Monday, November 30, 2009

More on Climate Gate

It's almost funny the lengths the LameStream media is going to ignore the CRU emails.

The Oregonian lead editorial today talks of the upcoming Copenhagen climate confab, and how China and Obama are now ready to agree to CO2 limits. The piece goes on about how promising it is that the two largest "polluters" are finally talking about real limits.

But nowhere is there any mention whatsoever about any little controversy that might be brewing somewhere over some little emails. Not a word.

Question: If a major international scandal occurs that calls into question the basic integrity of the lead scientists on the biggest environmental and political issue of the century, and the Oregonian doesn't report it - did the scandal really happen?

Apparently the Oregonian doesn't think so. Don't report it, and it doesn't exist.

Except this scandal is growing legs. Long ones. And honest journalists, even those who for years have criticized AGW skeptics are now looking at this honestly.

Read this piece from Clive Crook in The Atlantic. Will we ever read anything this honest in the pages of the Oregonian? Doubtful.

Clive Crook is no right winger. He is very smart, and very talented. I have followed his writing for years in the Financial Times. He used to write for The Economist. He's a liberal. As he says - at the very least, these emails show that the leading scientists pushing the AGW hypothesis cannot be trusted.

So where does that leave them? Credibility destroyed. Their original data was deleted.

This is going to be fun!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Climate gate finally getting noticed

Sure, the mainstream media here in the the U.S. are still refusing to report the story, but the international media sees it for what it is: The biggest scientific scandal ever.

On the eve of the Copenhagan conference, I'll bet this thing cools their private jets just a little bit.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

They are coming after your lifestyle

Here they come: the planners want to change how you live. Everything from what you eat to how warm or cool you keep your home to how you get to work. And they aren't even trying to hide it.

It's all right here in Multnomah County's "Climate Action Plan." The Portland Tribune today does a good job of summarizing its elements (but predictably, there isn't a whisper in the article that some of this stuff might be a tad controversial, or any discussion whatsover from any contrary viewpoint. Isn't it great living in a one party state?)

Pretty scary stuff:

"Actions suggested in the plan aren’t “just a wish list,” says Susan Anderson, director of the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Rather, they will be used to forge new policies, ordinances, incentives and public spending designed to meet the stringent emissions targets."

Go read the plan. It is just breathtaking, the power that the plan contemplates handing over to government. Not to mention the economic devastation if we actually met the goals these folks have in mind.

This is just lunacy!

The document itself is an orgasm of central planning passions that if implemented would without question put the finishing touches on the devastation of the Multnomah County economy. You really have to read the whole thing to appreciate the sweeping breadth of what the planners want to control, and the utter disregard for whether all their arbitrary targets, goals and objectives have any basis in reality.

They want to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by the year 2050, with an interim goal of 40% by 2030. To get started toward these goals, the document develops 18 objectives and "accompanying actions" which are to be pursued in the next three years. These "actions," they are quick to point out, are not an exhaustive list. They are just the "highest priority" stuff, "all of which must be pursued by the end of 2012."

And off they go. Remember - they plan to use coercion to make this stuff happen: taxes, bulding code changes, ordinances, regulations.

I'll just list a few of the things they want to require, so you get a sense of their detachment from any question of viability.

1) They want to reduce the energy consumption of all existing buildings by 25%. First, why? What if energy prices fell because we found a cheap, non-carbon form of energy? Second, what do the planners know about the feasibility of achieving this level of energy reduction? Answer: nothing at all. They just chose a number without regard to what might have to be done to meet this arbitrary goal. It would be easy enough, actually. Just turn the thermostat off. No heat, no cooling. And no occupants!

2) They want all new buildings to achieve "zero net greenhouse emissions." They will use the building code to mandate this. No discussion at all of how this might raise the cost of homes and commercial buildings.

The document gets worse still when it deals with transportation. They want to reduce vehicle miles per person by 30%! They themselves admit that between 1990 and 2008, VMT per capita went up by about 6% (this while they spent the bulk of transportation dollars on light rail.) Just imagine what they are going to have to do to achieve this goal!

