Posted February 24, 2006
Master & servant
SeattleAnimal Control is holding a Fabulous Felines cat adoption event tomorrow, Feb. 25th, at the Miller Community Center (330 - 19th Ave E).
Check it out, and maybe a discriminating cat will allow you to take it home. Do it for the love. Do it for the late-night hairball alerts, the dead birds on your doorstep, and the ankle scars. Do it for the fur-covered duvets. Do it because there are veterinarians with student loans to repay. Do it because digital photography means you can take as many cat pictures as needed, without having to pay for film processing.
Also: Ports deal bigger than previously reported.
(UPI) A United Arab Emirates government-owned company is poised to take over port terminal operations in 21 American ports, far more than the six widely reported.
Marc Maron's new show is now scheduled to debut Feb. 28 at 10pm, on KTLK (Los Angeles). Let's hope their audio stream is working.
Posted February 23, 2006
Still crony after all these years
The more I hear about the Dubai Ports World deal, the surer I am that the impact on port security is not the main thing we should be worrying about.
It's putting liberals in the negative position, The Arabs are coming to control our ports! I've listened to the rhetoric and read the research, and my gut still tells me there is nothing (yet) to definitively link this company to terrorism. Whereas Prime Minister Bush gets to take the reassuring high ground: Don't worry, 'Merica, I won't let anyone hurt you. Listen to this report from NPR this morning; tell me the Rove spin machine isn't humming on this.
In fact, I'm convinced that the Bushies are perfectly happy to engage the left on these terms, because I don't think they would have responded as they did during the first 24-36 hours if they weren't confident the deal could be defended on security grounds.
The real issue, the central reason the DPW deal reeks is the same as with FEMA,
the same as with Energy, the same as with Medicare D, and on and on: it's the
cronyism. I'm glad the left started talking about it more yesterday. It's Treasury
Secretary John Snow. It's Maritime Administrator David Sanborn. Like
everything else with the Resmuglicans, it's the money.
That'swhy most Tamestream Media® stories aren't really emphasizing Snow or Sanborn. The newscorps are still defining the controversy as Security. It's up to the independent media, it's up to Air America, it's up to blogs to keep digging, and keep attacking on the crony angle.
Also: The property taxes on my crappy 880-square-foot one-bedroom bungalow are up 23% over last year.
Let me see if I understand this correctly. If KPTK preempts "The Randi Rhodes Show" for WSU Cougar sports, as it seems to do at least twice a week, and I can't stay up for the 11 pm online repeat, my only alternative now is to buy the podcast at Air America Premium? Hasn't Danny Goldberg heard of advertising supported podcasts?
Posted February 21, 2006
Do be Dubai do
Some caution, fellow liberals, on the borderline hysteria cropping up in connection with Dubai Ports World acquisition of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation. I know we are eager to be strong on domestic security, but we must choose carefully when pointing fingers.
Yes, Dubai seemed very popular with the 9/11 hijackers. Two lived there. They used Dubai as a transit point. Using the airport shouldn't cast suspicion on Dubai and the United Arab Emirates though, especially since, on at least once occasion, the UAE authorities detained, questioned and released a 9/11-connected suspect, at the request of the CIA. The Agency denies this--so to me (pending further evidence) it's a wash.
Yes, U.S. port security needs to be a concern. But as we know port security is spotty now and, as pointed out by georgia10 at Daily Kos, foreign companies already are heavily involved in the American maritime industry (including port operations). So we need to keep demanding better security. We should even make a big deal about the "selling off of America," as Thom Hartmann called it this morning (which is a more important issue, since it involves more than just ports and shipping). But we have to be consistent and rational. To suddenly get bent out of shape when it's Dubai smacks of racism.
Dubai seems to be one place where jihadists go to transact business. But wait--Dubai is a banking center. We can't assume on this basis that Dubai is officially aiding terrorists, that would be like saying Switzerland harbors corporate criminals. We go after the criminals, not the Swiss banks, and we don't stop the Swiss from doing business in the U.S.
