The late bus from Pacific Street to Lewis. Butler is first irked then increasingly terrified as the journey proceeds in sombre silence, save for the mantra “Driver, I want to get off here” when one of the passengers wants to disembark. Eventually, there is only one man left, who pulls a gun, introduces himself as Death and says he wants to go to Woodland Cemetery.
Essentially a precursor of Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors‘ framing story, this would have made for a great EC strip.
Ok, that does sound creepy.
Anyway, that's not what Republic means. Rather than direct democracy, the framers assumed that citizens would be so damn close to their government, that there would be no chance that it would get out of control.
For example, guns. The recent gun rights decision actually makes a lot of sense to me as a liberal Democrat. There would be very little chance of anyone raising a militia if individuals didn't have the right to bear arms.
But, bearing those arms should be to the benefit of society as a whole. It should be the better protection of our communities and our neighbors.
Gary Hart wrote a great book almost ten years ago, The Minuteman: Restoring an Army of the People, that turns the gun rights argument on its head:
The Framers of our Constitution had a fear of standing armies, and of governments backed by them, that one legal scholar calls "almost hysterical." A standing army of professionals, they were sure, would eventually do one of two things: agitate for foreign military adventures to keep itself employed, or turn against its civilian masters to create a military dictatorship. To these two political threats they added a third, moral danger: that citizens used to relying on professionals for the defense of their liberties would come to take their freedom lightly.The Framers' solution was the militia, an armed body that included all citizens qualified to vote. Whites without property were also eligible for the militia, provided they were not felons, and so were some blacks. The Framers saw this broad-based military institution as a vital protection against tyranny.
Every citizen had the right to own a gun because every citizen, in a republic, was responsible for that republic continuing.
You may have an individual right to bear arms, but that right comes with a societal mortgage that needs to be paid.
How do we pay that in an age of professional armies and police forces?
Another great discussion at History Beating Up Politics.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I'm pretty sure that it wasn't that Walter Neary was typing and blogging that first ticked off the public commenters at a Lakewood City Council meeting last month, it was that he disagreed with them at the time that the city could do anything at all about the Clover Park School District. The city and school district being seperate governments and all.
But, they complained that he was blogging when he should have been paying attention to what they were saying so they got pissed.
Most telling for me is that on his original post there are only two comments.
Look Lakewood, you're lucky to have a city-councilman that takes this so seriously that he blogs about it. First, learn some basic civics. Second, blog back at Neary.
That he was blogging what you were talking about tells me that he was actually taking you very seriously, he found what you were saying interesting and that he thought other people should hear about it.
An email I sent to a buddy awhile back that I'd meant to post here. Enjoy or not.
A little free PR advice to some folks in the development world:
In my mind the battle to build the convention center downtown was lost in August 2003 when Public Funds for Public Purposes canvassed Olympia City Council members' neighborhoods and asked the residents what they thought of the convention center. All of the neighborhoods had a large majority against the project, with Doug Mah's I remember being up around 90 percent.
PFPP did a lot with this information, including standing up against the wall during a city council candidate debate, holding signs saying "Doug: 90 percent of your neighbors don't want the convention center."
This is an important lesson for the Larida Pasage debate because it illustrates what happens when you lose control of the narrative. The council and the city bumbled around with the details of the convention center, and let opponents build a case against it as the details came to light.
We're also getting very close to the point (maybe within days) of this happening with Larida Passage. I know its a small example, but its a bad sign that I can't drive to the Safeway without seeing half-a-dozen signs saying "Don't Wall of the Waterfront" or "Save our Views." There should at least be competing signage saying "Save Downtown."
In this case, its more of downtown residents talking about what they see as the negatives of the project. Keep in mind, downtowners' negatives aren't necessarily the negatives that would be seen from someone outside downtown. If the project suddenly appeared tomorrow, most Olympia residents wouldn't see it as a big deal. Most downtowners would be apoplectic.
So, define the positives of the project from the perspective of someone living in S. Capitol, off of Cain Rd. or near Garfield School.
