Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Pullman-area Guardsmen prepare for deployment; Local support group starting to ramp up efforts as well"

I again urge everyone to do all you can to support our Guardsmen and their families as they head into harm's way. We are already planning events for Christmas and gathering ideas on how best to support the loved ones left behind in Pullman.

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Troops with the Washington National Guard 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team are undergoing training in Yakima before their fall deployment to Iraq.

Dan Purcell, an administrative secretary with the Washington Military Department, said the troops arrived at the Yakima Training Center July 12 and will remain until Aug. 8. They are undergoing "soldier training," rehashing such skills as first aid and marksmanship.

The troops will be placed on federal active duty and travel to Fort McCoy, Wis., the week of Aug. 18 for further training. Purcell said when and where in Iraq the troops are going will not be released because of security concerns.

About 60 soldiers conduct their training out of the Pullman Armory as part of Detachment 2, Company B, 1-161st Infantry Battalion. The battalion is a part of the 81st combat team.

While the troops train, a group of Palouse residents are preparing to offer support during their deployment.

Pullman resident Rebecca Schwartz is organizing a troop support group that will periodically meet to write letters or box care packages for the soldiers in the 81st.

"I think we'll try to organize something for all people in the community, so we can all get together and pack packages or write letters and kind of make a party out of it," she said. "We need to let the troops know that even though they're gone, they're not absent from our minds. ... It's a way to show our appreciation and let them know we're thinking about them."

Schwartz is working in cooperation with Janne Liguori, the Pullman point of contact for the Family Readiness Group - a command-sponsored organization that provides a way for family members to seek mutual support, assistance and information while their loved one is deployed.

"We're all in the same boat that way," she said. "It's just a way of keeping in touch and handling things."

Liguori, whose husband, Doug, is preparing for deployment, said she doesn't expect there to be a big send-off for the troops, as there was a patriotic rally in June meant to show support to the soldiers.

"We set it up to do it back in June so we'd know they'd be there and it didn't take away from family time before they left," she said.

Liguori talks to her husband briefly nearly every day and said morale among the troops seems strong.

"He sounds happy when he calls," she said. "That's always a good sign."

The 81st comprises about 2,900 National Guard members from Washington state and 900 from California.

The soldiers were put on alert for possible mobilization and deployment in mid-October. They were informed in March that they would return to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 81st previously served in Iraq from March 2004 to March 2005.

Area residents interested in troop support efforts can contact Rebecca and Heather Schwartz at rls@turbonet.com, or sunflowersinwa@yahoo.com.

"Kopf rezone gets 2-1 okay"

Here's a follow-up to the earlier story about the Kopf landfill rezone from today's Whitman County Gazette:
County Commissioners Monday voted two-to-one to approve the rezoning of land owned by Williams Place, LLC., for an industrial landfill in the Pullman-Moscow Corridor. The decision was delayed last week when commissioners Michael Largent and Jerry Finch requested more information and time to visit the site.

The rezone will double Williams Place’s existing landfill for construction debris such as sand, rock and asphalt. The 20 rezoned acres are located on the north side of the highway.

Gary Kopf, Williams Place CEO, last week said the fill would be dumped into a canyon between two hills just north of Highway 270. Kopf estimated all 40 acres of the landfill would be capped in 10 to 15 years. The original 40 acres was split into two sections and the northern one is already in use as a landfill.

Kopf was present for Monday’s vote. Jeff Motley of Pullman, who last week objected to the rezone because he believed it would deter commercial development, was not present Monday.

After last week’s delay, Commissioner Finch visited the site. At the public hearing prior to the decision Monday, Finch asked how the dumping would be monitored. Kopf said the operational program requires each load be weighed and monitored and the site monitored daily. Williams Place will have an environmental survey done with monthly visits and monitoring. They will hold the leasee responsible for what goes into the landfill, he said. Whitman County Environmental Health will also monitor the site.

Finch was the lone opposing vote, noting there was already space available that the company was not using.

“Until the north side is filled, I felt the south side wasn’t necessary,” he told the Gazette.

Kopf said following the rezone he will pursue an expansion of a conditional use permit for the landfill.

Queen Carded


From today's Seattle Times:
Gov. Christine Gregoire was turned away from an Olympia bar when she couldn't produce identification to prove she was over 21.

The 61-year-old governor told KING-TV she feels complimented the bouncer thought she might be under age.

Gregoire and her staff had served burgers at the annual Capital Lakefair last weekend and afterward went to the downtown Olympia bar called Hannah's to celebrate.

Gregoire says the man checking identifications at the door said she couldn't get in without ID, even when others pointed out she's Washington's governor. So she went home, but her husband Mike went in.

Hannah's owner, Todd Ruzicka, says his 23-year-old part-time bouncer needs more training.
Why more training? I don't recognize her as the governor either.

"Wal-Mart unveils details of new super center planned for Clarkston"

The PARDners claim that they have saved the city of Pullman hundreds of thousands of dollars through their efforts at fighting Wal-Mart by "forcing" the retailer to pay a portion of installing traffic lights and traffic calming devices on Bishop Blvd.

Like everything else they have said, this is also a lie.

Down in Clarkston, where Wal-Mart has faced zero opposition, Wal-Mart is spending $500,000 on traffic upgrades, including two stoplights, widening a street, building a bus stop, erecting a sound barrier, and landscaping to limit vehicle light, VOLUNTARILY.

In addition, Clarkston is going to get the first Supercenter in Washington, and one of the first in the country, that incorporates a very cool new store branding. I'll have pictures later.

I'm sure much of the traffic improvements and coolness factor that could have been Pullman's was burned up along with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses Wal-Mart likely had to pay to fight PARD's numerous frivilous and baseless legal challenges

Not to mention the fact that Clarkston will have their store and start reaping the sales tax benefits many months before the one in Pullman is built.

From today's Lewiston Tribune:
Wal-Mart officials said a new design is being considered for the Wal-Mart Supercenter to be built in Clarkston, in the Port of Clarkston area.

The super store Wal-Mart plans to build across from Costco in Clarkston will be an 180,000-square-foot building with a tire center, drive-through pharmacy and garden center.

Those services will be in addition to the groceries, clothing, toys, cosmetics, and electronics typically sold in Wal-Mart Supercenters.

A spokeswoman for the world's largest retailer shared more of the details about the store in an interview this week.

Jennifer Spall, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman in Seattle, couldn't immediately provide a date for the groundbreaking.

Construction, which Wal-Mart hopes will be finished by July, normally takes between nine and 12 months. Wal-Mart spends about another three months hiring employees and outfitting the store.

The Wal-Mart in Clarkston will be the first in Washington, and among the first in the nation, to have an updated look associated with a new branding effort, Spall said.

The front facade will have three entrances of various scale and design to break up the "mass of the building," Spall wrote in an e-mail.

Canopies will extend from the building walls over the sidewalk, according to the e-mail. "The roof line is broken up in varying roof styles and heights."

A large landscape feature, such as a mature state tree, will be placed in the vicinity of the entrance, Spall said.

Wal-Mart has promised to make upgrades of more than $500,000 to handle the 9,000 to 10,500 vehicles that will be driving to the store each day at Fifth and Fair streets.

The largest items in the package are two traffic lights, which will likely cost $250,000 each. One of the signals will be at Fifth and Fair streets. The other will be at 15th and Bridge streets.

Other improvements Wal-Mart will make include widening Port Drive adjacent to the Wal-Mart property from two to three lanes, a bus stop on Fair Street, a sound barrier on the south and western edges of the property that are closest to residential neighborhoods and landscaping to limit vehicle light from entering residences.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jon Voight Is Now My Favorite Actor


Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight (aka Angelina Jolie's dad) had an op-ed piece published in Monday's Washington Times.

