Seattle Times

A President Stupid Enough to Invite War with the Press

#AlternativeFacts | #WhatTheyVotedFor

The headline from the New York Times comes with its own implications: “News Media, Target of Trump’s Declaration of War, Expresses Alarm”. Meanwhile, on the west coast, the Seattle Times ran the article on the right column of the front page―

Trump’s war with journalists boils over

CREDIBILITY UNDER ATTACK

White House blasts media for challenging falsehoods; defends ‘alternative facts’

"Trump's war with journalists boils over" (Seattle Times, 23 January 2017)and we might, again, say something about implications. Locally, people tend to view the Seattle Times as tending more toward the conservative, but this is President Donald Trump, and this is what happens, to the one, when one is actually the President of the United States, and, to the other, goes out of his way to pick a fight with the Press.

How do you like them apples, Mr. President?

Yeah … we know. You don’t give a damn. You are, after all, President Donald Trump, and this is #WhatTheyVotedFor.

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Image note: Detail of front page for the Seattle Times, 23 January 2017.

Ember, Sydney and Michael W. Grynbaum. “News Media, Target of Trump’s Declaration of War, Expresses Alarm”. The New York Times. 22 January 2017.

————. “Trump’s war with journalists boils over”. The Seattle Times. 23 January 2017.

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Responsible Gun Ownership (#Benghazi!)

'Scuse me while I responsibly point this at you.

Ángel González of the Seattle Times landed the unfortunate duty of penning the article:

Dane Gallion, 29, told officers he took the gun to Regal Cinemas 14 at the Landing on Thursday night because he was “concerned about recent mass shootings in public places,” according to a police account in a probable-cause statement released Saturday.

That same anxiety prompted him to keep the gun unholstered in his waistband, the statement says.

This is one of those. Gravity. Downhill. Abyss of stupidity. Really, it only gets worse.

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House Minutiae

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX05) in 2013 official House photo.

A passing note yesterday included Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX05), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. And we also might have mentioned something about trying to keep up with all cacophonous news and analysis following Speaker Boehner’s resignation announcement.

Conservative Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the powerful Financial Services Committee, won’t run for leadership, a senior GOP source said Monday.

Hensarling will pass on a bid for both Speaker and majority leader following Ohio Republican John Boehner’s surprise announcement Friday that he would relinquish the Speaker’s gavel and step down from Congress on Oct. 30.

He will instead back a fellow conservative, Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) in the race for majority leader, the No. 2 job, according to a senior GOP lawmaker who received a call from Hensarling over the weekend.

“He’s not running for anything, it seems,” said a second GOP lawmaker.

(Wong)

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Friday, March 28, 2014. (Photo: Scott Eells/Bloomberg)And having attended the latter, we can now scratch the former off the list of too many tales to properly attend.

Meanwhile, Rep. Price (GA-06) finds himself in a contest with Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01) and GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05). Stay tuned.

Or not. The outcomes can always be said to have been inevitable once they are done, and in practical terms of whether or not anything useful gets done the answer is the same, anyway; and the only remaining question has to do with just how dignified or otherwise House Republicans intend to make this show.

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Image note: Top ― Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX05) in 2013 official House photo. Right ― Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA05) speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Friday, March 28, 2014. (Photo: Scott Eells/Bloomberg)

Brunner, Jim. “Boehner exit a chance for Spokane’s Cathy McMorris Rodgers to move up?” The Seattle Times. 25 September 2015.

Wong, Scott. “Hensarling to pass on leadership bid”. The Hill. 28 September 2015.

Not Good News

Detail of graph by Mark Nowlin/Seattle Times showing death rates for various drugs in King County, Washington, between 1997 and 2014.

Just, you know, take note: We have a problem.

Fatal overdoses linked to heroin surged by 58 percent in King County last year, fueling the steepest rise in local drug-caused deaths in 17 years.

Heroin was involved in 156 deaths in the region in 2014, up from 99 the year before — and just 49 in 2009. Overall, there were 314 drug deaths in the area last year, the highest number since 1997, according to a report released Thursday by the University of Washington Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute.

