Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, March 31, 2008

More of Obama's Chickens Come Home To Roost

I once thought that Obama would be tough to beat in November. But he's been creating a lot of video footage for Republican campaign ad producers.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Obama's Chickens Coming Home To Roost

Talk about chickens coming home to roost?

John Edwards Signs Autographs For Young Democrats

You just can't make this stuff up

The Washington Post photo caption:

Former presidential candidate John Edwards signs an autograph for Clara Frade at the Annual Young Democrats Conference in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Saturday, March 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Sara D. Davis)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Livin' in the AmeriKKKa

The WSU College Republicans sent the following e-mail to the faculty members of the WSU Comparative Ethnic Studies department:
CES Department,

I would like to cordially invite you and your students to an eye-opening guest speaker, Dinesh D'Souza. A former Reagan Policy Analyst, now one of America's best selling authors, Dinesh D'Souza is coming to Pullman to discuss the state of American race politics and other issues surrounding the modern era. This eye-opening speaker will be hosted on Tuesday, March 25, at 7:30pm in CUE 203. This is going to be a great learning opportunity for all of those in attendance. It may be conducive to offer extra-credit to your students to entice them away from their busy schedules to experience this prominent speaker. I hope to see you there!

Featured sponsors: The Foley Institute, Young America's Foundation, ASWSU, RHA and the WSU College Republicans
Kelvin Monroe, a CES instructor, responded as follows:
This is great learning opportunity indeed for our students to witness neo-conservative race politics (masquerading as Liberal universalism) in our modern era. D'Souza and his contemporaries--W. J. Wilson, F. Fukuyama, S. P. Huntington--are a great example--and indeed a good learning moment--of a revitalized enlightenment project (liberal at its absolutely best) in the Amerikkka. Lack of response to Katrina is only one many great examples of this country's Race politics. Reagan, I think of de-industrialization, New jack drug policies, trickle down economics, the list goes on....

I would suggest that the college republicans go learn some history. We got it over here in CES...

Our students should be more concern with the persistence of a War fought on ghostly premises. Do the research. Stop watching Fox, drink water and not Kool-aid.

Take care and see you there.
Another CES instructor, Sarah Hengtes, forwarded the CRs e-mail and Monroe's response to her students with this note:
Dear Class,

Sometimes students take this class and want to hear "the other side." While this class presents a variety of opinions as well as "the other side" to much of what we learn in elementary and high school, there is also another "side" that we don't spend time on in class. This other side is the Neo-Conservative view of race and racism. While we don't discuss these views much, we have been discussing some of the effects of such views in class. (For instance, what happened in Tulia or Jena.)

This being said, there is a unique opportunity for you all to hear this "other side" and to get some extra credit in the process. In fact, you all have been invited by the College Republicans to attend a talk by Dinesh D'Souza entitled, "Racism is Not the Problem." March 25, CUE 203 7:30 pm. I highly reccommend this event and I would like to hear your thouhts about, and critical analysis of, D'Souza's talk.

Below is the e-mail invite from the president of the College Republicans as well as a response from a CES faculty member. I hope you will attend, ask questions, and formulate your own ideas.

I don't know what's worse. Monroe's use of "Amerikka" or Hengtes' apparent acceptance of the term.

Your higher-education tax dollars at work....

If Pullman Could Speak...

Gratuitously borrowed from The Guardian:

Hell, I've always been old. Ya' know what though, I don't mind. I mean if my farm buildings look worn, it's because I've used 'em to feed millions. Maybe my hills have no architecture, but countless young people have walked up 'em every day seeking knowledge. My houses might be cookie-cutters, but they are not insignificant to the kids who go to sleep in 'em every night safely sheltered against the Chinook winds that blow over my prairie. I've got some peeling paint here and there, but I've laid under thousands of skies with sunny days. I look and feel this way, well cuz I'm a working town. I've made wheat, lentils, peas, electronics, and scholars that are world class. I lived and I loved, danced, partied, sang, cheered, shouted, cried, mourned, sweat, built, tore down, and rebuilt my way thorough a pretty damn good life if you ask me. Getting old ain't bad. Getting old, that's earned.

Quote Of The Day (From 4 Years Ago)

"The real issue is this," Dean said in March 2004, when endorsing former rival Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., "Who would you rather have in charge of the defense of the United States of America, a group of people who never served a day overseas in their life, or a guy who served his country honorably and has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star on the battlefields of Vietnam?"

McCain, by the way, has been awarded the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals, a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Surely, this will show up on a campaign ad sometime, or at least on a YouTube video.

It could even be better than this one.

Amazonian Memory Loss Caused by Global Warming

From Medical News Today

The researchers found a rapid decay in farmers' memories even of major climate events. For example, more than 50 percent of the farmers surveyed in 2002 did not recall the El Nino-caused drought of 1997 and 1998 -- the worst drought in recent recorded history.

"Because there's so much variability -- even within a three-year period -- most farmers do not seem to maintain a memory of major weather events unless they had some unusual and specific relevance to their lives,"

Friday, March 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

Angela Congdon thinks the city of Pullman could have done better when planning Bishop Boulevard.

The 21-year-old Washington State University student said the boulevard's box stores (?) and strip malls add no quality to the Pullman community and detract from the well-planned, pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

"There's no cohesion," she said of recent construction along the boulevard. "Everything is random."


Congdon, who came to Pullman from the north Seattle area, said she likely wouldn't have initiated the protest without Rahmani's leadership. But she wanted to leave her mark on Pullman, since she soon will leave town to finish her degree at WSU-Spokane.
-"Students protest city's 'architorture'," Moscow-Pullman Daily News, March 28, 2008

Bye Angela. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Don't forget to e-mail Professor Ayad Rahmani at arahmani@wsu.edu and WSU President Elson Floyd at floyde@wsu.edu and let them how you feel about the taxpayer-funded insulting of Pullman during "Cougar Pride Days."

The Audacity of Cynicism

Shortly after Barack Obama gave a campaign speech in which he condemned lobbyist and an "ethic of greed," he hustled to a fundraiser hosted by Credit Suisse, one of the primary contributors to the subprime mortgage meltdown.

Barack Obama went to New York on Thursday and blamed lobbyists, greedy businessmen and complacent Washington politicians for creating “an ethic of greed” that led to today’s foreclosure crisis.

Not long after he left the stage, the Democratic presidential hopeful attended a fundraiser held by his campaign in a room in the Manhattan headquarters of Credit Suisse, one of the major investment companies caught up in the subprime lending mess.

Here's what you get with planned growth

On the heels of the story about the idiot professor who coerced his students into protesting growth yesterday

Moscow area growth slowest in Idaho
Updated at: 12:03 pm

The Moscow area is growing slower than all other Idaho regions of its size, according to U.S. Census Bureau Data released Thursday by the Idaho Department of Labor.

The Moscow "micropolitan" area, which encompasses Latah County, grew 0.5 percent from mid-2006 to mid-2007. Micropolitan areas are counties with "urban concentrations of 10,000 to 50,000 people."

The rate makes Moscow the 246th fastest-growing among the nation’s micropolitan areas. The area’s total population is 36,299.