Oh - we don't have to imagine! They lay it all out for us.

Objective 5 says they want 80% of all Multco residents to live in an area where they can easily walk or bicycle to meet all their basic non-working needs. Read: ultra-high density. One action plan is to force all neighborhoods into their "20 minute neighborhood" model. They flesh out this model, and claim all sorts of Portlanders are "interested." Yeah, I have been to some of those "Charettes."

In order to reduce vehicle miles traveled, they want only 30% of us to drive alone to work. Their target is that 25% will use mass transit, and another 25% will bike to work!


I could go on, but you get the point. The kind of place these planners envision would be one of the least economically productive places in the country. You think there are few jobs now? Implement this plan. You think housing is expensive now? Implement this plan.

What is infuriating to me is that these ivory tower planners and the political structure that enables them have are cranking this crap out as if we are in a robust economy. People everywhere are struggling, and our city and county officials are actually paying people to devise schemes for how to make housing, energy, transportation and food MORE EXPENSIVE!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

PAC-10 is the most entertaining football in the nation

The country was treated to two incredibly entertaining PAC-10 football games today, which put all the other games on TV all day long to shame.

Stanford lost a heartbreaker to Cal when their terrific freshman QB threw an interception on the five yard line with a little over a minute to go. Had they scored a TD, they would have led by a point.

Meanwhile, Oregon and Arizona were playing a classic. What a game! Oregon tied it with 6 seconds left in the game, then won it in the second overtime.

Tbe only game even close to this entertainment value was watching an overrated LSU botch a comeback attempt against Ole Miss. Needing a field goal to win, they made a miracle 4th and 26 conversion with one second left on the clock, but didn't have their field goal team ready to take the field! The QB lined up under center and spiked the ball, which was ridiculous because it was the last play of the game.

Who knows what either he or LSU's coach was thinking. But what can you expect from a guy whose very name, Les Miles, exudes bad grammar.

The PAC-10 has been entertaining all year long. Who knows whether our top teams would beat Texas, Alabama, Texas Tech or Florida (I think we would give them a run for their money) but just from a fan's perspective, there is no more entertaining league in the country.

And speaking of the top PAC-10 teams .... that would be Oregon and Oregon State.

The Civil War will be for the the league title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Unreal.

December 3rd is going to be an interesting night.

The O: Trying to pretend the fringe is mainstream

I shouldn't EVER read the "How We Live" section of the Oregonian. I almost never do.

I usually read the front page section, laugh at the Business section, read the Metro section and the editorial page, and then on to Sports. The "How We Live" section is so reliably inane that they have trained me to not even glance at the front page, but rather to just turn to the comics where the Bridge Column is printed, and then head off for my morning constitutional to be reminded why I will never be a world class contract bridge player.

But tonight I made the mistake. Late night snack, paper already read, sat down with my re-heated soup at the table where the paper still lay. I'd already read the rest of it, so it was all I had left. I was immediately sorry.

The article took up almost the entire front page of the section, and continued on to a back page. Which would be fine if the story was at all interesting in the journalism sense.

What was it? An glowing article about a new kind of transformational lifestyle, "CoHousing."

Oh brother. How many stories do we have to read in the Oregonian about some alternative lifestyle that they claim is so much better for our health, our environment, our community, our culture? Here we go again.

So it seems about two decades ago some latter day hippies bought five houses in NE Portland and created a little urban commune. Now about 25 people live there, and they share all the usual stuff in tried and true commune style.

Only now, the fact that they can claim to have a much lower "carbon footprint" gives them all sorts of cache that the Oregonian just can't resist pretending deserves a huge Friday edition multiple color picture story about how morally superior this way of life is to the selfish, high carbon lifestyle we all want to live.

There are a few laugh out loud parts of the story. Like the part where it is revealed the founder lives in the main house with her significant other, their 15 year old daughter and "another couple."

