Photo Challenge…Elemental…Water

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we live nearly surrounded by water.  In Western Washington, anyway, you are rarely more than a mile from some body of water or other. Lake Washington, Puget Sound, the Green River, the Snoqualmie River, and Silver Lake are minutes away.  No two bodies of water or rivers are exactly the same from minute to minute, or season to season.  All those bodies of water moderate our weather here, and we rarely get extremes of heat or cold (recently we have been in a very unusual pattern of high temperatures and no rain at all for nearly two months).  Water gives the Earth and all its creatures life, and sustains us all.  Herewith, some examples of the beautiful water that surrounds me.

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This is the Yakima River, just east of the Cascades in Kittitas County. It is wide and shallow, and a great place for fly-fishing.

Ferry Wake

The wake of a Washington State Ferry, leaving from Edmonds across Puget Sound to the Kitsap Peninsula town of Kingston.

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Sky over Puget Sound in Seattle.

Note how the color of the water is a reflection of the gray clouds overhead.

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The Deschutes River at Tumwater Falls.

This is video I took of one of my favorite places, the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth.

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Fall Colors on the Wenatchee River, west of Leavenworth, WA

Hard to believe that this flat, reflective surface becomes a raging torrent not too far away from this spot.

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Glacial-fed Diablo Lake on the Skagit River.  I am always amazed by the blue-green color of the water.

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Calm waters of North Puget Sound, off the Port Townsend peninsula.  We saw many kayakers that day, sticking close to shore.

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Last, but not least, a rarity.  Frozen water in the bird-bath in our back yard.  Both ice and snow are present, and beautiful.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/elemental/

 

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The Governor of the State of Washington needs to be Committed

The Governor of the State of Washington needs to be Committed

For years, we residents of the State of Washington have been hearing about the woes of our largest state psychiatric institution, Western State Hospital in Lakewood (south of Tacoma).  This institution has had numerous escapes of dangerous inmates, reports of employees attacked by inmates (and sometimes attacking, themselves), and staff shortages and resignations.  Once, a court commissioner nearly put Cheryl Strange, the Head of Western State Hospital in jail for not admitting an obviously insane patient who had been picked up by local authorities.  The Federal Government, which contributes funds to the running of the hospital, has threatened to withdraw support if the hospital can’t improve its operations.  This institution has been a hot mess for years!

So, today, the Governor has appointed a new head of the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), which has had its own problems for many years (mistreated foster kids, elder abuse, high staff turnover, very high caseloads for social workers).  And that new head of DSHS would be…wait for it…Cheryl Strange!  So the state now has a head of the most-stressed cabinet institution, who has already demonstrated failure to handle the huge institution she has been responsible for for years!  It is my considered opinion that Governor Jay Inslee needs to be committed to Ms. Strange’s former institution, so he can see how really competent his new head of DSHS really is.

Photo Challenge…Textures

It seems counter-intuitive for a plant to be both soft and prickly at the same time.  This Arizona cactus, at progressively-closer views shows two entirely different textures.  Seen from relatively far-away, it looks soft, with rounded curves.

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Seen closer-up, the big spines look pretty dangerous, and the plant looks like you wouldn’t want to get too close.

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But when you get really close, you want to jump back.  Those spines can hurt!

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If you feel the plant carefully, between the spines, it is actually very soft.

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A Clear Case of Media Malpractice! Democrat National Committee…

A Clear Case of Media Malpractice!  Democrat National Committee…

IT Staffer Arrested Trying to Flee the Country

Now, have you noticed this story being covered by any of the traditional “news” outlets, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN?? Not one of the above “news” outlets has even mentioned this huge story, not even on an inside page!  This is an obvious case of media malpractice!  Here is a short list of the entities that have reported this story.  What do they all have in common?

Fox News, Washington Free Beacon, World Tribune, Daily Caller, Catholic News Service, Gateway Pundit, American Thinker.  They are all centrist or Conservative news outlets, and they all report the truth!

Here is a short synopsis, with thanks to the Washington Free Beacon:

Politico reported in March that Imran Awan was one of five House contractors under investigation for “stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge” and “committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network.”  It was said that Democrats were trying to cover up this story, due to the Muslim religion and Pakistani origin of the perpetrators.  Yeah, they hesitate to tell the truth about these criminals, because “Islamophobia”!!

So, here are links to other articles from the above news outlets.  I recommend that you read them, and get the Truth about what is going on in Washington DC.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/25/feds-arrest-it-staffer-for-wasserman-schultz-trying-to-leave-country.html

http://freebeacon.com/politics/debbie-wasserman-schultz-it-staffer-arrested-charged-with-bank-fraud/

http://www.catholic.org/news/national/story.php?id=75609

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/07/breaking-wasserman-schultz-staffer-imran-awan-arrested-airport-trying-flee-u-s/

Remember, this is the Democrat Party, who has been hounding President Donald Trump and his family, and his campaign staff, and his Cabinet members, about their alleged “collusion” with Russia to influence the 2016 election.  [Please note that NO evidence has been found of any collusion by Trump staff or family]  And all the time, their own party headquarters suffered from Russian infiltration caused by Stupid John Podesta falling for a Phishing attack!  And now, we find that their former Chairman was having their computers looked after by real scum!  It is criminal that this story has been totally suppressed by the “Mainstream Media”.  And who suffers?  The average American who has been kept in the dark and fed totally irrelevant crap about their duly-elected President.  I think the term “deplorable” applies to them, much more than it applies to the average Trump supporter, don’t you?

Satisfaction…Human Ingenuity

I am always impressed with the products of human ingenuity, many of which were designed and built thousands of years ago, and still remain for us to marvel at.  Every time I drive down a mountain road, I can’t help thinking of all the engineering and labor that went into that road.  When I look at a tall building, or a huge containership, my mind says “human ingenuity”.  Some may think that other animals are as smart as we humans are, but when did any animal build something like these?

