Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

They're watching...

Look who showed up for a visit to Upper Left Coast on Friday afternoon (and spent a good half-hour reading):

Just in case you're not making the connection, click on this link and see who's listed as the executive director of the school.

A good pair of stories

Be sure to read all the way to the end.

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason: Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but also, Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocities that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity.

To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great.

So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street.

But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay.

Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 calibers blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first ace of World War II, and the first naval aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.

His hometown would not allow the memory of this WWII hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


So what do these two stories have to do with each other?

Butch O'Hare was the son of "Easy Eddie."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Jason Atkinson's 100-day education plan

One of the criticisms leveled against Jason Atkinson in his run for governor is that his campaign lacks specifics. That his "signature" issue -- passing the education budget within 100 days -- is one missing the grandeur and statesmanship of big initiatives from days gone by: the Bottle Bill, open beaches, the land-use law (SB100), etc.

At first glance, it might seem the critics are right. What good will it do to pass the education budget in the first three months? We need to talk about funding, not worry about when it happens.

But look at little deeper, and consider the ramifications of such an idea.

In its current model, the legislature crafts the state budget by deciding how much money will go to Health and Human Services, the Justice Department, the Bureau of Labor and Industries, Higher Education, etc. etc. etc. All the while, in the backs of their minds, legislators know they have to set aside a pretty big chunk for K-12 Education (roughly half the overall budget). Based on the governor's proposal, they know roughly what the K-12 budget will be, but they try to ignore it like the proverbial 10-ton elephant in the room.

As Atkinson says in his book:
In the meantime, the legislature is passing less important budgets (i.e. spending money) while the education self-interests are pleading for delay. Their hope is that by running out the clock they can break legislators who don't agree with the numbers they have already proposed for the budget.
So it is, as Atkinson correctly points out, a game. The two parties use the extended time without a K-12 budget to bludgeon those with whom they disagree, perhaps in person (though the public isn't privy to those discussions) and certainly in the press. Democrats are spending money like drunken sailors and plan to raise every tax known to man, and a few that haven't yet been invented. Republicans want to put 87 kids in each classroom and cut everything that doesn't use the Bible as its sole curriculum.

The governor proposes a budget of, say, $5 billion; the Oregon Education Association says it needs at least, say, $6 billion. So, when the education budget is finalized eight months later at, say, $5.5 billion, the governor is not critized for setting the bar so low -- the Republicans are critized for not meeting the unrealistic and unreasonable high bar set by the unions that endorsed the governor.

So what happens if education is the first budget to pass? Will the gamesmanship go away? Not likely. But what will happen is multi-fold:
  1. The special interests will have less time to sweet-talk their friends and strong-arm their opponents;
  2. The legislators will be forced to talk only about education -- how much of a priority is it? How much money should go to education? What kinds of expectations should accompany those dollars? -- instead of discussing everything else first and slipping education into the end-of-session cracks;
  3. The public will have a much clearer picture about which legislators really hold education as a priority, because the legislators can't hide behind eight months of rhetoric about the budget as a whole.
Suddenly, legislators -- and the public -- will have the opportunity to hold the debate we all want, without the other distractions of government: how much money does public K-12 education in Oregon need to be effective? And the budget will be built with education as the cornerstone, as the priority, instead of treating it as an afterthought and dragging the state's half-million public school children and their families along for the ride.

(By the way, Atkinson calls for this to occur via constitutional initiative, so that the executive and legislative branches can't wiggle out from the mandate. Lacking that constitutional mandate, it assumes that Governor Atkinson would wield a quick and merciless veto pen over any budget that passed prior to education.)

Yes, on its face, the Atkinson 100-day plan sounds like something that will do little good. But it will dramatically change the way the state talks about money, its schools and its future. And it will dramatically change the rhetoric that comes out of Salem because legislators will be on the hook to show just what they mean when they say they hold education as a priority.

If you want to read more of Jason's book, you can go here and read some excerpts of the education chapter, or go to Jason's website and ask for a free copy of the book. But do it soon. Ballots will be in our hands next week.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Today's must-read from Peggy Noonan

In his new role as the president's press secretary, Tony Snow should assign someone to read Peggy Noonan every time she puts a word down on paper (dead-tree or digital), and generate a report on its contents; he should then incorporate that into the policy discussions he's supposedly involved with.

Noonan has an incredible insight into the American thought pattern, and an incredible ability to summarize it into a coherent narrative that leaves one thinking, "Well, duh." Today's column in Opinion Journal is no exception. It offers suggestions on where President Bush should focus his energies in the last 1,000 days of his administration. The areas, with little snippits from Noonan, are:

Issue 1: Iraq, Afghanistan and the age of terror.
We already know liberty is God's gift to man; make statements that are less emotive and more fact-filled, more strategically coherent . . . Find Osama -- it is a scandal that the man who started the new era is still free, still taunting the West, still inspiring those who see the world as he does. It was a mistake to think finding him was not as important as a wider war on terror. Finding him is key. It is almost five years since he did what he did. Get him, try him, kill him.
Issue 2: the economy.
This is President Bush's triumph. And yet in polls Americans don't credit him with it. (My hunch: Americans, a deeply savvy lot, never want to tell a politician he's doing well on the economy because their applause may lead him to feel he can shift focus to, say, colonizing Mars. Americans always name prosperity in retrospect. In real time they like to keep the pressure on.) . . . The president should talk about the economy -- not in a braying, bragging way but in an instructive, engaged way that discusses the philosophy and actions that allowed the market to do what it wants to do, grow . . . Did the tax cuts, at the end of the day, help the economy? Why? How? Will a change in the tax structure, or will making permanent the tax cuts, help? What impact does high federal government spending have on the economy? Where should we go on that, and why? Talk about the flow of money in America.
Issue 3: the integrity of America's borders.
This is both an economic issue and a national security issue; it naturally connects to issues 1 and 2. On this, Washington is talking a lot and doing nothing . . . Close down illegal immigration, now. Then talk. (A hunch for liberals: Your views will be received with greater generosity once the air of daily crisis is removed.)
Read the whole thing.

Tony Snow

A great move by the President. A terrible loss for Portland radio listeners. Now we have yet another hour for the Mouth of the Northwest (aka Lars) to pontificate, and then another hour for Michael Savage. Which means two more hours when I won't be listening to KXL.