For example: How are walkers around Capitol Lake going see the project? The size of the buildings, from someone walking the north side of the lake or the south sidewalk of 5th would be a turn-off. To these people you need to talk about the ground floor retail and the general sprucing up of the blocks.
By and large, lake walkers are not downtowners. They come down to the lake and walk because it is a downtown feature they enjoy. You could take this same exercise and carry it with any group of people that use downtown, but do not live there. Another example would be folks who attend Lake Fair.
So, its not necessary to fight back against every negative downtowner argument (traffic, views in general, the "feel" of downtown), but rather build parallel and positive argument the project to the sections of the community that will actually decide whether this goes forward.
Strictly countering downtowner arguments will in the end give them more credence and leave the out-of-downtowners no other vision of the project then what the downtowners define it as.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Taking him up into the diesel engine was a great added bonus.
I'm not a train person at all, but I could see the attraction that some folks have. I can see a day well spent though and appreciate it.
Most folks look at Puget Sound and see beauty, so how could there be a problem?
This is directly tied to my recent thoughts on building higher than average buildings close to the water in downtown Oly.
We have to stop thinking of the beauty of this place as an ecological function. Puget Sound can be both beautiful and dying at the same time. Why are we so worried about building bigger buildings (that would actually decrease stormwater run-off because they'd be built to modern standards) on already urban lots?
Not building them where urban growth already is would push growth further out, in rural and undeveloped areas.
So, we don't build them because the view of Puget Sound is pretty? I think we should build them especially if they block the view so we can remind ourselves that Olympia is already big piece of concrete, and that concrete on dirt is not pretty.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Its official, TVW has added customized embedding for all of their internet content. This includes (as I realized this morning how important this would be) the audio content. I would estimate 70 percent of the really good stuff (state legislative committee work) is audio only.
We’re pleased to announce TVW has added a new embedding tool to all programming found on our website tvw.org.
This new tool allows any event from TVW’s archives to be embedded into websites and blogs, and includes the ability to highlight a portion of the footage, but in a way that honors the balanced, unedited, gavel-to-gavel nature of TVW programming.
The new embedding tool is readily accessible just below the player window of every TVW video and audio event available at tvw.org.
Our goal is to be the most effective resource as possible for citizens to view the Legislature, state government and state public policy debate. We look forward to your comments, questions and suggestions, as well as working with you to improve our services.
Greg Lane, President
What is “embedding”?
Embedding is the ability to place a video or other object in html code in order to display it on a webpage. TVW will now allow you to "embed" a TVW video or audio event on another website or blog while TVW’s servers securely stream that content to your web visitors.
Embedding TVW video on your website is simple and very similar to YouTube’s embed function. With a little knowledge of html you can quickly get TVW's video playing on your website or blog.
To embed an event from tvw.org:
* Click in the text field under the video player area or click "Embed". This will select all of the code needed to copy into your site or blogs html editor.
* Use the "Right mouse click" and chose "Copy." This will copy the text to your computers clipboard.
* “Paste” this code into your websites html code or your bog’s html editor.
(For specific hosted blog spheres and how to embed video code, please consult the appropriate help section of your blog site or contact your webmaster.)
Advanced embedding options
TVW’s advanced virtual-clip feature is unique to the web. This feature allows you to choose a “Start” and “Stop” time, essentially creating a virtual clip of a TVW event. This, however, does not edit the actual event - it allows a user to continue playing from the point the clip ends and review the event in its entirety right from your webpage or blog.
To use the advanced features, click the “Use Advanced Embed” button and set the start and stop times. These times must be in a HH:MM:SS format. You can also set the width dimensions of the video. The dimensions feature can only be set in conjunction with using the virtual-clip feature. To simply embed the video without a virtual-clip, click the “reset” or “Use Standard Embed” buttons. This will clear any advanced embed features.
For further questions about TVW’s embedding feature, contact email@example.com.
Here are a few lessons learned from this little adventure:1. Even though I care about something and have cared for a bit, just me caring about something doesn't mean something will actually get done. I started thinking and blogging about TVW and social media over a year ago, but it wasn't until a more prominent blogger crossed swords with them did this ball get moving.
