Top Romney surrogate John Sununu suggested Thursday night that Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama in part because the two men are the same race.Tomorrow will be the third day of negative Romney news, and a second day of Colin Powell's endorsement. If this were the real world, such incompetency would have sunk Romney's chances.
Sununu, who served as governor of New Hampshire from 1983 to 1989, made the comment during an appearance on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."
Everyone is talking about President Obama calling Mitt Romney a "bullshitter" in the Rolling Stone interview. I think it's a non-story; Rolling Stone is a magazine for adults, the president is an adult, and "bullshitter" is simply not that bad a word. (Unless you're Mormon.) But the thing that makes me want to stand up and cheer in the Rolling Stone interview is this bit about Ayn Rand that Talking Points Memo highlights:
Have you ever read Ayn Rand?
What do you think Paul Ryan's obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?
Well, you'd have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a "you're on your own" society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.
Right the fuck on. Any president who can carve the thesis of Ayn Rand's "philosophy" to shreds in a single paragraph is my kind of president.
I can't tell you how much I don't want to have to write about the proposed "Property Tax Swap," but since it's become such a contentious issue in the governor's race, and since no other media outlet has bothered to fully explain it, I feel obligated to go into semi-wonky detail about what this could mean for Seattle-area voters.
Republican Rob McKenna is right when he says that statewide, a Property Tax Swap would be largely revenue neutral, though that also means that the swap would raise no additional revenue for K-12 schools statewide. But due to the uneven impact of the proposal, Democrat Jay Inslee is also correct when he says that the swap would substantially raise property taxes on hundreds of thousands of homeowners—particular those in Seattle, Bellevue and other "property rich" school districts—while providing zero increase in total K-12 spending. In fact, the swap would actually erode K-12 funding over time for districts like Seattle.
The Property Tax Swap (or "State & Local Property Tax Shift" as it is more technically known) is also the only one of four levy reform options to be dismissed as "Not Recommended" in the final 2011 report of the state's Levy and Local Effort Assistance Technical Working Group.
The idea is simple, though the execution is not. The state would increase the state property tax levy (which is technically a school levy) while reducing the cap on what school districts can raise via their local levy. Statewide, these two shifts would offset each other, meaning no net change in either total revenue raised or K-12 dollars spent. It is essentially an effort to achieve greater equity between rich and poor districts by shifting funding from local levies to the state.
But due to wildly different property values between districts (for example, Bellevue has $2.7 million in assessed property value per student compared to only $0.3 million per student in Yakima), this shift would impact different taxpayers differently. Homeowners in property rich districts like ours would see their total school levy bill rise (for example, by 22 percent in Bellevue), as would those in districts that currently raise little or no local school levy. But homeowners in some property poor districts could see their school levy rates slashed—by 31 percent, for example, in Pasco.
Jamie Dupree brings up a great point. The Romney campaign has $169 million dollars on hand. There's less than two weeks to go until Election Day. Why is Paul Ryan still going to Georgia, Texas, South Carolina and Alabama for fancy fundraisers, when he should be at rallies in swing states?
There are rumblings out there that the Romney campaign is going to run half-hour infomercials on all the major networks before Election Day, the way the Obama campaign did in 2008. Maybe they need the money for that? Or is Romney just pathologically addicted to making money? Or—and this could be the most likely scenario—is Paul Ryan a net loss in swing states? He's the most unpopular vice presidential pick since Dan Quayle. Moderates tend to hate him. Is the Romney campaign simply keeping Ryan busy in order to hide him from the independent voters in swing states? Seems likely to me.
I just received my semi-weekly email from the state Department of Health about all the doctors, nurses, dental hygienists, and other health-care professionals in trouble.
