Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Speaking Truth to Stupidity

Earlier this week, deep thinker Rosie O'Donnell enthralled 9/11 conspiracy theorists everywhere by repeating one of their idiotic charges. If you wish an informed response, read more. If you prefer to live in Rosie O'Donnell's world of monosyllabic ignorance, stop here.

Rosie O'Donnell's shameful (to ABC) shilling for 9/11 conspiracy nuts has been answered by somebody who actually knows what he's talking about.

The contrast in style alone is dramatic.

Democratic Congress - No More Pork

Well, Nancy Pelosi has managed to accomplish one of her campaign promises - sort of.

As promised, the Democrat-led Congress has gotten rid of pork barrel spending, with a lot of help from their stooges in the MSM.

“Conservatives Oppose Pet Projects” read the headline over the March 27 story by Andrew Taylor. The word “pork” was never used.

“Senate GOP Will Not Block Iraq Bill” by Ann Flaherty of AP on March 26 also called the waste “pet projects.” She too did not use “pork” once.

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times also deployed the “pet projects” euphemism in his March 27 story, “Republicans to Rely on President Bush’s Veto to Block Troop Withdrawal Plan.” He did use “pork” once, but only in a direct quote from one of those bitter Republican senators.

So there you have it. When Democrats lard up an emergency bill, Washington reporters say it is for “pet projects.”

Friday, March 30, 2007

Fun with the Downtown Pullman Cam

At approximately 10:30pm on Friday, March 30th, I captured this photo from the Downtown Pullman Cam (or whatever it's officially titled) while reading over Palousitics:

Clearly, this vehicle belongs to a PARDner. That this is so is evidenced by the fact that it is parked too far away from the curb and is impeding the flow of traffic. However, true to the essence of PARDners, though this is an undue inconvenience that must be dealt with, it is merely a minor annoyance that any dedicated individual can get around and leave in their dust, only to be bothered by the view of the PARDner in his or her rear view mirror, if he or she even bothers to look back.

Meanwhile, the PARDner gets slapped with a well-deserved civil penalty for being stupid and unjustly inconveniencing others.

Perhaps we have a metaphorical crystal ball on Main Street tonight?

A Brand for the Palouse?

According to today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
"A group of representatives from throughout the Palouse are looking to create a branding image for the so-called "Knowledge Corridor."
[Moscow Chamber of Commerce Interim Director Janice] McMillan said through the Knowledge Corridor concept she hopes to attract businesses that can help the area grow.
Considering Nancy Chaney, Mark Solomon, PARD, No Super WalMart, stalking herons, frolicking cute bunnies, viewsheds, used $40 bikes, charming valleys, tiny brooks, European cities, sweatshop forums, Main Street, unique rural character, a thousand other places, etc. ad nauseum, here is my entry for the "knowledge corridor" branding contest:

Why not? My brand would accomplish the same thing as what we read in the newspaper every day and save both paper and ink.

Why bother encouraging growth at all when there are people in the community doing everything they can to stop it?

Immigration Reform: Encouraging Signs

[Cross posted from Versus the Mob]

The news out of D.C. this morning is that the White House has been at work on an immigration reform bill that does not equate to a free pass for some 11 to 12 million law breakers.

The first story I found on this was posted to CNN.com and can be read in full here:


The key feature of the proposal that impresses me is that for an illegal to receive permanent residency, he or she must first return to their country of origin, apply to enter legally, and pay a $10,000 fine.

Otherwise, an illegal can apply for one of these so-called "plan Z" visas and legally work here for three years at a time, paying $3,500 to renew the visa at the end of each three year period. This will also have the effect of putting illegals on the radar as far as employment goes, which will likely put an end to their appeal as cheap labor in many industries.

But what I really like about this plan is that it does not potentially create 12 million voters overnight, the kind of voters whom leftists could easily buy with promises of lavish government benefits.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Advice from Mount Rushmore

Let us say to the immigrant not that we hope he will learn English, but that he has got to learn it. Let the immigrant who does not learn it go back. He has got to consider the interest of the United States or he should not stay here. He must be made to see that his opportunities in this country depend upon his knowing English and observing American standards. The employer cannot be permitted to regard him only as an industrial asset.

We must in every way possible encourage the immigrant to rise, help him up, give him a chance to help himself. If we try to carry him he may well prove not well worth carrying. We must in turn insist upon his showing the same standard of fealty to this country and to join with us in raising the level of our common American citizenship. If I could I would have the kind of restriction which would not allow any immigrant to come here unless I was content that his grandchildren would be fellow-citizens of my grandchildren.

- Theodore Roosevelt, 1916
Those words from former President Roosevelt might sound shocking in today's politically correct world, but they are just as true now as they were then. Why do people want immigrants to become part of a permanent underclass? If you are against encouraging them to learn English, that's exactly what you are supporting. Michael pointed this out so well in his wonderful Lewiston Tribune column last week. If an immigrant learns English, then they may rise to a corporate boardroom. If they don't, they are doomed to be "industrial assets" or making beds at Motel 6. America has always been the land of opportunity. But the key to that opportunity is learning English.

Gary Kawamura, while admirably not engaging in ad hominem attacks on the CRs, misses the point completely in his column in today's Daily Evergreen :
The problem with the act is that it supports a narrow, insular view of the United States. Making all government publications and business conducted solely in English would certainly not encourage international or even multicultural exchange and involvement. It’s time to realize the United States is part of the international community. Look at some of the most pressing issues in recent news: the conflicts in Iraq and the Middle East, issues of economy, or trade and immigration in Latin America. If we wish to be active members in the international community, we must learn to communicate with other countries.

The English Unity Act places an emphasis on the use of English, and so discourages the learning and use of other languages. What our country needs is just the opposite: to encourage and emphasize learning other languages so we can live successfully in the international community.

A key point to understand is that The English Unity Act “affects” only government. In their pamphlet, the CRs are quick to explain that the act “will not limit the languages spoken in private businesses, religious services, private conversations, etc.” This would have us believe that the use of only English, in government, would have no effect on the rest of the population. If English is the only language spoken within our government, then it will certainly affect the rest of the population’s view about using languages other than English.

The use and learning of languages other than English is important, not only in establishing the United States as a member of the international community, but also in keeping with the goals and ideals of America of freedom, democracy and independence.

The English Unity Act lacks the foresight and independent thinking that the United States, as a country, should uphold.
The English Language Unity Act has absolutely NOTHING to do with "establishing the United States as a member of the international community." Just the opposite. It helps establish international immigrants as members of the U.S. community. How does encouraging the teaching of foreign languages to native English speakers improve the plight of illegal immigrants? During the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a "Grand Tour" (an extended tour of European countries) was typically part of the education of every young British gentleman. That tradition lives on in today's intellectual elite and Kawamura's editorial smacks of this gentrified attitude. But immigrants are more interested in simply moving themselves and their families out of poverty than the opportunity to "study abroad" and achieving "a real understanding of the world as a place beyond the United States."

Here's what Rep. Steve King, who introduced the English Language Unity Act, has to say in a press release:
There are over 6,000 languages spoken throughout the world, and in the United States there are at least 28 different dominant languages -- those spoken by at least 100,000 people. The English Language Unity Act helps immigrants by encouraging them to learn English to fully integrate into American society.

“English is the language of opportunity in America,” said King. “Learning English opens doors to better jobs and opportunities, which America was built upon. The only way to fully learn about American culture, and what makes America truly unique, is through our common bond of the English language.”

Almost 12 million Americans are linguistically isolated, according to the U.S. Census. In addition, immigrants who are not proficient in English earn an average of 17% less than English- proficient immigrants with similar backgrounds, experience and education. The gap grows wider with the opportunities English-proficient immigrants realize while moving up the economic ladder.

“I couldn’t have gotten this far in school and my work experience if I didn’t get the English immersion to the extent that I did,” said Gloria Fung, an immigrant from Hong Kong, who while attending George Mason University, is studying for pharmaceutical school. “I know my opportunities and experiences will be very different than my parents, who haven’t fully learned English.”
Predictably, our local left-wingers are against the bill and are attempting to marginalize the CRs as "racists," "fascists," "homophobes(?)," and "extremists," even though a June 2006 Rasmussen poll reported that a whopping 85% of Americans support English as the national language. Only 11% disagree. That my friends, is bipartisan support. But the liberal elitist minority know they can only rule by creating paranoia, dissension, discontent, and manipulating minority groups. By voting for national unity, the leftists would be voting themselves out of power.

