Monday, February 26, 2007

No One Supports Free Speech More Than I But...

Via Rogier van Bakel, we get yet another story where the hyper-liberal progressive carefully reminds us about how-- liberal and progressive they are but...

"I am probably the most progressive liberal person in the world and I am personally offended by the sign," said Janet Stillman, executive director of the Wallingford Neighborhood Office. "It's so blatant and so in your face."
I'd like to take this moment to point out to Ms. Stillman that it's precisely her type which are often the first to attempt to stifle free speech rights. What's all the fuss? A "high-end dog shop" has taken the name "High Maintenance Bitch", and has put a fairly prominent sign on the street which is offending Wallingford's famously progressive residents.

New York Times Investigation Reveals Sororities Cliqueish and Shallow

Via the New York Times, we are shocked-- SHOCKED to learn that sororities may be choosy [may req. registration] about their members, even on such grounds as appearance or weight.

The 23 members [asked to leave] included every woman who was overweight. They also included the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. The dozen students allowed to stay were slender and popular with fraternity men — conventionally pretty women the sorority hoped could attract new recruits. Six of the 12 were so infuriated they quit.
If this were an Onion article, I'd be laughing harder. As an occasional observer of the national "scene", I do have to wonder, why is this news? Apparently, a large number of news organizations believe that the discovery that a college sorority may engage in such behavior is in fact, big news. I first read this story on the-- I hesitate to say it-- front page of the Seattle Times. Yes, it was below the fold, but the front page, nonetheless. It must have been a dismally slow news day when the reporter penned this one.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Get over it, you lost.

Yes, it's been a long absence for me-- lots going on in life which I won't get into here, but one thing that happened locally is very much worth noting: The tunnel option for Seattle (aka The Big Dig II, The Big Dig Goes to Washington) is dead. This comes as a great relief to all intelligent people everywhere. As anyone with command of more than a few brain cells could have guessed, the technical difficulties of digging a tunnel through soggy, clay-like Seattle soil right next to Puget Sound would be... problematic to say the least.

State leaders' rejection of the tunnel came hours after the state Department of Transportation issued a letter declaring a four-lane tunnel too dangerous to merit further study. The tunnel concept, in which the shoulders would be used as exit lanes at rush hour, has "serious operational and safety problems," the DOT said.
As for safety, she said, "The DOT review has shown that the hybrid tunnel proposal does not meet state and federal safety standards. Furthermore, an accident where people could not escape this tunnel could prove catastrophic."
It was also interesting to note that State Lawmakers, in an extremely rare moment of fiscal responsibility, were unambiguous about their rejection of such a scheme. And really, who can blame them? This is the kind of project that would tarnish the career of any politician who comes near it.

The reaction in Olympia was striking in that lawmakers spoke with one voice, where before there was ambiguity. [Seattle Mayor]Nickels and other tunnel supporters had taken advantage of any political uncertainty to press their case.
Nickels, frankly, should thank his lucky stars because this project would have eventually been dubbed "Nickels' folly" had it been allowed to go on. However, Seattle isn't out of the woods on this yet, because Nickels is turning out to be one of the more hard-headed, arrogant control freaks of recent mayoral memory. Nickels is the type of politician who threatens his constituents if he gets a whiff that they don't agree with him, and he's repeatedly warned that if he doesn't get his tunnel, he'll tear the viaduct down and go with the utterly crackpot "surface street" option, because he refuses to have any elevated freeway. While Nickels promises to continue his campaign for a tunnel, the real fear is that we'll get nothing, which will please seven community activists who drive their Volvos from Madison Park to Downtown three days a week, and as such cannot conceive of why anyone would ever need a freeway in the first place.
If a tunnel is not possible, Nickels has said in the past that his preferred alternative is tearing down the viaduct and using existing surface streets and improved transit to replace it.
The mayor, who confoundingly has pushed this patently dumb tunnel option is politically no idiot. He knows that the surface street option is the dumbest plan of all, and his strategy here is to give Seattle residents something that he knows won't work as punishment for not getting his tunnel. This, in turn may make Seattle residents beg for a tunnel once the arm-twisting gridlock sets in.