Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for May, 2011

Counting Bicycle Usage in Seattle

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 30, 2011

2010 count of bicycle usage in Seattle;

Bicycle Use Statistics

For more on the subject, see: Sound Politics – “Paying for Bicycle Traffic in Seattle”

Posted in Transportation | 1 Comment »

A Hymn for Memorial Day

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 30, 2011

There are many verses written for it. Brass bands, bagpipes and organs play it. But a chorus singing it, more than these, can place a lump in a throat and bring tears to eyes.

The Navy Hymn – Eternal Father Strong to Save

A fitting hymn as we remember.

Posted in Military | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Economy

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 26, 2011

In 2008, Obama ran on “Hope and Change” delivered with soaring, teleprompter rhetoric, platitudes and empty promises. Remember: “The oceans will stop rising.” and “I am a friend of Israel” and “I will close Guantanamo.” and “I will cut the deficit in half.” and the “stimulus package” and “unemployment below 5%” and “economic recovery” and on and on. Few will buy such bovine excreta in 2012. He has a record to defend this time.

So after two years of Obama, here’s your change!

obamaecon

Thanks to GH and DV for passing on this summary of Obama’s economic record. You may also find it at numerous web sites such as: Obama’s “Change”

Posted in Presidential Politics | 1 Comment »

Car Tab Fees Rise in Seattle

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 18, 2011

The license renewal notice for our 1994 mini van arrived in the mail recently. Remember Tim Eyman’s initiative limiting car tabs to $30? It’s history. There has been a little fee creep. Would you believe the cost is now $99.75 ($94.75 if you opt out of the $5 parks fee)?

Click here to see the list of fees: Vehicle_license_renewal[1]

One example, starting May 2011, it costs $20 more to license a car in the City of Seattle. Last September, the Seattle City Council established the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD). The District’s web site explains the origins of the $20 fee and the planned use of the funds generated.

Per the Revised Code of Washington, a transportation district may impose a fee of up to $20 on cars licensed within a district. To no one’s surprise, the STBD imposed the maximum fee. Also not surprising, a portion of the funds raised by the fee will be for “investing in bicycle…mobility.” Not satisfied with the new tax on cars, a 14 member Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) has been established. One of the Committee’s tasks will be “evaluating and examining the potential for a ballot measure asking Seattle voters to fund additional transportation projects.”

Citizens interested in monitoring or giving input to the CTAC should go to The SDOT Blog.

Posted in Transportation | Leave a Comment »

Thinking About Newt Gingrich

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 16, 2011

On last Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich angered conservative pundits for calling Representative Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform “too big a jump.” He said, “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.” He then poured salt on the wound by declaring, “Well, I agree that all of us have a responsibility to pay – help pay for health care. And, I think there are ways to do it that will make most libertarians relatively happy. I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way indicate that you are going to be held accountable.”

Before we dismiss Gingrich as a lefty in a Reagan mask, think about his two points. While radical reform may be desirable, it is extremely difficult to sell it to the voters in our ten-second sound bite, “got cha” campaign system. Support of Paul Ryan’s plan should not be a litmus test for conservative candidates. It is a departure point for a national debate. Certainly conservative, it may go too far too soon or not far enough but in the end, it must carry a majority. As to an insurance mandate, if we want a national policy that every citizen have health care (a debate in itself) then some form of required participation or agreement to self insure or bear the consequences of no insurance (get sick, don’t come asking the rest of us to pay for your care) is necessary.

Health care led off the show but other important issues were also covered. Newt”s positions on taxes, debt, radical Islam were conservative and right on target. He also correctly admitted to problems he faces as a candidate. He said, “One of my great weaknesses is that part of me is a teacher analyst. And part of me is a political leader….Analysts can say anything they want to because there is no down side. But the person to whom you’re entrusting the leadership of the United States had better think long and hard before they say things. I think that is a fair criticism of me.” His private life, three marriages and affairs, was questioned and he responded with the “I’ve asked God for forgiveness” defense. One either accepts it not.

Gingrich is an idea person, PhD history professor, think tank fellow, legislative animal. He’d be a true asset as a key advisor to any president. For Chief Executive of the United States, I’d prefer a governor but don’t count Newt out yet. Peggy Noonan, one of the commentators on the show, made two interesting observations. In the green room before the show, “…people where walking around chatting, stopped and watched it. It was a silent green room. That tells you something. People will stop and listen to him. He is a compelling character. Gingrich is one of the best explainers of generally conservative views and philosophical starting points that there is out there…” She also noted that for 18 to 22 year olds he is new and possibly compelling.

While not my first or even second choice for president, I hope he stays around for the coming Republican debates. He will keep them focused on serious issues and solutions and maybe even convince us he is the best alternative to our 2008 mistake.

Read the transcript of the Meet the Press interview HERE</a

Cross posted on: Sound Politics

Posted in Presidential Politics | 5 Comments »

Jay Inslee for Governor? No Change There

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 13, 2011

First District Congressman Jay Inslee is the odds on favorite to be the 2012 Democrat nominee for governor in Washington State. But for the state and national economic crunch, he would be the odds on favorite to win the office in this blue corner of America. The economy and an attractive Republican candidate, Attorney General Rob McKenna, may see the GOP capture the governor’s office for the first time since John Spellman did it in the 1980 Reagan landslide. In the 2010 elections, Republicans added U. S. Senate seats and governorships and won the House including a congressional seat in Washington. The political climate, even in the Soviet of Washington, does not look good for a tax and spend liberal like Representative Inslee.