I love what Voight has to say:
Sen. Barack Obama has grown up with the teaching of very angry, militant white and black people: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, William Ayers and Rev. Michael Pfleger. We cannot say we are not affected by teachers who are militant and angry. We know too well that we become like them, and Mr. Obama will run this country in their mindset.

The Democratic Party, in its quest for power, has managed a propaganda campaign with subliminal messages, creating a God-like figure in a man who falls short in every way. It seems to me that if Mr. Obama wins the presidential election, then Messrs. Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers and Pfleger will gain power for their need to demoralize this country and help create a socialist America.

Seattle Dictator Greg Nickels Moves On

Not satisfied with banning guns, beach fires and plastic bags, Seattle mayor/nutjob Nickels wants to ban cars as well. Be sure to read the open comments and note the PC police that are trying to win over voters by mocking the common man. Snobbery is a proven motivator among the Seattle crowd.

What is alarming is that these leftist morons are in the majority. Olympia answers to Seattle. So as Seattle goes, so goes the rest of the state. God help us.


And Barack Did Bringeth Forth Oil From A Tire Pump

Moses struck water from a stone.

Christ fed thousands with five loaves of bread and two fishes.

Obama solveth the oil shortage by airing up the tires.



The Moral Imperative of Blowing a Billion Bucks


Back in 2005, the Queen stated that repealing the 9 1/2 cent tax increase would have been the rejection of a moral imperative. $2 billion of the new gas tax was slated to fix or replace the ageing Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle. Lives and the state's economic vitality were at stake. The Queen and the Democrats asked us to remember the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland and Hurricane Katrina.

So what about that "moral imperative?"

The Seattle Times reported today:
The state Legislature budgeted $2.8 billion last year to replace Seattle's deteriorating Alaskan Way Viaduct with another elevated roadway.

But a large chunk of that money already has been spent. About $1.1 billion has been either spent on or committed to several viaduct projects, with still no decision about how to replace the viaduct in downtown Seattle. And it's not clear that the remaining $1.7 billion will be enough to finish the viaduct replacement.
Yes, that's a one followed by nine zeros. $18 million alone was spent on an environmental impact study which is "on ice." Just think of what else that $18 million could have been spent on: affordable housing projects, fixing unsafe roads in Eastern Washington, etc.. And it was just pissed away. And we thought the Seattle monorail project was a giant money hole.

How stupid are the people in this state to keep voting for Democrats? They cannot lead. They certainly cannot address pressing transportation, crime, health care, housing, and education issues. They can only follow what labor and environmental interests tell them to do. One thing they can do, however, and well, is spend money like drunken sailors and stick taxpayers with the bill.

The new broom of Dino Rossi is going to have sweep Olympia clean.

Got Bullying?


"got milk?" was recently voted the #1 most influential tagline since 1948. Apparently, the California Milk Processor Board also has #1 Most Uptight Legal Department.

Barbara Holmes, who lives up in Talkeetna, AK, is the daughter of a regular Palousitics reader. Two years ago, Ms. Holmes, an artist, hand lettered ten articles of baby clothing with the words "got breastmilk?" and sold six of them at a crafts fair. She hasn't made any since.

Earlier this month, Holmes got a cease and desist letter from attorneys representing the California Milk Processor Board. The letter stated that Holmes was guilty of "trademark infringement" because "breastmilk" contains the word "milk" and consumers might get confused. She was to surrender all the T-shirts, onesies and equipment used to make them, as well as provide an accounting of any profits, or face a lawsuit.

Huh?

As Holmes stated in a Anchorage Daily News interview:
They say I'm going to confuse milk consumers. How can you get confused between a boob and a bottle of milk from the store? They're two different kind of jugs.
*LOL* Well put.

Obviously Holmes' work was a parody of the famous tagline, one that has been made many times by other people and groups, including PETA. Parodys are considered a "fair use" of copyrighted or trademarked material.

One would think that with the price of a gallon of milk at an all-time high that the California Milk Processor Board might find better ways to spend its PR capital than going after a mom in Alaska.

Ms. Holmes' attorney has a blog here. Some other blog coverage can be found here and here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Better

Here's Dino's first TV spot:

"Moscow likely to see stormwater regulations; EPA plans to list city under Stormwater Phase II program"

What goes around, comes around. I actually hate to see any city subjected to these silly and expensive regulations, but Queen Nancy called down the thunder....

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
The Environmental Protection Agency has again stated its intention to make Moscow face intensive stormwater regulations, but this time the City Council is unlikely to fight it.

The council's Public Works/Finance Committee agreed Monday night that Moscow should accept being listed under the EPA's Stormwater Phase II program instead of trying to appeal the decision. Public Works Director Les MacDonald has estimated it will cost the city about $300,000 a year for the first five years of the program to meet its requirements.

Moscow will be required to develop a comprehensive stormwater management program and obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit if it is listed as a regulated small municipal separate storm system under Phase II.

The regulations are designed to manage the quality and quantity of runoff from development and to control stormwater discharge, as well as reduce downstream pollution and contamination.

Moscow was first alerted to the EPA's plans in June 2007. The City Council decided at the time to send the EPA a letter asking for control of its own stormwater system.

The EPA spent the last year reviewing Moscow's situation. MacDonald said EPA officials spoke to him in June and said the new data they'd found confirmed their decision that Moscow should be listed. For example, tests showed that fecal coliform contamination in parts of Paradise Creek is too high.

"City staff has been working on trying to track down where some of that's coming on so we can try to stop it where we can," MacDonald said.

MacDonald said Moscow already has some programs in place that will be required by the Phase II listing, although some of those will need to be beefed up. The city does not actively process stormwater right now, but will have to. The program also requires public education programs, detection and elimination of illicit discharge, and construction run-off control.

He said Moscow will have some flexibility within the program if it chooses not to fight it. The city likely will be able to set milestones for itself and gradually meet the requirements of the program over five years.

MacDonald conducted an analysis of the program's potential effects on the city last year. Based on the analysis, MacDonald estimated the city will need to add four-and-a-half staff members to cover the needs of the program, as well as buy an additional street sweeper and inspection equipment. He estimated the cost would be $300,000 a year on average.

City Supervisor Gary Riedner said Moscow likely will consider a stormwater utility fee to help cover the cost of the program, and MacDonald agreed.

The city of Pullman also is dealing with stormwater regulations from a Washington State Department of Ecology permit issued in early 2007. The estimated cost for the city to meet requirements in the permit's first five years is $4.4 million and the Pullman City Council is contemplating a stormwater utility fee to help recover the costs. Landowners' fees would be based on the amount of impervious surface on their property, and the city is hoping to generate about $800,000 per year.

MacDonald said he's not sure why there is such a big difference between Pullman and Moscow's cost estimates, and said his estimate was "very rough."

"It will likely change," MacDonald said. "It could go up. I doubt it would go down much."

Moscow Public Works/Finance Committee member Wayne Krauss initially expressed interest in fighting the listing.

"I think it's really unfortunate that the federal government, in this case the EPA, stands there with this big hammer over our heads threatening us with a bunch of fines if we don't bow under," he said.

He asked about the city's potential to fight the listing. City Attorney Randy Fife said Moscow has not historically been successful in fighting federal regulations and that the government takes the view that cities eventually comply, one way or another.

"Kind of what you're saying is we're screwed," Krauss said.

Krauss and committee members Dan Carscallen and John Weber eventually decided to recommend to the City Council as a whole not to fight the regulation. Weber said it would be better for Moscow to accept the program than put itself "in the middle of the radar screen" of the EPA.

On Blogging, Mountains and Molehills, and No Sense of Humor


To listen to some whiners around here, you would think they had never heard of blogging before or just what that entails. Political bloggers are generally a partisan and snarky lot and blog commenters often get very satirical or downright vicious with their words.

