Thursday, July 27, 2006

More library stuff

Run down of the Olympia city council committee meeting I went to

An idea to expand library services in Oly for $10,000 and up to 2 FTEs

Danger of echo-chambers

From Community Mobilization:
My fear is that as we use nice site and networks that we will simply put on blinder to outside opinion and ideas. As we exist in a closed world with similar minded friends are we creating a large collection of echo-chambers and eradicating discussion and discourse? As our country and even the world polarizes more each day is it such a good idea to shut out thoughts and opinions that differ from your own? I think healthy discussion and confrontation will heal us all as long as we are willing and open to new ideas and opinions. Our current political crisis is a perfect example of what happens when you create an echo-chamber around your specific views of the world.
This is the same fear the Cass Sunstein wrote about in Republic dot com, basically using the linking logic of the internet to say that no one is likely going to link with someone they disagree with.

Maybe we should though, maybe we should work harder to reach out to people we disagree with than back slap folks we like. I don't know.

It brings up two thoughts for me. Locally, Olyblog has become a nice, non-partisan place for folks of different political beliefs to dialogue like adults. They even get something accomplished by learning. Good example of what I think Sunstein and Randal would like in an alternative.

A conservative blogger in Washington (Patrick at RR) recently voiced the need for a non-partisan, or maybe omnipartisan, group site like Washblog.

Then, of course, there is the open letter at wikia.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Olympia's first elected blogger

Hat tip to Rick.

Rich Nafziger ealier this month launched Naflog, the first blog of an elected official (that I know of) in Olympia (aside from a couple really nice PCOs). As a school board member, he blogs about educational issues, and to his great credit, it seem that he has put the word out to his fellow board members so they can join the conversation.

Actually, it seems that conversation is at the center of why he started blogging:
This is my first blog and I am starting this with the biggest thing that is on my mind. And that is the failure of our education system to meet the needs of both our new economy and all of our kids. I want to start today by laying out my case. Each day I hope to build on it. I don't have all the answers but I'm desperate for the conversation. Please respond if you are willing.
It is nice to hear a politician (I know, just school board, but still pretty important) not only say that he doesn't have all the answers, but that he wants to talk.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Andy's wanderings #2: Maria Cantwell was not elected to FERC

This is the second of my irregular series keeping an eye on Andy Maris over at Thurston Pundits. I did my first post without really intending to make it a series, but I guess since this is the second, let's go ahead and serialize it. This came about because I've tried commenting on his blog, but with no luck. Oh well, this is the internet and a referencing post is as good as a comment sometimes.

A few days ago Andy wrote about Maria Cantwell and her problem with making an issue over Enron. Other than it being somewhat sexist ("take a letter?"), he ignores or doesn't recognize how the federal government is broken down. Here is his post, or at least the good part:
Why is Cantwell campaigning on problems she created? Saving the voters from Enron? Maria, Enron screwed us on your watch. You’re a lot like the fireman that sets houses on fire to look like a hero for putting them out.
Senators are not members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, under whose watch "Enron screwed us." Maria is more like doing something about the fireman that sets houses on fire. This is what FERC does, if you were wondering:
[FERC] Regulates the transmission and wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce;

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sam Hunt is right

When he heard that a former Tenino city councilmember was beginning his quixotic campaign for his state house seat, Sam Hunt said:
“First of all, I think it’s healthy to have opposition. It’s a two-party system and entering into the debate and priorities, I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Hunt said. “The system is not to anoint; it’s to elect.”
Even if a Republican hasn't been elected in the 22nd for almost 30 years now and if two years ago no one was surprised when a relativly well financed Republican was destroyed, competition is still good.

Elections should mean something, even if it is Sam Hunt destroying a Republican.

Ryan Blenthen, 18 to 35 and the cluetrain

Ryan Blenthen at the Times wrote a column about engaging folks between 18 and 35.

Two briefings produced by Democratic and Republican pollsters and put out by Young Voter Strategies are a great example of political parent-ism: chock-full of statistics, and different rosy interpretations on the same numbers. To be fair, party strategists are the target, not young voters. One can easily imagine how the Democratic and Republican national committees will push gas prices, health care and college affordability, the topics that polled important to this age group.

