Oct 11 Ross commented on Greatest Friday News Dump Ever: WSDOT Is Suing Seattle Tunnel Partners.
@11 -- You've got this completely wrong. One big difference between this and the Big Dig is that just about everyone in Boston supported the big dig. They had terrible problems getting it done, but they certainly wanted it done (because it was a good idea).

This is the opposite. This is crap. Remember, there are only going to be two lanes, no downtown exits and no exit on Western. Just think about that last one for a second. What if you are in Ballard or Magnolia and want to go to the south end of downtown, the airport, West Seattle (or anywhere else in the south end). Your choices are:

1) Slog through Mercer.
2) Slog through downtown.
3) Cut through Fremont, then get on Aurora and go from there.

So basically, this will send more traffic to other places that are already clogged, while creating new pinch points. Traffic on Market as well as 39th are going to be a mess.

Oh, and if you think downtown will suddenly be a walker's paradise -- something akin to Vancouver BC -- think again. See option 2. All that traffic will go through downtown, so of course the city is making a street as wide as Aurora to handle it. Not that they will be able to handle all the traffic, because, of course, they won't have the money.

All of this was known. All of this was studied. But the folks in charge simply ignored the results of the study. The study basically came up with two solutions:

1) A new viaduct. There would be no downtown exits, but there would be an exit and on ramp for Western, which means that people slogging through downtown are simply going downtown. The viaduct would not be split level (like the current one) but have parallel roads, making it a lot quieter. Oh, and it would be a lot cheaper, allowing money left over for things mentioned in the second proposal, which is:

2) A combination of surface improvements, I-5 improvements and transit. It is crazy that you think this will make I-5 better, when the main alternative was to actually make I-5 better. That was a key part of the "surface option". The other parts were to do basically do what is being downtown anyway (but do it better) and add money for transit.

That is the key thing here. Don't be distracted by the current set of problems. That isn't the big problem. The big problem is that we will build a very expensive tunnel that very few people will use because it doesn't have the key on-ramps and exits when alternatives would have moved people and goods a lot better.
Oct 9 Ross commented on Bruce Harrell Wants to Proclaim "Italian Heritage Month" on Indigenous Peoples' Day.
>> "I don't see any value in responding to that idiotic question," Harrell said

Ha, that's funny. I'll miss the fact that I can't vote for Bruce anymore It is answers like that that just make it all that easier.

Oct 6 Ross commented on Hillary Clinton on SNL.
@2 -- That's pretty much it. To extend the football analogy, you don't want to use up your best plays in the first half if you don't have to. She may have some strong talking points that apply to everyone, but there is no need to use them now unless she really feels threatened by Bernie. I don't think she does.

As far as loosening up and being more personable, that can go two different ways. All politicians have to overcome some obstacle. If they do, they can grab a whole bunch of votes. George W. was considered an idiot. But speak in a few complete sentences in the debate, and suddenly people think he is pretty smart. Gore was considered way too wooden. He gives his wife a strong, passionate kiss and people think he is a bit of a bad-ass. At some point, Hillary will address the "can't make friends" image and will get a lot of votes in the process. Of course it is a myth -- she was well respected in the Senate and knows as someone who got along well with members of both party (and expect that to come up once she gets into the general election). The longer she puts off the types of interviews Dan says she should have, the more likely she is to get a lot of coverage for them. Smart move. Again, don't waste your efforts trying to overcome your weakness until you really need to. That gives your opponent too much time to come up with another weakness.
Aug 29 Ross commented on Hillary Compares GOP Candidates to Terrorists. Good for Her..
This is a bit of a stretch, but a reasonable statement. If someone says something very racist (as a matter or public policy) it is reasonable to suggest that you would expect such statements from the KKK, but not from a Republican. Organizations such as the KKK and ISIS are horrible for two reasons -- they advocate radically harmful policies, and their weapons of choice (beheading, raping, hanging) are horrible. The former is key here. ISIS doesn't want girls reading -- is banning abortion at the same level? As I said, it is a stretch, but not too much of one. To have one of your "shining stars" of the Republican party say that he is opposed to abortions even in cases of incest and rape is rather extreme, in my book. It simply discounts the rights of the woman -- the victim in this case. Force a woman to carry a baby to term after her Dad put a gun to her head and raped her? Yeah, that is rather extreme.
Aug 4 Ross commented on The Everlasting Death of Capitol Hill.
@13 -- I have to think that at some point in the not so distant future almost all gay neighborhoods are going to vanish except in a few places, and in those places it will be a sign of lingering hostility more than anything, forcing gay people to huddle for protection surrounded by the last vestiges of anti-gay territory.

That sounds about right, and I think the same thing can be said for every ethnic or culturally distinctive area. If you think Capitol Hill has changed in the last 20 years (or last 40) check out Ballard. Almost all of the shops on Market used to be Scandinavian. Now there is maybe one or two. The International District is still mostly Asian, but a lot more Southeast Asian than Chinese, the way it used to be. Greater Lake City is becoming very African, but not enough to look like a "Little Italy" the way some cities look.

