Upper Left Coast

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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What he said

I agree with Jonah Goldberg:
...I disagree with the overwhelming impression that supporting McCain is some kind of lunacy. I have serious disagreements with McCain. I think it is entirely right to disagree with him on all sorts of issues and entirely legitimate to think he would be bad for the party, bad for conservatism or bad for the country to have him as the nominee or the next president...

But this disaster talk leaves me cold. McCain wouldn't be my first pick. Then again, none of the candidates were really my first pick. But I think the notion that, variously, conservatism, the country or the party are doomed if he's the nominee or the president is pretty absurd.

I'm not excited by a McCain candidacy -- in fact, I'm unhappy about it in some ways -- but unless something shocking happens, he'll be the Republican nominee. Yes, I know he loves to poke conservatives in the eye when we're not looking, but he'll still be better than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. By a long shot. Not even close. This is not a case of choosing between, say, Clinton and Joe Lieberman, where the only difference is their war policy. There are dozens of reasons for conservatives to support McCain over the Democratic nominee.



Bush warns Idaho over nuclear ambitions

President Bush said Wednesday that the United States is "gravely concerned" about Idaho's intentions to enrich uranium, alleging that the rogue Northwest state intends to develop a nuclear weapons program.

"We've made it clear to [Idaho] Gov. [Butch] Otter that we will not stand by and allow his state to develop the capabilities for a nuclear bomb," Bush said at the White House.

Bush sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Boise in the hopes of talking Gem State officials back from their plans. Rice is authorized to offer incentives (such as a 50-year supply of sour cream and chives for the state's legendary potato crop) in the hopes that Idaho will cease its enrichment, but also said that the United States would keep all options on the table in order to steer the state away from its nuclear ambitions.

The president also criticized the leaders of several other states, alleging that they had shared nuclear technologies and materials with the Otter administration. He singled out Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as an "axis of evil" in helping Idaho's covert efforts.

"We've always know that Gregoire was a one-woman banana republic, er, dictatorship, er, fascist...oh, something like that," Bush said, noting that she was never "legitimately elected," but took office after the state Supreme Court nullified the proper vote count. "And we've always suspected Arnold was a liberal -- this just proves it."

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco might be ripe for criticism in this crisis, administration officials said, but more because of her severe ineptitude. The officials, speaking anonymously because they wanted to make Democrats look bad without repercussions, said that intelligence showed Blanco offered to meet covertly with Otter to lend her assistance, only to realize they never had a nuclear program to begin with.

Finally, Bush hinted that military action was possible, particularly because of intelligence suggesting that the Idaho National Guard had developed missiles capable of hitting large metropolitan areas such as Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; and Reno, Nev.

Reaction from Boise officials was swift and blunt. "Our intentions our purely to meet the energy needs of our people," said Gov. Otter in a hastily-convened news conference. "Everyone's been talking in Washington about weaning our country off fossil fuels, and we see this as an opportunity to work toward that goal while simultaneously proving we're not just a bedroom state to our larger neighbors. Besides, we like Reno."

Otter went on to warn that any interference with Idaho's enrichment program would be met with "grave consequences," but he did not elaborate. Intelligence officials fear that Idaho might retaliate by launching potato bombs at anyone crossing its borders.

The controversy found its way into the presidential race, as Republican and Democratic candidates alike formulated varied policy positions. Republican front-runner John McCain and challenger Mitt Romney argued in a debate Wednesday night over who was more willing to bomb Idaho back to the stone age, while Mike Huckabee kept whining that he wanted a turn to bomb somebody.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both insisted through representatives that they were misled into supporting additional troops along the Idaho border. As president, Obama said he would immediately move the troops out of harm's way by redeploying them to Iraq, while Clinton was more vague, only saying that she might maintain a peacekeeper military presence in Montana.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Application for Permission to Date My Daughter

NOTE: This application will be incomplete and rejected unless accompanied by a complete financial statement, job history, lineage, and current medical report from your doctor.

Date of Birth:
Social Security #:
Drivers License #:
Boy Scout Rank and Badges:
Home Address:

Do you have parents? ___Yes ___No
Is one male and the other female? ___Yes ___No
If No, explain:
Number of years they have been married:
If less than your age, explain:

  1. Do you own or have access to a van? __Yes __No
  2. A truck with oversized tires? __Yes __No
  3. A waterbed? __Yes __No
  4. A pickup with a mattress in the back? __Yes __No
  5. A tattoo? __Yes __No
  6. An earring, nose ring, pierced tongue, pierced cheek or a belly button ring? __Yes __No
(If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, discontinue application and leave premises immediately. I suggest running.)

