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Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Morning News

posted by on January 13 at 8:50 AM

Supermajority Democrats: Bold plans for the Evergreen State, but not in 2008. Don’t want to rock the boat in a year when liberals are charged up and there’s a strong turnout of young, progressive voters, you know.

Against the Fence: Texans who will lose their land.

Trained Killers: Iraq and Afghanistan war vets charged with 121 US slayings.

Fear and Voting in Las Vegas: Clinton backers afraid casino precincts may favor Obama.

About 100: Civil Unions in New Hampshire.

Worth a Million Words, Apparently: Pundits still finding the joy inside Hillary’s tears.

Huck’s Army: Not your father’s evangelicals, but still certifiably freaky.

Those Kids Tossed into the River by Their Dad? The bodies are showing up.

Kenya Protesters: Cops make unofficial “shoot to kill” policy.

It’s a… Media Frenzy: Aguilera and Richie make new little people.

RIP: Guenther Woerne of Woerne’s European Pastry Shop and Restaurant – on the Ave since the beginning of forever – passed away at 75.

Start Cutting that Line of Claritin: “Kitties Sweeter Than Wine” cat show comes to Seattle Center.

RSS icon Comments


I thought you'd include

for sure.

US national intelligence chief Mike McConnell has said the interrogation technique of water-boarding "would be torture" if he were subjected to it.

Posted by Vasya | January 13, 2008 9:24 AM

To compare Woerne's European Pastry Shop to Starbucks or Cinnabon is beyond the pale. Compared to Woerne's they are garbage. He made pastries that compared well with the best in Germany.

Thanks Woerne.

Posted by whatever | January 13, 2008 9:25 AM

There's a hole in that Woerne story you could drive a Panzer through. I want to know how he spent WW2. Why South America? I'm getting an "Apt Pupil" vibe.

I don't mean to be insensitive -- I just think the obituary raises more questions in this regard than it answers. When reporters leave this kind of information out, it always makes me wonder why.

And no, Shrillville residents, I am not accusing the nice baker of being a Nazi. For all I know, he was Jewish and barely escaped with his life -- another reason to include background of his early life.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 13, 2008 9:43 AM

He'd have been twelve in 1945.


Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 13, 2008 9:55 AM

JTC, I was wondering the same thing. Because I really wanted the headline to be, "So long, and thanks for all the knish."

Posted by Dominic Holden | January 13, 2008 9:59 AM

@4 -- I see I have the pleasure of addressing the Mayor of Shrillville.

Your Honor --

I am well aware of his age. I am also aware that children that age or younger were pushed as cannon fodder onto the front lines in the waning days of the war. Please put "Der Untergang" on your Netflix queue.

His youth makes his back story even more provocative. Was his family hurt? Were they killed? How did they survive, if not?

My "Apt Pupil" reference up there is misplaced, I'll grant you real beef here is with the reporter.

Now, go back to wandering your Elba, Nappy, and stop calling me a dork.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 13, 2008 10:03 AM

It never really surprised me that the Clinton campaign would resort to Rove-style tactics against Obama:

  1. Having their surrogates refer to Barack Hussein Obama.
  2. Having their surrogates raise the question of whether Obama was a drug dealer.
  3. Sending out a hit-piece mailing in New Hampshire suggesting Obama's votes in the Illinois state legislator, directed by Planned Parenthood, showed he wasn't sufficiently pro-choice.

Nor has it ever really surprised me that Hillary Clinton has cultivated this Romney-esque ability to morph her positions according to political calculation:

  1. She was pro-Iraq War when it was popular, then she became anti-Iraq War when that was popular. And now Bill Clinton has the nerve to lie that it's a "fairy tale" that Obama's and Hillary's positions on the war ever differed.
  2. She had the nerve to say at the New Hampshire debate: " I'm running on having taken on the drug companies and the health insurance companies." Meanwhile, she has taken huge contributions from the drug and health insurance companies. (See Michael Moore's "Sicko.")

No, it's never really surprised me that the Clinton campaign and Hillary herself have powerful strands of the Rove and Romney Republican DNA. But the link above about trying to block the casino precincts does surprise me. I never thought they could stoop this low. Excerpt:

Two days after a key Nevada union of casino employees endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, allies of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, filed a lawsuit to block the special "at-large" casino precincts set up months ago for those very casino employees.

With the stated purpose of ensuring voting participation by casino employees in the Jan. 19 Nevada caucuses, the Nevada Democratic Party created nine at-large precincts designed for the "4,000 or more shift workers per site who could not otherwise take the time off to go to their home precincts."

