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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks Founder Has Been Placed on Interpol's Most-Wanted List

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Speaking of WikiLeaks, this story just went up on CNN.com this evening:

Interpol, at the request of a Swedish court looking into alleged sex crimes from earlier this year, has put WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on its most-wanted listed.

The Stockholm Criminal Court two weeks ago issued an international arrest warrant for Assange on probable cause, saying he is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force in August incidents.

Sweden asked Interpol, the international police organization, to post a "Red Notice" after a judge approved a motion to bring him into custody.

The "Red Notice" is not an international arrest warrant. It is an advisory and request, issued to 188 member countries "to assist the national police forces in identifying or locating those persons with a view to their arrest and extradition," according to Interpol.

The Swedish court ordered Assange, 39, formally arrested in his absence, which requires Swedish authorities anywhere in the world to detain Assange if they come across him. Sweden's director of prosecutions, Marianne Ny, had requested the arrest-in-absence.

"The background is that he has to be heard in this investigation and we haven't been able to get a hold of him to question him," Ny said at the time.

Assange faces five counts that appear related to two incidents, according to the request Ny filed with the court.
He faces one count of rape and one count of sexual molestation related to an instance around August 17 in Enkoping, just outside Stockholm. He then faces two counts of sexual molestation between August 13 and 18 in Stockholm, and one count of illegal use of force between August 13 and 14, also in the capital.

Assange could be sentenced to at least two years in prison if convicted, according to the document.

Read the full story here.

SL Letter of the Day: How Gay Is That?

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 4:41 PM

I'm gay, but I'm just a normal guy too. I shop at H&M, listen to Katy Perry, do drag, and actually know what gingham is. Fabulous is what I do best! As far as I'm considered there is nothing gay about any of these things but after reading your column last week, I began to ask a lot of questions. The gayest thing in the world is banging another man, so why do so many homos have issues with with "gayness"?

Maybe it's just my alternative-Canadian-social-justice-queer-upbringing talking but I'm tired of homo-on-homo hate. I was once berated by an ex for sporting fuchsia hair for pride cause it was "too gay." Why are gay men afraid of gayness? Why can't we all just "flame on"?

Flaming And Glad Gay Youth

My response after the jump...

Continue reading »

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An Open Letter Vouching for the Non-Murderous Nature of Streetlamps

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

From Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco:

On Thanksgiving, a dog was electrocuted on Queen Anne Avenue when it came into contact with a metal plate covering some electrical wires for four streetlights. This was a tragic incident and devastating for the family that owned the dog. We are truly sorry for their loss of a beloved family member. I want to assure the public that as soon as City Light was made aware of the situation, we responded by de-energizing the electrical service.

An explanation about how the lights had no grounding and the assurance this was a freak accident are here.

Today in Margaret Cho-Inspired Rumors About Sarah Palin's Parenting Skills

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Yesterday, Margaret Cho leveled a pretty serious charge against Sarah Palin from her blog. She says that Palin forced her daughter to appear on Dancing with the Stars:

Why did Bristol do Dancing with the Stars? I heard from someone who really should know (really should seriously know the dirt really really) that the only reason Bristol was on the show was because Sarah Palin forced her to do it. Sarah supposedly blames Bristol harshly and openly (in the circles that I heard it from) for not winning the election, and so she told Bristol she “owed” it to her to do DWTS so that “America would fall in love with her again” and make it possible for Sarah Palin to run in 2012 with America behind her all the way. Instead of being supposedly “handicapped” by the presence of her teen mom daughter, now Bristol is going to be an “asset” — a celebrity beloved for her dancing. I am sure the show wasn’t in on this (but who knows anything really)

That seems like an irresponsible thing for Cho to just go posting on her blog if it's an outright lie. Perhaps she's stealing from the Glenn Beck school of information dissemination? As Beck would say has said "I could not say these things...if they were not true.

(Via The Vulture.)

Does El Gaucho Really Have Mink-Lined Booths?

