Archive for June, 2008

Jun 19 2008

Sonics v. No Sonics

Published by under Washington

Would your life be appreciably different if the Seattle Sonics were no longer in Seattle? (You’d think that would depend on whether you’re an active fan or not . . .)

The question has been asked by a pollster, the results emerged in legal action today, and here they are (for the Seattle metro area) for the question of whether you’re better or worse off if the Sonics leave: No difference 58%, 31% worse, 7% better, and 4% didn’t know.

The Sonics’ fan base again is . . .

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Jun 18 2008

Boeing rebound

Published by under Washington

The General Accounting Office decision today recommending a revistation of the Air Force decision not to buy its fleet of air tankers from Boeing (but from Northrop Grumman instead) doesn’t end the battle; the tenor of initial coverage suggests that it does, but it doesn’t.

But it is enough, and more than enough, to change the political tenor of the situation. And not in a direction that will help Arizona Senator John McCain – a backer of the Northrop decision – nor those candidates running under his banner.

From the GAO:

The GAO decision should not be read to reflect a view as to the merits of the firms’ respective aircraft. Judgments about which offeror will most successfully meet governmental needs are largely reserved for the procuring agencies, subject only to such statutory and regulatory requirements as full and open competition and fairness to potential offerors. The GAO bid protest process examines whether procuring agencies have complied with those requirements.

Specifically, GAO sustained the protest for the following reasons:

1. The Air Force, in making the award decision, did not assess the relative merits of the proposals in accordance with the evaluation criteria identified in the solicitation, which provided for a relative order of importance for the various technical requirements. The agency also did not take into account the fact that Boeing offered to satisfy more non-mandatory technical “requirements” than Northrop Grumman, even though the solicitation expressly requested offerors to satisfy as many of these technical “requirements” as possible.

2. The Air Force’s use as a key discriminator that Northrop Grumman proposed to exceed a key performance parameter objective relating to aerial refueling to a greater degree than Boeing violated the solicitation’s evaluation provision that “no consideration will be provided for exceeding [key performance parameter]

3. The protest record did not demonstrate the reasonableness of the Air Force’s determination that Northrop Grumman’s proposed aerial refueling tanker could
refuel all current Air Force fixed-wing tanker-compatible receiver aircraft in
accordance with current Air Force procedures, as required by the solicitation.

4. The Air Force conducted misleading and unequal discussions with Boeing, by
informing Boeing that it had fully satisfied a key performance parameter objective relating to operational utility, but later determined that Boeing had only partially met this objective, without advising Boeing of this change in the agency’s assessment and while continuing to conduct discussions with Northrop Grumman relating to its satisfaction of the same key performance parameter objective.

5. The Air Force unreasonably determined that Northrop Grumman’s refusal to
agree to a specific solicitation requirement that it plan and support the agency to
achieve initial organic depot-level maintenance within two years after delivery of the first full-rate production aircraft was an “administrative oversight,” and improperly made award, despite this clear exception to a material solicitation requirement.

6. The Air Force’s evaluation of military construction costs in calculating the
offerors’ most probable life cycle costs for their proposed aircraft was unreasonable, where the agency during the protest conceded that it made a number of errors in evaluation that, when corrected, result in Boeing displacing Northrop Grumman as the offeror with the lowest most probable life cycle cost; where the evaluation did not account for the offerors’ specific proposals; and where the calculation of military construction costs based on a notional (hypothetical) plan was not reasonably supported.

As noted, the GAO isn’t specifically recommending that Boeing get the award, and it can’t even force the Air Force to rerun the process. But it stands as an important statement that something went seriously wrong in the original Air Force selection process.

You can get the sense of where some of this is headed by checking out Washington Senator Patty Murray‘s statement today. In part: “It is Congress’ job to determine whether major defense purchases meet the needs of our warfighter and deserve taxpayer funding. The Pentagon must both justify its decision and address the flawed process that led to today’s ruling. We need answers before handing billions of American defense dollars to a subsidized, foreign company focused on dismantling the American aerospace industry.”

Expect revisitation of the statements by Boeing partisans about how McCain was directly involved in the decision, aftermath from his efforts against a 2004 Boeing contract and change in defense rules on bidding that were also opposed by Northrop.