A great recap of Jason Atkinson in Eugene

HMIL over at Teapot Tantrums provides a fantastic rundown of Jason Atkinson's appearance in Eugene last night. Here's my favorite quote:
. . . the thing that best described the evening to me was what my husband said on the way home. When I asked him what he thought of Jason and his positions on the issues brought up. He said, "I didn't get that slimy feeling." When I asked him if it was compared to Kevin Mannix and Ron Saxton, he said, "No. I generally get that feeling from *all* politicians ... they're slick and polished and I don't trust 'em. I didn't get that feeling with Jason Atkinson."
Check it out.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Jack Bog has a great idea

Instead of asking the state legislature to meet every year, we should give serious consideration to Jack Bogdanski's idea.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ron Saxton's expenditures

OK, it's not exactly leisurely reading, but I've spent some time looking through Ron Saxton's expenditure report, and there are a few interesting things.

1. Consultants

Saxton's campaign has spent a boatload of money on consultants -- about $280,000 worth. Included in that group is the Jackson-Alvarez Group from just outside Washington, D.C. Saxton paid $21,850 to Jackson-Alvarez between Sept. 13 and Dec. 8, 2005.

Who is Jackson-Alvarez? We get a clue from Georgiana Vines, a columnist in the Knoxville, Tenn. News Sentinel. In a story from last month, she noted that one candidate in the US senate race to replace Tennessee's Bill Frist used Jackson-Alvarez (emphasis mine):
(Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob) Corker's use of the Jackson-Alvarez Group of McLean, Va., headed by Gary Maloney, is the subject of news stories and other material recently mailed anonymously to the news media. Maloney has a reputation as a Republican opposition researcher, who did work for Corker when he ran against fellow Republican Bill Frist for the Senate in 1994, according to news accounts at the time. Frist won the election.

Ben Mitchell, Corker's campaign manager, said Corker is using Maloney to "make sure that we fully understand the public record so all communications are factual and true." He said all candidates have such research done.

"Campaigns are about candidates, not about staff. The campaign should be about Bob Corker, what he has done and what he plans to do and what other candidates are running on," Mitchell said.

As for the material mailed anonymously, Corker's campaign has made no attempt to determine who is responsible for it, he said.

The return label of one envelope mailed to the News Sentinel has an address of the Lebanon Democrat in Middle Tennessee. Clint Brewer, the newspaper's managing editor, said his newspaper did not mail the material.

"The one we received had a return address from another newspaper in Memphis," he said.
USA Today, in a 1999 story, described Jackson-Alvarez as "a firm in McLean, Va., that does research on opposition candidates."

A Republican opposition researcher. Translation: an organization that specializes in digging up dirt on opponents. What "opposition" would Ron Saxton need to research in the last four months of 2005, more than six months before the primary? That's about the time that Jason Atkinson and Ted Kulongoski both announced their intentions to run; Kevin Mannix was already in the race.

Another consultant is Cottington Consulting of Milwaukie, Minnesota. Between Oct. 3, 2005 and Feb. 28, 2006, Saxton's campaign paid Cottington $55,165.84, usually in $7,500 chunks.

Who is Cottington? That's a little bit more difficult to ascertain, but there's one thing we can be fairly certain about: there is no city of Milwaukie in Minnesota.

A little bit of searching turned up a Republican consultant named Scott Cottington, who is listed in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. Scott Cottington, it turns out, has some Northwest ties. He contributed to a book by lobbyist Tony Payton, who worked on George Nethercutt's 2002 Washington campaign for the US House. Cottington also worked on Cathy McMorris' successful 2004 campaign in Washington State's Fifth District, and joined Dave Reichert's successful House campaign in September 2004.

Other clients include:
  • Barbara Cubin, a US Representative from Wyoming;
  • Larry Diedrich of South Dakota, who lost a special election for the US House;
  • Jeff Fortenberry, a US Representative from Nebraska;
  • Tom Petri, a 14-term US Representative from Wisconsin;
  • Adam Taff of Kansas, who lost a US House race (and later pleaded guilty to using campaign funds to obtain a home loan);
  • Bob Brown of Montana, who lost the governor's race.
Of that group, Petri is definitely a liberal Republican, and Reichert and Taff sound like moderates at best. Others are either clearly conservative (Cubin and Fortenberry) or unknown. In this story on Taff, Cottington writes about "How a pro-choice underdog won a tough republican congressional primary in Kansas." So it seems that Cottington advises people all over the Republican political spectrum.

Again, it's reasonable to assume this is the same consultant used by Saxton, but that's not 100 percent clear.

One consultant who I found quite interesting was Patrick Davis of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Davis didn't get a lot of Saxton's money -- just $2,707.88 between November and February, including $853 in travel expenses -- but he sounds like a heavyweight. He was the National Republican Senatorial Committee political director in 2003 and 2004, and the NRSC west region director between 1999 & 2002. Prior to that, he was the South Dakota Republican Party executive director for five years. He also worked as a staff assistant with President George H.W. Bush for three years. After working for the NRSC, he started his own consulting business.

There was another consultant who earned some of Saxton's money -- Marcus McCarthy of Washington, D.C. -- but I couldn't find much on him. He was paid just shy of $12,000 on Feb. 14. It looks like he worked on the Nethercutt for Senate campaign.

Closer to home, Saxton paid Portland polling firm Moore Information a total of $36,230 between Nov. 3, 2005 and March 15, 2006.

2. Advertising

On the advertising side, Saxton has paid $46,000 to Pinnacle Direct Mail of Stillwater, Minnesota. I have to wonder if they're tied in with Cottington, considering the address, but I don't know. The last payment -- more than $14,000 -- was paid on Feb. 9, so I was starting to wonder what Saxton got for this money. I've received two spendy full-color flyers in the mail in the last week, so that's a start. I'm not sure it's $46,000 worth, but it's a start.

Saxton has also paid more than $100,000 to Mentzer Media Service of Townsend, Maryland, roughly $10,000 every two weeks since the beginning of the year.

What has that translated into? Radio advertising. Between Jan. 13 and March 23, here are Saxton's radio expenses:
  • KEX, Portland: Seven payments, $18,041.25
  • *†KXL, Portland: Four payments, $16,065
  • *KAST, Astoria: Eight payments, $2,422.50
  • *KCMX, Medford: Five payments, $2,868.75
  • *Radio Northwest Network: Four payments, $10,200
  • KPAM, Portland: Four payments, $1,938
  • KACI, The Dalles: Four payments, $967.40
  • †KLBM/KBKR, LaGrande/Baker City: Four payments, $1,162.80
  • KUGN, Eugene: Four payments, $2,180.25
  • *KWRO, Coos Bay: Five payments, $1,468.80
  • *KQEN, Roseburg: Four payments, $775.20
  • KMED, Medford: Four payments, $3,876
  • KAJO, Grants Pass: Four payments, $2,180.25
  • *KBND, Bend: Four payments, $2,180.25
  • †KSRV, Ontario: Four payments, $726.50
  • *KUMA, Pendleton: Three payments, $749.70
  • KAGO, Klamath Falls: Four payments, $2,519.40
* Broadcasts Lars Larson's Northwest show
† Broadcasts Lars Larson's national show

So for those who think Lars is endorsing Saxton as a way to gain advertising, I'm not sure the numbers bear that out. Saxton spent $38,619.50 for stations that broadcast the Lars Larson show in some fashion, and $31,702.55 for stations that have no affiliation with the Mouth of the Northwest. Yes, it's more to Lars and his bevy of stations, but not significantly more.

