Upper Left Coast

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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hypocritical, snooty liars

Today's Oregonian reveals plans for a new "lifestyle center" (read: a bunch of upscale stores) on the former Teufel Nursery site in north Beaverton.

Where's that? C'mon, you know the place -- it's just a quarter-mile down the hill from the site of a proposed Wal-Mart that was shot down last year because of "concerns" about "traffic" and "community vision." At the time, I accused the "Save Cedar Mill" folks of NIMBY-ism and class arrogance.

And it turns out I was right.

The proposed Wal-Mart was 152,300 square feet, which meant roughly 5,000 people a day. This new "lifestyle center," called West Village, is proposed at 200,000 square feet, along with 30,000 square feet of office space. That pencils out to more than 7,000 people a day. Oh, and the story says it could expand (if roads are improved) to 400,000 square feet. That would be 12,000 people a day.

So much for traffic concerns.

Ah, but it's all OK, according to Save Cedar Mill President Steve Kaufman:
But the stores at West Village are intended more for locals, and the project is better geared to bicyclists and pedestrians, said Steve Kaufman, leader of Save Cedar Mill, the group that fought Wal-Mart.

"This is very much in line with the vision we had for the (Wal-Mart) site," Kaufman said.

Let's do a little mind quiz: what percentage of the clientele at your average Wal-Mart would use some form of transit other than a personal vehicle to get to the store? And what would be the percentage of the clientele at West Village (or Bridgeport Village, to which this is being compared)?

So much for the bicyclist/pedestrian argument.

This really comes down to a statement from Mr. Kaufman, early in the Wal-Mart process: "It's a magnet for people outside the neighborhood. I don't know a lot of people in Forest Heights who are going to shop at Wal-Mart."

Translation: Mr. Kaufman has his lovely home in the West Hills, and he doesn't want it ruined by a bunch of low-income folks looking to save a few bucks at Wal-Mart. The numbers of the West Village proposal show it's not about traffic. It's all about class arrogance.

Labels: ,


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Diego fires

I just read that more than half a million people in San Diego County (my mom among them) are under evacuation orders due to the many fires in Southern California. And that's not even counting the fires in the Los Angeles area.

That's like telling every man, woman and child in Portland to pack up and move. With less than 24 hours' notice.

Please say a prayer for those folks, and for the firefighters who are pushing themselves to exhaustion to save homes and lives.



Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stooging Measure 49

Early Saturday morning, Jack Bogdanski referenced some "election porn" he received from the Yes on 49 folks. Despite his apparent distaste for the slick campaign piece, he finished his post with this observation:
And as heavy-handed as this latest come-on is, it's more effective than the campaign flyer that I would have produced. Let's hope it works.
Not that it's a huge surprise, but when I saw Jack's flyer, I had a slightly different reaction:



Friday, October 19, 2007

Shooting yourself in the foot

Corporate America is frequently accused (by the left) of watching out for its own interests, of ignoring its larger responsibilities to the American people and the country in which they live.

But today's Opinion Journal provides a new twist on that accusation: corporate America has decided that Democrats will control the legislative and executive branches after 2008, so they're giving money hand over fist to the Democrats. Not because they want the Dems to win. Not because they agree with the Democrats' agenda. But because they don't want Congressional doors slammed in their faces if the GOP drops off the face of the earth.

In other words, they're watching out for the own interests by helping to elect people who are intent on opposing the very interests they hold as most important. Can you say "myopic"?

The article by Stephen Moore notes that "85% of the donations from Roll Call newspaper's top-20 list of corporate lobbyists" is going to the Democrats, and overall corporate contributions are swinging away from the GOP to the Democrats.

Part of the reasoning behind the shift is corporate discomfort with the GOP's spending restraint (or lack thereof), and some cite the party's social-issue positions. But part of the issue is also the Democrats' strong-arm tactics. As one telecom industry lobbyist noted, "I've never felt the squeeze that we're under now to give to Democrats and to hire them. They've put out the word that if you have an issue on trade, taxes, or regulation, you'd better be a donor and you'd better not be part of any effort to run ads against our freshmen incumbents."

And the corporate interests are capitulating. As former House Majority Leader Dick Armey told Moore, "the business groups are simply not ideological givers. They give to buy access and to minimize risk."

But the business groups are shooting themselves in the foot. As Moore notes in the article:
  • Should [Democrats] win the White House they'll raise tax rates, pursue a trade protectionist policy under the guise of "fair trade," and enact as much of Big Labor's wish list as they can, from doing away with secret ballots in union certification elections to piling on more labor, environmental and health regulations.
  • Last spring, Democratic Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said he wanted to more than double the tax on private equity and hedge-fund managers, which could cost this industry up to $6 billion a year. Yet...Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and UBS are all giving about two-thirds of their dollars to Democrats this cycle.
  • One hedge-fund manager told Moore that Sen. Charles Schumer of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee called him and said, "I can make your problems go away." Of course, Moore adds, the Democrats created the problems.
  • High-tech companies depend for their existence on policies such as free trade, low capital-gains taxes, a tax-free Internet. But employees at firms like Google, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and IBM give most of their money to the party largely opposed to these policies.
Of course, if corporations wouldn't give all that money, maybe their expectation that the Dems will win in 2008 wouldn't be so likely. But all that apparently matters to corporate America is that it stay friends with government. Never mind that a government led by the Democratic Party will never reciprocate.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Quote of the Day: reasonable doubt

