Sunday, March 29, 2009

You Can't Go To Europe Either? Damn.

(via) I can't afford to take a vacation any farther away from here than Salem. I'm certainly not going to Europe in the forseeable future.

So I'm totally feeling the Bush Admin Republicans who won't be going to Europe anytime soon. Seriously. Of course, I can't go because there's no money, honey. They can't go because it just wouldn't be a good idea, in the staying-out-of-international-jail way.

Just so you guise know, if you need ideas about how to take time off in America, I can help you there. Staycation? We just call that life around here.

And, no, it's not because I'm bitter that all the fomerly-prosperous people I see are breaking their arms patting themselves on the back in self-congratulation on discovering the joys of the "Staycation" when that's pretty much all the vacation I've ever known.

Okay, I lied just there. It is, in fact, because I am amazingly bitter about it. [Sam Kinison Primal Scream] Welcome to MY WORLD!!!! [/Sam Kinison Primal Scream]

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Who says NOLA's dying?

Population back up over 300,000 in the city, 1.3 megapersons in the New Orleans metro area.

Mom Always Said you can't keep a good city down.

That sound you hear is Republicans softly crying because a Democratic stronghold is rebuilding itself. I don't imaging NOLA will forget how the Republicans let them down either.

They still got about 150,000 to get past us, though.

Hey, hometown pride, you guise. Deal with it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Right Now, Mayor Sam's Strategy Seems To Be Working

And what is that strategy?

Play it cool. Wait it out.

Back on January 20th, which should have been the best G-d d-mned day this country ever had, Mayor Sam Adams blew a whole lot of good will when he revealed that he did, in fact court Beau Breedlove–in contrast to his protestations of earlier.

There's been a great deal of water under that bridge since. And, at first, it looked very much like Sam would conclude what a great many people had–it was a breach of trust that fundamentally changed the nature of the Sam Adams-Portland polity's relationship.

A lot of people sprang to Sam's defense when the meme was mooted that he was being smeared because he was gay. A lot of people felt used afterwards.

But there was an entrenching afterwards. After about a week's worth of seculsion, Sam came back to City Hall and just got back to work, L'Affaire Ruiz came (and went). Calls of "Recall!" were heard from the east side to the west side and it seemed like the perfect career-ending storm. Randy was no longer Sam's friend.

Come with us back up to the present. What do we have?
  • Randy Leonard (still stylishly sans 'stache) heartily holding forth on the plans to condemn the Made In Oregon sign in the lobby of City Hall. Sam's on board but we don't see him.
  • Amy Ruiz unironically holding forth on something or other that's sustainable on KATU News.
  • Most of the Student Council celebrating the ascension of PDX to MLS. Sam's out front.
  • Someone from the Recall Sam Adams campaign finally testifies in front of Student Council. Forgets to dress for success. Goes off like a wet fart; is savaged by the commenters as PMerc's Blogtown.
  • That zombie of Portland politics–the Convention Center "Headquarters" Hotel–stalks the landscape again. They say it's a sure thing. Also, again. You can pop this tape in the Teddy Ruxpin of city gubmint and rerun it every so often. It's a golden oldie.
In short, City Hall's kind of back to normal, mostly.

Will there be a credible recall challenge to Mayor Sam? There could be, I suppose. The statutory 6-month waiting period for the recall is giving the whole thing a chance to cool off. Sam's doing what Sam does. Randy's making noises about–well, seems to be about wanting to be Mayor, but things are so odd around here lately, I could have misunderstood them.

Sadly to say, Jasun Wuerster pretty much shot himself and what recall movement there is left in the foot with his underwhelming City Hall testimony.

A long time ago, there were radio ads for a company's product called "Verbal Advantage". They make you talk pretty. You may remember they began It's alarming but true ... people do judge you by the words you use!"

Well, back on the 18th, Jasun learned to his dismay that it's alarming but true: in politics, people do judge you by the image you project. And Portland is a pretty laid back place, it's true. But when you get into the chambers of power you better look like you've suited up to play your "A" game. In the comments, Jasun himself averred that his financial situation (we can relate) and his health (we can also relate) dictated his choice of attire. But we've also latterly been to Value Village and Goodwill, and it's not that hard to find an acceptable looking jacket and tie for really fricken' cheap. And the way they take pictures, hey, he could have gone in in tattered jeans and still accorded himself.

There's not a dress code for democracy, no. There's not a dress code for life, either. But there is a dress code for important events. Ignore it and you lose face. By showing up by looking like he just rolled out of bed, he delivered what might be a shot below the bowline of the only recall campaign that seems to be out there. And it didn't have a great deal of credibility to begin with. You can be whatever you want, but when you show up to City Hall, you better look like you mean business. Perception is the reality.

And I can see I've gotten distracted by what the Blogtown commenters (who, I think–for the record–were really a bit too cruel on Jasun) got caught up in. Like I said, Perception is the reality.

Now, back to the nut of things: Sam's back at work; the Portland Student Council is back to its charming old dysfunctional self; the Sam Adams recall campaign is looking like a group of tyros; the scene has cooled off considerably.

Already I see the conventional wisdom swinging over in Sam's favor.

Sam getting recalled? He's stood pat and kept his head down.

Magic 8 Ball say outlook not so good.

Maybe Sam understands PDX better than we know.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Republican Road To Recovery: Idaho, We're Looking At YOU!

(via a blog in the other state slated for elimination) The national GOP proves it's great at designing a slick pamphlet (and not much else) with the "Republican Road To Recovery", which has all sorts of nifty circles filled with handwavy promises you can't disagree with.

With all the good will the reputation the Republicans have buy them, I'm having trouble not believing that you could fill the pretty circles with things like "Kittens", "Puppies", "Apple-cheeked Kids", and "Corn Dogs" and really change the substance of the report much. I mean, am I for More Jobs and Sustainable Power? You bet! Do I think Republicans are sincer about ever delivering on it? How many ways I can hell no!

Anyhow, the incomparable Nate Silver has "leaked" the substance of the refined plan. Sorry to let you know, Idaho – even though you're redder than red, you're on the chopping block. Sucks to be you!

We'll have to get our potatoes from somewhere else.

Tap The Rockies. Or, Better Yet, Don't

Something that caught our eye in passing: In a story designed to make you feel fortunate you live in Oregon, where you don't (yet, anyway) have to worry about where your drinking water comes from (and where you can feel fortunate if you live in PDX) we find that there's enough hydrocarbons in the drinking water in an area northeast of Denver that you can have a little pyrotechnics show erupting from your water faucet, if you want.

Yay, resource extraction.

Also it provides another reason to shun bottled water: Nestle's water grab will apparently do no small amount of damage to Colorado's water table.

Ironic for a state who's signature consumer product is a beer touted as superior because of its legendary Rocky Mountain Water. I'm old enough to remember when the folks would sneak home Coors from a state where it was legal to sell it (Oregon had strict rules about beer purification which seem, in retrospect, quaint) and surruptitously quaff a few, only to have the joy of breakin' the law blunted by the fact that Coors sucks (well, some things don't change anyway).

A Short Tale About Arlen Specter, The Democrats, and The Employee Free Choice Act

Once upon a time, near the edge of the political wilderness, a Democratic Party with a 9-vote Senate Majority (but not quite enough to prevent a Republican filibuster) saw a poor, battered Arlenspecter just by the side of the road.

While still greatly sustained by his constituency, he was very mindful of the fate of another member of his local ecosystem, the Ricksantorum, who was foolish and took his niche for granted, so he was stepping carefully, lest he be consigned to the political wilderness forever with the rest of this species.

"Excuse me, Democratic Majority?" he asked plaintively. "I know I'm a Republican and all, but I'm a moderate Republican – heck, I'm almost one of you, and I sure would appreciate it if you could help me stay out of that there political wilderness."

"Well, I don't know," said the Majority. "I remember how you treated me when I was the Minority. You talk reasonably now but back then, others in your species all but tried to kill me. I know you're a reasonable member and all, but you can't help but deserting me when me and the American people need you to do the right thing. Because of your species, we have two pointless wars in which we're still losing blood and treasure and an economy that's hollower than a Republican promise (sorry, no offense). You'll tell me this but you actually have a poisonious bite thats fatal to working-class Americans and a toxin would stop at no lie to tell a posionous untruth about what my party's trying to to rebuild America."

