Friday, August 29, 2008

My Ethics Investigation

Time to come clean: In 2001, I was under investigation by the State Ethics Commission. I was also under investigation by the Secretary of State. Why? Because someone filed a complaint against me. So, by law, both groups had to investigate the claim. Thus, I was under an ethics investigation.

Frankly, such investigations are a dime a dozen and are common tactics by political hacks ON BOTH SIDES. The reason is because it is simple to file one, the government agency has to investigate, and while they are doing so the opposition can scream and yell "Hey, he/she is under investigation!!"

Here are the particulars of my investigation: During the 2001 Oregon Legislative Session, I was the communication director for House Majority Leader Karen Minnis. As part of my job, I wrote speeches, talking points and press releases about the redistricting plans working their way through the legislature. I was probably one of the top 5 Republicans who understood the plans because I had to be able to condense their complexity into the various written formats. A copy of my talking points about one of the plans made its way to a Republican activist who emailed it out to her (very) large list. She sent it because the legislature was doing public hearings across the state.

Some guy in Salem filed an ethics complaint and a Secretary of State election complaint against me (saying I was using my position for partisan purposes...now, remember, I was working for the PARTISAN leader in the House...). The main Capitol correspondent for the Salem Statesman-Journal even did a story on the complaint.

The Ethics commission threw it out faster than curdled milk. The Secretary of State (a Democrat btw) also exonerated me. And when I asked the Statesman-Journal reporter when he was going to run the story about my exoneration? Yeah, that would be never.

Are there real violations that need to be uncovered? Absolutely. And the government should investigate reports. But people also need to understand that this is a common political tactic.

Why do I bring this up now? Because that is one of the arguments you'll hear against Gov. Sarah Palin. That she is under an ethics investigation. So, in addition to being a fisherman like Gov. Palin, we share an ethics investigation.

Palin has pissed a lot of people off in Alaska. A lot of them are political insiders, especially within her own Republican Party. She defeated the incumbent Republican governor in the Primary on her way to defeating a former Democrat governor in the General. At every level she's served she hasn't been afraid to clean house and call out corruption. She's made enemies.

Some day, maybe I'll blog about how a former writer for a lefty newspaper in Portland (who later worked for the governor) was digging around for "dirt" on me at the same time.

Geez, wonder why my wife wants me out of politics.

Diary as Blog/Blog as Diary

Recently began following a unique blog called The Orwell Prize. The Orwell Trust, Political Quarterly, and Media Standards Trust are posting entries from George Orwell's diary matching the current day in the calendar 50 years ago.

What has been most interesting? The mundane things that one of the 20th Century's great writers wrote about in his diary. Take today's entry for example:

Overcast & chilly. Heavy rain last night. Dahlias now in full bloom.

[NEWSPAPER CUTTING]

FRUIT BOTTLING
Commenting on the old-time country method of “Fruit Bottling without sugar,” B. A. Crang, Instructress in Fruit and Vegetable Preservation at the University of Bristol, says:
“This is bound to give unsatisfactory results in many cases, as cold water cannot destroy the impurities on the fruit and water itself also contains many impurities. During storage mould will probably grow and the fruit will be spoilt.
“A simple method of bottling fruit is to place the fruit in clean bottles, heat them in a warm oven (about 240 deg F) until the fruit has changed colour and looks cooked. The jars should then be filled quickly with boiling water or syrup, the rubber rings put in position and the lids fixed on securely. If the bottles have sealed correctly, the following day they can be lifted by their lids without the lids coming off.
“Fruit bottled in this way will keep indefinitely.”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

Seth Godin knocks this one out of the park. I am always telling people "If you don't like X, don't shop there/buy that" etc. And, yes, the same absolutely goes for politics.

For example, my good friend and fishing buddy, Jason, is a huge WalMart opponent. He's also a diehard Republican and supporter of the free market. When ever he bitches about WalMart I just say "Then don't shop there." Of course, he gets it. He's not running off to the city government to try and ban them via zoning or planning laws. That kind of stuff hacks me off.

Frankly, it's fun to poke fun at his opposition. Just did the other day when he said he was looking for someplace to buy freeze dried food for our Yellowstone backpacking/fly fishing trip. "WalMart probably carries it" was my suggestion.