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Jack Bog's Blog, by Jack Bogdanski of Portland, Oregon

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December 2010 Archives

Friday, December 31, 2010

Have a great holiday weekend

Bottoms up

They love this Portland barkeep all the way back to the Big Apple.

Leave it to Stanford

They just dethroned a dynasty.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

One for the books

Stories about school principals who lack judgment are commonplace. But why do so many of them take jerkdom to new levels?

I wonder what they'll think of Portland

We'll find out soon enough.

It's about dang time

Our spies out in the hinterlands tell us that the second of the area's new centralized bottle return facilities is about to open in Oregon City on Monday. The first one apparently is already up and running in Wood Village. One reader reports:

They had a kiosk at the OC Fred Meyer yesterday. Very cool. They'll take up to 200 bottles per day. You can put them in the machine yourself and get your cash money right then, or you can drop them off, they'll count 'em, and credit a debit-type card which can be used at any local grocery store. I'm sure the David Wilsons of the world will quickly figure out a way to game the system (and God help them if they ever open one of these in Portland proper), but I'll be using it until it's not worth it to me any more.

I'll report my findings when I drop off my first batch of bottles in a few weeks.

The day that we Portland consumers can get our deposit money back without enduring the current nightmare of grocery store parking lot bottle return contraptions will be a happy day, indeed. Maybe the Port of Portland could get one sited out by the airport.

Two's a crowd

The folks who are challenging "urban renewal" in Clackamas County are a hardy group, but they may fall into a trap. While they present their proposed ballot measure on "urban renewal" to the public, another petition drive has been mounted a challenge to the $5-a-year vehicle registration fee that Clackamas County has adopted to help Multnomah County rebuild the Sellwood Bridge in Portland.

There will be a lot of overlap between the voters supporting the two proposed measures. And that's where the trap comes in -- the irresistible tendency to lump the two initiatives together.

Putting the two issues side by side on petition tables -- and eventually, many hope, on the ballot -- would be an interesting tactical choice. "If you're mad enough to sign this one, how about that one, too?" In the end, however, the coupling could fatally wound the "urban renewal" measure, which is by far the more important of the pair.

Sure, the $5 fee is easy for the average Joe and Jane to understand, and it will surely gather support from the anti-Portland sentiment that's been stirred up out in the sticks. But the proposed blocking of the vehicle fee is already being crucified in the mainstream media -- "just pennies a day," "shared sacrifice," "70% of the vehicles are from Clackamas County," "a disaster waiting to happen," "people will die," "greenhouse gases," "for the children," "just another mean, libertarian anti-tax measure," yada yada -- and the measure comes across as angry and cheap. We haven't heard the "S" word yet (Sizemore), but you can bet that one will be slung around in due course.

The loud debate on the bridge funding question is likely to drown out most of the discussion of the "urban renewal" issue, which is quite a bit more subtle and could benefit greatly from a quiet, sober conversation. It would be a shame if the "urban renewal" measure got tarred with the same brush as the $5 fee measure, and if both were to fail, it would be a natural assumption that a backlash against the latter hurt the former.

But anyway, good luck to all those who are braving winter cold and year-end distractions to try to stop the Blumenauering of Clackamas County. Holding off the smug weirdness of the Portland theme park at the county line seems like an eminently wise idea.

This modern world

[I]f you're in a photo on a social network with people making gang signs and wearing some rather common colors that are also associated with a gang, you can be convicted of criminal gang activities.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Those were the days

The other day we bemoaned the fact that pro football had become too wimpy. As a reader points out, it's much that way with lawyering as well. He attaches Exhibit A.

Kroger passes on Cylviagate

The fearless crime-busting A.G. once again declines to press charges of official corruption, although it appears that four state employees have now been suspended over something they did with Gov. Retread's girlfriend. Nothing to see here, folks; go on about your business.

Wise men bearing gifts

The holidays bring out the creativity in our friends. At the occasional poker game last night, two of our buddies brought along most delicious trays of lasagna -- one with a message, no less:

Meanwhile, another pal left us this under the Christmas tree:

Unlike the arguments for Milwaukie MAX, it actually holds water!

Say farewell to many of these 'dogs

The last week of pro football's regular season is upon us, and so it's the last chance that the players in our charity underdog pool will have to choose from among some of the NFL's weaker teams for an underdog that will win its game outright. A lot of the chronic underdogs will be going home for the year after Sunday's games.

In our contest, we play through the playoffs, but as the post-season proceeds, the choices are fewer and the rewards are smaller. Our latest standings are here.

And here are the first lines for this Sunday's games:

14.5 CAROLINA at Atlanta
9.5 CINCINNATI at Baltimore
9.5 TENNESSEE at Indianapolis
8 TAMPA BAY at New Orleans
6.5 ARIZONA at San Francisco
6 CLEVELAND vs. Pittsburgh
4 OAKLAND at Kansas City
4 WASHINGTON vs. New York Giants
3 MIAMI at New England
3 DENVER vs. San Diego
2.5 HOUSTON vs. Jacksonville
1 SEATTLE vs. St. Louis

Four other games do not have odds posted yet, but our oddsmaker will keep checking through tomorrow night, and those games will be added to our slate if they're available by then.

This might be as good a time as any to recap what's at stake in our game: The top players after Week 20 will get to designate which charities receive the various portions of our entry pool. The prizes will be awarded to charities designated by our top five finishers, as follows:

First prize - $500 to player's favorite charity
Second prize - $165 to player's favorite charity
Third prize - $100 to player's favorite charity
Fourth prize - $75 to player's favorite charity
Fifth prize - $50 to player's favorite charity

Good luck in Week 17, players!

UPDATE, 2:16 p.m.: A few additional lines have appeared:

10 CHICAGO at Green Bay
3 MINNESOTA at Detroit
1 BUFFALO at New York Jets

UPDATE, 12/31, 3:07 p.m.: The Eagles-Cowboys game is off the board this week.

Jim-Jim Chasse died in vain

The Portland police haven't learned a thing. They just keep using deadly force on mentally ill people. Here's number 6 for the year -- and the second in less than two weeks.

No word on whether the deranged guy is going to survive. The police shot him less than a minute after they made contact with him.

I thought Amanda and the boys were going to stop the city from prescribing a death penalty for mental illness. That most definitely ain't happening.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Minnesota miracle

Well, lo and behold, despite the blizzard delay (or perhaps because of it), the Vikings beat the Eagles in pro football this evening, sending four of the players in our charity pool from the lower middle to the true middle of the pack in the standings. Way to go! Here is how things stand, with the lines for the last week of the regular season due out in the morning:

Continue reading "Minnesota miracle" »

No 'dogs today

The betting lines for this coming weekend's pro football games are being delayed until tonight's Wuss Bowl (in which at least four people we know are praying for a Minnesota miracle) is over. As best we can tell, all the pro games are on Sunday this weekend, and so there will still be time for the players in our charity underdog game to mull things over.

They get you coming and going

We met up with a fellow blogger last night at this joint. Nice guy, interesting venue, but we had to plop $2 into a parking meter for the privilege of being down there. Of course, we could have taken the bus, which would have cost even more, or we could have bicycled through the monsoon and paid the doctors or the undertaker.

The day is getting closer when the City of Portland will just put a turnstile on the doors of everyone's homes. No going anywhere without being shaken down by City Hall.

Portlandia: It's Gragg-alicious

Everything's fine.


Bill Wyatt and Nick Fish said so. Wim Wiewel and Sustainable Susan, too.

[A] 2011 forecast from the Urban Land Institute predicts that in an "era of less," smart money will flood dense urban neighborhoods. If that’s true, Portland — which built exactly those places during the sprawl-crazed ’90s and ’00s — could be in luck.

And that may apply to business as well. The new Pearl District office building MachineWorks looked DOA when it debuted in February 2009. Now it’s full, with tenants like Microsoft and McCormick & Schmick’s. In general, the city center now attracts businesses that suburban campuses once monopolized — from tech’s zippy Jive Software to under-the-radar testing company Northwest Evaluation Associates, which moved 450 employees to Old Town from Lake O in December.

Like the kids say, it's all good.

"Condos needed to save Lake Oswego"

The folks pushing further condo-ization of Lake Oswego (with streetcar, of course) have an interesting sales line: Without more high-density development, the city won't have enough property tax revenue to fund the existing level of essential services.

It's Linchpin City all over again.

And so handing out huge chunks of public dollars to developer weasels and the streetcar construction mafia are going to save it? Good luck with that. [Via COLA LO.]

Portland State alum gets fishy-looking poll

An alert reader writes:

I'm a PSU grad and received this invitation for a "research survey" from the alumni office. It seemed like a legitimate survey from the email (on second thought, are any email surveys legitimate?), but clicking through makes it pretty blatant as an electronic "push poll." You will really enjoy the OHSU "adequate state funding" drivel towards the end of the question deck. Last question: "Would you be willing to volunteer for state advocacy...?" Research, indeed.
Sure enough, here is some of the content, written by p.r. firm Davis Hibbits & Midghall, "an independent and non-partisan opinion research firm specializing in education research":

For those of you just joining us, this is part of the snake oil pitch that the state universities are making to the legislature: "Borrow $800 million, hand it over to us for nothing, and then give us autonomy while you figure out a way to pay it back." Given that the state is deeply in the tank, it's a pitch only a real sucker would go for. But hey, real estate is slow these days, and that's what Portland State is mostly about any more. So we suppose the administrators have time on their hands to go along with a fat p.r. budget for this sort of thing.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Any Portlander could have told you that

[T]he study found that employees from the public sector were more likely to use forceful influence tactics, regardless of their emotional intelligence level. In the private sector, however, employees with a higher level of emotional intelligence were less likely to use such tactics.

The study also revealed that in the private sector, emotional intelligence contributes to forming desirable attitudes towards the organization, such as organizational justice, satisfaction at work and emotional commitment to the organization. High levels of emotional intelligence also reduce negative attitudes, such as burnout, intentions to leave and the tendency to neglect work. The impact of emotional intelligence in the public sector, on the other hand, was not as strong.

Gee, d'ya think?

P.S. I love you

Quotation of the Week

I am proud to be part of a city that thoughtfully thinks and debates important issues like this one.

To our East Coast readers

We hope you are warm and safe and enjoying an extended holiday.

More good news from the tax sellout

Your refund will be delayed a month.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Big daddies go all girly man

What a nation of wimps we've become. Now they postpone pro football games because of snow. The four players in our underdog game who took Minnesota over Philadelphia tonight had a shot when the east coast blizzard started, but once the league went pansy and put the game off until Tuesday night, the Vikings seem doomed.

