Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, December 30, 2006

"PARD'S Dubious Achievements"

Burma Williams of Pullman has thoughtfully outlined PARD's achievements for 2006. Her letter is found in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News on Saturday, December 30, 2006.
It is time to acknowledge the dubious contributions of T.V. Reed and his cohorts of the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development:

-Effectively distracting both the residents and Pullman City Council from realizing Bishop Boulevard needs two traffic lights and several crosswalks now.

-Preventing employment for people who need a job, any job, now.

-Attempting to dictate to us all where we may shop and what we may buy now and in the future.

-Including in the name of their group "responsible development" without doing anything to bring other businesses to Pullman.

-Generally aggravating those of us who believe in free enterprise and know that Wal-Mart's conduct of business isn't all that different from the conduct of some other retailers in Pullman.

We know who stole Christmas - and it isn't the Grinch.

Burma Williams
Burma does a fine job of pointing out some obvious areas where PARD has failed to help "responsible development" occur in Pullman.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Highway 195 strikes again

Well back on Friday the 8th of December 195 struck again, this time it took an acquaintance her name was Lisa Jeleniowski; she was headed to Colfax to see a friend that Friday night. For you Palousitics regulars remember that our very own "Scotty" got called away the night of our annual party to help at that accident.

I did a little research and found that Whitman County has about 3 to 4 deaths per year on our highways and roads. Which 195 is the major road with by far the most deaths of any other. I was headed to Spokane the other day and when we were between Plaza & Spangle I was on of 25 cars in a line; yes that is right 25. When you get strings of cars that long it doesn’t take much for someone to get into a hurry and start to pass when they get held up for long period and that is when we start to have problems.

We need more passing lanes and for sure in time 195 needs to be 4 lanes all the way to Spokane. Remember back to when you got caught in the crawl to Colfax? Well I did this last day after the Apple Cup Game. It is past due to have 4 lanes between Colfax the county seat and the counties largest city. How can we make this happen? How do we raise the peoples interest into raising there voices to make something happen? How many more people have to lose people like we have? EVERY death has someone that is family and they hurt and want something done; I am sure so it won’t happen to more people. If you want to put a face with Lisa Click HERE She sure was way more than just some sort of ‘Stat’.

Another Elitist Snob

From the 12/27 Daily News (online version)

PARD must not be counted out

In response to Don Pelton’s letter to the editor about the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development and Wal-Mart (Opinion, Dec. 19), he seems to miss all the points. He implies that small is bad, starting with capping the university at 8,000 students. This is not such a bad idea. Stanford, a Pac-10 institution that seems to do rather well, has only 6,705 undergraduate students at this time. Conversations with older Pullman residents and photographs lead him to conclude that after we increase our retail space by 750,000 square feet that we will be back to the equivalent of our retail space of 70 years ago. His common sense should tell him this is very unlikely, given the population, or that retail space was very cheap and poorly used.

His lack of concern for most retail business is interesting. While I agree that the bike shop and Sam Dial should not have major competition from Wal-Mart, this is based on the fact that both establishments sell quality goods, while Wal-Mart sells junk. However, looking outside our community to other communities these are exactly the types of stores that are affected. When they close we need to go elsewhere to buy quality goods. It is interesting he should mention the banks downtown since Wal-Mart is trying to get into that business as well. He also seems to misunderstand our legal system. While it does cost taxpayers money to keep Wal-Mart out, when Wal-Mart employees need to use the legal system to get treated justly by Wal-Mart it also costs money. It may be cheaper to spend the money now and try to keep them out. No matter what, we all deserve our rights as dictated by our laws, even if it costs taxpayer dollars. Good luck PARD. Hopefully you can give us a couple more years of being able to park on Grand Avenue. Fair disclosure: I do not shop at Wal-Mart, and while I signed PARD’s petition I am not involved in the organization.

Jeffrey P. Joswig-Jones, Pullman

Yet another snob heard from. Elitism and snobbery drip from his every word, including his affected name. Since he was so forthcoming in admitting his antipathy toward Wal Mart, let me extend him the same courtesy by declaring my undying hatred of the use of hyphenated names by Americans or foreigners in the US. We fought two wars to rid ourselves of and ward off the European class/caste system which, among other things, gave rise to the use of hyphenated names to define regal lineage and privilege.

Now, with that in the rear view mirror, let’s take on his ideas. First and foremost, WSU and UI are PUBLIC universities run for the benefit of ALL citizens of their respective states, not just those elite few who can afford the tuition of a private school like Stanford. Next, (if I recall correctly) Don was speaking of retail space on a per capita basis when comparing population and square footage in years gone by to the Pullman of today. Something Mr. Jones’ obviously superior education didn’t prepare him to grasp. On one point, he’s right. Wal Mart sells junk. Junk like products made by leading international manufacturers. The same junk brands and models sold by the likes of high priced retailers but made somewhat less junky by not being overloaded with the outrageous prices they charge.

Last but not least, let’s look at his views on cost shifting. He blames Wal Mart for imposing a huge burden on the public’s coffers to pay the healthcare costs of its employees. Well how much of the burden would be borne by the public if they had no Wal Mart jobs to be under compensated at? My guess is the same or more. Not to put too fine a point on it but if you work at the lowest level at Wal Mart, you are not likely to work at a higher level elsewhere. Show me one place in retail or other lean margin market sectors where entry level, part time employees get better benefits.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How Bad is this Ricky Clemons Problem?

From today's Daily News:
Removing the albatross

A hearty "thank you" from the Midwest. In hiring Elson Floyd, Washington State University, in my opinion, has removed an albatross from around the necks of all who care about education at the University of Missouri. His (and his wife's) involvement in the sad events surrounding Ricky Clemons (a former MU basketball player) were only the tip of the iceberg out here. His appointments to leadership positions in the smaller schools in the university system were incredibly destructive to those schools and to their communities.

One press outlet in Kansas City made the point best recently when it asked, "Don't the people at WSU believe in background checks?"

Richard Brummel, Kansas City, Mo.
What is this Ricky Clemons issue that is written about here? I decided to research it a little bit. What I found out was that Ricky Clemons was a basketball player who assaulted his girlfriend, by choking her. He was arrested. He plead guilty of a lesser charge and was given 60 days in jail. He was granted work release. While out of his detention center, Clemons was at Elson Floyd's house on the 4th of July. He crashed on an ATV and was sent to the hospital. It was discovered at that time he broke the rules of his probation and was sent back to jail from work release.

While in jail he started to have conversations with Floyd's wife (Carmento) on the telephone at the jail. He would call collect and speak with her. Elson knew of this and asked his wife to stop, but she kept taking the calls. [He would have had to have known by looking at the phone bill it was still going on.] He also had conversations with the assistant athletic directors wife (Amy Stewart).

The phone conversations were recorded and made public.
In another discussion, Carmento Floyd expressed approval of Clemons' search for a new girlfriend.

"You better. And I ain't talkin' about no Delta Delta Delta, either," she said.

"Naw, I'm talking about people in general," Clemons said.

"I'm talking about Delta Sigma Theta," she responded.

Delta Delta Delta is a traditionally white sorority, while Delta Sigma Theta is traditionally black.

President Elson Floyd is said to be furious with Athletic Director Mike Alden for revoking Clemons' scholarship. According to Floyd's wife, Carmento, the only person in the athletic department who Floyd likes is Ed Stewart,[Amy Stewart's husband, Assistant Athletic Director]...

Carmento Floyd said her husband's displeasure with Alden stemmed from Alden's decision to yank Clemons' scholarship after Clemons wrecked an all-terrain vehicle while at a gathering at the Floyds' home on July 4.

Clemons' aunt Johnnie Rawlinson, a federal judge in Nevada, also was angered that Clemons lost his scholarship. She spoke to Clemons about suing the school...
In the recordings, Amy Stewart related a story, which she attributed to her husband, about the atmosphere at the Hearnes Center at the time.

"Ed come home, every time he come home, he be like, 'Them crackers shaking. They going crazy. They don't know what to do. They shaking. They can't talk to Ricky. They're like some crackheads running around there,' " Amy Stewart said.

Judging people based on who they associate with is not fair, though it happens. To say that the wife of Floyd speaks for Floyd cannot be affirmed, but it is her view point that WSU claims it is trying to get rid of. Granted, when a minority makes such comments those comments are generally okay and not viewed in a negative light. Will Floyd's wife make such statements while at WSU? Will that influence students at WSU and/or Elson?

That is the only thing I can find that is very negative around his tenure at U of M. From all the reports I read about him leaving, those he worked with are saddened to see him go as he is a great leader and very good at getting positive things happen at the university. They feel there is a big hole they will have to fill in his absence. However, one thing that was said over and over again as well was that him leaving was a surprise. He had just received a raise aw well as a contract extension to the year 2010.