For example, a few years ago, former Whitman County Democratic State Committeeman Dave Gibney wrote the following comment on the liberal Washblog:
ALways thought the rapture would be a good thing. All the stuck up assholes would be gone. :)
Gibney's comment was in response to a Washblog contributor who was "disturbed" that Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers attended a "fundamentalist Christian college," writing:
As another layer is peeled away from that American girl facade, instead of a garden variety Reagan conservative Christian, I see another hypocritical fundamentalist.
Now, did anyone make an issue of this comment when Dave threw his hat in the ring for a Pullman City Council appointment? Did anyone demand that the Whitman County Democrats apologize to all Palouse evangelicals because of Gibney's comment. No, of course not. Dave was making a joke. Hence the smiley face. Some might have been offended, but there is no right in the Constitution to not be offended.

Current Whitman County Democratic State Committeeman and former candidate for Whitman County Auditor Nathan Horter has been a diarist at Daily Kos.

Another diarist at Daily Kos, A. Whitney Brown, wrote last year:
Do I still support the individual men and women who have given so much to serve their country? No. I think they’re a bunch of idiots. I also think they’re morally retarded.
Wow. Once again, has anyone demanded an apology from the Whitman County Democrats, assuming Horter must feel the same way about our troops because he "countenances" posts like that by blogging at Daily Kos. No, of course not. That would be guilt by association a la McCarthyism. Theoretically, American political parties have moved beyond that kind of chilling of free speech.

Or have they? Could a local party be so desperate for a victory that they would say or do anything, no matter how exaggerated, how ridiculous or how base to try to win? I think we now know the answer to that question.

The Whitman County Democrats have bigger problems than me right now, and this little campaign of distraction, distortion, and dirt is not going to help.

Tyana Kelley Doesn't Think Your Truck is Sexy



Spokane urban transplant Tyana Kelley and Democratic candidate for the Washington state legislature has a lot to learn about the 9th District. Heck, she's only been here since last August.

For example, Kelley wrote on her blog about the Johnson and Albion 4th of July Parades:
The Republican candidates were out in force at both parades. Each candidate had their own vehicle: either a gas-guzzling truck, or car with an equally big engine. In Albion we were put in the line to walk right in between all these vehicles. It was a bit intimidating. My opponent, Joe Schmick, had the biggest truck, a Ford F-350.
I wonder if Tyana realizes that Joe is a farmer and needs that truck to farm? I wonder if she realizes that many of her potential voters also drive similar rigs for similar reasons?

She stated in an interview with the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that "We need someone in Olympia to work with the Democratic majority." God forbid. Do 9th District voters want a Democrat supermajority to hit us with the 2009 version of SB6900?

You remember SB6900. It was the bill proposed by a Seattle area liberal senator earlier this year that would have engine displacement and emission fees for motor vehicles according to a schedule tied to engine size in liters and CO2 emissions in grams per mile. That's just what area farmers need when the price of diesel is already at record levels.

Just tell Tyana, "No thanks." She can move out of the area when her husband finishes up at WSU. We don't need any more carpetbaggers around here.

What is Barry Doing Right Now?


From Power Line:
If you Google the word "Facebook," the first entry that comes up, naturally, is the main Facebook site. The second is Barack Obama's Facebook page.

The RNC has now parodied Obama's use of social networking quite cleverly with a page called BarackBook. The site is a useful guide to Obama's friends, with videos and a news feed. What is Barack doing right now? (Facebook users will get the reference.) "Barack is hoping to settle on an Iraq policy before November."

BarackBook is also an application that you can add to your own Facebook page. Well done, RNC!
HT: Mike D.

Frost on July 11

Palousitics contributor Mattwi finally sent along these pictures of his car on the morning of July 11, 2008.


As you can see, the temperature in Colton that morning was 33 degrees Fahrenheit.


The official low temperature at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport was 35 degrees, a record low for July 11. The following morning saw record lows as well. The Whitman County Gazette reported that the 33 degrees temperature at the airport was the lowest ever for July 12. The Gazette reported that crops and gradens were damaged by the unprecedented late freeze.

The ravages of global warming continue on the Palouse.

Global Cooling: It's Natural

There can be no doubt that the planet has been cooling lately, Nobel prizes and Academy Awards notwithstanding.

And now, even some of those vaunted authorities have started to take notice.

A number of influential people in Russia, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam say the planet is now entering a 30-year cooling period, the second half of a normal cycle driven by cyclical changes in the sun's output and currents in the Pacific Ocean. Their theory leaves true believers in carbon catastrophe livid.


And this great closing paragraph:

So does the climate computer have a real audience, or is it really just another bag lady muttering away to herself in a lonely corner of the intellectual park? That the computer is heard in Hollywood, Stockholm, Brussels and even some parts of Washington is quite beside the point--they have far less global power and influence than they vainly imagine. Vinod Dar is right: "Contingency planning should entail strategic responses to a warming globe, a cooling globe and a globe whose climate reverberates with laughter at human hubris."


Of course, Democrats haven't figured it out. Nancy Pelosi is trying to save the planet by starving the US of energy.

[T]he wave of change her party has ridden could come crashing down. The pressures facing the nation — troubled financial markets, falling housing prices and rising energy and food costs — are genuinely historic. The next president will inherit a projected deficit of close to $500 billion, and Democrats admit privately that they were caught off guard by the spike in gasoline prices and the hardship it has imposed on middle-income and working-class voters.

With fewer than 20 legislative days before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, the entire appropriations process has largely ground to a halt because of the ham-handed fighting that followed Republican attempts to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. And after promising fairness and open debate, Pelosi has resorted to hard-nosed parliamentary devices that effectively bar any chance for Republicans to offer policy alternatives.

“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she says impatiently when questioned. “I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.”

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" Showing in Moscow



Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a documentary made by Ben Stein about standing up to the scientific establishment in defense of freedom and honest, open discussion of controversial ideas like intelligent design. A resident of Sandpoint, Stein is an attorney, political figure, and entertainment personality who in his early career served as speechwriter for U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

Expelled will be shown in Moscow at the Kenworthy Theatre (508 S. Main St, 208-882-4127), Friday and Saturday, Aug. 8 and 9 at 5:30 PM and 8:00 PM and on Sunday, Aug. 10th at 4:30 PM and 7:00 PM. Tickets are $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for children 12 and under. For more info on Expelled and to view the movie trailer: go to www.expelledthemovie.com.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Weird Fantasy of Dr. James Hansen

The director for NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr. James E. Hansen has recently called for the trial of oil industry executives, accusing them of "high crimes against humanity." It seems that Dr. Hansen has been fantasizing about this trial for quite some time and has even written a play about it, except the oil executives are CO2 and presumably, Dr. Hansen is Professor Quigley. His play titled Trial of Century is unfinished, but we can peer a little into his melodramatic mind. The play is in two acts. Act I is here and Act II is here.

A short excerpt from Act II:

CO2 realizes that he needs to keep effects of the mushrooming darkside CO2 population inconspicuous for another decade or so, until the Point of No Return is passed. His only concern is that Humanoids may become suspicious of growing climate changes. His stolid 'friends' from Decrepit will be an antidote, raising doubt and helping stifle any potential actions to slow emigration of CO2 from the darkside. Soon they will be strong enough in number to overwhelm Planet Earth, and he will rule the planet from Battlestar Barge, which he has secretly constructed!

[snip]

Judge: "I saw the movie! The ocean caused Europe and the United States to freeze over!"

Quigley: "No, your Honor. That was science fiction garbage. I speak of science fact."

Al Gore may not approve of that last part.

Perhaps this how NASA scientists usually communicate with each other, but I have to wonder if a little too much Hollywood has rubbed off on Dr. Hansen.

Say What?

Perhaps 10,000 persons who won't shop there might cause a funding problem. Why is there no discussion about the independent study? Are we looking at another typical Pullman fait accompli?