18to35, another organization focused on younger voters, has put out The 18-30 VIP. (For aged readers 31 and up, VIP stands for Voter Issues Paper.) In an effort to appeal to the demographic, the VIP is promoted with pictures of enthusiastic 18-to-30-year-olds flanked by big-time wrestlers. (Is big-time wrestling still in? Seems so sixth grade to me.)

Regardless of the tortured delivery mechanism, the VIP lists five good questions — on the economy, Iraq and national security, education, health care and Social Security — one can put forth to candidates.

Taken together, what Pew, Young Voter Strategies and 18to35 have found important give a more complete idea of what politicians are faced with when approaching younger voters: many of the same things voters of all ages are worried about.

This information is useful, but there have to be other issues younger voters believe important. Some of this 33-year-old's top concerns — international relations, media consolidation, First Amendment issues, technological and government interface (like Internet network neutrality) and the creation of a viable third party — have not been mentioned.

He also mentions earlier in the piece that if the younger voters don't turn out, it isn't because a lack of effort by the parties. I'm not sure if it is a lack of effort, or the wrong king of effort. The kind of issue based communication, rather than thinking about the kind of communication they're using.

Instead of focusing on finding an issue to plug into the same old thing communication plan (you know, the kind that tends to drive down voter turn out), why not try something new? Anyway, Ryan asks us youngins to send him an email with his thoughts (rblethen at seattletimes.com), so here is mine:
Mr. Blenthen,

More than anything we want authenticity. We're the generation of cable television, telemarketing, infomercials, and junk mail. We don't want to be sold, rather, we want to be engaged.

Politicians will speak to our generation, ironically not with policy or issues, but rather with the way they engage us. For many of Democrats a bit older than me, Howard Dean was a fire brand anti-war candidate. He was the perfect opposition to George W. Bush, for them. But, I supported Dean because (or rather because Joe Trippi) engaged supporters in the campaign. It wasn't another top down campaign, but rather one that brought people in.

We want politicians that listen and we want politics that isn't one way or the other. We want solutions that aren't wrapped in marketing disguised as ideology. To borrow a phrase from cluetrain (http://www.searls.com/cluetrain/), we want politics to be a conversation not a monologue.

Thanks,
Emmett O'Connell
Olympia

Friday, July 21, 2006

I shouldn't be allowed to have a blog

For the past couple weeks comments have been pilling up here at Olympia Time, and I was too dumb to do anything about it.

What. A. Gomer.

Anyway, sorry to Kari, Mark (the nice libertarian), Brenda and Switzer. Emmett owes you something nice.

Save the Olympia Library Board

I have a surprisingly lot to say on this topic. But, here is the good part:
Libraries don't just provide recreational services. If they did, there would be little argument from for folding the Library Board. Actually, since recreational reading isn't much in terms of a government service, I wouldn't argue when they started cutting funding for it.

But, the library is much more than recreational reading, it is at the heart of the purpose of education in America. Because of this valuable mission, it is even more vital to have an avenue of citizen engagement in how the library is run.

And, if we can retool the board to help focus this mission even more, so much the better.
Here is the old post on this topic, before I knew they were thinking of shutting the board down.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Your Local News Daily : Seattle's second (online) daily

Who ever ends up buying the King County Journal could end up on the better end of the Puget Sound newspaper wars, or at the much cooler end. If the eventual buyer of the Journal (and its other properties)

The Journal has been suffering while the PI and the Times position themselves for a time when their JOA no longer binds them together:

High-tech folks were swarming to the Eastside, and they weren't reading the paper. Despite the Eastside's massive growth, not only did the Journal's market share decline, its real circulation plummeted. Losses mounted, and Horvitz eventually combined the paper with the South County Journal into the present King County Journal, a measure that may have saved money but declared loyalty to a region that pretty much only exists on paper. People in Medina don't give a damn about people in Kent, and vice versa. The combined circulation of the two Journals was 66,000 in 1994; it's now down to 40,000.

One of the frustrating things about the Journal has been a tendency to be late to the game in producing a paper for an increasingly sophisticated market. It's long read like your dad's slippers-and-pipe suburban rag, the journalistic equivalent of Chace's Pancake Corral, a Bellevue diner with the down-home feel of a 1960s suburban golfer's rec room. Quite late, the Journal had few reporters covering the emergence of Microsoft or Nintendo—stories of national import that were in the Journal's backyard. And you'd think a newspaper in the heart of the Silicon Forest would have a state-of-the-art Web site, but the Journal's has always been a clunker.