"Look", said the Arlenspecter, "Though your words sting, I'm not going to insult your intelligence by saying you're wrong. I understand your reluctance. But if you pick me up and bear me away from the boundary of this wilderness, I'll be your friend. I'll treat you better. I'll help you by making sure that the Employee Free Choice Act doesn't get filibustered by others in my species."

"Well, I'm still not sure. Your colleagues have given insincere promises before"

"Okay, I'll tell you this one thing", the Arlenspecter said, almost desperately. "You've heard whisperings in the Beltway Press that I might join your side to stay in my seat? Whether there may or may not be a truth in that is yours to ascertain. But it certainly may happen if you help me. So what do you say?"

The Democratic Majority was still unsure. To say that the Republican Party has been dreadful to them over the last two administrations would be to severly gild the lily. But the Majority was made of compassionate stuff. Don't we all love America? Do we not have more in common than we have in difference? Doesn't even the most sincere Republican deserve a chance to make it back out of the wilderness if they do the right thing? were all thoughts that went through the Majority's mind in and out of committees and debates.

And he was a particularly snappy dresser–Republican or Democrat, he was clearly, by the couture of his kind, one of the tribe.

"All right, I will save you. All living things and decent Senators deserve kindness, a lift out of the wilderness, and a chance to remain relevant."

And the Democratic Majority picked up the Arlenspecter and, placing it under its cloak close to its EFCA, confident that it did a Good Thing, carried it right up to the boundary of the political wilderness.

All of a sudden, as they got to that amazing line, the Majority felt a sharp pain right in its EFCA, and felt the venom start to spread. It dropped the Arlenspecter in betrayed shock.

"Arlenspecter! You gave me your word of honor that you wouldn't do that!"

"People make a lot of promises in this town," the Arlenspecter said as it crawled off. "Next time, get it in writing. And don't wait up for me to join your side when I run for re-election either, ha!"

"But ..."

"Hey, hey, hey there. You said it yourself. You knew what I was when you picked me up."

Know Your RealAge™? So Does Big Pharma.

(Hat Tip) The New York Times:

But while RealAge promotes better living through nonmedical solutions, the site makes its money by selling better living through drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies pay RealAge to compile test results of RealAge members and send them marketing messages by e-mail. The drug companies can even use RealAge answers to find people who show symptoms of a disease — and begin sending them messages about it even before the people have received a diagnosis from their doctors.

While I generally resent the commoditization of our lives and the commercialization of the American experience the problem here isn't so much that here for me.

The problem I'm having is that Big Pharma didn't have the courage to say that they were doing it. They hid behind trusted people in the media and a happy shiny message.

I have a problem with the fact that every facet of my life is available for marketing by some company or another. I have a bigger problem with a lack of good faith and honesty. It bespeaks, in the end, a general contempt by manufacturers and business in general about the people it, on the face, strive to serve and provide for.

I think American culture, as it is, is going to hell in a handbasket. Some would say I'm an optimist, pointing out it's already there.

If we don't have basic honesty, which is supposed to be a core American value, then we've really got nothing but a sham.

The Reasons I'm Still Not 100% Thrilled About MLS In Portland

  1. They're not all that honest about abosolutely, positively having to ZOMG remodel Piggy Park.
  2. I know they're saying that this is all guaranteed 'n' stuff and that the taxpayer exposure on this is at a minimum, but people on that stratum of society have been lying to me for so long they've forgotten how to tell the truth. It's probably gone so far that when they lie to us that actually think they are telling the truth. So they say there's going to be a deal in place that'll prevent taxpayers from being harmed. Well, maybe. I'll believe it when it doesn't happen.
  3. New sports stadia don't really help the local economy. It's always used as a reason and it's been debunked time and again (and it the situation I've linked it was disproved by actual smart people with actual degrees and stuff) but this zombie bullet point just Will. Not. Die.
  4. One less just-affordable entertainment opportunity for me and mine. Major league sports = major league ticket prices, it doesn't matter what sport it is (fortunately, we've recently reconnected with the Winter Hawks, which is a hell of a team). We're poor. In 2011 we'll probably have no chance to see a Timbers game live, because we're no longer able to afford it
  5. No more Beavers at the Piggy? I suppose I can accept this in concept but on a gut level, it just doesn't make sense.
  6. The NASL Timbers drew 20,000 fans a game. The NASL folded anyway.
  7. The whole quest for some sort of triumph on this issue distracted the mayors office and the Student Council from taking care of essential things. Now the city's going to be spending an extra megabuck a month while they work out some issue they should have already taken care of.
I'm sure Mom Always Said something about this, but I can't quite figure out what it might have been.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TriMet Adjusts Service Cuts; More Public Meetings On Tap

TriMet, after taking in a whole lot of public commentary (and maybe reading a blog or two, who knows?) has refined its service cutback initiative. Here's the executive skinny:

Routes Eliminated down from twelve to five. And here are the losers: 41-Tacoma, 74-Lloyd District/Southeast, 86-Alderwood, 153-South End Loop Road and 157-Happy Valley.

That 41 elimination is what caught my eye. It's just as well; with only morning and afternoon service and no weekend service at all, it was a pretty lame replacement for the old route which was discontinued when weight limits made using the Sellwood Bridge out of the question.

The rest of the lines proposed for elimination will run on reduced hours/days or will be combined into new routes. Notable here is the 33-Fremont, which will remain but in a foreshortened form: only running weekdays with no evening or weekend service, and only between Emanuel Hospital and the Gateway Transit Center.

Emanuel Hospital? If you're going to end the line at Emanuel, why not go for broke and go to the Rose Quarter TC? More connections available there, one fewer transfer for line 33 riders. And you want to go somewhere after hours or on weekends? C'est la guerre, mon cher; C'est la vie, mon ami.

Another interesting bit of bus route alchemy: the 18-Hillside and the 63-Washington Park will be combined, and 63-Washington Park will elminate weekend service.

Many lines will lose weekend service. Lines 1-Vermont, 10-Harold, 34-River Road and 51-Vista will lose Saturday service but retain weekday service. Lines 17-NW 21st Ave/St. Helens Rd, 48-Cornell, and 67-Jenkins/158th Ave.will lose Sunday service but still have weekday and Saturday service. A few other lines will see drastic changes in weekend coverage.

There will be three public meetings on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of April in SW and downtown Portland and the Clackamas Town Center area respectively. TriMet has a press release on their site which has more complete details on the proposed service reductions and times and locations of the meetings.

Feel your area's getting the short end of the transit stick? Show up and make yourself heard!

Malloy News: New Website/Podcast Subscriptions ETA, This Coming Monday

Just heard on the Malloy show; all new stuff coming on Monday next, including a less expensive (Mike really stressed that) podcast subscription, and apparently Ben Burch at White Rose Society is going to archive them for free access with a 7-day embargo (if you want it now, then pay Mike what is supposed to be a more reasonable subscription fee than NovaM asked, which if you can, you oughta).

White Rose is really hoppin ... they now have 7-day embargoed podcasts of Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller. You should also support Ben Burch if you have a few bucks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Republicans On Pretty Much Everything: "We Must Have Tax Cuts"

It's been beat pretty much to death on The POJ, but it was said of the news today that State Senator Brian Boquist (R-Reading From A List Of Talking Points) of Polk County said Republicans had great ideas on how to get Oregon's economy turning over again.

So, I thought "hey! Any idea that The POJ has the guts to announce as being from teh Republicans has got to be a game-changer!"

Well, you can all go home again. Clear out the auditorium:

Tax cuts. Withholding tax cuts. Tax credits for remodeling your home (should go over like a shot with renters and people who have low incomes). Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

Let's set the scene: let's say that, due to a revolution in science, it was found that, instead of four billion years in the future, the Sun was going to enter its red-giant phase, scouring all the Earth of live, in only four years. You can picture the headlines now:


They're all like big, fleshy Teddy Ruxipins that only have one tape. It's the answer to everything.

To save everyone a step from here on out, please review the following comic I stumbled on today. It should explain everything about the Republican response to the economy, AIDS, poverty, scoliosis, tooth decay ...

(Image hotlinked from the Big Fat Whale site:
click here to embiggen)

Can Someone Again Explain To Me Why a 51-Year Old Woman Had To Go To Jail Over A Bike Light?

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the one that just doesn't get it.

By now, we've all been 'round the roses in the bizarre case of Freedom Child, the 51-year-old woman who had to go to jail over not putting her bike-light on. I've read the news articles, I've read Steve Duin's column today, and I just don't get it.

It's particularly hard for people like me. You see, quite contrary to the straw-man pre-mis-conception of the lefty that the conservative witling lets themselves be convinced exists and cuddles so close to their breast to keep them enraged.