Thank you PARD for looking out for the future well-being of Pullman and attempting to make the decision makers accountable. It is too bad that the recent independent study could not have been included in your lawsuit. It proved Day's claim regarding traffic and congestion on Bishop Boulevard.
- Roger Pettenger, Letter to the Editor, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, July 25, 2008

Huh?

If thousands of petition signers from Moscow, Australia, Chile, Finland and other places around the globe won't shop at the Pullman Wal-Mart, then there will be no traffic problem on Bishop Boulevard. This has been the basic flaw in PARD's reasoning from Day One. They simply can't have it both ways. It's either Boom Town USA with unbearable traffic or economic blight. Pick one of the above.

Let me put it another way, again. If those "10,000 people" had only donated $4.50 each, then PARD could have paid to have their own traffic study conducted. As it was, they didn't. The Hearing Examiner and the courts looked at the studies conducted by Wal-Mart, the city, and WSDOT, and those studies all came to the conclusion that traffic on Bishop, with Wal-Mart's mitigations, would be fine. Law 101: Present evidence to support your case or go home.

This latest traffic study factored in Wal-Mart's contributions to help control Bishop traffic.. I'm sure the city is grateful to have Wal-Mart help pay for traffic lights (no other Pullman retail business has ever been made paid to pay for traffic lights before), as well as the extra $1 million plus a year in sales tax revenue to help with roadway improvements.

Pettenger and all the rest can just stop their sour grapes. Nothing can be done now. The decision about Wal-Mart cannot be reversed based on evidence presented now The federal and state constitutions prevent such ex post facto and violation of due process effects.

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Change Nobody Can Believe In


There's a small problem (subscription probably required) with Larry LaRocco's campaign button at left. That's not Larry LaRocco. That's toe-tapper Larry whom LaRocco would like to replace in the Senate.


A defective campaign button offered a new take on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign slogan, "Change we can believe in."

The 3-inch button was intended to show Obama standing next to Larry LaRocco, the Idaho Democratic candidate running for U.S. Senate. Rather than LaRocco's smiling face, however, the button had a photo of Sen. Larry Craig, the staunch Republican who's vacating the seat LaRocco wants to fill.

"That sounds like it's going to be a collector's item," said Dean Ferguson, LaRocco's communications director. "I'm sure Senator Obama appreciates Senator Craig's support."


Even if that were Larry LaRocco's picture, I'm not sure that the best way to get yourself elected to the Senate in Idaho is to attach yourself to Barack Hussein Obama's coat tails.

Gregoire to destroy her opposition

BIAW up to no good again.

From todays's Seattle Times: "
Builder's secretly raising money to defeat Gregoire"

It's not much of a secret, I have known what they were doing all along. But let's see if I got this straight. The building industry solicits donations, which some people choose to give. And that is secret, possibly illegal, activity. The teacher's union, along with every other state employee union, CONFISCATES my money, gives it to candidates, and that is all on the up-and-up.

"We now have the goods on the builders, and it's time these kinds of illegal tactics be stopped," said Mike Withey, a Seattle attorney.
Yeah, fund raising is only allowed if it is by and for the government.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008074405_biaw26m.html

Democrats Energy Policy: Blame Straw Men

If the United States Senate’s dimmest bulb really wanted to stick it to oil speculators, she would side with President George Bush and back oil exploration along the nation’s continental shelf, among other places. Instead, she has chosen to attack a straw man with a bill that will probably pass, but will do absolutely nothing about energy prices because it does nothing to increase supply.

Patty Murray recently barnacled herself to whining airline executives who claim to have discovered proof that speculators were to blame for rising oil prices: “Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known. Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again. A barrel of oil may trade 20-plus times before it is delivered and used; the price goes up with each trade and consumers pick up the final tab.”

Imagine that – people buying and selling a commodity for profit? That bears an unsavory similarity to capitalism and something must be done about it! And Patty Murray intends to do just that with her foolish “Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008.”

I have two pieces of information that might help enlighten Ms. Murray, although I doubt that enlightenment is what she seeks. First of all, people who actually know what they’re talking about (they’re called “economists”) insist that evil speculators actually smooth out markets and dampen wild price oscillations. If airline presidents were smarter, they would purchase aviation fuel on the futures markets so that they would know in advance what their fuel costs would be and plan accordingly. And the reason that oil contracts trade so much more often than they once did is an effect rather than a cause. Futures contracts for any commodity that is exhibiting rapid price fluctuations will be traded frequently. And finally, any legislation passed by the Congress that would limit oil speculation only has force within the United States. Oil speculators abroad will simply ply their trade elsewhere.

But of course, this means nothing to Patty Murray, because reducing oil prices and punishing speculators is not her real intention. If she wanted to do something about either she would join with Republicans as they seek to increase supply. Since President Bush rescinded an executive order banning oil exploration along United States coastlines, crude oil prices have fallen by more than $20 per barrel. That means that every speculator who bet on oil prices continuing to rise has lost his shirt or perhaps his hajib.

What Patty Murray and her homey, Washington’s junior U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, are seeking is not consumer relief, but showboating. They wish to create the illusion of “doing something,” knowing full well that they are doing nothing and have no intention of accomplishing anything. Maria Cantwell let that cat out of the bag last week. When asked point blank if she would support efforts to provide Americans with relief by increasing supply she adhered tightly to the Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid party line: “Oh, we definitely want to move beyond petroleum. And so there will be a supply side offered by the Democrats and it will include everything from battery technology to making sure that we have good home domestic supply, and looking, as I said about moving faster on those kind of things like wind and solar that can help us with our high cost of natural gas.”

Translation: She’s only interested in economically unviable and technologically infeasible goofball programs that are nowhere near bearing fruit and likely never will. Gasoline prices are not going down. In fact, unless something substantive is done, in a few years we’ll be recalling the $4.00 per gallon summer of 2008 as the good old days.

In the meantime, Americans will have to settle once again for promises from Democrats that they will get even with “the man.” Propping up cardboard cutouts of enemies and knocking them down is a party tradition. It’s the foundation of the tax code, a fact that Barack He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Middle-Named Obama let slip during a debate. Getting even has become the last vestige of the civil rights movement, and that’s been enough to keep 90% of the Democrats’ most loyal demographic in line. Will that getting even with cartoonish enemies be enough to seduce the rest of us?

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Not Called "Junk Science" for Nothing

Why would anyone place confidence in a "science" like this one?

Quote of the Day

"Obviously, I need a partner on Puget Sound in the White House," [Queen Christine] said said.

"The other thing I'd like to see is Hanford, the largest cleanup site in the country. I need a partner."
- "Gregoire's Puget Sound push doesn't quite float," Seattle-PI, July 25, 2008

Well, she couldn't be referring to the Obamalord. He doesn't even know about Hanford.

Read the whole article from the PI. The Dems are very worried that the Queen is off-message and out-of-touch, with her ads claiming credit for something Tim Eyman did and saying Washington is immune from the current economic slowdown. I guess the Queen figures working families in Washington are not feeling the pain at the pump even though we are paying the highest gas tax in the country thanks to her and the Democrats.

Barack Obama: Not Even A Merci Beaucoup

Today, Barack Obama lectured the French, in English. How embarassing.

I'm starting to detect a pattern here.

Harry Reid Is Feeling The Heat

The liberal media is losing patience with the Democratic intransigence on oil exploration. Even New York Times reporters are tired of $4/gallon gas. And Harry Reid doesn't like it one bit.

Reporters tried to pin Reid down Thursday on the amendment issue.

In the exchange, Reid told one reporter she should "watch the [Senate] floor more often. ... You might learn something."

Another reporter explained she had watched the Senate proceedings and said it was not clear he was ... offereing separate amendments, to which Reid asked the reporter if she "spoke English."

"Turn up your Miracle Ear," Reid added.