It is assumed one of the Seattle papers will fold eventually, leaving the other the King of All Seattle. But, who ever ends up with the Journal could have something to say about that.

Take, for example, what's going on down in Portland. Pamplin Media owns a chain of suburban weeklies around Portland and publishes a very popular free twice weekly inside Portland (the Tribune). They top it of with a radio station. Every single property produces news, and now, produces content for one big online daily (actually more than daily) newspaper.

Similarly, the King County Journal sale will include not only the Journal itself (and its commercial printing press), but also two other weeklies and seven every other weeklies. This may be a more modest empire than Pamplin's in Oregon, but it could be the start of a web-enabled media group,focusedd mainly on producing less than daily real print newspapers and a real time online news product.

The PI and Times already do pretty well online, but it would be interesting to see someone try to make a go at it mainly online.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

There's a difference between a Horseman and a Hotelier

Eric, the new guy at SoundPolitics is doing a good job so far, I think. He doesn't employ the term "nutroots," going for the more refined "netroots enthusiasts." Which is very nice, I'll take that. I'm an enthusiast of many things, the netroots included.

But, he doesn't know the difference between Wheat and a Five Star Hotel:

All that indicates the voters in the 5th Congressional District have seen something about Cathy McMorris they like. On top of that, she's doing well in office, taking leadership positions and working well on behalf of her district. So could someone please explain to me why liberal bloggers think Peter Goldmark is the "real deal" to take her out?

McMorris' race isn't listed on any of the independent, national watch lists for Congressional races; not the Cook Political Report, not Larry Sabato's Center for Politics, not the National Journal. In addition, McMorris is easily outpacing Goldmark in fundraising.

Peter Goldmark seems like a decent, well-meaning fellow based on perusing his website. But that doesn't mean in the least he's a challenger to watch this election cycle. Yet more evidence the netroots is more anti-Republican emotionalism than serious political thought.
Since, Don Barbieri got trounced by McMorris a couple of years ago, logic would follow that any Democrat at all would also lose. Not so, because there is a big difference between Pete and Don.

For all his good qualities, Don ran very poorly outside of Spokane. Very poorly. This isn't something that a person like Goldmark would repeat.

And, even though he outspent McMorris, well... he also outspent McMorris, making it look sometimes that with his money, he could buy the seat.

And, for Pete's sake, there is a big cultural difference between Don and Pete. What do you think that matters? This isn't simply about putting a Democrat in a cowboy hat and marching him around eastern Washington. Heck, you could have put Barbieri in a cowboy hat and it wouldn't have mattered.

What matters is the substantive differences between Barbieri and Goldmark. One is runs hotels, the other horses.

Plus, this year doesn't have Rossi vs. Gregoire and Bush vs. Kerry putting everything into context. This is pretty much Goldmark vs. McMorris time.

The Inlander has a pretty good article about the differences too, check it out:

I couldn't imagine Barbieri losing to a woman who could do no better than top one vacuous statement with another. Then, one day, maybe three weeks before the election, I drove our college-age son down to Walla Walla to look over Whitman College, and I found my answer. By the time we arrived, it was clear: Barbieri had no chance. None whatsoever. From the city line to Walla Walla, all we saw were McMorris signs. Outside of Spokane, Barbieri was invisible.

Goldmark has good reason to believe he can do much better than did Barbieri in the rural areas and small towns. (It would be impossible to do worse.) And he must be tempted to go directly after Congresswoman McMorris' most obvious vulnerability, her... ah, shall we say, aversion to substance? Then, if he can win in Spokane, maybe he can pull off an upset.

Get Rich Quick With I-933

"Get Rich Quick with Measure 37" was the best anti-campaign against the proto-933. It lacked money, radio or tv ads, but what it had was the perfect message:
Are you like me? Do you want to make money fast? In Oregon, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do exactly this.

I came to Oregon from Southern California only a few years ago. But I am outraged and disgusted by the ridiculous laws that you Oregonians have. Over 150 years of "commonsense" regulations lockout our ability to make fast money from Oregon land.

