On Other Blogs

On Other Blogs Today: Firewalls and Fiscal Cliffs

Our daily roundup.

By Erica C. Barnett December 3, 2012

1. Now that Washington state has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, what's next? Although pot possession is still illegal under federal law, both Washington and Colorado, where residents also voted to legalize the drug, have started tossing out hundreds of misdemeanor possession cases, and both states are waiting for guidance from the federal government, which classifies marijuana as an illegal Schedule 1 drug like cocaine and heroin.

The Washington Post explains the post-legalization lay of the land.

2. We're certainly as sympathetic as anyone to the need to fund solid journalism at a time when newspaper subscriptions are plummeting, but readers have made it abundantly clear that they're more than happy to get their news from free sources (or find a workaround) when their preferred news outlet hides behind a firewall.

Readers like us.

Sadly, Olympian will soon no longer appear on "On Other Blogs Today," after its (kinda Orwellian) announcement that it plans to offer its readers "more choices" by forcing them to pay to access its stories online.

3. In a smart (and badass) move, US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is indicating that she'll let the nation's budget go off the so-called "fiscal cliff" on January 1, prompting the end of the Bush tax cuts and massive cuts to federal spending, the Seattle Times reports. 

Her reasoning isn't just that Republicans, who have insisted on retaining the Bush tax cuts for the very richest Americans, are intransigent; it's also that if Congress does go over the fiscal cliff, it will give Republicans who have promised to vote against any tax increase an out.

If all of the Bush tax cuts expire, and Congress votes to reinstate them, that would be a tax cut, not a tax increase, allowing Republicans to save face by saying they haven't voted to raise taxes.

"When we distort our planning agenda and the free market to preserve private views, we’re favoring the financial position of the few over the well being of the many." 4. Roger Valdez at Seattle's Land Use Code (and a onetime staffer for ex-city council member Peter Steinbrueck) argues that the former city council member's opposition to taller buildings in South Lake Union is myopic.

Specifically, Valdez writes, protecting views for some residents at the expense of others is short-sighted. "When we distort our planning agenda and the free market to preserve private views (even private views from public places) we’re favoring the financial position of the few over the well being of the many." 

5. In the third installment of his series on affordable (if controversial) housing options, Sightline's Alan Durning argues for the legalization of rooming houses—"small, basic dwellings," usually in the center city, that lack amenities like kitchens and private bathrooms and are smaller than even the smallest studio apartments.

If you aren't a fan of "aPODments" (kitchenless micro-apartments centered on a shared living area) and single-room occupancy units (even smaller one-room units with shared kitchens and bathrooms), you'll really hate rooming houses, which are basically just a place to sleep. But give Durning's argument for this affordable option a read before you make up your mind.

6. The Seattle Times, in a piece about the potential arena designs (spoiler alert: They all look like arenas) reports that it may be hard to get to the new arena on transit.

But you knew that already.

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