Democrat Inslee narrowly defeated Republican “Doc” Hastings in 1992 for the 4th Congressional District seat in Central Washington but lost in a re-match with Hastings in the Gingrich Republican Revolution of 1994. He moved to the liberal enclave of Bainbridge Island and ran for Governor in 1996 losing to Gary Locke. The perennial candidate, he won a three way race for the 1st Congressional District seat in 1998 and has been re-elected by comfortable margins ever since.

The free spending Pelosi-Reid controlled Congress (2007-2010) shifted into high gear with the election of Barack Obama running up deficits in the trillions. Governor Gregoire, with overwhelming Democrat control of both houses of the legislature, followed suit. Economic reality, election of more Republicans to the Legislature and passage of anti tax initiatives are now forcing her and the Democrats to make painful choices regarding the budget.

There is nothing in Inslee’s record to suggest he has the right world view to lead the state during a recession. His political philosophy is out of sync with what is needed to create a climate for growth and provide a prudent economic plan for the future. A quick look at his ratings over his almost 15 years in the House of Representative demonstrates this.

Inslee’s Life Time support for American Conservation Union issues is a mere 8.52% bested only by Jim McDermott at 2.47%. ACU 2010 Ratings

On five American Civil Liberties Union issues in the last session, Jay supported 3 for a 60% record. His two votes to extend the Patriot Act kept him from joining fellow Democrat Jim McDermott at 100% ACLU

Inslee is rated 105th most liberal by the National Journal ahead of Dennis Kucinich of Ohio at 110 as well as Washington Congress members Dicks 147 and Larsen 132. National Journal

A web site that discounts the National Journal rating methods suggests the rating system developed by two California academics from UCLA and UCSB. Their 2008 ratings ranked the 435 members of congress on a liberal to conservative scale. Inslee was 144 (Larsen 143, McDermott 4, Dicks 167, Smith 191, Reichert 245, McMorris 344, Hastings 357). Vote View

Left leaning candidate Inslee will sell well in the heart of Seattle but the rest of the state may prefer someone closer to the middle. Burned once by free spending Chris “What budget problem?” Gregoire, the people want a change. Jay Inslee’s plan to kill the tax limiting Initiative 1053, raise taxes and bet the farm on “green jobs” is not it.

Sound Politics

Posted in State & Local | Leave a Comment »

The Trump Plan

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 9, 2011

I have it on absolutely no good authority whatsoever that “The Donald” has a plan to solve our economic and foreign policy problems now and for years to come. Through a super secret anonymous source, I have received a copy of the executive summary of his plan, which I share with you below.

Donald Trump’s Plan – Executive Summary

Findings:

1. “We are not respected in the world anymore!”
2. “The Chinese are (bleeping) ripping us off!”
3. “The national debt is a (bleeping) disgrace!”

Actions:

1. Declare war on China. Destroy its military using all weapons available including nucs. While we are at it, take out North Korea too.
2. Demand unconditional surrender
3. For reparations due the victor (that’s us), China must deliver all loans to the U.S. marked “Paid in Full”.

Expected Results:

1. Cancellation of the China debt will immediately reduce our national debt.
2. Rebuilding China as an American vassal state will create so many American
jobs, we will welcome as many Mexican workers as we can get.
3. Our enemies will know America is Back!

Fool proof, huh?

Donald Trump jokes

Posted in Presidential Politics | Leave a Comment »

Trip Report

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 9, 2011

We just returned from a week’s vacation in the Great and Sovereign State of Arizona plus three nights in Las Vegas watching our money disappear.

The Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Phoenix was uneventful although the pilot must have gotten his landing skills on a Navy carrier – came in hot and hit the deck hard. We rented a Mercury Grand Marquis land yacht (good deal from Hertz). Not so good on gas mileage but quiet and very comfortable. We spent some time in Tucson with snowbird friends from Seattle and then headed north via Show Lo and Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. Enjoyed fantastic scenery all the way. The weather was mostly ninety degree hot with azure blue-sky except a snowflake or two dropping on us at the Grand Canyon. One night in Williams, Arizona (Believe it or not, the Holiday Inn has a very good restaurant. Try the New York cheesecake.); then on to Hoover Dam and Las Vegas at 75 miles per hour (legal limit) on I-40.

Vegas must to be seen to be believed. Some observations:

1. “Non smoking“ does not exist.
2. Many of the women showing copious amounts of boob shouldn’t. Then again some of them …
3. Michelle Obama is right. Americans are corpulent. I recall with pain watching a 300 pounder limping along the Strip. Every step she took must have hurt.
4. Good food everywhere (see #3 above).
5. Even the cheap slots can vacuum up your money faster than an Electrolux.
6. Some shows are better than others: Carrot Top – Hilarious! Magician Criss Angel – save your money.

Looking out the window as I type this – 50 degrees, overcast and showers – yep, must be back in Seattle.

Posted in Other | Leave a Comment »

Osama’s Photos

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 7, 2011

President Obama has decided not to release the pictures of the late Osama bin Laden. Apparently he feels they are so gruesome, one round above OBL’s right eye and another in his abdomen, that they might make him a martyr. Unfortunately, not showing them only fires the imagination of the conspiracy theory types. According to one wag, the “Deathers” are already demanding the long form of his death certificate.

There is a compromise. Credit my wife for this idea. Show the photos to any of the 9-11 families who wish to see them. They could certify OBL’s demise – no martyrdom, no conspiracy.

Posted in Other | 1 Comment »

 
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