Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. Add the Speaker of the House to the list of class acts.

Boehner pulls a Baumgartner

2. Speaking of class acts: House Republicans, led by Boehner, killed the Violence Against Women Act yesterday, prompting this statement from Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the point person on the legislation: 

The House Republican leadership's failure to take up and pass the Senate's bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill is inexcusable. This is a bill that passed with 68 votes in the Senate and that extends the bill's protections to 30 million more women. But this seems to be how House Republican leadership operates. No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right wing of their party always comes first.

House Republicans opposed the bill because it extended domestic violence protections to immigrants, lesbians, and Native Americans.

3. Sponsors for two different proposed ballot measures are planning to submit signatures to the Secreatary of State today—serial initiative hawker Tim Eyman included.

Eyman's initiative, I-517, would add 60 days to the amount of time signature gatherers have to collect signatures and get on the ballot. The initiaitve, which he's calling the "Protect the Initiative Act," would also make it a midemeanor to interfere with petition gatherers.

The other initiative, I-522, would require genetically modified food to be labeled with a GMO warning.

4. Another measure that could be on the ballot this November: Public financing of elections. After shelving a proposal to fund elections with tax dollars in 2008, the city council is asking the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to come up with a proposal that will, in theory, reduce the financial barriers to entry for local elections and get more people to run for office.

The council also tinkered with the election system last year, limiting the amount of time candidates for city office are allowed to raise money and barring incumbents from keeping money in their campaign accounts after their election. Public campaign finance, unlike those changes, would have to go to a vote.

"Stay tuned," Washington Education Association spokesman Rich Wood writes on his Facebook page  

5. Local real estate blog Seattle Bubble has compiled a bunch of data—including Seattle's rankings for density, homeownership, and percentage of families with children (among the100 biggest U.S. cities). The numbers are sure to fuel the urban planning wars.

Here's how we rate:

Population: #23; Density: #15; Household Size: #100; Percentage with Children: #97; Home Ownership Rate: #69

Seattle Bubble points out the obvious oddity—we're fairly high-up when it comes to density (#15), but dead last when it comes to household size (#100).

How does that work?

One data point worth adding to the discussion: About 20 to 25 percent of Seattle school kids are enrolled in private schools. Nationally, about 10 percent of kids are enrolled in private shcools. 

6. "Stay tuned," Washington Education Association spokesman Rich Wood writes on his Facebook page after linking a brief item in the Seattle Times reporting that the teachers' union is thinking about mounting a legal challenge to last year's charter schools initiative