The only word to describe the trend is “distressing,” said Caleb Banta-Green, an affiliate associate professor of health services with the UW School of Public Health.

“I knew it was going to go up,” he said. “I didn’t know it was going to go up that much.”

(Aleccia)

Should we pause a moment to consider that no such bad news ever fails to get worse, well, right, we get interesting notes like this, as well:

Drug deaths tied to methamphetamine also jumped by 59 percent, with 70 deaths in 2014, up from 44 the year before. Among primary heroin users, meth was the common secondary drug of choice, used in about a quarter of cases.

Right. You know. One of those mixes I just never have figured out how to understand.

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The Grudge Match: Republicans vs. Science

In this handout photo, taken in 2011, provided by Jonathan Gero, scientists witness and measured carbon dioxide trapping heat in the sky above, confirming human-caused global warming, using the Atmospheric Emitted Radience Interferometer seen here, located in Barrow, Alaska.  Scientists witnessed carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere above the United States, chronicling human-made climate change in action live in the wild.  A new study in the journal Nature demonstrates in real-time field measurements what scientists already knew from basic physics, lab tests, numerous simulations, temperature records and dozens of other climactic indicators.  It confirms the science of climate change and the amount of heat-trapping previously blamed on carbon dioxide.  (AP Photo/Jonathan Gero, University of Wisconsin)

There are so many ways to go about this. We might, for instance, pause to consider the pathetic canard about how the competing political parties in these United States are the same. Or perhaps we could take a moment to think about why American progress lurches forward in quick bursts after seeming to stall for extended periods. And it is not exactly impossible that we might also eventually encounter an opportunity to simply look away and give our attention to something else.

First up, science:

Scientists training their instruments on the skies have caught the world’s major greenhouse gas right in the act of warming the planet, researchers reported Wednesday, providing the first direct evidence that human activity is dangerously altering the environment.

The instruments captured more than a decade of rising surface temperatures, changes that were directly triggered by the atmosphere’s increasing burden of carbon dioxide, a team of scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley, reported.

That gas, whose main source is emissions from burning fossil fuels, has long been the principal culprit in global-warming investigations by the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists. Its rising levels in the atmosphere have been the basis for increasingly strong warnings about global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, known as the IPCC.

“We have known for decades that there must be an effect, but getting a direct measurement and isolating the carbon dioxide component are a technological coup,” Christopher Field, a senior scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University who has led two major IPCC reports, said in an email.

The UC Berkeley scientists’ study, he said, provides concrete evidence for the first time of carbon dioxide’s effect on global warming.

(Perlman)

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Another Day in Pioneer Square

Seattle ....

Maybe he was just trying to be nice and give her a compliment ....

Police arrested a man after he groped and punched a woman in Pioneer Square Tuesday night.

The victim was walking on Third Avenue just after 5 p.m. when she noticed a shirtless man approaching her near Yesler Way, according to police. The man walked up behind the woman, stuck his hand inside her pants and repeatedly punched her in the head, police said.

(De Leon)

Right. So, gentlemen, you want to know why? Now you know why.

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De Leon, John. “Man punches, gropes woman in Pioneer Square attack”. The Seattle Times. 19 November 2014.

One Way to Get the Job Done

It is always tempting to tear a local police department a new orifice for every mere appearance of failure, but the truth of the matter is that we have no indication at this time that the Seattle Police Department even had a chance to laugh this one off:

A man who was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly groping 15 to 20 women near Pioneer Square has pleaded not guilty to four counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, according to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.....

.... According to Seattle police, a group of women and witnesses on Wednesday helped chase down an intoxicated man who was groping women, following him from Second Avenue and James Street and calling 911 to report his location to officers.

Then again it is also true that a bad situation is much harder to ignore or, you know, laugh off when faced with the prospect of an appropriately righteous mob chasing down a sex crime suspect.

Meanwhile, it’s good to know that citizens in Seattle have each other’s backs.