Obama Flip Flops on Afghanistan and Iraq



Patrick Bell of the Washington State Republican Party sent along this exhaustive fact check of Rep. Adam Smith's (D-WA) statements about Obama's views on Afghanistan and Iraq from last Wednesday's Hannity & Colmes.

FACT CHECK: REP. ADAM SMITH ON HANNITY & COLMES

SMITH, OBAMA AND AFGHANISTAN


Obama Surrogate Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) Claimed Obama Has Been To Many Hearings And Spoken To Many Commanders To Form His Views On Iraq And Afghanistan:

Smith Claimed Obama Had “Been To Many, Many Hearings” On Iraq And Afghanistan, And “Has Talked To Many Generals, To Many Of Our Troops About The Position There.” Smith: “Senator Obama has taken the position on Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been to many, many hearings on both issues. He has talked to many generals, to many of our troops about the position there. The idea that someone would run for president without having thought seriously, listened, and learned on the issue is ridiculous. You can point to one aspect of it and say well, he didn't do that. He has articulated a clear position on Iraq, on Afghanistan based on his belief, and that belief is very straightforward. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the central front in the war. That is where we need to be concerned. We have taken our eye off the ball and placed too much emphasis on Iraq.” (Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” 7/23/08)

Obama Failed To Hold A Hearing As Chairman Of The U.S. Subcommittee Overseeing The NATO Mission In Afghanistan, And Missed 2 Of 3 Full Committee Policy Hearings On The U.S. Strategy In Afghanistan:

Obama Has Served As Chairman Of The Subcommittee On European Affairs From 2007 - 2008. (U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Website, www.senate.gov, Accessed 2/15/08)
  • The Subcommittee On European Affairs Has Jurisdiction Over The Countries Of Europe As Well As NATO Activities. “Jurisdiction: The subcommittee deals with all matters concerning U.S. relations with the countries on the continent of Europe ... and with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.” (U.S. Senate Committee On Foreign Relations Website, foreign. senate.gov, Accessed 2/27/08)
  • However, Obama Has Held Zero Hearings As Chairman Of The Subcommittee On European Affairs. “Doubts about Barack Obama’s presidential credentials have crystallized during the past two weeks over his stewardship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs, which has convened no policy hearings since he took over as its chairman last January.” (Joe Conason, “Obama’s European Problem,” www.salon.com, 12/29/07)
  • Obama Could Have Held Hearings On The Role Of NATO In Afghanistan. “[A]mbassador John Ritch, who served for two decades as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s senior staffer on European affairs and East-West relations ... [P]oints out that as subcommittee chair, Obama could have examined a wide variety of urgent matters, from the role of NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq to European energy policy and European responses to climate change...” (Joe Conason, “Obama’s European Problem,” www.salon.com, 12/29/07)
  • In March, The Hill Reported Obama Missed Three Of Four Meetings On Afghanistan, Two Policy Hearings And A Nomination Hearing. “But since joining Foreign Relations, Obama has missed three meetings on a ‘new strategy’ in Afghanistan, a country he has never visited. Obama was absent from a January 31 meeting this year, and also was not present for a hearing on Sept. 21, 2006. He did attend a March 8, 2007 hearing on a new Afghanistan strategy. On Feb. 15, 2007, Obama also missed a committee hearing on U.S. ambassadors to Iraq and Afghanistan.” (Sam Youngman, “Obama Absent At Afghanistan Hearings,” The Hill, 3/1/08)

    Obama’s Overseas Trip To Afghanistan Was His First Ever, After Skipping An Opportunity To Visit Afghanistan In 2006:

    The Obama Campaign Pointed To His Trip To Iraq In Response To Criticism For Not Holding Any Oversight Hearings On Afghanistan.CNN’s Jessica Yellin: “Obama’s campaign points out the senator has visited Iraq...”(CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” 2/27/08)

    “Obama’s Second Trip Abroad As A U.S. Senator Starts In Qatar And, In Addition To Iraq, Will Include Stops In Kuwait,Jordan, Israel And The PalestinianTerritories, According To A Statement From His Washington Office.” (“Obama To Visit Middle East, Including Iraq,”The Associated Press, 1/4/06)

    “[Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN)] Is Traveling With U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Sen. Christopher ‘Kit’ Bond, R-Mo., And Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn. Their Weeklong Trip Including A Stop In Israel For Meetings With Israeli And Palestinian Officials. Other Stops Included Kuwait, Qatar,Afghanistan And Pakistan.”
    (Rick Callahan, “Bayh: Next Six Months Crucial To Iraq’s Future,” The Associated Press, 1/7/06)
  • “After A Two-Day Iraq Tour, Obama Is To Travel To Jordan And Israel On His Own.” (Jeff Zeleny, “Obama Making 1st Visit To Iraq,” Chicago Tribune, 1/5/06)
  • Obama Voted Against Providing Funding For Operations In Afghanistan:

    Obama Voted Against Providing $94.4 Billion In Critical Funding For The Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Obama Voted Nay)

    The Emergency Supplemental Provided The Following For U.S. Operations In Afghanistan:

    $40 million for new power generation
    $314 million for rural road rebuilding
    $155 million for rural development
    $19 million for agriculture
    $174 million for Provincial Reconstruction Teams
    $25 million for governance capacity building
    $10 million for a Civilian Assistance Program
    $79 million to support Diplomatic and Consular Programs
    $16 million for Migration and Refugee Assistance
    $16 million for International Disaster and Famine Assistance for Internally Displaced Persons Assistance
    $47 million for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement activities
    (Stephen Daggett, Amy Belasco, Pat Towell, Susan B. Epstein, Connie Veillette, Curt Tarnoff, Rhoda Margesson, and Bart Elias, “FY2007 Supplemental Appropriations For Defense, Foreign Affairs, And Other Purposes,” Congressional Research Service, 7/2/07)

    SMITH, OBAMA AND IRAQ


    At A Hastily Arranged Press Conference, Obama Denied His Statement That He Would “Refine” His Policies Meant He Would Alter His 16 Month Timetable To Withdraw Troops. Question: “What did you mean when you said you might refine your Iraq policies? Does that mean no 16-month timetable?” Obama: “No that's not no, not refine the 16-month timetable, what I just referred to. For example, there's been a major debate in terms of how we should structure training for Iraqi military and police what kinds of troop presence will we need in order for that to occur. What kind of troop presences will we need in order for that to occur? What kind of troop presence do we need in order to provide a counterterrorism strike force in Iraq that assures that al Qaeda does not regain a foot hold there? Those are all issues that obviously need to be determined by facts on the ground.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Press Conference, 7/3/08)

    Smith Claimed Obama Has Been Consistent In Calling For Withdrawal From Iraq:

    Smith Claimed Obama Has Said “Clearly” That He Would Withdraw U.S. Troops, But Added “Now, Is That Going To Be 16 Months Or 18 Months Or 17 Months? He Supports Getting Us Out Of Iraq.” Fox News’ Sean Hannity: “He said 16 months. Then he said he'd listen to the generals. Then he said he'd refine his position, and then he went back.” Smith: “He's going to. He believes clearly.” Hannity: “And you say he never changed his position.” Smith: “He believes -- he believes clearly...” Hannity: “Clearly.” Smith: “... that we need to draw down our forces in Iraq. Now, is that going to be 16 months or 18 months or 17 months? He supports getting us out of Iraq. (Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” 7/23/08)

    But Obama Has Shifted Positions On The Pace Of His Withdrawal Plan And Whether He Would Listen To Commanders On The Ground:

    In April, Obama Committed To Withdrawing Troops From Iraq In 16 Months, Agreeing It Was A “Rock-Hard Pledge” Regardless Of The Advice He Received From Commanders On The Ground. ABC’s Charles Gibson: “And, Senator Obama, your campaign manager, David Plouffe, said, ‘When he is’ -- this is talking about you – ‘When he is elected president, we will be out of Iraq in 16 months at the most. There should be no confusion about that.’ So you’d give the same rock-hard pledge, that no matter what the military commanders said, you would give the order to bring them home?” Obama: “Because the commander-in-chief sets the mission, Charlie. That’s not the role of the generals. And one of the things that’s been interesting about the president’s approach lately has been to say, ‘Well, I’m just taking cues from General Petraeus.’ Well, the president sets the mission. The general and our troops carry out that mission.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Philadelphia, PA, 4/16/08)