Anyway, several players near the top of our pack, including the leader in the standings, scored some nice points today, with important movement in the upper middle of the ranks as well. With one week left in the regular season and three weeks of the playoffs, the race for bragging rights and charity heroism (top five players steer charity donations) is staying hot. Here are our standings, with four players from the lower middle still in limbo until the Sissy Bowl on Tuesday:

Continue reading "Big daddies go all girly man" »

Buck-a-Hit checks are in the mail

The Bojack gift-giving crew has been working late getting all the donations from Buck-a-Hit Day out to the applicable charities. Here are the final numbers for this year's event, although a few donors have sent some extra dollars these organizations' way after we closed our official tally:

Oregon Food Bank$3,905
Sisters of the Road1,126
Children's Heart Foundation851
Human Solutions470
Virginia Garcia Clinic1,102
Ronald McDonald House1,296
Indigo Rescue250

A great day for some great causes. Thanks again to everyone who showed up and chipped in.

An adult voice is heard

Oregon's Democratic senator, Jeff Merkley, is pushing hard for filibuster reform. As well he should -- the way the Senate dysfunctions these days is an absolute disgrace to the republic.

The sad part is, he'll succeed in getting the rules changed around two years from now -- right as the Republicans get over the 50-vote mark. Then the wimps and traitors in the blue ranks can whine, "Sorry, we can't block anything!"

Two turtle 'dogs

Here are our players' picks for today's games in our charity pro football underdog pool:

14.5 MINNESOTA at Philadelphia - Paul, Drewbob, Annie, PJB
7.5 BUFFALO vs. New England - Sattelihu
7 WASHINGTON at Jacksonville - Matt, Ricardo, Larry Legend, john dull, Gary
7 CINCINNATI vs. San Diego - Flowers by Dorcas, Flowers by Dorcas Husband
6 SEATTLE at Tampa Bay - Michael K., Andy
5 TENNESSEE at Kansas City - Gordon, Broadway Joe, Doug
3.5 DETROIT at Miami - Jim
3 DENVER vs. Houston - Nick
3 NEW YORK GIANTS at Green Bay - Bad Brad

Previous picks for the week were posted here and here.

Good luck and enjoy today's games, folks!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yule love this 'dog

In our charity pro football underdog pool:

6.5 ARIZONA vs. Dallas (Saturday, 4:30 PM PST) - AKevin, Hank, pdxmick

At halftime, these players are looking good.

The deadline for picks of tomorrow's games is 11:59 tonight.

Merry Christmas

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was obviously pregnant by this time. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior -- yes, the Messiah, the Lord -- has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!" Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others -- the armies of heaven -- praising God: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors." When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Come on, let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a great holiday weekend

You can't kill Kenny

A classic Christmas tale.

No stamp required

Here's a way to give a minute of your time to the spirit of the day.

If you need a break from Bing Crosby...

... here's a free acoustic set from one of the best.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

If called by a Panther, don't anther

Only one player in our charity pro football underdog pool selected tonight's game, and he or she was disappointed:

14 CAROLINA at Pittsburgh (Thursday, 5:20 PM PST) - Biggest Cubs Loser

Those going with Arizona over Dallas, don't forget that it's going to be a Saturday game. The deadline for that pick is kickoff time -- 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Heavenly peace

Enthusiasm uncurbed

At least somebody likes the tax sellout.

Where the treetops glisten

Cousin Jerry sends his annual card from Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania:

Piling on

We've got the last of this week's pro football underdogs set up: The Giants are worth 3 at Green Bay, and the Vikings are worth 14.5 at Philadelphia. That leaves the slate for the week in our charity underdog game as follows:

Continue reading "Piling on" »

No sense waiting until the last minute

I think I'll go out and do a little Christmas shopping today.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Portland Beavers to get new $50 million stadium

Their new owners have been whispering sweet linchpins in the ears of the politicians down in Escondido, California, and it appears they will be getting their way.

As it says over the MAX platforms on the east side, "Better you than me."

The new stadium won't be ready for a couple of years, however, and in the interim the team will be playing in Tucson, Arizona. When the Paulsons throw you away, it's hell.

Why Washington's growing faster than Oregon

Could it be the lack of a personal income tax? The nationwide numbers suggest so.

Don we now our Kevlar apparel

Terrorist attack, father-son death sentence, bullets flying (or pellets at least) -- I hope Santa's packing heat when he gets to Oregon.

A special holiday salute

Junior's caught that Christmas spirit.

Here come da (nother new) judge

Here's the candidate for whom the fix was in for Multnomah County judge.

The police state will not be televised

And don't you dare try.

Meanwhile, they just climb further and further up in your business.

But don't worry -- the politicians and the courts are watching out for your rights. The rights of the individual still come first in this country. Honest.

Sellout after sellout

With friends like the "Democrats" in the United States Senate and the White House, the earth, like the middle class, doesn't need enemies.

Then there's the end of the internet as we know it -- handed over on a silver platter to the corporate goons. Sorry, Mr. President, but you have now entered Epic Fail territory.

I think that I shall never see...

... a bureaucracy as bloated, arrogant, and myopic as the one that will surely result as the City of Portland gets ready to implement a new raft of regulations about the tree:

* Generating more than 100 acres of future tree canopy per year through improved tree preservation and planting requirements.

The Citywide Tree Project proposal includes estimated costs and a budget to fund administration and enforcement of the updated regulations and the customer service improvements. A phased implementation strategy is proposed to provide time for public outreach, development of the tree manual and other informational materials. Project implementation is also tied to City budget stabilization, but the majority of the ongoing implementation costs can be supported through modest development fee increases.

Can't wait.

Wrong again

These guys screw things up at every turn. The latest outrage comes on the heels of their recent instant classic, "You can use a condom, but only if you're a male prostitute." God help them.

Oregon population growth slows to 1.14% per year

The new federal census data shows that Oregon's population grew at the annual rate of 1.14% over the last 10 years. In the previous decade (the 1990s), the growth rate was 1.87% per year. The decade before that (the 1980s), the annual growth rate was a mere 0.77%. In the 1970's, it was 2.33%. Over the last 40 years, the rate was 1.52%.

For 2010, the federal census showed 3,831,074 Oregonians, and we believe that's as of April 1. The Portland State University population experts put the number at 3,844,195 as of July 1 -- or 13,121 more than the feds. Adjusting for a quarter's growth, the two estimates are only about 2,000 people apart.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome to our cyber-office Christmas party

Great news, people -- Kulongoski just pardoned the whole party!

Getting a 'dog for Christmas

Here are the initial lines for the week in our charity pro football underdog pool:

14 CAROLINA at Pittsburgh (Thursday, 5:20 PM PST)
7.5 BUFFALO vs. New England
7 WASHINGTON at Jacksonville
7 CINCINNATI vs. San Diego
6.5 ARIZONA vs. Dallas (Saturday, 4:30 PM PST)
6 SEATTLE at Tampa Bay
5 TENNESSEE at Kansas City
3.5 DETROIT at Miami
3 CLEVELAND vs. Baltimore
3 OAKLAND vs. Indianapolis
3 DENVER vs. Houston
2.5 NEW ORLEANS at Atlanta
2 SAN FRANCISCO at St. Louis
1 NEW YORK JETS at Chicago

Minnesota/Philadelphia and Giants/Green Bay line are not yet available, but they are still possibilities, if the oddsmakers post them by Thursday evening.

Picks for the early games are due by kickoff. Picks for Sunday are due by 11:59 p.m. Saturday (Christmas) night. Good luck, hound selectors.

The joys of privatization

Here's a government contract gone bad up in the 'Couv.

Developers getting into position to steal school land for condos

The developers who have looted the City of Portland for everything she's worth are now setting their sights on the city's school district. They're pushing hard for that half-billion-dollar property tax increase for schools, slated to go on the ballot in the spring, because it no doubt means a lot of money that will wind up back in their pockets. Hoffman Construction, Mark Edlen, and the boys are all lining up to put the school buildings in play. They probably figure they can get their hands on some juicy real estate once Super Carole gives the wrecking ball the go-ahead. Lincoln High School, School District headquarters, and no doubt other parcels are their condo bunker sites of tomorrow. And no doubt they'll be able to buy them for $1, get sweet property tax abatements, and take a load of dough to the bank.

Some of the jockeying is overt -- like giving money to the bond election campaign. But then there's underhanded garbage like this. "Homer Williams, he's all about solving society's persistent problems." Yeah, right.

Cyber-office Christmas Party this afternoon

We're busy this morning decking the halls for our cyber-office Christmas party this afternoon. It's supposed to start at 4, but these things have been known to get going earlier than that. Come on by for some Yule cheer later today. Bring your best party attitude!

Game report: Blazers 106, Bucks 80

A good friend of ours invited us to join him for last night's Blazer game, and we were pleased to be on hand at the Rose Garden for what proved to be a major blowout of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Blazers were without several of their main guys, and the Bucks were, too. The banged-up Blazers led the banged-up Bucks from start to finish, and it's a wonder that there are still pro hoops fans paying for tickets in Wisconsin. The Bucks were that bad.

Now that Brandon Roy's career is on the serious downswing, the Portland squad is letting veteran point guard Andre Miller run with the young guys, and it's refreshing to watch as long as they keep pushing the pull upcourt and driving for the hoop. Wesley Matthews knows where the basket is and intends to go there, Rudy Fernandez is actually a pretty good passer, and everybody on the team is looking to throw the alley-oop pass to LaMarcus Aldridge, who's now carrying the team on his back. Tonight he had a career high in rebounds, and he poured in lots of points as well. Scrub Sean Marks is probably asking himself what in the world has happened, as he just played 24 minutes and scored 6 points in an actual NBA game.

It was legitimate sellout crowd, with the Portland faithful decked out for the holidays and enjoying the evisceration of the Milwaukee squad. The timeout and halftime programs were horrible, as were the Blazer Dancers, but it didn't seem to matter. Some of the crowd was there for the basketball, and the rest can't seem to tell the difference between professional entertainment and cheap schlock.

We came away from the game with one overarching concern. Having destroyed Brandon Roy's career by overplaying him, the Blazers seem determined now to do the same thing with LaMarcus. When they were up by 20 points with five minutes to go, for crying out loud, it was time to sit the big guy down.

But no, Sarge McMillan leaves him in for garbage time. I'm sure there was a reason, but whatever it was, it wasn't a good one. People are talking about major player trades in Portland right now, but until the Blazers get some new coaches, it really isn't worth the effort.

As always, a lame cell phone photo rounds out this report. Here's Aldridge taking it to 'em while he's still young and able to walk:

Thanks to our buddy for the ticket and a lovely evening.