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Green, Sara Jean. “Not-guilty plea to groping frenzy”. The Seattle Times. 3 November 2014.

Anonymous. “Thanks for Nothing, SPD”. The Stranger. 1 January 2014.

Not Surprising

Screengrab of BET.com, 28 October 2014, showing something about the odd contrast between grave news and pop-culture advertising.

Sometimes, well, it just isn’t surprising. To wit, we are not surprised

• … that a small-time Republican state legislator in New Hampshire plagiarized a speech against marriage equality two years ago.

• … that a small-time Republican state legislator now running for Secretary of State is a Birther, and now she doesn’t want to talk about it.

The lovable Jennifer Rubin just hates  President Obama.• … Jennifer Rubin will take the word of the Iranian government if it means she can criticize President Obama by doing so.

• … the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer was “leaked”.

• … that more people are dead after another shooting.

• … or that Seattle has nothing on Chicago when it comes to deadly violence.

And we might also mention that we are not in the least surprised at the amount of unrelated various video websites want us to watch when we click in to read a news story. What’s that? An important news story? Here, we’ll autoplay “Chris Spencer’s Top 5”. Obviously, we’re out of the loop: Who is Chris Spencer? (Wait, wait, don’t tell me. Please.) Why do I care? (Again, I don’t.) And you’re seriously telling me there’s a show called Real Husbands of Hollywood? (Just stop already.) And, no, we’re not really singling out BET; this just happened to be the stark contrast at hand.

To the other, neither will we be surprised if we don’t try a “Not Surprising” list again in the future. These things just should not be thrown together on a moment’s notice.

An Appeal

I think, therefore you are.

I need to step out of any pretense of character, but it is most important to stress that this is not supposed to be about me.

If you have five minutes to spare, I would ask that you take a bit over four and a half of them to watch Rachel Maddow’s report and commentary about the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. There is a bit to take in, but the segment includes a point about readiness, and regardless of what you think about how Maddow makes the point—I’m aware many just flat don’t like what she has to say, or how she says it, and so on—the key word is readiness.

Geographic proximity is always a bit rattling when these atrocities occur. And this time it was really close; my daughter does not attend Marysville schools, but that is beside the point. The only reason the two-town hop to Marysville seems like a long drive is because traffic through Everett is often plain obnoxious.

But this is not about fear. This is just the horror and revulsion, and yes, it seems a fairly reliable human behavior that proximity increases the magnitude of those sickening sensations. Let that say what it will.

But this is where it gets weird.

There are a handful of people in this area for whom this was the second jolt in a week.

Nobody died, but this was Wednesday for anyone who reads The Stranger, a weekly newspaper in Seattle:

Who the fuck calls in a bomb threat at GeekGirlCon?

And then one might wonder, “I’m sorry, what? How is it only now that I’m hearing about this?”

For BoingBoing readers, the news came a day earlier:

I didn’t feel safe going into GeekGirlCon. Hours earlier, Game developer Brianna Wu had tweeted about the threats she’d received, about calling the police, about sleeping somewhere else.

Just thinking about it made it hard to sleep. The next day, I was almost late to game critic Anita Sarkeesian’s opening panel, and was one of the last to be let in. There had been a bomb threat, of course, though we wouldn’t know about it until afterwards. They searched our bags.

Either way, there are a few people who experienced a very strange silence in their chests: My daughter was there, damn it!

And it is possible to skip denial, fleeing desperately into rationalization. It is not mine to suggest the threat was treated lightly. True, #GamerGate and its merry miscreant tagalongsα have yet to actually muster the will to follow through on their threats, but that really is not a fate worth tempting. It is enough to know the issue was handled well by conference personnel and local law enforcement. Something about readiness probably goes here.

In the end, it is tempting to skip anger according to the principle of whether it is really worth it to waste the energy of being angry.

Which in turn would seem to leave but a few basic questions that one might dare hope would have some useful purpose:

• What, exactly, is going on here?

• Why is this happening?