He was not even able to tell everyone because it happened so quick. Some of the higher-ups learned about his leaving via the news. So do we have a Dennis Erickson on our hands here? What would he get by coming to WSU and leaving his current job? He had only been there four years. He had a lot going for the school there. Why would he leave and travel half way across the country for a job in Pullman? The only thing I can see is the money. He is getting more than a $100,000 raise by coming here. When another school offers him up some more will he leave here? Will he fulfill his contract here? That is yet to be seen.

How will race relations be helped with him (and his wife) here? By simply hiring a black man, does that fix anything? Are we going to need to worry about our athletic program going on probation under him? Will he turn a blind eye to NCAA violations until it is too late?

There are a lot of questions, as you would always have when hiring a new person to fill a powerful position. Just like everyone else, I would like to give him all the opportunity in the world to make WSU a better place.

Better Late Than Never

I had planned to post this on Christmas Eve, but was having too much fun with my family. Belated Merry Christmas to all!


Twas the night before
Christmas, and all through the town
Not a creature was stirring, though there were plenty of frowns;
Shopper’s had a way to go,
To find presents that make people glow;
Pullman was nestled all snug in their beds,
Dreaming of a Super Wal-Mart in their heads;
And I in my kerchief and pa in his cap,
Had just trudged in from our long shopping trek;
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I dropped my bags to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, threw open the sash.
The light from the tree on the new-fallen snow;
Gave shine to those I could make out below;
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a shiny red car with PARDners, I fear.
With T.V. the driver, so silly and inane,
I knew in that moment I had gone insane.
More rapid than buzzards his henchmen appeared,
And he whistled and shouted, and called them by name,
“Now Lupke! Now Hosick! Now Orlich and Harris!
On Gruenewald! On Rogers! On Hammond and Hooks!
To the UCFW! To the courts of the land!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash
away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they decided no Wal-Mart, they went for the sky.
So up they flew,
Holding Pullman hostage in their chaos and ado;
With their heads full of thoughts to protect people from themselves,
They managed to alienate even Santa’s elves.
And then in a twinkling I saw my tax bill,
Oh what to do, Pullman’s coffers we must fill.
No increase in police or fire, Troy Woo says things look mighty dire.
Pullman needs a Wal-Mart, It’s time to get smart.
As bundles of dollars cross east to Idaho,
Pullman’s wallet gets slimmer as we go.

PARD says you’re crazy,
All Wal-Mart will do is make us lazy;
Deer testicles will shrivel and the dead will awake,
As the semi’s filled with drivel will release their air brakes.
Old people will live in fear
And schoolchildren will be run-down far and near.
Not to mention the RV’s that will visit
And in that parking lot sit;
Why the riff-raff will roam,
This will certainly ruin Pullman, our home.
People would be out of work,
And in Rico’s alleys they will lurk.

All Wal-Mart wants is a chance to start their work,
Yet PARD continues to play the jerk.
PARD, Wal-Mart has rights, to build on their land,
You’ve held Pullman hostage in the grip of your hand.
Now in the spirit of the season
Dig deep in your hearts, searching for reason,
The fight is over, the deal is done, a shovel in sight,
Wal-Mart and Pullman tell PARD,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

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Carole the Clueless

Fence no less offensive

After reading Dan Ryder’s comments, I am left wondering what he is defending, his honor or his topic — the fence.

Besides protesting on state property, was his group using school equipment to videotape the event?

Bad behavior is not conducive to communication. However, the Washington State University College Republicans and Ryder’s racial slur to millions of people was no less offensive.

Carole Reid

So, Carole Reid doesn't get it...again!

The fence was not a "protest", it was a demonstration is support of a national policy. It was in support of a government action, not a protest against one. Something the loonie lefties appearantly will never understand since all they have are a big belly full of bitches and gripes with no solutions. Carole, like the rest of her PARDner buddies are "all hat and no cattle" when it comes to being useful to society. They dress themselves up and pretend to participate but really, all they do is degrade the system with their incessant childish and simplistic demands.

I've a suggestion for Carole and all the ding-dongs around here that think the way she does on the issue at hand. Try living in an area impacted by illegal immigration. What's that you say? Why, you're right. We do live in such an area. That's one of the reasons healthcare costs in the US are off the rails. It's one of the reasons we're in a race to the bottom on wages and loosing our middle class.

Welcome to the 21st century reality, Carole. You and your ilk are killing the American dream. Not only that, you are killing the dream in countries where illegals originate. Who do you think is doing all the immigrating? Is it the lazy, slow witted, unmotivated slob or the idle rich? Nope, it's the bright, motivated, can do types. Now, if we're draining them away from their home countries, how is it ever going to get better there and abate the need to move away?

Thanks, Carole and Co. You are the problem!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bitterness at Low Drug Prices

Local pharmacists say Wal-Mart generic drug program is overrated

By Alexis Bacharach Daily News staff writer

Joanne Westberg Milot knows her customers by name. She knows their spouses, children and grandchildren.

When people drop by the pharmacy at Marketime Drugs in Moscow to ask about prescriptions or over-the-counter medication, pharmacist Westberg Milot or one of her technicians is with them in no time.

"I think customer service is really important," she said. "You won't get that quality of care at the big retail chains."

It’s the reason she didn’t worry last month when Wal-Mart announced it was expanding its $4 generic drug program to stores in Idaho and Washington.
In September, Wal-Mart executives announced plans for a prescription drug program as part of an overall campaign to make health care more affordable. The program was launched on a trial basis, offering more than 300 generic prescription medications for $4 at select stores in Florida. Within a month, Wal-Mart had expanded the program to stores in 27 states.

Westberg Milot characterized the program as a marketing scheme aimed at the health care industry's most vulnerable consumers — senior citizens and people who don't have prescription coverage or don't have insurance at all.

"If you look at the medications they're offering in this program, it's a pretty limited list," she said. "I think, in a sense, it's much ado about nothing. ... Look at all the publicity they've gotten from it. You couldn't buy that kind of PR."
Westberg Milot agrees something needs to be done to control prices on prescription drugs. She does not agree, however, that Wal-Mart's drug program is the solution.
The list of drugs that is offered is only 300 at this point of time, however, when I looked at the list I saw a lot of the major drugs that I see in the field. Maybe someone cannot get every drug they need, but if they can get one or two drugs a month at $4.00 that will save them money. Every little bit helps.

The use of the word scheme makes it sounds like Wal-Mart is trying to pull a fast-one on people. Also to make it sounds like WalMart's employees are robots who have no ability to help people or know people. It makes it sound like bigger always means that you will not get service.

It just feels like this article written from a bitter point of view. Rather than taking a point of view that WalMart is at least doing something to help, people instead call it a scheme and that it is not the right solution to drug prices. Funny, I thought that lowering the prices of drugs would be a good solution to high drug prices.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Top Ten Stories of 2006, Part I

Here we go again with another annual Palousitics tradition. This is my take on the biggest stories in Pullman and the Palouse, counting down from Number Ten to Number One. See if you can guess what they will be.

2006 will be remembered as the year of gridlock, delay and frustration. We're still waiting for Wal-Mart to be built, Fred Russell to go to trial, and free speech and academic diversity to be respected at WSU, just as we were at the end of 2005...

10. Cougin' It

Only the Republicans had a worse November than the WSU Cougars football team. Prior to the Arizona game on November 4, the Cougs were sitting pretty, ranked #25, having defeated bowl bound UCLA, Oregon State, and Oregon, and almost upsetting USC, with the team's first bowl berth since 2003 virtually guaranteed. Then the wheels came off, with the season culminating in one of the most humiliating Apple Cup losses in recent memory. Yet another year with no bowl and calls went out for Coach Bill Doba's head. The departure of defensive guru Robb Akey to Idaho in December does not bode well for a team that has lived off its defense for the last few years.

9. Water Issues

2006 seemed to be dominated by water issues, from worries over aquifer depletion and development, to water "summits", to talk of a reservoir in Moscow, and to the Washington Department of Ecology's ridiculous proposed stormwater regulations for Pullman. You can count on water being an even bigger issue in 2007, for the worse.

8. New WSU President

After WSU President V. Lane Rawlins announced that this would be his last year on the job, a search began for a new president. Controversy swirled around the process, as both students and the public felt disenfranchised from input. After seemingly in camera deliberations, the Board of Regents announced in December that Floyd Elson, President of the University of Missouri, would be the first African-American President of WSU. As the Vulcan proverb states, "Only Nixon can go to China." Perhaps it will take a minority president to rein in the out-of-control political correctness that plagues the campus and made WSU the subject of national embarrassment after national embarrassment. Hopefully, Elson can also heal the town-gown rift that has developed over the Wal-Mart issue, as a minority of faculty from the College of Liberal Arts has held up the Supercenter project for over two years despite wide support among townspeople.