Circuit City

Does anyone know if Circut City wants to build in Pullman? I think it would be SO much fun to have them try to build a store here. I would love to hear the arguments from PARD to keep them out.

Guns Before Sewers

Call me heartless if you wish, but I'm having a little difficulty mustering much sympathy for that Palestinian town that was drowned in its own sewage. It seems that the whole thing was a self-inflicted wound created by an all-too-familiar cultural defect endemic to the victims.

Earlier this week came the horrifying story of a Palestinian sewage lagoon that collapsed, drowning a town in its own excrement. At least 6 people died including 2 infants.

How this came to pass is getting less attention, even though the cause is much clearer than the levee collapses in New Orleans.

The residents of the inundated town had been undermining the lagoons walls by stealing the sand. And, the Israelis, who had been supplying materials to modernize the facility stopped because the Palestinian Authority had been stealing those materials and diverting them for manufacturing rockets and bombs.

Hillary's Coalition of the Bribed

If you can purchase principled anti-war votes from Democrats, then it's perfectly understandable that presidential endorsements go up for auction as well.

Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack announced his endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. And of course, both he and Hillary insist that it's purely coincidental that she's paying off his $400,000 campaign debt.

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack gave Sen. Hillary Clinton his endorsement for her presidential campaign.

The Clinton campaign has promised Vilsack to help pay off a $400,000 campaign debt he built up during his run for the White House.

A representative for Clinton's campaign said they are not sure how their campaign will do that. They concede that at some point, Clinton will have to contact her supporters.

The campaign said there is no connection between Vilsack's endorsement and their commitment to help pay off his campaign debt.

How stupid do these whores really think we are?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stalking Heron, Hidden Agenda

No sooner do I mention the theme park mentality that I have observed on the Palouse, than two writers submit letters to the Daily News amply illustrating that attitude.

Here's an excerpt from one:
Pullman and Moscow have individual identities along with unique businesses and restaurants. Why do we want them to become just any small town U.S.A., complete with sprawl, strip, and low quality of life? Let's put a stop to these sprawling developments that spring up overnight. Let's maintain our autonomy by saying "no" to the big box find-them-anywhere businesses. Let's keep the Palouse a distinctive place, one that we can be proud of.

We have the opportunity now to plan our towns in such a way that could mimic the charm of European cities. These are on the whole unique and vibrant, with downtowns that provide good shopping choices, year-round markets, public transportation, green parks, and walking and biking areas. Our opportunity to align with them is now. Let's not destroy it with business as usual decisions about growth and development.
So in addition to "Frontierland" and "Main Street USA," we can add "Busch Gardens Europe" to the list of theme parks that our local elitists want Pullman and Moscow to emulate.

One small point, that I have made before: Pullman and Moscow ALREADY HAVE dozens of "local" national chain stores and restaurants, including two Safeways, two Rite Aids, Macy's, Wal-Mart, Staples, Office Depot, Hastings, Michael's Jo-Ann Fabrics, ShopKo, Barnes & Noble, Radio Shack, Blockbuster and numerous Starbucks and McDonalds. It is topography, flora and fauna, climate, language, accents, culture, etc. that make regions "distinctive," not stores. Why do people get so hung up on that?. If you crave a place with no chain stores so badly, then move to Anatone. Studies have shown that college students want chain stores and restaurants and a more urban environment, and that's what Pullman and Moscow have to provide as the home of two major universities.

Then there was this letter that really made me laugh out loud:
Pullman needs creative planning

I would like to join Lennis Boyer in applauding the column by Katherine Meier, (Town Crier, Feb. 28). Meier decries the loss of beautiful natural areas in our neighborhoods with little or no advance notice, as building projects mushroom throughout Pullman. The partially filled wetland she mentions had previously created a charming view from the Aquatic Center weight room, from which I once watched as a stately heron stalked along the tiny brook, and rabbits played in the meadow. Such amenities are few and far between in Pullman, and we should do more to treasure and save them. We can hope the finished housing development will maximize the effectiveness of the remaining wetland.

Meier also mentions the new strip mall on Bishop Boulevard. It is replacing a calm, tree-filled riverside meadow with small businesses. These may well be desirable additions to our tax rolls and consumer options, but they also reduce the natural beauty around us, replacing the extraordinary with the ordinary. We need both. Affordable housing and a vital economy for a growing population are necessities, but can't we be more creative in our planning and provide both roofs over our heads and sustenance for our spirits?

Mary Carloye, Moscow
So let's now add "Disney's Animal Kingdom" to the list.

"A stately heron stalked along the tiny brook, and rabbits played in the meadow?" "A calm, tree-filled riverside meadow?" "Sustenance for our spirits?" Bwwhahahahahahahahhahahha! My side hurts!! This is too over-the-top, even for the treehugging liberals. The only thing "creative" about this letter is Carloye's writing.

First of all, the view out of the weight room at the Pullman Aquatics Center is mostly of Jim Logan's house, yard, and garden. Impressive, but hardly "charming." And no wetland is being filled in, God forbid. Wurgler Marsh is untouched by this development. In any case, the owners of the land being developed are not obligated to preserve Carloye's view while she works out, unless of course Carloye is willing to buy the land herself and then pay property taxes on it each year. She fails to mention that the development is adding desperately needed family housing to Pullman. What is more desirable? A place where one can hear the laughter of children playing in their own backyard or watching rabbits play? Remember, the place Carloye is talking about was just a run-of the-mill, weed-infested field, not a wildlife preserve. Don't worry the cute little bunnies will still roam freely, as will the moose, the deer, the cougars, and the packs of coyotes on Military Hill.

As far as Crimson Village goes, how "calm" was that area to begin with, as it is directly adjacent to traffic on Bishop Blvd? The trees in the "riverside meadow" were planted by the city, not Johnny Appleseed. And it's not Moscow's tax rolls and consumer options, it's Pullman's, thank you very much. Go complain about the new Goodwill building next to the mall. It would be just as applicable and infinitely more appropriate for a Moscow resident.

Carolye's comments clearly demonstrate the fraud that is our local "smart growth" movement. If they are against development in small vacant lots in ALREADY DEVELOPED AREAS, i.e. "urban infill," the mantra of true "smart growth," then they are really against ALL growth. Neither project she cites represents "sprawl" in any way. This kind of highly romanticized and poetic moonbattery is also what gives environmentalists and conservationists a bad name. No one is going to take objections like Carloye's seriously.

On a side note, The FON (Friends of Nancy) have now submitted one Town Crier column and two letters to the editor in defense of the embattled Mayor of Moscow. Nice try, but it's not going to help any with the Whitman County Commissioners.

"There goes that Wal-Mart again"

Another good letter from Roger Daisley in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Wal-Mart announced March 23 it is sharing more than one-half billion dollars with its hourly-paid employees (associates). Watch out, folks: They are providing a really dangerous example that will be a tough act to follow for local businesses.

Where is the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development when we really need them? They must stop this company from settling here and corrupting our fine hard-working and probably underpaid local residents with bonuses .Who's ever heard of that.

The rumor is there is already a line forming of local "suckers" that want to work for Wal-Mart, even in the face of such "poor employee benefits."

Roger Daisley, Pullman
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Burn the Straw Man

From The Fallacy Files:
The Straw Man is a type of Red Herring because the arguer is attempting to refute his opponent's position, and in the context is required to do so, but instead attacks a position—the "straw man"—not held by his opponent. In a Straw Man argument, the arguer argues to a conclusion that denies the "straw man" he has set up, but misses the target. There may be nothing wrong with the argument presented by the arguer when it is taken out of context, that is, it may be a perfectly good argument against the straw man. It is only because the burden of proof is on the arguer to argue against the opponent's position that a Straw Man fallacy is committed. So, the fallacy is not simply the argument, but the entire situation of the argument occurring in such a context.
A great example of The Straw Man is on display in today's Daily Evergreen.

In an editorial today, Haley Paul attempts to take on the WSU College Republicans. I say "attempts" because rather than address the issues the CRs raised about the border fence and English as the national language, she instead addresses the war in Iraq, taxes, student loans, spending on social programs, limited government, and the invasion of personal privacy; issues that the CRs have neither publicly supported nor attacked.

In addition, Paul engaged in another logical fallacy by attacking the entire Republican Party based on the actions of President Bush's administration. This is known as "Guilt by Association," or the "Bad Company Fallacy," which is an attempt to discredit an idea based upon disfavored people or groups associated with it.

