Thursday, December 22, 2005

[Xmas] Deck Us All With Boston Charlie

The formalities of the season must be observed, and one of them is The Original MashUp, brought to us by The First Blogger, the esteemed Dr. Jerry Pournelle.

One might wish to go back to the original source, however, and short of a trip to Fort Mudge in the depths of the Okeefenokee, here may be a viable reference for the serious scholars of Pogo among us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

[Feds] It's a matter of national security

If word gets out that we're ill-prepared, it will only encourage the hurricanes to intensify their attacks. Therefore, is it a matter of National Security that FEMA conceal its incompetence?

Mark Tapscott blogged:

If there were an award for the least popular federal agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would probably be a near-unanimous choice, thanks to the barrage of negative media it received during the Hurricane Katrina debacle. Maybe that is why FEMA is using the Freedom of Information Act to keep behind closed doors the results of its own customer satisfaction survey on how well the agency’s inspectors did their jobs following hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan. The way FEMA is doing it points to why one of the most frequently used and abused FOIA exemptions ought to be seriously tightened up or repealed outright.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

[Feds] TSA does something right

However, there's actually an improvement: The TSA new policies are a real improvement in safety.

Read this article by a real security expert, Bruce Schneier, to understand why the TSA is moving in the right direction and why critics like Salon don't get it. Key quote:

Exactly two things have made airline travel safer since 9/11: reinforcement of cockpit doors, and passengers who now know that they may have to fight back. Everything else -- Secure Flight and Trusted Traveler included -- is security theater. We would all be a lot safer if, instead, we implemented enhanced baggage security -- both ensuring that a passenger's bags don't fly unless he does, and explosives screening for all baggage -- as well as background checks and increased screening for airport employees.

The TSA deserves credit for its shift in policy, not abuse.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

[Media] No, I Didn't Crash Blogger

If you tuned in yesterday and found 404 - Page Not Found or suchlike on all of Blogspot.Com (where this blog is hosted), I didn't do it. Wasn't my fault. No, not me.

Blog*Spot was down for a few hours yesterday due to an unexpected server outage, causing timeout, 404, and similar errors when trying to view blogs. This problem was solved and we are implementing better monitoring to better catch and resolve such issues in the future. If you continue to have problems viewing Blog*Spot blogs, please try clearing your browser's cache and cookies, then reloading the blog(s) in question. Thanks for your patience.


The timing was soooo concidental.. for the Oregonian local bureau published a story on my blogging just before Blogspot crashed.

Oak Lodge Community Council meeting Wed. the 7th

The regular November-December Oak Lodge Community Council meeting is tomorrow evening, December 7th, at Oak Lodge Sanitary's office.

The agenda is packed: Ron Weinman from Clackamas County's DTD will update us on the County's Capital Improvement Progam (CIP). Applicants or representatives from two groups will share information, there are several land use applications for review as well as District and agency reports.

Thoughts on the war

Every once in a while, Fred On Everything writes about something I can actually quote.. not that he's wrong, mind you, but a steady diet of Fred would unravel the minds of the media elite and those who accept the 500 channels of video pablum delivered from the the White House Press Office and the poverty industry via Comcast-ABC/Disney-DirecTV-CBS-Dish-NBC-TimeWarner.

I like to keep him prominently on my virtual shelf because he will challenge his own assumptions as ruthlessly as anyone else's. That needs doing, a lot.

Well, he's provided a cogent and concise comparison of the working stiffs in the press (not the suits who decide what gets covered, but the actual foot soldiers of the Fifth Estate), their motivations, and how those are bound to collide with those of our military. Here's a snippet:

For example, many in Washington who actually know how the press works (the military actually doesn’t) believe that the press supports the war in Iraq, has until recently given the White House a free ride, and has been adroitly controlled by the government. I agree. If newspapers had been against the war, they would have published countless photos of gut-shot soldiers who will never get a date, paraplegics doomed to a life on a slab, and more Abu Ghraib photos (which they have.) Soldiers don’t know this. In any event, anything but unqualified support is treason.

The military usually regards journalists as cowards. (“Coward” and “traitor” are their gravest pejoratives.) This is questionable. When the 2000th US soldier died in Iraq, I checked the site of Reporters Without Borders and found that 72 reporters had been killed there (with two more missing), or 3.6 percent of the military total. I don’t know how many troops have served in Iraq. Just now it is about 160,000. To be conservative, let’s call it 130,000 on average, making 347,100 for two and two-thirds years of war. By the equation 2,000/347,000 = 72/x, one finds that there would have to have been 12,500 reporters in Iraq to have equal rates of death between reporters and soldiers. Otherwise, the press is taking casualties at a higher rate than the military. The calculation is rough, but makes the point.


When I was a child back there in Journalism School (with an odd curriculum, very out of fashion, where Journalism was under the School of Business and there was a strong expectation you'd have to be able to calculate and read a balance sheet to cover a story), I went to school with Iranian and Iraqi students, and my senior paper was on the Islamic Press. Folks, brace yourself: They don't think like we do.

It's kinda clear to me that our overseas press, brave as they are, miss the boat, and fail to engage the Islamofascists with the same degree of skepticism they've used for two centuries to keep our government occasionally honest. Sure would be nice if they considered this advice from a guy who knows what's going on:

Here's something that needs to be emphasized. The leaders and media of the western world continually refer to 'mujahadeen' (holy warriors) and 'jihad' (holy war) in their references to Islamic terrorists. By the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (Allah bless he and his progeny) and Islamic law, the terrorists should properly be called 'mufsidoon' (evildoers) who engage in al-Hiraba (unholy war against society - that which destroys, rather than supports, betterment of humanity). These words make considerable difference when speaking to and of Muslims. The connotations of all are extremely important. Can you imagine trying to recruit a young Muslim for a suicide murder mission if he is going to be participating in al-Hiraba and thus condemned to 'jahanam' (hell)?

I routinely espoused the concepts of 'musfidoon' and 'hiraba' to the people and leaders in my province in Iraq - they began to use the words! This even spilled into some of the rhetoric of people from other provinces! We must continue to use the proper words of Islam to describe the despicable acts committed by those who pervert the teachings of the Prophet (Allah bless he and his progeny).


More discussion follows here, in the First Blog.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate,...

Why McDonald's French Fries Taste So Good is an Atlantic Monthly excerpt from Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. This article notes the rise of, and influence of, the flavor industry in the manipulation of our culinary desires.

The laundry list of chemicals above came from a Burger King strawberry shake. Have it your way?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Calendar of Public Meetings for December 2005

Please consider that times and places may change, so confirming details in advance is wise.

Locations:
County Commission Board Offices are at 2051 Kaen Road.
ESD office is at 4101 SE Lake Road.
Homewoods Heights is at 17999 SE River Road.
Oak Lodge Sanitary Office is at 14611 SE River Road.
Milwaukie Center is at 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive.
Mt. Scott Fire Station of CCFD No. 1 is at 9339 SE Causey Avenue.
SSC is the Sunnybrook Service Center, 9101 SE Sunnybrook Blvd.

Tuesday the 6th
8:30 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.

Wednesday the 7th

7:00 PM Traffic Safety Commission meets at SSC.
7:00 PM Oak Lodge Community Council regular Nov.-Dec. meeting at Oak Lodge Sanitary office.

Thursday the 8th

7:40 AM Economic Development Commission meets at SSC.
10:00 AM Land Use Hearing with Hearings Officer at SSC.
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly meeting at Board offices.
6:00 PM NCP&RD DAB meets at Milwaukie Center.
7:00 PM Historic Review Board meets at SSC.

Friday the 9th
10:00 AM Milwaukie Center Advisory Board meets at Milwaukie Center.

Monday the 12th
6:30 PM Planning Commission meets at SSC.

Tuesday the 13th
9:00 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
6:30 PM Oak Lodge Sanitary Board monthly meeting at Board offices.

Wednesday the 14th
9:30 AM BCC Land Use Hearing at Board offices.

Thursday the 15th
9:00 AM Land Use Hearing with Hearings Officer at SSC.
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly meeting at Board offices.
7:00 PM North Clackamas School Board meets at ESD office.