2. Small organizations with good people can do great work.
3. Mark Gardener, who jumped on this issue early (here and here), apparently trying to pick Goldy on the issue, looks like a total ass. Still. What really bothers me about his writing on this was that he was so quick to make it into a "oh wow, this is really going to hurt those Dems" thing when there were so many issues here to mull over about how this could be bad for blogger, citizens and democracy in general.
Oh well, don't want to look too far outside the blinder, eh Mark?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
But, since he was an Atlanta pitcher, not a Mariners minor leaguer, I gave up the obsession.
But, now he's a pretty good Atlanta pitcher, going 2-1 over 54 innings so far with a 2.14 ERA. He's going to face down our 100 pitch a night millionaire pitcher Bedard, who is 4-4 with a plus 4 ERA.
I'm not hoping Jorge wins, I'm hoping he leaves the game ahead. I never hope the Mariners lose, but I hope they get a chance to see Jorge pitch well and to realize what they lost.
For old time sakes, here's all my old Jorge Campillo posts.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Mark Gardner is so freaking wrong because no campaign will suffer, because TVW is doing the right thing and developing a tool that will help citizens and bloggers get easy access to the great stuff TVW produces.
There won't be political pressure coming from the TVW board, to the Burner campaign and onto David Goldstein because TVW is smart and they would rather help people use their content than fight a battle with them.
UPDATE: embed code updated June 19, 12:55 p.m.
From embedding it just now, there seems to be a little bit of a bump between the video and audio starting. The audio went, but the video was frozen. Then both the audio and video began in sync twice before it started for good.
The only major problem was that the video did not end at the point I had wanted it to, it kept on going.
Most of my problems so far have to do with trying to find exactly where in the more than one hour long video file I wanted to start, so its just a problem with the large file size.
Getting the embed code went quickly, as soon as I narrowed down what part of the movie I wanted to show. Generally, good job Scott at TVW.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Also, history was made by Lewis County Democrats, with one of their's is also heading to Denver.
Hello! I hope you are well.
I am writing you as a newly elected At Large National Delegate for Barack Obama! I was one of four males elected to represent Washington State for Senator Obama. It is an honor to join the 97 member Delegation to the Democratic National Convention. As an At-Large Delegate it is my job to represent the voice of Washington voters in Denver thus August as we pass progressive platforms & resolutions and confirm Barack Obama as the Democratic Nominee.
Without your support, kind words, and best wishes I could never have achieved this goal.
I plan to update my website, soon so you can see some pictures from the weekend. I will keep you posted about my experiences on this new and exciting journey.
Thank you again,
Remember in early May when Tim Eyman said that he'd have to mortage his home to the tune of $250,000 to raise enough money to fund I-985? Ever wonder how that turned out?
Not so great:
Full spreadsheet here.
Since his public appeal, the For I-985 campaign has raised just over $90,000 out of their total $499,000 (as of the end of May, the most recent data available from the PDC).
Basically, since he made a call to his supporters, the campaign has collected less money than before he made his call to supporters. While there have been almost as many total contributors in the month after May 1 (227) than there were in the four months before (298), that increase in total contributions has hardly made a dent in what Eyman had said he needs to raise ($250,000).
And, it seems like from eye-balling his reports, those individual contributions are petering out. There were 108 contributions processed on just on May 14, but only 100 in the two weeks since then.
Either way, it isn't going to be Glenn Smith writing a $20 that is going to get Eyman out of debt.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
So I have a green light on the time code feature and I am sending an email to goldy to ask for feature suggestions before I get this up on our website. So rally the bloggers brains and let’s make this a cool functional and open feature of tvw.org! I will be working from a beta this coming week and I will get you a link so some folks can test it. I am hoping for 2 weeks from Monday for a launch.
He also says that the original way you could embed videos from TVW wasn't pulled down because of security or copyright issues, but because it wasn't efficient enough:
The embed code was not pulled consciously; it was a mere effect of an upgrade that benefits everyone since it allowed us to increase the capacity for streams. We fully intended to get you all back to it. As a matter of fact we have been working hard at getting this ready.