The biggest reason an official Dubai connection to terrorism doesn't make sense to me, intuitively, is that it would run counter to the Emirates' economic interests. Have you seen what Dubai looks like now? They are remaking themselves as a modern center for finance, business services and tourism. All the tourists, all the dollars and euros, all the U.S. and European companies doing business there, would evaporate if Dubai were to be linked to terror. If anything, Dubai's westernization makes it a target for jihadists. The biggest port security risk would seem to be how much profit Ports World shareholders are willing to give up to pay for port security. Again, nothing to do with the company's Arab-ness, but rather a U.S. policy question--what steps are Congress and the White House going to take to prevent terrorism, no matter which companies are running the ports and airports?
What should be of interest in this story is that cronyism is again a factor: in January Prime Minister Bush appointed David Sanborn, a former executive with Dubai Ports World, to head the US Maritime Administration of the Transportation Department (AP, Feb. 11). The current Ports World deal was cleared by Treasury; in 2004 Sec. John Snow sold the port operations of a company he chaired to Ports World.
Mr_Blog Weekend February 17-20, 2006
Who killed Au Bouchon restaurant?
Flushing the W.C. When walking by Wallingford Center, like me you've probably thought What, ANOTHER vacancy?. Or maybe But I LOVED that shop/restaurant etc., I can't believe it's gone.
It's been a puzzle to me for years the reason why the well-located building at N 45th & Wallingford Avenue would have such high turnover in its commercial tenants. "Rents keep going up," is what Wallingfordians have been saying for several years.
The culprit, says one neighborhood resident, is the Center's management company, Lorig Associates.
Interlaken School... closed in 1981, and was reopened in 1985 as Wallingford Center, a mixed living and commercial space with 24 top-floor apartments and 38,000 square feet on the main floor and in the daylight basement for retail stores and restaurants. Source
Lorig's 99-year contract to manage the Center for the Seattle Public Schools had an interesting clause. At the end of a 20-year period, Lorig would have the option to buy the property outright from the District--at pennies on the dollar--if the property was underperforming economically. Such a clause wouldn't make sense if Lorig were only the management company. Lorig was in fact a partner, investing millions in converting the building from school to retail/residential. The county currently values the site at $5,266,800 land value $637,500 improvements (which seems really low for a classic school building).
Our source, a Wallingford resident who has followed the Center's travails, believes that the 'escape clause' gave Lorig every incentive to NOT make the retail portion of the Center a success, to create as much revenue-killing instability as possible by raising rents, churning tenants and keeping a high vacancy rate. For the most recent year, the School District received only $67,545 in Wallingford Center lease revenue. That's equal to only one percent of the current valuation.
1985 + 20 = 2005, and Lorig could now prepare to exercise its option to buy Wallingford Center. Last year rents rose again and the stream of exiting tenants became a Katrina-magnitude flood. More than a dozen businesses left by August, including Imagination Toys and Au Bouchon, for my money the best French bistro in town. Shortly after, simmering merchants and neighbors confronted the head Lorig, Bruce, in a September meeting The Stranger described as "rowdy". Our source called that characterization
"a little tame... Mr. Lorig was visibly shaken by the anger of the neighborhood; I think he was planning on a nice little PR session. He looked like either a liar or a fool, depending upon how you interpreted his remarks."
Tenants won some rent discounts the following month, but one doubts those came out of Lorig's end.
A $3 million makeover began last summer, which now appears to be winding down. Most of the shop windows on the Wallingford Avenue side are empty. A huge new For Lease sign may indicate Lorig is staying the course, but our Wallingford resident says different:
"At the neighborhood meeting in September, Mr. Lorig had emphatically said that his company was not planning to convert the building to condos, or to bring in a major retailer. However, at a Wallingford Chamber of Commerce meeting in December, he said that Lorig [Associates] was "very excited" about either possibility."
This is not an isolated case: Lorig turned to so-called "public/private partnerships" to save his
bacon during the construction downturn of the late 80s. In a similar purchase
option deal, by which Lorig gained ownership of the old Queen Anne High School, the School District's cut was a mere
12% of the property's value. How much is the School District going to give up if
it sells Wallingford Center to Lorig?
Whois responsible for this giveaway of a nearly-$6 million public asset? Here are the questions for investigators:
If you put your ear to the ground, you can hear the approaching thunder of luxury condos and you-can't-afford-it haute boutiques.
This story will continue.
