Sunday, April 24, 2005

Two children rescued from abuse

As reported in this article, two children - a boy and a girl - who were bound with plastic zip ties, and gagged with masking tape by their step-mother, were rescued by police in Bonney Lake, a suburb in Pierce County, who then arrested the step-mother, and later the childrens father. Why were the children bound with zip ties - commonly used to hold bundles of cables together - and gagged with masking tape? Because they were "unruly", as later updated reports stated.

Unruly? Unruly? And for that, they get bound and gagged, and put out in a garage in 40 and 50 degree temperatures, the boy only wearing underwear, and the girl only wearing a thin dress?! That's outrageous!

Let me clue you all in to one important fact of life. Children will be unruly - that's their job! The parents job is to not only channel the energy that children have into positive outlets, but to allow them to be children!

A parents job is not to stifle a child's "unruliness", but to encourage the child to find ways of expressing themselves as a child. Do I mean that there should be little to no structure imposed by the parents on a child? Certainly not, as pure chaos would ensue, which would be detrimental to both the parents and the child. There absolutely needs to be structure in a childs life, but at the same time, I feel that the child needs to be free within that structure to be a child.

Too many adults these days are unable to cope with the day to day stresses of every day life, and when you throw a child into the mix, they become overwhelmed, and can see only one solution - control the one element in their life that has posed the most complications, and that is the child, or children. And to do that, they often resort to abuse, taking their frustrations in life out on the most vulnerable, the child.

I don't know what was going on in this couples life before they were found to have been abusing these children, nor do I claim to have all the answers for the problems they faced. However, I do know that the solution to their problems does not lie in abusing their children. I hope they get the book thrown at them.

Statistical analysis shows Rossi actually won the election

In this article, two political science professors - Jonathan Katz of Cal Tech, and Anthony Gill of the University of Washington - took the raw data numbers of improperly counted votes as supplied by the state GOP, looking at the number of felons who illegally voted, dead voters who voted, people who voted more than once, foreign nationals who voted, etc, crunched those numbers, and based on the percentage of votes won by each candidate in either specific precincts, or in the county as a whole, and subtracted those votes from the total. Their results? Katz came up with an approximate 100 vote margin in favor of Rossi, while Gill's total was closer to 200 votes in favor of Rossi.

The state GOP will be presenting this as an argument that the election results should be overturned and a new election be held, while the state Dems say that Washington State law doesn't allow this. Of course, the Dems have said other things aren't allowed by state law before in this case, and have been corrected. Hopefully this will also happen this coming May, when the case goes to trial on the 23rd.

Will Judge Bridges accept the GOP's argument, or will he side with the Dems? Guess we'll have to wait and see, but I have a hunch that he will side with the GOP.

KC Council approves second audit of Election Office

The KC Council unanimously approved the hiring of an outside auditing firm according to this article, to come in and examine the KC Elections Office, and they are even considering reinstituting a citizens oversight committee - like what was in place after problems in 2002 and 2003 (hmmm ... seems like a pattern is developing here - 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. 2006, too?). All well and good, if they are allowed to really examine what has gone on, with no strings attached.

Now about the possibility of a citizens oversight committee. Who decided that disbanding the earlier versions was a good idea? While I grant that it was probably due to budgetary reasons, did the powers that be think that because the problems that were identified after 2002 and 2003 were maybe rectified that there wouldn't be problems again in 2004? I think that if a citizens group is re-formed, that it should be a permanent group - and a group that has "teeth", with the ability to force anyone who screws up out of the office, and to force the Elections Office to actually obey Washington State law. Otherwise, what use would it be?

Let's hope that the two audits show, without a shadow of a doubt, just where the blame for the November election fiasco lies - at the feet of King Sims and Election Director Dean Logan - and that something positive will be done to rectify this appalling situation.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Random ramblings

Just have a few random ramblings I wanted to jot down.

Today is my birthday - whoopee, you know? Just means I'm that much closer to the big 5 - 0. Where has all the time gone? I haven't a clue - maybe you do?

