Here They Come Again

The battles continue in Astoria, Oregon as the California sea lions have returned to lounge on docks at the port, overloading the floats, crapping all over the place, and occasionally going after unwary people. Ignoring basic historical facts as usual, the apologists are out in farce force, claiming that the sea lions were here first, that “man is the problem”, and that sea lions have always paddled around in our rivers, maiming fish. (Trail tip: there’s a reason why we have “Sea Otters” and “River Otters” – but no “River Lions”.)

Until the mid-1970s, California sea lions were seldom seen anywhere on the Columbia River. But surveys as recently as 2006 conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimated up to 1,200 California sea lions and 1,000 Steller sea lions in the 140 miles of the lower Columbia River.

Note again: “sea” lions.

It’s truly a sad testament to the proud city of Astoria that they allow their evil Port authorities to continue to research ways to banish these majestic sea lions from the docks; depriving tourists of opportunities to marvel at the wonder of the mammals as they bark, belch, crap, and destroy dock floats. The evil Port authorities actually seem to believe that the docks should be devoted to evil commerce and other human activities!

The wonders of nature seem to escape them entirely.

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Beard Nets Are A Thing Now

As hipsters enter the food service industry, sales of beard nets are climbing even as sales of razors are falling. Well, what – other than food services – is a hipster with an art history degree going to do? Gotta pay off that $60,000 student loan somehow, right?

The current trend for beards in the UK is said to have stemmed from the ‘Hipster’ subculture of New York, characterised by a bushy beard, shaven hair at the side, and tattoos.

Clearly, the hipsters are demonstrating their inherent racism and prejudice against Native Americans (a.k.a. Indians), as these people are generally incapable of growing a beard.

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Killing The USSR

Forget nukes. Forget tanks. None of that mattered. It was an unscheduled stop at a Randall’s Grocery store in Houston that blew Boris Yeltsin’s mind.09/16/1989 - Boris Yeltsin and a handful of Soviet companions made an unscheduled 20-minute visit to a Randall's Supermarket after touring the Johnson Space Center. Between trying free samples of cheese and produce and staring at the meat selections, Yeltsin roamed the aisles of Randall's nodding his head in amazement.

It was September 16, 1989 and Yeltsin, then newly elected to the new Soviet parliament and the Supreme Soviet, had just visited Johnson Space Center.

Yeltsin, then 58, “roamed the aisles of Randall’s nodding his head in amazement,” wrote Asin. He told his fellow Russians in his entourage that if their people, who often must wait in line for most goods, saw the conditions of U.S. supermarkets, “there would be a revolution.”

Nobody in the USSR, not even those in the politburo, had such choices. Even more troubling, it wasn’t just a one-off. There were stores like Randall’s all over the damned place! On his flight to his next stop, in Miami, Yeltsin became despondent.

“When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people,” Yeltsin wrote. “That such a potentially super-rich country as ours has been brought to a state of such poverty! It is terrible to think of it.”

I understand how he felt, as in 1989 I hosted a colleague from Moscow for a few days. On the way back to the house following a local event, I decided to make a quick stop at the local Fred Meyer store to pick up a few additional items for dinner, as the guy seemed to have an incredible appetite and I hadn’t been entirely prepared for that. Was that ever a mistake!

My “quick stop” ran to over two hours, as Ruslan had never seen anything like it. He had to visit every aisle; he marveled at the produce section, the meat and seafood, the dairy – even the toilet paper and paper towel aisle. “We have nothing like this in Moscow,” he confided. When he hit the clothing section and saw the stacks of Levis in every size imaginable, I thought he might have a heart attack.

It got to the point where I was considering grabbing him by the shirt-collar and dragging him out of there. When we finally got home and I had dinner going, he asked if we could return before he left, so that he could buy a few things for his family and friends. I think he got half a dozen pairs of freakin’ Levis, along with candies and jerky and some other stuff. I was just glad I hadn’t taken him to a larger Freddies – we’d probably still be in there.

It was a learning experience, though; it had never before occurred to me that what I take for granted amounts to a jaw-dropping experience for others.

Posted in Economy, Food and drink, Government, History | Leave a comment

The Oregon Lottery: It Does (Not Good) Things

John Oliver really nailed state-sponsored lotteries last night, and some of his harshest commentary was directed squarely at Oregon Lottery – which, as he notes, uses the universal symbol for lying as its logo.

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Some 80% of Oregon lottery money comes from video poker machines – which is especially interesting in light of the fact that when voters approved the Oregon lottery in the first place, it was only to consist of scratch-odd tickets, and any funds derived from it were to be devoted to economic development.

However, since implementation, the thing has morphed to include some 12,000 video poker and video slot machines across the state – the most adddictive form of gambling presently in existence. And while folks who buy scratch-off tickets may lose a hundered dollars a year, the average loss for video players exceeds $2000. That’s not at all difficult to believe; some years ago as I was having a couple of pints with a friend, we watched a guy drop $1700 into “his” machine in the space of a couple of hours. That’s an amazing level of addiction. But it’s not uncommon. And the state now depends on state-sponsored gambling, in effect taking piles of money from those least able to afford the losses in exchange for a false promise. In stark terms, that’s cripple-hopping.