For more on this developing story, check out DNews.com or the weekend edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

The Rantings of an Arrogant and Contemptuous Jerk

Your blood will boil when you read what elitist WSU archictecture prof Ayad Rahmani wrote in an op-ed that appeared in the October 27, 2007 issue of WSU Today. Some quotes:

WSU’s claims to “world-class” status, while true, ultimately ring hollow because the reality finds no match with those statements. World-class ambitions cannot be met with low-class ideas. High-class faculty will refuse to live in scattered and inconsequential buildings. [And after all, it's only the "high-class" faculty that matter in this town. The rest of us are just low-class. Oh my God. -tf]

The new housing stock in Pullman sadly represents the worst of the effects of a market economy; it has neither respect for art or the environment — or for that matter the fact that within a short walk there is an architecture school with graduates who have gone on to change the world. [So what's stopping them for developing houses with respect for "art and the enivonment?"? Oh yeah, money. It's much easier to tell someone else how to spend theirs. - tf]

Rather than taking clues from cities such as Portland and Seattle — whose architects and developers have joined forces to create a denser and more community friendly environment [and that obsession with "density and community friendly environment" has added $200,000 to the average price of a Seattle home - tf] — Pullman developers have made more suburbs. These offensive McMansions, with garages looking onto the streets, use materials and planning that are highly wasteful and unsustainable. [You mean like wood, which is a renewable crop? Concrete? Seems to me there is a virtually infinite supply of sand and gravel. Vinyl, which can be recycled? What's wasteful and unsustainable? - tf]

Rather than building inward and promoting walking and bicycling, these suburbs force those who live in them to use their cars. And rather than building with materials that have a low-carbon footprint and reflect an inventive approach to scarcity, these same suburbs persist with a cookie-cutter mentality. [So why did Pullman just get nationally recognized as a "pedestrian-oriented" city? And where in the hell are we going to build "inward" in Pullman??????? College Hill?? Downtown?? There's no room left but at the periphery of town. But in any case, there is no "suburb" in town that is more than two miles from the WSU campus. What a joke to call that "sprawl." And that "cookie-cutter mentality" is otherwise known as "affordable family housing." How dare you insult my home as "cookie-cutter" when that is all I can afford, you snobby asshole. - tf]

The university also cannot rely on the town to resolve this problem; the town is too bogged down in trying to increase tax revenues to worry about the role of architecture in improving matters. The university must lead the way in not only improving its own grounds but in transforming the town. [Oh sure. The poor townies are so plebeian wanting to pay the bills for parks, police, fire and emergency services, schools, etc., etc. Let the highly-educated solons take over. I have read some elitist and snobby crap before, but this takes the cake. - tf]

"Urban Sprawl" in Pullman?

Nope, not according to the U.S. Census Bureau:
Many of Washington's metropolitan areas have grown substantially since 2000, with the Tri-Cities, Bellingham and Olympia showing the highest percentage growth, the Census Bureau reported today.

The state's smaller communities, called micropolitan areas, also showed solid growth, the agency said.


Micropolitan areas also showed steady growth. Ellensburg grew 15.5 percent and Shelton 14.1 percent between 2000 and 2007.

Moses Lake, with 83,047 residents, was the largest of those and grew 11.2 percent. Pullman (1.2 percent) had the smallest growth rate.
In fact, Pullman had the smallest growth rate of all metropolitan and micropolitan areas in Washington.

Urban Sprawl or Urban Decay?

So if WSU Professor Ayad Rahmani and his "volunteer" student protesters think these new developments on Bishop Blvd. represent "architorture" and "urban sprawl":

Then what do they think about this urban decay along Pullman's most traveled and visible road, Grand Avenue?:

Perhaps rather than advancing an elitist, liberal fascist political agenda, a better extra credit project would be volunteering the students' expertise/labor to refurbish/demolish these dilipidated structures, the true archictectural "eyesores" in Pullman. How about a carwash or bake sale to raise money for the Grand Avenue Greenway project?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carolina Blue

Many of you may not know that I have close ties to North Carolina. I grew up in southwest Virginia, about a two hour drive away from Chapel Hill.

So it was with great dread that I heard that my brother and nephew back in Virginia had called while I was at work, wanting to place a large wager on the outcome of this evening's WSU-Carolina basketball game, with generous offers of points-spread in my favor. By the time I called my brother back, the game was over and I knew the intense grief that I was going to get.

In any case, thanks to the Cougs for a great season. Good luck Derrick and Kyle in the NBA or wherever you end up after Pullman. Thanks for the memories.

"WSU class protests Pullman sprawl"

How unbelievably repugnant. An elitist professor bribes students who are not even from Pullman to go out and protest supposed "sprawl." They don't even know what "sprawl" really is. If those students are unhappy with the economic development that helps pay for the police, fire, streets, water, sewer, bus service, etc. that they enjoy, then they are more than welcome to run for City Council and effect a change. Perhaps they could actually even show up at a City Council meeting or Planning Commission meeting. But Bishop Blvd. is being developed in accordance with the city's Comprehensive Plan as determined by our democratically-elected representatives.

The good professor and his students are also more than welcome to purchase a lot on Bishop and build their own "sustainable" structure if they choose. Until then, they should just shut up and stop meddling in things they nothing about. These kinds if things only exacerbate tensions between the university and the town and build resentment towards students and professors.

I encourage you to register your disapproval of this agenda-advancing cheap stunt to Professor Rahmani at: arahmani@wsu.edu and WSU President Elson Floyd at floyde@wsu.edu. Let's clog their inboxes with our indignation at our town being used as some social engineering laboratory.

From Dnews.com:
A group of more than 100 Washington State University students protested building sprawl on Bishop Boulevard Thursday morning.

Enrolled in an Architecture 202 class taught by Ayad Rahmani, the students carried signs proclaiming “Stop Architorture in Pullman” and “The Show Starts on the Sidewalk.” The group’s purpose was to promote sustainable structures and growth, not haphazardly constructed strip malls and big box stores.

“There’s no cohesion,” said 21-year old WSU student Angela Congdon. “Everything is random.”

Participation in the protest was optional for the roughly 200 students enrolled in the class. Extra credit was given to students who protested, as well as those who didn’t — as long as they justified their position in writing.

Quote of the Day

He simplified a really complex idea. It was frustrating because it’s not as easy or as simple as he made it out to be.
- WSU Progressive Student Union member Chelsea Tremblay, "Best-selling author talks about race", The Daily Evergreen, March 27, 2008

Apparently, however, the issues of globalization, international trade, and manufacturing in developing countries are pretty cut-and-dry for Ms. Tremblay.

Bad Timing or Bad Karma?

The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute's "Focus the Nation" climate change panel discussion and screening of the film, "Revolution Green: A True Story of Biodiesel in America," scheduled for January 31 in Moscow was cancelled after a blizzard dumped 14 inches of snow.

So they must have figured that rescheduling it for March 27, one full week into spring, would be safe, right?


A strong spring snowstorm blew through the Palouse overnight. There is 5 inches of the white powdery stuff here at Forbicite HQ. Moscow schools are closed. Pullman schools are two hours late. U.S. 195 is closed between Pullman and Colton. No word yet on the "climate change" event.

!$%?$! Global Warming!

There's nothing quite as unpleasant as waking up to 3 inches of fresh snow a full week into spring. Actually, there is something more unpleasant

I see on the NWS website that we should expect up to 4 more inches by noon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dinesh D'Souza Diversifies Washington State Campus

On Tuesday March, 25, 2008 I had the privilege of attending one of the greatest speakers to ever step foot on the WSU campus. After months of the planning the WSU College Republicans were finally able to confirm that we would in fact be bringing one of the brightest Conservative minds in America to our campus (with much thanks going to the Young America’s Foundation). We decided to use a lecture hall that seated around 225 people where Mr. Dinesh D’Souza would give his speech titled “Racism is Not the Problem”.

After a great dinner with Dinesh and a select group of the CRs at the Old Post Office, we made our way to the lecture hall where I would be giving the introduction of our special guest. As I walked in into the room I was unsure as to how many people were going to attend this event, but when I saw the entire room packed and students sitting in the aisles I knew that all our hard work had paid off, there must have been around 250 people curious to hear what this man would say.

