Queen Bees’ sting backfires

I haven’t been a good blogger lately, but color me back in action–because this article in the Stranger made my blood boil! I hope we can all get a little more locally focused because there are some important local races that we could actually impact.

I stay pissed off at the Republicans, but that anger is now just a dull, throbbing rage that suffuses more or less every waking moment. When I read about idiotic local Democrats, it’s more of a sharp spike through my head. And what could be more idiotic than Paleo-Liberals trying to talk the one breath of fresh air out of the race for the 43rd District State House seat? That’s right–two of Seattle’s “most powerful Democratic activists” tried to talk Stephanie Pure out of running.

Apparently, she’s supposed to wait until years in the system have worn her down into another boring Seattle-style politico with shattered ideals and a shuttered view of what’s politically possible in Olympia. Actually, that argument wouldn’t surprise me given Seattle’s famously glacial view of the political process. What does shock me is that in 2006 (in a state with a female governor and two female Senators) anyone would think that the ladies need to have secret coffee klatsches about marching in suffragette lock-step to increase the chance that one of the fairer sex might survive bruising political battle against a bunch of male candidates. What utter horseshit–and how offensive to women!

Linda Mitchell (chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington) and Karen Cooper (director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington) may have been clear that they were approaching Stephanie as individuals, not on behalf of their organizations, but I hope any of you who give these groups money will think twice before supporting these “leaders.” More women in politics is better–especially if one of those women is Stephanie Pure.

Let’s just call a spade a spade. I’m sure she’s a great person but Dodson’s campaign is anemic and her “Send a Teacher to Olympia” yard signs are cringe-inducing. Her candidacy has a vanity project feel to it. She’s near the bottom of the pack in fundraising, she’s not energetic or inspiring in person and she isn’t pounding the pavement and ringing doorbells enough to mount a truly populist retail campaign. But of course Dodson is a known quantity of the same generation as these powerful local women, so she was able to muster a post-menopausal hit squad to try to steamroll Stephanie out of the race… all under the guise of a truly pathetic “Do what we say, dear, it’s for the best” maternalism. Politics, so long an old boys club, is no less restrictive and archaic when the old girls try to bar the door. This is the kind of wannabe-kingmaker bullshit that infects Democratic insider circles and infuriates me.

But to really understand why it makes me so angry, you have to know Stephanie like I know Stephanie. We’ve never been best friends, but I’ve known her almost all the seven years I’ve lived here and have cheered her on while (as Peter Steinbreuck’s top aide) she has helped defeat the Teen Dance Ordinance, gain better access to mass transit for the disabled and elderly and scrounged for funds to preserve crossing guards and library hours. Oh–she also helped found the Vera Project. She is an amazing, energetic progressive mover and shaker who actually gets things done. But she always comes across as a completely genuine person. She’s the kind of candidate who makes me want to be a better citizen, and if she’s elected she will make a whole generation of 43rd District voters know they have a voice and a chance to make a difference.

It’s a big field of candidates, and conventional wisdom would have me backing gay-rights activist/big-money downtown lawyer Jamie Pedersen (whom I know pretty well even if I’m not one of his 3,051 MySpace friends). But he and every other candidate in the race seems so clearly to me to be Central Casting examples of old-Democrat interest group fossils… the Blue-blood Enviro Candidate, the Teacher’s Union Leader, the Insider Playing Grizzled Outsider, the Gruff Aging Politico (Jim Street, whose apparent lack of a web site fouls up my attempts at snarky moniker hyperlinks!), etc. Their talking points are all interchangeable, save where they use the bold and underline. Stephanie is just different. (Her website is peopleforpure.com if you’d like to learn more.) The candidates are all fine citizens, to be sure. But I couldn’t bring myself to vote for any of them–maybe back in 1992, but not in 2006. That’s why I believe Stephanie will win–she is connecting with people in the 43rd who expect new approaches and real results from government.

But back to the Ladies Who Coffee. I can’t think of a better example of how a complacent Democratic power structure tries make sure that the safest House seat in the State Legislature goes to the Old Guard, instead of a young rising star with fresh ideas and energy to burn. This is not how Republicans treat promising politicos. They nurture them and train them and start them early and wring an extra couple of useful decades out of them–and that goes a long way to explaining why we’re in the mess we’re in. Anybody younger than JFK was the day he was shot isn’t considered serious. Serious, my friends? Elder statesman? This is the past of the party, not the future, or the future is fucked.

The only good news is that The Stranger article has only added to Stephanie’s buzz. She’s a fantasically talented worker bee, the kind of civil servant we depend on to make hard decisions, pull together coalitions and get things done. I’m behind Stephanie 100% and I hope more of you will support her as well. The best way to tell the wannabe Queen Bees to shake their tails in someone else’s beezwax is to give Stephanie some honey! Tell them Linda and Karen sent you!

