Friday, August 31, 2007

How tolerant of them

The lefties are all crowing about their big victory. They pressured OPB into changing the venue for the planned lecture by Ira Glass, who has a popular talk show on OPB.

The event was scheduled for the New Hope Community Church in Clackamas, but when the lefties who would normally attend a lecture by this fellow realized they'd be sitting in an institution that actually opposed gay marraige (like 57% of Oregonians, at last vote.) they threw a blog tantrum.

And of course the ever-so-politically-correct OPB caved, and now the lefties are all celebrating their latest victory in the culture wars.

I thought the left was all about tolerance? (Well, actually, no I didn't. But don't they yammer endlessly about it?)

You see, it is simply not legitimate in Portland to be opposed to gay marraige. If you hold that view, they have no obligation to treat you with respect. And if that view is connected to a religious point of view, well, then, all the worse. Tolerance does not extend to unpopular viewpoints, or to anybody who objects to their social iconoclasism.

I know the BlueOregon types are going to enjoy this moment. I hope they shout it from the mountaintops, because their angry intolerance reveals so very much about them.

Update - 2:20 PM

Check out the venom over at BlueOregon. I baited them a bit by pointing out the inherent intolerance of their views. And wow! They proved me wrong by being VERY intolerant of anyone who sees it differently. Make no mistake (because they themselves said it over and over) if you are against same sex marraige, you are a bigot. It is that simple.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Senate Democrats block Kyoto Treaty

Yes, you read it right.

You probably thought that it was President Bush who refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty, right? And if only he would sign the thing and send it over to the Senate for ratification, we could get on with the important business of saving the planet.

That's the narrative the mainstream press wants us to believe. The Democrats would happily implement Kyoto if Bush would stop blocking the treaty.

Wrong. Bush couldn't sign the Kyoto treaty if he wanted to. It was already signed by Clinton. The Senate could vote on ratification if it so desired. But they haven't. Has Harry Reid lifted a finger to bring Kyoto to a floor vote? Nope.

Why not? There is a very strong legal argument that as soon as a treaty is signed, the Senate can take it up. No need to wait for any official "transmittal" by the President to the Senate. Something as important as Kyoto, surely the Senate Democrats would make this legal case and fight to get the treaty implemented, right?

No, Kyoto is a far better political weapon than it is a weapon against global warming, and the Democrats know it. They get to posture for their environmentalist friends, bashing Bush on global warming, and the media plays along.

They know that even Democrats won't vote for it, so they pretend they don't have the power to bring it to a vote.

From now on, every time I hear the word "Kyoto," I am going to point out that the Democrats are the obstacle.

What hypocrites.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Protecting a child molester

I got an e-mail from Fred Leonhardt yesterday. Remember him?

He's the former Goldschmidt speechwriter who says Bernie Guisto told him years ago about Neil's horrible secret. He also said that he personally told Ted Kulongoski about it, who proceeded to ignore it and make Goldschmidt his puppet master while he was Attorney General and then Governor.

Leonhardt pointed me to this document that he wrote chronicling every detail about his interactions with both Guisto and Kulongoski, which fills in a bunch of blanks in the whole sordid affair.

According to Leanhardt's account, which I find totally persuasive, Guisto was boinking Neil's wife, Neil knew about it, but since Guisto knew Neil's secret, he couldn't fire him. In fact he promoted him, even after he knew Guisto was sleeping with his wife!

As for Kulongoski, he also covered for Neil, even after knowing the secret and knowing Guisto was essentially blackmailing Goldschmidt.

It is fascinating reading.

It looks like our Sherriff and our Governor are both guilty of protecting a child molester to advance their own political careers! UNREAL!

....and then today .....

....the drumbeat continues.

On the editorial page of the Oregonian we are blessed with yet another exposition of "smart growth" philosophy, written by some woman named Constance E. Beuamont. (It isn't posted yet on their web site, so I can't link to it.)

Her very helpful column explains how we can minimize our reliance on the car if we plan our communities so that shopping and work is closer to home, so that people will walk rather than take the car for short trips. Wow, thanks! We have never heard anything about such a groundbreaking idea!

And then, over in the Living section, we get a breathless full page article with color pictures and charts touting Portland's preeminent position as a biking city, talking about how bikes are no longer just for recreation, but for transportation. A snippet:

"Moreover, many Portlanders now buy bikes to commute, run errands, and even move entire households pulling attached trailers full of belongings to new homes."