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Find out in comments on "Seattle's Best Booths." (Hint: Yes!)

A (non-mink-lined, but whatever) booth at the Stumbling Monk looks really good right about now...

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  • Kelly O / The Stranger

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And the DADT Survey Says... No Problem!

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:32 PM

So this means the gays will be allowed in the military, and the Senate will give the president the DADT repeal he wants to sign by the end of this year, right?

What's Going On Here?

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:17 PM

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I was too lazy to ask.

The Conservative Take on Obama's "Triangulation"

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Apparently, when the right wing talk about liberal politicians moving rightward, they call it "triangulation." That's what I've gathered from The Corner, which has spent much of the last day or so wondering about whether Obama will triangulate in time for the 2012 elections. It started here:

...he’s going to triangulate. How much is the question. His proposal today for a federal pay freeze is a move to the center in a decidedly minor key. But it’s also relatively painless. If he finds a half-dozen of these kind of moves, he might soften his image as a partisan liberal a bit. Not enough, though, which is why I think he’s going to have to come up with some sort of big proposal for not terribly credible budget reductions. Say, a 10-year plan that generates a fairly large number for savings over that period, but that backloads most of it to year 6 and beyond, when he’ll no longer be in office even if reelected.

And they followed that up with a warped history lesson:

Many of the foreseeable opportunities for Obama to triangulate reside outside of his control. For instance, as Ramesh noted in the magazine, Clinton’s rehabilitation began with the Oklahoma City bombing. He gave a good speech and then cynically used the tragedy to demonize the GOP and conservative talk radio.

It's funny; I thought Clinton's rightward turn came with the addition of David Gergen to his advisory team. But if they wanna say his rightward turn came with the demonization of the GOP...then that's...okay, I guess? And then they conclude:

Certainly, Obama will attempt to find a few issues that he can work with the GOP on, but Clinton caved on some core issues, including spending and welfare reform. At this point, does anyone really believe that Obama is intrinsically capable of not just backing away from some key issues, but deliberately and meaningfully compromising with Republicans in areas where he has already forcefully taken a position? That’s what he needs to do to recapture the middle. He needs to be the president he told everyone he would be.

So how's the triangulation going? After their first meeting today, Obama and Republican congressional leaders seemed polite and relatively happy. Which is great, because Republicans have totally been reaching out to Obama for bipartisanship...when they're not calling him "very, very urban."

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Mayor in Talks to Allow Chihuly Museum at Seattle Center

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 2:58 PM

For months, rumors have been circulating that Seattle Center director Robert Nellams is negotiating a deal with Mayor Mike McGinn to allow both a controversial Chihuly Museum and a KEXP studio onto its campus. Now Seattle City Council member Sally Bagshaw confirms that the rumors are true.

When asked on the phone yesterday evening if a Chihuly museum or KEXP were slated for the Seattle Center's Arcade Pavilion, Bagshaw said, "what Robert is trying to do is work out an opportunity so that there's more than just an either/or solution. Yes to Chihuly, Yes to KEXP, potentially yes to others as well."

Bagshaw added that Nellams has discussed with the mayor putting KEXP "elsewhere on campus," meaning that the Chihuly museum would likely take over the Arcade Pavilion, and that she is "honoring and supporting his efforts."

Tom Mara, executive director of KEXP, said he couldn't comment on the Seattle Center's plans. Seattle Center spokeswoman Deborah Daoust hasn't returned repeated calls to comment and the mayor—who will ultimately decide what's placed at Seattle Center—isn't giving away much. "We're still in talks with all parties," says Aaron Pickus, McGinn's spokesman. "Nothing final's been decided."

Greedo in Heels

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 2:55 PM

From GeekTyrant we get the following photo from the Star Wars set in which George Lucas directs Greedo… who just happens to be wearing high heels.

