Friday, September 28, 2012

Anti-Obama hysteria proves fatal for family

With Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing gloom-and-doom media peddling the most insane conspiracy theories regarding President Obama, it's not a complete surprise that violence would be the solution.

Here's a sad, grim story of a man who killed his wife and teen-age sons before killing himself because, with polls showing Obama way ahead of Mitt Romney, he could not fathom living with the possibility of Obama winning a second term.

Too bad he didn't catch on with the "poll-truther" movement that claims all the polls over-sample Democrats and are, therefore, completely bogus.

The "poll-truthers" claim that Romney is way ahead of Obama. Even Stephen Colbert tells viewers to disregard the "scientific gobbledygook" of conventional polling. By the way, Fox News shows Obama up by 5 percentage points in their scientific poll. In Fox's unscientific poll, 90 percent of Fox's viewers believe Romney will win the election.

Anyway, I had intended to write a post after the election, should Obama win, about the mental instability of some anti-Obama nutcases.

But, with this tragic case in Virginia this week, the time is now.

For those of you who believe that America will cease to exist if Obama prevails on Nov. 6, please do not "stand your ground."

Please, don't buy a gun and try to kill the president.

Please, don't buy an assault weapon and try to kill the nearest Democrat.

Please, don't buy a Glock handgun and kill your wife and children or anyone else.

But, if you feel as if there is no way out and that violence is your only option, please, and I say this with all due respect, just kill yourself first.

By killing yourself before harming anyone else, you will be doing this world a tremendous favor.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Six weeks left: Curtains for Mittens?

Bad hair day for Mitt 
Got another solicitation for money in the mail yesterday from Mitt Romney's faltering presidential campaign.

They've got to be desperate to ask a minimum of $1,000 from me. Why would anyone give a mega-millionaire a red cent?

The poll numbers, particularly in the swing states of Ohio, Florida and Virginia, are not looking good for Mitt. He's even losing the crucial NASCAR vote.

Also, the Intrade spread keeps getting wider. President Obama is at nearly 73 percent and Mitt is trolling just above 27 percent.

Nate Silver's "FiveThirtyEight" blog gives Obama's chance of winning re-election at nearly 80 percent.

When the Wall Street Journal reported these dismal Romney numbers last week, commenters on the Rupert Murdoch-owned website accused the Journal of becoming another "left-wing rag."

As Stephen Colbert noted a few years ago, "reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Naturally, Mitt hasn't helped himself.

When his wife's plane had to make an emergency landing because of smoke on board, Mitt wondered why airplane windows don't roll down.

When challenged about health insurance and the uninsured on "60 Minutes," the Mitt-wit said the uninsured can always go to the emergency room.

Of course, a few years ago, Mitt referred to the reliance on the emergency room for health care: "If that's not a form of socialism, I don't know what is."

The only hope for Mitt is the first debate next week in Denver on Oct. 3. He'll likely get a nudge upward in the polls. Mitt should come across as polished, likable and good-looking.

But, it seems like it will be too little, too late.

It seems that Team Obama has done a better job of defining Mittens than Team Romney has.

The strategy worked for W in 2004 when his campaign turned a decorated Vietnam War veteran into a traitor. Given that campaign, it's amazing that any serviceman or woman would ever vote Republican, but they still do, by a wide margin.

But, it won't matter. The only thing Mitt will command is his offshore accounts in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and god knows where else.

GOP voter-suppression efforts to combat the non-existent problem of "voter fraud" seem to be losing in the courts.

The problem with Mitt is Mitt. He's a one-man "vote-suppression" machine.

We can only hope that Mitt suppresses the vote for down-ticket candidates in Oregon and other states.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Put legal notices online

A bit of the comics made the front of the opinion section of the daily newspaper on Sunday.

And no, I'm not talking about the essay on Mormonism.

The paper's editor tried to make the case that legal notices should remain in the daily and not online.

Well, duh.

The paper makes a killing publishing legal notices, particularly these last few years when foreclosures and defaults flooded the classified section.

This helped the daily offset the tremendous loss in classified advertising that it suffered when took almost all of that business away.

The editor claims that many people in rural areas don't have access to the internet so therefore legal notices should remain in the paper because an informed citizenry is vital to the state.

But not that informed, because the daily was able to force the local weekly to stop printing legal notices because the newspaper industry helped write the law that keeps this cash cow in daily newspapers.

Almost all of the daily's readership in Central Oregon has access to high-speed internet either at home or on their smart phones.

Craigslist proved that people in Central Oregon prefer the online way to buy and sell things because it's free.

