Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The 'P' in GMAP Stands for...Politics

In 2005, shortly after The Election, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed Executive Order 05-02 creating a government program. Government Management Accountability and Performance, or GMAP, was designed to turn the Polis into the Market, as author Deborah Stone would say. It was designed to run government by way of advanced quantitative means--through a positivistic lens all with the hope of achieving better results from state government. (I cough the word, 'transportation' and sneeze through, 'Department of Corrections.'

Outside observers viewed the wonk-centric effort as a rare initiative and bold; at least on the scale that it was employed. Most in Washington, however, saw this as political pragmatism or an iterative government scheme that seemed like 'more of the same' regarding bureaucratic performance. Interestingly enough, the central theme that allayed from the Governor's communication shop was that GMAP is for hard working tax paying citizens who want their government to perform at a high level and become more transparent. That statement could have come from a Republican.

Cut to mid 2008. Gregoire and Rossi hover around a 3 point split, which is notable considering the Obama touchpass. State agencies are thoroughly confused about 'GMAP', the average citizen in most hamlets have no idea what it is and publicly funded higher education institutions have all rejected the schema.

I touch on a singular issue, yes, but perhaps this example puts sunshine on the inherrent problem that the Gregoire campaign now faces: an identity crisis. I will vote for her, for a variety of reasons, but won't find myself shocked if she loses. Missteps are earth shattering in high stakes politicking; and all this rests against the virulent reflection of 2004 that has come to fore with 46-48 percent of Washingtonians.

Gregoire and Rossi

Usually when a democratic woman runs for anything in Washington State she wins. This has been particularly true about US Senate races. Murray walked all over Nethercutt and Cantwell didn't wind up getting much of a challenge from Mike! McGavick.

I've always wondered why Christine Gregoire barely won in 2004. She should win big. She only carried King County and won a contested election. It doesn't look good and reinforces the provincial attitude towards Seattle/King County politics. The surrounding area is starting to look at Seattle differently. To put it simply, Seattle used to the blimp, now it's the rope. There are plenty of little brothers in this state who wouldn't mind stealing a little of the thunder from Seattle. Sorry about the bad Sonics pun, I swear I didn't even know I was typing it.

Gregoire definitely is carrying a lot more baggage than Cantwell or Murray. Murray was the mom-in-tennis-shoes and Cantwell cashed out of the RealNetworks casino after short stints in both the Washington State Legislature and one term in Congress. Gregoire has been the Attorney General AND the former head of the Dept of Ecology.

Could Rossi really be that much better of a candidate than McGavick? McGavick has a lot more money to blow than Rossi. Cantwell was a relative newcomer and 2004 was a better year to be a member of the GOP.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. What is it about this race, in this state, that made it so close to begin with? She really should have won more easily. How do you vote for Kerry and then vote for Rossi? That is what really doesn't make sense.

Her problems now are a little more obvious, the atmosphere says change and she is the the incumbent. The incumbent can't really run on RE-FORM, but people sure do like it. I maintain that Gregoire really doesn't have a lot to hang her hat on and the forecasted budget deficit is another straw on the camel's back. The transportation issue has it's own vote this year, but it's still the main issue in Washington. And there seem to be no solutions coming anytime soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obama's Home Run

Before returning from his whirlwind tour of Western Asia, Middle East, and sold-out crowds in Europe Obama went on Meet the Press in London with Tom Brokaw. Although watching Brokaw was awkward, Obama was completely natural basking in his Rock Star status. Drawing a crowd of 200,000 in Berlin drew echoes of Kennedy and (possibly more importantly) Reagan.

The talk before this trip was about a potential gaffe. About the man-with-the-funny-sounding-name going to the land-of-funny-sounding-names.

This entire trip couldn't have gone better for Obama. Not unless Barack hit two three pointers against the Shiites and was carried off the court by the new ruling coalition of Iraq. Luckily for McCain it was just one three pointer, and it wasn't even a game of HORSE.

In all seriousness, Obama has benefited from the recent success in Iraq. Brokaw started to scratch the surface of this on MTP. The surge that Obama was against and that John McCain was for, was the stabilizing force that allowed the "Sunni Awakening" to survive. The irony of this was pointed out in an LA Times article.

McCain never should have said anything about Obama not visiting the Middle East. He should have went himself. He should have been the one touting the success of the surge from Iraq and then laying out the schedule to withdraw with Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki.

