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Posts published in “Day: May 7, 2006”

Never too early: ’08 Senate kicking in?

Yes, we too saw the Earl Blumenauer Tv spots last week. That's not entirely a stunner. He does, of course, have an almost perfectly safe district - Oregon's 3rd (which takes in most of Portland and some surrounding area east of the Willamette) is about as secure for a Democrat as the 2nd (east of the Cascades) has been for Republicans.

Earl BlumenauerStill, if he's going to raise campaign money (he has raised $354,743 as of the end of March), he'd better spend some of it 0n something. Even if he has no substantial opposition, which he doesn't (and no Republican at all to worry about in the fall). And the ads were nice, pleasing, good-government type ads. Nothing controversial.

Or could there be more to the story?

Tucked away in a column item, the Portland Tribune is reporting that "The most likely scenario, according to informed political observers, is for the U.S. Senate, namely the seat currently held by Republican Gordon Smith. There has been speculation over whether Smith will run for re-election in 2008; even if he does, he will be a major target for the national Democratic Party. This explains why Blumenauer’s fundraiser last week at the Oregon Convention Center had a statewide, bipartisan feel to it, focusing on issues like agriculture, popular votes on how to spend the kicker, and favoring the open primary that lets anyone vote in either main party’s primary election."

Unmentioned but possibly notable: Bluemenauer's predecessor as 3rd district representative was fellow Democrat Ron Wyden, who is now Smith's colleague in the Senate.

UPDATE: A reader in Bend notes that the Blumenauer ad is running on local stations there - quite some distance from his 3rd congressional district but smack near the geographic center of the state . . .

Culture by Barbie

For a satiric look at the cultural variations around the Northwest, you could do worse than Barbie.

Someone around the web, somewhere, got hold of the idea that Barbie dolls, which long have had different versions based on profession or interest, could as well be described differently according to geography. Amd so they have. Available on the web now are well-developed lists of Oregon and Washington Barbies (Portland's KPAM radio has one of the best for Oregon, and STAR 105 radio has a good list for Washington. Be advised that some locale descriptions appear to have been plagarized from some others - although even those choices are indicative.

The Washington list is west-of-Cascades only. Bloggers at the Spokesman-Review web site, notably Dave Oliveria at Huckleberries, are at work remedying that situation, having already developed proposals across the Idaho line for Coeur d'Alene, Sandpoint, Moscow and even Athol Barbies.

Oregonians will easily get the point of the Eugene Barbie: "This Barbie is made out of recycled plastic and tofu. She has long straight brown hair, archless feet, hairy armpits, no make-up, and Birkenstocks with white socks. She does not want, or need, a Ken doll. If you purchase the optional Subaru wagon, you will receive a free rainbow flag sticker. Available at REI."

Or the Salem Barbie: " Comes with a bland wardrobe and sensible shoes. The navigation system on her white Jeep Cherokee is preset with her favorite destinations: Target, Big Lots, Tin Tin Buffet, Lancaster Drive, and the Four Square Evangelical Church of Jesus the Redeemer. Customize her ride with included bumper stickers: 'Support the Troops,' 'Stop Abortion Now,' and 'My Child is a Honor Student at Christ the King Bible School'.”

Looking for a quick cultural shorthand? You could do worse.

And late, too

The timing was not good. Just days after announcing the upcoming $3 toll at the rebuilt Tacoma Narrows bridge, there's more news: The April 2007 opening has now been moved to July 2007.

Presumably, the contractor is not happy about this either; apparently the delay wil lbe costly on that front. The question here: Will the delay make the toll a tougher sell?