Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paul Harvey Has Turned His Last Page

Paul Harvey, "The Voice" at noon around the country for millions for what has seemed an eternity, has signed off at 90.

"We didn't realize he was still alive", said everyone you know.

It's Not NIce To Taunt Mother Nature

From the Post-Times-Sun-Dispatch,, breaking:

BEND, Oregon (PTSD News) – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was injured today when his car was overcome by lava that erupted from little known Mt. Iconic in eastern Oregon. Jindal, who was on an impromptu vacation following his poorly received nationally televised response to President Obama’s budget speech, was flown to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland where he is listed as in guarded

“It was so weird, like right out of the X files,” said Oregon State trooper Kyle Wallingford who was first on the scene, “a stream of ash and lava came out of nowhere and hit that poor car like it was aiming for it.” Jindal’s Lexus sedan was completely destroyed.

Read all about it here, and bookmark the Post-Times-Sun-Dispatch. Because in these times, all news seems to make more sense when you read it though PTSD.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Hey, Teleprompter Jindal! You Just Blew The Most Important Speech Of Your Life Out Your Tuckas! What're Ya Gonna Do Now?"

Senator Jeff Stakes Out The Left Wing

It's about time someone did.

Our national interests are not served by the war in Iraq. I applaud President Obama’s commitment to a solid plan for withdrawing our troops and ending the war.

However, I have reservations about the extended 19 month schedule for the draw down and I am very concerned that the size of the remaining force would still be too great. It will be hard to argue that our military presence is ‘residual’ when it is comprised of as many as 50,000 Americans.

Here's to someone with the guts to tell it like it is, and who doesn't forget why he was elected. If we had awards to give, we'd give him one.

TriMet: Why Discontinuing the 33-Fremont Is Stupid

I'm fortunate to live relatively close to where I work, so using TriMet to get in to work is an option but not an essential thing. I live within a bike's ride of the Gateway Transit Center, for instance. And even though TriMet is considering altering the 15-Mt Tabor–the closest main line to me–my access to the public transportation net doesn't stand to change too much.

If you live along NE Fremont Street, and use the 33-Fremont to get in and out of town or to get to shopping along Fremont, you've got something to worry about though.

Unfold yourself a TriMet System Map (or go to TriMet's website ( and look at the PDF). The 33-Fremont starts downtown, follows the MAX Yellow Line to Russell Street, uses Vancouver/Williams Avenues to get to Fremont, then follows Fremont out to Rocky Butte on its way to Gateway.

It's that Fremont alignment I want to bring attention to. It's remarkable in that, in all of NE Portland, it's the only continuious east-west route between the Banfield Freeway (MAX Red and Blue Lines) and Killingsworth Street, a distance of two miles (more in some places). The bus that runs along Killingsworth in that area is the 72-Killingsworth/82nd Avenue, a crosstown route–you have to transfer off it to get downtown.

Moreover, even though the 6-MLK Blvd, 8-NE 15th Ave, 9-Broadway, and 10-NE 33rd Ave all go north-south through the area and some are within ten blocks of each other, east of 33rd Avenue the options drop considerably, with the only routes left into the area are the 12-Sandy (which doesn't do you well to get to the residental and shopping area round 42nd and Fremont) and two more crosstown routes, the 71-60th/122nd, and the 75-39th Ave/Lombard–meaning more transfers if you want to go downtown.

The area along Fremont Street, especially that east of NE 33rd Avenue, is going to get very very underserved soon, and if you live out in Rose City Park, getting around our fair city is just about to get a lot more difficult.

TriMet has apparently cited this route as a lightly-used route. Sometimes lightly-used doesn't mean unpopular, it really means only used by people who have no other options. A few months ago, The Oregonian highlighted the area around Cully Blvd, not too far off Fremont via NE 57th Avenue, as a place where mobility is at a minimum. The more transfers you have to make somewhere, the more time it takes and the less attractive transit looks as an option.

With the anticipated discontinuation of the 33-Fremont, people in the Piedmont and Rose City Park areas are going to feel a whole lot like their more down-market Cully neighbors.

Just because a route isn't perhaps as popular as it might be doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea to cut it.

PDX and VanWa Finally Agree On Something ...

... and it's that the bridge should be 12 lanes.

The Oregonian:

After months of wrangling over size, the mayors of Portland and
Vancouver have agreed that a new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia
River should be the jumbo model featuring up to 12 lanes compared with
the current six -- and that sprawl and other worries should be tightly

But is the 12 lanes really ... only six after all?

Me eyes just glazed over.

Oh, well the tolls should keep the 'Couvies out ... kidding, kidding, stop throwing those copies of the Columbian at me, owowowowow!

Joe-The-Plumber: Not The Draw CPAC Hoped, Maybe (11 Showed Up, 5 Books Sold-Update)

Garrett Quinn, attending the misama that is CPAC, via Wonkette:
Joe-the-Plumber spoke to 1/4 full room. It was pathetic. I got video of how f**king empty the room was. I tried to make an echo off the walls but I got yelled at. Video to come.
One of the draws of this unholy confab was, of course, Mr Potemkin Village himself, Samuel "Joe the "Not Really A" Plumber" Wurzelbackhoe. I heard an offhand comment by Thom Hartmann on his morning show that only a handful of people attended his 'talk' and even fewer (less than ten) walked off with a book signed by him.

Oh, and you know what ol' "Joe the Plumhead" said about members of Congress that didn't support the Iraq war?

He said they should be shot.

"Joe the Plumhead" has boundless contempt for you. He's just too dumb to know that's what it is.

Now, America, I'm going to tell you one. more. time: Don't. Ever. Let. These. People. Near. The. Levers. Of. Power. Again!

Are you listening yet?

Update: As detailed in the title, a grand total of 11 showed up to see the New Brain of the Republican Machine. And 5 bought his "book". According to John Aravosis.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"When the town is burning you don't check party labels. Everybody needs to grab a hose."

Waldport Mayor Herman Welch has left the Republican Party for the independents, incidentally making him the first (as far as the Independent Party of Oregon knows) independent public office-holder in Oregon.

See ya, wouldn't wanta be ya:
At the age of 74 and after 53 years, I have finally quit the Republican Party and have re-registered as an independent voter.

Most of us understand that the president's economic recovery program
is not perfect and perhaps has flaws. But we also understand that our
country is in the midst of a very serious crisis. The president
understands the gravity of the problem and is trying to do something
about it.

The Republicans in Congress (except for the three who put their
country first and set aside party ideology by voting for the stimulus
bill) have offered no constructive economic recovery ideas except to
continue tax cuts for the rich (if any are left) and offer only
worn-out ideology.

I still believe in having political parties that engage in vigorous
constructive dialogue on economic issues, but as President Obama said
recently, "When the town is burning you don't check party labels.
Everybody needs to grab a hose."

(the above from his Oregonian Letter To The Editor of the 22nd)

He's taking what I like to call The Chinuk Prescription: If you're sane enough to leave the Republican Party and can't stomach the idea of being a Democrat, at least register independent.

Moreover I'd add here that if you have senior-age Mayors of small conservative coastal towns deserting your party, you're not getting ahead. This guy supported you since the waning days of Ike.

Republicans never liked thier elders if they spoke sense anyway.

Welcome to reality, Mayor Welch.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cascadia: Bobby Jindal Hates You

Let's look inside the Republican "Big Tent" for another moment.

Louisiana Governor Bobby "PBJ" Jindal, Republican Response, Feb 24th 2009:
...and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring."  Instead of
monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the
eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.

The Oregonian's Jeff "Shadout" Mapes:
But forget that for a moment. As I sit typing this in Portland, I'm
less than 50 miles - as the ash flies - from an active volcano. I'd
like to know as soon as possible if Mount St. Helens is going to blow
again. It's kind of like how Jindal would presumably appreciate the
most advanced hurricane monitoring possible.
Man, this stuff just writes itself, kinda.

But if you live in any city near the I-5, and can look out an east-facing window to see a might snowcapped mountain that was built out of titanic underground forces, which another explosion from has not been ruled out, then as far as Bobby Jindal and the Republican party are concerned ... you're on your own, Joe Oregon and Jane Washington (and parts of California).

