Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vanport Flood - Multnomah County Video Footage

Yesterday was the 64th anniversary of the Vanport Flood. Multnomah County has posted archival video footage of it on YouTube.

Romney Campaign Seeks Payback and Confrontation

Romney's nearly empty circling campaign bus and surrogates at Obama/Biden events were apparently the tip of the dumb campaign strategy iceberg.

The Romney campaign is into "payback" despite the fact that the Left and Obama people know how to do disruption so much better than any Republican. (Can you say "Wisconsin"?)

The Romney campaign seems to be doubling down on dumb. Byron York reports that today Obama adviser David Axelrod and other Democratic speakers faced "about 100 Romney workers, supporters, and volunteers [who] showed up to chant, shout, and heckle the speakers every step of the way." [emphasis added]
"It was the kind of tactic that is usually repaid in kind on the campaign trail, and it seems likely -- certain, actually -- that Romney surrogates, and perhaps Mitt Romney himself, will soon face similar actions at their events. But Romney aides aren't worried, saying what they did was both payback and a message.

"'They heckle us at every single event we go to,' says a well-connected Romney aide. 'Just last week, Romney did a speech at the bridge to nowhere [in New Hampshire] and alluded to the "Greek chorus" that was off to the side.' Indeed, as Romney talked about government waste, a group of Democrats stood at some distance and shouted 'Obama! Obama! Obama!' Romney faced a similar scene at another event in New Hampshire, in a fishing village, when he and Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte were hounded by pro-Obama protesters. And pro-Obama forces also staged a big protest when Romney gave his speech on the economy in Detroit in February.

"So Team Romney views the Boston event as payback. But they also, by striking back bigger and louder, want to send a message to Team Obama that Romney is ready to fight. Romney aides characterize the Axelrod event as a 'sneak attack' in Romney's home territory. 'The Obama campaign thought they were going to come into our own turf and launch a dishonest sneak attack on Gov. Romney's record,' says the Romney aide. 'We're not going to allow that to happen. We are going to hold them accountable every single time.'"
[emphasis added]
Not worried? Bigger and louder? Good luck with that.* The Romney campaign staff may turn out to make the 2008 McCain campaign staff look not so bad after all.
*Unfortunately the Obama team is not made up of the same kind of gentlemen as the Gingrich team was. They are more the kind that bring a gun to a knife fight.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank You Heroes!

This is a day to honor those who have fought and died defending our liberty.

I especially want to honor two cousins from my own family:

E. M. Williams who died in 1943 in New Guinea

A. Lick who died in 1944 in Belgium

A. Lick - 1943

Friday, May 25, 2012

Romney Bus Payback Begins

I told you that the Romney campaign bus "circling" an Obama/Biden campaign event and surrogates attending opponent events first with the Gingrich campaign and then with the Obama/Biden campaign were not smart moves. Payback is beginning. John Nolte reports:
"Buried deep in yesterday's Washington Post article about presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney being heckled during a visit to an inner-city school in Philadelphia, is the extraordinary news that a portion of those hecklers were organized by the Obama campaign:
"'Outside, meanwhile, some brick row houses across from the school were boarded up. Police had cordoned off a full city block to protect Romney and his entourage. Residents, some of them organized by Obama’s campaign, stood on their porches and gathered at a sidewalk corner to shout angrily at Romney. Some held signs saying, "We are the 99%." One man’s placard trumpeted an often-referenced Romney gaffe: "I am not concerned about the very poor."'
"'Madaline G. Dunn, 78, who said she has lived here for 50 years and volunteers at the school, said she is "personally offended" that Romney would visit her neighborhood.'
“'"It’s not appreciated here," she said. "It is absolutely denigrating for him to come in here and speak his garbage."'
"'Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) addressed protesters and the media, quipping that Romney "suddenly somehow found West Philadelphia."'
"I'm not sure which is more offensive: the President of the United States community organizing private citizens to artificially undermine an opponent's visit to an inner-city school with Occupy Wall Street sloganeering, or the Washington Post' s Philip Rucker not only burying this news but also allowing themselves to be willingly duped into covering the story in theway the Obama campaign desired.
It probably would have happened anyway, but the Romney campaign cannot legitimately complain about "occupy-style" protests when similar efforts have been a clear part of the Romney campaign style since January.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

12 Heroes Fighting in the Afghanistan War Who Died May 11 to May 21, 2012

May 13th press release; no death date given - The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). Petty Officer Second Class Jorge Luis Velasquez, 35, of Houston, died as a result of a non-combat related incident in Manama, Bahrain

May 11 - 1st Lt. Alejo R. Thompson, 30, of Yuma, Ariz., died in Bagram, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire.
- Sgt. Wade D. Wilson, 22, of Normangee, Texas, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

May 12 - Spc. Alex Hernandez III, 21, of Round Rock, Texas, died in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
- Staff Sgt. Israel P. Nuanes, 38, of Las Cruces, N.M., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained during an enemy attack with an improvised explosive device.

