Upper Left Coast

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

Monday, March 19, 2007

What year do you belong in?

The owner of the blog where I found this quiz was a bit freaked out because it told her she belonged in the year of her birth.

So, I took it, and it told me I belonged in the year of my birth.

You Belong in 1967

If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

Kinda freaky. Let me know if it does the same for you.



Friday, March 16, 2007

Quote of the Day: blogging burnout

Today's quote comes from Oregon blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon, leaving a comment on my post concerning my recent lack of inspiration and desire to blog (emphasis mine):
It happens to me every couple of months as regular as clockwork. That's when I take a break from politics and write whatever I feel like - including God if I want. It's more natural to sing praises than to criticize all the time which is basically what political blogging is.
A great thought as we head into the weekend. Thank you, Patrick.



Thursday, March 15, 2007

In the pockets of special interests

How do you know when a legislator is in the pocket of a special interest group? Check out the legislation sponsored by that legislator, and see if it repeats -- without question, without investigation -- the interest group's talking points.

A prime example is Senate Bill 776, which would require the state of Oregon to "collect data and study 'alternative-to-abortion organizations' in Oregon."

The bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown, Sen. Richard Devlin and Rep. Diane Rosenbaum "at the request of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon [and] NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon." SB776 is co-sponsored by Senators Brad Avakian, Floyd Prozanski and Vicki Walker, and Representatives Jeff Barker, Suzanne Bonamici, Tina Kotek, Mary Nolan and Carolyn Tomei. Every sponsor -- except for first-year representatives Bonamici and Kotek -- is rated as a 100 percent supporter of NARAL, according to Project Vote Smart.

So basically, Planned Parenthood (PP) and NARAL wrote the bill for their friends in the legislature, creating a fishing expedition in an attempt to intimidate pregnancy centers that don't proclaim the "abortion for all" mantra of the extreme left.

And what is this "investigation" based on? Well, the falsehoods start in the bill's first paragraph:
Whereas “alternative-to-abortion organizations,” also called “crisis pregnancy centers,” misinform and mislead women to deter or to delay them from having abortions;
Misinform and mislead. Pretty serious accusations. On what information do they base this statement? Does the bill provide any proof? Is there any accompanying information that explains the charges?

Not a single example.

This is a classic case of out-of-state special interests run amuck, as the issue revolves around Crisis Pregnancy Centers (hereby known as CPCs) around the country that supposedly lie about their services to get an abortion-minded women in the door, and then pressure her to continue the pregnancy, the old bait-and-switch. It's not really an Oregon issue, but -- just like the tendency for local governments to follow the lead of East Coast nanny states -- some people want to create an issue.

Despite the lack of proof in the bill, however, you don't have to hunt too far to find examples from across the country, thanks to your friendly neighborhood pro-abortion folks. Carla over at Loaded Orygun was kind enough to link to this, which illustrates a pathetic attempt by a CPC to guilt a rape victim into carrying the result of her trauma. (I doubt the story is true, and there are folks on the pro-abortion side who share my doubts. It was deliberately chosen to illustrate the most extreme example -- rape victims consist of less than 1 percent of all women undergoing abortions -- but it is pathetic if valid.)

SB776 is written in the hopes that some young Oregon girl will come out of the woodwork to testify against CPCs, thus tarring the entire industry. But would that be grounds for "investigating" every CPC in the state? If an abortion clinic welcomed a young pregnant girl into its office and promised to help her, and then lied to her or tried to coerce her into an abortion, it would be grounds for investigating that clinic and possibly shutting it down. But it would not mean that every abortion clinic should suddenly be under state investigation.

It's the equivalent of asking: "So, have you stopped beating your wife?" It's a muckraker question asked without proof, without basis, in the hopes that something juicy will turn up under the next rock. It forces the target to defend himself against slanderous accusations, and any answer can be twisted as an admission to the charge, regardless of guilt.

It seems amazing that these legislators would accept the word of PP and NARAL as gospel, but it's not actually that surprising when they're in the abortion-lobby's hip pocket. CPCs are at least partially responsible for putting a dent in PP's business, as CPCs help women recognize the miracle of new life and decide not to abort their child, so PP and related groups have a vested interest in driving them out of business. This legislation was written to eliminate the competition, and pro-abortion legislators are falling over themselves to oblige.

