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About Me Hi. I’m Steve Murch, and I’m the sole person behind ALIGNVOTE. I think it’s reasonable to know who’s behind the site, and I’d always planned to disclose my founding role when we rolled it out. So now that we’re in beta, let me introduce myself. I’ve lived in Seattle since 1991. I love Seattle and the larger Pacific Northwest. I grew up on the east coast, and have lived in several different cities…

The Stranger is a smug, snarky and occasionally clever Seattle media institution that makes some great nightlife recommendations. But when it comes to city politics, it’s on the wrong track. With 50+ candidates running for City Council, many Seattle voters are going to be looking for ways to winnow down their choices come August 6th. City Council Primary Ballots are mailed July 17th. For what are likely historical or sentimental reasons (hey, remember Grunge?), The…

In the urgent debate around Seattle’s homelessness crisis, many articles (such as this otherwise great one in Crosscut) cite the statistic that 35% of those who are homeless in the Seattle region have some level of substance abuse. It’s often a very central part of the framing, especially by those who wish to portray substance abuse as a relatively low contributor to the problem. Among other things, presenting that statistic at face-value implies that presumably,…

Fears matter, and they often prevent action. Each side of the debate needs to have a cogent, believable answer for the other side’s worst fears. That’s currently missing from the debate. But only then can we make progress. I’m lucky to have very smart, good faith, prominent and well-intentioned friends on both sides of the “Seattle is Dying” debate. They sincerely differ in their perspectives — both on what the severity of the problems are…

Flipping channels today on CNN, MSNBC and elsewhere I’m reminded of a famous book in social psychology. Social Psychologist Leon Festinger, the same researcher who coined “cognitive dissonance,” released a fascinating book in 1956 called When Prophecy Fails. When prophecies fail, the most fervent believers often double-down on their original beliefs, asserting that their very actions and diligence were precisely what prevented the dire prophecy itself. That is, bad things would have come true had…

Last night, an hour-long program aired without commercial interruption in Seattle on the addiction crisis and homelessness. It’s an important watch. I found it devastating, riveting and motivating, all at once. There is already much being made over the fact that (a) it comes from KOMO News, a station now owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, a large conglomerate which has an unquestionably conservative lens. And that (b) there is direct footage within this broadcast of people…

Have you ever been to an anniversary or birthday celebration which included video well-wishes from friends and family? Or, have you ever wanted to collect a series of video testimonials from customers? If you’ve ever tried to gather a bunch of videos from people, you know it’s not easy. It’s a hassle to nudge people, it’s a hassle for them to record a response, upload it somewhere, send you a link. You invariably get it…

Socialism is where the government owns or substantially controls the means of production and distribution of goods. (Cambridge Dictionary, Merriam-Webster) Nations like France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Canada… are capitalist nations. They are market economies, not centrally planned and controlled economies. Please correct your friends when you hear them say they are socialist nations, because no, they are not. Their economies are not socialist.  The vast majority of the largest producers in those nations are…

The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein estimates that raising the marginal tax rate to between 60 and 70 percent on incomes above $10 million might raise as much as $720 billion dollars over a decade, or $72 billion per year. There are some 16,000 households that meet that criteria — fewer than 0.05% of all US households. Collectively, their taxable income was about $405 billion in 2016, on which they paid $121 billion in taxes. Current…

I’m working on a neural-style transfer project, and have several machine learning models trained to render input photos in particularly styles. The current set is below; input image on the left, output image on the right, with model name in lower right hand corner. I’ve got a few clear favorites, but I’d love to see if they match yours. Which 3-5 do you like? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11…