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    • The shape shifters in their usual form.
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To Israel

Go get ’em.

Empties

I’m a little embarrassed at how long it took me to figure out the I-90 express lanes. Having grown up on the Eastside, I thought all express lanes were like I-90’s: always going the wrong direction, generally space that could be better used for traffic going both directions (by adding an additional lanes to each side), or perhaps not even there at all. Later on, I learned that I-5’s express lanes generally work better. But this still left me confused about the real purpose behind I-90’s express lanes.

A while back, I figured it out. An image I saw in the Seattle Times today confirmed what I had been thinking. From Sound Transit via the Seattle Times:

This digitally manipulated photo by Sound Transit shows a proposed light-rail system that would run alongside I-90 across Lake Washington.

(Further edited by yours truly.)

Various Empties

And I even like the walkway.

Journalists Don’t Understand Economics?

The Seattle Times’ Danny Westneat wrote about a “Glaring gap in Sea-Tac security

At the end of the article, he asks a question which led me to believe that Danny doesn’t have a firm grasp of economics. So, I attempted to provide some analysis for him. My response:

In your article, you ask: “Shouldn’t homeland security make more sense by now?”

No.

Why not, you ask?

– Who loses their job if those cameras aren’t turned on? (Nobody)
– Does SeaTac lose customers over this? (Nope, they are a monopoly on air travel in the region)
– What is the ultimate response? (SeaTac security – the very people who screwed up — get more money.)

In fact, it’s amazing that the right thing ever happens under these circumstances.

On the other hand:

– “Super” mall owners probably gave a bonus to the manager that secured this government money for the cameras. (This manager has a strong incentive to get the cameras to the mall)
– If something like this happens at the super mall, the negative press scares some customers away. (The mall has no monopoly, so they have to get it right or lose customers)
– Malls want to avoid theft to be more attractive to current and prospective tenants (The mall has a strong incentive to have cameras turned on)

Is it any wonder that the mall gets it right and that homeland security and the airport once again get it wrong?

Of course, its a whole lot easier as a journalist to simply ask “Shouldn’t homeland security make more sense by now?” and not provide any reasons. Much more striking article that gets people running around in “Do Something Syndromeland,” virtually ensuring that the end result is more tax money going towards the airport’s security. Sometimes I hate being right.

Published

The Daily, the University of Washington’s student newspaper, published a letter to the editor that I wrote — somewhat to my surprise.

The most interesting thing, perhaps, is that the title “Discrimination a sad fact of life” — is not mine (it was added by the editor). Also interesting is that I toned down the rhetoric quite a bit (ie, “as worthy as his cause may be”) to have a chance of being published — which is exactly the issue I was talking about.

The letter, published as far as I can tell in its entirety:

Discrimination a sad fact of life

“UW obligated to allow military recruitment on campus despite discriminatory policies against gays.” For me, this begs the question, is the UW also obligated to allow liberal professors on campus despite discriminatory policies against conservatives? This might explain why I, like many gays, always shy away from telling people what I really am and who I really voted for.

Although my experience here at the UW is limited (I am a transfer student), I have encountered through my years in the educational establishment several occasions where my grade was lowered for reasons that can only amount to political disagreements with professors.

I also know that my experience is not isolated, as many of my friends have reported similar abuses here at the UW and at other universities. I see this as a civil liberties issue. I feel that I am not free to express myself in this “you can hold any opinion as long as it agrees with mine” environment upheld by much of the faculty and student body.

When all discrimination — even “politically correct” discrimination like I face — is taken as seriously as the military’s discrimination against gays, maybe then we can have work on real solutions to the issue.

Until then, I can’t help but think of crusaders like Bryce McKibben — as worthy as their cause may be — as nothing more than political hacks, unable to see the forest through the trees.

— Ryan McElroy, Senior, bioengineering and computer enginering

Props to Hannah for letting me know it happened.

Happy April Fools

Google launches Google Romance.

Post yours in comments, or something.

Someone Is Provoking Us

LMFAO… “Someone is Provoking Us!”

The BAF (Brigade for the money of the French Taxpayers) standing up to the crybaby Muslims in Europe. This little stunt took some real balls!

Missing The Point

The Seattle Times reported yesterday (once again) on the number of voters that the King County Republican Party incorrectly challenged this last election. The article was titled “Voter-challenge errors mount.”

Inside the article we read “Most of the challenges appear to be valid.” Yet the emphasis is put on to hear-tearing quotes like

Harvey Hart said that when he received Logan’s letter informing him of the challenge, his first reaction was, “Why vote anymore?”

Well, I say, if thats all it takes to stop you from voting, I’m surprised you go to the trouble to leave your house to do it.

Again, the article:

Vance said Sotelo and other King County GOP officials now are reviewing each challenge “with a fine-tooth comb,” and expect to withdraw more. There won’t be many, he added รขโ‚ฌโ€ 40 tops. “The vast majority of our research has proven to be accurate,” Vance said.

But county Democratic Chairwoman Susan Sheary said the GOP had threatened the civil rights of the voters it challenged mistakenly. “Why didn’t they go through it with a fine-tooth comb before the fact?” she said.

Maybe they didn’t have time to use the fine-toothed comb before, because, um, there was an election coming up? And why does the King County Republican Party have to do this? Doesn’t it seem that maybe the elections department should be policing the elections roles? Where’s the article titled “Illegal Registrations at Elections Office Mount,” hmmm? And once again, isn’t the Democrat Chair missing the point — every valid voter’s civil rights are threatened for every illegal voter out there. On the other hand, the voting process of a few people got a little more complicated because of this challenege. Doesn’t the good that will come from this process far, far outweigh the hinderence? Or is the integrity of the system not important to you and your party? Well, we know its not the former…

An attorney for county Democrats sent a letter to Logan on Monday arguing that all remaining challenges should be thrown out because Republicans hadn’t provided all the information or used the forms that state law requires. But Logan has decided the challenges will proceed, elections spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.

I think Logan may be technically incorrect here, but he probably made the right decision, because, after all, most of the challeneged voter registrations probably are illegal and something should be done. After all, the voters didn’t follow the procedures when signing up, so why should someone else have to follow a procedure when un-signing them up? Besides, dragging this out creates more bad publicity (like the Seattle Times article) about the Republican Party, and certainly that fits Logan’s operating instructions.

Once again, “The office doesn’t know how many of the challenged voters voted, [elections spokeswoman Bobbie] Egan added.” Well, thats reassuring. If they don’t know that number, doesn’t that imply that the elections office didn’t remove their votes? Has nothing been fixed from the last go-around?