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In the latest of a number of incredibly inspiring efforts on behalf of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, (above) sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for his moderate and thoughtful  essays ,
a group of top academics have offered to take his punishment in his place.  
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I live in Seattle and as such am thinking heavily of the shooting at SPU.
I also write editorials.
Here's the one I'm writing on the topic, in which I express despair on any sort of success with gun control and call for increased spending for research on mental illness.
I am looking for your feedback to make it as good as it could be before it goes to print.

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It's been a big week for the Washington state exchange.
It got off to an awful start on Oct. 1, when the site crashed over and over, and communication from the Exchange Board was frankly dreadful. Updates on their Facebook were allowed to get 15 hours old, and their Twitter account was mostly silent as tens of thousands of frustrated people tried to get on the site and local Tea Partiers crowed. There wasn't even a banner on the site to explain why it was not any different than it had been in the days before it opened.
I digress. It opened.
The first week I actually thought enrollment was sort of slow. But once the system got functional, enrollment went from a reasonable flow to a flood.
Enrollment tripled last week.

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Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 02:27 PM PDT

MASSIVE flaw in ACA?

by SeattleProgressive

I'm a reporter in WA and working on a preview of the rollout of the exchange here and I just got off the phone with customer service and am feeling considerably dismayed. I asked if a person was eligible for insurance through their spouse's employer, how affordability was calculated.
She told me that if insurance was considered affordable for the employee, then regardless of what it costs to add a spouse, that spouse is ineligible for subsidies through the exchanges. In other words, your spouse can get an exchange policy, but will pay full price for it. Now I've seen full price for them; Washington has a rate sheet up already, and for people in their 50s and up, or people who don't earn a ton, those policies still aren't affordable.
I, for example, have insurance through my company that costs me $26 a month. It's pretty good insurance, too. I am planning to get married but may reconsider. My fiancee is a small business owner and currently uninsured. He qualifies for Medicaid at this point. If we marry, he won't qualify, because my insurance is affordable to me. Never mind that adding him will cost us far more than we can afford.
If you file separately on your taxes, you can qualify separately for exchange plans, but again, you don't get the subsidies. It's the subsidies that make these plans affordable.
Does anyone know something I don't, or see something I'm missing? Because I'm horrified. We just legalized gay marriage up here. A lot of joyful friends got married. Are they going to regret it? Should I not marry? Should married people divorce?

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In my work in Washington State, I get press releases a lot. These are the press releases from John "the rape thing" Koster and Preserve Marriage Washington, trying to get their heads around what just happened. The shock (and bitterness) is palpable. Read below the fold (boldface is mine):

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Washington state residents have reason to be crying tears of pride and joy this hour, as the Washington state senate has voted 28-21 in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

The house is expected to vote as early as Feb. 8, and is expected to easily pass the legislation.

Our governor, Christine Gregoire, blessings on her house, has said she will sign it.

Folks, we are on the brink of becoming the seventh state to grant the right to marry to all.

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Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 09:55 PM PST

South Carolina?

by SeattleProgressive

I live in Seattle. I love Seattle. I've been all over the United States and Seattle is home. It's blue as the sea that surrounds it, it has good coffee. 'Nuff said.  

I am in Charleston, South Carolina today. It is my first visit to the deep South.

Last night, my first night here, a secession ball was held in town. Today, as I visited this stunningly beautiful city, seeing for the first time the Spanish moss and palmettos that I've read of in Pat Conroy and Margaret Mitchell, I also see civil war statues everywhere.

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I am a long-time Seattle resident and Dan Savage reader. I have been grabbing the Stranger, one of Seattle's two big alt-weeklies, for more than 10 years just to read his column "Savage Love," in which he sanely dispenses advice on mind-bending topics like copraphagia, diaper fetishes and more. I've read his advice on rimming (antibacterial soap, and go for it), three-ways, and how to know if you have gone One Kink Too Far. There is nothing Savage won't touch, and that outspoken and brilliant gay man is one of my damn heroes.

I never thought I'd see the day that a United States President got involved extremely publicly with one of his projects, but today, with tears in my eyes, I'm delighted to report that it happened.

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Nearly 11,000 people crammed themselves into an arena built for 10,000, and 3,000 more sat in Husky Stadium nearby to watch the jumbotron as a who's who of state Democrats warmed up the crowd for the arrival of Patty Murray and Barack Obama this morning.

I was early and am with the press, so I got a plum seat at the front of the press area and watched with amusement as a sea of red Patty Murray signs made a ruffle that swept around and around the arena, accompanied by a roar.

The mostly student crowd was there for more than than the novelty of it all, it soon became clear, because they knew who Jay Inslee was, and roared like a volcano when he took the podium.

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It looks like the big O is already sighting in on another monster, with the air still so full of cordite smoke from financial reform that no one yet knows quite what to make of it.

Thursday here comes a big immigration speech. That, we may presume will herald an effort to take this boondoggle on, presumably before the end of the year robs him of the slim margin of votes he has and ties his hands for a good two years.

It will be interesting to see if his speech and the goals he will state are in harmony with those he famously and eloquently gave in 2006.

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I live with an older woman who is a screaming tea-bagging off-the-charts right winger.

I travel for work, which makes it a little more bearable, but when I got home yesterday, there she is, and she has something she wants to show me.

"Someone sent me pictures of Barack Obama's mother posing naked." she said.

"God, that's awful," I said. I was making dinner and couldn't get to my computer to run her usual bullshit through Google, which NEVER YET has failed to debunk her shit.

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Well, apparently I belong to a hate group. Who knew that the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization formerly known as Klanwatch, that organization that successfully sued the Aryan Nations out of existence in my neighboring state of Idaho, was itself a thug crew out to kneecap all the opposition?
According to "Americans for Truth," it is.

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