Home of the Whopper.

5:22 PM yesterday Ross commented on The Hypocrisy of Tim Burgess on Progressive Taxation.
I'm no fan of Brugess, but I'll help answer the question for you:

Q: Does this mean he doesn't consider the commercial parking tax and the employee head tax to be good local, progressive taxation options?

A: No. The employee head tax is not a good, local progressive taxation option. Of course it isn't. Employees that make millions of dollars a year get taxed at the same rate as employees that make minimum wage. Likewise the parking tax applies to people who drive BMWs or Fords.

Simply put, he is right. We don't have good, local, progressive taxation options. The closest we have is the property tax -- but we have big limitations on that.
2:39 PM yesterday Ross commented on Elysian Brewing Company Sold to Anheuser-Busch.
>> One wastes their time with Elysian because they want to go to a brew pub in that neighborhood and the beer is serviceable.

That is really the big loss here. There are a handful of good pubs in most of their areas, but no brewpubs. I hate to support InBev.

>> Most microbrews suck, actually, because they're too much -- too strong, too hoppy, too rich. Finding a decent pint of ale that's 4% is damn difficult in modern brewpubs, where everything is 7, 8, 9 percent.

You really have to pick your brewpub. There are a ton of them in the Ballard/Fremont area, so try them all! :) If you are looking for a big range of high alcohol beers, try Bad Jimmy's. If you want a mix of styles and you are tired of bitter beers, try The Outlander (e. g. they currently have two Berliner Weisse on tap, both of which are around 4%). Stoup has a decent range, but a lot of IPAs that I find delicious (not too bitter for my taste). There are a lot of good breweries in town brewing a lot of good stuff -- whether your local pub serves it or not is different story (by biggest pet peeve is going to a pub and finding 8 IPAs, a lager and a stout).

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Jan 22 Ross commented on Should NASA Name a Telescope After a Dead Guy Who Persecuted Gay People in the 1950s?.
I think the earlier comments were right. He didn't do enough with his early work to justify this honor. We name things after Washington and Jefferson because they did huge things (and we overlook the fact that they owned slaves). This guy didn't do huge things. And he was a dick.

I have trouble with the concept that "everyone felt that way". Just as their were plenty of abolitionists back in 1776, there were plenty of more nuanced views towards homosexuality in the 1950s. To be clear, very few supported gay marriage. But a lot of people were OK with homosexuality as long as guys weren't effeminate. In other words, "you can be gay, just don't be flaming gay". Such attitudes might seem offensive now, but back then it was the difference between "whatever, I don't care what you do in your own time" and "let's kick his ass, or ruin his life". There were plenty of people in that first category. Webb was in the second.

But Webb's record is not being challenged because he felt that way, or even felt that homosexuality was a sin. He is being challenged because he was a dick. Remove the word "homosexuals" from that cited paragraph, and it is clear that he was a dick. He was part of the whole paranoid McCarthy/Nixon campaign that destroyed the lives of many, many innocent people, in the name of patriotism. He was an administrator who probably would never have run NASA had he not cut his teeth on the bones of many innocent Americans (he loved the gays -- they were especially tasty). That's the thing -- unlike Washington or Jefferson, Webb was a dick and it played a part in his being successful and eventually getting the job that is the key to this honor. It is important.

For an administrator to be nominated, he would have to do extraordinary things, or have a solid, lifetime government record. He doesn't. I much prefer the idea of naming the telescope after Gus Grissom. Why not name the greatest telescope in the world after an American astronaut and hero?
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Jan 15 Ross commented on As President Obama Leans to the Left, His Approval Rating Goes Up.
Unemployment is down, gas prices are down, people are ignoring Ebola, the Middle East and Ukraine (even though they are all as bad as before) so of course the President's approval ratings are up.

