Upper Left Coast

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

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Maybe there will be genocide, but maybe not

Referring to a post I made yesterday about the potential of genocide in Iraq, an anonymous commenter said this:
The subject of what will happen to Iraqi civil society (what's left of it) if the troops are withdrawn is a matter of much debate and little agreement.
That's what was said when we were discussing the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. And for millions of Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians, that turned out just fine, wouldn't you say?

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quote of the Day: Genocide in Iraq

Jonah Goldberg writes today about the possibility that an American withdrawal might cause genocide in Iraq. In the midst of his column, he notes that the political left has changed its tone about American intervention to stop such atrocities:
Liberals used to be the ones who argued that sending U.S. troops abroad was a small price to pay to stop genocide; now they argue that genocide is a small price to pay to bring U.S. troops home.
And really, the change in tone strikes me as a result of Bush Derangement Syndrome -- the idea that whatever Bush defends, we will oppose, regardless of the merits.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The source of that Oregon campaign money

The people who want to be our next president reported a couple of weeks ago on their campaign hauls through June 30, and the surprise winner in Oregon (surprising to me, at least) was Republican Mitt Romney, who pulled in nearly a third of a million dollars from the Beaver state.

The most surprising thing, however, was not just that Romney pulled in the most money; the real surprise was that he had 56 percent more than runner-up John Edwards, and almost as much as Edwards and Hillary Clinton combined ($326,610 for Romney vs. $208,447 for Edwards and $126,888 for Clinton). Also surprising was the fact that the Republicans, despite being out-raised nationwide by 50 percent, slightly out-did the Democrats in Oregon.

So that got me wondering where Romney's Oregon money is coming from. And just for good measure, I looked at Edwards' money as well.

(I should note that, while I got all this information from the cool New York Times database, my numbers may be slightly different than those of the Times because of errors I found in the Times' database. For instance, the Times listed some California donors under an Oregon Zip code. Also, when I refer to a "donor," that could mean multiple donations from the same person. If Joe Smith made five different donations of $100 each, I would count that as one donor contributing $500.)

One of the first things I found interesting was that Romney pulled in more money from Multnomah County than did Edwards -- almost 20 percent more. Of course, the Democrats as a whole did what you'd expect in Multnomah County: they raised 36 percent more for their candidates than did the Republicans. Still, considering Multnomah County is home to 2.4 registered Democrats for every registered Republican, this remains notable.

Another interesting -- though predictable -- aspect was the source of the money. Virtually all of Edwards' money came from west of the Cascades, while Romney's cash was more scattered around the state.

Also, if you look at the percentage of the haul that came from each county, and compare that to each county's percentage of the state population, very few counties donated proportionately. For Edwards, only Multnomah, Clackamas and Clatsop counties gave more than their population percentage. For Romney, Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Deschutes and Umatilla exceeded their populations. (It would be interesting to do some sort of comparison to per capita income, but -- truth be told -- I've already put in too much effort on this project.)

One of the things that became glaringly obvious was the number of big donors in each camp. As should be obvious by comparing the number of donors to the total haul, the typical Edwards donor was making smaller contributions than the typical Romney donor.

There are certainly plenty of examples of large donations to the Edwards camp -- among them:
  • $7,400 from David & Christine Vernier of Portland;
  • $4,600 from Mark and Sheri Bocci of Lake Oswego;
  • $3,100 from State Rep. Mitch Greenlick and his wife Harriet.
  • $2,800 from Terri Naito, a policy advisor to Multnomah County Commissioner Lisa Naito;
  • $2,300 from Columbia Sportswear's Peter Bragdon, the former chief of staff to Gov. Ted Kulongoski;
  • $2,300 from Portland developer Homer Williams;
  • $1,656 from Mandate Media's Kari Chisholm (or, as the Times' database calls it, "Madnate Media"); and,
  • $1,000 from Lynn Lundquist, the former Republican (!) Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.
But a typical example is Lorre Lewis of North Bend, who made three separate donations of $20 each, plus another for $19.53. Or Priscilla Oien of Tualatin, who made 10 separate donations of $100 each.

Romney, meanwhile, was supported by a variety of business, legal and investment heavyweights, including:
  • Rod Wendt of Jeld-Wen, who combined with his wife to give $4,600;
  • Kevin Mannix, who gave the same amount with his wife;
  • Peter & Julie Stott of Crown Pacific, $4,600;
  • Tim & Mary Boyle of Columbia Sportswear, $4,600;
  • Frederick & Gail Jubitz, $4,600
  • Ron Saxton of Ater Wynne, who gave $2,100 (his wife Lynne gave another $500 through the Christie School);
  • H. Gerald Bidwell, $2,000; and,
  • Richard Reiten, the retired Northwest Natural exec, $1,500.
I know it takes money to run a campaign, but I think this feeds into an achilles heel of the Republicans: the perception that the GOP is controlled by big-money interests. Should Fred Thompson decide to get into the race, however, I think you'll find that many of his supporters will be more similar to the $80 Edwards supporter I mentioned above.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The funniest beer commercial ever

I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard at a commercial. And yet, it may not be work-safe, nor terribly appropriate.

