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March 3, 2014 at 6:25 AM
To drive across Snoqualmie Pass in mid- to late-Feburary was to play chicken with weather. The pass opened and closed like the Fremont Bridge, as state crews swept and re-swept the suddenly snowy pass. I was fool enough to nearly get stuck twice.
This traveler’s hassle, however, was a golden ticket for Northwest energy generation. On Feb. 4, The Bonneville Power Administration, which supplies about 30 percent of the Northwest’s electricity, estimated the snow-fueled stream flows would be 80 percent of average come spring snowmelt because of an usually dry winter. On Friday, the estimate had risen to 90 percent.
For BPA, which forecasts its surplus power sales, the February storms translate to a $30 million windfall. BPA spokesman Michael Hansen said the figure depends on continued favorable weather and energy market prices. But such a sudden change in snow pack, he said, is unusual.
Click on the regions below to see the change in snowpack since Jan. 1. For comparison, here’s the same graphic from Feb. 18.
*Snow water equivalent represents the depth of water in the snowpack, if the snowpack were melted, in inches.
Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service. (SEATTLE TIMES / GARLAND POTTS)
February 27, 2014 at 6:25 AM
Until 1973, homosexuality was medically classified as a mental disorder. The vestige of that fundamentally wrong notion — that same-sex attraction is an illness to be cured — lives on in the fringes of psychology through the practice of “gay conversion therapy.”
In the coming weeks, Washington should become the third state to ban such “treatments” for minors. A bill in the Legislature, HB 2451, is hung up in the Senate Health Care Committee. Chairwoman Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, told The Seattle Times last week she didn’t plan to put the measure up for a vote, and there wasn’t sufficient support in the Senate. Without a vote, the bill dies this week.
That’s a mistake.
Gay conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, is premised on the idea that sexual orientation is mutable, and that young gays and lesbians can be made into heterosexuals, often via religious counseling (hence the derisive title of “pray the gay away” therapy). The practice has a grim history; methods for forcing conversion include electroshock and ice water baths, administered while the patient watched gay porn. In legislative testimony, Daniel Cords of Seattle said he tried suicide “more times than I could count” after being forced into reparative therapy by fundamentalist parents.
Failing to put HB 2451 up for a vote is also a mistake because the politics here are clear. The House passed it 94-4. Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, told The Tri-City Herald the therapy was ”cruel and unusual,” and ”reminiscent of a country different than America.” Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Centralia, on the House floor described his change from being skeptical to being convinced that some conversion therapy practices “border on child abuse.” Watch his testimony below.
If the bill gets a vote in the Senate Health Care Committee, it will pass the whole Senate easily, according to Sens. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Marco Liias, D-Everett, who’ve championed the bill. Hearing concerns about religious freedom, amendments were passed on the House floor that emphasized the ability for pastors to counsel their flock. The bill only applies to therapy given to minors.
Nor is there any apparent legal barrier to HB 2451. The federal 9th Circuit Court (of which Washington is a member) upheld the California ban on reparative therapy, making a lawsuit here untenable.
Here are the major medical groups that have warned that gay conversion therapy is based on bunk science and is potentially harmful: the U.S. Surgeon General (in 2001), the American Academy of Pediatrics (1983), the American Psychiatric Association (2000), the American Psychological Association (1997), the National Association of Social Work (1997) and the American Counseling Association (1998).
Bottling up HB 2451 would put the Majority Coalition Caucus on the wrong side of history.
February 25, 2014 at 6:25 AM
The Cascade Bicycle Club got valuable real estate on Monday with a front page Seattle Times story on the club’s pivot toward a “more inclusive” recreation-first group. But the CBC took advantage with a rather a creepy email to members. (Yes, I’m a member.)
Here’s an excerpt:
Let me introduce myself. I’m Bike “I’m smarter than you” Bot, the Director of Cascade’s Intelligence Agency.*
I’m not human. I’m an internet program that’s been trolling through how many emails you’ve been opening from the Cascade Bicycle Club and how many actions you’ve been taking.** (more…)
February 18, 2014 at 6:25 AM
At a meeting of Washington state county administrators last year, Jim Jones said one budget-busting scenario provoked the biggest wave of anxiety among the budget officers: a death penalty murder prosecution.
Jones, the Clallam County administrator and then-president of the Washington County Administrative Association, told me that five counties said the same thing: “If we had a death penalty case, and had to pay $1 million (in legal costs), we’d go bankrupt.”
In an editorial calling for the repeal of the death penalty, The Seattle Times editorial board cited the enormous cost of capital punishment. Counties, with the duty of paying for courts, front much of the cost. The most comprehensive study comparing the cost of death and non-death sentence murder cases estimated the difference at $1 million – including the costs of lifetime incarceration. Counties have to pay for multiple top-end, death-penalty-qualified lawyers, experts, investigations and trials that stretch weeks, if not months. (more…)
February 11, 2014 at 6:25 AM
The notion of inviting venture capitalists into the state human services system sounds, I’ll admit, a bit creepy. When I heard that notion was floating around the 2014 Legislature, my thoughts went to the private prison industry and its dismal race-to-the-bottom practices.
