Monday, August 30, 2010

Senator Patty's lobbyist criticism boomerangs

Senator Patty Murray is running ads attacking Dino Rossi for connections to lobbyists. She knows about lobbyists He is a piker; she is the champ. Real Clear Politics
... It may not be a direct comparison, but Murray has her own connection to lobbyists: About a dozen former high-level staffers to Murray now serve in high-profile lobbying jobs. More than a quarter of Murray's campaign kitty this cycle has come from PACs. Bruce Boram, a Washington State GOP consultant who has advised Washington Republican Rep. Dave Reichert, called Murray's tactic "staggering." "She's been a senator since 1992," Boram said. "Anybody can tell you that she's plugged in with lobbyists. She's taken lots of PAC money over the years, so trying to turn that around on Rossi is the ultimate pot calling the kettle black."
If she brings up the topic Rossi can pursue the topic and show that her connections are deeper and wider than his.

Feminists are figuring out Gov. Palin

The feminists are realizing that Sarah Palin is changing the playing field; she is redefining feminism. The leftists are losing - big time. New York Times
In the 24 months since her appearance onstage in Dayton, Ohio, Ms. Palin has enthralled pundits and journalists who devote countless television hours and column inches to her every Twitter message and Facebook update, while provoking outrage and exasperation from the left. Case in point: Ms. Palin, now a Fox news contributor, and her cable colleague Glenn Beck planned a rally for Saturday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial ... The left should be outraged and exasperated by all this — but at their own failings as much as Ms. Palin’s ascension. Since the 2008 election, progressive leaders have done little to address the obvious national appetite for female leadership. And despite (or because of) their continuing obsession with Ms. Palin, they have done nothing to stop an anti-choice, pro-abstinence, socialist-bashing Tea Party enthusiast from becoming the 21st century symbol of American women in politics. What makes this all the more frustrating, of course, is that progressives helped to give Ms. Palin her start; her political career was a natural outgrowth of feminist successes. As a teen, she played basketball thanks to Title IX; as an adult, she enjoyed a professional life made possible by the involvement of her load-bearing husband Todd, entering Alaska’s governor’s mansion at 42 with four children in tow and giving birth to a fifth while there. Ms. Palin, in turn, has been making a greedy grab at claiming feminism as her own. She recently marked the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment by expressing her gratitude “to those brave feminist foremothers who struggled and sacrificed, endured imprisonment and ridicule ... to grant future generations of American women a voice.” On the same day, she sent out this Twitter message: “Who hijacked the term ‘feminist’? A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/ whom they disagree on a singular issue.” The hijacking accusation goes both ways. Ms. Palin’s infuriating ability to put a new twist on feminism — after decades of the word’s being besmirched by the right and the left — allows her to both distance herself from and accentuate the movement’s maligned reputation. Her new spin, of course, is that she does not support policies that move women forward. You’d be forgiven for thinking she does. ...
Remember this is the leftists. More: Jennifer Rubin at Commentary's Contentions blog; she says the left's defeat is larger than these wormen admit.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Free coffee cuppings every week

Cupping? What's that. Coffee tasting. I haven't been to one yet. I like the idea of free coffee and trying different kinds, but it might be too Inside Coffee for me. I just have to try it. Seattle Times
Victrola Roastery & Cafe, 310 E. Pike Street: Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, (in the basement of) 1115 12th Avenue: Daily at 3 p.m. Roy Street Coffee & Tea, 700 Broadway East: Daily at 10 a.m. Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting, (behind the roasters and upstairs at) 1005 E. Pike Street: Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea, 328 15th Avenue E.: Daily at 11 a.m.
And Victroly has added additional times (did they change the above time?) at their three locations:
... every Saturday at noon at its Beacon Hill cafe, 3215 Beacon Ave. S., and cuppings on Sunday afternoons (no specified time) at the Roastery, 310 E. Pike Street. The cafe at 411 15th Avenue E. will hold Friday cuppings at 1:30 p.m.

I-1082 End state monopoly on workers' comp insurance

Washington is doing a poor job of providing "insurance" for on-the-job injuries. It's a mess. It is headed for insolvency. Only 4 states have a state monopoly in this area. Administrative costs are skyrocketing - up 82 per cent in 10 years. Workers take more time off for injuries - much more time. Average of 270 days versus 70 in Oregon. Initiative 1082 will open the market for other providers. Then with its monopoly gone employers can choose other providers and Washington will have to clean up this mess. See

Friday, August 27, 2010

ABC News employee infiltrated Cordoba Mosque protest

This one got caught trying to incite a violent incident. Newsbusters ABC News has reprimanded one of its employees for trying to start some kind of ruckus during Sunday's Ground Zero Mosque protest.
A freelance audio operator covering a protest at the site of a proposed mosque and community center near Ground Zero has been reprimanded for his behavior. Andrea Lafferty, who was a speaker at the mosque opposition rally, first noticed the audio operator questioning a man in the crowd who was holding a sign which read, "No Sharia Here." ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider tells TVNewser the network has looked into Lafferty's complaint and agrees that the tech "aggressively" questioned members of the crowd with his personal camera. Adds Schneider, "He was not instructed to perform interviews or to engage with protesters and was there solely as an audio tech. He has been reprimanded for his behavior at this event."
"Reprimanded". Like, "Be cool about it next time"...?

Exploring Washington in detail

I greatly enjoy exploring - studying the map, getting "lost" so I can take a route I haven't taken before. And I enjoy exploring Washington. I have been to all the major places and attractions in my 60 years living here. Not that I have been to every county and every state park.

Nor to every city! (493) Nor ride every ferry! (34) Nor cross every mountain pass that has a road! (32) Nor visit every dam! (45)... every border crossing (12) every state fair... every lighthouse (23) - I have seen at least 21 of our lighthouses... every... (make up a category)...

Here is a guy who has done all of those. David Williams. It took years of course. He loves our state and appreciates the history. Seattle Times
Williams was born and raised in Washington and continues to find the state fascinating. Traveling to all these places is more than just sightseeing for him, it is also a way to experience history. Williams doesn't just visit the biggest and the best tourist attractions, he wants to see it all.

"Washington state history has kind of been my hobby since high school," Williams said. "It's my home state so I feel connected to it in that way."

The idea to visit these places was born in 1986, though it wasn't until he made a New Year's resolution in 2001 that Williams began his 34,977-mile journey through Washington. A day trip to the coast with his family took Williams through many small towns he had never heard of in 1986. Since then he has been excited to explore the state.
Now he is working on every state fair, every tribal casino and every state park. His web site: VisitEveryCityInWashington

Oops! I missed a big one. I have never set foot in Point Roberts, the little peninsula that pokes south of the border from British Columbia, west of White Rock, B.C. I have been offshore in a boat, but not on the shore.

