Open Everyday 9am - 6pm Since 1977
Arrogance always gets its comeuppanceExcerpt from The Oregonian - 2010-01-21; Page B5
Democrat determination to ram health care reform through Congress, despite falling voter support (now at 38 percent according to Rasmussen Reports) and the stunning Republican victory in Massachusetts, brings to mind Sen. J. William Fulbright's 1967 book, "The Arrogance of Power." Fulbright, in opposing the Vietnam War, argued that power all too often begets arrogance. Not surprisingly, other authors have borrowed the title to condemn other abuses of power. In 2000, Anthony Summers' book by the same title chronicled President Richard Nixon's path from arrogance to resignation. If the first year of the Obama presidency and Democratic control of Congress is any indication, another book about the arrogance of power is not far off.
The arrogance of the Obama administration is different from that which led America into Vietnam. Our president is anything but arrogant in dealing with foreign nations. To the contrary he's prone to kowtow to dictators and apologize to everyone. On the other hand, there is an arrogance, not unlike that reflected in Nixon's enemies list, in the administration's attack on Fox News and its tendency to disparage those who disagree with its agenda.
But most troubling is the arrogance of power arising from a supreme self-confidence in the president and congressional leadership that they know what is best for the country. In pursuit of its agenda, the Democratic leadership continually offends what Judge Learned Hand called the "spirit of liberty" by being "too sure" of themselves.
First it was unprecedented spending to stimulate the economy. Now it's health care reform that a majority of Americans oppose. Next it will be more stimulus followed by cap and trade without regard for its effects on a still struggling economy. All of this is done on a "trust us" basis, despite promises of unparalleled transparency.
As health care legislation is rushed to meet a purely political deadline, members of Congress don't even know who is negotiating. We are asked to believe that the considerable costs of expanded coverage will be offset by savings in Medicare, though most experts agree it is destined for bankruptcy. We are told the stimulus package has created and saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, while unemployment has worsened. We are promised that cap and trade will result in a bright future of abundant jobs, with no accounting for existing jobs lost or the massive subsidies currently required to make green industry competitive. Implausible claims abound as the national debt soars, but proponents of these economy-killing initiatives are blinded by their new-found power.
From demanding the firing of General Motors' CEO, to forcing company mergers, to buying Senate votes in Louisiana and Nebraska, to mandating that every American purchase health insurance, the president and Democratic leadership have demonstrated no sense of limits. Serious scholars believe much of this is unconstitutional. Such claims are unlikely to prevail in the courts, but constitutional government depends as much on self-restraint as on judicial enforcement of constitutional limits. Sadly, self-restraint is scarce in the Obama administration and Democratic leadership in Congress.
This is the arrogance of power of which Fulbright warned. But there is good news. The people can revoke power from the arrogant. They did in ending the Vietnam War. They did in forcing Nixon to resign. They did in the Democratic victory of 2008. And they did two days ago in electing a Republican to fill a Senate seat many assumed to be a Democratic entitlement. The arrogance of power does real harm to real people. But it dooms itself in a country where the people still believe that liberty matters and the powers of government are limited.
By James Huffman
James Huffman is the Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School.
A Paulson Tries to Cement Portland Stadium DealsExcerpt from The Wall Street Journal - 2009-10-23; Page A8
Former Treasury Secretary's Son Is Pitching Plans for Soccer and Baseball Facilities in a Region That Has Balked Before
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Henry Merritt Paulson III has bought the sports teams. Now he needs to sell the stadium ideas.
The 36-year-old son of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson came to Portland two years ago after marketing jobs with HBO on Demand and the National Basketball Association. He bought a home in the city's swank Lake Oswego district. He bought two minor-league franchises -- soccer's Portland Timbers and baseball's Portland Beavers -- in a 2007 package deal that people in the industry valued at about $16 million. His father is a minority shareholder.