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Traffic Report

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 2:17 PM

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In France, Foie Gras Is Fast Food

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 2:15 PM

From the BBC:

A Belgian fast food firm says it will be offering customers in France a burger containing a slice of foie gras. The burgers, which will contain duck foie gras, as well as beef and lettuce, will be available for a short time in the days leading up to Christmas.

You'll recall that:

Foie gras is from the liver of a force-fed duck or goose, a practice that animal protection groups say is cruel.

Those French (and those Belgians)! They're animals!

Prosecutor Charges Michael LaRosa With First Degree Murder in Capitol Hill Hatchet Killing (And Says LaRosa Is Also a Suspect in Another Murder)

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Today King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg charged Michael LaRosa, 26, with first degree murder in the Nov. 22 killing of Joseph LaMagno and requested that LaRosa continue to be held on $5 million bail.

After submitting Detective James L. Cooper's grim report on the case, Satterberg wrote that high bail was appropriate because of the danger LaRosa poses. "He is unemployed, has no fixed address, and is unlikely to comply with any conditions of release or appear voluntarily for court appearances. More importantly, he presents a great danger to public safety—the offense described... was unprovoked and committed in broad daylight, on a public sidewalk, in the presence of numerous witnesses."

Then, somewhat startlingly, Satterberg adds:

Finally, the defendant is a suspect in the murder of another Seattle man. That murder, also committed on a Seattle sidewalk, occurred less than 24 hours before the defendant killed Joseph LaMagno.

I asked Satterberg's spokesperson, Dan Donohoe, for information on the other murder. "At this point, it's still an ongoing investigation," he told me.

However, Donohoe said the murder in question has been described by the SPD here. Like LaMagno, the victim in that attack was an older man.

On November 21st, at approximately 8:40 PM, West Precinct officers responded to a 911 call of a man who was down on the ground and bleeding from his head at 5th Avenue South and South Weller Street. When the officers arrived, the Seattle Fire Department was already on the scene treating the man. The 64 year old man was unresponsive. He was bleeding profusely from the head. It appeared that injury may have been caused when the man fell, striking his head against a metal pipe attached to the building. However, it was unknown whether or not the victim fell or was assaulted. The victim was transported to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Homicide detectives were notified of the incident.

On November 23rd, the case was assigned for follow-up to Homicide detectives as a possible assault. On November 26th, the victim died at the hospital. During the autopsy at the Medical Examiner’s Office, it was determined that the victim sustained more injuries than originally reported and that his injuries were not consistent with a fall, but with a serious assault. This case is now being investigated as a homicide. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call Homicide at (206) 684-5550.

Get Your Ass Off the Couch: Tunnel Debate, Hypothetical Oil Spills, and Historical Drag Queens

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 1:59 PM

TONIGHT

For those of you with empathy, the Seattle Human Rights Commission is hosting a community forum to discuss changing laws that would affect how people's arrest and conviction records were viewed by landlords and employers. Basically, the commission wants to get ex-convicts better access to jobs and housing. Since most people would prefer NOT to have ex-offenders wandering the streets, there's a definite self-interest factor in attending this event, even if you don't have empathy (Republicans). (Garfield Community Center, 2323 East Cherry Street, 6 p.m., free)

WEDNESDAY

The Stranger, Seattle's Only Nonpartisan News Source™, is hosting a deep-bore-tunnel discussion at Town Hall. Mayor Mike McGinn, council member Mike O’Brien, and Drew Paxton of Move Seattle Smarter will talk about the state's visionary and/or fucking insane plans to drill a five story freeway underneath downtown Seattle. Moderated by the Stranger's ever-moderate Dominic Holden. (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave, Seneca Street Entrance, 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m., free)

Events through Friday after the jump!

Continue reading »

Gun-Crazy Country

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 1:52 PM

It's only matter of time before these mean motherfuckers hit the streets....

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(BBC) Called the XM-25 it has been described by the US Army as a 'game changer'.

It uses a laser guidance system and specially developed 25mm high explosive rounds which can be programmed to detonate over a target.