May 13 - They died in Bowri Tana, Afghanistan, when the enemy attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
- Sgt. Brian L. Walker, 25, of Lucerne Valley, Calif., and
- Pfc. Richard L. McNulty III, 22, Rolla, Mo.

May 18 - They died in Asadabad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an indirect fire. Killed were:
- Sgt. Michael J. Knapp, 28, of Overland Park, Kan., and
- Sgt. Jabraun S. Knox, 23, of Fort Wayne, Ind.

May 19 - Spc. Samuel T. Watts, 20, of Wheaton, Ill., died in Bethesda, Md., of wounds sustained April 25, in Zharay, Afghanistan, when he was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device.

May 20 - They died in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
- Capt. Jesse A. Ozbat, 28, of, Prince George, Va., and
- 2nd Lt. Tobias C. Alexander, 30, of Lawton, Okla.

Monday, May 21, 2012

PEBB Has State Employees Paying More than Double for Their Own Incentives; HEM Requirements Likely to Balloon

Last month Dennis Thompson Jr. reported that the Oregon State Public Employment Benefits Bureau (PEBB) was set to raise health cost rates for state employees a projected $4.03 to $5.52 a month (depending on plan) "despite a $42 million [maybe $46 million--see below] projected surplus". Thompson noted:
"It’s hard to say whether the increase in premium contributions will matter to workers. After all, the cost difference between this year and next amounts to one cheap Subway footlong a month for PEBB Statewide members, and a cup or two of Beanery coffee a month for Kaiser members."
Still Public employee rate payers wondered why rates were going up if there was such a big surplus--which if divided up among the 80,000 state employees would amount to more than $43/month in health payment savings for each employee. That's quite a bit more than a Subway footlong or a cup of coffee or two a month. Actually, it amounts to a good chunk of what they are now paying monthly: $50-$70/month depending on plan coverage.

Ingrid Noberg, spokeswoman of PEBB, responded by saying the $41.9 million was projected as savings that "could accumulate" in 2012 not "dollars in hand" and, anyway, premiums are based on the overall health cost "trend" not savings.
"Projections of premium rate increases are based on trend, which tries to account for all variables. Trend for PEBB continues to rise, although Board decisions have mitigated some cost increases. PEBB trend overall appears to be about 4.5%, which is below what is currently budgeted and looks to be at or below overall market projections."
Reporter Johnson further explained that PEBB pays out about $10 million a week in medical (which doesn't include dental) claims, and so a $42 million surplus would only be "a four-week cushion for a 52-week health plan."

But, wait. That $41.9 million rather insignificant surplus is now going to fund the $12.6 million needed to pay a $17.50 per month "incentive" to the 60,000 (75% of) state employees currently signed up for PEBB's Health Engagement Model (HEM).
"The cash incentive would cost PEBB about $12.6 million under current HEM participation levels. About 60,000 people, or 75 percent of those covered by PEBB, are participating in the wellness plan this year, Loretz said.

"PEBB will draw the money to pay for the incentive from a projected $46 million [see above] surplus in the stabilization fund that it must maintain as a self-insured health plan."
Apparently Dennis Johnson failed to connect the information in these articles. How could a third ($12.6 million) of a supposedly insignificant savings of $42 [46?] million easily pay a $17.50/month incentive to 60,000 state employees, but not even more easily cover the $5/month increase for 80,000? ($12.6 million pencils out to over $13/month for each of the 80,000 employees.)

And if these are "projected" rather than "cash in hand" savings, how can policy be adopted to spend those funds?

Noberg seems to have done a good job of spinning information to Dennis Thompson Jr. It looks like PEBB is (wink, wink) giving state employees their HEM participation $17.50/month "incentive" from an extra $4-$5/month new charge to them and not refunding a cent of the $43+/month in savings expected to be gained this year. Receipt of $17.50/month for payment of $47+/month sounds like a reversal of the old "buy low, sell high" investment advice.

