Monday, March 30, 2009

You'll always have the Olympian

Because McClatchy will never be as stupid as the owners of the King County Journal/Eastside Journal/Bellevue Journal-American/South County Journal/Valley Daily News.

A little background. Ken puts it out there that the end is nigh for the Olympian. The new Olympian publisher responds a little too directly.

Ok, so this is why:

For over ten years the owners of the King County Journal rearranged the masthead, trying to catch up with a readership that was running in the other direction. The problem is, as soon as you change the brand of a local product, you end the need for that local product. The two original papers (Bellevue Journal-American and Valley Daily News) had a combined circulation of 66,000 over ten years ago. That evaporated to a very optomistic 41,000 a decade later.

I'm convinced that even if they had consalidated all production in Kent (as they eventually did) and leave a small bureau in Bellevue, but producing two papers with different mastheads, there would still be two additional dailies in King County.

This sort of thing -- reducing the cost of production by having it all in one place, but scattering reporters into their communities -- is sort of what the eventual owners of the King County Journal did. While they shut down the dying daily, they actually ended up increasing news content in most of their communities by increasing montly newspapers to weeklies and starting new publications in some communities.

Anyway, McClatchy has pretty much moved all production -- pagination, printing, copy editing -- to Tacoma, but the Olympian remains.

And, if you look at how McClatchy is arranged nationally (here and here), this sort of "hub and spoke" arrangement is how they operate. There is generally a large dominant (parent) daily surrounded by a few smaller weeklies and dailies. All of the children properties maintain their identities and brands, but all non-essential functions are taken care of at the parent paper.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The team killed by one game (Belfast Celtic and Happy Saint Patrick's day)

On this St. Patrick's Day, I remember Belfast Celtic, a team disbanded after a horrific game and its aftermath in the late 1940s. Despite their success, they were never admitted to the league system in Northern Ireland and were forced to hang it up due to fan on player violence.

From Wild Geese (which refers to this I assume):
That triumphal victory over the Scottish national side was several months ahead when the Celtic team took to Linfield's pitch at Windsor Park, in staunchly unionist South Belfast, on Boxing Day 1948. Tension at matches between the two sides was always at a high. The match ended with the Celtic team having to run from the pitch for their lives when Linfield

fans poured over the terrace barriers at the end of a 1-1 draw. Centre forward Jimmy Jones was thrown over a parapet, kicked unconcious and left with a broken leg. Defender Robin Lawlor and goalkeeper Kevin McAlinden were seriously hurt.

More can be found at (hard site to link inside of without crashing firefox).

Belfast Celtic is also one of a dozen or so historic "celtic" teams across the world, many of whom wear the "celtic hoops" made famous by Glasgow Celtic. The Scottish Celtic team has their own storied past that straddles the sectarian violence in the United Kingdom, but unlike Belfast Celtic they surive to this day.

Tomorrow I'll wear a jersey from another hoops team, Shamrock Rovers of Dublin. Rovers were a younger team than either Belfast or Glasgow Celtic and recieved their first set of uniforms from Belfast Celtic.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Local green party seen better days

Patrick Mendendez would like to think the local Green Party is an alternative worth supporting, but they probably need something to bring them off of life support. They failed to even get a quorum to their recent organizational meeting:

NOTE -- a follow-up meeting was planned in two weeks time; however, we did not achieve a quorum at that meeting and the organizers have dropped their efforts for the time being.
This is probably the worst time ever for the even-more-liberal-than-the-Democratic party in Thurston County to be falling on hard times. They have so many built in advantages, at least electorally speaking.

The Top Two primary, at least theoretically, could put them in the general election in two upcoming elections. I haven't heard of any Republican candidate at all in the upcoming Thurston commissioner race. And, in the fall of 2010 there will be an open seat in the 22nd LD.

There are two types of political jokes in the United States

From the Dixon Cornbelt League (by the late WP Kinsella... sigh):
According to what I read in USA Today, there are two political factions in Courteguay -- the government and the insurgents -- depending on who is currently in power.

There are two types of political jokes, from what the chair the Thurston County Republicans shares with us today, depending on who is in power.