I Shall Drunk Dial No More

First, let me start by saying I have 2 really bad drunk habits (aside from being drunk). 1 is drunk emailing and the other is drunk dialing. We’ve all done it. We aren’t proud of it and most people that are the recipient of them have probably uttered, “We’ve all done it” in attempts to console. Nonetheless, the embarrassment from making said call still stings. If only there was a way to eliminate the chance of Drunk Dialing and not have to delete potential victims out of my phone…

AH-HA! This morning on my way to work NPR‘s Morning Edition had a little blurb about a mobile phone that could stop this embarassment.

“You blow into a spot and, if you’ve had too much to drink, the phone displays a weaving car hitting traffic cones. It will then prevent you from dialing pre-specified numbers that could cause embarrassment.

That is exactly what I need. I do some more digging to find this article on Engadget and another on MobileMag. I guess this is old news except that they will be available in the US very soon. Thanks to LG, I shall Drunk Dial No More.

Suburbia: Where the Suburbs Meet Utopia?

This post provides nothing more than connection of a couple of dots in today’s news:

I wish Seattle had the same percentage of roads with bike lanes as Eugene, Oregon — which seems to have them on just about every piece of pavement — though being as level as Eugene would probably do more for human-powered locomotion.

Stommish Carnival

Stommish Pow Wow

We stumbled across the carnival accidentally – we could see it from the ferry when we came back from Lummi and figured we might as well check it out. The women at the gate told us there was “lots going on, lots of it!” They weren’t kidding. We arrived just in time for the Grand Entry to the Pow Wow.

It’s been a good long time since I’ve been to a Pow Wow. I’m never sure what the correct ettiquitte is around these events – it feels a little bit like crashing a wedding. But we were hungry and everyone was welcoming, so we had salmon and I took pictures. It was a visual feast. (And candidly, I feel like showing off a little, I can’t believe I got these pictures myself.)


Vienna Waits for You

President Bush is scheduled to visit Vienna on the 20-21st of this month and the Austrians are preparing to meet him. This rooftop by the Naschmarkt (“snack” market) is only one part of what the locals have planned for the extremely unpopular leader. Democrats Abroad are also going to be there, along with Cindy Sheehan and other activist organizations.

The organizers state up front that the protests aren’t anti-American, saying that US citizens are paying for the Bush administration’s war politics just like the rest of the world. (My flimsy translation.) The city of Vienna will be pretty much under lock down for the time of the visit, with streets and businesses closed for the duration. Sorry, your kaffeehaus won’t be compensated for loss of income, Herr Ober. (Think WTO, Seattleites.)

I’m sorry I’m not going to be there to stand in solidarity with my compatriots abroad.

Pictures and Poems

So I have this new camera that I’m kind of in love with. And I’ve decided to start posting a lot more pictures, because a lot more of my pictures turn out to be pretty good now.

But I thought to myself, is posting arty shots pretentious enough? No, I said to myself, you need to post pictures and poetry. That’s pretentious. That’s what I’m going for. To wit:
Blue Poppy, Butchart Gardens, May 2006

Now a bit of poetry, by Jorie Graham:

The Way Things Work

is by admitting
or opening away.
This is the simplest form
of current: Blue
moving through blue;
blue through purple;
the objects of desire
opening upon themselves
without us; the objects of faith.

What lefty media?

I wanted to share this transcript of Soledad O’Brien interviewing Nicholas Berg’s dad.  Remember Nicholas?  He was beheaded by al-Zarqawi in a video.  I remember feeling like I was going to throw up when the story was covered way back in 2004.  Since then, of course, the media has stopped covering these sorts of things because Americans are so de-sensitized that it doesn’t really get the ratings bump that it once did…anyway, I digress.

Nicholas’s dad, Michael, seems like the kind of guy I want in my life.  An articulate, stick-to-the-point pacifist, he doesn’t let Soledad draw him into a hate-fest…and he makes some of the most eloquent anti-war arguments  I have heard.  She keeps trying to spin this as a good-news story with the hurt dad rejoicing at the killing of a terrorist…and she just doesn’t get him to go along with her.

O’BRIEN: Mr. Berg, thank you for talking with us again. It’s nice to have an opportunity to talk to you. Of course, I’m curious to know your reaction, as it is now confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who is widely credited and blamed for killing your son, Nicholas, is dead.