But I have only missed one county - Stevens, bordering Canada just west of the county in the NE corner of the state.

Photo: Dave Williams in Oysterville, WA, on the Long Beach Peninsula.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cordoba Mosque is at Ground Zero

The big debate about the mosque at Ground Zero is being fuzzied up by supporters who say it is not at Ground Zero. Look at the map. Then look at the photos of 9/11/2001 on the same block on Broadway, the site of Burlington Coat Factory.

The Ground Zero mosque is at Ground Zero.

Breitbart's Big Peace

But the big media don't want us to call it the GZ mosque. Well... The people behind it called it "Cordoba Center" until they attracted opposition. Cordoba, Spain. It was the center of Islam in Europe from 715 AD to 1031. And was primarily in Muslim hands until 1236. Cordoba is the symbol of Islam victorious over Christian Europe. Wikipedia

So the Cordoba Center - the Cordoba Mosque - could be called the Victory Mosque, or "Triumph of Islam over Europe."

See also Buzztab.

Al Gore is down and took his global warming crusade with him

Even delusional Albert Gore, Jr., sees that his self-enriching cap-and-trade legislation is dead for this year, which means just plain dead.

Washinton Times
Poor Al Gore. As if an impending divorce and allegations of sexual misconduct from an Oregon masseuse weren't bad enough (he has since been cleared of wrongdoing), the apparent collapse of "cap-and-trade" legislation in the U.S. Senate has driven the former vice president to despair.

As reported by Steve Milloy on his blog Green Hell, Mr. Gore recently admitted to supporters in a conference call, "[T]his [cap-and-trade] battle has not been successful and is pretty much over for this year." Mr. Gore blamed everyone and their monkey for the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive climate legislation, including his former colleagues: "The U.S. Senate has failed us," he lamented, "the federal government has failed us."

The fortunes of Mr. Gore's global-warming crusade certainly are in decline: A recent Rasmussen poll found that just 34 percent of respondents "feel human activity is the main contributor" to global warming and that the percentage of those who consider global warming a "serious issue" has "trended down slightly since last November."

Mr. Gore himself is to blame for at least some of the public backlash against global-warming orthodoxy: Using bad science to justify bad policy will inevitably rub people the wrong way. And Mr. Gore has not helped his cause by consistently expressing outrageous falsehoods ("the debate is over") and shamelessly trying to shield his assertions from legitimate criticism by claiming "settled science." All the while, he has enriched himself and pushed a left-wing economic agenda

Green Hell blog - Steven Milloy

Speaking about the likelihood of climate bill being passed by Congress in 2010, Al Gore told a conference call of supporters tonight that, “this battle has not been successful and is pretty much over for this year.” Gore bitterly denounced the Senate and federal government stating several times, “The U.S. Senate has failed us” and “The federal government has failed us.” Gore even seemed to blame President Obama by emphasizing that “the government as a whole has failed us… although the House did its job. [emphasis added]”

Gored urged his listeners to take the “realistic view that they had failed badly.” Gore said that “Comprehensive legislation is not likely to be debated” and that a “lame duck debate” is a “very slim possibility indeed.” (N.B. We thought, because Gore told us, that “the debate” was over.)

Gore said “the government was not working “as our founders intended it to” and laid more blame at the feet of fossil fuel interests who conducted a “cynical coordinated campaign” with “unprecedented funding” and “who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars just on lobbying.” He criticized “polluters” for “dumping global warming pollution into the atmosphere like it was an open sewer.”

Gore blamed the skeptics for “attacking science and scientists.” “They [the skeptics] did damage and cast doubt,” Gore said.

Asked why the alarmists were ineffective in addressing Climategate, Gore bitterly blamed a “biased right-wing media… bolstered by professional deniers.”


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Senator Patty heroically saves jobs not threatened - part II

The new stimulus money for saving teachers' jobs is not limited to saving teacher jobs. Less than 500 teachers were facing layoff last spring in Washington - a fraction of the 3,000 Murray funded, as we reported in part I on August 13. What will the school administrators do with the money? Peter Callahan at Tacoma News Tribune, who discovered the fiction of saving 3,000 jobs, dug further. He found that the money is not limited to saving jobs, as claimed, but can be used for almost anything. There is no barrier to school districts moving the funds; there is at the state level. Blank check. More administrators with nice offices, instead of teachers in the classroom. Pay raises for them? TNT
In the continuing search for details about the $206 million in education jobs fund money that will start flowing to the state's 295 school districts next month, I asked federal officials about so-called anti-supplanting rules. That's the language placed in most federal education appropriations to prevent states from replacing state money with federal money. The point is to make sure federal funds are to enhance support of schools, not simply replace money that otherwise would have flowed from the state. But the anti-supplanting rules in the education jobs proposal (called Supplement, Not Supplant or SNS) apply only to states. There does not appear to be anti-supplanting rules that apply to the local school districts. This was confirmed by technical staff with the federal Department of Education. The department wants the money to be used quickly and wants it to go toward school building jobs – rehiring laid off staff, preserving existing staff or hiring new staff. But because the money can be used on existing staff, spending it that way would presumably free up dollars already budgeted from existing sources – mostly state appropriations and local levy money. So what can districts do with those freed-up dollars? Anything they would normally spend money on including the things that the program specifically prohibits the states to do such as fill rainy day funds or pay down debt. It could also be used for a purpose the federal dollars cannot be used for _ central administration. ...
Why did the federal Department of Education (DOE), which requested the bill, ask for such loose language?
This was done so that districts could have flexibility and be creative with the money, department staff said. And the department hopes it will be used to immediately boost education and preserve school-based jobs
DOE "hopes" the money will be used for its intended purpose. They are pretty naive. There are a lot of creative people figuring out how to use it. Yes, their first interest is education. But they will make sure - sure - that they spend every dollar, somehow. -- See also "Truth Needle! False: Murray's statement about teachers' jobs in today's Seattle Times.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reagan ended the Cold War