Monday the 19th
7:00 PM Fire District No. 1 Board meeting at Mt. Scott Fire Station.

Tuesday the 20th
8:30 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
7:00 PM Oak Lodge Water Board monthly meeting at District offices.

Wednesday the 21st
9:00 AM Sunrise Corridor Briefing at SSC.

Thursday the 22nd
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly Board meeting.

Tuesday the 27th
8:30 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
7:00 PM Jennings Lodge CPO meets at Homewoods Heights.

Thursday the 29th
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly meeting at Board offices.

Tuesday December 27th
CPR training at Fire District #1: Contact the Fire Prevention Office, 503-655-8537 for details.
The cost is $10 to residents of Fire District #1.

Many thanks to the indefategable Dick Jones for this information. Any errors are mine.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Economic Recovery via WiFi

It was rumored that the first connection New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had with the outside world after Katrina travelled on a WiFi-connected Vonage VOIP telephone linked through the dedicated folks at DirectNIC.com, who stayed on line throughout it all.

Now, Nagin's announced an initiative to cover the entire city with WiFi, starting with the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Be nice if they could fix Old Glory first, though.

But, the economic advantages of free Internet everywhere are not difficult to see... and not impractical. Sure wish the folks around here would look at free WiFi as a way to apply CPR to what's left of downtown Milwaukie, instead of bemoaning the juggernaut that is Wal-Mart.

UPDATE: BellSouth has yanked the offer to allow the City of New Orleans to temporarily use a BellSouth building to aid in the recovery, allegedly because of the WiFi project. If you're a BellSouth shareholder, you may wish to express your views here; the web form for comments for everyone else is over there.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

[Health] Appealing your health plan's denial of service

Ever try to read your health plan's rules? I recently did my 'due diligence' in looking over which of the two non-Kaiser plans would be least worst, and ended up with a lot of eyestrain and not a lot of useful facts. Fortunately, US News and World Report did some analysis for me, and here's their results.

In the process, I encountered a description of the appeals process available to Oregonians, which just might be useful to you.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

[Health] Brees Foundation

Surgeons are as bad as programmers; both professions select for folks who prize the social graces and, indeed, human interaction, far less than the joy of solving a challenge. Fortunately, when a programmer doesn't communicate well, you generally just get something like, say, Microsoft Windows.

However, when a surgeon doesn't communicate well with a patient, things get worse. I've had two major surgeries, both with fallout I'd rather have avoided, and one of those (Kaiser, wouldn't you know) had Unintended Consequences Not Explained. So, forgive me when I note I'm wary of the entire breed.

Brees Foundation is a Bandon-based alliance of breast cancer survivors who are taking charge. They're self-funded, and their 2006 calendar is now available for order. Recommended.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

[Truth] FactCheck.Org

Katrina: What Happened When is a fascinating article from FactCheck.Org, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. It was put together quickly to serve as a conduit for reports on the 2004 election, and has quickly grown to be exttremely useful for broader issues.

It, along with the debunking service Snopes, should be in the Favorites/Bookmarks of every web browser. Really.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Weather map of Milwaukie

This website overlays weather and other information over Google Maps.. so you can see where it's raining, et cetera.

If you click on Overlay at right and select Portland Radar, you can even overlay the current radar image, which looks something like this (but, click on the link above for what's happening now).



Wow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wednesday's Oak Lodge Community Council Special meeting

AGENDA: Special meeting
October 12, 2005
Rose Villa
13505 SE River Road
Oak Grove, Oregon

7:00 PM -- Call to Order: Dick Jones, Chairperson

ROLL CALL: Bill Bader, Bill Brown, Wilma Brown, Frank Budwill, Sue Conachan, Edith Coulter, Rosemary Crites, George Dietz, Jerry Foy, Bryn Gillem, Chuck Gode, Milo
Haas, Thelma Haggenmiller, Richard Holmes, David Jelinek, Dick Jones, Jim Knapp, Elinor Kuhns, Bill Neels, Elaine Neels, Chuck Petersen, Margaret Pritchard, Paul Savas, Eugene Schoenheit, George Schneider, Eric Shawn, Susan Shawn, Kent Squires,
Julie Stanley, Dr. Elton Storment, Bob Waldt, Leonard Waldemar, Don Wake, Suzanne Wake, Roy Wikman and Doug Woods.

7:05 PM – Land Use Issues for Voting

Introduction of procedures by Chairperson. Eligibility for Voting, Time Limits, presentations by those in favor, the Council’s on-site review and those opposed.


Z0772-05 The applicant is seeking to partition a parcel into two lots. It is located on the east side of River Forest Drive near the intersection with River Forest Rd. This parcel has 22,100 sq. ft. and is zoned R-10 This application in some form has been before the OLCC several times in the last 18 months.

Z0370-05 This is an appeal of a staff decision dated August 25, 2005 involving adding 4 residential lots and an open tract for future development at the end of Minerva Lane off Oetkin Rd. The appellant believes the proposed roadway will take place on her property as well as environmental concerns. The applicant letter is the agenda.

Z0651-05 The applicant is seeking approval for 10-lot subdivision. The lots will range between 8,030 and 11,912 sq.ft. This parcel is 2.99 acres located at 15510 Wallace Rd. It is zoned R-10.

Z0758-05 This application is for Design review for a third warehouse structure on Ken Hood’s former property and a proposed monitoring Plan for traffic on Vineyard Rd.

8:00 PM General Matters for Discussion

Review Clearwater issue-Eugene Schoenheit

8:30 PM – Meeting Adjourned

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Avoiding water-damaged cars when buying

An estimated 570,000 cars were 'totalled' as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as per the head of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in media releases last week. And, as per NPR and other news sources, about half of storm-damaged cars which should have been parted out or scrapped will be resold through various kinds of chicanery.

So, here's NADA's tips on how to avoid getting a Katrinamobile.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

TripAdvisor.com

Did some trip planning a while back, and found that Trip Advisor was the most useful of the sites used, far more than the major sites, when it came to studying the different places to stay out of town. The post-mortem reports from conventioneers who stayed in various different hotels were pretty close to what the reviewes on TripAdvisor had to say. Its reviews also match up accurately with Clackablog's experiences with the resorts in his old home town on the Gulf of Mexico (nowadays, a tourist trap/geezerville).

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Red Light Cameras Cause More Accidents. Again.

The District's red-light cameras have generated more than 500,000 violations and $32 million in fines over the past six years. City officials credit them with making busy roads safer. But a *Post* analysis of crash statistics shows that the number of accidents has gone up at intersections with the cameras. The increase is the same or worse than at traffic signals without the devices. Three outside traffic specialists independently reviewed the data and said they were surprised by the results. Their conclusion: The cameras do not appear to be making any difference in preventing injuries or collisions....
Del Quentin Wilber and Derek Willis, *The Washington Post*, 4 Oct 2005, A01

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Project Censored

Project Censored's report on the twenty-five most important, yet under/un-covered stories of 2004-2005, has some doozies.

I imagine my friends in the Great White North will be just a wee bit flamed when they read Number 16. Number 25 is undeniably true; first responders know the highest public risk is from our our sadly insecure chemical infratructure, easily used against us. And, no, Abdul, I don't feel like telling you how.

The societal risk from Number 18 was exquisitely explained by Robert Frezza (Major, USA, Ret.) in his superb FIRE IN A FARAWAY PLACE for, like Dean Ing, Jerry Pournelle and the Admiral, Frezza doesn't need Western Union to send a message.

But, Numbers 4 and 11 will lead us someplace I don't care to go; Oceana, or Epsilons, perhaps, but nowhere the Founding Fathers would recognize, or desire, I fear.

And how will we get there? Just review this bon mot from Number Three about our peculiar and most recent election:
The Edison and Mitofsky report dismisses the possibility that the official vote count was wrong, stating that precincts with electronic voting systems had the same error rates as precincts with punch-card systems. This is true. However, it merely points to the unreliability of punch-card and electronic systems, both of which are slated for termination under the Helping America Vote Act of 2002. According to the report, only in precincts that used old-fashioned, hand-counted paper ballots did the official count and the exit poll data fall within the normal margin of error.