Posted February 16, 2006
The Bitterest Pill
I take full responsibility for the decisions. -Tony Blair, 8-28-2003
Katrina exposed serious problems... to the extent that the federal government didnít fully do its job right, I take responsibility. -G.W. Bush, 9-13-2005
I'm accountable and accept responsibility for the performance of the entire department. -Michael Chertoff, 2-15-2006
I am the guy who pulled the trigger. -Dick Cheney 2-15-2006
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Responsibilityworks naturally, by putting your body's own chemistry to work! When you take a full or partial dose of Responsibility, it blocks your Accountability receptors. Lacking stimulation, the receptors enlarge the Rationalization pathways to the short and long term memory centers, altering your recollection of who did what and when, and to whom. When you take Responsibility you are able to relax, identify fault lying with other people, and your anxiety is relieved.
So do what some of the most powerful world leaders do: take Responsibility!
Responsibility, ©2006 Neoconpharm, a Cayman Islands corporation.
Posted February 14, 2006
by Kim Jong Il
Blarchives: Dear Leader by Kim Jong Il
Posted February 13, 2006
Video of shooting accident
Cheney steps up war on lawyers
Posted February 8, 2006
Easy being green
Last week I mentioned I was participating in Open Space Seattle's Green Futures charrette (Feb. 3-4). The problem in writing about such an event is that there is just plain too much to write about.
What was impressive was the community crossection. Planner and architect types were represented, but average citizens and activists dominated the teams, which were divided according to geography. The visions that were put on paper were amazing, showing the degree to which Seattlites have clear, creative ideas about what they want the city to look like.
At first some aspects of these visions seemed very conventional: trees and water? Attractive homes with character? Walkable neighborhoods? Neighborhood focal points? Recreation? Yes, we all want that. But that so many see these things as still a vision shows the degree to which large portions of Seattle still lack these basic needs. Or the degree to which we have lost them, which I guess is the point. But there was also a rich vein of outside-the-box thinking: how can you argue with a Sodo lagoon, Salmon Superhighway, or Champs d'Aurora?
It was also interesting how people view technology and what is, will be, or could be possible (or desirable) in the future. Remember, the charrette asked us to plan for the next 100 years. And yet many of the design concepts still showed today's tech: freeways, light rail, and the classic street grid. But imaginative ways were found to give people easier access to shorelines, such as funiculars and gondolas. One sketch showed a futuristic elevated "transport conduit" replacing I-5 by 2100; the conduit would run along the tops of artificial hills (which would have homes and parks), freeing up the land now occupied by freeway. Personal Rapid Transit even made two appearances, one team calling it "transit pods," while my team called it a "light peoplemover network."
Luckily, pictures are still worth a thousand words (850 words Canadian):
Posted February 6, 2006
On the phone, Frances and Yola learn about the National Security State:
Yola: ...So anyway, my daughter-in-law Ruthie brought the most interesting vegetable dish to Sunday dinner.
Frances: Is she the one who takes cooking classes at the community center?
Yola: That's the one. What she brought were some kind of greens, kale or chard, mixed with nuts, sun tried tomato, and shallots.
Frances: Oh, I like shallots.
Yola: So do I, you betcha. But there was something else, something tangy. I don't know what it was.
Frances: I bet it was the tomato. Or tomato sauce.
Yola: No, I don't think so. I know, I'll ask Steve!
Frances: Who's Steve?
Yola: Steve is my War Against Terror® Fone Friend.™
Frances: Fone Friend™? What's that?
Yola: It's a person from the Federal Government who's there for you, whether you know it or not. Right, Steve?
Steve: That's right, Yola.
Frances: Oh my goodness.
Yola: Steve is one of the nice young people who listen to my phone calls to protect me from the Evildoers.™
Steve: I'm here to serve. And the answer to your question: tamarind paste.
Yola: Tamarind paste! Of course!
Steve: By the way Yola, some al Qaeda terrorists escaped from a prison in Yemen. You haven't heard from any of them, have you?
Yola: Oh my. No, I sure haven't.
Frances: I haven't eith-
Steve: That's okay Frances, Gina already told me you have nothing to hide.
Frances: Is Gina-
Gina: I sure am, Frances! Your new Fone Friend,™ that is!
Frances: Well it's very nice to meet you, young lady.
