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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 6, 2007 5:02 AM. The previous post in this blog was A small business "bill of rights"? In Portland?. The next post in this blog is Coming soon to SoWhat. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, December 6, 2007

This, that, and the other

Here's some follow-up on three stories we have been pursuing since yesterday:

1. Last evening's post about the Huckabee-Chuck Norris video prompted an exchange in the comments about the IRS. I won't defend that agency too vociferously, but when it comes to screwing up the nation's tax system, the IRS is nowhere near the top of the list of mischief makers. The biggest a*sclowns in the picture are our members of Congress, from both parties, who make a worse and worse hash out of the tax law every time they touch it. It really is a national disgrace. The latest episode -- one of their more outrageously bad performances -- is chronicled here. And don't go pointing fingers at other parts of the country. Both our senators are on the Finance Committee, and Earl the Pearl is on Ways and Means.

2. The nuke people were out in force in our comments yesterday, touting the wonders of "green" nuclear power, and continuing the industry's longstanding diversion campaign about the huge environmental and national security problems presented by nuclear waste. It wasn't until everyone else had gone to bed that I noticed this story about the latest on licensing new nuke power plants in the United States. It seems that rather than let the industry make it all up as construction goes along -- the way it's always been done -- nowadays the feds want just a handful of uniform prototype plant designs that they can bless or reject completely in advance. And the nuclear engineers don't seem capable of getting that done.

3. Finally, some inside information regarding our post from yesterday on the chichi (or is it foufou?) design competition for new "courtyard" housing projects in Portland. Although the vote tally from the online public competition is not being disclosed until it's final, our sources in the Planning Bureau tell us that one design is leading the race by a wide margin. They're looking into whether the design company is stuffing the internet ballot box or not. In any event, I can see why that one would be favored by the folks at City Hall: It epitomizes their vision of a well planned city.

Comments (16)

No one likes the IRS, but the idea that we can have a national tax system of any kind BUT NO ONE TO ENFORCE IT is really pretty ridiculous.

Of course, if the current income tax was really "voluntary" as some assert, we really wouldn't need the IRS :)

There is only one option for nuclear power in this country (unless and until the horrendous toxicity issues are satisfactorily resolved) and this 20-second video shows what that option is:

What I find funny about the AMT discussion is that you can go back several years and the description of the problem is always the same: The AMT wasn't indexed for inflation.

So, how hard would it be to just index it for inflation??? Duh, if that is the problem then fix the problem. Instead they have been arguing for years about all kinds of other issues. So that leads you to believe that the inflation index isn't really the issue.

Really the whole AMT should just be eliminated. It was a silly idea when passed and it is even sillier today. There is no reason to set up a parrallel tax system just because the first tax system has some loopholes in it. Just fix the first system and avoid the whole mess of dual systems.

On the IRS: What happened to the good work done by Sen Packwood to improve the IRS code? Willy Week trashed Packwood (wrongly in my view) but he did get laws thru Congress back in I think 1986. I think Congress has probably undone much of that simplification in 1986.

simplification in 1986

Seems to me that most of what was done to the Internal Revenue Code in 1986 is still there (with some embellishments. Enough said.

Nuclear power does undeniably present catastrophic risk while offering enormous benefits in terms of clean air versus coal, increasing electric energy supplies so as to make cleaner transportation vehicles more viable, and also providing a degree of energy independence. So, it comes down to the aggregrate preferences of U.S citzenry. Some of us weigh the radiation risks as unpalatable regardless of benefit while others like myself think the benefits will exceed the risks by large margin. So, there's no way of proving Jack wrong (the future risk is not totally known). We take some risks everyday while avoiding some risks everyday. There's a large degree of personal preference in these risk decisions.

risk decisions

The problem with weighing the risk involved in nuclear energy is that the odds may be really good, but the stakes are just too high.

So, if we legislatively cap the private exposure to half a Billion Dollars then the private gain from such a cap is immeasurable?

I am all in favor of internalizing negative externalities . . . it is the capitalist way. It is essential to a properly functioning pricing system . . . even in a capital L Libertarian world for corporate entities that can just dissolve on a dime.