McCain has allowed Obama to draw level on foreign policy. Obama has an international status that is unmatched by all except true celebrities. Could McCain draw a crowd of 200,000 anywhere? Hard to say, not likely. And Obama has turned a weakness into a strength.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Umm...what the f__k is this? Its sheer amazement, folks, at the unconscionable melee we have right now. First time in almost 30 years that we send a diplomat to Geneva for direct, unilateral diplomacy with Iran and it happens to be under the lamest duck presidential situation in our nation's history.

By launching their missiles in triplicate last week, Iran effectively broke smoke in this grand chess game. They're going to leverage every ounce of the precarious situation they've created to set the stage for the deal of the century with either Senators Barack Obama or John McCain after the General Election.

We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves; or more accurately, I shouldn't get ahead of myself here. Israel is the X factor in all of this. With hair trigger sensibilities, their foreign policy framework is quite different from most nations: they are willing to go in preemptively. There are specific reasons for this, of which I won't state here, as I would imagine there is character limit to this blog. They are growing more impatient over failed multilateral diplomacy and will closely monitor this recent exchange between the U.S. and Iran. I mean, let's face it, Israeli intelligence knew about the open channel dog & pony show opportunity before, perhaps, anyone.

So, the decision to send an envoy Wednesday will be the exact opposite policy the Bush Administration and the U.S. has held the last 29 years and thats kinda wierd. Hope for the best.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Friends like these

I thought that the presidential election wouldn't get any weirder than when McCain's former jailer gave him his endorsement for President.

Jesse Jackson wants Obama's nuts. The New Yorker wants to make him unelectable. Or at least satirize him as a radical extremist, but it's only a joke right?

The response from the New Yorker, "Not my fault that not everyone is smart enough to get it."

The only thing that could have been more offensive would have been to show Michelle Obama as Aunt Jemima and Barack as lil' black Sambo. Michelle Bernard said that today on Hardball. Full credit to the lovely and intelligent woman, she has been a breath of fresh air during the coverage of this campaign.

Obama definitely has handled it all very well, not even worth responding too. But given all of the misinformation regarding Obama's candidacy this cartoon reinforces all of the racism and bigotry behind the opposition.

There are people who think that Respeck Knuckles (aka "dap") is a terrorist gesture, and that because his middle name is Hussein that Barack is a bad guy, secret Muslim.

Swift boating Kerry was bad enough, the media didn't even respond to whether those allegations were even true or not.

Obama just got "New Yorkered."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence

Happy Independence Day everybody!!!

Even if you get your fingers blown off today, I hope that you will still celebrate the triumph of the will of the free over the tyranny of the monarchy. Even if you don't have fingers, your spirit is indomitable.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

$75 Million just to leave

Isn't it amazing how an NBA franchise with millionaire owners can hold a city hostage?

The amount that Clay Bennett and the Supersonics settled with the Sonics is comparable to the amount that they wanted to chip in for a new arena. $60 million is what they claimed they could lose at KeyArena over the next two years. $75 million. That is almost a third of what a new arena was going to cost.

If that doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth, you have been eating from Clay Bennett's trough. Mmmmm, tastes good doesn't it?

I am putting a curse on the Seattle Superokies. May you and your ill-gotten franchise forever carry the burden of great expectations and mire in mediocrity and NEVER win a playoff series.

As far as curses go, I still like the Cubs fan who bought a ticket for his goat and was refused entrance to Wrigley Field. Maybe the lesbians at Safeco put their own curse on our baseball team? I digress.

At least PJ isn't going to be coach anymore. I don't like that dude's style, let the players play PJ!

There is a catch in all of this. If Seattle can land another NBA franchise, the settlement will be reduced. Perhaps the Memphis Grizzlies are on their way back to the Pacific Northwest. The Grizz are a long way from being competitive. Or even interesting. They are the team that Bennett deserves. Punk ass bitch.

City of Seattle, Supersonics settle lawsuit

The case has been settled. Apparently the Honorable Marsha Pechman will issue her ruling at 4pm, the Mayor's office will hold a press conference at 5pm to announce the details of the settlement.

Apparently there was an offer made in February of $26.5 million to break the lease and allow the team to move. It was rejected by the city. It is probably safe to assume that any settlement offer would be more than that figure.

Both sides still have the right to appeal to the 9th circuit court of appeals.

I'll keep you "posted."