7. Moscow's Left Turn

In November 2005, Mayor-Elect Nancy Chaney proclaimed that "Moscow was on a new path, and that it was a green one." Mayor Chaney and the Gang of Three (city councilmen Aaron Ament, Bob Stout, and John Dickinson) have certainly lived up to that promise in 2006, although some may think it is more red than green. Starting with getting rid of the Pledge of Allegiance at council meetings and trying to run New St. Andrews College and Christ Church out of town, Her Honor and the council have been busy. After three decades of retail dominance, Moscow's business-friendly reputation was quickly disemboweled by a big-box ordinance, a dark-store ordinance, a living wage ordinance, the rejection of various proposed developments, and a proposed retail store size cap. The coup de grace was a council vote denying the rezone of the Thompson property, prompting Wal-Mart to pull its plans for a Supercenter in Moscow in June. The residents of Pullman and Whitman County have been delighted with these developments, seeing a chance to restore the economic balance, but Moscow residents fought back, forming the Greater Moscow Alliance in May. Latah County resisted pressure to create its own big-box ordinance, but that probably will change as the new Latah County Commission will have a Democratic majority.

6. Rural Residential Zoning

At a seemingly glacial pace, the revised Whitman County rural residential zoning ordinance seems to finally be on the verge of approval. The changes will eliminate the three year moratorium on development of farmland that have (deliberately) frozen growth in the county since the mid-70s. Unfortunately, the new ordinance added many new onerous restrictions on house color, landscaping, buffer zones, hilltop development, etc. These proposed changes sparked widespread opposition from county residents and Schweitzer Engineering Labs during 2006 on the basis of restricting private property rights and lack of affordable housing. After a legal analysis over the summer, many of the conditions were found to be illegal and stricken. Sadly, some of the restrictions seem bound to go through into the final version. As proof of how much pent up need there is for housing in the county, Colfax annexed 1,200 acres of land in July. Already, 2/3 of that has been bought up by developers.

"Virginia Rep. Goode's Muslim Immigration Warning Draws Fire From Islamic Groups"

I don't normally cover national news on this blog, but I couldn't pass up the story below from Fox News.

Rep. Virgil Goode is from my home town of Rocky Mount, VA. He is a family friend. I have know him since his days in the Virginia Senate. His former wife was my French teacher in college. Goode was once a Democrat but switched over to the Republican party in 2002.

I am tremendously proud of Virgil for not caving in to political correctness and sticking to his guns. Believe me, he won't be punished by voters. The 5th Congressional District of Virginia is rock-solid consverative and Virgil is wildly popular there. He has been in Congress for 10 years and will be in for another 20 if he chooses.

It's about time I got back in touch with Virgil and let him know that I support his actions.
WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman from Virginia told FOX News he is standing by his warning that a newly elected representative's decision to use the Koran in taking the oath of office poses a danger to the traditional "values and beliefs" of Americans.

Rep. Virgil Goode Jr. made the comments in a letter sent earlier this month to hundreds of constituents who had written to him about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Democrat and the first Muslim in Congress.

"The letter says exactly what it says. My position is that I'm using the Bible ... period," Goode, who is listed as a Baptist in congressional handbooks, told FOX News on Thursday.

"We got several hundred e-mails regarding Congressman Ellison and his plan to use the Koran. They are concerned about it and I was responding to it," Goode said, adding that he doesn't know Ellison personally.

Goode's letter drew immediate fire from Islamic groups and House colleagues, including a charge that the letter "promotes misconceptions."

Mukit Hossain, president of the Virginia Muslim Political Action Committee, called Goode’s letter an “overt attack” on the Muslim community.

“I couldn’t really believe that a U.S. representative would stoop to that level,” Hossain said. “That he would actually say something not only mean, but outright stupid.”

Hossain said there are about 60,000 registered Muslim voters in Virginia.

“I expect a public representative to show more tolerance and moral fiber than Congressman Goode has shown,” Hossain said.

Goode’s positions outlined in the letter encourage other lawmakers and people to think the same way, Hossain said.

“He’s essentially telling people that it’s okay to discriminate or profile against Muslims,” Hossain said.

Goode warned in his letter that more Muslims would be elected to office if Americans didn't adopt his position on immigration.

"The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran," Goode wrote.

Goode said the United States needs to stop illegal immigration "totally" and reduce legal immigration.

"I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped," he wrote.

Ellison was born in Detroit and converted to Islam in college. He did not return telephone messages left Thursday.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Goode to apologize.

“I think it is very distressing because it’s part of a wider pattern that we see of these kind of comments,” said Corey Saylor, CAIR national legislative director.

Saylor said the group wants to see where the Virginia Republican Party stands on the issue and hopes it doesn't don’t support Goode’s comments.

“I’d like to see the Republicans come out and have some sort of response about these remarks,” Saylor said.

Goode spokesman Linwood Duncan said Wednesday no apology was forthcoming.

"The only statement the congressman has is that he stands by the letter," Duncan said.

The letter was made public by John Cruickshank, who had received it after writing to Goode about environmental issues. Duncan said Goode's office sent the letter to Cruickshank by mistake.

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., who represents a large Muslim population in New Jersey, called Goode's letter prejudicial.

"He's almost providing a litmus test for what it is to be a congressman," Pascrell said. "I don't know where he's coming from."

Pascrell sent a letter on Wednesday to Goode, urging him to meet with Virginia's Muslim community and "learn to dispel misconceptions instead of promoting them."

"Muslim-Americans do not threaten our American values and traditions, in fact they only add to them," Pascrell wrote in the letter.

Pascrell also offered his support to Ellison.

"Keith Ellison serves as a great example of Muslim-Americans in our nation and he does not have to answer to you, to me or anyone else in regards to questions about his faith," Pascrell said.

Pascrell said he hasn't received a response from Goode but hopes he will act and take his comments in good faith.

"I want him to reach out to the Muslim community," Pascrell said.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., said he met with Ellison and believes he is a "man of good values and good character."

"I think one of the great things of this country is that you can have Catholics, Jews, Protestants, and now a Muslim, join the United States Congress and it says a great thing about America," Emanuel said. "And I'm hopeful that Congressman Goode will take the opportunity of the new 110th Congress as we bring change to Washington and bring it in a new direction that he has an opportunity to sit down with Keith Ellison."
Rep Goode's letter can be read here.

Merry Individuality!

[Cross posted from Versus The Mob]

Yesterday, I received an email from one of my now former students about some personal business, and the student signed off with "happy holidays!" I responded with my customary "Merry Christmas!" I then had a mental twitch and wondered if I would next receive some sort of admonition for "assuming" that the holiday I celebrate - that a majority of Americans do - is one shared by the student I was exchanging emails with.

Much is made of sanitizing the cultural expressions tied to this time of the year, with places such as Washington State University, officially or otherwise, adopting the neutral "happy holidays" expression for fear of offending some particular ethnic or religious group. This has come to be seen as the "tolerant" thing to do, with culturally specific instances of seasonal well-wishing being seen as somehow rude, oppressive, etc.

It is true that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Some celebrate Hanukkah, some Kwanzaa, and some do not celebrate anything at this time of the year. It is thus held by some that to express a wish for a person's well being to them in any of these particular ways, which may not be their own, is somehow offensive and wrong.

But would this not also mean that one can only wish for the well being of his or her own ethnic, cultural, or religious group? It is implied in this erroneous belief that one's wish for the well being of another is meaningless, even an affront, if the person it is expressed to does not share the exact same practices. Of course, this makes no sense - if I wish someone a Merry Christmas, and they turn out to be a Hindu, for example, it does not change two things:

1. In my cultural observances, and in that of millions of others, it is Christmastime, and the other person can recognize that for me it is that time;
2. Even if the other person does not celebrate Christmas, during this period of time in which others are, things can still go well or things could go badly for this person. My expression of well wishing toward him or her is still expressed in the hope that things will go well for that person during this time.

Thus, there should be no dilemma created, real or imagined, if I say "Merry Christmas" to a Muslim, who may in return wish me a happy Ramadan, or the same to a Jew who may in turn wish the Muslim a happy Hanukkah (when each person's respective holy time is occurring, of course).

This should seem obvious, but somehow, our universities, governments, even our society at large, have adopted the idea that cultural-specific holiday well wishing is offensive. Instead, we have the bland "happy holidays!" held up as the ideal replacement.

But who does "happy holidays" belong to? That is, whose identity is tied to it? Of course, the intention - and the effect - is that no one should have their identity tied to it. Instead of making expressions reflecting who we are, we are told that we should blurt a meaningless abstraction instead. While some take this to be the mark of sensitivity and tolerance, I maintain that it is anything but. This is nothing more than another way in which collectivists attempt to destroy our individuality, to mold us into the amorphous "society" devoid of individuality that they take to be the ideal. The non-distinct phrase, "happy holidays" is not meant to spare the fragile psyches of "oppressed" individuals, but to deny individuality to everyone; it is the very definition of intolerance, masquerading as tolerance.

So to all, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and I will happily accept your individual expressions of well wishing toward me in return, without offense, no matter what form they come in!

"County waits for feedback on corridor development"

Whitman County Planner Mark Bordsen said the county hasn’t received any comments on its decision to approve Hawkins Companies’ proposed 200-acre development on the Pullman-Moscow Highway, just across the Idaho border.

A week remains before the comment period ends.

