August 31, 2004
Are you a Republican?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

My fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans how do you know if you are a Republican? I'll tell you how.

If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not
the people to the government...then you are a Republican!

If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group... then you are a Republican!

If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does... then you are a Republican!

If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children ... then you are a Republican!

If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world ... then you are a Republican!

And, ladies and gentlemen ...if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism ... then you are a Republican!

There is another way you can tell you're a Republican. You have faith in
free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people ...and
faith in the U.S. economy.

To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don't be economic girlie men!

David, who was watching the speech with me, joined the convention delegates in shouting and clapping "Four More Years!, Four More Years!" That's my boy. Not quite three years old and he's already made his choice not to be a girlie man. These guys on the other hand...

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 09:03 PM
Follow the Money

16 Israelis were murdered today. Hamas took responsibility.

Meanwhile, the group Funding for Peace Coalition released a report today documenting how billions of dollars of international aid to the Palestinians has been diverted to corruption and terrorism:

The FPC report is entitled “Managing European Taxpayers’ Money: Supporting The Palestinian Arabs – A Study In Transparency”. It publishes evidence, which substantiates a compelling connection between European funding and ongoing Palestinian corruption and terrorism. It also highlights the utter failure of European organisations to monitor where these funds have been directed. The report details theft, nepotism, and embezzlement on the part of the PA, supported by incompetence and apathy on the part of European agencies.
As one right-wing Israeli settler in the Gaza Strip put it:
All of the funds which foreign countries had donated to the Palestinian Authority, a total of $5bn "have gone down the drain, and we don't know to where,"
Just kidding. That wasn't the quote of a right-wing Israeli settler. That quote was from former Palestinian interior minister Mohammad Dahlan.

The complete Funding for Peace Coalition report is here (large PDF).

hat tip: David Frankfurter, who has more thoughts, here

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:56 AM
August 30, 2004
Convention Highlights

Sen. John McCain

[The Democrats] stress that America needs the help of her friends to combat an evil that threatens us all, that our alliances are as important to victory as are our armies. We agree.

And, as we've been a good friend to other countries in moments of shared perils, so we have good reason to expect their solidarity with us in this struggle. That is what the President believes.

And, thanks to his efforts we have received valuable assistance from many good friends around the globe, even if we have, at times, been disappointed with the reactions of some. I don't doubt the sincerity of my Democratic friends. And they should not doubt ours.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani
And since September 11th President Bush has remained rock solid.

It doesn't matter how he is demonized.

It doesn't matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him.

They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan.

But like President Bush, they were optimists; leaders must be optimists. Their vision was beyond the present and set on a future of real peace and true freedom.
Look how quickly the Berlin Wall was torn down, the Iron Curtain ripped open and the Soviet Union disintegrated because of the power of the pent-up demand for freedom.

When it catches hold there is nothing more powerful than freedom. Give it some hope, and it will overwhelm dictators, and even defeat terrorists. That is what we have done and must continue to do in Iraq.

That is what the Republican Party does best when we are at our best, we extend freedom.

Democrat Vice-Presidential Candidate John Edwards:
If elected U.S. president, Sen. John Kerry would offer Iran a deal allowing it to keep its nuclear power plants if it gave up the right to retain bomb-making nuclear fuel, said Kerry's vice presidential running mate in an interview published on Monday.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 08:53 PM
August 28, 2004
Guacamole Crisis

David Sharkansky threw up all over his father's trousers during dinner at a Mexican restaurant this evening. Unfortunately, David's father happened to be wearing the trousers at the time of the incident.

Everybody's fine now.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 08:32 PM
August 27, 2004
Jim Miller

I had a most excellent lunch yesterday with Kirkland blogger Jim Miller. Our conversation ranged over political science; the geology of Eastern Washington; Patty Murray's [double-digit] IQ; the difference between conservationists [people who believe in using natural resources wisely] and preservationists [people who refuse to accept that the laws of economics also apply to natural resources]; and the observed phenomenon that the more ramshackle the hovel, the bolder will be the hovel dweller's statement that the guy who lives in the White House is a moron. [photographic evidence coming soon].

We also agreed that Joanne Jacobs is the world's greatest practitioner of economical prose.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:41 AM
The Muni League on the Levy

The Municipal League of King County recommends a vote IN FAVOR of the Seattle Families and Education Levy. The Muni League's mission is

To promote good government that is open, effective and accountable in order to improve the caliber of public officials and the quality of public decisions ...
and to that end
Each year, the Municipal League's ballot issues committee interviews experts and delves deeply into the intricacies of statewide and local ballot issues to assess the likely impacts of each measure.
I met with the Muni League's issues committee last month to present the opposition case against the levy. So naturally I was curious to delve deeply into the League's final assessment of the levy. How did they do?

1. They called the measure the "Family and Education Levy". A small detail that won't affect anybody's vote, but it still makes me wonder what other intricacies their deep delving missed.

2. They note that

The Family [sic] and Education (F&E) Levy, administered by the City, is in addition to the Seattle Public Schools operating levy of $2.39 per thousand that was passed in February of this year.
Actually, the public school operating levy that passed in February of this year would only cost about $1.29 per thousand. A small detail that won't affect anybody's vote, but it still makes me wonder what other intricacies their deep delving missed -- especially since this compounds an earlier Muni League error that I brought to the Muni League's attention (on three different occasions).

3. They report that

The Levy funds will be focused on five areas of need
and reproduce a table of figures provided by the levy campaign. In fact, the above "will" should be changed to "might". Even a superficial reading of the complete text of the ballot initiative reveals that these allocations are "only illustrative examples", and there is no actual requirement to fund any of them. A large detail that could easily affect a lot of people's votes, and I really wonder what other intricacies their deep delving missed.

4. They report that

The Ballot Issues Committee was unable to identify an organized opposition to the levy, but spoke to a number of concerned citizens who raised the following arguments against the levy
There is no registered campaign committee, but we in the opposition were sufficiently well organized to produce a voters' guide statement, do more basic research (i.e. "delve deeply") into the levy than the Muni League apparently did, and organize a collection of web pages about the levy that provides far more information about the levy than the Muni League provides. Their report could at least include a link to our website, but it doesn't.

5. The report does include a list of our arguments against the levy. But it fails to include some of our most important arguments, most notably that the initiative is essentially a blank check to the City Council to raise and spend $117 million, without any requirement that the money be spent on any of the programs that are mentioned in the campaign statements, or for that matter, even be spent on education.

6. The conclusion states:

The League supports the goal and intent of the Levy to improve academic achievement and provide additional services to at-risk children and youth.
This is interesting, because the only stated goal and intent of the levy is to "support student academic achievement". What are the "additional services" they believe will be provided? Are they seriously recommending that we vote for an initiative with the hope that it will deliver upon unstated goals and intents? This doesn't seem to be a very good way of promoting "good government that is open, effective and accountable".

Whenever I delve deeply into the Muni League's "deep delving", I invariably come away unimpressed.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:53 AM
August 26, 2004
Shower them with irony love bombs

This morning at the coffee house there was a young woman with a "Bush satan 2004" sticker on her laptop.

"I like that sticker"
I said to her kindly. She returned a wink-wink smile. I continued:
"I was going to vote for him, but now that I know he's satan, I've changed my mind."
She kept smiling. It was obvious she had no idea I was being ironic.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:50 PM
My son, the doctor

David, who is 34 months old today, is not only a world-class linguist, but is already on his way to an MD/PhD program. Today he announced a breakthrough in the field of anatomy:

Daddy, you have holes in your nose!
The discovery of nostrils was not an isolated incident. Four months ago he had his first Eureka moment:
Mommy, you have a head!
And earlier this week he reported some astonishing news about the difference between boys and girls!