McCain had helped block a contract with Boeing in 2004 and pressed the Pentagon in 2006 to change bidding rules opposed by Northrop Grumman and Airbus.

Of course, McCain was almost sure to lose Washington state (and Oregon) anyway. But this could have larger effects. Could it cause him serious trouble as well even in Kansas, where Boeing has mass operations at Wichita?

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Jun 17 2008

The Paul-McKague connection

Published by under Idaho

The results are subtle enough that they don’t jump out in a casual look. But someone who knows stats at the site Interstices has worked it out: A strong relationship between support for the former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, and for Idaho state Senator Shirley McKague.

From Interstices: “The raw votes by precinct correlate more closely than the percent of vote. And given that total votes cast in each race were very close (about 120 more votes in the Legislative race than the Presidential Primary, which is counterintuitive), it seems fair to compare the raw vote totals head to head as in the above scatterplot. . . . Using that r-square can mean — in effect, without a big stretch — that three of every four Ron Paul voters also supported McKague.” (Visit their site for the charts.)

This feels implicitly about right. And without running the stats in a detailed way, you can see it generally in a review of the 14 precincts in legislative district 20, where McKague (appointed to the Senate in the last term, but a long-time House member) was challenged by Representative Mark Snodgrass. McKague is a hard-core anti-government ideologue, formerly of the John Birch Society; Snodgrass would be considered conservative by conventional Idaho definitions, but also amenable to working on such things as air quality and transportation and education needs.

Of the 14 precincts, Snodgrass won two (43 and 48) and tied in a third (135); John McCain beat Paul by about 3-1 in all three, somewhat better than he did in most of the district. The margins varied enough that a detailed statistical analysis was about the only way to tease out a clear connection.

Interstices: “There may be a chicken and egg question going on here, whether the Ron Paul vote can first and then the voters continued to work down the ballot and voted in the Legislative races, or was it the Legislative race that brought out voters and they happened to have a Ron Paul affinity, or perhaps do not care for McCain?” We’d suggest the answer is simpler: The voters who were there for one simply found elements to support in the other, not that one is responsible for the other.

And we’re tempted by this thought too: That, given the myriad differences between a Paul and a McKague, what you’re really seeing here is a reaction against “mainstream” Republicans at this point – be those like McCain or like centrist Idaho conservatives.

(Hat Tip to Kevin Reichert at the Idaho Statesman, who also posted on this.)

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Jun 16 2008

Joint printing

Published by under Idaho,Washington

Another sign of circling the drain? The main indicator of trouble times for newspapers has been stagnant (or declining) circulation and declines in advertising, both critical. But maybe we should look too at the printing plants.

Traditionally, daily newspapers have run their own printing presses; those in joint operating agreements (like the dailies in Seattle) have shared that part of their operation, but they have been the exception. Even most small dailies have had their own presses. But that has begun to change. In Idaho, it changed in-corporation a few years ago when the papers at Pocatello and at Logan, Utah (which are about an hour and a half away from each other) quit their local printing and shared a joint press midway or so between them, at Preston. But those dailies were both owned by the same newspaper group.

Now something different is happening: Competing newspapers (which Pocatello and Logan were not) owned by different corporations are sharing printing plants. Today came word that the largest Idaho newspaper, the Statesman at Boise (owned by McClatchy Newspapers), will no longer have its own printing press, and will not even print in its home town, but will share operations with the Nampa Idaho Press-Tribune (owned by Pioneer Newspapers). Kinda changes the nature of the competition – a little less pure than it was. The same sort of thing has been approved as well in Washington, between the McClatchy Bellingham paper which will be printed at (Pioneer’s) Mount Vernon operation.

Secondarily, there’s another hidden question. Many publications depend on the newspaper presses for their printing, including most weekly newspapers. With this consolidation, will they continue to be able to get their papers printed locally, or even in arms length? And what might that do to journalism as it ripples along?

