WUI (Writing under the influence)

Somebody once said we are all Americans, sometimes born in the wrong places.
On a warm autumn day in 1986, while enjoying beer with my college buddies,
I decided to join my new homeland.

I've come to appreciate the ideals that helped create this great country.
Liberalism, political-correctness, multiculturalism and moral equivalence
are destroying it.

This old house Grovenet Wal*Mart Visiting Poland American wine better than French.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


A surprise caller

I was listening to reruns of the Lars Larson show on Sunday evening while building doors for the wardrobe in my boys' bedroom. The topic was Rep. Karren Minnis' proposal to raise $15 million in property taxes just for Portland schools. Lars was asking why Republicans would support this idea before placing Oregon School employees in a statewide insurance pool, instead of in insurance plans picked by individual school districts.

This is what The Oregonian says about Senate Bill 639, which would create such a school employee insurance pool:
Kulongoski argues the single insurance pool, similar to one for state employees, would save millions of dollars annually in administrative and premium costs. The proposal is backed by the Oregon Education Association but is opposed by the Oregon School Boards Association, which offers an insurance program that many districts use for some or all of their employees.
At some point, to my surprise, Shawn Vilhauer, the newly elected Forest Grove school board member called and said that he had received an e-mail from the Oregon School Boards Association urging him to call his representatives and ask them to oppose the bill. He seemed genuinely upset by the e-mail. He also expressed some opinions that I could easily label as conservative. Just the fact that he was listening to Lars' show and decided to call made me think that for some reason the people of Forest Grove made a "mistake" and voted in a pretty decent guy.

We will see. It may be worth attending some meetings once the school board resumes its activities next fall.


If there is no liberal bias...

...why are the liberals the only people defending federal funding for PBS?

Also, if PBS is so popular, why can't people who watch/listen to it pay for it? If the statistics are right, most of them are successful professionals.


Polish plumber electrician strikes back

From NYT:
"I suggest that he ask the French why the heck for so many years they encouraged Poles to build capitalism when as it turns out they are Communists themselves," Mr. Walesa, an electrician by trade, said in an interview published Friday in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.


Brzezinski is a loser

I've criticized Brzezinski several times on these pages. I was about to do it again because of his disgraceful response to Bush's Saturday's radio address. The Power Line folks did it so well I may as well save time and quote just one paragraph:
First, where does Brzezinski, the top foreign policy adviser during the harrowing Carter years, get the nerve to accuse anyone of incompetence? Carter/Brzezinski presided over our greatest setback ever in the Middle East, the rise of a fundamentalist Islamic regime in Iran, which they basically invited by signaling their lack of support for Shah knowing that his strongest enemies were fundamentalist clerics. They also presided over and basically invited a Communist takeover in Nicaragua. Under Brzezinski's tutelage, Carter was shocked, betrayed, and unprepared when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. And who can forget what may be the worst piece of incompetence the U.S. has been associated with in its modern history, the failed rescue attempt of our hostages in Teheran?


Weekend trip to Ocenside


Oceanside, OR is one of my favorite beach spots close to home.


We are going in for a better view and less wind on the other side.


Don't look up.


Rocks 1


Rocks 2


Cape Meares


Time to go home. Before, just one more look at the Tillamook Bay and Cape Meares.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Good Catholic

He will veto any anti-abortion legislation but he may force private business to dispense the death-pill.


How Poles view the US

It seems that Poland is less anti-American than Most in EU. At first, this doesn't sound very good. Less anti-American still means anti-American. However, given that 62% of Poles hold favorable view of the US, I would say Poles are pro-American. The poll has other interesting results. One, it seems, is that Europeans still think they are the center of the Universe.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


714-mile break

The pictures below, from bottom up, were taken during
our short 5-day, 714-mile vacation. We went to LaPine
State Park and moved around a little to visit some
of the wonders Central Oregon has to offer.

