Seattle: my city is nucking futs

I work (for living) in downtown Seattle (near the waterfront).  I have not BEEN to Seattle since December 18th because it a compact-snow-and-ice-bound nightmare.  In fact, my local roads have been a nightmare.  Why?  Because the Seattle Department of Transportation leadership are a bunch of  prime-rib nutbergers:

To hear the city’s spin, Seattle’s road crews are making “great progress” in clearing the ice-caked streets.

But it turns out “plowed streets” in Seattle actually means “snow-packed,” as in there’s snow and ice left on major arterials by design.

“We’re trying to create a hard-packed surface,” said Alex Wiggins, chief of staff for the Seattle Department of Transportation. “It doesn’t look like anything you’d find in Chicago or New York.”

The city’s approach means crews clear the roads enough for all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles, or those with front-wheel drive cars as long as they are using chains, Wiggins said.

The icy streets are the result of Seattle’s refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows.

“If we were using salt, you’d see patches of bare road because salt is very effective,” Wiggins said. “We decided not to utilize salt because it’s not a healthy addition to Puget Sound.”

Never mind all of the actual harmful stuff going into the Sound, we’ve got to stop adding all that salt!  God forbid during a once-every-ten-years storm we ACTUALLY PUT SOME DAMNED SALT ON THE FRICKING ROAD!  Never mind the sand that will just, naturally, muck up the sound far more than SALT!

The liquid de-icer they use here and there works to some degree, but it is still far less effective than rock salt, which the Washington State DOT does use.  Worried about your precious car?  Given the infrequency that we typically need to resort to salt, I think your precious will be all right… the rust issue is a bit overblown.  Besides, you sprung for that undercoating when you purchased it, right? Heh.

Fortunately, I can connect via VPN to work.  Not many people can do that, though.  And believe-you-me, there are lots of people either burning up vacation, sick or taking time unpaid over the last 5 work days.

The city, Sea-Tac, and many outlying areas have been at a standstill, and yet the brain-trust in Seattle refuses to change its hive-mind.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the City of Seattle leadership has done what few others are capable of: pissing off every last person of every stripe.  I am dearly hoping that voters send them all packing next election.  Not just because of this issue, but because this is a big one among SO MANY.


Merry Christmas you Tightwads!

From Nick Kristof on Saturday:

This holiday season is a time to examine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but I’m unhappy with my findings. The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

To quote Don Suber (emphasis mine)…

A liberal columnist admits that conservatives give money generously to charities,while liberals give lip service.

The late West Virginia columnist L.T. Anderson once observed that it is easy to be generous with other people’s money.

Which explain why Dick Cheney can give away $6 million in one year to charities (75% of his income) while his predecessor could not even give away $1,000 one year and why his successor averaged $369 a year in such donations (0.25% of income).

The liberal compassion is taxing others to give to others.

So, my suggestion: pick a church, stick with it, give God your first fruits (that would be a tithe… literally, “ten percent”) of your income before Uncle Sam takes his bite.

You might be surprised how He rewards obedience and even how it forces a little financial management into your life.

I know of few churches that build new “spires” with their tithe income.  I know our new church was built years ago with funds that were given above and beyond tithing.  The rest goes for weekly operations, missions, and, especially this time of year, assistance to those who are in less fortuante circumstances.  People also contribute a lot of personal time and effort to these causes.

I leave you with this word from the book of James, 1:19-27:

19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,20for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.

26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Reuters diverts attention from Blagojevich

Boy, the Blagojevichs have got them some purty mouths on ’em don’t they?  When this news hit, I had to admit I wasn’t surprised.  I mean, we’re talking about Illinois here… Crook Cook County politics.  A new scandal?  Almost expected.  And it’s sad that places like Chicago and New Orleans can’t pick themselves up out of the mire of corruption, even after all these years.  The constituency in those cities has grown so dependenent on the government as their functional savior that they can’t live with ’em, but can’t live without ’em.  I do NOT relish in this; no schadenfreude here.

So leave it to Reuters to paint conservatives with a broad brush, assuming everyone, even those mentioned are actually “gleeful”:

ATLANTA (Reuters) – U.S. conservatives rubbed their hands with glee on Wednesday over news that the Democratic governor of Illinois has been accused of attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.
But news of his arrest came at a perfect time for conservatives reeling from big losses in November’s congressional and presidential elections that put Obama in line to succeed U.S. President George W. Bush on January 20.

I think most genuine conservatives knew we were sunk when saddled with McCain as the nominee.  Palin brought some hope, but ultimately it’s about the ticket leader.

Anway, please, Reuters, stop pretending you’re objective any longer.  Please just be up front about it; it’s far less insulting.  As Michelle quipped:

Maybe I missed it, but I don’t seem to remember the finger-wagging Reuters articles headlined “US liberals gleeful over [Abramoff/DeLay/Stevens/Foley/etc.].”