This smacks of a willful attempt to disenfranchise voters. This is shades of Katherine Harris in Florida and Ken Blackwell in Ohio. It suggests, when you get right down to it, that Democrats are no better than Republicans. "Yeah, the Dems are corporate fascists too, but at least they're our corporate fascists." It's enough to make voters cynical and disillusioned, which is exactly what the Clinton campaign wants. It is a fetid, rotting climate where voters have no hope for politics and government in which Bushes and Clintons—a.k.a. entrenched powers—thrive.

I just hope the media seizes on this story, actually makes it a story, rather than relegating it to a blog post like this. And I hope the Obama campaign seizes on this.

You see, the Clinton campaign has been successful in establishing this meme that Obama is the Paul Tsongas or Bill Bradley of this race, the loser candidate of the bourgeoisie, while she is the winner candidate of the proletariat. The Obama campaign should tactfully use this development to make the lie of Hillary's patronizing, pandering identification with the working class. If she cares so much about the working class, why are her minions trying to prevent working class workers from voting?

Posted by cressona | January 13, 2008 10:05 AM

@5 -- Mmmmm...knish....

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 13, 2008 10:09 AM

Fear and Voting in Las Vegas: Clinton claims casino precincts may favor Obama.

Ummm, from what I read and what you linked...I don't understand how that title is accurate.

Am I missing something or are you purposefully misleading people?

Posted by Johnny | January 13, 2008 10:10 AM


Think about it. There are preferential rules for casino workers in the Nevada caucuses. What if the Boeing machinists endorsed Clinton and then they alone out of all workers in Washiington State were allowed to have workplace caucuses at the big Boeing plants? But if you are a teacher or any other kind of worker you have to go to your neigborhood caucus.
It the machinists had endorsed Clinton that would be seen as unfair advantage.

It's certainly a legitimate issue and using it to argue Hillary = Rove is rather frantic and desperate.

The circular firing squad is forming pretty quickly.

Obama and Clinton are going to fight it out. They and their allies are going to argue, bitch, compare, contrast, and oh my God even "go negative." Boo-hoo, boo-hoo.

If you start calling foul for the normal sort of comparisons and arguments and pissing matches that ensue in any campaign, you are likely to simply reveal your bias, as both of them will engage in it. And have done so.

More importantly, you become a mere sycophant ignoring the fundamental facts that both Obama and Clinton have strengths, and flaws and limitations, and we are damn lucky that both of them are in the running.

The idea that one is 100% savior and the other 100% Rovian devil is naive, and ultimately harmful to the mostly common goals of all us Obama supporters and Clinton supporters.

Posted by unPC | January 13, 2008 10:41 AM

Well, it looks so far like the Obama camp is responding to the casino precincts lawsuit in the right way:

Culinary union secretary-treasurer D. Taylor told the Associated Press that the plaintiffs were using "Floridian Republican tactics to suppress cooks, housekeepers, people of color and women."

The Obama campaign has publicly opposed the lawsuit. "We believe as a party, and a country, we should be looking for ways to include working men and women in the electoral process, not disenfranchise them," said David Cohen, the Obama campaign’s Nevada State Director.

This lawsuit could very well backfire and be the thing that hands Nevada to Obama. Y'know, in politics as in war, you have such a thing as blowback, the law of unintended consequences. The move you make to win ends up being the mistake that seals your defeat.

The Democratic Party may be getting more and more upscale, but Democratic presidential contests are not won and lost on the votes of upscale voters. They're won and lost on the votes of working class voters. Obama has the opportunity to turn Hillary's "I'm the champion of the working class" theme on its head, to turn one of her strengths into a weakness. Really, if she cares so much about working folks, then why are her campaign's stand-ins trying to prevent working folks from voting?

Posted by cressona | January 13, 2008 10:50 AM

unPC @10:

If you start calling foul for the normal sort of comparisons and arguments and pissing matches that ensue in any campaign, you are likely to simply reveal your bias, as both of them will engage in it. And have done so.

More importantly, you become a mere sycophant ignoring the fundamental facts that both Obama and Clinton have strengths, and flaws and limitations, and we are damn lucky that both of them are in the running.

The idea that one is 100% savior and the other 100% Rovian devil is naive, and ultimately harmful to the mostly common goals of all us Obama supporters and Clinton supporters.

I certainly don't consider Obama to be perfect or 100% savior. I happen to think he has quite a few flaws. By the same token, though, just because the world is not black and white, angel and devil, doesn't mean that everyone is equally in the mud.

There is a difference between these candidates, between their plans and their records, between their rhetoric and the integrity of their campaigns and their willingness to lie. Hillary does score way higher on the Rove meter and the Romney meter than Obama does. There is a difference between Obama and Clinton, just like there is a difference between McCain and Romney.

