Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vanport: Oregon Forerunner

Vanport is chiefly remembered for the terrible flood that wiped it out 61 years ago today.

However, in at least one fundamental area Vanport led the way for Portland and Oregon from 1942 on.

In 1940, at the time of the U.S. census, Oregon was the home for only about 1,800 blacks. Neither Portland nor Oregon were hospitable to blacks. In fact there were no black policemen or public school teachers in the entire state.

Vanport was built to give housing to tens of thousands of workers and their families who had moved to the Portland area to work in Henry J. Kaiser’s ship yards. Included among those workers streaming to Oregon were black workers with their families. By 1946 it was estimated that the black population in the Portland area had risen to 15,000--an 800% increase in Oregon’s black population in just six years (as Manly Maben points out in his history of Vanport).

How do you integrate a city and state that has been overwhelmingly homogeneous? Vanport leaders did not want to lose those valuable wartime workers. They realized the necessity of recognizing blacks as an integral part of community life--something neither Portland nor Oregon had done or showed any leaning toward.

Vanport was the first in Oregon to put blacks in positions of authority as police officers and public school teachers. Vanport leaders also understood that race relations progress was desperately needed in Portland and Oregon. notes that Vanport not only blazed the trail in Oregon to include blacks in important community positions, but saw the need to work in the wider community for better race relations. “The Vanport Interracial Council worked to establish a Portland office of the Urban League.”

Vanport recognized the talents and importance of blacks in community life years before Portland or Oregon did. In fact, the first black school teacher ever hired by Portland Public Schools was Martha Jordan. She had been a teacher in the Vanport schools, but was driven to look for a teaching position in Portland because the Vanport flood had destroyed her former school. Jordan was finally hired by the principal at Kennedy School (in northeast Portland) in spite of Portland Public Schools tradition against hiring black teachers. Kennedy School is now owned by McMenamin’s. There is a room in the current complex named after Martha Jordan honoring her contribution to black history and education in Portland.

The first residents moved into Vanport in December, 1942. The city was destroyed May 31, 1948. In five and a half years of existence, Vanport started Portland and Oregon on a path of inter-racial progress both needed and just. Not a bad legacy for any city--let alone one with only five years of decision making under its belt.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trial Balloon from Secretary of Defense Gates?

Cross posted at The Next Right

From the Wall Street Journal today:
“American public support for the Afghan war will dissipate in less than a year unless the Obama administration achieves ‘a perceptible shift in momentum,’ Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview.

“Mr. Gates said the momentum in Afghanistan is with the Taliban, who are inflicting heavy U.S. casualties and hold de facto control of swaths of the country."
. . .
“‘People are willing to stay in the fight, I believe, if they think we're making headway,’ he said. ‘If they think we're stalemated and having our young men and women get killed, then patience is going to run out pretty fast.’”

Though preparing to send 21,000 more US troops to Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sounds like a man planning for defeat. A year's timetable is not the attitude someone planning to win expresses publicly.

Imagine Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner saying the Obama administration has a year to turn the recession around or American public support for the administration will dissipate. Ain’t gonna happen.

So, why did Gates say this? He’s way too smart and accomplished in public service to make Joe Biden type gaffes.

It looks to be a trial balloon from the Obama administration about allowing the Taliban to retake Afghanistan and let Bin Laden and al qaeda operate there openly again rather than commit to any sort of sustained US effort in Afghanistan.

Obama is really between a rock and a hard place. He has cultivated an anti-war base that abominates anything but short, easy wars. He’s for timetables that assure either swift success or withdrawal. Iraq would be at risk too, except Bush spent almost six long, hard years preparing them to defend themselves.

One measure of the uphill battle to win in Afghanistan is the number of US casualties so far this year. Three-quarters as many troops have died in Afghanistan (60 in 2009) as in Iraq (80 in 2009) despite that fact that there are four times more US troops in Iraq (130,000) than in Afghanistan (31,000). In effect, there are three times as many casualties in Afghanistan per 10,000 troops than in Iraq.

Is the Obama administration basically throwing in the towel and admitting that the Bush toughness in Iraq turned that war around, but, Obama’s soft international demeanor makes winning against even relatively weak but determined enemies unlikely?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Alaska is one of two states with job growth

Cross posted at The Next Right

So reads the Anchorage Daily News headline today.
"[T]he Alaska unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal factors, actually fell in April. Eight percent of the labor force was without work but looking in April, down from 8.4 percent in March. In April of last year, the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent.