Right. I guess that's why there are ninety unused bike racks at IKEA.

"There's definitely a shift from recreation to transportation," said Mark Pickett, owner of Revolver Bikes. "Bikes used to be considered a toy, but now they are looked at as a way to get around."

So it is a good thing, in the church of Smart Growth, to encourage third world transportation methods. Hey, if nobody is engaged in productive activity in the first place, who cares if your transportation methods are inefficient?

How many of the bike commuters into downtown Portland work for government? I'll bet it is a high percentage. Just a wild guess.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Congestion makes us richer!

I feel so much better now. I thought that all the traffic congestion that limited my mobility around this town was a huge pain in the rear. Now I know that it is making me richer.

Thanks to the Oregonian for setting me straight. You see, people in Portland drive less than people in other cities of comparable size, and that translates into big dollar savings. And that money gets spent on all sorts of other local goods and services instead of going to out of state oil companies. They call it the "green dividend."

A local economist, Joe Cortright, estimates we save $2.6 billion a year because we drive less, and his report is being touted by the planning elites as evidence that their policies are working. He estimated not just the actual money saved, but also imputed a value on the time we don't spend in our cars, and added that to the total savings.

So let me get this straight. If driving less saves us money and makes us better off, then driving less still, we'd be better off still. And not driving at all, we would presumably maximize our well being.

The error these agenda driven analysts make is in the underlying assumption that driving is a negative, so minimizing it is a good thing. But driving is not a negative - it is a very useful activity for both business and for household activity. If we are driving less because the roads are so clogged up, we aren't saving anything at all - in fact, that is a net cost to us.

We are poorer, because we would have happily traded the time and money for the trip, but when the extra cost of the extra time spent on the congested roads is added, we don't make the trip. The congestion cost prices us out of trips we would normally find "profitable" to take.

Another thing the study didn't discuss is the relatively higher price of gas in Portland compared to other cities, due to the higher taxes in Oregon, and the fact that there are no refineries close by. If we drive 16% fewer miles than the national average, how much of that is due to the higher cost of gas? Half?

This study is just ridiculous. It's on the front page of the Metro section of the Oregonian, because it supports the agenda of the elites the Oregonian has spent the last 25 years cheerleading for.

Just another example of the made up news that is so prevalent at the O.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Minnesota just like Oregon

As soon as the bridge fell in Minneapolis, the liberals all yammered for a gas tax increase to fund bridge repair, and chortled about how the Republicans governor of Minnesota was to blame because he vetoed the Democrats' last attempt at raising it, which was a 37.5% hike in the tax, from 20 cents a gallon to 27.5 cents..

In Oregon, we heard the echo, as the BluOregon crowd made the same point.

The Wall Street Journal has the rest of the story. And that story in Minnesota looks a lot like Oregon's.

Yes, Minnesota has been diverting road dollars for all sorts of rail projects. Of the $1.6 billion Minnesota Department of Transportation budget last year, fully $1 billion went to rail. And their transit ridership looks a lot like Oregon's: only 2.8% of commuters use rail or transit.

So, as the roads fall apart, they funnel more and more money to rail.

Just like Oregon. the infection spreads.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One Amazing City Commissioner

Sam Adams is going to completely eliminate unemployment in the city of Portland, solve our horrible congestion problem, and save the earth!

I'm not kidding! We are so lucky to have him.

He says that the new choo-choo he wants to build across the river and down to OMSI will create 15,000 new jobs. Portland has about 257,000 total jobs right now. Assuming 5% unemployment, that means that each and every unemployed person in Portland will be able to get a job in Sam's new urban utopia! With jobs left over!

He also says the new streetcar line will "reduce congestion and global warming."

I just LOVE the penetrating reportage of the Oregonian, which apparently just accepted these claims at face value and printed it up. No discussion of where the 15,000 jobs number came from, or whehter it is as solid an estimate as the 10,000 jobs claim the Oregonian constantly published for the South Waterfront development.

You'd think the Oregonian would be a touch more skeptical after their shilling for SoWhat was exposed as the lie it was.

But what do they care?

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Bike Nazi

Did you catch the Oregonian's article today about Mia Birk, the women who ran Portland's bike transportation office in the mid 1990's?

It reveals a lot. But heck, what do they care if they reveal a lot? What are going to do about it?