I like the cops! I adore law and order. My father was a prison guard and he was in the National Guard. In my family, until you knew what was going on, the only proper response to a man in blue was Yes, officer!.

When me and my wife watch COPS, we root for the uniform.

So, I'm looking over the facts as we've been allowed to see them ... the unmarked car coming up to a woman, hassling her, and then the physical confrontation. Even if you don't buy the fact that Freedom Child didn't understand the men were police before they physically restrained her, even though, as Duin reported in his column:

Child testified Dorn and Harris never identified
themselves as police on that dark and lonely night; the
officers insisted they did so fairly quickly. Yet if
we're weighing everyone's relationship with the
truth, the officers never mentioned the unmarked car in the
arrest report and each claimed he popped on the
"overhead" lights so Child could see they were in

There were no overhead lights in the car.

Even if you don't think Freedom Child was being straight with us about not knowing they were the cops, you've got to wonder what's going on here. It's really starting to look like the two officers are being given a pass. The revelations that Duin shares with us in his column give the strong impression that the citizen was being treated as the enemy here in a system that is still unwilling to admit it went over the line and made a mistake.

But I'm willing to admit I'm wrong. I've always–seriously–always ready to give the man and woman in the uniform the benefit of the doubt (you'll have to give me the benefit of the doubt on this, people ... it's easy for someone writing an anonymous blog to say whatever sh*t they want and claim sincerity, and I realise that. I'm being straight-up with you here).

So why should I believe that what happened to Freedom Child should have happened to her? Is running a woman that you spooked the heck out of into jail really a justified use of my tax money?

Or, what am I getting wrong here?

And don't bore me with the well, you never know what a person's going to do argument. I know that one. If there were an epidemic of fifty-something female bike-riders luring police into situations where they look all harmless and busting a cap in the cop's ass, then you'd have a point. But there isn't. So you don't.

I hope our Portland Police officers strive to be above reproach. I doubt they're 100% successful–after all, they're human beings. But was this trip necessary?

The Ontario Argus-Observer Takes A Hit

Down from six days/week (Mon-Fri and Sun) to five days/week (dropping Monday)

Publisher Steve Krehl said dropping the Monday paper was an alternative to a price increase during a recession that has cut into advertising. He says the cost of single newspaper copies won't increase and home delivery rates won't go up in 2009.

So it's either give up a daily issue or take a bigger hit elsewhere.

Big town paper it isn't, it's a community thing. Paid circulation is about 5,000.

It's sad, though expected, that this spectre should be stalking the small-town papers too. Very sad.

Malloy Econ Contributor Prairie2 Now Has Own Blog

Regular listeners to and fans of the Mike Malloy program know to listen for economic insights from a regular email correspondent known only by the email moniker Prairie2.

The correspondent, dubbed by Mike the shows "Economics Bureau Chief" (regular callers to the Malloy program occaisionally get dubbed some Bureau Chief or another, it's a show custom and a sign you've arrived) is known by regular listeners as someone who obviously thinks long, deeply, and hard about the economy and the danger we're all in, and writes honestly and, moreover, simply enough the be read by anyone. He's kind of a Paul Krugman for the blog set. Most of us find his (hers?) thoughts and opinions challenging and thought-provoking, and one of the other reasons why the Malloy program is a regular listen.

If you don't hav the time or inclination to listen to the Malloy program to get your dose of Prairie2, P2 has finally set up their own blog where you can get the goods direct/subscribe via RSS/whatever.

Your points of contact are:

Worth your while, I say.

Monday, March 23, 2009

First, The Willy, Now, The O

I'm late to the party here, so just put this down to jotting this down in this, my public political self-education notebook, but I'm jolted to find out what's going down at The Oregonian: staff reductions, pay cuts, unpaid furlough days ... oh, boy.

I've had my seasons of unhappiness at the management of The Oregonian before, as I have with the WW, but I can't deny their putting skin in the game: they're taking 15% off their salaries, which is going to hurt a bit when you make as much money as they (I guess) do.

But if you think things are bad here, it's worse elsehwere in the Advance constellation: The Ann Arbor News is going down. Last issue–July.

At least we still have a daily. I'm still fond of The Oregonian, even with its (rather unignorable) flaws.

Mother Nature Hates Governor Teleprompter

March 22nd, 2009, 10:30 pm; Mount Redoubt in Alaska erupts.

(This was actually a photo of the 1990 eruption)

February 25th, 2009: Bobby "Teleprompter" Jindal, Governor of Louisana, criticizes necessary spending in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, saying:

It includes $300 million
to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail
projects, such as a “magnetic levitation” line from Las Vegas to
Disneyland, and $140 million for something called “volcano monitoring.”

Wikipedia, on Mount Redoubt:
The 1989 eruption is also notable for being the first ever volcanic eruption to be successfully predicted by the method of long-period seismic events developed by Swiss/American volcanologist Bernard Chouet.
Ah ... so that is what it's good for, that rascally volcano monitoring.

Quod erat demonstrandum,

Teh Lars's New Syndicator Not Quite Sure What Teh Lars Is

Well, to be honest, he's puzzled us for a long, long time:

Lars Larson announces the selection of Compass Media Networks as its exclusive representative for national radio syndication effective March 30, 2009.

(Italics, larger font size, bolding are ours, nest-say-paw. I mean, it was all I could to to not use the blink tag here)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Peter B Collins: Thanks For The Pledges, Moves To The Web

Peter B. Collins, one of the most underrated liberal talkers out there, as everyone by now knows, has ended his show.

However ...

After a brief appeal, some 200 people pledged an average of $10 by the each to support his program. Sadly, this was not enough, but was encouraging, and especially to the broadcaster.

Activist listeners rallied to try to save the PBC Show, and I’m
gratified by more than 200 people from all over the world (including
Japan, Costa Rica and Hawaii) who emailed to pledge an average of $10 a
month to support the program.

While this isn’t enough to reverse course, most of those who pledged
said they would subscribe to our podcast in the future.  At this
difficult time, it buoys me to see so many people who value what we do
and want to keep it going.

If you'll miss Peter B, though, you won't miss him for long. He's planning to create a regular podcast and its debut is apparently mooted for June sometime. He's planning a live stream of it and also perhaps a subscription which, if you have the money to do so, I think people should support.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jane Lubchenco In As NOAA Administrator

NOAA has announced that OSU's Jane Lubchenco has jumped from academia completely to awesome:

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., was confirmed by the U.S. Senate this evening as the under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. In this capacity, she will serve as the ninth administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the nation’s top science agency for climate, oceans, and the atmosphere. Dr. Lubchenco is the first woman and the first marine ecologist to lead NOAA.

"Dr. Lubchenco is an outstanding and accomplished environmental scientist with a proven ability to communicate, lead a dynamic team, and inspire action," White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley said. "Dr. Lubchenco joins a distinguished group of scientific leaders in the Obama administration that will ensure that science plays its proper role in shaping policy."

Call it home-state pride but it seems appropriate that a Pacific Northwesterner and a member of the faculty of a particularly prestigious Land and Sea Grant university be named Undersecretary for Commerce on Oceans and Atmosphere.

I suggest raising a glass of cool, clear Bull Run water to celebrate ...

Why Do I Still Take My Own Car With TriMet Close At Hand?

What Jenson Hagen said at BlueO raises a question worth discussing. The meat of his commentary goes:

The main point here.  I have watched TriMet fares jump quite considerably.  Was it not too long ago that a general adult all zone ticket cost $1.75?  It was something around there.  Then as gas prices were climbing, that ticket price began to edge up.  Now I'm looking at a $2.30 fare to travel in one direction as an adult.  The overall round trip for the day is $4.60, or $1.10 more than before.

I live in an area of inner-Outer East (yeah, that's kind of strange, yes?) in an area that's "convenientish" to two major east-west routes, a mere two blocks from a minor route that runs too infrequently and at awkward times, a seven-minute walk from a major crosstown route, and within shouting distance from the Gateway transit hub if I Go By Bike. When the Max Green Line finally comes on line, I'm going to be ever more fortunate, because the nearest station is a mere mile off.

I'm more fortunate than most as goes TriMet access, but still I take my car.