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Jun 15 2008

Pieces of TVW

Published by under Washington

The TVW network, which is more or less Washington’s very own C-Span (what a great service it is, and an idea co-optable elsewhere), is now living in the age of UTube, and not too comfortably. It has gotten great access to all sorts of governmental, policy and political activities over the years partly with the idea that although the public could see it all, the raw materials couldn’t be transformed into attack ads.

Except that in the age of UTube, that’s becoming an increasingly difficult proposition.

The battle over what can and can’t be excerpted from TVW (which copyrights its material) has been ongoing for a while, and the Horse’s Ass blog has been in the middle of it for a while. Some compromise seems to have been reached. Point here i to draw attention to a useful overview by Richard Roesler at the Spokesman Review, on his blog. Which also provides a useful video link . . .

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Jun 14 2008

Republicans in convention: Close split

Published by under Idaho

The non-establishment and the establishment split the votes at the Idaho Republican convention at Sandpoint. The establishment won more votes, but the outsiders won the big one, for state party chair.

That was where the line seemed drawn most clearly, between the grassroots, represented for purposes of this election by former congressional candidate Norm Semanko, and the downtown establishment crowd, represented by Kirk Sullivan.

From the Spokesman-Review‘s blog: Semanko is “currenlty telling the delegation that they must uphold conservative Republican principles and elect Republicans and get seats back to the U.S. House. Semanko thanked Kirk Sullivan for his years of service and added that he ‘likes Kirk’ and it was about rallying and building a relationship with the grassroots Republicans, not just the establishment.”

At the same time, the establishment won a key vote on open v. closed party primaries, getting the convention floor to stick with open primaries. (What the central committee, the final policy maker for the party, will have to say about that is unclear.) And National Committeeman Blake Hall, challenged by former state Senator Rod Beck (who had been the challenger to Sullivan before Semanko entered that contest), survived, but apparently narrowly.

More evidence at this convention of splintering among Idaho Republicans than since 1990. Not that this is a prescription for 1990-type results (that being the best year Idaho Democrats have seen since 1958), but it does give pause.

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Jun 14 2008

Blackwater, on table

Published by under Idaho

The proposal for Idaho’s police office training organization to contract with Blackwater International (see our earlier post) is apparently on hold at least, and possibly derailed.

This week’s meeting of the Idaho POST (Police Officers Standards and Training) Council led to a tabling of the proposed agreement. There were anti-Blackwater protesters outside the meeting, but more decisive may have been expressions of concern from area law enforcement leaders. Take note of the end of the Spokane Spokesman-Review story on this:

Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson said that was his understanding after speaking to Blackwater representatives. Watson said he was told the center would be built on 300-plus acres between Coeur d’Alene and Worley and the first phase of construction would cost more than $20 million.

The representative “made it very clear it was a military training facility,” Watson said. He suggested Blackwater was trying to attach itself to local law enforcement in an attempt to make it easier to locate in North Idaho.

“As sheriff, I don’t want my officers going to that facility just because of public perception,” Watson said. “Our reputation is important to us. I don’t know if Blackwater did everything that was reported in the media. They’ve now obtained the reputation.”

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Jun 13 2008

Parsing Smith, again

Published by under Oregon

Is it something about Oregon Senator Gordon Smith‘s speech patterns that simply make him hard to follow? We had a tough time trying to make sense late last year of his big Iraq speech on the Senate floor, and the new video circulating today is no easier.

On one level, the Q-and-A here is transparent enough. The question was, “Do you support a much broader extension of partnership rights through, for example in our home state, the recent domestic partnership bill that has passed? And secondly how do you reconcile your position on partnership benefits with your support of the federal marriage amendment and the marriage protection act?”

Smith disposed of the first part easily and clearly: “I am fine with what the legislature did. I think it is a good accommodation of very legitimate demands by gays and lesbians.”

The second question, though, seemed to send him backwards, forwards and sideways. His reply – you’d best listen to it yourself – seemed to revolve around concerns about defining marriage and especially federal as opposed to state determinations about it. But when he brought in the whole subject of polygamy, he vanished into verbal quicksand; you suddenly couldn’t tell what he was in favor of.

Gotta love his conclusion, though: “And I hope you understand.”

