Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Thursday, July 27, 2006

100 Days Left to Pull it Off!

In an analysis piece in the Washington Post, titled ”Overseas Tensions Force Bush to Change Direction,” the author, Peter Baker, says that between the Lebanon / Israel conflict, worsening trends in Iraq, devastating hurricanes, failed social security initiative, gasoline prices, shelved immigration plan, criminal charges, and loss of respect from the other G-8 countries Bush may be “hindered in his efforts to advance a positive agenda at a time when Republican control of Congress appears at risk.” To that I say, DUH!

He quotes V. Lance Tarrance Jr., a prominent Republican consultant, who said "It may not only intrude in the midterm elections, it could envelop them.” To that I say, YEAH! ‘BOUT TIME!

But then Baker says “The White House sees the risk but is banking, in part, on the Democrats' history of not capitalizing on such moments. Bush advisers point to 2004, when the situation in Iraq appeared particularly dire, and yet the president won reelection and Republicans retained both houses of Congress.” To that I say, OOPS. HE COULD BE RIGHT.

We need to be careful that we don’t become complacent and think we have it in the bag. We need to work our precincts, make the phone calls, put up signs, e-mail and call our friends in other redder parts of the Country, write letter to the editor, and work hard for the next 100 days. The Republicans are banking on our blowing this election. Let’s prove them wrong!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

If You're Interested in Making Up Your Own Mind

"The Truth Laid Bear" has a great listing of blogs in the Middle East -- Israeli, Palestinian, and Lebanese. This is a great way to really hear how this conflict is being viewed by the people most at risk -- no, I don't mean the oil companies.

I highly recommend you sample a couple from each catagory.

Again -- how can our press be so off base? These people express themselves so well but we hear none of this though our own press.

Friday, July 14, 2006


The Seattle Times has a good opinion piece on the impacts of I-933 should it pass:

The anti-neighborhood initiative

By Julie Meghji, Barbara Tupper, Karen Lowe, Laura Hartman and Debby Nicely
Special to The Times

WE choose where we live for many reasons: great schools, a safe place to raise a family, a quiet place to call home. Initiative 933 places all of those things in jeopardy.

I-933 will strip away the rights of neighborhoods and begs too many questions that it can't answer. I-933 says that whenever the state or local communities limit the use of a property — for example, when a developer wants to put an 80-home subdivision in your backyard instead of abiding by current zoning density — the taxpayers are left with two bad choices: either pay the property owner whatever the property could be worth; or, give the developer his own loophole from the laws the rest of us rely on to maintain property values and protect our quality of life, and let them cram in as many houses as they can.

Backers have left many questions unanswered. How much will this cost and where does the money come from? Who pays special interests to follow the law? Who makes the decision to waive the law, and for whom? Why does I-933 force taxpayers to pay for attorneys' fees?

There are so many questions surrounding I-933, but there are some things we know for sure. Below are issues here in Snohomish County that would each leave the local community out of the conversation, waiving laws for people without even notifying their neighbors.

Horseman's Trail is a proposed 116-unit subdivision that would be located on 23 acres of steep, environmentally sensitive property in the Picnic Point area between Mukilteo and Edmonds. Many local residents are asking Snohomish County not to approve the subdivision. Under I-933, the county would have only two choices: allow the development, or pay the developer what the subdivision would be worth — potentially millions of dollars.

In Mill Creek, many residents are concerned that a proposed 24/7 Wal-Mart store will have significant adverse impacts on traffic, public safety and the environment. I-933 would leave the community no choice but to approve the development, because the cost of paying the value of a huge Wal-Mart store would simply be too high for local taxpayers.

Little Bear Creek, and the rural land around it that protects the sensitive chinook habitat and headwaters to Lake Sammamish, is under heavy pressure for urban development from some of the largest developers in the area. The county is hoping to adopt and implement a low-impact-development ordinance in an attempt to protect Little Bear Creek when urban development is allowed in the future. It will do little good if I-933 passes.

In the Maltby-Clearview area, motocross tracks in the old Rinker gravel pit and rural cluster subdivisions south of Highway 522 in Echo/Paradise Lakes' aquifer recharge areas will continue to jeopardize the drinking water of existing homeowners if I-933 passes. No one will be able to stop the rural area turning into a myriad of mega-home septics and noisy racetracks, which will not only disrupt peace and quiet with more cars on the winding rural roads, but will potentially destroy the water quality and character of these rural neighborhoods.

Those are current examples. Voters should reject I-933 in November or the number of similar cases will increase exponentially. In fact, I-933 would allow irresponsible development to occur almost anywhere, regardless of neighborhood standards. The result will be "open season" on neighborhoods across the state. Farmland would be up for grabs, too, as poorly planned growth leapfrogs into rural areas, creating more traffic.

I-933 is a bad idea for Washington. It takes local communities out of the discussion and takes away a neighborhood's right to decide how it will look in the future.

That is why both urban and rural residents should take pause, look past I-933's ballot title and ask the simplest of questions. Who pays? How much? Who decides which laws will be waived? When you don't find any answers, you'll oppose I-933 as well.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Harold Meyerson Has a Good Column Today

Meyerson "gets" it. So many of the fake reporters want to pigeon hole the support for Lamont as being "internet wacco -anti war fringe- extreme lefty-want to destroy the party" types -- But Meyerson calls it right -- no blogger could get traction if Lieberman was serving the Democrats well -- but when the Republicans use him as their first speaker in debates, he undermines the Minority whip, tells women to just go look elsewhere for your contraception, tries to feedus the lie that things are going well in Iraq -- well, enough is enough!