The updates are tragically voyeuristic reading, and have that special can't-not-look-at-a-car-crash magnetism. Besides the usual rounds of people stealing drugs, forging prescriptions, and having "inappropriate relationships" with patients (those are the big ones), some items are especially depressing and/or bizarre. Such as:
The Nursing Assistant Program charged registered nursing assistant [redacted] with unprofessional conduct. [Redacted] allegedly falsified timesheets claiming she had provided 52 hours of care to a patient and was then paid by the Department of Social and Health Services for time she didn’t work. Charges say [redacted] took a heavily medicated patient shopping and coerced the patient into buying things for her.
In September 2012 the Nursing Assistant Program charged registered nursing assistant [redacted] with unprofessional conduct. Charges say [redacted] allegedly didn’t properly supervise a patient with special care needs. The unsupervised patient ate laundry detergent. Charges say the detergent may have contributed to the patient’s death.
In September 2012 the Nursing Assistant Program granted the credential of certified nursing assistant [redacted] and placed it on probation for at least one year. [Redacted] entered into an agreed continuance for a charge of drive-by shooting in 2012.
I called up Sharon Moysiuk, the very nice DOH communications officer who sends these updates, to ask if they were an especially depressing part of her job. "Well, yeah," she said. "Sometimes you see the stuff people do and it's just, like, 'oh my gosh.'"
She said she'd been working at that job for four years. In that time, what was the strangest disciplinary item she remembers seeing? "You kinda set that aside and just edit them," she said. "Having opinions about them isn't really part of it."
But items like that nurse who took the medicated patient out shopping—those that have to stick out, right?
"Oh, that's not the first time I've seen that, someone going shopping with someone who's medded up," Moysiuk said. So she's just about seen it all? "Yeah, I guess so."
In this piece about straight folks going out to gay bars to talk to gay voters about gay marriage, I mentioned that one night three straight girls walked into the Elysian after hitting up all the gay bars in the neighborhood. The night was still young and the Elysian was packed, as usual. The volunteers' thinking was that there might be some folks in there who either weren't registered to vote or didn't know about Referendum 74. This was a spontaneous decision. Unlike with the gay bars, these volunteers hadn't called in advance to say they were coming. So the bartender, who looked up and saw three people with clipboards soliciting customers along the bar, asked them to do it outside.
But the wording in the article gave some people the impression that the Elysian is not as supportive of marriage equality as other establishments on Capitol Hill, which isn't true. If they had called in advance, general manager Derek Nathan says, the Elysian would have been happy to host a table where customers could register to vote and learn about Referendum 74. (It's pretty standard for a bar to be opposed to unannounced solicitors with clipboards talking to customers.) The Elysian has heard from several customers since the publication of that article asking where the Elysian stands on the issue, which is why the management asked to clear things up.
One of the owners of the Elysian, VP and founder David Buhler, told me today: "I'm going to vote for Obama. I'm voting for Inslee. I'm voting for Referendum 74. But those signs aren't on my window. They're not even on my lawn. That's not how I am... I think you can see when you look at us, we don't make bold statements outside of: Our beer is great." Asked for the company's position on Referendum 74, Buhler said, "I am 100 percent [supportive of marriage equality] and my two partners are 100 percent... Referendum 74 is overdue, and I wanted to give you my opinion."
Buhler pointed out that the Elysian is very active supporter of the community and gives to a lot of arts nonprofits ("We have a long favoritism of art and dance") and social justice organizations (like Fisher House and Capitol Hill Housing). "Hate is not allowed here. We will kick someone out," Buhler said.
He added, "Ed Murray's first campaign party was here." And he went on to say that if Referendum 74 passes, his aunt—a career army nurse—will finally be able to get married if she chooses to.
Let the record show: The Elysian is on the right side of this issue.
"Lovely kitchen—but white back-splashes are so hard to keep clean."
"Is this HUMP!'s first bris?"
"It's gotta be hard to pee on a trampoline."
"No, it's really easy! It's the worst thing about jumping on a trampoline."
"It looks like she's teaching her vagina sign language."
"Sarah McLachlan needs to show up at the end of this one with a really sad dog."
"Who smells ice-cream?!"