    In July, Speaking To The Military Times, Obama Said He Would Withdraw Troops “At A Pace That Is Determined In Consultation With General Petraeus And The Other Commanders.” Obama: “If current trends continue and we’re in a position where we continue to see reductions in violence and stabilizations and continue to see some improvements on the part of the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, then you know my hope would be that we could draw down in a deliberate fashion in consultation with the Iraqi government, at a pace that is determined in consultation with General Petraeus and the other commanders on the ground and it strikes me that that’s something we can begin relatively soon after inauguration. If on the other hand you’ve got a deteriorating situation for some reason then that’s going to have to be taken into account.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks To The Military Times Editorial Board, 7/2/08)
  • The Next Day, Obama Said He Would “Refine” His Iraq Policy Based On Conditions On The Ground. Obama: "I've always said that I would listen to commanders on the ground. I've always said that the p ace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed. And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I'm sure I'll have more information and will continue to refine my policies." (Sen. Barack Obama, Press Conference, 7/3/08)
  • No Oil, No Drilling, No Debate


    Republicans should take notice of what scares Nancy Pelosi.

    WHY NOT have a vote on offshore drilling? There's a serious debate to be had over whether Congress should lift the ban on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf that has been in place since 1981. Unfortunately, you won't be hearing it in the House of Representatives -- certainly, you won't find lawmakers voting on it -- anytime soon.

    Instead of dealing with the issue on the merits, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a staunch opponent of offshore drilling, has simply decreed that she will not allow a drilling vote to take place on the House floor. Why not? "What the president would like to do is to have validation for his failed policy," she said yesterday when asked that very question. "What we're saying is, 'Exhaust other remedies, Mr. President.' . . . It is the economic life of America's families, and to suggest that drilling offshore is going to make a difference to them paycheck to paycheck now is a frivolous contention. The president has even admitted that. So what we're saying is, 'What can we do that is constructive?' "

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Quote of the Day

    ...they’re not going to let Moscow hold up the process any further.
    - Whitman County Commissioner Jerry Finch, "Hawkins water supply: Moscow pegs water rates at 2.5 times in-town charge," Whitman County Gazette, July 24, 2008

    An excerpt from the story can be found below:
    Largent said the county will now assess the costs of getting water from a well instead of from Moscow.

    “What we have to figure is that we’re not a captive market,” said Largent. “Now we have to gauge (the city’s offer) by how much it would cost to dig wells.”

    If Moscow and Whitman County fail to come to an agreement, Hawkins would be able to drill water under the three water rights the company acquired last year.

    Commissioner Jerry Finch said the company has already drilled one well, and is in the process of digging a second. Calls to Hawkins to confirm were not returned.

    If Moscow provides water to the shopping center, Finch said, the company would cap its wells.

    “But they’re not going to let Moscow hold up the process any further,” he commented.

    If the city does provide water, Hawkins would have to relinquish its water rights.

    Largent said that makes it vitally important that a water agreement is drafted to prohibit Moscow from turning off the tap.

    We want an iron clad assurance if water rights are given up, that the development’s ability to draw water from Moscow goes on in perpetuity,” said Largent.

    The county and city will now negotiate to come to a price agreement.

    "Two versions net delay on corridor landfill vote"

    I agree with Jeff Motley. If we are going to be designating the Pullman/Moscow corridor as an economic development zone, we don't need to be putting landfills there.

    From today's Whitman County Gazette:
    County commissioners Monday postponed until next week a decision to re-zone roughly 21 acres of land owned by Williams Place, LLC., in the Pullman-Moscow Corridor.

    The company wants to expand an industrial landfill site already operating on 20 acres of adjacent ground. Expansion was approved by the county planning commission after a public hearing last month.

    Williams Place was permitted for the existing landfill three years ago. It was used mainly to hold construction debris from the state department of transportation widening of State Route 270 from Pullman to Moscow.

    Williams Place CEO Gary Kopf told the county commissioners at their Monday session that the rezoned land would be used to store inert material, such as sand, rock and asphalt, from construction projects in the area. The fill would be dumped into a canyon between two hills just north of the highway.

    Pullman resident Jeff Motley, however, saw fault with siting a landfill in the corridor. He noted commissioners have designated the corridor as the area the county will use to spur its economy.

    “And we’re going to build a landfill in it?” asked Motley. “That’s going to make it very difficult to develop anything there.”

    Construction regulations limit the types of buildings that could be built on top of filled land. Filled land must settle after it is finally covered with soil.

    Kopf estimated the new landfill would almost level the entire 40-acre site in 10 or 15 years.

    He then foresees the possibility of building ballfields or farming the land after it is capped.

    With only so many acres in the corridor, a landfill that would make such a significant parcel of land undevelopable would be a “wrong fit,” Motely said.

    Kopf disagreed. He said there is enough ground in the corridor to develop, and added construction companies will need a disposal side in close proximity if building in the corridor picks up as expected.

    Commissioner Greg Partch said the landfill is critical to advance development in the corridor.

    “In our type of topography, we have to have some place for this fill,” he said.

    Partch wanted to make a decision Monday, but commissioners Michael Largent and Jerry Finch needed more information.

    Largent asked if the shape of Kopf’s piece of land would allow it to be developed.

    Alan Thomson, assistant county planner, said the land could not be built on because it is the side of a hill.

    “Every landfill we’ve had in this county has come back to bite us,” admonished Commissioner Jerry Finch.

    Finch then suggested commissioners take individual tours of the site before making a decision next Monday.

    Bias at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

    Moscow-Pullman Daily News publisher Nathan Alford has repeatedly extolled to me the virtues of free speech and the press. But is the press at the Daily News free of bias?

    You read these examples and tell me:

  • In 2005, a letter to the editor from Ed Schweitzer endorsing Wal-Mart was sat on until the day after the Pullman City Council election in which a PARD member was running. The Daily Evergreen published the same letter two weeks before.

  • A reporter from the Daily News wanted to cover my visit to the Wal-Mart Home Office in April 2006, but an editor killed the story.

  • A BREO press release last year about a petition from a group of seniors in favor of Wal-Mart was never covered.

  • Libelous and defamatory comments from PARD members and sympathizers are allowed to be posted and remain posted at Dnews.com in the name of the "Safe Harbor."


  • So when a reader of this blog wrote a rebuttal to Chris Lupke's latest insane rant against me, what did the Daily News do? Bury it.

    Oh, every letter to the editor trampling out the vintage where the sour grapes are stored from Lupke, Orlich, Damm, et. al. gets published. But here's the letter sent in a few weeks ago that you haven't seen in the Daily News:
    I read with interest the letter from Christopher Lupke dated July 5, 2008. In the letter he claims the salary he makes is inaccurate. The information on salaries comes from http://lbloom.net/wsu07.html. The information on the web site is gathered from the Washington State Office of Financial Management and is for 2007. I checked both the salary for my husband and myself. According to the website, both were listed correctly. When the list first came out, I also discussed this site with friends who work at WSU and they agreed that the information was correct. Therefore my question is this…is your listed salary too high or too low, Mr. Lupke? Or is it that you are embarrassed to be earning that much money for only nine months of work? According to Mr. Forbes figures the average Pullman family earns $40,709 a year. It certainly makes it difficult to claim non-elite status when you are earning approximately 54% more for nine months of work than the average Pullmanite makes in a year.

