Thursday, May 26, 2011

Palin running for president ....

... of Twitterland.

Or maybe it's Facebookland.

With Sarah Palin, it's hard to know because she uses Facebook and Twitter so much she could run either one.

As Palin rolls out her presidential campaign this weekend disguised as a family vacation to the birthplaces of America, she'll get yet another 15 minutes of fame.

Not that she needs it. She's already had more 15 minutes of fame than Andy Warhol.

At this rate, she could have her own reality show. Oh wait, cross that off her "bucket list," she's done that.

But, that was Alaska, a place almost as un-American as Hawaii. Palin not only quit halfway into her one term as governor of The Last Frontier, she apparently has now bailed on her beloved state by moving to Arizona.

No, what America needs more than $3 gas is a Palin reality show aired directly from the White House.

Talk about transparency.

It would air on Fox, of course.

Just think how entertaining it would be to see Palin pout about the latest criticism of her in the "lamestream" media. She could be settling scores with critics for her entire half-term before she moves back to Scottsdale.

Actually, it's bad news for Republicans to have Palin in the picture.

It'll be far worse, though, if she decides to run as a third-party candidate.

A Tea Party Express? That would be appropriate. Doesn't tea come from China along with everything else?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Caring for Medicare

If the Democratic victory in a deeply Republican New York congressional district turned on the Medicare issue, it shows that even some Republican voters trust the government more than private enterprise.

It also means that we care more about Medicare than the national debt. Afterall, it was Dick Cheney who said, "deficits don't matter."

And, finally, we want our government services, we just don't want to fully pay for them.

In a real sense, the outcome Tuesday validated a single-payer, government-run health care program, something not even "Obamacare" includes.

Yes, Medicare won't be able to sustain itself over the long haul because tax cuts for the rich, constant wars and a bloated military budget ensure that it won't.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., proposed that the federal government shed Medicare by privatizing it and dumping it on the states. Call it "Ryancare."

Great. Is there an insurance company out there that, in the future, will insure an 80-year-old with a lifetime of pre-existing conditions? And, if so, would the premium be about $20,000 or more per year?

I think we all know the answers to those questions.

Medicare works in the way that Social Security works: Our government is more trustworthy than any corporation in the land.

Government is that last stop before chaos and ruin. Just ask Wall Streeters. They know where the money is. When they destroyed the economy in 2008, they just backed up their SUVs to the Federal Treasury and took what they wanted.

Now, Ryan's Republicans want the poor and elderly to shoulder the brunt of the massive deficit that they didn't even cause.

If the federal government is serious about its deficit, it should go where the money is: Wall Street.

But, it won't because campaign donations from Wall Street will ensure that federal officer-holders will never look to the rich to bail out the country.

Today, though, Democrats can thank Ryan for handing them a rare victory.

If Ryancare becomes the Obamacare of the 2012 election cycle, O'Bama can schedule another presidential trip to Ireland and knock back a pint or two in 2014.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Does education matter?

Bend's Republican representative in the Oregon House, Jason Conger, has shown that he doesn't care about public education.

Why should he? He, or most likely his wife, home-schools their five kids.

It's fine to home school your kids, I guess. It's not fine to then project that lifestyle choice onto the vast majority of Bend residents who don't believe in home-schooling their kids.

Yet, that is what  Conger is doing. He has introduced legislation to destroy public education in Oregon. You would think a legislator would try bolster public education,

If Conger paid any attention to the news, he would realize that our defunding of public education is discouraging economic development. The recent choice in Redmond to take over managing the airport turned down the job because his wife, a public school teacher, couldn't get a job in Redmond, due to budget cutbacks.

Thankfully, Conger's extreme positions gain no traction among the majority of legislators, who actually care about public education.

Conger joins a long list of Central Oregonian legislators completely ineffective in Salem and out of step with the vast majority of Oregonians.

Conger is just another right-ringer pushing his extremist "Christian" values in the Oregon legislature.