Then there are the upcoming Health Engagement Model demands. In 2012 HEM requirements to avoid a $20/month ($35/month for couples) fine have been fairly easy: complete a health questionnaire and two online lessons. Though there have been some problems with the questionnaire being a bit too intrusive, participants were assured they would not be pressured.
"Q: Do I have to lose weight, quit tobacco or meet any other goal?
"The only expectation is that members follow through on their commitment to take the assessment and education steps. No one will be held accountable for a measure of success – just for taking the these steps."
Requirements for participants in HEM may radically increase in 2013. Here are ideas for the 2013 follow up:
"• Blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol tests.

"• Required participation in weight management or smoking cessation programs for employees who are overweight or using tobacco.

"• Participation in a health screening program or a physical activity challenge."
[emphasis added]
Poor state employees. They are PEBB's own little social sample to form and reform at will. They really do need a union to protect them--a better union and better protection than they have now.

UPDATE: Credit where it is due. SEIU reports:
"In June, PEBB will discuss whether or not to increase the HEM requirements in 2013. Through our committee, we have been clear: PEBB should not increase HEM requirements in 2013."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Partial Solar Eclipse

Two shots: one with my Canon SX150 (taken at 6:26 pm) and the second with my Canon SX30 (taken at 6:31 pm) of the eclipse through the clouds. The first shows some of the ring effect. The second shows a better outline of the moon as it started to recede. I've darkened both a bit in photoshop.

Thanks to Max for the heads up on this.  

Update: Max reminds me of how different a total eclipse is from a partial eclipse (even with 90+% coverage).

Here's Annie Dillard:
"I had seen a partial eclipse in 1970. A partial eclipse is very interesting. It bears almost no relation to a total eclipse. Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him, or as flying in an airplane has to falling out of an airplane. Although the one experience precedes the other, it in no way prepares you for it. During a partial eclipse the sky does not darken--not even when 94 percent of the sun is hidden."
("Total Eclipse" in Teaching a Stone to Talk)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oregon PEBB Now Paying Those Who Play

Dennis Thompson, Jr., reports that the Oregon Public Employees' Benefit Board (PEBB) has decided to pay participants in its Health Engagement Model rather than fine non-participants. It will only cost an extra $12.6 million if current participants continue on (not counting how much extra would be required if the current non-participating 25% decide to sign on). That's almost exactly the amount ($13 million) the state recently cut "to providers of in-home care to seniors and the disabled" as part of dealing with the state's $341 million projected shortfall. Hey, PEBB in, seniors and disabled out.

With the State of Oregon's continuing budget problems, not to mention the fact that PEBB has no evidence that programs already in use* similar to their Health Engagement Model have saved a dime in medical insurance expenses or make employes more healthy, PEBB still trundles on in its desire to reformat state workers' lives. Public employees are PEBB's own little social sample to do with almost as they choose.

But there have been a few pebbles in the shoe, so to speak. First there was major bungling on intrusive, non-health-related questions which even caused upset in the state legislature.

Second there was an incompetent system set up in which people were not sure who their information would be shared with or if their compliance was even noted.**

Union representatives on PEBB were clearly getting their members' message of complaint which resulted in a recent 4-4 split*** (tie vote broken when Chairman Sean Kolmer voted yes) between labor and management representatives on the PEBB. Labor representative attention was further focused with the almost loss of fair share member dues****.

Apparently all this was sufficient to finally pressure PEBB to do a reversal in policy. Instead of fining employees $20.00 ($35.00 for couples) a month for not participating, PEBB will now pay employees $17.50 ($35.00 for couples) a month for participating.  It will be interesting to see what kind of participation rate this gets.
*From a February 17, 2012 Statesman Journal article no longer online:
"Longtime board member Jeanene Smith noted that previous efforts to get PEBB members to take health risk assessments have resulted in only a couple thousand participants."
. . .
"'That is way more than have ever participated in the 8 or 9 years I've been on this board,' she said. 'The assessments have been there, and no one has ever gone to them.'"
**From an April 6, 2012 Statesman Journal article no longer online:
"Some workers also may have been daunted by technical problems with the online surveys and either gave up trying or failed to get credit for forms they actually did fill out, SEIU Local 503 Executive Director Heather Conroy said.

“'We’ve been raising alarm bells over technical problems people have been having,' Conroy said."
***See earlier post.

****From a March 15, 2012 Statesman Journal article no longer online:
"Workers in Construction Contractors Board Local 3581 tied 21-21 on a vote to rescind the 'fair share' agreement, under which its 85 workers must pay AFSCME dues regardless of whether they are union members.

