Saturday, January 29, 2011

Global Warming a Real Threat

From The Washington Post via the Washington Times

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen , Norway.  Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.

Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic,while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.

By the way, I neglected to mention that this report was from a November 2, 1922 Washington Post article as reported by the AP and Washington Times. That's right: 89 years ago!
No wonder Al Gore is so worried.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Will GOP Reverse 2010 Gains Under Wilber?

I’ve often written that there isn’t a way for Republicans around here to shoot themselves in the foot they haven’t thought of, but I that have great confidence in their ability to invent new ones. And once again, it appears they’ve done it. At their recent state meeting, the party ousted moderate former state legislator Luke Esser in favor of longtime conservative talk show host Kirby Wilber.

The Democrats immediately began gleefully proclaiming the R’s had elected Washington’s version of Rush Limbaugh as their new leader. Based on 16 years of his radio rhetoric, they could be right. Meanwhile, look for the Democrats to make Wilber’s radio tirades the focal point of their election rhetoric rather than individual candidates. In races where Republicans have good, solid candidates, or in closes races, look for the Democrats to use the "guilt by association" strategy — tying those potential winning candidates to Wilber's radio rhetoric — which has potential to undo many of the strides R’s made in 2010.  

Esser was an even-handed, pragmatist who was very successful in recruiting better quality candidates than at any time in recent memory. Wilber says he wants to take the party in a “new direction” (Read: hard right). Voters want action and civility — not confrontational rhetoric. And while some Republicans were unhappy with the gains the party made under Esser in light of what happened nationally, I suspect under Wilber, the Republicans will have a hard time recruiting the quality of candidates the party desperately needs to sustain and strengthen the gains it made in 2010.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Radio Host Wilbur Ousts Esser as State GOP chairman

State GOP chairman and former legislator Luke Esser was ousted as chair of the party by longtime conservative radio host Kirby Wilbur. Delegates at the state Republican Party meeting held in Tukwila voted 69 for Wilbur, 36 for Esser and 7 for Bill Rennie.

Esser made the claim that the state GOP was in much better shape than it was four years ago when he was handed the reins, but Wilbur emphasized how Republicans in our state didn't do as well as they should have in the 2010 elections given the tidal wave for the right nationally.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dershowitz, Others Defend Palin’s ‘Blood Libel’ Line

By Rick Pedraza
Liberals are up in arms over Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel” to describe left-wing media attacks on conservatives in the wake of Saturday’s shootings that severely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killed six, and wounded more than a dozen others outside a Tucson, Ariz., store. 

But famed attorney and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz said the term’s use has evolved over the years from one fraught with pain in Jewish history, and that Palin used the term correctly.

"The term 'blood libel" has taken on a broad metephorical meaning in public discourse," Dershowitz told He said that, although the historical origins of the term were "in theologically based false accusations against Jews and the Jewish people," its current use has become part of the English parlance to refer to anyone being falsely accused.

“I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the state of Israel by the Goldstone Report,” Dershowitz said. “There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.”

Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin also defended Palin's use of the term in warning that journalists and pundits “should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

"Sarah Palin got it right," a spokesman for the organization told the Daily Caller. "Falsely accusing someone of shedding shedding blood is the definition of blood liber."

 Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman issued a statement Wednesday agreeing that it is inappropriate to blame Palin and others for the tragic shootings in Tucson.

“Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks,” Foxman wrote. “We agree with her that the best tradition in America is one of finding common ground despite our differences.

“It is unfortunate that the tragedy in Tucson continues to stimulate a political blame game. Rather than step back and reflect on the lessons to be learned from this tragedy, both parties have reverted to political partisanship and finger-pointing at a time when the American people are looking for leadership, not more vitriol,” the statement read.

“In response to this tragedy we need to rise above partisanship, incivility, heated rhetoric, and the business-as-usual approaches that are corroding our political system and tainting the atmosphere in Washington and across the country.”

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bauer Announces Resignation As County Commissioner

     Saying, “My wife Ann and I are at a point in our lives where we must choose between the all-consuming demands of public service and the equally consuming demands and opportunities of our private lives and our family,” County Commissioner Steve Bauer announced his resignation, effective at the either the end of February or early in March.

The resignation was announced in a late-afternoon e-mail sent in advance to elected officials, and then officially at the Jan. 10, County Commissioner’s meeting, where he read a 4-page letter detailing his reasons for resigning, as well as highlighting some of the accomplishments he is most proud of.

