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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 21, 2005 9:45 PM. The previous post in this blog was We still loves dreamers. The next post in this blog is One giant, selfish step for mankind. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Have bow tie, will travel

My congressman, Earl the Pearl, has been making news. He was the Capitol Hill Nostradamus on Hurricane Katrina. Now he's made a list of top 35 members of Congress for taking trips at private groups' expense over the last six years or so. He's number 34 out of 633. That's just two behind Hillary!

Check out the story. He sure has embarked on some interesting junkets on other people's dimes. Istanbul (scroll down), Beijing, Switzerland, Rome, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska... $86,770 worth. And here I thought he was working his a*s off in D.C. for me.

When he cried at that press conference announcing that he wouldn't run for mayor of Portland, it must have been tears of joy.

Comments (38)

Yeah, Earl's a pearl, alright. But what the heck: Scroll down? To what, exactly? Here's what we got:

وكان مندوبو الاتحاد الأوروبي قد انسحبوا مساء الخميس من

You don't say...

I had it translated. It means, "South Waterfront is turning brownfields to greenfields."

Of course, he's done a lot of trips - but there's a serious difference in the kinds of trips he's doing and the kind done by, say, Tom DeLay.

Some of Earl's sponsors:
University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design, Boulder County Democratic Party, Boston Society of Architects, Alaska Wilderness League, Commonwealth Partners LLC (to moderate an LA mayoral debate), Virginia American Planning Association...

Tom DeLay's sponsors:
Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, American Association of Airport Executives, Center for the Study of Popular Culture, IDT Inc.

To put it another way, Earl did 32 trips totaling $86,770 in cost - $2711 average. DeLay did 16 trips totaling $94,568 in cost - $5910 average.

Kari, are you on this guy's payroll, or trying to get his business? You jump to his defense at every turn, and the gushy stuff over at BlueOregon... well, it's a little unseemly.

Your popping up to try to spin this particular factoid just makes it funnier. I'm surprised you didn't add, "When Hitler went on trips, he killed people."

He has a lower "average cost per trip," and that's a mitigating factor? Hilarious. In total private travel gifts, the Pearl is no. 44. DeLay is no. 35, and Hillary is no. 83.

Kari Chisholm at September 22, 2005 01:03 AM :
Of course, he's done a lot of trips - but there's a serious difference in the kinds of trips he's doing . . . .

JK:
So right you are, a goodly lot of them are trying to shove their religion down our throats:

1. American Planning Association: Promotes changing laws to force people to live in higher density. How and where you live is the subject of many religions.

2. Railvolution: Selling the snake oil of light rail. In effect trying to force us into their overpriced, time wasting, mercury and thorium polluting cattle cars. How we travel is a lifestyle choice and hence is religious in nature, especially when you see preachers like Bloomin Idiot blabbering his BS.

3.Sierra Club. A multi-million dollar corporation no longer dedicated to improving the environment, but instead promoting an anti growth, anti-automobile, anti choice in living agenda. Their stands on how we should live puts then in the promoting a religion category.

Earl, Kari and George Bush: Please keep your religion out of public policy.

Thanks
JK

Kari,
I could have predicted your chime nearly verbatum.

That is so your MO.

Is that John Kerry rockin' the mike on Kari's website?

[Apologies for being off topic, but Jack started it.]

Jack:

You can be such an ass when people disagree with you.

Go Earl, spread your religion!

JES

Hey Jim (and others)

If you don't like Earl's "religion" and you are a 3rd CD voter, feel free to vote for another representative. Same goes for you, Jack. (Wait for all the whiny arguments to come back about how Earl is so great and powerful that he is unstoppable!)

A LARGE majority of people have sent Earl back to Washington several times to represent their interests. This info was public knowledge before now, I'm sure. So they sent him back knowing full well what they were getting -- a slightly dorky yet earnest guy who has unfortunate taste in neckwear who gets to tell "the Portland story" around the world (which I think is a darn good story, at that).

I would much rather have foreign dignitaries meet Earl as a representative of our nation than Tom DeLay. That's just me.

Jack:

You can be such an ass when people disagree with you.

Yes. I ban people who call me names.

So they sent him back knowing full well what they were getting

As far as the trips are concerned, the first I heard of them was yesterday.

Earl's a fine congressman, but for him and the Mrs. to be running all over the world with interest groups paying the way isn't healthy.

Jack --

I encourage you to share your discontent with Earl at his next town meeting. Let him tell you to your face why he should be allowed to accept these trips. I'll be curious to see what he says in his own defense. He doesn't need me to defend it for him.

I'll be voting for him again anyway. I don't mind the trips, as long as they're publicly disclosed (which they always have been, regardless of when you got around to finding out about it -- due diligence, my friend).

I WANT my congressman to go around and find out about issues greater than just what affects the 3rd CD. I WANT him engaged in the world at large. And I don't mind if he takes his spouse along -- he's a human being, for crying out loud. He shouldn't have to live a monastic lifestyle just because he got elected to Congress.