One of the funny things for me is that, with the exception of Moore Information, all those firms and consultants used by Saxton’s campaign are located outside the state of Oregon. Quite a ways outside the state of Oregon.

Despite the large amount spent by Saxton, his total for consulting and advertising (about $325,000) is about 27 percent of all funds raised. Just for comparison's sake, Kevin Mannix spent about $215,000 (about 25 percent of all funds raised) for consultants, the lion's share (17 of every 20 dollars) going to Creative Strategies of Lake Oswego. Jason Atkinson spent about $75,000 (28 percent of all funds) on various consulting sources, most in Oregon.

If I have time, I'll share a few interesting things I learned in the Mannix and Atkinson C&Es.

Technical Difficulties

If you just read my post on Ron Saxton's expenditures, I pulled it down because it was having some serious technical problems. I'll try to get it back up later today.

Did I mention I'm not exactly enamored of Blogger? I guess you get what you pay for...

Friday, April 21, 2006

More class from Saxton

I wandered over to Ron Saxton's website today and looked at the bottom under the "Latest News." This is where the candidate highlights newspaper stories about his run for governor. What did I find there?
  • A column by the Oregonian's Dave Reinhard critical of Kevin Mannix's relationship with Loren Parks.
  • A story from the Corvallis Gazette-Times that talks about Saxton's history and a little about this campaign.
  • An editorial from the Oregonian that is critical of Kevin Mannix.
  • A story from the Oregonian that talks about Kevin Mannix's relationship with Loren Parks.
So we have three stories with negative tones on a Saxton opponent, and only one about Saxton himself; five of the first 12 stories on the Saxton website's News page are negative stories about Mannix. By contrast, Jason Atkinson has three stories on his home page and 19 on the News page, all about Jason Atkinson.

Let's play pretend for a moment: let's assume that after the November elections, the state legislature maintains its current balance -- Democrats in power in the Senate, Republicans in the House. That means the governor will have to work with the opposition party in the Senate to accomplish anything.

Do you want it to be Ron Saxton, who has made it clear that he's willing to sling someone else's mud for his own gain? Or do you want it to be Jason Atkinson, who sticks to the issues and highlights the stories that talk about his campaign?

There's no doubt in my mind. I hope you'll consider which candidate would best lead Oregon into a positive future, and vote for Jason Atkinson.

Quotes of the Day: Ron Saxton

In today's Oregonian profile on Ron Saxton, here's the candidate on the difference between 2002 and today:
"I don't think you can find any issue where I have changed the answer I would have given you four years ago," Saxton says, denying he's altered his political stripes.
From someone who helped Saxton in his school board race, on the difference between 2002 and today:
"It's a breathtaking right turn," says Mark Wiener, a mostly Democratic strategist who worked on Saxton's school board race. People who admired his moderate views "simply don't recognize the Ron Saxton they see today."

Who voted against Jessica's Law in Oregon?

Well, they're all Democrats. Almost all of them are unopposed in the upcoming elections. And all of them are in heavily Democratic districts, most by simple majorities, others by impressive pluralities.

It's no wonder they would vote against Jessica's Law. They know they won't be held accountable.

The one possible exception to that is Mitch Greenlick, Democrat from District 33 in Northwest Portland. Voter registration in the district is 41.7 percent Democrat, 29.6 percent Republican (the rest -- almost a third -- are non-affiliated, or are registered in third parties). Greenlick is opposed by Jeffrey A. Kee in the Democratic primary. The winner faces Republican Mark Eggleston in the general election.

This is an excellent opportunity for voters in District 33 to get off their hind-ends and send a message. If Greenlick returns to Salem next year, that tells me that the voters of District 33 are clueless or apathetic, both about their district and their state.

The others are:
Mary Nolan, Democrat from District 36 in Southwest Portland. Unopposed in the primary and general elections. Voter registration is 51.3 percent Democrat, 21.4 percent Republican.

Carolyn Tomei, Democrat from District 41 in Milwaukie. Unopposed in the primary and general elections. Voter registration is 49.2 percent Democrat, 21.7 percent Republican.

Diane Rosenbaum, Democrat from District 42 in Southeast Portland. Opposed by Gordon Hillesland in the Democratic primary. No Republican opposition in the general election. Voter registration is 54.3 percent Democrat, 9.9 percent Republican.

Chip Shields, Democrat from District 43 in Northeast Portland. Unopposed in the primary and general elections. Voter registration is 60.1 percent Democrat, 9.7 percent Republican.

Jackie Dingfelder, Democrat from District 45 in Northeast Portland. Unopposed in the primary and general elections. Voter registration is 51.3 percent Democrat, 21.4 percent Republican.

If I were a Democratic Party supporter, I would be embarrassed to be in the same big tent with these folks. The tent, as Hugh Hewitt likes to say, has an edge, and this group of six has wandered well beyond the edge.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I SO want Jason Atkinson to be my governor

And I just found reason number 1,306. Set aside about 25 minutes to watch this video, and get a glimpse into the heart of Jason Atkinson -- the man, the candidate, the believer, the servant.

(HT: David -- a high school kid who is a clearer thinker than I, a man more than twice his age, might ever be.)

Quote of the Day

From Peggy Noonan in today's Opinion Journal, because it made me smile:
The president has taken, those around him say, great comfort in biographies of previous presidents. All presidents do this. They all take comfort in the fact that former presidents now seen as great were, in their time, derided, misunderstood, underestimated. No one took the measure of their greatness until later. This is all very moving, but: Message to all biography-reading presidents, past present and future: Just because they call you a jackass doesn't mean you're Lincoln.

Just a thought on the corporate kicker...

I keep hearing that we should oppose the corporate kicker because, in its current form, we are sending money to corporations in other states.

Help me out here: regardless of where those corporations are located, aren't they paying taxes to Oregon? Otherwise, how could they be getting a refund?

And aren't they providing jobs to Oregonians? And don't those Oregonians then pay taxes from the wages provided by those out-of-state corporations?

I can understand the desire, and even the benefit, to have a rainy-day fund. But the only reason I can see to target the corporate kicker is because it's an easy target, and the shooters don't seem to remember that those "corporations in other states" (not to mention the many corporations within the state, who would also lose their kicker) are providing a benefit to Oregon.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Willamette Week on Mannix's ties to Parks

If I were Kevin Mannix this morning, I'd be breathing a sigh of relief. The big, bad exposé by Willamette Week is out, and it really sheds no new light on the relationship between Oregon's almost-governor and his biggest financial contributor.