"Teleprompter" Jindal EPIC FAIL.

The previous installment dismissed the Republican response to the President's speech to Congress of last night as forgotten almost as soon as it was delivered.

That's the problem with swingin' for the fences; when you miss, the whiff of that bat through the air is nothing short of amazing. By all accounts, Governor Teleprompter wasn't just uninspired, he dropped a big, wet, steaming one, and was the most amazing misstep since Gov. Palin's "In what way, Charlie?". This was tone-deafness for the record books.

Of course, you'll expect us liberals to mock him (indeed, it's part of ROR's mission statement), especially when they found the best that they had was one of thier 1994 speeches to source from. But even the conservatives, the ones who've hailed him as the next Ronald Reagan, the new telegenic technocratic smart young up-and-coming and not-so-white face of the 21st Century Republicans, are pulling sour faces at this one.

I mean, et tu, David Brooks?

Kenneth from 30 Rock? Seriously?

I did see the thing (not surprisingly, it's somewhat hard to find even on YouTube). It was cringeworthy. From that bizarre cockeyed grin he had when he walked to the podium to the mawkish appeal to history to the corn-fried personal story awkardly linked to Republican versions of American values to the same tired appeals to fiscal conservatism we don't believe anymore, it was strike one, strike two, strike three, and you're out.

If I were talking to Gov Jindal, I'd console him. You see, them Republicans, they're a fickle bunch. Once you go bad, it's under-the-bus time so fast your head'll be swimmin' by the time you come back to half your senses.

The best commentary I was able to find comes from the New Orleans-based blog Your Right Hand Thief (read this first, then this one):
Jindal is getting bludgeoned for his candy-ass response to Obama's speech last night. It's sort of fun seeing Wonder Boy getting criticized so thoroughly from both sides. Honestly, I was surprised to see the reaction this morning. When I watched the end of Jindal's response last night (I couldn't help myself), I didn't think it was a disaster. Sure, he sounded cheesy because of all the "talk slower!" coaching he's received. And sure, Jindal is just naturally geeky. (I don't have a problem with him being a geek, I have a problem with him being a geek who decided to force himself to believe stupid things in order to advance his political career.)
The comments are even better and more biting than the above.

But one point I wanted to make centers on the sentiment, famously expressed by Tbogg, that Jindal's "presidential aspriations blew up tonight like a cheap condom on the end of a fire hose." I think those sentiments premature, at least as far as he's going to have a a chance at the Republican 2012 nom.

Remember when Sarah Palin opened her mouth and started "aww, shucks"-ing and "drill, baby, drill"-ing all over the place and should have been laughed off the national stage, but wasn't.

Bobby "Teleprompter" Jindal face planted last night.

But he'll be back.

You can mark those words.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Heard There Was A Speech Today, Given By The Leader Of Our Country. How Fared He?

Actually, I saw it, and I'm glad I did. It was typically brilliant.

It's so good to have a President that talks to me instead of at me. I'd forgotten like that's like.

My favorite part was the views of Republicans sitting there line little kids with stern looks on their faces, still getting used to the fact that someone took their ball away. Nice PR, guys!

In a statement I wish he'd said, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Naturally), stated that "We've had a full airing of the President's policies, and we are sure that we have him right where he wants us."

In a related story, Louisiana Gov Bobby "Teleprompter" Jindal delivered a Republican response that was forgotten about as fast as it was delivered, except by FOX News.

I'd also like to say that I'm in full support of Jindal/Palin 2012 (Or Palin/Jindal, if you prefer. Makes little difference)! You can just hand 'em talking points and send 'em off. They'll save ya money!

All I've got are plaudits, so here's some links I found speaking much more deeply on it than I did:
  • Chuck Butcher, who really takes Gov Teleprompter out behind the woodshed
  • The Rev Currie, who applauds the speech while raising the bar. I remember when all pastors used to be like him.
  • Blue Oregon, where Gov Jindal got his new name and Rep Earl tweets!.
  • Preemptive Karma, where they have the text of Senator Merkley's reaction to the President's speech. Not only am I prouder than ever to say I voted Obama and Merkley, it just feels good to say "Senator Merkley".

You Know Times Are Bad When They Cut 1/3 Of The Comics

... but, they're going to be in color. Peter Bhatia at The Oregonian's editor blog:

Like many other businesses, The Oregonian must cut expenses because of the economy. Regrettably, we will reduce the number of daily comic strips we publish from 33 to about 23 in order to save newsprint and the cost of purchasing comics. At the same time, we will begin publishing the daily comics in color, which we hope adds to your enjoyment of the comics page.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown, yes.

The Oregonian has always been rather generous with the comeeks. While the lineup has changed over the years, it's been a two-page spread in a world of 1-page comic spreads since the old Oregon Journal folded; the Journal comics were simply folded into it and it was a two-page party ever since.

Or, as my spouse said "I remember the gas crisis of the 70's. I remember the recession in the 80's. It never got this bad." My spouse, I've said to others, ought to write editorials. Tends to hobbyhorse some issues to death, but few minds are keener.

So take an unfunny look at the funny page (for me, starting with Close to Home usually does it), figure out which ones you can do without, and vote here. It's a best three/worst three sort of thing (the URL is

Oh, by the way, there's already eight who are coming into Oregonian Survivor: Comics Island with an immunity challenge. They are:
  1. Adams' Apples
  2. Dilbert
  3. Doonesbury
  4. Get Fuzzy
  5. Mother Goose and Grimm
  6. Pearls Before Swine
  7. Stone Soup
  8. Zits
Good luck to the rest o'yall's.

Money For Nothing

Governor Sarah Palin on the newest "work from home" scheme (via the AP):

During her first two years in office, Palin charged the state almost $18,000 for meal allowances while living in Wasilla and commuting 40 miles to her office in Anchorage. But McAllister said Palin spent $100,000 less than Murkowski spent living in the governor's mansion in Juneau, the state capital, during his last two years in office.

In simpler language, "I'm less worse than the last guy!"

A member of the Sane Party sees it–well, sanely:

Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, said the governor's staff was comparing "the $17,000 apple to the $100,000 orange ... Yes, $17,000 is less than $100,000 but $17,000 is a lot higher than zero. And if she's going to work out of her home in Wasilla, the choice is between zero and $17,000 and not $17,000 and $100,000."

It doesn't seem outrageous to expect someone with the high fiscal conservative standards Gov. Palin has to refuse to bill the Alaska taxpayer, especially considering she could have brown bagged it.

But that's how we mythical little guys roll in the land of reality.

The Complete List Of Refusing Republicans

  1. Sarah Palin, Alaska
  2. Bobby Jindal, Lousiana
  3. Mark Sanford, South Carolina
  4. Rick Perry, Texas
  5. Butch Otter, Idaho
  6. Haley Barbour, Mississippi
This blogger put it aptly:

The governors have collectively expressed a few
concerns with the stimulus money, from general opposition on principle
to a belief that it would be better to reject the funds out of hand
rather than abide by the “strings” that Congress has attached to the
money (by strings, of course, the Governors mean they don’t want to
have to spend money on things like schools and medical costs).

To take a phrase from the man the Republican Party saw fit to
nominate as its presidential nominee, this is not “country first.” This
is ideology first.

Keep in mind, this is all posturing. Does anyone really believe that
the voters in those six states won’t be stark raving furious if they
continue to lose their jobs and their homes while the residents of 44
other states get some much needed relief?

Well put. The point was never that it was a bad stimulus plan (I think it flawed but it's better than anything else we have going now). The point is it's being opposed simply because it's a popular plan put forward by a popular Democratic President, one who, in our seriously-flawed electoral-college-based vote system, still got elected without having to cheat at it. 

The point is to undermine Democrats and return to power. 

Do note that the top two names on the list are generally regarded by the conventional wisdom as the up and comers, leading lights, and young turks–and likely contenders for the '12 nomination.