When I find more time, I may comment more on these
pictures. I may also convert some of the pictures
we took with our SLR camera and post them as well.

Brian, I've deleted your comments by accident. What was the name of Mountain 2?

Did we really fit all of it and 7 people in our Van?

One more attraction on the way home


Cleaning before going home

Something for me

Something for the wife

Cheap electricity vs. salmon

Three sisters

Mountain 2

Mt. Jefferson

Mountain 1

Almost any white table wine goes well with smoked salmon. The drier the better.

Something for everybody

Clear, cold nights

Mountain biking

Pasta and simple table wine

I've cooked baby ribs many times. One way to experiment is to use different sauces. This one was very good: simple flavor but with a little spicy kick.

First dinner

Light at last

Lost in a cave






This reservoir was built in the 40s. Its only purpose is irrigation. It doesn't produce electricity. I don't think such a project would be possible today with all the environmental rules.

We help our neighbors. It's amazing how children can make friendships within 5 minutes and it takes years living on the same street for us adults.

Our new home for the next 5 days. This is cool. I will be building an addition next year that will be built only from wood. So I like to study different techniques employed when building such structures.

The first thing every man thinks of is fire. The second is beer.

Too far to stay awake

Fully loaded

Friday, June 10, 2005


They will do it anyway

No, not sex, heroin. Instead of teaching them abstinence, we teach them "safe-shooting" now. Or is it safe-snorting?


Wrong way?

How is it possible that people still want to risk their lives to come to this country from Cuba of all places? Surely, Castro, the president of that workers' paradise, must have told them how bad the US is, especially now that Bush and Republicans are in power.

Incidentally, I flew on a PanAm flight from Rome to JFK. Much more comfortable and less risky.


Chalkboard report

Oregonians support school choice. But the Oregonian conveniently omits this part of the Chalkboard Project report and instead quotes false statistics:
As long as Oregon chooses to spend less per child than the national average on public education, schools need to invest their money very, very carefully.
A while ago, I mentioned that it's a pretty stupid goal. First, some school districts, like D.C. for example, increase the national average by burning money faster than some startups during the dot-com boom. Second, as soon as Oregon starts spending more, the national average will go up and some other state may come to the same conclusion. Pretty soon, we'll have a full-blown arm school budget race on our hands.

Then, the Oregonian comes up with this:
This is something most people in Oregon can agree on, whether they think K-12 schools are starving for money or bloated with cash.
How can most people in Oregon agree on this if they think schools are bloated with cash?

But it you read the first quote more carefully, you will notice that the Oregonian doesn't say what the national average is and how much less the state of Oregon actually spends.

So I went back to my post from January and found this:
Here, in Oregon, we spend almost $8,000 per pupil, which is slightly higher than the national average of $7,734.
OK, I will give the Oregonian the benefit of a doubt. Maybe the numbers have changed slightly since January and now Oregon really spends below the national average. But we can't be much off so I really think the Oregonian makes too big a deal out of the numbers to cover up what's really important:
[I]n a 2004 statewide poll of 1,800 Oregonians, residents strongly supported more school choice options [so] [the Chalkboard Project] also proposes expanding Oregon's charter schools law, to allow universities, community colleges and neighboring school districts to charter a nontraditional public school.
Only then can you come back and ask me for more money.


Dissent is patriotic

But only if it's aimed at the Bush administration. If you are a high-school student in Oregon and try to challenge liberal orthodoxy, suddenly your right to dissent turns into hate speech.
A 17-year-old student who wrote an anti-illegal immigration column in his school newspaper was targeted by a radical Hispanic group that sponsored a protest where students marched through campus behind a Mexican flag.
This is not surprising. Radical organizations like MEChA will get in your face for calling Oregon part of the USA. But it gets even worse.
He says he personally received letters from teachers who demanded he retract everything he wrote.
Student newspapers all over the country print all kind of bunk that is not even factually correct. When challenged, even the most outrageous editorials get defended by teachers and professors on the grounds that free speech is paramount regardless of how irresponsible and false it may be.