The Straw Man argument is a sure sign of a desperate and weak debater. Do the local liberals really have no better comeback to the issues the CRs have raised? Is Straw Men, Argumentum ad Nazium and Argumentum ad Hominem (e.g. the CR's are "racist," the CR's are "homophobic," the CRs are "ethnocentric") all they have? And people wonder "what's the matter with Kansas?"

Pork, The Other White Flag

Not even the French know how to quit with such indignity.

Jim Lileks, one of my favorite writers, has a fine column today that lays bare the Democrats' disgusting strategy for surrender.

Congress wants the troops to have sufficient bullets to cover their retreat. What's really getting all the attention, besides the requirement that the U.S. quit the field by 2008, are the payouts given to various members of Congress who wanted their palms greased before they voted YES to supply the troops. Let's examine some of the delights contained in the bill's rich nougat center.

— $5 million to compensate tropical fish breeders for losses suffered when a virus took out their stock. You can't really argue with this, since the Supreme Court long ago struck down the supposed ``wall of separation'' between Tank and State. It's an obvious national priority, lest we find ourselves beholden to foreign fish cartels. There was even talk of creating a Strategic Clownfish Reserve, but experts agreed that Congress already performed that role admirably.

— $25 million to the spinach growers who lost money during the contamination brouhaha. If you were one of the unlucky people who ate the bad spinach, and missed work because you were up brouhahaing all night, you get no recompense.

— $13 million for Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention. An unexpected side effect of the Pterodactyl Reintroduction Act of 2005 meant that huge, leather-winged reptiles were carrying off portions of the nation's flock; this provision compensates herders. In a nod to fiscal responsibility, however, a rider that set up an Internet video monitoring system for sheep flocks called ``Ewe Tube'' was struck from the bill.

— $400 million for "wildland fire suppression.'' Just have the fires speak out against the war; if you believe Sean Penn and Rosie O'Donnell, administration officials will suppress the fires with just a few words of criticism.

— $74 million for peanut storage. Sources on the Hill note this is a victory for freshman Rep. Planters, D-Licious, a colorful character who wears a monocle and top hat.

— $525,000 for the National Park System to beef up its avian flu detection efforts. Which means that the national Ewe Crisis is 26 times more important than avian flu detection? No. Another provision spends almost a billion dollars for flu pandemic preparation. But you know how things are today — trying to spend that much money to combat a dread disease is a hard sell, and you have to hide the appropriation in a bigger bill and hope no one finds out.

— $5 billion for education. Possibly more; the bill is 87 pages long. But ammunition procurement for the Air Force is $95.8 million, which might mean arrival of the long-awaited day, predicted on many a thoughtful bumper sticker, when the Air Force has to hold a bake sale. That will prompt Bill Maher to assert that Girl Scouts are braver than pilots, because the Scouts deliver cookies in person and the Air Force drops the boxes from 30,000 feet. Still, it makes sense; while education is an obvious federal obligation, there is nothing in the Constitution about an Air Force, and if the Founders had intended to spend money on "sky militias'' they would have mentioned a "Balloon'd Musketry Corps'' in the Federalist Papers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lee Scott: "We cannot appease them. We are not."

Neil Cavuto of Fox News had a rare interview with Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott today. The transcript can be found here.

Scott, as could be expected of a CEO of any major corporation, tried to avoid saying anything controversial. The following exchange, however, was rather enlightening:
CAVUTO: I think you have critics who want you to be a union company. Now if you were, do you think all of this would go away, all of this criticism?

SCOTT: Let me, if I could, finish my thought. We have a select group of people who are critics of the company that want us to be better. The issues you are talking about really are from the unions that came after we started the Supercenter Program, and we entered into groceries. And that is where I think the major force behind this criticism is. We cannot appease them. We are not.

CAVUTO: They want you to be unionized, right?

SCOTT: They may.

CAVUTO: All right. They do. I talk to a lot of them. All right. Now.

SCOTT: That is not their choice. That is our associates'.

CAVUTO: Absolutely. Now do you think in your heart of hearts, if you were, then all of the people criticizing you about health benefits, hourly rates, all of that, all of that, they would all go away?

SCOTT: You are darn right. This is about politics and power. It is not about right and wrong.
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A Tale of Two Stories

It's funny how two different newspapers can interpret the same event in two completely different ways.

For example, there was this story in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Completion of rural residential laws in sight; County schedules one more public hearing on proposed revisions

Proposed revisions to Whitman County's rural residential laws could become official after one more public hearing.

Public Works Director Mark Storey said Monday that county staff will meet Wednesday to discuss final changes to the proposed laws before sending them to the county commissioners.

If county commissioners approve of the changes, all that remains is a final public hearing on the matter. The hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. April 17 at the Public Service Building in Colfax.

Storey said the planning staff and Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy have met a few times over the last three months to discuss changes to the proposed laws to make them more defensible and clear.

Questions about defensibility have haunted the proposed laws since their inception in planning commission meetings several years ago. Commissioner Greg Partch said the goal of the laws is to protect agriculture and open up the county to development, and that finding a way to balance the two takes new ideas.

Some of those new ideas spurred the commissioners to pay $5,000 to a Spokane legal firm last summer to review an early draft of the proposed laws.

Many county residents protested the expenditure, and the commissioners and county staff decided to table the proposed laws late last year after questions about defensibility and clarity arose at public hearings and county workshops.

In December, Tracy wrote a letter to the commissioners and staff outlining his concerns that aspects of the laws including viewsheds and butte protection would be hard to defend because they were relatively new ideas.

Storey and County Planner Mark Bordsen said issues over viewsheds, butte protection, and how the proposed laws coincide with the county's comprehensive plan have been addressed. Avenues for residents to appeal the new laws have been refined, and the document is more defensible.

The commissioners and planning commission have maintained that they want to protect the viewsheds of the county and its buttes and high places. With revisions, Storey said the county has established reasons why those areas should be protected.

Commissioner Jerry Finch said the Palouse is known for its rolling hills and open spaces, and the county wants to protect those assets. Commissioners and staff believe hilltop homes could damage the reputation of the county's emerging scenic byway and interfere with aquifer recharge zones.

Storey said the proposed laws in fact open up space to build by defining the areas needed to protect the buttes and recharge zones. He used a map of Kamiak Butte to demonstrate new areas that could potentially be opened for development. Past versions of the laws restricted development near the buttes. Under the current draft, areas far enough away from county roads and outside of suggested aquifer recharge zones would be open for development.

Other changes include the possibility for families to build additional dwellings on a home site.

"I think we have a fine new ordinance that ... most importantly, protects agriculture and opens up more housing options in the county," Finch said. "I think if people read the revised ordinance critically and try to put aside their emotions they will see we made a great effort to open the county and give them more options."
If one read just Ryan Bentley's story, one would think the rural residential zoning ordinance was on the verge of being passed. Actually, that is not exactly true, as evidenced by Whitman County Gazette publisher Gordon Forgey's editorial from last Thursday's edition:
Miles to Go

After years of debate and hearings, the final draft of the county's agriculture zoning codes was due at the first of the month.

That deadline has been pushed back because the wrangling continues.

Now, Denis Tracy, county prosecutor, says portions of the final proposal are flawed and may, in fact, be unconstitutional.

It is back to the drawing board, specifically in the area of "viewshed" requirements. This is the idea that the beauty of the Palouse should not be marred by the appearance of houses on hill tops. The inclusion of the concept of viewsheds in the proposed zoning ordinance and its ramifications has been a sticking point in the development of the plan.

The plan has made it this far after being run through the gauntlets of land owners and environmentalists.

As each group claims, the plan will impact all the county for years to come. As such, it is important that it be right, rather than rushed.

The final plan may still be months away. More workshops and more hearings will be held. The good news is that about the only group not trying to shape the plan is the Moscow city council and its mayor, but, of course, their hands are full stopping development in eastern Whitman County.
This thing is far from done.

BBOC (Big Blogger on Campus)

“Did you ever think that making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.”

- Lyndon Baines Johnson
Today, I had the privilege to speak with Steve Peterson's Environmental Economics (ECON 385) class at the University of Idaho. My presentation was titled "Some Perspectives on Growth and Conflict Over Growth in Pullman and Whitman County" (Palousitics regulars should know exactly what those perspectives are.) The PowerPoint file can be downloaded here.

It was very enjoyable. I think I can say, with an absolutely unblemished record as a Cougar fan, that the UI campus is very nice. The students were great. They had some excellent questions and I could see some nodding in agreement but I'm sure others thought I was a crazy right-wing nut. Thanks to Steve Peterson (of "Moscow at a Tipping Point" fame and my favorite economist) for all his hospitality.

