Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lollapalousitics 2007

Lollapalousitics, our second annual blogfest held yesterday, was a great success! Some twenty Palousitics regulars enjoyed an afternoon of good shooting, good beer, and good food.

Many, many thanks to everyone who made it possible, from allowing us use of the shooting range, to those who hauled in extra grills, and especially Paul Zimmerman and his roommates for hosting the barbecue.

And yes, April's chili and cornbread WAS delicious, as was Uncle Bubba's smoked turkey, chicken, and pork.

I'll have some pictures up later (Blogger is acting up at the moment). If you were an attendee, I'll also be sending you a link to a special website where all the pictures from Lollapalousitics will be available. Ray, you'll be able to post your pictures there as well.

The Invisible Hand Of Karl Rove

Karl Rove may not have an office in the White House anymore, but he is still setting traps for and making fools of the Democrats.

If I understand former Bill Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal, then the Democrats latest screwup is Karl Rove's work.
Following lead provided them by Media Matters, the mainstream media and the Democratic Party affected outrage after Rush Limbaugh supposedly described anti-war servicemen and women as "phony." In denouncing Limbaugh, the liberals revealed themselves as easily misled fools and Media Matters is exposed as a Rovian plot.

Last week Sidney Blumenthal pulls back the curtain and revealed that it was Karl Rove who baited the trap that Dan Rather stepped into.

Within minutes of the conclusion of the broadcast, conservative bloggers launched a counterattack. The chief of these critics was a Republican Party activist in Georgia. Almost certainly, these bloggers, who had been part of meetings or conference calls organized by Karl Rove's political operation, coordinated their actions with Rove's office.

Ah Ha! Sid Vicious figured it out! The memos were a Rovian trick to discredit Dan Rather and a legitimate story.

"There is not a date, or a name, or an action out of place. Nor does the content of the Killian memos differ in any way from the information that has come out after our story ... In order to conclude that the documents are forged or utterly unreliable, two questions must be answered: 1) how could anyone have forged such pristinely accurate information; and 2) why would anyone have taken such great pains to forge the truth?"

And so, Sidney ties it all together. It was Karl Rove who planted the forged documents and conspired with sympathetic bloggers to blow the story as soon as Dan Rather took the bait.

Amazing. And so now that I have the full picture of how Karl Rove ties the left into knots, I can only conclude that Media Matters is a Karl Rove front group that feeds disinformation to the left to keep them looking like fools.

I can only wonder - how did Karl Rove trick Moveon.Org and the New York Times into placing that embarrassing General Betray Us advertisement? And, was it a Rovian mole who slipped that line into Mrs. Clinton's ridiculous opening remarks the Petreus hearings?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Journalistic Masturbation?

A Reuters reporter has been found interviewing himself. James Taranto investigates.

From Reuters:

By Noor Mohammad Sherzai

BATI KOT, Afghanistan (Reuters) - At least one U.S. soldier opened fire to scatter a crowd of civilians and police on Thursday after failed suicide bomb attacks on a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military and witnesses said. . . .

"I saw the fire brigade vehicle rushing to the area at top speed. Somehow its brakes failed and hit one police vehicle and coalition vehicles, then the Americans started firing," said Reuters correspondent Noor Mohammad Sherzai.

That's right, Noor Mohammad Sherzai is quoting himself! (Or herself, as Noor apparently is an epicene name.)

We thought this was odd, but we wanted a second opinion. So we spoke with veteran journalist James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal. "You're right, it is odd," he told us. "But it's another example of Reuters' journalistic innovation. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter? One man's monologue is another man's interview. Oh wait, but who's the other man?"

Taranto added that Sherzai "obviously had to do some legwork for this story. He tried to get a phone interview with himself, but every time he called, the line was busy."

We asked Taranto if using oneself as a source entails any special ethical concerns. "There could be a tendency to quote yourself in ways that reinforce your own unconscious bias," he said. That hadn't occurred to us, but what a great point!

"There are also interesting issues of confidentiality," Taranto said. "On the one hand, you're less likely to have misunderstandings about just what is meant by 'off the record,' 'background,' and so forth. But on the other hand, if it comes down to it, are you willing to go to jail to protect your source? And if you go to jail and your source is yourself, are you really protecting your source?"

A source close to Taranto, speaking on condition of anonymity because he thought it would be good for a laugh, said, "I don't think [Taranto is] entirely serious about this."

We concluded our chat with Taranto by telling him that we were thinking of mocking Noor Mohammad Sherzai by writing an item based on our own self-interview. Although we were the one interviewing him, Taranto replied with a question:

"What do you mean 'we,' Kemo Sabe?"

"Growth will take incentives, money"

Managing Editor Steve McClure has a great response to the "uniqueness" moonbats and "Buy Local" elitists in today's Daily News. In retail, it's all about the customer, and more often than not what customers want is what national chains have to offer.
Expect local-chain mix in Urban Renewal District

Solid research into the types of businesses consumers are looking for will go a long way toward determining what ends up in Moscow's proposed Urban Renewal District.

Public forums can be valuable too, especially when there's the need for a bit of public-private partnership to get things moving in the area between downtown and the University of Idaho.

But we expect potential customers will hold a bit more sway when it comes time to entice someone to invest in a new business that will sit in an area primed with potential.

That's really what the URD is all about - potential growth - and it has a major selling point in its proximity to both campus and the community's core. Potential is just that until someone ponies up the money, however, and as uncomfortable as it might be to some folks, there's a good chance the businesses that look to invest in the area will have some regional or national affiliation. In other words, they might be chain stores ready to invest millions into a new business in the community.

Community's thrive with a mixed economy, and local versus chain is part of the mix.

We have no doubt there are folks in the Community with good ideas, a strong work ethic and some moxie who are waiting to jump into the business community. We see those people open up shop all the time and mark them as a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that makes a community strong.

At the same time, we recognize that the steps involved in starting a business on an empty piece of land can be arduous and expensive. The bill can get a bit daunting once you start tabulating the cost of purchasing permits, paying for construction, buying an inventory, and hiring workers.

There are only so many instances when an individual who wants to try out an idea in the local marketplace has that much money sitting in a bank account.

The URD and the tax-increment financing that comes along with it can provide a bit of enticement, but any entrepreneur will tell you it takes more than incentives to open a business.

It takes money - and lots of it.

"On the Palouse, water is everybody's business"

Jon Kimberling and Paul Kimmell have written a column about water on the Palouse that appears in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News. It is a refreshing take on the aquifer situation and urges local decisions, market solutions and conservation over external governmental meddling, hysteria, and development moratoria. By the way, I will be attending the Palouse Basin Water Summit next Tuesday as a reprsentative of Businesses & Residents for Economic Opportunity. I'll be providing blog updates throughout the day.
We cordially invite our Palouse communities to the third annual Palouse Basin Water Summit, Tuesday at the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Events Center in Pullman. According to the 2007 State of the Rockies Report Card, "The eight states which comprise the Rocky Mountain region - Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana - could face a future of limited water availability, prolonged drought and rapid population growth. To some, the prospects look bleak. To others, however, these challenges can be met with disciplined efforts by all the communities involved. Regardless, water will be a fundamental determinant of how the Rockies will be shaped in the coming years."

The Palouse is equally affected by the western water challenge, and we hope this summit once again helps us shape future discussions. We believe success in this effort depends upon broad collaboration in refining our collective understanding of both our options and our challenges. Much is at stake in our lifestyles and economy as the communities of Whitman and Latah counties seek to develop and implement sound water management policies.

Richard Meganck, director of UNESCO's Institute for Water Education, recently remarked, "Water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century." Meganck also stated that, "Water can either divide us, or help form bonds and agreements that make us better neighbors - and at all levels of social, political and economic organization."

Both of us believe that now is the time to begin a "cooperative conservation" dialogue that encompasses water management, land-use development, community values and economic sustainability. Until we commit to a more collaborative, consensus-driven decision-making process, we will struggle with how we protect, manage and develop this important resource. Because we live within a "trans-boundary watershed," our adaptive water management style must include a large number of stakeholders from both Washington and Idaho. Fortunately, much of the necessary planning framework already is in place and many local stakeholders are committed and eager to participate in a meaningful process. We also are grateful for the involvement of all the respective water agencies that remain committed to working with local communities to help create real solutions through better water research and education, involvement, understanding and adaptation.