The story by the Oregonian 10 days ago was much more damaging, I thought, even if overblown.

Basically what we learned in WW is that Loren Parks is an old, strange guy -- "Of course, by the time a man reaches the age of 79, he's probably entitled to hold eccentric or even kooky views," he WW story says, "but even by contemporary standards, Loren Parks is pretty unconventional" -- with a boatload of money and a proclivity for "helping" the sexually dysfunctional. I won't go into detail here -- all you ever wanted to know about plethysmograph (and more) can be found in the WW story -- but much of this is old news.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is that the story was written by Carlton Smith, who worked at WW more than 20 years ago. He is now an author living in South Pasadena, Calif., but I can't help wondering if WW asked him to write it without mentioning WW because of Parks' distrust of Oregon media.

Nonetheless, the story does little if any damage to Mannix and his governmental aspirations.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tram Drama

Aren't you just salivating at the thought that someday this headline will be on a Portland station instead of in New York?

Hugh Hewitt's poll on Iran

Hugh Hewitt has an interesting poll up right now that measures his readers' impressions of seven potential Republican nominees for president, but it also asks about Iran.

The poll, which you can find at the top of Hewitt's blog, asks what action President Bush should take regarding Iran; you'll find these options:
  • Order military action to degrade the nuclear program as soon as the Pentagon says it is capable of conducting such a mission
  • Ask the Congress for authority to take action, including military action
  • Request the Security Council authorize sanctions, including a blockade of Iran's oil exports
  • Wait and see what happens
Believe it or not, I chose option C. Not because I think the Security Council will 1) have any cajónes; or 2) have any consensus on the issue. I chose C because the other options are non-starters.

If President Bush chose Option A (which I suspect will be necessary at some point), the entire world -- not to mention the entire Democratic Party -- would be on his back relentlessly for another round of Unjustified-Preemptive-Strike-Shoulda-Done-Sanctions-Imperialist-Cowboy rhetoric, and it would not be pretty. George W. Bush may take actions based solely upon what he believes is the right thing, but there is also a limit to the abuse he's willing to endure.

If he chose Option B (which he should do, in a perfect world), he'd be lucky to get a simple majority in either chamber, much less a filibuster-proof Senate vote. There are too many Congressmen who want nothing to do with controversy in an election year, and they're not about to support the president when it could hurt their cushy government pension.

Option D is not an option. Iranian President/American Embassy Kidnapper/Committed Israel Bomber Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made it clear he cannot be trusted with conventional weapons, much less nuke-u-ler technology, and we cannot wait to see how long it takes for him to complete that technology.

So, for now, President Bush must seek out Security Council Approval. When that doesn't work, either because the Security Council is blocked by states like Russia or China or because the sanctions work as well as they did with Saddam, he can move to Congress or (if an immiment threat is detected) he can take military action.

But for now, his hands are tied.


Several high-profile military people have spoken against Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld in recent days. He must be in trouble. Is this another Harriet Miers, where the president supports the insupportable?

Maybe not.

This Atkinson website rocks

Have you visted Jason4Gov.com lately? It's the "unofficial website" of the Atkinson for Governor campaign, and I've gotta say, it rocks.

The latest stuff includes the truth about Jason Atkinson's fine for a "tardy" C&E report, a fun poll on who best matches your positions in the Oregon governor's race, and a great compilation of Atkinson's best quotes.

And this has gotta be one of the coolest thing I've ever seen.

I highly recommend you bookmark it (or get there through the Atkinson for Governor links on the sidebar) and check it regularly.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Iranian nut case

Do you get the feeling that Iran's president secretly has a death wish? Apparently he wants to speed up that trip to meet his 70 virgins, because he keeps making threats like this.

At what point will the West admit that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a complete lunatic, and must be dealt with forcefully? When Jerusalem is a smoking black hole?

What happened on my birthday?

Brian over at Memento Moron has put out a call for a Birthday Meme (I didn't even know what a "meme" was until I started blogging). The idea is to go to Wikipedia and look up your birth date (excluding the year); then, list three interesting historical events that occurred on that day, two births, and one death. (I'm going to break the rules and put more than three events, because lots of interesting things happened on my birthday.)

So, here's mine for March 9:

  • 1841 - The Supreme Court of the United States rules in the Amistad case, concerning captive Africans who seized control of the slave-trading ship carrying them: the court rules that they had been taken into slavery illegally.
  • 1933 - Great Depression: The U.S. Congress begins its first 100 days of enacting New DealFranklin D. Roosevelt submits the Emergency Banking Act to Congress.
  • 1959 - The Barbie doll debuts (in honor of my little girls).
  • 1964 - The first Ford Mustang rolls off the assembly line at Ford Motor Company.
  • 1981 - Ketchup is declared a vegetable, to help public schools with the balanced meal plan.
  • 1986 - United States Navy divers find the largely intact but heavily-damaged crew compartment of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The bodies of all seven astronauts were still inside.
  • 2005 - Dan Rather presents his final broadcast of the CBS Evening News.

Jack Roberts on Jason Atkinson

Today's quote of the day comes from Supreme Court candidate Jack Roberts, who posted this last night on Northwest Republican:
As a judicial candidate who is now (and must remain) officially neutral in all nonjudicial races, I just want to say that I loved Jason's video. I think his positive, can-do message is exactly what people are dying to hear.
To see the video, click here.

Then, make sure you're registered for the Republican primary and vote for Jason Atkinson as Oregon's next governor.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Check out the new Atkinson video

Go to this website to see a cool new video from Jason Atkinson, Oregon's next governor.

Then, make sure you're registered in the Republican primary (the registration deadline is just 12 days away) and vote for Jason Atkinson to lead Oregon in the right direction.

Did I mention you should vote for Jason Atkinson?

Peggy Noonan on immigrants and immigration

Back in December, I wrote that I hated Ms. Noonan because she's such a great writer. Or, as a commenter said on my blog a couple of months ago, "I want to write like her when I grow up."

OK, I don't really hate her, but today's column is another excellent (and depressing) example of why she's a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and I'm, um, a guy with a blog in Portland, Oregon. She spends 13 paragraphs recounting her feelings for immigrants (strong and affectionate); her memory of the post-9/11 New York melting pot (all cultures coming together to support America); and her experiences in the recent immigration rally (a huge mass of people who -- mostly -- were "peaceful and high-spirited," and also well organized).

