Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blatantly Unbridled Greed...

Talk about unbridled greed…In spite of the bad economy, the state’s dire financial situation, and Governor Christine Gregoire’s proposal to cut $1.7 billion from schools, and eliminate the Basic Health Plan to solve the budget shortfall, state employee unions are refusing to forego a five percent increase for more than 21,000 people already averaging over $70,000 a year. This amounts to around $83 million in “step” or longevity-pay increases for almost a third of the state’s workers typically in their first six years on the job. State workers earn about a third more than private sector workers in comparable jobs.

After the legislative session ended without new state employee contracts, Gregoire struck a deal with the unions that has the taxpayers picking up 88 percent of health care costs and left pay arrangements from the 2007-09 contract intact.

Newspapers all over the state have issued editorial warnings to the Governor and Legislators as they contemplate new taxes for 2010. Stating the need for “radical” thinking in these tough times, newspapers encouraged the state to dig deeper for more government efficiency — particularly with regard to these pay and benefit increases. The Spokane Spokesman-Review said, “State Unions must be part of fair fiscal solution,” and others said talk of new taxes would be premature without going back to the bargaining table with state employee unions. We couldn’t agree more, and add the Business Journal's voice to those already calling for the Governor to say a firm “No” to the unions.

Bremerton's Fish Statues

Considering both the financial situation of our state and the City of Bremerton, I was certainly surprised to see the Bremerton City Council approve spending $250,000 of state money on the installation of some statues of fish and fisherman on Pacific Avenue. Ostensibly, these statues are going to bring tourists downtown.

What I have a serious issue with is the statues being designed by a Colorado firm — and built by a company in Mukilteo. Don’t we have artists right here in Kitsap County who are capable of doing this? It’s not often that any city has an opportunity to spend that kind of money on art, but when they do, shouldn’t they focus on spending it with local artists?

Personally, I believe all five of the Bremerton City Council members who voted to spend that money outside of Kitsap County — Nick Wofford, Will Maupin, Brad Gehring, Carol Arends, and Adam Brockus — owe the local arts community an apology. And while I doubt the ability of a fish statue to make serious inroads for tourism, I do think the Council should rescind its approval of this project as presented and insist the money be spent locally as a condition of acceptance.

And what’s the matter with our local artists? Why aren’t they showing up at Bremerton City Council meetings en masse and loudly protesting the Council’s blatant disrespect for their abilities and talent? Is it any wonder the Council doesn’t think twice about bypassing them?

I really like and appreciate public art. But if the One Percent For The Arts program can’t be managed any more effectively than spending our money out of state, while local artists won’t take any more action than whining about it to each other, than the program should be abandoned altogether. Considering the state’s $2.8 billion (and growing daily) budget shortfall, there are certainly better uses for that money than improving the bottom line of some company in Colorado.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Democrats to seek higher limit on the federal debt

From the Washington Post...
Measure to be included in defense bill
House Republicans vow to block Pelosi's plan

House Speaker Nancy Poliosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she will include legislation to raise the debt ceiling in a must-pass defense spending bill headed to the House floor next week.

"We need to have a vehicle so that the Senate can vote on it, and it is our intention to have something on the Department of Defense bill," she told reporters at her weekly news conference.

House leaders have not settled on how much to raise the debt ceiling, now at $12.1 trillion. Figures as high as an additional $1.925 trillion are under discussion, aides and lawmakers said. Republicans vowed to block such a move, despite the potential consequences.
"It will be an opportunity for us to point out the excessive spending that's going on in this Congress," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Treasury officials have told congressional leaders that they must raise the cap before Dec. 31 or risk running out of money for Social Security checks and veterans' payments due in early January, Democrats said. By law, the Treasury can borrow no more than Congress legally permits.

The House voted this year to raise the debt limit to nearly $13 trillion, but the Senate never acted on the matter. Now, the issue is complicated by the competing demands of moderates in both chambers, who are expressing increasing concern about the nation's rising debt load.

President Obama called this week for a jobs bill to combat the nation's 10 percent unemployment rate. That could add billions of dollars to budget deficits already driven to record heights by the worst recession in a generation and the emergency measures intended to ease its effects.

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and other moderate Democrats have threatened to vote against a higher debt limit unless Congress creates a bipartisan task force, composed primarily of lawmakers, to address the budget problem. Conrad and Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) introduced legislation Wednesday that would invest such a body with broad power to force tax increases or spending cuts through Congress.

"We understand in the short term you add to debt to avert [economic] collapse. We understand that. We also understand at some point you need to pivot to address our long-term debt, because at some point, it's unsustainable," Conrad said Thursday.

Fiscal conservatives in the House known as"blue dog" Democrats say that any plan to raise the debt ceiling should include a new pay-as-you-go law that would prohibit lawmakers from approving tax cuts or spending increases without offsetting the cost elsewhere.

"If we're going to have to take a vote that acknowledges our fiscal irresponsibility, let's add something that changes our habits in the future," said Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho).

The Senate opposes the proposed pay-go rules, and Pelosi opposes giving an independent task force the power to make budget decisions.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other White House officials met Thursday with Conrad,Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and more than a dozen other senators to develop a version of the task force that Obama and Pelosi might accept. One possibility: Obama could appoint a task force by executive order, although that body would be significantly weaker than one created by law. After the meeting, Conrad said he would consider the idea, but only if lawmakers rejected his original proposal.

"The first thing we want is a vote," he said.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Economic Development 101 — Southern Style

Was anyone really surprised when Boeing made the announcement that it intends to locate the second 787 production line in South Carolina?

Reading an online Seattle Times story the weekend before the announcement, and then reading the comments, made me understand how badly the Boeing machinist’s refuse to “get it.” They remind me a lot of the Republican Party here in Washington State — they would rather be “right,” than move towards the center and actually win.

The machinists find themselves in this particular predicament because they have abused the right to strike more often than not. Talks between the union and Boeing over a 10-year no-strike clause that the company reportedly needed in order to bring the second Dreamliner line to Everett, broke down on the eve of the announcement. Senator Patty Murray asked both sides to meet in her Washington D.C. office and resume talks. The fact Boeing failed to even respond, spoke volumes.

The Machinist’s union has failed to grasp the fact that in our global economy their past, strike-won victories were little more than skirmishes in a much larger economic war they will lose in the end unless their strategy — and attitude changes.

