Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for February, 2011

Oscars 2011

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 28, 2011

Last night’s Oscars was in a word, “Wholesome”, at least when compared to the usual post Bob Hope shows. The hosts were young, perky and abstained from insults. No neck to navel cleavage, no Cher see through dresses, only one bleeped unintentional “F” bomb and few if any political statements. A factually true historical movie was voted best picture and a 73-year-old “late bloomer” won best writer. Many of the winners actually thanked their parents and expressed love for their spouse and children. Hollywood is still Hollywood but was Oscar 2011 the start of some degree of temperance? Hopefully.


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Vietnam Wall – Behind the Names

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 28, 2011

I received the below e-mail recently which I pass on without comment:

Vietnam Wall

First click on a state. When it opens, scroll down to the city and the names will appear. Then click on their names. It should show you a picture of the person, or at least their bio and medals. This really is an amazing web site. Someone spent a lot of time and effort to create it. I hope that everyone who receives this appreciates what those who served in Vietnam sacrificed for our country.

The link below is a virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, bio’s and other information on our lost heroes Those who remember that time frame, or perhaps lost friends or family can look them up on this site. Pass the link on to others, as many knew wonderful people whose names are listed.

God Bless those who serve, have served, and gave the ultimate sacrifice.

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Harry Truman

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 24, 2011

I picked up a copy of “Truman”, David McCullough’s 1992 biography of President Harry Truman, at a yard sale and it proved to be an excellent purchase. McCullough received a Pulitzer Prize for the book. He also authored a biography of the first President Adams, “John Adams” and several other history based works.

All this is to provide a link to an amusing story about Harry and Bess Truman, after leaving the White House in 1953, driving themselves home to Missouri. I have not read the book from which the story was extracted but it is similar to one in McCullough’s book. Harry is one Democrat who improves with age. Would that we had more like him. Not from a policy standpoint but for his sense of duty and ethics.

Enjoy: Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure

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Gov. Chris Christie – He Gets It.

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 21, 2011

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey spoke at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) last week and demonstrated the refreshing candor that has made him famous across the nation. He tells the truth even to those who don’t want to hear it. Elected officials cannot continue to support programs or policies they know are unaffordable. People who benefit from such programs and policies have to face the facts. If the promised benefit is unsustainable or not cost-effective, it must be reformed now before it crashes and brings down the whole system. The next election is just over 20 months away but in presidential terms, it is not too early to begin considering candidates. Begin now looking for potentials with uncommon courage that are willing to face straight on the hard issues such as getting our financial house in order.

Gov. Christie is one who meets this criteria but he has said he is definitely not a candidate for president. He was elected to clean up New Jersey and that is what he is doing. He could not do both at the same time. Nevertheless, he has spoken out on national fiscal policy, praising Democrats and Republicans who “get it” and criticizing those who don’t.
Others who are considering a run for the White House would be well advised to listen to his speech. The same goes for voters. Even though Christie is not in the race, he has something important to say we all need to hear.

To listen to his talk Click Here.

God bless America.

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Property Values Down, Taxes Going Up, Huh!

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 18, 2011

We the voters support Tim Eyman’s tax controlling initiatives but at the same time vote for special levies on property to support libraries, parks and schools plus a host of other items from Emergency Medical Response to fire and sewer districts. There are political constituencies for each of these services and indeed, most all of them provide a desirable or necessary public benefit.

Voters tell the Legislature by initiative we want smaller class sizes in schools, we want cool stuff like light rail, we want more parks, we want new libraries, we want, we want, we want. The problem is after we get more parkland, bigger libraries and the rest of the “we wants,” they have to be paid for, including maintenance and operations.

Each levy we pass is for a fixed dollar amount, which is spread across the assessed value of the taxing district. Like a home mortgage, the payment remains the same regardless of the current value of the house. If however, there were two or more homeowners paying the mortgage, such as with a co-op apartment building, then the payments would be allocated to each homeowner based on the value of each home in the co-op. Changes in the assessed value of each home and/or an addition to the mortgage amount would cause an increase or decrease in each owner’s share of the mortgage payment. It’s the same concept for property taxes. For a simplified look at how property taxes work, see the property tax tutorial prepared by Stevens County Assessor Al Taylor.

Property tax collections to pay for local government such as King County or the Port of Seattle are not directly approved by the voters. In these cases, elected officials of the government entity set a percentage of the total assessed valuation for its tax revenue. They may raise the tax rate each year within certain limits. It is these limits that Eyman seeks to control along with other restrictions on taxation and spending. But for the special levies Pogo was right, it’s us. It’s us too when we elect free spending politicians to office.