FORTUNATELY, ONCE PASSED, MEASURE 37 ELIMINATES ALL ZONING; ELIMINATES ALL LAND-USE REGULATIONS; AND ELIMINATES ALL LAWS THAT PREVENT US FROM MAKING MONEY IN LAND SPECULATION!

As a born-and-bred capitalist, it is my duty to profit from Measure 37. As I like to say, "get yours while the gettin's good!"
By comparison, the official No on 37 campaign (Take Another Look Oregon) was weak, confusing in terms of their message, and didn't effectively counter the pro-campaign's fairness argument.

Granted Get Rich Quick with Measure 37 was satirical, but it swept away all the mush of the "its confusing, it will increase red tape" message and hits the nail right on the head: "Measure 37 (I-933) will destroy your neighborhood."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Chris G. is bloggy: June 30-July 1 was RSS days

If I'd have known, I would have celebrated.

United for Washington: the new business political party

An interesting note on Andrew's and Dennis' posts the last couple of days on the "Walking for Washington" program. I googled Walking for Washington, and came up with a group called United for Washington. In addition to the BIAW, the Faith and Freedom network, and others, UfW is behind the WfW program.

At first they seem like a 527 type group or a PAC. Taking money in and then spreading it to their favorite (business of course) type political causes. But, if you go to the their "vision" website, you see they have a much grander scheme for things (emphasis mine):
United for Washington has the leadership and vision to build a pro-business political campaigning infrastructure-- working with private sector partners and business oriented organizations and associations, United for Washington recognizes that the business coalition is the new political party and encourages business owners and CEOÂ’s to lead politically engaged companies:
  • Where the exclusive focus is business competitiveness;
  • Where business candidates are identified, recruited and trained and;
  • Where opportunities, responsibilities and resources are shared statewide.
And if that wasn't clear enough for you, this is right next to that:
The Business Coalition is the new Political Party
No kidding. No Democrats, no Republicans. Not even our nice, civil libertarians. Certainly not the Greens. But, rather businesss is the political party.

I'd be naivee to think that business hasn't been involved in politics since ever, but to come out and say in such strong terms that it isn't about participating in existing political structures.

They're not interested in electing a few conservatives to the Washington state Supreme Court. They aren't interested in a few candidates for the King County Council or even lobbying for some new laws. They want to change politics, they want a business party.

Libertarians and good talk

For a group of people with whom I share nearly no political or philosophical connection, I have a lot of respect for libertarians (or is it Libertarians?). A lot of my respect comes from that they don't stray far from their core beliefs. If you run across a libertarian, you can be pretty sure where they stand. This has a good deal to do with that they're a small party, but that is beside the point.

The point is that I dove into a comment thread over at South Puget Sound Libertarian, and I'm having a very good time. Mark made a good point that the term "democracy" has become a very loose term lately, and has been bandied about in political dialogue to the point it just means "good."

Soon to be heard on the street:

Person 1: So, how was your day?

Person 2: Pretty damn democratic. How was yours?

Anyway, that got me thinking about democracy overseas and the so-called democratic revolution (a guilty pleasure of mine), and well, you can read the comment thread. We may not agree on much, but man... Good Talk.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More on this later, but Moreperfect.org is a great idea

More perfect is asking us to rewrite the Washington state constitution, redefine our state priorities and write our own voters guide.

This. Is. Great.

Download the KUOW story featuring the Moreperfect's Timothy Killian here (Mp3 file).

David Postman
has a great piece on it from a week ago.

Why does God hate Washington? Larsen says no...

Boy, Larsen sure did play the straight man. From the Colbert Report last night:

Businesses for Clean Water

From Andy's point of view, businesses are good, until they start agitating for things like clean water:
Last week it surfaced that the Taylor Shellfish company was working to boon doggle Pierce County residents to harvest shellfish up there. Keep in mind, once this happens every resident in the county will be on the hook to make sure those beds are harvestable (aka corporate environmental welfare). It was no surprise to find that the Taylor machine is also on the payroll of the Gregoire machine and vice versa.

The line these crooks gave in Thurston County: “No one has the right to pollute someone out of business” with regards to ramming through the Henderson Inlet Septic O&M program. Nice logic, but it had little to do with the tax and regulation imposed. The net result; every homeowner in the watershed pays an extra $30-80 bucks a year in property tax to support a FTE over at the county in order to collect the money and print permits so people can legally flush their toilets.

