Head West, Turn Right

The Joint Blog of the Conservative Northwest Blogging Alliance: Red State Points of View from a Blue State Point on the Compass.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What energy crisis?

Even I, a sceptic of doomsday predictions regarding declining oil reserves, found myself surprised by the latest reports on projected world reserves. A piece in the UK's Independant reveals just how thick the whool has been pulled over our eyes.
Exxon's Mr Tillerson told the convention in South Africa that his company estimated that global energy demand would increase by 50 per cent over the next 25 years. Mr Tillerson said that by some estimates there was as much as 7 trillion barrels of oil yet to be discovered. On a more conservative basis, the world still had more than 3 trillion barrels from conventional fields, oil sands deposits and other sources. "That is more than twice all the oil recovered up to now in all of human history," Mr Tillerson said.

The conservative projections are we still haven't used half of the world's supply! Does that even remotely square with the hype about unsustainable futures?

Now, before I get misunderstood, I should be perfectly clear that I don't think we should be sitting on our current status quo and ignore the future. I'm thrilled by the way the U.S. has started to lead in hybrid vehicle development--that stuff is great. I think we are sitting on a lot of technology that will prove once again that we are the most flexible economy in the world. I don't see a sudden shortfall and stagnation--that goes against the American way of problem solving.

And we have way more time than anyone thought to develop a better energy dependancy plan.

Crossposted at Western Washington Unraveled

Saturday, September 24, 2005

What's Up With That?

--Posted Contemporaneously at The Jaybird Nest and Head West, Turn Right--

All these people, including members of the mainstream media, who hated Bush in 2000, hated him in 2004, never voted for him, never supported him in any way, have continued non-stop to bash him and call him the vilest of vile names, but now pretend like they are saying something profoundly new and different about him from which they've always been saying. To me it sounds like the same screeching band of losers. Why would we find the mouth-foaming noise of sore losers more palatable now, as they round themselves up to march? Give me a reason why I should.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tebelius To Speak At PLU Tonight

After just returning from Afghanistan, where she observed the recent legislative elections, Diane Tebelius will be speaking at Pacific Lutheran Univerisity in Tacoma tonight. Tebelius maintained a short weblog while abroad: http://dianeinafghanistan.blogspot.com/

As many of our readers likely know, Tebelius is considering a run against Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in 2006, along with several other candidates including Safeco CEO Mike McGavick.

Click photo for website.

Come hear Tebelius speak about the democratic processes she observed in Afghanistan, as a member of the official U.S. Delegation, and enjoy the company of fellow Republicans. You should also expect to hear about her bid for the GOP endorsement in 2006. Liberal and radical activists expected to attend :0)

Where: PLU University Center Building, Scandinavian Cultural Center (directions)

When: Tonight, September 22nd at 7:00PM (come early for dessert social $5)

We hope to see you there! For details, contact colrepub@plu.edu

Sunday, September 18, 2005

More money squandered

More information about FEMA money getting squandered before Katrina. This AP story is even more specific about where it might have been spent... Talk about lunacy.

In Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, attention has focused on the inability of local and federal officials to evacuate or prepare for the large number of poor people, many of them minorities, who had no access to transportation and remained behind.

That possibility was one of the concerns that led Congress in 1997 to set aside $500,000 for FEMA to create "a comprehensive analysis and plan of all evacuation alternatives for the New Orleans metropolitan area."

Frustrated two years later that nothing materialized, Congress strengthened its directive. This time it ordered "an evacuation plan for a Category 3 or greater storm, a levee break, flood or other natural disaster for the New Orleans area."
So...where did the money go?
The $500,000 that Congress appropriated for the evacuation plan went to a commission that studied future options for the 24-mile bridge over Lake Pontchartrain, FEMA spokesman Butch Kinerney said.

The hefty report produced by the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission "primarily was not about evacuation," said Robert Lambert, the general manager for the bridge expressway. "In general it was an overview of all the things we need to do" for the causeway through 2016.

Lambert said he could not trace how or if FEMA money came to the commission. Nor could Shelby LaSalle, a causeway consulting engineer who worked on the plan...LaSalle said it would be "ludicrous" to consider his report an evacuation plan...
This better get a lot of attention. The more fire put under incompetence and corruption the better.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The money trail to Katrina

One of the questions that has rarely been asked and one I've been waiting for someone to answer is that much closer to being resolved: where has all the FEMA money for Louisiana gone all these years since they are a severe hurricane risk area?