"A tie means the measure fails. The vote was open to everyone in the bargaining unit, union and nonunion.

"Employees staged the vote to protest AFSCME's participation in the creation of a controversial new wellness program called the Health Engagement Model.

"'They wanted to send a message to the union,' Local 3581 President Joe Laria said of workers who supported the measure, which is called a deauthorization vote. 'I think our message was received loud and clear.'"
. . .
"A successful deauthorization vote would have meant that workers represented by Local 3581 who don't belong to the union no longer would have had to pay union dues."

Oregon Smashes Low Presidential Primary Turnout Record by More than 10%

Apparently, Oregon has set a new low presidential primary turnout record. Turnout for 2012 is 34.33%* a whopping 12% below the previous presidential primary low turnout and about even with the previous non-presidential primary low.

Last Friday Oregonian columnist Jeff Mapes wrote that Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown thought the primary election might be "in the 'low 40s,' which would be the lowest voter participation for the state's presidential primary in modern history."

Mapes noted that the lowest turnout rate for a presidential primary year was was in 2004 with 46.4%.** Lowest non-presidential primary turnout was in 1998 with 34.9%.

It looks like 2012 has smashed the 2004 low presidential primary turnout record by about 12% and matched the 1994 non-presidential primary low.

The ease of vote by mail is not stopping registered voter flight from Oregon elections.

Republican participation dropped 15% this year (40.1%) from 2008 (55.9%) in circumstances which are fairly similar to 2008 when McCain had already locked up the Republican nomination then as Romney has now. The 15% drop is not good news for Oregon Republicans or the Romney campaign.

Democratic participation dropped by more than half this year (36.1%) from 2008 (75.8%) though the drop in Democratic participation certainly has to do with the fact that in 2008 Obama and Hillary Clinton were still locked in a horse race for the Democratic nomination.  Still it's also not good news for Democrats and the Obama campaign.
*preliminary figure as of 05/16/2012 12:17 PM
**Mapes explains the 2004 figure rather than the lower 1996: "If you go back through the old primary statistics on the Elections Division website, you'd be tempted to say the record low turnout was in 1996, when it was only 37.8 percent. But that wasn't a presidential primary. The Legislature created a separate March presidential primary that year in an attempt to give the state more clout."

Oregon Primary: Romney 71.62%, Paul 12.45%, Santorum 9.14%, Gingrich 5.46%

Secretary of State's unofficial results for the Oregon Republican Presidential Primary:

Gingrich - 13,753 votes (5.46%)
Paul - 31,356 votes (12.45%)
Romney - 180,411 votes (71.62%)
Santorum - 23,024 votes (9.14%)
Write-in - 3,366 votes (1.34%)
TOTAL - 251,910 votes

Best and worst counties:
Gingrich - Harney (8.25%); Lane (4.35%)
Paul - Grant (18.16%); Lake (8.59%)
Romney - Deschutes (77.67%); Wheeler (64.58%)
Santorum - Morrow (12.61%); Deschutes (6.82%)

President Obama received 254,861 votes (94.94%) out of 268,526 votes for president in the Democratic primary. (slight difference in figures between the counties page and the overall page)
Best and worst counties: Yamhill (100%); Harney (74.11%).

Turn out by party:
Democratic: 36.10% - 299,829 ballots cast of 830,502 registered voters
Republican: 40.08% - 269,055 ballots cast of 671,329 registered voters
Nonpartisan (nonaffiliated, minor parties, others): 17.47% - 96,380 ballots cast of 551,724 registered voters
TOTAL: 32.40% - 665,264 ballots cast of 2,053,555 registered voters

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Anchorage Daily News Sees Continuing Circulation Decline Despite Better Numbers in the Industry

The Anchorage Daily News saw a continuing decline it its daily circulation (-4.51%) and its Sunday edition (-5.68%) from a year ago. Audit Bureau of Circulations notes that in the same period there was a 0.68% average circulation gain for other daily newspapers and a 5% gain in Sunday circulation.
“Fueled largely by increases in digital circulation and branded editions, daily circulation for the 618 newspapers reporting comparable multiday averages rose .68 percent. Circulation for the 532 newspapers reporting comparable Sunday data increased 5 percent.”
This means that in the last year the Anchorage Daily News lost 5% more in its daily circulation than the average newspaper and a whopping 10% more in its Sunday circulation.

Over four years the Anchorage Daily News has lost about a third of its circulation (-31.72% daily; -33.98% Sunday).

Coincidentally at the beginning of this same four year period the Anchorage Daily News began running mostly negative articles on then Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and has continued the pattern. (Previously there had been some quite positive articles.)