This is Hawkins Companies’ second go-round with the county’s approval process.

Whitman County officials green-lighted the project Dec. 13 provided Hawkins Companies addresses traffic flow and environmental issues. The county gave Hawkins the same determination as it did last spring, but with 26 provisions to meet instead of three.

Bordsen said Hawkins Companies representatives had not presented the county with studies concerning traffic and wastewater when the first determination was made.

The city of Moscow appealed the county’s previous decision, which led Hawkins to withdraw its application until it completed additional studies.

Moscow still is deciding how it should comment on Whitman County’s latest decision.

Moscow City Supervisor Gary Riedner said city staff and elected officials have reviewed Whitman County’s findings. Some of the issues Moscow originally appealed appear to be cleared up, but he said there still are a few plans the city wants to look into concerning environmental impacts.

“Right now it’s all up in the air,” Riedner said. “Hopefully, in the next couple of days we should have a decision on whether or not to take any action.”

Police and fire response was one of Moscow’s primary concerns with the proposed shopping center. Because of its proximity to the site, Moscow attested that its emergency-response system would handle the brunt of emergency incidents at the proposed shopping center.

Whitman County Commissioner Greg Partch said he hasn’t heard anything from the public concerning the proposed development.

Although Moscow has the right to file an appeal in court, Partch hopes the county and city can address their concerns in a face-to-face setting.

He said the county has started planning for the needs of the corridor between Pullman and Moscow.

Commissioners decided to fund an additional sheriff’s deputy position specifically to address the growing need for patrol in the corridor.

“We plan to ramp up services in that area as it grows,” Partch said. “We have also started to talk with Fire District 12 to start preliminary plans.”

Partch said it’s too early for people to worry about how to service the corridor when it is fully developed.

“We are in touch with the entities involved to prepare,” he said. “However, it would be premature to provide services that aren’t needed right now.”

Paul Kimmell, a Latah County Commissioner and director of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce, said he’s heard both interest and concern over the proposed development.

He said a lot of people are concerned that the shopping center will pull tax dollars from Moscow and Latah County into Washington. Kimmell said he would like to see the development on the Idaho side of the border, but having it closer to Moscow is better than having it farther away.

“I would argue that Idaho is better to do business in,” Kimmell said. “However, if you get above 30,000 feet, I have to say it’s good for the Palouse as a whole.”

Besides the state-required standards for building, Hawkins Companies has submitted 10 additional plans to clarify its goals for the site.

“Hawkins has really stepped up,” said Mark Storey, Whitman County Public Works director. “They have met a high standard and provided top-notch information.”

The county’s determination on the proposed shopping center does not clear the way for Hawkins to begin development. Hawkins must first show the county it has adequate water rights to support the project and must also obtain a conditional use permit.

Zoning in the Pullman-Moscow corridor allows shopping centers as long as a conditional use permit is approved.

Bordsen said a hearing date has not been set to determine whether Hawkins Companies will be granted a conditional use permit.

Residents have until Dec. 28 to comment on the development. Comments can be mailed to the Whitman County Planning Department, 310 N. Main St., Colfax, WA 99111, or faxed to (509) 397-6210.
Don't worry guys, I expect you'll be getting comments from Citizen Hosick, Mark Solomon, and an appeal from the City of Moscow very shortly.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WSU College Republican Story Hits the Big Time Yet Again

The WSU report slapping John Streamas on the hand has been picked by The Volokh Conpsiracy and Instapundit, two of the biggest conservative blogs in the country.

"Department of Ecology postpones issuance of new stormwater permits"

Good news from today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
The Washington Department of Ecology has postponed the issuance of its new stormwater permits to accommodate cities that need time to examine the provisions of the permit.

Pullman is among the cities struggling to meet the standards of the new permits, which originally were scheduled to be issued to the city today and become effective Jan. 19.

The permits now are slated to be issued Jan. 17.

Pullman City Supervisor John Sherman said he is relieved for the postponement. He hopes Washington’s 9th District legislators will help ease some of the expensive standards the permits would require of the city.

The state Legislature convenes Jan. 8.

The state has higher standards than the federal government, Sherman said.

The Department of Ecology is requiring “a quality standard that basically is impossible,” he said. “Instead of being a uniform one-size-fits-all standard, a standard (should) be developed that does fit us.”

The permits were designed to manage the quality and quantity of runoff water from development, and to control stormwater discharges into the sewer system. The requirements are intended to reduce pollution and contamination of downstream waters.

Pullman is surrounded by farmland and has uniquely loose soil content, which increases runoff into area waterways. The city already has groundwater regulations in place. Further studies will be done to evaluate if the city can comply with the state’s regulations, Sherman said.

Sherman said the city will continue working with the Department of Ecology to reach an agreement. He said the Department of Ecology should focus its energy on the west side of the state, particularly communities that bump up against large waterways such as the Puget Sound.

“Pullman is not going to affect anything, given our distance,” he said.
Hopefully, David Buri, using his power as House Minority Floor Leader, can make it so Pullman is exempted all together from these ridiculous regulations.

"Despite losses, property-rights fight is far from over"

This column from Bruce Ramsey ran in the Seattle Times back on November 15:
Initiative 933, the Washington Farm Bureau's property-rights measure, went down hard. At the beginning of the campaign, polls showed it winning 55 percent, but the "no" side outspent the "yes" side 10-to-1 on ads, and on Nov. 7 the measure received only 41 percent of the vote.

Four states — Washington, Idaho, California and Arizona — had ballot measures to protect owners from devaluation of their property through land-use regulation. Arizona's passed and the others didn't, for a fascinating array of reasons. This battle is not over. Regulatory takings remains a live issue in the West.

The four states with measures this year were following Oregon, which in 2004 passed the nation's first regulatory-takings measure to go into effect, Measure 37. Oregon is a liberal state, and it was notable that in the election when it favored John Kerry, 61 percent of Oregon voters approved Measure 37.

Oregon had been a pioneer in land-use regulation and had imposed the strictest rules in the West. Progressives had celebrated it. From all over America, they had made pilgrimages to Oregon and returned with praise. Landowners hated it, and in 2004 they put a knife in it.

This year, California's voters came close. Despite being outgunned on ads 10-to-1, Proposition 90 received 48 percent of the vote.

A similar measure did not come close in Idaho, however, which is notable for a state so conservative. But on Nov. 7, voters trounced Proposition 2, voting 76 percent "no."

What happened? Idaho's proposal wasn't more radical. The more radical ones were Oregon's and Washington's, which were retroactive. The others weren't.

Part of the answer was that Idaho's land-use rules were not as strict as Oregon's, and fewer landowners were angry about them. Part of it was the sponsor. Idaho's measure was put on the ballot by Laird Maxwell, the Idaho equivalent of Tim Eyman. Maxwell didn't have establishment support.

There was also the issue of outside influence. The ballot drives were seeded with cash from Americans for Limited Government, a group headed by a wealthy New York libertarian named Howard Rich. Opponents made an issue of this in all four states, but it made the most difference in Idaho.

"Out-of-state influence has never played well in Idaho," said Marc Johnson of the Boise office of the Gallatin Group, public-affairs consultants. Even Rich's surname worked against him. Said a Boise man in a letter to the Idaho Statesman newspaper: "We've been swamped by TV and press ads claiming that a wealthy New Yorker is funding Proposition 2 for greedy purposes."

In Idaho, where Republicans run the government, officeholders acted not like conservatives but like officeholders: They opposed Proposition 2, which would have reduced their authority. The state Chamber of Commerce opposed it. The Realtors opposed it. The money for their ad campaign, however, came largely from national environmental organizations — more out-of-state money. In the ads, the leaders of Idaho told the people: Don't' vote for this. And they didn't.

Also, said Suzanne Schaefer, director of the Idaho chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, which was neutral, "There was no campaign in support of it."

Arizona is also a conservative state, but it has a Democratic governor. There, Republican legislators mostly supported Proposition 207. A homeowners' group sponsored it. Business associations supported it. They didn't campaign for it, but they put their OK on it.

Arizona had a long ballot, including measures about tobacco, marriage, undocumented aliens and state lands. Proposition 207 didn't stand out. The environmental groups mostly spent their effort to pass the state lands measure, and Proposition 207 won 65 percent of the vote.

The result is that two states now protect property owners from regulatory takings: Oregon and Arizona. We shall see how it works.

"University of Washington Law Dean Subject of Ethics Complaint"

From a December 11 Associated Press story:
The University of Washington Law School dean is facing an ethics complaint over his use of school time and computers for e-mail relating to his work as a State Farm Insurance board member.

W.H. "Joe" Knight Jr. could be fined as much as $5,000 per violation if the state Executive Ethics Board upholds the complaint, the panel's executive director, Susan Harris, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

According to the complaint, Knight sent or received nearly 400 e-mails on his university account from 2002 to 2005 involving his work as legal affairs committee chairman for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Knight said Thursday he received a copy of the complaint this week. It was filed earlier in the fall by Molly Kenny, a lawyer for someone she would not identify, explaining that Knight "has the discretion to deprive" that person of "income from a well-remunerated position at the university."