Someone is getting to the bottom of it. From the LA Times:

Senior officials in Louisiana's emergency planning agency already were awaiting trial over allegations stemming from a federal investigation into waste, mismanagement and missing funds when Hurricane Katrina struck.

And federal auditors are still trying to track as much as $60 million in unaccounted for funds that were funneled to the state from the Federal Emergency Management Agency dating back to 1998.

It's gets better
Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington watchdog group, said recent Louisiana history showed that FEMA "money earmarked for saving lives and homes'' was instead squandered in "a cesspool of wasteful spending."

Louisiana's emergency office receives money directly from FEMA. It passes on much of the funding to local governments that apply for assistance.

The audit reports said state operating procedures increased the likelihood of fraud and corruption going undetected.

Crossposted at Meneltarma

Friday, September 16, 2005

What is the Impact of Offshoring on Washington State?

By Island Republican

Bill Center, President of Washington Council on International Trade, a nonprofit, non-partisan association spoke to a luncheon meeting of Bellevue Rotary. The Washington Council of International Trade’s purpose is to inform, advocate and educate the public, elected leadership, educators and the media about the role and importance of trade. Bill Center’s topic was the impact of offshoring to the Washington State economy. Washington Council of International Trade is most widely known as the entity that invited the World Trade Organization to Seattle in 1999.

Washington State is the most trade depended state in the United States. In 2005, one-third of jobs in the state are related to trade. The per capita trade amount in Washington State is twice the next two highest states, California and Texas. In King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties, 27,800 jobs are destroyed each year. The four county region loses between 390 and 560 jobs to offshoring each year. 31,120 new jobs are created in the four county region each year. The average annual net increase in jobs is 3,320. The net job increase easily covers the jobs lost to offshoring.

As of August 31, the United States had 143 million jobs with an unemployment rate of 4.9%. Each year 30 million jobs are destroyed in the U.S. Approximately 600,000 jobs are offshored according to AFL-CIO, 2% of the total jobs destroyed. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 420,000 jobs are offshored each year, 1.4% of the total jobs destroyed. The U.S. creates 31.5 million each year for a net gain of 1.5 million jobs. The average new employees joining the workforce each year is 1.5 million. Currently, the job market is in equilibrium. The average salary of jobs created is higher than the jobs destroyed. Over 80% of the jobs created each year go to individuals who are employed. The remaining 20% of jobs created are filled by unemployed individuals.

The Washington Council on International Trade is working with Prosperity Partnership (launched by the Puget Sound Regional Council) to create 100,000 new jobs in the four county region by the end of 2010. These new jobs are in addition to the expected normal job growth. To meet this goal, the four county region must create 328,000 jobs between 2004 and 2010. As of September 1, 2005, the Prosperity Partnership is ahead of its job growth goals. The Partnership expects the majority of new jobs will come from five areas (“clusters” as defined by the Prosperity Partnership), aerospace, clean technology, information technology, life sciences and international trade. These “clusters” are based on strengths in the four county region and areas where we are competitive in the global market place. The clusters are expected to create high paying jobs.

Trade is very important to the economic health of Washington State, especially in the four county region. The public, unions, politicians and media need to understand that trade decisions in Washington, D.C. greatly impact Washington State’s economy. The Puget Sound Region should be the strongest supporter of international trade. It is interesting to note on the last major trade initiative in Congress, CAFTA, Washington State’s congressional delegation voted against CAFTA. Please see my posts, CAFTA Passes without Support from Washington State Delegation and CAFTA: The Complex Benefits of Free Trade.

Cross posted at Island Republican.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Cross-posted at Musings..

Today is September 11, 2005. Four years ago, I watched in horror as unspeakable acts were committed against our nation. I remember.

I suspect that you do as well. I won't bother you with the oft overused pictures of the burning towers. I won't put up pictures of the men and women who were jumping out of the 115th floor of the building, because falling to your death was preferable to burning up in an inferno I can only imagine. Let us remember the grey faces of the firefighters and police. Let us keep the images in our mind of the planes flying into the sides of the buildings. I personally will never forget the face of my young daughter when she realized that the objects that were falling were people... I remember physically removing her from the room and putting on something else, as I had not known she was in the room watching. She deserved a bit more innocence than that would have given her.

Don't forget the Pentagon - the largest office building in the world, now restored, maintaining the vigilance that keeps us safe. Over a hundred men and women, some of the armed services, some civilian, died there too.