Also, the report shows, the discrepancy between the exit polls and the official count was considerably greater in the critical swing states. And while this fact is consistent with allegations of fraud, Mitofsky and Edison suggest, without providing any data or theory to back up their claim, that this discrepancy is somehow related to media coverage.

In other words, the vote was skewed where it needed to be skewed, and only hand-counted paper ballots were immune to distortion.

Enough hard thinking. The Manchurian Candidate's on.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Seismic slip event underway: Are you ready to be Katrina'd?

The two big 'plates' which generate our greatest risk of major earthquake are moving. Here's the Toronto Globe and Mail story.

If the Big One hits, or even a Little One, best be prepared to take care of yourself for a week. Do you have that much bottled water (a gallon per day per person; includes rudimentary sanitation needs) and enough unfrozen, unrefrigerated food on hand (please do include a can opener), with the means to stay warm, when the electricity and gas lines go out if it doesn't hit until, say, January?

It's been four times that long since Katrina hit the Big Easy, and the majority of New Orleans still has no drinkable water... and, having been in multiple harricanes, they're pikers compared to what an 8.0 quake would do, which we see in the PNW about every 500 years. The last Big One was 305 years ago, BTW, so we have a 10-20% chance of another Big One in the next decade.

9.0? My imagination is not that good. But, here's what the Oregonian predicted for an 8.0, so just make everything 100 times worse for a 9.0.

Wouldn't hurt to check your insurance, too. I go out to too many fires where folks don't have insurance, let it lapse, or the agent screwed up. It's heartbreaking when that happens.

Get ready now and visit the Oregon Trail Chapter, American Red Cross, preparation site. Start with the water, then the food (Grocery Outlet has some marvelous bargains). You don't need the fancy schmancy MREs, just stuff you like to eat, comfort food. Then, work on heat, first aid supplies, and the knowledge on how to use them.

Don't count on 911 to save you; even Portland's center can only handle 40 calls at a time; Washington County 16 calls at once; more than ten calls crashes C-Com in Clackamas Co.

911 systems fail (and there's lots more where that came from). Columbia County's 911 center crashed last year without any crisis underway, and ham radio operators had to provide emergency communications. Gee, the beefed up system designed to handle an 'incident' at Trojan? Yep.

Therefore, knowing the 'back door' number into the 911 Center may be very useful. Here's the 'non-emergency' number, which may (no promises) work if 911 fails:
503.655.8211 Clackamas Co
503.397.1521 Columbia Co
503.823.3333 Portland/Multnomah Co
503.635.0238 Lake Oswego
503.538.8321 Newberg/Dundee
503.629.0111 Washington Co
503.434.6500 Yamhill Co

That presumes the fire trucks can roll. Has your fire station been upgraded to Zone Three quake specs? MANY HAVE NOT. FIND OUT NOW Call the non-emergency number for your fire department and ask.

Clackamas County Fire District Number One, Lake Oswego FD, Portland Fire Bureau fire stations map (large & requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) or list (no Adobe required) and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue.

Wouldn't hurt to ask your local FD about free CERT training: Here's a list of CERT programs around the state.

Of the 22 specific recommendations from a major quake exercise & study in 2002, exactly one (1) has been adopted by local government. One.

There were oodles of warnings to folks about hurricanes before Katrina, just like this warning. Do you want to be a victim, or a casualty? Your choice.

Oh. Have an interactive quake map.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

OREGONIAN's owner praised for work on saving people in New Orleans

The New Orleans Times-Picayune is owned by Newhouse, who also owns the Oregonian. Those Newhouse papers have websites which at times are not as good as they could be, but in Katrina, NOLA.COM really shined. Here's an Online Journalism Review article about that NOLA.COM website, and a very relevant quote from its editor:

Donley: It was weird because we couldn't figure out where these pleas were coming from. We'd get e-mails from Idaho, there's a guy at this address and he's in the upstairs bedroom of his place in New Orleans. And then we figured out that even in the poorest part of town, people have a cell phone. And it's a text-enabled cell phone. And they were sending out text messages to friends or family, and they were putting it in our forums or sending it in e-mails to us.

The cell service didn't work, but they could send text. They're saying now that the body counts won't be as bad as they thought, and I know at least some of that is that people figured out how to hack the system, to use this kludge to save people's lives.

This stresses the importance of the SMS capability of your cellphone. See a previous article for details you, and your family, should know about SMS.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mil-Blogs: What the grunts think

Blogs. Gotta love 'em. No better way to find out what's really going on? Or, a supreme test of your ability to separate fact from fiction and recalibrate your BS detector? YMMV.

Anway, here's an index to milblogs, web logs from the guys and gals with their boots on the ground.

Free CERT Disaster Training

CERT training is offered free by the Clackamas Co. Fire District No. 1. CERT was created after the World Series and Mexico City quakes when firefighters discovered spontaneous volunteers rescued a lot of people, but many of those volunteers were hurt or killed in the process.

Training teaches you how to effectively deal with disasters, while not becoming part of the disaster. Won't turn you into a firefigter, but will teach you how to deal with many disaster problems without getting hurt.

http://www.citizencorps.gov/programs/cert.shtm
http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/CERT
Google search on CERT

The classes will be held at:

Clackamas County Fire District #1 Training Center
15990 SE 130th, Clackamas, OR 97015 (off 212/224)

The available CERT training dates are:
October 15th, November 12th & December 3rd

You can sign up for the class by calling 503-742-2652.

Friday, September 02, 2005

News from the Southron Apocalypse

The Interdictor is a data center guy, blogging, with webcams, from DirectNIC.com, an ISP in a Central Business District highrise in New Orleans. Guess who I'm picking as my next web host, for this trial by fire shows they will be up and on line with my trivial babble until the Last Trump.

If there was a Pulitzer for blogging (present company excepted, of course), he'd be my recommendation for this year's ballot (last year being A View From A Broad, a female milblogger who just re-upped. (And, yes, as S.M. Sterling would say, I am distressingly liberal.)

This Wiki also gives you some idea about what's going on. There are other good Wikis, too; gotta get back to the phone bank.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

[Health] Providence once more makes 'Most Wired' list

7.2 percent difference in risk-adjusted mortality rates after controling for size and teaching status, was found in this year's American Hospital Association study the impact of IT on hospital quality and patient survival. This is published in their current Hospitals and Health Networks magazine, itself an interesting read.

The Wall Street Journal analysis (by Laurie Kawakamia) of the HHN article also noted
Among the findings, the survey reports that 41% of the most-wired hospitals have most of their physicians using computerized systems for drug orders. That compares with 27% of all hospitals surveyed and 8% of the 100 least-wired hospitals. For medications ordered at the most-wired hospitals, 28% of all orders are performed by physicians electronically, up slightly from 27% last year and more than twice the average of all hospitals surveyed. At the least-wired hospitals, less than 2% of medication orders are entered electronically by doctors.

Electronic medication alerts, which warn of complications like duplicate orders, drug interactions or wrong dosages, also are more common at the most-wired hospitals. These hospitals are more likely to link their alert systems to electronic surveillance systems that monitor a patient's vital signs, lab-test results and other clinical information designed to notify caregivers if the patient's condition deteriorates.

Getting the hospital fully-integrated is an important step in the process, and I'm very pleased to see Portland Providence leading the way.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A rant, from the most tenacious defender of the free world

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome."

-Sir Winston Churchill (The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899).

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

[Wal-Mart] Milwaukie Mayor Opposed, in letter to Portland Mayor Potter

"A Wal-Mart at Tacoma and McLoughlin would drain the life out of our downtown core, as Wal-Marts have done all across this country," is the formal written response to a proposed Wal-Mart on the site of the old Goodwill & the old Mill End Store, sent to Portland's mayor by Milwaukie's mayor, Jim Bernard.

The Oregonian story also notes:
In his letter, Bernard said Milwaukie has been trying to rebuild its downtown and north industrial areas and hopes to bring a full-service grocery store to the central business district. He said allowing a Wal-Mart to build a grocery in that area would be a major blow to the city's efforts.

[Next Door] Trendy-third stranger stabbing?