Anchorage Daily News circulation numbers:
. . . . . . . . . . . . .daily . . . .Sunday
March 2008 . . 64,042 . . 71,233
March 2009 . . 58,468 . . 63,160
March 2010 . . 49,019 . . 53,764
March 2011 . . 45,791 . . 49,859
March 2012 . . 43,725 . . 47,029

Monday, May 14, 2012

Track Your Vote in Oregon 2012

Here's the link to verify that your county has counted your vote in Oregon.

Apparently you have only ten days* after election day to contest if your vote for some reason was not counted. You need to contact your county elections office if you find your vote was not counted.
*This information is from OregonGuy (a blogger no longer posting and who is missed).

Two Amateurs Give New England Historic Genealogical Society a Black Eye

Michael Patrick Leahy reports that when questions were raised about a claim by New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) genealogist Chris Child based on the research of amateur genealogist Lynda Smith, Smith went to work to verify the information. By contrast, Child and NEHGS have gone silent.

Chris Child a genealogist of NEHGS publicly stated there was genealogical evidence that Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren's great-great-great-grandmother was Cherokee based on marriage certificate content. His source was Lynda Smith.

When further questions were asked about the truthfulness of the marriage certificate evidence, Smith and another amateur genealogist, Sam Morningstar, tried to verify Smith's claim. The only response of Chris Child and the NEHGS was at first to say they did not have the original transcript but an "electronic transcript" and then later to refuse to verify or comment further.
"NEHGS is not conducting research on Elizabeth Warren nor are we commenting beyond what has already been covered by the media.

"Thank you.

"Tom Champoux

By contrast, amateur genealogists Lynda Smith and Sam Morningstar, dug into the evidence and found not only the premise flawed (Oklahoma didn't have a marriage application process in the year specified which might have asked for racial background) but that the evidence is actually against that great-great-great-grandmother being Cherokee. Sam Morningstar discovered:
"'There are rumors of Indian blood along this line SOMEWHERE (or associated families) but it doesn't appear to be supported by any documents. The extant documents do show O.C. Smith living in White American society with no apparent tribal affiliation. Also, her parents Wyatt and Margaret (Peggy) testified in court in verify John Curtis/Dolly Honeycutt marriage in Chatham NC in 1793. This would indicate a couple that was part of Anglo/settler society. Margaret in particular is a little mysterious at this point, but the fact that she is allowed to testify in court and has knowledge of a marriage in Chatham NC in early 1790s wouldn't point to a connection with a Cherokee community. Wyatt is found in more documents and he is clearly not affiliated with the Cherokee community. He was from early settler stock.'"
It seems Chris Child and the NEHGS are not concerned with making sure the evidence they present is true.

Kudos to Lynda Smith and Sam Morningstar for caring to verify genealogical evidence that the professionals at NEHGS are unwilling to do.

Michele Bachmann's Dual Citizenship

Talk about convoluted reasoning. Mark Krikorian over at National Review is incensed that Michele Bachmann accepted dual Swiss citizenship automatically given to her because of her husband's heritage. Krikorian (who continues the anti-dual citizenship argument here and the marriage analogy here) likens dual citizenship to bigamy.
"Dual citizenship isn’t simply a matter of convenience, a way to make travel easier or a sentimental tie to the Auld Sod. It’s a formal declaration of divided allegiance, civic bigamy, if you will."
Huh? If you're going to make the marriage comparison, why not polygamy (except for the current presumed Republican nominee's religious background)? Bigamy is when you're not legally allowed to have two marriages. Polygamy is when the two marriages are legal (like dual citizenship). Does Krikorian knows the difference between bigamy and polygamy? Apparently not.

Aside from Krikorian's definitional problem, the idea of dual citizenship as cheating in marriage leads one to the somewhat ludicrous definition of vacationing abroad as being a one-night stand or actually living abroad as being adultery.

However, at least Krikorian merely calls for Bachmann to refuse dual citizenship. Newsmax also brings in as a major gun on this controversy Lori Stacey (a "conservative blogger" according to Newsmax) who thinks Bachmann should resign her seat in the House of Representatives. Stacey, of course, is well known for her major contributions to conservatism. Oh, wait, I've never heard of her either.

Why does a peripheral figure like Stacey get big press from a conservative outlet like Newsmax just because she is willing to say outrageous things against a real conservative leader with real conservative accomplishments? It is understandable why such as Kathleen Parker*, Jennifer Rubin, Andrew Sullivan and David Frum get cited by the liberal media for attacking conservative politicians. But why does a conservative news outlet tout such people?