  1. In 50 words or less, what does 'LATE' mean to you?:
  2. In 50 words or less, what does 'DON'T TOUCH MY DAUGHTER' mean to you?:
  3. In 50 words or less, what does 'ABSTINENCE' mean to you?
Church you attend:
How often you attend:
When would be the best time to interview your:
  1. Father?
  2. Mother?
  3. Pastor?
SHORT-ANSWER SECTION: Answer by completing each sentence. Please answer freely, all answers are confidential.
  1. If I were shot, the last place I would want shot would be:
  2. If I were beaten, the last bone I would want broken is my:
  3. A woman's place is in the:
  4. The one thing I hope this application does not ask me about is:
  5. What do you want to do IF you grow up?
  6. When I meet a girl, the thing I always notice about her first is:
  7. What is the current going rate of a hotel room?

Applicant's Signature (that means sign your name, moron!):
Mother's Signature:
Father's Signature:
State Representative/Congressman:

Thank you for your interest, and it had better be genuine and non-sexual. Please allow four to six years for processing. You will be contacted in writing if you are approved Please do not try to call or write (since you probably can't, and it would cause you injury). If your application is rejected, you will be notified by two gentleman wearing white ties carrying violin cases (you might watch your back).

To prepare yourself, start studying Daddy's Rules for Dating:

Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants 10 sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four: I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a 'barrier method' of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five: It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is: 'early.'

Rule Six: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is OK with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process than can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka -- zipped up to her throat. Movies with strong romantic or sexual themes are to be avoided; movies which feature chain saws are OK. Hockey games are OK. Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten: Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car -- there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I was happy with my time

until I saw in Jack's comments that TeacherRefPoet did it in 90 seconds. I gotta learn that "Nifty Fifty" song...


Friday, January 18, 2008

The state of my presidential-race mind

It is, I admit, unstable in the best of times. But right now, it feels like it's turned to mush.

I said a few weeks ago that I liked Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. Since then, Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Romney have each won contests, and Thompson is in a dead sprint to catch the nomination train before it leaves the station.

And since then, I may be slightly more clear-headed, but no more decided. (Of course, I don't have to worry about that considering my May primary vote will likely be worthless, as I expect the candidate to be determined by then.)

As far as my position with Romney, the more I watch him, the less impressed I feel. It's gotten to the point where I can't read Hugh Hewitt because his spin for the Mittster is stomach-turning. However, my biggest negative for Romney is that, while I cut him some slack on his supposed flip-flopping, others are not so kind. And that's among Republicans! If Romney wins the nomination, the Democrats will be merciless in their flip-flop message, especially after being on the receiving end of that accusation in 2004.

But I also have trouble swallowing his message of change, when it's been clear for a while that he's the closest thing to George W. Bush that we have in the GOP field. "Change" is not so much a factor of address as it is of mindset, and while Romney certainly has examples where he's changed the direction of a rudderless ship (Olympics, Massachusetts politics), he is no better off than Guiliani or Huckabee from the standpoint of his connection to Washington, DC (and little better than Thompson). And this exchange with a reporter, while red meat to an anti-liberal-media GOP electorate, sounded a little bit too much like a willingness to discuss the definition of "is."

This leads me to think more fondly of Thompson, hoping against hope that he can do well tomorrow in South Carolina. If he can, I think that will give him a big boost against fellow southerner Huckabee, considering that southern states Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee vote on Super Tuesday 17 days later. If he can't do well in South Carolina, Thompson may as well hang it up.

I've also been thinking a bit more about Huckabee, and while I still have no intention of voting for him in a primary setting, I think Republicans ignore his populist message at their peril. I believe Huckabee's message is resonating because voters feel he is the only Republican candidate willing to address the fact that the nation's economic numbers have not translated into prosperity in their pocketbooks.

I know this is true in my own life, as my business took a noticeable tumble in 2007, and I can't keep track of all the people I know -- both personally and professionally -- who are in the same boat. One friend (in furniture sales) said she thinks the media covers the economy so negatively that it's scaring people away from spending money. A client (in collectibles) said the government proclaims a strong economy because it's leaving out things like gas prices. A colleague (in commercial real estate) called it a fine line between the American dream and a nightmare. A friend in auto repair saw his business drop 20 percent in 2007. Only now is the party waking to this fact, so I think the fact that Huckabee has been addressing it for months is to his advantage.

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Keeping momentum away from McCain

On Hugh Hewitt's site today, Patrick Ruffini suggests that South Carolina voters opposed to John McCain should vote for Mike Huckabee "so that the rest of the country has a chance to vote for your guy on January 29th and February 5th." This, he says, will keep the momentum away from McCain and prolong the primary process.