It seems quite obvious that people, particularly those who've endured bankruptcy, divorce or foreclosure, would rather not have that sensitive information published three times in the paper. Adding insult to injury, they have to pay for that public humiliation.

Of course, if notices go online, they'll still likely have to pay, but lawyers or banks would profit and not the newspaper.

In yet another way, the internet is transforming our lives. It will continue to do so for years to come.

There are winners and losers.

The newspaper industry will lose this battle because it makes no sense not to put legal notices online.

That being said, I do enjoy the comics in the paper.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ashton Eaton mobbed in Bend

Ashton pumped up the crowd in front of the Tower Theatre
"The world's greatest athlete" came back home Sunday to enthusiastically accept the adulation of a proud and grateful town.

Wearing the gold medal he won in London for the decathlon, Ashton Eaton was mobbed by a few thousand Central Oregonians as he paraded down Bond, then Wall Street, in the heart of Bend.

Eaton set the world record in the 10-event decathlon at the Olympic Trials in rainy Eugene in June. He solidified his athletic greatness by winning the gold medal in August.

 It's still astonishing to say that the world's greatest athlete, a bi-racial man, hails from La Pine and Bend.

Ashton nearly won the state track and field title single-handedly for Bend's Mountain View High School in 2006. He won numerous national titles in the decathlon and heptathlon during his years at the University of Oregon.

At the parade today, Ashton's mom, Roz, tearfully thanked the community for its support over the years as she raised Ashton as a single mom, first in La Pine and then, from sixth grade on, in Bend.

Eaton, too, was grateful for the support and spent hours signing autographs after the parade.

Hundreds of kids got to "race" with Ashton up and down Wall Street amid the crush of onlookers.

It was classic small-town America. It was a great day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Can Mitt get a break?

Not really.

He's had enough breaks in life that it appears he's used them all up.

But, at least Randy Newman is thinking and singing of Mitt. (Play the "I'm Dreaming" video above)

Thanks to his recent stumbles, Mitt can't get out of his own way.

He got no bounce from the GOP convention.

His comments about the murder of Americans in Libya, including our ambassador, were ill-timed.

And, of course there was the revealing video where Mitt, talking about the 47 percent he claims are moochers, said, "my job is not to worry about those people."

The political "gaffe" has been renamed the "Mitt-wit."

Even the Republican cognoscenti, including Peggy Noonan, are wondering what's with Mitt.

Mitt's Intrade numbers are cratering. Romney trails Obama roughly 68 percent to 32 percent.

Plus, Mitt's polling numbers in Massachusetts, a state he once governed, predict an epic beatdown by about 20 points. It seems the good people of the Bay State know something about Mitt that the rest of Americans apparently do not. Mitt is only trailing President Obama by 5 points nationally in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

Still, the election is seven weeks away and there is still time for Mitt to get further behind.

Mitt's clearly not up to the task. Let's just hold the election now and get it over with.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The pulse of America

If you want to know what the right-wingnuts really think about President Obama, you have to look at the comments on right-wing media.

Unfortunately, Fox News no longer lets surfers, like me, check out the comments on their stories, which are uniformly anti-Obama.

That's because the comments were so over-the-top racist that they became a source of embarrassment for the network. That, in itself, is surprising since Fox News exists, to a large extent, to widen the racial divide in this country.

But, we have that other Rupert Murdoch news source, called the Wall Street Journal, to save the day for the angry white folk out there.

Here's a little sample:

"If America reelects Obama I'm leaving the country. My first choice for a new country to live in would be the Republic of Texas." -- James Walton
"I blame the public school system. We really are graduating dolts. If you don't believe me, look at the polls." -- Noelle Mueller
"If this nation is hell bent on electing Hussein Obama despite the recent Middle East crisis (courtesy of Jimmy Carter 2.0 aka Obama), then this nation rightly deserves to be doomed to failure." -- Ethan Kohl
"Don't believe the Democrats, don't believe the polls and don't believe the MSM. Obama's entire presidency has been a disaster and no one in their right mind is going jump and and down cheering: 'Hey I want four more years of failure under Obama!'. The American people are not stupid! Think for yourselves. Obama is going down in November." -- Maria Bonanno

They do have the occasional contrarian viewpoint:

"Read 'em and weep wingnuts. WItless Mittens and Lyin' Ryan could not win a race to the outhouse."-- Laurence Voss

There is no denying the fact that there is tremendous hatred out there in the electorate for President Obama.

Much of that hatred is totally racist. About 5 percent is legitimate criticism.

But, 5 percent doesn't win you an election to anything.