I think it's a silly issue. Michele Bachmann having Swiss citizenship says nothing about her commitment to the United States. Just as a person having only U.S. citizenship says nothing about his commitment to the United States. Actions are the key to commitment and dual citizenship is not the harbinger either of cooling passion or treason.

Not a bright day for National Review. Even worse for the Newsmax staff for quoting someone truly silly
*Parker even won a Pulitzer prize. One wonders whether liberal commentators are miffed that a fairly mediocre writer like Parker can waltz away with a Pulitzer just because she used to be a conservative and now bashes conservatives. If it weren’t such a roadblock to getting a job in journalism, there might be a lot of journalist versions of Elizabeth Warren claiming they had a 1/32nd conservative background in order to be in the running for Pulitzers or the Washington Post conservative blogger position.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

14 Heroes Who Died Fighting in the Afghanistan War April 25 to May 7, 2012

April 25 - Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Brittonmihalo, 25, of Simi Valley, Calif., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from small arms fire.

April 28 - Master Sgt. Scott E. Pruitt, 38, of Gautier, Miss., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
- Pfc. Christian R. Sannicolas, 20, Anaheim, Calif., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

April 30 - Sgt. Nicholas M. Dickhut, 23, of Rochester, Minn., died in Zharay, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.

May 1 - Capt. Bruce K. Clark, 43, Spencerport, N.Y., died in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.

May 2 - They died in Logar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
2nd Lt. David E. Rylander, 23, of Stow, Ohio.
Spc. Junot M. L. Cochilus, 34, of Charlotte, N.C.

May 3 - Staff Sgt. Zachary H. Hargrove, 32, of Wichita, Kan., died in Bagram, Afghanistan.

May 4 - Master Sgt. Gregory L. Childs, 38, Warren, Ark., died in Kabul, Afghanistan.

May 6 - Sgt. John P. Huling, 25, of West Chester, Ohio, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Huling’s death was originally reported by the International Security Assistance Force, which characterized it as the result of gunshot wounds inflicted by an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform. This incident is under investigation.
- Staff Sgt. Thomas K. Fogarty, 30, of Alameda, Calif., died in Ahmad-Kheyl, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

May 7 - They died in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
Sgt. Jacob M. Schwallie, 22, of Clarksville, Tenn.
Spc. Chase S. Marta, 24, of Chico, Calif.
Pfc. Dustin D. Gross, 19, of Jeffersonville, Ky.

Pro-Life Parental Involvement Laws Save Life of Mother as well as Child

Turns out up to 1/5th of female teenage suicides can be prevented by parental involvement laws. Pro-life advocates have not only protected the life of the child with these laws but the life of the young mother as well. Such pro-life laws also reduce the teen pregnancy rate (up to 9%) and spread of STDs (up to 20%). Oh, and no evidence that they cause an increase in child abuse. Michael J. New explains:
"This spring the journal Economic Inquiry published a study by Joseph Sabia and Daniel Reese which found very solid evidence that pro-life parental involvement laws reduce the suicide rate for teen females. This peer-reviewed study is both methodologically rigorous and well done. Analyzing state-level suicide data from 1987 to 2003 and holding constant both state-level trends and a range of economic and demographic factors, it finds that parental involvement laws reduce the suicide rate for teen females anywhere from 11 to 21 percent. The authors argue that this is because parental involvement laws reduce the incidence of stressful life events. These include unprotected sexual intercourse, STDs, pregnancies, and abortions.
"The authors utilize an impressive range of statistical tests to document their findings. For instance, the regression results indicate that parental involvement laws have only a marginal impact on the suicide rate of older females who would not be directly affected by the law. Also, parental involvement laws have little impact on the suicide rate for teen males. However, this is consistent with the hypothesis that unprotected sex imposes a greater psychological burden on female adolescents than on their male counterparts. Finally, parental involvement laws have less of an effect on teen female suicide rates — if adjacent states are not enforcing parental involvement laws."
. . .
"Additionally, a 2003 study in the Journal of Health Economics by Phillip Levine found that parental-involvement laws reduce the pregnancy rate of 15- to 17-year-olds by 4 to 9 percent. A 2008 study in the Journal of Law Economics and Organization by Jonathan Klick and Thomas Stratmann shows that parental involvement laws reduce gonorrhea rates anywhere from 12 to 20 percent for females under 20. Pro-choice opponents of parental-involvement laws frequently argue that they will lead to a higher incidence of child abuse. However, there is no comparable body of peer-reviewed evidence demonstrating the negative public-health impact of these laws."
[emphasis added]