If you all want your congressman to do nothing but shuttle back and forth between here and DC, that is your prerogative. You may say "that's part of being elected to Congress," but I'm not so cruel as to insist our elected representatives completely give up any intellectual curiosity as a function of the job.

If anything, Congress could use more creative wordly thinkers like Earl. It sure beats people like Dick Armey, who was actually PROUD of the fact that he didn't have a passport or hadn't left the country since his service in the military.

due diligence, my friend)

Banned. That's two today. Would anyone else like to post a snotty comment and be banned? Please do so now while I'm in the mood.

I do think there is a fundamental difference between a guy lecturing at universities and academic organizations and a guy doing five-day golfing junkets in Hawaii.

But since one of those two guys is your client, your opinion will always be suspect.

Aha. Your links require quotes around the URL, unlike most places (tho' technically more correct HTML.)

Anyway, I'm not seeing much gushy stuff on BlueOregon about Earl. In fact, there's hardly been anything about Earl written on BlueOregon.

One post about his round-the-mountain trip, which got national coverage; one post about his hurricane prediction, which got national coverage; one post about a gubernatorial rumor in the Statesman-Journal; a slapdown from Jenson Hagen; and a bunch of asides in various posts and comments.

Oh, and one snarky post from a guy named Jack B.

Hardly gushy...

Kari, give it a rest.

i think jack's theme is that corruption is not confined to the delay crowd. instead, it spreads with unchecked authority among groups of political friends - earl, pdc, goldschmidt. like snoop dogg says, in a slightly different context, "it ain't no fun if my homies can't have none." keeping with the theme, it looks bad when earl's web wench is defending him as an ostensibly unbiased reader. please, jb, don't ban me!

Nate, Kari's a dude, dude.

http://tinyurl.com/aqkyt

Good points, none the less.

"I encourage you to share your discontent with Earl at his next town meeting."

I shared my discontent with Rep. Blumenauer at an exploratory meeting for the last mayoral race. Among all the problems facing Portland and Oregon then (2003), Rep. Blumenauer, safely surrounded by near-total BlueOregon types, expressed concern over what to rename the Eastbank Esplanade. That was about all he wanted to express concern about. I went in a supporter and left knowing I would never vote for that kind of "creative, worldly thinker" again.

My real point, though, is that I don't think he listens well or kindly to discontent, even (or especially?) when substantive.

I don't think he listens well or kindly to discontent, even (or especially?) when substantive.

Neither do his groupies, as this thread illustrates. How dare anyone question St. Earl and his $86,000 worth of interest group junkets?

Can you imagine what the sheep would be saying if this post was about Gordon Smith doing the same thing?

Hilarious, I tell ya. And I'm a Democrat.

Full Disclosure: I am a former member of Earl's staff, but I speak only for myself.

Earl's ability to be effective for the people who elected him is strengthened by his ability to spread the word on critical issues, like during his trip to the UN summit on the environment in South Africa in 2003. The fact is that this "religion" is shared by many of his voters, and it's not exactly popular in Washington right now. The extent to which he can spread this message, the better.

I also have to say that equating the disclosed trips number or value with a corruption index is humorous, given the members at the bottom of the list... Torricelli? Katherine Harris?

I appreciate Kari's effort, but I'm not coming back to read all the accusations that I'm a Blumenauer henchman or return to engage in a pissing match with the usual suspects. During my time with Earl, all of his trips were either because people wanted to hear his message and bring it to their part of the world, or because he was given an opportunity to build relationships that support his clearly stated positions on behalf of the 3rd CD. His list could even be longer, except that so many groups come to Portland to appreciate the city and hear his take.

If you don't like the policies, fine; but quibbling about the fact that he's becoming a national figure on planning, human rights and environmental issues is sad. We're lucky to have a leader that others wish was theirs.

"Neither do his groupies, as this thread illustrates. "

You don't say.


NLP2P
"""The fact is that this "religion" is shared by many of his voters, and it's not exactly popular in Washington right now. The extent to which he can spread this message, the better."""

Many of his voters have been lied to.
With help from multiple agencies.

As was the case with the recent Portland Office of Sustainable Development putting out a bogus report on emissions.
Followed by a Rex Burkholder's attempt to cover up the deception.
There is absolutely no question that Earl Blumenauer is continually lying during his trips.
He is of the cult who believes the higher mission merits dishonesty if that's what it takes.
His agenda is a disservice to Oregon and the country.
Could you please ask him to resign so that my tax dollars don't pay for him to do it?

$15,456 to fly to China and back? I checked with Orbitz and a first-class, totally refundable fare is $11,000. Although you can make it $15,000 if you have FOUR changes of flights. (The $11,000 fare requires just one change.)

But why does Earl, the man of the people, have to fly first class? What is wrong with business class? The fares are only $3,000 to $6,000.