I trust Scott enough to know that's what actually happened, but when his executive director starts sending out emails for folks to take down videos, sure I was a bit paranoid that they'd taken down the secret squirrel way to post videos.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Stateline.org recently posted a story about state legislators who blog and included links to about 60 or so. But there aren't any listed from Washington.
Dave Upthegrove is already the best blogging state legislator . Here's why.
According to TVW's 2006 Annual Report, 18 percent of their funding comes from the state of Washington. That more than $2 million state appropriation is off-set by just less than $10 million in in-kind contributions -- the balance is the free access to cable air-waves the channel enjoys.
Here's TVW's own description of how they're funded:
TVW is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, not a government agency. It is governed by an independent board of directors. The majority of TVW's operating cash - approximately $2.5 million per year - comes from the Legislature via a contract-for-service through the Secretary of State. TVW receives more than $11 million per year in the form of in-kind contributions of channel space from Washington's cable television industry.
Also included in the public contribution to TVW was $3 million for new digital equipment (beware large PDF) a couple of years ago.
I for one am super-super happy we give money to TVW. Heck, I think we should give more, maybe three times as much a year. TVW is one of the greatest things we spend money on in this state.
But, on the other hand, if they operate on the public dime, we should be able to question their silly copyright that keeps the public at arms length from what they're doing with our money.
Here's another point: their most cherished asset is the "gavel-to-gavel" coverage they provide of the state legislature and the state supreme court. Those cameras and audio taping equipment are housed permanently in public facilities. We give TVW more access to our public proceedings than we give any other entity. Even if we didn't pay $2 million plus to keep TVW going, we should have a say what happens to recordings of our public proceedings.
All that said, I still understand why they're nervous about letting go of what they consider their content. They feel like they're beholden to elected officials, and if those electeds feel like TVW is becoming a content-supplier for attack ads, the legislature would be less likely to fund TVW.
I don't want to point out the obvious, but those elected officials are beholden to the voting public who might have a different opinion about who should have what kind of access to TVW content.
So, if you care, contact your legislative members and let them know that TVW should liberalize their copyright.
I know for a fact (from a creditable source) that the embedding option was not pulled intentionally. TVW changed to a server based delivery technology to be able to serve a larger audience and the code for how they embed their code changed. It was a technical issue only. Embedding is coming to TVW.org soon, very soon….
Does Sdf=Scott Freeman? If so, he'd be a credible source in and of himself. And, a nice guy if memory serves.
Okay Sdf (Scott), get us some embedding. And, don't break your back trying to get that time parameter thing working. Embedding first.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I agree with him, a Democratic clubhouse would be cool.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
American political realignments seem to come approximately every 40 years, and they dub the alternating political generations "idealist" and "civic." In case you've been on Mars, we're in one right now.
"The members of 'idealist' generations strongly adhere to their own personal values and are unlikely to compromise what they consider to be fundamental questions of right and wrong," the authors write. "Realignments fueled by 'idealist' generations, of which the Baby Boomers are the most recent example, therefore, result in decades of political gridlock, atrophy in governmental institutions, and an inability to resolve big societal and political issues and problems.
From the book itself:
One way to think about Millennials, in comparison to the two generations that preceeded them, is to picture a generational cohort made up solely of Harry Potter and his friends then compare those bright-eyed, overachieving wizards with the adults at Hogwarts, who try to mold their upbringing for good or ill.
...(the Harry Potter series) shows Harry and his team working hard to do their best within the rules set for them to follow and, of course, using their own special ingenuity to save the world whenever necessary.
Baby boomers are the teachers and directors at Hogwarts -- everyone of them individualistic, judgemental egotists who talk more than they act. A few characters such as Hagrid, not in power but always around to try to help, despite less-than-perfect pasts, represent Generation X, the unlucky group sandwiched between two dynamic and dominating generations.