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:25 PM
August 25, 2004
Dissonant Dissent

A Seattle protest group called the Infernal Noise Brigade travels the world spreading its message of auditory pain:

It has performed at the World Bank meeting in Prague; for masked Zapatista guerrillas in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas; for revelers in Paris and São Paulo, Brazil; and at last year's WTO meeting in Cancún, Mexico. The INB creates a carnivallike atmosphere at otherwise dull events, and protesters make their appreciation evident, often by begging for more.
The INB will be in New York City next week presumably trying to persuade Republican convention delegates to give it all up and become anarchists, or maybe just to make them go deaf.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:08 AM
August 22, 2004
My son is a genius

You probably already knew that, but here is the latest proof.

David can now count to 10 in five different languages:

* Spanish (the language of his pre-school teacher)
* Korean (mommy's heritage)
* Hebrew (daddy's heritage)
* Italian (mommy and daddy took lessons)
* English (the language we speak at home)

He can actually count to 20 in all of these except Korean. Honest, we're not pushing him or anything. He actually asked us to teach him to count in all of these languages. Where do we go from here? I predict he'll also know how to count in German, Russian and Arabic by the time he turns 3 in October.

My son is also a threat to our nation's automobiles

The other day when he was behind the wheel of the Subaru, he shoved his little plastic bubble wand all the way into the slot of the in-dash CD player. Now the CD player is useless.We're afraid to put any CDs in there lest they jam up or start sounding like Lawrence Welk. But there are serious consequences for toddlers who commit such dastardly deeds. He's not getting the keys to the BMW until he makes me whole for the Subaru.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 03:04 PM
August 20, 2004
Whither, not wither

This Shark Blog thing has taken off beyond my wildest dreams. I'm especially amazed at the reach I'm having here in Seattle and Washington State, being such a newcomer and all. I can tell by the emails and private comments I get that I'm having a modest but noticeable and positive influence on the local scene. It's also giving me an opportunity to learn a lot and to meet some very cool people.

However, due to increasing demands from my business, I'm going to have to cut back on the time I spend blogging. (Business is good. My customers need more of me!). I can no longer blog every day.

But don't fret, gentle reader, I'll still be here cranking out the fabulous content that you depend on and love. In order to serve you better and to help resuscitate the failed political status quo here in the Emerald City, I'll be concentrating my blogging efforts on Sound Politics, the new group blog covering Puget Sound, Seattle and Washington State. All of my sage (if occasionally snarky) commentary on the local institutions you've grown to love and hate will be on Sound Politics -- The Seattle Moronorail, Unsound Transit, the Seattle Silly Council, Christine Gregoire and her Meltdowns, Ron Sims, Alice Woldt, "It's in the P-I", The Washington Mis-Education Association, etc. Sound Politics is a group blog, so between the rest of my (growing number of) co-conspirators and myself we'll keep you constantly entertained and informed, even if my own contributions are not always daily.

Likewise, I will post my occasional commentary on liberal media bias over at the Oh, That Liberal Media group blog.

I'll still be writing on the Shark Blog from time to time with my fascinating diatribes on national and international issues, along with family pictures, humor, travelogues, etc. To receive an e-mail notice when there is fresh quality content on the Shark Blog, register with the handy-dandy Blogarithm notification service!

Your E-mail:

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:17 PM
What would teen girls do without studies?

"Study: Teen girls run risk seeing older boys"

Washington Post article with value-added headline from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:18 AM
Kennedy on "No-Fly" List


Sen. Edward Kennedy said yesterday he was stopped and questioned at airports on the East Coast five times in March because his name appeared on the government's secret "no-fly" list.
This was obviously a clerical error. Sen. Kennedy should have been on the "no-drive" list.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:06 AM
August 19, 2004
It's in the P-I

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial board has endorsed the Families and Education Levy. As I mentioned the other day, I presented to the P-I editorial board last week in opposition to the levy. The P-I's endorsement wasn't a surprise, but their hyperbolical enthusiasm for the levy in light of the levy supporters own admissions of past failures should not inspire anybody's confidence in the P-I's ability to sort through important public issues.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:38 PM
August 18, 2004
John Kerry Scrapbook

From the purported author of Hedge Fund Mistress and What About the Dead? -- a scrapbook of a purported romance with then bachelor Senator John Kerry. Is this for real? I have no idea.

Hat tip: Kevin Leo.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 06:59 PM
Beeb Watch

"British TV reporter convicted of murder"

LONDON -- A man described as an undercover reporter for British news outlets was convicted of murder Wednesday for torturing a man to death in front of his children ... During the eight-week trial, it emerged that Raven and his cousin, Christopher More, who is still being sought by police in connection with Waters' death, had earned up to $910 a day working undercover assignments for the BBC and Channel 4.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 06:38 PM
"A Beer with John Kerry"

GQ magazine sat down for "A Beer with John Kerry"

Kerry tells Hainey that he had a telephone relationship with Marlon Brando in 1985 and 1986, during the contras: "He took a huge interest in it. And he would call me. He was always asking questions. And he'd give me advice. I took his advice on a couple of angles. A couple of points."
Kerry also told GQ that one of his favorite rock n' roll songs is the Stones' "Satisfaction".

Hmm. Brando, "Satisfaction" and the made-up Christmas visit to Cambodia with the magical hat. One wonders whether Kerry ever went to Vietnam at all, or if he simply watched Apocalypse Now too many times.

GQ would have obtained more reliable information by having a beer with a bear.

Hat tip: Lileks

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:36 PM
Judith Billings: WEA puppet

Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Judith Billings, who is running to reclaim her old job, has picked up the expected endorsement of the Washington Education Association

"Her commonsense positions on testing and reform align with ours," WEA-PAC Chairman and WEA President Charles Hasse said of Billings.

Billings opposes using a single test such as the WASL to make high-stakes decisions about students and schools. She also opposes charter schools and has vowed to make school funding her top priority.

Let us translate that last bit into English:
Billings opposes using a single test such as the WASL to make high-stakes decisions about students and schools holding unionized school teachers accountable for delivering measurable results. She also opposes charter schools permitting parents to choose successful non-unionized schools for their children, and has vowed to make school funding her top priority to pour a lot more money into the WEA's coffers.
As the parent of a future Washington public school student, the last sort of person I want to be in charge of the state's public schools is a WEA sockpuppet like Judith Billings.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:05 PM
I-884 information forum
The Downtown Seattle Republican Club, in conjunction with the Evergreen Freedom Foundation will host a public forum next Monday evening to discuss I-884, the statewide initiative to raise the state sales tax by a billion dollars a year to boost education spending.
Guest experts will include:
Marsha Richards, Director of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation's Education Reform Center

Charles Hoff, Vice President of the Federal Way School Board

Paul Guppy, Vice President of Research for the Washington Policy Center

WHEN: Monday, August 23; 5pm - 7pm
WHERE: The College Club, 505 Madison St in downtown Seattle; parking is free in the College Club garage, entrance on 5th St.
COST: no charge; no-host bar available at the College Club

Portions of the event will be broadcast on the show "Republican Perspective", Thursday, August 26 at 6-6:30pm on SCAN-TV, Comcast cable channel 77 in Seattle and most of King County.