Finally, a question: The referees each had some sort of transmitter on his or her belt. None of them were miked -- what are the electronics about?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wild night is calling

A full lunar eclipse on the solstice? Already we're feeling a little hairy. Be safe out there.

The dream of the '90s is alive, cont'd

I wish it were a joke. But it isn't, apparently: Portland's street toilets now have their own Twitter page.

Forgive me, but...

... this stuff is just ugly.

Dwight moves over

My friend Dwight Jaynes has moved his blog from his own stand-alone site to the web pages of his new main employer, Comcast Sportsnet Northwest. It's been a long, slow morph for the Godfather, from publisher of the Trib, through freelance blogger, through ungodly-hour morning radio guy, and now to TV. All the best to a true hall-of-famer.

In the back room with Jeff Cogen

Here's a shady-looking deal.

Cyber-office Christmas Party is tomorrow afternoon

This is a work week that's bound to peter out waaaaaaay ahead of schedule. So why not get in the spirit of things at our annual cyber-office Christmas party, which takes place on this blog tomorrow afternoon, evening, and night? Last year the shindig started up at 2:30 in the afternoon and went on past midnight, but this year we're determined to be a little more reserved. Things should kick off around 4 or a little before.

We'll have the usual makings of a good time -- food, beverages, music, and good company. And there are always a few surprises. We'll never forget the year Matt Davis drank the whiskey sauce for the bread pudding right out of the tureen. Or Sustainable Susan telling everybody that "every eco-roof is mistletoe in its own way." Good times. Chris Smith as Santa was a flop, though -- that beard was weak. And whatever you do, don't eat Rex Burkholder's brownies, and don't get on the elevator alone with you-know-who.

Anyway, we hope see you back here tomorrow afternoon. Come as you are -- dress is optional.

Portland water has never been better

It's just been certified by the DEQ as moth-free.

We have a winnah!

The balloting in our comment contest from Buck-a-Hit Day was close -- remarkably so -- and PJB's one-word pronouncement narrowly edged out some lengthier, and darker, verse from LucsAdvo. Graciously, however, PJB has ceded first place to Lucs, and so the latter is hereby declared the winner of the contest. If Lucs would be so kind to let us know who his or her designated charity will be -- it has to be an organization exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code -- we'll get the $250 check out along with the rest, which will go out in just a few days.

Meanwhile, on the contribution front, we picked up five bucks from a Sunday straggler, and one of our match sponsors has thrown in some additional dollars to Ronald McDonald House to bring us to an even $9,000 for the day. Quite a haul, and we're most grateful.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A man's best friend

Several underdogs come through for our charity football pool players today: the Jets, the Bills, the Lions, and a spectacular win by the Eagles. That moves Andy up to just a point behind our leader, Gary, and things tighten up quite a bit right after that in our standings as well. It appears that bragging rights and charity heroism will go right down to the wire in the five weeks left.

Here are the findings as the big daddies of the NFL wrap up our weekend:

Continue reading "A man's best friend" »

A tale of two jails

Who gets worse treatment: the Christmas tree bomber or the Wikileaking Army private? My friend and colleague Tung Yin compares.

Not for humbugs

A friend sends along a cornball Christmas card.

Lies, lies, and more lies

Those dirty, no good streetcar weasels. Didn't ya know? The streetcar made the Pearl. Oh yeah, and it's a cash cow:

Portland's streetcar system attracts about 12,000 daily riders at an average ticket cost of $1.47. Its creators credit it with $3.5 billion in surrounding development, including shops, restaurants and 10,000 new housing units.
Too funny. Yeah, go for it, America! It's the linchpin.

"Dear Santa, Just bring my mom a winter coat"

It's tough out there. Let's be thankful for all that we have.

What if federal law required you to buy a gun?

The red crowd sure has a way with words.

Soak the rich?

Measure 66 seems to have merely splashed them.

Solstice 'dogs

The days are short, the nights are long, and our charity pro football underdog pool rolls into the crucial closing weeks of the regular season. Here are our players' choices for Week 15:

6.5 NEW YORK JETS at Pittsburgh - Annie, john dull, Larry Legend
6.5 DENVER at Oakland - Gary, Michael K.
6 DETROIT at Tampa Bay - Drewbob, Andy
6 SEATTLE vs. Atlanta - AKevin, Jim, Hank, Paul, genop's gal
5.5 BUFFALO at Miami - Gordon, pdxmick, Flowers by Dorcas Husband
5.5 WASHINGTON at Dallas - Umpire, Ricardo, genop
5 JACKSONVILLE at Indianapolis - Doug, Broadway Joe, Biggest Cubs Loser, Sattelihu, Eric
2.5 ARIZONA at Carolina - Nick
2.5 PHILADELPHIA at New York Giants - Conrad
1.5 HOUSTON at Tennessee - PJB

Already out for the week:

9 SAN FRANCISCO at San Diego (Thursday night) - Flowers by Dorcas, Matt, Anthony

Good luck to the players, and enjoy the games, everybody!

Portland cops kill another guy

The dead man, who lived along the MAX line at East 122nd, had a real-looking fake gun, and a caller said he was threatening the caller with it. The suspect reportedly pointed the air pistol at the police who responded to the emergency calls. If indeed he did that, it was the last thing he ever did.

It took a while for the official version of the story to include the fact that he pointed the gun at the police. Early reports said merely that the police had heard that he was armed, and that the handgun was recovered from his apartment.

The police fired at least 16 shots, according to a witness.

The deceased fellow had some serious problems. But don't most of the people that the Portland police kill? If our count is correct, this is the fourth one this year.

Just sue it

Another reason not to buy Nike shoes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New hope for Portland

Maybe we could get Sam Adams to resign as mayor and join the Navy. He's big on taxpayer-funded travel...

Surprise! Another $275 for Buck-a-Hit Day

We discover this morning that a reader has come along and donated $250 to the Oregon Food Bank -- and a sponsor has added another $25 to his match pledge -- bringing our Buck-a-Hit Day charity total to $8,957. And so not only did we fill out our match challenge, but we also raised more money than we did last year. Fantastic!

We still have one item left on our to-do list: name the winner of our comment contest. That winner will get to steer $250 of our charity collections to a charity of his or her choice. The voting continues until noon tomorrow; you can check out the finalists and cast your vote here.

Laughingstock of America

And the laughter has just begun:

It's hysterically funny, unless you live here, in which case it's reality.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Have a great weekend

A small man

This fellow is reportedly up to his old tricks. What a prince.

"His name was Colin"

This looks pretty funny -- and true-to-life.

It ain't me, babe

Hard to know what to make of this:

The other day we got in the snail mail an invitation to join something called the 4M Club -- "private matchmaking for single millionaires." Only "five figures for a 'database' plan (existing bachelorettes) and six figures for our Triumph and Versailles plans." The club's president, Christine Stelmack, based in Seattle, wants to hear from me now, "if you're in the market for love!"

The Mrs. thought it was funny. Then we went over our Costco list.

Nah -- he never posts any more

Here's a suggestion that Facebook has been giving me, for a new friend:

Schwingin' with Sam

A reader says he sees symbolism in the banner of Portland Mayor Sam Adams's blog:

D'ya think?

Who left the best comment?

It's time to pick the winner of the comment contest from Buck-a-Hit Day yesterday. The winner gets to steer $250 of our charity donations to the nonprofit organization of his or her choice.

Here are our contestants, in chronological order:


Santa gets lots of cocoa and sweets.
So, last year we changed our menu.
Abacela syrah was among our treats,
so much so that he missed his next venue.

Before he indulges again this time--
and happens to forget your 'hood--
he wishes you now with this silly rhyme:
A Christmas especially good.

Texas Triffid Ranch

After RickN's poetry, my "I got a rock" comment is completely inadequate. Give him my vote, okay?



Bad Brad:

I remember when Christmas day started at 3 AM.

My brothers and I would awaken with anticipation for the very special day ahead. Four or five hours of whispering, wishing and wondering what was under the Christmas tree.

For us boys, that was the wonder of Christmas.

Now that I’m the “Santa,” Christmas still starts at 3 AM. My wife and I will put the special gifts under the tree, and we will whisper and wonder if their wishes come true.

We wish all of you a very special day as well, and hope you enjoy the wonder of Christmas!


I spent a year working on a project for one of OFB's regional food bank agencies and it is an awesome, awesome non-profit. To my knowledge, so are the others on the list.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Here is my poem; kudos to all the cat ladies and good citizens I know.

Feral Cat Christmas

It is warmest in the brush near the Cottonwood trees
where we huddle together;
the Tortishell, the Tiger, two kittens and me.

The cat ladies arrive on the levy before Dawn,
bearing gifts of Meow Mix, meat scraps and milk,
ignoring signs reading "Do not feed ferals";
risking wrath from the local gentry
and their ilk.

We share solace also with homeless campers;
seeking warmth, they undestand our plight;
They know whose birth we celebrate accepts the lowly and gives them light.


Before Rudolph, how did Santa deliver gifts on foggy nights? Just wondering


Have yourself a merry little holiday
Let your city be fair
From now on
Our problems will go nowhere

Have yourself a merry little holiday
Make the season straight
From now on
Our solutions will wait and wait

Here we are as in days gone by
Happy robber baron days so sly
Faithless pols who are ill to us
Have terms that never die

Through the elections
We will suffer all
If the developers allow
Have yourself a good stiff drink
And try real hard not to think about it all

Debbie Feller:

Hi and thank you for such a generous idea here today! Linda K. sent me over.
I just have a little Christmas story to share. Sorry, it doesn't go with your designated donation sights, but is for St. Jude's Children Hospital. In our little town, a little boy named Dax Locke was struggling with cancer. He didn't have long to live, and so his daddy decorated for Christmas in September, because Dax loved Christmas and the lights so much. The neighbors asked about it and then they too decorated and it spread to the whole town and even across the nation and around the world. People would send the Locke's pictures of their lights for Dax. Dax passed away at the end of December and now the Locke family, in memory of their son, are committed to raising $1.6 million for St. Jude, the cost for them to run for a day. A Christian music artist, Matthew West, has written a song titled, "One Last Christmas" and dedicated it to help the Locke's raise money for St. Jude's. You can find out more and hear the song at http://www.daxlockefoundation.com. Thanks so much for all you are doing to help others! God bless!

And now, for your vote!

Who left the best comment?
Texas Triffid Ranch
Bad Brad
Debbie Feller
pollcode.com free polls

We'll leave the balloting open until noon on Sunday, and announce the winner Monday morning.

Thanks to everyone who visited here yesterday, left a comment, or made a donation. You are greatly appreciated.

