Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stark contrast

I had to drive from Philly to Harrisburg on Sunday, into an oncoming snowstorm. The weather was fine when I left Philly, but the weather services knew exactly where the storm was and where it was going.

Sure enough, about 30 miles outside of Harrisburg, the flakes started dropping.

But about 50 miles our we passed something you would never, ever see in Oregon. Every few miles on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, there were snow plow trucks, loaded with salt, idling alongside the road waiting for the snow to fall heavy enough to get started!

This was a SUNDAY!

Back east, it seems, the prevailing attitude is that people do important things and therefore it is important not to allow a little snowstorm to stop everything.

In Oregon, it seems, the attitude is that there's nothing going on here so important that would require going out of our way to keep snow from preventing it. We have become such a small time place, and it took a trip back east to remind me once again.

Priorities revealed

I got in late last night from the east coast. All day yesterday in the airports I watched the news of the world financial markets falling apart. A 400 point drop in the Dow? All but three companies of the S&P 500 went down? Pretty big news.

Not big enough, however, to knock the sustainability agenda off as the top story in the Oregonian's business section!

Right there above the fold, across the whole page is the humongous news that "Local homes database turns green." Yessir, the news that the RLS database has added a feature that identifies "green" homes is far more important than some little chest cold in the world's financial markets.

What's a 3.5% drop in the Dow and an 8% plunge in China compared to this earth shattering story?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oregonian unhinged over Measure 37

I'm travelling, and logged onto to see what was news. I was treated to Monday's hysterical editorial on Measure 37.

The Oregonian editors see that time is running out. All the claims filed before the deadline are moving forward and will be processed on the six-month timeline set in the measure unless the legislature does something to stop them.

So, the Oregonian urges them to "postpone the deadlines."

It's actually kind of fun to watch them ramp up the hysteria as the six month clock ticks down. They know that the bulk of all Measure 37 claims were filed before the deadline last fall, and so the law must be "fixed" (read: gutted) before these claims mature, otherwise there almost is no point.

So expect more of these editorials, which will really serve only to further distance the Oregonian from Oregonians. Honestly, don't they think it's a bit risky to be telling us every day what dopes we are for passing Measure 37? Just look at the rhetoric in that one editorial:

"terrible problems Measure 37 has inflicted on Oregon"
"jeopardizes the future of the state's agricultural industry"
" threaten at least 132,346 acres of Willamette Valley's richest farmland"
" much damage these claims could do"
"interrupt the ruin of Measure 37.."

Twice Oregon has passed this measure, both times overwhelmingly, and both times in the face of a prolonged and strident campaign by the Oregonian against them.

Why is it they think voters will listen to them this time? Fact is, the Oregonian is increasingly irrelevant on issues such as this. The are way out of the mainstream, and the more hysterical they get, the further out they put themselves and the more they alienate their readers.

The question really is: can the Republicans in the legislature hold off the McPherson-led effort to "fix" Measure 37?

I'm just glad Larry George is there in the Senate.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More Metro lies

A gaggle of Metro Councillors wrote an op-ed piece in the Tribune today that tells some real doozies. It would actually be funny if it weren't so insulting that our elected officials think we are so stupid to not be able to see through their B.S.

The issue is the draft transportation plan that the feds kicked back to Metro, saying they maybe ought include a little transportation planning in it.

Rex et al defended the plan by lying about it. They say the problem is that there is no new revenue source to pay for new transportation projects. What about the billions spent on light rail? Maybe if that money wasn't squandered, we could have added to road capacity a little.

But the best part is when they answer the charge that Metro's plan doesn't balance different transportation modes. They say: "Achieving that balance — well-maintained roads and highways, efficient mass transit, as well as safe walking and biking routes — should be a primary goal for the regional transportation system. This is exactly what we’re doing."

Oh really!

So spending half the tranportation funds on light rail lines that are used for 3% of trips is balance?

I guarantee you won't see this in the Oregonian

A new report from Ohio State University that says temperature patterns in the Antarctic in the latter part of the 20th century did not conform to the predictions made by the global climate models.

We've known for years that the models do a very poor job of "backward predictions," which is to say plugging all the known variables the models say determine temperature, and seeing if the models can accurately reproduce the temperatures that actually happened.

They can't, and this Antarctic study is a similar thing. What the models predicted the Antarctic temp would be was not even close to the actual temp record.