...media moguls, authors, and even politicans make the fundemental error of thinking that today's young people think and act just like they did when they were young. Nothing could be further from the truth
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
TVW would like its coverage to be distributed as widely as possible, but they don’t want it to appear like they are responsible for editing or excerpting their raw footage. We bloggers, on the other hand, can’t very well illustrate our commentary by inserting a link with an instruction to, say, scroll to the 52 minute mark.
To accommodate both our needs, TVW is working on a technical solution: a flash player that we can embed into our posts—like YouTube—but with a contiguous time sequence as an optional parameter. We get an easier way to select and present pertinent excerpts, and TVW assures the integrity of their coverage by serving it themselves.
Except, that TVW already had made it possible for bloggers to embed TVW content, but then took it away.
Yes, the "contiguous time sequence as an optional parameter" would be interesting, but its hardly an excuse not to make already existing flash files hosted on the TVW servers embeddable.
That said, I'll be happy when they get this done. It will make their products much more useful.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Every time I drive up Capital Boulevard (which is funny since it’s actually south and I equate going up with going north) and by the old brewery I see the land in between where the railroad tracks head toward the river and over to the Valley Athletic Club I think that it would be a perfect spot for a soccer stadium. How cool would it be to take the bus on a Saturday afternoon over here, donning a jersey and joining several thousand other Olympia fans as we cheer on our local team to promotion. I am not asking for much, just something along the lines of Fratton Park in Portsmouth or Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
I have the same sort of thoughts Matt does.
So, in that vein, I give you Deschutes Park (version one and two), home of Tumwater AFC.
This is upper-division Tumwater AFC's home from the north. In this reality, Tumwater AFC plays in this world's American version of League 1, always playing for promotion to the MLS where they can play the Seattle Sounders.
This is lower division Tumwater AFC's stadium from the south. They probably play somewhere in this reality's North American version of the Northern Premier League. Semi-pro, but still good.
I think TVW can do better with social media
TVW is thinking about doing better with social media
My suggestions back then:
1. Put someone in charge. This is something completely different than what you've usually been doing. Even though you've had a robust website for years, it operates as if its a website for a TV network (which obviously it is). There is no interactive content, no blogs, no sharable video or audio, just streaming video that is almost impossible to capture and share. There are some podcasts (that I enjoy weekly) and I can download a slug of mp3s, but these aspects of the site are aimed at simply providing the content, not really at facilitating the sharing of it.
So, you have to think about this not as part of a a TV network, but rather as a website in and of itself. At a certain point, TVW will actually be more of a website than a TV network. I already don't watch TVW at all. I am on a dish, and most of my TV is recorded from a DVR anyway. But, I would consider myself a TVW addict, but solely through the website. Putting someone in charge of "online communities" can be a good start.
2. Don't put everything into a social media format, at first. Start yourself off slow, let the person in charge of your online social stuff pick and choose (and have suggested to them) content that can be put out there as shareable. And, encourage conversation online. There is a real need for somewhere in Washington State politics, outside of newspapers and blogs, for people to come together and talk. TVW has the unique and powerful potential to quickly become this place.3. Remember the kind of double standard that already exists between the "news media" and citizens using your content. It already kind of miffs me that in your copyright you carve out an exception for bona fide news broadcasters, and as more people get used to being able to share video and audio, more people will get miffed at this double standard. More and more, we are the media.
Also, Mark Gardner can only think about this issue in terms of partisanship and a congressional race. What really is at issue here is a pretty old distrinction between "bona fide" media and the rest of us.
While some folks may want to continue to believe that there is a difference between folks who write and folks who write, there really isn't.
Mark, you're a blogger now. Not "bona fide." Do you think if this was Darcy Burner saying something silly you wouldn't want to post it. Well, maybe not, but I would want you to be able to, and I'd rather vote for her.
The quicker TVW learns the same lesson the C-SPAN learned last year, the better.
A while back when TVW was changing over their site to include new sorts of media files, including flash, I figured out a way to embed TVW content. Sweet, now folks can share and push along what TVW produces, exactly as TVW intended it to be used.
Since then, TVW has blocked easy access to their flash files online, making embedding pretty freaking hard, if not impossible. I haven't been able to find a way, and I probably won't.