It is critical that local decision-making drive the water management process and also recognize the need to find a marketplace solution. We also should carefully consider the growing perspective that the marketplace should play a large role in how we establish the real cost of water, and how we build a framework for a reliable, flexible and comprehensive water management plan. Conservation also is an essential tool in the efficient use of water on the Palouse. The concept of conserving for growth and developing the water conservation ethic is imperative. Combined with innovative approaches to promote conservation among residents, cities should experiment to find more marketplace solutions. After all, basic capital economics teaches that markets and prices are some of the best allocation tools - water could be priced to provide both a steady revenue generating capacity and an effective conservation program while providing for continued growth and business expansion.

As two former local representatives charged with helping create a lasting and sensible solution to our water management challenges, we will continue to support these efforts through groups like the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee.

In addition, we propose to include consideration of other possible solutions including development of surface water storage, aquifer storage and recovery, building code updates, tiered water rates and more efficient land-use planning. While some Palouse communities have begun implementing more refined water management planning and conservation measures, others are just beginning to engage in the discussion.

Significant opportunity now exists to create a water road map for the future. However, the end result of these locally driven, broad-based efforts should have balance. Our water management decisions should equally recognize municipal, agricultural, environmental and economic needs. We urge our fellow residents to join us in the important work ahead in establishing a locally appropriate balance. Through collaboration, outreach and goodwill we will succeed in managing this critical resource in the best interests of all of our communities and those who follow us in the future. Please join us Tuesday.

"Internet cut in Myanmar, blogger presses on"

CNN.com reports:
The Internet connection in Myanmar was cut Friday, limiting the free flow of information the nation's citizens were sharing with the world depicting the violent crackdown on monks and other peaceful demonstrators.

Myanmar-based blogs went dark suddenly. But London-based blogger Ko Htike -- who has been one of the most prominent bloggers posting information about the violence -- has vowed to keep up the fight, saying where "there is a will, there is a way."
This is certainly a much worse situation than the Washington Democrats move to rein in political blogs here in Washington.

Our own Bruce Heimbigner was in Myanmar just a couple of weeks ago. I hope he has some insight he can provide us on this growing international tragedy that proves that the spirit of human freedom cannot be kept down.

Lollapalousitics: TOMORROW

Uur second annual Palousitics blogfest is TOMORROW, September 29. Final arrangements have been sent out as to time and place. If you have not received an e-mail with details yet and would like to attend, please e-mail palousitics@adelphia.net

More On The Unsettled Nature Of Settled Science

Twenty years ago we understood ozone holes so completely that we banned certain chlorofluorocarbons because they destroyed the ozone layer. The chemist who alerted the world won a Nobel Prize. But, it turns out that it was all wrong.

"This must have far-reaching consequences," Rex says. "If the measurements are correct we can basically no longer say we understand how ozone holes come into being." What effect the results have on projections of the speed or extent of ozone depletion remains unclear.

The rapid photolysis of Cl2O2 is a key reaction in the chemical model of ozone destruction developed 20 years ago2 (see graphic). If the rate is substantially lower than previously thought, then it would not be possible to create enough aggressive chlorine radicals to explain the observed ozone losses at high latitudes, says Rex. The extent of the discrepancy became apparent only when he incorporated the new photolysis rate into a chemical model of ozone depletion. The result was a shock: at least 60% of ozone destruction at the poles seems to be due to an unknown mechanism, Rex told a meeting of stratosphere researchers in Bremen, Germany, last week.

Other groups have yet to confirm the new photolysis rate, but the conundrum
is already causing much debate and uncertainty in the ozone research community. "Our understanding of chloride chemistry has really been blown apart," says John Crowley, an ozone researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.

"Until recently everything looked like it fitted nicely," agrees Neil Harris, an atmosphere scientist who heads the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK. "Now suddenly it's like a plank has been pulled out of a bridge." ...

Nothing currently suggests that the role of CFCs must be called into question, Rex stresses. "Overwhelming evidence still suggests that anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss. But we would be on much firmer ground if we could write down the correct chemical reactions."


It's not as though the Nobel Committee hasn't screwed up before. And more than once.

It Takes An Academic To Understand This Crap

It's a good thing we have academia to guide us through the complexities of our daily lives. Otherwise, we'd simply be guided by common sense, which is for mere commoners like me.

I read someplace that an academic is the sort of person who will publish book after book on how to make love to a beautiful woman, without ever having had a girlfriend himself. I learned earlier this week that an academic is somebody who is so convinced of his intellectual superiority that he can lord it over the rest of us on credentials alone.

As I lifted up my Moscow-Pullman Daily News from my porch last Tuesday, I noticed that it was far heavier than usual. When I turned to the opinion page, I learned why. There was the former president of the Washington State University faculty senate proclaiming that his academic experience endowed him with a superior talent for understanding big words and thus conferred upon him the authority to call the man who stands between us and Islamo-fascism a fool and a liar.

The superior insight of the academic certainly explains Columbia University’s invitation to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at that university’s world leaders forum. It also helps me understand why, after all the venom Ahmadinejad has spewed over the years, it was his insistence that Iran was somehow vaccinated against homosexuality that provoked academic opprobrium.

Hofstra University’s law school invited the convicted terrorist enabler and disbarred attorney Lynne Stewart to speak at a conference on legal ethics. Simpletons such as I have no hope of comprehending this. Such comprehension is only within the grasp of the academic mind.

Larry Summers was driven from the presidency of Harvard University and was recently disinvited from giving a speech at the University of California, Davis because he once raised the possibility that relatively few women enter fields like physics and engineering because of inherent differences between men and women. Even supplicating before the howls and bleats of offended feminists, whose behavior verified many clich├ęs regarding women and feminists, earned him no credit. As I recall, he even attended a re-education camp – excuse me, I meant sensitivity training. But even though that would have earned him a second chance in a communist dictatorship, it did him no good at Harvard.

Summers’ theory certainly has more supporting evidence than the Islamist thesis that Jews are not really humans, but are instead descendents of pigs and dogs. But the academic mind just knows when to rise above evidence and grasp a truth that is obscured from lesser minds by facts.

Academics are above irony. Even as feminist scholars were celebrating their latest Larry Summers’ snub, Columbia University invoked “freedom of speech” to defend itself against criticism that it had provided a microphone and a spotlight to a belligerent bigot.

At some point Columbia University’s president, Lee Bollinger, appeared to have caught a glimpse of how the non-academic world viewed his university and attempted damage control.

Bollinger accused Ahmadinejad of being a “petty and cruel dictator,” and of being either “brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.”

“I feel the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for,” he concluded.

It might have been coincidence, but his epiphany synchronized nicely with fiduciary threats from alumni, as well as the state and local governments that provide Columbia University with significant financial support. Academics are not above accounting.

I know not whether Bollinger’s words were enough to make donors forget that Columbia lent its prestige and legitimacy to this century’s Hitler. It was especially troublesome that the dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, John Coatsworth, said that Columbia would have welcomed last century’s Hitler as well: “If Adolph Hitler were willing to engage in a debate and a discussion, to be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him.”

Columbia also did a little preemptive airbrushing for history’s sake by covering the podium with a shroud that concealed the university’s name and seal, so that photographs of the event would show no evidence of the venue.

If academics wished to demonstrate a courageous commitment to free speech, they would exhibit the dreaded cartoons of blasphemy that American newspapers and broadcast television have refused to show. The most recent such cartoon in a Swedish newspaper resulted in a death sentence against the artist and Iranian demands that Sweden change its laws.

That would be just the sort of courage that even a dolt like me could appreciate.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Huckabee to Hillary: Get Your Lips Off Soros' Backside

In an interview with the Washington Times, former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee had some advice for former Arkansas First Lady and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton:
"If you can't get your lips off the backside of George Soros long enough to use those lips to say it's wrong to declare a sitting general ... guilty of treason," the 2008 Republican presidential hopeful said, "how would you ever expect to have the support of the very military you might have to send into deadly battle?"
Let's hope Governor Huckabee can secure enough funding to stay in the race. We need him.