Buck-a-Hit Day finishes with $8,682 for worthy causes

It's been a wonderful day and a groovy evening, and our eighth annual Buck-a-Hit Day was a resounding success. We and our sponsors will be sending off $8,682 to our six designated charities over the next week. We've got a bunch of accounting to mess around with, but here is the approximate breakdown of our donations, with matches and all included:

Oregon Food Bank$3,655
Sisters of the Road$1,123
Children's Heart Foundation$851
Human Solutions$469
Virginia Garcia Clinic$1,102
Ronald McDonald House$1,232
Charity to be named by comment contest winner$250

Amazing. Thank you, one and all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Welcome to Buck-a-Hit Day

Thanks for coming to this blog on our eighth annual Buck-a-Hit Day. Just by visiting here today, you have caused the bojack.org Gift-Giving Team to give $1 to one of our six designated charities. We'll throw in a buck a hit for the first 1,200 unique visits (as measured by SiteMeter).

Now that you've shaken a dollar out of us, please don't leave just yet. Don't miss your chance to subvert some of the action to your own favorite charity. The writer of the best comment left attached to this post will get to designate where $250 of our kitty goes. Make us laugh, make us cry, tell us why you gave, make us think, whatever -- the criteria for "best" are wide open. Something having to do with the spirit of the season would be welcome. Even a link to an original photo of yours would be good. We'll pull out six or so contenders from the comments tonight, and hold a reader poll tomorrow to see which commenter gets to make the call.

Last but not least, here is your chance to help our charities. Please click on one or more of the six buttons below and give generously to the organization pictured. You'll go to a secure PayPal site, which will take your credit card info if you don't have a PayPal account. (We pay all PayPal fees; every dollar you give goes to charity.) Please enter the amount of your donation, and "Update Total." Then either log in to your PayPal account or click "Continue" above the credit card logos.

No donation is too small! Total reader contributions of up to $3,575 will be matched, dollar for dollar, by some special friends of this blog -- Mr. Fearless, Greg, Anne, Rick, and John -- and by us:

For more information about these excellent charities, you can check out their websites here:

Sisters of the Road Cafe
Children's Heart Foundation, Oregon Chapter
Human Solutions
Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center
Oregon Food Bank
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Washington

If you'd like a receipt (contributions are tax-deductible for you deduction-itemizers out there), just leave a note with your donation, or email me here. Be sure to include in the note your name and address, and the amount you've contributed.

If we get our 1,200 unique visits and fill out our match of $3,575, then we'll be raising $8,350 for good causes here today. Now, that would be awesome.

Regardless of whether you donate or comment, thank you for coming by today. If you are a newcomer to this blog, we hope that you will look around the site a bit (the archives are on the left sidebar, if you're interested), and come back again another day. And please don't hesitate to get out the word to others who may want to visit and give before this day is out. It's a tough time for a lot of people, and we need all the help we can get.

Night shift comes through for charity

We have met our match, folks -- we have exceeded the $3,575 match challenges with which we started our Buck-a-Hit Day fund drive this morning. We're now up to $3,882 from reader donation clicks, which when added to the matches, and our $1,200 for blog traffic, gets us to $8,657 for our worthy causes. Go, readers! And let's keep it going, with 56 minutes left in the day.

So close

We're just $53 in donations away from filling out the match pledges in our charity fund drive on this eighth annual Buck-a-Hit Day. There's about 100 minutes left in the day -- that works out to just 53 cents a minute. Can you spare a buck or two for any of our six worthy causes? If so, please go here.

That's my last 'dog up there on the board

Players in our charity pro football underdog pool, take note:

1 ST. LOUIS vs. Kansas City

Green Bay/New England and Chicago/Minnesota will not be in play this week.

Just $153 away

Faithful friends who are dear to us have gathered near to us and made some splendid charitable contributions through our Buck-a-Hit Day in the last hour. We're now just $153 away from filling out of match of $3,575. All told, our charitable tally for the day now sits at $8,044, with two and a half hours to go. We're rooting for the night shift to come through. And please don't forget to leave a comment for our comment contest -- best one names their own nonprofit charity to get $250.


We are just $573 away from filling out our match pledges in today's Buck-a-Hit Day. We're at $3,002 of reader contributions for the day, which is spectacular, but let's reach for the moon. Please go here, make a donation -- no amount is too small -- and leave a comment. If it's voted the best comment of the day, $250 of our charity pot will go to the nonprofit organization of your choice. Make a statement, people! It's what this here blogosphere is all about.

'Dog pool update

We've got three players in our charity pro football underdog game who are going with this evening's mutt:

9 SAN FRANCISCO at San Diego (Thursday 5:20 PM PST) - Flowers by Dorcas, Matt, Anthony


It's time to stop picking on Ron Wyden for a while. The guy's going under the knife Monday for prostate cancer. We wish him a successful surgery and a speedy and full recovery.

Buck-a-Hit Day hits $7,150 and counting

As we end the business day, readers continue to make excellent donations to Buck-a-Hit Day. We've got $2,975 in hand, which with matching pledges raises the day's reader total to $5,950. Throw in our $1,200 for traffic to the site, and we're at $7,150, with the evening hours still ahead of us.

Thank you, readers! Now let's keep it going through midnight. If you haven't contributed yet, there's no time like the present. Your $1 is our $2.

Spirit of Portland

A reader just did a wonderful thing -- he donated $200 to each of the six charities we're collecting for on Buck-a-Hit Day today. Matched by other readers, that's $2,400 in a single fell swoop. Awesome.

We've still got a ways to go on our match -- there's still $935 out there to match -- and so we urge others to join in. Our charity total for the day just made it to $6,480. Thanks to everyone who's visiting and contributing. And don't forget to leave a comment for our comment contest -- best one gets to divert $250 of the pot!

Pretzel logic at City Hall

This is silly. The City of Portland, which grinds local merchants into a fine powder before blowing them away, is preaching to its residents that they need to walk to the store.

Hey, geniuses: What store?

Can you spare five bucks for charity?

It's our annual charity fund drive, and we're off to a great start. Can you make it even better by donating to one of our six local charities? Just head on over to our traditional Buck-a-Hit Day post, click on a "Donate" button of your choice, and drop $5 (or whatever amount you like) into the bucket via PayPal. It will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous reader of this blog, and you'll feel good all afternoon. The Bogdanski family picks up the PayPal fee.

It's our only pledge drive of the year, and it only lasts one day. Think of it as membership dues in a great club.

Kissy wissy with Mayor Creepy

Trib reporter Jim Redden plays along with the ongoing farce at Portland City Hall. Borderlines christens the mayor a courageous hero.

Come on, Jim, leave that for the kids the O sends over.

If I had a hammer

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

IRS on parade

When a strip club or other food or entertainment venue pays a cab driver to send business its way, it's taxable income to the driver. Now the IRS says it's going to take a closer look at the joints who pay this kind of money to see whether they are sending the drivers the required tax reports.

Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, here in Portlandia, the revenuers have a beef going with an area Gypsy king. The guy had $2.7 million in safe deposit boxes around town, and the IRS says he hasn't been cutting square corners on his income taxes. The IRS grabbed the cash, but a federal judge made the feds give it back. Not before they indicted the guy, however.

The silent killer: new car smell

Here's a wild one out of Vail, Colorado.


Here's a part of the new City of Portland gun control ordinance that we hadn't noticed until now: In order to buy a handgun, you have to turn in a can of spray paint.

On the second one, go right away

We've been there, done that. Fortunately it happened so fast we never left the house.

Another brilliant idea

Why stop at parking meters? The car haters of Portland have a better idea -- just turn the parking spaces into "parklets." I wish I were making this up, but I'm not.

As we gradually become less reliant on single-occupancy automobiles, there's going to be a lot of real estate in our rights-of-way and elsewhere that is currently dedicated to parking that can be put to higher uses.
The bike people declare war, then cry when the drivers treat them with contempt. All part of the theme park, I guess. With Streetcar Smith as an amusement unto himself. Glad I'm not a retailer thinking of moving here.

Tangerine trees and marmalade skies

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be on a hallucinogenic drug, you might want to drop by tonight for this event: "Just Sustainabilities: Re-imagining (e)quality and living within environmental limits." The Creepster will kick things off, and then you can picture yourself on a train in a station.

Portland home prices falling "dangerously"

We're third worst in the nation, according to this report.

If you got the dirt, honey, I got the server

A friend of ours came up with a brainstorm at lunch the other day: Portland and Oregon need a WikiLeaks for state and local government.

Masters of the Universe, Salem Division

We're in a "death spiral," but we can still hand out nearly a million in bonuses to state employees who are overseeing the state's losing investments. $258,000 a year isn't enough -- they need a bonus on top of that or they'll move on. Come on, Ted Wheeler, do something.

You click, we give

Tomorrow's our eighth annual Buck-a-Hit Day on this blog, the day on which we throw a buck to charity for every visitor to the site, up to $1,200. Then we have generous sponsors who will match reader contributions, up to $3,500, for charity. So please get yourself back here tomorrow; it's the easiest thing you ever did to help out worthy causes. If it all works out, great nonprofits will rake in better than eight grand.

We'll also give you a chance to steer $250 of the pot to your favorite charity. Just enter our comments contest by leaving a great comment tomorrow. Readers will pick the best entry by popular vote on Friday.

Once a prince, always a prince

Old Gordon Smith's still trolling around. I wouldn't be surprised if his kissin' cousin Ron "I'm Against the Estate Tax" Wyden isn't helping him out with this one.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tax sellout: One step closer to a banana republic

When you look fiscally irresponsible even through the rose-colored glasses of the goofy folks at Moody's, you know you're screwing up.

Twelve 'dogs a-dogging

Well, 13 actually. Here are the lines for the week so far in our charity pro football underdog pool:

9 SAN FRANCISCO at San Diego (Thursday 5:20 PM PST)
6.5 NEW YORK JETS at Pittsburgh
6.5 DENVER at Oakland
6 DETROIT at Tampa Bay
6 SEATTLE vs. Atlanta
5.5 BUFFALO at Miami
5.5 WASHINGTON at Dallas
5 JACKSONVILLE at Indianapolis
2.5 ARIZONA at Carolina
2.5 PHILADELPHIA at New York Giants
1.5 NEW ORLEANS at Baltimore
1.5 CLEVELAND at Cincinnati
1.5 HOUSTON at Tennessee

See an underdog there (in caps) that can win its game outright? Players, if you want the biggest hound, note that it's the Thursday game.