Any takers? Mom and Dads out there - any of you clamoring to share a space with your daughters and another couple? Of course the story doesn't mention any sensitivities around such a situation. Rather, the very next sentence explains that the house gets "40% of its energy needs from solar panels and water heaters."

Great! My daughter is at risk of being molested by a non family household member, but at least we are sustainable!

The story tells of all the usual commune-style arrangements, which might have been interesting back in 1968 when communes were actually kind of interesting. But it is really irritating that the Oregonian tries to pass this stuff off as either innovative, or as some kind of wave of the future, or anything other than what is: just a small fringe of people living in a way that almost nobody wants to live.

But that is what the Oregonian seems to desperately want to pretend is mainstream. Even though their own reporting proves otherwise:

It says that 5,000 people live in such arrangements in 100 communities in 21 different states. But they have their own national association, which wants to boost that number, "focusing on baby boomers and "cultural creatives," a demographic estimated to top 50 million."

Good luck.

One resident, a 25 year old PSU music student says living with all these different people makes the "human relationships more durable." Really? More durable than a nuclear family living in a single household? I somehow doubt it.

But that really is the point of the whole story. They really are trying to push new social arrangements and claim they are mainstream.

Hey, if people want to live like this, I could care less. Go for it. But why does the Oregonian pretend it merits this kind of fawning coverage as if this is some kind of superior arrangement for how we should live?

The fact is, we don't want to live like this. Normal people want to get married, raise a family, and have a household with their family and nobody else living in it. That is what people overwhelmingly want.

The Oregonian just alienates itself more and more from the vast majority of people by pretending that this kind of lifestyle is anything more than the fringe that it has always been.

And mysteriously, their circulation continues to plummet.

End of the Oprah era

So Oprah announced that 2011 will be her last year doing her show.

I've never much watched her show because it always ran during the day. So I am not really a fan in the sense of being a loyal follower who watches her show.

But I have long admired her for her talent, her accomplishments, her range of expertise, her business acumen, and the fact that she became the rarest of all things: the transcendent entertainer.

She is incredibly talented, and her ability to connect with an audience is probably without parallel in our time. Her reach was impressive. Her book list spawned probably hundreds of thousands of book clubs around the world devoted to reading her selections. She could make a best seller with her simple recommendation.

She is and always was a class act. Very human, but didn't really cross the line into schmaltz. She opened her own life from time to time up to her audience, like with her struggles with weight. But I never felt that she relied on the sensational or the worst of our pop culture reflexes to keep her audience.

Rather, I think she elevated her audience. She often dealt with serious topics, and she had a way of asking tough questions in a way that did not intimidate. As I say, I didn't watch her show, so my impressions come from the things I would see reported about her show from the other media outlets. But she was not afraid of controversial topics, and handled them very well.

She is still quite young, so she will obviously be around a long time, and will continue to contribute to our culture in many ways. So I don't want this to sound like some kind of professional obituary.

Far from it. I can't wait to see what Oprah does now that she isn't saddled by the responsibility of a daily talk show. I am quite certain her politics are much different than my own, but that doesn't matter here.

Oprah is one of the most talented people of our generation. Whatever she chooses to do, she will have a huge impact. It will be exciting to watch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Newsweek - a once proud magazine

Imagine a liberal woman, a national figure, once a candidate for Vice President of the United States, being pictured by Newsweek Magazine as they pictured Sarah Palin on their cover this week. It simply would never happen.

They want to diminish Sarah Palin, so they use a photograph taken from Runners World Magazine and put it on their cover.

They really only diminish themselves. Newsweek used to be a very good rag. Decent columnists, good business coverage, intelligent writing. Now it is just another failing liberal media outlet.

It deserves to fail.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Phil Keisling report on PERS

Former Secretary of State Phil Keisling has drafted a report on the current problems with PERS. Bojack got a copy of it, and I read the thing tonight.

It is quite simply the seminal work explaining the so very complicated structure of PERS and its dizzying problems. The report is more than 50 pages including the footnotes and appendices, but it is very readable.