When The Only Tool You Know How To Use Is A Hammer.....

Then every problem looks like a nail.

Guess what? Democrats are planning to address global warming with higher taxes.

The problem with this is that, way back when Algore was promoting a 50 cent per gallon carbon tax as a way to reduce CO2 emissions, the argument was that the higher prices would encourage less consumption. Well, gasoline prices are about $2.00 per gallon higher than they were back then, and consumption has continued to rise.

Democrats just want more money to spend.

Ron Paulian Form Letter Groupthink

Before I cut it off, I received the three comments to an earlier post today. I broke my one firm rule and allowed them onto my site to demonstrate how the Ron Paul campaign was "spamming."

The more I thought about it, the louder my irony alarm rang. Isn't Ron Paul supposed to be a libertarian? So explain to me why he would facilitate form letter group think.

As a true libertarian, I would never allow anyone to write my thoughts for me.

Let's Go Nuclear

Let the howling begin. For the first time in 34 years, an American company has filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the construction of a new nuclear power plant.

The proposal submitted Tuesday is to build two new reactors with a total capacity of 2,700 megawatts at the South Texas Project site in Matagorda County, where two nuclear units have already operated for 25 years. The size of the reactors is unprecedented -- the biggest American plants generally produce about 1,200 MW.

"This is a historical event," said Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico, long the Senate's strongest supporter of nuclear. "Consumers around the world are benefiting from clean nuclear power. Finally our nation is on the verge of taking greater advantage of this technology. I hope it is the first of many."

The statement has its irony. Nuclear technology, of course, was invented in this country. In the 1980s we gave it up for fear of accidents, which caused endless regulatory delays. One common argument among nuclear opponents was that nuclear energy was only an illegitimate offspring of nuclear bomb technology cooked up by scientists who felt guilty about building the atomic bomb. Over the last two decades, Japan (along with France) has become the world's technological leader. Toshiba, which enhanced its nuclear technology by buying Westinghouse, will build NRG's new reactors. The vessel heads will be manufactured by Japan Steel Works, the only forge in the world now capable of casting these huge structures. America is playing catch-up on our own technology.

I'm looking forward to all the same loud mouths who whine about global warming protest against our cleanest and greenest energy source.

It should be interesting. I've long said that I'll start taking global warming seriously when environmentalists start taking it seriously.

Terrorists Show Rosie The Love

Jihadis have found a true kindred spirit in Rosie O'Donnell and they want her to drop in and share a bit roasted goat at their table.

Muslim jihadist leaders interviewed for a new book were ecstatic about statements from television talk host Rosie O'Donnell about the war in Iraq and the global war on terror, agreeing with her outspoken views.

Some even invited her on a "fact finding mission" to the Middle East.

"I agree with what this O'Donnell says. ...We welcome Rosie O'Donnell to stay among us and to get to know the truth from being here, like many American peace activists are doing," said Ala Senakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organization

I'm sure they would insist upon Rosie wearing a burqua. I know I would.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Would You Take Grooming Advice From This Man?

The Donald says that George Bush should go into hiding.

Hey Donald! Have you looked in the mirror lately?

If anyone wants to know why I shave my head - it's because I had to choose between bald and a comb-over. Take a look at the Donald let me know if I chose wisely.


Somebody's gonna catch hell for screwing up Robo-Hillary's programming

This woman gives me the creeps.

Publicly Funded Campaigns

Christine Gregoire, like most Democrats, favors public funding of political compaigns. In fact, she so favors public campaign funding that she's decided to start funding her own re-election campaign with your money.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, who is expected to run for a second term next year, soon will embark on a six-city "listening tour," a reprise to her statewide series of community town halls last year.

The tour will cost an estimated $120,000. The state GOP chairman said it sounds like campaigning on the public dime, but the governor's aides said it's a legitimate and important way to keep in touch.

The Democratic governor, who won her office by just 133 votes, has made it a practice to travel widely outside Olympia. Her probable GOP challenger, Dino Rossi, also has been traveling the state for his foundation's Idea Bank.

Rossi, who criticized Gregoire for using public dollars to finance her listening tour, on Tuesday announced his resignation from the Forward Washington Foundation. The Public Disclosure Commission is investigating Democrats' complaint that the foundation amounts to a campaign organization and should be reporting contributions and expenses.

When Dino Rossi travels the state on his "Forward Washington Campaign," he is followed and filmed by Gregoire stooges to support her complaint that he is engaging is some sort of illegal political speech.

Those of us who can recall the 2000 election remember Hillary Clinton's "listening tour." It was a phoney attempt to publicize and humanize her, while allowing her to keep her shrill voice off the air. But, I'll say this about Hillary, other than Secret Service protection, the taxpayer wasn't asked to pay for it.

Update: David Postman smells a skunk named Gregoire.

Incumbent Gov. Christine Gregoire has nearly $3 million in her re-election account but says she's not a candidate. She won't announce, she says, because that would politicize her work with the 2008 Legislature.

Doesn't the $3 million politicize it? What about the recent fundraising pitch that says "The Republican party's opposition to children's health care is shameful and represents the fundamental difference in values that our next election will be fought over"? Is there a Republican member of the Legislature who will be more willing to work with Gregoire next year because she has not spoken the words, "I am a candidate for re-election"? (Never mind of course that her fundraising letter talks about "my campaign for re-election." Those letters don't go to Republicans, so they'll never know.)

Real Courage

It's really not common to find real courage on the left. Few from that side of the ideological divide dare to stray from the party line. To understand the lockstepping regimentation of the left, take a look at the treatment Washington's Brian Baird has endured since allowing his conscience and facts influence his position on Iraq.

It’s rather lonely being Rep. Brian Baird these days. Your erstwhile allies are trashing you. Your enemies are rejoicing. Your friends can offer little more than gallows humor.

A month after Baird, a Democrat from Washington state, switched his views on Iraq and embraced President Bush’s surge strategy, he remains persona non grata in many circles.

At home, he is besieged by angry protesters and hostile ads.

In the Capitol, many of his colleagues are still smarting over his turnaround, charging that it gave fodder to Republicans and undermined the Democrats’ momentum to force a troop withdrawal.

“He clearly has been exploited by the administration to advance their position. I think that was very unfortunate and, frankly, misguided,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).

Taking an unpopular stand in politics is rarely simple, and it’s even less so when you oppose your own party’s leadership on the most divisive issue of the day.

Over the past month, Baird has had to endure a fierce reaction to his change of heart, from the chaos of a rancorous town hall meeting to the seething disapproval of Democratic leaders to the raised eyebrows of his Democratic peers.

But he remains unapologetic.

“I had seen firsthand significant changes on the ground in the region,” he said in an interview, “and I felt a responsibility to state that, because it seemed like that was a perspective that was not being voiced.”

Religion of Peace?

A few mostly poorly drawn cartoons provoked violent protests and led dozens (at least) of deaths, death threats against the artists, and an economic embargo against Denmark. Somehow, I doubt that the blasphemy pictured here will cause anything other than disgusted headshaking.

So, tell me again. Which is the religion of peace? Which is the religion of tolerance?

Lollapalousitics: Three Days and Counting

Just three days to go until our second annual Palousitics blogfest on September 29. Final arrangements have been sent out as to time and place. If you have not received an e-mail with details yet and would like to attend, please e-mail palousitics@adelphia.net

Support Local Business? Then Support Wal-Mart

A year and a half ago, I wrote about a Wal-Mart Supercenter that was planned for Eagle Point, OR. That store has since opened. The results? According to the Medford Mail Tribune, it's going exactly as a rational person would have predicted, much less any economist.
"We want to set the record straight about any miscommunications or mistruths and say that, no, we are not closing that Ray's," Nidiffer said. "In fact, we are pretty excited about the opportunities of that store and have been making significant changes to the product offerings and the physical layout even in the face of the competition going in across the street."

To combat the 184,718-square-foot big box store's promise of a full line of groceries, C&K is more than tripling the store's lines of natural, organic and gourmet items. More than 1,000 Southern Oregon wines will be featured, as will many other locally produced products.

"We're playing a little higher-end card and we're about halfway done with the project," Nidiffer said. "We feel like we can do a better job with local farmers, local wineries, smaller producers that aren't big enough for Wal-Mart to touch, quite frankly."