I have also had a lot of fun working this semester with a group of students in the WSU PR Techniques and Media Usage (PR 313) class. Hi guys!

The funny thing about all this is that I'm a computer programmer by trade who majored in International Relations. I would love to go back now and major in either Economics or Public Relations. Oh, well. This "old man" can still be a "silly shill for Wal-Mart" and advocate "saturated development" without a Ph.D. in either Sociology or Comparative Literature.

A New Form of Evil

A big part of the problem that we are having with Iraq is that a decent people cannot anticipate the barbarism of an evil people. Who among us guessed that the Nazis would build gas chambers? Who among us would have imagined Japanese biological warfare experiments - or their practice of using live human beings as bayonet dummies? And today, who among us would have imagined that Iraqi terrorists would use little children to get their car bombs past checkpoints, then blow the cars up with the children inside?

The Reason America Hasn't Won in Iraq
By Dennis Prager
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 27, 2007

I never thought we could see a new form of evil. After the gas chambers of the Holocaust, the tens of millions murdered in the Gulag, the forced starvation in the Ukraine, the hideous medical experiments on people by the Germans and the Japanese in World War II, the torture chambers in all police states, I had actually believed that no new forms of evil existed.

I was wrong.

Of course, for sheer cruelty, one cannot outdo the Nazis; no depiction of hell ever matched the reality of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. But while Islamists and Baathists in Iraq have not devised new forms of torture -- there probably are no new ways left -- they have devised a new form of evil: murdering, maiming and torturing as many innocents among their own people as possible.

I do not know of an analogous form of evil. When the Allies conquered Nazi Germany, disaffected Nazis did not go around murdering and cutting off the heads of fellow Germans in order to make the Allies leave. Nor did disaffected Japanese blow up Japanese students so as to make the American occupation of Japan untenable.

Here is the latest example of this new form of evil as reported by the Associated Press: "Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations on the Joint Staff, said . . . the vehicle used in the attack [on Iraqi civilians] was waved through a U.S. military checkpoint because two children were visible in the back seat. He said this was the first reported use of children in a car bombing in Baghdad. 'Children in the back seat lowered suspicion, (so) we let it move through, they parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back,' Barbero told reporters in Washington."

These same "insurgents" routinely blow up children who line up to receive candy from U.S. troops. Likewise, college students are targeted for death, as are men lining up to apply for civilian jobs, men and women attending mosques, physicians in hospitals, and so on. The more innocent the Iraqi, the more likely he or she is to be targeted for murder.

I submit that there was no way to anticipate this. And no one did. This includes all those who predicted a civil war in Iraq between Shiites and Sunnis. I include myself among those who predicted savagery in Iraq. On a number of occasions prior to our invasion of Iraq, I recounted to my radio listeners this chilling story:

As a young man, in 1974, I was riding on a bus traveling from Beirut to Damascus. The man I sat next to was an English-speaking Iraqi whom I asked at one point in our conversation, "Can you describe your nation in a sentence?" "No problem," he immediately answered. "We Iraqis are the most barbaric people in the world."

I obviously never forgot that man's words, and therefore anticipated great cruelties in Iraq. But neither I nor anyone who predicted a civil war had so much as a premonition of this unprecedented mass murder of the men, women and children among one's own people as a military tactic to defeat an external enemy.

It is, therefore, unfair to blame the Bush administration for not anticipating such a determined "insurgency." Without the mass murder of fellow Iraqis, there would hardly be any "insurgency." The combination of suicide terrorists and a theology of death has created an unprecedented form of "resistance" to an occupier: "We will murder as many men, women and children as we can until you leave." Nor is this a matter of Sunnis murdering Shiites and vice versa: college students, women shopping at a Baghdad market and hospital workers all belong to both groups. Truck bombs cannot distinguish among tribes or religious affiliations.

If America had to fight an insurgency directed solely against us and coalition forces -- even including suicide bombers -- we would surely have succeeded. No one, right, left or center, could imagine a group of people so evil, so devoid of the most elementary and universal concepts of morality, that they would target their own people, especially the most vulnerable, for murder.

That is why we have not yet prevailed in Iraq. Even without all the mistakes made by the Bush administration -- and what political or military leadership has not made many errors in prosecuting a war? -- it could not have foreseen this new form of evil we are witnessing in Iraq.

That is why we have not won.

There are respectable arguments to be made against America's initially going into Iraq. But intellectually honest opponents of the war have to acknowledge that no one could anticipate an "insurgency" that included people leaving children in a car and then blowing them up.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Theme Park Mentality

I have blogged often lately about the "drawbridger" mentality that infects the Palouse. That's when people move in from somewhere else, discover that the Palouse is a paradise, and then want to "pull up the drawbridge" so no one else can move in and ruin it for them.

I'm beginning to notice another pernicious attitude around here as well: the "Theme Park" mentality. It was on display in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Moscow must lead with vision

I am pleased to find, despite criticisms and political pressures, Mayor Nancy Chaney is thinking and defending the best interests of Moscow residents. The building of big-box stores just across the border will place many of the costs on Moscow residents rather than Whitman County.

Whose water source will be potentially decreased? Whose police and fire departments will respond to situations that may arise, especially shoplifting and theft? If Moscow residents bear the costs maybe our political representatives should consider annexing land across the state line. It has been done elsewhere and should be legal.

A more long-term issue is to consider how and where development should take place. I recall arriving for an interview more than 20 years ago, admiring the countryside on the ride into town from the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport until I saw the Palouse Empire Mall and the continual strip development thinking, "Oh, no, they have moved the ugly New Jersey strip landscape to rural Idaho."

Fortunately, later I saw downtown Moscow, the essence of what, only now, much of American development is now trying to "get-back-to" via trendy terms such as "New Urbanism." The use of strip malls, linear development and big-box stores has created by contrast the new term "junkscape."

A question remains, which trend do we want to promote? Is it a question of development or not? All of the stores and businesses in our current "junkscape" could have been accommodated in a much better thought out vision and development plan.

We need, as residents, to think of what those alternatives might be rather than merely extending our Moscow "junkscape" across the state line and into Pullman. Can we not lead with our own visions, rather than borrowing from New Jersey and elsewhere?

Gundars Rudzitis, Moscow
See, Rudzitis came to Moscow with a preconceived notion of what "rural Idaho" should look like. He was obviously devastated to see that there was actually 20th century commerce here in the form of a mall. Much as on a trip to Disney World, you expect to be "wowed." You want to be taken away to imaginary places and faraway lands. You don't shell out thousands to see something you could see on the next block over back home. The problem is, PULLMAN AND WHITMAN COUNTY IS NOT A THEME PARK!!!!!! We are trying to raise our families as best we can and maybe pass on to our kids a little more than we had. We are not animatronic puppets built for the amusement of outsiders. This is not "Frontierland" or "Main Street USA." If people in New Jersey have strip malls and big-box stores, why shouldn't we? Are our needs so different? The "junkscapes" Rudzitis describes have been built because that is how Americans prefer to shop. His "junkscape" is actually a "moneyscape." The lack of such a "junkscape" costs Pullman $100 million in retail sales every single year.

Rudzitis, of course, is free to prefer Godsey's General Store to the Palouse Mall. Where he and the other "smart growthers" go wrong is the desire to force their vision on everyone else through governmental means such as Nancy Chaney and her City Clowncil and Rudzitis' proposed annexaton that would result in the trampling of private propery rights.

There was a similar theme raised in last Thursday's issue of the Whitman County Gazette. The front page story covered the unfolding disaster that is the rural residential zoning ordinance. The County Commissioners have bought a real pig in a poke. The whole thing is going to have to be scrapped because it is fraught with legal peril for the county, and frankly, is unconstitutional.

One excerpt from the story is particularly illuminating:
[Whitman County Prosecutor Denis] Tracy said the viewshed section of the code fell short in the balancing test, as it aims to preserve the rolling hills and rural character of the county.

"While those are attractive, good for tourism and make this a desirable place to live and work," said Tracy. "It could be argued that you are creating a giant theme park called the Palouse at the expense of private landowners."
Thank goodness we have people like Denis Tracy to stop the madness.

Here's What Sustainable Growth is Really All About

This is why I supported Michael Largent for County Commissioner last year. From a story in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News titled "Whitman County's deficit is decreasing":
Largent said playing the touch-and-go budget game is no way to run a sustainable local government. To remedy its current situation, the county is trying to broaden its tax base. It is working with Boise-based Hawkins Companies to construct a new retail center in the Pullman-Moscow corridor and providing support for a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman to increase sales tax revenue. It's also trying to open up the county to residential growth.

