Sunday, June 30, 2013

Paul Ryan: Legalization Before Border Security

Rep. Paul Ryan
Byron York reports that Rep. Paul Ryan is leading the way to get an immigration bill passed in the House of Representatives. The House bill Ryan favors has the same legalization before border security sequence as the Rubio immigration bill passed in the Senate.

York quotes from a Ryan interview with Sean Hannity where Ryan affirms:
Hear what I say. What we’re talking about in the House is we’re saying, people who are here undocumented, because we realize we cannot deport 11 million people and find them and deport them, so we want to put them on a probationary status, that’s the kind of thinking we have here, and they can’t get out of that probationary status, they can’t get legal permanent residence, which is what Chuck Grassley was talking there*, until these border efforts are made, until the border is secure, until the E-Verify set up.
[emphasis added]
York summarizes Ryan’s position: "First, comes the legalization, and then come the measures to secure the border."
Hannity was skeptical and challenging. “My sources have been telling me, congressman, that you guys are considering a five-year temporary legal status, and then if the border security measure is not met in five years, that that would be revoked.”

“That’s right,” Ryan said. “That’s right.”

“I don’t believe that would ever happen,” Hannity shot back.
Certainly Sean Hannity is right. If you're not going to deport them now, you certainly aren't going to deport them in five years for something that is not their fault (lack of border security). Paul Ryan knows this, and it doesn't say much for his integrity that he pretends revocation is a real possibility.

Temporary legal status has the same practical effect day-to-day as permanent legal status. With no true "revocation" trigger "temporary" becomes de facto "permanent".

Ryan asserts that one cannot secure the border without "a workable legal immigration system". He then implies that a workable system somehow necessitates legalizing 11 million illegals.
“Because in order to secure the border, you have to have a workable legal immigration system that people who are trying to come to this country to work have a way of coming here legally,” Ryan said. “You can’t just seal it off, you need to make sure that people can come here legally and we also have to remember, we’ve got 11 million people in the country who are undocumented who either overstayed their visa or crossed the border illegally. What are we going to do? We’re not going to be able to find them and deport them. We have to find a way of dealing with this population, we want to do it in a way that respects the rule of law, and puts them at the back of the line, so that everybody who did things right — ”
[emphasis added]
But, of course, there is a current legal immigration path and there has been one since 1790. U.S. borders have never been totally sealed off to immigration. Secure borders do not mean and have never meant no immigration. Secure borders only mean much diminished illegal immigration.

The real issue is the 11 million people who are, according to Ryan, "undocumented". Ryan says that since we can't deport them, we need to find a way to make what they have done legal. If we send them to "the back of the line" it will show that we and they respect the law. This is like letting those who didn't pay for a ticket to an event get to go in anyway but at the back of the line. It's not much of a punishment and not much of an incentive for anyone else to buy a ticket next time. 

Just as the 1986 immigration bill didn't fix the system when it legalized 3 million illegal immigrants, temporary legalization will not fix the system that allowed 11 million more "undocumented" immigrants in. The problem has almost quadrupled since 1986 (3 million to 11 million). What are the chances of it quadrupling again in 25 years under the Rubio-Ryan immigration plan?

With fuddled thinking like that shown by Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, some of the Republican silver-tongued young guns are looking more and more tarnished.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Palin Pushes Back Against Amnesty Arguments, Supporters

Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin pushed back against the narrative that Republicans can only win if they win more Hispanic votes by voting for immigration amnesty. Palin points out that Mitt Romney lost in 2012 because working class Americans (Reagan Democrats) stayed home.
The former Republican vice presidential nominee reminded Republicans on Sunday in her Breitbart News piece [here] that these working class Americans are the voters who, despite their dislike of Obama, sat out the 2012 election because they did not think Mitt Romney was one of them or would fight for them.