But it's not just how she starts the column that I love; it's also how she finishes (I highlighted my favorite lines):
Does my feeling for immigrants, and my afternoon at the march, leave me supporting open borders, or illegal immigration? No. Why should it? To love immigrants is not to believe America has no right to decide who can come to America and become a citizen. America has always decided who comes here. That's why it all worked.

While the marchers seemed to be good people, and were very likable, the march itself, I think, violated the old immigrant politesse--the general understanding that you're not supposed to get here and immediately start making demands. It would never have occurred to my grandparents to demand respect. They thought they had to earn it. It would never have occurred to them to air mass grievances, assert rights, issue a list of legislative demands. Especially if they were here unlawfully.

I happen to think America in general has deep affection for immigrants, knows they are part of the dynamic, a part of our growth and our endless coming-into-being. But when your heart is soft, and America's is, your head must be hard.

We are a sovereign nation operating under the rule of law. That, in fact, is why many immigrants come here. They come from places where the law, such as it is, is corrupt, malleable, limiting. Does it make sense to subvert our own laws to facilitate the entrance of those in pursuit of government by law? Whatever our sentiments and sympathies as individuals, America has the right, and the responsibility, to protect the integrity of its borders, to make the laws by which immigrants are granted entrance, and to enforce those laws.

I think open-borders proponents are, simply, wrong. I think those who call good people like members of the voluntary border patrols "yahoos" are snobs. I think those whose primary concern is preserving the Hispanic vote for the Democratic Party, or not losing the Hispanic vote for the Republican Party, are being cynical, selfish, and stupid, too. It's not all about who gets what vote, it's about continuing a system of laws that has allowed America to become, among many other things, a place immigrants want to come to. And it's about admitting immigrants in a coherent, orderly, legal manner, with an eye first to what America needs. That's how you continue a good thing, which is what we've had. That's how you leave Americans who've been here for a while grateful for immigration, and immigrants, and loving them, and even wanting, sometimes, to kiss their hands.
As always, Peggy Noonan is a great read. Check it out.

Quote of the Day: Rep. John Murtha

In today's Washington Post comes a column by Wade Zirkle of Vets for Freedom, responding to Rep. Murtha's much-ballyhood opposition to the war because of his combat history. This paragraph pretty much sums it up:
While we don't question [Murtha's] motives, we do question his assumptions. When he called for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, there was a sense of respectful disagreement among most military personnel. But when he subsequently stated that he would not join today's military, he made clear to the majority of us that he is out of touch with the troops. Quite frankly, it was received as a slap in the face.
And what the extreme anti-war left doesn't grasp (or is unconcerned with) is that most of their rhetoric does nothing to help the situation in the Middle East, except demoralize our family, friends and neighbors serving there and further divide our country against them. As Zirkle said to conclude the column, "All citizens have a right to express their views on this important national challenge, and all should be heard. Veterans ask no more, and they deserve no less."

(HT: HH)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I endorsed Ted Wheeler, and didn't know it!

When I wrote this post last week, I thought I was simply quoting Troutdale City Councilor Robert Canfield, not making my own endorsement.

Not so, according to today's issue of Willamette Week. Click on the "Shut Up And Vote" link and scroll down to "Blog Watch," and you'll see that my "right-wing blog" apparently endorsed Ted Wheeler over Diane Linn.

I hate it when I do something I'm not even aware I did...

From my 3-year-old

"Do you know how to make plants" she asks.

"No, honey, I don't. Only God can make plants."

She responds, "I do. First you put seeds in, then water them, then get some sun, and put love."

Of course.

Reactions in stark contrast

In my e-mailbox this morning, a letter from Diane Ibbotson of Albion, Illinois, courtesy of Progress for America:
When my husband and I heard that our son Forest was going to Iraq, we were concerned -- like any parents would be whose son was going into harm's way.

But we knew that Forest believed in the mission. In fact, he signed up for active duty after the September 11, 2001 attacks because he wanted to defend our country from terrorists.

Tragically, Forest was killed on a volunteer mission -- with Cindy Sheehan's son Casey -- to set up a medical evacuation point for fellow soldiers wounded and trapped in an abandoned building.

I will never forget the day we received the news that Forest had given his life for his country.

Unlike Cindy Sheehan, however, my family determined that we would continue the fight against terror that our son gave his life for.

That is why we joined Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission.

As someone who has personally borne the costs of this war, we know the loss; we know the grief.

We just wish the media would give half as much attention to the accomplishments.
Such a study in contrasts: Cindy Sheehan turned her back on her son's efforts; Diane Ibbotson focused on what her son felt was important.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

NW Republican makes the big-time

I noticed today that Coyote over at Northwest Republican was quoted in a post by Hugh Hewitt.

In the post, Hewitt discusses the news that Iran has successfully enriched uranium in its quest for a nuclear bomb, and suggests that the West must take steps now in order to stop the march toward the bomb. Otherwise, he says, we will helplessly watch the same onward march that Europe watched as Hitler took over country after country in the late 1930s.

While warning away from too much finger-pointing, Hewitt also notes the "excellent quick summary" by Coyote earlier this month that places much of the responsibility for the current Middle East state of affairs at the feet of one James Earl Carter. (You remember him? He's the U.S. president who sat on his hands while the Ayatollah installed a radical Islamic government and took American hostages for more than a year.)

In my book, Hugh Hewitt is the big time. Not, of course, that Coyote and company weren't big-time already...

Jim Geraghty channels Tony Robbins

Jim Geraghty caught my attention in 2004 with his Kerry Spot blog on NRO. Shortly after the election, he and Mrs. Kerry Spot moved to Turkey for her to pursue a professional opportunity, and his writing delved a little bit to deeply into Turkish delights for my tastes.

However, he seems recently to have been gradually pulling out of that malaise, and today's column is a good example. In it, he responds to another NRO blogger who had expressed his disgust with the current administration by calling it "the most politically and substantively inept that the nation has had in over a quarter of a century."

Geraghty, channeling inspirational speaker Tony Robbins, points out that conservatives with similar thoughts on Bush have two choices:
They can push for the ideas that they believe strongly in, and take their message to the people. (Rich offers a good agenda; I would just add that the administration ought to point to Europe. The continent is demonstrating every day why larger, more intrusive government with more regulations and higher taxes eventually reaches a point where it just can't work. In France and Italy, problems just don't get solved anymore and voter cynicism is off the charts. In Germany, Merkel's fighting the good fight, but has an uphill climb.)

Or conservatives can throw up their hands and say, "I'm through with this, I'm leaving the party, all of this is pointless."

With option one, conservatives may win, or they may lose. On option two, they will definitely lose.
That's why, for all my distaste over some of the Bush administration's policies and weariness over its missteps, I can't choose option two. The answer is not withdrawal -- the answer is to push for what's right, to oppose what's wrong, and to work for a permanent Republican majority.

