Writings and observations

Politics wonks will spend hours of great fun on this site, Congress Speaks.

Some of what’s here – based on detailed analysis of speech in Congress (I’m assuming here, from the Congressional Record) – is interesting from the point of view of regularity of speaking, and what topics they’re speaking about. (Quick – in the last term, did Oregon’s Ron Wyden or Gordon Smith speak more?) But it’s also go some real entertainment value. Check it out.

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air trip

Lewis & Clark by air/airjourney

This would be a great trip for pilots of small planes . . . a flight along the path of the Lewis and Clark expedition, by the company Airjourney.

Yes, yes: Flying would hardly be any sort of equal to what they did.

And there’d be the stops in Lewiston, McMinnville, Astoria and Portland.

Writer James Fallows (hat tip for the pointer) suggests, “Perhaps it is a stretch to claim, as AirJourney does in promos like what’s shown below, that this is a deeply historical commemoration. But I flew much of this route in a small plane nine years ago (start in Minnesota, then down to Nebraska, then west) and to this day recall many vivid scenes, which I also described in my book Free Flight.”

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Maybe call it a lagging indicator – we’re approaching a year when pay indicators for many classes of employees started to skid – but come now a report that pay for CEOs, in the Northwest at least, is dropping.

A Seattle Times study out today said that “Median pay for the chief executives of publicly traded companies in the Washington, Oregon and Idaho region dropped 6 percent to $1.18 million, reversing several straight years of steep increases.”

Top pay for any CEO in the region in 2007 was $38 million (which by itself might have skewed things a bit that year), but this year peaked at $13 million.

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Not much noted amid the headlines about other Obama Administration nominees – some sliding through, some held up – is the story of David Hayes, formerly of the World Wildlife Fund and chairman of the board of American Rivers and once an Interior official in the Clinton Administration. Not an especially controversial guy, evidently, but not to the liking of certain interests. Turns out that Utah Senator Bob Bennett has put a hold in his nomination, which could freeze it in place for some time.

Ray Ring of the High Country News has posted a piece on this, including some review of what underlies Bennett’s actions, that’s well worth review. Ring concludes: “No doubt there are other Senate Republicans who think Hayes is OK … but they’re also gunshy of the rightwingers they would face in their primaries. Another reason the rightwingers fight this round so fiercely: They’re gearing up for the upcoming battles over Obama’s call for raising taxes on the oil and gas industry.”

The key players aren’t specifically Northwestern, but the impact surely is.

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