Certainly this will be breathlessly reported by the Oregonian and every other mainstream media outlet for unbiased information, right?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The real agenda behind global warming

This is not conspiracy theory. A conspiracy is done in secret. This agenda has been ignored in plain sight for fifteen years.

Why is the left so hysterical about global warming? It's because the "solution" is a perfect vehicle for what they believed all along - that western society's affluence, created by capitalism, is bad, and must be ended.

Every five years or so the UN has been holding their "Earth Summits." It's at these gatherings that they talk amongst themselves about how to reign in capitalism and save the planet. (Truly, they care not at all about saving the planet, they just want power.)

The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero was chaired by a UN official named Maurice Strong. This was kind of the kickoff for the whole UN-led global warming issue. Until very recently, Strong was Executive Officer for Reform in the U.N. Secretary General’s office.

Here's what he said at the 1992 Summit, on the record:

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized nations collapse?
Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
There you have it.
The REAL agenda behind global warming alarmism.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rex Burkholder strikes again

I went to lunch today, sat down and started reading the Portland Tribune. One of the lead stories is about Rex Burkholder's Regional Transportation Plan.

I read the very first paragraph, and literally laughed out loud. I can't beleive the writer, Jim Redden, could write something so patently ridiculous. It read:

"Led by Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, officials at the regional planning agency repeatedly have said that building new highways is no longer the solution for the area’s growing congestion problems."


When exactly did Rex Burkholder ever think that adding road capacity was the solution? Did he have a change of heart? Did he advocate building new roads all these years and then realize that it wasn't working?

What a crock. This region has been squandering transportation revenues on everything but roads for the last 30 years, ever since the Mt. Hood Freeway was killed to pay for the first MAX line. For decades the mantra has been that we "can't build our way out of congestion."

Now, in 2007, after Rex's idiotic transportation dogma has caused congestion to grow more quickly than any other urban area, the newspaper reports that building roads is NO LONGER the solution?

Are we supposed to consider the Trib as a serious newspaper?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

They really ARE communists!

I had to read it several times just to make sure I wasn't misreading it.

Editorial section of today's Sunday Oregonian. Front page above-the-fold column is a screed against Measure 37. Nothing unexpected about that.

But the pull quote, prominently displayed on the front page:

"Oregon belongs to all of us. Not just to those people with Measure 37 claims."

They really don't believe in private property, do they?

George Taylor, Oregon State Climatologist

So Governor Kulongoski doesn't want a guy running around calling himself Oregon's State Climatologist and arguing that humans aren't causing global warming.

After all, Kulongoski has finally found his issue. He's going to make Oregon the Mecca for sustainability, alternative fuels and all things low carbon. This is going to be his legacy. So he can't really have George Taylor being so off message.

Taylor used to be the State Climatologist, but that official state position was eliminated some time ago. Oregon State University, where he works, gave him the title and funds his position. Kulongoski wants the legislature to establish the position again, and take the title away from Taylor.

I have the solution. Kulongoski can have his State Climatlogist. I'm sure he or she will be completely bought in to the global warming alarmism. And George Taylor, he works at Oregon State. He's their climatologist.

So he will be the "Oregon State Climatologist!"

The ODE announces it plans to close down Connection Academy in 2010

It's been a few days; I've been fighting some battles.

Remember the Connections Academy, Oregon's only virtual charter school? There's a bill in the legislature, HB 2037, which would remove the provision passed late last session in a teacher union power play that required virtual charter schools to get 50% of their students from inside their sponsoring district boundaries.

When the bill passed in 2005, the Oregon Connections Academy had already been created. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) told Republican legislators that Connections Academy would be grandfathered from this provision.

So, t.The school started that next fall with 700 students, and is now in year two with 1500 students. Things seemed fine.

But in testimony over HB 2037, Randy Harnisch from the ODE said that the grandfather status will only last until the Connection Academy's initial charter contract expires and is renewed. At that point, according to Harnisch, Connection Academy would have to comply with the 50% provision.

Of course they know it is impossible. Connections would simply close, and the millions invested would be gone. And thousands of families would have their school taken from them.

Harnisch was testifying to the House Education Innovations Subcommittee when he delivered this news. I was in back of the room, waiting to testify. My jaw dropped when he said this, because just a few short months ago I sat in Harnisch's office and asked him directly what the ODE's position on Connection's grandfather status, and specifically asked him if expiration and renewal would have any effect on it.

Harnisch said he didn't know and that they were going to ask the attorney general's office (which is what they do every time they are looking for legal cover for a position they want to take.) That answer made me nervous.