Did Reagan "win" the Cold War or just "end" it? Both words say that he was responsible. Newly declassified information adds credibility. Gorbachov was leading a failing empire. He gets a little, just a little, credit. Reagan was acting; Gorbachov was reacting. Reagan was pushing; Gorbachov was backing up. I am overdue following up on my statement in March. Fred Kaplan did an excellent job: Slate Ron and Gorby's Excellent Adventure: How Reagan Won the Cold War - by Fred Kaplan [quote] So, did Ronald Reagan bring on the end of the Cold War? Well, yes. Recently declassified documents leave no doubt about the matter. But how did he accomplish it? Through hostile rhetoric and a massive arms buildup, which the Soviets knew they couldn't match, as Reagan's conservative champions contend? Or through a second-term conversion to detente and disarmament, as some liberal historians, including Slate's David Greenberg, argue? This is an uncomfortable position for an opinion columnist (and occasional Cold War historian) to take, but it turns out that both views have their merits; neither position by itself gets at the truth. Reagan the well-known superhawk and Reagan the lesser-known nuclear abolitionist are both responsible for the end of that era—along with his vital collaborator Mikhail Gorbachev. The Gorbachev factor—too often overlooked in this week of Reagan-hagiography—was crucial. If Yuri Andropov's kidneys hadn't given out, or if Konstantin Chernenko had lived a few years longer, Reagan's bluster and passion would have come to naught; the Cold War would probably have raged on for years; indeed, Reagan's rhetoric and actions might have aggravated tensions. Still, at some point, some Kremlin leader would have had to mount a major reassessment of the situation. The Soviet system was dysfunctional; its empire was collapsing; the cupboard was bare. And Reagan's surging military budgets, without question, brought this internal crisis to a head. Here was Gorbachev speaking at a session of the Politburo in October 1986, days before he traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland to offer Reagan a groundbreaking disarmament plan, including a 50 percent reduction in nuclear arsenals. If he didn't propose these cuts, Gorbachev told his colleagues:
[W]e will be pulled into an arms race that is beyond our capabilities, and we will lose it because we are at the limit of our capabilities. … If the new round [of an arms race] begins, the pressures on our economy will be unbelievable.
This was not a sudden development. Three years later, in a November 1989 phone conversation with Egon Krenz, the general secretary of the East German Communist Party, Gorbachev recalled when he first became a member of the Politburo and some of its members wanted to look at the state budget: "But Andropov said, 'Do not get in there, it is not your business.' Now we know why he said so. It was not a budget, but hell knows what." The precise effect of Reagan's "Star Wars" speech—his high-profile and insanely impractical plan to build an antimissile "shield"—is hard to gauge. On the one hand, documents reveal that Gorbachev asked Yevgeny Velikhov, his chief science adviser, to evaluate whether Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, as it was formally called, would pose a threat. Velikhov replied that the project was fanciful and that the Soviets could build countermeasures—or deploy additional offensive missiles to saturate the Star Wars system—much more cheaply than the United States could construct additional defenses. However, at the same time, perhaps succumbing to pressure from his own military-industrial complex, Velikhov advised that it might be a good idea to build more missiles, just in case. This analysis may have calmed Gorbachev a bit, but not entirely. At a Politburo meeting in March 1986, Gorbachev said, "Maybe we should just stop being afraid of the SDI! Of course, we cannot be indifferent to this dangerous program. But [the Americans] are betting precisely on the fact that the USSR is afraid of the SDI. … That is why they are putting pressure on us—to exhaust us." If somebody says, "Maybe we should stop being afraid of the bogeyman," it usually means he is afraid of the bogeyman. It's pretty clear that in the spring of 1986 Gorbachev and all those around with him were at least a little afraid of the SDI bogeyman. The next month, April '86, brought the Chernobyl disaster, which, among other things, made Gorbachev realize that information had to circulate more openly (the beginnings of glasnost) and made him think that the ultimate enemy may be nukes themselves. He didn't realize it, but Reagan viewed nukes the same way. Samuel Wells, a Cold War historian at the Woodrow Wilson Center, who has examined all the relevant documents, put it this way in a phone conversation: "His staff, for all of the first term and most of the second, kept this out of the press, but Reagan was terribly, deeply opposed to nuclear weapons—he thought they were immoral." Reagan's vision of SDI—a shield that would render nuclear weapons obsolete—was scientifically preposterous but, by all accounts, genuine. Many of his hawkish aides (most notably the still-active Richard Perle) scoffed at it; they liked SDI because it would scare the Russians and, if it worked, might give us nuclear superiority. But Reagan believed what he said. At their face-to-face summit of October 1986 in Reykjavik, Reagan went far beyond Gorbachev's proposal of a 50 percent strategic-arms cut. To the alarm of some aides, who were not let in on the discussion, he suggested that the two sides get rid of nuclear weapons altogether and jointly build an SDI system to guard against a nuclear revival. Gorbachev initially dismissed the idea. "I do not take your idea of sharing SDI seriously," the minutes (which were declassified by the Soviets 12 years ago) show him saying. "You don't want to share even petroleum equipment, automatic machine tools, or equipment for dairies, while sharing SDI would be a second American revolution—and revolutions do not occur all that often." Reagan replied, "If I thought that SDI could not be shared, I would have rejected it myself." The Reykjavik talks finally fizzled. Gorbachev said he'd accept the zero-nukes plan if Reagan pledged not to test nuclear weapons in outer space (a crucial element of SDI). Reagan wouldn't accept that condition. However, Gorbachev returned to Moscow persuaded that Reagan—who had earlier struck him as a "caveman"—honestly had no intention of launching a first strike against the Soviet Union, and he made this point clear to the Politburo. He could continue with perestroika, which involved not just economic reforms but—as a necessary precondition—massive defense cuts and a transformation of international relations. He needed assurances of external security in order to move forward with this domestic upheaval. Reagan gave him those reassurances. Subsequent conversations between his foreign minister, Edvard Shevardnadze, and Secretary of State George Shultz reinforced his confidence. In the last couple years of the Reagan administration, Reagan would propose extravagant measures in arms reductions. His hawkish aides would go along with them, thinking the Soviets would reject them (and the United States would win a propaganda victory). Then, to the surprise of everyone (except perhaps Reagan, who meant the proposals without cynicism), Gorbachev would accept them. In the end, Reagan and Gorbachev needed each other. Gorbachev needed to move swiftly if his reforms were to take hold. Reagan exerted the pressure that forced him to move swiftly and offered the rewards that made his foes and skeptics in the Politburo think the cutbacks might be worth it. Gorbachev wasn't the only decisive presence. If Reagan hadn't been president—if Jimmy Carter or Walter Mondale had defeated him or if Reagan had died and George H.W. Bush taken his place—Gorbachev almost certainly would not have received the push or reinforcement that he needed. Those other politicians would have been too traditional, too cautious, to push such radical proposals (zero nukes and SDI) or to take Gorbachev's radicalism at face value. (There's no need to speculate on this point. When Bush Sr. succeeded Reagan in 1989, U.S.-Soviet relations took a huge step backward; it took nearly a year for Bush and his advisers to realize that Gorby was for real.) The end of the Cold War may be the most oddball chapter in the history of the 20th century. How fitting, then, that the two most oddball leaders, Gorbachev and Reagan, made it come to pass. [end of quote] For more of the declassified documents - For Gorbachov's view read Vladislov Zubpk.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stimulus failed - Even liberals now see