So while Obama was busy distancing himself, Blagojevich’s chief of staff, John Harris, was arrested.  Now today, a report out of Chicago is saying John Harris has resigned!

John Harris resigned this morning as Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s chief of staff, his lawyer said.

Harris dropped off his letter of resignation today in person and will not be going back to the office, according to his lawyer, Terry Ekl.

Harris and Blagojevich were arrested at their homes Tuesday morning on federal corruption charges.

Each was released on a personal recognizance bond after a court hearing.

I smell a fresh deal that’s been cut by Mr. Harris.  And if Rham Emanuel is on those sting operation tapes, the fallout could be even greater than originally anticipated.

While Obama may not be directly involved in these corruption allegations, he’s being awfully forgetful.  He said that he has had “no contact” with Blagojevich.  I suppose that depends on how you define “contact”, Mr. President-Elect.

Ugh.  This is horrible, and a perfect lesson about what happens when you rub shoulders with the Chicago Machine.

Homeowners still defaulting


Your moment of zen for the day…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Recent data suggests that many borrowers who received help with mortgage modifications earlier this year tended to re-default on their payments, a top U.S. banking regulator said on Monday.

“The results, I confess, were somewhat surprising, and not in a good way,” said John Dugan, head of the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in prepared remarks for a U.S. housing forum.

“Put simply, it shows that over half of mortgage modifications seemed not to be working after six months,” he said.

You mean folks who either didn’t have the money to begin with for their home or were such poor stewards of their income are defaulting a second time? Even after receiving mortgage-modification help?  You don’t say.

“We don’t know the answers yet, but these are the types of questions that we have begun asking our servicers in detail,” Dugan said.

We eagerly await your brilliant investigation, Mr. Dugan.

New U.S. Capitol Visitors Center: Overpriced, Godless, Less Smelly

Sounds like most big-box retail establishments, eh? 😉

Yes, the make-over of the U.S. Capitor Visitor’s Center (CVC) is complete!  It’s only 3 years late, and $550 million over budget (original budget was $71 million).

Original plans called for more than half of the CVC space to be left as unfinished “shell space”, available to be outfitted for future needs. Instead, in 2001 Congress began implementing its wish list for the unfinished spaces. The House side got a two-story hearing room and the Senate grafted on a collection of small hearing rooms and a television and radio studio with adjoining makeup facilities so that senators could cut spots for their constituents back home. Those two efforts alone added $85 million to the cost of the CVC. The CVC will also have a 450-seat dining area, two orientation theaters (one for each chamber), a large auditorium, and an exhibition hall.

In addition, it lacks any mention of faith as a part of our heritage. These excerpts are from a statement from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) issued today:

The Capitol Visitor Center is designed to tell the history and purpose of our nation’s Capitol, but it fails to appropriately honor our religious heritage that has been critical to America’s success. While the Architect of the Capitol has pledged to include some references to faith, more needs to be done. You cannot accurately tell the history of America or its Capitol by ignoring the religious heritage of our Founders and the generations since who relied on their faith for strength and guidance.

The current CVC displays are left-leaning and in some cases distort our true history. Exhibits portray the federal government as the fulfillment of human ambition and the answer to all of society’s problems. This is a clear departure from acknowledging that Americans’ rights ‘are endowed by their Creator’ and stem from ‘a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.’

That’s all right, though, because, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, at least the visiting proles won’t be stinking up the place anymore:

“My staff tells me not to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway,” said Reid in his remarks. “In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it’s true.”

He’s complained about it before, too… as recently as this year!

Mr. President, someone wanting to visit the Capitol today, there is no place for them to gather. They gather -it used to be out on the East Front – now they gather on the West Front. And the people who work here joke about you can always tell when it’s summertime because you can smell the visitors. And what we mean by that Mr. President – they stand out there in the high humidity, heat, sweating, and it’s really – there’s no place for them to go. The bathrooms in this facility are almost nonexistent. There is one on this side, one on the other side, both very small.


UPDATED (12/3)

Argh. Dash it all, DeMint

Changes were still taking place even as the opening approached. Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, balked at the budget because he said the center’s exhibits ignored the nation’s religious heritage.

To avoid further delays, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and top Republican Robert Bennett of Utah agreed in principle to several changes, including engraving “In God We Trust” in stone in a prominent place. The cost: an additional $150,000.

So, as I stated before, it was wrong of them to disclude our hertiage of faith (in God, not government).  I have to ask then: why could that $150,000 not have been swapped for some of the other overpriced jazz they opted for?  However, as federal budgets usually go, things are seldom swapped because every one of our greedy representatives want something in there.  And, naturally, the costs are just stacked up in the name of compromise.

And you want this government in charge of our your healthcare?  As the old saying goes, I would trust few of them with the office of “dog catcher”.