"I'm glad they found each other."
"The swastika is a boner killer."
"This is the bunny gang rape scenario they cut from No Country For Old Men."
"Luckily the female body has ways of shutting bunny rape down."
It seems very American, somehow, to try to improve something simply by making more of it. That seemed to be exactly the aim of the 2012 Lit Crawl Seattle last week, and weirdly enough, it worked.
Any public reading of poetry or fiction is a hit-or-(mostly)-miss event that's considered a success when more people sit through it than drink through it, talk through it, or sleep through it. More often than not, it's bewildering how many smart people will attend and create something that just doesn't come anywhere close to awesome. (And I've gone to, read in, and organized enough readings to know first-hand.) Lit Crawl had a nice vision—writers and listeners stumbling from dive bars to bookstores in a celebrant literary frenzy—but I was dubious about the payoff. If your average reading is a dud, what will seventeen readings, with over 60 readers, be like? That's a big pill to swallow for even the most devout. And yet, Lit Crawl delivered the goods. I think I enjoyed about as many readers as I hated, which is a pretty typical split, yet I left feeing atypically great about the experience. Was I just happy with the size of the portions?
Doubt it—with so much going on, I remember the Crawl more for what I missed than what I caught.
UPDATE: It's true! Let the speculation end, and let us now begin to question the wisdom of launching your product with a reboot.
ORIGINAL POST: Just heard from a source that Microsoft might be planning a publicity stunt tonight:
Windows is going to black out Times Square at midnight tonight then 'reboot' the screens with Windows 8.
So if you're planning an Ocean's Eleven-style heist that involves Time Square, you may or may not have several seconds of darkness to play with this evening.
What do you think?
This morning, under the giant phallus that is our lovely Space Needle, about 100 "women who know Rob McKenna" gathered at a rally/press conference on the Seattle Center lawn. Being a woman—and also a woman with a camera—I figured I should go and see what it was all about.
Many women were claiming to know the "real" Rob McKenna, a candidate for governor who has been maligned an anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-gay huckster who's running on the Republican ticket for Governor. "Stop the lies," said one of the signs. In reality, Rob loves women and women love Rob.
Some people also loved Jay Inslee—the "sinister" Democrat in the race, according to one pro-Rob speaker—whose supporters showed up in roughly equal numbers to wave sinister Inslee signs.
Then it got exciting! I met two very enthusiastic women for McKenna. This is one of McKenna's hairier supporters:
...and this redhead seemed to be even more enthusiastic, cheering for Rob's promise to keep gay lifestyles out of our public schools!
As the Jay Inslee people started closing in...
[Amazon.com] lost $274 million on sales of $13.81 billion. Yes, you read that right.
On the bright side for the company, that probably means Amazon sold a whole bunch of Kindles last quarter.
Note to the judges, who were split 4-3: Slog agrees with the minority.
Mitt Romney refused to answer reporters' questions on Thursday about his support for Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who has become the latest Republican to find himself in hot water over comments about rape and abortion.
Romney and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) stopped by a Cincinnati diner on Thursday morning. Bloomberg's Lisa Lerer and Reuters' Sam Youngman noted that when they attempted to ask the GOP presidential nominee about Mourdock, he repeatedly ignored their questions. Specifically, Romney avoided answering whether he wanted the ad pulled and if he would disavow Murdock's rape comments.
The Romney campaign thought they could get away with hiding their candidate from press questions through Election Day, but the timing of this Mourdock thing made that impossible. This problem is not going away. This could be one of those occasions where Romney throws a hasty press conference, takes one question about Mourdock, releases a boilerplate statement, and then ignores every other question. That won't play well on the evening news. A Fox News interview won't cut it. I think Romney is going to have to do a major news show to address this question. And Romney taking questions from a reporter is the Romney campaign's worst nightmare.
