Writings and observations

Several months back, Republican Idaho Senate candidate Jim Risch said he didn’t se e-mail and didn’t much use the Internet – an expression, generally, of seeming dismissal of the new medium. There must have been some rethinking: Today, his campaign is announcing its new blog, complete with posts attributed to Risch.

Good move. In 2008, there’s no political advantage in declaring yourself computer illiterate, and running a blog (as so many campaigns do now, including that of Senate Democratic candidate Larry LaRocco) is an easy way to convey that you’re up to date and encourage inter-communication. And it helps if you’re as articulate as Risch is.

His first substantive post comes from the national Republican convention. We’ll be intrigued to see what he blogs about in the weeks to come.

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Idaho

The city of Eugene, with a population of around 150,000, has within its limits two strip clubs. Take the bridge across the Willamette River and you’re in the city of Springfield, around 55,000, which has five and – if a new proposal is approved later this year – soon may have six. Why the disparity?

That’s the subject of a fascinating story today in the Eugene Register-Guard, about the differences between the cities that have led to this specific commercial difference. Among the distinctions are the liveliness of the relative downtown areas (Eugene’s looks a good deal more prosperous), differences in smoking rules (Eugene has banned smoking in bars since 2001) and the liquor law history of the two places: Eugene spent more of its history as a “dry” city, and Springfield as a “wet.”

You can find other intriguing municipal comparisons that run somewhat this way (over in Idaho, Boise/Garden City and Pocatello/Chubbuck come to mind). The story is a recommended read for implications well beyond Lane County.

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Oregon