I work a third-shift job, which side of the clock TriMet has historically underserved even when the money was there, with awkwardly-timed and widely-time-spaced runs (by this I mean 30-min frequency minimum. Even going a short distance can take over an hour. And TriMet has the annoying concept of having the last run just as I usually get off work, which means I have to shave a few minutes off my time on-the-clock just to get my ride. This is one of TriMet's major flaws, and it makes me sore that they never really address the needs of the third shift. But I'm digressing).

But at least it's there. So why don't I try taking TriMet more often?

Because I live close enough to my work to make, typically, the cost of gassing up an 1972 automobile (a VW Beetle, if you must know) more or less equal to the cost of buying transit for the same time and frequency. It has actually always pencilled out a little more expensive to take transit than to take my 1972 automobile, and, following from above, a hell of a lot less convenient.

We're all watching our pennies very closely. We also all need something that works quickest and easiest–because the less time we have to take working out transit is just that much more time we have to address our other needs, and improve our own personal economies.

We who aren't making more than $32K/year see time as money. You might think that us poor folks don't see time as money. Anyone who things so is extremely wrong. We are always making these trade offs–more often than you'd think.

If you want more sanity in public spending, just put some of us poor folks, who always have to play the shell game with our money, in charge.

Anyway, I don't mean to say that TriMet shouldn't raise fares in tough times or adjust farebox to compensate for revenue. But TriMet should keep in mind that there are unfashionable reasons to use the bus (a lot of us poor folks need to get to work without the car) as well as green, fashionable reasons.

I don't mean to cast aspersions–I love TriMet, and I love TriMet drivers. But transit planners need to not just keep in mind, but take seriously the fact that a lot of people who would use transit aren't–because, even at todays gas prices, people will take the easiest way to make sure they get to work on time, and don't get in hot water for attendance, and for quite a few of us–ironically–keeping in a car by ourselves is the quickest, cheapest, and most convenient and dependable way to stay employed.

That's the way we roll, because that's the way we have to. You give us a sane, sensible reason to take the bus, and we will so be there.

I think I can speak for an awful lot of people here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nova M/On Second Thought Refugee Update

From what we just heard on Malloy, they're going to have a remodeled web presence on or about the first week of April.

They're looking at at new podcast subscription service, so enjoy those free podcasts (via Ben Burch's White Rose Society) while you can. However, Mike is saying they're going to make the new podcast subscriptions more affordable than Nova M Founders Club was, so maybe more of us will be able to get on the bandwagon. I sure plan on it if I can afford that.

Actually, after checking Ben Burch's main page, I found the following bit of good news:

After the Mike Malloy show goes to
subscription service, probably at the beginning of April, the same
situation will apply as with Thom Hartmann's archives; They will be
podcast and archived for free, on a seven-day embargo.

I will be adding the archives of Stephanie Miller and possibly also
Bill Press on the same terms at some time in the near future. Details
to follow as I know them.

So pay to get it current or wait a week and get it for free. Seems fair to me. We liberal radio listeners owe a hell of a lot to Ben Burch. If my personal economy every improves, I plan on donating. If you, dear reader, have a few bucks, you should throw it his way.

This is great! My iPod (bought used FWIW) sounds great with Mike and Kathy coming out of its speakers.

Checking up on Randi Rhodes, we see that her website still has the complete text that she posted up there when the Nova M balloon went up. That could use a little bit of updating, since there's no Nova M anymore, they won't be making up with anyone anytime soon.

Nancy Skinner's still motorboatin' along, and is gaining my respect. Talk about making lemons out of lemonade. And she's like Randi without all the stuff a long of Randi-haters complain about, so she should have appeal enough to keep going.

The websites for On Second Thought and 1190 Nova M (KNUV, Phoenix) are, as Generalissimo Francisco Franco is, still dead. Rumor is that KNUV is back to broadcasting Spanish language programming, as it was before Nova M's flagship moved from KPHX to KNUV.

And so it goes.

Thoughts for Chuck Butcher in a Terrible Time

A recent aquaintance and the person I think of as The Bravest Person In Baker County, Chuck Butcher, has suffered a tragic, tragic loss.

In my opinion, some thoughts by all kind and decent people should be sent his way. A word of support on his blog would not be at all amiss if you have any compassion at all.

As the son of a mother who's had to lay a child to rest, I can tell you that most parents would trade Sisyphus's own task if they never had to deal with the task of the passing of one's child.

That being said, I won't say I know what Chuck's feeling, for certain reasons. My late brother was taken by an accident. But I've already probably come off as a little too haughty and familiar, so I have a better idea: go read Chuck's heartachingly honest eulogy about his son, where he lays it all out for you and, while I'm guessing he didn't intend to, make you think about why such things happen.

The Shadout Mapes Wrote A Book I Want To Read About Bicycles ...

... But I'll have to wait a while. Pedaling Revolution will have to be checked out from the MultCoLib, there's no money in the budget for a new book right now ... and I'm 43rd back on the hold list.

Oh, well, a good book like this (and it's getting good reviews) by someone whose work I quite admire is worth waiting for.

BREAKING: The Bike Tax, About To Die The Death Of Stupid Ideas

The dawning light of sweet reason is rising over the State Capitol, as the Bike Tax–the risible idea dreamt up by State Representative Wayne Krieger (R-naturally) and signed on by two other SW Oregon republicans and a Metro area Democrat who should have known better.

The AP is reporting (via OregonLive) that HB 3008, the statewide bicycle registration fee, what amounts to a bike tax, is going nowhere. Which is a good thing, even if bike-haters don't want to see it.

Bikes offer economical, affordable transportation to those who can–and those who can't–afford cars. Bike wear on our streets and highways are as near to nonexistent as makes no difference. The cost of adding striping and bike-safety facilities to streets must certainly pale into insignificance next to the cost that cars and trucks inflict on the road system. Moreover, there is no one more immediately effective way of reducing your contribution to local pollution and global climate change.

And if that doesn't convince ya, remember that most bike riders are already automobile owners. We've (and I include myself in that group) already are taxed and pay fees to have the roads to begin with, and we happen to think that if taxes and fees are the entry cost for having an opinion, we've already been worked over for it! If you only drive a car and feel your opinion on this is important, then our opinion must certainly be as important as yours.

Look. Every few bikes on the road means more room for your car. This is a win-win, and with I think the actual cost of supporting bikes as part of the system would actually be, you get it with no extra cost.

And if that does't change ya mind, think on this: while money to implement bike safety programs and additional bike infrastructure would be neato-mosquito, it probably wouldn't happen anyway: according to State Rep Terry Beyer (D-Springfield), the chairwoman of the committed where this gold plated (rhymes with "bird") isn't about to get a hearing, the revenues required to run the registration system would just about use up the revenue it generates anyway.

So if you think that additional money from this tax is going to support bicycles, then you're laboring under a terrific misconception, and you must stop it.

Let this stinker die.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Norm Coleman Full Employment Plan

Are the RNC about to trade Michael Steele in for Norm "I Want Every Vote Counted Unless it's Going To Be For Franken" Coleman?

Poltiico (and others) seem to think so.

Republicans either failing upward or sideways. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that Norm Coleman is the perfect face of the odd bird the Republican party has become.

You go, boy.

(via MNPublius, and h/t to Kevin at Preemptive Karma for jogging my memory on this one).

Meanwhile, Back At The Party Of No New Ideas ...

Via Democratic Underground and the Kansas City Star:
Rep. Chris Carney was walking down a Capitol Hill street whensuddenly - bam - an anonymous Republican with a video camera who had been following him asked him a question that was intended to embarrass the Pennsylvania Democrat.

The interviewer asked first about a single provision in the massive economic stimulus bill, then asked if Carney was going to be "ready to vote tomorrow."

An irritated Carney answered: "Like I told you before, if I see the damn package, I'll have an answer."

A "macaca" moment meant to replayed on the Internet and possibly wound a vulnerable Democrat?

Yes, as the article concludes.

Now, we know that each party tracks the other, has video cameras on each other all the time. But there's a difference between what happened at the so-called "macaca" moment–Former Virginia Senator Allen didn't need to be handed the rope. The tracker for the Webb campaign stayed out of the way. Senator Allen pointed him out before taking the safety off his mouth and shooting his foot with it.

That's not the same as stalking your opponents, getting the drop on them with a video camera, and asking them a pointed question in order to get them to give you a tell. If I may stretch the rope/hang-ones-self metaphor a bit much, this is forcing someone to take the rope you want them to hang themselves with and, when they refuse to put the noose around their neck, trying to pin them so you can force it on them yourself.

I guess coming up with new ideas is hard for Republicans to do. It's easier to manufacture 'gotcha' moments.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Will Michael (Not The Ex-Bangle) Steele Soon Be Ousted?

