Wednesday, November 23, 2016

DOW Breaks 19,000!

Ahah! The DOW has reached an all-time high! Obviously this is a confirmation that the markets support the new administration!

Well, not quite. Part of it is that the economy has been throwing off healthy signs for quite some time now,and regardless of the propaganda off the campaign trail, we continue to see an upward trend. This is what in cooking terms is "carry-over heat" where the turkey's internal temp keeps rising even though you've killed the heat in the oven (pardon the analogy, but 'tis the season).

Part of the rise is that finally, for good or ill, is that things are over. The markets have been doldruming in the mid 18000s for a while now, waiting for the decision. Every investment operation had an "A" envelope and a "B" envelope, depending on the results. A lot of groups didn't have much in the "B" envelope since it didn't look likely, but still, at least there was an envelope. So systems are locked in place.

The weird thing is that no one is really sure what the "B" envelope exactly means. The new guy is fleeing the sweeping declarations he made to get elected at something approaching lightspeed, and no one is quite sure if he means what he is saying NOW or if he's going to heel-turn again. The level at which people are trying to figure out who's REALLY in charge is high, and probably will be with us for some time. This happened with the younger Bush, who conventional wisdom said was the not the brightest soul, but had his father's advisors. And look how that turned out.

So we're probably in for a period of unsettlement in the markets (and everywhere else). If asked if I know where this will go, I can only shrug my shoulders - we're in undetermined territory. I expect the usual suspects will look at this as a sign the "All Will Be Well", but most of these doofs were the same guys who have fretted with every step of the last 10,000 points on the DOW under the last guy. Perhaps I will get to the point of having to write "DOW Breaks 29,000!", which would be kinda cool, but I have my doubts.

More later,

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Play: Totally Modern Shakespeare

King Charles III by Mike Bartlett, Directed by David Muse, through 18 December, Seattle Repertory Theatre.

A very political play, set in an England of the very near future, where Her Majesty Elizabeth II has passed on, and Charles, her greying son, is finally taking the throne. And the new King goes to loggerheads with the Parliament almost immediately over a measure that would restrict Freedom of the Press. The new king is against such a measure, even though it might get the Barons of Fleet Street off his and his family's collective backs, and refuses to provide the royal signature to make it a law (no Pocket Veto in England). The Prime Minister denies that the Crown has the right to withhold its signature. And we are off to the races.

Interesting enough, but the play is written in blank verse. Which is to say iambic pentameter. Which is to say it is written in that lyrical fashion in which Shakespeare himself wrote. Which means the result feels like something off the stage of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the histories, transplanted into the present say, with rhyming couplets to end a scene that use the words "cell phone".

And much to my surprise, the entire thing works. Shakespeare stalks the halls of Buckingham Palace, where Young Prince Harry evokes Young Prince Hal, even as he fears his fate is to be Falstaff, Kate Middleton is possessed by the spirit of Lady MacBeath, and yes, a ghost of a dead royal shows up. (Or maybe two. I wrote an essay back in college about whether the ghost of Hamlet was singular or plural - it applies here as well). The language among the Brit elites and the people flows naturally for all its poetic, non-rhyming nature.

Robert Joy, as the new King, sketches out a man unprepared, even at this point, to fully emerge from his parent's shadow and take command. And when he takes command, he does so armed with traditions of the past and a willingness to dig his heels in. Ian Merrill Peakes as the Prime Minister is surprised and frustrated by a suddenly intractable monarch, and Bradford Farwell makes for an opposition leader that could have been out of an old episode of Yes, Minister.

Of the family, Christopher McLinden makes a William that is his father's son, and Allison Jean White a bright-eyed, very aware Kate Middleton. Harry Smith as bad-boy Prince Harry engages in a Prince and pauper romance with Jessica (Michelle Beck), a revolutionary with a soft spot, capable of serving as a companion on Doctor Who. The play requires that Prince Harry hasn't encountered a lot of normal life, but that is a small concession for the romance, which will not end well.