(According to numbers from 2002, PP earns roughly 20 percent of its income -- not including the $250 billion it receives annually from the government -- by performing a quarter of a million abortions every year. For every 100 abortions at PP centers, it provides prenatal care for seven women and only makes one adoption referral, an interesting stat that betrays its true reason for existence.)

I'm not so naive as to think that PP and NARAL don't have testimony from someone who called a CPC and was told that "all condoms are defective and have slots and holes in them" or "9 out of 10 couples that go through an abortion split up," as was discussed in this Time magazine article.

But CPC protocols make it clear what they expect from their volunteers -- they don't refer for abortion or birth control, they don't give medical advice or claim they're a medical facility, they don't bad-mouth other organizations, and any deception or false implication is unacceptable. The website for Portland's Pregnancy Resource Centers specifically lists its services, and the only entry for abortion is "Information on Abortion Risks, Procedures and Alternatives." Not the procedures themselves, just information.

Oh, and PRC also offers maternity clothes; baby clothes, toys and furniture; adoption information; parenting classes; and referrals for a variety of community service organizations. Of course, it also discusses the fetus as a living human being, and notes the risks of abortion, something you won't find at your friendly neighborhood PP, which likes to talk about clumps of cells instead of arms and legs.

Do CPCs want an abortion-minded pregnant women to come in? Of course. They know (and PP/NARAL hates this!) that a woman who sees her baby on an ultrasound is likely to learn -- gasp! -- that there's a baby growing inside her.

Oh, but PP and NARAL are concerned about the truth. They want women to have all the options, so they can make informed decisions. But they should be careful when they accuse Oregon CPCs of misinformation based on national examples, as they have a few such problems of their own. So if we're going to "investigate" CPCs, why not investigate PP for willful and deliberate cover-up of sexual abuse (which, the last time I checked, was against the law, unlike failure to provide birth control info)?

Why won't a PP investigation happen? Because pro-abortion legislators are willing to play politics on behalf of the abortion-for-all mantra.

SB776 also makes several other mind-blowing claims. Here's a rundown:
Whereas some crisis pregnancy centers intentionally choose their names to mislead women into believing that the centers offer a wide range of family planning and abortion care when they do not;
Ooh, scary. Crisis Pregnancy Centers should change their names to Non-Abortion Resource Center, right after Planned Parenthood changes its name to Abortions R Us. And since when is it government's job to police the name of a business?

Look in the yellow pages, and you'll find CPCs under "abortion alternatives" and PP under "abortion providers." Not much gray area there.
Whereas many crisis pregnancy centers not only mislead women about abortion care but also will not provide information about birth control;
Suddenly the state is going to regulate private organizations that don't provide birth control information? Talk about Big Brother! Since when is it government's responsibility to force private entities to talk about any pregnancy option, regardless of how morally repugnant it may seem to them?

And the one that kills me:
Whereas in order to confuse their clients and capitalize on their patients' confusion, crisis pregnancy centers design their facilities to look like health care facilities and locate the facilities near clinics that offer family planning and abortion care;
Hey, that CPC moved in down the street from our abortion clinic! No fair! I'm gonna tell on you!

But let's talk about that, shall we? According to that Time magazine article:
Abortion remains one of the most common surgical procedures in the U.S. for women and, according to the Guttmacher Institute, fewer than 0.3% of patients experience a complication serious enough to require hospitalization.
With 1.7 million annual abortions, that's almost 100 women every week who need medical care after an abortion. Shouldn't that mean abortion clinics should meet the highest medical standards?

Not in Oregon. Those clinics are not regulated as medical facilities because state law assumes abortions are done in physicians' offices, and thus exempts abortion procedures from the rules overseeing outpatient facilities. The problem is that more than 90 percent of abortions are done in abortion clinics, separate from physicians' offices. In other words, abortion procedures are done in outpatient medical facilities, but state law hasn't caught up to that fact, so abortion clinics don't have to meet the standards required of a wisdom tooth extraction.