In case you were wondering about my not posting on a more regular basis, as I was previously, I started a new job at the end of February, and that has drastically cut into the time available for me to keep up with the events of the day, and forming and posting an opinion about them on a daily basis. I've just been too tired after work to do much of anything. What I have been trying to do, is keep track of stories from the MSM during the week, and then posting about those on the weekends. Unfortunately, a lot of what I want to post on gets superceded by other events happening later in the week, so I have to decide what is still "news worthy", and post on those events.

Speaking of a "news event", the AP had a short blurb they put out earlier today about the "Wendy's Finger Woman" - she was arrested! I found that to be a tad amusing, since it has been revealed that this woman (the one who alledged that she found a cut off finger in her food from Wendy's) is a litigious sort, and has made unsubstantiated claims against other corporations in attempts to get money. Could this be something in the same vein? My guess is, probably. But, where did she get the finger? Makes me shiver to think about that.

Last but not least, it's Friday, and the weather here in Seattle is gorgeous. Bright sunshine, and the temps are in the 70's today. Almost perfect weather in my opinion. That's all for now. Have a nice weekend.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Anne Coulter "throws" back

Do you remember the pie throwing incident in Arizona, involving Anne Coulter? Well, in this scathing piece, Anne "throws" back, and unlike the two idiots who tried to hit her with the pies but missed, Anne lands a haymaker by asking why Dems seem to have to resort to violence when they are confronted by an argument they can't refute. Be sure to read the whole piece - it goes down as easy as pie.

Way to go, Anne!

Are you ready for this?

As reported here, that vaunted civil liberties group, the ACLU wants to go global now. As if they aren't a big enough irritant here in the US, they now want to push their leftist agenda down the throats of the rest of the world.

Just what we need - NOT!

Ludicrousness abounds!

As reported here, about 100 protesters from a coalition of so-called 'peace' groups, demonstrated outside a large Caterpillar dealership in Tukwila. What were they protesting? The sale of bulldozers to the Israeli Army, because these bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinians homes, and because Rachel Corrie, a former student of that bastion of leftist thinking, Evergreen State College, was killed by a bulldozer, while neglecting to state the fact that she had ample time to get out of the way, but unwisely didn't. Oh, yes. One other tidbit from that incident. Rachel Corrie's parents are suing Caterpillar over their daughters death - as if the bulldozer itself had "evil intentions"!

How ludicrous! A bulldozer is a tool - nothing more, nothing less. The driver was doing what he was ordered to do, which was to demolish the home of a terrorist. It was Rachel's responsibility to get out of the way, so as to not get killed, but she abdicated that responsibility, and suffered the consequences. I realize this sounds harsh, and unfeeling, but I am firmly of the opinion that Rachel wanted to die, so she could become a martyr for her cause.

And her parents are suing Caterpillar because their daughter wanted to die, and put herself in the position to do that? Reminds me of the idiot woman who burned herself with hot coffee, and sued McDonalds, even though it was her own fault she got burned!

Ludicrousness abounds!

Another outside audit?

The KC Council is proposing an outside accounting firm do an audit of the KC election office, procedures, etc. This is apart from the 'blue ribbon panel' that King Sims has already set up, and guess what? It was proposed by - surprise! - Dem. Bob Ferguson, and co-sponsered by Rep's Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn, with Ferguson stating, as it appears in this article, "This would be a firm with no agenda whatsoever to conduct a top-to-bottom, detailed and unbiased report and bring that information right back to the council," said Democratic Councilman Bob Ferguson, an original co-sponsor of the bill. "Then, we let the chips fall where they may."

The KC Council is currently made up of 13 council members, 7 Dems and 6 Reps (which will soon be reduced to 9 members, as voted by the people), and I wonder how many of the other 6 Dems will go along with Councilman Ferguson's statement about letting the chips fall where they may. I mean, with all of the problems in the KC Elections office, and the fact that all of those problems benefitted the Dems, if this accounting firm says they found fraud (which I think they will), and that fraud points directly at the State or County Dem Party, do you think for one minute that the other 6 Dem council members (or even Ferguson himself) will sit quietly by, and let the chips fall where they may?