The heart of liberalism admits what the data clearly show: Obama's stimulus failed. Daily Beast
Billions in stimulus money have failed to make the economy soar. Douglas Schoen on how Obama has hurt the recovery by flooding America with free cash. Recent reports from the Federal Reserve, the Labor Department , and the Commerce Department clearly and demonstratively show that the Obama Administration’s policies have not succeeded – indeed they have failed in ways that are clear and unambiguous. The Obama administration’s policies and programs are not producing real, long lasting results, and there has been no real growth. Put another way, an unprecedented degree of federal government spending and intervention vis-à-vis the $787 billion dollar economic stimulus package, the $81 billion dollar bailouts of GM and Chrysler, and the enactment of health care and financial regulatory and reform bills have done nothing to stimulate our anemic recovery and have fundamentally failed at creating private sector jobs, or generating economic growth necessary for a sustainable, healthy recovery. The net result of Obama's failed policies is that consumers are reluctant to spend, entrepreneurs are reluctant to invest, and employers are reluctant to hire to the degree necessary to spur economic growth. Indeed, they have done little more than generate an unsustainable national debt, which now exceeds $13 trillion. ...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I turn myself in, Boss Pelosi

Powerful Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised today to investigate those who is funding opposition to the Cordoba Center, better known at the Ground Zero Mosque. She is very concerned that we (yes) are bigoted, unlike those who attacked the LDS/Mormon Church after the positive vote for marriage in Prop. Eight in California. For example Jacob Weisberg at Slate. I boldly put myself up for investigation. I oppose it because it is a symbol of Muslim victory. That's why they named it Cordoba after the furthest Muslim incursion into Europe at Cordoba, Spain. But no one paid me for my risky work in opposition. I do not oppose having another mosque in New York City. There are already many of them. Google Maps shows nine in Manhattan alone. Some report that there are at least fifty in The City. Go ahead, build another. Just don't put it at Ground Zero. Most of 3,000 people have no grave, because not one part of their body could be found after ninteen Muslim extremists flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center Towers. We call that sacred ground. Not sacred to a religion, but to our American civil religion. Your investigation can be very busy starting today. Scott at Powerline confessed, though he didn't put money in - just his time and effort. Charles Krauthammer wrote his opposition in the Washington Post. Who paid Charles? And his column is nationally syndicated, so you can investigate newspapers in every state. Hugh Hewitt is a powerful blogger, talk-radio hosts and - a law professor! His radio show is supported by advertisers, who are supported by listeners. Go after all of them. And I pay the annual fee for Hugh's podcast. So you caught me. Debra Burlingame, the sister of American Airlines Flight 77 pilot Chic Burlingame, is up front. I doubt she got paid. She's a tiny fish; get her. We call Pelosi "Boss Pelosi," because her father was a political-machine politician in Baltimore and she learned from him and uses his techniques, as all can see. Jim Miller explains.

Even Pakastanis won't give to Pak flood relief

You didn't yet give to the relief effort for the massive, continuing flooding in Pakistan? Neither did your coworker who grew up there and travels there. The government is so corrupt everyone knows money sent will be diverted to personal uses - or to the Taliban. Christian Science Monitor
Many of the Pakistani-Americans who live in ethnically diverse Jackson Heights, Queens, are saddened by the flooding in their homeland and even have relatives among the displaced. But, despite family ties, many aren't giving to the relief effort because they simply don't trust the Pakistani government. “The money might reach a quarter of the people who really need it,” says Mussarat Khan as he leaves a doctor’s office. “The doctor and I were discussing the flood, there is just so much corruption.” Whether the corruption allegations are true or not, perceptions that money would be wasted is one reason relief organizations say contributions for flood victims are way down. “There has been a tepid response, it is down significantly from other disasters of recent times,” says Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a Glen Rock, N.J., evaluator of charities. “There could be a host of different reasons – from donor fatigue to people not feeling comfortable because of their concerns about terrorism." Mr. Berger says some of the problem could be related to the difficulty of media reaching the flooded areas. But, he says, giving could also be down because people are on summer vacation or simply because of the vast geographical distance between the US and Pakistan. Although some people may not give because of their concerns about corruption, he says those same concerns existed for Haiti, where contributions after January's earthquake far outpaced the rate of giving in the aftermath of Pakistan’s flooding...

Warm Beach, Washington

Our church does an annual 4-day camp at Warm Beach Christian Conference Center, just south of Stanwood. The facility if first class. It has a huge set of activities - rope course, climbing tower, horseback riding, hiking, swimming, basketball. And huge fields for any crazy game you might improvise. They improved the food this year. In past years they bordered on insult to our Asian friends with meals of mac and cheese. Those were replaced by rice and teri chicken. Great improvement. I will put my big complaint later.

We have a great time. People come from near and far. First, there are our two churches New Hope International at Mercer Island and Mountlake Terrace. There is a long-time daughter church in Chandler, (Phoenix) Arizona and a new one in Rosemead, California. Both were represented by about ten people. And some people from Las Vegas. There are ten related churches in Thailad, two in Bangkok plus eight more. They were represented by a mother and daughter who have grandchildren/nieces here. And a woman came from Singapore for this camp.

Back to Warm Beach: The service was very good until this year. They downgraded the food service from family-style table service in order "to reduce wasted food." It does reduce waster. But the people serving food went from an attitude of service to "I will stand here and watch you struggle. And be mad if you leave something on the table." Are you a young mother trying to serve and kid (or two) plus yourself? Tough. I rescued a couple of them, but didn't see the 18-year-old servers try it. Coffee? Go beg for it.

My Qwest Internet service sure is slow at night. I can't load a single page now. Just got one - one. What happened to the promised high speed I am paying for?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Allied Waste competence

Allied Waste hasn't picked up our recycle bin, which is paper, glass and plastics, for three (3) weeks now, actually four. In Lake Forest Park, WA Gross incompetence? No, it doesn't smell bad. Just incompetence. They changed our pick-up day from Monday to Friday, which would add 4 days to the time it sat. But they also switched the alternating weeks for recycle vs. yard waste. So that added another week. So we are one business day short of a three-week delay. The normal alternation makes it four weeks. You would think they would put on extra people for all the extra. After all, they initiated this change. They did tell us that they would pick up overage materials without charge. No. There are blue bins on the street everywhere and lots of boxes and paper sitting on the ground. A phone call to their number: "Normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm." Since they won't listen to me, I will complain to you. Call 206-682-9730.