More details and directions to the College Club are available here

Background information on I-884:
I've written about I-884, here. The EFF has commentary here; The Washington Policy Center has a policy note here (and an op/ed here)

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:20 AM
I've Been Working on the Railroad

Today's Seattle Times reports that Ron Sims' gubernatorial campaign will tout his leadership of Sound Transit

"I'm going to do the same thing with the state of Washington," Sims vows.
One can only wonder what that might entail. Here are some possibilities:

* Every public university in the state will get a $7 billion light rail line that starts 3 miles from campus and ends 3 miles from the nearest airport.

* The state's motto will be changed from "Alki" to "Two-thirds the value for twice the price"

* The state will sell a whole mess of bonds it doesn't need in order to justify a tax increase that can never be repealed.

Tunnels will be dug all over the state just for the hell of it.

* The elected legislature will be dissolved and replaced by an 18-person board whose members are all appointed by the governor.

All good ideas, Ron.

Most Republicans I know are praying for Ron Sims to win the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:10 AM
Meet Rob McKenna

Join the 43rd District Republicans at a BBQ this Thursday evening to meet Rob McKenna, King County Councilman and leading candidate for state Attorney General. I've met Rob a couple of times. He's a great guy, smart, savvy, fiscally responsible and I think he'll make a terrific A-G.

When: Thursday, Aug. 19th, 2004 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Where: Lower Woodland Park, Picnic area # 1.

Bring a friend and send this notice to the people on your e-mail list. The 43rd provides hot-dogs, condiments and drinks. Bring a small salad or cookies if you want.

I-5 North or South, Take 50th street exit (by the UW), and head West to Stone Way. (About 1.5 miles). Continue West on 50th past Stone Way (at the South East corner of the ball fields by Greenlake) and then take the first right turn into the park. If you go under Aurora, then you have gone too far.

Please RSVP, as late as 8 PM Wednesday, August 18. If you KNOW you are coming, send an email to Steve at so we can get an estimate of the number attending. BUT, still come even if you don't RSVP

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:05 AM
August 17, 2004
It's in the P-I

Tuesday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer carried an abbreviated version of a New York Times article that was dishonestly biased against charter schools.

Gov. Locke signed into law last spring a charter school bill that had taken years to pass out of the legislature. The state's teachers' union put a referendum on the November ballot that is designed to overturn the law and repeal charter schools "... for good" (The voters have to approve R-55 in order to affirm the charter school law, otherwise we lose). The WEA's home page as of this writing is using the Times article as propaganda in its campaign against charter schools.

The national teacher unions are expected to pour millions of dollars (taken out of union dues skimmed from teacher salaries) into Washington state this election to try to defeat our charter school law. Expect to see more anti-charter propaganda from the teacher unions over the next couple of months. Let's hope the P-I does a more responsible job from now on separating the propaganda from the useful information.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:52 PM
Little Slugger

The jacket was mine when I was a tot. The patch on the upper left says "Red Legs".

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:02 PM
March Madness

Washington state's famously productive unionized public employees are threatening to march off the job:

Lougheed wore a button with "I'll Walk If I Have To" on it, saying that meant he and others were willing to march to get their way.

But Devereux, the union executive, suggested a more ominous interpretation. "It could very well mean people walking off their jobs in September," Devereux said.

"People are furious over proposals for contracting out and not being sure where wages are" going, Devereux said.

Just make sure to switch off the lights on your way out the door, dude.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:35 PM
Alice Woldt

Here are some archived news tidbits about Washington House of Representatives candidate Alice Woldt.

Alice Woldt concluded that the most effective response to the September 11 attacks was to keep the Taliban in power.

"Christian Aid has warned that this could become 'the worst humanitarian crisis in living memory', with potentially 7.5 million lives at risk" said Alice Woldt, Acting Executive Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle. Ms. Woldt went on to say that "at a time of such anguish, given the tragedy suffered here in the U.S. and the growing
catastrophe faced by civilians in Afghanistan, it is heartening to know that so many organizations and individuals in Seattle are taking action."
Alice Woldt helped finance Baghdad Jim McDermott's visit to Saddam Hussein in September 2002
Alice Woldt, acting executive director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, said in an interview yesterday: "Yes, we sponsored the trip. If we designated money, it was designated for travel expenses. But none of this came out of our general fund."
Alice Woldt is determined to form closer ties with Fidel Castro's regime, even if it means violating U.S. laws:
And now, the 77-year-old Secretary of the local Seattle/Cuba Friendshipment Committee finds himself in trouble in a nationally precedent-setting case. It involves a sister city conference held last February in Cuba, which was attended by some nine Seattle area people, about 160 Americans, and a like number of Cubans. Among the attendees was Alice Woldt, new head of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, and Democratic county councilman Dwight Pelz, along with two county council staff, negotiating for a proposed sister city agreement between King County and Granma province
Finally, Alice Woldt was Patty Murray's Number 1 defender when Senator Tennis Shoes was criticized for praising Osama Bin Laden's humanitarian efforts:
But there are others in Murray’s corner, including several in Seattle’s anti-war coalition who believe she is right.

"I would believe that as a fundamentalist, he believes very much in the values of his religion and that he would have been providing charity," said Alice Woldt of the Church Council of Seattle.

Mullah Omar, Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Osama Bin Laden. Islamist, Fascist, Communist, who cares? As long as they're bloodthirsty dictators who hate America, Alice Woldt will take their side.

Interesting that Alice is always identified as representing the Church Council of Greater Seattle. One can only wonder what church she goes to. Lunatarian?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:22 PM
Isn't it romantic?

The Seattle Times reports on dating services that match singles on the basis of politics

After Lance Barker met Jennifer Stein Barker through a lefty dating service, he asked if she read Home Power magazine — the must-read of the renewable-energy community.

The very question filled her with longing. She had all the back issues.

"It was practically a done deal," she said of the man she would later marry.

For some reason, efficiency doesn't seem as romantic as inefficiency. What excites you more, ladies, a man who uses electricity sparingly, or a man who rides an elevator nine extra floors just to keep talking to you?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:48 AM
August 16, 2004
Re-elect Justice Sanders

Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders is running for re-election this year.

Justice Sanders is the Court's most reliable defender of civil rights, individual liberties and the people's right to legislate through initiative. At a time when many of his colleagues in the state's judiciary are too ready to protect executive caprice, Justice Sanders is part of the Thin Black Line between democracy and uncontrollable bureaucracy.

For example, Justice Sanders defended the public's interest in these three recent watershed cases where the majority upheld unwarranted executive privilege:

1. He was the lone dissenter last June against a decision that would set aside I-200 and re-introduce racial preferences against the will of the voters.

2. He was one of three who dissented against a decision this March that allowed Sound Transit to disregard the will of the voters and do whatever the hell it wants.

3. He was one of four who dissented against a decision this May to gut the Public Disclosure Act.

There's more work to be done to replace the current statist majority with Justices who defend democracy. Keeping Justice Sanders on the bench for another six year term is absolutely essential, and as important as electing the right candidate to any other statewide office.