Our oddsmaker will continue to check for KC/STL (Matt Cassel's recovery from appendectomy), GB/NE (Aaron Rodgers' concussion), and CHI/MIN (Favre's shoulder). Meantimes, good luck with the prognostication, peeps!

What a gig

Sign up now to be the Tri-Met Tweeter.

Part of the job description: "Monitor and engage with TriMet's online community in social media (including but not limited to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare). Participate in public conversations, answer direct questions and address problems quickly as they arise. Escalate potential crisis issues to appropriate people in the agency."

You can just see some of the "escalator" e-mail messages in the first week:

"I think we are running out of money!"

"Public very ornery about blowing money on trains."

"What to say on Facebook about dead body found on WES? Should we reveal that it had been there for two months and nobody noticed?"

"Might have been a bad idea to give each bus driver a Kindle."

A match made in heaven

It looks as though good old Homer Williams has gotten into it with the IRS and the folks at the Oregon Department of Revenue. And his lawyers say he stiffed them on the fee for the tax work. As they say in charm school, that's fascinating.

I don't think we're in Oregon any more

It seems like Kansas.

Wait -- don't tell me -- this is all due to climate change. Which is why we have to tear down your neighborhood and slap up condo bunkers. Only Homer and Edlen can save us.

I have a simple question

Who the heck actually wrote this drivel?

HumBug in NoPo

Lelo is down on the Christmas kitsch.

Carrying on in the Bush tradition

Unfortunately we're talking about Obama.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kitz says Oregon is in "death spiral"

He makes a big speech.

And another fat cat warns his Arlington Club buddies that the state is on the road to a California-style meltdown.

But doggone it, somehow we've still got $250 million in lottery money -- money that we could spend on anything -- to blow on Portland-to-Milwaukie light rail.

Apparently, the next four years will be largely detached from reality. The saddest part is that most voters won't notice.

Need a sponge bath?

Hang on -- the latest Portland hobo bathroom is almost ready to open:

Just in time for Christmas. And in between the Pearly totem poles! It doesn't get any better than that.

The worst part of the tax sellout

It's hard to single out one aspect, but certainly some folks are particularly worried about what it means for the future of Social Security.

Countdown is on to Buck-a-Hit Day

Afternoon readers, don't forget to come back to us on Thursday, which will be our eighth annual Buck-a-Hit Day. We give money to charity just because readers show up that day -- a buck a hit, up to $1,200 -- and our benefactors will match donations that readers make with a simple click, up to another $3,500 or so. We also throw a comment contest, the winner of which gets to steer $250 of our collections to the charity of his or her choice. It's a day in which our readership really shows its collective heart. Please return to this site on Thursday and be part of it. All you have to do is show up.

Bangalore, here we come

The folks at the Arlington Club don't need us any more.

Forget the Swedish meatballs

How about this?

It's what Christmas would be like if Scrooge were played by Earl Blumenauer.

Speaking of food waste

On the heels of our post about the food waste processing facility about to be foisted on Northeast Portland's Cully neighborhood, we come across this story about how trendy grocers are apparently tossing out literally tons of food that poor people would love to eat. Perhaps our meddlesome City Council could get some of those comestibles into the bellies of the needy -- nah, never mind, too real.

Do Tri-Met transit cops have their own bomb squad?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Cha-ching! Another $1 million for Homer Williams in SoWhat

If you ever want to see how tainted local government is in Portland, you don't have to look much further than this story. As if Homer Williams hasn't already looted the city treasury enough -- now he's going to rake in a cool million on some low-income housing project in the SoWhat district that he isn't even building. On land that he sold the city for $5 million, and which the city is now giving away for $1. Truly mind-boggling.

I hope some day we learn what Williams knows or has that puts the city's politicians at his mercy. Back where I grew up, wiseguys like this don't last too long unless they have some pretty heavy protection behind them.

In any event, this is what you get when the city puts patsy types of the Erik Sten ilk out front to get all preachy about low-income housing. Homer eats them alive. He gets his millions up front, and the low-income get the housing, sort of. Some day. Maybe.

Go by streetcar!

City of Portland's favorite lender is crooked

Good old Bank of America has been busted by the SEC for bid rigging in the municipal bond market. Given that the City of Portland can't seem to borrow enough money from these guys, the charges and settlement are most interesting.

Rename dissent "espionage" and criticism of government "treason"

I'm with E.E. Cummings on this one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Step right up

Now that they've undercut the local restaurants, it appears that the food cart set will be taking on the taverns next.

Vera's dream realized, cont'd

Yep -- Portland's just like New York City.

There's no place like home (except New Jersey)

Three upper-middle-sized 'dogs come through for players in our charity pro football pool today: Detroit, Miami, and Arizona prevail. The Lions and the Cardinals were on their own turf, while the Dolphins edged out the Jets at the Jimmy Hoffa gravesite. With the win by the Fish, Broadway Joe moves into a tie for second place. One player is still waiting for the Vikings and the Giants tomorrow night; otherwise, here's where our standings wind up this evening:

Continue reading "There's no place like home (except New Jersey)" »

At least they're not Tweeting yet

Hard to believe, but the U.S. Treasury Department now has a blog.

Will the Portland "sustainability center" be a toxic breeding ground?

Don't be surprised if it turns out to have hygiene problems.

'Dogs go off-leash for Week 14

Here are our players' picks for the week in the charity NFL underdog pool. There's quite a difference of opinion this time around about which 'dog can win its game outright:

9.5 ST. LOUIS at New Orleans - Bob, Flowers by Dorcas, PJB, Paul, genop's gal, Eric
8.5 CINCINNATI at Pittsburgh - AKevin, Larry Legend
7 CAROLINA vs. Atlanta - Anthony, Annie
7 KANSAS CITY at San Diego - Ricardo, Michael K., Gary, Sattelihu
6.5 DETROIT vs. Green Bay - Hank, Jim, Bad Brad
5.5 MIAMI at New York Jets - Broadway Joe
5.5 ARIZONA vs. Denver - Nick, pdxmick, Doug
4.5 SEATTLE at San Francisco - Biggest Cubs Loser
4.5 OAKLAND at Jacksonville - Flowers by Dorcas Husband, Matt, john dull, genop, Andy, Gordon
2.5 MINNESOTA vs. New York Giants - Conrad

The Vikes-G Men contest is under a rare snow postponement to tomorrow night. Other than that, everyone's picked a day game. Enjoy them all, folks.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It would be funny...

... if it weren't true.

Calling John Kroger

Smell anything illegal here? Oh, no, wait -- I forgot -- silly me -- this is Oregon -- squeaky clean -- no corruption -- yeah, that's the ticket...

Mmmmm... burning food slop

The folks over in the Cully neighborhood in northeast Portland are getting a new neighbor -- doubtlessly a stinky one that they won't welcome, at least not for long.

I believe we used to call these places garbage incinerators. Nowadays their function is masked with all sorts of green-sounding names. In any event, more trash that used to go to landfills is now coming to Cully, just like the unwanted duck poop off the bottom of the pond at Laurelhurst Park. You'll never see that sort of thing done where the rich folks live.

Make up your own joke

A reader calls our attention an interesting auction item here in the freaky theme park we call Portland. You and a friend can take an "instructive tour" of our creepy mayor's "home chicken setup," and then he'll help you build a chicken coop of your own.

I got one word: Ewww.

A lighter shade of blue

Here's a new progressive blog that hopes to replace BlueOregon as the place where the real progressives hang out, as opposed to the corporate tools of the Obama-Wyden Democratic Party.

Healthy vs. cool

Here's an interesting essay about urban economics. Condo bunkers ain't the answer, people.

A tale of two train wrecks

A WES train hit a car in Tualatin yesterday, putting the train out of commission for at least a week. Nobody was hurt because the driver had gotten out of the car, which was stuck on the WES tracks. The car went flying 50 to 100 feet after it was hit.

At 6:30 in the morning, there were only 12 passengers on the train.

Tri-Met is running shuttle buses to replace the sidelined train runs. Given that WES is a complete and total bust, they ought to keep doing that forever.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Have a great weekend

It's the linchpin

The self-parody known as Portland city government wouldn't be quite as good without this.

Can't pay your mortgage? No problem, cont'd

Forget finding something wrong with the foreclosure paperwork. Now the government will simply pay your mortgage for you.

"Now that I don't have the votes, let's do something"

Our nation's chief executive is having an interesting week. First he sells out to the Republicans on the Bush tax cuts. Then, when he realizes that he's losing his political base faster than blood out of a split lip, he starts spinning like a top -- "I'll fight two years from now." "It would be immoral not to give the Republicans what they want." "They were taking hostages."

Oh, and "stimulus" -- yeah, that's the ticket, it's all about "stimulus." Jobs, ya know. If you don't give the millionaires a tax cut, we'll have a double-dip recession.

Give me a break. Henry Paulson himself couldn't have scare-mongered any better.

Today it's getting even more warped. After two years of sitting around doing jack squat on the tax system, the Prez is suddenly on the bandwagon for "fundamental tax reform." Yeah, swell -- now that we have a Republican House, it's time to start working on the tax code.

Do we look that stupid? From here on out in this administration, any messing with the tax laws is going to amount to more major whacking of the middle class, on its way down to the peasant class.

The President's new line is the same brand of horse manure that Ron Wyden (R-N.Y.) has been shoveling for quite a while now. Gatsby doesn't fool me with it, and neither does the Big O.

Bridgehead, bridgehead, roly poly bridgehead

Remember the Burnside Bridgehead project? This stinker has now dragged on through two Portland Development Commission CEOs, and is heading for a third. And the PDC just decided to more than double the "predevelopment" loan that it's made to the developer, Beam Development. The taxpayers are now more than $450,000 out of pocket on the latest prowl of this zombie.

If the PDC's recent track record is any indication, it's money the taxpayers won't ever see again. It's going to be an "organic development." Why, sure. Go by couplet!

Doing what they do best

The City of Portland's official Human Rights Commission -- notorious for blowing taxpayer money on mysterious food purchases via a city credit card -- is holding a "training" session next Thursday evening. What they're "training" people for isn't entirely clear, but one thing's for sure:

First things first, taxpayers.

Buck-a-Hit Day matching funds swell to $3,575

We're definitely going to have some fun around here next Thursday, on our annual Buck-a-Hit Day. Not only are the Bogdanskis giving away a dollar each for the first 1,200 visitors to this site that day, but now our wonderful benefactors have agreed to match up to $3,575 in donations that our readers chip in when they get here. If we meet the match challenges, we'll raise $8,350 for worthy causes. Maybe we'll go even further than that -- wouldn't it be something?