Lieberman's Real Problem

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, July 12, 2006; A15

I am about to become a traitor to my class. Among my estimable colleagues in the Washington commentariat, the idea that Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is facing a serious challenge from a fellow Democrat over Lieberman's support for the Iraq war seems to evoke incredulity and exasperation. On the op-ed pages of leading newspapers, we read that Lieberman is "the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men" (that's from the New York Times' David Brooks), a judgment that cannot credibly be disputed -- though if ever a road to hell was paved with good intentions, it would start with the anti-Saddam Hussein interventionism of pro-democracy advocates and end in downtown Baghdad today.

My colleagues also finger those crazy lefty bloggers as the culprits behind the drive to purge Lieberman from Democratic ranks. (The New Republic's Jonathan Chait recently wrote that in the Los Angeles Times.) They see a self-destructive urge for party purification sweeping over Democratic liberals, to the detriment of Democratic prospects.

Lieberman himself certainly does. My Post colleague Ruth Marcus recently spent some time on the campaign trail with Lieberman and reported on a talk he gave in Danbury. "Are the extremes going to dominate?" Lieberman asked. "Do you have to be 100 percent in agreement with an elected official or it's not good enough?"

Well. I don't blog; I columnize. But count me with the bloggers on this one. No great mystery enshrouds the challenge to Lieberman, nor is the campaign of his challenger, Ned Lamont, a jihad of crazed nit-pickers. Lieberman has simply and rightly been caught up in the fundamental dynamics of Politics 2006, in which Democrats are doing their damnedest to unseat all the president's enablers in this year's elections. As well, Lieberman's broader politics are at odds with those of his fellow Northeastern Democrats. He is not being opposed because he doesn't reflect the views of his Democratic constituents 100 percent of the time. He is being opposed because he leads causes many of them find repugnant.

As early as December 2001 Lieberman signed a letter to President Bush asking him to make Saddam Hussein's Iraq our next stop in the war against terrorism. As recently as last month, he opposed two Democratic resolutions to scale back our involvement in the war. And just last week Lieberman characterized the progress of the war as "a lot better" than it was a year ago, adding, "They're on the way to building a free and independent Iraq."

So, why the surprise if Connecticut voters, listening to Lieberman and looking at his record, conclude that they cannot trust his judgment on the single most important issue of the day? That's not mandating purity; it's opting for a senator who pays more attention to the war on the ground than to the war in his head.

Indeed, across Connecticut and neighboring states, Republican legislators whose support for the war has been less avid than Lieberman's are in trouble this year precisely because they've allowed Bush (even if only by virtue of their support for Republican control of Congress) to press on with the war. Connecticut's three Republican House members are scrambling for their political lives for fundamentally the same reasons that Lieberman is. In neighboring Rhode Island, Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee -- the most anti-Bush, antiwar Republican in the Senate -- may well be defeated because to be a Bush-era Republican of any stripe in the Northeast these days is a formula for political oblivion.

Of all Northeastern senators, moreover, Chafee is the one whose political profile most closely matches Lieberman's. Over the past three years, Chafee has run up a 65 percent voting record on the scorecard of the liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA). Lieberman's score is 75 percent. The six other Democrats from the nearest states -- Jack Reed from Rhode Island, Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton from New York, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry from Massachusetts, Patrick Leahy from Vermont -- averaged 97 percent during those three years. Lieberman's ADA rating of 80 percent last year tied Florida's Bill Nelson for the second-lowest among Senate Democrats.

The issue here isn't that Lieberman is not 100 percent. It's that his positions -- not just on foreign policy but on trade, Social Security and other key issues -- are often out of sync with those of Democrats in his part of the country. To expect his region's voters to dump the area's moderate Republicans but back Lieberman is to expect that they will adopt a double standard in this year's elections.

Lieberman's ultimate problem isn't fanatical bloggers, any more than Lyndon Johnson's was crazy, antiwar Democrats. His problem is that Bush, and the war that both he and Bush have championed, is speeding the ongoing realignment of the Northeast. His problem, dear colleagues, is Connecticut

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Provoked, Provocative, Provoking

From various news services:

• White House press secretary Tony Snow said in a statement released late Tuesday night. "We urge the North to refrain from further provocative acts . . .”
• "Should North Korea take the provocative action of launching a missile . . . ," Julie Reside, a State Department spokeswoman, said. . .
• U.S. officials have called the launch a provocation . . .
• 'We do consider it provocative behavior,' said (White House national security adviser Stephen) Hadley . . .
• U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said countries around the world have expressed concern "about this provocation."
• Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said any such launch by North Korea would be regarded as "a provocative act. . . . "
• MR. HADLEY: What I would say is, look, we have said that this was -- we have been concerned about this as provocative behavior.

I get the message. We’re being provoked. But provoked to do what? I get this strange feeling this administration is setting the stage for something crazy. I sure lost any faith in diplomacy when Bolton was placed in the UN. Does he understand that a nuclear winter is not a cure for global warming?

Here’s another thing – despite the talking points – North Korea didn’t decide to test those missiles because they wanted to spoil our 4th of July or because the space shuttle was launched or as Alex Forrester would say " I WILL NOT BE IGNORED" !! -- Kim Jong Il watched our clueless leader last week entertain and go sight seeing to Graceland with a person he perceives as his enemy, Junichiro Koizumi. Kim is doing his own style of “bring it on” – and clueless will dance Kim’s dance just like he’s been dancing Osama bin Laden’s dance. Just think how better prepared we would be for Kim had clueless treated bin Laden like the criminal he was and avoided getting sucked into this Iraq adventure.