Filling out the Leftyblogs blogroll

Mr. Ballard of Vashon/ King County reminded me of something here, that we should double check to see if our favorite local blogs are on Lefty Blogs. I'll admit, I'm lazy, and even though I use the Thunderbird reader at home, I check Lefty Blogs instead of updating all of the blogs on the reader.

It is just easier, and I'm assuming most folks who want to plug into the local Washington/Puget blog scene will use it as well instead of setting up blog subscriptions on a reader.

To that end, I noticed that The (liberal) Girl Next Door wasn't listed at the blog roll at LB, so I added it. Anyone else we're missing?

Also, SLOG is one of the best blogs, do you think it qualifies?

UPDATE: Oh yeah, and Sightline's Daily Score. The old Cascade Scorecard is there, but no one ever added the new Daily Score.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wa-Dems: Engage in the blogosphere

In the past couple of days I got two emails about the IsThisMikeOn.org website. One from Dwight Pelz, the other from a staffer at the DSCC back east. The website, by the way is a great idea, super even.

Check the emails out though:

In case you haven’t seen it yet, I just wanted to give you a heads up about a new website launched by the Washington State Democratic Party, IsThisMikeOn.org. McGavick’s touring around the state in an RV but Democrats, led by the grassroots “Mike Check Squad”, will attend his events and ask him the questions that he continues to dodge.

The site has a place to submit questions you want Mike to answer and share your stories of encounters with the MikeÂ’s gimmicky tour. Thanks and let me know if youÂ’d rather not get emails like this in the future.

Link to the Press release

Link to Is This Mike On?

Weldon W. Kennedy
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Internet Communications Staffer

and...
Dear Friends,

As Mike McGavick gases up his campaign RV and hits the road, he continues to duck the issues and avoid answering tough questions. It’s understandable that McGavick would be less than “open” about where he stands, because when he does take a clear position he’s right in line with President Bush and out of step with Washington state.

Mike McGavick talks about being straightforward with Washingtonians, but he hasnÂ’t offered a single plan for how heÂ’s going to help WashingtonÂ’s working families deal with the real issues they face every day.

Washington state deserves better. Mike needs to turn his mic on and come clean about where he stands.

With that in mind, we’ll be responding to Mike’s empty rhetoric by joining him on the road with the “Is This Mike On?” tour. The “Mike-Check Squad” will tag along with Mike, making sure “Mr. Transparent” answers voter’s questions about the issues they care about and that Mike tells the truth about his positions. We’ll be right there, wherever Mike is, checking to see if Mike’s mic is really on.

For more information about Mike McGavick and the “Mike-Check Squad”, check out our new website at:

www.IsThisMikeOn.org

Sincerely
Dwight Pelz
Washington State Democratic Party Chair
While Dwight sent his email out to every Democrat who has signed up for the state party's email list, Weldon seems to have searched out the Washington blogosphere and found email addresses for local bloggers.

Does it bother anyone else that a DSCC staffer seems to have a better idea of the Washington bloggers than the Washington Democratic Party?

That the state party didn't (and for all I know doesn't) send emails to bloggers seems have been born out in that only three bloggers (now four) are linking to IsThisMikeOn.org, and one of them is "Respectfully Republican."

IsThisMikeOn.org is a great idea, it needs great promotion too. I'm not saying that I'm so special, someone should email me every time someone moves up in Seattle, but what is so hard about writing a Washblog diary or emailing some of the bigger bloggers around?

Gerrymandering on Radio Open Source Monday

Related to a very fun Washblog thread, Gerrymandering will be the topic on Radio Open Source on Monday.

For the record, Washington state has a bi-partisan redistricting commission that takes the job of actually drawing the lines away from the legislature. The leg of course approves the lines, but they don't have to get their hands dirty actually drawing them.

Just having a separate commission doesn't make a perfect system though, as the partisans on the commission can still make deals with each other not to create a competitive district in an area where there could simply be safe ones.

In one corner, the forces of good, in the other... bitterness

Cross posted at MyDD

The difference between the Bad Boss contest sponsored by Working America (AFL-CIO) and the SEIU's Since Sliced Bread contest redoubles my already heald impressions of both organizations. It also reinforces the two ways liberals/Democratics/Progressives are approaching things these days.