Two other factors affect property taxes. There is a year lag in assessed valuation so for instance, the 2012 tax bill will be based on the assessed value as of January 1, 2011. Also, the law requires a physical site inspection once every six years with about one sixth of all properties done each year. Values may change in the interim using home sales and other data.

Whether excise, income, property or other tax extractions from our pockets, we all have a duty to help pay for the costs of a civil society. The question is can we afford the desirable and at what level the necessary?

Cross posted on: Sound Politics

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Republican Presidential Possibles – 20 So Far

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 16, 2011

The Republican flock is forming up. Twenty presidential potentials are sitting on the roost. Which ones can really fly all the way to the White House?

In order by home state:

Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska
Too toxic to attract enough centrists to win. Sec. of Interior or EPA, wow!

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas
Mike hit his zenith in 2008. Too much better Republican governor talent available this time.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida
Bummer of a last name. Should be a place for him in the cabinet.

Talk Show Host and Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain of Georgia
Great speaker, solid message but not well-known beyond Fox News. Cabinet or RNC Chair maybe.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia
As Speaker, thought he was co-president. Clinton showed him otherwise. A smart PhD history prof but with little executive experience and too much personal baggage. He’d be an outstanding policy advisor to any president.

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana
If all the voters had to go on was his speech to CPAC, he’d win in a landslide.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts
Supported him last time and clearly qualified now but Obama/Romney Care and a sense of “too slick” plague his candidacy.

Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania
Can’t see how Republicans would nominate someone who lost his 2006 Senate reelection race badly.

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota
Like Sarah, too toxic to win. More needed in House as Tea Party leader.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota
If not the top spot, then a good choice for VP.

Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi
Despite commendable performance during Katrina, as a “good old boy” from the deep South he’s several decades past electability at the national level.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey
In your face, no B.S. guy. Basket case New Jersey needs him more than ever. Besides, he said he’s not running for POTUS.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York
Like Newt, too much personal baggage plus he’s not a conservative. Great replacement for “Big Sis” at Homeland Security.

Entrepreneur Donald Trump of New York
Fun to fantasize about but conjures up visions of Ross Perot. The job of president requires some political experience.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota
From a small state and up against several better candidates. Maybe a VP choice.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas
Do the math, Ron was born in 1935! Trump nailed it at CPAC when he said he liked Ron Paul but “..he can’t win..” and not only because he’d be knocking on eighty on Inauguration Day 2013.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas
There’s just better governor talent available and Republicans don’t need him on the ballot to win Texas.

Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah
Not well know. Cuts into Romney’s Mormon base. Moderate reputation may not appeal to GOP base.

Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia
Like Pawlenty, if not the top spot maybe VP. He is governor of a must win state.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin
He’s needed in Congress to keep the House focused on the budget crisis. He’s young enough to consider higher office later.

Wikipedia is used for the biography of each candidate for consistency but its reliability has sometimes been questioned so check other sites for those candidates you find interesting.

Cross Posted on: Sound Politics

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Republican, Conservative and Black

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 13, 2011

Below are links to videos of speeches given by two African American leaders at the 2011 CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Conference. The first is by Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfathers Pizza and now a writer and talk show host in Atlanta, Georgia. The second is the closing speech of the conference given by retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and newly elected Congressman Allen West.

Listening to them gives one hope for America.

Herman Cain at CPAC

Allen West at CPAC

Cross Posted on Sound Politics

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Karl Rove’s Book

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 12, 2011

Unless you are a jaundiced beyond cure Bush/Rove hater, read Karl Rove’s book, “Courage and Consequence”. It traces Rove’s humble beginnings, his introduction to politics and brings you from Texas to the White House in a captivating narrative. He gives the back-story on Katrina including the infamous Bush quote, “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie.” referring to his FEMA director, Michael Brown, and takes you into the major decisions post 9-11. Try reading with dry eyes Rove’s description of President Bush’s trip to Ground Zero just after the attack on the World Trade Center or his meeting with the parents and brother of a Marine killed in action. The picture you get is different than what you may have been exposed to in the mainstream media.

It’s all there; the campaigns, the self-serving disingenuous attacks by Democrats, the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame saga, Supreme Court nomination fights, Iraq and Afghanistan, and a parting shot at Obama. He lists the victories but owns up to the failures and faults. Of course Rove writes history from his perspective but his version of events is compelling.

Like him or not, one has to respect the personal sacrifice, physical and emotional strain required from anyone willing to enter the sometimes vicious and unfair arena of politics.

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