Posted in Current Affairs, Economy, Government, Taxation | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Against The Wind

As expected, Oregon elected Retread to the governorship once again. Corruption and incompetence don’t matter here, as long as it’s done by a Democratic. The sole surprise was that much-maligned Republican Dennis Richardson, anticipated by The Oregonian and others to lose by double digits, actually appears to have come within three percentage points in this election. Oddly, when Retread gave his acceptance speech last night at the Portland Hilton, his First Squeeze was nowhere to be seen. That was likely the smartest move we’ve seen from him in years.

On the upside: voters here resoundingly dumped Retread’s effort to give illegal aliens drivers’ cards, rejecting the argument advanced by the Oregonian’s editorial board and other supporters:

Supporters of Measure 88 had hoped that voters would narrow their focus to the specific issue of driver’s cards and the safety benefits of offering illegal immigrants a means to access driver education, drive legally and secure insurance.

Nobody believes that folks who are here illegally are going to suddenly purchase vehicle insurance with money that could be sent back home. That’s just a silly premise.

Equally resoundingly, voters here rejected a move to switch to a “top two” primary election format by a 68% vote. Clearly, each of these measures resulted in Democratics joining conservatives; indicating that on at least some issues, a measure of bipartisanship is possible, even in Oregon – a fact currently lamented by the far-left here.

And speaking of bipartisanship, the pot legalization measure passed with 55% of the vote; something that could not have occurred without support by moderate Republicans here. Clearly, in a state that’s had medical marijuana dispensaries for years, a grass-roots potlitical effort to establish full legalization easily took root.

The most expensive campaign in state history – whether or not to set up an unique labeling system for “GMO” foods – is still apparently too close to call despite the infusion of millions of dollars in out-of-state cash. Money doesn’t necessarily buy elections.

Surprisingly, voters here also turned thumbs-down on a measure to establish a fund for “higher education”, with 58% declining. There are a couple of solid reasons for this: having legalized pot, it’s pretty safe to say that all education in the state will soon be “higher”. As well, most of us worked hard to obtain our post-secondary educations, and apparently, many agree that today’s kids can do the same.

Nationally, of course, Republicans generally outperformed Democratics this time around, and took control not only of the US Senate but also governorships in some unlikely places, such as Maryland and Massachusetts. Who saw that coming? The Washington Post article, linked in the above embed, offers an interesting set of insights into how that national upset came about.

In a nutshell, Obama’s always been all about himself, and that came back to bite him in this election. Hairy Reed must be near-suicidal; in which case, he’s hereby invited to move to Oregon, where physicians stand ready to assist him.

Posted in Current Affairs, Government, Oregon/Portland Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Oregon Governor Falsified Ethics Document

His First Squeeze isn’t the only one of this pair with ethics issues. He gave the recently-admitted felon an office in the state capital, from which it appears that she conducted her “green energy” consulting business, using her title of “Energy Advisor to the Governor”. In other words, she was effectively functioning as a lobbyist, and Oregon’s Retread governor was well aware of that.  Nonetheless, he falsified a document that’s required to be sent to the Ethics Commission.

In a Statement of Economic Interests document obtained by GoLocalPDX and filed with the Oregon Ethics Commission, Kitzhaber stated that his household received income from two companies, Energy Foundation and Resource Media, that had contracted with Hayes’ consulting firm E3 Strategies. 

But under a section that required him to disclose “any compensated lobbyist who was associated with a business with which you or a member or your household was associated during 2013” Kitzhaber simply put “N/A” or not applicable.

That is an outright, and intentional, lie.

Not to worry, Portland voters will re-elect him.

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Socialists In Seattle: Lessons In Hypocrisy

Their “Freedom Socialist Party”, not satisfied with the recent mandate in the city of a $15 per hour minimum wage, is pushing for a $20 per hour minimum for all of the burger-flippers in the city. And they’re hiring! They’ve posted ads on Indeed.com and Craigslist for a part-time, experienced web developer.

It’s four hours a day, five days a week – and you actually have to work in their office in the University district; no telecommuting allowed. And they’re offering the princely sum of…(ahem) $13 an hour.

It’s sometimes said that if some people didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all. That applies to the Freedom Socialist Party.
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Sweet Georgia

In what must surely stand among the most convoluted of rulings ever to emerge from a court in the American judicial system, the Georgia Court of Appeals declared last Friday that parents may be held liable for what their kids post on Facebook. It’s pretty clear that the esteemed justices are woefully bereft of any understanding of technology.

To back things up a moment, the whole thing started when a boy got ticked off at a female classmate and enlisted the help of a buddy to create a fake FB page under her name. He distorted a photo to make her look fat, and posted a number of comments to make her appear to be a racist slut. When, of course, she found out, she told her parents, who complained to school officials, who suspended him for a couple of days, while his parents grounded him for a week.