First, this is a stupid idea because if Huckabee wins South Carolina, he becomes the front-runner. But second on the stupid list is this suggestion that keeping McCain at bay will give "the rest of the country" a say. Here's a list of the states, in chronological order, that vote after Feb. 5:
  1. Louisiana
  2. Kansas
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Maryland
  5. Virginia
  6. Washington
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Ohio
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Texas
  11. Vermont
  12. Mississippi
  13. Pennsylvania
  14. Indiana
  15. North Carolina
  16. Nebraska
  17. West Virginia
  18. Kentucky
  19. Oregon
  20. Idaho
  21. Montana
  22. New Mexico
  23. South Dakota
Twenty-two states plus D.C., or 45 percent of the country that will likely have absolutely no say in the nomination process.

Did I mention that I'm sick of this good-ol'-boy network that picks our nominees?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Abortion rate plummets

A new study by the Guttmacher Institute says that the number of annual abortions is down to 1.2 million, its lowest level since Roe v. Wade in 1974 and down 25 percent in the last 17 years.

That means it's only equivalent to a killing everyone in Dallas over the course of a year, instead of taking out the residents of Philadelphia (plus another 100,000-plus in the suburbs). The new figures show that a baby is killed every 26 seconds instead of every 20 seconds, as it was in 1990.

Any reduction is good news, but let's not throw a party.



Friday, January 11, 2008

This is for Gully

I saw an online ad for the new TV show "Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles," and one of the photos was something I thought might interest one of my COBRA colleagues.

So, Gully, this one's for you:


Thursday, January 10, 2008

I may scream

...if I hear one more political person say that Mitt Romney should not be dismissed because he's leading the delegate count.

Um, he has 30 delegates to Mike Huckabee's 21 and John McCain's 10. The nominee will need 1,191 to win, so claiming that the current delegate count is at all relevant is like saying that the Jacksonville Jaguars have a shot at the New England Patriots because they score a field goal in the first minute of the game.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Can the O's editors say this with a straight face?

Today's Oregonian editorial on the upcoming legislative session (the first time it's met annually) nearly caused me to spew my coffee across my keyboard. Here, in summary, is their argument:

The Democrats, who controlled the legislative and executive branches, decided to force annual sessions on the state by calling it an emergency -- the emergency being that it didn't pass enough bills and spend enough money in the last session (despite a 20 percent increase over the previous budget). After all, previous legislatures met in "emergency" sessions, and they didn't have real emergencies, so why can't we?

And really, this is important so the people of Oregon can realize the Really Important People With Really Important Responsibilities in Salem. Yes, we'll have to flaunt the constitution to do it, but once voters realize we're a group of Really Important People With Really Important Responsibilities, they'll change the state constitution so we can continue to spend their money without breaking the law.

And if Sen. Gary Larry George succeeds in his lawsuit against the sessions? Well, he's a petty little man (who, by the way, opposed the mighty Oregonian on property rights law, and we won!), so we'll ignore him. The governor is on our side, so he'll pretend there's an emergency, and we'll violate the constitution anyway.

To paraphrase the pirate Capt. Hector Barbossa, the constitution is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

An interesting addendum to the Moore Info story

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, Mr. Mapes' info was incorrect -- Bob Moore is not Mormon.
The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes reported yesterday afternoon that Bob Moore, the head of Moore Information in Portland (which is being investigated by New Hampshire officials regarding the anti-Mormon push-polling that occurred there in November), is himself a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I've been resistant to the idea that Mitt Romney has been behind those push-polls; it just didn't seem consistent with his character. But there are so many links to the Romney campaign -- Moore hired Western Wats, a Mormon-owned firm in Utah which employs several financial supporters of Romney, to conduct the polls -- that that the idea will not die.

If Mitt Romney thinks his finish in Iowa was damaging, that will be nothing compared to the damage he will suffer if it's revealed he ordered those push-polls against himself.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Portland connection to NH push-polls

The New Hampshire attorney general is going after a Portland polling firm to determine who launched the anti-Mitt Romney push polling that asked Granite state voters if Romney's Mormonism would cause them not to support him.

We already knew that the polls were conducted by Utah firm Western Wats, causing some to speculate that Romney was secretly behind the whole thing. But the NH AG today said that Moore Information of Portland was responsible for hiring Western Wats, as well as developing the wording and schedule for the poll.

Working with the Multnomah County attorney, New Hamshire officials filed subpeonas to force Moore Information to reveal the name of its customer, but Moore declined, and a hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 16 to give New Hampshire the chance to show why they should have that info. Of course, that's eight days after the NH primary, so the AG is none too happy. It wraps up today's press release this way:
Because the voters of New Hampshire deserve to know whether any presidential candidate violated New Hampshire’s law by conducting this poll, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte requests anyone with information regarding who hired Moore-Information, Inc. to cause this poll to be conducted in New Hampshire, in November 2007, to please contact the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.
Even if nothing happens until Jan. 16, if Moore has to reveal its customer, that candidate is toast.

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