Monday, February 23, 2009

There's That Wonderful Rural/Urban Divide Again

The Shadout Mapes, on Clackamas County's increasingly-urban oriented five-member board (recently upgraded from three):

The commissioners insist they are well-versed in rural issues. But it's
also clear that under the leadership of Chairwoman Lynn Peterson, a
transportation expert with urban sensibilities, that the board will
move to seeing the county as a coherent whole rather than a collection
of small cities surrounded by countryside.

Insisting that you are well-versed in rural issues and actually being sympathetic to rural issues are two incredibly different things, as anyone who lives in the 3/5ths of Oregon that isn't the Willamette Valley (and the most-of-the-Valley that is miles and miles of rolling farms and forests) will tell you over and over again.

Mind you, I have no bone to pick with the Clackamas County Commission; they're very local, and probably do more understand about the hinterlands (which come amazingly close to every Clackamas county downtown area) than most other collections of County Commissioners.

But I don't see the viewpoint as treating Clackamas County as one big indivisible unit (like a school-lunch meatball) as being the best way to go. Clackamas County is, in fact, a collection of small cities surrounded by countryside, and you probably don't want to lose sight of that, because that's the level your people are actually on.

It's a beautiful county, by the way.

Looking Into The Abyss: Et Tu, Bacon Explosion?

Welcome back to Looking Into The Abyss, our occasional series of forays into that altered reality we charitably call "the conservative blogosphere". Remember: When you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you. We look into the abyss so you don't have to.

Anyway, the storied Bacon Explosion, that example of bacon-on-bacon-on-BBQ cardiovascular and dietary violence that is obviously oh-so-sweet to eat, is actually anti-liberal:

This posting at a blog ironically called "Laugh at Liberals" (whatevs, dudes) hotlinks all the piccies (which you've all seen about a billion times at the original site) and how to put it all together, and then a list of awkwardly hack reasons why BE is such an anti-liberal food–reasons which seem to say more about the worldview of the writer than anything actually liberal.

Spaking as a liberal (with a surprisingly conservative diet) I'd like to try me some Bacon Explosion, but buying all that meat costs money, and thanks to a couple of decade of Republican Reaganomics, I just don't have that much right now.

And yes, I work. Full time. Just so's you know.

Locke for Commerce? Good Choice. (Updated)

It's still frustratingly a buzz, but one with weight, that former Washington Gov Gary Locke's name has bobbed to the top of the bobbing-for-Secretary-of-Commerce tub.

He may not be the best, but is certainly less worse than anyone who's been nommed so far.

Update, to provide a bit of a brighter perspective:

There's no denying the success of his tenure, though, both politically and economically. Washington State farmers and manufacturers remember his governorship as a time of new markets opening to new products. His efforts on behalf of our agricultural interests, in particular, helped him make political inroads east of the Cascade Curtain that are still producing benefits to our Party, and created new jobs (good union jobs, mostly) on the docks and ships that are so critical to our economy. Commerce? I think Gary's always spelled it with a capital "C."

There should be no bar to confirmation here. Gary's not the kind of guy who's left a trail of uncrossed 't's behind himself. He's such an Eagle Scout that he actually is an Eagle Scout.

Kyped from UpperLeft. That line about being an Eagle Scout? Wish I'd have said it.

Draft DeFazio?

He'd make a corker of a Governor. A principled liberal, popular in his district, who is Oregonian through and through.

My enthusiasm is guarded, though. Not because I don't believe in the man (I sure as hell do), but draft efforts in the past have debuted with much promise but wound up quixotic (I still remember the heartbreak of the Draft Kennedy for President campaign in the ancient 80's)

But here's me hoping this shows me up for the jaundiced cynic I am.

Your Liberal Media, Now With Extra Added Democrat Hating

Ira Forman, via HuffPo (emphasis mine):
A decade ago, I debated Ballabon in New York. I represented the Democratic Jewish community while he spoke on behalf of Republican Jews. During the debate, Ballabon claimed that, after his most recent job in Washington, he became convinced that Democrats are inherently bad people and Republicans are fundamentally good people.
D'ja notice? Democrats are fundamentally bad people. Not Democratic congressmen, not Democratic politicians, but Democrats, without modification.

If you're just regular ol' Joe or Janet Democrat, working your fingers to the bone, playing by the rules, paying your taxes, wondering where you're going to get the money to keep food on your family and a roof over your heads, even if you never broken a law and don't intend on doing so, it just doesn't matter, if you're a Democrat, you're Inherently Bad™. You're unredeemable. They're not even going to try.

Can you see why I keep saying that we must not allow conservative Republicans anywhere near the levers of power ever again (if you're still so naive as to think that the last eight years of travail were just sh*t happening)?

Oh, by the way, Jeff Ballabon has been named Senior Vice President for Communications at CBS News.

More tarnish for the Tiffany Network. Bill Paley is surely rolling in his grave now, if the appointment of Katie Couric, Actual Professional Journalist™ to the marquee spot didn't do it.

Hey, CBS News, how's that lowest ratings since the early 80's goin' for ya?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chew On This: Free Transit?

Weekend Discussion Salon:

According to the latest TriMet Fact Sheet, available from, farebox revenues account for only slightly more than 20% of FY 08's total revenue.

Given than TriMet is cutting back routes as it is, wouldn't it be better if they rethought the route network, tried to find other funding sources, and fill that 20% with other money–making the buses free?

As long as we're going to have less service anyway, make it free and give the riders a break (I recall when a TriMet fare was 65 cents!).


Friday, February 20, 2009

Thom Hartman Up, Randi Rhodes and NovaM Down (Updated w/Info From Talkers Mag)

Via The POJ:

Nova M Radio Inc., a competitor to troubled radio network Air America, is filing for bankruptcy liquidation, according to the company's co-founder, amid mounting disarray in the small world of liberal talk radio.

Anita and Sheldon Drobny, a married couple from Chicago, founded Nova M in 2006 and have been funding the business partly out of their own pockets. Compounding their troubles: Nova M's highest-profile host, Randi Rhodes, vanished from the airwaves earlier this month. Mrs. Drobny also said that her husband is currently hospitalized for problems stemming from the stress of dealing with the network, which has 34 affiliates.

The above, from the WSJ via The POJ, has schadenfreude all over it, no?

Air America has been "troubled" and "beleagured" for over 5 years now.

But it's true; stick a fork in NovaM; it's done, although I thought that Mike Malloy has always been a more valuable talent (and I'm a Randi fan, too). Perforce, the "On Second Thought" radio net.

But, on the upside, it appears to be the year of Thom: On the just-released Talkers Magazine's Heavy Hundred, Portland's own Thom Hartmann is #10!

This Just In To The Newsroom: Talkers magazine throws a little more light on the subject:

Randi Rhodes Is On Her Own and Nova M Files for Bankruptcy. It comes to light now that the sticking point between Randi Rhodes and Nova M was her belief that her contract included helping her with legal costs which it did not. She is now rumored to be seeking a local radio gig and many believe she’s trying to get back to her old station – WJNO, West Palm Beach. As for Nova M, it was losing a lot of moolah — $100,000 per month. The founders and corporate officers — Sheldon and Anita Drobny — are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation for the company. Some of Nova M’s other talent — Mike Malloy, Nancy Skinner — continue in syndication as another person involved with Nova M from the beginning, Dr. Mike Newcomb, is reorganizing the network as On Second Thought Radio Network.

This confirms a few of the rumors we've heard and explains why Mike Newcomb, who was with NovaM at the beginning, has suddenly reappeared on the scene.

The part of "legal costs" is somewhat telling. Randi, while still an AAR talent, was sued by a defense contractor over something she said on air, a fight she won, which made us think at the time that she was the victim of a SLAPP. Sadly, her forthrightness tends to get her in trouble this way in this litigious society of ours. We wonder if she's made someone similarly angry now.

Silver Falls Bank EATED

Fourteenth Bank Failure of 2009 nationally. Second for Oregon.

All three Branches will reopen as branches of Corvallis-based Citizens Bank on Monday.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

City Council To Outer East Portland: Oh, There You Are!

They noticed us!

After years of benign neglect by the Portland City Council and the Powers, I'm happy to say that someone finally noticed us. And, after the last missive, I wasn't sure i'd have anything nice to say about the city council today.