The article starts out basically laughing about how Birk got the city road crews to restripe a freshly paved street with a bike lane, reducing the car lanes, and basically blowing off the businesses that complained. "We had two mottoes that guided us in those days," she explained at a conference years later. "One was, go like hell until you can't go no more, and the other was, it was easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

The article chronicles how she pushed to put bike lanes on nearly every major city arterial, assisted by the Bicylce Transportation Alliance who didn't want bikers to be relegated to bike trails and low traffic streets.

She proudly admits that she is a social engineer. "My philosophy is, you treat the system how you want people to act," she says. "So we put in bike lanes because we want people to bicycle."

And then this:

"In essence," she says, "we've been involved in a grand social experiment, if you will, asking and answering the question, 'Can we transform and adapt a large, car-oriented city into one in which cycling is an integral part of daily life?' "

Maybe it' just me, but I for one get pretty nervous when liberals start talking about grand social experiments.

.....Meanwhile, over on the editorial page, the authors apologize for criticizing the Eastbank Esplanade, ask for more and more of the same, and finish with:

"Amsterdam spends about $36 per citizen a year on its bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure. Portland spends about $2 a person, per year. We have, in other words, only just begun."

They literally do want to turn Portland into a European style city. They are quickly ruining this place.

We are just too darn visionary!

I knew I was going to enjoy the article as soon as I read the headline:

"The Round is ahead of the curve."
Yeah, that's right. The only reason the Beaverton new-urbanist development has been bankrupt three times now isn't because the whole concept is utterly flawed, it's because the urban planners who dreamed it up are just so far ahead of the rest of us, able to peek around the corner and know that this is just the kind of development that everyone will be wanting to live and work in someday, so we should all just shut up, flood it with however much public money they need to complete it, and marvel at their wisdom.
What a bunch of bull.
To the Oregonian's credit, the article did quote some skeptics of the Round. But when you read the comments from the planner-elites, you realize how annointed they truly believe they are.
The belly laughs start right from the first few paragraphs. After pointing out that the Round has been bankrupt thrice, and is the "hanging out there in the wind," it says: "Proponents say that's a reason that Metro and Beaverton should persevere and do more to support the Round. "
They want to throw good money after bad, and build more of the same thing a few blocks away at the Westgate Theatre site, that the city just purchased.
Backers argue for patience. They say that if developers and public agencies don't try something new, a timid market will never change. They point to Belmont Dairy in Southeast Portland and Kruse Way in Lake Oswego as projects ahead of their time that defied skeptics and ended up succeeding.
Excuse me? They actually point to the success of Kruse Way as an argument for being patient with The Round? Unbelievable! Kruse Way is basically the antithesis of The Round. It rejects every premise upon which The Round was ill-conceived. It is totally car oriented, and they built nice big parking lots and wide streets to handle the traffic. And it was successful right off the bat, with no public subsidy.
This from Ethan Seltzer, the new urbanist guru at PSU, explaining why there just doesn't seem to be any demand for the office and condo real estate at The Round: "The market has a lot of work to do in that area."
What the hell does that mean? They built a multi million dollar failure, and it's bankrupt because the market isn't working hard enough? People who speak like this simply should not be given a seat at the adult table.
Imagine a CEO who invests millions of the company's money developing some product, only to find out that nobody wants it. He tells his board of directors: "Nothing wrong with the product - the market just has a lot of work to do before people realize they want it."
He'd be fired.
Carl Hosticka, Metro Councillor, blames the fiasco on the developer. Nothing wrong with the concept, right Carl? This is, after all, the THIRD time the development has gone into bankrupcty.
But for the likes of Hosticka, it isn't about building a successful real estate development, it is about changing how we live, work and play:
"And Hosticka is unapologetic that the market wouldn't have built the Round without government incentives. "We're not necessarily trying to respond to a market," he said. "We're trying to lead a market."
Exactly. And as is the case virtually every time the government wants to "lead" the way into the future, it is an unmitigated disaster.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Thank you, Jerry Krummel

Representative Jerry Krummel announced yesterday that he would resign from his Oregon house seat (Wilsonville area) after serving five terms.

I had the pleasure of working closely with Jerry on a number of issues, most significantly the effort to get rid of the CIM/CAM school reform that did so much damage in Oregon's high schools.

I got to know him quite well, and I can tell you, we will miss him.

Jerry is a very effective legislator, which is not always easy to be as a Republican/conservative in Oregon. It is so easy for the other side to marginalize conservative Republicans in the legislative process, and Jerry navigated the choppy waters in Salem with a unique mixture of toughness and amiability that I think should be a model for all of us.

