Jun 17 PCM commented on AP Just Called the Democratic Nomination for Clinton.
Found this tab still up from a week ago and just thought I'd say, I thought the DNC and allied media called it for Hillary a year ago.
Jun 16 PCM commented on Wait. Where Was Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) During Yesterday's Fillibuster?.
Even if Bernie didn't have a D- rating from the NRA and were instead a card-carrying member who showed up at gun shows sporting an AR-15 with a thirty-round magazine and a wife-beater that read "One Shot, One Kill," he would still be penny-ante compared to Hillary, the greatest mass-killer in this election by a long shot. Her contributions as senator and Secretary of State to slaughters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Libya, Syria and Yemen put her well past the million mark in number of innocent civilians killed and past the ten million mark in number of innocent civilian refugees generated. And it seems she's just itching to get into a hot war with Russia, given her support of NATO expansion into Russia's immediate neighbors, her State Department's engineering of the coup in Ukraine, and her support for the insurrection in Syria (host to Russia's only military base outside the former USSR.)

Bernie is from a rural open- and concealed-carry state with no license requirement and no significant gun-violence problem. "Progressive" Democrats have no objection when Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell (or our entire state government, for that matter) whore themselves out shamelessly to Microsoft to the detriment of the little people, but heaven forfend that Bernie should accommodate the overwhelming will of his electorate on this issue. Well, I guess it's the only colorably plausible issue they have to attack him with, so they're going to run with it. Keep it up, guys, and see what that gets you when November rolls around, whether or not Hillary is indicted.
Jun 13 PCM commented on 50 Dead In Worst Mass Shooting in US History — Gunman Opened Fire In Crowded Gay Nightclub In Orlando.
@70 (Roma):

We have both a gun problem and a testosterone problem.
After reading all the stuff here about Switzerland, I read that as We have both a gun problem and a Toblerone problem. Time for me to hit the sack.
Jun 12 PCM commented on Teacher Jesse Hagopian Reaches $100,000 Settlement With Police Over Pepper-Spraying.
@12 (HJGale): Seattle has some of the stingiest juries in the country, and if redress were sought under state law, punitive damages would not be available. Given all of the circumstances -- including evidence that the officer was not deliberately targeting Mr. Hagopian -- he and his attorneys probably made the right decision.

@Ansel: It's overrode, not overrided.
Jun 9 PCM commented on Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver Extrapolating Desperately.
@29 (ditch pickle):

If Trump is elected ... we will get a whole flood of horrible Republican policies, the worst punishments of which will be meted out on the backs of ... black, brown, gay, trans, Muslim, immigrant, poor, etc people ....
You mean a Trump administration would be able to implement all of these policies all by itself, like the French executive branch, and that the Senate Democratic Caucus wouldn't even attempt to filibuster any of them? Well, that's a definitive no on the first,* but I'm willing to concede that Senate Democrats have been remarkably reluctant to impede any but the most egregiously horrible policies and nominees. Loved your shot at my presumed sexual orientation, race, and callousness with respect to others, by the way. Classy!

*It's funny how everyone argues that Bernie wouldn't be able to get anything done without a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and then goes on to argue that Trump would be able to bring about the Fourth Reich without one.
Jun 8 PCM commented on Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver Extrapolating Desperately.
@24 (KarenBlack):

I got the notion that Bernie is more popular among Independents than among Democrats from multiple sources over time, but this is the one that came up first in Google (from a site believed by some on the left to have tilted discretionary variables in favor of Hillary):

Dan Hopkins, "Why Sanders Does Better With Independents," FiveThirtyEight, 18 April 2016

Unh huh, sure, Hillary is more popular than Bernie among people of color ... until they learn more about Bernie and hear about Bill and Hillary's (and Joe Biden's!) role in perpetuating the War on Drugs and in creating today's carceral state, in which 1 in 9 black men are disenfranchised because of a felony conviction (usually a drug conviction). Hillary did well among minorities in early primaries thanks to mainstream media's virtual blackout on Bernie coverage. To them he was just another old white man from a white state, not a guy who worked Freedom Summer while Hillary was campaigning for Goldwater in opposition to the Civil Rights Act. From what I've read, the more coverage Bernie got, the more voters of color defected to him ... despite the pro-Hillary advocacy of minority leaders who knew which side their own personal bread was buttered on.

And you just keep right on telling yourself that Bernie has never really been attacked in his 26 years in public office and that that's the reason he does significantly better than Hillary against Trump in every national poll. I have no illusions that Bernie would be able to deliver even a quarter of what he wants -- not with the current litter of corporatist Republicans and corporatist Democrats in Congress united in opposition to the little people -- just the hope that that he can make a few meaningful steps in the right direction that will hopefully lead to still more meaningful steps in future administrations and Congresses. But you Hillary supporters are deluded if you think Hillary will trounce Trump. Even notorious Hillary sheepdog Thom Hartmann said as much just today. Trump is tapping into the anger of the big losers in the great post-Reagan neoliberalization of America ... and Hillary is one of its prime purveyors and defenders. Good luck spinning that inconvenient fact.
Jun 8 PCM commented on Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver Extrapolating Desperately.
@22 (Pridge Wessea):

Hillary, the former Goldwater Girl and Walmart director, doesn't have a progressive bone, principle, or belief in her body. She's in it for personal acclaim, power, and money. Witness her tactical flops on gay marriage, the minimum wage, "free trade," and the Keystone XL pipeline, for starters. There is no way anyone in his or her right mind could reasonably hope that she would follow through on any campaign-trail suggestions that she might support a $15 federal minimim wage, genuinely universal healthcare, an end to tar-sands-oil extraction, an end to fracking, an end to supranational corporate sovereignty agreements, an end to prison-industrial complex, significant increases in taxation on the super-rich, substantially cheaper college tuition, etc., etc., etc.