I certainly don't.

This guy just - won't - go - away!

Can you believe this? Almost 6 months after the election, Sen. John Kerry is still making baseless allegations about voters being disenfranchised, as reported here.

Among his allegations:
  • Leaflets were handed out saying Dems vote on Wednesday, and Reps vote on Tuesday (yeah, sure ... riiigggghhhhhtttttt!);
  • People were called on the phone and told that if they ever had a parking ticket, they couldn't vote (again, yeah sure);
  • He also rehashed the allegations that led to the lawsuits in Ohio, about long lines, and not enough voting machines, in several inner city districts. Guess who was in charge of those districts? Yep, you got it - Dems. Districts run by Reps had no such problems - probably because they weren't trying to disenfranchise voters!

C'mon, Senator, you had your time in the sun, but it's over. If you have proof about the leaflets and phone calls, why don't you present that proof? It's because you don't have any, and all you're doing is repeating 'talking points' espoused by your moonbat supporters such as MoveOn, and that fat tub of lard, Michael Moore (the same guy who equated the terrorists in Iraq with our Minute Men!).

Senator, for the good of the country, please just go away. Even Dems are getting tired of your act.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Washington State Legislators are out of control

Over the past several weeks, I have been posting on what the State Legislature has been proposing in the way of more taxes. In today's P-I (surprisingly enough), there is an excellent opinion piece (by an attorney of all things - ha!) that spells out - better than I have - just what is going on. I encourage you all to read it, and you can find it here.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

If this wasn't so serious ...

... it would be downright comical. From this P-I article, we learn that Dems in the State Senate and House can't agree on which watered down version of election reforms they can agree on.

Watered down? Yep, watered down. The provisions for requiring voters to show ID when they vote, and for new registrants to show proof of citizenship when registering have been removed from all of the pending bills in both houses - now get this. Who has removed these provisions? Dem Representatives have stripped provisions from Senate bill versions, and Dem Senators have stripped provisions from House bill versions. Hey, folks - can't you all just get along? (Snarky, aren't I? Heh)

The reason for stripping the proof of citizenship requirement? It would be 'too hard' to verify the proof documents. Hey, Dems! Ever hear of a passport? If the Feds are going to require us to show our passport when entering the US from either Canada or Mexico, why can't people be made to show one when registering to vote? Too hard? I think what is too hard is some peoples heads.

Could this alter Dino Rossi's legal strategy?

In this article from the Times, this question was posed: Could the newly found 94 uncounted absentee votes alter Rossi's strategy?

Possibly, in that they can now focus more on election workers errors (which are legion, by the way) which may (or may not, but I firmly believe it does) constitute outright fraud.

Also in the article is a timeline of the case, including the actual trial date, set for May 23rd. I have a distinct feeling that the former Attorney General shouldn't be getting too comfortable in the Governors Mansion.

There could be more uncounted absentee votes found?

In this article, it was revealed that KC Elections workers found another (on top of the 93 found earlier) uncounted absentee ballot, and Elections Department spokesperson Bobbie Egan says they might find more? This has moved from the realm of the improbable to being surreal!

You couldn't sell this, if you tried to make a movie of it or write a book!

Washington State Dems want to raise the gas taxes again

From an article in the Times, I see the State Dems aren't satisfied yet with all of the ways they want to get more of our money. Now they want to raise taxes on gas another 9.5 cents over the next four years to pay for highway projects - on top of the 28 cents per gallon we already pay for highway projects!

I apologize if I seem to be repeating myself here, but the Legislature (read, Dems) continues to fail to look at what they already are getting from us in the form of taxes, and seeing just what they (WE!) are paying for, and what 'fat' can be cut without cutting services, and what spending increases can be cut, also without cutting services. They also fail to see what impact these new tax ideas are going to have on those who have lower incomes - which if all of their tax proposals go into effect, would be devestating, not only to lower income folks, but for our still fragile economy. If you can't tell by now, this is a major pet peeve of mine.

Note to the Legislature (mostly Dems) - find, and cut, the waste first, before imposing any more new taxes!