Bauer was appointed the North End commissioner in July of 2007 after Chris Endresen resigned to accept a position as State Director for Senator Maria Cantwell. He was elected to a full term of his own in 2008. A former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, Bauer previously served as Bellevue’s city manager and as director of finance and administration for Portland, Oregon. 

In 2006, he was hired as a consultant to complete a comprehensive evaluation of Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development. He was also and active in his home community of Hansville, serving as president of the Hansville Community Center Board. 

Bauer holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in government from Columbia University in New York City.
In his letter of resignation, Bauer stated that since taking office in 2007, two members of his family have contracted cancer, and the experiences have taught he and his wife Ann that, “…we can’t take a single day for granted. The opportunities we pass up — and there have been many these last few years — may never come again. Our parents are aging, our five grandchildren are growing like weeds and we need to be in their lives.”

He added that, “There are many folks capable of being County Commissioner. But no one else can fill my roles as Son, Brother, Husband, Dad, Uncle and Grandfather. After almost four years’ in office, it is clear I can’t fill those personal roles and be County Commissioner at the same time. During my career in local government, I often placed the interests of my family and myself behind the demands of public service. The time has come to put family and friends first.”

He was especially complimentary of his wife, saying, “Ann and I have taken on the challenge of being Commissioner as a team. She has been a terrific confidant and supporter. I want to thank her and our Family for their support and sacrifices while I have been in office.”

Bauer said if he thought the huge challenges ahead could be overcome in the two years remaining in his term, he would gladly stay, but believes the truly significant challenges of the County budget, the North Kitsap Legacy Partnership, reshaping the future of Kitsap Transit, and more will take several years to accomplish.  

“Actions in the next two years will lay the groundwork for later successes, Bauer stated. “I think the public will be best served if the same person works on these issues for the next several years.”

Bauer also said that his proudest accomplishments include serving as Chair of the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority in 2009 to help save it from bankruptcy after years of bad Board and management decisions threatened more than 1,000 low income housing units, as well as elderly and dependent residents.  While the agency finished 2010 in the black, and is on track to a bright future, he devoted two to three days per week on Housing Authority business — on top of normal County business — to help guide the agency’s recovery. 

He also said he is especially proud of the County’s “Water as a Resource” Policy that he believes will change how water is treated in the future, as well as his work on the North Kitsap Legacy Partnership, which will preserve more than 6,000 acres of open space forever.

He also cited helping Kingston get a new park and helping the community and the new Metropolitan Park District move forward with a new community center, library, Boys and Girls Club and senior housing. He also noted that Kingston will soon have a new downtown Master Plan that will help that community become one of the most vibrant and attractive areas in the County, and how the purchase of Norwegian Point Park in Hansville virtually assures that the Coast Guard will turn over the Point No Point lighthouse and grounds to the County.

“I am proud of the things that we have accomplished during my tenure,” he said. “And by “We” I mean County staff, the other Commissioners and me. No County Commissioner achieves the big things by themselves.”

He thanked County employees, “…for their intelligence, their skills, their commitment to public service and their love for living in this special place. I’ve been privileged to work with public employees all my career and I can truthfully say that I’ve never worked with a better group.”

Bauer also specifically singled out two people for special thanks and recognition — Deanna Erstad and Rebecca Pirtle, who he said have been hugely helpful to him and to the constituents and communities of his District. He also lauded volunteers Walter Briggs (the Navy’s forester) and Arno Bergstom (the County Extension forester), for drafting a Forest Stewardship Program for all County forestlands, including most of its larger parks, noting the program could also be used to manage future North Kitsap Legacy forests.

As it did when Bauer was appointed, the Democratic Party will select his replacement. He has timed his departure to give the process enough time to play out and not have a vacant seat on the commission, as was the case when he was appointed.

He ended his resignation letter by saying, “There is never a good time to leave. There will always be incomplete projects. There will always be people and causes to protect. But I am clear that this is the right time for Ann and me to chart a new course in our lives. I hope you will understand.”

 “People often bemoan the loss of civility in our public conversations. Indeed, I’ve encountered my share of folks who can’t resist the temptation to demonize elected officials and staff rather than dealing with the issues at hand. Folks say to me, “It must be tough having people criticize you all the time.” The constant surprise for me has been the number of folks who just come up and say ‘Thank you for your service. Thanks for all that you do and the sacrifices you make to do this job.’ All I can say in return is ‘Thanks for giving me this opportunity to serve Kitsap County.’”