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 .