Archive for June, 2006

Dukakis/Bentsen in 1988

The other day I was saddened to read of the passing of Senator Lloyd Bentsen. I ended up digging up some memorabilia from the 1988 presidential election, where Mike Dukakis selected Senator Bentsen as his vice-presidential running mate.

Dukakis/Bentsen sticker

Although I never had the opportunity to meet Senator Bentsen, Wisconsin was evidently one of the important states in the Democratic primaries that spring. Perhaps not so much later in the fall after the convention…

Governor Dukakis made his way to teeny, relatively insignificant Sheboygan, Wisconsin (or here) in Early April 1988 for a rally event at South High School. I was 11 years old, and barely even in middle school… but I somehow convinced my parents to let me skip school long enough to go to the event down the road at the high school!

I had been boostering for Dukakis throughout the primary season and helping the Sheboygan County Democrats with putting together signs, handouts, etc. I even talked my way into making some (only a few) cold calls to the registered voters list. I can only imagine what the various people probably thought when they got a call from an 11–year-old (and believe me, I definitely sounded 11) asking if they were interested in more information on Michael Dukakis!

Anywho, the day finally arrived and I slipped out of middle school classes, hopped onto my bike, and raced down to South High. Parked the bike, went in and listened to the political talk. Then (and here’s the truly nostalgic part), when it was over, I raced out of the auditorium, around the back side of the building by the parking lot… and talked my way into holding the door for Governor Dukakis as he exited the building. To be fair, it was a good photo-op having an enthusiastic and wide-eyed 11–year-old holding the door, so it’s pretty likely it was an easier sell to get myself in there than it would be, say, today.

We all know that they didn’t win the general election against the first of the Bush presidents. But at the very least, I can take some pride in the fact that they carried Wisconsin’s 11 electoral votes.

In any case, here’s my lasting swag from April of 1988… proof that I’ve been politically active since long before I could vote:

Me and Michael Dukakis - April 1988

I’m really glad someone had a camera! I don’t remember all the details, but someone ended up getting this picture back to me a few days later and I still have it today. Dug it out the other day and scanned it in so I could finally post it. Note too that in my hand is one of the fliers from the day’s event… autographed a moment earlier by Governor Dukakis. I scanned that too, so perhaps I’ll post it sometime as another nostalgic look back. 

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South Lake Union Streetcar groundbreaking – July 7, 2006

From: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/stcar_slu_construction.htm

South Lake Union Streetcar Groundbreaking and Block Party

You are invited to a groundbreaking ceremony and block party on Friday, July 7, 2006, when United States Senator Patty Murray, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and Washington State Representative Ed Murray will kick-off South Lake Union Streetcar construction and thank those who have helped to make the streetcar a reality.

Streetcar Ground Breaking and Block Party
Noon to 1:30 p.m., Friday, July 7, 2006
Terry Avenue North- between Harrison Street and Republican Street

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Tim Eyman as Horses Ass – initiative 831

I was reading a bit about Tim Eyman on Wikipedia and ran across something funny that I had sort of known, but not really.

Initiative 831

During the campaign to collect signatures for I-807, a Seattle computer programmer named David Goldstein launched an initiative to have Tim Eyman declared a “horse’s ass”. Mr. Goldstein declared that he was attempting to parody the initiative process to highlight its shortcomings and problems. After a brief period of support and funding by liberals, the initiative died in court after a challenge by the state Attorney General.

This is absolutely hilarious to me. Just about everyone in Washington State has an opinion about Tim Eyman – one way or the other. But the idea that we’d have a voter initiative to declare him a “horse’s ass” is just priceless. I’m pretty sure I can accurately guess whether that one would have passed, even back in 2003 when perhaps he wasn’t as universally reviled!

In any event, David Goldstein now has a blog at http://www.horsesass.org/ and a radio show on 710 KIRO.

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Blogging into the empty night

I’ve quite taken to the Pearls Before Swine comic, syndicated in the PI. It’s consistently funny in a style I like. But the one today was even funnier than usual, and particularly warranting of a blog post here:

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An Inconvenient Truth

Jodi and I headed downtown yesterday to see Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.

Going in, we knew it was based on his long-running slideshow/powerpoint about climate change and we knew that it was highly reviewed. The movie poster indicated that it was “terrifying” and that is the truth.

The point of the film should be no surprise to anyone: over the last 50 years or so we’ve been so escalating our CO2 emissions that it’s measurably (and I mean, REALLY measurably in the big picture) thrown our climate out of balance. Glaciers melting faster than ever before during the human span on earth, etc.

Actual, “sound” science. It tied together with a few other things I’d read lately, like Chris Mooney’s Republican War on Science. (quick refresher – many folks are in denial that this is actually happening, and once it becomes unmistakable that it is through scientific data… these folks attack the scientific data, the scientific process, and even the scientists). And make no mistake about it, “these folks” who are disparaging scientific research are our elected officials.