The stage is set like Westminster Abbey, with stone ancestors pressing down on the action below. The centuries of monarchy (constitutional and otherwise) weighs heavy on the heads of those who are carrying it forward. Each side believes they are right, but things quickly get out of hand and a tank is parked at Buckingham Palace while King Charles by turns stands resolute and wishes for an easier task so soon in his rule.

In many ways the play was a wondrous cathartic experience, given the recent developments in these parts. The play was written pre-Brexit, but has the feeling of the continual stress and pull of ruler, oligarchy, and people rings true as it moves from the death of one leader to the coronation of another. It does evoke the LBJ play, All the Way, with its protagonist wanting to be validated, to be proven he is worthy for the position he holds. But unlike LBJ, the Charles is this play does not have the right tools and temperament to succeed.

Highly recommended. More later,

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Political Desk: After the Dust Settles

So, what do we have?

This time around, there doesn't look like much that is hanging fire. Due the nature of mail-in ballots, close races sometimes need to wait days, if not weeks, for resolution. But most of the spread of votes here are wide enough to make it clear at the outset. Should it shift radically, I'll update.

I got it totally wrong about the biggest item of the ticket. In fact, I got it completely backwards - Ms. Clinton lost the electoral vote but (at the time of this writing) is winning the popular vote. I regret nothing, and continue to think that Ms. Clinton would have been a better President. But for our little chunk of Pacific Northwest, we did OK. When I got here almost 20 years ago we were out of step with the rest of the country, then became one of the leaders for progressive government, and now we're out of step again. I can work with that. (Though I was kind of looking forward to the taco trucks).

One thing I do want to call out is that yelling at supporters of  Third Party candidates for the loss is kinda off-base. I can't see someone who supported Mr. Johnson's policies suddenly becoming a Democrat if Mr. Johnson had suddenly went away. And if you were so MAD at Ms. Clinton you'd vote for Mr. Johnson instead, regardless of his policies, you'd just as likely vote for Mr. Trump in protest or not vote at all. I also think, as a Sanders supporter, that we would be looking at a McGovern/Nixon level of destruction were he the candidate.

OK, let's see what the damages are (RED is stuff I had endorsed that went the other way):

Initiative Measure No. 1433 (Statewide Minimum Wage) YES
Initiative Measure No. 1464 (Campaign Finance Reform) - NO
Initiative Measure No, 1491 (Reduce access to Firearms) - YES
Initiative Measure No, 1501 (Protect Seniors from Fraud/Reduce Transparency) - YES
Initiative Measure No. 732 Carbon Tax) - NO (This one disappoints me. If it failed because it was "not good enough", now it is our obligation to make one the IS "good enough").
Initiative Measure No. 735 Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizen's United -  YES

Advisory Vote No. 14  House Bill 2768 - MAINTAINED
Advisory Vote No. 15 Second Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2778  - MAINTAINED

Proposed Amendment to the State Constitution Senate Joint Resolution No. 8210. (Move redistricting deadline) - APPROVED

King County Charter Amendment No. 1 Nonpartisan Prosecuting Attorney.  - YES 
King County Charter Amendment No. 2 Gender-Neutral Language. -  YES

President of the United States Donald Trump
US Senator - Patty Murray
US Representative, 9th District - Adam Smith


Governor - Jay Inslee 
Lt. Governor - Cyrus Habib
Secretary of State - Kim Wyman
State Treasurer - Duane Davidson
State Auditor - Pat (Patrice) McCarthy (This one actually makes me happy. I think we need a professional to muck out the stable after the last guy).
Attorney General - Bob Ferguson 
Commissioner of Public Lands - Hilary Franz 
Superintendent  of Public Instruction - Chris Reykdal
Insurance Commission - Mike Kriedler 

Legislative District No. 11 State Senator - Bob Hasegawa 
Legislative District No. 11 Representative Position No. 1 - Zack Hudgins 
Legislative District No. 11 Representative Position No. 2 - Steve Berquist 

Justice Position No. 1Mary Yu
Justice Position No. 5:  Barbara Madsen
Justice Position No. 6: Charles (Charlie) Wiggins