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VietNam Memorial

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BC Ferry, making its way through the Gulf Islands
Curtis Organ
Pipe Organ in recital hall at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

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Photo Challenge~~~Unusual

Varied Thrushes and Robins are ground-feeding birds.  They are carnivores, and everyone has seen or heard of robins rooting around on the ground for worms.  I caught this Varied Thrush on the fence in my back yard.  He looks indignant, and I think this photo cries out for a caption.  Can my readers supply one?

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Some thoughts on the King County (WA) Ballot Proposition 1, “Sales tax for Cultural Access Program”

Some thoughts on the King County (WA) Ballot Proposition 1, “Sales tax for Cultural Access Program”

Here is the text of the ballot measure on the primary ballot in King County, Washington, that includes Seattle and surrounding suburbs.

King County
Proposition No. 1
Sales Tax for Cultural Access Program

The King County Council passed Ordinance No. 18513 to establish and fund a cultural access program. The program would expand access to arts, science, and heritage programming throughout King County. The program would include cultural education in schools and transportation to cultural venues for public school students. The program would also provide funding for cultural organizations to expand programming, including to serve diverse and underserved populations. The cultural access program, including administrative costs, would be funded by a county sales tax increase of one-tenth of one percent for seven years beginning January 1, 2018.  [Emphasis mine]

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Last night, and at a concert last week, the Marketing Manager of the Seattle Chamber Music Festival urged us in the audience to vote in favor of this addition to the Sales Tax in King County.  Being a Cultural Organization, the Seattle Chamber Music Society would get some funding from the sales taxes.  Vote King County a higher sales tax, so we may have some of those funds.

Here are some of my thoughts and questions about this ballot measure.

  1.  King County is the most liberal political unit in the state of Washington.  The residents of King County, and Seattle, rarely saw a tax they didn’t like.  The city of Seattle has numerous times voted to tax its property owners additionally for schools, the homeless, family programs, transportation,  ad infinitum.
  2. The liberals who live in King County are always bemoaning the “regressive” taxation scheme in Washington State, whose Constitution forbids an income tax, and its reliance on sales taxes, which disproportionately fall on the “poor”, “low-income” portion of the population. {An aside–the Seattle City Council has just voted unanimously to institute an income tax on its wealthiest citizens, knowing full well that this is illegal and will be held up by lawsuits from day one}
  3. The Sales Tax in Seattle has already broken the 10% level, and is approaching 10% everywhere else.
  4. If this measure passes, everyone in King County will be paying an extra $.01 in sales taxes on everything they buy.  Yes, those poor, underserved community members will also be paying that extra sales tax on everything they buy, in order that they may have “improved access”, whatever that means, to “cultural programs”.  There is no way to exempt the low-income from paying this additional sales tax.
  5. The money collected from this additional regressive sales tax, will cover “administrative costs”, as stated in the ballot measure above.  Did anyone opine on what percentage of the money collected will go for administration?  Administration includes the costs of collecting the money, allocating it to a special account, deciding which organizations will receive money, and deciding how much will go to each organization.  Employees will have to be hired (and paid, and provided with benefits including pension), to develop an application form and procedure, and then to evaluate the applications as they are received, to decide how the money collected will be spent.
  6. What happens when the cost of living in King County rises by the amount of this additional sales tax on everything you buy?  Might the increase in the cost of a new car discourage someone from buying a new car in King County?  The surrounding counties of Pierce, Snohomish, and Kittitas will not be raising their sales taxes, so a certain amount of purchases of expensive items might go to another county.  Those low-income residents of King County might have to defer purchases into the future, or not buy at all, since their income would not rise to cover the additional expense.  It has been shown that those who advocate for higher taxes rarely take into account the behavior changes that happen when someone experiences an increase in their cost of living.
  7. Who decides which cultural and heritage organizations will receive money from these new “access” funds?  Do faceless bureaucrats in Seattle decide how to allocate this money?  Do they solicit input from the arts community?  Do they give money to organizations whom they know and patronize themselves?  Do they favor the “charity of the month”, like the Gay Pride organization, or the Seattle Symphony?  Do they give money to the ACT Theater, which promotes liberal causes and puts on productions which take gratuitous slaps at a president they don’t like?  Will they be funding the “Resistance”?  Will they solicit input from ALL the people who will be paying higher taxes for the next seven years?
  8. What do they actually mean by “Access”?  Is there an implication that access is now denied to some of the “underserved” population?  Do they know who the underserved are?  How do they determine who is underserved?  And exactly who makes that determination?  What do they mean by “diverse”?  People of color, people of oppressed ethnic groups, people of sexual minorities?

My guess is that those promoting this new tax have not given any consideration to many of my points above, especially the one about our regressive tax system here in Washington State.  They think that everyone will just happily pay more for everything they buy, knowing that those underserved, low-income populations will benefit from their largesse.  It will make the relatively wealthy residents of Seattle feel good, knowing that they are helping those underserved populations get a dose of “culture” that they are being denied now.  Starting in the late 1960s, cultural programs in the Seattle Public Schools were reduced, in order to pay for busing students across the city for desegregation.  These days, the Seattle Public Schools have all sorts of programs devoted to sex-education, environmental education, and “white-privilege” education; and their dropout rates are much higher than they were in the 1960s.  Also, these days 40% of the schools budgets go for administration, eating up funds that could be spent on art and music in the schools.

It will be interesting to see how the residents of King County vote on this new sales tax proposal.  I do not live in King County, so I don’t get to vote on this measure.  But if it passes, I will do my best to spend as little as possible in King County.  See, people DO change their behavior in response to economic incentives.