Tegan Goddard seems to think it possible:

Republican insiders tell Political Wire that a no confidence vote on RNC Chairman Michael Steele is likely to be called after the NY-20 special election on March 31 -- regardless of whether Republicans win the seat or not.

Later in the article it's related that the putative putsch leader, someone I've never heard of named Katon Dawson, reiterate that he supports Steele.

So Steele's going to be kicked to the curb soon. Unless he isn't, of course. But it seems to me that the point isn't that the RNC may have the mother-of-voters-remorse over Mr. Steele, but that the whispers are going out at all.

But it stands to reason. Republicans pay lip-service to the marketplace of ideas, but in the Big Tent, it's lockstep all the way, and Michael Steele has these little things called independent thoughts that make the old white guys who run the place swoon.

Remember how I said this some time ago:

Tiernan said he was attracted to Steele by his dynanism and ability to articulate Republican values. He said Steele's ethnicity helps bust the stereotype that the GOP is a "party of old white guys who only care about business."

There's a big, big difference between busting the stereotype and actually changing the way one thinks.

The former is message, the latter is substance, and with Republicans, the message is substance.

Translation: they are still the party of old white guys who care about business.

They're more addicted to message than a tweaker is to their crystal.

That's your political lesson for the day.

Goodbye, P-I

That's all, folks. We are sad to hear that after 146 years, 117,000 subscribers, being Seattle's oldest business, and having the gee-darned coolest rooftop sign since the Daily Planet, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (which is also the frigg'n coolest name a paper could have, in our opinion) will publish its last issue Tuesday.

That's it. That's all.

Seattle, don't despair. You'll get by being a one-pape town; we here in Stumptown have been one since our version of the P-I ... the Oregon Journal ... folded back in 1982. Life does go on, even in a one-pape major town.

I mean, the Sonics left town and the Space Needle didn't fall down. Go through the stages of grief. You'll get through this!

But a few years down the way, you'll remember how interesting it was to have two papers in town, and one an afternoon daily, and you'll despair just a little bit.

As we do.

We're there for you, Seattle.

We care.

(PS: Image nicked from the P-I's front page today, because it's cool, dammit!)

Dune Times Two, or Arrakis Squared, And Another Book Recommendation

Something I've done this month after not having done it for an awful long time: read Dune twice.

And not with a book in between as a "palate cleanser". I went straight from the line where Lady Jessica Atreides consoles the Fremen Chani with the famous line While we, Chani, we who carry the name concubine–history will call us wives, to the front of Chapter One: In the week before the departure for Arrakis ...

I've huffed and puffed and hand-wove about how Dune contains a lot of what might help one understand how agendas and religion contemplate unifying to configure politics. It's a rousing tale, one of the best ever written, and to me is a cautionary tale about while religion may inform our private morals it must not ever be allowed to shape our public policy.

I think if nobody ever reads any other book to try and understand human events, this would be the one.

I think it's time I deconstructed Dune to demonstrate what I mean. That should come up soon. I am rather prolix ... but prolix and erudite are two different things. Let's see how I stand up to my own gom jabbar.

And while I'm thinkin' about books, in my first bloviation about important books, commenter Phil from Frieddogleg held up another book he recommends about the same sorts of things I say you should read Dune for, and that's Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land. I will admit, here and now, that I've never read it, but that's just my own personal flaw–I've never been a Heinlein fan.

But Phil's got good insight, so I don't mind passing along the suggestion. And, once I get off my current Arrakis affliction, I very well may move on and dip my toe in Stranger for the first time ... and I'll report on that as well. I've read a summary of the work, and it looks like it has definite things to say about power and human's relations to it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tip O' The Blogger Cap to EK

I noticed that Ellen Kimball has tucked me into her list of interesting blogs. Much obliged! I do, if anything else, try to keep it interesting around here.

My-te-fine of you, ma'am!

I will say this: I'd always wondered what it's like to work in broadcasting. Talking on the radio is something I wanted to do once, back when I imagined the world was open to let me do what I wanted, rather than what I had to do ...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Peter B. Collins: What A Difference A Week Makes

Caught this in passing on Malloy last night: Peter B. Collins, one of the most underrated liberal talkers on the air, just one week after winning La Rhodes' slot in Seattle, has reached the end of his rope:

Since we started on KRXA in 2005, I’ve been covering the costs of
producing the show and delivering it to our affiliate stations by
satellite.  With phone bills and the other expenses, it adds up to more
than $5,000 a month. We get a little advertising revenue and some
generous listeners contribute, but most of it is absorbed by my small
business, Collins Media Services.  Until last summer, I was able to
cover the costs from my work as a radio producer and consultant.  Like
everyone else, the Bush recession has hit me hard.


Over the past 3.75 years, I’ve tried it all.  I pitched all of the Air
America programmers except the current one, who never returned my calls
or emails.  I was offered a deal by Nova M, but they reneged in a
bizarre story I’m saving for my talk-n-tell book. Air America just
announced that Montel Williams will be their new offering in the Thom
Hartmann time slot, which tells us that Jerry Springer’s flameout was
just their first attempt to retread a tabloid TV host as a
“progressive” radio host.

I wish he did'nt have to take himself off the air. Peter B had a unique, measured way of looking at the world and his voice is made for radio.

We here in PDX never heard him except tape-delayed and late, but he was worth staying up for. And he had just got the early-evening slot in Seattle that Randi Rhodes had before she disappeared.

It's an inexplicable shame that liberal radio can't have the same rich angels that conservative talk radio gets. Rush Limbaugh gets tens of millions of dollars a year, Hannity gets millions to arrogantly slant the truth, and they all get to complain about how the Democrats are trying to Fairness-doctrine them off the air (even though Democrats aren't). In the meantime, Mike Malloy has to self-syndicate and Peter B gets to go off the air, even when what we hear suggests that people like liberal radio. A lot. When Randi went up against Lars here in PDX, Lars lost that daypart.

Mom always said life wasn't fair.

Bad News/Good News: The Faces Of The Oregon Republican Party

Welcome to Bad News/Good News, our occasional feature where we start with the silver lining only to be distracted by the dark cloud within. This edition:

The Oregon Republican Party

Yeah, those guys. Now, we have sympathy. We, as liberals, know what it's like to have everyone hating you for no good reason (although in your case, we think there are at least eight years of Good Reasons).

Anyway, very recently, RNC Chair Michael "I wasn't the bassist for the Bangles (sorry, Rush)" Steele visited Portland for no discernible reason (but it made the kulturkampfers feel good maybe). And who spoke at the gathering but Oregon's two Rushiest radio talkers: Lars "Actually Lives in Vancouver" Larson and Victoria "Hanging On For Dear Life at KPAM" Taft, as Carla "The Unimpeachable" Axtman reported over at BlueO.

Not the most promising speaker ticket. But let's look at Both Sides Now:

The Bad News: The most vocal advocates conservative Oregon Republicans have are Lars Larson and Victoria Taft.

The Good News: at least they don't dress like this:

Because just what the world doesn't need is more revealing clothes on Lars Larson.

(Image above hotlinked from TPM's CPAC coverage).

That's been another edition of Bad News/Good News.

Happy Three Times Five Day!

Tomorrow is the 15th. Halfway through most months, it's been seen as a mere "hump day" for quite a while though.

But no longer. This month we celebrate the New Math and join the ranks of the growing mathematically-themed days by declaring that the fifteenthing is "Three times Five" day.

There are many benefits over "Three times Five" day over "Pi day" or "Square Root Day" or "Hyperbolic Arc-cosine Day" (Heaven forbid!). Among them:
  1. Almost anyone can conceptualize "three times five". WFT is "ln" supposed to be anyway?
  2. "Three times five" is easy to work out, even for Lars Larson and Victoria Taft listeners (though for them, this may require the doffing of a shoe).
  3. Both numbers have pleasant visual aspects, almost no matter how you represent them. They are also infinitely meaningful: The number three is considered perfect and holy amongst Christians, and the number five is quite popular amongst secular folks and people who shop at Saks.
  4. Perhaps best of all, you don't have to wait two years or six years or 100 or whatever if you missed this months "Three by Five" day to have a party. There's one next month! Or the month after that! And so on, and so on ...
So, there you are. From the enlightened cosmopolitan in the retail district on NW 23rd Avenue to the self-made preacher who thinks calculators are the work of the Devil, suspiciously eyeing the world from his armored-up compound in the hills out near Molalla, there's something for everyone here!

