Sarah Palin Financial Disclosures.

Sarah Palin financial disclosures can be found HERE.


Oregon Disclaims ORS Copyright.

I attended a hearing today where the Oregon Legislative Counsel Committee voted unanimously to disclaim any future copyright claims on the Oregon Revised Statutes.

My prior post with background leading up to this decision is HERE.


Sunlight Foundation Picks Up on My Prior Highlighting of a YouTube Post.

The [highly recommended] Sunlight Foundation Blog, in a "Local Sunlight " post, picked up on one of my recent posts about a House Small Business Committee upload of a RESPA hearing onto YouTube.

This Sunlight Foundation Blog post, which includes other "Local Sunlight" examples can be found HERE.


Creative Open Government: U.S. House Committee Posts RESPA Hearing Video on YouTube.

The House Small Business Committee recently held a hearing on proposed HUD rules for the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act, AKA "RESPA".

In addition to the usual posting of written testimony from various government and housing industry officials, the Committee has posted a number of videos on
YouTube of hearing testimony and question and answers HERE.

Staff took the time to break up a long video into a number of shorter videos to allow viewers to focus on speakers of interest. Kudos to the Committee and staff for their efforts in making the video of this hearing available to the public in a timely, easy to use fashion.

Below is one of the hearing videos featuring an official from the Center for Responsible Lending:


Copenhagen Consensus 2008 Results: Vitamin/Mineral Supplements Came Up As Top Priority.

I previously posted about the 2008 Copenhagen Consensus process HERE.

The 2008 process is now complete and the panel
[which included 5 Nobel laureate members] considering various options to spend $75 Billion over a 4 year period came out with their list of the top 30 priorities. You can see the list of 2008 priorities they chose HERE; the logic for the top priority reads like this:

"Providing micronutrients for 80% of the 140 million children who lack essential vitamins in the form of vitamin A capsules and a course of zinc supplements would cost just $60 million per year, according to the analysis. More importantly, this action holds yearly benefits of more than $1 billion.

In effect, this means that each dollar spent on this program creates benefits (in the form of better health, fewer deaths, increased future earnings, etc) worth more than 17 dollars."


State Assertion of Copyright for Oregon Revised Statutes.

A battle simmering for the last couple of months looks like it will reach a new stage in June. The battle is over the State of Oregon's attempt to assert copyright over the Oregon Revised Statutes.

Complainants include Justia and PublicResource.Org, which also includes in their post on this topic a "Paper Trail" of many of the documents associated with this issue.

A summary of the battle to date can be found at Ars Technica HERE.

While a court filing is possible in early June, Oregon seems to be backing off a bit with a letter last week HERE, requesting that the complaintants present their objections to a legislative committee in mid June.


Copenhagen Consensus to Rank Cost/Benefits Of Solving Global Problems Next Week.

Interesting WSJ story HERE about effort to rank cost/benefits of solving a wide range of global problems. Effort is called Copenhagen Consensus; Wikipedia page about Copenhagen Consensus, with all of the usual caveats and a current focus on earlier conference held in 2004, is HERE.

Another story HERE reports on findings of one related study about cost/benefits on war on terrorism.

Copenhagen Consensus 2008 web site is HERE. (Appears that 2008 conclusions will be announced next week, look for additional news stories then).


GI Education Bill Benefit Now 54% Below Inflation Adjusted Vietnam Era Benefit.

As a strong supporter and prior user of the GI educational benefit, I have been interested in the growing political battle over the GI Bill, S.22. Senator McCain has opposed the expansion of benefits that this bill will provide while many other Congressional members support the expansion.

I went back and looked at the cost levels for S.22, as detailed by the Congressional Budget Office. Their estimate HERE is that the average benefit cost would be $90,000 for 36 months of benefits--4 years of college.

I then went back and constructed a table HERE showing what education benefits would be if Vietnam era benefit levels were adjusted, using the rate of college tuition inflation since 1970.