After the conventions, Obama surged to a lead in the polls, not only nationally, but also in key swing states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if Obama wins Ohio, and we should know that before the polls close on the West Coast on Nov. 6, then it is curtains for Romney and his delusional followers.

On Intrade, Obama is now at 64.7 percent while Romney has plummeted to 35.4 percent.

In other words, the Mitt-wit is trending down while Obama is trending up.

Of course, there is always an "October surprise." 

But, judging from the September surprise of the embassy attacks in the Middle East, it's safe to say that Obama is clearly more presidential than Romney.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A day like any other?

September 11 is back to being a day of blue skies and mild temps.

But, that doesn't mean smooth sailing ahead or that all is right with the world.

Far from it.

A column in the New York Times today shows that the Bush Administration was warned repeatedly in the months prior to 9/11 that a serious threat was imminent, but they were too focused on Saddam Hussein to notice, or care.

Another classic case of a Republican running on a platform that says government doesn't work, and then getting elected to prove it.

That's all water under the bridge now, or rubble under the drones.

Or is it?

Dick Cheney is still mad that Osama bin Laden was killed under President Obama's watch and not Cheney's.

And, 15 percent of Ohio Republicans credit Mitt Romney with killing bin Laden. Take that, Cheney.

Eleven years later, we still have Fox News around, misinforming viewers, and Rush Limbaugh inflaming listeners.

The most dangerous job in the world is still the No. 2 man working for al Qaeda. It looks like the 154th No. 2 was killed in Yemen on Monday.

Muslims are still mad at us. Our embassy in Cairo was attacked today and another American flag was burned. It seems there is a film coming out about the Prophet Mohamed and, of course, this riles the believers of Islam.

Well, better get used to it. This century won't be kind to religious zealots of any stripe.

Meanwhile, the community center in Bend, which provides meals to the homeless among other things, will be closing its doors this Friday due to lack of funds.

And the beat goes on.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another reason to love Costco

From the Seattle Times:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal took a turn in the political spotlight Wednesday night, making a business case for re-electing President Obama and saying the incumbent "understands what the private sector needs to succeed."

Speaking at the Democratic National Convention, Sinegal pushed back against the argument by Republicans — and some business allies — that entrepreneurs succeed on their own.

"Some of my friends in corporate America say that all they need is a government that gets off the backs of businesses," Sinegal said to the crowd at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

"But I think they get it all wrong. Business needs a president who has covered the backs of
businesses," he said, citing Obama's support of public investments in education, research and

Sinegal was part of a concerted Democratic effort Wednesday to contest the GOP's reputation as
the more pro-business party — while simultaneously attacking the ethics of Republican nominee
Mitt Romney's own business record at private-equity firm Bain Capital.

Several business leaders spoke before Sinegal, including Austin Ligon, co-founder of the used-car
retailer CarMax, who praised Obama for rescuing domestic car manufacturers from collapse.

Sinegal's support for Obama is no surprise. He has long been a major Democratic donor and
hosted Obama at a pair of fundraisers at his Hunt's Point home on Lake Washington in July. He
and his wife, Janet, have donated more than $107,000 to Democratic candidates and committees
since 2011, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit group that tracks money
in politics.

Sinegal's speech began at about 7 p.m. Pacific — just ahead of the night's headliners,
Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren and former President Clinton.

He spoke calmly, frequently staring at notes on the lectern in front of him. The speech drew
cheers, though nothing close to the adulation that greeted Warren.

The longtime CEO of Issaquah-based Costco who retired earlier this year, Sinegal touted the
company's creation of hundreds of thousands of American jobs, boasting of plans to hire 7,000 more people in the next year, jobs with "the highest wages among our peers" and good health

His speech represented a pushback against the Republicans "We Built It" slogan, which was
repeated frequently at the GOP convention in Tampa last week.

That line was based on a comment that President Obama made in a campaign stop this summer. In
a speech arguing that everyone benefits from public education, roads and other infrastructure,
Obama said, "If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

The GOP has replayed the quote repeatedly, saying Obama was revealing his contempt for the
hard work of business owners. But several nonpartisan fact-checking organizations have rejected
the GOP's framing of the quote as dishonest.

In an interview before his speech Wednesday, Sinegal said he agrees with Obama's point that
businesses — even if built on the risk and sweat of individuals — owe something to the country
that allowed them to succeed.

"I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had the opportunity to have been afforded a great
education at a state university," said Sinegal, who graduated from San Diego State University.
"You'd have to be a fool not to recognize that you got a lot of help along the way," he said.