It's best for people like Conger to run for office in a Christian school.

He certainly doesn't belong in public office.

Americans don't care about Israel or Palestine

1967 borders?

2011 borders?

It doesn't matter to most Americans.

While it is true that Jewish donations to Democratic causes may wane with Obama in office, it doesn't appear that it will matter in the 2012 election.

Americans are tired of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. In fact, we're tired of the whole Arab-Israeli conflict. We don't care, because it is obvious they don't care.

What we care about is low gas prices.

We don't care about the "Arab spring" or rebellions in Middle East countries.

If America is a "Christian nation," why would we care about are problems between Jews and Muslims?

Israel has lost American support. It is not our 51st state.

 There was never any American support for Palestinian causes, particularly those that promote terrorism.

We just don't care. It's like the conflict between the Bloods and the Crips in Los Angeles. Does this matter to anyone outside of Los Angeles? No.

What we need to be concerned about is getting our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

That's what matters to Americans.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Swirling in the eye of Newt

The casual observer wonders if Newt Gingrich should have gone the way of Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee.

In essence, he did the same thing, but with a tad more self-flogging. It's a Muslim thing.

Trump and Huckabee caved in to reality and quit their ridiculous runs for the White House, while Gingrich ignored his muse.

He failed to grasp that his 15 minutes of fame ended more than 10 years ago. Of course, Tiffany jewelers would think otherwise. He owes them about $500,000.

It's convenient to espouse family values when you have a couple of divorces under your belt and some bling around your neck. Or maybe that bling is around his third wife's neck. It's hard to know. Afterall, Newt is a dashing metrosexual.

In any case, Gingrich has no shot at the presidency. What's more pressing is if he still has a chance at Fox News. That's what matters to conservatives: preaching to the choir even if that choir is tone deaf.

It's a shame, really, because there is no better name out there than Newt. Mitt is a bit sissy and Barack, of course, is way too exotic and Islamic. T-Paw, for Tim Pawlenty, is too contrived and Palin rhymes with waling.

But Newt reminds one of Fig Newtons or "eye of Newt," the Shakespeare line from Macbeth that also includes the lines "toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog."

Macbeth includes more lines, of course, but "eye of newt" says it all. Newt tripped on his own shoelaces when he trashed a fellow GOPer's Medicare-killing plan.  He now swirls in the eye of the storm he alone created. Maybe he thinks it won't matter since the rapture is slated for this Saturday.

It's too bad we won't have Newt to kick around for awhile longer, but that's the price of fame. Just when you think you've paid the price, the sales tax kicks in. (Not in Oregon, of course).

So long Newt, we hardly knew ye. I hear Arnold needs a little moral support.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Voters give $500,000 to developer

Not that he's grateful or anything. In fact, he'll likely have his hand out for more.

The $30 million bond that passed underwhelmingly, 55 percent to 45 percent, makes sure that Pahlisch won't have to pay $500,000 towards the construction of the roundabout at 15th and Reed Market that he had agreed to pay.

The city of Bend no longer collects SDCs, otherwise known as building-impact fees, so Pahlisch, and all developers in Bend, won't have to pay anything for the impact their developments have on Bend.

It's called moral hazard, a term which surfaced when the government bailed out Wall Street and now applies to development in Bend. Why should developers pay anything? They don't have to because property taxpayers will bail them out.

If you want to see what Pahlisch thinks about Bend, check out his subdivision on 15th Street just south of Ferguson Road. Pahlisch paved 15th Street in front of his development, but refused to pave the southbound lane, about 10 feet, on 15th Street. All those trucks going into and out of Pahlisch's development on 15th Street destroyed the roadway. But apparently, the city was afraid to ask Pahlisch to pave the entire stretch in front of his development. And, Pahlisch cares so little about Bend that he couldn't be bothered about the southbound traffic on 15th Street.