But as Tuesday’s Seattle Times editorial suggests, the notion, in HB 2337, deserves a second look. So-called “social impact bonds” are racing around public-policy circles, embraced by the left (the Center for American Progress write-up) and from the libertarian right (Reason Foundation’s write up). (more…)
February 10, 2014 at 12:16 PM
In an ideal world, the news that Michael Sam, an All-American college football player likely headed to the NFL, is gay would be treated with a shrug. Of course, there are gay men and women in professional sports, just as there have been gay astronauts, gay military officers and so on.
We’re not in an ideal world. Ending bigotry is a slow march, but it has accelerated in the past decade. Sam, 24, and his future NFL teammates are part of a generation in which same-sex marriage is increasingly a given (17 states and counting). The millennial generation (born after 1981) supports same-sex marriage by a 2-to-1 margin, according to the 2013 Pew Research Center poll below. The welcoming reaction from Sam’s Missouri football teammates (coach Gary Pinkel told CBS he was “proud” of Sam) is not an anomaly. It reflects changed politics.
Reaction to Sam’s coming out may focus on the one-third, as well as the older, less tolerant members of the generation running NFL franchises.
But the Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, the Super Bowl MVP, reflects the ideal-world shrug, which I suspect that sentiment is more pervasive in the NFL than anyone knows. He tweeted:
There is no room for bigotry in American sports. It takes courage to change the culture.
— Malcolm Smith (@MalcSmitty) February 10, 2014
The NFL itself made a good showing of tolerance. ”We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”
ESPN writer LZ Granderson writes, Michael Sam is not “a novelty.” He notes the history of out former NFL players, including ex-Husky David Kopay, who had dinner with Sam last night, and Wade Davis, who is advising Sam. That support will help.
And more importantly, Sam has talent. Undeniable, pro-level talent. The kind of talent that would make the prospect of him not being drafted, not being signed, not having his cleats laced up on Sundays perhaps the most blatant form of pop culture homophobia since Ellen DeGeneres was chased off of television in 1998.
Here’s hoping the Seahawks — with a strong unconventional coach and a urbane fan base in a state that just legalized gay marriage, and a city that just elected its first gay mayor — will give Sam a chance to lace them up. Judging by his highlight reel, Sam is a sack monster.
February 5, 2014 at 6:20 AM
The Seattle Seahawks are throwing the 12th Man the biggest super-sized party Seattle has seen since 1979. And they’re picking up the bill.
The Seahawks’ city-issued parade permit includes standard costs for traffic control, said Jeff Reading, Mayor Ed Murray’s spokesman. Costs above that – including a call-out of “every available police officer,” according to a city source – will be paid for by the Seahawks.
How much that will be is a secret, for now. Seattle police don’t disclose costs for big events in advance, for security reasons. (more…)
January 30, 2014 at 6:08 AM
As the Seahawks and Broncos prepare for Sunday’s Super Bowl game, I am taking on Denver Post editorial writer Jeremy Meyer on why Seattle tops Denver in any contest.
- My take: What’s with the John Denver obsession?
- Jeremy Meyer: “Boast Mode: 5 reasons Denver beats Seattle”
Also check out our previous smack talk with the San Francisco Chronicle leading up to the NFC Championship Game.
My take: What’s with the John Denver obsession?
For hating on a Seahawks opponent, Denver is a bit of a letdown.
It is no smug San Francisco, and Broncos coach John Fox, who recently had open-heart surgery, is not the sideline performance artist John Harbaugh is. Instead, Denver is Spokane on steroids, quaint Midwestern charm amid suburbs sprawling across the prairie. Its most famous dish is deep-fried bull testicles; (more…)
January 29, 2014 at 8:29 AM
As former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords urged the Legislature in Olympia to expand background checks for gun purchases, President Obama was polishing up a State of the Union speech that urged Congress “to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters and our shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.”
Both are futile gestures. (more…)
January 27, 2014 at 1:05 PM
Wandering around Denver on assignment a year ago, I couldn’t decide if it was Bend, Ore., on steroids (an outdoor recreation and beer valhalla) or Spokane’s big brother, predictable Americana sprawling across the plains. This week, the Seattle Times and the Denver Post will be trading some good-natured urban trash talk in advance of the Super Bowl. The Seattle Times’ Sharon Chan did so with the San Francisco Chronicle before the NFC championship; the Chronicle’s Marshall Kilduff compared Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to “the guy in the Viagra commercials.”
Time to amp it up for the Super Bowl. How do Denver and Seattle stack up – on culture, food, music, work and life, as well as football? Send us your thoughts and help us lob some shots across the Continental Divide… with more force than Peyton Manning’s “ducks.”