Mr. D’Souza started off his speech with a bang, getting the crowd into it with some funny and witty commentary and then jumped right into business. D’Souza talked about the race issues which affect America today and mainly how Affirmative Action is actually racial discrimination in itself. Of course anyone with a brain already knows that Affirmative Action is a policy that is considerably outdated and unfair to those who are better qualified for let’s say a job, but do not get the job because a person of color with significantly less qualifications gets it on basis of race and “political correctness”. Mr. D’Souza gave great examples of this “reverse discrimination” stating that you don’t see Koreans or Jews filing lawsuits because there are not more of them in professional sports. Professional sports teams pick the best athletes regardless of race, how come most other jobs then use Affirmative Action policies then? Should whites or Asians go to court because there are fewer of them in the NBA than there are blacks? Shouldn’t the point of any job be to find the best qualified person regardless of skin color?

Mr. D’Souza gave so much great information based on facts and reason rather than emotions, which many people in the crowd used to get into heated discussions with D’Souza after his speech. The one thing I was thinking during the entire question and answer session was that D’Souza has the advantage here even if 95% of the crowd hated what he said because everything he said in his speech was true. These Liberal students likely did not realize that this man who just spoke before them is a true scholar, someone much smarter than anyone in that room. Any question or argument that his detractors were going to have, Dinesh had heard a thousand times and he was ready to fight for his cause using his brains rather than trying to use illogical, highly flawed, and emotional arguments. My favorite line was during one of the questions when he explained why he does what he does, and he stated “to show you diversity, intellectual diversity”. Diversity is sure something that is lacking at WSU, and I do not mean we do not have enough minority students I am talking about intellectual diversity, the right to have an educated opinion, but as a Conservative and a Republican in the massively Liberal/leftist/socialist/even communism college world I am not supposed to voice what I believe in. College professors look down upon you if you identify with the Right, sometimes even grade you down, publicly ridicule you, and simply try to demoralize you. How is that diverse? How come I am wrong and they are right when what I say is actually true most of the time and what most of what they preach is propaganda, outright lies, and personal attacks. I am more of a minority on campus than any person of color, I am a real Conservative, a true Republican, a freedom loving American, and I’m damn proud of it. No matter how many times I get pushed down by the Left, I will get back up and keep fighting and working hard for what I believe in. Hard work seems like an ancient phrase nowadays with freebies given out left and right, and it is time for some change - change that will make things equal for everyone.

I am so thankful that Pullman had the opportunity to see such an influential speaker and hope this is only one of many great Conservatives that will grace their presence on our campus.

I will be posting pictures and likely some more blog posts on my own blog in the next few days so check it out, here.

Thank You for Flying Saddam, Buh-Bye Now!

Looks like ol' Baghdad Jim may be facing a Travelgate of his own. From the Associated Press:
US: Saddam paid for lawmakers' Iraq trip

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

An indictment unsealed in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a member of a Michigan nonprofit group, of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam's regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.

At the time, the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq.

The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. There was no indication the three lawmakers knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.

"Obviously we didn't know it at the time," McDermott spokesman Michael DeCesare said Wednesday. "The trip was to see the plight of the Iraqi children. That's the only reason we went."

During the trip, the lawmakers expressed skepticism about the Bush administration's claims that Saddam was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. Though such weapons ultimately were never found, the lawmakers drew criticism for their trip at the time.

Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles, the second-ranking Senate Republican at the time, said the Democrats "sound somewhat like spokespersons for the Iraqi government."

In exchange for coordinating the trip, Al-Hanooti allegedly received 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil.

DeCesare said McDermott was invited to go to Iraq by a Seattle church group and was unaware of any other funding for the trip.

"D'Souza: Affirmative action no longer needed; Former Reagan policy analyst tackles tough topics at WSU"

In today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Amy Gray does a decent job of providing a précis of Dinesh D'Souza's remarks at WSU last night. For the sake of clarity, I will add my comments after hers in red:

Conservative author Dinesh D'Souza told a packed house at Washington State University on Tuesday that affirmative action as it exists should be retired.

D'Souza is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in India and came to America as an exchange student at 17. He was educated at Dartmouth College and went on to become a policy analyst for President Ronald Reagan and a Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

He was introduced at WSU's Smith Center for Undergraduate Education as "one of America's most influential conservative thinkers, a highly acclaimed scholar and true patriot." [No mention of the WSU College Republicans sponsoring this event at considerable cost? Come on.]

D'Souza said affirmative action was "conceived for one group - African-Americans, blacks - for a specific period of time." Other groups such as gay people and women eventually began to seek affirmative action to counter discrimination in employment and education.

He said blacks are a small minority in America - 10 percent. Hispanics make up another 10 percent of the population, and women make up 50 percent.

"Now we have a majority," he said.

He told the audience of a debate he had with the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

"Our skin colors were identical. Why do I and he have an opposite take on the same set of facts?" D'Souza asked.

He said the answer is he represents immigrants and Jackson represents indigenous minority groups such as blacks and American Indians - people who "have been here longer than the Italians and the Jews."

He said the difference in the two populations is that immigrants compare America to the rest of the world whereas Jackson "was comparing America to Utopia, to a garden of Eden, and America consistently falls short." [He also asked Jackson to specifically name where this discrimination that is supposedly being fought still exists; to name just one example from today. Jackson couldn't. How's that for "comparative ethnic studies?"

Dinesh didn't mention it, but I would imagine this also explains Barack Obama's poor polling numbers with Hispanic and Asian-American voters. D'Souza commented how Obama could be uniquely positioned to transcend racism. Obama is much more like the immigrant. His Kenyan father only attended college in Hawaii and then returned to Kenya. Obama's ancestors were never slaves. The only "indigenous" part of Obama is his white Kansas family. But, somewhat unexpectedly, race has become an issue in the presidential race, with Jeremiah Wright's sermons demonstrating the "typhoonic rage" of the indigenous minorities.]

D'Souza pointed out that 50 percent of National Football League players are black, and no one complains about discrimination in that case. [Dinesh didn't say the NFL was specifically 50 percent black. He mentioned several pro sports and several percentages. More accurately, 75% of the of NFL players and 85% of NBA players are black. His point was that blacks, comprising some 10% of the population, are overrepresented in pro sports. He wondered where are the protests about having more Koreans and Jews in pro sports. Pro sports teams pick players based on merit, not race. This merit standard results in the inequality observed.]

"They're outperforming everybody as a result of achievement, not social power or a game that's rigged in their favor," he said.

He countered notions that standardized tests are racially biased, focusing on math portions of tests that require absolute answers.

"Is it really possible that all these tests are conspiratorially based?" he asked. "In any test given to a group - reasoning, math, vocabulary, legal skills - I will tell you the results. Asian-Americans and whites will do the best. Hispanics will come in second and African-Americans will come in last." [Dinesh offered three theories as to why these test results happen:

1. The Genetics Theory - it's how you're born.
2. The Liberal Theory - it's all society's fault.
3. The Cultural/Behavioral Theory - it's up to you and your family.

He believes that the "Cultural/Behavioral Theory" is the most plausible and empirically proven. As an example, he talked about a study conducted of racial groups and the amount of time spent on homework weekly. Those numbers corresponded exactly to how well each group did on tests. Dinesh suggested this had to do with parental involvement. Asian-Americans have the lowest illegimacy rate and Hispanics and blacks have the highest. It could be that children from two parent homes have more parental involvement/supervision than children from single parent homes. Ironically, this is the same point that Chuck Pezeshki made in his column yesterday, even though I'm sure Pezeshki would disagree with most everything D'Souza said.]

Francene Watson, a doctoral candidate in the WSU College of Education, told D'Souza she believed he was oversimplifying race issues with regard to educational advancement.