    As for the comment, “This pig needs to be removed from the trough.” It was written by a commentator to the blog, not Mr. Forbes personally. Many people can post to blogs. This is just a typical example of taking something out of context for your own personal end. Rather similar to what PARD did to Pullman for the last few years by their unseemly lawsuits and their claim of representing the common people of Pullman. At any rate, the comment was meant to show some professors are elitists and make far too much money for the work they do.

    If you want the healing to begin, PARD should apologize for holding Pullman hostage and putting our tax base in jeopardy.
    I expect this kind of crap from the puerile Watermelon. But a paper run by level-headed adults? I think we can find a better local newspaper.

    "State's business friendliness debatable despite magazines"

    The Queen has lately been touting what a wonderful place Washington is to do business. Ed Schweitzer, Eastern Washington's most prominent businessman, disagrees. So does Carl Gipson of the Washington Policy Center. In an editorial published in the Bellingham Herald, Gipson provided a reality check:
    Is Washington state truly friendly to businesses? It depends on whom you ask. Some reports say Washington has a favorable business climate, yet other measures show our state isn’t anywhere near the top end of business-friendly states. Which are correct? There is no definitive answer, but examining the criteria used by the different reports might shed some light on this controversial subject.

    The good news is that none show Washington at or near the bottom in overall business friendliness. However, several troubling statistics exist.

    You may have heard that Forbes Magazine ranked Washington state as the 5th best state for business. Forbes is a respected national business magazine. Washington’s leaders should be proud of the good press. Does Forbes saying we’re number five truly make it so? Is the debate about our business friendliness over? Let’s take a closer look at Forbes’ criteria.

    Washington ranked particularly well (4th) in Forbes’ “labor rank,” a criteria measuring educational attainment, net migration and population growth. We ranked 4thin the “growth prospects” category, a criteria that judges the prospects of individual income growth and business start-ups. For years Washington state has been ranked as a state with a high start-up rate, but we’ve also been ranked as a state with one of the highest business failure rates.

    Forbes ranked us 5th in the “regulatory environment” category; something the hundreds of small business owners Washington Policy Center has worked with over the years might object to.

    Where we didn’t score particularly well was in the “business costs” (33rd), “economic” climate (16th) and “quality of life” (32nd) categories. I’m curious as to how we can rate so well overall and yet be ranked so low in categories that include the cost of actually running a business.

    Forbes is not the only national study to rank Washington particularly friendly to business. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranked Washington the 4th best state in tax systems for small businesses. That sounds like even better news right?

    But wait a minute.

    The SBE Council had sixteen different sets of criteria including personal income tax, corporate income tax, AMT taxes, property taxes, gas tax and so on. What is notable about the SBE Council’s ranking system is that out of the sixteen measures, Washington only registers in eight of them. Washington has no personal income tax, corporate income tax and several of the other taxes that states were ranked by, and therefore Washington has an artificially high ranking.

    Washington ranked perilously low in the categories for which there is data. We came in 25th in property taxes, second-to-last in sales, gross and excise taxes (includes our B&O tax), 43rd in unemployment taxes, 46th in gas taxes, and our state’s estate tax was not ranked using a comparison of percentages among other states but only by the fact that it exists. That Washington received the highest marks among taxes we do not have, and mid-to-worst among taxes we do have, should be kept at the forefront of the discussion.

    The Tax Foundation ranked us 11th overall. We tied for first in the personal income tax category (because we don’t have one) but when they account for our B&O tax we came in at 31st. We also ranked dead last in their sales tax measure. The unemployment insurance and property tax rankings were not much better.

    The American Legislative Exchange Council ranked our economic outlook at a worrisome 31st. Here too we ranked tops in the income tax standings, but fell to 25th for property taxes, 49th in the sales tax burden and 28th in the estate tax.

    Despite the tax and regulatory burdens faced by entrepreneurs in this state, thousands of businesses open each year. But the pool of people willing to risk their livelihoods and their capital is finite – at some point the cost of doing business will become prohibitive. In 2007 the state’s business community paid almost $15 billion in taxes – an increase of 36% since 2002. At what point does the business community look for better, cheaper options and friendlier states?

    During this election season, as rankings are being thrown about remember that while the business cli-mate may be good for some, it certainly is not great for everyone. The data in these reports show where we need the most improvement.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Springtime for Obama!

    This is a German language poster from the Obamalord's current victory lap in Europe:


    My question is, what office is he running for and in what country?


    Yikes. The Obama campaign thinks this is a good idea? Patrick Ruffini has more.

    "Water rates hearing could focus on shopping center"

    Oh, joy. Another chance for Moscow's self-appointed experts in hydrology and urban planning to pontificate.

    From today's Lewiston Tribune:
    MOSCOW - The Hawkins Companies shopping center proposal could get another public airing Aug. 4 when a hearing will likely be conducted here on proposed interstate water rates.

    Details are still being worked out.

    Members of the Moscow City Council on Monday night proposed charging Whitman County 2.5 times the normal in-town rate for water. Whitman County officials, in turn, are considering offering the water to the Hawkins development.

    The company has expressed a desire to buy Moscow water, but needs to work through a government entity to obtain it. In the meantime, Hawkins continues to drill its own wells just over the border in Washington.

    The proposed interstate water sale appears to be unprecedented and continues to be monitored by the Idaho Department of Water Resources. The agency has authority over pumping and allocating Idaho groundwater.

    The city of Moscow, at the direction of IDWR, has proposed a joint-powers agreement with Whitman County. County commissioners have asked for a cost figure before signing an agreement.

    All parties expressed an interest to expedite the process by having a joint meeting of officials. But that apparently won't happen until after Moscow holds the public hearing and city councilors vote.

    Hawkins has dubbed the shopping center the "Stateline Project." Plans call for 714,000 square feet of retail stores, including three possible big-box outlets. A Lowes home improvement center is projected to be one of the anchors.

    Proponents have called the development the beginning of much-needed retail growth in the Moscow-Pullman corridor. Opponents countered the shopping center represents unnecessary sprawl and threatens groundwater resources.

    Hawkins indicated landscaping and other construction might start as early as June 1. Company spokesman Jeff De Voe has not given a reason for the delay.

    Wal*Mart and the Forbes Gang Rule!

    Just received this from a regular Palousitics reader. Very funny! Thanks!! I plan on getting a lot of use out of that sign making website.

    Thank You Wal-Mart Supporters!


    Wal-Mart took out this full page ad in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News to thank its supporters in Pullman, of whom there are many.

    The official word from Wal-Mart is that once they nail down all of the details with the city, Wal-Mart will have a very large groundbreaking and celebration to thank all of their supporters for our patience as the legal process played out.

    Technorati Tags:

    An Elitist Snob's Take on Wal-Mart Shoppers

    Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers: Here's what the educated elite really think about you. Coastal liberal and long-time Wal-Mart hater Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine wrote the following description of how he saw folks at a Wal-Mart in Martinsburg, WV back on June 23, 2008:
    But about those down-and-out customers: If you want to see the underside of the unregulated capitalist economy, the people who can't find the non-existent escape ladder from poverty and its pathologies, visit the Martinsburg, West Virginia Wal-Mart. Morbid obesity; spontaneous, public bouts of corporal punishment directed against dirty children; ten-year girls dressed as whores; tattoos running up necks and down legs; smoking like you only see these days in Baku; it's all here. I considered myself a socialist until I was about 23 (that was when I fled my kibbutz for the final time) but a visit to the Martinsburg Wal-Mart reawakens my distaste for steroidal capitalism.
    Goldberg later refers to Wal-Mart workers as "hopeless and toothless." What a collection of stereotypes of working class Americans, straight out of Marx's Grim Fairy Tales of the Lumpenproletariat.

