Morning Fizz

The Internet Does Not Forget

By Morning Fizz September 4, 2012

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. Last month, at a fundraiser in Kenmore, 1st Congressional District Republican candidate John Koster promoted the idea of adding a private investment option to Social Security.

And, evidently forgetting about the 2008 financial meltdown, he lamented the fact that Republicans' push for privatizing Social Security didn't gain traction during the 2000 election.

Here's Koster:
I was talking about this in the year 2000 when I ran against Rick Larsen. We talked about it at that time, health savings accounts, retirement accounts. George Bush talked about it when he got elected in 2000—how do you take a small portion of your Social Security plans, add an option—an option, nobody will force you to do that—[and] put it aside in retirement accounts. Just think how much further, how much better off we'd be, if we'd started that ten years ago.

The Internet, however, does not forget. For example, according to data on Yahoo Finance, seniors would have seen a 39.4 percent crash in their retirement savings between late 2007 and late 2008, when the stock market crashed.

Watch Koster:

2. In case you missed it, the Seattle Times editorial board says the Port of Seattle should drop the issue—initially raised by a crew of state legislators and subsequently by Port Commission President Gael Tarleton—that Port CEO Tay Yoshitani's board gig with shipping logistics company Expeditors International appears to be a conflict of interest.

The Times' main argument—they repeat it twice—is that Port attorneys (who work for Yoshitani, by the way), vetted and approved the deal.

There's a behind-the-scenes political irony to this flap: This was intended to embarrass Tarleton (she's running for state legislature against progressive Noel Frame).

But, given that Tarleton voted against Yoshitani's employment contract (the one that allowed him to take the Expeditors International gig while simultaneously working at the Port) and given that she's one of two commissioners calling on Yoshitani to drop the gig (the other is Port Commissioner Rob Holland), she's actually looking strong right now.

The Port commissioners are scheduled to discuss the issue at their September 11 meeting.

UPDATE: Port Commissioner John Creighton issued a statement today about Yoshitani, saying he doesn't think there's any "legal conflict of interest" with Yoshitani's Expeditors' gig, but he does "take seriously concerns that it creates a significant appearance of conflict."

He adds: "As a commissioner, I have opposed long-term employment contracts with Port staff precisely because they act to constrain proper exercise of the Commission’s public oversight authority."

Though this line of reasoning certainly makes you wonder why he approved the open-ended contract to begin with.

He then goes on to praise Yoshitani and calls the current situation "harmful" and "a distraction" from the the Port's goals. He concludes that wants outside counsel to review Yoshitani's dual roles as well as review the Port's conflict of interest rules.

3. According to this on-the-ground report from Jim Brunner, US Sen. Patty Murray's speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this week is going to outline how the government helped a struggling family of a veteran—her family.

It's a direct rejoinder to the "We Built It" theme that the Republicans and US Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers  used at their convention last week.

Murray has been on a jag about this ever since the Republicans made hay about President Obama's "You didn't build that" speech in July. Watch for Murray to talk about how food stamps, the VA, worker training programs, and student loans helped her struggling family when she was growing up in Bothell in the 1950s and 60s–just as she did earlier this summer at a speech in downtown Seattle.
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