So imagine my surprise when Harnisch told the legislature that not only would the grandfather status expire when the first contract expired (2010) but that this was the ODE's position from the start!

What a stinking liar! On the record! In a legislative committee hearing!

When it was my turn to testify I called Harnsich out. I told the committee about my direct question to him just last August. And I pointed out that if that was indeed the ODE's position, they might have bothered to tell Connections Academy that their school had a five year life, because they might have an interest in knowing that all the time and money they were planning on investing was going to go bye bye.

You may remember last August when the ODE tried to shut down Connections Academy by freezing their funds unless they made a technical change to their enrollment policy, the legislature was so angered by the way the ODE treated the school that the E-Board unanimously voted to send a stern letter of rebuke to Susan Castillo, telling her, among other things, to do a better job of communicating with the school.

Five months later, the ODE says they are going to shut down the Connections Academy in 2010, and they never bothered to communicate this little detail to the school??!!

Guess the people in charge of the state's schools don't learn all that quickly.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Here comes the OEA, trying to kill charter schools, right on schedule

We knew it wouldn't be long into the session before the OEA tried to drop a nuclear bomb on the charter school movement.

The bill hasn't been introduced yet, but it's on its way. All it would do is make a few modest changes to Oregon's charter law by requiring:

1. That all (100%) of charter school teachers AND administrators must hold TSPC licenses.
2. That all charter school employees be considered employees of the sponsoring district for the purposes of collective bargaining.
3. That 80% of the students in each charter school must reside within the sponsoring district's boundaries; 20% could reside in other districts.
4. That no more than 10% of the students in any district could attend charter schools.

This is basically a full frontal attack on charters. If it passed, it would kill the movement in Oregon, and the union knows it.

So, we will see just how much the OEA has the governor and the legislature in its pocket. Will they really vote to kill the charter school movement in Oregon?
Stay tuned

Let's make a deal

I've got a proposal for global warming alarmists:

I will agree to reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The question of whether CO2 causes global warming is far from settled - in fact, there are good reasons to believe that it doesn't.

But for the sake of argument, and to get all you alarmists to stop nagging us about making dramatic changes to our lifestyle to save the planet, I'll stipulate that we will reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere, and you stop trying to change the way we all live. Deal?

How far down do you want it? Say, to Kyoto levels?

OK, here's the plan: Embark on a national tree planting program sufficient to remove enough CO2 from the air to meet the targeted level of atmospheric CO2.

Trees are wonderful storage places for CO2. A big tree weighs a lot, and a lot of that weight is carbon. So instead of parking our cars, or taxing oil, or doing all the other things that you've all been telling us to do, let's just plant trees.

Everyone likes trees, right? Plus they are very useful.

So, how about it? Assume for the sake of argument that planting trees would absorb enough CO2 to meet the targets - will you take this deal?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

IPCC Policymaker's Summary Released Tomorrow

By the time I get up in the morning it will probably already have happened - the IPCC report summary on global warming will have been released.

In France, to commemorate the event, they are turning the Eiffel Tower lights off for five minutes to coincide with the time of the release. If you understand this, perhaps you can explain it to me.

There is a lot of hullaboo around this release, because supposedly it will be even more definite on the question of whether the earth is warming.

But this isn't even the actual report - the release tomorrow is the "policymaker's summary," that is written by the government bureaucrats who sit on the UN's IPCC committee. There are hundreds of scientists who work on and submit materials and writing for various chapters of the report, and that full report won't be released for months.

So the governments on the IPCC panel sit down and decide how to summarize what the report says, and in doing so, the policymakers summary reflects mostly the official position of the various governments, not the science.

So the summary is a political document, sold as a scientific document.

In 1995, the policymaker's summary said of the report: "The balance of the evidence suggests there is a discernable human impact on global temperature."

But Chapter 8, which was the chapter that dealt with global mean temperature, basically contradicted that statement. Embarrassed, the IPCC board actually deleted the offending language from chapter 8 that contradicted their summary!

This is documented and factual. They actually doctored the report so that it would not contradict their summary of the report! Yet the IPCC is still today considered to be a credible, science-based body.

And tomorrow we get another IPCC summary. I wonder if any news organization will question the veracity of their statements, and point out what happened in 1998? Yeah right. No, this will be above the fold all weekend, accepted with unquestioned credulity by a mainstream press that long ago decided not to do its job on this issue.

Just wait for the campaign to adorn Al Gore's mantle with the Nobel right next to his Oscar!