The page, however, stayed up until FB yanked it after the girl’s parents contacted the company. Okay, this is your standard “cyberbullying” situation. And the girl’s parents didn’t contact the little troll’s parents because the school officials refused to divulge anybody’s identity on confidentiality grounds.

In any case, Facebook yanked it when they were informed, so end of story, right? Well, since you’re reading about it here, you already know the answer. Snowflake’s parents lawyered up, got the names of the troll’s parents, and sued.

“Given that the false and offensive statements remained on display, and continued to reach readers, for an additional eleven months, we conclude that a jury could find that the [parents’] negligence proximately caused some part of the injury [the girl] sustained from [the boy’s] actions (and inactions),” wrote Judge John J. Ellington in the opinion, which was handed down Oct. 10. He was joined by two other judges on the panel.

Okay, now let’s look at that: undeniably, the kid’s a troll, but here’s a question for the tech geniuses out there in our judicial system: how do his parents force him to give up the password associated with that Facebook account? Is waterboarding him okay?

And if the parents cannot obtain the appropriate password and other login information, is it reasonable to hold them liable for the existence of the page? Bearing in mind that the judicial system couldn’t even arrest the kid, are they themselves not at least as culpable as the parents of the troll?

And here’s the real kicker: studies have shown that many, if not most, girls eventually engage in “sexting” for at least some period of time. Should her parents then be held accountable for production of child porn?

If judges lack the technical understanding to make reasonable rulings, then they really need to recuse themselves from such cases.
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A scandal a day…

Gosh, last week, the story on the First Squeeze was that she’d been using her orifice in Salem and her connection to gov. Retread as First Squeeze and Energy Advisor to wangle contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars from Big Green. Amost as an afterthought, it was noted in the Willamette Week report that she’d been married three times – something that she’d been keeping from her boyfriend.

Two days later, it emerged that she’d been paid $5 grand to illegally marry an Ethiopian kid so that he could obtain a Green card. And then, following her “tearful press conference” about that, KOIN breaks yet another story, two days later, that Cylvia bought land with yet another boyfriend for an illegal pot plantation in Washington. She tried to explain that away as well, but as the property owner pointed out, “she got herself caught” as he described finding their shake-rack, fertilizers, and irrigation lines after foreclosing on the happy couple.

That takes us through last weekend, and then Willamette Week and KATU come out with the story yesterday about Retread’s staff rewriting ethical guidelines specifically to accommodate the First Squeeze:

Gov. John Kitzhaber’s then-chief of staff and top lawyer last year tried to stop First Lady Cylvia Hayes from running her private consulting business out the governor’s mansion and from continuing to use her title for paid speaking engagements, records recently released to WW show.

Hayes would not abide by those restrictions and Kitzhaber’s staff backed down, records show, rewriting ethical guidelines so Hayes could continue to use Mahonia Hall and the first lady title for her personal business.

Hayes would not abide by those restrictions? Really? And so Retread just caves and has the staff write new guidelines that are acceptable to the First Squeeze? Really? This grifter’s got some amazing chutzpah! And it works!

Well, today’s Wednesday, so it’s time for the next installment:

The company’s owner, Tom Hix, needed help in a hurry. If the state went through with its foreclosure, that could jeopardize his efforts to keep his golf course afloat.

So Hix turned to his former business consultant who was in a position to help bail him out: First Lady Cylvia Hayes.

Emails released to WW under the state’s public records law show Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office went to extraordinary lengths to intervene in the Hix case and to delay a scheduled foreclosure sale of Hayes’ former client’s property.

So in November 2011, well into Retread’s third term in orifice, Sweet Cylvia’s pulling strings in the state’s Executive branch to run unprecedented interference for her old client:

The state loan came from the Oregon Department of Energy, and officials there tell WWthey cannot remember another example of Kitzhaber’s office getting so deeply involved in the case of a troubled loan.

What’s truly interesting here is that none of these organizations doing the legwork – Willamette Week, KOIN, KATU – have any ties to the scurrilous Koch brothers; they’re all Left-tilting. And where is The Oregonian in all of this? Why, nowhere – they’re just doing stories on the stories that the others have already run.

I can hardly wait to see what this Friday-night document-dump’s going to yield. No wonder she gives “tearful press conferences”, claiming in essence that she’s “just a girl”; the way things are going, she stands to lose her meal-ticket.
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“Sweeping” Port of Astoria

What, did somebody get a deal on push-brooms? There’s a move afoot to remove Port of Astoria commissioners from the vagaries of elected office and move them instead into the arena of Democrat political cronyism. Oh, and just to be sure that it’s all “inclusive” and everything, they’d like to rename it to Port of Clatsop County.

It’d be really spiffy to follow the Port of Portland model, where commissioners are recommended by local mayors and appointed by the governor. I mean, hey – it’s worked so well here (at least for members of the Friends of Neil Goldschmidt club). What could possibly go wrong?

The commission was appointed until the late 1980s, and there’s a reason why that’s not the case today. Back to the future!

Posted in Current Affairs, Economy, Government | Tagged | 6 Comments