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Conservative foundation should be commended

Jim Camden The Spokesman-Review

Disasters tend to bring out the best in the public and cause political adversaries to bury the hatchet, at least for a while.

So it was heartening, but not surprising, that the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, which is usually among Gov. Christine Gregoire’s loudest critics, commended the gov for her initial response to Hurricane Katrina.

Mobilizing the National Guard, offering Washington state to house evacuees, calling for the public to offer financial support … all good things to do in the wake of the killer hurricane of unprecedented scale, demonstrating we’re all Americans first and Washingtonians second, the organization said.

“Public health and safety go to the heart of government’s purpose and justify the governor’s commitment of state resources to aid in relief efforts,” Jason Mercier, foundation senior analyst, said in a press release.

OK, so he got to plug the conservative group’s mantra on its views of “the core functions of government,” but it was still a nice gesture.

Even more surprising, though, was the foundation’s support of Gregoire for shooting down a state House Republican proposal to cancel the state gas tax for three months in the face of rising fuel prices. Good way to help financially strapped families, said GOP legislators; the gasoline companies should stop gouging, said Gregoire.

The foundation is no fan of the gasoline tax but is even less enthusiastic about raiding the reserves to cover the money lost by suspending the tax, Mercier said. Of course, it would be good if Gregoire would “revisit her unsustainable 2005-07 tax-and-spend budget,” he added.

Good feeling can only stretch so far.

Going after gouging

The National Republican Senate Committee, meanwhile, felt no such restrictions about taking a swipe at Democrat Maria Cantwell after the state’s junior senator called for the administration to do something about rising gas prices.

Cantwell called last week for legislation that would give a president the emergency powers to “prevent gas price gouging.” A president could put price caps on gasoline during times of crisis under that proposal, and sic the Federal Trade Commission, the Energy and Justice departments on energy companies.

The NRSC, whose job it is to elect Republicans to the Senate, sent out a copy of a Chicago Tribune editorial castigating Cantwell’s idea as a way to make shortages permanent.

“Maybe no one has told Cantwell that oil trades in an international market” the normally conservative editorial page lectured.

More on the blame game

Repent America may be only partially right in saying the Almighty sent Hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans because of an upcoming gay celebration. Last week, other groups claimed divine intervention, but for other transgressions.

Party for Islamic Renewal – yes, Spin Control gets news releases from a wide range of sources – said the hurricane was Allah’s punishment for U.S. troops’ reported abuse of the Quran. “Allah has flushed a great American city and ironically with the same type of sewer water Bush’s minions were using to flush the Qurans,” the group claimed.

Meanwhile Ovadia Yosef, a conservative rabbi in Israel, said the hurricane was “God’s retribution for President Bush supporting the Israeli pullout from Gaza.”

So from all this, one might conclude that Islam, Judaism and Christianity apparently share the same divine power, and He (or She?) had several reasons to be ticked off at New Orleans.

Not registering

Albi Stadium may have been the scene of many a local high school athlete’s big moment – a touchdown pass caught, extra point blocked, field goal made in the waning seconds. It may have been where a marching band member nailed that solo or hit all the marks on that complicated halftime routine. It may have been where you met your future spouse in line for a hotdog during a break in the field action.

But however important Albi might be for your personal history, it’s not a historic structure.

At least not according to the state’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, which ruled recently the stadium is NOT ELIGIBLE (their emphasis, not ours) for the National Register of Historic Places.

The reason is the stadium has had so many alterations that it currently “does not convey a high level of architectural integrity.”

So if Albi had the old bleachers, the old grass field, the old concession stands, maybe it’d be less comfortable and usable, but more historic.

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