By "Us", I mean that area of east Portland that's only been in the city since 1990 (for those with only 10 fingers, that's 18 years). Outer East, as us armchair intellectuals like to call it, that area from I-205 to the eastern city limits (which are mostly at E 162nd Avenue) is really the only invisible part of the city that's left. People from west of I-205 look on us and think "Gresham". Last year, I read on another blog, the Willamette Week's "Best of Portland" issue didn't have the guts to go east of the Freeway.

Well, we would have eaten them anyway. But I digress.

Anyway, as The Oregonian's James Mayer describes,

Fast-growing East Portland is closer to feeling like it belongs.

The City Council just adopted an "action plan" for the area between Interstate 205 and the city limits -- and put $500,000 toward making it happen.

The plan will guide decisions dealing with development, parks, public safety and transportation in eastside neighborhoods. It calls for more sidewalks, street lighting and storefront improvements, for example.

Most of the area was annexed into the city in the 1980s and '90s,
and residents often have said they don't feel like part of Portland.

He has the right of it. We've long been a source of tax dollars rather than a destination. The result is poorer streets, poorer transit service (except for lines like the 20-Burnside and the 4-Division, neighborhood routes, such as the one I'd depend on if I could, the 27-Market/Mill bus, only run at times that are not merely incovenient).

There's a sense of benign neglect. Especially when you get to intersectons like 148th and Stark and 122nd and SE Market.

It helps to have a friend who speaks up for you. Jeff Merkley, our newest junior Senator, hails from this area ... he was State Representative, District 47, which is right in the heart of the Outer East:
"There was a sense that annexation was more about pulling additional
taxpayers into the city than really doing anything to benefit the
people," said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, who prompted then-Mayor Tom
Potter and Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler to launch the planning
effort last year.

Jeff puts his money where his mouth is, that's for sure.

All we want is our fair share, and for a very long time, we've not been getting it.

What sorts of things have they enumerated to start?

Expand storefront improvement grant program.
  • Create an advocate position to seek money for carrying out the plan.
  • Continue planning for a greenway between Interstate 84 and I-205 north of the Gateway Regional Center.
  • A pilot project to test new land-use concepts aimed at creating "20-minute neighborhoods."
  • Create a grant program to allow neighborhood associations,
    business associations and other groups to take on small or medium
    projects in the plan.
  • Initiate Powell Boulevard street improvements planning project.
  • Identify three pedestrian safety projects as part of safer routes to school program.
This is a good start. Especially the "20-minute neighborhoods" part, and I'll admit, I'm not sure what that is, but it's got to be better than what I got now.

I'll Tell You What I Think Of Tolling I-205

James Mayer, The Oregonian today:
Maybe it was the lateness of the hour. Maybe it was the lack of
notice. Maybe it was the absence of a real proposal. Maybe people were
just tired after two-and-half hours of testimony on another issue.

But whatever the reason, the Portland City Council's effort to gauge
public opinion about the idea of tolling the Glenn Jackson Bridge
attracted little attention last night.

Tolling Interstate 205 is an idea that has gained political momentum
as local leaders grow weary of a shortage of money for transportation
maintenance and expansion. 

Well, I'm glad they're getting weary about it. In this era of less and less TriMet service to the underserved Outer Eastside, We've been kind of weary about it for a while.

And that's our trusty City Council, waiting until people were least likely to comment before floating the issue.

And then they wonder why Portlanders are so cynical about their city government.

Oh, what do I think of tolling I-205 (Specifically, the Glenn Jackson Bridge)?

I think they're lucky there's no alternative routes over the Columbia River there, that's what I think.

Up Side/Down Side

Via OLive:

Yay for the little guy!:

Beaverton resident P.J. Mulcahy spent $40 to rent the Pettygrove Room at City Hall to give supporters of recalling Adams the opportunity to speak. He complained that city rules limited the number of people allowed to talk to the council.

But, prepare for a right turn ... into The Risible Zone:

Mulcahy bought a replica of the Ten Commandments to the meeting, talked about how lies lead to sin and said Adams was proudly promoting the gay lifestyle through the mayor's office and how the lifestyle was killing people through AIDS and HIV.

Oh, well. So much for that one then.

Thanks for the bizarre sermon, Father Mulcahy.

An Actual Judge: Sit/Lie Sucks. Constitutionally.

Via PMerc:

Judge Michael McShane made the ruling yesterday about the part of the ordinance that requires people to keep their personal belongings within two feet.

"I found that an ordinary person would not understand from the statute that mundane and everyday behavior would be prohibited by the law," McShane tells the Mercury.

"The ordinance encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement," says McShane


A woman with a baby in a stroller who walks away from the stroller for a moment to get the baby strapped into the car would be breaking the law ... Or a window washer who steps two feet away from his bucket while he is washing a storefront ...

Exactly. It's not about keeping sidewalks clear. It's about making the homeless even more invisible.

Greg Walden: Against It Before He Was For It

The Shadout Mapes:

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., joined Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio in casting the only no votes from the Oregon delegation against the stimulus bill.

But just as I below in the case of DeFazio, it's not stopping Walden from aggressively pursuing stimulus money - and attaching his name to it. In fact, Walden said in a teleconference with federal forestry managers that he wants to get an "unfair share" of the stimulus money for his congressional district.

The problem isn't Greg voted against it and then decided to take what he was given and do good for his district. That's his job and his duty as a M.C.

The problem is that Greg doesn't have the principle that DeFazio did, and you can count on his marketing in the next election as someone who was really on board with the stimulus.

He was against it before he was for it.

>Hey, you out there in the 2nd District–wouldn't it be nice to have someone in office that says what he or she means and means what he or she says? Greg's doing the right thing now ... but remember he wasn't on board with that county payments thing until he knew it was the difference between his keeping his job and not keeping his job.

He'll only do the right thing for you if he really has to. Rest of the time, he'll do what his party tells him to.

That's the way Republicans roll.

Sam Adams: Havin' Trouble Gettin' It Done

What some of us suspected was going to be the problem about The Trouble With Sam:

Wyden and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley were in town to announce Portland's share of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan. They called a news conference and invited elected leaders from around the region to share the spotlight. Adams wasn't among them.

"The senator was very clear about the need to focus exclusively on Oregon's economic recovery and not get distracted by side issues," said Josh Kardon, Wyden's chief of staff.

Merkley also has kept his distance, saying Adams "broke trust with the residents of Portland" and that rebuilding that trust and being an effective mayor "will be a difficult task."

Our Mayor has become a joke. At an important media opportunity, the chief executive of Oregon's largest city has become a distraction–a side issue.

Thankfully for him, the recall advocates are an even bigger joke.

A Few Notes About This Course's Textbooks

If I may put on my Professor's cap for a moment.

It's not that I'm better at teaching anything than anyone else, but I've realized that this blog has become sort of my own classroom, and my own life (though I'm nowhere near retirement age) has lessons that I would be remiss in not giving out) is the lesson I'm teaching.

We all have lessons like that. But I'm digressing, once again.

This course has a beginning but no end, and the only test you'll ever have to pass is realizing that retaining registration in the Republican party is the closest thing to a self-inflicted Extinction Level Event there is, and waking up to the fact that pretty much everything they say they do (Clear Skies Initiative, "Right-To-Work" Laws) results in the opposite, and the only thing the Republican party is about is the Republican party.

Don't like the Democrats? Fair enough. Register non-affiliated.

Anyway, this course has two essential textbooks. They are classics of American literature, and have important lessons to teach us.

1. Frank Herbert's Dune

The first required textbook, Frank Herbert's Dune, is all about power politics and how a single motivated individual with the right qualities, placed in the right place at the right time, can completely change the game with the passionate help of religionists. But I don't offer it as a suggestion for Democrats and Liberals, but a caution.

The book (I'm going to give away the ending here, but there's enough elements of the Hero's Quest in this that the book telegraphs its ending rather well) tells the story of a power struggle over two commodities upon which the galaxy-spanning human race of 20,000 years hence absolutely depend. For the Imperium, it's the drug-like substance known as spice, which confers longer life, heightened awareness, and without which interstellar travel cannot happen. Because, while humanity of the far future has cracked the secret of faster-than-light travel, without the limited prescience provided by the spice, you might come out anywhere. There's no point to it.