But that doesn't mean that he shouldn't have done those other things earlier. His decision to wait was a huge political miscalculation. He failed to energize the base (in areas where it might have made a difference, like Colorado) and completely lost the cynical middle. Folks who hate immigration have hated Obama for a while. Those who favor his policies felt like he shafted them by not making the change sooner. Those in the middle thought he was an unprincipled politician, who never actually stands for anything.
Jan 9 Ross commented on Inslee Says He Doesn't Think a Surface-Transit Alternative for the Viaduct Is "Viable".
Oh, and it seems like people don't really get how this whole process works. There are no "cost overruns" the way that there would be if this was being done by the state. There is only two ways in which this will cost the state extra:

1) The company sues (and wins). This is unlikely, in my opinion.

2) The company walks away without finishing the job. This seems a lot more likely. In other words, it is the company that decides not to put good money after bad. Then they will, of course, sue the state to try and recover some of the money (even though they didn't finish the job). My guess is that it is likely they will settle, but nowhere near the cost of the tunnel.

Which means that at some point, the state will have to decide whether to finish the tunnel (with someone else) or do something else. But if they decide to finish the tunnel, it won't necessarily be much more expensive than if these guys finished it. A little more (because these guys are notorious for bidding low and litigating) but not a huge amount more.
Jan 9 Ross commented on Inslee Says He Doesn't Think a Surface-Transit Alternative for the Viaduct Is "Viable".
Great interview. David Roberts is brilliant. Inslee is by far the greenest governor, if not the greenest politician this state has ever had (and we've had some really green ones, including a lot of Republicans). I'm sure it really sucks for him to defend a tunnel that he probably thought was stupid (but didn't say anything about because he didn't want to "make waves" and was too busy in the other Washington). But now here he is. Stuck with a stupid project. But it is way too early to make a decision anyway. Here is the key part of the interview:


Q: This contractor has been known to be legally aggressive.

A. Right, and I’ve been known not to be a pushover in the courtroom myself after 20 years of litigating.


Did you get that? This is likely to be nasty, knock out, drag out court battle. I don't know how much the company is worth, but a half a billion is half a billion. So if, worse case scenario the company goes belly up, then the state gets half a billion to play around with. At that point they can decide to finish the tunnel, or put it into other things (like improvements to I-5, surface streets or transit).
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Jan 9 Ross commented on Mitt Romney Reportedly Just Told Supporters He's "Considering a Run" for President in 2016.
@15 and @20 -- Yes, that was the last time. Dewey lost a couple in row, too. I think Nixon is the only guy in the last hundred years to win the nomination, lose the general election, then later win the general election (and yes, he took an election off) That was a while ago, too.

I think Fnarf is right; I think Ted Cruz is the most likely nominee. Unless he says something crazy during the nominating process (or their is some lesser known governor out there who catches fire) it is his.
Jan 5 Ross commented on The Weekend in Review: Cure Covers, Paul McKanye, and Clown Posse Comma Insane.
@3 -- Oh please. Comparing the Beatles to John McCormack is silly. If you don't know who McCartney is, you are simply oblivious to music or culture in general outside your little window. Do you know who Bing Crosby is? How about Chuck Berry? Elvis? How about Irving Berlin or Woody Guthrie? Those are all guys in the same league as McCartney, and yes, if you are music fan you should be familiar with all of them, no matter how old you are.
Jan 4 Ross commented on Wait. What? Mayor Murray Dreams of a Fourth Tunnel. (For Transit.).
I like the mayor, but I think he is being ridiculous. To begin with, "then I suspect that the state won’t be able to pay for another tunnel". The state was never going to pay for another tunnel. The state hasn't paid a dime for transit. Sound Transit is paid for by the region, not the state.

Second, he may be worried that Bertha failing will somehow get everyone scared about tunnels. That is ridiculous. Transit tunnels are being built right now, and they have all been hugely successful (they are being completed way earlier than expected). Furthermore, it is a different company and a different tunnel. The company that is building the 99 tunnel has a bad reputation. The company that is building (or has built) the transit tunnels has a great reputation. But mainly a downtown transit tunnel on fourth has none of the engineering challenges that the 99 tunnel has. That is a ridiculous comparison.
 

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