    Now, as you can imagine, this column set off quite an uproar in Martinsburg. Rather than apologize, Goldberg states:
    It's interesting to me how many people conflate an attack on Wal-Mart with an attack on their community. I suppose this just how the malevolent merchants from Bentonville, Ark., would have it.
    Yeah. Wal-Mart made Goldberg an arrogant and self-righteous asshole. Who knows though? Maybe Goldberg is a double agent for Wal-Mart; his overbearing pretentiousness discrediting other Wal-Mart haters. But let's face it. "Ten-year girls dressed as whores?" It WAS a vicious attack on the Martinsburg community, and more generally an attack on all the people who shop at Wal-Mart.

    And that ultimately is what the war on Wal-Mart is all about. It's rank class hatred, bigotry and pure snobbery from wealthy elitists towards the people they claim to be "protecting" from Wal-Mart.

    But I for one am glad for Goldberg's hateful rant. Next time you read in the Daily News about "$45,000 traffic studies" and "wreaking havoc on small towns," you'll know what those code words really mean.

    Technorati Tags:

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Say Hey! The Dems Have Given Up on the WA 5th Congressional District!


    A story in Sunday's Spokesman-Review reported how Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has raised over a million dollars so far, while her Democratic opponent, Spokane psychologist Mark Mays, has raised only $36,085. McMorris Rodgers has raised more than that on just the South Hill of Spokane. It's embarrassing.

    $36,085? You can't run for the state House of Representatives on that kind of money, much less the U.S. Congress. McMorris Rodgers last opponent, rancher Peter Goldmark, who is now running for Commissioner of State Lands, is a darling of the netroots. He raised nearly $2.5 million in 2006, most of it from out of the district. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee designated the 2006 5th District election as one of their "Red To Blue" races. However, even though Goldmark outspent McMorris Rodgers by some $500,000, he got throughly spanked by 13%.

    Now, apparently, the Dems have given up on Washington's 5th Congressional District. Rep. McMorris Rodgers, having solidly defended her seat after her freshman term, is only facing sacrificial lamb Mays this time around. It is an indication of how 5th District Dems view Mays' chances that the biggest contribution, $5,000 (14% of total contributions), has come from the state party.

    In what promises to be a banner year for Democrats, with candidates nationwide grabbing Obama's coattails and the party with flush with lots of cash to throw around in once unassailble Republican districts (e.g. the Idaho 1st, with incumbent Rep. Bill Sali facing Walt Minnick) it is inexplicable why the Dems in Eastern Washington are not making a stronger run in 2008. Willie Mays has a better shot of getting elected to Congress than Mark Mays. I won't even get started on the weak Democratic candidates fielded in the 9th Legislative District and Whitman County.

    "MOSCOW: Council puts price on water; Cost to supply water to Hawkins will be more than double the in-town rate"

    I can appreciate that Moscow wants to share in the tax revenue obtained from the Hawkins development. No doubt, Whitman County and Pullman would have loved to share in the tax revenue from the Palouse Mall and Wal-Mart too, considering half the customers that shop at those stores are from Washington. But I don't recall anyone making that offer.

    The Whitman County Commissioners are not about to share any tax revenue from Hakwins. The citizens of Moscow elected Queen Nancy and the last City Council that passed the big-box ordinance which drove Home Depot and a Wal-Mart Supercenter out of town. They will have to content themselves with the proceeds of selling the water to Hawkins for now and vote their frustrations out on the Her Majesty next year.

    From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    The city of Moscow may charge Whitman County two-and-a-half times the in-town commercial rate for water for a retail development just across the state line.

    Most Moscow City Council members agreed Monday night that the rate, plus a 5 percent administrative fee, was a fair charge. Moscow plans to sell the water to Whitman County through an intergovernmental agreement for use only at the Hawkins Companies' development, just across the state line from Moscow.

    "I think it's a reasonable amount," City Councilman John Weber said. "I think it's a defensible amount."

    The city agreed in February to provide Hawkins water at a rate that is "fair and reasonable and consistent with rates and charges set for similarly situated customers of the city." However, Moscow has no similarly situated customers.

    Whitman County Commissioner Michael Largent e-mailed City Supervisor Gary Riedner earlier this month asking him to clarify how much the city plans to charge. Riedner replied with a letter explaining that Moscow normally charges customers who are out of the city limits twice the in-town rate, but does not have a rate for out-of-state customers. Riedner then asked the City Council for further guidance.

    Councilman Wayne Krauss, who first proposed charging two-and-a-half times the in-town rate, said after the meeting that he felt it was "a good middle line."

    "You don't want to get the appearance that you're price-gouging," he said.

    Krauss said the city can charge what the market will bear, but "what this market will bear, I don't know."

    He said the extra 50 percent charge doesn't entirely make up for the tax revenue Moscow would get if the development was in the city.

    Councilman Tom Lamar did not agree to the proposed rate, saying it was irrelevant without some sort of analysis to back it up.

    "I think that Moscow should try to get the highest rate that it possibly can for selling water across the state line," he said.

    Lamar proposed working with Whitman County to share some of the taxes the county makes from the Hawkins development. Councilman Dan Carscallen also supported tax sharing.

    Lamar, who has resisted selling water to Hawkins or Whitman County from the beginning, said he still is uncomfortable with the sale.

    "I don't think that we should be encouraging this development by having cheap rates and no tax sharing," he said.

    Largent said today he was pleased the council came up with a rate, though he has no basis to judge it right now.

    "I think we have to look at it and look at the cost to pump our own water" and other factors, he said.

    The council will finalize the rate at a public hearing, which most likely will take place Aug. 4.

    State Democrats Cover Up Queen's Sleaze

    Here's a shocker. The Democratic-controlled Washington Legislature has refused to conduct an investigation into Wampumgate, the payoffs that the Queen received from Indian casinos for axing a proposal to force the tribes share revenue with the state.

    House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-CYA City) said:
    These kinds of tactics, designed to divide the people of Washington state rather than unite us, are not what the legislative process should be focused on.
    Really?? As Chris Cargill at the KXLY blog points out:
    While there may not be a beneficial reason to open such an inquiry, to say this isn’t what the legislative process is all about is laughable. What is the Washington legislative process about?

    Is it about opening a legislative debate on impeaching the President, which the legislature has NO say in whatsoever?

    Is the legislative process about trying to force a national change in the Electoral College system?

    Is it about trying to secure a new Arena for the Seattle Supersonics?

    Is it about trying to ban plastic bags?

    Is it about banning the kind of dishwashing detergent people in Washington can use?

    Is it about naming a frog the official state amphibian?

    The legislature tackled all of these issues in its last session. So its pretty laughable when the Speaker of the House, in essence, claims the legislature has better things to do.
    No, the true business of the Democratic dictatorship in Olympia is simply to stay in power, no matter what it takes.

    Mrs. Coggins Goes to Washington


    April's mega-post about global warming, "Purposeful Manipulation of Temperature Data or Poor Practice?" is now linked on Senator James Inhofe's (R-Oklahoma) U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works press blog.

    Senator Inhofe's blog is a great source of global warming skepticism information and I highly recommend paying a visit there.

    Congrats April!

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    One Washington

    I said from the beginning that we are one Washington, and we’ve torn down the Cascade Curtain.
    - Queen Christine, "Major strides have been made in economy, education, health care," Tacoma News-Tribune, June 29, 2008
    A collection of environmental groups is asking its supporters to thank Gov. Chris Gregoire "for standing up for our health, safety and our environment by raising concerns over nuclear wastes from a uranium enrichment plant," once proposed for Richland.
    - "Environmentalists praise Gregoire for raising concerns about Areva plant," Tri-City Herald, July 17, 2008

    Now we know which "one" the Queen was talking about.

    Save WSU's Trees!

    We might be getting lucky here. This could get entertaining.
    And, the moonbats are letting us in on their plans.

    A friend of mine from church works in the capital planning office and she tells me that the primary reason for removing these trees is to improve wheelchair access. What we have here are competing polically correct objectives. My own heart is with people in wheelchairs.