Screwing military voters - Sam Reed again

Several states are asking/refusing to meet the deadline of mailing military ballots 45 days before the election to allow time them to reach soldiers and sailors at remote overseas locations. And Washington is among them. Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed asked to have our primary moved earlier into mid-August when so many people are on vacation so it would be early enough to prepare for the November general election. On the other hand, he also recommended that every county move to all-mail balloting, which requires added weeks of lead time so ballots for everyone are mailed out weeks in advance, instead of being ready on the first (or second) Tuesday in November. So he can claim to be a victim of his own priorities. He says he doesn't have time to get ballots to military voters. PJ Media ...
Twelve states have applied for waivers from protecting military voters in the 2010 election: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Wisconsin, Colorado, Washington, Hawaii, Alaska, and the District of Columbia. Citizens from these states should be outraged that their state didn’t take steps to protect military voting rights despite having plenty of time to do so. States like Florida, Georgia, and Vermont got the job done and made changes to comply with MOVE. These twelve did nothing. ... Maryland’s failure to comply with MOVE is typical. I have reviewed documents which make it very clear that Maryland knew they were not in compliance with MOVE as far back as January 2010, but did absolutely nothing to fix the problem. This failure to protect military voters now threatens Governor Martin O’Malley’s reelection. Challenger Bob Ehrlich is hammering O’Malley for dropping the ball. Instead of passing legislation to enact MOVE, the Maryland General Assembly was able to pass 810 other pieces of legislation in 2010. Maryland found time for designating September 15 through October 15 as “Hispanic Heritage Month,” a ban on driving with cell phones, mandatory solar energy purchases for state utilities, a law to decrease how far away from shore people can hunt ducks … and saddest of all, a law allowing 16-year-olds to register to vote. Obviously Maryland has other priorities besides men and women serving overseas. In the meantime, the public, particularly military families and veterans groups, have a right to petition their government and voice their opinion about the waivers. Citizens can reach FVAP and tell them to deny all waiver requests at 800-438-8683 or Citizens can petition the DOJ and tell them both to recommend against granting the waivers and to sue states who submitted them at (202) 307-2767 or
Sam's side at SOS. I find it hard to spend energy looking at his side, since I have seen that he doesn't even comply with state laws that he requests.

Gates, Sr., promises his income tax is only for health and education - Gates is easily fooled

Bill Gates, Sr., says we need a state income tax and thinks he can ignore our state constitution and supreme court precedents against an income tax. Initiative 1098, not 1077. He promises that it will only be for the rich and it will be locked up for use only for health care and education. He promises! But both of those promises can be easily broken by the legislature after two years. Initiatives cannot be changed for two years, but then they can be. When asked at his kickoff about the legislature making changes he said "they would never do that." But the Legislature has a huge track record of raiding "dedicated funds." In fact, in this state a dedicated fund has to be considered a fiction. Richard Davis at Wash ACE
In my column in the Puget Sound Business Journal today, I look at how the legislature has routinely dipped into dedicated accounts and amended initiatives to grab money for the general fund. Lawmakers slip budget handcuffs with an ease Houdini would envy. In the past decade, they tapped dedicated health care, education and other accounts. In all, more than $2 billion flowed from easily cracked lockboxes to bail out the general fund. ...
And his blog has a table of all the robberies over the past ten years. Robbery? Yes. A robbery is stealing from a victim who is aware you are doing it, so it requires force. The data is stunning. They steal from everyone every year! Table at Wash Research Council blog (pdf) Here are just a few of hundreds:
Health Services account - $150 million to General Fund in 2001 and $45M in 2004. A later removal was paid back. Education Savings Accoint - $51.1M in 2009 and $100.8M in 2010. Part of the latter might be $84M that went to Education Construction Account Local Toxics Account - $148.1M in 2009 and $12.8M in 2010.
Picking on Gates, Sr., is so easy. His unforced errors are so large and open to the world. Thanks for the entertainment, sir.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Social Security Ponzi Scheme for 75 years