"In 10 years as a public high school teacher, I've never had a student ask me to lower the standards," she said. "We're talking about something that's institutionalized. Public school has always been about oppression. I would like to hear a more critical analysis than saying everyone is a blank slate and they show up in a class and test."

D'Souza likened affirmative action to "lowering the net" for basketball players who are not as tall as Michael Jordan. [Dinesh discussed how much Michael Jordan himself would have resisted this. If that had happened, all of Jordan's records and accomplishments would be asterisked, much as Barry Bonds' will be. Affirmative action and lowered standards strengthen racist stereotypes. In essence, the liberals who claim to be racism's biggest foes are actually the worst racists, intentional or not, demonstrating a "plantation mentality."

For example, Pullman's Don Orlich had a column on the WASL that appeared in both the Daily News and Spokesman-Review earlier this year. Orlich pointed out what D'Souza pointed out last night:

Data for all 10th-graders – approximately 75,000 – who took the WASL in 2006-07 show the following: The percentages meeting standard — that is, passing an arbitrary score — were 80.8 on reading, 83.9 on writing, 50.4 on math and 36.4 on science.

White and Asian students exceeded those performances in all categories.

But the percentages for black students were 37 for reading, 39.3 for writing, 14.2 for math and 9.2 for science.

Orlich's solution? Dump the WASL, for everyone. Here are some reactions to Orlich's column from letters to the editor in the Spokesman-Review:
I find much of Mr. Orlich's commentary insulting, and suggesting that establishing a common standard of achievement and testing for it is inherently discriminatory against those who don't measure up ought to be insulting to them, too. Accepting that line of thinking will keep you right where you are – instead of reaching for the stars.
Donald Orlich, for his scathing rebuke of the WASL (Jan. 31), gets my vote for poster child for the soft bigotry of race-based, lowered expectations, his allusion to MLK's "I have a dream" speech being completely inapposite, highly offensive rhetoric. It comes as a complete shock and outrage to read a WSU professor's admission that he has little hope of blacks and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics and American Indians, ever competing academically with whites.

Of course, Orlich doesn't see himself as a bigot, but that's the perfect word for the person who, in giving up on minorities, indirectly labels them as inferior. I have seen this before in education, where the teacher who says somebody's got to work at Burger King is venerated, viewed as experienced and positive, and the one who pushes black, red, brown and white all just as hard called naive, not suited for teaching, counterproductive, even racist!

Spokesman-Review, don't you ever again trash a national icon like MLK by publishing plain racism, however indirect or subtle, racism purporting to have his endorsement no less! If MLK stood for anything, it is stop judging people by the color of their skin, his "I have a dream" speech being the best example of this conviction.]

"Racism in America is substantially different than it was in the past. In the South, it was systematic," he said, using segregated water fountains as an example.

"Racism today is not only less than it used to be but it is episodic rather than systematic," D'Souza said. "We may be in the best position to correct this. We must sometimes take responsibility for things we didn't do. Individual responsibility means you need to take the cards you're dealt and do the best with them. Policies need to be based on achievement, development and merit. Instead of trying to rig the outcome, invest resources to allow people to do better." [Dinesh referred to this as the two strategies that minorities could use: The "Protest Strategy" (or the "Cornel West Strategy"- West believes blacks face "existential angst" from their slave past and that accounts for their problems) or the "Assimilation Strategy."

Are a lot of school subjects not culturally "neutral?" Sure. It's AMERICAN history, for example. But shouldn't we all learn that as we live in America?

Yes, America was slaveholding longer than it has been free. But what's the point in bringing up the past? No one alive today was a slave, nor was anyone's parents or grandparents. Rather than protest against things in the past that cannot be changed, why not make the best of it now? He gave an example from his own experience in India. People would blame British colonialism for plumbing leaks and broken down trains. And indeed, it was the British that had originally laid those pipes and tracks. But if all the Indians did was to blame the British, nothing would ever get fixed. D'Souza pointed out how the stereotype 40 years ago of "eat your food, there are people starving in India" has changed to "be careful or an Indian will take your job." This has been accomplished by an assimilation attitude, not a protest attitude.]

D'Souza's comments were met with mixed reaction. As students exited, one shouted, "That guy's racist!"

WSU freshman Shera Shupert thought her fellow students were rude to D'Souza.

"He's a respected speaker at our university and people were yelling at him," she said. [Not hard to believe at all, considering just a year and a half ago, a WSU professor called a student a "white shitbag" and likened a College Republican demonstration to a "swastika in a Jewish neighborhood" and only faced minimal disciplinary action.

For the most part, the faculty/students asking questions last night weren't really asking questions or engaging in debate. They were making statements (one guy admitted as much); precanned statements regurgitating what they have been indoctrinated about concerning "white supremacy" from the likes of John Streamas, David Leonard, Richard King, TV Reed, et. al. (Were any of those guys there? I didn't see them, nor did I see Alex McDonald.)

The ad hominem argument is really about all the liberals have in their arsenal. Other commenters tried to imply that D'Souza was somehow "elitist" and "privileged," even though he is a dark-skinned Indian immigrant from a humble background. They chided his humorous comments as being "insensitive." That and a few straw man arguments thrown in here and there for good measure. There were implications that Dinesh was denying that racism had ever occurred or was somehow glossing over the damaging effects of racism. He made no such allegations. D'Souza just stated that those things are not happening NOW.]

D'Souza reminded the group that "In a university you also need racial, gender, cultural, and language diversity -- but you also need intellectual diversity and I hope I've tried to provide that," he said. [He did. I hope a few young minds were enlightened. The unenlightened ones were certainly embarassing to WSU, but I'm sure Dinesh is used to that.]

"Legislators: $25M gift could have affected budget; Next session could benefit WSU's Pullman campus"

Pay close attention to this quote from Senator Mark Schoesler:
In the '05-07 biennium, they dropped down the list; the (branch campuses) were treated very well. I hope it's time to get back to the parent campus, and this provides a heck of an incentive.
Scotty and I discussed this issue on The PES Monday and it was also a topic at last week's Palunchitics.

Do you think that WSU Pullman will play second fiddle in funding to the branch campuses in the next few years?

From yesterday's Moscow-Pullman-Daily News:
Ninth district legislators and Washington State University leaders had a card they couldn't show during the legislative session that just ended.

State Sen. Mark Schoesler and Rep. Joe Schmick knew WSU was in negotiations with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the largest private gift ever given to the university - $25 million for the School of Global Animal Health.

The deal had not been sealed, however, so it was kept a secret, even though WSU asked the Legislature to include $7.4 million for design of a new veterinary medical research building in the supplement budget and $3.85 million to study global animal health.

Both requests were left out of the state's supplemental budget.

"It was unfortunate," Schoesler said. "Had we had this tool in our toolbox, I am confident that the result may have been different.

"I can't tell a donor what to do."

The Gates Foundation announced the $25 million gift, which will go toward the $35 million centerpiece building for the School of Global Animal Health, on Monday. The WSU Board of Regents created the school Friday.

"If we had been able to talk about it, I think we would have been successful, but I don't have the historic perspective that (Schoesler) has," said Schmick, who was appointed to his legislative seat last fall.

A spokesman for Gov. Chris Gregoire did not return calls seeking comment.

Schoesler said WSU's Pullman campus is due for attention in the next biennial budget process.

"In the '05-07 biennium, they dropped down the list; the (branch campuses) were treated very well," he said. "I hope it's time to get back to the parent campus, and this provides a heck of an incentive."

Schoesler said he supports WSU President Elson S. Floyd's focus on improving animal health.

"Veterinary medicine is widely popular," he said. "People understand it whether they have small or large animals and there is a global need as well. It follows with what President Floyd has said, to do what we do well even better.

"It's a showcase for WSU as a land-grant university."