For example, was there anyone — other than the Boeing machinists — that didn’t think they were not only arrogant, but just plain greedy, to strike this last time, while the economy all around them was tanking?

Some posters on the Times’ site talked about how if the company thinks a two-plus year delay (caused by who?) for the 787 is a problem now, just wait until they try and build those planes in South Carolina.

Here’s a news flash… South Carolina, along with several other southern states (most notably Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, and Mississippi) have been patiently waiting for this day. All have trained their workers diligently; refined and streamlined their permitting processes so it only takes weeks, or at most months, to permit a major manufacturing facility — not multiple years and millions of dollars of environmental “process.” They’ve tailored their tax structures so they’re not only business-friendly, but people-friendly and fair, with neither side carrying the load for the other; and provided tax incentives to attract economic development — instead of treating business as the enemy the way we do here.

The economic incentive package tailored to land the Boeing assembly facility easily received key approval in the South Carolina Senate. The full Senate voted 44-0 on low-interest construction bonds and incentives that include a sales tax exemption on fuel used in test flights. To qualify, a company would have to create at least 3,800 full-time jobs and invest at least $750 million in the state over seven years. This looks like a win-win to me. Can you imagine our state doing this?

What has really struck me is the arrogance of the machinists. They honestly believe they’re the only ones with the skills to build airplanes. If you think a bunch of redneck hicks just off the tobacco plantation are going to be building those 787’s, you better think again. It will be the same quality of people who build the high-dollar BMW’s in South Carolina, upper end Mercedes in Alabama — where Boeing already has major facilities — Ford’s in Georgia, Nissan’s in Tennessee and Mississippi, and Toyota trucks in Texas. If you haven’t been down to Dixie in a while — if ever — you will be shocked at the high level of skill and technical expertise you’ll find. Granted, building airplanes is much more technical than cars, but the assembly line principle is still the same. It’s simply a matter of educating workers what to do — not them being too stupid to learn it, as the machinists seem to think.

While both Boeing and the Machinist’s union blame each other for the strike problem, which brought this issue to a head, I believe that the decision to locate the line in South Carolina had at least as much to do with this state’s policies, and excessive over-regulation, as it does with the union. Even though Bill Boeing started the company here, Boeing owes this region nothing. It’s a global company, competing in a global economy. Boeing has been a good corporate citizen, providing thousands of upper income jobs for people here, and supporting multiple non-profits. But it reached the tipping point when the machinists refused to agree to a no-strike clause.

It has been a long, slow process, but if you look closely, you’ll find Boeing is reducing its corporate footprint in Washington, albeit slowly but steadily, and has been for years. The large new shopping center sitting just South of Boeing Renton is physically located on top of what once was a Boeing facility.

Boeing has made its wishes and needs known to the state, which for the most part have routinely fallen upon deaf ears. Moving its headquarters to Chicago, should have been a 2x4 to the side of the head of the legislature and Governor. Our Governor’s response? A loss of 900 jobs will not matter that much. That kind of arrogance, and the long-held philosophy that businesses is an adversary instead of an asset, has come home to roost.

Our state’s main transportation infrastructure is in shambles. making it difficult to conduct business regionally. Time is money, and it’s very costly to move people and equipment between plants located from Everett to Renton. Meanwhile the Puget Sound Regional Council is pushing to toll I-5 and I- 405. How many more ways can we find to shoot ourselves in the foot, and help states like South Carolina steal our major employers?

Meanwhile Gov. Christine Gregoire expressed her disappointment with Boeing’s decision by saying, “We did all we could to demonstrate that Washington is the best place in America to build airplanes. State and local government worked hand in hand with our capable Congressional delegation, business and community leaders, educators and countless others to show our collective support for locating the second 787 assembly line here.”

Well Governor, it wasn’t nearly enough. This isn’t a problem that just cropped up overnight. It’s been decades in the making.

The bottom line is, the rules and regulations in this state — even given the concessions the state has made to the aerospace industry — are overly restrictive and still make it hard to do business here. The legislature, and those special interest groups that fund the election of legislators, refuse to deal with this simple fact in any way, shape or form. And therein lies the main problem.

South Carolina just gave us a lesson in Economic Development 101. The question is, was anyone in Olympia paying attention?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Election Commentary

I apologize for getting this out so late, but I've been laid low by some recent unexpected emergency surgery. Nothing life-threatening, but fairly serious just the same, and recovery has just been slower than I had hoped.

I was disappointed in the results of the recent election, and have come to the conclusion that sleaze and outright dishonesty can still win elections in some cases.

Like a lot of other people, I couldn't really get my arms around the Bremerton Mayor's race. And as the results have proven, it was too close to call. Patty Lent, the apparent winner, is a nice person, but not really what I would term a decisive decision maker. She's going to have her hands full with a lot of issues that she's not even aware of yet — just as I was.

As far as Will Maupin is concerned, I believe he is the best qualified for the job. However, based on my own personal experiences, his uncompromising, "My Way of the Highway" style wouldn't play well with the other electeds he'd have to deal with. For this reason alone, Bremerton may be better off with Lent at the helm.

I also believe Kitsap Sun Political Reporter Steve Gardner's erroneous story saying he'd resign the Council if Lent was elected, has done some serious harm to Maupin's possible political future. Gardner tried to play CYA and explain his way out of it, but it hasn't done the job. In my view, he owes Maupin an apology.

The election on Bainbridge Island shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. The continual revolving door of the City Council just took another swing — as it will two years from now. I predict Bainbridge residents will come to be very sorry they voted for the change in government.

I will however miss Chris Snow, who has been serving as interim Mayor, and
decided not to seek re-election after just one term on the Council. We've worked together on several board committees, and he is a common sense breath of fresh air, and in my view, the type of public servant the citizens of Bainbridge Island should be electing instead of some of the whack jobs they have.

In Port Orchard I endorsed Carolyn Powers over Cindy Lucarelli, and as of this writing, she is ahead by less than 20 votes. Carolyn brings so much historical and institutional knowledge to the City Council, not to mention political connections, it would be a shame to lose that. She can often get more done with a well-placed phone call than others can in days of just trying to reach the right person. And people in Olympia and Washington D.C. do take and/or return Carolyn's calls.

The other Council race between incumbent Fred Chang and Amy Igloi-Matsuno was a disappointment. Although I believed Amy would win, I made a conscious effort to distance myself personally from this for a number of reasons. However, Chang's supporters — especially a couple of shrilly vocal, downtown business people — continually tried to drag me into the drama they created over this, asking why didn't I just endorse her and get it over with?