Court of Appeals, Division No. 1, District No. 1 Michael J. Trickey

Judge Position No. 14: Nichole Gaines Phelps
Judge Position No. 26: David Keenan
Judge Position No. 31Helen Halpert
Judge Position No. 44Cathy Moore 
Judge Position No. 52: Kristan Richardson
Judge Position No. 53: Mariane Spearman

Sound Transit (A Regional Transit Authority) Proposition No,. 1 Light-Rail, Commuter-Rail, and Bus Service Expansion - APPROVED (This is huge)

Kent School District No,. 415 Proposition No. 1 Capital Improvement and School Construction General Obligation Bonds - APPROVED

And with that the Political Desk returns to mothballs. Until the next time (duh-duh-DUH!)

More later,

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Play: In the Blood

Roz and Ray by Karen Hartman, Directed by Chay Yew, until 13 November, 2106, Seattle Repertory.

The first thing you notice is the stage backdrop - a chaos storm of chairs, rockers, cribs, and children's toys, all in shades of white. A preschool Guernica. It doesn't get any easier from there on out.

Roz and Ray is about the spread of the HIV Virus among hemophiliacs in the 70s and 80s. Roz (Ellen McLaughlin) is Dr. Roz Kagan, specializing in pediatric hemophilia. Ray (Teagle F. Bougere) is Ray Leon, father of hemophiliac twins. In the opening scenes, Ray is hailing Roz as a savior, as a new blood product will give his kids a shot at a traditional life. Moments later it is ten years later and he's standing outside the hospital with a sign, bellowing that Roz Kagan killed his sons. The play is linking those moments.

It is complicated. The encompasses a time when AIDs was burgeoning into our blood supply and our national consciousness. What seems to be a miracle cure for hemophilia turns into a nightmare, and the relentless forces of medicine and markets forces decision-making in real-time with no redemption for a wrong choice, and no chance for a right one.

There is something else going on as well - Roz and Ray hook up. Her marriage is falling apart and he sees her as the mom his kids don't have. And that snakes through everything as well. Like I said, it is complicated.

Bougere has the more volatile role, spinning on a dime to transverse the decades. Sometimes equally overwhelming and overwhelmed, his Ray is a force of chaos dedicated to his unseen kids. Roz is a sense of order, and goes from eager and overloaded to just tired and worn out over the course of the years, dealing with the plague among her charges, a plague she had aided in spreading. Remorse and responsibility stalk through the play, and if the writing is a bit earnest in places, it tries to bring things back to the crisis at hand.

Its a tough play, and jumping through time gives both a sense of inevitability and a feeling of closure. Both actors swing for the fences with their parts, and is a good, tight, play for the Rep.

More laterm,

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Political Desk: The Jeff Recommends

OK, we are a week away from election day, and the vast bulk of you in Washington State who pay attention to such  have already put together your ballots, mailed it/dropped it off at nearby ballot drops, and then bragged about it on the Facebooks. So let me summarize the past week or so (You can dig through the previous posts for the reasons - if particular, you can find links to other people's endorsements and information here):

Initiative Measure No. 1433 (Statewide Minimum Wage) - YES
Initiative Measure No. 1464 (Campaign Finance Reform) - YES
Initiative Measure No, 1491 (Reduce access to Firearms) - YES
Initiative Measure No, 1501 (Protect Seniors from Fraud/Reduce Transparency) - NO
Initiative Measure No. 732 Carbon Tax) - YES
Initiative Measure No. 735 Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizen's United) -  YES

Advisory Vote No. 14  House Bill 2768  (Does it really matter?) - MAINTAINED
Advisory Vote No. 15 Second Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2778  (Seriously, I mean, advisory as in no one in charge has to pay attention) - MAINTAINED

Proposed Amendment to the State Constitution Senate Joint Resolution No. 8210. (Move redistricting deadline) - APPROVED

King County Charter Amendment No. 1 Nonpartisan Prosecuting Attorney.  - YES 
King County Charter Amendment No. 2 Gender-Neutral Language. -  YES