On the Expo Montreal box housing by architect Safdie: I found the spaces outside and in fascinating to experience. But it makes sense that Portland planners might be thinking it "epitomizes their vision". When built it was many times over budget, had and has maintenance problems and leaks, and for the cold Montreal winters the wind tunnels and extensive outside perimeter area contributes for poor "green", energy conservation. But what the heck, it was a "lynch pin" for Montreal.

The stuff that I am hearing is that the some of the new cycle of designs are impossible to have a major accident.

Also remember Chrynoble (sp) was a design that was so unsafe it was not allowed in the USA (after the war).
* It had no containment shell.
* It was graphite moderated which had already shown its dangers in a British accident years earlier.
* The actual meltdown only occurred after safety systems were over-ridden.

I suspect that the Nuke industry is a major supporter of the global warming treaties as was Enron (Enron sold gas which emits less CO2 than coal, so it was merely a move against the competition using the force of government.)


What about the advances in nuclear energy design happening in our own backyard. OSU has tested a new "passively-safe" reactor design that is getting much acclaim. According to their press release:

"Passively-safe reactor designs use natural forces such as gravity or convection to replace multiple pumps, pipes and valves. To be certified, testing and analyses must show that a passively-safe plant can cool itself for three days under worst-case conditions without operator actions."

Don't you think we should at least look at new technologies before we dismiss them out of hand? The link to the PR is:

Also, reactors shouldn't heat the rivers and extinct the fish. In reactor factors: there's no such animal.

People who don't know replacement (of oil-generated) electricity from nuclear reactors is impossible, stupidly wish scientists some day magically make it possible, and faith-full science-blank folks fatally fantasize science is gonna save them, us, uh somebody, somehow. Ain't gonna happen. Physics impossibility means impossible. Politics ain't got no say in it.

People who can't do the math also stupidly say nobody else can do the math, either, and say Earth climate industrial-caused alteration is impossible. Who can't figure it out better listen to those who can.

And here's how it figures out: If you want electricity in your future home, you'll have to get it the old-fashioned way -- do it yourself. Or, sit in your darkness, cursing.

HERE: open brain. insert facts. repeat daily.


Those shoeboxes in Montreal are selling for around $1 million apiece, not bad for a 50-year-old condo made out of poured concrete.

We're running out of land for housing in Portland and even if we don't want any more people, there's a state law that says we have to have an adequate supply of housing projected out over the next 20 years. (Republicans, mainly, passed this law).

So it seems we have to go up. Yet we don't have to build the same kind of dreadful condos we have in the Pearl and now are popping up everywhere. For one thing, no one with kids would want to live in them. But something like a manmade hillside, where you have a big yard that also happens to be the green roof of the neighbor's house, should be something that could work if some creative minds went at it.

we have to have an adequate supply of housing projected out over the next 20 years

Inside the city limits of Portland, population has been growing at a rate of just over 1 percent a year, for quite some time now.

We don't need this crap.

I'm with Jack on this one - we don't need this crap. Moreover, of the population increase in CoPo, it is mostly comprised of retirees and the twenty-something "creative class". Families are quite reasonably going elsewhere.

on the AMT issue
Let's see, the government is already spending in the red. So we should cut off a major source of income on one side of the balance sheet without (a) an off-setting increase of income from another source on that side of the sheet, OR (b) an off-setting reduction in spending on the other side. I'm still baffled that it is those that call themselves Republicans are the ones promoting this policy! The Dems almost look sane! :-\

on nuclear power plants
Using a very select number of approved "cookie cutter" plans to ensure nuclear plant safety and maintain cost efficiency -- how could that ever work in America?

Oh yeah, it has and does: the United States Nuclear Navy. I think that most people don't realize (or just forget) that at any given time there are up to 150 operating nuclear power plants in the coastal harbors of America (and even some of it's allies), some in highly populated areas. They are all highly fail-safe designs that operate in all kinds of weather and sea conditions. Newer designs can even operate indefinitely without pumps, using convection to flow cooling water through the reactor core.

The only real problem with nuclear power (in my mind at least) is where to put the waste product. The political football "NIMBY" is the problem that needs to be solved.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
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Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
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Conundrum, White 2013
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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