"The state's unemployment rate has been lower than the U.S. rate for three straight months.

"'That's very, very, very unusual,'" said Neal Fried, a state labor economist.

"While Alaska's jobless rate was falling in April, the national rate was rising -- showing further effects of the recession. The national rate was 8.9 percent in April, compared with 8.5 percent in March and 5 percent in April last year."

Along with Governor Sarah Palin, the other state governor bucking the trend is Republican Governor John Hoeven of North Dakota.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Online: NYT Sees 8% Drop; WSJ Up 160%

Cross posted at The Next Right

Editor & Publisher reports the Wall Street Journal had a wildly successful year in web site visits, and the New York Times slid on the web much the same as in its print circulation. The NYT disputed the findings--the only site on the list of 30 to do so.

The April 2009 report showed the NYT was one of eight to show a loss in the top 30 sites. WSJ led the other 22 showing gains and was one of only three showing a huge increase of 100% or more.

According to Nielson Online, eight of the top ten newspaper sites grew in unique visits--two dwindled.
Site -- April '09 uniques -- YoY % change -- 16,546,000 -- (-8%)
Wall Street Journal Online -- 12,398,000 -- 160% -- 11,987,000 -- 12% -- 10,232,000 -- 8%
LA Times -- 8,418,000 -- 18% -- 5,888,000 -- 33%
Daily News Online Edition -- 5,033,000 -- 73%
New York Post -- 4,403,000 -- 27%
Chicago Tribune -- 4,342,000 -- 30% Francisco Chronicle -- 3,489,000 -- (-9%)

Of the top 30 sites (106%), (104%), Politico (83%), and The Washington Times (70%) also saw big gains.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stunning Reversal: Majority of Americans Now Pro-Life

Cross posted at The Next Right

Gallop finds the American public is now 51% pro-life and only 42% pro-choice. This is a stunning reveral from the results of polls conducted over a 15 year period. The number of pro-life Americans grew 7% in 2008 while the number of pro-choice Americans dropped 8%.

Gallop has been polling on the issue since 1995. And this is the first time that the pro-life position has not only surpassed pro-choice, but includes a majority of Americans.

Gallop reports that the significant shifts have come from Republicans or those leaning Republican (10% pro-life increase), political moderates (7% pro-life increase), Protestants (8% increase) and Catholics (7% increase).

Laus Deo

Thursday, May 14, 2009

President Obama: Dire Consequences of Budget Deficits

White House photo: the President at Rancho Rio, NM town hall meeting today

Cross posted at The Next Right

President Obama warned today that deficit spending will bring soaring interest rates as borrowing becomes more and more difficult. Obama noted the harsh economic impact of just paying the interest on the debt incurred (let alone paying off the debt itself). Bloomberg reports:

“‘We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,’ Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. ‘We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.’

“Holders of U.S. debt will eventually ‘get tired’ of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. ‘It will have a dampening effect on our economy.’”

Unfortunately the warning comes over a month late. The President’s budget request was passed in early April on almost a straight party vote with no House Republicans voting for it and only three Senate Republicans in favor. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Obama budget will double the national debt in ten years.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Real Worry: Ice Ages Overwhelmingly Predominant

Cross posted at The Next Right

Excerpts from The Coming Ice Age by David Deming*, May 13, 2009:
"For ninety percent of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth's climate has been an ice age. Ice ages last about 100,000 years, and are punctuated by short periods of warm climate, or interglacials. The last ice age started about 114,000 years ago. It began instantaneously. For a hundred-thousand years, temperatures fell and sheets of ice a mile thick grew to envelop much of North America, Europe and Asia. The ice age ended nearly as abruptly as it began. Between about 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the temperature in Greenland rose more than 50 °F."
. . .
"The climate of the ice ages is documented in the ice layers of Greenland and Antarctica. We have cored these layers, extracted them, and studied them in the laboratory. Not only were ice ages colder than today, but the climates were considerably more variable. Compared to the norm of the last million years, our climate is remarkably warm, stable and benign. During the last ice age in Greenland abrupt climatic swings of 30 °F were common. Since the ice age ended, variations of 3 °F are uncommon.