Quote of the Day: debating immigration

From John Podhoretz, today on The Corner:
Derb [John Derbyshire] compares illegals to bank robbers and yesterday called them "interlopers." Polipundit, host of the eponymous site, calls them "invaders." I don't understand how, with this kind of talk on our side and the "give them all immediate citizenship" talk by the marchers, there can be any kind of conversation on this subject that can lead to any kind of working political consensus. The radicalization of the rhetoric on both sides seems designed to make any kind of rational discourse impossible.
My thoughts exactly.

UPDATE: I got just a few posts higher on the Corner, and Andy McCarthy, whom I respect tremendously, makes some good points in response.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mannix freely mixes business, politicking

That's the headline on today's Oregonian "exposé" on Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kevin Mannix, which has been discussed and predicted several times by Coyote over at Northwest Republican.

After reading through it twice, my impression is that most of this is, to quote a famous playwright, much ado about nothing. While it is not without its damaging sections, this is mostly an attempt by the Oregonian to create a negative image of Mannix just 17 days before ballots are mailed to Oregon voters for the May primary.

The story makes clear its intentions in the fourth paragraph when, after talking about a donation that went from a donor to the state GOP to Mannix within hours, it says "whether Mannix did anything improper is debatable." It does go on to say that Mannix was investigated and cleared in 2002 for a "similar . . . episode," but the "debatable" term leaves an open question. The reporter could have moved former Democratic Secretary of State Phil Kiesling's quote -- that the monetary move was "probably legal" -- from the very last paragraph of the story to the top. Instead, it called it "debatable," thus creating a question where there really wasn't one.

For starters, let's look at the amount of money this story discusses: $838,000 over the last 10 years. That seems like a lot, but it breaks down to about $7,000 per month for things like office rent, employees, and services from his law firm. Over that same period, the story says, Mannix raised almost nine million dollars for his campaigns for governor & attorney general, along with other political causes -- so $838,000 is less than 10 percent of that total. (Though I might add that if this were a Democrat candidate we were talking about, $838,000 would probably seem like a bigger deal, so I'm willing to dismiss this point.)

Second, let's look at some of the information sources:
  • Darryl Howard, former executive director of the state GOP, who resigned (he says) or was fired (Mannix says) and has since gone to work for a Mannix opponent, Ron Saxton.
  • The Money in Politics Research Action Project, which the story calls "nonpartisan." Look through its press releases, and you get a pretty clear picture about the group's idea of "nonpartisan."
(I should point out however, that other sources include former state chairman Perry Atkinson, State Rep. Derrick Kitts, Mannix himself, and contribution records.)

Third, let's look at a typical media double standard. A central theme of this story is Mannix's relationship to businessman Loren Parks, who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mannix over the years, including $375,000 in the final days of the 2002 campaign for governor. A quick check of Gov. Ted Kulongoski's campaign contributions shows a $120,000 contribution from the SEIU union just 10 days before the 2002 election, a $76,299 donation from the state's education union just 16 days before that election, and a $50,000 donation from the AFSCME union just five days before election day.

The Oregonian story said that Parks' donations "reignited criticism of the close ties between the two when only a razor-thin margin separated Mannix from" Kulongoski. However, I don't see the Oregonian examining Kulongoski's cozy relationship with public employee unions, which donated almost $885,000 to his 2002 campaign.

Having said all that, as I stated above, it's also clear that there are some damaging sections to this story. They include:
  • An allegation that Mannix was paid a 70 percent commission on donations for a West Coast meeting of Republican leaders. The story says, "Mannix initially was emphatic that there was never any deal to pay him commissions, calling the idea 'ludicrous.' He later said he would not dispute [Republican national committeeman Solomon] Yue's recollection of the arrangement." Yue is quoted as saying he approached Mannix with the commission idea, and state executive committee member Bob Avery said he remembered that some party members were "upset" with that arrangement. That's not a good flip-flop.
  • An allegation that Mannix, with almost $700,000 in campaign debt after the 2002 election, failed to repay the debts for a year and then requested a reduction in the debts his campaign owed to 11 companies. This paragraph, interestingly enough, is only found in the print version of the story: "Mannix offered a deal to 11 firms: Cut their bills, and the rest would be paid in full. Otherwise, small monthly payments would ensue. Seven firms agreed to the arrangement, giving up as much as $10,000 apiece." Could that be construed as a sort of coercion?
  • Claims that while Mannix was the party chairman, the state GOP paid almost $40,000 to his legal secretary for 20 months of work, despite the fact that current chairman Vance Day said he has no secretary and knew of no party chairman besides Mannix who did.
The bottom line, for me, is that this story provides a clear example of Mannix's tin ear when it comes to his image. In politics, perception is extremely important, and the perception that Mannix has created through his financial wheeling and dealing is one that -- regardless of whether everything is true -- will hurt him and, possibly, the state GOP.

If you want another clear example of his tin ear, just visit his website. On it, you will find a countdown to the election. No, not the primary election. The general election. Could it be that Mannix has been listening to his own rhetoric for so long that he thinks his close call with Kulongoski in 2002 entitles him to a pass in the '06 primary? Could it be that Mannix has been thinking so much about 2006 that he has given insufficient thought to the impact his finances will have on his future political career?

Even if Kevin Mannix gets past Saxton and Jason Atkinson in the primary, you can bet that Kulongoski and his cohorts will milk this for all it's worth.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ted Wheeler for Multnomah County Chair

Out on the east edge of the world, Troutdale City Councilor Robert Canfield is endorsing Wheeler to supplant Diane Linn as the chairman of the Multnomah County Commission. And it's no wonder. Considering the many stupid things Linn has done over the last four years, it's a wonder that anyone plans to vote for her.

Canfield lists several reasons why Linn has to go -- including the gay marriage back-room dealing, the "get-paid-twice-for-a-snow-day" debacle and the Wapato Jail mismanagement (most of which really should fall on the entire commission's shoulders) -- but here's my favorite:
Her junior high school non-relationship with her fellow County Commissioners.
And, I might add, her fellow county commissioners (with the exception of Lonnie Roberts) aren't exactly grown-ups, either.

Sometimes I'm sad I don't live in Portland so I could vote on things like this and the many disgusting candidates and decisions made by the city. But then I take a deep breath and realize (again) my good fortune that I can view them from afar without allowing them to raise my blood pressure 30 points.

Friday, April 07, 2006

You say tomato...

In one of the more intellectually stimulating blogger conversations in recent memory, residents of the Corner spent today debating if a certain nut was pronounced PEE-kahn, PEE-can, pe-KAHN or some other variation. According to this post, I guess I've got more country in me than I care to wish for or admit.