Gina: Likewise! By the way, your prescription is ready for pick up at Wal-Mart. You know, I think you should ask your doctor whether you should go up to 20 milligrams.
Frances: Really? I'll be sure to mention that to him. Thank you.
Gina: Anytime, Frances.
Yola: Well, I have to go now, I'm picking up my grandson from his swimming lesson.
Frances: All right, I'll call you later. Goodbye Yola.
Yola: Goodbye Frances.
Gina: Goodbye Frances.
Frances: Goodbye Gina
Yola: Goodbye Gina.
Gina: 'Bye Yola! Hope your grandson made it to Dolphin level!
Steve: Goodbye Frances! Goodbye Yola.
Frances: Goodbye Steve.
Yola: Goodbye Steve. Thanks for everything.
Steve: No problem. I'll be listening.
Posted February 2, 2006
First, a swing... to the right. After reading the Weekly's history of the Discovery Institute's five-year plan to kill evolution, I can only repeat my call for Discovery to be systematically shunned and shut-out by local governments and the civic activism network.
Then, a swing... to the left. Friday and Saturday I will be participating in Open Space Seattle 2100's Green Futures charrette. The goal is to create a bold, integrated 100-year plan for a citywide network of open space--envisioning a healthier, livable Seattle that balances our economic, social and ecological sustainability.
If the exercise is as productive and interesting as I expect it to be, perhaps an event journal will appear here next week.
Posted February 1, 2006
State Of The Union SG-1
Did he know where he was? Was he drinking? That was one of the strangest State of the Unions ever, the time has finally arrived where not even Prime Minister Bush's best speechwrights could cover for the fact that he has lost touch with reality. Or the reality that he has lost touch with fact. One of those, you choose. Some excerpts, from my notes:
"Health care. We're going to re-FORM the health care SYStem, in order to make it more re-spon-sive to the MAR-ket and pre-SERVE CHOICE. Accordingly, I urge Congress to act to expand Med-i-cal Savings AcCOUNTS, to give 'Mericans the CHOICE to spend MORE of their OWN money on their health care. Wait for applause."
See what I mean? Drinking! It got to be so unwatchable, I switched over to the Food Network for a while.
When I switched back to the State of the Union things had gotten even
weirder: Bush, now wearing an Air Force general's uniform, was ordering
some kind of commando team into a secret wormhole space-portal contraption.
It seems he thinks Earth is being threatened by religious fundamentalist
space aliens called "Ori," who want to subjugate the galaxy to their will
so they can live off our bio-energy. Luckily there are many other alien
races out there helping in this struggle--chief among which are the "Ja'fa,"
a former slave race which overthrew their masters, the "Goa'uld."
Thebig surprise is that Colin Powell is Ja'Fa! His real name is Tealc, and he has a neato golden tattoo in the middle of his forehead. He is engaged in a delicate diplomatic initiative to unite a Ja'Fa alliance. So I guess that's the only aspect of Bush foreign policy that is working.
It seems American space-commando teams are going through wormholes all the time on intelligence gathering and combat missions. None of these activities are authorized, can you find any Congressional approval on the Web? Because I can't. Such a program must cost billions, and still Bush insists on making the tax cuts permanent.
There are 2 comments
February 17, 2006 - 03:50
Subject: re: Dear Leader
Imperialist dogs have only so many teeth, you can make this work for you.
First, recruit a disgruntled exile to be your disinformation conduit--for the sake of discussion let's call him "Bahmed Balabi." You give him a neato code name like "Spitball." Imperialists love the sports motif--bread & circuses and all that. Spitball tells them that a country they don't like has... aluminum centrifuge tubes; nerve gas; mobile gas labs; precursors. It doesn't matter which country, so long as it's not YOUR country.
The imperialists invade that country--"Biraq," let's say--and get bogged down in a quagmire. They can't invade you, all their forces are committed.
Then if they try to start an air war against you, all you need to do is get OPEC to cut off their petroleum. If you have them by the barrels, their hearts and minds will follow.
February 16, 2006 - 13:53
Subject: Dear Leader,
I have acquired sufficient plutonium to provide fuel for many nuclear bo--uhhh--power plants, that will only be used for peaceful purposes. How can I prevent the imperialist dogs from bombing my country back into the stone age?
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