For the Fremen, or the natives of the planet Dune, the crucial thing is water. Arrakis ... the planet known as Dune ... is as dry as the Atacama in Chile and hasn't seen a free drop of water in possibly millions of years. It is the dream of the Fremen to recreated Dune as a green and fertile world, which is shown is possible. What the Imperium does not understand, though, is it's the peculiar ecology of Dune which makes the spice necessary at all.

The person of Paul Atreides, known by the Fremen as Paul-Muad'Dib, is the catalyst. About a third of the way into the novel, after the Atreides family becomes ensnared in the treacherous trap laid by their mortal enemies, the House of Harkonnen, the House of Atreides is thought extinct. However, Paul has gone native–and a good job too, as the cultural forces that have preceded them through 10,000 years of human history has prepared a fertile seed-bed for the seed that would grow into the Prophet Muad'Dib.

Adding the spark of the genetically-advantaged Paul-Muad'Dib to the gas tank that is the Fremen–a culture based on the modern-day Muslim Bedouin–proves to be the spark that causes the explosion that fells the complacent, corrupt, decadent Imperium.


While there is a sense of justice and exhilaration in Muad'Dib's and the Fremen's defeat of the Harkonnens and the deposition of the Emperor from his throne, it must always be remembered that the book ends with Paul thinking with dread about the jihad that his Fremen are locked and loaded to sweep across the Empire, purging the unfaithful, and that despite him being thier mahdi, thier messiah, he is absolutely powerless to stop it.

He has ended one injustice, only to possibly create a greater one.

Modern parallels abound. Ecological change, a civilization's pivotal dependence on a single commodity, brutal power politics augmented by religious passion ... it's also a ripping good story, written with deep mind and passion itself. Even though you may have heard the ending, the story's soaring intellect and imagination make it worth reading again and again. I've finally worn out my copy and have had to replace it.

2. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

It's understandable to assume that we adopt this classic melodramaticly as a cautionary tale about security states, the decay of society by autocratic rule, the beggaring of the individual in the name of the state, etc, etc.

And actually the obvious and endlessly, tediously cited detriments to the human spirit that comes of being a citizen of Oceania are things that one must be aware of. Orwell had the right of it there.

I feel the importance of Orwell's classic goes well beneath that obvious surface however. The crushing, hopeless, dreary life of 6079 Smith W didn't just happen, of course. Newspeak didn't just happen, MiniLuv, MiniTrue, MiniPax, and MiniPlenty didn't just happen. Even though they are remarkably visible and appalling things, they are like societal melanomas; they may be a small spot on the skin, but they indicate a great deal wrong that you can't see.

And I'm not even talking about the ruthlessness of the Party or the general hypocrisy that is Ingsoc. It even goes deeper than that.

The exegesis of the book hinges on a combination of the viewpoint provided by Emmanuel Goldstein's famous Book, Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, which tells the story of the Party with a straightforward truth that suggests that the Party probably wrote it itself; and the expositions on power that O'Brien regaled Smith with during the weeks (months?) of his interrogation and conditioning.

Famously, the Thought Police storm in on Julia and Winston just after Winston has put down The Book, just as he is about to read the sentence which states what the Party's object is. But O'Brien, through his tender ministrations, make it clear just what that object is:

Power. Pure power. Power for its own sake.

Just like the Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four, todays Republican party is more than drunk on power, they're addicted to it, in the way a meth addict is addicted, and when power is taken away from them, they get chaotic, jittery, scary (just like the Republican party is acting). We suppose the only difference between Ingsoc and Republicans is that Orwell's Party has moved in and accepted its addiction. The Republicans, on the other hand, haven't accepted that they are addicts yet, so they complain about how thier not being in power is a Bad Thing™ for the People as though they actually believe it, and seem chagrined when people don't believe in them or agree with them.

3. In Summary and In Conclusion

Now, that was some dry exploration. If you've gotten this far with me, I congratulate you.

If your eyes have glazed over, though, here's the lessons, short and sweet:

Dune is valuable because it demonstrates what happens when economics, ecology, power politics, and religion combine and how brutal it can all be.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is valuable because it shows the utter corruption a power-addicted group can wreak on not just a society, but humanity in general.

In my experience, the human animal has always been the most dangerous.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quotable Line Of the Day

Obama Against Fairness Doctrine: Conservatives Search For Something Else To Whine About, just because I like the asymmetry:

President Obama opposes any move to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine, a spokesman told Wednesday. 

The statement

is the first definitive stance the administration has taken since an
aide told an industry publication last summer that Obama opposes the
doctrine -- a long-abolished policy that would require broadcasters to
provide opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. 

"As the president stated during the campaign, he does not believe the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," White
House spokesman Ben LaBolt told 

Time to go find something else to whine about, people. Remember, people still respond to the word "socialist". And it drips so sexily off Britt Hume's lips.

Something A Republican President Would Never Have Done ...

A website on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ... or as we all like the call it, the stimulus.

Complete timeline, accountability and and transparency?

Are we sure that's not un-American?

We're Going To Talk About Cesar Chavez Blvd. Just Accept It.

Sean Cruz, writing at Blogolitical Sean:

There are many ways to honor a person, and I strongly support recognizing Cesar Chavez in a permanent, physical way.

I am troubled by the efforts of the handful of generally well-meaning activists ever since they presented the City of Portland with an agenda of nonnegotiable demands centered on their proposal to rename Interstate Avenue, and here is why:

Right from the beginning, they claimed to represent Portland’s Latino communities, and that is simply not the case. There has been no community process to put the Chavez Committee in charge, and many Latinos wouldn’t follow them out of a burning building….

Even the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has had nothing to say about the effort.

The Avenistas’ antics and accusations in front of City Council and at Ockley Green Middle School were an embarrassment to many of us….

The Chavez Committee has also never identified who its members are, apart from the two co-chairs, not even on their website. Anonymous committees cannot possibly represent a community, and carry no weight with me.

The Committee claimed that any cost associated with renaming a street was inconsequential, and that any opposition to their demands was racially motivated, and neither statement is true. The costs are insignificant only if Other People pay the price….

Read the entire post. Sean thinks deeply and honestly about it and writes and speaks plainly about it.

Cesar Chavez was a brave man to do what he did. He probably made it into more than one governmental file as a subversive, here in the Land of the Free. The Cesar Chavez Committee and the whole three-ring circus about having a Cesar Chavez Blvd (note that we now must have a street named after him) has made a complete dog's breakfast about it, and have essentially poisoned the well; anyone who objects seems to get characterized as a possible racist.

If one thinks it racism, consider this: the deal began when a lame-duck mayor, completing a lacklustre term that held a great deal of promise, agreed to fast-track a gift for a pressure group that was assumed to represent the whole, in a bid have some sort of legacy.

A back-room deal–that quinessentially White thing. It could have been a smoke-filled room I suppose, except that we don't allow smoking within 10 feet of a public building.

Recalling the previous day's lead editorial in The Oregonian, we are reminded that the Chavez Committee gets to propose not one, but three streets (two more than anyone else would): Grand Avenue, Broadway, and Thirty-Ninth Avenue. The O also give a solid call on which one will likely get the tag, and we agree: of all the choices available, changing Grand Avenue to Cesar Chavez Blvd would certainly be the less-worse option. Broadway is a very historically-significant street in Portland, and having an E. 39th Avenue is crucial to navigating the east side, both to locals and to visitors.

Having a Cesar Chavez Blvd as a one-way couplet with Martin Luther King Jr Blvd has this sort of appeal.

But at the end of the editorial, the question that nobody wants to answer (but Sean Cruz kind of did) is asked:

To be clear, we're delighted to see the council at least trying to
follow its own rules this time around. That's a welcome change. Yet, in
its new fixation on following the rules, the council may fail to
address questions the rules can't capture, such as:

Why does the name of a street have to be changed at all? Why
wouldn't it be more fitting to name a bridge or a park or farmers
market or something else altogether for Chavez?

