Posted by: sweeneyblog | November 30, 2012

Friday Odds and Ends: Irony is Dead, Republicans Attend Funeral

Hello Loyal Readers,

What’s that you hear? It is Friday already? Time for our weekly feature, the Friday Odds and Ends. Let’s not delay, I know you are eager to get on to the tidbits.

No criticism of the newspaper intended

First up, the Bellingham Herald showcases the death of irony. On their front page Wednesday, the article above the fold was a story about the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports delivery of 10,000 signatures in support of the Gateway Pacific Terminal project. Below the fold was an article about the governor’s panel warning of the dangers of ocean acidification, which is partially caused by . . . coal. I could belabor the irony of juxtaposing these two points, but Jean Melious did it so much better on her  blog Get Whatcom Planning so click on over there and enjoy the ribbing.

How is the Republican Party dealing with the drubbing they received? Last Saturday I outlined the two paths available to the party faithful: moderation or ideological purity. Already some local groups are making their choice. In Benton County (Kennewick, WA) the county Republicans are mandating that all the Precinct Committee Officers (the neighborhood party members) sign an oath of loyalty that reads, “I will support only the Republican Party and Republican candidates and the bylaws of the BCRP. I understand that violation of this oath will result in suspension of voting “privileges” and other DUTIES or disqualification from office.” Yikes! Sounds like in Benton County at least, the Party will continue to shrink the tent.

John Boehner announced his appointed committee chairs in the House this week. I’ve embedded the image below. Take a moment and see if you can tell me what stands out.

House Republican Committee Chairs

Take your time. Have you got it? They all are wearing suits. Seriously though, if the Republicans are going to reach beyond their narrow demographic appeal, they have got to start putting women and people of color in leadership positions.

Several hundred emails later . . .

Finally, in the course of doing a follow-up piece on the proposed jail (see my original article here), I filed a public records request for emails sent to or from the sheriff and county executive having to do with the proposed jail. I got back over 1,200 emails, documents and attachments. There is some fascinating stuff in there including a screenshot of my facebook page, the sheriff’s office contributing to Elfo’s astroturfing group and the continuing influence of Dewey Dessler. I will have a full report this weekend provided I’m able to wade through it all.

That’s it for this week. This weekend is going to be a cold one so stay bundled up out there.



  1. A screen shot of your Facebook page? What earthly reason could they have for exchanging emails about your FB page? Why a screen shot and not a link? Were they worried you’d take something down, thus rendering a link invalid? Were you totally flattered?

    • Yeah, a screen shot of Riley’s Facebook page is creepy… sounds like they’ve identified him as a problem…

  2. That’s creepy alright.
    I wonder why anyone in a position of criminal power would want to stalk Riley and his FB contacts?
    Then there’s the taxpayer money meant for law enforcement going to Elfo’s private shill fund. PU something stinks.
    But it’s business as usual in our little backwater.
    I wanna know what kind of deal Louws has made with the Sheriff to build him a jail with or without taxpayer approval.

  3. Riley is most definitely a problem. They are right to worry. It’s also why he’s so awesome! 🙂

  4. Benton County WA had exceptional turnout and CVAP voter return rates. Their eletorate made GOP choices throughout the entire ballot This means most of their candidates lost. Both Yakima and Benton Counties sorely.need increased Democrat efforts to shore up their votes in these counties.

  5. Let’s not jump to conclusions about the Facebook page. I am sure Riley will explain it in the context of his full report.

    • Absolutely. Thank you Bob. It was disconcerting though, to suddenly see my own name and information pop up in one of these data requests.

    • No, A personal FB page has no context in any legitimate business sense. It’s plain creepy that anyone wouldn’t know that, J.Edgar.

  6. You want irony? Here’s a dose, direct from this morning’s New York Times. Contrast the Washington State “commitment” to investigating and combatting ocean acidification with the tepid opposition by our elected representatives to the proposed Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal:

    NEW YORK TIMES: December 2, 2012
    Marine Life on a Warming Planet
    Since the beginning of the industrial era, humans have pumped increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This has led not only to a warmer climate but also to significant changes in the chemistry of the oceans, which have long acted as a sink for carbon emissions but are being asked to absorb more than they can handle. The result is ocean acidification: increasingly corrosive seawater that has already ruined many coral reefs and over time could threaten the entire marine food chain.

    The State of Washington is now trying to tackle the problem in new and inventive ways. It has good reason to worry. Its economically important aquaculture industry specializes in shellfish, especially oysters. Shellfish are highly vulnerable to increased acidity, which kills them by preventing them from creating or maintaining their shells. Washington’s coastal waters are also polluted by urban and farm runoff, as well as an unusual regional threat: wind patterns that cause the upwelling of deep, nutrient-rich ocean currents loaded with carbon dioxide.

    The state’s plan — an offshoot of the National Shellfish Initiative created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2011 — acknowledges that the only long-term solution to acidification is for the world to reduce industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, allowing the ocean to reach a less acidic equilibrium. But because this is not likely to happen any time soon, Washington has decided to try to “buy time” for itself and, in doing so, provide valuable lessons for other parts of the world.

    The first step will be to monitor ocean acidity with greater breadth and accuracy and to create an acidity budget — an assessment of just how much acidity is contributed by whom. Next it will seek to reduce carbon pollution from land-based sources, including agricultural and urban runoff. There will also be practical, site-based steps to offset carbon, like planting sea grasses (which themselves are endangered globally) in shellfish hatcheries. And there will be an extensive campaign to educate the public, business leaders and policy makers about the risks of increasing acidification.

    Gov. Christine Gregoire has set aside $3.3 million to begin the effort (much more will be required down the line), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will help with its laboratories. But what’s important here is not the money. In a sense, the state has committed itself to becoming an aquatic laboratory. If it succeeds, it will help its own aquaculture industry and inspire other regions and countries to find practical responses for the oceans and their aquatic life as a whole.

  7. […] couple of weeks ago, I poked fun at the Federal House Republicans for their complete lack of diversity when appointing chairs of committees. Since then, a few […]

  8. I think a Republican will win the presidency in 2016!

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