So join us this month for "Three times five" day! Unless you don't! Then, hey, next month for sure!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Now We Know What That Big WW Meeting Was About ...

... and it wasn't pretty, as we all suspected.

I've mocked WW in certain circles, because for a long time now it's seemed more concerned with style than substance. I will give the pape its due here, thought because even though staff have to take an 8 percent hit on salaries, the big butts, Richard Meeker and Mark Zusman, are taking a 25 percent hit on thier pay.

Good on them. You are our heroes today, man.

Ouch #2 Today: Watch Your Water Rates Go Up Almost 20 Per Cent

James Mayer, The Oregonian today:

Water rates would go up 17.9 percent under a budget plan presented to the City Council today by the Portland Water Bureau.

The increase is driven in part by council decisions to use reserves to avoid large rate hikes in recent years, said Commissioner Randy Leonard, who oversees the bureau.

"That was a huge mistake," Leonard. "No good deed goes unpunished."

The action would mean a $2.76 increase on the average residential customer's monthly bill of $15.40.

The average bill is $15.40? Ain't ours, let me tell you.

And we're still worrying about cryptosporidium? Something that pretty much never happens in Portland? Because we get our water straight out of the mountains?

If Mount Hood ever erupts, then you can put a fork in our water supply. Until then? Barring population pressure, I ain't so worried myself.

Ouch #1 Today: Fewer Multnomah County Employees, Due To The Economy

13 Multnomah County employees are not going to have a nice weekend (The Oregonian, "Friday the 13th brings 13 pink slips to Multnomah County employees"):

But Multnomah County can't avoid letting workers go. Its finances are worse because it serves more people and provides services other counties don't, and it has relied heavily on one-time money to pay for programs that have remained once the funding for them went away.

Today's layoffs hit as the county braces to lose hundreds of jobs when commissioners balance a budget for the next fiscal year that begins in July. The county must figure out how to absorb an expected $45 million funding gap.

Get ready for fewer services from fewer, overworked, and overstressed county employees. Looks like law enforcement, corrections, health dept ...

Maybe this was the bug up County Chair Ted Wheeler's butt when he told Commish Randy all about himself in his famous turn at the Portland Student Council this last week, hm?

It would get me upset.

And Ted wanted that job? Wow. He's more of a man that I am, that's for sure.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

They Only Wound Up Galting Themselves Over

Hey, Conservative Blogosphere, How's that "Going Galt" Working out for you?

Apparently, not so well according Hilzroy @ the Washington Monthly:

None of the people Dr. Helen interviews is actually Going Galt. More to the point, neither is Dr. Helen. She claims to be "mulling over ways that she can "go Galt". Allow me to help her
out (along with Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, et al.) To Go Galt, she should:

(a) Identify those things that she does that are genuinely creative and productive. If there aren't any, then the fact that it will be difficult for her to Go Galt is the least of her problems. 

(b) Refuse to do those things in any way that allows society at large, as opposed to a small circle of like-minded individualists, to benefit from them.

It really is that simple. If she and the other bloggers who are calling on people to "Go Galt" don't do this, the only explanations are that they don't have the guts to do what they are encouraging others to do, or that they recognize that nothing they do counts as creative or
productive, or that they just aren't thinking about what they write.

Read the whole thing (seriously, it's important) and read the comments too. They're some of the most thoughtful comments I've ever seen to a post.

They use that word a lot, the conservative bloggers. But we're pretty sure it does not mean what they think it means.

You'd Think They'd Be A Little More Grateful Than That

Citigroup, recipient (according to of $50 Bn of your TARP tax dollars to avoid going out of business, spent some of it on a conference call devoted to reducing your rights to unionize:

Sam Stein @ HuffPo:

Embattled financial giant Citigroup Inc., which has received at least $50 billion in federal bailout funds, hosted a private conference call on Wednesday to build opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.

The call, which came just one day after the labor-backed legislation was introduced in Congress, suggests a growing effort on Citi's behalf to spur concerns about the bill, which would make it easier for employees to organize. On Tuesday, the bank downgraded Wal-Mart's rating over fears that the Employee Free Choice Act could pass.

Citigroup Hates You.

Portland Now Officially Over-rated

The Oregonian: "Portland Has Weak Showing In Manliness Rating":

Portland has been rated the 47th manliest city in the U.S., but before we reach for our color-coordinated hankies, let's note that Los Angeles and New York finished 49th and 50th -- out of 50 -- and that the list was commissioned by "the cheese-filled snack of NASCAR."

I've never thought of NASCAR as a cheese-filled snack though.

Will the rating lists never end? Oh, boy, that's got to be the Number One most irritating and irrelevant ...

... oh, wait, now I'm doing it too! Crap!

Strangely, I'm Still Torn About MLS ...

And it's not for lack of trying to make sense of the two advocacies for it.

First of all, I remember the NASL Timbers and the years of "Soccer City, USA". If any city can make that happen, it was PDX. And man, the NASL Timbers were hot.

In the corner of advocacy for, we have the argument that the nearby USL teams are going big league, leaving the Timbers as the only USL team for hundreds of miles in any direction, and the story that the Paulsen family are putting up enought money to make any potential loss to Portland taxpayers as near to zero as possible. There's also the prestige a major league team brings, the prospect of a new baseball stadium for the Beavers (something I thinkt they deserve after all these years) and, as Anna Griffin in The Oregonian pointed out, if you're waiting for a major league football or baseball team to come to town ... well, I wouldn't cross the street on those odds.

In the advocacy against, there's powerful arguments, mostly centering on the state of the economy, and the very real appearance that money that will go to the MLS team would have and should have gone to gapingly-open social needs, real needs, that this city has now and will have very soon. Also the prospect of using a new Urban Renewal district possibly to pay for it (they said it's off the table, but I don't entirely trust that assertion) and that Convention Center urban renewal funds will be used to pay for the new Beavers stadium. It's also a hell of a way for the old Memorial Coliseum to go out. All that, and the owner of the team is a man who, if his dad's any indication, feels that if he wants it he should get it no matter who pays for it.

I think we deserve a MLS level team. Portland's ready for it. But the way things are, it's an extravagance. Can we afford it at this time? Maybe not.

The claim of extra jobs–well, we've seen in other cities that that's a big bust usually.

But it would be cool to have MLS in town! And the Beavers in thier own house!

Maybe it seems a little juvenile, but as just J. Random PDX Citizen ... I just don't know.

PDX: Keeping Portland Normal

An employee at Powell's Books at PDX dyed her hair pink.

Some weeks later it had faded well under the pastel wavelength.

It was only then that some buzzkill complained.

And then PDX said "cap it, babe".

After some weeks?

WW proclaims the Port of Portland (who owns and runs PDX) the Rogue of the Week this week. We agree.

C'mon, people, its Powell's! If you want Suzy Brownshoe, go to Barnes & Noble. One of the reason to go to any Powell's is because you know attractive young women with candy-colored hair are going to be there.

I mean, I know some of you came to Portland hoping to sleep with one of the girls in the Lille or Gilt ads in the WW and PMerc, and just about now you realize it's not going to happen, so at least you can go to Powells and dream, amirite?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Bike Tax: What He Said

I know a "me too" post shows a lack of creativity, but Patrick Emerson's writing out HB 3008, Wayne Krieger's Bike Tax, needs to be read and passed about:

Perhaps the stupidest public policy idea I have ever heard of is the
proposed bike tax. It is not worth talking about the proposal itself as
it is not going anywhere and is, as I think I mentioned, stupid. But
what is interesting to me is that, in fact, the appropriate public
policy is to subsidize bikes, not tax them.

Why? The negative externalities associated with bike riding:
virtually none. Minimal wear and tear on roads, sometimes a slight
slowdown in traffic and a extra line of paint for a bike lane. Positive
externalities associated with bike riding: lots.

Read all about it:

Free (at Least For Now) Podcasts of Mike Malloy Available

Remember how I said that Malloy was making his podcasts free for now?

You can find them at the White Rose Society. go to the White Rose homepage and go down to the The Mike Malloy Show - New Archives Being Posted link, which is the fourth item in the Table of Contents list.

On your way down, notice that Ben Burch has a donation drive on and donate what you can. He's been doing this for years and if it weren't for White Rose, some liberal talkers wouldn't be getting the word out at all.

Also, here's complete Malloy connection info if you are so inclined:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

President Obama's Memo On Scientific Integrity: The Complete Text

Repeated verbatim w/o comment because ... well, who needs additional commentary about something this nifty?