"If we can get more people to move here, our businesses can provide them with products and services," Largent said. "And that's good for the long run."
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Get Together: Dinner, Drinks and Cigar Social?

I would be willing to host a Dinner associated with "drinks" and a cigar social. I strongly believe that it is imperative to support our local tobacco farmers, lol. Get some take out, hit the cigar store in Moscow and mix some drinks. let me know.

Argumentum ad Nazium

From Fallacy Files:
In almost every heated debate, one side or the other—often both—plays the "Hitler card", that is, criticizes their opponent's position by associating it in some way with Adolf Hitler or the Nazis in general. No one wants to be associated with Nazism because it has been so thoroughly discredited in both theory and practise, and Hitler of course was its most famous exponent. So, linking an idea with Hitler or Nazism has become a common form of argument ascribing guilt by association...

Playing the Hitler Card demonizes opponents in debate by associating them with evil, and almost always derails the discussion. People naturally resent being associated with Nazism, and are usually angered. In this way, playing the Hitler Card can be an effective distraction in a debate, causing the opponent to lose track of the argument. However, when people become convinced by guilt by association arguments that their political opponents are not just mistaken, but are as evil as Nazis, reasoned debate can give way to violence. So, playing the Hitler Card is more than just a dirty trick in debate, it is often "fighting words".
Argumentum ad Nazium is used frequently by our unimaginative and intellectually lazy Palouse liberals.

Rememeber John Streamas' rant in the Daily Evergreen last fall about the College Republicans?
It [the border fence] is a violently racist symbol, no different from Nazis carrying a swastika through a Jewish neighborhood
In today's Evergreen, they are at it again:
Recent demonstration was in poor taste


I was a little disturbed by the story about the College Republicans demonstration for English as the sole national language. Not the idea that English as the national language might be a terrible idea, but the ideology of the appeal being made. English as America’s official language is a valid debate to have, but to couch the argument in nationalist and patriotic trappings as well as jargon is sadly un-American and un-patriotic. Is there any great difference in the ideology or appeal of “One Nation, One Flag, One Language!” and “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!”? They call themselves conservatives, yet what are they trying to conserve? Some fictional stereotype of what an American is? I don’t say this to be insulting, but by definition, how is this not a fascist ideology?

Ron Hughes, alumni, 1994
There was another vague Nazi analogy in another letter by Lucas Burke:
Americans would do well to remember that stirring up nationalist ideas has only resulted in massive conflict throughout recent centuries. The archaic nationalistic tendencies of the 19th and 20th centuries, those ideologies that forced the world to suffer two horrific world wars and the Cold War, cannot continue into the 21st century if we truly wish to live in a peaceful, prosperous and democratic world.
Such arguments only demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of our local collectivists.

Today on The PES

Daniel from College Republicans, Tom from Palousitics. Washington state is pushing a bill that will make biometrics part of a "voluntary" drivers license. Plus more!

Tune in today at Noon on 90.7FM or on the web at kzuu.org

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wal-Mart: "If you can locate near one do so"

This appeared in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News. If you remember, I made the connection between Ace Hardware and Wal-Mart a long time ago.
Doug Henry and his partners filled a big void at the Wheatland Center in Pullman.

Doug, his wife, Linda, and longtime friends, Paul and Jan Strohbehn of Dayton, Wash., on March 1 opened Henry's ACE Hardware in the old Safeway building on the city's south end.

This is the second venture with ACE hardware for the Henrys of Walla Walla, Wash. They've owed a hardware store in Milton-Freewater, Ore., since September 2004.

The Henrys took a circuitous route to becoming retailers.

Doug worked in health care for 30 years, beginning as a respiratory therapist and eventually becoming an administrator at St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla.

For years he had thought of owning a hardware store but was too busy to consider pursuing the dream. That is until he saw a small ad in the newspaper selling a hardware store in Milton-Freewater.

For several days he weighed his options and took the plunge.

He didn't quit his day job.

Instead, he hired his daughter and son-in-law, Laura and Justin Schouten, to run the store.

That worked well for a few years until the opportunity came up in Pullman. ACE wanted to locate a store there and company representatives felt the Henrys were the ones who should own it.

Doug and his fellow hospital administrator, Paul Strohbehn, entered into a partnership to buy the building and quit their jobs to devote time to the new store.

ACE is a co-op. Every store is individually owned and operated with ACE as the main supplier.

"As owners, we have a lot of freedom and (with ACE's buying power) we can compete with big-box stores." Doug said.

Doug is confident if Wal-Mart is located near his store, which is the plan, he and others will benefit.

"Wal-Mart provides some competition but, generally speaking, it will bring in enough traffic to help us," he said. "ACE advised us not to be afraid. They said 'If you can locate near one do so.' "

The new 20,000-square-foot store will feature a full range of hardware items, housewares, lawn and garden supplies, paint and decorating supplies and gifts. The store also offers key- and glass-cutting and screen repair.

"We're not filled yet," Doug said. "We want to see what the needs are in Pullman."

The Pullman store has 20 employees.

A grand opening is planned for Friday, March 31 and April 1. Doors open at 8 a.m.

There will be demonstrations, entertainment, refreshments, prizes and daily specials.

Henry's ACE Hardware is located at 1690 S. Grand Ave. Business hours are Hours 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (509) 332-1450.
I wonder how PARD will spin this. I'm reminded how Deirdre Rogers stated at last year's UI Economics Club forum on Wal-Mart that "PARD had plans for the old Safeway" after I pointed out that the union-friendly grocer was the only company that required a dark-store ordinance in Pullman.

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Time for Another Palousitics Get Together?

The WSU College Republicans have requested another Palousitics get together before the semester ends in just over a month. Perhaps some outdoor activity on a weekend this time.

What do you guys think? E-mail me and let me know what would work.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sean... The Montage Is Coming

Be on the look out for a Sean montage coming to a YouTube near you.

"Affordable homes remain elusive"

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

Pullman forum outlines problems, alternatives as families search for choices

Eunice Stime tries to find people the perfect home, but the task is becoming harder in today's housing market.

"There's no 'great deal' anymore. There are families that will live just about anywhere they can afford," said Stime, a Realtor for Beasley Realty in Pullman.

Stime recently sold a home to a married couple with a child. The family had been house-hunting for several years and finally settled on a one-bedroom in Colfax. The young couple's struggles are not new.

"People have to settle, and they're discouraged to buy," she said of many house-hunters.

Stime was one of more than 100 people who attended the Affordable Housing for Whitman County forum at the Gladish Community Center in Pullman on Thursday. The event was sponsored by the Palouse Economic Development Council and the Community Action Center. Attendants of the forum included Whitman County staff, representatives from cities across the region, developers, real estate agents, landlords and homeowners.

Three breakout groups provided people a chance to learn more about specific issues such as land development, alternative development concepts and zoning and land use.

Chris Venne, development finance director for Community Frameworks, a Spokane-based organization that provides affordable housing solutions for the Pacific Northwest, said there is no easy way to correct the affordable housing problem. One issue driving concerns is that housing prices are increasing while income levels are not increasing at the same rate, a phenomena Venne described as "the gap."

"The gap is growing. Over the last couple years, the gap is getting worse," he said.

In Whitman County, home values are increasing by about 45 percent, while incomes have upped by a little more than 10 percent.

The problem affects economic development, Venne said, providing anecdotes to describe the national affordable housing issue.

Moderate-level workers around the Inland Northwest are affected, he said. Firefighters and other emergency workers are moving into cheaper, more suburban areas that are farther away from their service area, adding to response times. Teachers cannot afford to purchase homes and often turn down jobs because of the lack of available affordable housing, which causes school administrators to hire third- and fourth-choice teaching candidates. Businesses are finding it difficult to recruit workers because employees can't afford to buy a home and settle down.

"People in the workforce are finding it harder and harder to find homes," he said. "What does that mean for the quality of life in that community? These examples are happening all over this region. It may not ever happen here ... but there are things that may happen if you let your housing problems go too far."

Glen Crellin, director of the Washington State University Center for Real Estate Research, put things in perspective. The average home along the West coast averages about $500,000, he said.

"That certainly makes communities like Pullman look down right affordable," he said. "But, as we know, the devil is in the details."

In Washington - the state with the highest minimum wage in the country - would-be first-time home buyers are increasingly unable to afford a house.

"If we can't get people into their first home, it's going to be harder for them to move up the ladder (of home ownership) in the future," Crellin said. "We need to have reasonable opportunities for first-time home buyers to participate in the realty market. The problem is critical in communities like this."