The answer is that I believed Amy should win on her own. I didn't want her tarred with any negativity that could be attributed to me. She ran a clean campaign, taking the high road rather than get down in the mud as Chang's people preferred to do. There were also some highly inflammatory rumors that were circulated by Chang supporters that may have had an impact.

The makeup of the City Council is thus: 2 government bureaucrats — one state and one local; a banker, a retired shipyard supervisor; a retired school teacher, a retired firefighter; a retired school administrator. The youngest person on the Council is 50. For those reasons, I believe the City Council — as well as the residents of Port Orchard — would have benefited significantly from the long-term perspective of a highly successful 29-year old entrepreneur. The only other private sector entrepreneur there is myself — and I don't vote.

However, what has disturbed me the most were reports from people who stated that when doorbelled by Chang, he claimed to be "...the only council member who opposed the Mayor tripling his own salary." It doesn't get much sleazier than that, so let's get the facts straight on this issue once and for all.

As Mayor, I do not have the authority to raise my salary. Only the City Council can do that. However, it wasn't even a raise in pay. It was the unanimous decision of the Council to make the Mayor's job full time — not the part time 15-hour per week job it had been. Chang voted for this in a budget work study in September of 2008, only questioning the use of $20,000 in Lodging Tax money being used to help fund the difference in pay. Since tourism is part of the Mayor's job, the City Attorney felt this was an allowable use of that money.

It was never about "the Mayor tripling his own salary," as Chang has reportedly claimed, but the Council's unanimous decision to make the job full time. End of story.

I was also disappointed to see Kathryn Quade ousted as Mayor of Poulsbo, in favor of Becky Erickson. In working with Kathryn on numerous boards including KRCC, KCCHA, Kitsap Transit and more, I have seen her stand up and fight very effectively for her City. My personal opinion is that Becky Erickson will be much less effective for the same reason Will Maupin would have been for Bremerton — while Erickson is very smart and very resourceful, her highly aggressive personal style isn't going to play well with the other electeds she has to work with in order to get anything done. Quade didn't just lose here — I think Poulsbo did.

The Bremerton municipal court race that pitted incumbent James Doctor against Bremerton attorney Ed Wolfe, was almost too sleazy to believe. Doctor appointed Wolfe to serve for him as a pro-tem judge. For him to then say Wolfe had no criminal experience on the bench was an outlandish claim — and what could be interpreted as an outright lie depending on your point of view.

Wolfe serves as a pro-tem judge in several jurisdictions and is more than qualified to serve in Bremerton. If he wasn't, why did Doctor appoint him in the first place? The fact the Kitsap County Bar Association did an "anonymous" poll that rated Wolfe as "unqualified" had more to do with sleazy partisan politics than actual qualifications. And what is really ironic here, is that Doctor failed to file a large number of PDC filings on time — a clear and ongoing violation of the law. Go figure...

I was not surprised that Roger Zabinski pulled off what many thought was an upset victory over former Bremerton Mayor Lynn Horton. He had the entire environmental wing of the local Democratic Party working for him. However, it might have been interesting to watch the dynamics between Horton and Port CEO Cary Bozeman, since Bozeman ousted her from the Mayor's job.

Throughout the campaign I witnessed Zabinski talk out of both sides of his mouth, depending on who his audience was. When he came and talked to me he was completely clueless about economic development (the Port's main job), suggesting a trail system between McCormick Woods and the Port might be an economic development driver for us. He also was a very strong SEED supporter when we originally talked, and up until until he figured out it would cost him votes. He then denied supporting it in two forums I attended.

Frankly, I don't trust Zabinski, and don't think he's strong enough to distance himself from the enviros who got him elected. I'll be watching — and will keep a very close eye on what he does — in contrast to what he says.

Finally, I was glad to see I-1033 go down in flames. While it was aimed at reining in state spending — which I have no argument with — it would have also crippled the ability to cities and counties for fund critical services going forward.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Election Commentary

Unlike other years and other elections, I have not made any predictions for any races in this election, or generally made my personal preferences known publicly. In Port Orchard, because I have to work with whomever is elected, I've really attempted to keep the races there at an arm's length — except for endorsing Carolyn Powers for re-election, because I believe her experience, and political connections are invaluable to the City.

In spite of an ongoing attempt to draw me into the Amy Igloi-Matsuno-Fred Chang contest by a couple of Chang's more strident and vitriolic supporters, I have refused to take a public position.

However, when this election is over, I will have some very pointed commentary about candidates, winners, losers — and their supporters.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Some Serious Food For Thought...

This is a video clip with some stunning statistics about where technology is heading. Definitely worth your time.

An Interesting Video Clip...

This has been sent to me by at least 10 different people in the past 48 hours. It is Congressman Mike Rogers' opening statement on health care reform and was taken directly from the House floor. It's interesting if you're concerned about the health care debate, and runs about 4 minutes. Worth a watch.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Sgt. Joe Friday Dispensing Advice

Click here to see the legendary Sargent Joe Friday (Jack Webb) give President Barack Obama some pragmatic advice on health care, and here for a lesson on respect for the police. Well worth a couple minutes of your time.

And here to see him advise Timothy Geithner on taxes...

Not to mention Sargent Friday talking to Roman Polanski about sex with children...

Or talking to some teenagers...

And finally, a lesson about Old Glory...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Simple Math

A vehicle that gets 15 mpg and is driven12,000 miles per year, uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline. A vehicle at driven getting 25 mpg and driven 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year.

So, according to our governemnt, getting rid of each average "clunker" will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.

They claim that 700,000 'clunkers" have been removed from our roads, saving us 224 million gallons of gas per year.

That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil, which is approximately 25 percent of our daily consumption.

At $75 a barrel, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $350 million dollars.

Meaning, we all (read taxpayers) contributed to spending $3 billion to save $350 million.

And these are the same people who want to run our health care?

Remeber these facts when you hear their estimates of what the new health care plan will cost us (read taxpayers, one more time).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Common Sense Health Care Reform Explained

This is perhaps the most articulate, common-sense article I have read about the entire health care debate, and sums up very succinctly how I feel about it.

It was written by John Mackey, Co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, and originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just In Case You Care About The King County Executive Race...

