Pizza Philanthropy

Mike Ilitch, pizza king of Detroit (better known as owner of the Red Wings and Tigers), has his own take on helping our troops. He’s provided an injured vet with a pizza franchise.

It’s always great to see someone lend a hand, especially to the troops coming home who’ve been dealt such a raw deal. Three cheers for Mike Ilitch!

Circular Logic 101

You gotta love this. It’s a great example of the circular logic of cultural-conservative nuttiness. Here’s the how it works:

1. Conservatives see Geena Davis as a female president in the new TV show, Commander in Chief

2. They assume (without ANY evidence) that it’s obviously a nefarious Hollywood liberal conspiracy to pave the way for Hillary ’08

3. Finally, they ridicule Hollywood for coming up with such a dumb conspiracy, even though there was never any conspiracy to begin with! “Further evidence that Hollywood is out of touch,” they scream.

This is what the TV industry thinks. They don’t view us as being rational actors, able to vote for a President based on our own reasoning, but instead as sheep to be herded and trained.

Oy.

Why I Hate Initiatives

So it looks like I-912 has some early support. Sayeth Joel Connelly:

Initiative 912, which would roll back the gas tax increase, is 20 points up, according to one recent (and tightly held) statewide poll.

The survey delivered two starkly contradictory findings.

Citizens believe transportation woes and gridlock are the state’s most important problem, with impacts on the economy and even the quality of family life.

At the same time, the voters feel taken for a ride by public agencies that waste taxpayer dollars and lavish resources on projects that don’t unsnarl any messes anywhere.

The gas tax that I-912 would repeal is to fund half the cost of replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a project that got a pleasant $220 million surprise check from Uncle Sam today.

To be sure, the preferred replacement for the Viaduct is a $4B tunnel. Simply replacing it with another viaduct would likely save a billion dollars. So there’s certainly fat that can be trimmed. I do agree with Connelly that in this anti-tax atmosphere, the expensive tunnel option comes off as a bit greedy. Personally I would have replaced the Viaduct with a simple, street-level 6-lane boulevard, but for some reason no one ever asks for my input on these things.

In either case, this is why I hate initiatives. We have two governments in Washington, competing for dollars and attention. One is a representative democracy based in Olympia, and one is a direct democracy based nowhere but prodded along by a disingenuous watch salesman from Mukilteo.

OK, I’m Done With This Guy

I occasionally dig on Christian-Coalitioner-turned-centrist-progressive Marshall Whitman’s Bull Moose Blog. But digging around in his archives I came across this post. I don’t think I can ever read the guy again.

And the Moose is big fan of Toby Keith, who may be a good role model for Democrats who are struggling to reach Red State America…

…If Toby had opened the ’04 Democratic Convention with “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”, old John Kerry would likely occupy the Oval Office. Democrats – say no to Michael Moore and yes to Toby Keith!

Ugh. Never. You suck, dude. Let’s review the lyrics to that country gem, shall we?

Oh, Justice will be served and the battle will rage.
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage
You’ll be sorry that you messed with the US of A
‘Cuz we’ll put a boot in your ass
It’s the American way.

Ahh, jingoism. Not that it doesn’t have its time and place, but for some reason I’m suddenly reminded of Denis Leary’s famous bit from No Cure for Cancer:

“That was the ultimate American dream for me during that Persian Gulf War. I was sitting in my living room naked, with a can of Budweiser and a three inch steak watching the war live on TV. I had a six foot erection with a giant cheeseburger on the end of it.”

Anyway, that’s all a long way of saying I’m pretty tired of this moose guy and his antics.

Sims Calls the Bluff

Following up on yesterday’s post, King County Exec Ron Sims is calling the Port of Seattle’s bluff:

In interviews yesterday, Sims, who sits on the Sound Transit board, which oversees planning for the light-rail line, lambasted the Port’s actions as political posturing.

“It’s an unconscionable decision. It’s hostage-taking. It’s not good public policy, and it’s not appropriate,” he fumed.

Sims said future growth at Sea-Tac, even without Southwest, justifies connecting light rail with the airport. And he said the competition created by Southwest’s proposed move to Boeing Field would prove valuable to airlines and their customers.

“I’ve never seen a more flagrant foul against the free enterprise system,” Sims said of the Port’s threats.

Looks like he’s trying to nip this one in the bud, so he can have his cake (light rail at the airport) and eat it too (Southwest Airlines at King County Airport). Clearly the Port wants light rail, and they’re using this as a bargaining chip. I think our region is definitely approaching the size where it could use another major airport. As it stands, the closest major commercial airports are in Portland and Vancouver. Compare that to San Francisco, which has at least three (SFO, Oakland, and San Jose) in the metro area.

IRA Lays Down its Guns

So this is potentially a big deal. I wonder how much of it is a response to the London terror attacks this month. You suppose the Sinn Fein and IRA leaders got tired of hearing every news report say, “Londoners are used to terrorism, having dealt with the IRA for over 30 years…”?

Sometimes it takes seeing another terrorist/fundamentalist horro to make you realize that your own is no different.

Energy Bill?

So apparently the energy bill is about to pass. Finally.

This is, of course, the piece of legislation that the President has been trying to get through congress for years. So what to make of this $11B beast? Well, it’s not great. There are lots of “incentives” to help the poor, cash-strapped oil companies develop new fields in the Gulf of Mexico. Happily, however, it seems that there will be no drilling in ANWR. How that happened, I have no idea. I was pretty sure that ANWR drilling had majority support in both houses. But you know what they say about laws and sausages: no one wants to know how they’re made.

In other energy bill news, we can now proudly say we’re less progressive than alternative-energy powerhouse China, since Congress beat back a provision by Sen. Jeff Bingham to require utilities to get at least 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. China should hit that goal and then some. The director of China’s Center for Renewable Energy Development said that for his country, 10 percent is probably “too conservative.”

This is a 10-year bill. When it comes up for renewal in 2015, the global energy landscape will have changed drastically. Until then, though, this is what passes for leadership on energy policy and climate change. Ho-hum.