The AFL-CIO represents bad politics: bitter, tearing down, win at all costs (also represented by the DSCC and the DCCC).

The SEIU represents a positive, constructive, win as much as we can, but make it all good, type of politics (also represented by the DNC's 50 state strategy).

No on I-933: It is all about protecting communities

UPDATE: Darryl at Hominid View says it better than I.

Just to say it again, let us make it about protecting communities, not about red tape or costing government or writing an unclear initiative, because all we care about is our own lives, not how unclear things are. Because, boy it sure sounds good.

Amen brothers and sisters:

Horseman's Trail is a proposed 116-unit subdivision that would be located on 23 acres of steep, environmentally sensitive property in the Picnic Point area between Mukilteo and Edmonds. Many local residents are asking Snohomish County not to approve the subdivision. Under I-933, the county would have only two choices: allow the development, or pay the developer what the subdivision would be worth — potentially millions of dollars.

In Mill Creek, many residents are concerned that a proposed 24/7 Wal-Mart store will have significant adverse impacts on traffic, public safety and the environment. I-933 would leave the community no choice but to approve the development, because the cost of paying the value of a huge Wal-Mart store would simply be too high for local taxpayers.

Little Bear Creek, and the rural land around it that protects the sensitive chinook habitat and headwaters to Lake Sammamish, is under heavy pressure for urban development from some of the largest developers in the area. The county is hoping to adopt and implement a low-impact-development ordinance in an attempt to protect Little Bear Creek when urban development is allowed in the future. It will do little good if I-933 passes.

In the Maltby-Clearview area, motocross tracks in the old Rinker gravel pit and rural cluster subdivisions south of Highway 522 in Echo/Paradise Lakes' aquifer recharge areas will continue to jeopardize the drinking water of existing homeowners if I-933 passes. No one will be able to stop the rural area turning into a myriad of mega-home septics and noisy racetracks, which will not only disrupt peace and quiet with more cars on the winding rural roads, but will potentially destroy the water quality and character of these rural neighborhoods.

Those are current examples. Voters should reject I-933 in November or the number of similar cases will increase exponentially. In fact, I-933 would allow irresponsible development to occur almost anywhere, regardless of neighborhood standards. The result will be "open season" on neighborhoods across the state. Farmland would be up for grabs, too, as poorly planned growth leapfrogs into rural areas, creating more traffic.

I-933 is a bad idea for Washington. It takes local communities out of the discussion and takes away a neighborhood's right to decide how it will look in the future.

Would a non-partisan initiative pass in Washington?

While we wait on the 9th Circuit Court to announce a ruling on the Top Two primary, we can imagine the eventual response by the Grange if they end up upholding the lower court decision baring the Top Two system.

I think the next logical step for the Grange, while they've never said this, is to file another initiative making every statewide elected office and legislative seat non-partisan. While is would no have any impact on the partisan affiliation of any candidate, it would make partisan primaries a moot point.

The idea of non-partisan legislative seats may get an interesting test this November when Pierce County votes on making their county council non-partisan. While, the county executive will stay a partisan official under this proposal, all other county offices, including all other county wide electeds, will shed their partisan lables, at least on the ballot.

How Pierce County votes on this issue will tell us a lot about how Washington could see it in a couple of years. Pierce is one of the large urban Puget Sound counties that typically sway statewide elections and has swung in recent years.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mosul on Bridgeport Way

A job ad from the Olympian (found again the TNT) this morning:
ROLE PLAYERS NEEDED Arabic
ROLE PLAYERS NEEDED Arabic speakers $20 HR DET/OP $13.16 DD214 COBs M/F $11.70 Call SMI 253-588-7529
The SMI in the ad is SMI Global Mission Support, an outfit with two locations, each right next to a major Army facility. Apparently, what they try to do is create real world scenarios for soldiers before they deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Some of their services include:
Civilians on the Battlefield

Leaders are trained to consider the presence of Civilians in areas of operations and their potential impact on tactics, maneuver, logistics, cultural and language barriers; thus differentiate the various categories of people commonly encountered on the modern battlefield.