This was originally posted on Sound Politics, but since Brad Owen has a local connection and Brian Sonntag was elected statewide, it may be of interest to some of you...

Ex-Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman & Lt. Gov. Brad Owen back Susan Hutchison
by Ron Hebron

An elected Democrat and a long-retired elected Democrat gave their support to Susan Hutchison for King County Executive. The race is officially nonpartisan, but everyone knows the alignment of the candidates.

Lt. Governor Owen is pretty conservative for a Democrat, but he has been elected to his state-wide office. State Auditor Brian Sontag has also endorsed Susan.

Uhlman was Mayor of Seattle from 1969 to 1977 and the loser to a surprise upstart marine biologist Dixie Ray Lee in the 1976 Democratic primary for Governor.

Seattle P-I coverage of this story

In the King 5/Survey USA poll Hutchison leads by a narrow 47% to 44% margin.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Appeals Court Overturns Kitsap's Critical Areas Ordinance

The fact a Washington State Appeals Court has overturned Kitsap County's onerous Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) does not surprise me at all. I was a member of the Kitsap County Planning Commission when the CAO was rammed down our throats by the County.

The DCD Director at the time, Cindy Baker, routinely ignored numerous reasonable questions, especially the ones related to "Best Available Science," and why expanded buffers were necessary, when no new science had been brought forward to justify them. The County also ignored numerous other issues brought up by Planning Commission members.

For example: If a wetland buffer was determined under the CAO to be 150 feet, but a county road intersected the buffer at 100 feet, did the buffer cross the road or not? And if so, since the road negated the impact of the buffer, did this mean the county was in violation of its own ordinance or not? And if so, was it required to move the road?

Those were actually real-life examples of existing conditions - several that include major arterials intersecting mandated buffers. However, DCD Director Baker, under heavy pressure from then Commissioner Chris Endresen, was simply focused on meeting a deadline to get the ordinance passed - in spite of the fact the Planning Commissioners had not received anything even close to answers to most of their questions.

Without going into a lot of boring detail about what and why, the majority of the Planning Commission voted against adoption of the CAO in a 6-3 vote. All of the Planning Commissioners appointed by Endresen voted for it, and everyone else voted against adopting the CAO as written, saying it needed more work, and warning of exactly what has happened.

Yet in spite of the Planning Commission's warning, Endresen and current Bremerton Mayoral Candidate Patty Lent voted for the ordinance anyway, while then Commissioner, and now State Representative Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard), voted against it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Thought Provoking Video

A friend sent me this a few minutes ago. SOME of you might enjoy it, while it will just piss off some others...

Responses To Obama's Health Care Speech And More

Here is the link to tonight's health care speech by President Obama.

Here is a link to a thoughtful response from a Republican legislator from Louisiana who is also a heart surgeon. This makes the most sense of anything I've heard yet. Also, check out the story that accompanies the video.

Here's the "official" Republican response to Obama's speech from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. The first 6 minutes or so are just a lot of blah, blah, blah, political blather, but he gets into the meat of it after that - worth watching.

Watch them all and decide for yourself.

And if you doubt that MSNBC has been reduced to anything but a shill for the Obama administration, check this out.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Proposed Bill Would Give Obama Power To Shut Down The Web

We've all heard the inconvenient falsehood of how Al Gore invented the Internet. However, the truth is, there's a proposed Senate cybersecurity bill in the works that would grant President Obama the power to shut down the Internet. This includes both public and private networks.

Imagine the damage to our economy if the Internet were shut down for any extended period.

The Senate bill, first introduced in April by Senator John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), and now co-sponsored by Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), touched off a storm of debate over how much power the President should have to control the operation of "critical infrastructure." It includes language giving Obama the authority to direct responses to cyber attacks and declare a cyber emergency.

Critics insist sweeping presidential power over the Internet is bad for America since private networks — which much of our economy runs on — could be shut down by government order. In addition, those same networks could be subject to government mandated security standards and technical configurations. This is NOT a good thing folks.

The original bill included the words: "The President may....order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network."

A second draft of the bill, which has not yet been released publicly, rearranges those words, according to CNet, and contains even more convoluted language concerning the President's control over private computer networks. It qualifies his authority to include "strategic national interests involving compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network," but says he may "direct the national response to the cyber threat" in coordination with "relevant industry sectors."

The reference to “relevant industry sectors” is new in the second draft — and is undefined. The bill still includes language that would have the President directing the "timely restoration of the affected critical infrastructure information system or network."

And who exactly will determine what both “critical and "timely restoration" means?

Earlier this year, critics expressed concern over potentially giving the President power to tell private network operators when they could turn their systems back on after a cybersecurity threat. When the bill was originally released Leslie Harris, president and CEO at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), which promotes democratic values and constitutional liberties for the digital age, was quoted as saying, "We are confident that the communication networks and the Internet would be so designated [as critical infrastructure], so in the interest of national security the president could order them disconnected."

Network World sources said Rockefeller's Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee, which includes Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), spent much of the recent Senate recess meeting with stakeholders and groups that had problems with the first draft of the bill. While who was included in those meetings is unclear, stakeholders could be expected to encompass large service provider networks such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, AOL, and others that offer online services and applications to corporations and consumers. As far back as April, Google confirmed it was studying the legislation.

This cybersecurity bill is very much in its early stages, but it bears watching.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dicks To Host Town Hall Meetings

Congressman Norm Dicks has scheduled two Town Hall meetings to discuss Health Care Reform and other issues of national and local concern to 6th Congressional District residents. The meetings will take place on Aug. 31, and offer an opportunity for constituents to express their opinions.

The first meeting will be held at Fort Worden State Park in the Commons, Building 210 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The second meeting will be held in the Puget Sound Ballroom of the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

These Town Hall Meetings are open to all residents of the 6th Congressional District.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thoughts on the "Bailouts"

Back in 1990, the federal government seized the infamous Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada for income tax evasion, and as required by law, took over the running of it.

They failed. What had been a highly profitable "institution" of sorts for more than a generation, closed.

So here we are, trusting the entire economy of our country, our banking system, our auto industry — and if the president gets his way, our health care system — to the same bozo's who couldn't turn a profit selling overpriced whiskey in a whore house! Go figure...

Friday, August 07, 2009

Obama Administration Asking You To Snitch On Your Friends and Neighbors

A New Attack on Free Speech

A very troubling development in Washington — a new attack on our First Amendment right of free speech by the Obama Administration.