If that thinking is at odds with some conservative private-sector purists in the business world,
that's a reflection of the way Sinegal and his Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman have always

"Costco has always thought about the world in its own way," said Edward Weller, a retired stock
analyst who followed Costco almost since its first warehouse store opened in 1983. He said he has
seen it put customers' interests ahead of the company's, and employees' interests ahead of
shareholders in the short term, believing it paid long-term gains.

For example, Costco refused to make big job cuts or slash workers' health-insurance benefits during the recession.

Politically, Weller said, Sinegal "doesn't believe in the myth of Obama being a tax-and-spend nut.
He's always been a socially conscious guy who's tried to be responsible to his community. Plainly
he doesn't believe in big government, but in a strong and responsive safety net."

Sinegal, in the interview, said he lines up philosophically with Obama on the notion that a booming
economy flows from the wallets of middle-class consumers, not the fortunes of the rich.

"It doesn't do any good for Costco to have the lowest price on a 70-inch TV set if nobody can
afford to buy one," he said.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The trouble with Mitt, GOP

As the Democrats do their thing in North Carolina, it's worth noting that Mitt Romney's bounce from the GOP convention was decidedly less than average.

Intrade has Barack Obama up to 58.3 percent chance of winning while Mitt is down to 41.5 percent.

Maybe this story helps explain why Mitt's speech didn't help him in the polls.

In spite of holding the GOP convention in Florida, Mitt still can't see daylight in the Sunshine State.

In addition to being a Mormon, a religion that much of the GOP base does not trust, Mitt has that rich-guy air about him that doesn't connect with the average unemployed worker.

In fact, Mitt embodies a corporate America that eliminated or outsourced millions of American jobs.

Here's a little primer about Mitt's dubious Bain way to weath by pit bull reporter Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone magazine. It shows how Mitt made his Cayman cash by creating debt that others were forced to pay back.

Granted, Rolling Stone is not the Wall Street Journal, and thank god for that. Taibbi's dad, though, is a reporter for NBC.

Meanwhile, it looks like the Koch brothers and Karl Rove are giving up on Romney winning Pennsylvania. Without the Keystone State, Mitt's chance of becoming the next president are dramatically reduced.

It's not hopeless for Mitt, but it ain't looking good either. The demographics don't help him either.

This quote, from Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.),  doesn't help the GOP cause:

"The demographics race we're losing badly," said Graham in the Washington Post last week. "We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."

But, there is at least one angry white Republican woman standing for Obama.

Of course, the GOP does have the lasting image of Clint Eastwood scolding an empty chair.

Keep OSU-Cascades at COCC

OSU-Cascades on the COCC campus
The local daily had a long article today about OSU-Cascades looking to take over much of the partially developed Shevlin Center business park near downtown Bend for its branch campus.

The article also mentions the city's huge, largely undeveloped Juniper Ridge business park/university at Bend's north end as the one-time future of OSU-Cascades.

Nowhere does the story mention the obvious: OSU-Cascades currently is based on the Central Oregon Community College campus and it makes the most sense to keep it there.

Shevlin Center is touted because it would be cheaper and quicker to build a "campus" there. But, as Councilor Jim Clinton noted, it'll still look just like an "office park."

Juniper Ridge's drawbacks are that it's near a ridiculously congested intersection on the main highway in Central Oregon and that it would cost up to $20 million in infrastructure costs.

Keeping OSU-Cascades at COCC has none of those problems.

This recent push to shoe-horn OSU-Cascades into Shevlin Center is more about bailing out property owners  there after our real estate market crashed five years ago.

Indeed, OSU-Cascades bought an empty building at the office park for its graduate courses. It makes more sense to just have all OSU-Cascades graduate courses at Shevlin Center while keeping undergraduate courses at COCC. Graduate students, presumably, have enjoyed the college campus life and look at extended schooling as all business.

Juniper Ridge, if it ever gets a school there, should become the site of COCC after OSU-Cascades takes over its current campus on Bend's west side.

The infrastructure problem at Juniper Ridge underscores the larger problems facing the entire city of Bend.

An editorial in the local daily notes that our sewer system, particularly of the north end of Bend, is so overburdened that some manholes experience overflows.

Gee, that's not a way to sell a city, is it?

In the next editorial, the paper notes that developers need a continued break on its system development charges (or infrastructure fees).

It seems that some dots need connecting here.

The city, for years, has asked too little of developers and got too little infrastructure in return. Asking less of developers will result in even less infrastructure.

The irony is that all this over-building in Bend through the years could result in no building at all because the sewer, water and road systems can't handle the growth.

Wouldn't that be something?

Bend finally adopts a public facilities strategy and until developers solve the infrastructure problem themselves like they did for NorthWest Crossing, they won't be able to develop at all.

What goes around, comes around in roundabout Bend.