"For thousands of years, people have learned from experience that cold temperatures are detrimental for human welfare and warm temperatures are beneficial. From about 1300 to 1800 AD, the climate cooled slightly during a period known as the Little Ice Age. In Greenland, the temperature fell by about 4 °F. Although trivial, compared to an ice age cooling of 50 °F, this was nevertheless sufficient to wipe out the Viking colony there."
. . .
"The oscillation between ice ages and interglacial periods is the dominant feature of Earth's climate for the last million years. But the computer models that predict significant global warming from carbon dioxide cannot reproduce these temperature changes. This failure to reproduce the most significant aspect of terrestrial climate reveals an incomplete understanding of the climate system, if not a nearly complete ignorance.

"Global warming predictions by meteorologists are based on speculative, untested, and poorly constrained computer models. But our knowledge of ice ages is based on a wide variety of reliable data, including cores from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In this case, it would be perspicacious to listen to the geologists, not the meteorologists. By reducing our production of carbon dioxide, we risk hastening the advent of the next ice age. Even more foolhardy and dangerous is the Obama administration's announcement that they may try to cool the planet through geoengineering. Such a move in the middle of a cooling trend could provoke the irreversible onset of an ice age. It is not hyperbole to state that such a climatic change would mean the end of human civilization as we know it.

"Earth's climate is controlled by the Sun. In comparison, every other factor is trivial. The coldest part of the Little Ice Age during the latter half of the seventeenth century was marked by the nearly complete absence of sunspots. And the Sun now appears to be entering a new period of quiescence. August of 2008 was the first month since the year 1913 that no sunspots were observed. As I write, the sun remains quiet. We are in a cooling trend. The areal extent of global sea ice is above the twenty-year mean.

"We have heard much of the dangers of global warming due to carbon dioxide. But the potential danger of any potential anthropogenic warming is trivial compared to the risk of entering a new ice age. Public policy decisions should be based on a realistic appraisal that takes both climate scenarios into consideration."

*David Deming is a geophysicist and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma.

(h/t Watts Up With That)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hate as Accepted Political Discourse

Cross posted at The Next Right

Coyote at Northwest Republican has an important post on the meaning of the hate dumped on California beauty queen Carrie Prejean.

"Isn't it about time that someone called these homosexual political Nazis for what they are? Really? A bunch of bigoted, angry, bitter and hateful individuals."
. . .
"Carrie Prejean, Miss California, is asked by an angry homosexual activist what her views on "gay marriage" are. So she answers pretty simply that she is opposed to gay marriage.

"Let's not forget that that is simply how this whole thing started. She did not attempt to make any policy changes as a sitting Senator. She was not looking to make any kind of political statement. She was simply asked a question and she answered.

"And at that the brownshirts in the Nazi wing of the homosexual political agenda break out the long knives.

"All for having a differing opinion?

"These hate filled people have spent hours and hours digging into her past and getting extremely personal in their hate filled attacks on her simply because she holds a different belief with regards to marriage. It is not enough to simply say that they believe she is wrong.

"No.... No they need to make attempts to destroy her personally. Even to the point now of attacking her faith. As if those in the political sphere of the homosexual movement actually even have a clue."
. . .
"Because these hateful people (and there is really no other way to describe the behavior of those people right now except as certainly could not be described as "loving.") will reach into your private life to destroy you.

"Just imagine of the shoe were on the other foot. Imagine if she had said that she was in favor of gay marriage (as many public figures such as Miley Cyrus already have.) and imagine if the Miss California pageant were to consider stripping her of her title because of it.

"If conservatives were to behave in bitter and hateful fashion as the homosexual political community has over Carrie Prejean you know they would be called all the "Nazi" names in the book and we would be reading editorials about how America is but one step away from burning gay men and women at the stake.

"I'm just tired of the double standard. I tired of the fact that mainstream media and hollywood elites do not recognize the double standard."
. . .
"Their response is not to open the doors of debate or even to simply say that they believe that Miss Prejean is wrong. Their response is to attempt to destroy her personally.

"So let one place (perhaps there are more) at least be honest about calling their behavior what it is.

"It is hate. And they should be ashamed of themselves."

What is clear is that the gays and media attacking Prejean are cowards as well as hate-filled.