My position is that we should rename no streets after anyone else ever again. We have become althogether jaundiced about the whole thing.

Looking Into The Abyss: The President-Obama-As-Crazed-Monkey Edition

Just when you thought conservative opinion couldn't get any more low-rent and tasteless, comes this cartoon:

Artist Sean Delonas's cartoon for today is highly, highly distasteful, bordering on the absolutely horrid. I link it here not because I like it (the combination of Obama-avatarage as crazed-chimpanzee can have no defense ... who is being given credit for the stimulus bill?). It makes me want to vomit. I provide it at this time not because it's pretty, not because it's insightful, but because it gives us a look into the conservative mind, and neatly explains why we must never let conservatives have the controls of anything, ever again.

The aspersions it casts on our legitimately-elected President who, unlike his disloyal opposition, is actually trying to do something about the sad economic state of our nation are, in my opinion, inexcusable.

And, unless the artist lives in a cave, it has probably occurred to him that this may indeed incite someone to violence against the President.

African-Americans have been pejoratively called "monkeys" in our culture ever since Southerners instituted thier own "guest-worker" program for African immigrants in the antebellum times. What conclusion did the artist wish us to draw?

The New York Post, of course, should be ashamed to run such trash. But they aren't (and we shouldn't be surprised, because this is a Murdoch rag). As a matter of fact, the paper's statement about the cartoon essentially gave everyone who didn't care for it the middle finger:

The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the
shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks
Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals
himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist.

(note: the defense was in direct response to Rev Sharpton's reactions to it). It's highly ironic that the Post, which apparently took this low-rent approach to get people talking about it, accuses someone else for grandstanding.

If this weren't bizarro world, The Post would be out of business tomorrow over this. But some people are sure to day "yep, they gotta point there!".

If this were the Bush administration, the Secret Service would be on Delonas's doorstep so fast it'd make his head swim.

Well, Mom always said the world wasn't fair.

However, at least we know there's a more idiotic conservative editorial cartoonist out there than Glenn McCoy.

I close this with this letter written by a contributor at Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, which distills down my prolix wonderings very nicely (emphasis added by us):

ok, the cartoon with the dead chimp and the policeman saying that
someone else would have to write the stimulus bill is shameful.
if you're saying the president is a chimp, because people compared a*wol to a chimp, you're not figuring in the race card, which always counts. i don't want it to count, but it does.
if you're being that racist, you should hang your head in sadness over your own ignorance.
you're saying that other people are racist, then you're missing your
mark, because my first thought was that *you* should be ashamed for
putting this out there.

please think long and hard about how this insults so many people, at so many levels.

My Nascent Plan For World Domination Bears First Fruits

I am accepted as a member blog in BlogBurst.

I feel like one of the big dogs now, so.

In The Absence Of Randi, NovaM Becomes "On Second Thought"

La Affaire Rhodes II continues to evolve, in new and decidedly odd ways. To someone like me, who's been listening to talk radio long enough that he doesn't remember what it was like to listen to it for pop music, it's pretty unprecedented.

In a business that is an inscrutable miasma to the vox pop, this kicks it up another notch (via

The finger pointing between host Randi Rhodes
and her network Nova M is over, and so is Nova M. Network GM Eric
Reinert tells R&R that Nova M is no longer an entity and that a new
company called On Second Thought LLC has been formed and is moving
forward. Both Reinart and Rhodes' lawyer Robert V. Gaulin confirm that
Rhodes is no longer associated with the group.

I just with someone would have explained just what the name NovaM meant anyway. Now, we'll never know.

The new name, "On Second Thought" sounds so passive and nice. The evolution is going sloppily as well, the only thing replaced on the website being the top banner (which looks decidedly amateur) and Randi Rhodes information still on the thing.

Stay tuned to this space. If anyone can figure out what's going on here, I'd be thrilled to know too.

(To read the entire text of the article, go to and type "Randi Rhodes" in the search box. The article is not linkilicious.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Where I Stand Depends On Where I Sit

I think "tests" to gauge your qualities or positions on things are kind of stupid. However, being an evolved monkey, I can't stop myself from taking them if I see them enough.

A co-worker at my Union shop the other night absolutely insisted that I take the Myers-Briggs Personality test. The questions irritate me, because they are only binary-valued. I distrust anything that looks at the world in terms of black and white. Moreover, I wasted two Saturdays once in a "managment seminar" (time I'm not getting back, as far as I know) taking one and going through real awkward excercises with my coworkers.

Well, hell, the vendor got paid and management felt like they were getting something done.

But, for what it's worth, my Meyers-Briggs result then was INTJ. When I retook it? Still INTJ. So at least I'm consistent, and for those of you who look at life through Myers-Briggs glasses, you already know what I'm about.

One annoyance is that "World's Smallest Political Quiz". The impression I get is that it's non-partisan (but if that's true why do I always see it used as a winnowing tool by Libertarians?). Well, I finally gave in. Here's my result:

So at least I wound up pretty much as I thought I would: dead center in left-field.

If you don't think someone's trying to send a message here, meditate, my friends, that Libertarian is in the top, and by our transactional calculus, up is good. the middle is less worse, and down is bad. And regardless of how you define Statism, it depends on what dictionary you're using: I don't accept that big government is bad ... if big government works for its citizens, rather than works on its citizens, as the Republican version does.

But, in case you're one of those folks who loves them some quantification of that unquantifiable thing called human character, then, there ya go.

I'm not linking to the "World's Smallest Political Quiz". Go use teh freakin' Google yourself. See? I believe in self reliance!

The Problem With Oregon Republicans, Part 3.

  • For Part 2 of this white paper series, go here.
  • For Part 1 of this white paper series, go here.
In 1953, chafing under the developing Stalinist government of the SED, the workers actually had an uprising.

Just like every mass movement in the people's name only, this was a Bad Thing™. The famous poet and playwright Bertholt Brecht famously, wryly and critically observed thus:

After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had thrown away the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

Ironically, Brecht moved to East Germany after being targeted by Tail Gunner Joe, and still died one of East Germany's most celebrated cultural treasures, even after that criticism. The people didn't much care for the suppression of the Uprising at all, but the SED government liked it enough to rename one of Berlin's most famous streets–Unter den LindenStrasse des 17. Juni. Which should surprise us not. But I digress.

Why am I going on about East German and Cold War history? That's about as far away from Oregon Republicans as they are from winning the Mahonia Hall next time out.

I have in the past opined that the Republican party is as addictied to message and symbol as a tweaker is to his or her crystal (no disrespect meant to drug users). This works into it to.

Set the wayback machine to November 2004. Smarting from what was one of the first to be many well-deserved electoral setbacks, Ron Saxton (who would go on to carry the R standard only to lose it to Governor K) decided to go for credibilty by assuming the mantle of Owly Pundit. On a day in November 2004, Ron turned his big, wet compassionate eyes on the citizenry not wise enough to be watching Judge Judy at the time and begged us for a more powerful Republican party.

This was after the Rs recieved a drubbing that should have suggested to them that they were on the wrong track. But Oregon Republicans are incapable of learning the lessons of history.

Come back up to the present. The Oregon Republican party passed a turning point where they refused to turn by electing the past (Mr. T.) to guide them to their future. The national Rs elect renowned black man Michael Steele as chair and Mr T. gloats that this changes the perception of the party as the party of old rich white businessman.

Do you see the theme yet? It changes the perception. They telegraphed thier whole playbook right there and then.

Caught on the wrong side of history and, frequently, the wrong side of brain, the Republican party simply amps up the message.

Just like those ungrateful proles in 1953 East Berlin, today's voter just. won't. go. along. We look around and see our commons crumbling, life being reduced to eat or be eaten, we finally figure out it's because of Republicans, and they start losing elections.

They can't choose another electorate. So, the recode the message. Use different words. WRITE IN ALL CAPS. Let us paint you the picture ... did we use oils last time? Let's try watercolors. Oh, we used those? How about gouache? Tattoos? Igpay atinlay? PUMP UP THE VOLUME! Be "cool". Talk "ubby-dubby" like those kids on Zoom always did.