But why does Earl, the man of the people, have to fly first class?

Well...yeah,how come? How come the several thousand dollars on hotels in Rome and Istanbul?

Sorry, I like to travel too...and do. But I pay my own way, give money to Sierra Club too...while the Congressman is taking money from them. And he makes a lot more money than me.

Fact-finding? C'mon. A rose is a rose and a junket is a junket. I can't filter out that reality through rose-colored glasses.

Wow...only on Jack Bog's Blog do I get to jump into bed with Randal O'Toole! (But, really, only a fling...nothing serious.)

Fact-finding in Lausanne, Switzerland? Sure. And the streetcar pays for itself.

Posted by NLP2P at September 22, 2005 10:02 PM:
The fact is that this "religion" is shared by many of his voters. . . The extent to which he can spread this message, the better.
JK:
Ok, I see - you think it is OK for Earl to use the power of government to shove his religion down our throats. Bet you object to the same from Bush.

Thanks
JK

I guess I'm having a hard time working up my outrage. When you go to the list of disclosures and click on the destination field, what you'll notice is that Blumenauer's trips to exotic locales were almost always part of big Congressional groups, and his expenses were often par for the course.
If you want to argue that all Congressmen/women are corrupt, that's probably still okay. But there's not a whole lot in his record to suggest that Blumenauer is crooked or abusing the system. Indeed, if he's spending all of his time jetting around to attend conferences and spread the Good Word about Portland, I'm not sure what there is to gripe about. Notwithstanding the ire of people who can't see the forest for the trees, there is a difference between a $15,000 trip to China for a conference on internation relations, and a $100,000 trip to St. Andrews for some golf (see also: Abramoff).

Jud at September 23, 2005 09:28 AM:
Indeed, if he's spending all of his time jetting around to attend conferences and spread the Good Word about Portland, I'm not sure what there is to gripe about.
JK:
The gripe is that he is spreading the lie that Portland works and the lie that livability is increasing.

Does he mention our record un-employment rate? Our record traffic congestion increase? Our record short school year, lack of money to lock up car theives, cutbacks in police and fire services? Does he mention all the tax abatements given to campaign donating developers?

Sick of the bloomin idiot
JK

Holy moly. Earl-bashers (that's you, SteveS, and you, JimK), get a handle on what your criticism of the guy is. Is it that he takes too many trips and that he is therefore "corrupt"? That point is effectively countered by Kari's comparison of EB's trips with DeLay's, for example, or even better, John Breaux's, or Billy Tauzin's. If you do not see the substantive distinction between EB's many, many trips to things like academic urbanism conferences and the many, many trips other politicos take as guests of Pfizer, or SBC Telecommunciations, or the Soap and Detergent Manufacturer's Association, then you do not know what corruption is.

If the point is that you're just hopping mad that EB is traveling around evangelizing the livability-through-planning, pro-light rail message that has been the centerpiece of his congressional career (and your respective semipro careers as commenters on Jack's blog), then you are just more people in the minority of 3CD voters who have not voted for him, and will continue to loudly not vote for him until he voluntarily gives up his seat. Unless you are not in the 3CD at all, in which case you can go back to your snout-houses in Beaverton and wonder why your representative has so little clout he doesn't even get invited out of the house.

Matt at September 25, 2005 01:49 PM:
If the point is that you're just hopping mad that EB is traveling around evangelizing the livability-through-planning, pro-light rail message that has been the centerpiece of his congressional career.
JK:
I am bitching aboout his lies about "livability-through-planning, pro-light rail". That's all.

If they made the average person's life better, I would not be complaining. The main benefits of thses are the well connected developers and the tax freeloaders that live in them (speaking of the Pearl & SoWhat.)

Thanks
JK

What in the heck is a "snout house"? Just curious. By the way, I do live in the 3CD.

"What in the heck is a "snout house"? Just curious. By the way, I do live in the 3CD."

It's a derogatory term for houses with garages that protrude out from the front of the house toward the street. A pretty standard ranch-style architectural configuration of which any new construction was banned by Vera Katz and Co in Portland proper. Never mind that they are a livable and efficient floor plan -- the style smacked too much of a dependence on automobiles for Vera's car-hating ideology and were deemed 'ugly.'

Matt succeeded in spewing typical, urban, elitist "smart-growth" propaganda (ala Metro 'councilor' Rex Burkholder) -- bashing the burbs and those who choose to live there.

Funny, how he and his 'tolerant' ilk promote the division of urbanites from suburbanites by attempting to make suburban dwellers look like corpulent, gas-guzzling, beer-swilling mouth breathers.

Thanks for the clarification on "snout houses". Those ten foot wide three story skinny abominations that they're building all over my neighborhood have the garages as the bottom floor. Does that make them "sh*t houses"?

Does that make them "sh*t houses"?

LOL! A crescent moon on the door should me mandatory!


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