Why this is bad for citizens and TVW:
Ok, fine, you don't want people like David Goldstein who aren't employed by a media outlet to be using your files and changing them. But, why cut off people from easily pushing your content?
What TVW does (in the large sense) is only as good as how many people are using it. If I can't use TVW's content in a very limited fashion like embedding (not editing mind you), then the millions that TVW pours into its work is useless to me. And, I'm a person who is really interested in what TVW has to produce.
And, for christsakes guys, can you get a podcast to work? I've been subscribed to Inside Olympia through Itunes for over a year and it hasn't downloaded a single episode.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Which totally reminds me of something.
Before she left TVW, I had a fascinating email exchange with their former president Cindy Cindy Zehnder, talking about social media. I encouraged the network to think more broadly in terms of their copyright and how people could use their material.
Right now, if you aren't bona fide media (whatever the hell that means) you can't touch their material aside from just linking to it. That doesn't mean that people don't (I do it every once in awhile), but I'm wondering when they stopped thinking about it.
Last fall, as part of the TVW board's process to write their 5-year strategic, they brought together a group of media folks in early September to talk about this very issue. I emailed the organizer of the focus group to see what happened during the discussion.
Zehnder left right after that meeting to become the governor's chief of staff, so I'm assuming the 5-year strategic plan process hit a road bump.
The new president, Greg Lane, only came on board in late April, so here's hoping they start thinking hard about this. And, that the Goldstein incident is only a bump along the road. TVW is too valuable a resource for citizens to keep it locked up.
Here's the funny part, Lane has already made a point of saying he wants to change the focus of TVW to engagement:
Engagement isn't sitting back in your chair passively taking in (through t.v. or internet) what TVW has to offer.
"The second part of the mission is to really engage the public, to get them to participate in the process. And that's where we want to shift the focus," he said.
Engagement is taking what TVW has and remixing it, editing it, for discussion and commentary. Exactly what Goldstein did.
Also on TVW:
How to embed TVW content onto your blog
Small victory of the day, flash embed of TVW content
Terry Thompson doesn't know blogs
Dog as Partner Episode
There's a handful of Democratic candidates that are describing themselves at preferring the "Democrat Party," Which no self-respecting Democrat."ic candidate would actually do. I think the blame falls on the online form.
But, that doesn't explain why the two non-Democratic candidates for the open house seat in the 35th LD (just north of here) couldn't say Republican. Heck, they couldn't even say G.O.P., which seems to be the popular alternative.
Once, Herb Baze, just said R Party. Yeah, OK.
The other one, Randy Neatherlin, described his preference as "Prefers No Gas Taxes (R) Party." I guess, "Prefers sunshine and lollypops and everyone being happy and stay off my lawn (R) Party" wouldn't fit.
Back in Thurston County, there are four candidates for an open PUD seat. The Thurston PUD has a very limited scope, providing utilities to an urbanized, but not incorporated area of Thurston County called Tanglewild. The PUD has had a grander vision, becoming the water supplier of Thurston County, but the cities haven't liked that idea at all. They also run a handful of other water systems across the South Sound.
Anyway, two guys from Rochester, Lowell Deguise and John R. Blacklaw, and two guys from Olympia, Chris Stearns and Terence Artz, are running. I'm assuming the PUD also runs a water system down in Rochester, so those folks see an interest in having a say.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Until, you know, there's a natural disaster or other calamity. Then they come running for a government handout, leaving the kids home alone to keep the varmints out of the double-wide, unless their blood is so full of Curs Lite they can't see to drive.
But usually the prospect of pork rinds will get them to focus just long enough to make it to the Wal-Mart, where they wander around the aisles in their NASCAR shirts, looking for 8-track tapes while their children run around the entire place screaming. The kids can't find what they are looking for either because school funding got slashed again and they seem to have a wee bit of trouble um, reading.
The road to Amboy is maintained by magical forest sprites, who patrol it and keep the pure and noble woodsman safe from highwaymen, trolls, ogres and bandits. No need for pesky road crews and deputies there! Like Daniel Boone, all the resident of Amboy needs is a Kentucky long rifle and some pemmican.