Three Conclusions:
  1. Current GI educational benefit levels are 54% below what they would be if they were at the same level of benefits available to Vietnam era veterans, after adjusting for tuition inflation.
  2. S. 22 benefits levels are somewhat more generous than called for by tuition inflation alone. Using CBO's benefit estimate of $90,000, the benefit provided by S.22 would be about 8% more--nearly $9,000 more- than what Vietnam era benefit levels would be adjusted through 2007 for tuition inflation.
  3. After inflation adjustments for 2008 are added, the proposed benefit levels in S. 22 are only marginally higher than they should be if they were adjusted only for tuition inflation since 1990.


Oregon Congressional Members Net Worth--Smith Net Worth 85 Times Wu's.

From Sunlight Foundation, new website shows net worth for Oregon congressional delegation HERE.

Gordon Smith is # 1 with net worth of more than $23 M.
David Wu is last with net worth of $272k.
Average families net worth $93k

Note: Sort of ALL members of Congress by net worth available HERE.

Highest net worth is by one of women members of Congress, Jane Harman from California, with a net worth of more than $409 million.


Sunshine Week Activities.

Listing of activities/events HERE.


U.S. Senate Data: Real Estate Lobbyists Spent $65M+ in 2007.

From U.S. Senate lobbyist disclosure database at opensecrets.org

Results for real estate industry are HERE. Realtors,
private mortgage insurance companies, Fannie, and Freddie top the list.


Air Force Tanker Procurement: CRS Report Has Facts.

Congressional members from Washington state are making a lot of noise about the recently announced decision to award a larger tanker contract to Northrup Grumman instead of Boeing. (It's only a matter of time IMO that Oregon lawmakers will be asked to weigh in on Boeing's behalf).

For those interested more in the facts than the politics, the Congressional Research Survey issued a report HERE at the end of February 2008 that does a good job of explaining what the procurement was intended to accomplish and the evaluation factors that were used in the procurement process. This report was issued before the procurement decision was announced.


Slate's Delegate Calculator Shows Daunting Clinton Task Ahead.

Great use of web HERE.

Using sliders, user can see pledged delegate counts that would result from different Democratic primary election results in all of the remaining primary states.

Even with a highly unlikely scenario, Obama still ends up with more pledged delegates. The scenario and results:
  • Clinton beats Obama by 60% to 40% in 4 primaries Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico AND by 54% to 46% in ALL of the other primaries.
  • Clinton ends up with 1,599 pledged delegates, but Obama STILL has more pledged delegates at 1,610.
  • Both are short of the 2,025 delegates needed--that's where super delegates would come into play.


Oregon Congresssional Delegation and Staff: Privately Financed Travel--Gordon and Earl In the Lead.

From Legistorm, shows all privately paid for member and staff trips and also includes link to show staff salaries paid. Free sign up allows you to view actual post disclosure form filed.

Note that many of these trips are from several years ago, but some are more current.
Clicking on the column headings sort data by that column--so you sort the date column for example to see the most recent trips first.

Privately Paid for trips, and their source for all Oregon Reps and Senators can be found HERE in table format.

For the years covered, Senator Smith, and his staff lead with 97 approved trips taken at a cost of $190,000+, with Rep. Blumenhauer coming close,with a much smaller district, with 70 approved trips for $156,000+

Click on any individual Rep or Senator in left column to get more detailed information.


Democratic ELECTED Delegate Counts and Comparisons.

It is suprisingly difficult to find a breakout of elected delegate counts in the Democratic presidential contest. The Chicago Tribune Associated Press HERE has a breakout that shows total delegates, and super delegates, but NO count of the delegates elected in the primaries and caucuses.

SO.... I took the Feb 11, 2008 AP total delegate count and subtracted their super delegates to get a breakout of what I call elected delegates. The results of this comparison are available as a PDF HERE.

  1. Obama leads in the count of elected delegates 952 to 893, a 12% lead.
  2. Obama has a total of 20 states where he won the elected delegate count and Senator Clinton has 15 states where she won--i.e , he has won a third more states than she has.

For the record--I am an Obama supporter and contributor.


Congressional Salaries and Allowances.

New Congressional Research Service PDF report HERE.

Haven't seen anything similar for Oregon legislators, have you?


Federal Freedom of Information Act Amendments Signed Into Law.

S. 2488 was recently signed into law by the President. The bill is seen generally as a push back against increasing secrecy during this administration.

A good summary of its provisions can be found at this GovTrack.US summary of the bill HERE.

An AP story on the bill can be found HERE.