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Jun 13 2008

OR Sen: Rising in the Fix

Published by under Oregon

Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post political blogger, has been something of a skeptic about the Jeff Merkley campaign in the Oregon Senate race against Republican incumbent Gordon Smith. His take for some time has been that Merkley hasn’t “caught fire.”

That sense seems to have changed (and we get the sense that it has in places elsewhere too) in his rundown today of the Senate Line, wherein he lists the U.S. Senate seats most likely to switch party control in November. Smith/Merkley has been on the list consistently, but over the months most often moving dwn the rankings. This week it moved up, from No. 8 to No. 6 (behind, in order, Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, New Hampshire and Alaska). Cillizza’s take:

Regular Fix readers know that we have long been skeptical about state House Speaker Jeff Merkley (D). But to his credit, Merkley managed to win the Democratic primary last month over activist Steve Novick and now stands as something close to an even-money bet against Sen. Gordon Smith (R). Why? Obama is a heavy favorite over John McCain in the state this fall, and Merkley will surely benefit from a huge turnout in the Portland-area for the party’s nominee. Merkley also caught a break recently when John Frohnmayer, a well known name in the state expected to take votes from the Democratic nominee, dropped his third party bid. Smith is paying attention and doing everything he can to win reelection, but he faces an extremely difficult environment.

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Jun 12 2008

The Walkscore metric

Published by under Washington


Walkscore in Seattle

Into our ongoing lookout for indicators that may suggest partisan leanings by geographic location, strolls a promising entry: Walkscore.

This is a ratings tool, in this case rating neighborhoods by how “walkable” they are – meaning, among other things, how many business and service resources are available in walking distance. This relates, of course, to how urban an area is (and with rare exceptions, in recent years urban areas have trended strongly Democratic) but also to other factors, such as (often) the number of children in a neighborhood and the number of local vs. chain businesses.

The site has ratings out for Seattle’s neighborhoods, and a map (a piece of it reproduced here) showing where the most and least walkable areas in the city are.

Seattle overall is, of course, highly Democratic. In relative terms, though, a quick eyeballing gives the suspicion that the more “walkable” neighborhoods (indicated here in green) are also the more strongly Democratic. Thoughts? Does this look like a rough correlation, or not?

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Jun 11 2008

How the smoking ban killed bars, etc. (cough)

Published by under Washington

The smoking ban in Washington state covering bars and a bunch of other businesses, which went into effect in December 2005, was long fought as an economic nightmare, a killer that would savage a whole range of rtail businesses.

Except, apparently, that just the reverse happened: A new state Department of Revenue report says that business has jagged sharply upward ever since the ban went into effect.

We won’t press the point too far; there are lots of reasons, not just one, that a business may do better or worse. The department is careful to say that it “asserts no cause and effect relationship between I-901 [the anti-smoking initiative] and industry revenues.”

Still. For Washington bars and taverns, annual revenue growth in the three years pre-901 averaged 2.1% a year; in the two years after, the average growth was 9.7%. The total of food service and drinking places statewide (many of which were non-smoking beforehand) showed no significant change, from 6.8% average growth to 6.9%.

See also the item in the Slog (“Wasn’t the smoking ban going to destroy bars?“) about this.

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Jun 11 2008

ID: The downtown/grassroots split

Published by under Idaho

Back around the fall of ’05 we were hearing talk that the field of Republican candidates for the 1st U.S. House district in Idaho might include one Bill Sali, a state legislator not much liked by Republican leadership (among others). We heard that from a few people whose take on Republican field organization has been good. We did not hear it from any of the downtown Boise Republican inside crowd; those we heard from among the downtown crowd, in fact, were dismissive of the very concept, and initially convinced there was no way Sali could get anywhere. We thought otherwise, and didn’t really seem to convince anyone until the primary election results gave the nomination to Sali.

This comes to mind in the rapidly-changing battle over the chairmanship of the Idaho Republican Party, which has been held by Kirk Sullivan, a well-respected downtown guy who is very much a part of the downtown Republican crowd, close to the lobbyist community, the congressional staffs, the legislators, the staffs of the statewide elected officials (and their principals, of course) and so on. He has personal support from most of them, from Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter on down. He’s not a lightning rod kind of guy, much more the diplomatic than confrontational type, which makes the recent fierce struggle to oust him seem all the stranger. But then, it would seem, it’s not really a matter of Sullivan personally.