There is a fundraising breakfast for Justice Sanders in Bellevue next Tuesday, August 24th. Only $25 per person. My goal is to fill a table of 8. Contact me here if you'd like to join me.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:55 AM
King County GOP Picnic

I spent a delightful Saturday afternoon at the King County GOP picnic. There I hobnobbed and chatted with the famous and powerful, including Michael Medved, Mike Siegel, Rep. George Nethercutt and Justices Richard Sanders and Barbara Madsen of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington. Less well known, but no less inspiring, is legislative candidate Savun Neang.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 08:50 AM
August 15, 2004
Defend yourself against the Monomaniacs

The One-Track Minds over at the Seattle Moronorail Project are resurging and trying to deprive you of your property and your civil rights. But you can and must fight back to preserve life, liberty and pursuit of happiness here in the Emerald City before it's too late. The Recall Campaign e-mails:

We have not yet begun to fight! We will have one of our attorneys present at the City Council meeting this Monday, August 16th, at 2:00 pm. Our attorney will remind the City Council of its legal obligation to put our measure on the ballot. One lower court judge has questioned the validity of our measure, but we have already filed a Notice of Appeal and are moving for expedited appeal before the Court of Appeals.

We need you and your families and neighbors and relatives, and their relatives, to show up in large numbers at this City Council meeting at 2:00 pm August 16, to demonstrate that we will not be swept away by one man's opinion. The address is 600 4th Avenue, entrance on 5th Avenue. Please come and continue the campaign for the vote in November. Wear your T-shirts (we will have more for you before the meeting). Bring your banners and signs.

The Seattle Monorail Project was created by a citizens' initiative campaign and can be stopped by our citizens' intiative campaign. Our City Charter explicitly gives the citizens the right to control access to our streets. Please come and show your support. We are strong together!
In all fairness, the magnitude of the hatred for the Moronorail shouldn't be measured by the number of people who show up at City Hall at 2pm on a weekday. Unlike the lame-ass weasels who are agitating for the Monorail, most of the people who don't want the Moronorail actually have jobs.

The Monorail Recall initiative is also the topic of Monday's meeting of the Downtown Seattle Republican Club, of which I am the substitute host. Monorail Recall Committee co-chair Liv Finne will be our guest speaker and will give us the latest on the citizens' effort to bury the world's dumbest public transportation project. There will be an informal discussion with Liv starting between 5pm and 5:30. At 6:00pm I will interview Liv on camera, for rebroadcast later in the week on the Downtown Republican Club's cable TV program. I promise to be as objective and unbiased as your average network television news personality.

Location and other details about the Downtown Seattle Republican Club event are here.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:01 PM
King David

Here is King David, wearing his crown and sitting on his throne:

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 08:40 PM
Politics of Make-Believe

I was listening to Garrison Keillor's monologue this weekend where he recounted a story about his mother's trip out west in the Summer of 1935. The trip included a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a very good story, but since Garrison said the story was about his own 89-year-old mother (and not about one of the many wonderful characters from "Lake Wobegone" that he usually talks about) I assumed it was supposed to be a true story.

On the other hand, the Golden Gate Bridge wasn't finished until 1937. A visitor to the Golden Gate in 1935 would have witnessed the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is even more more memorable than seeing the bridge itself, and surely would have been mentioned if the story was indeed true.

The reason I bring this up is because Garrison Keillor is now advertising himself as a Democrat (a celebration of liberalism as the "politics of kindness.").

Like other Democrats, Garrison Keillor seems to be better at making up stories and presenting them as fact than he is at describing the world that actually exists.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 02:35 PM
August 13, 2004
Blog Meets News

In the last two days I had the amazing experience of meeting with the editorial boards of both the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

It was part of my rounds as a member of the de facto opposition to the Seattle Families and Education Levy, which is on the September primary ballot. We're talking to community groups and the media about the serious flaws in the levy proposal and encouraging the editorial boards to recommend a NO vote on the levy.

Yesterday I went to the Times with Andy MacDonald and Pat Dolan, who helped write the opposition statement for the voters' guide. We met with Editorial Page Editor James Vesely, Associate Editor Lee Moriwaki and writers Bruce Ramsey and Lynne Varner. Today Andy and I faced off against two levy proponents in front of the P-I's Editorial Page Editor Mark Trahant and writers Joe Copeland and Tom Shapley.

All of these editorial folks know about the Shark Blog. Some of them even read it on occasion. One claimed that "it sometimes makes my blood boil". Nevertheless, they all gave us a cordial welcome, listened carefully to our arguments and asked a lot of good questions.

Folks at both newspapers seemed to have mixed feelings about this year's levy. They recognized the unimpressive accomplishments of earlier versions of the levy (which even the levy's supporters acknowledge), inadequate accountability going forward and the hefty increase in the tax over the last time. On the other hand, both groups seemed reluctant to actually kill the levy, citing the concern that some essential programs would lose their funding and some children would lose out as a result.

My argument in response is that there may in fact be some programs that are more desirable to keep than others. We can restore the most beneficial programs with a better designed levy next year. The trade-off is between being stuck with an overpriced levy without adequate accountability for 7 years, vs. holding off on starting new programs for another year while also changing a few priorities in the School District's budget for the current year. (It's not as if the School District doesn't have some waste, fraud and abuse it can't get rid of).

I also gave some free political advice to the Mayor's representative at the P-I meeting today: If the Mayor and City Council want the public to accept their assurances that the new levy will deliver accountability and measurable results that didn't exist with the previous levies, start with a full accounting of the last 14 years and $138 million. Show us where all that money went. Explain what was accomplished. Show us which programs were successful and should be continued. Show us which programs were unsuccessful and are discontinued. Explain the specific lessons that were learned from both the successful and unsuccessful programs and how those lessons will shape the new programs.

The P-I writers seemed to like that idea. I hope both papers would require such an accounting as a pre-condition for offering their endorsement of the new levy. After all, without a serious accounting of past performance -- which has to include candid admissions of specific failures and lessons learned -- why should any of us take seriously the promises of "increased accountability" for future programs?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:14 PM
Coffee + Nuts = Seattle

Maybe it's just me, but when I first saw this headline I was sure it must have been about a Seattle ballot measure: "Undeclared nuts lead to coffee recall".

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:59 PM
Alice Woldt

State House of Representatives candidate Alice Woldt hasn't responded to my e-mail inquiring about the illiterate threat letter that was posted as a comment on my blog the other day and signed by Alice's adult son Tim Woldt. In the absence of a retraction or explanation I have to take the letter and its authorship at face value. Meanwhile, I gave a copy of the text to my 11-year-old stepdaughter and she managed to identify nearly all of the spelling and grammatical mistakes. Good job, Olivia!

Alice Woldt's education platform could have been written by the evil dimwits at the Washington Education Association: give more money to the teacher unions, outlaw parental choice and end standardized testing:

Frankly, I believe that we must change our focus away from test performance to classroom performance, and we must find ways to support that change. Student learning is a complex process. Teachers with professional training are the best judges of whether or not a student has achieved what is expected. Constant testing forces teachers and schools to neglect a balanced curriculum and ultimately it is a disincentive for good teachers to teach
The inevitable result of having this sort of a dumbed-down standards-free public school system is clear: another generation of functionally illiterate doofuses.

If that sounds like a good idea, then vote for Alice Woldt.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:37 PM
"Essential Public Facility"

The judge who tossed out the Monorail Recall initiative based his ruling in part on the fact that

the new monorail "has been designated as an essential public facility" and that it can't be stopped by an initiative.
What constitutes an "essential public facility"?
solid waste handling facilities, and inpatient facilities including substance abuse facilities, mental health facilities, and group homes
When you consider the sort of people who work for the Monorail, I suppose that most of the above might apply.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 06:07 PM
Suppression of Dissent

The One-Track Minds at the Seattle Moronorail Project have managed to suppress dissent:

King County Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez has declared Initiative 83, known as the "Monorail Recall" measure, to be illegal.
The measure, which has collected enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, seeks to block construction of a new monorail on city streets and sidewalks.