The Message™ didn't take? Rearrange the Message™. Reboot the Message™. Massage the Message™. Embroider the Message™. Color it green. Fly a gay-friendly flag from it.

Just don't look behind it, because you'll find that the Republican party may have a great message (or at least great production values–kind of like Battlefield Earth) but the message is like (if I may be allowed one more Commie reference) a Potemkin village–party out front, nothing in the back. Such is the addiction of Message™ over actual substance, but this apparently does not bother them at all.

The Republican party looks like a party that's trying to bring itself up from it's past, but in reality, it really is still the party of old, white businessman, terrified with the idea of becoming a Caucasian minority in thier own homeland (which we got by carving a new life out of the American Indian).

But, gosh, if we'd just listen to the Message™, we'd Get On Board™, and elect more Republicans. We'd have to disbelieve our lying eyes about what letting Republicans touch our stuff has done, but it's so important to elect more Republicans.

If only they could dissolve the people, and elect another. That'd be sa-weet!

Looks Like We'll Have To Stop By Muddy Waters

As pro-people people, we approve of gay rights. We think that everyone should be allowed to live with, love on, and form binding associations with anyone they damn well please without anyone snooping in and telling them they shouldn't.

JustOut noted this in passing:

Either way, queer-identified lucky new Muddy Waters coffee house co-owner Courtney “Aloe” Johnson and a trio of Muddy Waters employees recently bought the legendary 2908 S.E. Belmont St. coffee haven and flipped it to a self-described “anti-profit” business endeavor:
one where anything that the four owners make above and beyond their
monthly bills is turned over to local charities and community

You people go and do that thing. And we're going to have to scrape together a few bucks and buy a little coffee over at your place, that's the thing to do right there.

Big Day At The Office ... The Total Number Of Hits Has Doubled

Of course, this is a brand new blog, only been in existence for about two and a half weeks, but it seems I'm not the only person in the noosphere passionate about Randi.

As of this writing I've had more than 150 hits today, as many as in the entire existence of this blog before I made any posts about her.

Thanks for stopping by, peeps.

Oh, I do note that Phil, of Frieddogleg (I love that name) returned the favor of linking and following, so, you rock, Phil. Like the cut of your jib and all that.

Randi Rhodes APPARENTLY Off NovaM! (Breaking) (Updated)

Read up today ...

Got a page, the top of which looks like this:

Say what you want, this is not looking good.

She is, as of this time, still atop the NovaM website however.

And This Just In:

Green960 AM, San Francisco, PD John Scott has posted the following, credited to Randi:




Yeah, it's gotten weird again.

Wonder why this is all coming through Green960 though (a question designed to illustrate my utter ignorance of how broadcasting works, and in no way meant to cast aspersions or suspicions on anyone anyhow)

Updated, 1829 on Feb 16th: The above text is now the complete content of Not only that, I'm listening to Malloy via NovaM stream right now, and he is (as expected) not giving any information out (though it's possible he hasn't much, if any at all, information), though, notably, he's nodded his head toward the imbroglio by calling his syndicator the "I Don't Know What It's Called" Network.

Bigger problems that just Randi leaving, I wonder?

That'd be damned sad.

Happy Presidents' Day

Here's to Presidents' Day.

The holiday was originally celebrated as Washington's Birthday, and was orignally celebrated on George's actual birthday, 22 February. It has since expanded to honor not only Washington but Lincoln, who was also born in February and is arguably a more admired figure in American history (not to say that GW was any slouch ... he rocked as well!)

In 1968, to increast the number of three-day holidays afforded to Federal employees, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was signed into law. Most germanely, it set Washington's Birthday as the third Monday in February (of course, regardless of the actual date of Washington's birth).

During the 1980s (saith Wikipedia) the holiday sort of evolved through commercial pressure into a combined celebraton of Washington and Lincoln (born 12 February). It's not officialy Presidents Day on the Fedreral level actually, that's still Washington's, and not every state celebrates it the same: some call it "Washington and Lincoln Day", and in Virginia it's even known as "George Washington Day".

I imagine that no matter what day they call it, it's White Sale Day all over the nation. Money talks, baby.

But I suggest you use Presidents Day as an inspirational theme. Today, find out about Presidents. Find out what they're really supposed to do (not what the Right Wing or compliant faux-liberal press tell you). Go use an actual book in an actual library that doesn't look like it has an agenda. Teach yourself one interesting thing about United States Presidents that doesn't skew left, or skew right.

Learn about the Executive Branch.

Arm yourself with your own Central Intelligence.

(This offer not available to FOX News viewers. Well, actually it is, but you won't take us up on it, and if you do, you'll just screw it up. Sorry. That's just the facts there.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Strange Case of Hilary T, Or: What Happens When You Really Privatize Something

I'd heard this on Malloy's show a few nights back, and I couldn't believe it. Thanks to Pacific Views, I was able to track it down. It's just as appalling as I thought.

As it turned out, it shone a light on corruption most foul, and paints an object lesson in why, contrary to those who bleat that government would tick along like a clock if we just ran it like a business, privatizing things like–oh, the juvie, for example–is just about the most boneheaded thing a polity can stand by and allow.

Hilary Transue (Hilary T here, because this is quinessential Kafkaesqueness, straight out of The Trial), did one thing, one very minor thing.

She put up a satirical MySpace page mocking her assistant principal.

No big whoop, yeah? No. Not even close.

At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace
page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in
Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in
trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a

Instead, the judge sentenced her to three months at a juvenile detention center on a charge of harassment.

She was handcuffed and taken away as her stunned parents stood by.

Or, as wags I know say, "Nuke 'em from orbit: it's the only way to be sure". You see, the two juvie judges were taking kickbacks–the more kids got sent up the river, the bigger the payday.

Sometimes, I wonder, do people who do this sit back for a moment, go "damn, isn't what we're doing kinda evil?"

Instead, T got the equivalent of a 15-20 for a parking ticket. And three months of her life–gone. Pffft.

The judges are getting jacked up a treat over this. But doesn't it worry you that we live in a society where this can happen at all?

Worries me. If it doesn't you're probably one of those if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about crowd. Hilary T may have been rude and insolent, but wrong? That much wrong?

What're you going to do when the privatized machine rolls over you?

Happy Sesqui ... Seskwiki ... Sessqwick ... 150th Birthday, Oregon!

You don't look a day over 149. And you can quote me on that.

All of you is great. Some of you is just gee-dee-'d adorable (particulary the parts with the fuzzy animals and the cute artsy-girl baristas).

It's a great year to be an Oregon native ... but what year isn't?

Randi Rhodes:Back Monday. Maybe? Maybe Not? Who Knows?

This memo-to-the-listeners from the PD of San Francisco's (#4 Media Market) counterpart to The POJ, "Green 960" (formerly KQKE, "The Quake") seems to tell us something, but we are inclined to be a bit jaundiced toward anything that begins with the tired old "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you".

But he seems to be saying that there maybe be a return by Monday.

But it's hard to read, these broadcast types.

We have our fingers crossed.

Pinnacle Bank of Beaverton EATED (Updated)

(with apologies for stealing this format from the great Eschaton)

The one-branch Pinnacle Bank of Beaverton: EATED by the Feds.

First Oregon bank EATED in 17 Years, according to The Oregonian.

Doing the math, we find one-branch minus one-branch equals zero branches.

Updated: This is the Wayback Machine's last snapshot of Pinnacle Banks' webpage, generated in October 2007. Is it just me, or did the entire banking "industry" start to go downhill when the services they provided become "products"? Deposit products? Whatever the hell is that supposed to be?

Friday, February 13, 2009

L'Affaire Rhodes II: The Sequel

Something like a year ago, AirAmerica Radio attempted to consume its own young by forcing Randi Rhodes to accept a diminished contract. We all know how that went.

Since then, Randi's moved to the upstart Nova M syndicated network, where her show is, quite seriously, back and better than ever.

