Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sarah Chayes in Afghanistan

In a WaPo op-ed she talks about how we get out of Afghanistan with our hides and with a viable country left behind. The solution is to fix the Afghan government. Right now the people have a choice between working with an inept, corrupt government and being targeted by the Taliban, or working with the Taliban. It's a loser's choice. In addition to troops we need to send a senior, experienced Peace Corps of folks who know how to make local governments work under the rule of law. We need to help Afghans reform their government so it has proper checks and balances to root out and inhibit corruption.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Kennewick City Council Member

And the empty seat goes to...(here's where I get to scoop the venerable John Trumbo of the TCH)...Steve Young.

It was a unanimous choice by the council. And I wasn't surprised a bit. Based on the interviews his was clearly the strongest. He gave solid answers to questions on which other candidates tended to just fuzz out. On leadership he talked about the proper and disciplined exercise of influence. On handling strong disagreements he didn't invoke complicated mediation processes. He simply said that disagreements end when the vote is taken. He also showed a good appreciation for the work the city does without placing a large tax burden on its citizens. This says that though he leans Republican, he isn't in favoring of cutting and gutting good government.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


On the Rachel Maddow show Karl Levin calls for a commission to determine what war crime indictments can be leveled onto members of the Bush administration. Dick Cheney will probably top the list since he is on record as authorizing torture of detainees.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kennewick City Council Applicants

For the good of the order here are the party points associated with the 9 applicants to the vacated seat of Jim Beaver.

Steve Young, Leans Republican
Ramona Vallee, Unknown
Kurt Workman, Democrat
Richard Fehr, Leans Republican
Victor R. Morris, Strong Republican
Loren D. Nichols, Unknown
Kathleen L. Knowles, Leans Republican
Guy Bishop, Independent
Robert Spaulding, Independent

Update: Council Interview session is December 18.
Update 2: Kurt informs us that he is a Democrat. Thanks Kurt.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Low Hanging Fruit

This seems like the perfect climate for the small bankers who really have more than a statistical knowledge of their potential clientele to take customers away from the big banks that have been eating their lunch in the recent past. Offer loans to the small businesses that are caught in the credit lock. Both parties benefit and the recovery begins at a microscopic level. I've watched competition push gasoline prices to unimaginable lows. There's no reason why some savvy bankers can't cherry pick a few customers and make some real scratch out of the situation. There's no reason for the whole banking industry be all herd animals.

Update: I raised this question to a bank executive I met at a recent soiree. His response was that the government was indeed giving his independent bank money so but it was required to buy troubled banks with it. What he would rather be doing is just taking the troubled banks customers.

Monday, December 08, 2008

"No Drama" Before "No Drama" Was Cool

Al Giordano makes the case for Caroline Kennedy:
"Paterson and New York, thus, would not just be getting a Senator. They would get, with Caroline, the driver with the keys to the most finely tuned and influential progressive national political network in American politics, reaching (in many cases invisibly) into levers of power in all branches of government and in many states far from Massachusetts, including among the networks planted by the Southern Civil Rights movement and among Hispanic-American political leaders and organizations from Texas to California for whom 'Tio Ted' has been mentor and unflinching ally. (The Kennedys have long been central to the push for multi-racial movements in US politics, one that just became realized with Obama's election as never before: that will also serve Attorney Kennedy and so many of her constituents well in New York.)"

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nuclear engines of job creation

Dan Yurman points out that the government can generate permanent, high-paying and non-exportable jobs by simply providing loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear power plants.