Making something this complex readable is no easy task.

Keisling is the last Democrat I voted for. I have gotten to know him quite well over the years, as we have had many a conversation over breakfasts and lunches. He has always had my respect.

Now he has my sincere thanks for providing a resource we can all use and refer to when we need a more complete understanding of PERS.

Thank you, Phil Keisling!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This is a must read

If you want to understand why our financial system collapsed, and why the fixes they have put in place are going to fail, you have to read the column pasted below, which ran in the WSJ Weekend Edition.

The Man Who Predicted the Depression
Ludwig von Mises explained how government-induced credit expansions led to imbalances in the economy.

Ludwig von Mises was snubbed by economists world-wide as he warned of a credit crisis in the 1920s. We ignore the great Austrian at our peril today.

Mises's ideas on business cycles were spelled out in his 1912 tome "Theorie des Geldes und der Umlaufsmittel" ("The Theory of Money and Credit"). Not surprisingly few people noticed, as it was published only in German and wasn't exactly a beach read at that.

Taking his cue from David Hume and David Ricardo, Mises explained how the banking system was endowed with the singular ability to expand credit and with it the money supply, and how this was magnified by government intervention. Left alone, interest rates would adjust such that only the amount of credit would be used as is voluntarily supplied and demanded. But when credit is force-fed beyond that (call it a credit gavage), grotesque things start to happen.

Government-imposed expansion of bank credit distorts our "time preferences," or our desire for saving versus consumption. Government-imposed interest rates artificially below rates demanded by savers leads to increased borrowing and capital investment beyond what savers will provide. This causes temporarily higher employment, wages and consumption.

Ordinarily, any random spikes in credit would be quickly absorbed by the system—the pricing errors corrected, the half-baked investments liquidated, like a supple tree yielding to the wind and then returning.

But when the government holds rates artificially low in order to feed ever higher capital investment in otherwise unsound, unsustainable businesses, it creates the conditions for a crash. Everyone looks smart for a while, but eventually the whole monstrosity collapses under its own weight through a credit contraction or, worse, a banking collapse.

The system is dramatically susceptible to errors, both on the policy side and on the entrepreneurial side. Government expansion of credit takes a system otherwise capable of adjustment and resilience and transforms it into one with tremendous cyclical volatility.
"Theorie des Geldes" did not become the playbook for policy makers.

The 1920s were marked by the brave new era of the Federal Reserve system promoting inflationary credit expansion and with it permanent prosperity. The nerve of this Doubting-Thomas, perma-bear, crazy Kraut! Sadly, poor Ludwig was very nearly alone in warning of the collapse to come from this credit expansion. In mid-1929, he stubbornly turned down a lucrative job offer from the Viennese bank Kreditanstalt, much to the annoyance of his fiancée, proclaiming "A great crash is coming, and I don't want my name in any way connected with it."

We all know what happened next. Pretty much right out of Mises's script, overleveraged banks (including Kreditanstalt) collapsed, businesses collapsed, employment collapsed. The brittle tree snapped. Following Mises's logic, was this a failure of capitalism, or a failure of hubris?

Mises's solution follows logically from his warnings. You can't fix what's broken by breaking it yet again. Stop the credit gavage. Stop inflating. Don't encourage consumption, but rather encourage saving and the repayment of debt. Let all the lame businesses fail—no bailouts. (You see where I'm going with this.) The distortions must be removed or else the precipice from which the system will inevitably fall will simply grow higher and higher.

Mises started getting some much-deserved respect once "Theorie des Geldes" was finally published in English in 1934. It is unfortunate that it required such a disaster for people to take heed of what was the one predictive, scholarly explanation of what was happening.

But then, just Mises's bad luck, along came John Maynard Keynes's tome "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" in 1936. Keynes was dapper, fresh and sophisticated. He even wrote in English! And the guy had chutzpah, fearlessly fighting the battle against unemployment by running the currency printing press and draining the government's coffers.