Richard Audette helped develop it for the US Army and says it's a big leap forward because it's the first small arms weapon to use smart technology.


Smart guns in the hands of dumb Americans—can you imagine anything worse? Dumb guns in the hands of dumb Americas is bad enough.

"Mathematical Certainty" Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 1:29 PM

I love Christian Nightmares because all the religious members of my family know that I am a godless heathen and so they don't even bother to send me their chain e-mails anymore. Without Christian Nightmares, I would never get to see hilarious videos like this one, which mathematically "proves" that God wants you to hit one-hundred-and-one percent:

This Weather Sucks

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Need to get away from this drizzly, miserable day? Take a three minute vacation with a brand new Cave Singers song that sounds just like summer.

Can't Afford to Buy Presents This Year But Still Want to Do Something Nice for People You Like?

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Then you should try making presents! And even if you are absolutely useless when it comes to sewing and gluing, Questionland is here to help with a panel of local experts who know everything there it so know about knitting and felting and whatever else-ing.

Here are the nice folks who are standing by to help you find the perfect projects:

*Marlo M, AKA IMakeCuteStuff and current organizer of EtsyRAIN.com
*YarniaPDX, Northwest's knitting maestro
*Rosalie, waterproof Shower Art maker and founder of Unanimous Craft
*Moxie, fiber artist and President of Urban Craft Uprising
*Schmancytoys, creator of cute and soft things and owner of Schmancy
*Team Stitches, all the employees of Capitol Hill's fabric store Stitches

"But Megan, I'm already really good at making shit!" you cry. Well then I'm sure these experienced ladies can help you get your work out in the crafting world so you can use your talents to make $$$! Who doesn't want $$$?? Fools. Fools don't want money.

Anyway, get in there and ask your craft-releated questions now!

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(If you, like, me, start the holiday season with all the best intentions to make a bunch of awesome shit but by the end the year you're just left with a pile of half-finished projects, then maybe you should skip the hard work and just buy crafty little gifts at this weekend's Urban Craft Uprising. Some of our panelists will be selling their wares, along with dozens and dozens of other local thing makers. It's a lot easier than actually making your own stuffed eyeball pillow or whatever, and your purchases support local artists and business.)

Gregoire Angry that Local Landmarks Appear in Tobacco Ad Campaign

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 12:52 PM

"Special edition cigarette packs featuring Washington landmarks, including the Pike Place Market and Mt. Rainier, are being co-opted to sell a product that is responsible for killing about 7,500 people in our state every year," says Governor Chris Gregoire in a statement that just arrived. “I call on R.J. Reynolds to halt their cynical campaign and not use our local landmarks for their gain.”

I don't smoke, my grandmother died a 20-year death from the protracted impacts of lung cancer, half of my family is asthmatic, and I think tobacco/nicotine is a stupid drug (expensive, nasty, and no good high). So I'm not really in the target demographic. But personally, I'd be less inclined to buy a supergay pack of Pike Place Market cigarettes.

The gov's rant continues after the jump.

Continue reading »

It's Not the Sexiest Underwear

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 12:32 PM

I probably missed this while I was on vacation for a couple weeks and you have already fixed your faceballs on them 6,000 times, but howdy ho, look at these dashing gifts for the testy liberal holiday traveler in your life—Fourth Amendment underwear!

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  • Cargo Collective

Slightly NSFW, extra testye x-ray drawers shown here.

Via Gatewaypundit.

And The Winner of the 2010 Bad Sex in Fiction Award Goes To...

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 12:27 PM

...The Shape of Her by Rowan Somerville. Here's an excerpt:

He caught her rhythm, pulling and releasing, cradling and crushing; pushing up through his fingers with each swing, mining up, like an otter through wet sand. Her sounds shifted from moans to grunts, insistent, almost desperate cries from the throat … He unbuttoned the front of her shirt and pulled it to the side so that her breast was uncovered, her nipple poking out, upturned like the nose of the loveliest nocturnal animal, sniffing in the night. He took it between his lips and sucked the salt from her. He hooked his fingers into her waistband, caught the elastic of her underwear and began pulling down. The knot on her light cotton trousers held fast as the fabric reached the curve of her backside. She twisted from him and stepped back.