Now, that is a rant.
I too, like Jon, get tired sometimes of the rural self definition of them some how being rugged individualists while us city-folk cower at the site of (oh, I don't know) anything rurualish.
That said, there really is less government in the hinterland, because of the simple fact there are fewer people. This doesn't mean that rural people somehow have more control over their own lives (which I assume is implied), but that where there are fewer people, there are fewer government services.
The police roll by my house more often than in rural areas simply because I have more neighbors in one block than a rural resident does in ten miles.
I live closer to a library (a much larger library) and I can walk to the store (most of the way) without feeling like a truck is going to come over the next rise and send me jumping into a ditch.
Depending more on your family doesn't make it any more safer to go walking down a rural road at dusk. Having sidewalks does.
The kind of government that I have more of in Olympia is not the kind of government that people from the corner of two country roads are afraid of. Rather, its the kind that makes me want to live in an urban area. But, we each have our tastes, so there is no accounting for that.
But, if I lived out in the sticks, I'd like a bit more government, thank you.
Both Daryl Daugs and Fred Finn, who are running against each other for the same state house seat in the 35th LD, are claiming an endorsement from sitting legislator Larry Seaquist from the neighboring 26th LD.
Did someone fudge an endorsement or is Larry just not picking sides by saying both fellows are good by him?
UPDATE: See comments.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Ok, so he writes a very long post about how the Top Two is very bad, so I'm just going to wade into this and see where I end up. It looks like we'll just go rant for rant.
One of the problems with how the Top Two is rolling out is that the parties are asking local organizations to hold nominating conventions. I've said, and others as well, that these conventions are a tool to be used later when the parties move to have the Supreme Court reconsider their decision.
Andrew is much kinder to the state Dems intentions, saying rather they are "gamely fighting to ensure that there will be somebody carrying the party's banner." Oh, I'd say they're creating an official record for the court that the Top Two hurts their freedom of association.
Later on, Andrew writes this:
Meanwhile, the 36th Legislative District has refused to even hold a nominating convention. The two Democrats running there are John Burbank and Reuven Carlyle. Its leaders, who aren't giving their district's precinct committee officers much credit, argue that having only PCOs pick the nominee isn't democratic.
I enjoyed reading that local party leaders thought giving a decision over to PCOs would be undemocratic. Which, it really would be. If the 36th LD holds to the average of King County, their PCOs really weren't elected in a Democratic fashion. Last time I checked, less than a third of the possible PCOs positions across the county were elected and less than 2 percent of all the positions available were contested. The rest of the PCOs now serving in the 36th and across King County are appointed.
I wish it weren't this way, but handing a decision over to PCOs to decide is necessarily undemocratic because of the lack of participation in PCO elections.
There is a central question that I run into when I talk about this issue with folks who aren't involved in party politics. They wonder why the state of Washington should pay for what party activists argue is a private party function.
The choice belongs to the people of the party, but we can't pay for it. We need the state to pay for our private party function.
The choice belongs to the people of our party. It's too expensive to hold special caucuses in every jurisdiction every year. And they don't attract the numbers that a presidential caucus does. That is why we really need the open primary.
Well, I'll agree, we don't have enough money to pay for precinct caucuses every time we want to nominate someone. We also don't have the volunteers. We do have enough money (collectively) to run campaigns, put televisions ads up and pay consultants.
What we don't have the structure, resources or people to actually get people involved in our organization. We may sound grassroots, but we're not. Very few people actually participated in our caucuses as compared to voter turnout in other elections, and we barely had the capacity for that.
I can see why people don't like the open primary, or any system that gives too much control to parties in Washington. They don't trust us because they aren't part of us.
Anyway, I got a letter tonight not only reminding me to file (since I'm already a PCO), but providing me with the right form. Well, good on you.
But, before I give them too much credit, it would have been better to send letters to everyone who attended a caucus, to ask them to run as well. Its one thing to remind folks who are already PCOs (even though they might have been appointed in the past couple of years), but its another thing to get new folks into the fold.