Monday, May 07, 2012

Byron York: Gingrich elevated GOP race

Byron York:
"Watching Newt Gingrich's graceful and low-key withdrawal from the presidential race Wednesday, it was hard not to think back to January, in Columbia, S.C., when he drew a wall-to-wall, fired-up crowd to celebrate his blowout victory in that state's primary."
. . .
"Gingrich simply ran circles around Romney in South Carolina. On the stump, Gingrich paid his audiences the respect of speaking to them seriously, sometimes in quite a lot of detail, about serious things. Romney, in brief, sometimes frantic-feeling appearances, ran through a list of platitudes, often ending with his recitation of 'America the Beautiful.'"
. . .
"In an organizational sense, Gingrich never really had much of a campaign. But he is a serious man who has accomplished big things in his life, and his presence made the race a more substantial affair. And it's fair to say Romney became a better candidate after facing the Gingrich challenge. Even those Republicans who never wanted Gingrich to win should be glad he ran."
Speaker Gingrich's debate/discussion with Herman Cain was one of the most interesting and educational campaign events of this campaign or any recent campaign.

Again, Byron York shows why his analysis towers above most of the conservative press and pundits both in fairness (he hasn't trashed any of the candidates) and insight. Gingrich did elevate this campaign because he was serious about the issues and gave well thought out proposals. (Herman Cain did too.) York is the only major journalist I know to point this out.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Fix for Audible Format 1

How many times have we bought something, especially in computer technology/software, and found out that the makers don't have a clue how to fix a problem? But, some little guy has figured it out and posted the fix on the internet?

Awhile back a relatively new LG external disk drive just stopped being recognized by my computer. LG didn't have a fix, but this guy did. So, instead of throwing the drive away and vowing never to get another LG, I'm still using that drive. I wrote to LG saying they should give this guy a reward, but no comment back from them.

Well, all yesterday I was trying to find a fix for an Audible book file. It seems the current Audible player no longer plays Format 1. I have one book I got in 2005 that was only available in Format 1 and is currently not available. OK. So, surely Audible would have an older Audible player available for download that would play Format 1, right? Wrong. When you click on the file now, you get the message:
"Format 1 is no longer being supported by Audible for desktop playback and CD burning. You can re-download this file in another format from your library. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."
Only you can't download it in another format. It's only available in Format 1. [Frown.] They have live customer chat service with polite people, but no fix. They only direct me to call or write the company for technical support. [Frown. All I want is a reader.] I do internet searches trying to find someone with the same problem and a fix. No luck.

So, I go back to my old computer (which is in the basement and set up for backup emergency use in case the current one fails), hoping that the computer I used it on with an older Audible Manager will work. No, apparently there was an Audible Manager software update to the 2009 version which also doesn't support Format 1. [Frown.] If Audible knows they have sold lots of Format 1 book files, why not just keep an old reader available for installation?

Oh, but I have an old Palm Zire 31 that handled Audible files. [Search, search . . . here it is. Recharge. Load in the file (which fortunately is on my hard drive since it no longer will download from my online Audible library)]. Nope. Doesn't play either.

I go back to internet searches. Into page 4 someone has a stray comment. The commenter says he/she can play Audible files on the Jornada but only Format 1 (not Format 2) using Microsoft Reader. The posting was written in 2002. I search online there is a free version of Microsoft Reader updated in 2005. I'm hoping Microsoft hasn't done significant upgrades from 2002 to 2005 so that Format 1 no longer plays.

I install it, drag the file to it, and, voilĂ , IT PLAYS!

So, I open the sound recorder accessory and record the whole 5 hour plus file so I will have it in a usable format in the future.

This "fix" for playing Audible Format 1 files is my contribution and a token of thanks to all those people who have discovered fixes based on work they have done (sometimes hours or even days of work) and posted them for free out of the goodness of their heart. I have a file folder of "fixes" for different computer/software problems so I can find them easily when either I need them again or a friend needs them.

Why clueless creators/manufacturers like Audible and LG who supposedly know their products inside and out haven't made the effort to publish simple, free fixes is beyond me.

Thanks to Ten Mile Island (and MaxRedline) for a title fix on this post.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Oregonian Circulation Up 2.08% over September 2011

UPDATE: Oregonian circulation falls 5.8% in September 30, 2012 report.