Shady Cove business owner Cindy Glaspell said her business will flourish thanks to the new Wal-Mart. As proprietress of the Shady Cove Station & Country Store and the Subway sandwich shop, Glaspell said she shops at the Medford Wal-Mart for provisions.

"I shop there for cookies and crackers and whatever else I can find for my store and this will be more convenient," said Glaspell. "I'm in (the Medford Wal-Mart) enough to want a bigger and nicer and cleaner store, which I'm sure this one is going to be."

Although Glaspell said the new supercenter might hurt Shady Cove's local pharmacy and Eagle Point grocery stores, she doesn't believe it will lead to any local loss of businesses.

"People who went to Wal-Mart for their prescriptions before will still go there — it's a matter of loyalty and routine," said the 25-year resident of Shady Cove. "But we're more of a tourist town and I don't think tourists are going to dip into Wal-mart; they're still going to shop here."

Shady Cove Mayor Ruth Keith agreed, pointing to the 10 miles between her destination town and the Wal-Mart.

"Most people drive to Medford for their staples anyway but if you just want to run out for a loaf of bread, you're still going to run down to our local market," said Keith.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mahmoud, Hot or Not?

With all these blogs around, it's good thing that we have the mainstream media to keep us grounded in substantive and meaningful news.

So, cast your vote. Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hot or not?

As one well-informed reader of the PI notes: "He does not DRESS like an enemy of democracy."

Mr. Civil Discourse Bridges the "Town-Gown" Divide

New WSU President Elson Floyd will be absolutely thrilled when he reads former WSU Faculty Senate president Chuck Pezeshki's comments on the Moscow-Pullman Daily News website today.
There's not much I can say to change most of the conservatives in this neck of the woods' minds about what they read. I hate blanket statements about local people in the community, but quite frankly, many are strongly anti-intellectual and resentful of the universities. Not that the universities or professors have helped make the situation better-- but I believe that a good part of this is because most people in the region are wildly ignorant about who actually butters their bread. Most people believe that Latah and Whitman County run on agriculture, but the fact is that the percentage of income, and percentage of workforce involved is miniscule (3% for Latah, 1.6% for Whitman). The universities provide for the living, and also agricultural community support, for all of Latah and Whitman County. Those facts come out of the US Census data.
Chuckie Sandiego was defending a column of his that appeared today in which he bashed Gen. Petraeus and President Bush again like the mindless kneejerk moonbat that he is.

If you have a subscription to Dnews.com, check out Pezeshki's comments. Arrogant doesn't do them justice. It's megalomaniacal hubris.

But in any case, thanks Chuck, for confirming what we already knew about professors and so eloquently demonstrating why us non-PhD hayseeds are so "anti-intellectual" and "anti-university."

What Would Chuck Norris Do?

Visit the brave American fighting men and women on the front lines of the Global War on Terrorism.

Norris, a United States Air Force Security Forces veteran, is seen here with a group of Security Force personnel of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing on September 14.

Russia Forges Boldly Into The 1950's

Here we go again.
Been there, done that.

Those who fail to remember history are condemned to repeat it - and look silly in the process

Merciless Gang of 350 Criminal Baboons Terrorizes South African Residents

It's not often that you see a headline like that.

"They get into the kitchens, they know where the fridge is, they open it and take everything, and then they defecate everywhere."

I'm waiting to hear Algore explain that this is being caused by global warming and as such is George Bush's fault. Or, maybe this is because America's image has suffered because of the Iraq war.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dan Rather Was Right!

Dan Rather said that presidential intimidation was influencing news coverage. It turns out that he was right.

Early this summer, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for president learned that the men’s magazine GQ was working on a story the campaign was sure to hate: an account of infighting in Hillaryland.

So Clinton’s aides pulled a page from the book of Hollywood publicists and offered GQ a stark choice: Kill the piece, or lose access to planned celebrity coverboy Bill Clinton.

Despite internal protests, GQ editor Jim Nelson met the Clinton campaign’s demands, which had been delivered by Bill Clinton’s spokesman, Jay Carson, several sources familiar with the conversations said.

GQ writer George Saunders traveled with Clinton to Africa in July, and Clinton is slated to appear on the cover of GQ’s December issue, in which it traditionally names a “Man of the Year,” according magazine industry sources.

And the offending article by Atlantic Monthly staff writer Josh Green got the spike.

“I don’t really get into the inner workings of the magazine, but I can tell you that yes, we did kill a Hillary piece. We kill pieces all the time for a variety of reasons,” Nelson said in an e-mail to Politico.

He did not respond to follow-up questions. A Clinton campaign spokesman declined to comment.

The Limit of Oregon's Environmentalism

The Beaver state prides itself on its environmentalism. But there is a limit. And it turns out that Oregonians have taken "not in my backyard" a little farther than Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. In fact, so far as Oregonians are concerned, one is not allowed to practice environmentalism in one's one backyard.

Who would have guessed that drying your laundry on a clothesline could provoke such hostility among neighbors?

Tuesday's Wall Street Journal featured a front-page story about Susan Taylor, a resident of Awbrey Butte, a Bend subdivision, and a clothesline aficionado. Hanging your her laundered flannel sheets on a clothesline sounds harmless enough, but to some of Taylor's neighbors, it seems, the clotheslines threaten property values.

The newspaper says even the development's managers have threatened legal action to prohibit the old-fashioned way of drying your stuff. Go here to read the complete story.

Earlier this year, Oregonian staff writer Gabrielle Glaser wrote about a modest movement promoting clotheslines nationwide.

But Glaser found that even in environmentally aware Oregon, the practice has critics.

Here's Glaser's story:

Claire Mancha has a thing for laundry. She has a high-efficiency washing machine, vintage steam irons and a crockpot-like portable washer she takes on the road.

But her clotheslines take the ritual to another realm, even in famously unsunny Oregon. The basement of her Milwaukie farmhouse is an intricate lattice of cords hung with slow-drying blankets and jeans. Outside, tablecloths snap on two long lines pulled taut between giant maples. A backup rotary contraption stands at the ready outside the greenhouse, awaiting more reliable skies.

Mancha's enthusiasm for air-dried clothing skips right past her property line. Wherever she sees flapping garments, she dispenses one of the "laundry award kits" she always keeps with her. "Congratulations!" says the message, attached to a package of clothespins. "You are a being a smart eco-citizen by hanging your laundry outside to dry."

Mancha is among a small but vocal group of Americans who see air drying not only as romantic and frugal. For Mancha and many others, the humble clothesline is also as political as it is poetic. "I have never understood," Mancha says, "why anyone could object to this."

But plenty of critics do, even in environmentally aware Oregon. To them, billowing underwear defaces suburban tidiness and harks back to Depression-era landscapes, both urban and rural. Homeowner's associations prohibit or restrict them in an estimated 60 million American yards, says Alexander Lee, of Concord, N.H. Lee is founder of the organization Project Laundry List (www.laundrylist.org). The right-to-dry movement it spawned helps promote clotheslines nationwide.

Lee launched Project Laundry List in 1995 as a student at Vermont's Middlebury College after he heard Helen Caldicott, the Australian physician and anti-nuclear activist. In the speech, Caldicott said that Americans had the power to reduce reliance on nuclear power if they took such energy-saving steps as drying clothes outdoors.

Since 1999, Utah and Florida have passed right-to-dry laws, and pressure is mounting in California, where an estimated 7 million households have clothesline restrictions, Lee says.

Electric dryers use more energy than most household appliances. American electric dryers each year consume the rough equivalent of 30 million tons of coal, or the output of the nation's 15 least-productive nuclear reactors, according to a 2004 article in Legal Affairs.

From 1999 to 2002, dryers also were responsible for 12,400 house fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Homeowners in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and California have far fewer electric dryers than those elsewhere. According to 2001 statistics listed by the Department of Energy, only 43 percent of Pacific households own them, compared with 57 percent nationwide.

Clothesline believers such as Lee say that hanging clothes offers rewards beyond energy savings. "I don't want to sound preachy," he says, "but it's so easy and so beautiful. It's art."