Gonzalez found that the I-83 campaign was an attempt to have what he called a revote or an "end run" after voters narrowly approved the 14-mile Green Line two years ago.

Obviously the Monomaniacs are convinced that their worthless project would go down in flames on a revote.

Legal appeals can be expected. In the meantime, the people should know that there is no legal requirement to pay the Monorail Car Tax. Why pay when you don't have to?

Defund the bastards.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:12 PM
Education Quagmire

A couple of months ago I wrote about the Seattle School Board's plan to "eradicate institutional racism". The School Board members refused to fully answer my questions, so I submitted a formal request for more information under the state public disclosure act.

I finally got a substantive (albeit incomplete) response from the School District. The information that was provided raises more questions than it answers. The School Board has some more documents to produce and some more explaining to do.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:03 PM
August 12, 2004
Kauft nicht bei Juden!

The Presbyterian Church has imposed an economic boycott on Israel.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:18 AM
Palestinian Child Abuse

A Palestinian man has abducted his own children:

A Palestinian man abducted his five Swedish children and fled to the Gaza Strip, where he has held them illegally for more than two months, his former wife and the Swedish Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

A relative of the father said the children, ages 6 to 16, will not be allowed to return to Sweden, because the Gaza family does not want them to live a Western lifestyle — and destroyed their Swedish passports.

The National Organization of Women will be all over this one.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:53 AM
Believe in Cambodia

The John Kerry campaign is calling itself the "Believe in America tour"

Maybe they should call it the "Believe in Cambodia" tour.

Today's Seattle Times reports that the "Believe in Cambodia" tour will make its way to Seattle later this month for a highly nuanced fundraising event:

The money raised at the Seattle event will not go directly to the Kerry campaign. It is for a fund called "Kerry-Edwards Victory 2004," whose name is on the invitation.
What would we have done without campaign finance reform?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:41 AM
August 11, 2004
Alice Woldt

A young man threatened me with violence today because he didn't like what I wrote about his mother, Alice Woldt, a pacifist candidate for the state legislature :

Name: Tim Woldt
Email Address:

My mom rocks. You people make me sick. My best freind groing up was jewish. My mom is no anti-semite. That is a low cheap blow. My mom belives in peace. She belives in defense not offense. Iraq was offense. Besides who the hell cares what her veiws on the war are? Shes not running for the presidency. She wants to represent her districts views and belifes in Olimpia. Go back to eastern Washington and shoot something you conservative redneck. By the way progressive tax systems have a home on "planet earth." Cutting health care and giveing tax breaks to walmart dosent. If your such a tough guy who likes picking on little old woman who go to peace vigils, pick on me. I'm 22 years old and I will teach you how to bleed like a bleeding heart liberal. my number is 206 819 2827. call me up. You punk.

[Emphasis added] A couple of points of fact. (1) Alice Woldt's views on the war matter because she has made them a priority issue in her own campaign. (2) I've never been to eastern Washington, but I'm sure Tim's remarks will win his mother a lot of new friends there in case she aspires to statewide leadership.

Alice Woldt promises that she

will stand up "for children who need quality care and a good education. As a parent and former elementary school teacher, I know how important it is to prepare our children for the future."
Whatever she did to prepare her own son, who, by the way, still lives at home, I want that for all of our children.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:33 PM
Holy Shi'ite

AP headline: "Gunbattles erupt in Najaf as U.S. forces battle cleric's militia"

Maybe this is a stupid question, but if Islam is a religion of peace, then what's a cleric doing with a militia?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:15 PM
Top Ten List of Magic Hats

10. My First Magic Hat -- a kit of tricks for young magicians, by Cadaco.

9. A brewery in Vermont, whose brew bursts with hoppy flavor!

8. A Japanese anime cartoon

7. A Teletubbies book

6. A long-forgotten musical comedy movie

5. A really long-forgotten cartoon movie

4. An English football movie

3. A rainy-day project suitable for 9-year-old boys

2. A gift for that very special woman in your life

And the number 1 Magic Hat --

1. One of the reasons why John Kerry will never be elected President of the United States

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 04:19 PM
Hugh Hewitt's Book

I just finished reading Hugh Hewitt's new book, If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It. It wasn't an easy book to find here in hippy-dippy liberal Seattle, but the U-Village Barnes and Noble is stocking it after all.

It's quite a good book, full of useful information and a quick, enjoyable read. It accomplishes two major things:

1) Makes the case that national security and the war against militant Islam is the overriding issue of the day; and that the Democratic Party of John Kerry and Michael Moore is utterly incapable of protecting the homeland; Conclusion: only by re-electing the President and increasing the Republican majorities in Congress will we be able to defend our nation's security. That's what this election is about. All other issues in the campaign are secondary.

2) The bulk of the book is a how-to for those who accept the above conclusions and are motivated to work to keep the White House and Congress in Republican hands. It's a basic primer of partisan activism -- working with other activists, forming coalitions, giving time and money to campaigns, using the best tone, talking points and media to spread the word.

Overall, it's a timely and useful book. I recommend it highly, both to Republican activists and to those who are still trying to make up their minds how to vote in November.

And do listen to the Hugh Hewitt radio show, which has some of the most intelligent and informative discussions on talk radio. Hugh's regular guests include blogosphere favorites James Lileks, Mark Steyn, Glenn Reynolds, Roger L. Simon, Kathryn Jean Lopez and Capt. Ed!

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:39 PM
Christine Gregoire Meltdown

Christine Gregoire has refused to sign the Evergreen Freedom Foundation's Performance Audit Pledge. Her excuse for not signing is laughable.

This is not a woman who can be trusted to manage state government for the benefit of the state's people.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:03 PM
Swimming to Cambodia

Steve Gardner, who served on John Kerry's swift boat in December 1968, told Hugh Hewitt yesterday that it would have been impossible for Kerry to have spent that Christmas in Cambodia. At least he couldn't have gone there in the swift boat. Maybe he swam the 50 miles.

This wasn't just an ordinary tall tale. Kerry used the anecdote as a Senator in 1986 to argue for a less assertive foreign policy. This is the sort of episode that should end Kerry's candidacy. Unless most of the people in the mainstream press want to protect him for some reason. Hmmm.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 07:01 AM
Freedom of the Press in Palestine

Arafat's goon squads are warning journalists not to report on the political chaos in the Palestinian "Authority":

Several armed Palestinian militias in the Gaza Strip on Monday threatened to attack journalists working for Arab satellite stations because of their continued focus on the power struggle in the Palestinian Authority.
I blame Ashcroft.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:31 AM
August 10, 2004
Shark Week

Every week is Shark Week over at my house, but some people only celebrate Shark Week once a year:

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, home to the largest and most comprehensive shark collection in the Pacific Northwest, is celebrating Shark Week through Saturday with shark feeds, shark videos and daily children's games and crafts. Activities are free with zoo admission. Shark Week is designed to teach visitors that, contrary to popular belief, sharks are not necessarily blood-thirsty monsters but rather avoid human contact unless provoked.
Emphasis on the "not necessarily". In any event, those who don't provoke us have nothing to worry about.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:10 PM
The Kerry Difference

John Kerry spelled out his Iraq policy today on NPR Morning Edition.

Asked to explain why he actually advocated increasing the number of troops in Iraq before he advocated decreasing the number of troops in Iraq:

What I've said is if the commanders ask for it then you'd have to respond with what the commanders ask for. But my goal is to get our troops reduced in number. And I believe if you do the statesmanship properly, I believe if you do the kind of, uh, alliance building that is available to us that it is appropriate to have the goal of reducing our troops at that period of time. Obviously we have to see how events unfold.
Just in case that wasn't enough nuance, an aide later "clarified" these remarks to mean that these are "goals" that Kerry has, not a "plan".