SCIENCE IS BACK IN THE HOUSE! (Empahsis below is mine)

Date: Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 9, 2009

SUBJECT: Scientific Integrity

Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public. To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking. The selection of scientists and Technology professionals for positions in the executive branch should be based on their scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.

By this memorandum, I assign to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (Director) the responsibility for ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch's involvement with scientific and technological processes. The Director shall confer, as appropriate, with the heads of executive departments and agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget and offices and agencies within the Executive Office of the President (collectively, the "agencies"), and recommend a plan to achieve that goal throughout the executive branch.

Specifically, I direct the following:

1. Within 120 days from the date of this memorandum, the Director shall develop recommendations for Presidential action designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch, based on the following principles:
(a) The selection and retention of candidates for science and technology positions in the executive branch should be based on the candidate's knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity;

(b) Each agency should have appropriate rules and procedures to ensure the integrity of the scientific process within the agency;

(c) When scientific or technological information is considered in policy decisions, the information should be subject to well-established scientific processes, including peer review where appropriate, and each agency should appropriately and accurately reflect that information in complying with and applying relevant statutory standards;

(d) Except for information that is properly restricted from disclosure under procedures established in accordance with statute, regulation, Executive Order, or Presidential Memorandum, each agency should make available to the public the scientific or technological findings or conclusions considered or relied on in policy decisions;

(e) Each agency should have in place procedures to identify and address instances in which the scientific process or the integrity of scientific and technological information may be compromised; and

(f) Each agency should adopt such additional procedures, including any appropriate whistleblower protections, as are necessary to ensure the integrity of scientific and technological information and processes on which the agency relies in its decisionmaking or otherwise uses or prepares.

2. Each agency shall make available any and all information deemed by the Director to be necessary to inform the Director in making recommendations to the President as requested by this memorandum. Each agency shall coordinate with the Director in the development of any interim procedures deemed necessary to ensure the integrity of scientific decisionmaking pending the Director's  recommendations called for by this memorandum.

3. (a) Executive departments and agencies shall carry out the provisions of this memorandum to the extent permitted by law and consistent with their statutory and regulatory authorities and their enforcement mechanisms.

(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

4. The Director is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


EFCA: Yep, This Is Why I Voted For Senator Merkley

Senator Merkley tells it like it is for the working man and woman:

This is why we put Jeff in. This is why we needed two progressive Democrats in the Senate from Oregon.

Go, Jeff! Do us a favor, won't you, if you come by here: contact Jeff and tell him thanks for doing what it was that we sent him there to do.

(via Preemptive Karma)

How To Win Free Maher/Coulter Tix If You Were In Boston

NB: The contest is over, and the tix have already been awarded

Funny for the day: The Boston Phoenix just concluded a contest where the winner gets two tickets to an upcoming debate between Bill Maher and Ann Coulter. To enter, one had to correctly guess a list of three things the two actually had in common.

My favorite was from one Michael Denham, who wrote:

They both are belligerent, get surprisingly large media coverage, and are both men.

Well you can't please everyone, I suppose. For the record, the answers were:

  1. They both attended Cornell.
  2. They've both written New York Times Best Sellers.
  3. Neither has ever been married.

The author of the post also pointed out that both dated New York Times best-selling authors; to be exact, Dinesh D'Souza and porn star Karrine Steffans, which I have trouble believing completely. After all, I can see Ann Coulter dating Karrine Steffans, but I just don't think Dinesh D'Sousa is Maher's type, seriously.

PS: You were'nt going to Boston anyway. Don't lie to me!

We Like The Timbers ... But We're Not So Sure About This

We've been following PDX's journey toward MLS as far as our easily-glazed eyes will let us go.

We'll admit, we're confused. And I definitely don't want to kill the buzz of any Timbers fan (who I am, kinda–I attend games as the budget and time will allow).

But the rush toward giving the Timber's owner what he wants and the way which it's all going down so swimmingly just make me think of deals made out of sight. And since the Portland New Town (you know, the condo district otherwise known by the name of SoWa) concept has worked out so well, there should just kind of be a lot more public cirucumspection, and there just doesn't seem to be.

I'm just sayin'.

Newspaper Death Row: The 10 Most Likely To Be Next

In passing, and with an eye cast toward the struggles of not just the the Post-Intelligencer and The Oregonian, here's a much-linked artcile from the site 24/7 Wall Street that takes a guess at the next ten major dailies that may go dark or go digital.

The list reads:
  1. The Philadelphia Daily News
  2. The Minneapolis Star Tribune
  3. The Miami Herald
  4. The Detroit News
  5. The Boston Globe
  6. The San Francisco Chronicle
  7. The Chicago Sun-Times
  8. The New York Daily News
  9. The Fort Worth Star Telegram
  10. The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Some of those I think we can do without–the NY Daily News gave us the famous "Whose-going-to-write-the-stimulus-bill-now-we-killed-a-rabid-monkey-but-we-certainly-arent-using-a-racially-charged-symbol-to-refer-to-President-Obama" cartoon and is the closest thing I can think of to a craniorectal inversion in print.

But the SFChron? The Sun-Times (who gave us the greatest movie reviewer ever–Roger Ebert, the only movie reviewer ever to win the Pulitzer)?

If the Plain Dealer goes down, where are we going to get our newspaper prop the next time we see Rocky Horror over at the Clinton?

It's dark times, my friends.

TriMet: Providing Stimulus To Bike Park & Riders

Announced today via TriMet:

At the Bicycle Transportation Alliance annual awards dinner on
Saturday, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen announced that the agency
is dedicating $1 million of stimulus funding to expand and improve bike
parking facilities throughout the transit system. The stimulus funds
will create a pilot project for bike Park & Ride facilities as well
as upgrade older lockers.

TriMet's bike initiative has always been admirable to me, but could be more.

This is more.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oh, Go Galt Yourself

Just caught whiff of this. Us Orygonian bumpkins and bumpkinettes may not have heard of this, but this sounds like the silliest, selfishest, most self-indugingest thing since the other week when that risible "teabagging" party trend (link rated R for adult situation) that happened because Santelli belched something resembling a thought (It would be helpful to note that CNBC's Rick Santellin not only Hates You (tm) but is a buffoon as well, though unlike Jim Cramer, he's not even funny).

It's called going Galt.

As someone once said, assume I'm an Objectivist, and assume I'm a dunce ... but I repeat myself. Now, we all know (even if we don't Rand around) that John Galt is the pivotal character in Atlas Shrugged. He is the ubermensch upon whom withdrawing the creative contribution causes the entire Earth to spin into the sun (or cause another Thin Man movie to be made, or something like that). If you buy into Objectivism, the "men of ability" (not you) are the people who actually make the world go round, and if they decide to stop contributing, then the whole fabric of society unravels and the whole place starts to look like sections of Detroit we've heard about recently.

Now that the rabble (if you're reading this and you wonder who the rabble might be, it's you, Sparky) have begun to actually demand that government work for them instead of on them, the Masters of the Universe (if you wonder if you are one, then it's a dead sure thing you aren't) have decided that they're just going to take their ball and go home.

Balloon Juice has a pretty good summary here:

Much html code has been spilled about the wingnut obsession with “going Galt” in order to avoid paying a 39% marginal rate on income over 250K a year. Matt Yglesias points out that we’d probably be better off if a lot of wealthy Americans went Galt, the Washington Independent has a nice run-down of the whole movement (oh, it resembles a certain sort of movement, if you follow me–ed), if it can be called that, and commenters all over point out that John Galt would never have worked as a dentist, represented people from Bakersfield, or slept with Glenn Reynolds.

Take that lese majeste, you little people. Once you all pipe down, we're getting you a shorter chain.

Problem is, those self-styled Galters don't really resemble John Galt much at all. Once again, if you buy into such Random philosophy and you think that the world won't go unless a creative elite does anything, most of the those who want to go Galting around don't really produce anything that society can't do with out. Conservative bloggers? Investment managers? Commentators? Michelle freaking Malkin?

We'll, they'll show us, you see. They'll go off to the gulch and hope we all Galt ourselves off a cliff.

I hope their little feelings won't get too hurt when they find out the world kind of works better without them.

I kind of hope they Galt off along with the horse they rode in on. We'll all be better off.

Mom always said there'd be people like that there, too, also.