It is also time-consuming. In modern American society, most hours are spoken for. And some visitors to Lee's Web site -- he has been receiving 9,000 a week -- note that laundry duty often falls to overstretched mothers. "One woman said I was trying to reverse everything Betty Friedan had put in motion," he says.

Some men in the egalitarian West, however, scoff at such a notion.

Charles Lytle of West Linn takes great pleasure in the retractable umbrella line he hauls outdoors in spring and summer. "It's green, it's sustainable, and pillow cases smell absolutely wonderful," he says. "I tell people, 'I'm saving the salmon. Turbines at Bonneville Dam aren't running because of this."

But Lytle has limits. Air-dried towels are too stiff and scratchy, and sheets, he says, are too unwieldy for his apparatus. His son darted up to grab a line some years ago, and it resulted in a permanent tilt.

"It's the Leaning Clothes Tree of Conestoga Lane," he says.

Then he paused. "In fact, it may be the only clothes tree of Conestoga Lane."

The Unsettled Nature of Settled Science

We've all read the stories about how arctic ice this summer retreated to a record low. That's more proof that global warming is "settled science," right?

Less widely reported is that antactic ice is at a record high. Note how in this article from the New York Times that eight paragrapsh are dedicated to scaring us about global warming before noting that, "Still, he and other scientists acknowledged that both poles were extraordinarily complicated systems of ice, water and land, and that the mix of human and natural influences was not easy to clarify."

And finally, in the very last sentence, the Times admits that: "Sea ice around Antarctica has seen unusual winter expansions recently, and this week is near a record high."

The Washington Times casts a harsh eye on scientific cherry picking.

"And, while it's true that satellite photos have found an ice-free corridor along Canada, Alaska and Greenland and Northern Hemisphere ice at its lowest level since such images were taken in 1978, it's also true that Antarctic ice levels (Southern Hemisphere) are at record highs for that same period.

"That's right, according to the University of Illinois Polar Research Group Web site The Cryosphere Today: 'The Southern Hemisphere sea ice area has broken the previous maximum of 16.03 million sq. km and is currently at 16.26 million sq. km. This represents an increase of about 1.4 percent above the previous SH ice area record high.'

"To be sure, this historic bipolarity of the Southern Hemisphere sea ice maximum corresponding with a Northern Hemisphere sea ice minimum is puzzling.

"The fact that climate illusionists will only reveal the heads side of the coin certainly is not."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Keeping it elitist; Moscow group works to conceal anti-Wal-Mart agenda under guise of supporting local business

Very reminiscent of PARD's recent stillborn "Buy Local" campaign (I wonder if Deirdre and Jason Rogers consider patronizing national chain ShopKo as "buying local" and rejecting the "CEO-driven economy?"), No SuperWalMart loudmouth Bill London has started a "Buy Local Moscow" group. I'm very surpised the Greater Moscow Alliance is having anything to do with this. From yesterday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
Keeping it local,Business group works to promote local business, development in Moscow

A group of 25 businesses in Moscow are banding together to help each other thrive and survive.

Members of the group Buy Local Moscow, which began in 2006, will support each other by working to promote local business and encourage economic development in the community.

"When people buy, we want them to be thinking about buying in Moscow and when you buy from local, independent businesses, all dollars recirculate into the community," said Bill London, who owns a freelance writing business and is a member of the group.

Buy Local Moscow is now ready to announce its presence in the community. It will do that through a forum addressing economic stability through buying locally. The forum will be sponsored by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Moscow Alliance and the Moscow Civic Association.

London said the group is using the event as a "big recruitment vehicle" and it will give people a chance to join and find out more about the group.

Stu Scott, a Buy Local Moscow member, Chamber of Commerce board member and owner of Camas Prairie Winery, will talk about the group at the forum.

"As a member of the chamber, I am interested in anything that promotes business in Moscow," Scott said.

"Buy Local Moscow came into existence for the same reason that the MCA and GMA came into existence; there was a need for it in the community. There is not a total overlap with the chamber and a group like Buy Local Moscow is more focused on one section of the business community."

He said the group hopes to promote and enhance the public's awareness of local business.

"It's significant both economically and culturally," he said. "Small business is the heart and soul of the community."

The group has created a Web site, www.buylocalmoscow.com, with contact information about participating businesses and the organization.

Buy Local Moscow doesn't have regular meetings or officers, only meetings when there is a particular issue that needs to be discussed. Scott hopes it will stay that way.

He is excited to have both the GMA and MCA participating in the forum.

The GMA promotes free enterprise and property rights and the MCA works for progressive and sustainable communities.

"We are much more interested in being unifiers than dividers," Scott said, adding that people often become divided on a single issue even though "there is a tremendous amount of overlap in the objectives and desires of all organizations."

Gerard Connelly, owner of Tri-State, was asked to join the group shortly after it began.

"I'm one who would obviously believe in the benefits of buying local and am interested in any group that would promote that," he said.

He said the Moscow Chamber of Commerce has had a campaign during the Christmas season to encourage people to shop locally, but Buy Local Moscow was specifically focused on local business.

"It's a benefit to the entire community to shop locally," Connelly said.

"There are a large number of people who think about the implications of where they spend their money; I think this will make people even more aware of the implications."

Chamber of Commerce Director Darrell Keim said the group is able to be a little more specialized than the chamber.

"The chamber is there for all business," he said. "The benefit (of Buy Local Moscow) is that local citizens are excited about it and excitement can spread about local businesses."

Keim and Connelly both will participate in the forum.

London said local business is vital to Moscow's character.

"It's what makes us so unique," he said. "These are the things that make Moscow work; it's in everyone's interest to support independent businesses."

London said possible future activities for the group include a holiday-buying kick-off party, a raffle, silent auction, a paper brochure and possibly a sign or plaque.
Bill London is a businessman with a "freelance writing business?" Give me a break. Bill's day job, you guessed it, is Communications Coordinator in the University Relations Department at WSU.

This is just another chapter from Crazy Al Norman's anti-Wal-Mart playbook: "Present an alternative."

Of course, small business is the heart of any community. But it is a false dilemma to claim that a town can only have chain stores or independent businesses. They can and do co-exist. Look what's happening here in Pullman. Crimson Village, Duane Brelsford's N. Grand Ave. retail complex, Ace Hardware, and the proposed new Pullman Building Supply superstore are all direct spinoffs from the anticipated traffic from a Wal-Mart Supercenter proposed for Bishop Blvd.

I wonder who has attracted more shoopers to Moscow? New national chains Old Navy and Bed, Bath and Beyond or Bill London's freelance writing?

It is also a lie to claim that money from local stores circulates more in the community than from chain stores. The key principle of economics and finance is that money is fungible; regardless of its origins or intended use, all money is the same. In essence, all businesses are local, in that local people work there and shop there. Wages paid by chain stores are no different than local stores. All businesses on the Palouse, both local and chain, have to pay for the goods they sell and have to pay taxes. All that is left is profit. And there is no more guarantee that a local business will reinvest its profit back into the community than a chain store would. As Kathryn Meier recently discovered, until we have a retail business that makes everything it sells locally, then there is no such thing as a retail business that circulates more money locally than another.

These concepts are all just liberal myths. They have absolutely no connection with economic facts or reality. The left will say or do anything to get their way, no matter how contradictory. For example, they claim that we have a "regional economy" and that we need to "cooperate on retail development" and not be in "competition" with each other. Then we see a group like this.

And God bless good old Gerard Connelly. The only thing we know that he's against for sure is people shopping in Pullman.

So I guess we are to assume that being a "local" business washes away a multitiude of sins. For example, we hear how "ugly" big box stores are, but has anyone taken a look at Tri-State? That store is not going to win any architectural awards.

Selling products made in developing countries? I sure saw a bunch of "Made in China," "Made in Vietnam," and "Made in Philippines" labels in Tri-State.

Does Tri-State pay its employees the Moscow "living wage" of at least $10 an hour? I doubt it.

But Tri-State is "local" and donates money to area charities (so does the Moscow Wal-Mart.) But it doesn't matter. It's all about the semantics, not the facts.

