Posted by: sweeneyblog | December 14, 2012

Friday Odds and Ends: Libraries, Rice and Print Media

Hello Loyal Readers,

Good to see everyone is staying warm this winter. As usual, it is time for our weekly tradition of all the news that is fit to print, but not enough to justify its own post.

Ferndale recently was awarded a $500,000 grant for a new library. This was greeted as good news from just about everyone except . . . one of the people who represents Ferndale in Olympia: Jason Overstreet. Yes, even Rep. Vincent Buys and Sen. Doug Ericksen found it within themselves to fund a brand new jail library (wow, no coffee this morning) for their constituents, but Jason Overstreet was one of only 9 votes against this bipartisan bill in the House. Another example of Whatcom County not being well represented by Jason Overstreet.

Susan Rice

Susan Rice recently withdrew her name from consideration for Secretary of State. Ms. Rice is currently the Ambassador to the UN and plans to stay there for a while. Many progressives were concerned this was an example of the president caving to Republican pressure (Sen. McCain and Graham had made Rice the focus of their Benghazi criticism to try and derail her possible confirmation as Secretary of State). I don’t think this is a bad thing. A writer for the Washington Post makes some good points on this issue, but my observation is that all the speculation around Obama’s revamped cabinet was focused on Rice, allowing Obama to reach out to several other people and make job offers without a heavy spotlight. Very sneaky.

What the heck is going on down in Olympia? Democrats switching sides? Power-sharing agreements? Something about Kevin Ranker being given a committee but he doesn’t want it, and isn’t the lead Democrat in the Senate running for mayor of Seattle? I know it is crazy, but hang in there. I have a big post going up Monday that explains what is going on and how this might be the weirdest session in a long time.

Also, if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out my article in this week’s Cascadia Weekly. It is basically an amalgamation of the jail articles I have been writing here, but on PRINT PAPER (daDUM!).

Alright folks, that is all I have for now. Be good out there and try not to trample any Hobbits on your way to the movie theater this weekend.



  1. “Yes, even Rep. Vincent Buys and Sen. Doug Ericksen found it within themselves to fund a brand new jail for their constituents…” So libraries are jails now? Methinks you had jails on the brain when you wrote this.

    Not sure how you drew your Rice conclusions from the article you referenced. I’ve seen some great speculation that the President had already offered the job to Kerry and this was political theater to give him cover. And that he really wants Rice as his National Security Adviser, which would give her more power to shape foreign policy than SOS would.

    Personally I think that private dinner he had with Gov. Deval Patrick was to find out who Governor Patrick would like to see appointed to fill Kerry’s seat leading up to the special election as a way to clear the field to avoid another ugly primary. Plus how much do we love the idea that Senator Warren would then become the senior Senator from MA?

    • Thank you for the catch, I have indeed been writing about jails alot. Oi.

      What I drew from the article is there is a wide range of reasons why Obama might have not chosen Rice, so let’s not jump to conclusions. My conclusion is that it was political theater, and whether intentional or not, it definitely provided good cover.

  2. The President was always torn between Kerry and Rice, so I think this just makes the decision easier to make. Having watched this video: it’s clear now that Susan Rice hasn’t made enough of the right alliances on the Hill to make her confirmation go smoothly. And she’s right, we don’t need the distraction right now. Still, I honestly don’t believe the President *needed* cover for making his choices for his new Cabinet. Rice at Nat. Sec Adv. is a good fit and doesn’t require the Senate to approve. I like the spec that this would leave UN Ambassador open to Powers (even though she has her detractors, too.)

    I’m not a Kerry fan, but people I respect like him and trust him, and the President is a very good judge of character, so putting him in State can’t be any different really than putting Clinton there. As long as he serves at the pleasure of the President and carries out the President’s Foreign Policy as directed, then what can he hurt?

  3. Ambassador Rice ACTUALLY did something to put “country first,” as opposed to just using the phrase, like McCain/Palin, as a campaign slogan.

  4. I was immensely relieved to see Ambassador Rice withdraw from consideration. She would not have made it and would have been an awful choice. You would have seen an alliance between McCain and Graham (Are they connected at the hip?) and the few Democrats who actually give a hang about the environment.

    Anybody appointed would have to support Obama’s criminal foreign policy; however. with the Pipeline decision pending with the State Department as a key player, Greens would have opposed her nomination because of her huge holdings in Tar Sand companies. Sure, she would have Divested. but, the fact that she Invested so heavily shows that she does not care about the Climate Crisis.

    Kudos to Buys and Ericksen for selling out and favoring their constituents. Though he took a principled stand against these big government appropriations, I suspect Overstreet might have supported a new jail for his constituents.

  5. I just wonder if Sen. Kerry can do the Sec. of State effectively. The requirements, at least as Hilary Clinton has performed the job, are so strenuous and demanding. It would be better to get a younger person who maybe isn’t in the “limelight” at this time. Who would that be? HMMM I don’t know. I do trust President Obama on this though. I’m more concerned about who will replace Gen. Petreus as CIA chief. And, Panetta’s position.
    Oh, and I’m also very concerned about the Senate possible “relief” for the filibuster process. Can Sen. Reid pull off a reform? Sure hope so.

    • There’s a reason they call them “elder statesmen.” 🙂

    • Reform is a cinch if Reid wants it and can keep Dems in line. Rules are made on the first day of the session and require a simple majority for approval. He should have done it two years ago, but he was too much of a wuss.

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