Tigard geezer stabbed by apparent stranger at lunchtime monday outside McMenamins' on NW Trendy-Third in Portland.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

[Justice] Judicial Math Error?

Sixteen years ago, Clackamas County was recognized as a leader in home detention via electronic monitoring of offenders.

How ironic is it, then, that the new sheriff can't expand this program, as recommended by the 2005 Grand Jury Correctional Facility Inspection Report, because of a county court order described in this Oregonian article.
It costs the county $20 an inmate to monitor them on home detention, compared with $95 an inmate to hold them in the county jail.

Hmm...

OK. Here's the Sheriff's plan:

76 jail beds to close, which cost $95 per day to operate = $7,220/day.

Double, from 40 to 80, the non-violent offenders monitored by this system, which would cost $800/day.

Where would that difference of $6,420/day, or two-point-three million dollars a year go?

Sounds to me like even more home detention, backed up with more sheriff's deputies on road patrol, might be beneficial.

PS: The 'County Court', as misnomered in the articles quoted above, is actually the Fifth Circuit Court of the State of Oregon. Phone numbers are listed here and the judges are listed here, county by county, in alphabetic order.

Friday, July 08, 2005

[World] I'm Feeling Jacksonian Today





And this is why they did it is a rather good issue summary from an Iranian, Amir Taheri, in the Times of London.

But, if you want to know what to do about it, read Soft Targets by Ashland's Dean Ing. Had anyone paid attention to him back in 1979, we might have a clue about how to handle this.

[Health] Physician, Heal Thyself: Tigard Doc & RN indicted for fake Botox scams

Hundred of folks were been shot up with fake Botox by an unscrupulous Tigard doc and nurse who bought cheap knock-off drugs instead, says the Statesman-Journal and the Lake Oswego Review. They've got a date in US District Court now, with 53 counts named in the indictments, after a January raid by the feds. The Oregonian adds:
Federal authorities say what Lentini and his nurse, Cathryn Garcia, actually used in treating hundreds of patients was an unapproved form of botulism toxin, some of it made in China and imported from a middleman in Turkey.
And, here's a class-action lawsuit in the making, in the event there's any of the hundreds of thousands of dollars made from the alleged scheme left.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

[Federal] Your Tax Dollars Secretly At Work

The Congressional Research Service does its best to provide members of Congress with untainted and accurate analysis. However, those reports are not publicly made available, so the Open CRS Network has created a website which indexes and stores those publicly-funded reports. Current reports cover such issues as Afghanistan, Enemy Combatants, Energy Policy, Gasoline Prices, Homeland Security, Identity Theft, Iraq, the PATRIOT Act and Social Security.

If you'd like to see the information your Congresscritter uses to make up their mind, this site is worth your time, [UPDATE] as is the University of North Texas Library collection, http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/index.tkl, which you can search on, or browse by topic.

Friday, July 01, 2005

[Fun] Molalla Buckeroo time

Is there anything more All-American than watching vacqueros (tongue-twisted into buckeroos ) engaged in PRCA professional rodeo competitions, with entertainment, food and a fireworks display on the Fourth? Come on down to the Molalla Buckeroo (map and directions).

Thursday, June 30, 2005

[State] Oregon Stupidity Tax: Greed Is Not Always Good

The agency of the State which manages the picking of the pockets of folks who ain't quite bright enough to figure out house odds, is engaged with a little gamesmanship in a battle of wits with the Nevada gambling magnate and owner of the chain of 26 Dottie's Deli casinos, errr, 'stores'.

The Oregonian reports today those 26 stores, which took over $26 million from the pockets of foolish Oregonians last fiscal year, don't like the new, 15%-lower payouts to merchants, a consequence of the state trying to get $60 million more this year. So, the schmendrick is suing. Of course.

Last fiscal year, $577 million was taken from below-average Oregonians. Gee, is it any wonder the state has little interest in making sure Johnny can do simple math when he leaves high school? If you know what's going on, it's tougher for the state to pick your pocket.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

[Wal-Mart] 7PM Thursday meeting on Wal-Mart at the old Goodwill site

The Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood association (SMILE) meets tomorrow, Thursday night, to discuss Arkansas' attempt to complete the destruction of merchantile entrepeneurship in downtown Milwaukie.

Visit this community website for more details.

[Games] The Ultimate Roleplaying Purity Test

Your
Ultimate Roleplaying Purity Score
CategoryYour ScoreAverage
Hacklust66.98%
Enjoys the occasional head-lopping
53.5%
Sensitive Roleplaying81.01%
Occasionally remembers to name their PC
54.4%
GM Experience100%
The power of the GM's screen compels you!
69.3%
Systems Knowledge97.46%
Played in a couple of campaigns
90.3%
Livin' La Vida Dorka68.97%
Goes nuts on the weekends
63.1%
You are 85.46% pure
Average Score: 68.7%

Monday, June 27, 2005

[Knowledge] Moving day blues, how to avoid

MovingScam.com is a wonder to behold.

We will all move, or get moved, sooner or later. Death, taxes and Moving Day. This site tracks problem moving companies, notes their alliances with major Interent web search firms and with major national realty firms, and has a very active bulletin board. Scary, that stuff is.

When Mrs Clackablog and I moved from Liberty Hall in da 'Hood to Serenity, we decided not to abuse the kindness of our friends, and instead, hired Movers.

I swear, it was easier to pick a sawbones and a hospital for my major surgery than it was to pick a moving company. I finally started with the local BBB list of member companies, and cross-referenced that list with recommendations/complaints from the group pdx.general in USENET. The remaining companies were compared to a list I got from ODOT (and I'll be dipped if I can recall who in ODOT it came from), and the survivors were checked at the Multnomah County Courthouse for litigation history.

Three from the last cut were invited out to provide estimates, and we picked the middle estimate (to help eliminate the chance of a lowball bid being elevated at the last minute). The high bid moving company, just like the high bidding furnace repair company we dealt with earlier this year, seemed not-very-interested in our business.

It turned out we were very happy with our moving company, just like the furnace repair company we chose, so the pick-the-middle-bid strategy may have some virtue.

The MovingScam process includes such bon mots as:
As each moving company gives you an estimate based on what they see in your home, leave the paperwork out where the next moving company can easily see it. Ask questions about the difference in pricing since it may have to do with what services one company provides that another doesn't, the amount of insurance included, or valuation of your belongings. Never hire a mover who gives you a quote based on cubic feet. Never, ever sign blank paperwork, and know what you're signing. Read the document, understand it and don't worry about making the moving company wait.

You should know that every moving company is required by law to provide you with a "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" booklet. If they don't provide you with this, send them packing (so to speak).

Also, while you have the sales rep's attention, get as much information about the company that you can such as:

* Full company name and any DBA names (doing business as)
* How long they have been in business
* Company address
* Phone numbers (local and toll-free)
* DOT and MC license numbers
* Company web site address
* Email addresses
* Get references (and call them)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

[Wal-Mart] Wal-Mart Opposition

Community folks have put up a web site to help those who oppose the proposed Ardenwald-Eastmoreland-Sellwood Wal-Mart just north of the county line, at Umatilla and McLoughlin, which maps it into the People's Republic of Portland, where Goodwill used to be (photo below courtesy PortlandMaps.com). Read about it in the Oregonian.

Me, I think it will probably nuke what's left of the struggling downtown of Milwaukie. Just wander the streets and think about which, of those stores, Wal-Mart doesn't sell against.

Low-low prices on imported Chinese junk will leave bars, restaurants, gas stations, banks, the mayor's garage and Dark Horse. Oh, yeah, the movie theater, until cheap Wal-Mart DVD rentals kills it off, too.


Sam Adams' blog
is rife with commentary on the subject.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

[Civitas] The world is run by those who show up - Oak Lodge Community Council meeting tonight

Agenda for Wednesday's Oak Lodge Community Council meeting, courtesy of Dick Jones.

AGENDA
June 22, 2005
Oak Lodge Sanitary District offices at 14611 SE River Road (cross street Oak Grove Boulevard), Oak Grove, Oregon.