So it is amazing that this guy gets in trouble because he wrote an opinion piece based in facts only because it wasn't politically-correct. Remember, we pay these people to brain-wash our children.


Who are the uninsured?

This article in the Oregonian states that "the state's uninsured population grew from 14 percent in 2002 to 17 percent in 2004." The article seems to indicate that the increase is caused by higher insurance premiums and enrollment cuts in the Oregon Health Plan.

But I wonder if the increase can't be explained by the number of illegal immigrants flooding the state.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


GroveNet watch starts

Must be summertime because no peace-monger on GroveNet has yet accused Bush of prosecuting Muslims in the US.

I think it's only matter of days. Especially if FBI releases one of the five, for example due to insufficient proof.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Crying wolf on GroveNet

When a big lib on GroveNet complains about parental rights being lost because something bad happens to children at Texas public schools, does she forget that her husband is responsible for most of what's wrong with public schools in Forest Grove? Does she also forget that public schools everywhere, even in Texas, are run by libs like her? Don't like it? Let the children go!


Meant to say this...

...but somebody else has. So I dedicate this comment on liberal hypocrisy when it comes to national defense to the peace-mongers on GroveNet:

Your liberal whining about the danger to our civil rights from our government is weak and tired. Viet Nam and Watergate are not current events, and don't fit
today's America, or its future.

Name one citizen unlawfully imprisoned under the Patriot Act.

Name one liberal loud mouth actor or politician or professor or writer who was dragged out of bed and never heard from again for speaking out against Bush.

If a liberal was so imprisoned, his lefty comrades would do nothing but link hands and chant until some one got bored and smashed a Starbucks. Oh, the fine art of dissent. No wonder you're scared; you scare the rest of the country with your tactics and beliefs, and that's why Democrats are a minority party.

Liberals will fight their country out of fear of angering their attackers and hope taking our enemy's side will show them our goodness and curb attacks.

Liberals believe it is America and not jealous lust for power from a sickeningly violent religion that brought on 9/11. But don't ever question a liberal's

Conservatives will fight to defend an admittedly imperfect America under attack because brute force only understands brute force.

If you would quit trying to fit the 21st century into the mold of the late sixties, you would have a greater grasp of the real threats of the age, the real enemies, and the real heroes.

The U.S. military will always show up to aid and defend even those who may hate them. That is the only real protection your civil rights have from suicide
bombers and Islamist nuclear dreams.


When democracy doesn't matter

When our governor wanted to go around the Oregon legislature to institute "higher" auto emission standards, no lefty on GroveNet complained about American people being shafted and democracy being raped. When the legislature stops our governor, many on GroveNet now complain that the big oil is behind that move and that we all are going to die because of global warming.


Kerry's grades

Normally, I would not think it's a problem that Kerry's grades at Yale weren't stellar. Both the dollar and a D used be worth much more then than they are today. My university grades in Poland were barely passing but that was how most people I knew went through college. Sure, there were guys who weren't very popular and had more time to study. But normal people partied all the time and academics were just an afterthought.

But the left, especially the media, made a big deal of Bush's grades. So I think Kerry would have released his grades before the election but he simply felt he could not disappoint his supporters. After all, he was the bright one.

One more comment about grade inflation. When I first applied to the University of Washington, I was rejected because the grades I had transferred from my university in Poland to the community college I attended in Tacoma were too low. I had to appeal and explain that my grades in Poland were actually pretty good. I got in. Maybe somebody who had graduated from Yale in 1966 was assigned to my case...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Overheard online

From OpinionJournal, Amnesty and al Qaeda:
We don't recount this story to suggest Amnesty was actively in league with Saddam. But it shows that, even after 9/11, Amnesty still didn't think terrorism was a big deal. In its eagerness to suggest that every detainee with a Muslim name is some kind of political prisoner, and by extension to smear America and its allies, Amnesty has given the concept of "aid and comfort" to the enemy an all-too-literal meaning.