Schoesler said the state's bonding capacity is low because of corrections projects and capital projects at other university campuses, such as the Life Sciences buildings at WSU-Spokane.

"The entire budget process will be under a crunch for bonding capability for capital budget projects. The majority party has been heavy in nontraditional areas," Schoesler said.

But, he added, "Cougars are always eternal optimists."

Ten Years After

Randy Snyder/AP Photo - Former United States President Bill Clinton poses for a photo with a supporter following a speech on behalf of his wife and Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., on Wednesday at the Jefferson Elementary Center in Parkersburg, W.Va.

HT: Huckleberries Online

Moscow-Pullman Daily News to Start Blog Sites

Dale Courtney over at Right Mind noticed that Dave Oliveria posted this at Huckleberries Online:
Editor Steve McClure of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News called this morning to ask about newspaper blogs. Seems the Moscow-based paper is going to dip its toe into the blogosphere and Steve was interested re: what we're doing up here. He blurks at Huckleberries Online occasionally. Good guy.
Here is the comment I left on Dale's blog:
Agreed. The Trib blogs are really bad, unless you're an American Idol fan. Total fluff. It has its place, but let's have some hard news too.

The Spokesman does it up right. Dave is a good guy. I urged Nathan Alford to pursue blogs at Dnews.com two years ago as a way for the reporters to provide more coverage and insight on local issues.

It is interesting to note that the Spokesman does NOT allow comments on its online version, only through the blogs. And HBO DOES moderate offensive/spam comments and bans users after being warned (as do you and I, Dale).

I'm guessing based on the open sewer the Dnews.com online comments section has become (which I also warned Nathan about), Steve is looking at better (and perhaps more legally defensible) alternatives to remain competitive with us in the New Media.
Good luck with the blogs, Steve. But unless you get the trolls under control, you'll still have the same problems.

Dinesh D'Souza Pictures

Some shots of the capacity crowd:

WSU College Republicans Vice President Alex Williams introduces Dinesh D'Souza:

Dinesh D'Souza:

"Meeting Dinesh"

Paul Zimmerman has a post up on his blog about Dinesh D'Souza. Be sure to read it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

An Evening with Dinesh D'Souza

First of all, major kudos to Danny, Alex, Chris and the other CRs for a dynamite event. It was standing room only in CUE 203 to hear Dinesh D'Souza discuss "Racism is Not the Problem.". I estimate that [edit]200-225 were in attendance tonight. It was nice to see a good community representation, including some of our local elected officials and Republican Party leadership. Paul Zimmerman was there along with some other regular Palousitics readers.

My evening got off to an interesting start. I was waiting in the parking garage for the elevator with my 15-year old daughter. The elevator doors opened, and the only person I could see was.......Dinesh D'Souza!!! Funny!! We got in the car and CR Chris Del Beccaro was nice enough to introduce me to Dinesh.

I'll get into much more detail about what was said later (with pictures,) but I'll conclude the way Dinesh concluded tonight: Universities need intellectual diversity the way they need racial, gender, cultural, and language diversity. It was obvious by the reactions and questions from some in the the crowd tonight that there is not very much of that at WSU. Dinesh challenged those liberals in attendance to open their minds to viewpoints that they don't hear very often, like his. If that was his goal, he was quite successful.

Danny, Alex, WSUCollegeRepublican, Paul: Please feel free to chime with your own posts and pictures if ya got 'em.

Guest Speaker Invitation 3/25/2008!!!

I would like to cordially invite everyone and anyone to an eye-opening guest speaker, Dinesh D'Souza. A former Reagan Policy Analyst, now one of America's best selling authors, Dinest D'Souza is coming to Pullman to discuss the state of American race politics and other issues surrounding the modern era. This eye-opening speaker will be hosted on Tuesday, March 25, at 7:30pm in CUE 203. This is going to be a great learning opportunity for all of those in attendance.

Featured sponsors: The Foley Institute, Young America's Foundation, ASWSU, RHA and the WSU College Republicans

For further information, please contact:

Daniel F Schanze
President of the WSU College Republicans
(208) 891-5004

BREAKING NEWS: "Suspicious Package" Found at Stadium and Grand

*UPDATED @ 5:30 PM* The Defense Intelligence Agency accessed this post at 5:23 PM. Your Homeland Security dollars at work...

From KREM.com:
The Spokane Bomb Unit is en route to Pullman where there is a report of a suspicious device on the Washington State University campus near the intersection of Stadium Way and Grand. Stay tuned to KREM 2 News and KREM.com for more details.
And from Dnews.com:
Spokane bomb squad to evaluate suspicious suitcase found in Pullman
Updated at: 16:03 pm

Pullman Police and fire crews are awaiting a bomb squad to evaluate a suspicious suitcase found near a trash bin off of Stadium Way today.

Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant said police received a hazardous materials call about 3:30 p.m. regarding a suitcase full of suspicious contents located near a Dumpster in the parking lot behind Pizza Hut. Further evaluation of the suitcase, which is about the size of a vintage record player, revealed it contained more than 12 small glass bottles, wires and a battery, Tennant said.

The bomb squad from the Spokane Police Department is expected to arrive in several hours. Police have not yet evacuated neighboring businesses or residences, although they may, Tennant said.

“I have a feeling this is someone’s science project or chemicals they just wanted to get rid of. Or I hope that is the case,” Tennant said.

Bomb squads are called in in any circumstances that are suspicious, he said.
And LMTribune.com:
Bomb squad investigates suspicious package in Pullman
March 25, 2008, 4:31 pm

PULLMAN -- A bomb squad from Spokane should arrive around 6 p.m. to investigate a suspicious package found near the intersection of Grand
Avenue and Stadium Way in Pullman this afternoon.

Mayor Glenn Johnson said the small box or suitcase was found near a Dumpster outside a business on the northwest side of the intersection. Johnson said it appeared to contain small bottles typically used to store chemicals, and that it looked like they were connected to a battery.

Pullman police have cordoned off an area around the package, but traffic continues to flow normally in the area.

"WSU helps orphans in China"

Nice story featuring Dr. Forbes in yesterday's WSU Today. I'm quite proud of her and the other faculty and staff that participated in the China trip.

"Competition from Wal-Mart lowers prices at local retailers"

This is another story about one of those "no-duh" studies. University of Massachusetts researchers have found that Wal-Mart supercenters affect the prices of conventional supermarkets located within a five-mile radius, resulting in lower prices for consumer goods.

And of all places, I found this story at the Wal-Mart Watch website! According to the UMass Daily Collegian:
Lavoie said that from the results, she could conclude that "families that shop exclusively at supermarkets within five miles of a Supercenter can expect to save between $37 and $104 per person each year, since Wal-Mart will cause these stores to lower their prices."

Families that shop exclusively at Supercenters "can save $88 to $223 per person," Lavoie said.

For towns and cities that do not have a Supercenter nearby, the supermarket prices did not lower in response to the competition. Shoppers who are willing to travel away from these towns and cities to Supercenters can expect to save from $186 to $298 per person each year.
Plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter near the UMass campus recently fell through. So, insert brainwashed co-ed comment here:
"I try my hardest to avoid shopping at Wal-Mart and giving them business, because I know now how evil of a company it is and I do not want to support that."
Obviously the writers of the Collegian are not like the writers at the Watermelon, as they conclude:
Although it is a fact that some students would rather support local businesses that shop at big chains, it is also a fact that individuals and families can save money if they shop at Wal-Mart.
Refreshing. Thanks Wal-Mart Watch!Technorati Tags:

Computer Error?

Is that like a "wardrobe malfunction?" I pointed out that the comment that Chris Lupke made on Dnews.com where he used my name to falsely identify me as an anonymous commenter was suddenly removed from the website. So I contacted publisher Nathan Alford again about removing Lupke's "homophobic joke" comment, as obviously the Dnews.com forum is being moderated if comments are being removed. You'll absolutely LOVE his response:
Greetings Tom.