7:00 PM -- Call to Order: Dick Jones, Chairperson

ROLL CALL: Bill Bader, Bill Brown, Wilma Brown, Frank Budwill, Sue Conachan, Edith Coulter, Rosemary Crites, George Dietz, Jerry Foy, Bryn Gillem, Chuck Gode, Milo Haas, Thelma Haggenmiller, Richard Holmes, David Jelinek, Dick Jones, Jim Knapp, Elinor Kuhns, Bill Neels, Elaine Neels, Chuck Petersen, Margaret Pritchard, Paul Savas, Eugene Schoenheit, George Schneider, Kent Squires, Julie Stanley, Dr. Elton Storment, Bob Waldt, Leonard Waldemar, Roy Wikman and Doug Woods.

7:02 PM – Introduction of Attendees: Name, area of residence and position in the Oak Lodge Community Council, if any.

7:05 PM – Council Reports: Oak Lodge Community Council meeting: Approve the May 25, 2005 meeting minutes, followed by Treasurer’s Report (Sue Conachan).

7:10 PM – Sheriff’s Report – Lt. Chuck Slaney

7:20 PM – District Reports

Clackamas County Fire District #1 – James Nowlin
Oak Lodge Water District – Jim Knapp
Oak Lodge Sanitary District – Kent Squires

8:00 PM – Land Use Issues for Voting

Introduction of procedures by Chairperson. Eligibility for Voting, Time Limits, presentations by those in favor, the Council’s on-site review and those opposed.

(Editor's note: You can click on the link titled Check/Research Permits and enter any of the "Z" numbers below in the following web page labeled By Permit Number and get more details about each case - Clackablog.)

Z0388-05 The applicant is seeking to partition an undersized parcel into three lots. It is located at 2009 SE Courtney Rd. This parcel is 29,144 sq. ft. and is zoned R-10.

Z0358-05 This a 5 lot subdivision of two adjacent parcels. Theses parcels are located at 14722/14732 SE Rupert Dr., contains 1.08 acres and is zoned R-7.

Z0407-05 This a request for a variance from the rear setback of 20 feet to 10 feet to allow enlargement of the master bedroom. The parcel is at 1250 SE River Forest Lane on .95 acres and is zoned R-10.

Z0408-05 This is a request to partition into two parcels .59 acres zoned R-7 at 15115 SE East Av.

Z0423-05 Permission to build a 6,200 sq. ft. in the Willamette Greenway at 13140 SE Laurie.

8:45 PM – Land Use Issues for Discussion

Z0235-05 This is an appeal of the Oliver Rose Industrial Park on Vineyard Rd (see top of page 2). The County staff approved this application before transportation data had been supplied by the applicant.

Z0155-05 This is an appeal by both the Oak Lodge Community Council and the applicant, RFD, LLC. The Hearings Officer will hear this appeal at 10:45 AM on June 30th. (See third item on this page.)

8:50 PM General Matters for Discussion

Trolley Trail update (Thelma)

Meeting Announcements (Thelma)

FUTURE PUBLIC MEETINGS

Council meetings: July 27, August 24, and September 28, 2005.

OLCC/CIA at Rose Villa unless otherwise noted: July 13, August 10, and September 14, 2005.

Special meetings, if required to vote on land use issues, will be held in conjunction with the monthly CIA meeting normally on the second Wednesday of each month.

9:00 PM – Meeting Adjourns.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

[The Lege] SB1073

The people of Oregon have decided that marraige ain't for gay folk. OK, but then what's wrong with creating a not-marriage category ('Civil Unions'), as Senate Bill 1073 does?

The legal motivation for recognizing marriage is not to cater to the special interests of churches, but instead to encourage behavior in the best interests of the state. Married (and not-married folk in Civil Unions) are more stable, spend less time out in bars looking for Mr/Ms Right, own instead of rent, and many other things which lead to a stabler society.

Civil Unions will also reduce the workload of the courts, as one piece of law can define how property is handled after a breakup, and how child custody will work, instead of the myriad of unique contracts now used to try to set these things down in writing. It only makes sense from a legal standpoint to have one consistant set of rules.

There are six state senators for Clackamas County, and this chart has drill-down map links for each, in case you don't know who your Senator is.

Please call your Senator and tell them you favor SB1073.

Monday, June 13, 2005

[Me] Bill the Cat mode

Accckkkkk. Thpbpppt. Wheeze. Cough. Wheeze. Cough. Wheeze. Cough.

Stuck in Bill the Cat mode for far too long. A cold snuck in under my allergies.

Last time this happened, I missed Orycon 17 with pneumonia. Codeine is my friend, as is Ampicillin, and Progresso low-carb soup.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

[Federal] Tracking Your Congress Critter

Here we have a potential mega-blog: A site which tracks the formal activities of both of Oregon's Senators, and of our five Representatives.

Plogress.com covers the entire Republic, as well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

[Tyranny] Ron Wyden and the New and Improved "Patriot Act"

Take a gander at this, if you have concerns re: your rights.

[World] Death of a Thousand Blogs

The NY Times reports Chinese bloggers are reforming their kleptocracy through blogging on the wrongdoings of Commie officials. Kewl. Freedom of the press belongs to those who has one.. and with Blogger and other sites, we all are potential publishers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Curry Song - just something silly

Thanks to the perspicacious Publius Ovidius for this bon mot, which I post in recognition of Got Curry?, a new Milwaukie restaurant I have not gotten around to visiting for no particular reason....

and please note, the views expressed below are for the purposes of humor only. Personally, I love tikka marsala and chicken makhani; dal is to die for, and their low-carb-ness brings new meaning to my diet.

Bohindian Rhapsody
Indian food is barf of a plate.
There. I said it. Deal.

I can't stand the stuff. I suppose if I had grown up with it, I would like it, but I didn't and I don't. My sister just emailed me a curious parody of Bohemian Rhapsody. It's silly, but it sums up my opinions about Indian food much better than I can (and my apologies in advance to all of my Indian food (or Indian) loving friends out there.)



Naan, just killed a man
poppadom against his head
Had lime pickle now he's dead.
Naan, dinner's just begun
But now I'm gonna throw it all away.
Naan, ooh, ooh Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back from the loo by this time tomorrow
Curry on, curry on
Cause nothing really Madras.
Too late, my dinner's gone
Sends shivers down my spine
Bottom aching all the time
Goodbye onion bhaji, I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and use the loo.
Naan, ooh, ooh
This dopiaza is so mild
I sometimes wish we'd never come here at all.

[guitar solo]

I see a little chicken tikka on the side
Rogan Josh, Rogan Josh, pass the chutney made of mango
Vindaloo does nicely Very very spicy
Meat!
Byriani (Byriani)
Byriani (Byriani)
Byriani and a naan
(A vindaloo loo loo loo)
I've eaten balti, somebody help me
He's eaten balti, get him to the lavatory
Stand you well back
'Case the loo is quarantined...
Here it comes
There it goes
Technicolor yawn
I chunder
No!
It's coming up again
(There he goes)
I chunder, it's coming back again
(There he goes)
Coming back again
(up again)
Here it comes again.
(No no no no no no NO)
On my knees, I'm on my knees
On his knees, Oh, there he goes
This vindaloo
Is about to wreck my guts
Poor meee.. poor meeee...poor MEEEEEE!

[guitar solo]

So you think you can chunder and then feel alright?
So you try to eat curry and drink beer all night?
Oh maybe, but now you'll puke like a baby
Just had to come out
It just had to come right out in here.

[guitar solo]

[slow bit]
Korma or dopiaza
bhaji, naan or saag
Nothing makes a difference
Nothing makes a difference
To meee....
(Any way the wind blows....shshshsh)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Oak Lodge Community Council meeting Wed.

The May meeting of the Oak Lodge Community Council meeting will be at 7 pm on Wednesday May 25th, at the offices of the Oak Lodge Sanitary District, at 14611 SE River Road (map, directions).

Land Use actions will be discussed, and reports will be heard from the service districts.

Dan Bradley, manager of the Oak Lodge Water District, will give another update on the North Clackamas County Water Commission (NCCWC) agreement. The change to the agreement (discussed earlier this month in the Oregonian) will allow Gladstone to buy a portion of the plant's capacity. The Sunrise Water Authority website may also provide more information.

Friday, May 20, 2005

alt.medicine - Important stuff to know.