The books that Somerville bested (including Jonathan Franzen!) are here. You can read more bad sex scenes from The Shape of Her at The Guardian. They also raise a great question: Why is there not a good sex in fiction award? Rather than just snickering at embarrassing efforts, it seems as though sexy, literate love scenes should be rewarded, too.

The Next WikiLeaks Target: Mexico and the Narcos

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM

This oughta be good:

WikiLeaks, a whistleblowing online site, obtained 2,836 U.S. documents related to Mexico and 8,324 documents related to narcotics — both areas of great interest to the border region.

However, the public will have to wait to learn what most of those cables contain because WikiLeaks does not plan to release all 251,287 of its leaked documents at once.

The site is coordinating the release of documents, mostly U.S. diplomatic cables, with selected major U.S. and international media partners. As of Monday, only 272 cables had been released.

I'm with Charles on this one and not Secretary Clinton. WikiLeaks will, on balance, turn out to do more good than harm. Their diplomatic-cable carpet-bombing campaign may have just finally chastened North Korea and Iran, two of the most recalcitrant countries on the planet, which even the superpowers in their respective spheres of influence (China, Saudi Arabia, the U.S.) could not bring to heel.

While traditional journalists bemoan their loss of influence, WikiLeaks may be showing us all a new road (the way the Green Revolution and Twitter showed the world a new road for rebellion).

Who knows what we'll see up ahead? More government transparency and control by citizens and journalists than ever before? Or an era of new super-security systems by the power elite that will be even harder to crack (maybe a regime of low documentation and high memorization training for power-brokers who only feel safe making oral agreement), making government and business even less accountable than before?

Or maybe a combination of both, a world in which bloggers and hackers mine for data from below, while investigative journalists worm their way into the tightest power-circles, coming to look more like a secret agent operating incognito (the new investigative model) than a detective operating openly (the old investigative model)?

Either way, I can't wait to see what WikiLeaks dumps about the narcos and the governments which have been intertwined with them since the very beginning of drug prohibition, the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.

The relevant passage from a recent story in The Stranger:

Major Mexican landowners had been growing marijuana and opium poppies and selling them to the U.S. long before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 (the first major federal drug prohibition—prior to that, even the Sears, Roebuck catalogue advertised a syringe and a dose of cocaine for $1.50). Those Mexican landowners were aligned with, or outright members of, the Mexican political establishment. One brief example: Colonel Esteban Cantú Jiménez, who had a personal army of 1,800 soldiers and political control of Baja California Norte, started taking a cut from Mexican opium traders as soon as the Harrison Act was passed. The Mexican army eventually flushed him out in 1920—with a force of 6,000—but Colonel Jiménez secured amnesty with the help of a former military colleague.

The overlap between Mexico's military officers, politicians, and drug barons goes all the way back to the beginning.

Mexico hit the big time as a destination for American vice on October 28, 1919, with the passage of the Volstead Act (alcohol prohibition—in the early 1900s, the U.S. was in a prohibiting mood). In 1919, only 14,130 American tourists formally requested to visit Mexico. The following year, after Prohibition set in, 30 times as many tourists—418,735—ran south of the border to visit its bars, brothels, and casinos. According to Mónica Serrano, a professor of politics at El Colegio de México and a research fellow at Oxford University, American celebrities Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, and Al Jolson first glamorized Tijuana by hanging around its famous racetrack. By this time, Mexico's marijuana- and opium-smuggling economy was booming. American officials, Serrano writes, "contended that drug trafficking was simply unstoppable. The unintended impact of tighter [domestic] drug-control policies on the rise of trafficking was not addressed."