University spokesman Norman G. Arkans said school officials learned of the issue following a public records request about a year ago and decided Knight was violating a state ban on the use of public resources for business purposes.

"We informed Dean Knight that he had to stop doing it, which he did," Arkans said, adding that Knight was not penalized.

The university will cooperate with the ethics board if there is an investigation, he added.

Knight told the newspaper that until last year, he thought his use of university e-mail fell within exceptions that allow for some personal use of computers as long as it is not overwhelming and does not interfere with one's job.

"When people complained, I stopped it," he said.

Knight said he does State Farm work from home and on weekends and attends board meetings eight days a year, all Sundays and Mondays.

He joined the university in 2001 after serving as vice provost and law professor at the University of Iowa, currently earns $251,580 a year and is in the midst of a routine five-year review which is unrelated to the complaint, Arkans said.

A spokeswoman for State Farm would not disclose how much Knight receives for his board work.

The ethics board has a backlog of about 60 cases and probably won't look into the matter for a couple of months, Harris said.

Anyone can file an ethics complaint against a state employee, and the panel receives 80 to 100 a year, mostly involving the use of computer equipment and e-mail, she said.
Huh. So a dean of a university can't use taxpayer-funded computer resources for private benefit or gain, including political or campaign activities. Wow. If anyone knows a dean (or other state employee) that does that, please contact the Executive Ethics Board and file a complaint.

"Weed issues arise as Whitman County finalizes laws'"

From yesterday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Questions about weed control add new element to discussion

The subject of weed control popped up Monday night during what is expected to be Whitman County’s final public hearing on proposed changes to its rural-residential zoning laws.

Hilltop building, property size, location and landscape standards dominated the discussion at the beginning of the hearings, which began in September and continued throughout the fall.

County commissioners previously nixed portions of the law that determined what color people could paint their homes, and they decided to open up hilltops to development.

Potential consequences from mandated buffer zones between properties and the possibility of rapid weed growth were pointed out Monday.

Dale Dechenne, who farms near St. John, said the potential for residents to neglect the buffer zones could create weed havens that could threaten fields downwind.

He said farmers can’t plow and utilize the buffer zones, so motivation to spray the ground and control noxious weeds diminishes.

Dechenne said most people who don’t farm do not understand that everyone must control weeds or they become uncontrollable.

“It could be devastating,” he said.

Whitman County Planner Mark Bordsen said the county has laws that regulate weed control for the county.

Don Nelson, who farms west of Colfax, said the county is underfunded in regard to weed control, and people moving into the area won’t understand how weeds can devastate crops.

Under the proposed laws, buffer zones can be decreased if neighboring landowners sign an affidavit agreeing to that end.

The idea of rapid growth concerns some county residents as much as weeds.

Dechenne said development of any scale has been stifled in the county over the last 30 years. When development opens up, Dechenne hopes everyone won’t start building homes all over the county and blotch its rural reputation and beauty.

Others said the proposed laws are too restrictive. Robert Zorb, who owns property in the county, agreed with several speakers who said the proposed laws would strangle landowners’ property rights.

“A lot of people forget that we are taking the three-year waiting period off the ordinance,” Commissioner Greg Partch said. “We are not trying to close the county up, we are trying to open it up.”

Rhod McIntosh, who served on the planning commission that began drafting the proposed laws four years ago, said the goal is to protect farmers.

He also said everything in the proposed laws will not work as planned. He suggested the ordinance be a living document that can be changed as the county grows and changes.

“We want agricultural-based jobs in places like St. John,” Dechenne said. “But we need homes for them to live in and property to build on. It’s just not an easy situation. It’s tough.”

Commissioner Les Wigen said the public input was helpful.

“It’s nice to know where the people are at,” he said.

Wigen’s decision on the rural-residential laws will be his last before he retires as county commissioner.

The commissioners said they would write letters to address questions brought by speakers at Monday’s meeting.

There is a slight possibility that more public-input sessions and workshops could be scheduled, although commissioners expect to vote on the laws next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.


WHAT HAPPENED: Whitman County residents
told commissioners what they think about the proposed
rural-residential zoning laws.

WHAT IT MEANS: The proposed laws are in the refinement stages. Commissioners sought feedback from the public.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: Commissioners will probably make a decision on the proposed laws at 10:30 p.m. Dec. 26.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: The proposed laws would change the way property is developed in the county.
So it seems the new rural residential zoning ordinance is destined to pass with some pretty onerous restrictions, despite ovrewhelming opposition. Oh well, at least the three year moratorium is being done away with.

I'm still amazed at how some in the county are more than happy to continue with the three year development moratorium. It's easy to see now how we got the moratorium in the first place. There is a very selfish "I've got mine, too bad for you" attitude that exists among some, and not just in Pullman. Some farmers seem to feel this way also. And it's a very unrealistic belief. Pent up housing demand or not, Whitman County is not going to turn into King or Snohomish County overnight. There are not going to be any 300 house subdivisions built in St. John.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Congratulations Coach Robb Akey

Coach Robb Akey, the WSU Defense Coordinator has been given the job as the new U of Idaho head coach. I am saddened to see him leave WSU, but I have nothing but respect for him and I am excited to see how he does rebuilding their program.

Orlando Furioso

Some random observations from my recent trip to Orlando:

Some may call Wal-Mart a monument to crass consumerism, but Orlando is the ultimate paean to Capitalism. It is Adam Smith's magnum opus. There, visitors from the far corners of the Earth descend to partake in the best (and worst) of Americana. The socialist New Internationalist has decried the "Disneyfication" of the world for many of the same reasons that critics have attacked Wal-Mart. I guess that's why I liked it so much. It's certainly better than the monastic, sustainable, organic, collectivist, Luddite Utopia proposed by the left.

Without question, the theme parks in Orlando are schlocky, artificial, and most of all, corporate, despite a generous heaping of more environmentalist propaganda than a Hollywood premiere of An Inconvenient Truth. But they are also a tremendous amount of fun, which is why people come from all over the globe to visit and spend money. And spend money you do. It costs some $3.00 in tolls each time you go back and forth to the airport. Everything costs twice as much as normal. More than anything else though, Orlando demonstrated to me how much more discretionary income families have, not just in America, but around the world. That's a good thing.

I was struck, as I have been previously at the Pentagon and the Wal-Mart Home Office, by how very non-high-tech the Kennedy Space Center is. A few buildings have been added since the Apollo years, but not many. As the tour bus driver explained, NASA comprised 16% of the U.S. budget in the Sixties. Now it's only 7/10 of 1%. It shows. There's a lot of rust and peeling paint. I have newfound respect for the guts of the shuttle astronauts, who face a nearly 2% chance of death on every flight, based on the Challenger and Columbia accidents.

We have definitely become the Stimulation Nation. As a child, I used to go to Florida frequently on vacation. I went to Walt Disney World the first year it opened. Things have definitely changed. Places like Silver Springs, where the main attraction was glass-bottomed boats to gaze at the fish in the crystal clear lake, now seem hopelessly quaint. Today, theme parks feel the need to entertain even as you wait in line for rides. Live shows are multimedia productions that rival Las Vegas or Broadway. Even on our flight back home, I had a chance to experience the new seat back entertainment system. In addition to a wide selection of movies, there were a couple dozen TV channels piped in live from Dish Network, music, flight tracking info, and games, including an onboard participatory trivia game. Our flight was delayed 50 minutes in order to fix an audio component of the system. Lest you think I am condemning all this, I am a member of Generation ADHD and was eagerly channel surfing, building my own music playlist and establishing my dominance as undefeated trivia champion of Delta Flight 574, until the newly-minted Dr. Forbes popped in and gave me my comeuppance. Plus, it made the 5 hour flight from Atlanta to Seattle go by much more quickly.

Complete Final Report on L'Affaire Sh!^bag

A full copy of the WSU Center for Human Rights on the complaint brought by WSU College Republican Dan Ryder against Professor John Streamas for his use of a racial epithet at the WSU CR border fence demonstration on November 2 can be found here.

The Good:

  • The WSU College Republicans are not held responsible for anything.

  • The door seems to be left open for further disciplinary action by the Provost, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and the Chair of the CES Department (yeah, right)

  • The Bad:

  • A prior "warning" by the WSU administration about negative reactions to the fence seems to justify the actions of Streamas and others. Talk about a chilling effect on free speech.

  • There is apparently no way, according to Washington State University, to either discriminate against or intimidate a white person. They have just set back race relations a hundred years or more.

  • The Ugly:

  • An unrepentant Streamas is free to continue practicing his brand of hate, discrimination, and intolerance on campus. In fact, as the report shows, he further denigrated Ryder by calling him a "little hurt white boy whose [sic] got all his white skinned privilege."
  • "PARD is bound to lose again"

    Another excellent letter in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News from Don Pelton:
    In his commentary Dec. 8, T.V. Reed of Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development tells us “Wal-Mart is still the good fight.” That fight, however, is running on flat tires.