We'll also run our annual comment contest, with the author of the best comment (judged by a reader poll) getting the right to designate his or her favorite charity to receive $250 of the day's charitable haul. Please do check back in with us on Thursday -- we'll give a buck to a worthy cause just because you showed up.

The tax sellout is not a stimulus

Villanova Law School tax prof Jim Maule had some interesting thoughts on the White House's assertion that the President's deal with Senate Republicans over the Bush tax cuts will stimulate the economy. He posted this to the popular TaxProf list yesterday:

I have my doubts, serious ones, about the notion that the agreement is stimulative.

1. Income tax liabilities will not change. Though psychologically it may feel good to know that one’s take-home pay is not going to shrink, there’s no extra "spending" money coming in from the extension of the tax cuts.

2. The cut in the FICA tax might be stimulative, but not by much. For the wealthy, it’s another two grand to stash in the cash hoard. For lower income individuals, a good chunk will end up being used to pay credit card and other debt, putting cash into the piles held by the banks and other financial institutions. Another good chunk will find its way to the PRC for the holiday season’s predicted top gift category, electronic gizmos of one sort or another.

3. The 100 percent expensing thing will be no more stimulative than its predecessors, in other words, it will have negligible effect.

4. The legislation will create work for tax practitioners but there would have been work no matter what would have happened.

The nation needs jobs (chiefly because jobs have been shipped overseas). I do not accept the argument advanced by the tax cut extension advocates that "small business owners" will create jobs on account of the extension. If X, with $a of income and $b of tax liability in 2008, 2009, and 2010, hasn’t hired anyone, X, with $a of income and $b of tax liability in 2010 isn’t going to jump up and yell, "Wow, look at all this additional money, I can hire someone." Plus, if X doesn’t NEED an employee, X isn’t going to hire. X will need an employee if X is offering goods or services for which demand increases.

The argument that with the deal, the uncertainty that was holding back spending and hiring will disappear is nonsense. If the uncertainty about what would happen as of Jan 1, 2011 was causing stagnation in 2008 – 2010 (and I think it was), then the uncertainty about what will happen as of Jan 1, 2013 will cause the same stagnation in 2011 and 2012.

The whole thing is a canard. The rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer, as the trend lines in effect for the past ten years get extended for another two years. Until Americans put their many brains to work to unravel the shell game foisted on the citizenry by the anti-tax crowd (see "Absurd Tax Quote of the Century" for a discussion of "no taxes on nobody")..., the rise of the peasant class and the destruction of the middle class will continue. Too bad the anti-tax crowd isn’t up on its French history.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blacked my eye and kicked my 'dog

Nobody in our charity underdog pool picked the Titans over the Colts this evening, which is just as well, because the boys from Indy squeaked out a win. For all the other games, the pick deadline is 11:59 p.m. Saturday. Good luck, 'dog pickers!

One player has already sent in his pick for the week with this lament: "I cannot catch a dog this year even if I wrapped myself in bacon!" Maybe this week, buddy.

Oregon: Home of the backroom tax giveaways

According to Good Jobs First, a nonprofit Washington D.C.-based research group, Oregon does a miserable job in disclosing the names of companies receiving state and local tax breaks, cash grants and other subsidies for job creation.
No kidding. It's such a dark little place we inhabit sometimes. The scams just go on and on, and nobody in politics, law enforcement, or the media is both smart enough to figure it all out and brave enough to blow the whistle on it. You get in trouble around here just for asking questions about it.

Go by streetcar, go by sheepcar.

House refuses to sell out on taxes

The President's tax sellout is rejected by the lame-duck House of Representatives. You know -- the real Democrats. Good for them.

But of course, it will be a Republican House in a few weeks. Guess Obama's trashing of his own campaign tax promises will have to wait until then -- when his new BFFs get there.

Recipe for disaster -- fiscal and physical

The loons in local government are now talking about putting a bike path on Highway 43 between Lake Oswego and Portland.

Local undertakers will no doubt support this.

Right now the way to get from L.O. to Portland on two wheels is through Tryon Creek State Park and the Riverview Cemetery. If that's not good enough, get a car or try the bus. Sheesh.

Cookie cutters

It appears that the FBI sting that ensnared the Portland Christmas tree bomber was executed according to a set of procedures that the feds are also using elsewhere.

Buck-a-Hit Day is a week from today

We're just one week away from Buck-a-Hit Day, our annual charitable gift-giving day on this blog. For every visitor that comes to this site next Thursday, December 16, we'll give $1 to charity, up to 1,200 unique visitors. We'll also have our annual comments contest, in which a reader who leaves the best comment gets to designate where some of our donation goes.

And we'll be asking readers to pitch in by clicking on donation boxes for a handful of worthy charities. Already we've got match challenges from a couple of readers, totalling $750, which will make those clicks worth double.

So come on back a week from today. It's for good causes, and all you have to do to give is show up.

And now, a message from God

The latest from Obama: It would be "borderline immoral" not to give in to the Republicans on the Bush tax cuts.

Breaking promises seems to be o.k., however.

Last of the mutts

Here are the last two games on our slate for the week in our charity pro football underdog prediction game: 5.5 for the Cards against the Broncos, and 2.5 for the Vikes against the Giants.

The full board, then, reads as follows -- note that there are quite a few home 'dogs:

Continue reading "Last of the mutts" »

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tri-Met's Milwaukie MAX deal goes from stinky to stinkier

Not only did Tri-Met's delusional board of directors unanimously approve $722 million in new debt today for the Milwaukie light rail project, but they also abandoned all semblance of meaningful oversight by giving the transit agency's management carte blanche to buy up real estate for the project, no matter how high the price tag, without coming back to the board:

The passage of the property acquisition resolution has granted TriMet management the authority to purchase any property for the project.

TriMet management previously had been given authorization to acquire property valued below $500,000 without board approval. The new resolution effectively removes the $500,000 value cap and authorizes management to make any property acquisition for the project without board approval, with the exception of acquisitions that require exercising eminent domain.

And then, of course, fat cat construction projects were handed out to the Goldschmidt gang's favorite people -- on a no-bid basis, apparently. Among the giveaways:

To maintain the acquired property, the board passed another resolution authorizing a contract with Ramos Landscape, Inc. for property management services costing almost $1 million....

Kiewit Infrastructure West, Co. has been awarded the design-build contract for the Willamette River bridge. The contract is worth an estimated $127 million, including $8 million for change order allowance.

Design services for the construction of the bridge will be provided by HNTB Corporation for a total of $7 million, an increase of about $3 million from the original contract.

In all, the Tri-Met board voted unanimously to blow $947 million on this, in a single day.

Next up, Tri-Met will borrow mid-nine figures from somebody like Bank of America in a backroom deal, on a five-year term that will require a refinancing in 2015 or so. By then, Tri-Met, if it isn't already bankrupt, will have a credit rating in the toilet, and the long-term bonds five years from now will finally break its back.

Maybe President Romney will bail them out. Anything could happen, I suppose.

Bad times around here are not ending, people. They are just beginning.

Portland tax holiday!

But not for you, of course.

This looks like the beginning of a long list of holdups by the corporate types. The Sam Rand twins, of course, will race to the bottom.

Beta Theta Mahonia

If the governor won't live in the governor's mansion, why should the state keep it? It's not that great. Sell it. Or at least mothball it. Continuing to staff it, heat it, and light it for four years, while The Retread and The Girlfriend live in Portland and Bend, makes little sense.

Not to mention, it isn't very "green."

It looks like it would make a lovely frat house for Willamette University.

Nonstory of the Week

Streetcar Smith likes food carts.

Tri-Met board signing fiscal suicide pact today

Not only are they plowing ahead with the Psychedelic Mystery Train to Milwaukie, but they're using the old "interim financing" ploy to see if they can borrow the first half-billion-plus over the holidays before opponents can stop them.

Meanwhile, the tighty righties keep rumbling that they're going to circulate petitions and put a halt to this borrowing at the ballot box. But the developer pawns on the Tri-Met board are making sure that they will have to wreck their holidays to try that. What sweethearts.

Wait 'til the Republican Congress decides how much it wants to pay for this. Portland is going to have a very bankrupt transit agency quite soon, folks. Go by streetcar!

Quite a sight

A big, bright rainbow in the northwest morning sky. You don't see that too often in Portland.

New look

Designer drivel du jour

"We didn’t want something soft and squishy," says Laurie Olin, the principal of the Philadelphia-based Olin and the park’s lead landscape architect. "It seemed Portland could use a truly urban space."
Gee, Laurie, do you mean like the one that we already had, one block away?

Some Portland research, with a grim conclusion

The message of this study is truly sobering.

When Irish eyes are crying

Sure, it's like a morn in Portland:

Over the past five years, the Irish government became enamored with property. Developers were given tax breaks, and banks were encouraged to hand out loans worth 100 percent of the price tag. Construction took over all other industries to become Ireland's number-one earner....

Because prices were going up, people always felt that building a house to sell on was, in a sense, a one-way bet, it meant then that houses were built all over the country, very, very often in places where employment prospects were essentially zero. So, again, this was just a disaster waiting to happen.

Here in America, we call this "urban renewal."

The spirit dance was unfolding

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Why I wasted the opportunity of a lifetime"

"This is the public-option debate all over again," Mr. Obama complained...
You're darn right, Mr. President. We cut you some slack on that one. Gitmo, too. But now you've gone Republican on us one time too many. You and the other turncoats like Ron Wyden have fun holding hands. He'll still have a job two years from now.

Mmmmm... fresh 'dogs

Here are the choices so far this week for the players in our charity pro football prediction game. Giants-Vikings and Denver-Arizona are still to be posted, but we'll keep checking:

9.5 ST. LOUIS at New Orleans
8.5 CINCINNATI at Pittsburgh
7 CAROLINA vs. Atlanta
7 KANSAS CITY at San Diego
6.5 DETROIT vs. Green Bay
5.5 MIAMI at New York Jets
4.5 SEATTLE at San Francisco
4.5 OAKLAND at Jacksonville
3 TENNESSEE vs. Indianapolis (Thursday 5:20 PM PST)
3 CHICAGO vs. New England
3 DALLAS vs. Philadelphia
3 HOUSTON vs. Baltimore
1 WASHINGTON vs. Tampa Bay
1 CLEVELAND at Buffalo

As the regular season winds down, surely many of our players will be throwing the long ball. But which one? Carolina as a home 'dog? Remember, the team one picks must win its game outright. And if you want the Titans, please get your pick in before that one kicks off late Thursday afternoon.

The bad news Portland economy

Here's the report that folks are talking about today -- pointing out, among other things, that Multnomah County ranks second to the bottom in job creation among 199 counties in the west over the last decade.