President of the United States - Hillary Clinton
US Senator - Patty Murray
US Representative, 9th District - Adam Smith


Governor - Jay Inslee 
Lt. Governor - Cyrus Habib
Secretary of State - Tina Podlowski 
State Treasurer - Duane Davidson
State Auditor - Pat (Patrice) McCarthy
Attorney General - Bob Ferguson 
Commissioner of Public Lands - Hilary Franz 
Superintendent  of Public Instruction - Erin Jones (with a respectful nod to Chris Reykdal)
Insurance Commission - Mike Kriedler 


Legislative District No. 11 State Senator - Bob Hasegawa 
Legislative District No. 11 Representative Position No. 1 - Zack Hudgins 
Legislative District No. 11 Representative Position No. 2 - Steve Berquist 

Justice Position No. 1Mary Yu
Justice Position No. 5:  Barbara Madsen
Justice Position No. 6: Charles (Charlie) Wiggins

Court of Appeals, Division No. 1, District No. 1 Michael J. Trickey

Judge Position No. 14: Nichole Gaines Phelps
Judge Position No. 26: David Keenan
Judge Position No. 31Helen Halpert
Judge Position No. 44Cathy Moore 
Judge Position No. 52: Anthony Gipe 
Judge Position No. 53: Mariane Spearman

Sound Transit (A Regional Transit Authority) Proposition No,. 1 Light-Rail, Commuter-Rail, and Bus Service Expansion - APPROVED

Kent School District No,. 415 Proposition No. 1 Capital Improvement and School Construction General Obligation Bonds - APPROVED

A few other notes from the peanut (or pundit) gallery:

1) I expect Ms. Clinton to win with a decisive number of electoral college votes.
2) I expect the popular vote to be much closer than that. In fact, with the third party votes floating around, Ms. Clinton may get a plurality (most votes), but not a majority (more than 50% of the votes). This will be seized upon as a reason why her opponents should stand in the way on all legislation. As if they need a reason.
3) I expect the Republican Party to survive this, much like the Democratic Party survived its blowout in 1972. In the Democrat's case, the result was met with a move towards the center. For the Republicans, I think that they will just dump the current candidate into the memory hole with the previous GOP Administration (As Homer Simpson once said "Alright, we're here. Let us never speak of the short cut again.").
4) If I'm wrong, the Republican party will split into three, not two. There is already a flight among Republicans to the Libertarian movement (Socially liberal, Economically conservative) - the bulk of Libertarian candidates running in Washington State were Republicans until recently. The other party is socially conservative and economically liberal - call them Caring Conservatives, Dan Evans Republicans, Good People, or the Ned Flanders party. Religious but with outreach programs and soup kitchens. Finally there will be the Rump (not a typo) Republicans. We've had to deal with these folks for years - they were the Democrat's headache up to the Sixties, when Nixon recruited them in his Southern Strategy. Call them Tea Party, call them the American Independent Party, call them Dixiecrats, they will remain a challenge for whoever is putting a government together.
5) Ms. Clinton's administration will be incredibly investigated. Somewhere, someone will find that she ripped tags off of mattresses, and that will be the end of it.
6) Finally, should the Reps break up, the Dems well may follow. The Democrats have always been a big. squabbling tent, gathered together by a common foe, but the stress between the Corporate-supporters and the Progressives will be strong. Lack of a coherent opponent, and creation of new opportunities, may create their own fracturing.

Should any of this happen, I will be as surprised as you, but in the meantime, get you ballots in!

More later,

The Political Desk: Initiatives, Advisory Votes, Amendments, and Other Weighty Matters.

Clickbait TLDR: Yes/Approved/Maintained on all except one. You'll be surprised by the one that doesn't get recommended!

We have a slew of things to vote upon that are not people here: We have Initiatives to the People. We have Initiatives to the Legislature. We have Advisory Votes (which really don't matter at all). We have an amendment to the State Constitution (which is less dire than it sounds). We have two amendments to the King County Charter. We have a Transit Proposal, and, most locally, we have School Construction Bond.