• How is this happening?

• What needs to happen in order to change what is happening?

• Please?

The worst thing that could happen now is that we don’t learn anything.

This is going to keep happening. What are we going to do about that?

Please?

____________________

α The dust that followed the dog that followed the horse they rode in on.

Broom, Jack. “Wounded girls identified in Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting”. The Seattle Times. 25 October 2014.

Maddow, Rachel. “Gun-wielding student shocks Washington school”. The Rachel maddow Show. 24 October 2014.

Anonymous. “You Can’t Keep a GeekGirl Down”. The Stranger. 22 October 2014.

Dieker, Nicole. “GeekGirlCon is an oasis of acceptance”. BoingBoing. 21 October 2014.

A Contrast

In many ways I was not yet a grownup—still childish in love and in work, a renter and sometime student with not even a car title in my name. But with the license, and the gun, came a host of new grownup worries. First: Who do you shoot, and when?

Adam Weinstein

Among reflections on the recent shootings that have devatated communities across the country, Adam Weinstein’s column for Gawker is a must-read. There is, truly, more there than one can justly quote, from―Bang! Say da, da da da!

Back when the licenses were still a new thing and the required instructional classes weren’t a joke, my dad’s class was run through a host of scenarios: You’re broken down on a dirt road in the middle of the night. A black dude in a Cutty pulls up behind you, gets out, comes out with a tire-iron. What do you do? Half my dad’s class said to shoot the black man.

―to―

When my son was born, all of my questions suddenly had a very basic answer. I would love for him to grow up as I did, enjoying shooting but understanding that every gun is loaded and you never touch one without an adult and you don’t point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot. But more than that, I’d love to believe that he’ll have no mischievous accidents, no suicidal depressions or homicidal rages, no moments of weakness or fits of pique or questions that can be answered by the pull of a trigger. As with all the other scenarios in which I’m the good guy with the gun, I can never be sure. I carry my permit, as I always have. But now all my guns live with my father.

―and beyond. Just read it.

† † †

Meanwhile, there is also the tale of S. 1290, the “Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2013”.

Laura Bassett explains the situation for Huffington Post:

The National Rifle Association is fighting proposed federal legislation that would prohibit those convicted of stalking and of domestic violence against dating partners from buying guns, according to a letter obtained by The Huffington Post.

Sorry, NRA says no.Federal law already bars persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from purchasing firearms. S. 1290, introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would add convicted stalkers to that group of offenders and would expand the current definition of those convicted of domestic violence against “intimate partners” to include those who harmed dating partners.

Aides from two different senators’ offices confirm that the NRA sent a letter to lawmakers describing Klobuchar’s legislation as “a bill to turn disputes between family members and social acquaintances into lifetime firearm prohibitions.” The nation’s largest gun lobby wrote that it “strongly opposes” the bill because the measure “manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as ‘domestic violence’ and ‘stalking’ simply to cast as wide a net as possible for federal firearm prohibitions.”

The NRA’s letter imagines a “single shoving match” between two gay men as an example of how the domestic violence legislation could be misused. “Under S. 1290, for example, two men of equal size, strength, and economic status joined by a civil union or merely engaged (or formerly engaged) in an intimate ‘social relationship,’ could be subject to this prohibition for conviction of simple ‘assault’ arising from a single shoving match,” the letter says.

The NRA also argues in the letter that “stalking” is too broad of a term to indicate any danger to women. “‘Stalking’ offenses do not necessarily include violent or even threatening behavior,” the letter claims. “Under federal law, for example, stalking includes ‘a course of conduct’ that never involves any personal contact whatsoever, occurs wholly through the mail, online media, or telephone service, is undertaken with the intent to ‘harass’ and would be reasonably expected to cause (even if it doesn’t succeed in causing) ‘substantial emotional distress’ to another person.”

The letter adds that the federal stalking law on the books is “so broadly written that some constitutional scholars even claim it could reach speech protected under the First Amendment.”

Because, well, stalkers need guns, too.

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