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) wrote to President Obama expressing his concerns about a recent post on the White House blog written by Macon Phillips, the White House Director of New Media.

In his post, Phillips notes “There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there” both on the web and floating around in chain emails. Phillips states that “Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to”

In a nutshell, the White House is asking you to report on your neighbors, family, and friends who disagree with the President’s policy choices on health care. The White House is also implying that you should think twice before sending an email disagreeing with the President, since it might end up being forwarded to them. The White House email address says it all — let’s “flag” those who disagree with us. For what purpose are these individuals being flagged?

In his letter, Senator Cornyn rightly seeks assurances from President Obama that this new reporting program will be “carried out in a manner consistent with the First Amendment and America’s tradition of free speech and public discourse.” He poses several questions, including, “How do you intend to use the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and identities of citizens who are reported to have engaged in ‘fishy’ speech” and “What action do you intend to take against citizens who have been reported for engaging in ‘fishy’ speech.”

The First Amendment states, in part, that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Our Founding Fathers fought and died for the right to speak openly and freely about the government.

President Obama campaigned on the promise of a more transparent and open government. His new White House reporting program seems aimed at stifling debate on his health care reform plan. While he knows that he cannot “ban” such speech, I imagine that he thinks that the fear of being reported to the authorities will discourage many naysayers from speaking out. I am concerned about what White House “program” will come next. Who else do we need to “flag?” Will it be those who attend town halls and speak in opposition to health care reform? What about those who write op-eds? Or perhaps those who speak out against mandated abortion coverage on the radio?

The American Center For Law And Justice is sending a letter to President Obama demanding that he withdraw and rescind this citizen reporting program. You can read the letter here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Republican Health Care Alternative Isn't Real Reform

While Congressional Republicans have been railing against the Obama administration's proposed $634 billion national health care plan, the Democrats in Congress are working feverishly to pass this legislation before adjourning for their summer recess. The administration is pushing hard to get this done now, because they understand that once congressional members go home and face the wrath of their constituents, the chances of getting it done at all will be significantly reduced.

The Republicans understand this, and recently offered their own alternative proposal called The Patients’ Choice Act. Its proposed goals are, “...strengthening the relationship between the patient and doctor; using the forces of choice and competition rather than rationing and restrictions to contain costs; and ensuring universal, affordable health care of all Americans.”

Sounds great. But what would The Patients’ Choice Act actually do?

The aim of the bill is affordable health care for every American offered through a state Health Insurance Exchange, funded via a federal and state partnership. Insurance offered through the Exchange would be required to meet federal benefit standards, which in one instance are defined as the same “health benefits given to Members of Congress.” Every American would be auto-enrolled and participating insurers would be required to cover everyone regardless of age or health history. Premiums would be risk adjusted, and set by an “independent board.”

The model for the program is Massachusetts’ “Connector” plan. And while Massachusetts has been successful in providing health insurance for a large percentage of its state residents, the cost is exorbitant and is bankrupting the state. In fact, Massachusetts has asked the federal government for a $1 billion bail-out, with the shortfall expected to grow to at least $4 billion over the next ten years.

I'm not exactly sure why Republicans think a system bankrupting one state would somehow be financially viable for the entire country.

The Patients’ Choice Act also offers a tax rebate for individuals purchasing their own health insurance. and gives workers the same tax break employers now have for providing health benefits to their employees. This actually makes good sense and would give patients more control over their health care costs and personal medical decisions.

The bill also includes sorely needed reforms for Medicaid and Medicare — two of the largest drains on the federal budget. Low-income Medicaid families would receive direct assistance purchasing private plans that best fit their needs. Medicare would shift to a direct reimbursement model and allow seniors to choose a private plan on the open market, forcing plans to compete against each other based on cost and benefits.

The proposal also includes language to federally coordinate wellness programs, create financial incentives for health information technology, privatize the Veterans Administration System, encourage state-level tort reform, and allow Native Americans to participate in the private health care system.

While there's a lot that makes sense in The Patients’ Choice Act, the foundation of the bill remains centrally-planned, government-controlled health care — which doesn't work — because benefits and prices would be set by bureaucrats, not the marketplace. And although the goal of allowing every citizen the option of choosing health benefits matching those of members of Congress is admirable, let's be realistic, it's not fiscally possible.

In a true free market, insurance companies would compete openly, being allowed to offer a wide array of benefit plans, unencumbered by government benefit mandates — which is why health insurance is so costly in our state and why we basically only have four providers. Insurers would be free to price plans competitively to attract customers. For example, plans targeting seniors wouldn't include mandatory maternity coverage, as centrally planned, one-size-fits-all government mandated coverage undoubtedly will. Patients, and their particular health care needs should create the market, and determine the winners and losers in the insurance industry, not government bureaucrats.

As long as the government sets the benefit and price standards in a centrally-planned fashion, patients will lose their ability to control their own health care decisions, costs will continue to spiral out of control worse than they are now, and demand for health care will result in rationing of care — just as it has in every other country where that socialized medicine is practiced. We have better now. We deserve better in the future.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Arnold's Is Taking Orders!

In spite of the massive fire earlier this week, Arnold's Home Furnishings is taking orders.

Find what you like online, call (360) 377-5582, and Arnold's will order it, and deliver. They are taking orders over a cell phone and are opening up shop in the old roller rink on Marine Drive. Support a local business that has supported our community for almost 75 years, and go buy some furniture!

A big "Thank You" is in order for Guy Stitt who provided this great info!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Is Obama's Health Care Overhaul In Trouble

Considering all the buzz around the news that President Obama wants to sock businesses with a payroll in excess of $200,000 a year with a 14 percent tax to bankroll healthcare for everyone, this blurb from the July 10 Kiplinger Letter is especially timely...

Is health care reform in trouble? Could be. With fissures appearing in the Democratic Party and pro-reform coalitions starting to fray, a vote before the August recess is now unlikely, and odds of any reform are lengthening.

Employer groups are growing disillusioned as details of proposals leak out. The number of worrisome provisions… a mandate for employer sponsored plans, a public plan option, taxation of some employer provided benefits and so on… keeps growing, threatening to undermine their support for a major overhaul.

The absence of ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) is hurting. No one else is as capable of bringing opponents together, forging the compromises needed. And rounding up the Senate votes required for passage is looking iffier. Moderate Democrats are balking at the cost and proposals for raising the funds. Kennedy’s ill health and Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-WV) may keep them from voting.