There is a display in Tri-State advertising "Greenicci" t-shirts. They are 55% hemp and 45% cotton. The words scream "Organic," "Sustainable," and "Good for you and good for the Earth." But a closer look reveals the very small words on the label: "Made in China." Does anyone even know realize "sustainable" is really supposed to mean? Want to guess the carbon emissions involved in manufacturing and shipping those shirts from China to Moscow or the hourly wage and benefits of the workers who made them?

A Peek Inside the Moonbat Cave

An article titled "Moscow residents concerned about renewal plans" in Friday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News gave us a little peek inside the minds of the no-growth moonbats.

"Smart growth" is generally defined as being "town-centered, is transit and pedestrian oriented, and has a greater mix of housing, commercial and retail uses." The City of Moscow has hired Kendig-Keast, a Texas consulting firm, to incorporate "smart growth" as part of Moscow's comprehensive plan rewrite.

Kendig-Keast proposed two plans for downtown Moscow near the grain silos on Jackson Street. According to the Daily News:
The development would be anchored by a multiplex theatre and a bookstore. Each also would have a parking structure, one with a parking garage, the other with an underground parking area.

Both plans also include residential units along Jackson Street, although they differed in the type of residential units, with one plan calling for lower-density housing and the second for high-density housing consisting of three- to four-story buildings.
Certainly in line with the "smart growth" philosophy. "But wait!," cried Moscow's moonbats.
Bob Green, owner of BookPeople in downtown Moscow, said the plans did not include anything that would set Moscow apart from other cities.

"I think we are missing an opportunity and we need to think innovative," Green said. "We are being bound by the 20th century when we are in the 21st."
What exactly does Green have in mind, cities in the sky a la The Jetsons?
Betsy Dickow, an employee at BookPeople, agreed with Green that the proposed development was not unique and could be found at "anywhere, U.S.A."

"It is a unique town and it needs to remain unique," Dickow said. "This could come out of any design textbook. (The designers) are working from their perspective - which is big-city."
Interesting that someone in the book business talks about "uniqueness." Books, after all, are published by the millions. I'll tell you what is not unique about Moscow: The funky bookstore run by the leftist old hippie. Go to ANY college town in America and you can find one or more of those. My God, every town is unique in its own way.

Another thing that would be unique about Moscow is for a bunch of self-important liberals with no knowledge of business or economics to FINALLY LEAVE all the design solutions to the people who actually have the money to invest and the expertise.
Swanson also expressed concerns about bringing in a multiplex theater and a new bookstore since neither are currently a need for the city. She thought it would be detrimental to already existing businesses.

"In Moscow, if something new comes in, something old goes out," she said.
Yes, B.J., Charles Darwin called that evolution. Adam Smith called it capitalism. If something old didn't go out and something new come in, mankind would still be huddled in caves in the Neander Valley of Germany. Hard to believe Swanson is the vice-president of a bank.

Lane Kendig is going to quickly learn that he has taken on a bunch of crackpots as his client, just as that Kentucky company that was trying to sell the "New Cities" concept learned. The moonbats running Moscow don't want any kind of growth, "smart" or not. And that's very good news for us here in Pullman and Whitman County.

Buy your way to carbon neutrality?

By Alan Zarembo
Los Angeles Times

The Oscar-winning film "An Inconvenient Truth" touted itself as the world's first carbon-neutral documentary.

The producers said that every ounce of carbon emitted during production — from jet travel, electricity for filming and gasoline for cars and trucks — was counterbalanced by reducing emissions somewhere else. It only made sense that a film about the perils of global warming wouldn't contribute to the problem.

Co-producer Lesley Chilcott used an online calculator to estimate that shooting the film used 41.4 tons of carbon dioxide and paid a middleman, a company called Native Energy, $12 a ton, or $496.80, to broker a deal to cut greenhouse gases elsewhere. The film's distributors later made a similar payment to neutralize carbon dioxide from the movie's marketing.

It was a ridiculously good deal with one problem: So far, it has not led to any additional emissions reductions.

Beneath the feel-good simplicity of buying your way to carbon neutrality is a growing concern that the idea is more hype than solution.

According to Native Energy, money from "An Inconvenient Truth," along with payments from others trying to neutralize their emissions, went to the developers of a methane collector on a Pennsylvanian farm and three wind turbines in an Alaskan village.

As it turned out, both projects already had been designed and financed, and the contributions from Native Energy covered only a minor fraction of their costs.

"If you really believe you're carbon-neutral, you're kidding yourself," said Gregg Marland, a fossil-fuel pollution expert at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. "You can't get out of it that easily."

The race to save the planet from global warming has spawned an industry of middlemen selling environmental salvation at bargain prices.

The companies take millions of dollars collected from their customers and funnel them into carbon-cutting projects, such as tree farms in Ecuador, windmills in Minnesota and no-till fields in Iowa.

In return, customers get to claim the reductions, known as voluntary carbon offsets, as their own. For less than $100 a year, even a Hummer can be pollution-free — at least on paper.

Driven by guilt, public relations or genuine concern over global warming, tens of thousands of people have bought offsets to zero out their carbon effect on the planet.
"It made me feel better about driving my car," said Nicky Tenpas, a 29-year-old occupational therapist from Hermosa Beach, Calif., who bought offsets to neutralize emissions from the Jeep she always wanted.

Offset companies stress that they are not a cure-all for the world's greenhouse-gas emissions, which are equivalent to 54 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Tom Boucher, chief executive of Native Energy, said people first should reduce their energy consumption and waste and then buy offsets. "The only way to really get to zero unless you stop driving, stop traveling."

But the industry is clouded by an approach to carbon accounting that makes it easy to claim reductions that didn't occur. Many projects that have received money from offset companies would have reduced emissions by the same amount anyway.

The growing popularity of offsets has prompted the Federal Trade Commission to begin looking into the $55-million-a-year industry.

"Everybody would like to find happy-face, win-win solutions that don't cost anything," said Robert Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard University. "Unfortunately, they don't exist."

Lagoon an opportunity

In the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, outside the town of Berlin, Dave Van Gilder's family has been raising cows for four decades. He and his twin sons, Jason and Justin, tend to their 400 Holsteins while his wife, Connie, keeps the books.

The smell of manure has long been the sweet exhaust of a dairy farm running full tilt.

Millions of pounds of cow excrement over the decades were funneled from the barns to a 3.3-million-gallon lagoon, where it decayed, burping invisible clouds of the potent greenhouse-gas methane.

In the days of Van Gilder's father, nobody cared about the greenhouse gases.

But things began to change a few years ago. Van Gilder didn't know it, but his lagoon had become an economic opportunity.

A local congressman urged him to apply for a state alternative-energy grant to build a system that would capture methane from cow manure and burn it to generate electricity.

The project, known as a methane digester, would cost about $750,000 — $631,000 of it coming from the state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Van Gilder had to make up the difference, but he figured he could earn that back — and in several years start making money — by supplying electricity for the farm and selling the excess to the local utility.

A year before construction began, Van Gilder was contacted by Native Energy, which wanted to buy his emissions reduction, along with the reductions of others who had won state energy grants.

Van Gilder had never heard of the company or the idea of selling clean air.

Nothing came of his discussions with the company until construction started on the tank for heating manure. He gladly signed a contract to sell Native Energy 29,000 tons in carbon-dioxide reductions — the company's estimate of how much greenhouse gas the digester will keep out of the atmosphere over the next 20 years.

"There wasn't a lot of negotiation," said Van Gilder, who was happy to accept whatever the company was offering.

Family members said the contract forbid them from disclosing the payment, but based on a contract with another dairy farmer, signed with Native Energy, it was about $70,000, or $2.40 a ton.

Justin Van Gilder said the money had nothing to do with the family's decision to build its methane plant. "It was a free bonus," he said.

"We still don't understand it all," Connie Van Gilder said. "It's hard for us to fathom, to see what it is doing."

Eager for offsets

The situation was similar for the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, a utility for dozens of remote communities.

In early 2006, account manager Brent Petrie was at an Anchorage environmental conference talking about a windmill project that the cooperative was building in the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Kasigluk, a soggy patch of tundra on the remote Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska.

Rising 100 feet over the landscape, the three 100-kilowatt turbines were intended to reduce the area's dependence on diesel generators, whose fuel must be shipped in on barges. Federal grants were covering $2.8 million of the project's $3.1 million cost.