The other negative news from the bond's passage is that the city of Bend will falsely assume that it validates the city's squandering of tax dollars on Juniper Ridge, its mixed-use development on Bend's north's end that funnels tax dollars directly to private enterprise. Hey, it's where the money is.

Also, the city will construct the roundabout at 18th and Empire, Mount Washington and Simpson, followed by the most important one at Powers and Brookswood before it tackles the most essential road work: the Reed Market corridor.

If there is any money left over, the city may repave the section of Reed Market between Third and 15th Streets, but not do anything between 15th and 27th street. That means no widening, no sidewalks and no new bridge for American Lane.

Yes, eastside voters, you were duped. You just voted to pay for improvements to Bend's west side, the richest part of Bend, before anything is done on the east side.

We subsidize the rich in Bend just like they do on the federal level.

Is it tea time yet?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Low turnout favors road bond passage

Only those motivated by the chance at working on roads again appear to be voting on the $30 million road bond.

Turnout, as of last Friday, was less than 19 percent.

I'm sure many voters are assuming that if they don't vote, turnout won't reach 50 percent and the bond will fail because it didn't reach that threshold.

However, the so-called "double-majority" rule is not in play during this election, so even a fraction of registered voters will decide the fate of the bond.

That favors the voters who want to see it passed.

The biggest losers will be those voters who don't want it to pass and fail to vote.

I've never been in favor of the double-majority rule passed by voters in the 1990s. It rewards the lazy citizen and the non-voter.

But, this bond also rewards bad behavior. It lets developers skirt their responsibilities to this city. They won't have to mitigate any impact their developments have on our community. The new developments are a major reason why this road bond is even necessary.

If you want to participate in our democracy, then vote. Otherwise, keep a lid on it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

8 reasons to vote against Bend road bond

1) Why subsidize developers, the richest people in our community? It's like subsidizing oil companies, the richest firms in the world, as they gouge us at the pump.

2) New developments caused a majority of our road problems and, with this bond, developers won't have to pay anything for roads. Pahlisch won't have to contribute a dime toward the cost of the roundabout at 15th and Reed Market even though it was part of the conditions of approval for his subdivision on 15th Street.

3) The city stopped collecting building-impact fees (SDCs) for roads, water and sewers. Again, why do we need to subsidize developers?

4) The entire burden for Bend's roads falls on property owners, even those who don't even use the roads.

5) The real reason for this bond was to put in a roundabout at Empire and 18th so that the city could continue developing Juniper Ridge, which has already sucked out most of our discretionary tax dollars with few results. There is little reason to think that Juniper Ridge won't siphon off far more of the $30 million bond than the city admits.

6) A gas tax is the best option, but the city refused to even let voters decide on one. Tourists and daily commuters from other cities don't have to pay anything for the roads they drive on in Bend. Also, Sisters imposed a gas tax and they've already collected enough from their three gas stations in one year to pay for road repairs and improvements.

7) Until the city asks all stakeholders -- property owners, visitors and developers who have an impact on our roads -- to contribute their fair share, voters should vote NO on this road bond.

8) The double majority rule is NOT in effect. This means that if only 30 percent of the electorate votes, the results are valid.  As of Monday, only 14 percent of voters turned in their ballots. Again, the bond measure does not need a 50 percent turnout for the vote to count. So be sure to vote NO and turn in your ballot by May 17.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It was about time

Osama bin Laden should never have lived so long.

Well, bin Laden has finally gone to the fishes. Great job to all involved.

Still, his death seems anti-climatic now. His demise matters, but not as much as it would have nine years ago.

We took our eyes off the prize then and wasted blood and treasure in Iraq when we should have chased bin Laden down in Pakistan.

That Islamic nation has now been fully exposed as a collaborator, and not an adversary, of terrorism.

We'll never be able to change the culture that breeds fanaticism and terrorism in Pakistan or Afghanistan. For that reason alone, we should declare victory, leave the region and spend our financial and human capital on figuring out how to power our country without oil. As Obama said, there isn't anything we can't do if we put our minds to it.

So, let's do it.