"These would be the same blue-collar working class voters of every ethnicity who chose to sit home in 2012 instead of turning out to vote in the swing states we needed to carry in order to stop Barack Obama’s promised 'fundamental transformation' of America," Palin wrote. "I note this just as a helpful reminder to those who believe the hyperventilated new hype claiming that conservatives need to support this bill in order to win future elections. That’s 100% wrong."
Stephen Bannon and Tony Lee point to Byron York's analysis that even had Romney won 70% of the Hispanic vote he still would have lost in 2012.

Romney needed less than 400,000 votes to win in 2012. But, according to a Center for Immigration Studies report 4.7 million fewer whites (4.2 million of them without a college education) voted in 2012 than in 2004.  These non-voters include the Reagan Democrat profile.

Bannon and Lee conclude:
For Republicans to win back the majority and the presidency, they need to win the so-called Reagan Democrats and a new generation of working class minorities who will have to become Reagan Democrats 2.0. They need to win over the father who got laid off from his manufacturing job and has a child who did everything society said to do--go to college, get a degree, find a decent-paying job in the technology industry--and now may meet the same fate his father did when the labor market is flooded with an influx of cheap immigrant labor brought to do jobs Americans supposedly do not want to do.
Palin understands and appreciates those in the working class and their contribution to America's greatness as well as to Reagan's conservative electoral success.

Not afraid to call to task those she supported in 2010 who have flip-flopped on the necessity for border security before legalization, Palin calls for primary challenges for Marco Rubio and Kelly Ayotte who changed their position from 2010 campaign promises and voted for the immigration bill.
On Tuesday, Palin fired back, specifically mentioning to Breitbart News that she would like to see Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) primaried for turning their back on voters and supporting the Senate's amnesty bill even though they promised they would put border security before amnesty while campaigning in 2010.

“Conservatives are getting ready for the 2014 and 2016 primaries. We have long memories, and there will be consequences for those who break campaign promises and vote for this amnesty bill," Palin told Breitbart News. "Competition makes everyone work harder, be better, and be held accountable. This applies to politics, too. No one is ‘entitled’ to anything."

She continued, "Rigorous debate in competitive primaries allows candidates the opportunity to explain their flip-flops. So think of contested primaries as a win-win for politicians and their voters."
"Every politician should be held accountable for breaking their campaign promises," Palin said to John Gibson on Fox News radio on Tuesday. "They turned their back on the American public, so why should they not be held accountable?"
Palin also hints at the demise of the Republican Party:
Folks like me are barely hanging on to our enlistment papers in any political party – and it’s precisely because flip-flopping political actions like amnesty force us to ask how much more bull from both the elephants in the Republican Party and the jackasses in the Democrat Party we have to swallow before these political machines totally abandon the average commonsense hardworking American. Now we turn to watch the House. If they bless this new “bi-partisan” hyper-partisan devastating plan for amnesty, we’ll know that both private political parties have finally turned their backs on us. It will then be time to show our parties’ hierarchies what we think of being members of either one of these out-of-touch, arrogant, and dysfunctional political machines.

Democrats Played Marco Rubio Like a Fiddle

UPDATE: Though voting for the failed Cornyn security amendment which required real measurable border security progress before granting legal permanent status, Senator Kelly Ayotte was one of 14 Republicans who voted for the immigration bill despite the lack of provisions requiring measurable border security success before legal permanent status and citizenship. Thirty-two Republican Senators voted against the bill.

From Byron York:
"Menendez told me that Rubio's role was to 'work over the conservative universe, particularly the conservative opinion-maker universe,' in order to 'neutralize them' and, in some cases, 'proselytize them,'" the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza reported recently, referring to Democratic Gang member Robert Menendez. The leader of the Gang, Democrat Charles Schumer, "was delighted to have a Tea Party conservative who could sell an immigration bill to the right," Lizza wrote.
The plan worked brilliantly. Conservative talk radio hosts who might have instinctively opposed immigration reform as conceived by Schumer gave Rubio a respectful hearing and a lot of room. When Rubio told them the bill would secure the border first, they believed him.
Later, when it became unavoidably clear that, in fact, the bill would first legalize millions of currently illegal immigrants, and only after that start the work of securing the border, some conservatives began to express skepticism, disappointment and opposition. But Rubio's neutralization campaign had bought the Gang precious months to write the bill and gather momentum before conservatives began to realize what was actually in it.
[emphasis added]
Marco Rubio let himself be used not only a stalking horse but a Trojan horse. If Rubio was so easily manipulated by Senate Democrats, is there any question that Rubio would be putty in the hands of real opponents like the Russians or Chinese?