You can tell that beneath his meticulously cultivated character, Stephen Colbert is absolutely livid at these Republicans:
Her comments were made yesterday during a speech at the Center for Reproductive Rights Inaugural Gala. In a few sentences she proves that the best way to disarm an opponent—or, in this case, an entire political party filled with rape apologists—is to reduce them to a few very funny punchlines. (And then vote them out of office.)
This week's paper has a story about Gael Tarleton, the president of Seattle's port commission who's trying to get elected as the state representative for Ballard, Belltown, Queen Anne, and the rest of the 36th district.
Since she was first elected to the port in 2007, she's left a broad wake of former supporters—environmentalists, union folks, lefty Christian and social-justice activists—who feel burned by Tarleton's habit talking more progressively than she acts.
One thing I didn't have room to quote at length in the story: a scathing email from Port Commissioner John Creighton about Tarleton's two-facedness on the salary of port CEO Tay Yoshitani. She makes a big show of saying she's opposed his raises and contracts—but her fellow commissioners say she's hustled behind the scenes to make sure he gets his money, then publicly votes against it for the sake of her p.r.
The email also mentions Tarleton's campaign manager Jason Bennett. Some people I talked to for the story didn't want to be quoted, not because they were scared of Tarleton, but because they were scared of him. (As one person said: "The only thing I really don't want quoted is any mention of my saying Jason Bennett's name or referring to him in any way. He's mean when you're on his 'list' and I'm already on it.")
Sounds like a charmer.
From Creighton's email:
I wouldn't put too much stock into Commissioner Tarleton's campaign mailers. They are probably best understood in context. Her campaign consultant - Jason Bennett - has the reputation of being one of the dirtiest, sleaziest campaign operatives in Washington State. He represented one of my opponents in my race for King County Council and filed a 16-page complaint against me with the Public Disclosure Commission two days before primary election day - all of which was nonsense and all of which I was cleared of with flying colors.
Bennett has never won at the state level or any other major political campaign, so I take it the stress and strain of being behind in the polls is wearing on him in this race.
The full email is below the jump.
I just talked with Bennett. His response: "John Creighton can attack me all day long if he needs to... The truth of the matter is that Gael has been consistent in her opposition to Yoshitani's pay increases, her opposition to the port contract, and she believes his role at Expeditors is a conflict of interest and she would like Tay to either step down from the board of Expeditors or resign from the port. John Creighton cannot say the same—he's been all over the map on this issue."
A statement just now from Paul Bell, the Washington Press Secretary for Obama for America:
While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the President supports a vote to approve Referendum 74.
I didn't write about this alleged hate crime when the news broke...
At least 300 people gathered on the steps of the Nebraska Capitol, Sunday, after a local lesbian was allegedly attacked in her home earlier that day, by three men who bound her, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin, and set her house ablaze.... Though police have yet to publish official accounts of the events that occurred Sunday morning at the victim’s home, the Journal Star reports that the woman alleged to neighbors three masked men entered her home, bound her with zip ties and used knives to carve into her skin before pouring gasoline on the floor and lighting a fire. The woman crawled to safety at a neighbor’s home, where police found her.
...because something about it didn't smell right. So I waited. I got a few angry/hateful/unhinged emails from people accusing me of ignoring this hate crime because it happened to a lesbian. If it had happened to a gay man, they insisted, I would definitely be writing and blogging and tweeting about it. But I didn't write about this alleged hate crime either, which happened to a gay man at the University of North Carolina—a pretty gay man with shaggy hair, which, as everyone knows, is my favorite kind of gay man. Something about that report didn't smell right. And I was right to hold off in both cases because, as it turned out, both hate crime reports were false. The lesbian in Nebraska wasn't attacked by three masked men; the pretty gay dude with the shaggy hair wasn't branded by an unknown male.