Initiative Measure No. 1433 - Raising the minimum wage state-wide. YES. When Seattle raised its minimum wage, doomsayers stated categorically that it would be the demise of the city's small businesses and chain restaurants. Instead businesses are doing even better and unemployment is down. Now that the same idea is posed statewide, the same doomsayers declare that such actions can ONLY succeed in Seattle, which is successful and, um, has a higher minimum wage. Like I said, YES.

Initiative Measure No. 1464 - Campaign finance reform. Creates a campaign finance system that will allow residents to send state funds to candidates and thereby reduce the power of PACs and special interest groups. Paid for by closing a loophole involving non-resident sales-tax exemptions.  This is a very experimental idea, and I say YES.

Initiative Measure No, 1491 - Court orders to prevent access to firearms by individuals"exhibiting mental illness, violent or other behavior indicating they may harm themselves or others." This is a good step to taking guns out of the hands of those who may pose a direct threat to themselves and others, and addresses it from the "It's not guns, its people with guns" side, which I keep hearing about as a reason NOT to do anything after every major shooting. YES.

Initiative Measure No, 1501 - Increases penalties for people defrauding senior citizens. NO. What? What do I have against old people (bordering on that demographic myself)? The fine print with exempt certain individuals, like in-home caregivers, from public disclosure searches. This last bit is to keep union-busters at bay by not letting them access files. Don't like union-busting, but really do not like to fog up our transparency laws. Still like old people, though. Seriously, take one out to lunch. Or call you Mom. Either one works.

Initiative Measure No. 732 - Carbon Tax. YES. This is a revenue-neutral proposal to reduce the among of carbon pollution pumped into the atmosphere. Some of the ecology groups are not fans of this, because it does not go far enough, but I say it is a beginning. Others point out that the new tax will raise gas prices to ... much lower than we were paying nineyears ago. In addition it reduces our regressive sales tax by a point and eliminates some B&O taxes. Reduces taxes, you say? I find your pamphlet interesting and would like to know more.

Initiative Measure No. 735 - This one proposes that the state pushes an federal constitution amendment that overturns Citizen United, which has done SO much to screw our recent elections. Doesn't have as much teeth in it, but pushes our Legislature in that direction. YES.

Advisory Vote No. 14  House Bill 2768. - Advisory votes cheese me off only because they are there because of a free-pony initiative that forces the legislature to check with the people about their financial arrangements. Not to listen to the people, just to check. Plus these are written in the scariest manner possible. This one will extend an existing tax on some online insurance plans for dental plans. It is maintaining a tax, but is still called a tax increase. I say its broccoli and I say the hell with it. MAINTAINED.

Ditto Advisory Vote No. 15 Second Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2778, which states (according to our scary-language law) that it will cost 2 million dollars in ten years, which means it with RAISE 2 millions dollars by closing a loophole on alt-fuel vehicles. Hell, I OWN an alt-fuel vehicle, and I think it should be MAINTAINED.

Proposed Amendment to the State Constitution Senate Joint Resolution No. 8210. moves the due date for redistricting up 46 days, putting it right after the election. when we are still paying attention to stuff and are cheesed off about gerrymandering. Its a nuts and bolts thing that makes sense since we now have computers and cars and stuff these days that make the process faster. APPROVED.

King County Charter Amendment No. 1 Nonpartisan Prosecuting Attorney. All the offices of King County are supposedly non-partisan - why not this one? I'm a little leery on this, only because it forces folk to dig down deeper into the Voters' Guide to figure out where the County Attorney is getting his support, but I'll go with YES.

King County Charter Amendment No. 2 Gender-Neutral Language. - Shall we make the Charter gender neutral in its language? Sure, why not. If they need some editors to do this, and to push for clarity, I have some suggestions (mimes holding a phone to his ear and mimes the words "call me"). YES.

