1. Here's something to consider as the state debates whether to permit a new freight terminal in Bellingham that would vastly expand shipments of coal from Wyoming to China: According to the Washington Post, China is now burning as much coal as the entire rest of the world combined. In 2011, China burned 3.8 million tons of coal, and its consumption has been increasing steadily; India, meanwhile, is on track to become the world's second-largest coal consumer, passing the US in 2017.
2. After an election season in which GOP officials from coast to coast made insensitive, illogical, and just plain bizarre statements about abortion and rape, state Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Kirkland) has proposed a bill that would end Washington's own "legitimate rape" law, which says that marriage is an "absolute defense" against claims of third-degree rape and indecent liberties. State Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45) has proposed a bill that would end Washington's own "legitimate rape" law, which says that marriage is an "absolute defense" against many rape charges.
According to the News Tribune (subscription required), "Prosecutors have said that the current law has forced them to pursue lesser, misdemeanor assault charges in cases involving married couples that would otherwise qualify as third-degree rape."
3. IPhones, picture frames, ALEC memberships, dry cleaning—just all part of what we, the taxpayers, chip in for on behalf of our state legislators, the AP reports.
Even conservative members of the legislature who rail against "waste" in government avail themselves of public dollars for expenses ordinary civilians would probably consider their own responsibility—at a typical cost to taxpayers of between $10,000 and $25,000 per legislator per year.
4. The Seattle Times' Bob Young picked up on our story yesterday about Mayor Mike McGinn's external affairs director David Hiller, who initially planned to appear alongside the mayor on a panel on marijuana legalization—not on behalf of the mayor's office, but as a potential investor in a pot-growing operation. (Or, as mayoral spokesman Aaron Pickus told us, as a "private person/entrepreneur.") Hiller subsequently withdrew from the panel.
Although Hiller did not return numerous calls and emails from PubliCola, he did talk to the Times, telling them that his interest in investing in a pot plant was only hypothetical—like "fantasy football"—and attributing his inclusion on the panel (official invitations for the event actually said he was representing the mayor's office) to an unspecified "miscommunication."
(The Times also covered the event, where McGinn said he wanted to keep the recreational pot business "local, crafted, [and] authentic.")
5. Densinista brigadier Roger Valdez responds to the Seattle Times' fearmongering piece about a proposal to build two additional houses on a 12,000-square-foot lot in West Seattle, noting that the reporter conflates the city's goal of reaching certain growth targets in dense urban villages with modest (and, for what it's worth, perfectly legal) growth in single-family neighborhoods.
My take on that proposal is here.