The cause is far from lost. The president is committed to an overhaul, though crafting a workable compromise and jawboning enough members to vote for it will surely test Obama’s mettle, as well as his leadership abilities. Look for him to take his case to the public, using the bully pulpit.

But there’s also growing unease among voters. Only a few months ago, employers, consumers, insurers and much of the health care industry felt that the status quo was disastrous and were willing to risk considerable change. There’s a gnawing worry that the cure may be worse than the disease.

Monday, July 06, 2009

GOP Running Out of Options

This came from "Governing," as part of a daily e-mailer for government officials. I thought perhaps members of the local GOP might find it interesting as it applies to them on a local level as well as the national perspective this summarizes. Although, as I've stated numerous times before, there isn't a way for the local Republicans to shoot themselves in the foot they haven't already thought of, I have great confidence in their ability to invent new ones.

By Alan Greenblat

Remember the main dynamic of the GOP presidential primary season in 2007-08? It was like musical chairs. One candidate after another would emerge as the new frontrunner -- McCain, Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Romney, Huckabee -- before being rejected as not conservative enough or not willing to work hard enough.

Eventually, the party settled on McCain -- someone that more than half the GOP electorate thought was a party apostate or at least too moderate on a variety of issues. When he lost, party faithful were able to blame Obama's victory on their candidate not being conservative enough -- the same mantra they adopted in the wake of losing Congress in 2006.

Ever since, there's been this continuing comedy in which the party expends more energy chasing away people who are not conservative enough, rather than reaching out to new voters.

Anyway, long before the 2012 election gets underway, the party's prospects are quickly imploding, one by one:

Bobby Jindal — can't hit the big league pitching
John Ensign — adultery
Mark Sanford — adultery/bizarre behavior
Sarah Palin — quitter, with of course rumors that more scandals are about to break

The other hopefuls are starting too look like retreads. Mitt Romney is still Mormon (that's the conventional wisdom on why Iowa and New Hampshire turned against him) and Mike Huckabee is still too limited in his appeal. And then you get to people like Newt Gingrich.

In a sense, none of this may matter. 2008 was the Republicans' year to lose, because of the economy and Iraq and all the rest of George Bush's troubled legacy. I expect that 2012 will be equally troublesome, even if Obama's glow fades considerably. He bought into the politico-economic market so low, people are bound to feel "better off than they were four years ago."

All that could change, obviously. And Republicans need a champion they can embrace, to take advantage of Obama faltering. But they may need one even more if they are bound to lose. Perhaps especially if they are bound to lose.

I had hoped in 2008 that Republicans would go with Romney, who was saying all the right things to all the main GOP wings. They were going to lose, I assumed, and therefore they needed to get beaten with their best stuff. Picking McCain, as I already suggested, made it too easy to make excuses.

They need someone in 2012 who, if he or she gets beaten, goes down pledging fealty to the whole familiar GOP anti-tax, pro-defense, anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, shrink-government platform.

Only when the contemporary GOP recognizes that their core arguments have grown shopworn and are being rejected by every growing section of the electorate will they start to change. Only then will the dialogue begin about how they can reform and rebuild.

This always takes time. It took 20 years for the Democrats to go from George McGovern to Bill Clinton. It's taken a dozen years, since Tony Blair's first election as prime minister, for the British Tories to look ready to win whenever Gordon Brown calls the next election.

But Republicans need to start. They're still in deep denial. Being able to place the blame on character and personality flaws is only going to extend their time in the wilderness.

The Case Against Eyman's Latest Initative

While I have not researched all of the impacts of Initiative I-1033, and have not taken any position on it — yet — I found it curious that it took less than 15 minutes for the anti-Eyman forces to begin driving their anti- I-1033 measure home to the media.

Literally within minutes of Eyman's filing, the Business Journal received two press releases — one from the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, and another from the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI). Both were a supposed "analysis" of the damage the initiative would do, and could have seemingly been written by the same individual, since they are viturally identical.

The "analysis" claims Initiative I-1033 would restrict the ability to protect vital services provided by the city, county and state, leaving no room for unanticipated expenses such as natural disasters, unfunded mandates and emerging public priorities like health care for all children. It claims the state would be unable to keep pace with its aging population, educating students and providing public safety.

This warrants at least some cursory response:
1) Unanticipated natural disaster expenses can be budgeted for in a contingency fund dedicated to such events. The trick is for local governments to not spend this money on other things — like Unfunded Mandates." Upon the Governor declaring an "Emergency," the state and federal government money machinery cranks up and local governments begin to see financial relief.

2) As for "Unfunded Mandates," perhaps I-1033 will begin hammering the message home to our blockheaded state legislators that they need to either provide money for the moronic regulations they continue to heap upon local government and the citizens, for no reason other reason than furthering their own political agendas, or stop regulating local government into the poorhouse.

3) "Emerging Public Priorities" such as health care for all childen is a red herring. This isn't an "Emerging Public Priority," but a statewide liberal political priority driven by our Governor and Legislature — one being fueled by the Obama administration's health care initiative.

4) As for educating students, the state already spends more than 57 percent of the entire state budget on education. Yet the state demands absolutely NO accountability for our children actually learning anything. I'll be happy to support increased funding for education when honest accountability comes with it.

5) While supporting our aging population is a nice sentiment and sounds like an urgent priority, the truth is, it too is another red herring. The state isn't in the business of elder care because it's a federal government responsibility, not a state issue.

The NPI and Budget and Policy Center also claim I-1033 will exacerbate the effects of economic and fiscal downturns, saying that during a recession, the amount of revenue that can be spent goes down and adjusts to the lower level. Well, DUH!!!

They also claim cities, counties, and the state would lose spending capacity, making it difficult to respond to economic downturns like the one we’re experiencing. Another, DUH!!!

Opponents claim I-1033 will increase the state deficit by half a billion dollars, saying that in 2011, the state revenue is expected to grow by $1 billion. Initiative 1033 would restrict the amount that the state could "invest" (read spend) to an additional $471 million. They also claim that if I-1033 had been instituted in 1995, the current state deficit would have been $6 billion larger.

What they fail to point out here is their conclusions assume state spending would have remained at current levels — both now and as far back as 1995. All that needs to happen for this to not become a problem is for the state to seriously reduce what it spends. And you have to ask what would have happened had the Legislature not suspended I-601?