Petrie barely had finished his presentation when he was cornered by representatives from two brokers — Native Energy and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation — eager to buy the project's offsets.

The cooperative sold 25 years of carbon-dioxide reductions to Native Energy for $36,000 — roughly $4 a ton.

Native Energy had contributed slightly more than 1 percent of the total cost of the project yet claimed 100 percent of its carbon reductions.

"If you look at the costs of these projects, it's a tiny, tiny fraction," cooperative President Meera Kohler said. The payment did "not determine whether those blades turn or not."

At best, Kohler said, the money could cover some maintenance costs.

Despite its relatively small role in the project, Native Energy counts the windmills as a success, demonstrating the power of carbon offsets to encourage clean energy.

"Every kilowatt-hour they produce means one fewer kilowatt-hour is generated by the diesel generators that otherwise provide power for this village," the company's Web site says.

Untapped market

Wind power has long been a fascination for Boucher, Native Energy's co-founder. As an electrical-engineering major in the 1970s at the University of Vermont, he built a 25-foot-high wind turbine in his parents' backyard, carving the blades from a piece of redwood.

He later worked at a Vermont utility and helped develop one of the first wind farms in the northeast. Boucher started his own company in the 1990s to sell alternative energy but soon came upon a simpler and possibly more lucrative product: voluntary carbon offsets.

It was a new twist on an old idea.

About 30 years ago, the U.S. government began fostering emissions markets that allowed industrial polluters to buy offsets for such gases as nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides. One of their successes has been in reducing acid rain in the Northeast.

The Europeans recently have adopted a similar model to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions, allowing the continent's dirtiest industries to buy and sell rights to spew greenhouse gases.

The key to these regulated markets is a gradually falling cap on total emissions, forcing factories to either reduce their own emissions or buy someone else's reductions at increasing prices.

Boucher and other environmental entrepreneurs, however, believed there was an untapped market for carbon reductions: people and companies who would buy them voluntarily.

"What was coming was a way for folks to take actions against global warming," said Boucher, a bearded 52-year-old who has long believed that alternative energy can be competitive with cheaper power from fossil fuels.

Benefits from film

After Native Energy's name was mentioned in the final credits for "An Inconvenient Truth," visits to the company's Web site jumped 1,100 percent, marketing director Billy Connelly said.

As a private company, it doesn't report its revenue, but Connelly said he expects it will double its sales this year, reaching a total of about 1 million tons of carbon dioxide neutralized since its founding.

"Things have really taken off in the last year or two," Boucher said. The company has about 20 employees.

Native Energy now finds itself facing competition from nearly three dozen other offset companies worldwide. Some are nonprofit, but most of the biggest are in business to make money.

In 2006, offset companies sold greenhouse gas-reductions equivalent to at least 14.8 million tons of carbon dioxide, more than double the previous year, said Katherine Hamilton, carbon project manager for Ecosystem Marketplace, which tracks the industry.

Sales are expected to double again this year.

For all the money spent, nobody can say if the offsets have done much to alleviate global warming.

The problem is whether the voluntary reductions really exist. The buzzword in the industry is "additionality" — the idea that offset purchases actually lead to additional greenhouse-gas reductions.

The concept should be simple: Pay for a project, monitor its actual reductions, then claim your share.

Instead, offset companies often have vague requirements to determine if their potential investments actually would lead to additional reductions.

Native Energy says it looks for projects that need offset revenue to survive — a difficult standard, since the projects are expensive and the offset payments are relatively small. But even if a project can stand on its own, it still can qualify for the money if it is novel or simply "not business as usual," according to the company's Web site.

That definition has allowed Native Energy and other offset companies to claim the carbon reductions from projects in which they have played minor roles. Still, Native Energy's contract requires projects to certify that whatever offset money they receive "is a necessary component of the project's economic viability."

The company has struggled with whether its funding matters. Boucher said the windmills in Alaska were debated for weeks inside Native Energy since the project already had been funded by the government. "This is a case of one of the more difficult determinations," he said.

Native Energy, he said, eventually concluded that its contribution, if used as a reserve fund for emergency repairs, was meaningful. It helps "to make sure these turbines will run as well as they can, and to further the chances that other wind farms will be built," he said.

In the case of the methane digester, Boucher said the reductions were additional since the offset payments helped cover a significant portion of Van Gilder's out-of-pocket expenses.

The best way to ensure additionality, according to Native Energy, is to pay a project for a decade or more of offsets while the developers are still arranging the financing. The downside is that the carbon reductions might not occur for a decade or more.

Concerns raised

Several environmental and clean-energy groups also have raised concerns about verifying projects, monitoring their actual carbon reductions and ensuring that each carbon offset is not sold more than once.

"People are trying to do the right thing," said Peter Knight, a partner with Gore in Generation Investment Management, which invests in environmentally responsible companies. "It's a new field ... and it's going through some growing pains."

Without government regulation and mandatory caps on emissions, all that is left to drive offset sales is guilt and marketing. Offset companies charge what the market will bear.

"How much are you willing to spend to feel good or to impress your neighbors?" asked Marland, of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

Environmentalist Genocide

Rachel Carson and the abolition of DDT wasn't the only big killer inflicted on the developing world by environmental fundamentalism.

By opposing fossil-fuel, hydroelectric and nuclear power, they help keep a third of the world reliant on wood and animal dung – or if they’re lucky, little solar panels on their huts. Deprived of energy for lights, refrigeration, hospitals, schools, offices, factories and safe water, they remain impoverished, plagued by disease and despondent about their future. Intense environmentalist opposition to biotechnology prevents Third World farmers from planting crops that resist disease and drought, require fewer pesticides, and yield bumper harvests that would reduce malnutrition and put cash in the pockets of destitute families.

The worst cabal of pressure groups remains virulently opposed to spraying tiny amounts of DDT on walls to keep mosquitoes out of houses, and using other insecticides to kill blood-sucking insects that carry malaria, dengue and yellow fever, and a host of other killer diseases. A year ago, the World Health Organization, U.S. Agency for International Development, President’s Malaria Initiative and other agencies again recognized the vital role of these chemicals – and reintroduced them in their comprehensive, integrated disease control programs. But Pesticide Action Network, Beyond Pesticides and Physicians for Social Responsibility demand that the agencies return to the disastrous policies of recent years, when disease and death rates were rising every year.

The activists and foundations had watched the tolls mount, but did nothing. They knew the approach they advocated didn’t work, but did nothing. They could have supported research into alternatives to DDT, or even bought bednets to protect children, but didn’t spend a dime on that. They spend millions to attack insecticides, and truly comprehensive solutions, but nothing to protect parents and children.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lollapalousitics: One Week and Counting

Just one week to go until our second annual Palousitics blogfest on September 29. Final arrangements have been sent out as to time and place. If you have not received an e-mail with details yet and would like to attend, please e-mail palousitics@adelphia.net

Pullman Firefighters stop Wildfire from Threatening Apartments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Saturday, September 22, 2007 Lt. Don Foster, Incident Commander


PULLMAN—Firefighters from Pullman and Whitman County Rural District 12 faced shifting winds as they stopped a wildfire Saturday afternoon that consumed about five acres of land surrounded by apartments in Pullman’s north area.

Lt. Don Foster of the Pullman Fire Department said the winds got up to around 20 mph and changed direction about three different times. Foster had engines and crews at strategic locations as firefighters worked to stop the flames and protect the apartment buildings at North Campus Heights, along with Maple and Aspen Village.

Firefighters were called out around 3:45 pm to an area north of Terre View Drive, between Merman Drive on the west and Northwood to the east. They had the fire controlled in about a half hour. At one time, when the wind changed and drove the fire towards Maple and Aspen Village, firefighters moved quickly and attacked the fire with crews driving several all terrain engines. The fire was stopped about 100 yards from the building and the onlookers from the apartment building broke out in applause for the firefighters.

Foster said the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, but police officers did interview witnesses attempting to determine the point of origin.

Press release put out by Pullman Fire.

Bin Laden (D) in '08

You had to expect this sooner or later:

Bin Laden in '08 - Democrat for Change

Look out, Hillobama!

At Least Jenna Jameson Respects the Troops

What's the difference between a porn star and Hillary Clinton? This porn star at least respects the sacrifices of our soldiers.