Presenters, such as Jim Soules, a Seattle developer with the Cottage Company LLC, provided housing alternatives such as small clusters of homes on a large lot. The homes can be quality built for less money, which is passed along to buyers. As those homes become more popular, though, values increase.

Self-help housing options, such as Habitat for Humanity and other similar programs, help people with low to moderate-level incomes pay for parts of their homes through sweat equity, meaning they help in its construction. Land trust options also allow moderate-income level families to purchase homes, while not owning the land. Modular and manufactured homes also are options.

Venne urges potential home owners and developers to be creative and local political leaders to take an interest. Only then will change occur and affordable housing become more available.

"Where there's a political will, it will happen," he said. "The problem is that there's no easy solution. There's no silver bullet."
It's pretty disppointing if these were the main issues that were discussed. If so, this sounded like a forum on the infamous "living wage" more than "affordable housing."

What does the minimum wage have to do with anything? Even in Washington, no one making minumum wage is going to be able to afford a house.

There's no mystery to affordable housing in Pullman. It's all about simple supply and demand. Ed Schweitzer has been saying this for years and years and still no one gets it. Even though we are surrounded by over 2000 square miles of farmland, restrictive zoning laws have made land to build on scarce and unavailable in Pullman and Whitman County. When land is expensive, so is the cost of housing. For example, remember the development across from the high school that is destroying "the charming little valley?" Some of the tiny lots there are going for $80,000.

I'm surprised the guy from the Washington State University Center for Real Estate Research didn't mention their study that showed how the Growth Management Act has increased home prices in Washington. Whitman County has opted out of the GMA, but our rural residential zoning ordinance in many ways is just as onerous. Environmental regulations ALWAYS work against affordability. After all, you can't protect your "viewshed" AND provide affordable housing to young families. But that suits most of our local drawbridgers just fine. They don't want any new people moving in anyway. They've got theirs already.

According to the 3rd Quarter 2006 Housing Market Snapshot from the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, Whitman County is FIFTH WORST in the state for First Time Buyer Affordability.

There's also a flip side to supply and demand. There is a supply of people in Pullman willing to pay $300,000 plus for a home. As long as there is, developers will keep building $300,000 plus homes. But as usual, the free market will provide the solution. Once the high end demand has been met, developers will then begin to address lower-end housing.

But as long as we have restrictive, anti-growth zoning in place, Pullman and Whitman County are never going to be good places for young people just starting out to live. We only educate and house them for four years and then export all that brain power somewhere else. Is that what we want?

One Language, One Flag, One Nation! Camera Shy?

Clearly, some people are camera shy.


The $40 bike returns!!!


Is this guy Alex McDonald with his famous $40 bike? Alex McDonald is on the right in the picture. If you search for him on the WSU web site, he's clearly not media shy, especially when it comes to writing letters to the editor bashing Wal-Mart and calling the Pullman police racists.

When Bank of America Makes Scotty Mad, Bank of America Notices

Here's why being mad and blogging is better than just being mad.

From the Palousitics Site Meter:

Domain Name bankofamerica.com (Commercial)
IP Address 171.159.192.# (Bank of America)
ISP Bank of America

Location Continent : North America
Country : United States
State : California
City : Concord
Lat/Long : 38.0033, -122.0318
Distance : 652 miles

Language English (United States)
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Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; UB1.4_IE6.0_SP1; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; InfoPath.1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
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Time of Visit Mar 23 2007 5:39:14 am
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Domain Name bankofamerica.com (Commercial)
IP Address 171.161.224.# (Bank of America)
ISP Bank of America

Location Continent : North America
Country : United States
State : North Carolina
City : Charlotte
Lat/Long : 35.206, -80.829 (Map)
Distance : 2,032 miles

Language English (United States)
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Browser Internet Explorer 6.0
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Referring URL http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&client=news&q=Bank of America&ie=UTF8
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Search Words bank of america
Visit Entry Page http://palousitics.bank-of-america-is-making-me-mad.html
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This is nothing new. With the rise of blogging, large corporations (and government) have staffers who constantly scan the blogosphere for references to their organization, good or bad. For example, Palousitics has been visited by Wal-Mart, Costco, Starbucks, Wal-Mart Watch, the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Washington State Legislature, among others.

Maybe they'll be nice to you now, Scotty!

Anti-English Barking Moonbats Take Flight

Why would anyone wish to create a linguistic apartheid?

Very few issues expose the perversity of this country’s cultural left wing more vividly than the debate over English as the official language of the land. The surest way to evoke their hyperventilating, name-calling and threats is to advocate English as the official language.
It worked again last week when Washington State University’s College Republicans stood on the mall and advocated a law that would make English fluency a prerequisite for citizenship. Sure enough, the barking moonbats rose to the chum, accusing the Republicans of all the usual clichés that they keep in their unimaginative intellectual quiver.
It is frankly indefensible that anyone would wish to condemn a fellow human being to poverty by linguistically isolating him from the economic mainstream. Alarm bells were sounded earlier this week when it was reported that 36% of Washington, D.C. adults were functionally illiterate. Functional illiteracy is characterized by an inability to fill out a job application or understand a bus schedule – sort of like Paris Hilton.
A long time has passed since Washington D.C. was a hotbed of letters. But recently the problem has dramatically worsened. Most of the sudden surge in illiteracy is attributed, not to the new Congressional majority, but to the high percentage of non-English speaking immigrants who make up a large percentage of the residents. The district’s coffers reportedly lost $106 million dollars in taxes last year because so many jobs were left unfilled due to a shortage of qualified job applicants.
That loss only counts reduced city government income, which would represent only a fraction of the money that businesses lost. Certainly the revenues lost to businesses that cannot grow because there are not enough English speakers to fill their payrolls must hurt and would be expected to ripple all throughout the economy.
And then there is all the welfare and other support that must be provided to those who cannot support themselves because they cannot participate in the economy. The losses suffered to Washington D.C. certainly must be several times that $106 million dollar value.
The last thing that this country needs is a permanent underclass. Part of this country’s vibrancy is contributed by the vertical social mobility that our economy should encourage. Everybody should be able to dream of a better life. Nearly all of America’s millionaires are first generation. And yet the ideology that credits itself as the reservoir of compassion advocates policies that encourage the perpetuation of a permanent underclass.
Anyone who doubts that language skills dictate your future should take a trip to Chicago sometime. The city’s downtown hotels are staffed largely by immigrants. And what one will notice quickly is that the immigrants who speak English hold the management positions. The maids and other low paying positions are held by those with only poor English skills. And in Chicago, there is not a single language of the underclass. While Spanish speakers make up a large proportion of the underclass, there are a number of immigrants from eastern European countries whose poor English skills limit their opportunities. The underclass is identifiable not by the language it does speak, but by the language it doesn’t speak. The management class is distinguished by the language that it does speak. Skin color does not predict success with nearly the same reliability.
It’s a curious irony that when one ventures near the Mexican border town of Los Algodones, a large percentage of the signage on the California side of the border is in Spanish. And many of the people you’ll meet speak only Spanish. But cross the border and the signage is in English and every business in Los Algodones is staffed by people quite fluent in English. And the Mexican side of the border certainly appears more prosperous than the US side.
I have nothing against Spanish or any other language. I have invested a great deal of money and effort improving my Spanish language skills. But I would not trade my fluency in English for any other language.
Not long ago, there was a debate over bilingual education. Bilingual education supposedly permitted non-English speaking schoolchildren to learn math and science in their native language. It was abolished and the result was that the target clientele learned English and math better.
And you can bet that the English will spare them from a career of making beds at Motel 6.

WSUCollegeRepublican.... Teasing?

Lol.... A look at things to come.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bank of America Is Making Me Mad!

Bank of America has just made it on my list!

You are in for a Scotty Rant here.

I have dropped different companies in the past due to them "screwing me over". My MBNA credit card company royally screwed me a few years back. I had bill pay set up to do a set payment that was more than the monthly minimum. It was a credit card I got when I was younger and had a pretty high interest rate. I accepted that. But then the federal government made the credit card companies change their minimum payment calculations so people would not stay in debt as long.

I did not know this change was made and I did not check my monthly statement each and every month, like I should have. But when I opened it up, I found that the previous month my automatic bill pay was too low for the new minimum by around thirty bucks. They then jacked my interest rate to nearly THIRTY percent. Wow, talk about me being mad! I had been a customer for nearly nine years and not only did I get a slow-pay on my credit report they jacked my interest rate sky high.