Back in 1993, when Bill made Hillary his healthcare-reform czar, the media environment was dramatically more favorable to systemic reform than it is now. Big Pharma was spending under $300 million a year on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs versus $5 billion a year now. TV news was full of analyses comparing the price of prescription drugs in the US and abroad, and full of reports showing Americans traveling to Mexico and Canada for affordable meds. CBS ran a primetime special, Borderline Medicine, where Walter Cronkite for all intents and purposes concluded that Canada's single-payer system was better than ours. That's unthinkable now. All told, the for-profit health sector (pharma, device manufacturers, hospitals, etc.) is now spending $14 billion a year on commercial advertising. No way the commercial media is biting that hand. Even PBS Frontline, with a weather eye to Congress and Big Health underwriters, stepped on the conclusions of TR Reid's Sick Around America so hard that Reid dissociated himself from it entirely.

At any rate, early in the Clinton healthcare-reform effort -- in that dramatically more favorable media environment of the early 90s -- Bernie introduced Hillary to David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler (MDs on the faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health) and arranged to have them give her a presentation on single-payer. Here's the account of her reaction:

* * * They got their meeting at the White House [in February 1993], and the two doctors laid out the case for single-payer to the first lady. “She said, ‘You make a convincing case, but is there any force on the face of the earth that could counter the hundreds of millions of the dollars the insurance industry would spend fighting that?’” recalled Himmelstein. “And I said, 'How about the president of the United States actually leading the American people?’ and she said, ‘Tell me something real.’ ” * * * *

---- Ben Schreckinger, "Democratic primary 2016: When Bernie Sanders met Hillary Clinton," Politico, 17 June 2015
That tells me all I need to know about Hillary in order to determine whether she's an agent or a saboteur of progressive change. (Hint: she's a saboteur.)
Jun 8 PCM commented on Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver Extrapolating Desperately.
Some inconvenient observations for Hillary and Bernie supporters alike:

- National polls consistently show Bernie beating Trump in the general by significantly wider and safer margins than Hillary would. In some polls, Hillary's lead is within the margin of error. Bernie is simply far more popular among Independents than among registered Democrats, and Independents were excluded from the Democratic Party's closed primaries.

- Hillary has major liabilities. Polls show that the electorate at large likes and trusts her far less than they do Bernie. (A damaging book about her by a former member of her Secret Service detail is due to come out in a couple of weeks, which will not improve her popularity.) She is embroiled in ongoing civil FOIA litigation that could show -- or even just suggest, which is sufficient in politics -- that she engaged in "pay for play" transactions while at State, approving large arms sales to human-rights violators in exchange for large donations to the Clinton Foundation and large speaking fees to Bill Clinton. She is facing potential indictment for her use of a poorly secured private email server to handle State Department emails subject to government recordkeeping laws and FOIA, and for discussing national-security matters and sharing national-security information with unauthorized persons. She has a history of consistently favoring military actions, coups, and subversions that have resulted in well over a million civilian deaths and that have worsened, not improved, US national security. (In fairness, though, her military and foreign policy has seriously fattened the bottom line of her backers in the defense industry.) Most significantly, she and her family owe their personal fortune, their political campaign chest, and the success of their hybrid personal/political ventures (The Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative) to Wall Street, military contractors, the private-prison industry, the for-profit health sector, the mining industry, the oil industry, authoritarian anti-democratic foreign governments, and ... let's call them "offshoring interests." (The Clintons' daughter is married to a Goldman Sachs alum who is now a hedge-fund manager, for crying out loud.) Any promises Hillary makes to do anything that might hurt these interests are deeply suspect. The Clintons have never bitten the hand that feeds in the past and there is no reason to expect they ever will. All of these vulnerabilities are ripe (or will imminently be ripe) for exploitation by Trump in the general election campaign. In contrast, Bernie's vulnerability is that he calls himself a "democratic socialist" and is proposing social-democratic programs that have been successful in northern Europe and, in the past, here at home as well. (We used to have free community colleges in some states, and nearly free public-university tuition in most states.) Red-baiting doesn't work nearly as well as it used to with the population at large, post Great Recession, and with younger voters especially it actually backfires.