The Wall Street Journal is one of my most important resources for general information, and their $79/year online subscription not only keeps me from breaking my back recycling their dead trees, but delivers good information to me daily at less cost than the paper subscription. That I can archive the content with Firefox (the free, faster, more feature-filled and flexible web browser which is also leagues ahead of IE in Internet security) and its File | Save Page In Archive feature is just a lagniappe.

Here are two vital, no kidding, vital discoveries from this week's WSJ Health Mailbox which everyone should know.

Research does show a connection between laughter and health. In one study, researchers took blood samples of 52 healthy men to measure several immune-system markers. Half the men watched "Sledge-O-Matic," in which the comedian Gallagher pummels the audience with pulverized fruits and other foods, while the other men just read a magazine. The comedy watchers posted declines in cortisol, a stress hormone, and increases in their levels of natural "killer" cells, which attack viruses and cancers.

Another study followed 48 diabetic patients who had suffered a first heart attack. All patients were given medication and cardiac rehabilitation, but half the patients were also instructed to watch a funny half-hour show of their choosing each day. After a year, the humor watchers showed big drops in blood pressure, used less medication for chest pain and had 80% fewer heart attacks.

Even more important is this finding:

A January study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that exercise works just as well as antidepressants or cognitive therapy in the treatment of depression. The key is the intensity of the exercise over the course of a week, not the pattern. The optimal benefit occurs when the patient expends 17.5 calories per kilogram of body weight each week, notes Madhukar H. Trivedi, director of the mood disorders program at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and co-author of the study. So a person weighing 70 kilograms (about 154 pounds) needs to expend 1,225 calories a week in exercise each week.

But how that person spends those calories -- whether it's over the course of three days or seven days -- doesn't appear to matter. So a 154 pound person could jog for 35 minutes a day, three times a week and burn about 1,225 calories. Or he could walk briskly 30 minutes a day, six days a week and also burn 1,225 calories. Both methods should result in the same benefits in terms of depression treatment. To find out how many calories you expend during various activities, go to the exercise calculator at www.caloriecontrol.org/exercalc.html


Please pass this on to your friends, as Death absolutely, positively, sucks.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Beware of this scam

Dan Bradley, Manager of Oak Lodge Water has given the following to the media, and to Dick Jones, who passed it on to me. I added more facts, and hope you will pass it on to your friends and neighbors.

Oak Lodge Water District (OLWD) crews placed signs to tell residents of main flushing and valve exercising. Some signs have fliers on them, which explain some possible results of flushing mains on customer plumbing,

About fifty fliers were on a sign board on Tuesday, May 10. All but one were gone when that board was checked on Friday, May 13.

Portland police department heard (on Thursday, May 12) that three men who claimed they are with Tri-County Water, used the flier to talk their way into citizen’s houses. There is no 'Tri-County Water' in the Metro area.

Six known incidents include theft of cash; one lady had her dresser drawers and medicine cabinet gone through. The OLWD has heard of this occurring in Milwaukie, SW Portland, Vancouver and Seattle.

These impersonators are not water provider employees. Do not let them into your homes. Call the Oak Lodge Water District at 503-654-7765, or 911, if someone from 'Tri-County Water' asks you about anything.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

How to measure your public health department

Trust, but verify.
The Gipper was right.. and let's apply that to other spheres of life, politics and governance.

Terrorism and Emergency Preparedness in State and Territorial Public Health Departments gives a general overview, Assessment of Epidemiologic Capacity in State and Territorial Health Departments reviews how well prepared public health is to deal with an epidemic and provides some data on improvements since 9/11, and Improvement in Local Public Health Preparedness and Response Capacity talks about how one health department in particular improved as the result of improved resources.

Since the tens of thousands of tons of weaponized smallpox have never been accounted for, this just might be relevant. It might be especially relevant to us, for a ready-made model on how to optimize biological warfare has been created for the Portland Metro area, and published. Therefore, a lazy terrorist, or one with some bad stuff but without the resources to research how to best deliver it, might just find Portland the optimal target, since Los Alamos already did the homework for him.

Of course, if we have a good public health department, we will be better equipped for the inevitable humongous earthquake which every seismologist I've every spoken agrees is lurking.... for preparing for one hazard also prepares you for many others, and a very large earthquake will require public sanitation methods pretty much like those required for dealing with biowarfare.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Notice of meeting

Notice of public meeting

CARES (Clackamas Amateur Radio Emergency Services) Corporation Board of Directors
17 May, 19:00
Shari's Restaurant
Oregon City Shopping Center
1926 McLoughlin Boulevard at I-205
http://tinyurl.com/dg9yy

Oak Lodge TV: Candidates Forum on cable

The Oak Lodge Citizens, Informed and Aware Candidates Forum will continue to be seen on Comcast's channel 30 in Clackamas County this week. The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday the 10th at 10 PM
Wednesday the 11th at 12:17 PM
Thursday the 12th at 1 AM and 7:48 AM
Friday the 13th at 7 AM
Saturday the 14th at 10:30 AM
Sunday the 15th at 10 PM
Monday the 16th at 3 AM and 10 PM

Thanks to Richard Jones of the Oak Lodge CC for passing on this tip.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A letter to your local hospital

(insert name here), Administrator
(insert name here), M.D., Medical Staff President
(insert hospital name here)
(insert hospital address here)

Dear (insert name of hospital administrator and president of medical staff here):

This WSJ article (below) suggests knowing which hospitals can effectively treat stroke is important. The vice-president of the American Hospital Association (quoted below) agrees "... it would be important for patients to know how well prepared their local hospital is."

Therefore, I must ask you, as recommended by that AHA executive:

1. Does your hospital have both CT techs and equipment available at all hours on all days?

2. Is a neurologist available at all hours?

3. What is the mininum training of your neurologists in dealing with strokes in an emergent setting?

4. What are your ER protocols for stroke treatment?

5. Is tPA available if indicated?

I look forward to your response.



Sincerely yours,


/s/ (your name, mailing address here)

cc: (insert name of your attorney)

-

Fatal Blockages
Stroke Victims Are Often Taken To Wrong Hospital
Outdated Ambulance Rules, Inadequate ERs Make Dangerous Ailment Worse
Lessons From Trauma Centers

By THOMAS M. BURTON
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
May 9, 2005; Page A1

Christina Mei suffered a stroke just before noon on Sept. 2, 2001. Within eight minutes, an ambulance arrived. Her medical fate may have been sealed by where the ambulance took her.

Ms. Mei's stroke, caused by a clot blocking blood flow to her brain, occurred while she was driving with her family south of San Francisco. Her car swerved, but she was able to pull over before slumping at the wheel. Paramedics saw the classic signs of a stroke: The 45-year-old driver couldn't speak or move the right side of her body.

Had Ms. Mei's stroke occurred a few miles to the south, she probably would have been taken to Stanford University Medical Center, one of the world's top stroke hospitals. There, a neurologist almost certainly would have seen her quickly and administered an intravenous drug to dissolve the clot. Stanford was 17 miles away, across a county line.

But paramedics, following county ambulance rules that stress proximity, took her 13 miles north, to Kaiser Permanente's South San Francisco Medical Center. There, despite her sudden inability to talk or walk and her facial droop, an emergency-room doctor concluded she was suffering from depression and stress. It was six hours before a neurologist saw her, and she never got the intravenous clot-dissolving drug.

In a legal action brought against Kaiser on Ms. Mei's behalf, an arbitrator found that her care had been negligent, and in some aspects "incomprehensible." Today, Ms. Mei can't dress herself and walks unsteadily, says her lawyer, Richard C. Bennett. The fingers on her right hand are curled closed, and she has had to give up her main avocations: calligraphy, ceramics and other types of art. Kaiser declined to comment beyond saying that it settled the case under confidential terms "based on some concerns raised in the litigation."

Stroke is the nation's No. 1 cause of disability and No. 3 cause of death, killing 164,000 people a year. But far too many stroke victims, like Ms. Mei, get inadequate care thanks to deficient medical training and outdated ambulance rules that don't send patients to the best stroke hospitals.