Sound Transit (A Regional Transit Authority) Proposition No,. 1 Light-Rail, Commuter-Rail, and Bus Service Expansion. This is a biggie - $53.8 billion for improved light rail and buses - a 20 year plan for an overstressed transit region. When they rolled out the preliminary plan, a lot of suburbs looked at it and wanted more for their particular part of the woods, so it's grown. The argument against is that we should be spending the money on education (Cool! Are we going to spend it on education? No, they're just saying they SHOULD spend money on education, but will still block all attempts at that as well). My neighborhood is so off the grid we don't even get an improved transit stop (That's cool - I was holding out for Stargates, myself), but I think that coming to grips with our highways (bad now and worse as more people want to live here) is vital. Vote APPROVED.

And finally,

Kent School District No,. 415 Proposition No. 1 Capital Improvement and School Construction General Obligation Bonds. This is permission to go out and sell bonds to build two new elementary schools, 20 new classrooms, and fix a bunch of roofs. $252 million worth of bonds. If you're voting AGAINST the previous one because of education, you'd damned well be voting FOR this one. Vote APPROVED.

Ugh. That's the list. It has been a long journey. Summary coming up next:

More later,

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Political Desk: Judges.

This one requires a bit of work. I know a good deal about the candidates running for the State Supreme court, but after that, we get down in the weeds about credentials, experience, and opinions. For that reason, I have turned to Voting For Judges to help out here. And, I am supplemented by a friend who has been taking up Facebook time starting at the low end of the ballot and moving upwards, who has waded in on these guys (thanks, Janice!).

First off, the Supremes:

Justice Position No. 1: Mary Yu
Justice Position No. 5:  Barbara Madsen
Justice Position No. 6: Charles (Charlie) Wiggins

All three have done excellent work in their terms of office. Of the three, Mr. Wiggins is getting the biggest challenge, with a lot of last-minute money being dumped into scare-tactic television ads that I don't watch, but are so loathsome that the Times editorial board, who endorsed his opponent, is calling them out.

Gettings down into lower courts, I have Court of Appeals, Division No. 1, District No. 1 Michael J. Trickey, who despite his name is running unopposed. Congrats on the win!

In the Superior Court Races, we have a lot of people I've never heard of before I opened the ballot. Most races pit a exceptionally well-qualified candidate against one that is less so, making the decision easy. For the couple that were close I turned to my Facebook researcher as a tie-breaker. Let's see what I have:

Judge Position No. 14: Nichole Gaines Phelps
Judge Position No. 26: David Keenan
Judge Position No. 31: Helen Halpert
Judge Position No. 44; Cathy Moore (this one is a split decision on the endorsements - I look towards my tie-breaker - she tips the balance towards Moore on real-world experience. Sounds good to me.)
Judge Position No. 52: Anthony Gipe (another split decision in endorsements, my tie-breaker supports Gipe. So let it be written, so let it be done).
Judge Position No. 53: Mariane Spearman

More later,

The Political Desk: State Legislature

This will be a short one. While I have heard gripes and moans about two Republicans running against each other for State Treasurer, there are districts in Washington State where you can't get a Republican (or Democrat) even into the race. And that includes the 11th District, which occupies the bulk of my commute to downtown Seattle, stretching from Maple Valley all the way up to S. Holgate St, verging on SoDo. We have three strong Democrats running for the offices, all incumbents, and all should be returned to office:

Legislative District No. 11 State Senator: Bob Hasegawa (running against a Libertarian candidate)
Legislative District No. 11 Representative Position No. 1: Zack Hudgins (running against a GOP candidate)
Legislative District No. 11 Representative Position No. 2: Steve Berquist (running unopposed).

More later,

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Political Desk: State Executive Offices

So we've run through most of the Washington State Executive already back in the Primary, so most of this should not be a surprise. But some things have changed, so let's go down the list.

Governor: Jay Inslee is still my choice, despite getting more black eyes this term than a beholder in a boxing match. His opponent, Bill Bryant. comes out of my favorite hive of scum and villainy, the Port Authority, and wants everyone to forget about inviting that Shell drill rig into Puget Sound without telling anyone. Oh, and he doesn't like Trump, anymore. Sorry to take so long to tell you.