From left, Merritt Paulson III, his father, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella before a game in Washington in 2008.
The two teams have been sharing downtown Portland's cozy PGE Park, built in 1926, which the Beavers first called home in 1956. Now, Mr. Paulson is trying to button down a deal to turn the park into a full-time soccer venue after next year's baseball season, and a separate deal with the neighboring city of Beaverton for a new baseball stadium.
The stadium deals' combined price tag of $90 million could be a tough sell in a state with 12.2% unemployment and in a city that has never been generous with financing for sports teams. Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen was on his own -- to the tune of $233 million -- in 1993, when building Portland's Rose Garden, home of the city's sole big-league team, the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Nor did the city lend a hand when the Rose Garden filed for bankruptcy in 2004. Mr. Allen eventually bought the arena out of bankruptcy, again without assistance from any public entity.
Against that backdrop, the drama of Mr. Paulson's stitching together two stadium deals has been unfolding in regular installments in the Portland media.
In July, Portland's City Council signed off on a $31 million deal to renovate the Beavers' stadium. Mr. Paulson's real-estate-development firm, Peregrine LLC, will make an $8 million cash contribution, plus prepay some $11 million in rent and anticipated ticket taxes over the life of a 25-year lease from the city.
Meanwhile, after Mr. Paulson unsuccessfully pitched various plans for the new baseball stadium in two Portland neighborhoods, he has moved on to the suburbs. Last week, Beaverton pledged to back a $59 million deal for a new ballpark, offering to cover 60% of the cost. Mr. Paulson is contributing the rest.
"While the public will pay 60% of the stadium, the public will own 100% of the stadium -- forever," Mr. Paulson told a gathering at Beaverton's City Hall last week. His commitment, he explained, would come from a combination of $9 million paid upfront for initial construction, plus annual payments totaling at least $13.8 million over 25 years, which he said would be "personally guaranteed." Mr. Paulson also pledged to pay for any cost overruns in excess of $2 million and commit to keep the Beavers in Beaverton through 2035.
Beaverton says it will raise property taxes and fees on electricity and natural gas to meet obligations to finance the new stadium. Mayor Denny Doyle calculated that would cost the average Beaverton property owner less than $60 a year to finance $50 million in revenue bonds, while providing hundreds of new jobs. He said that would stimulate the local economy by roughly $17 million annually.
Time may not be on the Beavers' side, however. Mr. Paulson, who declined to comment through a spokesman, says he needs to start construction by February to have a stadium ready for the team's 2011 season.
Opponents of the Beaverton plan have 60 days to raise just more than 2,000 signatures on a petition that would force a vote authorizing the city council to float revenue bonds for a stadium. It isn't clear how long beyond that it would take to hold a referendum.
"This is not a good deal for Beaverton," said Russ Draper, a member of the group called LOVV, for Let Our Voters Vote. "Mr. Paulson's group gets the profits and all the taxpayers get is the bill."
By JOEL MILLMAN
Good Advice for CollegeExcerpt from Observations by Bart Millar - 2009-09-25
- You will have lots of opportunities to try new things - without supervision. Be smart. Remember, if you pass up one chance, another will be along soon.
- Don't fall in love in your first three months at school. Not everyone wishes you well.
- Try new things you might never do again. Take a geology class. Sign up for a mountain climbing trip. Learn to scuba dive. Pick an activity that you never thought you'd do.
- The world has an unlimited supply of intoxicants. Your supply of brain cells, though large, is limited. Be smart.
- Don't do anything that would cause you to be ashamed if your name and the details appear in the local (or national) newspaper. Names appear in local (or national) newspapers with alarming regularity. Don't be one of them.
- Beware of transition times, now and later in life. When you move, get a new job, get married, etc. is when you are most likely to lock your keys in the car, get lost when you are in a hurry, lose your dog, run out of gas, and so on. Plan on not only the time and trouble for the actual transition, but all these 'extras' that come along.