And then there are the conservative thinkers who trusted him. What is this spate of supposedly sensible conservatives becoming groupies over Rubio like Ann Coulter with Chris Christie and Mitt Romney?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Willamette Week Scoops Oregonian Again

If you have been following the unfolding of the story of the Oregonian's cut to four day home delivery, the excellent reporting of Willamette Week stands out.

Willamette Week gave a heads up on the coming change almost a week before the Oregonian announced its own news.

Though one understands holding back on personal news until you are ready to reveal the information, it doesn't say much for your reporting skills to wait almost a week after someone else has revealed it and then have to update the news article on your own news.
Oregonian Media Group to launch with digital, print products
on June 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM, updated June 21, 2013 at 7:41 PM
[emphasis added]
Aaron Mesh at Willamette Week sniffed out the coming change on the basis of a trademark application.
On May 17, the Oregonian Publishing Co. filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for protection of a new brand name: Oregonian Media Group.
The delay between the May 17 application and Mesh's June 14 story might indicate an inside source at the Oregonian was a big help in putting the pieces together.  Still, its impressive that Mesh latched on to the slim hint in the "new brand name".

Willamette Week has scooped the Oregonian big time on the Neil Goldschmidt scandal which resulted in a Pulitzer Prize, the Sam Adams/Beau Breedlove affair and cover up, and just last year the assault story regarding mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith. The Oregonian's home delivery story scoop is just another success for Willamette Week's superior investigative reporting skills, but this time embarrassing the Oregonian for not being on top of its own story.

More Head Scratching News from the Oregonian

In announcing the change from daily home delivery to a four day home delivery system and a three day newsstand only print edition, the Oregonian reports that its circulation is made up of about 90% home delivery and 10% newsstand sales.
The Oregonian currently delivers to 170,000 homes daily and sells 15,000 papers a day at newsstands, said Kevin Denny, the paper's vice president of operations and circulation. The Oregonian prints 263,000 Sunday editions with 30,000 of those sold at newsstands.
The home delivery change should result in a 90% drop in sales income three days of the week since the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday editions would result in a fractional 15,000 papers sold on those days rather than the normal 185,000.*

Publisher N. Christian Anderson III has pointed to a savings in home delivery costs as part of the limited home delivery strategy.
PBJ: If the newspaper isn't delivered daily, why not stop printing daily?
Anderson: We still have a large single-copy audience and wish to continue to serve that audience without the expense of home delivery on those three days.
But, the question remains whether dropping 90% of sales on the non-home delivery days will not cancel out any positive effects of delivery savings--not to mention that 10% in newsstand sales does not seem to be a particularly large single-copy audience.

Before the home delivery changes, the Oregonian employed 650 people.
Anderson declined to say how many of The Oregonian's 650 employees would lose their jobs in coming months. Editor and Vice President Peter Bhatia told newsroom employees that the reductions would be "significant." But he said there would be new hiring as well.
Willamette Week has counted up 95 people who have been laid off so far--about 15% of Oregonian employees.  The newsroom was taking the biggest hit losing a quarter of its staff.
UPDATE, 7 pm: Sources tell WW that The Oregonian has laid off about 95 employees in the last two days—at least 45 in the editorial department. That number, which is reportedly near final, would represent one quarter of a 175-person newsroom.
Despite this 15% to 25% loss in staff, Anderson has promised "enhanced" editions for the Wednesday, Friday and Sunday home delivery newspapers.
The Oregonian will continue to be published daily and sold at outlets in the Portland metropolitan area and elsewhere in the state and southwestern Washington. Home delivery will be Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and include the Saturday edition as a bonus. The Wednesday, Friday and Sunday editions will be enhanced with more content than current editions while the Saturday newspaper will have news and a strong emphasis on sports content, along with classified advertising. Those home delivery subscribers that choose the three-day subscription option will also have access to a digital edition seven days a week. Subscribers will be informed of the new rates in early August.
[emphasis added]
Anderson has not explained how the Oregonian will be able to maintain its current seven day print publishing schedule (though with only a 10% print run three of the days) and enhance and expand the edition on three of those days in light of the 25% cut in newsroom staff.