And the Angels without wings - the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 who died over Shanksville, PA so others might live.

For those who don't like our being in Iraq, remember the words of the President on 9/20/2001.

"....Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.

...Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there.

It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

Americans are asking "Why do they hate us?"

They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us because we stand in their way.

We're not deceived by their pretenses to piety.

We have seen their kind before. They're the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies. Americans are asking, "How will we fight and win this war?"

We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the destruction and to the defeat of the global terror network.

Now, this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.

We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.

From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice, we're not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security.

...Many will be involved in this effort, from FBI agents, to intelligence operatives, to the reservists we have called to active duty. All deserve our thanks, and all have our prayers. And tonight a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready. I have called the armed forces to alert, and there is a reason.

The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud...."

I'm guessing we aren't done yet. To those deployed, my heart goes to you and yours... come home as soon as you can. But, for the sake of those who have died, and those who may... finish the job you started. Go with God.

Remember these numbers.
Number of fatalities
World Trade Center Towers 2,595
Flight 11 92
Flight 175 65
Pentagon Building 125
Flight 77 64
Shanksville Flight 93 45
Total 2,986

Same old (head)line

It's helpful for a political junky (and journalism student) like me to be able to step back recite a basic fact to myself: a hyperpolitical outlook on the news can paint a very different picture than what really exists. For the average journalist, life in American is simply one long horse race in-between elections where every piece of news is compared and evaluated on the basis of how it will affect the next election.

It never changes. Just like all the other paint-by-number coverage from Katrina. The current line is this: a weak response from Bush shows he doesn't really care. From verbal celeb tirades to Judy Keen and Richard Benedetto's blowhard "news analysis" on page two of USA Today about the President's response to Katrina. What it amounts to is a hatchet job similar to what all implicit attacks on Bush post 9/11. I can still remember the sneering ABC line after Bush's rock-the-world speech a week afterward: "A president finds his voice."

Where do journalists learn to see everything through red and blue tinted glasses? In the classroom. I've heard it many times at Western: a political science depth or minor is usually recommended for journalism students so that's what a big chunk of them take. It may not be because their journalism professors want to have the news reported that way, but they might think a journalist wouldn't be able to survive in America without a solid political science education. Unfortunately, those "survival" skills ususally translate into bickering about how the president needs to be more expressive and empathetic--or the democrats might start looking like reformers (hint hint: the democrats ARE reformers!)

I've felt like holding my nose as I wade through the coverage of Katrina--and not because dead bodies disgust me.

Crossposted at Meneltarma

Hurricane Katrina Disaster

New Orleans—If God Didn’t Do it, Who Did?

After reading several articles about the media's coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, I finally found what I was looking for. Several days ago, I heard a commentator making several parallels between the attacks of 9/11 and the present disaster. While not entirely "awestruck", I did quickly divert my attention away from my computer screen to the television. The comments sounded something like this:

When the towers fell, Bush stood on a still smoldering pile of rubble and said, "We'll hunt down whoever's responsible and make them pay!" Well, now what's he going to do? Do you think he'll come down to Louisiana and pound his fists on the ground, stare skyward and scream "IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT GOD!?!?" Hah, hah-- I don't think so [smirk] Back to you...

I was somewhat taken aback by this comment, and have been scouring the Internet in search of a religious discussion of the disaster. MAZEL TOV!!! I had to look no further than Washington's very own Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Here are some quotes from his latest essay on Toward Tradition:

The immediacy of the suffering makes us forget that disasters have afflicted mankind since the days of Noah. Like the Asian tsunami did, the New Orleans disaster provokes serious questions. Some ask, "What sort of God would allow so many innocent people to be killed?" Others present the quandary this way: There are only two choices. Either God is all powerful in which case he did this cruel thing or else he couldn't stop it in which case he's impotent and who needs an impotent deity?
In reality however, there is another approach. This catastrophe was horrible but instead of waving a defiant fist at God, let us calmly examine how He set up the world to work.

If you have time, read the full text available at www.TowardTradition.org by clicking here. I found the Rabbi's essay quite inspiring. In times of tragedy and great need we often forget how small we are compared to the bigger picture, Rabbi Lapin reminds us.

Blame Amid Tragedy

For a great commentary on the 'blame-game' taking place in the mainstream media, read the Evergreen States' very own Bob Williams' guest commentary to the Wall Street Journal (available here).

Just more food for thought as the response continues.

