Category Archives: The Oregon Trail

Overseas->prison

Oregon is leading the charge in more than just gay marriage. We’re also helping to keep jobs from going overseas. How? My unemployed friends are still unemployed, you may wonder. Well, your prison friends aren’t! Rather than moving call centers overseas, we’re contracting out prison workers to answer phone calls. I wonder what happens if they violate the DNC list…they’re already in jail. Cheap labor, less turnover. That sounds like a win to me. As long as it’s completely optional…leave the quilt-making to the ‘retirement’ homes, eh? One objection is that they aren’t learning a skill that will be applicable on the ‘outside’ unless they go overseas or back to prison. But my thought is that they are learning skills and discipline (some probably need it, at least!) so as long as it’s is compensated and optional, that’s great. But it needs to be treated like a job.

PUD 3

Alright, I’m now pretty convinced that PUD is where it’s at. I’ve been leaning yes but wanted to catch some opinions and maybe a fact or two in the haze. Here’s my take: power companies are greedy, and want to monopolize. The government handling utilities may not be perfect, but as long as we need to pay for them, there’s probably not a lot of better ways to do it. PUD will honor existing contracts/employment, though with caveats I’m sure. This will help to sever ties with bad bad Enron and the white house’s good’ole boys. PUDs are more progressive with alternative energy that private utilities (no complaint about Pac. Power here…I get the Blue/Green Mountain/Sky through them…though we can always do better). It’ll piss off people who I think do bad things to good people. Tax increase will be minimal. Thanks for the legwork Jack Bog, BiX, and Emma! So unless you hear otherwise, I’m a go for yes/yes.

PUD power

alright, I’m really not sure which way to go on the upcoming ballot measures to introduce public power. On one hand, I really like the idea of PUD, it seems reasonable, efficient and less corruptible. Also, I’m pretty happy with Pacific Power. Service is good, I can buy wind power, and I’m not aware of the ole’ Enron baggage. I need to do a bit of investigation on this, but I’d love to hear others’s opinions on this touchy subject.

Hotties on Parade

Kudos to the Organizers of Portland’s ‘First Fashion Week.’ I was just down at Pioneer Square and caught some of the show, it looked well done and stayed fun. It has been going on all week, but I’m not sure if it’ll be at the Square tomorrow or a big one at the museum. Anyway, everyone looked great, the designers made some cool garb, and I ate a yummy burrito. Go team.

baseball

It’s decision time. So we’ll probably be committed to something one way or another by the next time the Diamondbacks with the World Series. I read a lot of conflicting opions on whether a baseball stadium (pro, with team) would be beneficial of parasitic to our little town. This has been one of the more interesting issues to watch because the lines in the sand are totally skewed from the usual stances. If we could turn the dial to up the rabidity of the opinions then we’d really be having a lot of fun.

I’m not really a baseball fan. It’s one of the few things that you could put onto a television that doesn’t make it hard for me to focus on whatever else I’m doing (like drinking a beer). That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. But it doesn’t draw me to games. $1 beers draw me to games. or evern better, free beer. Having been to a few Beavers games, I just don’t see that Portland has the draw for major league baseball.

The biggest single reason that I hear for getting a team here is that it ‘won’t cost anything’. Which means: free jobs, new revenue, status as a ‘real city’, and baseball. The first two a super. The third, I’m perfectly happy with Portland as the Sunday stop for Lollapalooza. And fourth, baseball, sure, sounds great, maybe Damon can hit.

And reasons why not seem to include, the there’s no free lunch rule, which is probably truer than those for think and less true than the againsts want to believe. There’s the whole, well, wtf are we gonna put this thing problem. I think we should build a floating stadium on the Wilamette. Downtown parking too! And little things like parking, and the support industry to support a baseball stadium…what will all those triket stands and burger stands do a a neighborhood? And what about the glimmering success of PGE park? Just let that run down the drain?

Overall, I’m an apathetic YAY to the getting a baseball team. If we were regularly to fill PGE full of avid baseball fans, I’d be more enthusiastic. But I’m not. I just feel that the positives for our little ecosystem outweigh the negatives, and I might have some fun at a game every now and then. Emma (Oregon Blog) and Jack (Jack Bog) have both posted some interesting perspectives on this issue recently, and I recommend that you check them out.