Your note was received.

As I've mentioned before, the comment section is not moderated and remains unmoderated. The comment was not deleted. A computer error removed it from the thread. We are correcting the error.

Regards, Nathan.

Tom Forbes wrote:
> Nathan,
> I see that this comment:
> /lupke wrote: on 3/20/2008 11:07 am:/
> /Yes, Tom, we all know about your habitual resorting to name calling
> when you've run out of cogent responses (which is pretty quick). I
> think the only one "raging" is you. Even your sidekick Lobo seems
> embarrassed by you at times, though not enough in my opinion. When
> people disagree with you, you panic, call them names, threaten their
> tenured status. You're not much of a neighbor and you really seem to
> hate collegetowns. If you're unhappy here, consider moving. Just a
> suggestion. I won't resort to calling for you to be run out of town,
> as you have us -- in a fit of rage./
> /Yes, you always claim to speak for "the rest of us" (another
> fallacy), but your pathetic attempt at garnering a pro-Wal-Mart
> petition resulted in fewer signatories than we gathered in any one
> hour of gathering signatures locally. You may have forgotten, but we
> gathered OVER TEN THOUSAND asking Wal-Mart not to build. All locally. /
> ...has been deleted from Dnews.com. Whether you decided to do it or
> Chris Lupke requested it, thank you! In any case, it is obviously no
> longer an "unmoderated forum." Accordingly, I ask again that the
> comment referring to "homophobic joke" please be deleted. Lupke has a
> long history of associating me with "tjkong" and his other comments in
> this thread are obviously addressed to me (e.g. "trying to claim I'm
> related to some guy named Chad Lupke," referring to a comment made
> only on my blog some 2 1/2 years ago) regardless of whether he uses my
> name or not.
> Best regards,
> Tom Forbes
"Computer error," eh? Funny that was the only comment that got removed. Of course, if the forum is moderated, that would make the Daily News legally liable for any comments being posted there. Oops.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Dem Goes From ‘Sleazy’ to ‘Seattle’ and Back Again in One Short Weekend"

Remember Washington Democratic Party staffer Kelly Steele, the one reponsible for the ad calling Dino Rossi "sleazy?" It gets worse. Much worse. According to the Centralia Chronicle:
The day after the video was released, on a Friday, a Chronicle reporter interviewed Steele on his motivation, and asked him if he understood how blatant and hurtful this video is to journalists when their unbiased reporting is so misused. Steele was unconcerned. He did tell our reporter, Rossi was guilty of “a shameless attack by a sleazy politician.”

Steele must have realized he made a mistake over the weekend. By Monday he was telling both the reporter and a member of the Editorial Board that he didn’t say “by a sleazy politician,” but had been misunderstood and had uttered “by a Seattle politician.” Steele was told his revision was unbelievable.

So it came as no surprise, but with some satisfaction, when Steele changed his story when he was interviewed by The Olympian as published this past Tuesday.

Steele told their political reporter “he was calling Rossi’s politics sleazy, not him,” as reported in that newspaper.

It appears quite clear that Steele is less than honorable with his word. Steele was adamant with us he never used the word “sleazy,” but “Seattle.” He then changed his story and admitted he used “sleazy,” but in a different context. We are astounded the state Democratic Party continues to use such operatives that exhibit such low ethics. We believe in our word. We wish we could believe in the words coming out of a Washington State Democratic Party spokesman.
What unbelievable hubris. It's time to sweep the liars out of Olympia.

The Homophobic Nazi Suicide Bomber

Below is my letter to the editor published in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News about Chris Lupke mistakenly identifying me as an anonymous commenter on Dnews.com and accusing me of making "homophobic jokes" and being "fascinated" with Nazis.

I know several of you here disagree with my philosophy. But for those of you that endorse anonymous/unmoderated comments at Dnews.com as a way of instantly responding to news stories/opinion, protecting "whistleblowers," or making arguments based on merit not the person, I ask you two simple questions: Is it your name and reputation being affected by these online comments? Does your family have to answer questions about things you did not say?

At what point does the First Amendment become a letter of marque to go after your enemies with no consequences? A newspaper is not a blog. Everyone in the community reads it. They don't go there expecting to read personal attacks, lies, and unsubstantiated claims (or maybe they do, possibly explaining why Nathan Alford insists on keeping the comments turned on.) People go to a newspaper website expecting the truth, in the form of news.

If Chris Lupke hates me so much, as he obviously does, then why doesn't he start his own blog? www.tomforbesistheantichrist.com. The answer is that he won't. He's getting a free ride without putting in any work other than thinking up some pithy putdown. It's much more effective to lob grenades at me at a website he knows gets thousands of hits a day to inflict maximum damage on me. And I pay money every month for this privilege.

Rather than "encouraging a constructive community dialogue," these comments chill it considerably. Most people do not have the thick skin that I do. And what can I do to get my good name back? The onus is all on me to go after Lupke by putting down thousands on a retainer for an attorney. The Daily News provides this platform for Lupke and then just says "sucks to be you buddy." It doesn't matter to them how untrue or damaging any of his garbage is.

Let me give you some examples of this "constructive dialogue" that Lupke and his toadie Matthew Root have indulged in, all in response to a story that did not concern me in response to a commenter who is not me:

  • tj -- calling yourself "reasonable and responsible" should elicit guffaws from even the most dotrinaire of observants. Your "reason" reminds me more of that employed by the nazis for whom you hold such a prurient fascination, as illustrated by your obsessive discussion of them on these pages.

  • Yes, Tom, we all know about your habitual resorting to name calling when you've run out of cogent responses (which is pretty quick). I think the only one "raging" is you. Even your sidekick Lobo seems embarrassed by you at times, though not enough in my opinion. When people disagree with you, you panic, call them names, threaten their tenured status. You're not much of a neighbor and you really seem to hate collegetowns. If you're unhappy here, consider moving. Just a suggestion. I won't resort to calling for you to be run out of town, as you have us -- in a fit of rage.

    Yes, you always claim to speak for "the rest of us" (another fallacy), but your pathetic attempt at garnering a pro-Wal-Mart petition resulted in fewer signatories than we gathered in any one hour of gathering signatures locally. You may have forgotten, but we gathered OVER TEN THOUSAND asking Wal-Mart not to build. All locally. [This comment appears to have been deleted from the Daily News website, making Alford's claim to me that Dnews.com is an "unmoderated forum" de facto (and likely de jure) untrue. But any reasonably intelligent onlooker can tell from Lupke's non-deleted comments that he is referring specifically to me.]

  • Hi Chris, yes he resorts to name calling again; its all he’s got. I suggest we just let him ride the bomb to his own self-destruction, like his fake namesake. I find it funny that the fictional T J Kong was a suicide bomber.

  • I also basically agree with you about tj. I knew he would be a waste of time the first time I heard of him trying to claim I'm related to some guy named Chad Lupke and that therefore I'm not a permanent resident of Pullman. He has a small palette of rhetorical techniques that consist mainly of blathering his point of view (fine, who cares); if that doesn't work, insulting his interlocutors with vicious, slanderous names; lies about other people in the community; threats such as running people out of town; and rather pathetic attempts at self-arrogation mixed with a real envy of the academic life. I'm not sure what trauma occurred in his academic life, but it clearly left him scarred. In all his blather, I have never once gotten the impression that he wanted to persuade his adversaries of anything and am confident he never has.

    It is remarkable, though, that in his frustration his only recourse is a homophobic joke. What was it last week -- nooses? Disgusting. Never ends.