What does that say about me? (Don't answer that.)

(HT: Mrs. ULC)



Friday, July 13, 2007

Talk about medical malpractice

See the Breaking News item at the bottom. It's certainly significant that the kid was hit, but what was that pickup doing in the hospital?

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Open-mindedness on climate change

Those folks leading the fight against climate change are so open minded.



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rational thought from Max

I hope Gov. Kulongoski employs someone to read and report on alternative media like blogs, because today's post from Max makes too much sense for him to ignore.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Immoral by what definition?

Taliban gunmen stake out a schoolhouse in Afghanistan so they can murder school girls as they leave the school to go home. One of them is 13, shot multiple times in front of her 12-year-old sister. One of them is 25 years old and married, determined to pursue the education that was interrupted by the Taliban, but instead the Taliban forever robs her of that dream -- and her life.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq kills children and then plants explosives on their bodies. Or extends a lunch invitation to a local family it wants to convert to its way of thinking, but when lunch is served the main course is the barbecued body of their son.

Tell me again how this is an immoral war? Tell me again why we shouldn't be fighting this fight? Tell me again how it is that our country has lost its moral standing in the world?

Mistakes? Yes. But immoral and wrong?

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Angels among us

If you don't believe in them, just ask Mike and Ellie Fuller of Depoe Bay.



Quote of the Day: the Military surge in Iraq

Michael Totten, Portland's resident expert on the Middle East, pointed out last week that if you hear someone claim the US Military's surge strategy in Iraq is failing, they might be engaged in some wishful thinking (emphasis mine):

You can be forgiven if you thought the United States military’s “surge” in Iraq has failed. At least you’ll be forgiven by me. I quietly assumed some time ago, before I had ever even heard of the surge, that the U.S. is going to lose this war in Iraq because the American public doesn’t have the will to stick out a grinding insurgency that might not ever be winnable. I’m not saying it isn’t winnable. I really don’t know. How could I possibly know? But we live in a democracy with civilian control of the military. If Americans want to give up – it’s over.

But the surge is only just now beginning.


This is our last chance to avert a total catastrophe. American public opinion is not at all likely to tolerate any further adventures if this doesn’t work. But the war isn’t over until it is over, and it’s probably best not to say the surge failed when it only just started a week ago.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Quote of the Day: our national language

In today's Opinion Journal, Peggy Noonan delves into the debate over naming English as our country's official language:
...there's something odd about the English question. It feels old-fashioned. Because we all know America has an official language, and a national language, and that it is English. In France they speak French, and in China they speak Chinese. In Canada they have two national languages, but that's one reason Canada often seems silly. They don't even know what language they dream in.

We speak English here. It's a great language, luckily, a rich one. It's how we do government and business. It's the language of the official life, the outer life, in America. As for the inner life of America, the language of the family, it would be just as odd to change longtime tradition there, which has always been: Anything goes. You speak what you came over speaking, and you learn the new language. Italian immigrants knew two languages, English and Italian. They enriched the first with the second--this was a great gift to all of us--and wound up with greater opportunities for personal communication to boot. Talk about win-win. And so with every group, from every place.

But in a deeper sense, we should never consider devolving from one national language down into two, or three, because if we do we won't understand each other. And we're confused enough as it is.



Thursday, July 05, 2007

How Oregon are you?

I would have received a perfect score, except for the fact that I wasn't willing to lie and say I buy my espresso at Dutch Brothers. Well, I also didn't know the last question.

You are 86% Oregon

Congratulations! You are a native Oregonian. Pick up your honorary singing salmon plaque at City Hall.

How Oregon are you?
Quizzes for MySpace

(HT: The Blind Beggar)



Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Let's see if Delta Airlines understands the blogosphere

If they do, they'll twist themselves into human pretzels trying to alleviate this experience.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Wow...that is one big ol' herkin' lake

The family just got back from a trip to Sunriver, with a day trip to Crater Lake. It was the first ever view of the lake for the missus and the first for me in almost three decades -- the kids were interested, but declined to get out into the cold wind after about the 15th pullout.

We lucked out and arrived on the first day they opened the east rim drive, so we got these photos (combined into one shot in Photoshop) from the Cloudcap Overlook.

I know it's a cliché, but the photos don't do it justice, particularly the size of the crater.

What a treasure.