Think they will do that? Well, I'm certainly not going to hold my breath.

Will 'King' Sims let Sam Reed do a review?

From an article in the P-I, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed is ready and willing (not too sure about the 'able' part) to conduct a 'review' into the myriad problems found in the KC Elections office over the conduct of this past Novembers election.

However, he needs 'permission' from either 'King' Sims, or the full county council in order to do that (some of our laws here are so dumb!), and a spokesperson for Sims said that they would welcome an 'outside audit' of the election office.

Note to 'King' Sims and Sam Reed - this should not be a simple 'audit' or 'review', but a full blown investigation! Make it happen, and soon, Sam!

UPDATE: As reported today in the P-I here, a citizens commission has been formed to 'review' just what happened in King County during and after the election, with their report due sometime in July.

Will this commission be non-partisan? Will any recommendations they come up with be implemented? Hard to say right now, but we can always hope.

Legislature passes pregnant-divorce bill

In case you're not up to speed on this, a little background is in order. Late last year, a judge in Spokane denied a divorce to a woman from her abusive husband, because she was pregnant. The fact that she was pregnant by her current boyfriend (who wants to marry her as soon as she gets her divorce) didn't matter to the judge.

I was more than a little non-plussed by that decision, as were many around the state, and by many across the nation, once the story hit the news wires. Now for a brief personal disclaimer - I am divorced, but I don't think that divorce is a real solution to problems in a marriage, except in certain cases, such as spousal abuse, among others (which includes my case - which will remain private).

At any rate, the State Legislator has passed a law, which you can read about here, to prevent something like this from happening again - which I support - and has sent it to the former Attorney General for her signature. This is one time I can live with it, if she signs it into law

Study finds that foster kids don't do well after leaving foster care

That's news? Well, according to this article it is, but it shouldn't be, really, if you knew the facts.

Basically what the study says is this:

  • Foster children come from home situations that are unstable. Duh! They wouldn't be in foster care if their home life was stable! (gee, ya think?);
  • Foster children get moved from foster home to foster home, which creates more instability in their lives. Another duh, but this is true - they do get moved, several times in fact. Part of that is the age restrictions placed on foster homes, i.e; they can care for kids between ages X and Y, but not Z, and another part is that many foster parents aren't too 'stable', themselves, and can't 'deal' with the problems the kids have, and don't even bother to try to either (there are, however, many foster parents who do care, and do the best that they can to provide a stable, loving environment for the kids in their care);
  • Foster children have difficulty after leaving foster care. Part of the reason for that is that the children have been moved so often, and another part is that many foster parents are only in it for the money, and really don't give a tinkers da*n about the kids. As a result of those, and other problem situations, foster kids aren't given the chance to learn the basics of living on their own - things such as looking for and applying for a job; getting into college; grocery shopping and cooking; coming up with a household budget, plus other things that many of us take for granted.

How do I know all this stuff? Am I some kind of child psychologist? Am I a foster parent? No to the second two questions. How do I know this stuff then? I used to work for a non-profit organization (that will remain nameless) that dealt with foster children that were 'aging out' of the foster care system in Washington State - foster children have to leave foster care when they turn 18, as they are now legal adults, and not children any longer- and my former co-workers had to deal with all, and more, of the 'educational' shortcomings of the young adults entering the program (my part in the program was unrelated to, but in support of, what my former co-workers were, and are still, doing - and I applaud their efforts!), and I learned from both my former co-workers, and from the program participants themselves, what foster care was about. Not a pretty picture, let me tell you.

Do I have the solution(s) to these problems? No, but I wish I did, so that we could shut down the foster care programs as being unnecessary.

KC Elections office suspend some workers

The problem with that move is that the (possibly) wrong people were suspended. Why does it always seem that the 'worker bees' are the ones to get the fall out dumped on them, while the higher ups - who usually give the orders for 'whatever' that ends up costing people their jobs - go scott free (like KC Election Director Dean Logan)?

At any rate, former Senator Slade Gorton has weighed in on the problems in the KC Elections office, which you can read here.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

AARP's new ad...