(hat tip to Brian Crouch at http://www.soundpolitics.com/ for blogging on the Rabbi's essay)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Oregon: A Swell State

Cross-Posted at Memento Moron.

After meeting TFR at her work each day and taking the helm of the MoronMobile, We drive along I-205 back towards home, to be greeted by the picture-framed view of the Three Sisters, a set of tall peaks in the Cascade Range.

Well, soon there may be a fourth sister.

Or maybe not, according to the article.

I've known about the bulge growing in the area for some time, but I didn't have all the details right. I thought it was one of the Sisters herself. But apparently it's a region near the mountain.

I also learned something I didn't know, but doesn't surprise me, which is that Oregon is home to 4 of the 18 most active volcanoes in the U.S. (Putting us in such impressive company as Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. Welcome to the Ring of Fire, baby!). Those four are Mount Hood (I suspected that), Crater Lake (I thought she was extinct, but apparently is only dormant), Newberry Crater, and South Sister.

It was also a bit unsettling to learn how inadequate monitoring of them is. Usually volcanoes give you some advance warning, but still, the sooner we know the better, doncha think?

Whether the magma will move again or ever reach the surface is a mystery. But if it did, geological history suggests it would result only in small cinder cones that spew ash and lava.

...but would still be cool to watch.

The good news is that such an eruption likely would not seriously affect any population centers, Chitwood said.

Yeah, except for Bend, that's pretty remote country.

This could be kind of cool. Back when I thought one of the Sisters herself was bulging, I was worried about the towns and the city of bend and all the potentially threatened wildlife. But if it results in a much smaller but still interesting to watch event, it's a win-win. Scientists get the chance to observe a volcano being born, Oregon Tourism gets a boost, and the Cascades get to blow off a little stress, all without any real harm being done.

Jason Atkinson Leads the Way

Gullyborg over at Resistance is Futile reports on yesterday's meeting between GOP gubernatorial candidate Jason Atkinson and Oregon Bloggers. From what he has to say, I'm liking Atkinson more and more all the time.

I also look forward to the next meeting between Bloggers and Atkinson, hopefully I can attend the next one.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Voting Is No Fun Anymore

Well, I voted in the primary. The ballot came in the mail and went out the next day. I hate this new system. There was a sense of ceremony in going to the polls and casting my vote. I enjoyed standing there with my neighbors, feeling so American. Now we vote by mail. Period. It sucks! And besides, I want my "I Voted" sticker!

I'm still so surprised that we don't have to prove we're eligible to vote legally, especially after the embarassment of our last election. I thought about registering my dog Riley. He's almost 18 in dog years, but I think he leans a little to the left, so I didn't do it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Competition Works for Sea-Tac Airport

By Island Republican

(Cross posted at http://IslandRepublican.blogspot.com/)

King County Executive Ron Sims has been negotiating with Southwest Airlines about using King County Airport, also known as Boeing Field, as its Seattle base. Using regional airports to lower its costs has been a standard business approach for Southwest. It then passes these savings onto its customers, which has made air travel more affordable. The negotiations have created consternation from the Port of Seattle, the operator of Sea-Tac Airport, and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Southwest has explained that the landing cost at Sea-Tac is excessive compared to other airports throughout the country. The landing cost is charged by the airport for each passenger on every flight. Since this information has become public, the 2009 projected landing costs at Sea-Tac have decreased from $25 per passenger to $14.15 per passenger. Southwest expects the landing costs at Boeing Field to be less than $5 per passenger. If Alaska Airlines and Horizon join Southwest at Boeing Field, the landing cost could be under $3 per passenger.

The Port of Seattle and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce are concerned that the two airports will be competing against each other. The Seattle Chamber of Commerce has stated, “The proposal also ignores a comprehensive aviation plan for our region, jeopardizes international air connections to important markets in Asia and Europe, and has negative impacts on service to communities throughout Washington State.” Neither the Seattle Chamber of Commerce nor the Port of Seattle has commented on the savings our region will gain by this competition. If businesses and individuals who fly can save over $250 million in airfares over a 10 year period, these funds are available to grow our businesses and communities, not ‘invest” in “airport facilities”.

I find it unusual that a liberal Democrat like Ron Sims is willing to buck the system and create competition within a governmental monopoly while the Seattle “business” community wants to stifle competition. While I am uncertain what the right answer is to the airport issue, I believe we need to perform the correct economic analysis of Southwest’s proposal. The needs of our entire community must be considered, not just “governmental” entities.

I would like to thank Ron Sims for bringing this important discussion to the public.