Over the past decade, American medicine has learned how to save stroke patients' lives and keep them out of nursing homes. New techniques offer a better chance of complete recovery by dissolving blood clots and treating even more lethal strokes caused by burst blood vessels in the brain. But few patients receive this kind of treatment because most hospitals lack specialized staff and knowledge, stroke experts say. State and county rules generally require paramedics to take stroke patients to the nearest emergency room, regardless of that hospital's level of expertise with stroke.

Stroke care is positioned roughly where trauma care was a quarter-century ago. By 1975, surgeons expert at treating victims of car crashes and other major accidents realized that taking severely injured patients to the nearest emergency room could mean death. So the surgeons led a push to make selected regional hospitals into specialized trauma centers and to overhaul ambulance protocols so that paramedics would speed the most severely injured to those centers. Now, in many areas of the U.S., accident victims go quickly to a trauma center, and trauma specialists say this change has saved lives and lessened disability.

Eighty percent or more of the 700,000 strokes that Americans suffer annually are "ischemic," meaning they are caused by blockage of an artery feeding the brain, usually a blood clot. Most of the rest are "hemorrhagic" strokes, resulting from burst blood vessels in or near the brain. Although they have different causes, both result in brain tissue dying by the minute.

Several factors have combined to prevent improvement in stroke care. In some areas, hospitals have resisted movement toward a system of specialized stroke centers because nondesignated institutions could lose business, according to neurologists who favor the changes. In addition, stroke treatment has lacked an organized lobby to galvanize popular and political interest in the ailment.

Doctor Ignorance

A big reason for the backwardness of much stroke treatment is that many doctors know little about it. Even emergency physicians and internists likely to see stroke victims tend to receive scant neurology training in their internships and residencies, according to stroke specialists.

"Surprisingly, you could go through your entire internal-medicine rotation without training in neurology, and in emergency medicine it hasn't been emphasized," says James C. Grotta, director of the stroke program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Many hospitals don't have a neurologist ready to deal with emergencies. As a result, strokes aren't treated urgently there, even though short delays increase chances of severe disability or death. Even if doctors do react quickly, recent research has shown that many aren't sure what treatment to provide.

For example, a survey published in 2000 in the journal Stroke showed that 66% of hospitals in North Carolina lacked any protocol for treating stroke. About 82% couldn't rapidly identify patients with acute stroke.

As with other life-threatening conditions, stroke patients are better off going where doctors have had a lot of practice addressing their ailment. A seven-year analysis of surgery in New York state in the 1990s showed that patients with ruptured blood vessels in the brain were more than twice as likely to die -- 16% versus 7% -- in hospitals doing few such operations, compared with those doing them regularly. A national study published last year in the Journal of Neurosurgery showed a similar disparity.

Another major shortcoming of most stroke treatment, according to many neurologists, is the failure to use the genetically engineered clot-dissolving drug known as tPA. Short for tissue plasminogen activator, tPA, which is made by Genentech Inc., has been shown to be a powerful treatment that can lessen disability for many patients. A study published in 2004 in The Lancet, a prominent medical journal, showed that the chances of returning to normal are about three times greater among patients getting tPA in the first 90 minutes after suffering a stroke, even after accounting for tPA's potential side effect of cerebral bleeding that can cause death. But several recent medical-journal articles have found that nationally, only 2% to 3% of strokes caused by clots are treated with tPA, which has no competitor on the market.

Some authors of studies supporting the use of tPA have had consultant or other financial relationships with Genentech. Skeptics of the drug point to these ties and stress tPA's side-effect danger. But among stroke neurologists, there is a strong consensus that the drug is effective.

One reason why many patients don't receive tPA is that they arrive at the hospital more than three hours after a stroke, the time period during which intravenous tPA should be given. But many hospitals and doctors don't use tPA at all, even though it has been available in the U.S. since 1996. The dissolving agent's relatively high cost -- $2,000 or more per patient -- is a barrier. Medicare pays hospitals a flat reimbursement of about $5,700 for stroke treatment, regardless of whether tPA is used.

Airport Emergency

Glender Shelton of Houston had an ischemic stroke caused by a clot at Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 30, 2003. In full view of other holiday travelers, Ms. Shelton, then 66, slumped over, and an ambulance was called. It was 4:45 p.m.

By 5:55 p.m., she arrived at what now is called Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center, four miles away in Marina del Rey. Hospital records show that doctors thought Ms. Shelton had suffered an "acute stroke." But she didn't get a CT scan, a recommended initial step, until 9 p.m. By then, she was already outside the three-hour window for safely administering intravenous tPA. Records also say she didn't receive the drug "due to unavailability of a neurologist until after the patient had been outside the three-hour time window."

Ms. Shelton's daughter, Sandi Shaw, was until recently nurse-manager of the prestigious stroke unit at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Ms. Shaw says that at her unit, her mother would have had a CT scan within five minutes of arriving, and tPA probably would have been administered 30 or 35 minutes after that.

Today, according to her daughter. Ms. Shelton often can't come up with words or relatives' names, can't take care of her finances, and can't follow certain basic commands in neurological tests.

Kent Shoji, an emergency-room doctor at Centinela Freeman who handled Ms. Shelton's case, says, "She was a possible candidate for tPA," but a CT scan was required first. "The order was put in for a CT scan," Dr. Shoji says. "I can't answer why it took so long."

A Centinela Freeman spokeswoman says, "We did not have 24/7 coverage with our CT scan, and we had to call a technician to come in. That's pretty common with a community hospital." The hospital has since been acquired by a larger health system and now does have 24-hour CT capability.

'Parochial Interests'

A hospital-accrediting group has begun designating hospitals as stroke centers, but that is only part of what is needed, stroke experts assert. They say hospitals typically have to come together to create local political momentum to change state or county rules so that ambulances actually take stroke patients to stroke centers, not the nearest ER. New York, Maryland and Massachusetts are moving toward creating stroke-care systems, and Florida recently passed a law creating stroke centers. But in many places, short-term economic interests impede change, some doctors say.

"There are still very parochial interests by hospitals and physicians to keep patients locally even if they're not equipped to handle them," says neurosurgeon Robert A. Solomon of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. "Hospitals don't want to give up patients."

The University of California at San Diego runs one of the leading stroke hospitals in the country. It and others in the area that are well prepared to treat stroke patients have sought for a decade to set up a regional system, but there has been little progress, says Patrick D. Lyden, UCSD's chief of neurology. "Some hospitals are resisting losing stroke business," he says. "We have the same political crap as in most communities. Paramedics still take people to the local ER."

Among the opponents of the stroke-center concept during the 1990s was Richard Stennes, then ER director at Paradise Valley Hospital south of San Diego. In various public debates, Dr. Stennes recalls, he argued that many apparent stroke patients would be siphoned away from community hospitals even if they didn't turn out to have strokes. Also, he argued that tPA might cause more injury than it prevents. And then there was the economic issue: "Those hospitals without all the equipment and stroke experts," he says, "would be concerned about all the patients going to a stroke center and taking the patients away from us." Dr. Stennes has since retired.

"All hospitals and clinicians try to deliver the right care to patients, especially those with urgent medical needs," says Nancy E. Foster, vice president for quality of the American Hospital Association, which represents both large and small hospitals. "Community hospitals may be equally good at delivering stroke care, and it would be important for patients to know how well prepared their local hospital is."

Stroke experts aren't proposing that every hospital needs to specialize in stroke care but instead that in every population center there should be at least one that does. In Atlanta, Emory University's neuro-intensive care unit illustrates the special skills that make for top care. Owen B. Samuels, director of the unit, estimates that 20% to 30% of patients it treats received poor initial medical care before arriving at Emory, jeopardizing their futures or even lives. Brain hemorrhages, for example, are commonly misdiagnosed, even in patients who repeatedly showed up at emergency rooms with unusually severe headaches, Dr. Samuels says.

The Emory unit has 30 staff members, including two neuro-critical care doctors and five nurse practitioners. A team is on duty 24 hours a day. The unit handles about two dozen patients most days, keeping the staff busy. On the ward, nearly all patients are unconscious or sedated, so it's eerily silent. Patients generally need to rest their brains as they recover from stroke or surgery.