    My analysis of retailing in downtown Pullman using historical photographs and conversations with older Pullmanites suggests that the amount of space downtown used to sell goods is about one-third the space devoted to retailing 70 years ago, when the population was slightly more than one-fourth today’s level.

    Most of the space downtown is devoted to banking, offices of professionals, government buildings, parks, parking lots, and food providers. Common sense tells us a negative impact by Wal-Mart on Brused Books, Licks, Rico’s, the tattoo parlor, and almost everything downtown will be almost zero. Some competition for Sam Dial, the bike shop and a few others will exist, but those folks already have survived even though half our retail dollars are spent in other cities. It is naive to think that a fiscal impact by Wal-Mart on Sam Dial Jewelry can be estimated, nor can it be for any business.

    The opportunity to block Wal-Mart from Pullman was lost decades ago. Retailers and roads follow the people. If Washington State University had capped its enrollment at 8,000 students, there would be no Bishop Boulevard, no Wal-Mart, no Pac-10 Conference for us, and no world-class university in Pullman. But Pullman would still be a small, pristine city that PARD dreams about. WSU is the main engine of growth; retailing and roads follow the people who move here for employment.

    If Reed counts 750,000 square feet of new retail space on Bishop Boulevard, that will just about bring back the equivalent level of retailing that existed here 70 years ago. PARD will lose again.

    Don Pelton, Pullman
    Don is right, of course. PARD will ultimately lose. However, the PARDners have won in the sense that they have delayed the opening of Wal-Mart in Pullman for over two years on behalf of their union masters. What's worse, PARD's futile appeals have cost taxpayers of the city that they hate so much $36,000 that will never be recouped, as well as causing Pullman to lose over a million dollars in potential tax revenue. And the PARDners continue to garner the media coverage and relevance they seemingly so pathetically crave.

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    The Rawlins Doctrine

    Here is the story from Spokane TV station KREM last week on WSU President Rawlins' new definition of free speech: Using a racial epithet once in the heat of an argument is okay, just don't do something else "bold or offensive" that doesn't involve words. So I wonder who will be the first faculty member to use the N-word and test out the Rawlins Doctrine? I would expect the CES Department to be the first to leap to their defense.

    Combined with the "Passion of the Musical" flap last year, Rawlins is leaving quite a legacy at WSU.
    PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State University President Lane Rawlins tells KREM 2 news a professor who used a racially-vulgar term when arguing with a student over a political demonstration faces a reprimand, but will continue teaching.

    Professor John Streamas argued with members of the College Repubicans on November 2nd, taking issue with a fence they put up on the busy Glenn Terrell mall in the middle of campus. The College Republicans said the 24-foot, chain-link fence was meant as a show of support the Bush administration's plan for a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico.

    Professor Streamas said the fence was a racist symbol, and that many students on campus, especially minorities, saw it as threatening and insulting. As the argument escalated, Professor Streamas uttered the words "white s***bag" in front of one of the students. Speaking with KREM 2 News on Friday, Rawlins said, "his comments were totally inappropriate, and I think he knows that." But Rawlins said Streamas would not be terminated, "One utterance of a faculty member in the heat of discussion is not the kind of thing for which you terminate someone. But we are looking at reprimands, at whether this is a pattern of behavior."

    Rawlins also said the fence presented problems, "We want to encourage the young people that if they're really interested in constructive dialogue, perhaps the best way to start it is not to do something quite as bold and offensive as just building a fence in the middle of the campus."

    Video of the incident was featured on the video-posting website You Tube, and was the focus of a segment on the Fox News program "Hannity and Colmes". Streamas teaches in WSU's department of Comparative Ethnic Studies
    The video of the interview is here.

    "County won't join city's culture war"

    Speaking of Moscow, PARD, and new business, Michael Costello summed it all up in Saturday's Lewiston Tribune:
    The genius of competing jurisdictions worked its magic again this week. After the city of Moscow marched in lockstep to the doctrine of elitism and banned Wal-Mart, Latah County exercised good sense and rejected a similar ordinance, thereby leaving the way open for economic growth and a more vital retail environment at the expense of its snobbish neighbor.

    And as a result, shoppers from Moscow and the surrounding environs will spend their dollars outside the city limits and fatten the county's tax coffers instead of the city's. An island of cultural protectionism, Moscow will find itself eroded by the waves of economic freedom lapping at its shores.

    When Wal-Mart indicated its intention to build one of its big-box, supercenter stores in Moscow, the graying hippies who steer Moscow's culture and politics grabbed their pitchforks and torches, and adorned in their finest Birkenstocks and tie-dyed T-shirts, marched to the castle in protest. That stupid smiley face of their youth was no longer welcome, as it had now been enlisted as a soldier of the forces of darkness.

    And let's not delude ourselves. This is about culture. These label-conscious herbal tea sippers who lift their cup with an extended pinky and fill their refrigerator with organic tofu purchased at the Co-op sniff indignantly at the coffee-guzzling chili-cheese dog aficionados who comparison shop and are not ashamed to stand in line outside Wal-Mart's doors before 5 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving to get the best deal. The elitists are proud of their earth-tone hand-stitched organic cotton shirts and look down their noses at polyester versions sewn together in China.

    Outside of these pecksniffian elitist cliques, parents would be mortified if their child teased a playmate because his parents purchased clothes that did not have the right designer labels. However, former Democratic vice presidential candidate and aspiring president John Edwards boasted recently that his 6-year-old son had ridiculed a classmate for coming to school wearing shoes purchased at Wal-Mart. The more common among us would scold our children for exhibiting such snobbery.

    I come from rather humble roots and even so, there were families with even less. I shudder to think of what the consequences would have been had my parents learned that I had ridiculed a schoolmate for wearing cheaper clothes than I. Among the anti-Wal-Mart elite however, it is a matter of pride and a sign of good upbringing and probably superior genetics when their children behave so abominably.

    In Pullman, the local anti-Wal-Mart snobs call themselves the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD). PARD fears that the new Wal-Mart Supercenter planned for Pullman will attract "undesirable social elements" to Pullman.

    Undoubtedly, I am a part of that undesirable social element as I have been known to order merlot with dinner as well as shop for low prices at Wal-Mart.

    Fortunately, jurisdictional borders exact consequences for this sort of silliness. If a city,such as Moscow embarks on this sort of exhibitionist snobbery by banning big box discount retailers, that store will probably erect its building just across the line where the snobs' authority ends.

    Chicago learned this recently. Chicago's aldermen forbade Wal-Mart from doing business there, only to see a Wal-Mart go up literally within spitting distance of the city limits, in Evergreen Park. When the store was ready to open and advertised for 325 jobs, it received over 25,000 applications. And 90 percent of those applicants listed addresses in Chicago, where the city's maters and paters decreed that such a store was beneath them.

    Moscow will also see retailers on its western border too. Right on the Washington state line a new mall, seven times the size of the Palouse Mall, will be built and will draw customers and their money out of Moscow.

    And so Moscow will realize that snobbery has a price. And in the not-too-distant future, Moscow's electorate will grow weary of paying that price and will replace the current leadership with new blood who learned lessons from the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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    "Chilly climate for commerce?"

    From Saturday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    Perception that Moscow doesn’t welcome new business could be true, depending on who you ask

    Moscow extended a warm welcome to Mike Nelsen when he opened St. John Implement & Hardware on West A Street in 1994.

    Nelsen started to detect a change in the climate six or seven years ago.

    “There was no particular reason; the weather patterns didn’t change,” he said.

    Someone told him St. John Hardware wasn’t the kind of business they envisioned in the downtown area.

    “I’ve been involved in the city of Moscow forever; did I do something they didn’t like?” said Nelsen, who was recently elected president of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce. “It broke my heart.”

    With the denial of a rezone that would have brought a Wal-Mart Supercenter to Moscow and the institution of the Large Retail Establishment Ordinance — aka the big-box ordinance — in February, some people say there is a perception Moscow isn’t welcome to new business, or is too selective on what it allows.

    Some are concerned that Moscow will lose its status as “retail base of the Palouse” to Whitman County, while others say they are just trying to protect the Moscow they know and love.

    Nelsen said the cost of housing is so high it keeps some businesses from wanting to locate in Moscow. Only five of his business’ 31 employees live in Moscow.

    Skyrocketing property taxes also are an issue, he said, and Moscow needs to actively recruit new businesses to increase its tax base.

    Moscow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Paul Kimmell said businesses in Moscow pay four times their fair share of taxes.

    “We’ve been aggressive at building homes, but not as aggressive as building business,” he said.

    Idaho is considered a business-friendly state, but Moscow isn’t keeping with the status quo, Kimmell said.

    “I’ve always had a healthy skepticism about any new ordinance and question whether this will really be a benefit,” said Kimmell, who also serves as a Latah County commissioner.

    County commissioners recently decided against enacting the city’s big-box ordinance in the Moscow area of impact just outside city limits.