The Rogue Hour

Check out “The Rogue Hour” Friday morning 9am-10am on KBOO. Emma and BigAir Fred and some others have put together a radio program, and I’m sure it’ll be up to their high standards. I plan to be listening over the interweb. These are two of the best Oregon local bloggers, full of great info and arguments and rants and such, so I’ll expect a lot from their radio project ;)

Rejects reject

Emma has posted an interesting bit on Oregon’s refusing of federal assistance in a few areas…to the tune of twenty-some million. The problem has to do with our legislature being bull-headed egomaniacs who are oblivious to the problems in the state. But read the article, it’s much more eloquent than that, and pretty brief too. You can get a few details at The Oregon Blog, which left my head spinning. There’s some business about the Republican from Lake Oswego and how he feels bad about how the national gumment has gone haywire with spending and doesn’t want to impose on them for a few buck here and there to create jobs and alleviate pain for some people who need it. And then we’d have to match some of the dollars, and you know what a bloat that can put on government, which is too freakin big already mark my word. What an ascetic. Knowing how Lake O’ is the center of neediness in Oregon (well…with all the neediness around it, just not in the chewy middle) and how he can turn away all this dough and the jobs it can create, he really is a giver down to the liver.

dog alert

This is probably out there already, but I have to use the voice that I have to warn people. Some sick bastard is poisoning dogs at Laurelhurst Park by leaving poisoned meat in the bushes. If you have a dog, beware. As a dog-lover and companion, all I can say is that death is too good for this person or group.

Update: here is KOIN’s story.

Copyright-e-o

Matt Baldwin (of Defective Yeti fame) has written an interesting piece about copyright laws and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Basically, he discusses how the League was made possible by copyright laws allowing works to fall into the public domain (originally 28 years), which is being made more difficult now as congress regularly extends the copyright periods (now 70 years posthumous). to me extending copyright periods seems like the wrong way to go. If anything, our world happens faster now, so the scale should be shortening. Similar to so many of the other significant laws passed by congress and the like (read FCC deregulation…please let them roll this back) they seem bent on preserving the corporate interests, not those of individuals. By keeping knowledge, ideas, art, and icons out of the public domain the people of our country are deprived of the ability to expand and strengthen ideas. My understanding is that the creator rarely keeps ownership of their idea anyway. Let’s open up the ideas. I am not suggesting the abolition of copyright and intellectual property laws, but a significant inspection of their intent is necessary, which if done smartly and honestly, I believe that the only outcome will be a shortening of the copyright limits. Imagine a world in which all of the classic Atari video games were available free and legal, where schools could put Garfield in their yearbooks without lawyers, and that handsome man from About A Boy no longer lived off of royalty checks from his father’s xmas jingle.

new blogs finds

good times. I came across two new portland bloggers…hilsy blog and timberlog. The first is a beerdrinking runner, and the second writes about soccer, which is almost the same thing. The links are over to the right, I’d rather type this sentence than do an href thing even though this blogware has handy dandy clickies to make it easy. Enjoy, they seem like good people.

spiffy new road tax idea

Some interesting, albeit scary thoughts on taxing drivers are being researched here in backwoodsy Oregon. Well, looked into, at leat. The ideas derive from an increase in fuel-efficient cars (not sure where they’re seeing them?!) which is causing a decrease in gas tax revenues…so they want to track mileage. To do so, they’d use techniques such as GPS and other little black boxes that need to be installed into cars. Besides the obvious privacy issues, which About it All has probably already covered, there are some interesting possibilities here. First, (I just have to say this one) don’t we want to encourage people to buy fuel-efficient cars? Money and Christian Guilt seem like the only ways to influence American behavior short of posting a billboard with a supermodel or mentioning the Taliban (who?). Second, it would be cool to be able to track things like road usage…but it’d put a lot of car-counters out of work. A benefit would be, as mentioned in the article, that taxes could be based on road congestion…when there’s a crapload of people on I-205, bill’em!, but when Timmy and Bobby hit the open roads with a 12-pack of Old Mil’, just give them a nudge.

The problem is, is that if people won’t let gas taxes go up anyway (I say quadruple them, myself), who the heck is gonna be into the idea of a) a fancy new tax, b) a schmancy new satellite-based implemtation, and c) some city dude at the DMV sticking a blck box under your hood to charge you money. Where’s my barcode, eh, Earl?

geoportland

The phrase dot-com long ago began to sound, similar to ‘milk’ said a few dozen times consecutively, amorphous and lacking in true meaning. Whenever I heard the subphrase I would expect a punchline, even in a Merrill Lynch ad or coming from some VP. Coming from my own mouth, the word would make me double-take with the surprised look of a young dog farting. While the dot-com ookiness will be with me for awhile, remembered like a rough tequila night, it’s coming under control, new terms like ROI and TCO have risen to teh challenge, racing towards meaninglessness, and my dot-com fits are less and less frequent. But this morning I felt it, and feared a new onslaught, though vacuous I believe. Driving to work, down NE 33rd near Fremont, there was a real estate sing in front of a house, a nice house. It had a two line geocities.com web address. I laughed and got my butt to work. This is the first I’ve spoken of the event.