The man who has been challenging him directly, former state Senator Rod Beck, is much more the lightning rod type. But the idea that Beck’s candidacy for the chair is about something other than Beck now has got some support, with Beck’s withdrawal from the contest in favor of attorney Norm Semanko (better known till now as a failed congressional candidate in 2006, as head of the Idaho Water Users Association, and as a new city council member in Eagle).

Beck told the Idaho Statesman that “I was convinced I had 55 (percent) to 60 percent of the vote. I think with Norm throwing in, he could get as much as 70 percent.”

(Beck’s new target is another Republican establishment guy, Idaho Falls attorney and former state chair – now national committeeman – Blake Hall.)

Without guessing at the percentages, our sense that Beck isn’t far wrong in his analysis. The indicators we’ve seen are that while most of the downtowners remain happy with Sullivan, the grassroots activists are agitating for a change – and odds are they have the numbers. Two key indicators of that are two people close to those grassroots, Sali himself, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, who say they are backing Semanko. The point is not that these two may sway a lot of people; but they are markers, indicators of where a substantial portion of the Republican organization is going.

Semanko, who himself has a strong diplomatic streak, will be put to a serious test if he wins – pulled in two directions. This could be one of those occasions where the effect of winning is to offer a demonstration of just how good a politician you really are, because he would sitting astride a serious split, and an increasingly emotional one.

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Jun 10 2008

Speculation curb

Published by under Oregon

In a package of stories today on rising gas prices, the Oregonian included a McClatchy piece (bylined Kevin G. Hall) listing three moves regulators could take (endorsed to date, it notes, not by Bush, McCain or Obama) that could choke off some of the price increases. One is strengthening the dollar, which could have a wide range of other effects as well. A second is dipping into the strategic oil reserve, which probably makes sense but has some issues too.

The third seems a no-brainer: “Perhaps the quickest action, the experts said, would be ordering curbs on financial speculation. Financial industry heavyweights have acknowledged before Congress that such speculation is driving oil prices higher. Pension funds, endowments and other big institutional investors are pumping big money into index funds linked to commodities, including oil, driving up demand – and prices.” Such restrictions could be enacted by a simple presidential order, or congressional action.

We’ve been watching for a while for a candidate for federal office, anywhere, to address this – it would seem one of the easiest and most useful steps available in the short term. Today, we ran across the first we’ve seen (if you’ve seen others, let us know), from Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley.

In a release on gas price policy, he offered support for the Consumer-First Energy Act (S. 3044) which among other things, he wrote, will “Stop Wall Street speculation by preventing U.S. contracts to be traded on foreign exchanges and closing the “Enron Loophole,” which allows energy commodities to be traded on markets exempt from any federal, state, or local oversight. The Farm Bill included language that was intended to close the Enron Loophole, but the CFTC has said that it will not treat crude oil contracts as covered by the amendment.”

This would seem an obvious political hammer. And to useful purpose, too.

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Jun 10 2008

The coming of Blackwater

Published by under Idaho



Idahoans are famously suspicious of government power – talk about black helicopters was big stuff a decade ago, even by way of a member of Congress. By those standards, this latest ought to set the bells and whistles on full alert. Quoth the Coeur d’Alene Press: “Blackwater Worldwide, a private security company, wants to build a regional law enforcement training center in North Idaho. The North Carolina-based company is negotiating a contract with the Idaho Peace Officer Standards & Training Academy to provide space and instruction to law enforcement personnel.”

Ah, yes, just the thing to shed Idaho of its hard-right militia reputation.

If you don’t know about Blackwater, you should: ” self-described private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark. It has alternatively been referred to as a security contractor or a mercenary organization by numerous reports in the international media.” There’s an excellent recent book on the company, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, by Jeremy Scahill, which covers the detail, including its immense involvement in Iraq. And many of the controversies surrounding it, there and elsewhere.