    Kimmell said Moscow has a creative and engaged community that participates in the political process, but he doesn’t think the voices of business are always heard.

    With Hawkins Companies’ proposed development looming across the state line in Whitman County, Kimmell said Moscow residents should be concerned.

    “We need to look at what we are doing wrong not to attract business,” he said.

    He said there has been a lot of talk about attracting high-tech business to Moscow, but some people are selective about the kind of businesses they welcome.

    Nelsen said to have high-tech businesses, support businesses such as plumbing, welding and car-parts stores are necessary too.

    Pat Garrett, owner of Moscow and Pullman Building Supply stores, said Moscow can't afford to be selective.

    Garrett is building a new store next to the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter site in Pullman. Wal-Mart considered building a super center in Moscow as well, but decided against it after city officials voted down a rezone that would have allowed the company to move forward with its plans.

    "Keeping the super Wal-Mart from coming in seems pretty anti-business," Garrett said. "Pullman is very pro-growth right now; they are trying to catch up and be a little more self-sufficient."

    Jim Demeerleer, owner of Furniture Center, said the big-box ordinance already is having detrimental effects on Moscow.

    "Moscow sent out a message to the business world that if there is any intent in the area for big-box stores, we don't want that, and consequently those larger stores will look elsewhere," he said.

    Demeerleer said the word is out that Whitman County is willing to accept new businesses.

    “There is not a huge influx of businesses trying to come to Moscow,” he said. “Businesses are going out of business; if we discourage business such as Moscow has done, people will look in different directions for growth.”

    Demeerleer said it’s not too late for Moscow to retract the big-box ordinance.

    But Moscow City Councilman Bob Stout said the "anti-business" attitude is more perception than fact.

    "Some people have this mentality that you have to be pro-business or you die," he said. "As a new City Council, we're looking at how we can serve everybody in the community, not just business owners or people that want to make money with dealings of the city."

    Stout said there isn't any one thing the council has done that is anti-business, but he has heard that some view the Large Retail Establishment Ordinance and the city's living-wage ordinance as such.

    "Big-box stores are a way to diversify, but we have to protect Moscow in the process, not just worry about large corporations coming to Moscow," he said.

    Stout said when people say anti-business, they mean "big business" as opposed to small, local businesses.

    "Small, local business we've supported in every way," he said. "People saying we are anti-business are keying on one large retail incident; large corporations coming to our city has drastic impacts on our city."

    Jill Bielenberg, manager of The Breakfast Club in downtown Moscow, said Moscow has given a warm reception to current and future businesses.

    “We have a great camaraderie with other businesses,” she said. “Moscow is definitely welcoming to new business.”

    She said if a business comes in with the attitude and service that would benefit the community, other businesses extend their support.

    “We hand out business cards and numbers when a new business comes in,” she said.

    Marty Cramer, owner of Cramer’s Home Furnishings, which opened this year in Moscow, said he had a relatively positive experience moving into the east side of town.

    “This is our sixth store that we opened,” he said. “In comparison with other towns, Moscow is probably easier.

    “The community in general has been very accepting of us; the store is doing wonderful.”

    He said rumors of an “anti-business” mentality have been present in every community in which he’s opened stores.

    “I haven’t heard a discouraging word in Moscow,” he said. “It seems like one of those things where the people who are complaining are heard the loudest.”

    Community Development Director Joel Plaskon said the majority of development applications for businesses wanting to come to Moscow get approved, but the city's decision in January to break the development process into separate hearings may be perceived as anti-business because it decreases predictability and increases the time it takes to move into the city.

    Plaskon said the Large Retail Establishment Ordinance protects existing businesses from the adverse impact a big-box store might have on the community.

    The ordinance was pushed through quickly, he said, and the amendments being considered should make Moscow appear more business friendly.

    The effort to streamline the development process, along with proposed changes to the subdivision and planned unit development code that are intended to add more room for public input, also should make the city seem more friendly to business, Plaskon said.

    Kimmell believes more public input in the comprehensive plan rewrite and other processes could make a difference.

    “There is the opportunity to include the business community’s voices and create an atmosphere of acceptance and accommodation,” he said. “Perception often becomes reality, and we need to work to dispel that perspective.”
    Of course Stout and Company want to tell everyone "just go back to sleep, everything is alright." Moscow IS business-unfriendly. And PARD wants this for Pullman? No thanks. Pullman has an opportunity to grow now because Moscow has dropped the ball.

    Technorati Tags:

    "So what will happen?"

    This letter appeared in Monday's Lewiston Tribune:
    Re: "WSU professor may face reprimand" [article, Dec. 10].

    Washington State University President [Lane] Rawlins tries to convince the reader that he is responding to the incident where a professor (John Streamas) used a vulgar racial term during a political demonstration on Nov. 2. Rawlins said: (1) Streamas is likely (emphasis added) to get a reprimand. Is he getting a reprimand or not? And (2) "His (Streamas') comments were totally inappropriate and I think he knows that." If Streamas thinks his comments were inappropriate, he has not said that publicly.

    To summarize, the major questions remain: Will Streamas apologize for his statements, and will there be any consequences for a faculty member who calls a student a white (expletive)?

    WSU's attempt to obfuscate the entire situation is further supported by the fact that the Rawlins interview appeared late Friday night, after print media had gone to press.

    Sid Houpt

    So what will happen? Nothing, of course. Conservatives don't riot or protest.

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    So I Go to Florida, and a Hurricane Hits Pullman

    Better hope I don't head to San Francisco anytime soon! The town might be levelled by an earthquake! Nothing like coming home from a vacation and seeing a big piece of your house laying in the yard.

    My family and I just returned from a week in the Sunshine State where my wife received a doctoral degree from the University of Florida. Before and after the graduation ceremonies, we went to Universal Studios Orlando, Walt Disney World, the Kennedy Space Center and Sea World and had a great time.

    So, let's see what did I miss while I was among the palm trees, ample retail, 60 degree warmer temperatures, and one extra hour of daylight?

  • I guess we all now know why L'Affaire Sh!^bag was neatly flushed and sanitized for your protection. If Professor John ExStreamas had been sh!^canned (as anyone that had used a non-white racial epithet surely would have been), flocks of righteously indignant (and ignorant) moonbats would have descended on Lane Rawlins' office, like last year after Robbie Cowgill was exonerated. Since such a demonstration probably wasn't listed on the brochure for WSU's first African-American president, Elson Floyd, PR won out over justice and the stench coming from French Ad grows yet stronger

  • I see Jim "Uncle Buck" Krueger, in addition to being the world's leading expert in deer testicular shrinkage, now fancies himself a traffic engineer. I loved Krueger's letter. Each new letter from a PARDner continues to illustrate the sophist croner they have painted themselves into. For example, is Krueger against ANY further growth on Bishop (the logical conclusion) or is twice as much square footage than Wal-Mart okay as long as it is not Wal-Mart (as implied by Citizen Hosick)? What a quandary! Suppose Costco and Target, two PARD endorsed stores, were to announce plans to build on Bishop Blvd. with more combined square footage than Wal-Mart and even worse traffic. The PARDners are trying to count how many angels can fit on the head of a needle.

  • The Hawkins Companies retail development in the Pullman/Moscow Corridor received (yet another) approval from the county. The countdown to the Moscow City Council's inevitable appeal is on.

  • I'll have more later. As you might guess, I'm a bit tired from the long journey home.

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    WSU Presidential Search

    This editorial appeared today in the Daily News. It was written by Doug Bauer for the editorial board.
    The search for Washington State University’s new president couldn’t have been more secretive if the CIA had conducted it.

    Elson S. Floyd was named successor to retiring WSU President V. Lane Rawlins on Wednesday, ending a hiring process that omitted any form of interaction from
    anyone outside the search committee and the Board of Regents.

    That's not exactly what we'd expect from a public institution that trumpets
    its "face to face" qualities.

    WSU has effectively removed any second-guessing in regard to Floyd's hiring,
    if only because the public wasn't made aware of who the second and third - or any
    other -choices were.

    In effect, Floyd's appointment seemed more like a coronation.

    That's not to say he wasn't the best candidate for the job. The point is, the majority of WSU's student population and the general public never had a chance
    to determine who the best candidate was.

    Instead, the decision was made behind closed doors by a group largely
    composed of people who represent neither the general student population nor the
    public - the ones will foot the bill for Floyd's $600,000-a-year salary in one
    form or another.

    The public must have an opportunity to interact with candidates for positions
    with such responsibility, and the decision shouldn't be made by search committee
    members and regents alone.

    WSU seems to be following a dangerous pattern, considering Rawlins was
    brought on board in much the same fashion.

    In the future, we suggest the university include a public vetting process.
    Give students, alumni, and faculty the dog-and-pony show they deserve, and WSU
    will let everyone know their input actually matters.

    Floyd has excellent qualifications and experience in Washington state. His
    presence should help the university clear some of the diversity hurdles it has
    faced in recent years.