NPR's Andrea Seabrook:

Knowing all he knows now, would he have voted to authorize the Iraq war?
I'm ready to any challenge and I'll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a President to have. But I would have used that authority, as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively. I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has.
Kerry did not say exactly how he would have executed the Iraq war differently.

There is no there there.

The interview was appropriately held at the Grand Canyon, which is a nice metaphor for the Canyons of His Mind.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 05:07 PM
Positive Press for Nethercutt

Finally: The Seattle Times has given George Nethercutt some positive press!

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:12 PM
Christmas in Cambodia

I don't know how to Photoshop. But surely one of my dear readers could take a picture of Angkor Wat and decorate it like a Christmas tree? And how about adding some snow and a figure of John Kerry dressed up like Santa Claus?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:16 AM
August 09, 2004
The Democratic Party's anti-Semitism problem

In today's Seattle Times, UW professor Edward Alexander bluntly recounts the Democrats' unwillingness to oust the anti-Semites from their midst: Al Sharpton, Cynthia McKinney, Earl Hilliard, Jesse Jackson, James Moran, Ernest Hollings. Alexander concludes:

Outside of the Islamic world, the anti-Semitic upsurge of recent years is mainly a left-wing phenomenon. It is therefore not surprising that it should have brought the Democratic Party, more swiftly than the Republicans, to that dark and bloody crossroads where politics and conscience collide.
Having Michael Moore sit with the Carters at Kerry's nominating convention doesn't help either.

And Alexander doesn't even mention the local party's support for the jihad against Israel. A comprehensive account of the Democratic Party's slide into anti-Semitism requires more space than an 800-word op-ed allows.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:52 PM
Sound Politics

Lots of discussion of local issues over at Sound Politics, the new must-read blog about goings-on in the Puget Sound region. Just go here and keep reading.

Among other things, Sound Politics will host the home page for opposition to Seattle's upcoming Families and Education Levy ballot measure.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 01:40 PM
What liberal libraries?

The employees of our nation's taxpayer-funded libraries are turning their communities' public intellectual spaces into an outlet for partisan propaganda. The September Project, which I mentioned a few weeks ago, attempts to trivialize the September 11 attacks by using the upcoming anniversary of 9/11 to forget about the Muslim terrorists who slaughtered 3,000 people and instead fixate on the imaginary administration attacks on civil liberties in the course of preventing future acts of mass murder.

The September Project's events page shows how some of our supposedly public libraries are being hijacked to serve the narrow ideological agendas of the few who are lucky enough to work at the libraries.

The King County Library in Kent, WA will hold:

A Citizen's Analysis of What Really Happened on September 11 th
Seattle 911 Visibility Project
With the report issued by the 9-11 Commission and the movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” there are many unanswered questions about the events of 9/11. Learn more about this pivotal moment in American history and its implications for the security of our nation. This program will be followed by a group discussion.
Yeah, Michael Moore's movie is a legitimate starting point for asking "What Really Happened", almost as useful as the tinfoil-hat website

The library at the University of Washington-Tacoma will teach us about:

Libraries Under Attack: Afghanistan, Iraq and the U.S.
This poster/display will explore the threat to libraries, as well as their destruction, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United States.
I'm not sure I understand. Which American libraries are under attack? [except by their own unfireable employees who abuse them for partisan propaganda?] And the threat to libraries in Afghanistan and Iraq -- I doubt they're referring to the civil-liberty abusing Taliban and Ba'athist regimes that have since been ended.

The main University of Washington library will treat us to "Statements of Rights" from around the world:

The United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The United States Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, and statements of rights from countries around the world will be available to encourage freedom of expression. See documents from Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, India, S. Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, S. Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, the Magna Carta and the European Convention on Human Rights. We are working on those of a couple of countries from both Central and South America. Also, Russia and either Australia or New Zealand.
It is hollow moral equivalence to pretend that the unenforced "statements of rights" from chronic human rights abusers such as, say, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam are in any way equivalent to our own 200+ year tradition of actually enforcing our Bill of Rights.

The UW library also offers a limpwristed opportunity to "Form Your Own Opinion On Fahrenheit 9/11". You can tell the partisans know they don't have the facts on their side when they tell you it's a matter of "opinion".

The King County Library in Lake Forest Park, WA will show

And Justice for All, a film by Sandi Cioffi in cooperation with Hate Free Zone
As I mentioned the other day, the group "Hate Free Zone" should more properly be called "A Zone Where Muslims Are Free to Hate Whites and Jews".

It's unfortunate that our public libraries are turning themselves into fountains of Michael Moorish partisan propaganda. If you live in King County outside of Seattle, you might want to think twice about voting to approve the King County Library System bond levy, on the ballot this September 14. Naturally, the people who work for KCLS will do whatever it takes to confiscate your money so they can indoctrinate you about civil liberties. But you can still vote no. For now, at least.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:13 PM
The World's Most Unappetizing Lunch

Democratic Attorney General / gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire is lunching around Eastern Washington looking for votes:

Ritzville's mayor and the local Chamber of Commerce president also took advantage of the chance to chat with the possible next governor. Over sandwiches and potato salad, the mayor filled her in on the big problems the town is having with its new sewage-treatment system.
A discussion of sewage-treatment problems should be enough to kill anybody's appetite. But the prospect of eating while sitting across the table from this woman is more frightening than I care to imagine:

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:26 AM
August 08, 2004
Michael Moore Hates Everybody

Of course Michael Moore hates America. And as I pointed out yesterday, he also hates Israel. But in all fairness, I don't think Moore discriminates against Israel and America. He is an equal opportunity hater. He hates everybody.

"Combustible Boy" of the mothballed Sound and Fury blog sent me some snapshots of pages from Moore's 1997 book Downsize This. Here are pages 88-89 and 90-91 from chapter 10 "Germany Still Hasn't Paid for Its Sins and I Intend to Collect". After starting out by saying that Germany didn't do enough to compensate the world for the Holocaust, he launches into a thoroughly insane bit of historical analysis:

I know some of you are saying, "Hey, Mike, the survivors got to move to Israel after the war. Didn't giving them that land make it up to them?" Well, I don't think Israel was actually "given" to them. The British were ruling the place (then called Palestine), and suddenly all these Holocaust survivors with nowhere else to go started arriving and the Brits didn't like that one bit. But they didn't have the energy to fight the Jewish guerrillas after having just lost most of their British empire. so they just bagged the place and said, "Fine, you want this, it's yours." Most Arab residents were not considered in the deal.

I have never understood why giving the Holocaust survivors Palestine/Israel was such a great gift. Have you ever been there? It's a friggin' desert! There's nothing there! Israelis like to tell you, "We've made the desert bloom!" Talk about rationalizing something ... I'm telling you, it's 100 percent sand, rock, and more sand. Why did we think we were making it up to them by placing them in a horrible environment that has cost them even more lives in more wars? Because the Bible said so? When did the world start going by *that* book?