Friday, March 13, 2009

Port of Shelton, Paul Harvey and Genocide

Beyond the entire interesting part of governing from a three person commission (one commissioner cannot make a decision alone) was the part about the port commissioner wanting to lower the flag to honor the death of Paul Harvey.

A lot of people seemed to like Harvey, but I'm wondering about the wisdom of honoring somone who looked fondly back on the North American genocide and nuclear war.

Hey Chase Gallagher, are you going to run for port commissioner up there anytime soon?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Can't hardly resist it local politics joke

Response to Thurston Pundits on the new "crazy tax": maybe its all the new local conservative bloggers.

This week in metonymizing Olympia

1. The Other Side withOlympia is not closing Universities (so far) just shredding the social safety net…. Sorry about your social safety net, not sure how we got the authority to do that. But, to be honest, we'd never close a University, we'd actually like one of our own. Our four year school is just a lousy college.

2. Washington Conservation Voters (March 10) with an email titled "Have you called Olympia?" I do, practically everyday!

3. And, Richard Roesler at the SR politics blog with Idaho continues to loom on Olympia's radar... It is such a big state Rich, and we're such a small city, they all seem to loom on our radar. Except Rhode Island.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

5 reasons why MLS PDX is a much better idea than MLB PDX

I was an enemy of Portland getting a major league baseball team from way back (even before this). But, them getting a MLS team is a much better idea. I hope they get one, at least so we can kick their asses around another whole level of soccer.

1. Know your town. For awhile there, Portland was a Single A affiliate to the Rockies. The Portland Rockies. Single A. Didn't draw well as memory serves.

Even though the Beavers have been back in recent years, Portland has a much better track record of soccer town than a baseball town.

2. Know your league. For as much as I'd like to play up the significance of MLS, it is still very much an emerging league. So, while the NFL and MLB are safely ensconced in the economics of regional monopolies, MLS teams are much better served by building up regional rivalries.

Very few Portland soccer fans would travel up to Seattle to deliberately root for the Sounders, so the only way for the league to capitalize on soccer fans in Oregon is to put a team there.

3. Know your t.v. contract. MLB=regional cable, such as Fox Sports Northwest. MLS=local broadcast affiliate, like King 5/Kong 16. No cross-over into the Portland t.v. market.

4. Know your town #2. Almost unspeakable truth that Portland is different than saaaaaaay Cincinnati, right? I'm just saying that culturally, Portland is more a soccer town than a baseball town. See chapter 10 in How Soccer Explains the World.

5. Know your ass kicking. Come on Portland, come and get it. You know you miss us. You know you want to lose to us again in league.

Come on...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Publicola folds on metonymic Olympia?

Weird headline construction if Josh Feit isn't:

Democrats in Olympia to the Voters: You Were Wrong About that Environmental Stuff

Much easier to write "Oly Dems to to Voters" or "Olympia to Voters," no?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The imaginary battle for Washington's state capitol

Jerry Reilly deploys hypothetical politics to defend the state legislature stepping into a local planning process (or Olympia telling Olympia what to do):

Opponents of this legislation should consider two questions:

If the state were just now deciding where to locate our capital city, would it be reasonable to ask the City Council of Olympia to agree to forgo intense development on the isthmus in order to protect the views from and to the Capitol Campus?

Would city leaders be likely to accept this limitation as a fair trade for the enormous benefit of being the capital city?

Here's my consideration:

The last time there was a serious attempt to move the state capitol from Olympia was just about 100 years ago. Tacoma tried to step in and snatch the seat of government. There was a less serious attempt in the 1950s that involved quietly moving state agencies up to Seattle. We beat back that challenge, along with others.

So, I don't really consider the threat to move the state capitol serious, even hypothetically.

And, for the "enormous benefit" we receive as being the capitol city, I wonder how many city's our size would appreciate their largest industry not paying property taxes?

Also, since Lacey and Tumwater are now having nice new state buildings built in them, its high time the state legislature dip into their local planning processes as well.

Hey Heather (from Washington CAN): bite me!

Because you can't tell the difference between a town and the state legislature:

Hey Olympia, hands off the $

Dear Rhenda,

President Obama signed the federal stimulus plan to help states and their residents rebound from the current recession. Funding for health care is a significant part of the package. Washington State's share is expected to be $2.06 billion over the next two years.