You've got to take this with a grain of salt in light of who paid for it:

This report, compiled by ECONorthwest for the Portland Business Alliance, Associated Oregon Industries, the Port of Portland and Oregon Business Council, is a comprehensive examination of the region’s economic performance during the past 40 years.
All of those folks have axes to grind, and grind them they doubtlessly will. But still -- this document shows that when it comes to building a healthy economy, Portland has failed badly.

Go by streetcar! But not to a job, apparently.

This and $2.05 will get me a ride on the bus

We've made a Top 50 Best Political Blogs list, compiled by some outfit that we've never heard of. But hey, we'll take it!

Here come da (new) judge

Governor Ted is sure using his appointment pen in his last month of office.

Isn't it a school day?

To me, this is creepy.

'Tis the season to be dead

I see the Portland City Council's new gun ordinances are really having an impact on gang violence on the east side of town.

Remember when the gangs used to bang only in the summer? Now it's a year-'round sport.

Oh, they saw something, all right

Here's another gem from "Homeland Security." (I love that name. It makes me feel so safe, like living in a cozy Communist dictatorship.) They've started a p.r. campaign to get people to call the cops whenever they see what they believe to be suspicious activity.

And they're starting with... wait for it... Wal-Mart!

What a special time to be a 911 operator.

Dear President Obama

Let me get this straight. Not only are you going back on your central campaign promise to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but out of the blue, you're also going to cut Social Security taxes and accelerate the destruction of that system?

Wow. Just wow. I don't know who you're answering to these days, but it certainly isn't the people who worked so hard to elect you.

For the first time, I'm actually starting to think that we would have gotten more done with Hillary. And that Nader was right -- you guys are all alike.

Remember when George Bush Sr. went back on his "Read my lips" pledge about taxes? I'm sure he had a good story about why he did that, but it wound up costing him his job.

It's been fun, Mr. President. Good luck with your future.

Jack Bogdanski

Monday, December 6, 2010

Give me your resignation, Kitz demands

Oregon's incoming retread governor has a list of state department heads whose resignations he wants on his desk. He says he isn't going to accept all of them, but once they put theirs in, they weren't fired, they resigned.

I remember when Tom Potter did this upon assuming the loo throne at Portland City Hall. Old Dean Marriott at the sewer bureau told Potter where he could go look for his. That provided some laughs. Maybe we'll get a similar chuckle out of this round down in Salem. Let's see... Max Williams at Corrections... Elizabeth Harchenko at Revenue... Dale Penn at the Lottery... are those heads going to roll? They've been on the state payroll a mighty long time.

UPDATE, 12/7, 8:15 a.m.: I forgot, Dale Penn is now a judge, back in the courthouse where he framed prosecuted Frank Gable. Another great appointment by Governor Ted.

Inside another FBI terror sting

Unlike the Christmas tree bomber case in Portland, this one did not go well at all.

Warner leaving PDC

It looks as though Mayor Creepy's going to get to hand-pick a new CEO for the failing Portland Development Commission. Guess we'll find out if Homer Williams or Mark Edlen has a green, sustainable nephew. Hey, maybe The Don will come back!

At last, my retirement is in sight

It appears I may be living in one of these complexes.

Shopping quiz

You can spend $50 million on new buses, or nine times that much on a streetcar line that will do the same or less. Which would you buy?

Now guess which one the geniuses in our local government are pushing for.

A million different voices speaking in tongues

Here's a real bummer of a story -- colleges are selling off their radio stations. The student disc jockeys and reporters will still be on the internet, but aren't we all? It won't be anywhere near the same.

Having spent many hours behind the mike in our youthful days, we're horrified. It's as much about educating the broadcasters as it is about edifying the audience, and sometimes the results are magical. As a wise philosopher once put it: "We learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school."

Moreover, these stations have devoted off-campus listeners who won't be able to find anything like their content. Taking college radio off the air is one of the dumbest ideas that the higher education bean counters have come up with yet -- and that says a lot.

Be here on the 16th for Buck-a-Hit Day

It's time to start planning for Buck-a-Hit Day, our annual holiday gift-giving blowout on this blog. This will be our eighth year of doing this: We'll give a hard-earned dollar to charity for everyone who visits here next Thursday, December 16, up to $1,200, which is the Bogdanski family contribution this year. All you have to do is show up to view this blog, and charity gets a buck.

We'll also be passing the cyber-hat and ask readers to donate as well as visit. With any luck, our benefactors who have challenged readers in past years will return to up the Buck-a-Hit limit and match reader contributions. (You folks know who you are; please drop me a line as soon as possible if you can return in that role! New benefactors are also welcome.)

We're still working on some of the other details of the day. We have as a custom a comment contest, in which the reader who leaves the best comment relating to the season (chosen by reader vote) gets to steer part of the contributions to a charity of his or her choice. We're planning to keep that going. Readers with other ideas of how to spice up the day should sound off in the comments on this post.

Last year we raised $8,801 on Buck-a-Hit Day, which was down a bit from the year before but a nice performance nonetheless. Even if you're too broke to donate, all you have to do to participate is show up here again next Thursday, as early in the day as you can make it. Just by visiting this site, you'll separate me from a dollar and send it to a good cause.

Reader poll: Who's a bigger bust, Oden or Obama?

When he was chosen, the faithful followers of his team rejoiced. Thousands came to the rally in downtown Portland to cheer him on. Surely, they thought, he would lead the team to renewed glory. It was, by unanimous acclaim, a historic moment.

But he didn't produce. He played some good games, and he seemed like a nice guy, but mostly he sat on the sidelines, thinking. Without a meaningful contribution from him, his team struggled. They had a few successes, but overall were weak. Their opponents generally walked all over them.

Who's a bigger disappointment?
Greg Oden
Barack Obama
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dumb and dumber

"Extend the Bush tax cuts, or we'll cut off unemployment. We're a minority but we can filibuster."

"OK, you got us there, we give in. You don't have to filibuster -- we cave in."

The people of the United States would be a lot better off without most of the people in the United States Senate.

Go by Cadillac

When New Jersey's hard-core governor killed the unnecessary new tunnel project under the Hudson River, we applauded. But what he's doing now is less admirable. Rather than pay $271 million in damages for breaching agreements that the state had previously signed to help build the thing, he's planning to fight the agreements in court. So far, not so bad -- but he's hiring a big-bucks Washington, D.C. law firm to do the state's legal work, with some partners being billed out at more than $800 an hour.

That is not fiscal responsibility. If the state's in-house lawyers can't get the job done, the governor should be hiring a New Jersey law firm at a fraction of the price of the folks in D.C. Or perhaps he should just settle, pay some damages, and note that it was much better than signing onto a black hole of future cost overruns.

A 13-point pickup in Week 13

The Oakland Raiders made five players happy in our charity underdog game today, including our new leader. They whomped the San Diego Chargers for a big 13 points.

UPDATE, 9:35 p.m.: Nick's Steelers scored for 3 tonight, and so here is how our standings shape up after Week 13:

Continue reading "A 13-point pickup in Week 13" »

Tick tick tick

State and local governments keep borrowing money, and people are starting to wake up to what that means. Go by streetcar -- while you can.

World Cup soccer is corrupt

I don't follow the beautiful game much, but I do love a good bribery scandal.

And 'dogs dressed up like Eskimos

The players in our charity pro football pool have spoken for another Sunday, and here's whom they're rooting for:

13 OAKLAND at San Diego - Anthony, AKevin, Larry Legend, Gary, genop's gal
7.5 DENVER at Kansas City - Hank, Doug, Michael K.
7 CINCINNATI vs. New Orleans - Annie
7 WASHINGTON at New York Giants - Ricardo, Biggest Cubs Loser, Matt, Drewbob
6.5 BUFFALO at Minnesota - Sattelihu, pdxmick, genop
5.5 DALLAS at Indianapolis - Broadway Joe
4.5 CLEVELAND at Miami - Andy
3 TAMPA BAY vs. Atlanta - Bad Brad
3 PITTSBURGH at Baltimore - Nick

Already concluded:

8 HOUSTON at Philadelphia (Thursday 5:20 PM PST) - john dull, Flowers by Dorcas Husband, Paul, PJB, Bob, Gordon, Jim, Flowers by Dorcas

The standings are here. Looks like an interesting Week 13 -- our top four players have all chosen different underdogs. Good luck, and enjoy the games, folks.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pardon me

Obama probably wouldn't.

Making the worst of a bad situation

Leave it to the airport theater security guards.

"China need not be an enemy"

Sounds reasonable.

Failed sales pitch no more convincing for repetition

Somebody at Tri-Met is convinced that if they keep talking about old people, taxpayers will give them more money for pointless trains.

It didn't happen on November 2, and it probably isn't going to happen next time.

Another virus waltzes right in past Microsoft Security Essentials

Tonight I managed to pick up something called HDD Control on my Windows Vista desktop computer. That's three viruses in less than a month, and two since I switched my security over to the wonderful MSSE. Anyway, HDD Control is a highly annoying and stubborn virus that tries to get you to give it your credit card information to buy supposed anti-malware software. It keeps telling you that your computer is out of memory, it can't find a hard disk, some sectors of the hard drive have gone bad, etc. It runs a little script that makes it look as though "HD Scan" is running and finding problems of various kinds. It installs a shortcut to "HD Scan" on your desktop.

Having been through basically the same thing a couple of weeks ago, I knew right away that it was likely malware. Googling around on another computer confirmed my suspicions.

Anyway, here's how I got rid of it (I think): Go to Start Task Manager and see what programs are running. If there's one with a name that's a string of numbers or gibberish followed by exe, that's it. It may be described as HD Control. End that process.

Then get a command prompt and go to Startup programs, disabling HD Control. There may be more than one of those listed. Uncheck all HD Control entries to run at startup. Restart the computer. Clear out temporary files using a program such as ATF-Cleaner. Run Super-Anti-Spyware on Quick Scan. Run MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware on Quick Scan. With that, it should be gone. At least, I think it is gone from me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Have a great weekend

Nonstarter of the Week

I heard a spirited discussion of this idea on the radio yesterday. Utterly idiotic, of course, but spirited.

One funny dude

We caught this guy's act at Harvey's last night. He cracked us up big time.

Let this be a lesson

One of the main functions of our penal system is deterrence.


You must read this excellent take on how bureaucracy swallows up service. The piece is applicable not just to government, but to almost any organization we can think of:

Milwaukie light rail funding source identified: Tooth Fairy

The folks pushing the goofball train to run from Portland to Milwaukie are in the usual mode that the developers and their politician puppets adopt for projects like these: Ignore the fact that a majority of the population unequivocally does not want the infernal train, and try as hard as they can to get to the "too-late-to-turn-back-now" point before the public revolts.

