Note to Alex Alben: Quit acting like a Republican. The former high-tech exec, now an 8th District Democratic candidate for Congress, is trying to interrupt the momentum of KIRO-AM talk-show host Dave Ross, now the front-running Dem despite a late entry. Alben is representing himself as the pro-choice purist, noting that Ross thinks parents should have to give consent when their minor daughter gets an abortion. Never mind that Ross supports Roe v. Wade, RU-486, and even so-called partial-birth abortion. This kind of internecine hair splitting is more typical of 8th District Republican candidates, who quibble over the gun-show loophole and obscure immigration measures. Among the GOP faithful, micro-scrutiny of issues might be a determining factor. They've never lost an election since the 8th District was created 22 years ago. But 8th District Dems are starved for victory. They're not interested in exacting litmus tests. They just want to know: Can you win in November? Meanwhile, Marco Lowe, Ross' campaign manager, reports that his candidate is having some trouble doorbelling. When Ross shows up at a front porch, Lowe reports, "It's like people have been on hold for 26 years." In other words, people want to talk to Ross—forever. They ask him to autograph his campaign literature. People who arrive home to find Ross' literature on the doorstep turn around and chase him down the street to gab with him. To make matters worse from a campaign manager's point of view, Ross loves to reciprocate. "He'll spend 20 minutes at a door!" Lowe laments. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.


On the day the Mariners pulled off a stunning turnaround win, beating the Boston Red Sox on Bret Boone's 11th-inning grand salami, the once-underdog Monorail Recall committee pulled off a late-game stunner of its own. Recall leaders turned over the last of 37,572 signatures endorsing a monorail revote initiative, all but guaranteeing a fourth Seattle vote on building a monorail. In a surprising rally using volunteer and paid name gatherers—the recallers had only 11,500 signatures just three weeks ago—the final tally on Monday, July 19, was 20,000 more than needed to get the recall vote on the November ballot. If the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) fails to stop the recall drive in court—it has already lost the first legal round—city voters will once again decide if they want a monorail, though this time they will have a much better idea what they're getting, says recall chair Tim Wulf. "There is a little clause in the monorail statute that gives the SMP the technical right to make changes," Wulf says. "That does not mean they can tell us one thing before an election and then build whatever they want." RICK ANDERSON


"You may recall that after the Madrid train bombings, Osama bin Laden gave European nations assisting the U.S. in Iraq an ultimatum to stop within 90 days. By my calculation, that deadline was passed last Thursday [July 15]." —Geopolitical blogger Tom Brown (, July 19)

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