Upper Left Coast

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

Sunday, February 25, 2007


That's how I've been feeling lately about blogging.

I still spend some time every day reading the people and publications I admire or rely on for information, and there have been several times in the last few weeks where I've thought, "I should blog about that." But I just can't find the motivation, the desire, the passion.

Part of that may be that I've been weighing my blogging hours vs. my work hours, my husband hours and my dad hours, and the latter items (especially the last one) are tipping the scales. Part of it may be that I've been considering my role as a follower of Christ, and feeling the need to spend less time in front of the computer and more investing in peoples' lives.

Call it burnout, perhaps, but I just can't find the internal gumption. I don't find myself thinking of quitting, but for now I'm holding a low profile.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

A clear example of how the Dems view Iraq

From The Politico, on the Democrats' strategy on Iraq:
Top House Democrats, working in concert with anti-war groups, have decided against using congressional power to force a quick end to U.S. involvement in Iraq, and instead will pursue a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options.
. . .
The legislative strategy will be supplemented by a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign designed to pressure vulnerable GOP incumbents into breaking with President Bush and forcing the administration to admit that the war is politically unsustainable.
So in the eyes of the Democrats, it's not a war on terror. It's not a war for oil. It's not a war for democracy. It has nothing to do with the safety of the United States. It's a political war.

That's why, for all the polls that show the American public dismayed about Iraq, the Democratic Party cannot be trusted with the nation's security. The Dems think this is all politics and has nothing to do with the future peace of the country. They think the war is wrong, but they're not going to come out and say so overtly -- led by Rep. John Murtha, they're going to play political games:
[Democrats] will seek to . . . restrict the deployment of troops to Iraq unless they meet certain levels [of] adequate manpower, equipment and training to succeed in combat. That's a standard . . . few of the units Bush intends to use for the surge would be able to meet.

In addition, [Democrats] will seek to limit the time and number of deployments by soldiers . . . making it tougher for Pentagon officials to find the troops to replace units that are scheduled to rotate out of the country.
They don't get it. And the sooner they're out of power, the better for the safety of my children.

As James Taranto said in today's Best of the Web, "If Murtha thinks he has a better way, let him run for president next year and make the case. To pursue a strategy of subversion instead is cowardly and despicable."

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Laugher of the day

I know, I'm late the party on the discussion of the state climatologist and his differences with the governor over global warming. But the front page of today's Oregonian made me laugh -- it includes an article headlined, "To governor, Oregon has no 'climatologist,' " in which Gov. Ted Kulongoski makes it clear he knows more about climate science than the head of the Oregon Climate Service.

"From the governor's perspective there's no such position as state climatologist that speaks on behalf of the state on issues of climate change," said gubernatorial spokesperson Anna Richter Taylor.

But here's a little quiz: between Kulongoski and Taylor, guess which one has a master's degree in meteorology? Guess which one, according the Oregonian article, "has been widely known as Oregon's state climatologist since 1991 and uses that title," because (even though the position was de-funded by the feds in the 1980s) he took over the duties of what used to be the official state climatologist?

Hint: it's not the governor.

But the state climatologist, Oregon State University's George Taylor, differs from the governor on the human impact on global warming -- he says the human impact is, at best, unclear, and other factors such as natural climate fluctuation have more of a role.

So here's the laugher, courtesy of the governor's spokesperson:
Richter Taylor says the Oregon governor isn't trying to censor or fire anyone. "He is trying to make sure we have the right person with the right credentials speaking on behalf of this state," she said.
In other words, this Taylor guy has the right credentials and we can't handle the possibility that someone might listen to him when he disagrees with the all-powerful governor. Thus, "the right credentials" is translated as, "the person who agrees with Ted."

Please, Ms. Richter Taylor: spare me the PR spin. The governor also sought legislation allowing him to appoint the state climatologist, so it's not unreasonable to translate your spin as, "we're going to fire the state climatologist at the earliest opportunity so we can replace him with someone who will spout the Kulongoski party line."

Another way to put it:

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Why you shouldn't lie about your golf handicap

A businessman was attending a conference in Africa. He had a free day and wanted to play a round of golf. He was directed to a golf course in the nearby jungle. After a short journey, he arrived at the course and asked the pro if he could get on.

"Sure," said the pro. "What's your handicap?"

Not wanting to admit that he had an 18 handicap, he decided to cut it a bit.

"Well, its 16," said the businessman, "But what's the relevance since I'll be playing alone?"

"It's very important for us to know," said the pro, who then called a caddy.

"Go out with this gentleman," said the pro, "his handicap is 16."

The businessman was very surprised at this constant reference to his handicap. The caddy picked up the businessman's bag and a large rifle. Again the businessman was surprised but decided to ask no questions.

They arrived on the first hole, a par 4. "Please avoid those trees on the left," said the caddy. Needless to say, the businessman duck-hooked his ball into the trees.

He found his ball and was about to punch it out, when he heard the loud crack of the rifle and a large snake fell dead from a tree above his head. The caddy stood next to him with the rifle smoking in his hand. "That's the mamba, the most poisonous snake in all Africa. You're lucky I was here with you."

After taking a bogey, they moved to the second hole, a par 5.

"Avoid those bushes on the right," said the caddy. Of course, the businessman's ball went straight into the bushes. As he went to pick up his ball, he heard the loud crack of the caddy's rifle once more and a huge lion fell dead at his feet. "I've saved your life again," said the caddy.

The third hole was a par 3 with a lake in front of the green. The businessman's ball came up just short of the green and rolled back to the edge of the water. To take a shot, he had to stand with one foot in the lake. As he was about to swing, a large crocodile emerged from the water and bit off much of his right leg. As he fell to the ground bleeding and in great pain, he saw the caddy with the rifle propped at his side, looking on unconcernedly. "Why didn't you kill it?" asked the man incredulously.

"I'm sorry, sir," said the caddy, "this is the 17th handicap hole. You don't get a shot here."



Friday, February 02, 2007

Quote of the Day: Reagan's 11th Commandment

Peggy Noonan writes today about Ronald Reagan, who would have turned 96 next week. Her focus is why Reagan is still remembered as a good man and a great president, but she closes with an interesting take on "President Reagan's famous 11th commandment: 'Speak no ill of a fellow Republican' " (emphasis mine)
It's a good rule for both parties, but it's good also to remember how he approached it in practice. Ronald Reagan turned his own party upside down, enraged its establishment, and threatened its immediate future when, in 1976, he mounted a fierce challenge to an incumbent Republican president. He ran full and hard against Jerry Ford and it was bitter--the stakes were high, the issue freedom at home and abroad. Reagan lost, his challenge doomed Ford in the general election, and four years later Reagan roared back. And when he won the nomination he turned around and seriously considered as his running mate . . . Jerry Ford.

When he ran against Ford, it wasn't personal. And when he almost picked Ford as his vice president, that wasn't personal either. It was more like this: This is America. We have been arguing about everything for 200 years. It's what we do. It's our glory.

Our politics then were grimmer yet had a lighter touch. The Soviets could nuke us tomorrow; let's have a hellacious brawl. It was a serious time, but I don't think we were in general so somber, so locked in. The 11th commandment meant the fight should never be mean, low or unnecessarily injurious to the person, or the party. But a fight could be waged--should be waged--over big, big things.

That he knew that is part of why we remember him as great . . .
Thus, when he took on Ford in 1976, it wasn't a violation of the 11th commandment, because Ronald Reagan had the ability to step on the Republican Party's toes without including the personal mud slinging that is so commonplace today.

Oh, that we -- whether seeking to maintain the direction of a party or to steer it elsewhere -- could all be so gifted.

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