If our legislators actually paid attention to the needs of the people who elect them, not the special interests who finance their elections, and acted in their best interests, Tim Eyman wouldn't be a fact of their lives. He has only been able to become a public figure because of the blatant disdain of our legislators for the people they supposedly "serve."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The AMA and Obama's Stimulus Package

Apparently members of the American Medical Association has weighed in on the new economic stimulus package.....

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!'

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists we re pissed off at the whole idea.

The Anesthesiologists thought the idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington .

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shocking Revelation: Politicians Share Same Personality Traits As Serial Killers!!!

This was sent to me by Mary Swoboda of Crazy Politics. All things considered, I'm not exactly sure what to think about it, but thought it was worth sharing.

Violent homicide aside, politicians often show many of the exact same character traits as criminal psychopaths, according to Jim Kouri in a recent Seattle Examiner article.

Criminals are psychologically capable of committing their crimes without any concern for social, moral or legal consequences and with absolutely no remorse. "This allows them to do what they want, whenever they want," Kouri wrote. "Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders."

THIS IS PRICELESS! We vote for 'em, pay their salaries and perks and trust them to spend our money wisely... Who are the fools?

Politicians exhibit traits such as superficial charm, an exaggerated sense of self-worth, glibness, lying, lack of remorse and manipulation of others. These traits, according to Kouri, are common to psychopathic serial killers. "While many political leaders will deny the assessment regarding their similarities with serial killers and other career criminals, it is part of a psychopathic profile that may be used in assessing the behaviors of many officials and lawmakers at all levels of government."

This causes me to wonder... Will Janet Napolitano show the same exuberance profiling and marginalizing career serial politicians as she did radical "right-wingers?" Her job will be made easier if this report on mind reading is true. Within the next 3-5 years the ability to know what we common folk are thinking will be in hands of our "big brother" government. Then the Homeland Security czar will just have our minds scanned to determine if we are a threat to the "Obama Nation," then administer the appropriate "treatment."

You know what? I think I'll pop some popcorn, grab a beer and watch Minority Report, followed by Conspiracy Theory.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Couple of Points To Ponder

"The Second Amendment guarantees the First"

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."
— Winston Churchill

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Are “Conservatives” Single-Largest Ideological Group?

This came across the Editor's Desk and I thought it might make for some insightful reading

“Conservatives” Are Single-Largest Ideological Group

Percentage of “liberals” higher this decade than in early ’90s

By Lydia Saad
Thus far in 2009, 40 percent of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35 percent as moderate, and 21 percent as liberal. This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. The 21 percent calling themselves liberal is in line with findings throughout this decade, but is up from the 1990s.

These annual figures are based on multiple national Gallup surveys conducted each year, in some cases encompassing more than 40,000 interviews. The 2009 data are based on 10 separate surveys conducted from January through May. Thus, the margins of error around each year's figures are quite small, and changes of only two percentage points are statistically significant.

To measure political ideology, Gallup asks Americans to say whether their political views are very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, or very liberal. As has been the case each year since 1992, very few Americans define themselves at the extremes of the political spectrum. Just 9% call themselves "very conservative" and 5 percent "very liberal." The vast majority of self-described liberals and conservatives identify with the unmodified form of their chosen label.

Party-Based Ideology
There is an important distinction in the respective ideological compositions of the Republican and Democratic Parties. While a solid majority of Republicans are on the same page — 73 percent call themselves conservative — Democrats are more of a mixture. The major division among Democrats is between self-defined moderates (40 percent) and liberals (38 percent). However, an additional 22 percent of Democrats consider themselves conservative, much higher than the 3 percent of Republicans identifying as liberal.

True to their nonpartisan tendencies, close to half of political independents — 45 percent — describe their political views as "moderate." Among the rest, the balance of views is tilted more heavily to the right than to the left: 34 percent are conservative, while 20 percent are liberal.

Gallup trends show a slight increase since 2008 in the percentages of all three party groups calling themselves "conservative," which accounts for the three percentage-point increase among the public at large.

Thus far in 2009, Gallup has found an average of 36 percent of Americans considering themselves Democratic, 28 percent Republican, and 37 percent independent. When independents are pressed to say which party they lean toward, 51 percent of Americans identify as Democrats, 39 percent as Republicans, and only 9 percent as pure independents.

Ideological tendencies by leaned party affiliation are very similar to those of straight partisan groups. However, it is worth noting the views of pure independents — a group usually too small to analyze in individual surveys but potentially important in deciding elections. Exactly half of pure independents describe their views as moderate, 30 percent say they are conservative, and 17 percent liberal.

As reported last week on, women are more likely than men to be Democratic in their political orientation. Along the same lines, women are more likely than men to be ideologically "moderate" and "liberal," and less likely to be "conservative."

Still, conservatism outweighs liberalism among both genders.

The pattern is strikingly different on the basis of age, and this could have important political implications in the years ahead. Whereas middle-aged and older Americans lean conservative (vs. liberal) in their politics by at least 2 to 1, adults aged 18 to 29 are just as likely to say their political views are liberal (31 percent) as to say they are conservative (30 percent).

Future Gallup analysis will look at the changes in the political ideology of different age cohorts over time, to see whether young adults in the past have started out more liberal than they wound up in their later years.

Bottom Line
Although the terms may mean different things to different people, Americans readily peg themselves, politically, into one of five categories along the conservative-to-liberal spectrum. At present, large minorities describe their views as either moderate or conservative — with conservatives the larger group — whereas only about one in five consider themselves liberal.

While these figures have shown little change over the past decade, the nation appears to be slightly more polarized than it was in the early 1990s. Compared with the 1992-1994 period, the percentage of moderates has declined from 42 percent to 35 percent, while the percentages of conservatives and liberals are up slightly — from 38 percent to 40 percent for conservatives and a larger 17 percent to 21 percent movement for liberals.

Survey Methods
Results are based on aggregated Gallup Poll surveys of approximately 1,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, interviewed by telephone. Sample sizes for the annual compilations range from approximately 10,000 to approximately 40,000. For these results, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Salute To Flag Day

If you like Robin Williams and you love America, you'll love this.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Thoughts On The Bankruptcy of GM

Being a car guy, I read with some interest the Seattle Times story on the Bankruptcy of General Motors. What I found especially disturbing were the reader comments, and what passes for intelligent commentary. The distainful and polarizing disrespect for opinion seems to be universal, as any reader of the Kitsap Sun blogs already knows.