I only saw red and I quickly used my tax refund to totally pay off that account and close my account with them, TO NEVER USE THEM AGAIN! When they asked me why I was closing the account I let them know that I was mad over them jacking my interest rate to 30% after making one mistake.

So now we have Bank of America. I have been with them since 1992. I opened a Versateler account, which was an account without any monthly fees, but you had to use an ATM to do everything. I opened my statement this month and saw a $5.95 service fee. I was a little upset that I was being charged $6 on an account that was supposed to be free. I called them up.

I told them I had a Versteler Account and now I am getting charged a fee. I was told that the Versateler accounts are no longer offered and my account was switched to something else. Imagine my surprise. This is only two months after I cancelled my BOA credit card because they wanted to charge a yearly fee.

So after 15 years of being a customer of BOA, they want to charge me to use my money. That is so nice of them I am going to go close my account with them.

You can bet I am mad. All I want is for people to stop nickle and diming me to death.

"Growth pays some dividends for Pullman"

The following story appeared in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Pullman-area construction has pulled the city out of a financial slump.

Preliminary year-end financial reports were favorable for the city, mostly due to sales, property and utility taxes that provided for more than $8 million of the city's $13.3 million 2006 revenue, Pullman Finance Director Troy Woo said. Combined utility, sales and property taxes increased more than 30 percent from 2005.

Aggressive money management and increased interest account for additional revenue. Building permit revenue dropped 13 percent from 2005, when similar revenues were at an all-time high.

Woo said he is pleased with the outcome.

"It was very positive. We're in a more favorable position than we thought we would be," he said. "Our three major taxes have been impacted, or will be, because of the high level of construction."

Figures are preliminary, Woo said and adjustments will be made to estimates in preparation for the 2006 financial statements and audit.

The city exceeded its goal to maintain 13 percent of the yearly operating budget as savings, and will settle at about 14.3 percent.

Mayor Glenn Johnson said he's comforted to know the reserve is available for emergencies, but noted that saving is just good practice.

"It makes sound public sense to have that money to take care of things that are unforeseen," he said.

The city's reserve currently amounts to $3.2 million, or 22.9 percent of the operating budget, which could allow funding for projects identified during the 2007 budget process. The 2007 budget was balanced with a deficit of almost $833,000 to ensure cash reserves don't drop below 13 percent.

The additional money can go to fund projects addressed, but not funded in the 2007 budget process, Woo said. Some money has been earmarked for many of the projects, which include repairs to the heating and air conditioning system at the Pioneer Center and exterior wall painting and maintenance at the Pullman Aquatic Center. Also included are electrical and air conditioning improvements for the city's phone and computer network room and funding to demolish buildings to make way for the Grand Avenue Greenway project.

City Councilman Keith Bloom said maintaining the reserves should be a priority, and additional projects should be tackled if money allows.

"We shouldn't be in the red at the end of the year," he said. "Not only can we fill up the reserves, but we can also march right down those list of projects. That's the best of both worlds. But my position is that we need to maintain our reserves. The reserves come first."

Woo said providing more savings is an option.

"That certainly can be an option to save some," he said. "It could be used to help with the 2008 budget."

Woo cautions the council not to get too hopeful, as the banner financial year of 2006 isn't likely to be repeated on a regular basis. The WSU Compton Union Building's $86 million renovation - the highest valued taxable construction project in Pullman's history - may be hard to beat, at least for a while. Further university projects, such as the new 18-hole golf course and improvements to Martin Stadium, also have added to city revenue. The city will incur more cost increases as medical insurance premiums for employees - which are paid out of the city budget - are likely to increase by 8 percent in the next year.

"I would certainly welcome WSU having projects like that every year, but I don't think we can count on it," Woo said. "I stress caution as we move forward."
This is good news and it proves how vital continuing development is to our city. However, Troy Woo is correct. Construction is highly cyclical. We cannot afford to live one project to another. We need a more steady and reliable source of revenie, and that can only be accomplished by increasing our sales tax base, and right now, that means getting our Wal-Mart.

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Belling the Cat

Thanks to CRs for belling the cat

I would like to extend my thanks to the College Republicans for effectively belling the cat of politically correct left wing activism at WSU. Keep up the good work. Use the loonie left's own tactics against them and make sure a public record of their reactions is made available each and every time. They will eventually have to accept your right to express your views without interference or drown in their own hypocrisy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Smart Growth, Dumb Jerks

Portland is often held up as an example of a "smart growth" urban paradise. Based on these pictures from an anti-war demonstration held last Saturday where a U.S. soldier was burned in effigy, Portland needs a little "urban renewal" with a weapon of mass destruction.

I've heard enough about the "patriotism" of the anti-war movement that gives aid and comfort to our sworn enemies.

HT: Little Green Footballs

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Does Anyone Doubt That These People Would Kill Our Children?

Muslim extremists threaten our children? They wouldn't do anything like that? Would they?

The FBI says that Muslim extremists are seeking jobs as school bus drivers. But, we shouldn't worry about it.

After all, we have no reason to believe that Muslim extremists would want to harm children - do we?

Insurgents in Iraq detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle with two children in the back seat after US soldiers let it through a Baghdad checkpoint over the weekend, a senior US military official said Tuesday.

The vehicle was stopped at the checkpoint but was allowed through when soldiers saw the children in the back, said Major General Michael Barbero of the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

"Children in the back seat lowered suspicion. We let it move through. They parked the vehicle, and the adults ran out and detonated it with the children in the back," Barbero said.

The general said it was the first time he had seen a report of insurgents using children in suicide bombings. But he said Al-Qaeda in Iraq is changing tactics in response to the tighter controls around the city.

A US defense official said the incident occurred on Sunday in Baghdad's Adhamiyah district, a mixed neighborhood adjacent to Sadr City, which is predominantly Shiite.

After going through the checkpoint, the vehicle parked next to a market across the street from a school, said the official, who asked not to be identified.

"And the two adults were seen to get out of the vehicle, and run from the vehicle, and then followed by the detonation of the vehicle," the official said.

"It killed the two children inside as well as three other civilians in the vicinity. So, a total of five killed, seven injured," the official said.

Officials here said they did not know who the children were or their relationship to the two adults who fled the scene. They had no information about their ages or genders.

"The brutality and the ruthlessness of this enemy hasn't changed," said Barbero, deputy director of regional operations of the Joint Staff. "They are just interested in slaughtering Iraqi civilians, to be very honest."

Attacks on Iraqi civilians are down by a third and sectarian murders have fallen by 50 percent since mid-February when US and Iraqi forces began moving into Baghdad as part of a new security crackdown, the general said.

On the other hand, there has been no let-up in attacks on US forces by Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni extremist groups, he said.

The incidence of car bombings and suicide attacks, which are typically carried out by Sunni extremist groups against Shiites, also have gone up even though their effectiveness is down, he said.

"As our checkpoints, and control points have been more effective, as they try to execute these high profile attacks with these vehicle-borne IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Baghdad, we're stopping a lot of them at these checkpoints and they are not getting to their intended targets," he said.

But he said they will change their tactics.

Barbero pointed to the recent use of chlorine bombs as another example of the shifting tactics.

Three trucks with chlorine were blown up by suicide bombers over the weekend in Al-Anbar province, killing two policemen and releasing toxic fumes that sickened an estimated 350 people.

Barbero said Al-Qaeda in Iraq appeared to be resorting to use of chlorine bombs to intimidate tribal leaders that have turned against them in Al-Anbar.

"We assess those as relatively ineffective. However, that is an emerging tactic that we are seeing."

"We think it will continue to be exercised in Iraq. Chlorine is readily accessible and we've had a number of these," he said.

He said US commanders remain concerned about the Shiite militias led by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, even though US forces are now operating freely in Sadr City and his Mahdi army militia is quiet.

Sadr is still in Iran but in communication with leaders of his movement in Iraq, he said.

"Where we are with the leaders of his movement is at a pretty delicate point, and I probably don't want to talk any more about his followers, and where we are in our relationship with them," he said.

One Nation, One Flag, One Language Demonstration Tomorrow

The WSU College Republicans will be holding a demonstration tomorrow from approximately 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall on the WSU campus. The subject of the demonstration will be "One Nation, One Flag, One Language."

This sounds like it's guaranteed to bring out the barking moonbats in force. My advice to the CRs is to make sure to bring plenty of spare batteries and tapes for the video camera. And members of the CES Depatment, remember the new WSU Student Code specifically allows filming on the mall.