Role Players (both native language speakers and non-FLS) portray:

  • Civic, political, religious and academic leaders.
  • The media
  • Noncombatants, including local residents and refugees.
  • International organizations, non-government organizations, contractors.
  • Potential intelligence sources.
Realism Enhancement

SMI provides a wide variety of props to enhance training realism by creating the "touch and feel" of the AO. We provide:
  • Regionally specific attire, signs, posters, flyers, jewelry, etc.
  • Loudspeakers broadcasting culturally authentic music.
  • Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES)Capable, simulated air soft rifles, AK-47, M-16, and 9-mm simulated military grade arms with blank firing adapters and the required number of blank rounds per training day per unit.
  • Simulated RPG-7 missiles, explosive vests, PKM machine guns.
  • Simulated improvised explosive devices (IED), such as: booby traps, roadside bombs, pipe bombs, coke can bombs, cigarette bombs, artillery rounds, trash bag bombs (inflated, fuel-air explosives filled with air and wired to simulate detonators), anti-tank mines, rockets, TNT, C-4, baby doll bombs, and football bombs.
and,
Detainee Operations

Soldiers are trained in handling EPWs in a fair and humane manner in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Proper handling of EPWs is critical to securing intelligence leads crucial to military survival.
  • Initial Point of Capture and Screening Process
  • Utilization of non-lethal methods of apprehension and control
  • Conducting proper search techniques
  • Detainne Role-Play

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Website colors: wa-democrats.org and McGavick/Safeco


It was strange today, I was going to write two blog posts which basically came down to what I thought about color choices, so I figure its better to do them all at once than spitting them up.

First, what is going on with the new wa-democrats.org. I take Dwight seriously when he says "is a work in progress . We will add features so that it continues to meet your needs," so I can not be disapointed when I realize they took the RSS feed down and didn't do much of anything new at all. Suffice to say, not cluetrain.

(At least it isn't a cut and paste of the national party's website.)

Worst of all, they seemed to have added a strange shade of green. Very strange shade. Reminds me of... some kind of soup. Anyway, the colors were better on the old site.

Despite lacking any interactive features, such as a blog or a calendar with tags that anyone can contribute to, there are some entertaining parts of the site.

For example, since I'm not using a Microsoft browser, it takes me a bit longer to navigate the site. When I mouse over one of the drop down menus on top, the menu appears half way down the page, and disapears before I can reach it.

There is also a what-we-need list for all of the coordinated campaign offices. Some are very specific about food:
* Food
o Snacks
o Bulk Pretzels and Trail Mix
o Dried Fruit
o Nuts
o Sweets of any kin
* Drinks
o Coffee
o Soda
o Juice
o Bottled Water
o Energy Drinks
o Creamer

On to McGavick: Why do you think the McGavick campaign chose the Safeco corporate colors? Seems a bit odd.

I didn't realize this until I was in Oregon for the holiday and we drove by a Safeco corporate office and in the corner of my eye I thought I saw a McGavick sign. "In Oregon??" I thought, but no, just Safeco.

Are they hoping to evoke some kind of connection between Washington's deep love for their home grown insurance company? Becuase, I'm not sure we have a deep love. Are they simply Mike!'s favorite colors?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Edwards seems to get it, or he might just know to say the right thing

At Gnomedex in Seattle, Edwards says what other 2008 donkeys should all be saying, knowing and putting into practice. It isn't about the technology, it is what the technology does to the conversation. It opens it up, calls for more acoutability, accesability and authenticity.

Seattle PI:
"I'm trying to retrain and recondition myself when I get asked question to actually answer it -- to not say what I've been trained to say, to not say what's careful and cautious," said the former U.S. senator from North Carolina

...

One recurring theme mixed the two areas. Several in the audience stressed the importance of authenticity in politics, and the potential for blogs and other technology to give Americans a more accurate view of campaigns and the legislative process by getting closer to what's really going on.

Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, are already blogging, offering digital videos and using text messages as part of the anti-poverty initiatives they're now leading. Other politicians and campaigns also have embraced blogs, following Howard Dean's early success with that strategy in the 2004 presidential primaries.

But one Gnomedex attendee pointed out that the human voice so fundamental to blogs contrasts with the practiced messages delivered by many politicians.

Edwards agreed, and acknowledged his own shortcomings in that regard, saying that he can often sense when he is slipping into that mode.

"The problem is that we're so trained and so conditioned over a long period of time that being normal and real and authentic requires you to shed that conditioning," Edwards said of politicians. "It is not an easy thing to do."