  • tj -- your lies never end. I never said I hated you and, as a Christian, I don't. That doesn't mean I approve of your unsavory tactics. But there is hope for everyone. Even Lee Atwater, for example, who is the modern inventor of the style of character assasination and dirty tricks methods you employ, repented on his death bed, writing many apologies to those whom he verbally assaulted. I therefore hold out hope that anyone can reflect on the rotten things they inflict on others and change. I would hope they would come sooner than they did for Atwater.

  • My wife's friends and co-workers read this bullshit and she has to deal with it. Think about if you would want your family to be subjected to that.

    Here is my letter:

    Daily News publisher Nathan Alford insists on running an anonymous, unmoderated online forum, despite the legal and moral risks this poses.

    Authors of letters to the editor and opinion page columnists are required to divulge their identities before being published. Why should online commenters be held to a different standard? Libel laws apply equally to online editions as to print ones.

    Even though there are numerous blogs and message boards not owned by newspapers that allow anonymous, unmoderated comments, that doesn't mean our community newspaper should. Newspapers, especially in small towns, have a special responsibility to their readers to encourage constructive discussion and debate. MIT Professor of Sociology of Science Dr. Sherry Turkle has conducted research into "identity and multiplicity" online and postulated that the quality of online forums is inversely proportional to the anonymity of its participants.

    Several months ago, the Daily News took steps to eliminate "sock puppet" accounts. While a good first step, the anonymity and unmoderated nature of the online comments still allows for reprehensible, irresponsible, and destructive comments. For example, in responding to recent posts from a regular commenter known as "tjkong," Chris Lupke mistakenly assumed that it was me and leveled accusations that I made a "homophobic joke" and showed a "prurient fascination" with Nazis. It is Lupke's constitutional right to have an opinion about my public stance on various issues (as I do about him). However, he is not entitled to associate me with controversial comments that I did not make without prior and incontrovertible evidence concerning my identity. The Daily News refused to delete those comments.

    I encourage you to contact Nathan Alford (alford@dnews.com) and urge him to restore decency to our community newspaper and hold it to a higher standard by eliminating the anonymous unmoderated online comments.

    Tom Forbes, Pullman
    Technorati Tags:

    She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy

    Forget the metrosexual look. Rejoice, average Joes of the world! You're about to become a hot property. According to Fox News:
    The best marriages are those where women marry men who are less attractive than themselves, research has found.

    Psychologists who studied newlyweds found men who were better-looking than their wives were more likely to be unhappy and have negative feelings about their marriage.

    In couples where the wife is more attractive, both partners tended to be very content.

    The research, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, suggests that, in evolutionary terms, women are less choosy about their man's looks as long as he is able to help them reproduce.

    Men, however, are programmed to choose a mate who is most likely to pass on their genes and look for youth, health and physical attractiveness.

    The tests involved 82 couples married within the previous six months.
    They needed a study to figure this out?

    Don't Tell Me Words Don't Matter

    Soren Dayton, a blogger and John McCain aide, has been suspended from the campaign for noting this video, produced by Lee Habeeb, a former producer of "The Laura Ingraham Show," on his Twitter site. McCain and his campaign have repeatedly said that they would stay away from personal attacks on Obama.

    What do you think? McCain has already alienated many talk radio hosts and the conservative base. The Wright videos, in my opinion, have been Obama's Monkey Business/tank commander/"I voted for it before I was against it" moment.

    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    B. Hussein Obama

    Change we can believe in?

    "Wal-Mart rumors just that - for now; Company official won't confirm or deny site being considered in proposed Hawkins development"

    I have several comments on this article from today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

    1. This rumor is as old as a brontosaurus. It has been around at least as long as Wal-Mart dropped its plans to go into Moscow some two years ago. It must be a slow news week to dredge this story up now with no new information.

    2. There is no reason to think that Wal-Mart will pull out of Pullman at this juncture. They have invested quite a bit in legal and engineering expenses, and don't forget, they own the land on Bishop Blvd., paying $1.4 million for it back in April 2006.

    3. A sound economic case can be made for having a Wal-Mart at Hawkins and in Pullman. As I demonstrated with Reilly's Law of Retail Gravitation, there are two distinct Pullman and Moscow Retail Trade Areas. The Hawkins development will be located 2 miles within the Moscow Retrail Trade Area.

    4. Hawkins would likely have to redo its site plan to accomodate a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The current plans call for three big-box stores around 160,000 sq. ft. Wal-Mart Supercenters are generally around 200,000 sq. ft. Parking would probably need to be increased as well.

    5. Once again, I state that all the opposition to Hawkins from the City of Moscow and Mark Solomon has been due to this rumor and Wal-Mart Derangement Syndrome. The NoSuperWalMart group of which Solomon is a key player and which includes several key Chaney political allies, released a flyer in September 2006 called "Closing the Gaps," which stated:
    Thanks to an energized Moscow community and a City Council with the strength to say “NO” to a bad development proposal, Wal-Mart was shut down in their attempt to build a SuperCenter in town. But weʼre not totally in the clear, yet.

    There are two other possibilities for siting a SuperCenter close to Moscow. One is in the county immediately outside the city limits called the Area of City Impact. The other is across the state line along the Pullman Highway.
    Unfortunately for NoSuperWalMart, they lost both those battles. Latah County refused to institute a big-box ordinance in the Area of City Impact and now Moscow has dropped its water rights transfers appeals against Hawkins.

    6. No matter what happens, it seems likely the old Wal-Mart in Moscow is destined to close if a new store opens. You can tell from what the Wal-Mart spokeswoman says that Wal-Mart does not like to operate in those smaller formats. All the PARD arguments about "One Wal-Mart is Enough" are preposterous. But don't worry, all the current Wal-Mart employees will be offered positions at whereever a new Supercenter opens.

    7. Despite PARD's insistence that there is only a "small, vocal minority" that wants Wal-Mart in Pullman, it is evident from this story that idea is completely false. And those people are getting impatient. I am just one of many. I have no idea who Joann Haynes is. But I hear all the time from people who want Wal-Mart, NOW.

    8. Similarly, despite PARD claims that I am the "Wal-Mart surrogate." the "avid Wal-Mart groupie," or a paid shill, I have no special insights or lines of communication to the company. I know as much as you do from reading the paper. I just pray Wal-Mart sticks it out and doesn't lose interest in Pullman.
    Joann Haynes has heard the rumors about Wal-Mart.

    The Pullman resident said she's heard through the grapevine that the Moscow store is slated to close and be replaced by a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the Hawkins Companies' proposed retail development in Whitman County.

    Furthermore, Haynes said she's heard that if the plan gets the OK, Wal-Mart officials would scrap the project to locate in Pullman, as the county location could be shared by customers throughout the area.

    Karianne Fallow, Idaho Wal-Mart public affairs manager, said there's no truth to the rumor - yet.

    Fallow said the Moscow store will continue to operate as usual, but added that Wal-Mart officials have been interested in opening a super center in the city for several years.

    In May 2006, the Moscow City Council denied a rezone that would have allowed the retail giant to pursue construction of a store on 77 acres east of town. The larger store would provide merchandise and groceries - a one-stop shopping experience Fallow said customers want.

    "The modern Wal-Mart customer prefers the convenience of general merchandise paired with grocery," she said. "Our goal would be to serve our customers in Moscow with a super center. We don't have any plans to close (the current store) right now ... but the property where we exist is too restrained to do an expansion."

    Since the rezone was denied, Fallow said store officials have kept an eye out for land that could accommodate a bigger store. The company is aware of the proposed Hawkins development, but Fallow would not confirm or deny whether store officials are negotiating to relocate there.

    "We're always looking at any properties for opportunity," she said. "At this point, I can't confirm that because we don't have land under contract now ... But any opportunity would be a good opportunity for us to consider."