MICHAEL BERG: Well, my reaction is I’m sorry whenever any human being dies. Zarqawi is a human being. He has a family who are reacting just as my family reacted when Nick was killed, and I feel bad for that. (Watch video of the two bombs falling on al-Zarqawi — 2:00)

I feel doubly bad, though, because Zarqawi is also a political figure, and his death will re-ignite yet another wave of revenge, and revenge is something that I do not follow, that I do want ask for, that I do not wish for against anybody. And it can’t end the cycle. As long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have violence.

O’BRIEN: I have to say, sir, I’m surprised. I know how devastated you and your family were, frankly, when Nick was killed in such a horrible, and brutal and public way.

BERG: Well, you shouldn’t be surprised, because I have never indicated anything but forgiveness and peace in any interview on the air.

O’BRIEN: No, no. And we have spoken before, and I’m well aware of that. But at some point, one would think, is there a moment when you say, ‘I’m glad he’s dead, the man who killed my son’?

BERG: No. How can a human being be glad that another human being is dead?

O’BRIEN: There have been family members who have weighed in, victims, who’ve said that they don’t think he’s a martyr in heaven, that they think, frankly, he went straight to hell …

You know, you talked about the fact that he’s become a political figure. Are you concerned that he becomes a martyr and a hero and, in fact, invigorates the insurgency in Iraq?

BERG: Of course. When Nick was killed, I felt that I had nothing left to lose. I’m a pacifist, so I wasn’t going out murdering people. But I am — was not a risk-taking person, and yet now I’ve done things that have endangered me tremendously.

I’ve been shot at. I’ve been showed horrible pictures. I’ve been called all kinds of names and threatened by all kinds of people, and yet I feel that I have nothing left to lose, so I do those things.

Now, take someone who in 1991, who maybe had their family killed by an American bomb, their support system whisked away from them, someone who, instead of being 59, as I was when Nick died, was 5-years-old or 10-years-old. And then if I were that person, might I not learn how to fly a plane into a building or strap a bag of bombs to my back?

That’s what is happening every time we kill an Iraqi, every time we kill anyone, we are creating a large number of people who are going to want vengeance. And, you know, when are we ever going to learn that that doesn’t work?

O’BRIEN: There’s an alternate reading, which would say at some point, Iraqis will say the insurgency is not OK — that they’ll be inspired by the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the sense of he was turned in, for example, we believe by his own No. 2, No. 3 leadership in his ranks.

And, that’s actually them saying we do not want this kind of violence in our country. Experts whom we’ve spoken to this morning have said this is a critical moment where Iraqis need to figure out which direction the country is going to go. That would be an alternate reading to the scenario you’re pointing to. (Watch how Iraqi leaders cheered after learning about al-Zarqawi’s death — 4:31)

BERG: Yes, well, I don’t believe that scenario, because every time news of new atrocities committed by Americans in Iraq becomes public, more and more of the everyday Iraqi people who tried to hold out, who tried to be peaceful people lose it and join — what we call the insurgency, and what I call the resistance, against the occupation of one sovereign nation.

O’BRIEN: There’s a theory that a struggle for democracy, you know…

BERG: Democracy? Come on, you can’t really believe that that’s a democracy there when the people who are running the elections are holding guns. That’s not democracy.

O’BRIEN: There’s a theory that as they try to form some kind of government, that it’s going to be brutal, it’s going to be bloody, there’s going to be loss, and that’s the history of many countries — and that’s just what a lot of people pay for what they believe will be better than what they had under Saddam Hussein.

BERG: Well, you know, I’m not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he’s no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn’t pull the trigger, didn’t commit the rapes. Neither did George Bush. But both men are responsible for them under their reigns of terror.

I don’t buy that. Iraq did not have al Qaeda in it. Al Qaeda supposedly killed my son.

Under Saddam Hussein, no al Qaeda. Under George Bush, al Qaeda.

Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability. Under George Bush, instability.

Under Saddam Hussein, about 30,000 deaths a year. Under George Bush, about 60,000 deaths a year. I don’t get it. Why is it better to have George Bush the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?

O’BRIEN: Michael Berg is the father of Nicholas Berg, the young man, the young businessman who was beheaded so brutally in Iraq back in May of 2004

People Get Ready

Tuedsday is six-six-oh six, time again for the rapture! Husband mentioned this to me while reading today’s headlines. The first words out of my mouth? “What are we going to wear?” On careful consideration I decided that I was going to stick with what I’m wearing right now – my most comfortable pants, which happen to be cargo pants (handy pockets), a black tank, and a zip front fleece. Layers and comfort are the key the dressing for adventure – and the rapture!
In final preparation, I’m relearning the words to Blondie’s classic 1981 track, remixed here.
See you in hell. I mean that in a GOOD way!