On NRO this morning, Jonah Goldberg talks about the fact that he's pro-life not because he's certain of when life begins, but exactly the opposite:
In death-penalty cases, “reasonable doubt” goes to the accused because unless we’re certain, we must not risk an innocent’s life. This logic goes out the window when it comes to abortion, unless you are 100-percent sure that babies only become human beings after the umbilical cord is cut. I don’t see how you can be that sure, which is why I’m pro-life — not because I’m certain, but because I’m not.
There are legitimate scientific reasons (no, I didn't say anything about faith or the Bible, I said science!) to believe life begins at conception. But Goldberg's point is well-taken: if you can't be sure if it's appropriate to take a life -- whether the life is in the womb or on death row -- it's entirely appropriate to maintain that life. Death is the only thing you can't reverse.



Monday, October 15, 2007

Reader criticism

Last Thursday, I posted on a horrific crash that killed a West Linn man named Kevin Gilbertson, leaving behind a wife and four children. Over the weekend, I received six comments taking me to task for that post. Those "people" said I was being un-Christian, judgmental and just plain mean.

I'll admit, part of me wanted to ignore that criticism, because according to my site meter, all six posts were from one person. He or she posted anonymously each time, trying to deceptively create the appearance of a criticism groundswell.

But after thinking about it and talking with Mrs. ULC (who knows I'm sometimes a bit meat-headed), I have taken the post down and replaced it with this post. I take seriously the accusations that I'm being judgmental or less than charitable. And the bottom line is that if there's even a hint that I'm exacerbating someone's grief, I need to back off. If I knew that my words, no matter their intent, had caused additional grief, there would be no end to my own despair. If that happened, I offer my deep apologies.

My reasoning for the initial post was twofold: 1) I was angry that those kids don't have a dad because of something that seemed easily preventable; and 2) I wanted others who drive like that to see what can happen. If the picture of what's left of the car caused someone to slow down the next time he was behind the wheel, I thought maybe something good could come from Mr. Gilbertson's death.

So, if you drive like that, don't be a meathead. And say a prayer for the Gilbertson family.



Thursday, October 11, 2007

Quote of the Day: the next president

Mark DeMoss, a prominent evangelical and founder of the DeMoss Group public relations firm, wrote an open letter to evangelicals this week asking for their support of Mitt Romney for president. It was reprinted on Hugh Hewitt's website, and while I haven't made up my mind about Romney or any other Republican candidate, I found this section extremely critical (emphasis mine):
Perhaps most troubling to me is the idea I keep hearing that electing someone like Hillary Clinton would “actually be good for the conservative movement,” since it will “galvanize our forces, enable us to build our mailing lists and raise more money…therefore, I’m not going to vote for anyone this time around.” Well, I am not willing to risk negatively changing the Supreme Court, and our entire judicial system, for the next 30 years in exchange for building our conservative mailing lists and operating budgets for the next four or eight years. That, in my opinion, is selfish, short-sighted and dangerous.

Here is what I believe is at stake in this election: Someone is almost certain to appoint two, three, or four justices to the Supreme Court. Do we want that person to be Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney?
It all goes back to the question of whether voters should insist on purity in their candidates, or whether they can recognize that purity will never be found this side of heaven and choose the best winnable option. I recognize that, for instance, Rudy Guiliani would present an unpleasant choice for those who value the life of the unborn, but if he's the Republican nominee, it will mean the next president is either Guiliani or (most likely) Hillary Clinton; no third-party candidate will have a chance, so voting for Guiliani is a no-brainer.

And the same (though the unborn have a much better shot with him) goes for Mitt Romney.

Labels: , , ,


Thin skinned at the O

As part of an announcement of the release of his new book, Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central poked a little fun at Portland yesterday. Calling us a "hippie stronghold," he noted that his book was sold at a Powell's Books release party for $8 below list price.

"Look, I know Portland is communist, but what the hell?" Pointing his mock threatening finger at the camera, he added, "Powell's Books, you owe me eight bucks, cash money."

(Never mind that the CC website lists the book for more than $7 under list price.)

So, being the newspaper of record in our beloved hippie stronghold, the Oregonian's website noted Colbert's barbs this morning under this headline:
Fake news guy Stephen Colbert pokes fun at Portland
Gee, is someone at the O feeling a bit picked on? They could have said "Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert," but instead they called him a "fake news guy."

My first reaction was: It takes one to know one. But that's about as good a comeback as calling Colbert a fake news guy.

C'mon, Oregonian: he works for Comedy Central, for Pete's sake. Colbert's next broadcast will be to point out the complete absense of a sense of humor among us hippies.

Labels: ,


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Today's 'CBS Sports is Stupid' prediction

I see the Dallas Cowboys are hosting the New England Patriots in a battle of 5-0 teams this Sunday afternoon. This can only mean one thing: NFL fans in the Northwest will be stuck watching the San Diego Chargers against the Oakland Raiders (a combined 4-5 this year).

Because they think we want to watch bad West Coast football instead of the two best teams (not counting Indy).

But hey, the Fox game is Carolina at Arizona (both 3-2). And the Sunday night game on NBC is the Seattle Seahawks (3-2) against the winless New Orleans Saints.

Hold me back.

Labels: ,