He was the anti-Mises. So what if Keynes had lost his shirt in the stock-market crash. His book was peppered with fancy math (even Greek letters) and that meant rigor, modernity. To add insult to injury, Mises wasn't even refuted by Keynes and his ilk. He was ignored.

Fast forward 70-some years, during which we saw Keynesianism's repeated disappointments, the end of the gold standard, persistent inflation with intermittent inflationary recessions and banking crises, culminating in Alan Greenspan's "Great Moderation" and a subsequent catastrophic collapse in housing and banking. Where do we find ourselves? At a point of profound insight gained through economic logic, trial and error, and objective empiricism? Or right back where we started?

With interest rates at zero, monetary engines humming as never before, and a self-proclaimed Keynesian government, we are back again embracing the brave new era of government-sponsored prosperity and debt. And, more than ever, the system is piling uncertainties on top of uncertainties, turning an otherwise resilient economy into a brittle one.

How curious it is that the guy who wrote the script depicting our never ending story of government-induced credit expansion, inflation and collapse has remained so persistently forgotten. Must we sit through yet another performance of this tragic tale?

Mr. Spitznagel is the founder and chief investment officer of the hedge fund Universa Investments LP, based in Santa Monica, Calif.

Political correctness can be deadly

The real story is taking shape now. I think it is clear enough to be stated:

The Army had a jihadist Muslim in its ranks. A traitor whose allegiance was to Islam first. Further, he let it be widely known, through his words and actions, that he thught the war on terror was a war on his religion, and that he thought infidels should be murdered.

But these in-plain-sight warning signs were ignored. His fellow students in his master's program didn't file complaints because they were afraid of appearing discriminatory. TWO investigations into his conduct and his correspondence were dropped.

He kills thirteen fellow soldiers and wounds 31.

Why is the mainstream media so reluctant to admit that this guy was a jihadist? As Rich Lowry chronicles in his column today, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and the Washington Post keep pushing the "when soldiers snap" narrative, with articles about "Post-Traumatic-Stress-Syndrome."

This is a tragic consequence of political correctness. We pretend in the airports that 85 year old white grandmothers pose the same risk to security as 25 year old middle-eastern males. The U.S. Army ignores obvious and well-reported signs that this madman was a traitor, and did nothing.

And the U.S mainstream media can't even admit that Hasan was motivated by Muslim extremism! For God's sake, he yelled Allah Akbar while killing 13 American soldiers!

Do you think the New York Times will print as many front page stories about this tragedy as they did about the Tailhook scandal? Or Abu-Graib?

I'll bet anybody any amount of money that it won't even be close.

Monday, November 09, 2009

What kind of America are we?

It has become more and more apparent to me lately that there are really two general world views that determine how a person views the kind of country America is and should be.

The two views are incompatible. There is no "compromise" between them that doesn't move the country toward one or another from where it currently is. The country isn't split right down the middle on these two views, but it is pretty close. Maybe 45%/55%, perhaps just a bit wider.

Because there isn't any compromise possible between these two camps (and what I mean here is that any compromise necessarily moves in one direction or the other, so one side advances, the other loses) the two sides can't even really talk with each other. They have fundamentally different assumptions about the very meaning of America.

One side honestly wants to move America into the European welfare state model: high taxes, with some necessities provided by government for everyone and all necessities provided by government for some people. The private sector and voluntary arrangements between people are restricted in order to forward the social policies that the government has decided are important (workweek, vacation time, hours, working conditions, benefits, etc.)

This view believes the individual is subordinate to the group, and therefore the government's rightful role is often to limit and direct individual behavior in order to create a fairer, more just society.

Let's call this view the "collectivist" vision.

The other side believes the European welfare state model is not what America is and should be about. They believe that government should generally stay out of voluntary arrangements between individuals, and that is should definitely not have the power to attempt to create some vision of social justice through abrogation of these individual rights. At core, they belive that the individual is not subordinate to the group, that limits and directives on individuals is warranted only to prevent one individual from harming others.