As a little background, I am able to join the seasoned citizens group, AARP due to an accident of being in the early years of the baby boom generation. I once thought that AARP had a valid and useful part in the general culture of this country. Now, however, I see ads on TV that challenge their claims of truthfulness and relevency. Have you seen the ad that has a lady being told that because her sink is backed up she needs to have her whole house torn down? The problems in Social Insecurity are presented as being of minor consequence and easily fixed with simple solutions and the efforts of people to bring about a change in where a tiny percentage of the tax is left in the tax-payer's hand is considered "too extreme". To go over the numbers about how much could be accomplished by setting aside money under your own control for your own retirement is somewhat redundant. (Welcome to the Department of Redundancy Department.) Suffice it to say that even a small amount of money invested regularly in mutual funds adds up to a mammoth amount of money when held for twenty to forty years. So when AARP mouths the same propaganda that the Dems are pushing, I wonder at the level of truth and relevancy they have. Where have you gone, you onetime true advocate of retired persons? How in the world can you persist in presenting the ideas that living in poverty is the way to go in retirement? You complain that many retired people are living with the questions of whether to eat or get medicine and you resist the idea that making a longterm investment is a good thing. How do you live with yourselves?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The former Attorney General recently took a little trip to inspect SR-520, and made the decision that it needed replacement first, and not the disaster waiting to happen SR-99 Viaduct - even though I highly doubt that she has a structural engineering degree, which would make her 'assessment' a tad more credible, don't you think? - and yet, the Viaduct is still sinking, as reported here, and will need some remedial repair to stabilize the section that has sunk if (really, when) it sinks further. If the Viaduct continues to deteriorate at it's current rate, without an infusion of repair funds, it will collapse. Remember the double deck freeway expanse in Northern California that collapsed during the 1989 earthquake (during the World Series between the A's and Giants), killing several people? I do, and since I do use the Viaduct on occasion, I really don't want to be on it (especially on the lower, south bound, deck), when it collapses. Nor do I want to be on 520 if it were to suddenly sink into Lake Washington, either.

I used to live on the east side of Lake Washington, and work in Seattle, and used 520 to commute back and forth (now I both live and work in Seattle, so that is no longer part of my commute), and if I still lived on the east side, I may feel that - out of 'I need to be able to get back and forth between work and home conveniently' feelings - 520 should be dealt with first, but - and this may be because I live in Seattle now, but I like to think it's for more practical reasons - I believe that the Viaduct should be replaced first, preferably with a tunnel. I won't hash out the 'for' and 'against' arguments here on what replacement method to use, due to time and space constraints, but I am firmly convinced that replacing the Viaduct first will have the greater positive economic impact on the entire region - not just Seattle - than replacing 520 first would. Oh, it would be nice if we could do both at the same time, but since we are talking billions of dollars here, we simply cannot afford it. Heck, we really don't have the money to replace either right now, but we must replace them both, eventually.

The Viaduct was built around 1953, and the 520 floating bridge sometime in the 1960's (don't know the exact date because I wasn't paying attention back then to much of anything except my own insular life, and I don't want to take the time now to research it - if you want to that, please, be my guest, and if I have the time frame wrong, let me know), and 520 has been re-surfaced at least twice in the past 20 years or so (mainly due to studded tire use - another blog post for another time! - creating ruts in the road surface), and I know that the Viaduct has 'worn' better than 520. Why is that? Were the construction standards, materials, and or methods better in the early 1950's, or did 'someone' in the State Legislature of the 1960's 'get stupid', and allow lower standards for the construction of a floating bridge?

Let's not get 'stupid' now, and replace the wrong structure at the wrong time. Replace the Viaduct first, then deal with 520.

It's amazing what you can find when you're not looking for it

Have you ever had occasion to be looking for something, and during your search for that item, you stumble across something that you haven't seen for a while, but weren't looking for? The title of this post is a phrase I commonly use when this happens with me, and it appears as if election workers in KC will soon be using it, too, as during a search for something else, 87 more uncounted, valid, absentee votes have been found. Also reported in this story is the fact that absentee vote election workers have been reassigned, pending an investigation by, (get this!) Election Director Dean Logan, who is "concerned, and wants to get to the bottom of" the incompetence that KC Elections has demonstrated time after time after time.