In the case of the psychedelic Milwaukie MAX, however, there's a slight problem. Even based on the lowball liars' budget of $1.5 billion, even with Earl the Pearl shoveling federal tax dollars at the thing, and even stealing from every conceivable pot of money they can get access to, the local train bureaucrats can't find the money they need to move forward with a straight face.

The latest symptom of their problem can be seen in the lovely burg of Milwaukie itself, where the city council, although marching right along with the urban planning Mafia, doesn't have a clue as to where it's going to scrape up $5 million for the express train to nowhere:

Milwaukie Mayor Jeremy Ferguson, who is employed by TriMet, said the city is considering a TriMet loan with a 20-year repayment plan.

"I did ask TriMet not to ask us for more than $5 million," Ferguson said. "Everybody is on the maximum end of financing."

He said "it's still too early to say" who will assist the city and in what capacity.

Too, too funny. First of all, the guy works for Tri-Met -- no conflict of interest there. But wait -- Tri-Met is going to lend Milwaukie the money? Tri-Met, whose own finances are so shaky that it can't even honestly describe where it's going to find its own share of the funding for the project?

The Milwaukie City Council ought to buy some Megabucks tickets. After taxes, tomorrow night's jackpot ought to come to right around $5 million.

New kids

Here's a new blog, started a couple of months ago, by a pair of enterprising young writers, Benjamin Kerensa and Jenniffer Zogg. As for as its boast of being "the Oregon blog that started it all," though, it takes a minus-1 to credibility right on the masthead.

You tell 'em, Bernie

This guy gets it exactly right.

Google, stay off my lawn

Because if you come up here, it's going to cost you more than a dollar.

A quickie with Lame Duck Ted

Here's an interesting tidbit on the legal front: The state bar sent a notice to its members yesterday that a Multnomah County circuit court judge, Keith Meisenheimer (right), is retiring at the end of month. Of course, so is Governor Ted Kulonogoski, and one might think that the outgoing guv would leave the appointment of a replacement to his retread successor, John Kitzhaber.

But no:

Anyone interested in filling the position must submit a letter of interest and resume to the Governor’s office by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 10. Due to the expedited nature of this process, candidates are not required to submit Interest Forms with their initial application.
Wham bam, thank you, Ma'am. One long-time reader of ours complains:
Hey, look: Eight days' notice of a judicial vacancy and appointment, and the MBA [Multnomah Bar Association] won't get to vet the applicants. Think the fix is in?

Cities in hock

Municipalities like Portland, who borrow money like it was going out of style and refinance like the rest of us shop for groceries, may find the well going dry.

One last 'dog

Rounding out this week's field in our charity pro football underdog game:

3.5 JACKSONVILLE at Tennessee

Thursday, December 2, 2010

(Early) bird 'dog

A goodly number of players in our charity pro football underdog game are going for the gusto this evening:

8 HOUSTON at Philadelphia (Thursday 5:20 PM PST) - john dull, Flowers by Dorcas Husband, Paul, PJB, Bob, Gordon, Jim, Flowers by Dorcas

Good luck, folks, and enjoy the game.

It's about time

Finally, somebody has a sane, creative idea about leaf disposal in Portland.

Sing along with Pogue

(To the tune of "Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland")

Doorbell rings, I’m not listenin';
From my mouth, drool is glistenin'
There's beard on my cheek,
Same clothes for a week,
I’m happily addicted to the Web.

More instant holiday classics here.

Would you prefer public relations or actual services?

With local government these days, it's all about the p.r.

How carbon emissions regulation is like tax law

People file neat-looking returns, but all the numbers are suspect.

Why Portland and Multnomah County are broke

How much did this thing cost to produce?

I'm all for cutting down air pollution, and maybe local government can help the situation somewhat, but are we really going to spend this kind of money, every year, patting ourselves on the back about it? A colossal waste of time and money.

We've come to expect this sort of thing from City Hall, but Jeff Cogen, you ought to be ashamed.

Randy's food cart vendetta: Is it all about Adams vs. Saltzman?

When the news broke yesterday that Fireman Randy is going to sic his building inspectors on some food cart vendors, our political antennas automatically deployed to figure out just what he's actually up to. He always makes a good speech about public safety, I'm a firefighter ya know, yada yada, but his unilateral, standards-free selection of unlucky targets virtually always has some other motivation behind it.

Read down a bit in yesterday's article in the O about the Fireman's latest enforcement thrusts, and the light goes on:

For now, the city is focused on complaints it received about two food cart lots.

Adding a political wrinkle, both lots are owned by prominent Portland families. The Goodman family, which controls much of the downtown parking market, owns one of the lots, on Southwest Third Avenue at Washington Street.

The Saltzman family, through its privately held Oregon Pacific Investment and Development Co., owns the other lot, on Southwest Fourth Avenue at the south end of downtown. City Commissioner Dan Saltzman has an ownership interest in the property, according to his financial-disclosure records filed with the state, and the Goodman family manages it. The property also sits in view of building inspectors' offices across the street.

Now we get it. It's no secret that Saltzman is running for mayor against the creepy incumbent next time around. And it's also no secret that the Fireman is actually in charge of City Hall, playing the mayor like a heavily medicated clay puppet. What's that you say -- fire the police chief? Yes, Randy. Put your boy in that job? Yes, Randy. What bureaus do you want, Randy?

And so it's clear that when the next mayoral race rolls around, the Sam Rand twins will be standing together in all their Wiener-esque glory. And anything that makes Saltzman look bad in the meantime? Don't be surprised if they find it worth pursuing.

World Cup soccer heading for Russia and Qatar

After Brazil, that is. Another slight to Uncle Sam.

Can Portland's mayor pass an FBI background check?

Today's Trib suggests that perhaps he can't:

For the city to rejoin the [Joint Terrorism Task Force], Adams – the police commissioner – would have to pass an FBI background check that would undoubtedly rehash the Beau Breedlove scandal and delve into his history of personal financial troubles.

Failing the check would be embarrassing.

But nothing new.

An interview with the Wikileaks guy

You talk about a troublemaker.

Lame duck session of Congress falling apart

Good. Those bad toupees on the Hill need to call it a day. Let the Bush tax cuts expire -- for everybody -- and come back in January. Or later.

A Portland soldier in big trouble

He's turning state's evidence in a court martial of his fellow soldiers on charges surrounding the killing of civilians in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pass the popcorn

Fireman Randy has announced that he's about to start busting food carts.

A great holiday tradition ends

It seems we'll no longer be getting packages of tax forms in the mail from the IRS right after Christmas. There once was a time (not 20 years ago) when every taxpayer would get a tax form in their mailbox sometime around the holidays -- exactly which day depended on how warped a sense of humor one's mail carrier had. But over the years, folks who used professional preparers and computer programs the previous year stopped getting the form packages. Now the mailings are being phased out entirely. Ya can't stop progress.

Is the end near for Nate?

The Blazers are crumbling, and there are precious few player personnel moves that the team can realistically make at this point. As the natives get restless, it could be time for a new coach. It's quite unlikely that Nate McMillan will be back at the helm next year; the harder question is whether he will make it through this year.

Reminded of the observations we made over the weekend about Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra, perhaps we should ask readers for a prediction:

Which NBA coach will lose his job first?
Erik Spoelstra
Nate McMillan
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Tri-Met falling behind on MAX maintenance -- GAO

Did you know that Tri-Met is now in deferred maintenance mode on MAX trains? So it appears from this new report from the federal Government Accountability Office:

Light rail officials, such as those at Portland's TriMet, said they recognize that managing aging infrastructure will take significantly more effort in the future. Currently, the oldest section of TriMet's system is only 24 years old, which is relatively new in comparison with some of the nation's oldest systems; however, agency officials have already begun capacity planning in preparation for the challenges to come during the next 20 years....

As compared with the majority of the large heavy rail systems, the infrastructures of light rail systems are relatively newer. For example, the oldest section of Portland, Oregon's, light rail system is 24 years old, as compared with the heavy rail systems in Chicago and New York which are over 100 years old. However, although officials at Portland's transit agency said they have a robust capital maintenance program, they also said that without an influx of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) funding in 2009, which the agency specifically targeted to help reduce a backlog of systems and vehicle maintenance, the transit agency would have fallen further behind in its maintenance needs.

Can't maintain what we've got? Hey, let's build more!

For a haunted place

Here's a solicitation of artist proposals for an important, and sure-to-be-controversial, memorial at the Oregon State Hospital.

Hatfield's liaison to Jesus

Oregon political icon Mark Hatfield, 88, has been in an East Coast hospital for several weeks. While people of goodwill hope and pray for his recovery, you can be sure that media all over Oregon have the obituary all prepared except for the first paragraph.

I owe a lot to Hatfield. In a roundabout way, he is responsible for my being in Portland. I told him that once as we stood on a chow line together at the Macadam Avenue Subway shop. Like many others, I also looked up to him during the Vietnam era as a courageous force for peace in the Republican ranks.

But there are sides to Hatfield that I never liked. He was not shy about accepting gifts. He and his wife got into a highly embarrassing ethical tangle in the early 1980s that you won't hear much about these days. And he was also a bit of a Bible-thumper, holding prayer breakfasts for well connected Christians at the Pioneer Courthouse and flaunting his religious beliefs for political effect. As much as he has aspired to sainthood, and as much as his fans are willing to bestow it upon him, I never quite bought it.

A couple of months ago, The New Yorker ran a fascinating article about a Hatfield pal from his Salem days whose tying together of church and state holds great influence in Washington, D.C. to this day. It's an interesting angle on the Hatfield legend that we all will be hearing so much about when the inevitable eventually occurs.

Portland's "optional" leaf "fee" will cost $200K to administer

An alert reader reports:

A nice leaf lady from PDOT came to the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association meeting this evening. Said the entire leaf-sweeping program costs $800,000 -- including $200,000 this year to administer the leaf fee. High cost, and low return, I'm guessing. Ouch.
Since no one in his or her right mind is going to pay the fee, at least not this year, that's $200,000 simply thrown down another Sam-Rand rat hole. The collective nervous breakdown known as the Adams administration continues.

Another aerial tram [rim shot]

It's back in action.

Another (threatened) roadside attraction

In our youthful road trips across the country all those years ago, we stopped a couple of times in Mitchell, S.D. to get off the road and score a decent meal. Here's a story about that place, and its famous Corn Palace, which we never took the time to see; instead, we blew an hour at Wall Drug Store. Anyway, as the story points out, the scene on the highway is changing, and places like the Corn Palace may not be long for this world.

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