Overall, I would say this is a good thing. The more diverse the better. If an area is not diverse (an area like East Saint Louis, for example or the gay part of town) it could easily be a sign of what you mentioned -- oppression.
Aug 4 Ross commented on The Everlasting Death of Capitol Hill.
>> When out gay men and lesbians moved into rundown urban neighborhoods in the late '60s and early '70s, they rented apartments no one else wanted, started businesses on blocks where no one else thought businesses could thrive,

Oh bullshit. Seriously -- Capitol Hill was never that cheap. It was cheap compared to California -- but that is still true. But cheaper than Rainier Valley? When was that? When was there a time when someone in Rainier Valley said "I don't want to live in Capitol Hill -- no one wants to live there -- I think I'll live here, an area that is less convenient, farther away from downtown and has just a little bit more crime". Sorry, that never happened.

Oh, oh, I know what you mean. You mean well to do white folks didn't want to live there. Yeah, OK, I got you. Yes, well to do gay white people "discovered" Capitol Hill (and other parts of Seattle) before well to do straight people from other parts of the country did. Congratulations. Consider yourselves modern day Columbuses (except without the tyranny). But don't pretend that there was nothing there before, or that it had no character. It did. It just had a lot less people and thus was a lot cheaper (like all of Seattle).
Jul 27 Ross commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: No Way Out.
Let's see. The guy hasn't had sex for twelve years. He hasn't hugged his wife or kissed her for about that long. He is prone to rants and hoarding. Hmmmm, I'm no shrink, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say ... he is nuts. Seriously, the guy needs some serious help. You should both see someone. In all likelihood it will lead to the same end -- a separation of some sort (more than you are now -- maybe all this does is make it official) but both of you need counseling. Big time.
Jul 14 Ross commented on The Racial Alarm Bells That Went Off in My Head While Listening to Jeb Bush's Union Leader Interview.
Black American culture has influenced white American culture and the culture of the world for quite some time now. It is hard to find any pop music anywhere that hasn't been heavily influenced by blues (which is African American and goes back to Africa). Look at how international soccer players greet each other on the field before they start a World Cup match. Not by shaking hands the western way (fingers below the wrist) but by giving each other a "soul handshake". Meanwhile, when players make good plays, they give each other "five" (high, low or side). So music, sports and greetings are all heavily influenced by Black America.

As for the Republican talking points, it is just more tribal politics or identity politics if you will. Republicans love to say they love America, but when push comes to shove, they hate Americans. They talk more about the groups they hate, and how those groups are ruining America, then they do policies that might actually make a difference. Of course. They lose on just about every issue (poll after poll suggests all their ideas sound terrible) but if a lot of America just relates to their candidate (and think the other guy is "one of them") then they win. It worked for George W. Bush (who is smarter than his brother). He knew how to play that game really well. Jeb is just trying to figure it out as he goes along.
Jul 13 Ross commented on The Morning News: A Plane Is Missing Near Mount Baker, and Atticus Finch Is Racist.
The difference between the agencies is confusing. Essentially, any nationally own land can become a national park. When it does, it is operated under a different agency. In the case of forest versus park, it goes all the way up to cabinet level, as national forests are run by the department of agriculture and national parks are run by the department of interior.

Meanwhile, you have other areas, like national recreation areas, which are operated by both the park service and the bureau of reclamation.

Oddly enough, North Cascades National Park does not include Mount Baker, even though it is the northern most volcano, and the Cascades are often defined as starting and ending (roughly) with the volcanoes.

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie is a national forest. It is adjacent to national park land. Most of Mount Baker is within that forest, but part of it is within the Mount Baker National Recreation Area. This means that while no part of Mount Baker is within the park, part of it is jointly operated by the park service.

Wilderness land can occur anywhere in national parks, national forest, bureau of land management or fish and wildlife service. The land is simply managed by the appropriate agency, but with different rules. There is a common misconception that wilderness areas are not in national parks. My guess is that the misunderstanding occurs because when a wilderness area is carved from a national park, very little changes. But when a national forest adds a Wilderness area, the area can no longer be logged, which is a major change. But wilderness areas are in national parks (and are typically very large).
Jul 12 Ross commented on Jeb Bush Says Climate Change Will Be Solved by a Guy Tinkering in a Garage.
@35 -- Getting hit by a car is more of an immediate threat than cancer or heart disease, but which one do you think is more likely?

Global warming is the biggest overall threat to humanity since the Soviet Union and the U. S. had dozens of missiles aimed at each other (nuclear war is still a threat, just not as big of one). It is the worst possible crisis to handle for several reasons:

1) There is a lag period. By the time everyone realizes it is really bad, there is little you can do about it.

2) There is tragedy of the commons problem. It is great if everyone else solves the problem, and you can enjoy low fuel prices and have a great time.

3) There are a lot of causes (it isn't just fossil fuels).

4) It doesn't seem like an obvious threat. Losing a substantial number of the world's species sounds bad, but it isn't like someone blowing up a bomb in a crowded market. Except that they are linked. As global warming gets worse, resource shortages get worse. Resource shortages play a huge part in wars and civil unrest. Wars and civil unrest lead to ... guys blowing up bombs in a crowded market (and a lot worse). This is why the military is involved. Wander over to West Point and ask to talk to a few professors about global warming -- they will scare the shit out of you.