I certainly understand why Jerry would hang up his well earned political spurs. It isn't just because Republicans are now in the minority, although that certainly factored into it. But Jerry gave a decade of his life to the legislature - who can begrudge him for wanting to focus a little more attention on his teaching career?

Jerry Krummel - thank you for a job well done. It was an honor and a pleasure getting to know you over the years, and working closely with you on some issues that we both care about deeply.

The legislature will be a smaller place without you in it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rooting against America - update

I wrote the other day that the recent encouraging news about the surge in Iraq has put the Democrats in a tight spot. They have to tread carefully not to appear as if they are hoping the report is not true.

Well, a highly placed Democrat congressman, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, came right out and admitted in a story in the Washington Post that Democrats are rooting for bad news from Iraq. Here's the money quote:

Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us."

So there you have it. The Democrats' political interests require defeat in Iraq. And they actually admit it.

Terrific. What patriots.

The Oregon "Business" Association

A call to arms!

I've grown very tired of organizations in Oregon that take on the mantle of business, and then do nothing but join the choir of pressure groups that push for more government programs or increased government spending on everything from health care to education to saving the salmon.

This is on the top of my mind right now because the Oregon "Business" Association just announced that it has hired Senator Ryan Deckert to be its new president.

Don't get me wrong - Ryan Deckert is a fine guy. He's pretty bright, and he acquitted himself reasonably in his terms in the legislature. But he is no business advocate, and the Oregon "Business" Association is not an advocate for the interests of business in Oregon, either.

We simply cannot allow organizations like the Oregon "Business" Association, without challenge, to carry on the pretense that they speak for business in Oregon. They don't. They are an organization funded by liberal businesses that pushes for liberal public policies. Just because they are funded by businesses doesn't mean they advocate for the interests of business in Oregon.

And tremendous damage happens when we let the Oregon "Business" Association occupy this space in the media, in the legislature, and in other arenas. We can't continue to let it go on.

So from now on, all conservative bloggers I implore you - whenever you write the name, put the word Business in quotation marks.

So, from now on, it is:

The Oregon "Business" Association

It won't solve the whole problem, but it will let them know we are on to their game!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Jonathan Nicholas's first editorial?

We learned last month that longtime gossip columnist Jonathan Nicholas was going to "Try his hand at editorial writing."

You know - they guy who wrote that completely vapid column a couple times a week for years and years, the guy who always seemed like such a lightweight that there was never a good reason to actually read his column - he went to the editorial page.

I think we saw today one of his first attempts at writing big boy material. Send him back to the nursery.

The third editorial on the page today was one of the most juvenile, content free, swerve off the road to invent reasons to smear the President screeds I have ever read.

The ostensible reason for the editorial was to talk about Britian's new Prime Minister, and Bush's meeting with him. The O took that opportunity to hammer the well worn theme that Bush is a dummy:

"The two men, after all, are rather different. Brown, admitted to college at age 15, took a first at Edinburgh University, then a doctorate, before going on to teach undergraduates. Bush took advantage of Yale to explore the world of the gentleman's C. "

Wait a minute! Bush's GPA at Yale was higher than Gore's and Kerry's. But those guys are liberals, so by definition they are smarter.

From there, it got even more juvenile:

"Brown has written a number of books. Bush may have read a number of books."

Sadly, this is what qualifies at the Oregonian for legitimate political commentary. With Nicholas on the panel, we should be treated again and again to such inane nonsense.

Mysteriously, their circulation plummets.

Rooting against America

Oddly enough, the Democrats find themselves in a very vulnerable position all of a sudden, as good news starts to trickle out of Iraq due to the troop surge.

Most Americans, you see, welcome good news out of Iraq, especially after five years of missteps and mismanagement. But the Democrats have made an all-in bet on defeat in Iraq for their 2008 election strategy, and so they can't exactly be seen in public celebrating the good news.

Their problem is that most true Americans WANT things to go well in Iraq, and when the Democrats denigrate any good news, it makes people start to wonder: "Why are they rooting against America?"

The fact is, according to the new report covered this week by the New York Times, the surge is working. Significant progress has been made. It looks like at long last a workable strategy has been found.

But the Democrats have painted themselves into a corner. They tried like hell to declare defeat before news of the progress made by the surge could come out, but that didn't work. It made no sense to give up before the surge had a chance to work, and the American people knew it.

So now, their true colors are exposed. Defeat in Iraq is an election strategy for the Democrats.

That doesn't exactly sit very well in the American public.