The US Congress took the cash I deposited in Social Security for 48 and spent it all. Now I am collecting benefits. If they had put the money in a hole in the ground there would be something to pay me with - or invest it. But the distinguished senators and congressmen were dumb and dishonest. I am not well, so I will go straight to a source. Newsbusters This is a historic year for the largest government program: Social Security, which turns 75 in just a few days. The program is also running a deficit for the first time since 1983, and ahead of estimates. Initially, Social Security was created to provide supplemental income to elderly and disabled people who could not work, and was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt Aug. 14, 1935. Social Security is in the red six years earlier than forecasted, and for the first time since 1983 (the last time the program was "fixed"). Downplaying the significance of the problem, The New York Times reported March 24, that the program is facing a "small" $29 billion shortfall this year because the high 9.5 percent unemployment rate is cutting into payroll tax collections that fund the program's benefits. Oh, and because there isn't actually a trust fund with all the money previously collected by people paying into the system. Problems are mounting for the Social Security program which essentially is a government-created "Ponzi scheme." It was a boon for the earliest entrants to the program like Ida May Fuller. She was the recipient of the first monthly retirement check, in 1940, and continued to collect until her death in 1975. Fuller worked only three years under the system: paying in $24.75 in taxes. By the time of her death she had collected a total of $22,888.92 according to the Social Security Administration. In 2010, the public is skeptical that they will get anything back from the system they pay into with each paycheck. A USA Today/Gallup poll found that three-fourths of people between 18 and 34 years of age don't expect to get a Social Security check. Yet the news media have opposed much needed reform recently by ignoring or downplaying the problems with Social Security, and during the Bush years by attacking conservative reform proposals. They have allowed liberals to attack conservatives for wanting to make changes to the program, editorialized that Social Security will be just fine and practically ignored the failure of the program's trustees to provide its annual report on time this year. The three broadcast networks have done little reporting on the postponement - even though the trustees are delaying bad news during an election year. The president's debt commission is also looking into entitlements like Social Security to come up with policy solutions, but those won't be announced until December - conveniently after the election. Every year the trustees of Social Security are required to publish their annual analysis by April 1. CATO Institute's Jagadeesh Gokhale and Mark J. Warshawsky pointed this out in Forbes on July 12, 2010. "This year, however, the trustees have postponed its release indefinitely." Why does that matter? Because, according to that article "The program's financial condition continues to remain hidden from public view." The trustees' report was finally released Aug. 5, but when The New York Times announced its findings there was no mention that the report was four months late.The Times' story also hyped the solvency of Medicare (something seriously in question), while admitting that Social Security is in the red. Nor did it point out that the shortfall had grown to a projection of $41 billion this year, $12 billion more than the Times had reported in March. Still, the Times quickly reassured the public it was "not a cause for panic," according to Social Security commissioner Michael J. Astrue. The Times quoted the report, Social Security trustees, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and the co-chair of a liberal coalition, but not a single conservative voice. A Times editorial predictably spun the report by saying, "Social Security is holding up even in the face of a weak economy." USA Today supplied its view on Social Security in an editorial Aug. 9. "[H]ere's something Americans can cross off their be-very-afraid list: whether Social Security will be around so they can worry about all those other threats in relative financial comfort." According to the liberal media, the problems facing Social Security are "easily fixable." USA Today argued that it is only necessary to "economize elsewhere," but that Washington doesn't like to do that. CNN Money's senior writer Jeanne Sahadi also said that fixing Social Security "should be a snap." Sahadi's solutions were not new: increase the retirement age, reduce growth in benefit levels and raising the cap on how much of wages is subject to the payroll tax. But she didn't point out how politically difficult those solutions actually are, or the mainstream media's past attacks on reform proposals. When President Bush attempted to tackle Social Security reform, the five major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and FOX) aired twice as many left-leaning stories as right-leaning. Despite the media spin, "urgent reform is necessary" said Nicola Moore of The Heritage Foundation. Moore pointed out that Social Security has a $7.9 trillion shortfall "which means the program would require $7.9 trillion in cash today! - to afford its promises." Kathryn Nix, also of Heritage, wrote in June that "the early arrival of the need for a Social Security bailout should serve as a severe reminder to the Obama Administration that entitlement reform is needed now." MSNBC Host Portrays Conservative Attempt at Reform as Attack on Middle Class According to at least one leftie pundit on MSNBC, attempts toward reform are actually attacks on the middle class in disguise. That's what Keith Olbermann said on Aug. 9. "Republicans are tipping their hand somewhat about where they would get the money to pay for more tax cuts from the rich. Take it from the middle class. And make Americans work longer before they can retire," Olbermann declared on his program. He cited Republican leader John Boehner's comments about raising the retirement age to 70. Boehner has offered that possibility in June as one solution to make Social Security solvent, not, as Olbermann suggested, simply a way to "pay for more tax cuts from the rich." Olbermann showed video of NBC's David Gregory trying to force Boehner to say that he "favors" raising the retirement age. The MSNBC talking head didn't bother to inform his viewers that the government is already paying out more for Social Security than it is taking in and will only get worse without intervention. The ‘Trust Fund' Myth, a ‘Ponzi Scheme' Despite the use of the phrase "trust fund" by politicians and journalists, to describe Social Security, the government has been spending that money and replacing it with Treasury bonds (IOUs) for years. A Nexis search for Social Security and trust fund found 68 newspaper stories at just four major newspapers in the past year. News articles such as the Aug. 6, USA Today story about Medicare and Social Security mentioned the "trust fund" as if it were a pile of money that "won't run dry" until 2037. But Los Angeles Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik took it much further than the average news story. Hiltzik attacked those concerned with Social Security's fiscal viability Aug. 8. In a piece entitled, "Myth of Social Security shortfall," he said that the shortfall would be "covered" by "interest on the Treasury bonds in the Social Security trust fund." Hiltzik further defended the notion of those bonds being "real money," and lashed out at those "trying to bamboozle Americans into thinking Social Security is insolvent." But it isn't real "money," any more than a person swapping debt by paying one credit card with another is paying with money. Unless revenue comes in that can cover the debts, the person is in trouble. CATO's Michael Cannon criticized the Aug. 9, New York Times editorial on Social Security for claiming the program can still "pay full benefits until 2037" and current attention to the red ink does not "endanger benefits, because any shortfall can be covered by the trust fund." Cannon reacted: "No. It. Can't. Because there are no funds in the Social Security ‘trust fund'." He characterized the entire idea as "an institutionalized, ritualized lie.". One that news outlets continued to promote. Back in 2009, Mark Brandly, a professor of economics and adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, explained how the system works and why it is deteriorating. Social Security is a "pay-as-you-go system," he said. "[T]he government takes your money and gives it to Social Security recipients. In order to get workers to accept this system, the government promises to take other people's money and give it to you when you retire." Essentially, Brandly said it is a huge Ponzi scheme. Surprisingly, CNBC's Jim Cramer who "loves" Social Security, completely agreed with the Ponzi characterization. In 2008, the ‘Mad Money' host ranted that the Bernard Madoff $50 billion scam was not the "largest Ponzi scheme ever," as some had been calling it. "We know the truth about Ponzi schemes," Cramer said. "We all know the name of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history and it's not even illegal. In fact, it is run by the U.S. government. And the name of it - well they call it Social Security." Cramer explained that by its very definition, Social Security was such a scheme: "In a Ponzi scheme, investors get the returns from the money paid in by subsequent investors and eventually the whole thing falls apart. The last people to invest get hosed. In Social Security, a program I love, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees and hope someday future workers will pay for their benefits - it's all a Ponzi scheme." Yet, even reporters who admit that the "trust fund" is a joke, continue to use the phrase instead of criticizing the politicians who perpetrate the myth that Social Security is solvent. Brandly also wrote that the system can only remain sound if "a lot of people die before collecting" check, and if there are more people paying in that collecting. But as more people were paying in the Social Security Administration (SSA) ran a "surplus," but as government often does - it borrowed from itself leaving IOUs in the so-called "trust fund." The program is in trouble for that very reason, and because people are living longer and the baby boomers are about to retire, leaving far fewer younger workers paying into the system. According to The CPA Online, Social Security paid out only to retiring individuals 65 and older beginning in 1942. Between 1937 and 1942, it paid out in lump sum to individuals retiring. Benefits did not extend to dependents and survivors until 1939. In 1935, when the program was created average life expectancy was below 65 years of age: 59.9 for men and 63.9 for women. Even by 1942, life expectancy was much lower than today (64.7 for men, 67.9 for women). The projected life expectancy for 2010 is 75.7 for men and 80.8 for women. Currently, people can begin collecting full benefits at age 66, or collect at a permanently lower rate beginning at age 62 or a higher rate if they wait until age 70. But the mainstream media attitude seems to be - don't worry, it will all work out. Even the USA Today maintained optimism in an editorial that admitted (unlike its earlier news story) the fund is "just IOUs." They still argued that it would politically impossible to "renege" on benefits for retiring Americans. Attacks on Private Accounts The network news media has historically provided a skewed perspective on Social Security and reform proposals. A three-part Business & Media Institute Special Report in 2005, when reform was a hot topic, found a left-ward tilt in Social Security stories twice as often as a conservative slant. That study, Biased Accounts, examined 125 stories on the five major networks and discovered that 44 percent of stories were slanted to the left, compared to 22 percent in the conservative direction. The remaining stories were neutral. Those findings might have looked drastically different if President Bush had not made a concerted effort stumping for Social Security reform. The president's appearances and statements on the issue accounted for almost one-fourth of the conservative talking points in the study. One of the most popular talking points about Social Security was the liberal idea that personal accounts lead to "risky" stock investments. The argument that the conservative plan and/or the stock market were "risky" came up 53 times. Trish Regan even set her Feb. 5, 2005, "CBS Evening News" report against the backdrop of Reno, Nev., a popular gambling destination. Unsurprisingly, local worker Maureen Fager said about personal accounts, "This is Reno, Nevada. I know a gamble when I see it." The financial planner they took her to, David Yeske, even claimed that humans aren't cut out to deal with such matters though that is how he makes his living. "The human brain has been wired for social interactions, not analyzing numbers," Yeske said. That same report also misstated the age of retirement for Fager and a 27-year-old worker. It was unclear whether Yeske or the reporter was making the mistake.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Eurosclerosis - Open jobs are up while unemployment stays high