John Aravosis didn't write about the lesbian who claimed she was attacked by three masked men either, got the same grief I did, and he had this to say after the hoax was exposed:
I got beaten up on Twitter by a number of lesbians who called me a woman-hater for not writing about this “hate crime” because the story smelled funny to me. I just didn’t believe it. Hard to say why. I read the story, and it just didn’t sound right. And I was right.... I can’t tell you why the story sounded fake, that’s part and parcel of being a good journalist/politico—it’s just something in your gut. I can say why I didn’t write about it. You HAVE to get these stories right. We can’t be seen pushing alleged hate crimes that are fake, lest we become the LGBT who cried wolf the next time a real hate crime happens. And yes, the religious right lies like a cheap rug, but we’re better than that, and we’re smarter than that.
This morning I'm being called out on Twitter for not blogging or tweeting about a gay conservative who claims he was brutally assaulted in his home in Madison, Wisconsin. The story is all over conservative blogs but I can't find any mention of it on any actual news websites in Wisconsin. The details of the alleged assault seem incredible. And I'm not blogging or tweeting about it for the same reason I didn't blog or tweet about the lesbian in Nebraska or the gay guy at UNC. The story smells funny to me.
And let's remember why hate crimes carry extra penalties: because the victim of the actual assault isn't the only victim. A whole community is made to feel unsafe. When a racist piece of shit burns a cross on the lawn of one black family in his town, all the black families in his town are made to feel unsafe. When a gay person is beaten on the street for being gay, all gay people are made to feel unsafe. A false hate crime report can do the same damage—even if there was no victim, even if the "victim" assaulted himself, other members of that person's community wind up feeling unsafe. That's what happened in Nebraska, that's what happened in UNC—and that's why I believe those who file false hate crime reports should be charged with hate crimes themselves.
And that's why I take a wait-and-see approach to hate crime reports: I don't want to amplify the damage done by false reports. I don't want to contribute to making people feel unsafe. Too many hate crime reports turn out to be false. Remember Ashley Todd?
Yeah, that was a fake—and Todd's claim came at roughly the same stage of the campaign. Late October. So, yeah, I'm going to wait until the police investigate before I blog or tweet anything about the hate crime report that came out of Wisconsin this morning, just as I waited to say anything about the hate crime reports out of Nebraska and North Carolina. Because sometimes people falsely report hate crimes and amplifying a false hate crime report does real harm.
Today Pearson confirmed that it in talks about “a possible combination of Penguin and Random House.”
Pearson had this statement: “Pearson confirms that it is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House. The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.
This is a terrible idea. There's already a lack of diversity and innovation at the remaining big six mega-publishers, and a consolidation of two of the biggest publishers would only make that worse. The publishing industry is in the process of screwing up as badly as the record industry did during the digital music explosion. Becoming even bigger is not the answer.
To support the campaign to approve Ref. 74, Li’l Woody’s is marrying two burger patties.
The ceremony, which will take place many times daily from now until Election Day, will be held inside hamburger buns at 1211 Pine Street. The patties will wear cheese, ketchup, and mayo, and will seal their vows of eternal deliciousness with an onion ring.
Says Li’l Woody’s proprietor Marcus Lalario, “Everyone deserves to share a ring with the one they love.”
One dollar from every marriage equality burger goes to Music for Marriage Equality. Enjoy the dual satisfaction of a double cheeseburger stuffed with an onion ring and a good cause stuffed with money!
The president did well. He was funny (especially about Trump) and energetic, and he got a fair amount of good politicking into the appearance, too. Too bad Jay Leno had to be there.
The Denver Post has a good story looking at the organizational strengths of both presidential campaigns in the swing states.
Obama has 131 field offices in Ohio, while Romney has 40. Obama also has "staging locations," which are operated out of volunteers' homes. The advantage is those volunteers know their neighborhoods well. While Obama has a large get-out-the-vote operation with a ton of field offices, Romney doesn't have one at all, Ball reports. Romney has outsourced its ground game to the Republican National Committee. That way, the RNC was able to build up its turnout efforts while Romney was still fighting the primary in March.