The obvious fiscal conservatives commenting on this story were quick to focus on President Obama's total inexperience in business, and condem his willingness to take over a major American industrial corporation to further his eco-focused political agenda — as well as bail out the UAW.

The liberals had a field day vilifying their favorite object of scorn, George W. Bush, while going as far back as Ronald Reagan, and blaming him for GM's problems.

In my view, GM has been in a downward spiral since the 1970's — before Toyota, Honda and Nissan began kicking its ass by building cars that were dependable, stylish, and functional, with fit and finish that didn't chip the paint when you closed the door, hood, or trunk, while arguing with customers who complained about such problems. It didn't have anything to do with Bush or Reagan, but everything to do with what the UAW and GM jointly termed "acceptable quality" back in that era. After re-reading the Times posts a couple of times, I came to the conclusion that perhaps many of the posters aren't old enough to have actually experienced any of that, and are simply regurgitating the anti-Republican sentiment their parents indoctrinated them with.

Another poster went on at some length in several posts stating that GM could have solved all its financial problems simply by building eco-friendly hybrid cars, instead of gas-guzzlers. Obviously, he or she is clueless about the law of supply and demand. If gas guzzlers didn't sell in huge numbers, building them wouldn't be profitable. The bottom line is, hybrids don't sell in sufficient enough numbers for an auto manufacturer to be sustainable if that's all they make — a lesson I'm fearful the Obama administration (read, we taxpayers) will learn the hard way once it begins dictating GM's product mix.

Meanwhile Toyota is selling a heck of a lot more Lexus' and full-size Tundra and Tacoma trucks than it is of the Prius. That's why you can get a rebate or other incentive to buy a Prius. Hybrids are simply one component of an overall product mix that addresses the wants and needs of the car-buying public. The main failure of GM isn't that it didn't build hybrids, it's that its product mix was boring, and didn't include a wider variety of cars and trucks that people from all walks of life want and need.

The takeover of GM by the government should scare the hell out every thinking American. GM shareholders were totally wiped out to preserve the UAW's stake in all this — demonstrating the Obama administration's total lack of understanding of how the economy actually works. How many mutual funds do you think held shares of GM for example, and what is the result of their loss of net worth on the economy as a whole? This is the nationalization of a major industrial company by the government. How long before the government starts dictating to Microsoft the functionality of the software it makes?

Finally, according to the Times' story, the UAW will end up owning 17.5 percent of the "New GM." I would have liked to see Obama hand over the entire company to the UAW so it can experience firsthand — and deal with — the economic train wreck it has perpetuated on the American taxpayer.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Honoring Our Veterans

In honor of Memorial Day, and remembering what it is all about...

This is just about the coolest video I've ever seen honoring our veterans and the people who serve to protect our freedom. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thoughts on Bozeman's Old and New Job

At the Port of Bremerton meeting this morning, it was announced that Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman will resign his position to become the new Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Bremerton. He will begin his new job on June 8, and will be paid a salary of $120,000 annually.

Bozeman, who was first elected in 2002, had originally planned to run for re-election this fall, against challenger Mike Shepherd. With Bozeman's resignation, Bremerton City Council President Cecil McConnell will serve as interim Mayor.

With Bozeman out of the picture, it will also be very interesting to see who steps up to challenge Shepard. I have no doubt Councilman Will Maupin will throw his hat in the ring, and there is some speculation about attorney Ed Wolfe, who has anounced his intention to challenge Bremerton Municipal Judge James Doctor in November. At Wolfe's kickoff fundraiser — held the same day as Bozeman's blockbuster announcement — a number of people there were encouraging Wolfe to change his mind.

Maupin has the experience to step in and go right to work with no learning curve. But he doesn't endure disagreement with any degree of patience, and his style is pretty confrontational. He's a pretty much a "my way or the highway" type of guy. I can tell you from personal experience that won't serve Bremerton's future needs when it comes to the cooperation he'll need from the other electeds if he wants to continue moving Bremerton forward. Wolfe is more consensus-oriented, and works well across political party lines, which may be a better fit for Bremerton at this point in time. Shepard, who works for the EPA, is a nice guy, but he will be more focused on turning the city dark green than on the economic development it desperately needs.

There has been a lot of the typical snarky commentary in the Kitsap Sun blogs from the usual cast of naysayers over this, but frankly, I think Bozeman as done a hell of a job for Bremerton. He took a city that was flat on its ass, with a petty, and quarreling City Council, with no real leadership in the Mayor's office, one that had endured years of slow, painful deterioration of both its physical body as well as its soul, and breathed life back into it.

Cary Bozeman was a relentless cheerleader for Bremerton, with the emphasis on "leader." He came here from Bellevue with no political or personal baggage, experience at accomplishing big things, a totally different perspective than the negativity that passed for leadership in Bremerton, and a vision of what the city could become. He was a man people could trust, one they could believe in, and one who believed in Bremerton.

The face of the city has changed a LOT in the 7 years he's been Mayor. Is there anyone out there who thinks any of the usual suspects that were running the city before Bozeman came, could have accomplished anything near what he has? The waterfront would still be an empty parking lot if it weren't for Cary, and the entire downtown would still be crumbling under the weight of its own forgotten and abandoned dreams.

Cary Bozeman gave Bremerton a new sense of pride in itself, and with that, a new lease on life. He hasn't been the most popular guy in some parts of town — but true visionary leaders seldom are. Bremerton is undeniably better off than it would have been just because Cary Bozeman was Mayor. My hat is off to him.

I sincerely wish Cary the best in his new job. The Port is suffering from a major crisis of credibility with the voters. Hopefully, Cary Bozeman — along with Gary Sexton, the guy in charge of the nuts and bolts of implementing the vision and who will be coming to the Port with Bozeman — can work the same kind of magic there they did for Bremerton.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

First Lady Michelle Obama is catching some well-deserved flak for sporting some seriously pricey sneakers made by the French design house Lanvin and costing more than $500, while volunteering at a Washington D.C. food bank with some congressional spouses.

The congressional spouse in the picture bagging groceries with the First Lady is a fellow Illinoisan -- Bob Creamer, husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).

Is it just me, or in these hard economic times, is this a case of not having any sensitivity at all — never mind empathy —or simply gross hypocrisy at a high level? Inquiring minds want to know...

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words...

A friend sent me this — and it's just too funny not to share...