The American refusal to acknowledge that illegal trafficking and its problems are a direct result of prohibitionist drug policy also goes all the way back to the beginning.

If WikiLeaks can document that relationship/mind-meld more robustly—then god bless 'em. They may do for the stupid, cruel, and self-defeating drug war what they've just done for Iran and North Korea.

Foreigners are FUNNY!

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Actually, they're not funny at all with the possible exceptions of Ricky Gervais and one-fourth of the Kids in the Hall. But sometimes, as you will see in the following video, they are accidentally funny. When a couple of unfunny foreigners try to pull an unfunny prank on a naked sleeping foriegn pal, the result is an unintentional delight of funniness. Mmmm... even though the floppy naughty bits are edited out, I'm gonna call this NSFW-ish.


Patty Murray to Head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 12:15 PM

After some very public hesitation, Washington State Senator Patty Murray has agreed to head the fund raising committee that's in charge of making sure the 21 Democratic Senators who are up for election in 2012 have plenty of financial help.

Among those up-for-election Senators: Washington's Maria Cantwell, who is presumably quite pleased that her colleague will have her hand on the money spigot.

Now, before you go sending Murray a letter of congratulation, remember: This isn't a job that senior people in D.C. were exactly clamoring for—you get tons of blame if things go poorly, you get relatively little public praise if things go well, and you're heading into a year in which Democrats are defending 21 seats while Republicans are only defending ten. Which is probably why Murray didn't exactly leap at the opportunity when it was first mentioned.

But she owed a lot people in D.C. for all the attention her campaign got (Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, and Bill Clinton all visited Washington on her behalf), plus she proved in her campaign against Dino Rossi that she's got the major qualification for heading up the DSCC: She knows how to mow through a tough Republican challenger.

Overheard in the Office

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 11:58 AM

"My safe word is Lorena Bobbitt."

Man Jumps from Roof of King County Courthouse

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 11:57 AM

We're getting tips that a man successfully jumped from the roof of the King County Courthouse downtown to his death. Det. Mark Jamieson confirms that the Seattle Police Department is on the scene. "We got a call at 11:15 a.m. from someone at the courthouse who said that there was a person who either fell or jumped and was outside on the sidewalk," says Jamieson. "We're still investigating."

If You Want to Stop the Tunnel...

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

...then it's time to suck it up and back a slimmer, transit-oriented new viaduct instead. So says Martin H. Duke over at Seattle Transit Blog. "The viaduct debate is famously divided between three factions, each willing to veto the others and none able to command a majority to accomplish anything," he says.

Read the whole thing.

(My TCW — I'm afraid Duke is right. There's no study for a surface/I-5/transit option underway or even planned, the pro-tunnel council has outfoxed the mayor to establish lobbying priorities in Olympia, the mayor's got no text and no sponsors for a bill to make the state pay cost overruns, and the state won't even talk about its own tunnel in public because the report is more damning than convincing. Lacking a persuasive reason to build it, the tunnel project may buckle under its own precarious financing and inherent risk, the surface option has no champions with the power to get the ball rolling on a study, and that leaves... a fugly new viaduct. Tomorrow we'll have tunnel critics Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle City Council member O'Brien at Town Hall. One of the questions for them: Are they just laying the groundwork for a new viaduct?)

Will Suzan DelBene Run for Office Again? This Announcement Suggests She Will

Posted by on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 11:37 AM

In case you've forgotten about Suzan DelBene, she's the latest Democrat to try (and fail) to unseat Republican Congressman Dave Reichert in the eastside's 8th Congressional District. And now, according to Governor Christine Gregoire, she's Washington State's new Director of the Department of Revenue.

DelBene will lead the Department of Revenue as it simplifies the state’s tax system—a priority the Governor listed in her recent executive order to improve the way government serves small business.

Tax simplification on behalf of small businesses! If DelBene actually gets this done, she will have a record of public service that's nicely suited for a second run at high office.

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The Terrorist Show

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