For me, it's pe-KAHN and sur-up. But not together. Unless it's the pecans are in the pancakes.

No-leadership governor calls special session

That should be the headline over this story about Gov. Ted Kulongoski's call for a special session to deal with the nine-figure deficit in the state's Department of Human Services.

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jason Atkinson said in a press release today that his goal will be to pass Jessica's Law, which provides for greater punishment and tracking of sex offenders involved with children, and which was killed by the state senate's Democrat majority.

But I liked this little tidbit from the press release:
"The Governor already has the authority to solve the problems at the Department of Human Services, but he refuses to exercise the leadership that would be necessary. The Governor’s refusal to act just puts the exclamation point on why new leadership in the Governor’s office is absolutely critical. We have to stop doing things the way we’ve always done them. It increases the impression among voters that their government does not respect them.”
What do you mean, "impression"?

Joke of the Day: God has a sense of humor

Father Norton woke up Sunday morning and, realizing it was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf. So . . . he told the associate pastor that he was feeling sick and persuaded the associate pastor to say Mass for him that day.

As soon as the associate pastor left the room, Father Norton headed out of town to a golf course about 40 miles away. This way he knew he wouldn't accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish. Setting up on the first tee, he was alone. After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church!

At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed, "You're not going to let him get away with this, are you?"

The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I guess not."

Just then Father Norton hit the ball and it shot straight toward the pin, dropping just short of it, rolling up and falling into the hole. It WAS A 420-YARD HOLE IN ONE!

St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, "Why did you let him do that?"

The Lord smiled and replied, "Who's he going to tell?"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What's in a flag?

Mary Katharine Ham answers that in an eloquent and moving post at HughHewitt.com. Here's just a snippet, about the flags that were folded into small cloth triangles in her family's heirloom chest:
Yes, if I ever needed proof of the kind of men my grandfathers were, it was in a cedar chest in my parents' bedroom. Those heavy triangles sent the message before I could fully understand it; they told of Messerschmitts and 38th Parallels and bombardiers before I knew what those words meant. Later, they allowed me, in some small way, to mourn the passing of heroes I had never known. They are much more than flags.
It's a must read.

Immigration: I'm out

In 1992, I was a new Christian, trying to figure out how to reconcile several years of liberal ideology with a theology that was frequently in conflict.

One Sunday night, our pastor walked into the auditorium and faced the small group in attendance. I don't recall his exact words any more, but the gist of it was that he wanted ideas on how to help the increasing number of immigrants (mostly Hispanic) who were looking for ways to fit into a new country and coming to the church for help.

At 25, I was probably the youngest person in that auditorium by at least 10 years, and the average age was probably pushing 60 -- so I listened. I listened to the elders of the church (by which I mean the older members, not necessarily the leaders) express their belief that these immigrants should go home. Not to their houses. To their countries.

And I'll never forget the feeling I had -- one of disbelief and anger that these people, many of whom were godly role models to me, were seemingly so unconcerned with the humanity of the immigrants that they viewed them as burdens, as problems, much as I imagine the priest and the Levite viewed the injured man on the road to Jericho.

What specific ideas were generated that night, I don't recall. But thankfully, the pastor, a wise and good man who was instrumental in my faith, steered the conversation away from that tangent to focus on ways the church could help them as people.

Flash forward to 2006. I've been a Christian for almost 15 years. My views have changed. My politics have changed. Illegal immigration, which left my stream of consciousness for more than a decade, is back in the headlines and back in my thoughts. And in some ways, I feel as if I'm right back in that auditorium 14 years ago.

In light of Sept. 11, 2001, I'm unwilling to overlook the crucial security issues inherent in a porous border. I believe in the ideas that immigrants to our country should follow the rules, that they should suffer the consequences if they do not follow the rules, and that they should learn our culture and language (without forcing them to lose the cultural identity that defines their lives).

But we have to find a way to approach this issue with this key fact in mind: these are human beings we're talking about. That's why you can count me out of what seems to be the prevailing "Conservative" (not conservative) position on immigration.

My struggle lies in the rhetoric on this issue. A rhetoric that will settle for nothing less than full deportation of every human being within our borders who can't prove his green card isn't forged.

I want to tread lightly here, because I know that one man's passion can be another man's prejudice. I'm sure that some have read my comments about abortion and written me off as a right-wing religious zealot who doesn't give a damn about people after they leave the womb. I know fairly well what's in my heart, however, so I'm secure in my desire to honor life both before and after birth.

That said, the rhetoric of the extreme anti-immigration forces has such a ring of exclusion, intolerance and arrogance that I can't embrace it (note that I am not saying the people promoting these ideas are exclusive, intolerant or arrogant, only that their rhetoric has that ring). There is no grey area. Either you are illegal or you're not, and if you are, you need to get out of our country.

Well, no. Plenty of people break the law, and receive light penalties because of their offender status or the severity of the crime. This should be no different. Coming illegally to our country is not a capital offense -- they should pay fines and other monetary penalties, and understand that their road to citizenship will be more difficult because of the path they chose. But calling for the mass deportation of 12 million people is not good policy from the perspective of politics or human decency.

As Republican congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner, Henry Hyde, and Pete King said recently in a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (emphasis mine):
As you should know, during the House debate, Chairman Sensenbrenner offered an amendment to reduce the bill's penalty for illegal presence from a felony to a misdemeanor. Unfortunately, this amendment was unsuccessful, primarily because all but eight of our Democratic colleagues decided to play political games by voting to make all illegal immigrants felons. A felony penalty is neither appropriate nor workable. We remain committed to reducing this penalty and working with you to this end.
In other words, a wider perspective on the issue would be helpful.

Am I advocating amnesty? According to the rhetoric, yes -- so I fully expect to be labeled as a RINO, a softie, a traitor, whatever. I would argue that these labels only hurt the argument. It might be helpful to look up the definition of "Amnesty." According to Dictionary.com, the definition is: "A general pardon granted by a government, especially for political offenses." And if that's what is being discussed, if there are no penalties, it would be amnesty and would be completely inappropriate. But if immigrants are allowed to stay only by paying a price, both monetarily and punitatively, the amnesty label doesn't stick.

I understand the argument that the penalty for stealing includes giving back what was stolen, which in this case is life in our country, so any penalty should include giving up that right. But again, I don't see that the punishment fits the crime.

So here's the bottom line: Secure the border. Make it easy for employers to check immigration status, and hold them accountable when they don't. Make sure that immigrants who came here legally get first crack at citizenship. For those here illegally, ensure they register with the government, pay back taxes and a fine consistent with breaking the law, and understand what is expected of them. For those who continue to skirt the law, put some teeth into law enforcement so they are no longer welcome in this country.