Lt. Governor: I still support Cyrus Habib. He's my nod to a trouble-maker candidate, one who promises to shake things up from its moribund nature of the position under Brad Owen. Fun Fact: His opponent, Marty McLendon, is co-host with Doug Basler (from the previous entry) of a radio talk show, and the only state-wide candidate to openly support the Republican presidential nominee.

Secretary of State: Man, this one hurts. I tend to really support professional people who do their jobs well, which gives incumbents a real leg-up. And Kim Wyman has been a good heir to the even-handedness of predecessor Sam Reed. But since the last election, there have been a series of announcements and miscues that really give me pause about Ms. Wyman. We have the Attorney General dinging her campaign for its record-keeping, which is minor as scandals go, but still telling. Then there was a screwup telling folk in Pierce County that they have to mail in their ballots by the 4th, not the 8th, but that fight is with the county's current auditor. But we do have the Spanish language version of the Voters' Guide that uses the word "felony" wrong, which smacks of vote suppression. But the big one was a trying to push a state voting ID card on the back of the recent tragic shooting at the Cascade Mall, claiming the shooter was not a Washington citizen (he was). So, yeah, I'm done. There's another option.  Let's go for Tina Podlowski this time out.

State Treasurer: Well, we're getting a Republican, regardless of who you vote for. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I know, people are grumbling over the top-two election, but to be frank, we have a lot of local positions where there are not any Republicans running, so there is enough to complain about from both sides. Duane Davidson gets good marks as the treasurer for Benton County, but the Stranger reveals that in the primary stages, he said he would be voting for Trump, and everyone in the room, including his opponents, tried to talk him him out of it. Since then he has moved to a more to a more aggressively neutral position, but still, there's that. His opponent, Michael Waite, an Australian immigrant and financial professional, doesn't have the governmental chops, but has moved around large chunks of cash. Yeah, Duane Davidson, I suppose.

State Auditor: This might go GOP as well, since the last guy in the office was a Dem with a very sketchy business history and who resisted all attempts by everyone (including the Guv) to get him out (Protip: Never trust any politician who plans on running government like a business). The idea of a party flip  is sad, because Pat (Patrice) McCarthy, Pierce County Executive, came up through the ranks as an auditor and looks fine for the job. The Times did a epistemological backflip to support her opponent, declaring "McCarthy's service is laudable, but the state Auditor's Office would benefit from having a leader who has not worked for and led major agencies that it must scrutinize". So according to the Times, experience is a BAD thing. Mind you, the current Auditor, who also had not worked for the agencies that must be scrutinized, is the one that has damaged the office, and someone who actually knows what she is doing, like Ms. McCarthy, would be the best person to restore trust.

Attorney General: Bob Ferguson is a tough cookie. He's gone after major corporations and actually has led the country on cracking down on Kickstarter fraud. So yeah, Bob Ferguson (with a note that if you prefer the GOP, you're out of luck, but we DO have a Libertarian in Joshua B. Turnbull).

Commissioner of Public Lands: Hilary Franz wasn't my choice in the primary, but she's good, with a stronger environmental background. Her opponent has anti-government extremists lined up behind him, though he is trying to distance himself from them, he isn't doing a very good job.  Hilary Franz.

Superintendent  of Public Instruction: OK, let me be frank, Both Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal are good choices. This blog supported Erin Jones by a whisker in the Primary. And since then, some ... stuff ... has shown up, where she's less than supportive of the LGBTQ community. She's fessed up to her mistake, she's opened the doors, and she takes responsibility. That's all good. Better not to cast one's self down the rabbit hole in the first place, a rabbit hole which her opponent, Chris Reykdal, avoided nimbly. So I'm conflicted, and will go back and forth a couple times on this before I put pen to ballot. I'm going to say that both candidates have strong resumes and are dedicated to education, and will be key in the coming year as Education must be hacked out in the courts. I am still supporting Erin Jones, but I feel that both she and Chris Reykdal will be up to the task.

And finally, Insurance Commission Mike Kriedler has been doing a good job. Let's keep him.

More later.