A sales strategy that includes a 90% drop in sales three days a week, no matter how much is saved in delivery costs, and a 25% cut in newsroom staff as precursor to enhancing and expanding the newspaper do not seem to promise success. How Advance Publications, Inc. (owner of the Oregonian) has penciled this out as a winning strategy is anyone's guess.
*The Alliance for Audited Media data for March, 2013, has Oregonian daily circulation at about 229,000 and Sunday circulation at about 304,000. Some of the difference could be due to Oregonian digital circulation, which might account for the 10,000 difference in the Sunday figure. But, the 45,000 difference in the daily figure can hardly be due to digital subscriptions.

H/T MaxRedline

Friday, June 21, 2013

Oregonian Owner Advance Publications Reversing Move to Digital in New Orleans

Advance Publications, Inc., owns Newhouse Newspapers which owns the Oregonian and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

A little more than a year ago, in May of 2012, the Times-Picayune announced it would be going to a mostly digital format with print publication three days a week.
The article quoted Ricky Mathews, the president of NOLA Media group, as saying, “Our best path to success lies in a digitally focused organization that combines the award-winning journalism of The Times-Picayune and the strength of”
But, the outcome has not been so good for the Times-Picayune.  In fact, the newspaper is retreating back to a print version (TP Street) for the days the Times-Picayune is not available.  Kevin Allman reports:
After going to thrice-weekly publication last fall as part of its move to a "digital newsroom" . . . , [the] NOLA Media Group announced in April it would return to printing a news product on the days that The Times-Picayune was not printed.

That tabloid print product, which was named "TP Street," was largely greeted with dismay in the newsroom and confusion and derision elsewhere . . . when it was clear that the move was a retreat to daily printing.

Adding to the confusion was NOLA Media Group's statement that TP Street was a response to subscribers' demand for a paper — but TP Street would not be delivered to subscribers, but available only on news racks for an additional price."
Further complicating matters for Advance Publications and NOLA was the fact that the print newspaper vacuum created by the Times-Picayune cutting to a three day a week print publication schedule drew in a new print newspaper competitor, The Advocate New Orleans Edition. Allman continues:
That non-delivery plan, Gambit learned several weeks ago, has also been reconsidered as NOLA Media Group pondered the possibility of returning to daily delivery of a daily print product with the name Times-Picayune, effectively positioning the physical paper where it was a year ago before the "digital transition" — albeit a physical paper with a severely damaged brand and new competition in the form of The Advocate's New Orleans edition.
Apparently, Advance Publications/Newhouse Newspapers has learned that digital switching and three day a week print publishing isn't all pony rides in May even if you do get rid of a lot of staff.

Thus, the Times-Picayune is heading back towards where the Oregonian is going: a print edition every day, but no home delivery for three days.

Advance Publications is trying to find a workable middle term between going digital and maintaining print, but seems to have focused more on defending turf rather than innovating.  The Oregonian venture of four print days for delivery, but seven print days on newstands, and trying to ramp up digital appears to be a falling between two stools. Not one thing or the other and not a likely plan for success.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Oregonian Cutting Home Delivery to Three Days (Four, If You're a Good Boy)

UPDATE: A significant reason for continuing the newsstand print version is the profitability of single copy pricing.
PBJ: If the newspaper isn't delivered daily, why not stop printing daily?
Anderson: We still have a large single-copy audience and wish to continue to serve that audience without the expense of home delivery on those three days.
Heading off new print competition is another factor.

Oregonian digital edition
MaxRedline has his usual great heads up post. This one is about the Oregonian's cutting back to a home delivery print edition of Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (and Saturday as a bonus). The cutback will be implemented October 1st.