- If the Democratic Party represented the interests of its rank and file, the superdelegates' role would be to tip the scales in favor of the candidate that appears to be most viable in the general election. According to all currently available indicators (see above), that would be Bernie. Since the Democratic Party's takeover by the DLC (championed and spearheaded by Bill and Hillary), the Party no longer represents the rank and file but rather the moneyed interests that it now "competes for" -- "shares" would be more accurate -- with the Republicans. Accordingly, the superdelegates' role is to ensure a general election outcome that does the least damage to their personal and political sugar-daddies. They will thus not flip the outcome to Bernie Sanders, even though he is the more viable nominee in the general. They would rather see Hillary lose to Trump than subject their corporate principals to a Bernie presidency. The top 0.01% will do just fine under either Trump or Hillary, and superdelegates will get their revolving-door payoffs either way. The obscenely rich run a small risk seeing the obscenity of their wealth somewhat diminished under a Bernie presidency -- while he would have the bully pulpit, he can't do much without majority congressional support -- and any superdelegate who flips to Bernie can kiss that future $2-million-a-year lobbying job goodbye.

- There's a chance that if Bernie does not get the Democratic Party nomination, he will run as a Green. In my view, the only reason he ran as Democrat in the first place is because if he hadn't, he would have gotten as much coverage in the media and as much debate access as Jill Stein and Gary Johnson got in 2012. Now that national media have begrudgingly given Bernie at least some exposure and access, a third-party run is much more viable.

- Republicans are probably going to make every effort to house-break Trump to make him more palatable to the general electorate, and to make him toe the Republican Party line on policy. Or not. The Republicans' sugar-daddies will do every bit as well under a Hillary presidency as under a Trump presidency. (Actually, they may do even better under Hillary, as they have under Obama. Trump has said some very populist, anti-plutocratic things in the course of his campaign. Whether he actually believes and is committed to any of them is anyone's guess, as he has no political track record. Hillary's pro-corporate, pro-super-rich stance once in office is the closest thing you can get to a sure bet in politics.)

- If Hillary is nominated and Bernie endorses her, I predict that who wins the general election will depend on whom Republican Party leadership wants to win. If they continue letting Donald be Donald, Hillary has a chance. If they can clean him up nice, I think Hillary will lose.

- If Hillary is nominated and Bernie runs as a Green, all bets are off. The conglomerate media -- major contributors to the Hillary campaign, by the way, both financially and "in kind," in terms of coverage and spin -- will do their utmost to sideline Bernie and drop him down the black hole to which they consign third-party competitors to the corporatist duopoly, but the genie is out of the bottle.

Personally, I know enough about Hillary's financial affiliations, political track record, and character that I could never vote for her as "the lesser of evils." If Bernie's running as the Democratic or Green Party nominee, he'll get my vote. If Bernie endorses Hillary, Jill Stein of the Green Party will get my vote -- and, I suspect, the votes of many other Bernie supporters. I would rather roll the dice on the possibility of a Trump presidency, however distasteful, than help elect a confirmed corporate sell-out, warmonger, and saboteur of progressive change.
Jun 6 PCM commented on Game of Thrones Recap! "The Broken Man" Is Still Good at Chopping Stuff.
A few corrections and observations:

(1) There was a cold open to season four, episode 1, "Two Swords," as well. It showed Ned Stark's greatsword, Ice, being melted down and remade into two new swords.

(2) Septon Ray's congregation was probably in the eastern Riverlands. There's ample support for this in the books, and even the series made it pretty clear that the Vale is well secured from outfits like the Brotherhood Without Banners.

(3) While stabbing-victim "Arya" may not have been the real Arya, I don't think it was Bianca. Even if Faceless Men could give ordinary civilians Faceless-Man makeovers, I don't see Bianca repelling the Waif, doing a horizontal triple lutz into the canal, and swimming underwater to safety undetected. That's the work of someone with training and experience in more than just acting.

(4) It takes a mind warped by sensationalist journalism to see anything more than kindness, caring, and respect in Davos's relationship with Shireen and in his subsequent ability to relate to Lyanna Mormont. It's not even funny as cynical joke.

(5) Yup, the rose is the sigil of House Tyrell ... and the one Margaery drew had thorns on the stem. Margaery was letting Granny Olenna know that she was still in the Tyrell camp, that she was playing a long con on the High Sparrow, and that Olenna really did need to bugger off to Highgarden for her own safety.

Since the script is now mostly post-book and off-book, I've lowered my expectations with respect to plotting, continuity, character development, and dialog, so I was able to enjoy this episode without finding very much to bitch about. It was clearly setting the stage for big things to come in the final three episodes of the season.
Jun 4 PCM commented on Taste-Testing the Pies at Capitol Hill's Five New Pizzerias.
The only really memorable pizza I've ever had in Seattle was at Fondi, north of the U Village on 25th. They made their own fresh mozzarella in the kitchen each morning, and you could taste the difference. (I'm guessing it probably wasn't real buffalo-milk mozzarella, but even so, it was much tastier than the mozzarella I've had at other Seattle pizzerias.) The Seattle location closed -- the space is now occupied by Mamma Melina -- but they still have one in Gig Harbor. It wouldn't be worth a special trip, for me, but it would definitely be worth a small detour.