Trish Christy, a spokesman at POST, said the agreement with Blackwater is scheduled for discussion at the POST Council meeting Thursday morning, though it still is in relatively early stages. She pointed out that it would involve Blackwater building facilities that would be leased by Idaho peace officer training – it would be a north Idaho version of the training center at Meridian – and that Blackwater people would not be doing the training.

Okay. But why would Blackwater be building a facility far from its North Carolina haunts solely for someone else (there may be others in addition to POST) to lease out? And if that were cost effective as such, why wouldn’t POST just build its own? The only sensible answer is that Blackwater has other plans for north Idaho. Of some sort.

(Writing about this agreement, a pro-Blackwater site offers this quote in support: “They’re the Cadillac of training services,” said J. Adler, national executive vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. “You’ve got the best of the best teaching.” But according to POST, they won’t be doing any teaching.)

We’re told by an e-mail that a petition effort, opposing the Blackwater deal, is underway in the Panhandle: “When the public heard that Idaho POST was possibly entering into agreement to be a tenant in a Blackwater facility, they became alarmed. Petitions are being signed by citizens that don’t want Idaho POST to enter into agreement with Blackwater.”

Keep watch on this.

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Jun 10 2008

OR: Frohnmayer out

Published by under Oregon

John Frohnmayer

John Frohnmayer

There is this: The Oregon Senate race just got a smidge simpler, with Independent (large I, as in the party) John Frohnmayer dropping out today. But we’re doubtful the overall field, led by Republican incumbent Senator Gordon Smith and Democratic nominee Jeff Merkley, has changed greatly as a result. (Note that his campaign website doesn’t reflect the dropout, though it has been widely reported.) The Associated Press quotes him as saying “he has had a tough time rounding up campaign money and grass-roots support.”

Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian suggests there could be some genuine fallout: “While Frohnmayer is a former Republican from a well-known GOP family, he’s been running a candidacy that carries more appeal to the political left. He made a bit of a splash early in his race last year when he urged Congress to move forward with impeaching President Bush. In that sense, he looked more like a candidate who would compete with Merkley for votes than with Smith. One poll from last year even pegged Frohnmayer’s support at 14 percent, which if true could have made him a real factor.”

Talk to Frohnmayer and you’ll find his stances do generally match more closely (at least in the hotter issues of this year) with the Democratic than the Republican side, supporting Mapes’ point. At the same time, we’re skeptical he would have drawn (in practice) more than a small percentage of the vote – far less than the 14% one poll indicated. And Smith has been trying to position himself as less and less conservative, aiming to pull in as many Republican-leaning centrist votes as possible. Our guess is that Frohnmayer, in or out, probably represented close to a wash.

It does, however, simplify the race – into a more focused Democratic/Republican contest. And that may not be so good for Smith in this year.

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Jun 09 2008

Veep NW?

Published by under Idaho,Oregon,Washington

The new piece on OpenLeft about Obama/Murray leaves us a little skeptical: “I have learned from a trusted inside source that the Obama campaign has approached, and held talks with, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) as a possible Vice-Presidential selection.”

But maybe it’s about time to run through the idea of a vice-presidential pick – either party – from the Northwest. And to suggest that it looks less than likely.

Start with the Republican side; we can deal with it quickly.

Without launching into debate over the exact meshing of qualities that Republican nominee-presumptive John McCain ought to look for, we could safely say that he would be looking for someone with substantial experience, a background of election to major office, with no important skeletons rattling around, someone broadly acceptable to his own party and at least not a drag elsewhere (preferably better than that). To that extent, not so different from Democrat Barack Obama. In McCain’s case, you could also say someone younger, but not necessarily too much younger.

Who from the Northwest fits? There’s one Republican governor, Idaho’s C.L. “Butch” Otter, but Otter, skilled candidate though he is, wouldn’t help with some components of the party and does have a skeleton or two for the national media to play with. There are three Republican U.S. senators in the region, but all three have disqualifiers: Larry Craig’s issues are obvious enough to need no restating; Mike Crapo has had health issues; and Oregon’s Gordon Smith is running for re-election (and, were he to withdraw, his seat would most likely fall to a Democrat). House members are rarely picked, and none of the Northwest’s jump out as having the powerhouse skills and broad support to turn swiftly into national-level candidates. (Not on the Democratic side, either, for that matter.)