A case for why we should not join any anti-American international organization like ICC.

If we ever have government-run, mandatory, and universal health care system, breast-feeding should also be mandatory and allowed anywhere.

A lesson for peace-mongers from the American Thinker:
We always seek peaceful avenues before resorting to the use of force -- and we did. We tried quiet diplomacy, public condemnation, economic sanctions, and demonstrations of military force. None succeeded. Despite our repeated warnings, Qaddafi continued his reckless policy of intimidation, his relentless pursuit of terror. He counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong. I warned that there should be no place on Earth where terrorists can rest and train and practice their deadly skills. I meant it. I said that we would act with others, if possible, and alone if necessary to ensure that terrorists have no sanctuary anywhere.

Perhaps remembering this lesson, and possibly seeing in George W. Bush some of the same steel he experienced in Ronald Reagan, Qaddafi surprised the world in 2004 when he announced that he was ending his effort to develop Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The left may have overplayed its hand. Ordinary people just don't believe those crocodile tears spilled only when somebody else's "holy" book is "desecrated."

Monday, June 06, 2005


Losers and hypocrites

Look at this picture and ask yourself:
Why do we care what they think of us?
And for you, peace-mongers, I bet that if we did decide to help in Sudan, you would suspect that we only do it for oil. But it seems that the French inaction can be attributed to their existing oil interests in Sudan. How pathetic!


Pope condemns gay marriages as 'anarchy'

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, in his first clear
pronouncement on gay marriages since his election, on
Monday condemned same-sex unions as fake and
expressions of "anarchic freedom" that threatened the
future of the family.
The Pope, who was elected in April, also condemned
divorce, artificial birth control, trial marriages and
free-style unions, saying all of these practices were
dangerous for the family.

"Today's various forms of dissolution of marriage,
free unions, trial marriages as well as the
pseudo-matrimonies between people of the same sex are
instead expressions of anarchic freedom which falsely
tries to pass itself off as the true liberation of
man," he said.

The Pope spoke to families at Rome's St. John's
Cathedral on an issue that has become highly
controversial around the world, particularly in Europe
and the United States.

In April, parliament in traditionally Catholic Spain
gave initial approval to a law legalizing gay
marriage. It is widely expected to be approved by the
Senate and to become law.

But just last week, California's Assembly killed off a
bill that would have allowed gay marriage in the most
populous U.S. state.

The Pope, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the
Vatican's doctrinal department for more than two
decades, said "pseudo freedoms" such as gay marriages
were based on what he called the "banalisation of the
human body" and of man himself.

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Loose cannon?

Bolton has been accused of having exaggerated the strength of Syria's WMD program. Everybody and his brother wants to see some papers that would show how Bolton would behave as an UN ambassador based on his treatment of Syria in the past. So it's ironic that a few days after Syria fires real missiles, the Oregonian calls Bolton a loose cannon. It almost seems that Syria wants to help Bolton get confirmed.


State police

Personally, I think the troopers would be more useful if they didn't stop people for speeding. But if they decide to stop somebody and he turns out to be "undocumented", the police should arrest him and turn him to INS. So the fact that the state doesn't want to spend more money on the state troopers doesn't worry me as much as it does the Oregonian. In any case, I do blame Democrats for shifting money from public safety to the public education that wastes almost half of its resources on "migrant" children.


There is a better solution

The Oregonian advocates "creat[ing] a minor inconvenience for cold sufferers" by placing even more OTC medicine under the lock. But there is a simpler solution I would try first:


I'm not saying that all methamphetamine is made by illegals, I'm saying a big chunk of it is.


What do ACLU, NYT, peace-mongers on GroveNet...

...have in common? They've lost one war for the US. Now, they are trying to lose another one. And all of it because of pure hate for the President.