Are there flaws in my argument? Of course. I'm not saying I have the perfect solution. But I am saying we need to treat these people with the dignity they have earned as children of God. They are not the scum of the earth, any more than any of us are. They were born in a country that does not afford the opportunities found in the United States of America, and we must find a happy medium that honors their efforts and humanity, enforces our laws, and secures our country.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Winning the war with Democrats in control

Today's Quote of the Day comes from Hugh Hewitt, on the possibility that one or both houses of Congress will switch to Democratic hands in November:
Simply put: If Democrats win a majority in either body, the war will be deeply compromised. If Democrats win both, the war will be lost in a replay of the retreat from Vietnam the Democrats orchestrated in the '70s.

The insurgents are fighting on in the hope of one thing: That America will quit.

The Democrats are committed to quitting.
If you doubt that, just re-read Christopher Hitchens' comments with Hewitt last week.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Washingon State's next senator

I caught a short interview between Hugh Hewitt and Washington Senatorial candidate Mike McGavick on Hugh's Monday show. It was interesting, if short on specifics, but I thought this was interesting:
We had a very unfortunate series of events with the Rossi election. But the good news is, Dino's noble effort to contest that election scrubbed the rolls of a whole bunch of felons and dead folks, so we're going to get a slightly cleaner set of registered voters this time. That's helpful. And then, you've got to make sure Eastern Washington turns out fully, because they don't turn out as often as we see people in Western Washington turn out. And then, you've got to campaign, and open hearts and minds here in Western Washington.
He added later in the interview:
The battlegrounds are going to be getting turnout in Eastern Washington, as we mentioned, and then it's about making sure that we get to the rural portions of Western Washington, and help folks understand how the policies currently in place are destroying jobs and opportunities in those communities.
Are you listening, Eastern Washington? If you're tired of Maria Cantwell, you've got to turn out in droves.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Quote of the Day: Censuring Bush

OK, it's from Friday, but I'm just reading it this morning. Andy McCarthy has a great post at The Corner, which I'm repeating in its entirety because it provides some historical context to Russ Feingold's censure efforts:
Who said the following? “[N]othing” in federal statutory law
shall limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack or other hostile acts of a foreign power, to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States, or to protect national security information against foreign intelligence activities. Nor shall anything … be deemed to limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the United States against the overthrow of the Government by force or other unlawful means, or against any other clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the Government.
Was it “King George” Bush (ludicrously referred to as a “monarch” by Sen. Russ Feingold today)? Vice President Cheney? Or maybe Karl Rove? Fox News? Rush Limbaugh? National Review?

Well, no. It was none of those. Instead, the foregoing forceful assertion of robust executive power to do whatever in the President’s judgment was necessary to protect the Nation against foreign threats, including to conduct electronic surveillance inside the United States, was made by … the United States Congress.

It is from Section 2511(3) of Title 18, United States Code – a provision enacted in 1968 in conjunction with the first federal wiretapping law. Its purpose was to make plain what had been universally understood since constitutional governance began in 1789: it would be unconstitutional for Congress to enact a law that purported to seize control of, or reduce, the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence in order to protect the American people from hostile foreigners.

The Congress, with the complicity of President Jimmy Carter, blatantly violated its own statute when it enacted FISA in 1978 and undertook to seize what a decade before it said could not be seized.

So embarrassingly obvious was the transgression that Congress felt compelled to bleach it out by repealing Section 2511(3) and pretending the whole thing never happened. (Unlike the President, when Congress violates the law, it can make that law disappear.)

It was an imperious maneuver by the 1978 Congress, ignoring checks and balances and declaring that Congress, not the Constitution, was our ultimate ruler. It was downright oligarchical.

So should we censure Congress?

Maybe Sen. Feingold, staunch libertarian that he purports to be, should read the Federalist Papers. He might start with No. 72, in which Hamilton warned, for the sake of liberty, that Americans remain on guard against “[t]he propensity of the legislative department to intrude upon the rights, and to absorb the powers, of the other departments[.]”
Read the whole thing. Oh wait, you just did.

Benjamin Franklin's belief in prayer

Taking a few days of vacation affords me the chance to read something other than my computer screen, and the beach house we stayed in had a copy of "Faith of our Founding Fathers" by Tim LaHaye.

Some of it was a bit dry for me, but LaHaye's passage about Benjamin Franklin's call to prayer during the Constitutional Convention was interesting. Franklin is cited as a deist or, by some, an athiest, but this makes it clear that he was definitely not the latter, and was at least respectful of Christianity.

Here's the text of Franklin's speech (the link also has some clarifying information):
The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other—our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes and ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, some we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.—Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move—that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service.
Another interesting note was that Franklin wrote his own epitaph, which is now found on his gravestone: "The body of B. Franklin, Printer (Like the Cover of an Old Book Its Contents torn Out And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding) Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By the Author."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Global warming or global fear-mongering?

Washington Post columnist George Will argues the latter in today's column, suggesting that fears of global warming (a worldwide increase of one degree over the last century) are due to "anxiety from journalism calculated to produce it."

On a recent appearance on an ABC news show, Will notes, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer simultaneously suggested that the use of coal (from his state, of course) was safe because of new technologies, while saying we should be very worried because of countries like China that will compound the global warming conundrum.

Will continues:
While worrying about Montana's receding glaciers, Schweitzer, who is 50, should also worry about the fact that when he was 20 he was told to be worried, very worried, about global cooling:
  • Science magazine (Dec. 10, 1976) warned of "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.''
  • Science Digest (February 1973) reported that "the world's climatologists are agreed'' that we must "prepare for the next ice age.''
  • The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster than Even Experts Expect,'' Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance,'' "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter'' and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool.''
  • Newsweek agreed ("The Cooling World,'' April 28, 1975) that meteorologists "are almost unanimous'' that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that The New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age.''
  • The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable'' now that it is "well established'' that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950.''
In fact, the earth is always experiencing either warming or cooling. But suppose the scientists and their journalistic conduits, who today say they were so spectacularly wrong so recently, are now correct. Suppose the earth is warming and suppose the warming is caused by human activity. Are we sure there will be proportionate benefits from whatever climate change can be purchased at the cost of slowing economic growth and spending trillions? Are we sure the consequences of climate change -- remember, a thick sheet of ice once covered the Middle West -- must be bad?

Or has the science-journalism complex decided that debate about these questions, too, is "over''?

About the mystery that vexes ABC -- Why have Americans been slow to get in lock step concerning global warming? -- perhaps the "problem'' is not big oil or big coal, both of which have discovered there is big money to be made from tax breaks and other subsidies justified in the name of combating carbon. Perhaps the problem is big crusading journalism.
The whole thing is great.