The Oregonian explains:
"The Oregonian will continue to be published daily and sold at outlets in the Portland metropolitan area and elsewhere in the state and southwestern Washington. Home delivery will be Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and include the Saturday edition as a bonus."
Willamette Week (which broke the news of the impending change last Friday):
"The Oregonian confirmed this morning that the paper will reduce print delivery to three days a week.

"Publisher N. Christian Anderson III informed staff just before 10 am that the paper will continue to publish seven days a week, but will only offer home delivery on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with the Saturday edition apparently delivered with Sunday papers. He also announced that newsroom layoffs are beginning immediately.

"Anderson told staff this morning that the company will inform them by Friday morning whether they are being laid off.

"'The newsroom was just told there will be 'significant layoffs,' w/some new hiring for digital,' reporter Anna Griffin wrote on Twitter at 10:51 am. 'Somebody open the bar tab.'

"Staffers were told they could be offered severance or take new jobs at a recently formed company The Oregonian Publishing Co.

"Anderson also told the staffers the paper will move out of its iconic downtown building on Southwest Broadway to new offices."
Interesting that the Oregonian business model is based on a seven day print edition to be sold at outlets but not to home subscribers. It doesn't seem likely that their money hemorrhage is coming just from home delivery costs, so the home delivery cut is a head scratcher if they are continuing to produce a daily print edition.

It would make more sense to completely cut out three print days than just stop home delivery on those days. The actual physical materials and process of printing the paper is likely to be 1/5th or more of the cost of getting the paper out in a print format. But, if you are going to publish anyway, there is the loss that comes per unit with limited production of an edition rather than mass production.

Along with cutting home deliveries nearly in half, the Advance Central Services owners are significantly cutting employees. So salaries and employee benefits seems the real savings the Oregonian owners are going for now.

Another thing that doesn't add up is that though they are cutting staff they plan to expand the content of their Wednesday, Friday and Sunday editions.
"The Wednesday, Friday and Sunday editions will be enhanced with more content than current editions while the Saturday newspaper will have news and a strong emphasis on sports content, along with classified advertising."
Quality content expansion is not likely when you're significantly cutting staff.  Nor does it seem likely that "enhanced" content will attract new subscribers when the Oregonian is cutting down on print circulation (via 40% less home delivery).

There's a lot here that doesn't add up.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Currently Neither Jeb Bush Nor Marco Rubio Enjoy Favorite Son Status in Florida

A new Quinnipiac poll of Florida voters shows Hillary Clinton beating both former Gov. Jeb Bush and current Senator Marco Rubio in a 2016 presidential contest.

Clinton over Bush by 7%.
     Hillary Clinton - 50%
     Jeb Bush - 43%.

Clinton bests Rubio by 8%.
     Hillary Clinton - 51%
     Marco Rubio  - 42%

Worse yet, Bush and Rubio win against Vice President Biden by only 4% and 2% respectively.
     Jeb Bush - 47%
     Joe Biden - 43%

     Marco Rubio - 45%
     Joe Biden - 43%

In terms of favorable ratings, Clinton surpasses both Bush and Rubio, and Biden edges out Rubio.
     Hilllary Clinton - 57% favorable / 38% unfavorable
     Jeb Bush - 54% favorable / 33% unfavorable
     Joe Biden - 45% favorable / 42% unfavorable
     Marco Rubio - 44% favorable / 33% unfavorable

As Laura Ingraham notes:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Oregon State Exchange Healthcare Rates to Rise 78% for Young People

Obamacare is turning out to be a great voter education bill.
Today, a 25-year-old male who lives in Portland can purchase an “Oregon KP 2000/20%/HSA/Rx” policy from Kaiser that has 20% copayments, a $2,000 deductible and a $5,000 out-of-pocket maximum. It costs $129 per month. The most comparable exchange plan, a “silver” plan, has 25% copayments, a $1,750 deductible, and a $5,000 out-of-pocket maximum. It costs $229 per month—78% higher.