Over the last week, though, Randi's been missing. Nancy Skinner's been doing the yeoman's job of filling in. As the week's worn on, though, it's gone wierd, culminating in the following word from one of the Nova M powers, Anita Drobny (who helped found AirAmerica) which essentially answers nothing really:

To all of Randi's listeners

You are all correct - I have not had the option to disclose what has been happening between Randi and Nova M... You see, it's in her contract that she has total control, but, after Wednesday night, I want you all to know that Nova M has done everything we can to get her back on the air. All this is her choice; if she wants to tell you all what the issue is, then I hope she does, but I can't according to her contract rules. But I can tell you this I have wanted her back on the air. She's an amazing talent and needs to be heard. Thank you all for all of your support. Randi now has to make her decisions as to what she must do with her career...

Anita Drobny
Co-Founder, Nova M Radio

Sigh. I'm trying not to read what I think is the handwriting on the wall here, but instead of despair, let me try a different tack.

The world of radio broadcasting is bright and shiny out front and this horrid miasma out back. Hosts are allowed to build fan bases only to have their "on-air" friend yanked from them because of some business decision that has little or nothing to do with the listenership.

We Democrats are better people. We should expect and demand from those who carry our combined message forward that they do business in a different way. That means, when the chips go down (like they may or may not be doing here) be as adult to us as our favorite hosts are when things aren't so emotional.

Be clear with us, be direct. If the current model won't support that, then change the model. We hold ourselves, as Democrats and liberals, as a group with a devotion to the actual truth (not Republican-brand Truth™) and as much transparency as possible.

Be straight with us as to why Randi is off the air and why she isn't back yet. Randi, I've listened to your program on The POJ from the beginning, when you taunted Teh Lars about the fact that you kicked his ass in the Portland market. If it's under your control to be clear, then be clear.

We're Democrats, and we're liberals. We are obliged to be behave better. If we don't, what's the point?

Blackwater is now "Xe"; There, That's all Fixed Then!

(the AP, via various sources), Blackwater, the great private army, is now ... "Xe":

Well, Mom always said if anything'll tarnish a brand name, it's the wanton killing of people.

Oh, the training centers haven't gone away though. They're now called the U.S. Training Centers. And the logo hasn't changed. So, hey, good times.

Mr T. Ethics Complaint FAIL

(via.) The ethics complaint, filed by the Oregon Republican Party by way of Bob "Mr T" Tiernan, who was fully prepared to Pity The Fool™ went right into File 13, as Carla "The Unimpeachable" Axtman of BO tells us.

The Salem Statesman-Journal:

But the Senate Select Committee on
Conduct agreed with an opinion from Legislative Counsel Dexter Johnson,
who said Courtney cannot receive a "direct pecuniary benefit" from WOU
as a result of the bond proceeds and that WOU is a state agency, not a
business that operates for economic gain.

conclude that such a declaration was not necessary in this case,
because we believe Senator Courtney's vote on these bills does not
create a potential conflict of interest," Johnson wrote in his opinion,
which was made public Tuesday.

two Democrats and two Republicans on the committee said they would
recommend no further action as part of their findings to the full

"All of us have gotten
into the habit of declaring a conflict, whether there is one or not,"
said Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, who is the vice chairwoman.

Two Democrats ... and two Republicans. And, if we gave out a "McCall Republican of the Week" award, Jackie Winters would win it in a walk.

But in her remark you can find the germ of the strategy and tactics of the growing-irrelevant-by-the-day Oregon Republican Party: just make trouble. Make trouble for Democrats, make trouble for working people. Without knowing it, she just made Mr T's mission statement for him.

I wonder how long there will be room in the Republican Party for Jackie; after all, she's apparently sane and has a conscience.

Yeah, with that sort of "Mr T"-brand brainpower running the show, I'm sure that the Republicans will vault right back into the majority.

Monkeys may also fly out my backside.

I shall alert the media if this does occur.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Greg Walden Goes All Democrat On Peanut Execs

What's that smell on the air? Why, it's not the approach of spring, but it's the scent of the contaminated US food supply, Congress finally doing something about it, and corporate execs trying to figure out how to get away with it all in the new, less-business-friendly (read: we can no longer do whatever the hell we want) Democratic climate.

And who's that fellow ... the one growing a backbone and standing up to challenge the dastards that have sickened people all over the country with bad peanuts? Why, it's Oregon's newest Democrat, The Dryside Renegade, Greg Walden, with his eye on winning his next election doing the right thing for you, the citizen:

Oh, he hasn't changed his registration, but he's sure sounding like a Democrat:

Oregon Republican Representative Greg Walden also criticised the firm,
saying: "Lives were lost and people were sickened because they took a
chance, I believe knowingly, with products that were contaminated."

Mr Walden held up a jar containing recalled products - wrapped
in crime-scene tape - and asked whether Mr Parnell would be willing to
eat the food inside.

Apparently that newfound spirit has made him a stronger man, as that can is easily twice the size of his head.

I'll give Greg this: he's no dummy. As the last remaining Oregon Republican in the congressional delegation, he knows the handwritings on the wall. Oh, I don't think he kicks kittens or hopes his kids eat contaminated PBJs (neither do we). But, you know, he had eight years to object to business getting to do whatever the hell it wanted to avoid losing profits instead of the right thing, and you know what?

I don't recall him ever being this concerned about it. Just like the rest of his party.

I also don't really think that he'd mind if they just let the poor peanut producers off the hook: after all, Salmonella happens, right? Nobody could have forseen. But as long as he's doing the right thing instead of the Right Wing, we are at least going to tip our cap to him.

For the record, Mr. Parnell did not eat any of the proffered possibly polluted peanut goodness.

For that matter, he didn't speak up at all. Invoked the fifth, I hear.

However, Mr Walden, we must say: Crime scene tape? Nice touch. Well played, sir.

Oceania Is At War With The Salt Marsh Mouse. Oceania Has Always Been At War With The Salt Marsh Mouse

If anyone's been able to divine my attitude about Republicans, you should know by now that a central value of the Republican weltanshauung as I view it is to lie to people in order to get them to do what you need them to, but make them feel as though they are doing it of their own volition, thus striking a blow for Freedom™.

In this entry, Preemptive Karma shines a tight-beam light on the problem: doctrinaire Republicans who will simply make up sh*t just to undermine a Democrat (make sure to pursue the links upstream, of course).

So conservative hill staffers circulate a lie, the politicians
themselves pick up on it and use it in campaign rhetoric, and (taking
the logical leap) outlets like Fox News allow these same politicians
and right-wing media consultants on to expound upon it.

Ask yourself what kind of power-hungry group of people will say anything to get power, retain power, and preserve that grasp.

1984 needs no introduction. We who have read it, as I have many times, draw our own lessons from it. They revolve around the damage to Mankind that a group that has nothing but a craving for power does; the disheartening, the decay to the human condition.

If you've read it you know that a great deal of the latter part of the book is devoted to Winston Smith's exploring of "The Book", Theory and Practice of Oligarchal Collectivism, purported to be the writings of The Heretic, Emmanuel Goldstein (but we suspect was developed by the Party toward its own end). And, if you've read it, you know that just before the scene where Winston and Julia are apprehended by the Thought Police (who've been onto them the whole time), Winston stops reading the book just before the text reveals what the Party's real aim is, though during Winston's tenure at MiniLuv and the final triumph of the Party in the crucible of Room 101, via O'Brien's tender mercies, that goal is made plainly clear.

The aim of the Party is power for power's sake. The only thing beyond that is the quest for more power. And that's all that's important to the Republican Party.

Remember all that huffing and puffing about the hydrogen economy and missions to Mars? Nothing's come of it, jack squat. But it got the public off thier backs.

So, we should not be surprised when cynical Republicans pull something out of their backsides to make a Democrat look bad, then sprinkle the rumor about to a still-compliant press so that it grows. They want to keep what power they have, they want to return to power if they can. Bullsh*t, as any farmer will tell you, is rich fertilizer, and they have mounds and are not too proud to use it.

When a Republican tells you he's doing it for your own good, he's doing it for his (or her) own good and knows you'll go along.

People suspect liberals when they make promises.

They're suspecting the wrong people.

Seriously, if you're still a Republican ... whatever the hell for?