Back to the movie, one of the key things in the movie that should scare the hell out of everyone was the one-two punch of:

  1. Greenland and the west Antarctic ice shelf are both on land (not floating in water) and are melting much faster than ever before in recorded history.
  2. If either, or both, of these melt at their current rate for a while longer… world-wide water levels will rise 10–20 feet or more.

Wow. Since a huge portion of the world-wide population lives near free-flowing ocean water, this is a scary, scary thing. For effect, various population centers around the world were shown before and after the effects of such a water-level rise. Trust me, you don’t want to live right near the water if the water rises even 1–5 feet above normal high tide, let alone 10–20!

So, go see it. And learn from it. And be scared by it. And be motivated to do whatever you can to help save it.

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American Theocracy

Another day, another book. Last week I finished listening to Kevin Philips American Theocracy. We had started this one on the return part of our National Parks trip, but it took me a few more weeks to finish it out once I got back into the hour/day mode.

Overall a very good book. Broken into three parts: 1) Oil 2) Religion 3) Financial services.

The first section was very interesting and talked about the history of oil production around the world, the various interactions it’s had with governments and conflicts, etc. Jodi got a little bored during this section and we didn’t actually get all the way through the 6 or so hours that comprised this block while still on our trip.

I had expected the second section (religion) would be equally interesting. Realistically, the book is called American Theocracy, and one of the biggest “threats” to the country right now is a gentle slide into theocratic government. Sadly, the second portion of the book I found to be a bit less interesting than the first section. There was seemingly a lot of history of religion, going back ages and ages and not really as much focus as I had expected on the changes of the 20th century. Or perhaps there was, but by the time we got to it I was started to tune out a bit so I missed it.

The third section of the book, on financial services and the debtor-consumer, debtor-nation economy was actually quite interesting again like the first section. I was unthrilled to hear some of the details on how doomed we are based on our current financial lifestyle, both as individuals and as a nation. But for anyone who has been paying attention, this should come as no surprise.

Like I said, overall a pretty good book. Just the religion part was less interesting than I had expected.

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ST2 “Mapping the Future”

Sound Transit updated their “ST2” plans the other day with more details (and a couple of specific options for the November 2007 ballot package).

There’s also a survey to tell them what you think: http://www.soundtransit.org/st2/pop_survey.aspx?surveyid=12.

Now, I’m a huge fan of anything that improves transit and transit mobility in the seattle area. So I’m a huge fan of just about anything Sound Transit wants to do. With that disclaimer out of the way, I have to say I’m a little disappointed that my #1 ST2 item (Eastside light rail to Overlake) makes its first maybe appearance in the “Rail Emphasis (Medium High)” option and its first for sure appearance in the “Rail Emphasis (High)” option.

So, my translation on that is that it’s quite likely we won’t get eastside light rail to Overlake in ST2. I’ll also admit that I have a singular focus on east-side light rail and I don’t know diddly about the other projects they’re planning. So the other projects may really be that necessary. Maybe.

But last time I checked, the 550 (Seattle <-> Bellevue) was the highest ridership Sound Transit route, with nearly 350k riders in Q1 2006. And the 545 (Seattle <-> Redmond) was a not-too-distant second place with nearly 275k riders in that same period. And the 545 route has increased ridership by 49% year-over-year from 2005.

So, what does that mean to me? Well, it means there are a BUNCH of people trying to get from Seattle to Bellevue and from Seattle to Redmond. And, as a daily rider of the 545 bus, I can tell you that at least in the morning, 90% of the people on the bus get off at Overlake – not going on to Redmond.

East-side light rail won’t serve everyone. Probably 20% of the 545 bus loads up at Montlake. But, some of those folks — like me — would just as soon take east-side light rail instead of a transfer.

I hope we get it.

 

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Demetri Martin and Microsoft

I was pleased to read in the PI the other morning that Microsoft is working with Demetri Martin (the Daily Show host of the somewhat-regular “Trendspotting” feature) to make some of the marketing/advertising funny for Vista. Here’s the article.

This is great, and badly needed. Some folks like the current ads, and some folks don’t. Suffice it to say I’m glad to see someone with a great sense of humor getting a role in all of this. Plus, it’s only fair that MS gets some Daily Show correspondent-visibility now that Apple is working the heck out of poor John Hodgman. I can only hope the MS spots are as funny as (some of) the PC vs Mac spots are!

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Seattle Streetcar Network

City of Seattle released updated streetcar network plans at the end of May: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/streetcarnetwork.htm

Of particular interest to this transit enthusiast: The Jackson Street Extension

Read more about how likely (or not) we are to get an extension out to 23rd avenue in the Executive Summary or the Full Report.

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Must be an election year

Speaking of Civil Rights, you can tell it’s an election year. How can you tell? Well, why else would the anti-progressives be trotting out such ridiculous anti-progressive-platform losers like a “Gay Marriage Amendment” and a “Flag Burning Amendment” if it weren’t?

I don’t know that I’ll ever understand how either of these two issues even show up on the “things we should be really concerned about” meter, let alone rank at the top.

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