One goal of Rove-style politics is to have it dismissed as normal, as "the normal sort of comparisons and arguments and pissing matches that ensue in any campaign." You can stoop to any depth simply by leaving the impression with a cynical and uninformed electorate that, "Oh, everybody does it."

Posted by cressona | January 13, 2008 11:05 AM

Your title of "Trained Killers" is in fucking poor taste.

I rarely swear and this brings 4 letter words immediately to my lips.

Fuck You for your cowardly attempt at being witty. Anyone who doesn't feel sorry for the shitty positions those guys are put in should be ashamed of themselves.

Reality Check

Posted by Reality Check | January 13, 2008 1:55 PM

Hey, Reality Check. I feel terrible for those guys. How can you not? They are trained to kill, they are traumatized in war zones (often without adequate support or gear), many of them develop PTSD and other conditions, and then they are reintroduced into society without adequate treatment or services. But training people to kill and then failing to provide transitions services has a predictable effect: Some veterans violently snap. That's criminal of our military.

“Matthew knew he shouldn’t be taking his AK-47 to the 7-Eleven,” Detective Laura Andersen said, “but he was scared to death in that neighborhood, he was military trained and, in his mind, he needed the weapon to protect himself.”

Head bowed, Mr. Sepi scurried down an alley, ignoring shouts about trespassing on gang turf. A battle-weary grenadier who was still legally under-age, he paid a stranger to buy him two tall cans of beer, his self-prescribed treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

As Mr. Sepi started home, two gang members, both large and both armed, stepped out of the darkness. Mr. Sepi said in an interview that he spied the butt of a gun, heard a boom, saw a flash and “just snapped.”

In the end, one gang member lay dead, bleeding onto the pavement. The other was wounded. And Mr. Sepi fled, “breaking contact” with the enemy, as he later described it. With his rifle raised, he crept home, loaded 180 rounds of ammunition into his car and drove until police lights flashed behind him.

Posted by Dominic Holden | January 13, 2008 2:20 PM

You can tell a chickenhawk by how much they protest if anyone dare speak in less than reverential tones about their beloved troops. Real soldiers have pretty thick skins when it comes to mere words, but cheerleaders like Bill O'Reilly will wet themselves over every little thing anyone says.

Posted by elenchos | January 13, 2008 3:35 PM

Dominic your reply is exactly how I feel. I fail to see why the title shouldn't have been geared more towards the Veteran's Administration or the Pentagon if you feel for the troops having PTSD.

It is beyond criminal that we don't quintuple our psychiatric services for returning troops.

Everyone should be enraged that we have loose cannon soldiers who re-enter society with psychological issues that are not being addressed.

Meanwhile we spend billions on "rehabilitating" inmates who have never done a thing to contribute to society, and most just use it as an excuse to stay (or get) out of the prison system.

Posted by Reality Check | January 13, 2008 4:11 PM

elenchos is dead on @15. I don't see any of the Red Bushies summering over in Iraq, and its really noticeable how few Red Bushies have ever served in a combat unit.


Posted by Will in Seattle | January 13, 2008 5:13 PM

Guenther Woerne was among the most inclusive, gracious people you ever could meet. He was a friend to everyone, loved and respected by people of many different paths in life. (Oh, and his baking was to die for.)

And now, for the blogsters like "whatever" who are questioning his whereabouts in Nazi Germany... Well let's see... It was pretty much birth to youth, wherein he was injured by shrapnel, occupied by France causing evacuation from home, then growing up to become the kind of human being who would emerge with greater compassion, a knack for helping people in need, and a commanding gift for hospitality: hence the success of his beloved restaurant and the legendary pastries which countless Seattlites remember to this day. And, like a whole bunch of Germans, he didn't happen to be one-in-the-same with Hitler for crying out loud!)

As for critiquing the journalist: It was an *obituary* news article, for heaven's sake... Perhaps the journalist's tone was thoughtful and respectful, telling the story of this great man's impact on Seattle's cultural scene, and was not exactly the expose you were hankering for. There are a great many grieving people--much less local pastry lovers and cultural history afficianados--who were *deeply* touched by the article. I'm glad the journalist wrote it with this audience in mind, and not specifically for you.

Incidentally, "whatever" may be interested to know that I happened to bump into a local rabbi, after Guenther's passing, who, like me, remembered Woerne's Cafe fondly as one of his favorite spots to gather for food and community. I'm going to go back to those kinds of conversations and ignore the grandiose assumptions of negativity!

Posted by peaceout | January 13, 2008 9:10 PM

@18 -- Shrill. I bet some of your best friends are Jewish, right?

But thanks for the insight in the gentleman's childhood. That's exactly what I was looking for.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 13, 2008 10:39 PM

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