An Upside To A Down Economy: Fewer Traffic Jams

The dicey economy means people are driving less. Now we know how much less:

Northwest cities fared about average: congestion declined by 28 percent in Seattle, and 34 percent in Portland.

Hell, I'll get and stay on my bike–if the silly people don't get their way.

Hey, KPOJ! Speaking of iTunes Streaming ...

... why ain't you there?

The POJ and iTunes seems a natural match.

So why ain't you there, ladies and gents? Hmm? Someone over on SW Macadam Avenue want to get on that?

There are many liberal streams, most inferior to The POJ.

Please rectify this.

Thank You, Blue Oregon! And Preemptive Karma Too! (updated)

I notice that I've been tipped more than once by the mighty Blue Oregon, in my mind the cream of the progressive blogs around here.

It's flattering to be on the BlueO radar, and to Kari, Carla, and all there that I admire, thanks! You've brightened my day!

Updated: I just found out that Preemptive Karma has extended an link of friendship. Must reciprocate if I havent already!

Quite a day!

Post-Nova M: Mike Malloy Still Broadcasting, Podcasts To Be Free (For A Little While Anyway)

Commenter "fellixe" left me this information on the previous posting regarding the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I'm moving it up to a posting because there's exciting news strongly suggesting that we won't be going without Mike Malloy anytime soon:

Hi again. On the Rhodes Scholars board it was passed along that Ben Burch, all around tech guru and web master of the former Nova M among other progressive media concerns, has posted on Mike Malloy's message board that he would be moving podcasts from the Nova M and On Second Thought to

Ben's message was as follows:
Hey guys!

Yeah, had my machine crash at the worst time.

Quality will improve tomorrow as we plan to stream directly rather than repeating an affiliate stream with FOUR re-encodings in the chain!

As I said in another thread, podcasts will no longer be via OST, they will be on White Rose, and I am moving gigabytes of audio around as fast as I can to make that happen.

There will eventually be a subscription service. Sooner rather than later, but when it starts it will be temporarily free.


I don't know if this effects all the material formerly available to
Founders' Club members of Nova M or not, but I guess it's the best
place to start looking.

I feel somewhat visionary; I wanted for so long to join Nova M Founders Club so I could get me premium Malloy content and podcasts but money has indeed been that tight, and I always felt so guilty about listening to him for free.

That said, I have the utmost sympathy for Founders Club members. After all, they had the gumption to step up and support Mike and Nova M when things were better (If I could just up my income, when it happens again, I'd like to be one of them, of course) and all they have is stress to show for it now. That's not a good prize!

So we'll have our stream back (1190 Nova M's iTunes stream has indeed gone silent) and for a while we'll get some free podcasts! The Drobny's loss appears to be our gain.

I'm thinking of taking up praying again if it will make Mike's self-synidication plan work out. But, oh, it could be so much worse!

I Wondered Why A "D" Would Sponsor That Bike Registration Bill

... with three Republicans. Loaded Orygun explains:

I honestly am not sure whether Rep. Schaufler just does this kind of thing to be a dick, but if I asked you for one Democrat in the House who might be expected to sign onto something like this, it's Schaufler or nobody. This is the guy who threatened Merkley with a nay vote on any Measure 37 bill that didn't get a GOP vote, no matter what the bill said.

Oh. He's a jerk.

Thanks for the expl, LO.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nova M ... On Second Thought ... 1190 KNUV ... Going, Going ...

This photo, nicked from the Phoenix New Times newspaper, shows the last known status of the station that was the flagship of the defunct Nova M Radio, then the flagship of the chimeral On Second Thought Radio, the successor to 1480 KPHX, Phoenix's 1190 KNUV:

Those are indeed the doors of KNUV, 1190 AM, Phoenix AZ, chained and locked. Read the Phoenix New Times article on the current state of affairs here. Eerily, though, despite the blank page that the site (formerly and the sites have become, the 1190 Nova M stream via iTunes is still available and eerily broadcasting as though nothing's changed.

No word on the status of Dr. Mike Newcomb and the others.

Mike Malloy is on self-syndication. At least we still get to hear him.

Ben Burch's The White Rose Society website maintains a Sphinx-like fundraising front page.

Randi Rhodes's website still displaying the brief message that was mounted when everything started to FDGB.

The POJ seems to be going as strong as ever.

If anyone can diagnose the situation, you're way ahead of me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Three Republicans and a Democrat Want To Tax You Again To Ride Your Bike

In these days of fluctuating energy prices, global climate change, and decreasing incomes, the last thing the Oregon Legislature should be thinking about doing is making ecologically-friendly alternatives more expensive, but that's just what Reps Sal Esquivel (R-Medford), Wayne Krieger (R-Gold Beach), Bill Garrard (R-Klamath Falls) and Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley) want to do.

A liberal complaining about a new fee or tax may be odd, but really, only if you're a conservative who thinks using talking points instead of a brain. It's a matter of fairness.

The bill in question, HB 3008, sponsored by the four State Representatives, asks bicyclists–many of whom either own at least one car and is therefore already paying vehicle-registration fees, DEQ fees (if you live in the metros), gas taxes and insurance just to maintain the privilege of using an automobile to pay even more–$54 dollars every two years, to register a vehicle which delivers little or no wear on your neighborhood roads, makes you more fit, and pumps zero hydrocarbon emissions into the road.

Of course, I suppose there are many who use bicycles because they don't have or can't afford a car. Now it will cost them more. Many such people presumably ride a bike because they don't have that much of an income. Now they'd have to pony up $54 just to avoid getting a $25 ticket every time they get gigged for it (viewing the breeziness of the way the newsreaders on KATU simply dished off the cost as No Big Deal shows just how out-of-touch some people can get)

This can only lead to fewer people getting on two-wheelers to improve thier health, the health of the environment, and thier own economies. What we need to do is encourage people to get on bikes, not discourage.

As a person who owns two cars (and pays into the commonweal commensurate to that posessiveness) I am certainly not for being taxed again for doing the right thing. Bikes are not the problem, and making it more expensive to ride them will not solve any problems either.

If you feel as I do, you might want to contact these representatives and explain to them that this is not innovative, but rather a lack of vision:

Contact Rep Esquivel here.
Contact Rep Kreiger here.
Contact Rep Garrard here.
Contact Rep Schaufler here.
Go here to find out who your state representative is and tell them too.

And if you want a PDF with the complete text of HB 3008, click here for the download.

This is an official Bad Idea™. It needs to die.

Also, the BTA, who has the right of it, clues you in on Rep Krieger, the chief sponsor, who just seems to hate you if you ride a bike.

Ding, Dong, The Witch is Dead. Kinda.

Well, the word's out: Wild Bill Sizemore can't actually work for, or collect money from, a charity to live on.

Sounds good. But that guy's got more lives than 9 cats. He should have FDGB* a long time ago.

In as much as we hear he's moving to Redmond, we understand he'll have to go looking for honest work. I won't be completely happy until he's asking me do you want fries with that burger. Of course, with Wild Bill the word "honest" is more a concept than anything else, so we'll see how that goes.

* FGDB=Fall Down Go Boom. Strictly an abstraction.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Commission Cogen Agrees With Me About The TriMet Line 33

A little while ago I opined about how TriMet's proposal to discontinue the 33-Fremont line is a pretty penny-wise, pound-foolish thing to do (I called it stupid, to be exact), and that corner of Portland, where adequate bus service is pretty much a joke anyway as you get out toward NE 82nd Avenue, is about to become very very underserved.

It would seem that me and County Commissioner Jeff Cogen are on the same page:

We've heard concerns from several of our neighbors about the termination of the #33 bus line and I've sent a letter to Fred Hansen and the TriMet Board of Directors urging them to reexamine the proposed closure of the line. We disagree with the notion that other Northeast Portland TriMet routes adequately serve public needs in these

Thousands of riders use the #33 bus line for trips that don’t begin, end or pass through downtown Portland. Many of these trips are on the east-west portion of the route on NE Freemont St. NE Broadway and NE Killingsworth are the next nearest east-west routes, both of which are about a one mile walk from NE Freemont. Of further concern to me are
the hundreds of students attending one of the eight schools on or near the #33 route.

The idea that that route is somehow optional to effective mobility in NE Portland is strange to me. And I don't plan transit. All I did was look at the map.

So, good on Commissioner Cogen. Damn shame I can't vote for you (I'm not in your district) but then they don't plan on ending any routes in SE Portland, we we're the lucky ones I suppose. But the voters made a good choice with you.

Just one thing, Commish: it's Fremont, not Freemont. Just one E.