None of this means that the exchange plans will provide inferior care or inadequate protection against financial risk. But it does show that the Affordable Care Act’s goal of expanded coverage is going to require much higher premiums, especially for young people, and significant changes in the access and low cost-sharing that Americans have come to expect.
[emphasis added]
Imagine if an insurance company had asked for a 78% rate increase on its own.  Think of the public outcry.  But, now it looks to be a part of Oregon's health exchange plan.  Remember that the "purpose of the health insurance exchanges is to make health insurance more affordable and easier to purchase for small business and individuals."

Probably not easier, and certainly not more affordable.
Surprise, young people! The state plan is going to make you pay a lot more for the same healthcare. That's what "expanded coverage" requires. This is voter education 101. You might want to write your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and think about your 2014 vote.

H/T and thanks to MaxRedline

Palin Has Best Foreign Policy Advice of the Week

In a speech Saturday, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin called for hands off in radical Islamic countries "until we have someone who knows what they're doing".
“For instance, militarily, where is our commander-in-chief? We’re talking now more new interventions? I say until we know what we’re doing, until we have a commander-in-chief who knows what he’s doing, well in these radical Islamic countries that aren’t even respecting basic human rights — where both sides are slaughtering each other as they scream over an arbitrary red line, ‘Allahu Akbar.’ I say until we have someone who knows what they’re doing, I say let Allah sort it out.”
Well, yes, Allah will undoubtedly do a better sorting job in Syria than the Obama administration given how well other Obama Middle East interventions have turned out.

After the "no fly zone" intervention, Libya is still a mess.  And, of course, last year Libya was the site of the first killing of an American ambassador since 1979.

Egypt remains a mess after President Obama's call for Mubarak's departure.  And the Obama administration is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood which is killing indigenous Christian populations who were there before their land was colonized by invading Islamic armies centuries ago.

Then there's the "good" war in Afghanistan.  Even with a surge, the war there has not gone well.  The country is no more stable now than when President Obama decided to give the war there a prominent place in his foreign policy strategy.

In Iraq, the U.S. has neither presence, respect nor much influence despite its long war effort there.
To many Iraqis, the United States’ influence is greatly diminished. “American policy is very weak,” observed Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff to Massoud Barzani, the president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. “It is not clear to us how they have defined their interests in Iraq,” Mr. Hussein said. “They are picking events and reacting on the basis of events. That is the policy.”
With goose eggs coming up for the Obama administration in Middle East conflicts, Palin's advice seems both balanced and wise. 

H/T Ian Lazaran

Screwtape Letters in Portland Riveting with Both Fun and Serious Themes

The Screwtape Letters played at the Newmark Theater this weekend. It turned out to be 90 minutes of riveting entertainment with both fun and serious themes.

Based on C. S. Lewis' best selling book The Screwtape Letters (online version here*), the play starts with Lewis' shorter piece "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" as a prologue.

Brent Harris is superb at playing a devil tempter supervisor Screwtape who gives advice to a junior tempter on how to damn the soul of his "patient". It's basically a one man show, but Screwtape's mostly mute assistant Toadpipe gives visual comic relief.

The focus of the play is the nature of temptation and spiritual warfare from a devil's point of view.

One leaves the theater having been entertained, but also thinking about some of the issues raised. One example out of many comes in a passage from the book included in the play that hints at the humility needed to sustain close, long-term relationships.
"When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother's eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy - if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbability of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this is easily managed."
(Letter III)
Producer and director Max McLean is known for high quality work. He received the 2009 Jeff Award for best solo performance. His next project is an adaptation of C. S. Lewis' short novel The Great Divorce also about choice, temptation and character change.
The Screwtape Letters was in the public domain in the 1970's in the United States.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Oregonian no longer to be a daily newspaper?

The March Alliance for Audited Media report showed that the Oregonian has fallen out of the top 25 U.S. daily newspapers in terms of circulation. Willamette Week now reports that the Oregonian may be preparing to downsize to take it completely out of the list of the nation's daily print newspapers.
There are new signs that the owners of The Oregonian are moving forward with plans to end daily publication of the state's biggest newspaper.