You could mention – it probably will be at some point – Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, formerly governor of Idaho, who has strong campaign skills and has spent some time on the national stage. But among other considerations, would McCain want someone from the Bush Administration, just as he’s trying to do his distancing thing? Seems doubtful.

The possibilities open a little more for Obama, though not much. Continue Reading »

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Jun 09 2008

Redoing the neighborhood

Published by under Washington

Tough run-down, crime-ridden areas do get changed. You can find a number of districts in Seattle or Portland that have been changed, and in many ways improved. But can you do it drawing out of the area’s original character and without – it has to be said – gentrifying the area, to the point that few of its original residents can even live there anymore?

Question arises on North Aurora in Seattle, a street we’ve watched periodically over the years and which clearly needs, as the phrase goes, some spray ‘n wash. How to deal with it well is a tough question. A useful piece in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today addresses some of that without glossing over the difficulties. It has some depth, and it’s worth a good review.

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WASHINGTON-OREGON-IDAHO Our acclaimed weekly e-pubs: 35-45 pages Monday mornings getting you on top of your state. Samples available. Contact us by email or by phone at (208)484-0460.



This will be one of the most talked-about Idaho books in Idaho this season: 14 years after its last edition, Ridenbaugh Press has released a list of 100 influential Idahoans. Randy Stapilus, the editor and publisher of the Idaho Weekly Briefing and author of four earlier similar lists, has based this one on levels of overall influence in the state – and freedom of action and ability to influence development of the state – as of the start of 2015.
100 Influential Idahoans 2015. By Randy Stapilus; published by Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 202 pages. Softcover. List price $16.95.
100 Influential Idahoans 2015 page.

100 Influential Idahoans 2015
"Essentially, I write in the margins of motherhood—and everything else—then I work these notes into a monthly column about what it’s like raising my two young boys. Are my columns funny? Are they serious? They don’t fit into any one box neatly. ... I’ve won awards for “best humorous column” though I actually write about subjects as light as bulimia, bullying, birthing plans and breastfeeding. But also bon-bons. And barf, and birthdays." Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons. by Nathalie Hardy; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 238 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
Raising the Hardy Boys page.



"Not a day passes that I don’t think about Vietnam. Sometimes its an aroma or just hearing the Vietnamese accent of a store clerk that triggers a memory. Unlike all too many soldiers, I never had to fire a weapon in anger. Return to civilian life was easy, but even after all these years away from the Army and Vietnam I find the experience – and knowledge – continue to shape my life daily."
Drafted! Vietnam in War and in Peace. by David R. Frazier; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton OR. 188 pgs. Softcover. $15.95.
The DRAFTED! page.


Many critics said it could not be done - and it often almost came undone. Now the Snake River Basin Adjudication is done, and that improbable story is told here by three dozen of the people most centrally involved with it - judges, attorneys, legislators, engineers, water managers, water users and others in the room when the decisions were made.
Through the Waters: An Oral History of the Snake River Basin Adjudication. edited by the Idaho State Bar Water Law Section and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 300 pages. Softcover. $16.95.

Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh died on July 20, 2014; he was widely praised for steady leadership in difficult years. Writer Scott Jorgensen talks with Atiyeh and traces his background, and what others said about him.
Conversations with Atiyeh. by W. Scott Jorgensen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 140 pages. Softcover. $14.95.

"Salvation through public service and the purging of awful sights seen during 1500 Vietnam War helicopter rescue missions before an untimely death, as told by a devoted brother, leaves a reader pondering life's unfairness. A haunting read." Chris Carlson, Medimont Reflections. ". . . a vivid picture of his brother Jerry’s time as a Medivac pilot in Vietnam and contrasts it with the reality of the political system . . . through the lens of a blue-collar, working man made good." Mike Kennedy.
One Flaming Hour: A memoir of Jerry Blackbird. by Mike Blackbird; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 220 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
See the ONE FLAMING HOUR page.

Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.


by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at (softcover)



NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

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The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through (softcover)


by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through (softcover)

without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.


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The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.