    That doesn't mean WSU or the Board of Regents has the right to treat the rest
    of us like pawns in its kingdom.
    I whole-heartedly agree. For the past few months since President Rawlins announced his retirement, the big talk on campus is how the search committee and regents wanted everyone to be involved. This was to be a transparent process. After watching Ken Alhadeff practically break his arm patting himself on the back when he introduced Floyd, I wonder if the search committee even knew what was going on in the process. I agree that Floyd has many excellent qualities, however, what was the hurry? It seems as if the regents don't believe the WSU community nor the people of Washington state are competent enough to participate in the process. This could make Floyd's transfer to power woefully - and needlessly - difficult.

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    WSU professor to face reprimand for using racial term

    Story Published: Dec 9, 2006 at 1:03 PM PST
    Story Updated: Dec 9, 2006 at 1:03 PM PST

    By Associated Press
    PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - A professor who used a vulgar racial term while arguing with a student about a political demonstration is likely to face a reprimand, but will be allowed to continue teaching, Washington State University President Lane Rawlins said.

    Professor John Streamas used the term "white (expletive)" while arguing with College Republicans on Nov. 2. The students had erected a 24-foot chain-link fence on a busy part of the campus to show support for the Bush administration's plan for a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico.

    "His comments were totally inappropriate, and I think he knows that," Rawlins told KREM television of Spokane. He added: "One utterance of a faculty member in the heat of discussion is not the kind of thing for which you terminate someone. But we are looking at reprimands, at whether this is a pattern of behavior."

    The demonstration drew a crowd of protesters who hurled accusations of racism at the Republicans, and the reactions of Streamas and another professor, David Leonard, made the event a hot topic on radio talk shows and cable television programs nationwide.

    Leonard demanded that College Republicans member Daniel Schanze stop filming him during the demonstration. When Schanze didn't stop, Leonard demanded to see his student identification card.

    Schanze called it a "gross display of power" and an attempt to stifle his opinions; Leonard later apologized for his actions in a letter posted on www.cougster.com.

    Another student, Dan Ryder, said Streamas called him a "white (expletive)." Streamas acknowledged using the term, but said it wasn't directed at any individual.

    Rawlins said the area of campus where the demonstration occurred is a public place, where speech is protected by the First Amendment. But, he said, professors are also expected to set good examples and follow the faculty code of conduct.

    Schanze and Ryder said they planned to file formal complaints against the professors through WSU's Center for Human Rights; it was not immediately known if they had done so or what punishment Leonard might face.

    In an e-mail last month, Streamas said the fence was a provocative and racist symbol.

    "It is a violently racist symbol, no different from Nazis carrying a swastika through a Jewish neighborhood or the KKK rallying around a Confederate flag in a black neighborhood," he wrote.

    Streamas and Leonard are professors in the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies.

    Better late then never; I have been so busy with finals and Tom is on vacation. This does make 3 times that we have hit AP; enjoy. I found this from souce: http://www.katu.com/news/local/4873171.html

    WSU panel says teacher's comment was 'immature'


    Tuesday, December 12, 2006 · Last updated 7:32 p.m. PT
    WSU panel says teacher's comment was 'immature'


    SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Washington State University assistant professor who used a vulgar racial term during a heated political dispute with Republican students was "immature" and "thoughtless," but his actions did not constitute discrimination, a new report concludes.

    John Streamas has also called WSU a "racist university" and contended that some say WSU should stand for "White Supremacist University," said the report from the university's Center for Human Rights.

    "I certainly don't see the university as bad as all that," said Raoul Sanchez, director of the rights center at the Pullman-based school.

    The report was given to the parties involved in the dispute, and a copy was released Tuesday by Dan Ryder, the student who complained to campus officials, saying he had been insulted.

    The report directed some blame for the incident toward WSU's College Republicans, who on Nov. 2 erected a 24-foot-long stretch of chain-link fence on campus as a show of support for the Bush administration's plan to build a fence on the border with Mexico.

    The fence drew a crowd of protesters who engaged in heated arguments with College Republicans, and the videotaped showdown garnered national attention, especially on conservative radio and television broadcasts.

    During the dispute, Ryder said Streamas, an assistant professor of comparative ethnic studies, called him a "white (solid waste)-bag."

    College Republicans demanded that Streamas be fired for saying that, and have said the incident was an example of bias against conservative views on campus.

    University President V. Lane Rawlins said last week that Streamas would be reprimanded, but not fired.

    "One utterance of a faculty member in the heat of discussion is not the kind of thing for which you terminate someone," Rawlins said.

    Earlier, Streamas has acknowledged using the term, but said it wasn't directed at any individual. Last month he called the fence a provocative and racist symbol, and compared it to Nazis carrying a swastika through a Jewish neighborhood.

    The report said it was unwise for Streamas to have made the comment, which it called "immature, intellectually unsophisticated and thoughtless." But a single such utterance during a robust debate did not, by itself, constitute harassment, discrimination or intimidation, the report said.

    Streamas, who was born in Tokyo, did not immediately return Associated Press telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment Tuesday.

    The report quoted what it said was an unsolicited voice mail message Streamas left for investigators: "This is a racist university. Many of our students say that WSU stands for White Supremacist University.

    "I don't care about the hurt feelings of one white person. The feelings of one little hurt white boy who's got all his white-skinned privilege are nothing compared to the hundreds of people he offended with his racist fence," the voice mail said.

    The report said that Ryder objected immediately to the term and that Streamas apologized, and then the two continued to debate.

    "The precise definition of the word `(solid waste)-bag' is unclear, but complainant and respondent agree that it is a derogatory term," the report said.

    Ryder disagreed with the center's finding.

    "I feel that a person who instructs in a department that preaches equality and diversity and accepting all ideas is not fit to instruct in that department if he can't even have that tolerance for other people's views," said Ryder, who is from Olympia.

    Ryder said Tuesday he is considering pursuing legal action.

    The center does not have any power to discipline employees, and can make only suggestions for corrective actions, Sanchez said.

    "It's not our role to take sides," he added. "The reality is never as clean as one side or the other. We simply try and be fair to everyone."

    The university must remain a place where many viewpoints can be expressed, Sanchez said.

    "The best cure for offensive speech is more speech," he said.

    This is the 2nd time (possibly 3rd time) we, the WSU College Republicans, have hit the AP. Some of us have been considering legal action (one CR in-particular has been in talks with various people). We really appreciate your support and anything you can do to help, donations (icon at the top right hand of the site), legal counsel, letters to the editor, etc. We thank you for standing strong with us!

    John Streamas Does Not Stop With "White Sh!t Bag" Slur!!

    In reply to a CHR request for a meeting, Respondent (John Streamas) left an unsolicited voicemail message, which stated, in relevant part:

    The fence was a racist attack upon us. And… I think that we need to talk about that… whatever I said to one person is not equal to whatever that fence did to hundreds of people, attacking us personally and communally. And that’s the issue – the fence, what people said is not nearly as important as how racist an attack that fence is… know some Republicans who themselves think that the fence was a racist insult and are ashamed of the College Republicans…

    This is a racist university. Many of our students say that WSU stands for White Supremacist University. … Many, many people have been hurt. I don’t care about the hurt feelings of one white person; I care about the hurt feelings of many, many people of color and immigrants who were offended by that fence… That is what I care about. The feelings of one little hurt white boy (in reference to Dan Ryder) whose got all his white skinned privilege are nothing compared to the hundreds of people he offended with his racist fence. That’s the issue here… [Emphasis in original voice message]

    I have the report in front of me and it doesn’t stop there. I can only say wow. If the press would like to contact Dan Ryder for comment please contact him at:

    Dan Ryder
    East-Vice Chair Washington State College Republican Federation

    Discrimination in the President Search?

    After seeing that WSU already picked a new President, the Seattle Times included the following in an article about the new President:
    In an interview earlier this month, WSU's Florida-based search consultant, Jan Greenwood, warned of the coming crunch in presidential searches. She said the vast majority of eligible candidates — sitting presidents — are white, middle-age men. That's despite increasing diversity among the next tier of administrators, such as provosts and deans.

    "It remains extraordinarily difficult for women and/or people of color to move to the top, even though there are more diverse people in those provost roles," she said.
    So if we don't hire a black man now, all the good ones may be taken and we will be stuck with a white guy... and our search committee was going out of its way to hire someone based on his skin color... so hurry up and hire someone!

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Daily News has a "two for one" day

    Many thanks to Jim Krueger for finally stating in unequivocal terms that PARD is anti-growth and for acknowledging Wal-Mart's beneficial effect on the business climate in Pullman. His letter to the editor in today's Daily News speaks for it's self. Aim carefully PARD, there's room for all your feet in your collective mouths.

    Meanwhile, Michael O'Neal's article is a wonderfully clear and insightful examination of the rabidly politically correct, apologist, racist administrative embarrassment at WSU. The only thing missing from Mr. O'Neal's article is the fact that the University's "investigator" (more like cover-up specialist) in the matter arrived at the desired (by the Administration) conclusion.