On May 17, the Oregonian Publishing Co. filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for protection of a new brand name: Oregonian Media Group.

For the employees of the state's biggest newspaper—and anyone concerned by the paper's already weakened state—this is an ominous move.

Advance Publications, the newspaper's owner, established a very similar sounding brand name, NOLA Media Group, in New Orleans when it took that city's once-great newspaper, the Times-Picayune, and turned it into a three-day-a-week publication.
In a telling reply to Willamette Week's question on the matter, the Oregonian's publisher, N. Christian Anderson III, did not deny that downsizing was in the works.
"We may use Oregonian Media Group in the future to reflect the growing portfolio of print and digital products we offer consumers and advertisers," Anderson writes. "I don’t have anything more definitive to share at this time."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sarah Palin and Fox News Reignite Partnership

Tony Lee reports:
"Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is rejoining Fox News as a contributor less than five months after declining the network's offer to renew her contract.

"Palin will make her first return appearance on 'Fox & Friends' next Monday."
Lee sees this as a win-win merging "the most dominant network in cable television with the most influential figure to Tea Party conservatives--who is also a guaranteed ratings draw."

Palin didn't lose from the separation.
"According to a Politico analysis, Palin 'still garnered much of the same coverage in the first four months of this year as she did in 2012' without a Fox News contract:

'From January 2012 to May 2012, Palin received 223 mentions in newspapers; 69 in Web-based publications, such as,, POLITICO and; 563 in blogs; and her name appeared in 46 news transcripts, for a total of 901 mentions. During the same period this year, in her post-Fox News life, Palin’s still very much in the conversation, with 118 mentions in newspapers, 55 in Web-based publications, 726 in blogs and 12 in news transcripts, for a total of 911 mentions, and she also wrote an op-ed for the conservative website Breitbart.'"

Rubio, Flake, Graham, McCain Vote Against Border Security Amendment

On a 57 to 43 vote to table the Grassley amendment to the immigration bill which would "prohibit the granting of registered provisional immigrant status until the Secretary has maintained effective control of the borders for 6 months", the only Republican senators voting to table the security motion were Rubio, Flake, Graham, McCain (all members of the Gang of Eight) and Murkowski (AK).

To her credit, Senator Kelly Ayotte, who recently said she would support the immigration bill, voted not to table the amendment. The only Democrats voting not to table were Manchin (WV) and Pryor (AR).

 H/T Byron York

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Marco Rubio and Gang of Eight, Kelly Ayotte Sell National Security Down the River

Senator Marco Rubio
Senator Kelly Ayotte
Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Jeff Flake and Kelly Ayotte are not requiring any new border security or enforcement before legalizing 11 million current illegal immigrants.  Other promises they previously made are also not in the current bill they support.

Byron York on Marco Rubio's change in commitment to border security:
A “Myth vs. Fact” press release from Rubio’s office shortly after the Gang of Eight bill was introduced called for “100 percent awareness and 90 percent success in apprehending those trying to cross the border.” Unless those goals are met, Rubio and other supporters have said, formerly illegal immigrants will not be permitted to move from registered provisional immigrant status to legal permanent resident status and then, later, to U.S. citizenship.

But the bill as written includes no such requirement; immigrants can be awarded legal permanent resident status even if the security goals have not been met.
[emphasis added]
On the requirement to learn English:
. . . both Democrats and Republicans have claimed that the bill requires formerly-illegal immigrants to learn English as a condition of acquiring legal permanent resident status.
. . .
But the bill does not require any immigrant to demonstrate any level of proficiency in English as a condition of earning a green card. While the bill says immigrants must meet a standard laid out in the Immigration and Nationality Act that they “demonstrate an understanding of the English language,” it then adds that those immigrants who don’t understand English should be “satisfactorily pursuing a course of study…to achieve an understanding of English.” There’s no requirement that they actually achieve that understanding as a condition of earning legal permanent resident status.
[emphasis added]
On empowering border states to ensure border security:
When the bill was first introduced, Rubio and others claimed that if the Department of Homeland Security did not achieve border security, then a commission, made up of border-state governors, would have the authority to do the job itself. “If, in five years, the plan has not reached 100 percent awareness and 90 percent apprehension, the Department of Homeland Security will lose control of the issue and it will be turned over to the border governors to finish the job,” Rubio told radio host Mark Levin shortly after the bill was introduced.