If we had really wanted to do what was right -- and punish the Germans -- we should have given the survivors the state of Bavaria. Now, that's one beautiful piece of real estate! And it would have cost the Germans plenty. Turning Palestine into Israel didn't hurt the Germans one single bit. But losing Bavaria to the Jews would have really kicked those bastards where it counted. Israel has only 10,840 square miles; Bavaria has over 28,000! Israel has few, if any, natural resources; Bavaria is rich in minerals, forests, and water. Since the war, the Israelis have been surrounded by hostile enemies who want them dead; Bavaria is surrounded by the beautiful Alps containing a few goats and those three guys in the Ricola commercial. I guess it's probably too late to correct this mistake by moving Tel Aviv to Munich and forcing the Germans to go and try to make the desert bloom.
Then he froths at the mouth about the many Germans who have emigrated to Florida, or who simply visit the state:
I am of two minds regarding this German invasion of Florida. On the one hand, I hate Florida. It's full of bugs, humidity, and stupid people running around with guns. And it's got those nutty Cuban exiles. If there were a pair of scissors big enough, I wish we could just snip the state where it hangs off the rest of the country.

There is part of me that likes the fact that all these ex-Nazis are moving there to terrorize the people of Florida. Serves them right. The Right-Wing Cubans versus the Geriatric SS in a fight to the finish! I'd pay money to watch that one on Pay-Per-View.

For those who don't yet realize that Fahrenheit 9/11 is little more than Michael Moore's private pathological delusion, the above passages from Downsize This should put everything in perspective.

Michael Moore was the personal guest of Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter at this year's Democratic Convention.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 05:00 PM
August 07, 2004
Michael Moore Hates Israel

Most people already know that Michael Moore hates America. Less well known is that Michael Moore also hates Israel.

By way of The Republican Jewish Coalition, which also observes:

Oy vay , as my bubby would say. A lot of Jews will vote Republican this year. Bubby's spinning in the great beyond
Well my bubby was a Republican and wherever she is, she's having a kvell over me.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 03:55 PM
August 06, 2004
What would we do without ...

What would arrests do without AP?

AP headline: "AP: Arrests damage al-Qaida network"

What would al-Qaeda do without analysis?

Same AP story, different headline: "Analysis: Arrests put squeeze on al-Qaeda"

What would tens of thousands of dead Sudanese do without Frist?

WaPo headline: "Frist Calls Darfur Killing 'Genocide'"

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:54 PM
Michelle Malkin Talk

I just heard Michelle Malkin speaking in Bothell to promote her new book, "In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror". The title and subject are indeed controversial. I haven't read the actual book, but having heard her lecture and having read much of the discussion on her blog and by her knowledgeable critics (summarized here), I'll venture a reaction.

She's an engaging speaker and made a compelling case to challenge the prevailing mindset that the relocation and internment of West Coast Japanese-Americans were solely driven by racism and hysteria and had no basis in legitimate security concerns. It's hard to dispute the evidence that there were some number of people of Japanese ancestry, both immigrants and native-born citizens, who were more loyal to Imperial Japan than to the United States. Among them were people who actually assisted the Japanese war effort against the United States. It's also reasonable to assume that there were others who would have acted against the United States had they not been relocated and interned. Having said that, I'm not prepared to defend the internment as Michelle does, nor would I give the same answer that she gave to an audience question "If you were sitting in Roosevelt's shoes would you sign Executive Order 9066?". Her answer was "Yes. It was the best decision that could have been made based on the information that was available at that time". I can't justify the wholesale relocation of thousands of U.S. citizens solely on the basis of ethnicity. I would prefer to identify and neutralize the individuals who were most likely to be a security threat. Then again, my judgment is colored by present day sensibilities, not the sensibilities of the period immediately following the Pearl Harbor attack.

But the revisionist history can be useful, especially to shed light on possible responses to today's security threats from militant Islam. I'm not sure that putting "Defense of Internment" in the title was the best choice, as it will draw more attention than the rest of the book, which isn't necessarily as inflammatory as the title. The title will undoubtedly get the book some publicity that it wouldn't get from a less controversial title, but not all of the extra attention will be productive. The controversy might cause others to avoid the book who might not have avoided it otherwise. I think a more productive argument would have been to make the case that then, as now, there were clear threats to our security from certain segments of an ethnic (or religious) community. And that those threats would be most appropriately dealt with by using forms of profiling, surveillance and detention that were limited and far short of a massive relocation and internment of an entire population. I believe that was Michelle's primary goal anyway (at least in regards to the current war) and I hope that the controversy and discussion stimulated by the book will focus us in that direction.

The book and the talk were mentioned in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article this morning, so I was expecting a swarm of hysterical protesters. In fact, it seemed to be a mostly sympathetic audience of talk radio listeners. There were a few disputatious comments from the audience, mostly from aging pacifists who kept droning on and on without ever posing any question. (none of them had seen the book and didn't seem to have paid attention to her talk)

After the talk I met Michelle in the book-signing line. She told me she loves my blog. That made my day.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Lake Washington

Tonight was coincidentally the Green Lake From Hiroshima to Hope vigil, the Annual Lantern Floating Ceremony

in remembrance of the victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all victims of war and violence.
It's appropriate to remember the innocent people who died in the actions that were necessary to end World War II. But it would be more appropriate to remember them by explicitly naming the other victims of Imperial Japan, such as those in China, Korea, the Philippines, Hawaii, etc, without whom neither the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nor the internment of West Coast Japanese would ever have happened.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:29 PM
Who doesn't want to be a billionaire?

The Seattle Monorail has become so radioactive that potential contractors are saying it's not worth the billion dollars they would earn for their efforts:

One of two companies bidding on the new Seattle Monorail has withdrawn.

Team Monorail, a consortium led by Canadian train maker Bombardier, announced it will not be submitting bids on the $1.75 billion project.


Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:49 PM
Rosenblogging up a storm

My local pal Matt Rosenberg is blogging up a storm these days. In addition to writing his own fine blog Rosenblog, he's also a contributor to, The Political State Report and best of all, he's one of my co-conspirators over at Sound Politics.

Check out Matt's piece on Dino Rossi, who gets both my vote (and my bet, if I were a betting man) to be Washington's next governor. [For those who don't mind downloading 1MB jpegs, there is this photo I took of Dino giving a stump speech on an actual stump! and this photo that Andy MacDonald took of two generations of Sharkanskys standing with Dino]

Matt also responds to the Seattle Weekly's inability to nominate a Best Local Conservative. Matt's a modest guy, he should have included himself in the list of best local conservative bloggers.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:17 PM
Rotten Apple

Over on the new Sound Politics blog, my overview of I-884, a proposed billion dollar increase in the sales tax .

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:56 AM
August 05, 2004

Making the e-mail rounds today is this photo of roadside art, observed on Route 38 near Racine, Wisconsin.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:26 PM

My interview Monday evening at the Downtown Seattle Republican Club on the topic "The Seattle Families and Education Levy" will be broadcast on SCAN-TV (Comcast Cable channel 77 or 29 in Seattle and most of King County) tonight, Thursday, Aug. 5 at 6pm. The show is called Republican Perspective.

I've never done a half-hour issues program before, so please set your VCRs to SCAN-TV tonight at 6, and send me any constructive feedback on my performance.

I'll be the guest host of Republican Perspective taping on August 16 to air on August 19. It's up to me to schedule the guest interviewee. I have a few ideas but am still open to suggestions. Local readers, please feel free to suggest any local political figures whom you might be interested in seeing in conversation with The Shark and for whom you would come to downtown Seattle on a Monday evening to be part of the live audience.

UPDATE: I've tentatively scheduled a representative from the Monorail Recall campaign committee.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:01 AM
Religion of Peace

Yet another episode involving acts of peace in the name of religion:

Two leaders of a mosque in Albany, N.Y., were arrested on charges stemming from an alleged plot to purchase a shoulder-fired missile that would be used to assassinate the Pakistani ambassador in New York
Yes, I know, this whole "Religion of Peace" joke is getting old. But in this case it really fits. The name of the mosque that these terrorist conspirators lead?