As for Hillary.....

God's Gift To The Blogosphere

It's Dan Rather.

"Across the media universe the questions pour out: Why is Dan Rather doing this to himself? Why does he drag this out? Why won't he just come clean? Why would he let this happen in the first place? Why is CBS standing by him? Why ... why ... why?

"There is only one plausible answer: Ours is a just and decent God."

What I like best about the blogosphere is not its variety or its independence. It's the expertise. If I want to learn about a Supreme Court decision, I don't have to rely upon the dazzling ignorance of a journalism major. I can look up a blogger with a law school degree. The mainstream media seems reluctant to tell the world what a crock ethanol is as alternative fuel. But, the blogosphere is full of people who can crunch the numbers. And finally, when I want to know if a memo is fake or not, I can turn to somebody who knows what he's talking about. I don't have to take jerks like Dan Rather at face value.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Next Time You Feel Like Bitching About Potholes...

And the Democrats disparage the men who risk this every day on our behalf.

Repeating History at Columbia University

Dr. Know's earlier post about those who study history rings true again as we now learn that Columbia University, which extended an invitation to this century's Hitler, in invited the last century's Hitler as well.

Seventy years before this week’s invitation to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Columbia rolled out the red carpet for a senior official of Adolf Hitler’s regime. The invitation to Iran’s leader may seem less surprising, but no less disturbing, when one recalls that in 1933, Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler invited Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, to speak on campus, and also hosted a reception for him. Luther represented “the government of a friendly people,” Butler insisted. He was “entitled to be received ... with the greatest courtesy and respect.” Ambassador Luther’s speech focused on what he characterized as Hitler’s peaceful intentions. Students who criticized the Luther invitation were derided as “ill-mannered children” by the director of Columbia’s Institute of Arts and Sciences.

Columbia also insisted on maintaining friendly relations with Nazi-controlled German universities. While Williams College terminated its program of student exchanges with Nazi Germany, Columbia and other universities declined to do likewise. Columbia refused to pull out even after a German official candidly asserted that his country’s students were being sent abroad to serve as “political soldiers of the Reich.”

In 1936, the Columbia administration announced it would send a delegate to Nazi Germany to take part in the 550th anniversary celebration of the University of Heidelberg. This, despite the fact that Heidelberg already had been purged of Jewish faculty members, instituted a Nazi curriculum, and hosted a burning of books by Jewish authors. Prof. Arthur Remy, who served as Columbia’s delegate to the Heidelberg event, later remarked that the reception at which chief book-burner Josef Goebbels presided was “very enjoyable.”

That Ahmadinejad is more welcome at an Ivy League university than the president of the United States speaks volumes about the state of higher education.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pictures Worth a 1000 Words

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
9/11 Never Forget Project

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
September 6, Vote For Your Favorite Domestic Terrorist

Pullman Seniors Want Wal-Mart Supercenter

You may have heard this story on the Inland Northwest News on KMAX 840 AM yesterday.

I'm not often asked, but I'm sure people wonder, "Why do you do it, Tom?" Why the blog? Why BREO? Why the letters to the editor, the newspaper columns, the radio interviews, etc.? Why do you give up so much time with your family? Why do you subject yourself to all the public name-calling?

It's simple, really. It's because of stories like this.

I'm not paid by Wal-Mart (although my wife wishes that I was.) I'm not a business owner, developer, or land speculator. I don't stand to personally profit in any way by Wal-Mart coming to Pullman. I don't even own stock in the company.

I'm not fighting to protect the socialist sensibiltiies of tenured professors or the snobbish urges of NIMBY homeowners. I'm fighting for the seniors, the young families with children, the struggling students, the small business owners; in other words, the common people of Pullman and the working class of Pullman. And when those people, MY people, contact me privately to say "Thanks," THAT'S what keeps me going. Doing right is its own reward.

The so-called "progressives" in this country, like the PARDners, will always lose because they don't really have the best interests of the common people in mind as they claim. Their disdain of capitalism proves that "progressives" are just doctrinaires, only interested in monolithic, old fashioned, big government solutions. "Regressives" might be a better term. Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute said it best:
Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that capitalism's relentless dynamism and wealth-creation--the institutional safeguarding of which lies at the heart of libertarian concerns--have been pushing U.S. society in a decidedly progressive direction. The civil rights movement was made possible by the mechanization of agriculture, which pushed blacks off the farm and out of the South with immense consequences. Likewise, feminism was encouraged by the mechanization of housework. Greater sexual openness, as well as heightened interest in the natural environment, are among the luxury goods that mass affluence has purchased. So, too, are secularization and the general decline in reverence for authority, as rising education levels (prompted by the economy's growing demand for knowledge workers) have promoted increasing independence of mind.

Yet progressives remain stubbornly resistant to embracing capitalism, their great natural ally. In particular, they are unable to make their peace with the more competitive, more entrepreneurial, more globalized U.S. economy that emerged out of the stagflationary mess of the 1970s. Knee-jerk antipathy to markets and the creative destruction they bring continues to be widespread, and bitter denunciations of the unfairness of the system, mixed with nostalgia for the good old days of the Big Government/Big Labor/Big Business triumvirate, too often substitute for clear thinking about realistic policy options.
PRESS RELEASE: Pullman Seniors Want Wal-Mart Supercenter


PULLMAN, WA, September 18, 2007 – Nineteen residents of the Pioneer Square Apartments, a project of Catholic Charities of Spokane that provides affordable housing for seniors and individuals with disabilities, submitted an unsolicited petition to Businesses & Residents for Economic Opportunity stating that they were in support of Wal-Mart coming to Pullman.

"For too long, the voices of those who stand to benefit the most have been drowned out in the heated debate over a Wal-Mart in Pullman," stated April Coggins, downtown merchant and co-chair of Businesses and Residents for Economic Opportunity (BREO.) "Many of these seniors don’t have the option of hopping over to Moscow to shop," Coggins continued, "but a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman would be accessible to them via Dial-A-Ride or other transportation options."

Wal-Mart first announced plans to construct a 228,000 square foot Supercenter on Bishop Boulevard in Pullman back in October 2004. Those plans were approved by the City of Pullman in October 2005. The city’s approval has been appealed by the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD) three times, most recently to the District III Washington Court Of Appeals in Spokane. An October 19 hearing has been postponed due to a motion by PARD to present oral arguments.

The world’s largest retailer has proven benefits for seniors and others living on low or fixed incomes by offering savings on food, medicines, and other necessities. Last year, the American Association of Retired Persons praised the company’s $4 generic prescription drug program as an important way for Americans to save money and improve their health. A 2005 MIT study estimated the average savings on groceries alone from a Wal-Mart Supercenter is about 20 percent of the average food budget. "These seniors not only want Wal-Mart," concluded Coggins, who, along with husband Russ, owns Pullman Honda, "they need Wal-Mart. And like other Pullman residents, they are tired of the endless delays."

For additional information on this petition, contact April Coggins or visit www.letsgrowpullman.com. For a copy of the petition, please e-mail breo@adelphia.net.

ABOUT BUSINESSES & RESIDENTS FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY (BREO) - BREO was formed in October 2005 to support free enterprise, business growth and healthy competition in Whitman County, Washington.

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Barack Obama's Not Black Enough For Jesse Jackson

Howard Kurtz has a wonderful column in today's Washington Post that starts with the absurdity of Dan Rather's delusional lawsuit against CBS, but then includes this gem:

Just when you thought the campaign might be detouring into substance comes this bulletin: Barack Obama isn't black enough for Jesse Jackson.

That's right, the 1984 and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate is questioning the racial credentials of the 2007 African-American candidate.

I see two possible explanations for this:

1. Jesse really misses the spotlight.

2. See number 1.

Here's a link to Jesse's laughable blather.

Key paragraph:
Jackson sharply criticized presidential hopeful and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white” in what Jackson said has been a tepid response to six black juveniles’ arrest on attempted-murder charges in Jena, La. Jackson, who also lives in Illinois, endorsed Obama in March, according to The Associated Press.

Jesse now says that he doesn't remember saying that. Hmmm. As I recall, he claims not to have remembered calling New York, "Hymietown."