Between this and Nate Silver's post from this morning about Mitt Romney's false "momentum" narrative, Democrats have no reason to feel depressed anymore. It's okay to feel nervous—elections are scary things—but there's no reason to feel like this election is out of your hands. Andrew Sullivan's histrionics feel like they were published a million years ago.
Via The NYTimes:
A New York police officer was arrested Wednesday in Queens by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after he discussed cooking and eating female body parts, according to a criminal complaint.
The evidence against the officer, a six-year veteran of the New York Police Department, consists of e-mails and instant messages in which he was “discussing plans to kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook and eat body parts of a number of women,” according to the complaint against the officer, Gilberto Valle.
To be fair, the officer was allegedly going to leave the raping to someone else. What a gentleman.
IT IS COMING (probably, next week, to the East Coast)!!! IT IS "an unusual mix of a hurricane and a winter storm"!!! IT IS FRANKENSTORM!!!
This past Sunday brought the close of the 2012 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and with it came the announcement of this year's award-winners. Among the jury's awards:
BEST FEATURE: A MAP FOR A TALK (MAPA PARA CONVERSAR)
Directed by Constanza Fernández
HONORABLE MENTION (FEATURE): WAXIE MOON IN FALLEN JEWEL
Directed by Wes Hurley
BEST DOCUMENTARY: CALL ME KUCHU
Directed by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall
HONORABLE MENTION (DOCUMENTARY): JOBRIATH A.D.
Directed by Kieran Turner
Humongo congratulations to all (I loved the fuck out of both Call Me Kuchu and Jobriath A.D.) but especially to Wes Hurley, Marc Kenison, and the whole Waxie Moon in Fallen Jewel cast and crew. Their film is a delight, and to have it rate so highly among the SLGFF offerings is awesome. (Also, rumor has it the film may have another hometown screening soon, so stay tuned.)
... and a good one for the final stretch of any election cycle, from Saint Bonaventure: "Exemplum de simia, quae, quanto plus ascendit, tanto plus apparent posteriora eius."
Or: "An example from the monkey: The higher it climbs, the more you can see of its behind."
Oh God, do I miss the blunt frankness and unabashed partisanship of East Coast politics. For example, this email I got yesterday from Philadelphia Elections Commissioner Stephanie Singer, the woman who runs the city's elections:
Dear Friend and Supporter,
I woke up this morning to reports that the presidential race is a "dead heat".
As a woman, and as a Jew, I am horrified at the prospect of Republican control of government.
If you are glad to see me doing the work I am doing, please consider this: it would have been much harder to dedicate myself to work through my entire adult life to date if I had to either prepare for the prospect of unplanned motherhood or forego that natural, healthy source of joy and comfort, sex. Republican policies would keep women down by denying them affordable, safe birth control. This is bad for America.
Jews value community and tikkun olam. Tikkun olam refers to our obligation to repair the world around us. Republicans deny responsibility — they like to use the phrase "personal responsibility," which means "if a person fails it is that person's fault." In other words, Republicans excuse themselves from the adverse effects of their policies on individuals. If you're not rich, it's not their problem. If you are sick, it's not their problem. If every child does not have access to a great education, it's not their problem. Republican policies would destroy equal opportunity in America.
I have to spend the next 12 days ensuring free and fair elections in Philadelphia. I ask you to spend the next 12 days working extra hard to earn votes for Democratic candidates. My personal favorites this year are President Obama, Kathleen Kane (running for Attorney General in Pennsylvania) and Kathy Boockvar (running for congress in Pennsylvania).
Thank you, as always, for paying attention.
FILMMAKERS: We know you're anxious to find out if your film made it into HUMP! The jury met this weekend... and it's meeting again today at noon. We got more submissions this year than we've ever had before and we need a little more time to review the films, watch some a second time, and talk about what's in and what's out. We're sorry about the delay but it's because we want every film to get a fair hearing, viewing, and shot. We will make the announcement today at 3 PM. Hold tight!
PORN FANS AND CINEASTES: You are not gonna wanna miss this year's HUMP! Get your tickets now!