I don't listen to O'Reilly, I don't watch his show (I don't even have cable) but I agree with most of what he wrote in his column for Human Events Online:
After President Bush won reelection last November, there was much consternation among some powerful anti-Bush Americans. They were stunned that John Kerry lost and feared that if Bush succeeds in his second term, the Democrats would lose again in 2008.

Then came the successful election in Iraq, and the fear on the Left multiplied. If Iraq turned out to be a success, Mr. Bush would become a hero. So the need to undermine the Bush administration became more intense than ever. But how to do it? Social Security wasn't emotional enough, particularly for young voters. What could be done to hurt Bush?

Then came the revelation: Let's torture the president.

The New York Times had already primed the pump, running more than 50 front-page stories on the abuses at Abu Gharib. Then came reports from the International Red Cross that more abuse was happening at Guantanamo. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was already challenging detentions there, and so a strategy was sealed: The Bush administration was full of torturers and human rights violators. It was ruining America's reputation throughout the world. Bush was a villain.
And the rest is history. With the constant pounding from the media without the Administration trying to defend itself, the public gets biased information and may eventually turned against the President.

But I think there is hope. As Power Line points out today, the new media have the power to counterbalance the nonsense coming from the left. I'm very proud of my blog-friend Chrenkoff for doing just that.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


How did they know?

Wow! It's one thing to be linked to by Professor Bainbridge but it's quite another when the Economist dedicates one entire sentence to our celebration of the French "Non" vote:
Many conservatives broke their self-imposed embargo on French products to pop the champagne.
How did they know? As conceited as I tend to be from time to time, I have to guess that we were not the only party celebrating the event with the French bubbles.

The piece in the Economist is only so so but I liked this graphic a lot:

Very appropriate indeed.

Via Powerline.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Is it over?

I've been writing about so called "good" Christians who would like to turn the US into another Europe: universal government-run healthcare, bigger government "solving" all societal problems and otherwise a big welfare state with long vacations and short work hours. These well-meaning people often cite suspect statistics to show that all that can be done without destroying our economy. The problem with those statistics is that they no longer can support their assertions.

Today's WSJ editorial page says:
Once upon a time the intellectual elites in Europe and the U.S. trumpeted the economic accomplishments of European social welfare state policies. Today the conclusion is nearly inescapable that this economic model simply doesn't work to create jobs, wealth or dynamism.

[...] the U.S. has substantially outperformed Old Europe in wealth and job creation. The economic growth rate of the European Union nations since 2003 has limped along at about half that of the U.S. In the 1980s and '90s the U.S. created about 40 million new jobs; Western Europe created some 10 million, well over half of which were in the public sector. If this divergence in economic performance continues for 40 years, the American worker will be roughly twice as wealthy as his European counterpart.

The Europeans have created a vast constellation of domestic policy interventions that are cloaked in the seductive rhetoric of compassion, fairness and cultural sophistication. These policies include highly generous welfare benefits for the unemployed; state ownership and subsidy of key industries (such as Airbus); rules that make it difficult to hire and fire workers; prohibitions against closing down plants; heavy protections of labor unions against competitive forces; mandatory worker benefit packages that include health insurance, child care allowances, paid parental leave, four to six weeks of vacation; shortened work weeks; and, alas, high taxes on business and labor to pay for these lavish benefits.
But this is not a new story. The reason why Europeans are even talking about a common constitution is because they have known for a long time they can't compete with the US economically and something must be done to liberalize the European economy a little bit. The problem is that the nanny state mentality is so ingrained in the European psyche that (Old) European workers, mostly the ones working for the state, start striking on a slightest mention of any reform. Hence the rejection of the EU Constitution by the French. But although European elites do realize Europe is in trouble, their counterparts here in the US continue to insist we have to emulate the European model:
The frustrating irony is that, at the very moment in history when Europe's model is in disrepute, many U.S. politicians still want to emulate it. In Congress today there is some bill to provide virtually every social welfare benefit that Europe now offers. And the Congressional Budget Office predicts that if America's federal entitlement programs are not reined in, by 2030 government's share of the U.S. economy will close in on 50% of GDP, or even more than Europe's share today. The good news is that at least Washington has begun to debate how to reform these programs.