What Prejean said was a very mild version of what the majority of voters in California said last November. Further, black voters, who turned out in number to elect Barack Obama president were key to putting Proposition 8 over the top with 70% voting for Prop 8 banning gay marriage. California voters were so rabid about it that they made it not only legally, but constitutionally (!), binding. And of course, candidate Obama said exactly what beauty contestant Carrie Prejean said: that "marriage is between a man and a woman". How stupid and gay-hating is he?

The gays and media viciously attacking Prejean have not similarly attacked people with political power and clout. No, they attack a beauty queen and members of a minority church (Mormons) not President Obama or the black community in California.

They attack viciously on the issue only when they can prey on the weak. Just like all bullies.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Oregonian: Circulation Drop Worst of Oregon Newspapers

Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) reports show that in the last six months the Oregonian had the worst drop in circulation rate among top Oregon newspapers.

Seven of the nine Oregon newspapers listed by ABC saw losses significantly less than the Oregonian’s or actually gained in circulation. Of the two newspapers posting gains, the Corvallis Gazette-Times had better than a mirror image rate gain: 5.25% gain compared to the Oregonian’s 5.23% loss.

The obvious question: Why is the Oregonian losing circulation at a rate significantly higher than other Oregon newspapers?

Circulation changes September 2008 to March 2009:

daily circulation change
+5.65% Gazette-Times (Corvallis) 11,559 to 12,211
+1.77% Democrat-Herald (Albany) 16,638 to 16,932
-0.67% Register-Guard (Eugene) 65,375 to 64,940
-0.82% Bulletin (Bend) 32,951 to 32,682
-1.58% Courier (Grants Pass) 15,680 to 15,433
-2.23% World (Coos Bay-North Bend) 11,502 to 11,246
-2.66% Mail Tribune (Medford) 28,884 to 28,116
-4.46% Statesman Journal (Salem) 44,614 to 42,633
-5.23% Oregonian (Portland) 283,321 to 268,512

Sunday circulation change
+3.14% Gazette-Times (Corvallis) 11,788 to 12,158
+0.61% Democrat-Herald (Albany) 17,586 to 17,693
-2.08% World (Coos Bay-North Bend) 12,591 to 12,329
-2.34% Bulletin (Bend) 33,322 to 32,543
-2.34% Register-Guard (Eugene) 68,780 to 57,169
-2.35% Statesman Journal (Salem) 50,545 to 49,355
-3.03% Mail Tribune (Medford) 30,046 to 29,135
-5.55% Oregonian (Portland) 344,950 to 325,816

Friday, May 01, 2009

Der Spiegel Gives Obama "Needs Improvement" Evaluation in 6 of 10 Areas

White House photo

Cross posted at The Next Right

Der Spiegel's evaluation of President Obama's first 100 days:
1. Communication -- First-Rate

2. Managing the Financial Crisis - Botched
“The bailout programs are not being paid for with "taxpayer money," as Obama claims. Instead, the money is coming from the savings of the frugal Japanese, Chinese and Europeans. The United States now needs $1 billion (€760 million) in foreign funds every working day just to maintain its standard of living. The country consumes more than half of all worldwide savings.

“Not only is this is costly, but it is also extremely risky. More important, it is not sustainable. By taking this approach, Obama is only leading his country more deeply into dependence on creditors from around the world. Before long, anyone who wishes to attack America will no longer need nuclear weapons, but merely sufficient dollar reserves. China already has close to $2 trillion (€1.5 trillion) stored away in its coffers.”

3. Economic Policy -- Problematic

4. Healthcare Reform -- Breaking Promises?

5. Foreign Policy -- An Embrace
“In the coming years, people will start asking themselves: What does America get in return? Is it a soft or a hard currency to be open? The answer will most likely be found in Tehran, Beijing and Moscow.”

6. Military Policy -- Contradictory
“His strategy has already bred results, but they are not what he expected. Anti-American sentiment is growing in Pakistan. Violent military action does not forge new democrats, but rather new Taliban fighters. If Pakistan, a nuclear state, falls into the hands of fundamentalists, Obama will have handed the West more than just another defeat.”

7. The CIA and Torture -- No Accountability

8. The Worst Staffing Decision [Timothy Geithner]

9. The Best Staffing Decision [VP Joe Biden! ! !]

10. The Glamour [Michelle]

Though #9 shows the, er, limitations of Der Spiegel’s good sense, their assessment is interesting in showing how top European press views the US and President Obama.