So whose qualifications should be questioned?

I don't have any expectations that PP and NARAL will stop playing politics with the abortion issue -- in the case of NARAL, in particular, that's the group's sole reason for existence. I just wish elected representatives would stop blindly following the pro-abortion lobby without using their brains along the way.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007


I've had enough. I'm sick of trying to defend them when they pull this BS. They have no credibility when they say, "Oops, it was an accident. We'll do better next time."

Is it 2008 yet?

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Friday, March 09, 2007

America has voted...while on drugs

That's the only conclusion I can draw when this guy advances to the Top 12:

And this girl doesn't:

What a joke.

I liked Simon Cowell's answer, when asked to explain the results: "The volume was turned down?"

It's either that, or a collective acid trip involving 37 million people.



Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Quote of the Day: Raising Oregon Taxes

For the last several days, the Oregonian has been singing the praises of Oregon Republicans for finding a compromise that eliminates the corporate kicker and increases corporate taxes in order to create a rainy-day fund.

In Sunday's print edition, resident conservative David Reinhard framed it as a Republican victory (I can't find it on the paper's website), under the headline, "Why Scott and his House GOP are smiling."


In this morning's Oregonian, we learn that all is not hunky-dory in either the Oregon business community or the Republican caucus. Once the details were examined, it turned out that the tax structure could mean identical businesses, one of which earns a dollar more in income than the other, could be paying a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in taxes. And suddenly, the supposed groundswell of support from the Oregon business community is unraveling, as small business owners -- you know, the ones who provide the vast majority of jobs in Oregon? -- protest a huge government-sponsored grab at their livelihood.

But never mind that. They're just whiners. A spokesman for House Minority Leader Wayne Scott said "there are no second thoughts" in the Republican caucus. The story by Betsy Hammond added:
Democrats acknowledged imperfections in the plan but said lawmakers in both parties need to honor the deal brokered by their leaders. Getting a rainy day fund for Oregon and raising its archaic $10 minimum corporate tax are too important, they said.
In other words: we know it stinks, but we do what our leadership tells us to do. The possibility of putting you small business owners out of business or creating layoffs is so far down on the list of concerns that it doesn't register. We want the good press from the Oregonian telling us how great we are.

In fairness, the story does say that House Majority Leader Dave Hunt and others "are willing to modify the new corporate minimum tax rates after the package clears both the House and Senate." Call me a skeptic, but I'll believe it when I see it. Once the package is approved by both chambers, there is little reason to believe the Democrat-controlled legislature won't simply send it on to the governor.

As Dare!PDX noted at Northwest Republican this morning, now that Republicans are on board, suddenly the press is calling it a tax increase, something it was loath to do when Democrats were leading the charge. And Democrats are giddy with excitement over the GOP-crafted plan to raise the corporate minimum as high as $50,000 because, Hammond notes:
it would generate an additional $150 million for each two-year budget.
And that should tell you everything you need to know about the supposed victory of the GOP, about the party's commitment to low taxes, and about the Republicans' support for small businesses.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Understatement of the Day: Beaverton 'fees'

The Oregonian's Washington County blog made me laugh today, as I caught an entry from a few days ago. Here's the first sentence:
Beaverton officials have created a list of 23 priority transportation projects totaling nearly $16.6 million that they would pay for if the city adopts new fees.
"If the city adopts new fees." That must be government speak for raising taxes. The estimated population of Beaverton in 2005 was 85,775, so to raise $16.55 million would mean requiring an additional $193 from every man, woman and child inside the city limits.

And they wonder why some people throw such a tissy over the annexation issue...

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Quote of the Day: Peggy Noonan on John McCain

From her column on today's Opinion Journal on the newly-announced presidential candidate (emphasis mine):
The war was generally popular from 2002 through roughly 2006, and Mr. McCain won broad credit from conservatives for standing with the president. But now that support, heightened by the surge debate, is costing him, not only with the general public but in a subtle way, I think, with Republicans. Republicans don't abandon a Republican president in time of war, and they have a special relationship with this president, a simple admiration for who he is. At the same time, they don't precisely want another W. for president, another man who seems just as convinced, stubborn, single-minded, invested.

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