Psst! Hey, Dean! It's April 3rd! The election was held on November 2nd, 6 months ago, and you're just now initiating an "investigation"? How timely, how courageous, how ... how come you didn't think of this earlier?

A direct quote from this story
, from Washington State Republican Party Chief Chris Vance, pretty much sums up my feelings about this whole bag of worms - "It's unbelievable. You couldn't make this up if you tried," Vance said."

Yep, unbelievable all right.

Wa State Dems want to tax Spam now?

Sheesh! Not only are the Dems actively seeking to find new ways to seperate us from more of our money, but according to this, they are now thinking about taxing canned meats!

The Dems say they are for the "little guy", but almost all of the existing taxes, and all these new fangled idea taxes they keep coming up with, actually hurt the "little guy" the most. What's up with that? Simple - no Dem ever saw a tax he didn't like.

My question to the Dems is this. What's next? Rolaids?

The way the Dems keep trying to find new ways to tax us, a lot of us will be needing to use Rolaids, so they just might!

Mayor wants to expand his 'urban village' utopia

In this article in the P-I, we find that the Mayor of Seattle, Greg Nichols, is trying to expand his utopian 'urban village' concept by forcing more of us out of our cars, by allowing developers to build fewer parking spaces for new developements in areas (Capitol Hill, First Hill) that already have parking problems.

I live in the lower Queen Anne area, and parking here is tight, but not as ridiculously tight as in the above mentioned neighborhoods - at least not yet, anyway - but I have already seen the Mayors hand in the parking situation here, as over the past few years, a lot of condo's, apartments, and even some new hotels have been built here with few parking spaces built for those new developments - as a matter of fact, a lot of what were once "non-time-limited" (you can park for up to 72 consecutive hours in those) spaces either have meters (15 minutes max!) now, or are simply just gone - without any regard whatsoever for the already established residents of the neighborhood. I know I'm not happy about this, and most of my neighbors aren't either, but does the Mayor care how we feel? Not a Tinkers ... um, 'whit'.

The Mayors idea is to cram as many people and businesses as possible, into the smallest area possible, thereby creating 'urban villages' where people will live, work, and shop, all in their neighborhood, reducing (with the one day hope of eliminating) the need for cars, reducing pollution and bad traffic. Sounds pretty good, right?

Well, the whole idea is flawed from the get go, as most people do not work in the same area that they live, and I really don't know of too many business owners that will move their business to a "central location" to accomodate their employees, let alone the Mayor and his idiotic 'urban village' idea. Oh, and by the way, the Mayor isn't giving anyone (other than developers) any incentive to buy into his wonder-plan. If you live in one of the impacted areas, and need to own a car, and complain about the lack of parking, the Mayor's attitude is, basically, 'So what? Sell your car, take the bus, or sign up with FlexCar. Not my problem!' (he doesn't live there, you see, and rarely gets out of his office to visit neighborhoods).

See? Flawed. Will things change? Only when we unelect the 'Urban Village Idiot'.

Washington State Dem Legislators want to raise taxes again

This article in the P-I lets us know that, once again State Dems are targeting our wallets - which should be no surprise to anyone really, since the Dems are the 'tax and spend' party, after all.

The thing that really gripes me is that instead of finding ways to make cuts in spending increases, and trying to figure out how to do the necessary things that have to be done on what the state already is raising, the Dems just do "the usual", and look for ways to tax us.

I don't know if that (raising taxes) comes from a 'set in stone' mindset, or just plain laziness, but I do know one thing - I'm getting darned tired of it, and wish the Dems would come to the realization that the taxes they impose on us is still our money (whether it's still in our wallets or not), and that they work for us, not special interest groups, and that as easily as they can be voted in to office, they can just as easily be voted out of office.

Note to Dems: Be aware that the people are watching what you do, and you had better do what we sent you to do. Raising taxes that will harm our still fragile state economy is not one of those tasks we hired you to do!