Europe is now paying a high price for this failed experiment with welfare state socialism. Today's populist revolt against economic integration in France and Germany suggests that these nations remain mysteriously impervious to the need for change. A bigger mystery is why some American politicians are so intent on repeating Europe's mistakes.
If we don't want Chinese, Koreans, or Indian bloggers to repeat my words in 50 years writing about what went wrong in the US, we must resist those "well-meaning", "good" Christians. For it's not the size of the welfare state that indicates how prosperous a country is but the size of its economy and the number of people that economy can employ.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Only somebody who knows...

...the true face of Communism can appreciate where Europe is going and recognize the true thread of other repressive regimes such as Islamofascism. So no wonder that this woman is gaining in popularity in Germany and has a good chance of becoming the next chancellor.
Her dour childhood as a reluctant Communist sheds new light on why, unlike Mr Schroeder, Mrs Merkel backed the US-led invasion of Iraq. "I know what it is when you don't have freedom," she said recently. "In the West, freedom is taken for granted. Fighting for it is not as necessary as it was for us."
Should it happen, I will reconsider my embargo on German products and services including flying Lufthansa.


How to lose power

I am a registered Republican and I can't see myself voting for a Democrat in the near future. But I can imagine Republicans losing power on national level and Democrats losing power in Oregon because of illegal immigration.

More commentary on this issue on RCP.


A fan asks

I got this in e-mail today and it made my day:
Those of us who very much enjoyed your contributions are disappointed that we no longer hear from you.
My wife and I voted for you in the city council election and hope you stay on the local scene.
Grovenet is dominated by doctrinaire far left liberals from Pacific U mainly. They have succeeded in driving out others who don't agree with them and I hope you will continue.
Hang in there, you are the sane one!
First, it's good to know somebody thinks I'm still sane.  But, more importantly, the thoughts of running again in 2006 intensify every time somebody says "I would vote for you."  Of course, this time I would have to expand more energy and enthusiasm to make more than just ardent supporters give me a chance.
I think a good start would be to attend a few City Council meetings and maybe even some school board meetings.  Get to know more people.  There is nothing better than word of mouth.  There is still time.


Professor Bainbridge on wine

Professor Bainbridge has a good blog where he comments on "[...] law, business and economics, Catholicism, politics and current events, dogs, and photography." He also has another blog where he comments on all issues wine. He just linked to my post on the wine-tasting trip.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Euphemism of the day

The Oregonian performs another creative dodge to call illegal immigrants committing crimes something other than... illegal immigrants. In its first-page story on the busted meth superlab, Steve Suo writes:
Drug agents arrested 15 people in connection with the Brownsville case, according to Immergut's office. Most were Mexican citizens living in Salem.

It almost sounds like it's OK for Mexican citizens to live in Salem and produce meth in industrial quantities:
The lab was at a mobile home on a rural, 10-acre property and was capable of producing 90 pounds of pure methamphetamine in a 48- to 72-hour period.

The lab had been in operation for at least five months, according to indictments filed in federal court in Portland.

Do the math.

So how much do we really pay for that head of salad or a pound of strawberries?

So far, I've only been considering public education and healthcare costs in the equation but this story, especially this paragraph, makes me reconsider:
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials say superlabs operated by Mexican drug trafficking organizations now produce about 65 percent of all meth sold in the United States.

If we add the cost of law enforcement, healthcare costs for the losers who use this stuff, and the costs of crime caused by meth addicts to get money to buy their next fix, protecting the border doesn't sound so expensive anymore.


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