The first yearly comparison under the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) new metrics came out today. The Oregonian had a slight bounce in daily circulation (247,833) from six months ago (242,784), though this is a drop from circulation a year ago.

This is the first ABC report to show circulation figures in terms of print and digital formats. The Oregonian’s print circulation (226,659) accounted for 91.5% of its total with digital circulation at 8.5% (21,174). This is below the national average. ABC: "On average, digital circulation now accounts for 14.2 percent of newspapers’ total circulation mix, up from 8.66 percent in March 2011."

Though showing a -4.82% drop from circulation a year ago, the Oregonian is up 2.08% from 6 months ago. Total slide from March 2000 (358,811) is a -31% drop of 110,978.

The Oregonian is number 21 among the top 25 newspapers in daily circulation.

The Wall Street Journal is number one nationally in daily circulation at 2,118,315. It ranks second in print circulation (1,566,027) as well as second in digital circulation (552,288).

USA Today has the largest print circulation in the U.S. with 1,701,777, but is 6th in digital circulation (115,669). Combined they give USA Today the second largest U.S. daily total circulation (1,817,446).

The New York Times (NYT) had the biggest yearly circulation growth with a 73.05% jump from March, 2011. All of this growth is due to increased digital circulation.* NYT leads the nation’s newspapers in digital circulation (807,026) which has overtaken its print circulation (779,731). A year ago NYT had a digital circulation of only 100,520. That jumped to 300,003 six months ago. The current digital circulation (807,026) is an 800% increase over a year ago and a 200% increase over six months ago. By contrast, NYT print circulation is down -4.5% (-36,660) from a year ago. NYT came in third nationally in total circulation (1,586,757).

ABC reports that as a whole, U.S. newspaper daily circulation is up 0.68% and Sunday circulation up 5% over March, 2011.

Here is ABC’s top 25 list:

Average Circulation at the Top 25 U.S. Daily Newspapers
Preliminary Figures as Filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations – Subject to Audit

(circulation as of 3/31/12 is the first figure; circulation as of 3/31/11 is second, and % change from 3/31/11 is third)
1. WALL STREET JOURNAL 2,118,315 2,117,796 0.02%
2. USA TODAY 1,817,446 1,829,099 -0.64%
3. NEW YORK TIMES 1,586,757 916,911 73.05%
4. LOS ANGELES TIMES 616,575 605,244 1.87%
5. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS 579,636 530,924 9.17%
6. SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS 575,786 577,662 -0.32%
7. NEW YORK POST 555,327 522,875 6.21%
8. WASHINGTON POST 507,615 550,821 -7.84%
9. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 422,335 419,408 0.70%
10. CHICAGO TRIBUNE 414,590 437,205 -5.17%
11. DALLAS MORNING NEWS 405,349 404,951 0.10%
12. DENVER POST 401,120 324,970 23.43%
13. NEWSDAY 397,973 298,759 33.21%
14. HOUSTON CHRONICLE 384,007 364,837 5.25%
15. PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER 325,291 343,709 -5.36%
16. PHOENIX REPUBLIC 321,600 337,170 -4.62%
17. MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 300,330 296,417 1.32%
18. ST. PETERSBURG TIMES 299,497 292,441 2.41%
19. ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER 280,812 182,964 53.48%
20. NEWARK STAR-LEDGER 278,940 229,253 21.67%
21. OREGONIAN 247,833 260,386 -4.82%
22. CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER 246,571 254,372 -3.07%
23. SEATTLE TIMES 236,929 253,740 -6.63%
24. SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE 230,742 218,614 5.55%
25. DETROIT FREE PRESS 230,739 246,169 -6.27%

and the top 25 in digital circulation:

Top 25 U.S. Daily Newspapers with Digital Editions Circulation as of 3/31/12
1. NEW YORK TIMES 807,026
4. DENVER POST 150,920
5. NEW YORK POST 146,748
6. USA TODAY 115,669
7. NEWSDAY 113,616
20. DETROIT NEWS 46,931
21. MIAMI HERALD 45,231
22. BALTIMORE SUN 42,866
*UPDATE: The New York Times explains its big digital jump:
"Under audit rules, newspapers can count paid digital subscribers more than once if they have daily access to digital content on multiple platforms like mobile apps or tablets as part of a bundled subscription package.
"So, for example, while the Times Company announced in March that it had 454,000 subscribers for digital versions of The Times and for The International Herald Tribune, the A.B.C. figure for daily Times digital subscribers was just over 807,000."
Thus it appears, NYT through clever bundling increased its digital subscription rate by 78% without increasing readership.