Let's call this view the "individualist" vision.

What we see going on now is that President Obama is attempting to move this country rapidly in the direction of the collectivists. He wants government to take over automobile companies and banks and take a proscriptive role in health care and energy use.

So the question for this time is: Is America a collectivist country? Will the people support a President who wants to move us there?

I don't think so. I think the collectivist view is indeed shared a large minority of Americans, but it isn't the majority. And further - America is fundamentally NOT a collectivist society. It is not what our founding fathers created. Quite the opposite!

So a President can't just change the fundamental principles of our country through a legislative agenda.

People have said to me lately: "So what is so bad about the European model?"

Leaving aside the arguments about the structural unemployment rate it creates, and the lower standard of living, the problem with the European model is that it is inherently un-American in that it restricts the freedoms upon which our nation was founded.

Hey, if Europe wants it, have at it. I would argue that Europe accepts the welfare state model because its culture came of age in a fuedal system, where there was no middle class and where the people were literally in serfdom. They got whatever the Lord allowed.

The European welfare state is just the new Lord, and the European people have in their cultural core an acceptance of the notion that they are subservient to the Lord.

That is not how our country came of age. Our forefathers rejected this model. They fled the feudalism that limited their freedom, and at great personal risk forged a new nation here. They even fought a war to sever the ties to the fuedal government of Europe.

They founded a new country based on the primacy of the individual. A radical notion that rights are vested in the individual, and that it is the government's role to secure these rights. No nation on Earth had ever been founded on such a notion.

And look what happened! It unleashed the creative powers of the human spirit in a way that literally changed the world. For the next two hundred plus years, America was the engine that brought unimaginable prosperity to any and every corner of the world that wanted to follow its lead.

So why is it that we have some large minority of the people in America now who want to copy the European collectivist "serfdom" model?

I don't understand it. It is as if, 230+ years after our nation's founding, that many people now literally do not accept the fundamental premise of our nation's founding.

And one of them is in the White House.

I started this post by saying there are two visions for America - which I identified as the "collectivist" vision and the "individualist" vision. I acknowledge that many people are in the collectivist camp, and are trying like hell to move our country into this model.

I know this would anger folks who are of this view, but what they are doing is fundamentally un-American. The society they are trying to create is not what our country was created to be. If they want to change the founding principles of America in order to establish a European model, then they should have to acknowledge that they don't share the basic American founding principles and try to convince us that these principles are wrong and should be changed.

Make no mistake: the path Obama wants us on leads to serfdom. I predict the nation will reject it, because the enough American people have not forgotten - much less rejected - the core principles that made America the greatest nation ever to grace the planet Earth.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fort Hood shooting reaction

As the details start to roll in about the Fort Hood shooting, it seems more and more obvious that the shooter was indeed motivated by Muslim extremism. Reports of him yelling "Allah Akbar" as he fired the shots should be a pretty good hint as to his motive.

Which makes even more ridiculous the reaction from Congressman Jim McDermott I just heard on the radio. He said the shooting was a "symptom of a stressed military," and showed the need for "mental health counseling." He was quoted as saying we need to end the "stigma" associated with seeking mental health services.

So McDermott thinks that Hasan, who was a mental health medical professional, might not have passed out new bellybuttons to his military colleagues if a sense of shame had not kept him from seeking out mental health counseling?

This guy is such a dope.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Interpreting NY-23

Here come the post-mortems on the results of NY-23 last night.

Democrats will say it shows the dysfunction of the Republican party, because they ate their own and delivered a victory to the Democrat. They will say it lays bare the rift in the Republican party between the Tea Party element and the party establishment, and ensures that there will be contested primaries all over the country that will further damage the party and weaken it for 2010.

I don't see it that way. I think this has a few relevant facets.

The party screwed up big time by putting Scozzafava up as the candidate. There was no nominating election - it was done by a handful of party establishment types. From the start it was clear that she was a horrible fit for the district. Had they simply put up even a minimally acceptable candidate, they would have rolled to victory and avoided this whole mess.