After a hemorrhagic stroke, blood pressure in the cranium builds as blood continues to seep out of the ruptured vessel. Pressure can be deadly, cutting off oxygen to the brain. Or escaped blood can cause a "vasospasm," days after the original stroke, in which the brain reacts violently to seeped-out blood. In the worst case, the brain herniates, or squeezes out the base of the skull, causing death. To avoid this, nurses at Emory constantly monitor brain pressure and temperatures. They put in drain lines. They infuse medicines to dehydrate, depressurize and stop bleeding.

Since Emory launched the neuro-intensive unit seven years ago, 42% of patients with hemorrhagic strokes have become well enough to go home, compared with 27% before. Fewer need rehabilitation -- 31% versus 40% -- and the death rate is down.

Damica Townsend-Head, 33, gave the Emory team a scare. After surgery last fall for a hemorrhagic stroke, her brain swelling was "really out of control," Dr. Samuels says, raising questions about whether she would survive. The staff put a "cooling catheter" into a blood vessel, which allowed the circulation of ice water to bring down the temperature in her blood and brain. They intentionally dehydrated her brain to lower pressure. A month later, she woke up and recovered with minimal disability. She still walks with a cane and tires easily, but her speech is normal and she hopes to return soon to work. "I consider her what we're in business for," Dr. Samuels says.

Public Awareness

The public's low awareness of stroke symptoms -- and the need to respond immediately -- can also hinder proper care. Ischemic strokes, those caused by clots or other artery blockage, cause symptoms such as muscle weakness or paralysis on one side, slurred speech, facial droop, severe dizziness, unstable gait and vision loss. People with this kind of stroke are sometimes mistaken for being drunk. In addition to intense head pain, a hemorrhagic stroke often leads to nausea, vomiting or loss of balance or consciousness. Still, many people with some of these symptoms merely go to bed in hopes of improving overnight, doctors say. Instead, they should go immediately to a hospital and demand a CT scan as a first diagnostic step.

The well-funded American Heart Association, established in 1924, has made many people aware of heart attack symptoms and thereby saved many lives. In contrast, the American Stroke Association was started only in 1998 as a subsidiary of the heart association. The stroke association spent $162 million last year out of the heart association's $561 million overall budget.

Justin Zivin, another University of California at San Diego stroke expert, says the stroke association "is a terribly ineffective bunch. When it comes to actual public education, I haven't seen anything."

The stroke association counters that it is buying television and radio ads promoting awareness, similar to ones produced in 2003 and 2004. The group also sponsors research and education, including an annual international stroke-medicine conference.

It's not just the general public that fails to recognize stroke symptoms. Often, emergency-room doctors and nurses don't, either. Gretchen Thiele of suburban Detroit began having horrible headaches last May, for the first time in her life. "She wasn't one to complain, but she said, 'I can't even lift my head off the pillow,' " recalls her daughter, Erika Mazero. Ms. Thiele, 57, nearly passed out from the pain one night and suffered blurred vision. When the pain recurred in the morning, she went to the emergency room at nearby St. Joseph's Mercy of Macomb Hospital. Ms. Mazero says that during the six hours her mother spent there, she was given a CT scan, but not a spinal tap, which could definitively have shown she had a leaking brain aneurysm, meaning a ballooned and weakened artery in her brain. After the CT, Ms. Thiele was given a muscle relaxant and pain medicine and sent home, her daughter says.

Two months later, the blood vessel burst. Neurosurgeons at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., did emergency surgery, but Ms. Thiele suffered massive bleeding and died. Ali Bydon, one of the neurosurgeons at Beaumont, says a CT scan often is inadequate and that her condition could have been detected earlier with a spinal tap, also called a lumbar puncture. "Had she had a lumbar puncture and perhaps an operation earlier, it might have saved her life," says Dr. Bydon. "In general, a person who tells you, 'I usually don't get headaches, and this is the worst headache of my life,' is something that should alarm you."

In addition, he says Ms. Thiele "absolutely" was experiencing smaller-scale bleeding in May that foreshadowed a more serious rupture. If doctors identify this kind of bleeding early, he says, chances of death are "minimal." But when a rupture occurs, he says, "25% of patients never make it to the hospital, 25% die in the hospital and 25% are severely disabled."

A St. Joseph's hospital spokeswoman says the hospital has "very aggressive standards for treatment, and we met this standard," declining to elaborate.

Determined Nurse

Paramedics did the right thing after Chuck Toeniskoetter's stroke, but only because of some extraordinary intervention. Mr. Toeniskoetter, then 55, was on a ski trip Dec. 23, 2000, at Bear Valley, near Los Angeles. He had just finished a run at 3:30 p.m. when, in the snowmobile shop, he began slurring his words and nearly fell over. Kathy Snyder, the nurse in the ski area's first-aid room, quickly diagnosed stroke. She called a helicopter and an ambulance.

Ms. Snyder says she knew the closest hospital with a stroke team was Sutter Roseville Medical Center in Roseville, Calif. The helicopter pilot was planning to take Mr. Toeniskoetter to a closer ER, but Ms. Snyder says she stood on the helicopter runners, demanding the patient go to Sutter. The pilot eventually relented. Mr. Toeniskoetter went to Sutter, where he promptly received tPA. Today, he has no disability and is back running a real estate-development business in the San Jose area. "Trauma patients go to trauma centers, not the nearest hospital," he says. "Stroke victims, too, require a real specialized sort of care."

One-third of all strokes are suffered by people under 60, and hemorrhagic strokes in particular often strike young adults and children. Vance Bowers of Orlando, Fla., was 9 when he woke up screaming that his eyes hurt, shortly after 1 a.m. on Jan. 8, 2001. Malformed blood vessels in his brain were bleeding. He was in a coma by the time an ambulance delivered him at 1:57 a.m. to the nearest emergency room, at Florida Hospital East Orlando.

Emergency-room doctors soon realized Vance had a hemorrhagic stroke. But neurosurgery isn't performed at that hospital. A sister hospital 14 minutes away by ambulance, Florida Hospital Orlando, did have neurosurgical capability. But in part because of administrative tangles, Vance didn't get to the second hospital until 4:37 a.m., more than two hours after his arrival. Surgery began at 6:18 a.m. "This delay may have cost this young man the possibility of a functional survival," Paul D. Sawin, the neurosurgeon who operated on Vance, said in a letter to the hospitals' joint administration.

Florida Hospital, an emergency-medicine group and an ER doctor recently agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against them in Orange County, Fla., Circuit Court by the Bowers family. The defendants agreed to pay a total of $800,000, court records show. Monica Reed, senior medical officer of the hospital, says the care Vance received was "stellar" and that any delays weren't medically significant. Vance's stroke, not the care he received, caused his injuries, she said.

Vance, now 13, survived but is mentally handicapped and suffers daily seizures, his mother, Brenda Bowers, says. Once a star baseball player, he goes by wheelchair to a class for disabled children. He speaks very slowly but not in a way that many people can understand. "He remembers playing baseball with all of his friends," his mother says, but they rarely come around any more. "He really misses all that."
Gee, I would, too.

Here's a list of Oregon hospital mailing addresses, and in some cases, some names of execs.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Wednesday at 7PM: May Citizens, Informed and Aware meeting Inbox

MEETING NOTICE
CITIZENS INFORMED AND AWARE
ROSE VILLA
MAY 11, 2005
7:00 p.m.

The Oak Lodge Community Council monthly CIA (Citizens, Informed and Aware) meeting will be held at 7 PM Wednesday May 11, 2005 at Rose Villa, 13505 SE River Rd.

We will have updates from the two Oak Lodge services with the highest customer satisfaction rating, libraries and drinking water.

Librarian Doris Grolbert will talk about the level of service we will have with the new County budget. She will share ways we can show additional support for our Library. Dan Bradley, manager of the Oak Lodge Water District, will update us on water issues since his last visit in January. There will be time for your questions.

Everyone is invited and questions will be welcomed. Parking is available along River Road and in the parking lot on Torbank.

Remember: Decision-makers only know what we are thinking if we speak up.

If you have questions call 503.654.2613 or E-mail Bulldogjones {at] prodigy [dot} net

Oak Lodge Community Council members: We have several land use to review following the meeting.