"Masjid as-Salam", which literally means "Mosque of Peace"

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:50 AM
August 04, 2004
What would we do without ...

What would Al Qaeda do without reports?

Reuters headline: Al Qaeda may still be plotting against U.S. - reports

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 10:08 PM
"I served with John Kerry"

I didn't serve with John Kerry, but these guys did.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 09:45 PM
Michelle Malkin Talk

Michelle Malkin will be in town this week to promote her new book, In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror. To call a defense of Japanese internment controversial is an understatement. Everything I've learned about the internment tells me that it was regrettable stain on our history. But l've always respected Michelle for her willingness to challenge otherwise unchallenged assumptions with frankness, facts and reason. I haven't seen the book, but Glenn Reynolds sounds reasonable when he says:

Malkin's right to say that reaction to the wrongs (well, I think they were wrongs) of the Japanese internment of World War Two is limiting our ability to do the rather mild things that we need to do now.
Michelle will be speaking at the Cedar Park Church in Bothell Friday, Aug. 6, at 7pm. Some of her commentary about her new book and the discussion it's spawned is here. Details and directions to the Bothell talk are here.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:43 AM
August 03, 2004

KING5 News interrupts its regularly scheduled programming to bring us an urgent report:

Research finally confirms what Seattleites have long suspected – their city’s streets are some of the most confusing in the country.

Seattle ranks number eight in the nation in terms of toughest to navigate, behind Boston, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

Boston and Washington are indeed difficult to navigate, but San Francisco is a piece of cake next to Seattle.
A neighborhood near Green Lake is now known as Tangletown, where you're likely to find yourself at the corner of 51st and 52nd and Keystone.
Heh. That's right near my house. And not only is there a corner of 51st and 52nd and Keystone, there is also a corner of 55th and 56th and Keystone! The other silly thing about this neighborhood is that there are five adjacent parallel streets, named Canfield, Kenwood, Keystone, Kirkwood and Kensington. I've been here more than a year and I still can't remember which one is Kirkwood and which one is Kenwood. And based on the amount of other people's mail that shows up in our mailbox, neither can our mailmen.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:20 PM
August 02, 2004
Dinner with the Shark

I'll be today's featured dinner speaker at the Seattle Downtown Republican Club, discussing the Families and Education Levy. The event starts at 5pm, with dinner and fascinating conversation followed by a half-hour interview/Q&A that will be videotaped for rebroadcast on a local cable channel later in the week.

Come hear me explain why the Families and Education Levy (a $117 million property tax measure) has not and will not accomplish very much for education and won't be a good deal for Seattle's families. The admission price is the cost of the ala carte dinner, usually under $15.

For location, directions, parking, etc. and/or rebroadcast information, see this page for details.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:30 AM
Announcing Sound Politics!

I'm pleased to unveil Sound Politics, a new group blog dedicated to local issues in the Puget Sound region (Seattle and outlying areas) and Washington State.

The founding co-conspirators include bloggers Andy MacDonald, Matt Rosenberg, Brian Crouch and also Ron Hebron and Hank Bradley, who are frequent readers and commenters of the Shark Blog. Other contributors will be joining the group soon.

Look to Sound Politics for sound commentary on the region's government and media: The state legislature, Ron Sims and the King County Council, [un]Sound Transit, the Seattle Monorail, the state's congressional delegation, "It's in the P-I" and more!

My contributions will include both cross-posts from the Shark Blog and some original content.

One of Sound Politics' first big projects will be to serve as the nexus for the opposition to Seattle's Families and Education Levy, which will be on the September ballot. Andy MacDonald and I helped write the official opposition statement for the voters' guide and we'll be posting a lot of information about the levy over at Sound Politics between now and the election.

Check it out:

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 11:24 AM
August 01, 2004
Education Quagmire

An educational assistant from Edmonds, WA was charged with possession of child pornography on his home computer.

It is not believed any of the photos depict Edmonds students.

In addition to those photos, however, charging papers say investigators also found "dozens of pictures of fully clothed young girls obviously photographed surreptitiously while they were at school." Charging documents said the photos "focused on the girls' rear ends and crotches."

The photos appear to have been taken at the schools where the man worked. Nevertheless, school officials have no idea how to proceed:
Jakala said Buckley will be fired if he is convicted of the child-pornography charge. District officials are also investigating whether taking photos of Edmonds students is a fireable offense.

Jakala said it is not against school policy for district employees to photograph students as they walk through the halls during the school day.

It's amazing that even the lowliest school employees have such bulletproof property rights to their jobs that they can't be fired unless they violate an explicit policy. It's not enough to engage in conduct that is so obnoxious that it could well inspire some mother of one of these violated little girls to give the creep a penectomy using a blunt-tipped scissors.
School-district officials are also investigating why Buckley was hired in 1994 despite having a criminal record, although she said the district does not have a policy forbidding such a hire. "We have nothing in policy that says flat out the Edmonds School District does not hire convicted felons," said Jakala.
But there is a policy that says that the good people of Edmonds have to keep paying through the nose to keep the Edmonds School District in operation no matter how idiotic are the folks who run it.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 08:36 PM
My wife has left me

My wife ran off to San Francisco yesterday, taking the children and leaving in their place a bag full of diapers and other essential personal effects that she apparently meant to take with her. They're due to return on Monday. Or possibly sooner if David needs his diaper changed.

In the meantime, I did what any other abandoned husband would do on a Saturday night -- I went out campaigning with my local candidate for the state legislature. Lt. Gubernatorial candidate Jim Nobles and I joined Mark Griswold to walk through the crowd at the Seafair Torchlight Parade carrying Griswold for Representative signs. It's a dangerous job to prance around Seattle advertising oneself as a Republican, but somebody has to do it.

The parade was good fun, with floats, clowns, pirates, marching bands, policemen on motorcycles, beauty queens, historic fire engines, people painted purple, etc.

We looked around the parade for any signs of life from Griswold's opponent, House Speaker Frank Chopp, who's managed to serve in the legislature for a decade without ever having to run against a Republican challenger. We failed to find any evidence that Chopp maintained a presence to reach out to voters at the parade, one of the largest annual events in Seattle. We did bump into a sympathetic local government insider who shared an anecdote that other Democrat bigwigs had recently told Chopp that his best response to the Griswold challenge would be to "sit down for a bit". We weren't quite sure what that was supposed to mean. Sit down and strategize? Sit down and collect his temper? In any event, it sounded vaguely amusing and apropos for someone who has managed to sit in the legislature for years and years without having to get up very often to compete for the hearts and minds of his constituents.

We were stopped a few times by visiting legislators from other states who spied the campaign signs and wished Mark a gracious welcome into the fraternity of representative government. North Dakota's Kim Koppelman (R-West Fargo) was in Seattle for the ALEC conference. He handed Mark his business card, which had a jagged right edge like the map of North Dakota. We also met Texas' Larry Taylor (R-League City), also in town with ALEC. We found Taylor sitting on the bumper of an unattended Christine Gregoire campaign pick-up truck. He didn't know who Gregoire was, so I explained that she was a goofy-assed ultra-liberal, whose gubernatorial campaign is bankrolled by a bunch of out-of-state feminists. Taylor quickly got off the truck and went to look for his wife. We didn't get to see if his business card was shaped like the map of Texas.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 12:26 PM