Al Gore's Acolyte

Al Gore isn't the only sanctimonious liberal Democrat environmentalist who needs to cover his carbon footprints.

How many carbon offsets are required to make John Edwards new 28,000 square foot mansion "carbon neutral?" It takes quite a few I imagine. Nevertheless, he's buying them just as Al Gore does.
He does confess to a power bill of "several hundred dollars a month." Considering that his house is 20 times the size of mine and I had a couple of $200+ power bills this winter, I'm certain that he's underestimating. He probably doesn't even see his power bill, leaving that stuff to his servants.
Carbon neutrality seems to be a privilege left for the rich. I guess John Edwards was right. There really are two Americas. There's the America of those who can afford to waste the Earth's resources and the rest of us, who can't.

Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition

I have mentioned previously how our Queen Christine is certainly no ingrate. She knows how to repay the friends that helped her steal the 2004 gubernatorial election.

This year the Washington Education Association (i.e. the Teachers Union) has been the subject of the Democrats' largesse in Olympia. For example, the House has approved a constitutional amendment to allow simple-majority approval of special property-tax levies for public schools. The House has also passed a measure that would allow labor unions to spend nonmembers' bargaining fees on political causes without first getting their permission, an issue that is currently under appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving the Evergreen Freedom Foundation and the WEA.

Washington Indian tribes have also contributed heavily to the Queen and are getting their payback as well.

Gregoire recently signed into law a measure allowing the tribes to have 8,100 more slot machines statewide, while still not requiring them to share gambling revenue with the state, as required in California and other states.

In response, our very own 9th District State Representative Davd Buri, who is House Minority Floor Leader, attempted to prohibit the Queen from accepting campaign contributions from the tribes by adding amendments to a couple of other bills. Buri said during the debate:
This gives the governor a tremendous amount of power in negotiations with the very people, the very countries I should say, giving him or her campaign contributions.
Buri based the amendments he introduced on a law that prohibits the insurance commissioner from accepting campaign money from insurance companies. Not surprisingly, Buri's amendments failed in the heavily Democratic House.

David Postman of the Seattle Times has excellent coverage of the issue here.

I don't know why the Dems would oppose Dave's proposal (sarcasm intended). In an effort to ensure the continued liberal domination of the State Supreme Court, the Democrats tried their own version of "campaign finance reform" by attempting to create "publicly funded" judicial campaigns in the House and Senate. Luckily for democracy, both failed.

Thanks Dave, for representing us in Olympia and attempting to keep the Rats honest. We're proud of you.

HT: Patrick Bell

"The 'Church of Global Warming' revisited"

Another great column from Michael O'Neal in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, guaranteed to drive the liberals nuts:
Two weeks ago, "Hypocrisy and the Church of Global Warming" appeared on this page. The reaction was predictable: To set me straight, earnest readers sent me scientific stuff. But science wasn't my subject. With tongue in cheek, I took as my subject the sociology and politics of the debate.

Allow me to retract my tongue.

Science and religion seek different sorts of truths in different ways. Scientists propose theories. The "willfully ignorant" raise doubts, question those theories, and offer possible alternatives. New data comes in. Theories get tested and modified. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman put it best: Scientists must "be willing to question and doubt their own theories and their own results, and investigate possible flaws in a theory."

But when all doubts, questions and alternatives about global warming are silenced, or when dilettantes launch cowardly personal attacks or make babblescent threats to cancel their subscription to the newspaper because it provides a forum for alternative views, that's religion, not science, and religion in its least attractive guise, so feeble that it can't - or won't - withstand scrutiny. At best it's science by press conference. Not all that long ago, leading scientists fervently believed that criminal propensities could be predicted through cranial measurements. At the same time, they wrongly dismissed plate tectonics as pseudoscience. I say, thank heaven for the doubters and questioners.

Further, I don't like to be told not to drive an SUV by someone with a private jet. Far from being a "distraction," the lives of the rich and famous, many living off the fruits of industrialization, are at the dead center of the debate. The issue is not simply whether global warming is a real problem. I'll grant that it is. The real question is, what do we do now? Every one of us consumes far more than we need. Our cars are too powerful, our houses too palatial, our appetites too piggish. So how are you going to sell the concept of "cutting back" and treading lightly over Mother Earth when the nation's most conspicuous people, including Al Gore himself, or John Edwards and his 28,000-square-foot, $6 million mansion, leave behind Sasquatch-size carbon footprints? So they buy carbon credits. How nice. I can't, so I nibble at the edges of global warming by shivering in my house or driving a tin can death trap, but my actions will accomplish nothing if everyone doesn't play, including the nations that cynically violate the Kyoto agreement they signed with great self-congratulation. And do you think your hybrid Prius and its components were manufactured in plants powered by solar panels?

This raises the issue of alternative energy. Every form of energy, alternative or otherwise, has its downside, but many people don't want to confront global warming in their own backyard. Lord help me, I plead guilty. I might be a proponent of nuclear power - it's clean, and the plants have smaller footprints than conventional power plants - but I don't want one frying my figgins from across the street.

But if a proposal is made for a hydroelectric dam, or a tidal or wave-energy or ocean-current facility, or a wind farm, or the conversion of farmland to cultivation of biomass fuels, trust-fund environmentalists rise as one to oppose it. Back in the 1970s, when the Alaskan oil pipeline was being built, dilettantes who wouldn't know a caribou from a cockatoo waxed hysterical that the pipeline would destroy Alaska's caribou herds. But according to the state's Fish and Game Department, when the oil started to flow in 1977 Alaska's caribou population was about 6,000. Today it's more than 27,000. And the sky did not fall.

Whatever energy source we use, it has to be produced somewhere. If preening "environmentalists" along Cape Cod and elsewhere really believe in global warming, they should be willing to make compromises. Instead, they try to grab the turd by the clean end with cant like "environmentally sensitive area." Yet they heat their homes with oil and coal burned in power plants located in someone else's environmentally sensitive area - in most places, poor neighborhoods - then have the gall to whine if their playground is threatened.

We can fix the problem or be dilettantes. But dilettantes can't make the hard choices, except when they're making them for others.
Amen, Mike.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pullman: The Land That Time Forgot

Cosmopolitan aesthete Mike Hanly sees Pullman on a "grand march toward saturated development." Pull-up-the-drawbridger James Krueger sees Pullman becoming a "big-box clone of a thousand other places."

But what does the outside world think of Pullman? Thanks to NCAA Division I sports, we get an occasional glimpse.

On College Football Signing Day this year, Tom Dienhart of The Sporting News wrote that Pullman reminded him of a moonscape.

Now, in a story last Friday on Cougar men's basketball, Monte Pool of InsideBayArea.com has even more unflattering things to say about our town. Some of the more memorable quotes:
There is the Land That Time Forgot. Then there is Pullman, Wash., an entire town in the witness protection program.

The home of Washington State University is a dot in the southeast corner of the state in the northwest corner of the country. Among Division I basketball programs in a major conference, it's probably the most isolated and arguably the most forlorn.

A group of recruits nobody else wanted are out to change that. While they can't do much about the sleepy solitude of Pullman, they are progressing nicely at bringing some cachet to the place.

This proves to civilization that there is life in Pullman, of which it was famously said is "not the end of the world, but you can see it from there." More to the point, there is a quality program in the outback of the Pacific-10 Conference.

As if the charm of Pullman wouldn't be enough.

"When I actually got there, I flew into Spokane and I was thinking the school was somewhere in that area," Weaver, of Beloit, Wisc., said. "Then we started driving and driving and driving.

"An hour-and-a-half later, I saw this town spring up out of nowhere. And I'm thinking 'There's a school here? People live here? In this little village?' I didn't see many people of color, either. There wasn't really a lot to do. I just remember going home and telling my mama it's like jail out there. That I can't go to school there."

Weaver has come to accept Pullman. So have his teammates. They got to love the program and embrace the town.
Thank goodness for the Cougars that Weaver and his teammates came to accept Pullman. But how many others haven't? What other potential talents have we been denied? How can we have a "world class university," or a world class anything, when people say Pullman is "forlorn" and compare the town to a jail? We can't do anything about our distance from large cities, but we can provide more things to do, more places to shop, and better places to live.

For many of these elitist PARD professors, living in Pullman is nothing more than a nostalgic trip to Disney World's Main Street USA. They're here for a few years enjoying the "quaintness" and then head off back to "the real world" of Berkeley, Seattle, Columbus, East Lansing, Boulder, Urbana, or wherever. If we let them hold back our progress, Pullman truly will be the Land That Time Forgot.

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