The aids to the nonworking have increased to the point that jobs are going unfilled while unemployment is at 9.5%. First the big numbers, then the stories.

Available jobs remain unfilled despite the high unemployment rate. See the graphic. NYTimes Economix blog  Normally - always - these numbers move in opposite directions - unemployment goes up and available jobs goes down - but something changed. People can collect unemployment for two years - 99 weeks - and other benefits are for the unemployed or low income only. Each reward for not working causes some work seekers to stop looking. Or they keep looking, but the raise their requirements for pay or the type of work will they accept.

Here are the stories of available jobs unfilled: WSJ
In Bloomington, Ill., machine shop Mechanical Devices can't find the workers it needs to handle a sharp jump in business. Job fairs run by airline Emirates attract fewer applicants in the U.S. than in other countries. Truck-stop operator Pilot Flying J says job postings don't elicit many more applicants than they did when the unemployment rate was below 5%.

Mark Whitehouse discusses why, despite the tough economy, some companies are having a difficult time filling job openings.

With a 9.5% jobless rate and some 15 million Americans looking for work, many employers are inundated with applicants. But a surprising number say they are getting an underwhelming response, and many are having trouble filling open positions.

"This is as bad now as at the height of business back in the 1990s," says Dan Cunningham, chief executive of the Long-Stanton Manufacturing Co., a maker of stamped-metal parts in West Chester, Ohio, that has been struggling to hire a few toolmakers. "It's bizarre. We are just not getting applicants."
Why do Congress and President 0 keep increasing the incentives to NOT work? How can they collect every higher taxes if the number people collecting benefits keeps rising, while those working keeps dropping?

Also via Daily Caller.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Senator Patty heroically saves jobs not threatened

Senator Patty Murray is proud that she saved 3,000 teachers from layoff this month. This month's stimulus bill provided money to save thousands of teacher jobs nationwide. But were 3,000 teachers being laid off in Washington? No. How did she save 3,000 jobs then? Since there are not 3,000 teachers at risk where will the money go? The number of teacher facing layoff seems to be less than 200. According to Professional Educators Standards Board found that just 445 were given notices in May, but almost all of those were rescinded and the teachers have a job in the same school district in September. Peter Callahan in Tacoma News Tribune. Where did the money come from? Even the Democrats got the message that they had to use existing funds, not new vapor dollars. From food stamps! What strange priorities - government unions over low-income needy people. TNT Blog
When news broke Wednesday that the U.S. Senate had broken free $10 billion for something called Edujobs, not many people were sure how it would benefit the state. Officials here had been watching the money for Medicaid but not the education measure. Neither Gov. Chris Gregoire nor schools chief Randy Dorn knew how it would work, other than quoting U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's stats that Washington could save 3,000 teaching jobs facing layoffs. But few districts were proposing layoffs in Washington. So how can unplanned layoffs be prevented? It took a while, but I found this assessment by the Education Commission of the States. edujobs It estimates that Washington will get $207 million and must use it to either save jobs or create jobs in public schools. It would be sent to the state and be distributed through regular k-12 funding methods. A safe rule of thumb would be that it would be shared based on student populations so if Tacoma has about 3 percent of the state's public school students it would receive about 3 percent of the money (say, $6 million give or take). The cash must be used for school personnel, not administrative or support staff and there are rules to prevent it from being skimmed to other uses - either to repay debt or back fill for earlier cuts.
The bad news is that the money must be spent this year (possibly next year). It cannot be reassigned to the hungry people who need it. It must be spent in education. We might presume this means they will hire teachers who will work for one year, then be laid off after only one year because their funding went away. That is bad enough. But the K-12 education bureaucracy are creative, hardened in-fighters. They will find reasons to fund people who have secondary jobs (they have to be in a school) and earn the high end of the scale plus extravagant benefits. Patty, why did you perpetrate such an obvious lie? Oh? They are your political supporters?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Ask a live librarian from your IPhone

Ask-WA is an IPhone app for asking a live librarian your question.

You submit your question and a librarian somewhere in Washington answers live, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, to every Washington State resident.. This might be doing the same web search I could do. But when out and about with just my IPhone it would be useful, since web browsing is marginal on sites not designed for the IPhone's tiny screen. I haven't been able to test it yet, because the ITunes Store said "try later."

Todd Bishop at TechFlash tried it to his satisfaction.

It is also available through their web site:


Friday, August 06, 2010

Hiroshima was bombed to save lives - American and Japanese

President Truman decided to use the first atomic bomb on Japan in order to save lives. US estimated invading Japan would result in one million US casualties. (Casualties is the military term which includes both killed those wounded to the point they cannot fight.) It was a difficult decision, but he knew an invasion would have been far worse for US military personnel and for the people of Japan. On July 26 the United Nations issued the Potsdam Declaration which called for unconditional surrender by Japan or to face total annihilation. How did Japan respond? Military Quotes
Three days later, the Japanese governmental news agency broadcast to the world that Japan would ignore the proclamation and would refuse to surrender. During this same period it was learned -- via monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts -- that Japan had closed all schools and mobilized its school children, was arming its civilian population and was fortifying caves and building underground defenses.
Even after the Hiroshima bomb on August 6 the leaders of Imperial Japan intended to continue to fight. That's why a second bomb over Nagasaki, Japan, three days later was necessary. Japan had planned massive resistance to an invasion of the main islands of Japan. For example: Allied planes had been flying over cities in Japan unmolested, so we thought Japan's air force was shattered. Not so...
What the [U.S.] military leaders did not know was that by the end of July the Japanese had been saving all aircraft, fuel, and pilots in reserve, and had been feverishly building new planes for the decisive battle for their homeland. As part of Ketsu-Go, the name for the plan to defend Japan -- the Japanese were building 20 suicide takeoff strips in southern Kyushu with underground hangars. They also had 35 camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases.
Over 100,000 Japanese died at Hiroshima and many more were maimed. Compare that to half million US and unknown millions Japanese that would die if the invasion were necessary. Communist Japan - Stalin would "helped us" with Japan and we probably would have had a divided Japan, like Korea, half Communist, repressed and starving. More from Military Quotes
Deep in the recesses of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., hidden for nearly four decades lie thousands of pages of yellowing and dusty documents stamped "Top Secret". These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan during World War II. Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of the elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese home islands. Even fewer today are aware of the defenses the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it been launched. Operation Downfall was finalized during the spring and summer of 1945. It called for two massive military undertakings to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire. In the first invasion - code named "Operation Olympic"- American combat troops would land on Japan by amphibious assault during the early morning hours of November 1, 1945 - 61 years ago. Fourteen combat divisions of soldiers and Marines would land on heavily fortified and defended Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese home islands, after an unprecedented naval and aerial bombardment. The second invasion on March 1, 1946 - code named "Operation Coronet"- would send at least 22 divisions against 1 million Japanese defenders on the main island of Honshu and the Tokyo Plain. It's goal: the unconditional surrender of Japan. With the exception of a part of the British Pacific Fleet, Operation Downfall was to be a strictly American operation. It called for using the entire Marine Corps, the entire Pacific Navy, elements of the 7th Army Air Force, the 8 Air Force (recently redeployed from Europe), 10th Air Force and the American Far Eastern Air Force. More than 1.5 million combat soldiers, with 3 million more in support or more than 40% of all servicemen still in uniform in 1945 - would be directly involved in the two amphibious assaults. Casualties were expected to be extremely heavy. Admiral William Leahy estimated that there would be more than 250,000 Americans killed or wounded on Kyushu alone. General Charles Willoughby, chief of intelligence for General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific, estimated American casualties would be one million men by the Fall of 1946. Willoughby's own intelligence staff considered this to be a conservative estimate. ...
There is much more at Military Quotes.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Big brother wants to plan your neighborhood

Oh, they don't want to control you, they say. Just to give you money for doing what they want. $4,000,000,000 is $4 billion. And if you don't... And you wanted more bureaucracy too, didn't you? CNS News "Republicans blast Livable Communities bill" The Senate Banking Committee passed the Livable Communities Act on Tuesday, moving the bill one step closer to final passage. The bill creates $4 billion in neighborhood planning grants for “sustainable” living projects and a new federal office to oversee them. Similar legislation in the House has been criticized by Republicans on the House Budget Committee, who charge that “the program’s aim is to impose a Washington-based, central planning model on localities across the country.” In the Senate version, written by outgoing Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the Livable Communities Act would designate $4 billion to aid local governments in planning high-density, walkable neighborhoods. Premised on helping local governments to combat suburban sprawl and traffic congestion, the bill sets up two separate grant programs. One, known as Comprehensive Planning Grants, would go to cities and counties to assist them in carrying out such plans as the following: -- “(1) coordinate land use, housing, transportation, and infrastructure planning processes across jurisdictions and agencies” and -- “(3) conduct or update housing, infrastructure, transportation, energy, and environmental assessments to determine regional needs and promote sustainable development; [and] -- “… (5) implement local zoning and other code changes necessary to implement a comprehensive regional plan and promote sustainable development.” The second grant type – Sustainability Challenge Grants – funds local efforts to: --“(1) promote integrated transportation, housing, energy, and economic development activities carried out across policy and governmental jurisdictions; -- (2) promote sustainable and location-efficient development; and -- (3) implement projects identified in a comprehensive regional plan.” To administer and regulate these new grants, the bill creates the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC) within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The legislation is designed to prod local communities toward high-density, public transit-oriented neighborhoods that concentrate large numbers of people into small geographic areas connected by train and bus networks. These high-density neighborhoods would be combined with high-density commercial districts that – in theory – would reduce the need for daily driving and commuting.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Raise taxes on only the liberals because they want taxes raised

One of Newsweek's many columnists - it admits it is no longer a news reporting organization - wants his taxes raised Fareed Zakaria - Raise My Taxes, Mr. President! He goes on for a few hundred words about how we have to raise taxes so we don't have to discipline our spending. But he forgets one thing. Zakaria never says that he believes in higher taxes so much that he already sent in a voluntary tax of $10,000 for the year - or an extra $100? - or $1.00? No, he didn't pay an extra penny. Why not?

Dirty Demo tricks in Shoreline

Someone has repeatedly vandalized a couple's yard on N. 185 St. in Shoreline, WA; the husband is a Viet Nam war veteran. They have done this in past campaign years and again this year. NWCN broadcast a report. Their signs were stolen. A printed anti-Republican sign was attached to a utility pole in front of his house. He has asked Democrat Party officials to denounce their goons, but they are silent. Why? If the vandals are not Democrats why are they attacking a home with signs for Republicans. Dr. Art Coday, R, for state rep in 32d district Gary Gagliari, R, for state rep in 32d district James Watkins, R, for Congress in 1st district NWCN gave publicity for these excellent candidates, since they are the object of the Demo vandals. Do the elected Demos support this crime? Also Alyssa Kleven at MyNorthwest.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Lake Forest Park - reject Prop. One tax increase

The City of Lake Forest Park wants to keep running things as usual. The economy is down. Taxpayers are being laid off or working fewer hours. Can't the City also cut back a bit? No, they can't lay off a bureaucrat. Indeed, they want to hire some back.

So LFP proposes a tax increase on the August 17 ballot - Proposition 1 - a levy lid increase. It's not real big at first, but it would grow without limit for six years (years two through five), then be folded into the base and be included in all future taxes.

So to convince the voters does LFP, the city, threaten to cut back on bean counters? The recently hired PR person? No. They would cut what impacts the public the most. They would cut police and parks. Plus "community services and city infrastructure." They say to vote yes to preserve public safety, but nothing in the proposition guarantees the increase will be used the way they claim.

During the past year LFP has increased drainage fees 15%, added a $20 fee to vehicle licenses, and increased property taxes to the legal limit.

Opposition is bipartisan. Nine former city council members oppose the levy lid increase; three of them signed the opposition statement in the King County Voters' Pamphlet. Democrat State Senator Diane Fairley opposes it. Rep. Ruth Kagi supports the tax increase.

I am posting this on my own. I have participated in opposition meetings, but I am posting this without their knowledge or approval.

Cross-posted at Economic Freedom.