    Jennifer Holder, Wal-Mart public affairs manager for Washington, said she also is aware of the rumor, but to her knowledge the rumblings are unfounded.

    She said any strategy to relocate or expand the Moscow store wouldn't affect plans to construct a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Bishop Boulevard in Pullman.

    "Moscow is a completely different market," she said.

    Holder said store officials still are waiting for a court decision before breaking ground in Pullman. Wal-Mart announced plans to build in Pullman in October 2004 and a site plan for the store was later approved by the city.

    The grass-roots Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development later appealed the approval of the corporation's environmental checklist and site plan on the grounds the store would affect stormwater run-off, traffic and negatively affect Pullman's local economy.

    The case is being considered by the Washington State Division III Court of Appeals in Spokane. Holder said a decision is expected by June.

    "We have no plans - no activities - until that decision is handed down," she said. "I know there are a lot of people anxious about it. I've even gotten calls from elected officials who have asked, 'When are you going to break ground?' ... We're waiting like everyone else."

    Haynes said she is a supporter of a store being constructed in Pullman and is distressed by the rumor, so much that she admits to spreading it in an effort to determine whether if it's true or not.

    "I really still want to see Wal-Mart in Pullman," she said. "If it was out there (in the county) it would still mean I have to buy more gas and get out on the highway with the ice and snow."

    Angela Grant hadn't heard the rumor, but said she wouldn't be surprised if it was true.

    "With a big new development there, they might look at that spot," said the Moscow resident and co-owner of Lilliput.

    Grant said she does shop at Wal-Mart occasionally, and added that if the store were to relocate in Whitman County she'd do what she could to keep her dollars in Idaho by purchasing items at other stores, such as WinCo.

    "If we're going to be buying the same products, we may as well stay local," she said. "I try to find as much stuff as I can (elsewhere in town) so I don't have to go to Wal-Mart."

    Haynes said she's relieved to hear Wal-Mart still intends to build in Pullman, but she's ready to start filling her cart now.

    "If that's the case, that's good, but it's sure taking its time," she said. "We're supposed to be shopping there right now."
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    Consultant: Wal-Mart Key to Bishop Blvd. Traffic Control

    A traffic consultant who conducted a traffic study of Bishop Blvd. has recommended traffic lights be installed at the intersections with Harvest, Footloose and Fairmount by 2012. Wal-Mart, of course, has already agreed to help pay for traffic signals at Harvest and Fairmount.

    From Wednesday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    The council heard from Bellevue, Wash., consultant Gary Norris, who presented the findings of a recently released Bishop Boulevard traffic study. The council requested the study in order to prepare for increased traffic loads in the Bishop Boulevard area due to new retail, such as the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter.

    The study was compiled through use of traffic counts, speed and delay studies and collision data to estimate future needs for stop lights, pedestrian crosswalks and other elements that would provide for safe multi-modal transportation. Estimating a 2.8 percent rate of growth, Norris said the city should install stop lights at the Bishop Boulevard intersections of Harvest and Footloose drives and Fairmount Road by 2012. U-turns also should be provided throughout the corridor and medians to calm minor street traffic.

    The cost for the five-year plan is estimated at $2.1 million, with the understanding that Wal-Mart will pay for signalization of Fairmount Road and Harvest Drive if it locates on Bishop Boulevard.

    Norris said the roadway should be expanded to two lanes in each direction by 2027. By that time, additional turn lanes and a signal on Johnson Avenue should be added at nearly every intersection onto Bishop Boulevard. The 20-year cost estimate is $9.1 million, which also would include landscaping.

    Public Works Director Mark Workman said he will continue to review the study and evaluate funding options.

    "The traffic is getting worse and it's something we're going to have to deal with," he said.
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    The Earth Has Stopped Warming. Or, Where Has All The Heat Gone? Long Time Passing.

    Two Australian biologists have spoken aloud what global warming alarmists would prefer that no one noticed - the earth is cooling.

    Last Monday - on ABC Radio National, of all places - there was a tipping point of a different kind in the debate on climate change. It was a remarkable interview involving the co-host of Counterpoint, Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. Anyone in public life who takes a position on the greenhouse gas hypothesis will ignore it at their peril.

    Duffy asked Marohasy: "Is the Earth stillwarming?"

    She replied: "No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."

    Duffy: "Is this a matter of any controversy?"

    Marohasy: "Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."

    Of course, data is needed, and there's plenty. 3000 buoys around the world have discovered no evidence of global warming in the Earth's oceans and direct measurements of tropospheric temperatures have shown that the earth is cooling.

    I suppose that someday, we'll be laughing ironically at Al Gore's Nobel Prize the same way we snicker at Yasir Arafat's.

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Anything You Don't Say Can and Will Be Used Against You

    If you are contemplating taking a public stand on a controversial issue, take my advice: Don't. The local media-academic complex will knock you down.

    For example, our "community paper," the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, has abrogated its moral and legal responsibilities, turning the comments section in the online version of the newspaper into a fetid cesspool of libel, lies, gossip, rumor, and innuendo.

    This is an e-mail exchange between Daily News publisher Nathan Alford and myself:

    Date: Friday, March 21, 2008 11:03 AM
    From: Nathan Alford
    To: Tom Forbes
    Subject: Re: Libelous Comment
    Size: 4 KB


    Your note was received. Thank you.

    You and I have visited about the positives and negatives of unmoderated public forums on the Web. One negative is that often times those engaged in public debate get poked, or become the subject of loose and unpleasant accusations.

    Remember, we're not editing or filtering these comments. We view each individual as responsible for their comments. That's per our written policy, "Individuals posting libelous statements may be held individually responsible."

    In this case, it sounds like that's Chris Lupke. I'd encourage you to discuss the matter further with Chris.

    Regards, Nathan.

    Tom Forbes wrote:


    Chris Lupke has left a comment on the Daily News website that states:

    "It is remarkable, though, that in his frustration his only recourse is a homophobic joke. What was it last week -- nooses? Disgusting. Never ends."

    If you read the entire comment thread on the "TOWN CRIER III: Lessons from the Hawkins development settlement" column, you will see that Lupke mistakenly labels the "tjkong" commentor as me. He has done this on numerous occasions and in the past I have ignored it. But this time, claiming that I am "homophobic" or tell "homophobic" jokes is libelous and injurious to my reputation (much less the Nazi allegations he also made.) I warned you about the dangers of anonymous
    commenting when we had lunch several months ago. I continue to urge you to associate real names with online commentors. If you take this measure, this type of behavior will stop. This has nothing to do with either a "constructive community dialog" or the First Amendment.

    I demand the "homophobic" comment be immediately deleted and Mr. Lupke notified that I am not "tjkong" and that his comments about me are way out of line. If this is not done right away, I will have no choice but to seek legal remedies to protect my name and standing in the community.

    I await your prompt reply.

    Best regards,

    Tom Forbes

    *Nathan H. Alford*
    Moscow-Pullman Daily News Editor & Publisher
    (208) 882-5561 ext. 247

    Visit us on the web at:
    DNews.com NWmarket.com

    Alford's logic might apply if I had been involved in the discusssion online at Dnews.com, but I HAVE NOT BEEN. The column in question and all of the previous comments had nothing to do with me, and yet Lupke manages to drag me into it anyway. So Lupke is now free to continue to claim that I am someone that I am not and libel me with accusations of making "homophobic jokes" and a "prurient fascination" with Nazis.

    I certainly intend to bring this matter to Lupke's attention, but not before making a public records request to see if he used his WSU account to post these comments.

    And the Daily News' defense of unmoderated comments will not hold water, in my opinion, when subscribers have to pay with a credit card to access the online edition and when the identity of every poster is known to them.

    I encourage you to drop Nathan Alford a line and let him know how you feel.