The bourbon-voiced U.S. Speaker of the House, John Boehner, looks as if he fell off the set of Mad Men (picture a Sinatra-esque ad man extinguishing a Pall Mall and flacking for R.J. Reynolds). Mad Men's period sexism gives the show its eye-winking appeal, just as restive female characters like Peggy Olson, played by Elizabeth Moss, underline the it's-a-man's-world absurdity. So don the political goggles, fast forward to the 21st century, and experience television imitating life imitating the U.S. Congress.
As the New York Times reports, Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell is shoving back at Republican opposition to renewing the Violence Against Women Act. The inference, that Republicans are indifferent to the needs and rights of women (a notion magnified by the recent set-to over access to contraception), could paint the GOP into a Don-Draper-ish corner. Cantwell told the Times, "I am furious. We're mad, and we're tired of it." It may be good policy and, per Mad Men, very good marketing as well.
The New York Times' Johnathan Weisman writes, "Republicans are bracing for a battle where substantive arguments could be swamped by political optics and the intensity of the clash over women’s issues. At a closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sternly warned her colleagues that the party was at risk of being successfully painted as antiwoman — with potentially grievous political consequences in the fall, several Republican senators said Wednesday."
The saddest texted Freudian-slip contraction of the decade is "champaign" (A conflation of "champagne" and "campaign"). The author, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, appears to have an appetite for both. Alas, indulging in extracurriculars (and then some) during office hours, and then cloaking liaisons and campaigning with bogus appointments, only elevates a pattern of misconduct.
"A second woman now alleges she had sex with Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon on a day when his office calendar showed he was having lunch with a representative of a local trade organization," the Seattle Times' Emily Heffter writes. "Reardon's assistant scheduled the lunch in late 2010. But behind the scenes, Reardon, the woman and one of her girlfriends planned a liaison at a Bothell town home, according to both women and emails among the three." The details are as titillating as they are depressing, a sex-and-betrayal narrative worthy of Silvio Berlusconi.
Want to serve in Congress for a month? You might consider running for Jay Inslee's old congressional seat which will soon become a new congressional seat. Your election as a seat warmer would entitle you to carve your initials in a 19th century desk and be home by New Year's Day. Go figure.
"Katie Blinn, the co-director of elections in the state, said Thursday she's currently in discussions with the U.S Committee on House Administration, which has oversight of federal elections. She says the committee raised questions with the state after Inslee announced he would leave his 1st Congressional District seat later this month," the AP's Rachel La Corte writes. "Blinn says it's possible that the state may have to run two elections for the seat on Nov. 6 — one to finish out the final month of December for Inslee's term based on old boundaries of the 1st District seat, and another for the new two-year term that starts in January 2013 under new boundaries drawn during redistricting."
A t-shirt title that will appeal to scientists more than the Washington Roundtable: "The Pacific Northwest: We Got Plate Tectonics to Match the Weather." (Ideas are not copyrightable. Sesimology nerds, the tagline is all yours.) How bad will the Big One be when it hits? Discover Magazine's Jerry Thompson presents an ominious scenario.
"On I-5, the main north-south interstate highway, 37 bridges between Sacramento and Bellingham, Washington, collapse or are knocked off their pins. Five more go down between the Canada–United States border and downtown Vancouver. Nineteen railway bridges along the north-south coastal mainline of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway are wrecked as well. The runways of every major coastal airport from Northern California to Vancouver are buckled, cracked, and no longer flyable," Thomspon writes.
Lastly, for a compelling, albeit sobering weekend read, check out Rick Anderson's cover story in the Seattle Weekly. No one scribbles about crime and the dark corners better than Anderson, and this one is a doozy. Who was Seattle's other serial killer in the 1970s?
New York Times, "Violence against women act divides Senate"
Seattle Times, "2nd woman tells of liaison with Reardon"
Seattlepi.com, "Special Nov. vote in 1st District possible"
Discover Magazine, "The giant, underestimated earthquake threat to North America"
Seattle Weekly, "Ted Bundy of the 'Burbs"