However, there is danger that lawmakers in Olympia will take the money with one hand, but then turn around and still make deep cuts to the health care safety-net with the other. That's just wrong.

Email your legislators to demand that they use this new federal health care funding to stop cuts to the health care safety-net.

We agree with President Obama when he said, "These funds are intended to go directly toward helping struggling Americans keep their health coverage." Now more than ever, we can not afford to weaken our health care safety-net programs such as the Basic Health Plan.

This past Sunday, the Tacoma News Tribune ran a guest editorial outlining the need to ensure federal dollars from the economic stimulus go to strengthen our state health care programs. Take a minute to read it now, then email your lawmakers.

Wanna have an even bigger impact? Please join us next Wednesday, March 11 in Olympia to speak directly to your legislators about the need to strengthen our health care programs. This is your last opportunity to register, so sign-up today!

Thank you for all of your support!

~the Washington CAN team

Hat tip to dear ol'Rhenda Strub, because she cc'd me on her response:

Olympia has no control over the money. Olympia is a city struggling to make ends meet just like every other city in the state. If you have a gripe with the legislature, please say so and stop batting our name around to make your point. Most of the legislators are from up there where you are. Why not say “Hey Seattle, hands off the $”

Rhenda Iris Strub
Olympia City Councilmember

I honestly couldn't argue with Heather's actual point, but to make that point on the back of a lazy use of language, she can bite me.

And, yes: an elected official has bought into my crazy pet peeve.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ken Camp's Tumwater coverage

Wondering about the continuing musical chairs that is still occurring since Bob Macleod resigned from the county commission in December?

Ken has the scoop on all the folks who want to fill Karen Valenzuela's seat on the Tumwater City Council. Karen filled Bob's seat on the commission (Ken did a pretty good job covering that process too).

Here's a particularly good graph:

I have to say that for someone who has served on the planning commission, and presumable made recommendations to the city council, I’m surprised that Ed didn’t take the time to ensure he spelled Commissioner Valenzuela’s name correctly. It also wouldn’t have hurt him to take care of some of the other misspellings and wrong verb tenses in the application too.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Metonymy angle of the transportation stimulus battle between Seattle and the Leg

Olympia to Seattle: Drop Dead
More metonmy:
This week's dustup between Seattle and Olympia over how to spend $341 million in federal stimulus money...
The problem with this specific metonymic device is that is blurs out the reality of the situation. It makes the state legislature, an organization of locally elected (and proportionate to population) representatives into "Olympia," an other.

Its a very short line of logic from othering state government to a Gov. Bobby Jindal-type speech where government can never solve any problems and wrecks everything it touches.

It would be much different to say: "Our State Legislature to Seattle: Drop Dead" or "this week's dustup between Seattle and the state legislature..."

An aside: I understand metonymy, probably more than most people should. See my somewhat depressingly long archive on this particular topic, please. I understand the purpose of using a specific term for a broad topic, like "press" for the "news media," especially in a time when there are fewer and fewer "presses" in the "news media."

But, the use of Olympia for "state government" or "state legislature" is a hugely inaccurate and damaging metonymy, because it misstates the nature of our government. Because we elect our representatives from proportional districts, most of the people who serve in the state legislature come from the urban Puget Sound (not unlike the makeup of the Senate Transportation Committee), so its also the urban Puget Sound telling Seattle to "drop dead."

Back to the main point: I don't have a problem with language short cuts. I have a problem with language short cuts that are dangerous.

And, especially when my town is made the label for the scapegoat. At least Josh Feit stop saying "Oly."

Is the Williams Group relaunching The Sitting Duck?

This got me thinking.

If you go to where the old Sitting Duck website used to be (, it takes you to the Williams Group's (a local full service PR/publishing/Marketing firm) website. This implies that while Sitting Duck in charge Terry Knight said he was looking for a buyer late last year, he actually did find one.

The domain registration tells a different story. While the name servers are pointing to Williams Group, the registration remains with the old KnightVision organization.

I wonder what the Williams Group is going to do with what they bought, if they did indeed buy it.