Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oil Reserves

Bush says he'll hold off adding deposits to the oil reserve over the summer to add to the supply and (he thinks) lower gas prices -- "Every little bit helps."

During the Clinton years we stopped buying oil for the reserves from the open market and instead started having the oil companies who deposit a percent of the oil they were acquiring from our public lands into the reserves. This was in lieu of rent or royalities.

So my question is -- are the oil companies required to pay in cash these rents or royalities to us? Or did we just give ANOTHER big tax give away to the poor oil companies?

And WHY oh! WHY won't someone from the MSM ask this question or point this out?


UPDATE 8-5-08
Well, things have certainly reversed. Once the price started to rise, Bush started packing in the barrels into the strategic oil reserves. Oil gained the most since September 2005 yesterday after the U.S. Energy Department said it will boost the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to 1.5 billion barrels over 20 years. We reached that goal a little early in 2007 and then opened up a new storage facility. Meanwhile, India and China started hoarding oil as well. Welcome to $4 a gallon gas. But let's keep pumpin'!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cheney Visits Everett - GOP Chair Inserts Foot in Mouth

Great quote (ouch!):

State Republican Chairwoman Diane Tebelius said the [Cheney fundraising for candidate Roulstone in Everett, WA] event "injected enormous excitement into the Roulstone campaign. It brings total cache to the campaign. He really fires everyone up and this will be a shot in the arm. This is my upset special for a Republican taking out a Democratic member of our delegation."

WA State Supreme Court Race


Property-rights lawyer to challenge chief justice
Groen is expected to get backing from builders
Saturday, April 8, 2006

The conservative, heavy-spending home-builders' lobby helped put a staunch property-rights advocate on the Washington Supreme Court in 2004, and now it has an equally close ally running for another seat on the state's highest court.

John Groen, a Bellevue lawyer and one of the state's most prominent property-rights litigators, is challenging Chief Justice Gerry Alexander. In an interview Friday, Groen said he is running because of court rulings supported by Alexander that exemplify "an invasion of legislative power and a derogation of constitutional rights, essentially a rewriting of statutes."

Alexander, a Supreme Court justice since 1995 and a trial and appellate judge since 1973, said in an interview that in some of the decisions cited on the Web site of Groen's own law firm, "my views coincide with his." One was a case in which Alexander wrote a dissenting opinion supporting Groen's position.

Groen, 46, is expected to get heavy backing from the politically potent Building Industry Association of Washington. He is a member and past chairman of the BIAW's legal trust committee, and the association is a client of his Bellevue law firm, Groen, Stephens & Klinge, as are other builder interests.

Groen is a senior consulting attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a non-profit, public interest law firm that litigates for property rights in land-use and environmental cases. He was a staff lawyer for the foundation before forming his law firm in 1996.

In 2004, the BIAW and its affiliates gave more than $225,000 to the Supreme Court campaign of Jim Johnson, who had represented the association in litigation and helped the builders draft a ballot measure to repeal ergonomic regulations.
The BIAW money alone dwarfed the total amount raised by Johnson's opponent, and Johnson won.

The Legislature this year passed a law limiting donations to judicial candidates to $2,800 a year. But that is thought likely to simply cause special-interest groups to redirect their money to independent expenditures for or against a candidate.
Conservative and Republican-led organizations have sought to recruit opponents for the three Supreme Court justices up for re-election this year: Alexander, Susan Owens and Tom Chambers.

State Sen. Stephen Johnson, a conservative, widely respected lawyer who also is likely to have BIAW support, is running against Owens. No one yet has emerged to oppose Chambers.

If Stephen Johnson and Groen both win, some observers say, property-rights defenders and opponents of land-use, environmental and other government regulations would have a court majority of five allies.

Tom McCabe, executive vice president of the BIAW, said that his organization's top concern in judicial races is "property and environmental regulations and government regulations," and that Justices Johnson, Chambers and Richard Sanders have been the court's most consistent defenders of property rights.

If he wins the current race, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander will have to retire at 75, a year short of the six-year term.

Sanders, a libertarian who is highly popular with property-rights advocates, recently lent his name to a mass mailing praising Chambers as a judge who protects citizens from government overregulation.

McCabe said the BIAW hasn't formally endorsed any candidates yet, but "of course we like John (Groen), and he's certainly highly qualified, a very competent attorney who has argued many, many cases before the state Supreme Court and before the appellate courts. In my opinion, he is one of the most brilliant people I have ever talked to.".

Groen said he thinks the Supreme Court has made bad decisions not only in property rights cases but in some pertaining to criminal law, the public's right to know and other issues.

Groen has criticized Alexander for something that the justice, 69, acknowledged when he announced his candidacy in January: that if re-elected, he would have to retire five years into his new six-year term because of the state's mandatory judicial retirement age of 75.

"My view is that the candidate must be able to discharge the duties of his office, and that includes completing his term," Groen said.

Whoever is governor in January 2011 would appoint a successor, Alexander noted, but that person would have to face election less than a year later. "So it would not deprive the voters of the opportunity to fill that vacancy for very long."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'm a 13 Year Old!!

The founders of Daily Kos and MyDD -- Markos Moulistas Zuniga and Jerome Armstrong came to Olympia Saturday to promote their book at Orcas Bookstore. I'm a fan so I went and while I'm up at their desk getting mu book signed, I realize that Washington's own, JC General or Jesus' General was standing behind me.

For some reason I turned into a 13 year old and started to gush. You know that awful feeling of when you know you're making a fool of yourself but you can't stop? I was there. "Oooo, I'm your biggest fan!!" ARG!

I made my way out of the store, got into my car and beat my head against the steering wheel. My only solace was that I was sure that I couldn't have been as bad as I thought I was and probably everyone was so wrapped up in the moment that no one noticed.

So I peek over at Jesus' General on Sunday the 9th and OH NO!!!! He writes about our embarrassing encounter!!!

I'm a 55 year old 13 year old! ARGH!