Hoffman wasn't really an ideal candidate himself. He was pretty much a stiff. Zero charisma. Kind of the fringe type of guy who would step into this kind of a breach - a situation that isn't usually going to attract the most polished and mainstream person, and he wasn't.

So the fact that he lost isn't all that surprising.

Scozzafava proved herself, in the end, to be everything her opponents said she was when she gracelessly endorsed the Democrat. In her heart, she was a Democrat. Why the party ran her is mysterious.

But this loss isn't altogether a bad thing. First, Owens is almost certainly a one termer. This is a Republican district.

So on the negative side of the ledger, we have a one term Democrat in a Republican district. On the positive side, we have a very strong message sent to the establishment Republicans: NO MORE RINOS IN DISTRICTS WHERE A CONSERVATIVE CAN WIN!

And guess what? President Obama is doing a very good job at bringing Conservatism back into vogue again, which means that there will be LOTS of districts where a real conservative can win.
NY-23 was indeed a family fight, and there was some collateral damage. But the result will be a party that fields candidates who are far more in step with the reality of the political facts on the ground.

It was a wake up call to an out-of-step Republican party establishment, and it is a good thing it happened.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

2009 election night

As I write this, it is so far a Republican sweep in the races that have been called so far. The one race not yet determined is the famed NY-23rd district, where the Conservative party candidate is behind by about 4,000 votes with 65% of the count done.

So what does it mean?

I don't know how this can be spun any other way than to say that independent and swing voters moved hard away from the Democrats, and that it means trouble for the Obama agenda and Democrat candidates in 2010.

Over at BlueOregon tonight, there isn't so much as a whisper about the election results. After crowing for a year about the demise of the Republican party, there doesn't seem to be much self-reflection when the first post-Obama election provides them with a small but stern rebuke.

I guess this shouldn't be a surprise. There was nothing on BlueOregon about the apalling "green-gate" scandal in which Kulongoski basically lied about the cost of his tax credit scheme. Kari Chisolm wrote a post today called "Quick Hits: catching up on the weekend," in which he gave a rundown of the major political news stories of the weekend.

The green-gate story wasn't even mentioned!

That is how one-party states become two party states.

Will the 2009 election be a harbringer for 2010 in Oregon and nationally? I think that is a distinct possibility. Obama ran as a moderate, and has governed as a radical. That is not where the people of this country reside.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Governor: "I am NOT corrupt. Just incompetent"

I am insulted, and you should be too.

I mean, you would think they would respect us enough to try to come up with some excuse that at least sounds marginally plausible. But they don't. They know that any old excuse will do, because in our one party state nobody will hold them accountable for wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

I am talking about the Business Energy Tax Credit, and the revelation in yesterday's Oregonian that the Governor's office pressured the Department of Energy to lowball the estimates on how much the tax credit would be used. They were only off by a factor of 40 or so.

When two Department of Energy staffers (one former, one current) say that they were instructed to put down as low an estimate as possible, what is the Governor's response? From the Oregonian:

"Kulongoski staff members deny that the governor or anyone on his staff directed the Energy Department to lowball the costs and said the huge disparity between early cost projections and actual expenses was simply a bad guess. They say no one understood how popular the tax credit would become."

This is just laugh out loud funny. Mind you, they were estimating the impact of raising the tax credit to $20 million per project. And their estimate: $1.2 million in '07-'09 and $4.1 million for '09-'11.

Someone will have to explain that to me. Bad guess indeed.

So they would have us believe that they are really stupid enough to make an estimate like this, and not see how ridiculous it is on its face. As if they asked themselves: "Gee, if we raise the tax credit from $3.5 million to $20 million, how much will get used? Probably about $1.2 million. Yeah, let's go with that."

And when they are caught red-handed, with two different inside sources who say the Governor's office pressured them to minimize the number, they just claim incompetence!

Question: Will Oregonians continue to put up with this BS?