But there are no such provisions in the bill. In the legislation, the Border Commission’s purpose would be to make “recommendations to the President, the Secretary, and Congress on policies to achieve and maintain the border security goal.” The commission would have six months to write a report “setting forth specific recommendations.” And then, when the report is finished, the commission “shall terminate 30 days after the date on which the report is submitted.” That’s all it does. There’s nothing in the bill requiring the commission to finish the job of border security, and indeed it would have no authority to do so.
[emphasis added]
Marco Rubio on legalization coming before border security:
“Let’s be clear,” Rubio said. “Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen. That means the following will happen: First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence.”
[emphasis added]
As Byron York notes, Rubio is in effect supporting legalization of the "estimated 11 million illegal immigrants . . . before any new border security or internal enforcement measures are in place, and will in no way be conditional on any security requirements."

Senators Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Jeff Flake as members of the Gang of Eight have demonstrated legislative and political incompetence that endangers the nation. Senator Kelly Ayotte recently joined them, reversing her campaign position of a tough border security stance.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Oregon House Democrats Block $67 Million in Healthcare Savings for Oregon University Students

The Oregon University System (OUS) wants to leave the Oregon Public Employees' Benefits Board (PEBB). Oregon University System members see separating from PEBB and self-insuring as the road to saving tens of millions of dollars for Oregon university students. Oregon Republican house members support the $67 million saving, but Democrats in control of the Oregon House of Representatives refused to even allow a floor vote.

Hannah Hoffman of the Statesman Journal reports:
The House Republicans today requested a floor vote on House Bill 3508, a bill that would allow the Oregon University System to withdraw from the Public Employees' Benefits Board. It wasn't granted a vote, but this idea is likely not going away
. . . .
The OUS did a study last year on its options and found it could save $67 million if it opted for its own plan instead of PEBB, which is self-insured.

The Republicans are on board with this idea.

“We need to give our universities every tool we can to curb the ever-rising costs associated with higher education,” Rep. Bruce Hanna, R – Roseburg said in a written statement. “I can’t understand why the legislature wouldn’t want to pass a bill that would allow our public universities to save an estimated $67 million. How can we tell students, parents and faculty with a straight face that we are ‘doing everything we can to support education’ when a simple administrative cost-saving measure does not even get consideration?
[emphasis added]
It turns out that student tuition subsidizes other state employee PEBB costs because OUS healthcare costs are much lower. The OUS 2012 Health and Welfare Plans Report notes:
The university system’s distinguishing concern is that health insurance costs are significant drivers of tuition increases. By OUS’ analysis, in 2011-12 each 1% increase in the cost of group health insurance contributed a 0.63% increase to undergraduate resident tuition, and an increase of 0.24% to all tuition that includes graduate and non-resident students. With health insurance costs rising at rates of 5%-10% each year this is a significant driver of tuition.
. . .
Because tuition is such a significant revenue source for OUS, students and parents are primary payers of any increases in PEBB costs. (pp. 6-7) [emphasis added]
Oregon House Democrats seem unconcerned that Oregon university students are being saddled with $67 million in unnecessary tuition costs. These higher tuition costs put college education further and further out of reach of poor and middle class Oregon students, and result in significantly more student debt for those who do manage to enroll.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Church Bells Ringing 69 Years Ago for D-Day

Portland church bells were ringing 69 years ago today to celebrate the Allied invasion of Europe. D-Day was a wonderful and sad day all at once.

It heralded the beginning of the end for the Nazis and Axis powers. But, also resulted in about 4,500 American and Allied killed out of about 160,000 in the invading force.

It was a major turning point for the War in Europe, and became another image of valor in war time that stamped America's "greatest generation".

World War II cadets - Stockton, California