Dean Coming to Town

Howard Dean is coming to Portland. I don’t have too many details at the moment, but he’s scheduled to arrive on 5/12. The good folks of the Meetup are planning to get out there and show support in an effort to get a bit of press coverage for him. This is a great way to build the grassroots movement, so if you can be there, do it. I don’t have a time for his arrival yet, but I’ll find out and post that. I won’t be able to make it because I’ll be travelling a bit at the time.

Howard Dean Meetup

That was very cool. I got there early, so managed to get a table right in front and quaff a pint before the ruckus. Ninety-some people showed up to Mississippi Pizza in North Portland to hang out and hear about Howard Dean, the man who I believe will bring character back to the Democratic Party. Really. I’m even considering giving up my registered Independent status in order to support Dean in the primaries.
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Portland Metro hits bigtime!

While not my local Home Depot, the one located in Clackamas may be becoming my regular stop for home maintenance bulk runs. And I’ll have to start doing the maintenance in the morning, around breakfast time. At least do the equiment and supplies runs then. That has nothing to do with the Krispy Kreme opening up in front of the store there. I’d been giving serious thought to changing Home Depots anyway. I like to drive extra distance, especially if it’s to Clackamas.

After all the Tolkien and Star Wars hoopla for their openings here in the Northwest, I can only hope that this event receives similar attention. I’d love to see people living out of tents alongside the contractors preparing the building, perhaps even lending a hand to be safe and sure that KK makes its date for its Portland debut. People dressed as giant doughnuts, dripping glaze…maybe a glowing yellow Homer Simpson coming to reclaim his soul doughnut. This would be a perfect time to pull out the Jar-Jar costumes too. Krispy Kreme opening their doors here will help to get Portland back on the map. Our economy may be in the shitter, and our schools may be closing, but at least we can keep the kids fed with the finest, and the elite may even get jobs at Krispy Kreme themselves. It’s good to know that a giant like Krispy Kreme has faith in Portland enough to invest in our future.

Terror bill threat

Creates crime of terrorism. Punishes by life imprisonment. SB 742 is being sponsored by Senator Minnis. This bill is an insane and reactionary piece of legislature fueled by the paranoia and division inspired by out national leaders and the media, and will work to fan the flames of fear and mistrust on both sides.

Basically, SB 742 defines terrorism in a loose and broad terminology, which could just as easily apply to reckless driving as to pipe bombing city hall. Key points of the text are as follow:

SECTION 1. { + (1) A person commits the crime of terrorism if
the person knowingly plans, participates in or carries out any
act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to
disrupt:
(a) The free and orderly assembly of the inhabitants of the
State of Oregon;
(b) Commerce or the transportation systems of the State of
Oregon; or
(c) The educational or governmental institutions of the State
of Oregon or its inhabitants.
(2) A person commits the crime of terrorism if the person
conspires to do any of the activities described in subsection (1)
of this section.

Seems pretty loose to me. The horrible infrigements on our rights being pushed right now are going to take their toll. Let terrorism be a federal crime. And define it well, not to gain leverage over people who piss you off.

Gambling Nix

It looks like Portlanders will need to continue their hour-long drive out to Spirit Mountain in order to throw away retirement funds, savings accounts, and milk money. Our Governor Kulongowski did not approve Portland’s plan of allowing the Grand Ronde tribe to build a casino in town in exchange for some hundreds of millions of dollars for a baseball stadium.

I am somewhat mixed on this issue. In theory it seems a fine idea. It’ll probably levy an equivalent or greater tax than Measure 28 did, and most likely it’ll strike at a lot of the folks who voted it down, but in the form of casino losses. But, what would a casino do to Portland? The businesses that would popup in support of it tend to be less savory…pawn shops, title loan companies, strip joints. Then there’s the addiction that many people become enveloped in with gambling. It’s frightening enough watching the video poker machines and the manic empty hope I see with so many people playing them, for entertainment purposes only, I’m sure. At least a casino would bring reasonable odds to Portland gambling.

I don’t believe that Portland is ready to cope with the social problems that could easily surround a casino in a major metropolitan area. Good call, Ted.

Oregon gets one right

In light of all the nastiness we’ve been hearing about Oregon, the schools, the economy, the infighting, timber, power, baseball, gambling, and such, I was really happy to see this article, in which the Senate put the (at least for-now) smackdown on GWB’s energy/budget plan to drill pristine Alaska. The article tells us that Gordon Smith cast one of the key votes to shift the win over to the powers of good. That’s gonna get us on Georgie’s good side.

To The Coast

Perhaps it will stay beautiful as I journey to the Oregon Coast in search of Jack’s blue plastic beach decorations. Wish me luck, back tomorrow sometime.