Monday, February 28, 2005

US watches Canadian travellers in Canada

Start with a news story at
Uncle Sam's steely glare
Since 9/11, U.S. and other foreign security agencies have had access to private details of Canadians. With the help of the federal government, the U.S. appears able to track Canadians wherever they travel.
I feel outraged that folks in their own country are getting abused because of some MOU (and as an emergency services volunteer, I have a nodding acquaintance with their proliferation nowadays).

Then, I watch DIRTY WAR, and wonder if turning the Useful Idiots of government loose, with a list of folks who might be part of a CBRN threat, isn't such a bad idea, considering how easy it is to smuggle nuclear materials and just how broke the nuclear workers of the former Soviet Union (not just Russia) are.

All it would take would be one anomic "nuke" (US Navy slang expression for nuclear worker) or "glowworm" (emergency services equivalent term) to get royally mad about his family's poor living conditions, crapticular health care or his loss of social staus since the Glory Days of the Evil Empire ended.
Evgeny goes nutter and smuggles out a canister of Cs-137, or worse, past a drunken, passed out security guard, and sells it to his mate Abood, who knows a guy who knows a guy....
A month later, there's a chain link fence around downtown Portland, and no one can go back there for decades, not to mention hundreds to thousands of people who are now walking dead, waiting weeks-months-years to die.

Is personal surveillance, if implemented intelligently with oversight and better checks and balances, rational? Or shall we let a thousand Chernobyls bloom for the sake of our civil liberties? How long will the lumpenproletariat give a hoot about those civil iberties after Fenway Park gets 'dusted'?

The thought scared me when I first read SOLUTION UNSATISFACTORY, and it still does. But, since we seem to be living in IF THIS GOES ON, other things worry me, too.

Footnote: But, then Canada's Useful Idiots are adequately equipped to harass their own citizens without our interference, so I feel better now.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ballot Measure 3-164, continued

Here's an overview from the Oregonian Wednesday, and several responses in Thursday's Op-Ed pages, as well as my earlier posting.

One thing sure smells funny in the Oregonian story: The district's pre-screening of public information only to the rich.
Critics and a board member said the district's recent practice of charging fees in advance -- in one case more than $1,100 -- before processing public records requests discourages people from seeking information.

The interest in Oak Lodge's public records is linked to a March 8 election to decide whether the district will merge with Clackamas County's wastewater treatment system. Opponents of consolidation are seeking more information about the proposal and how much Oak Lodge has spent on the effort.
One thing's clear to me: If you hide something behind a wall of fees, it may be worth hiding. Maybe we could ask the District to re-read John 3:20-21, then reconsider the fees?

Remember, as Spike said in Buffy 6:19, "Change happens... if you make it."

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Health depts. said unprepared for a crisis

Health depts. said unprepared for crisis
Wednesday, February 23, 2005 · Last updated 12:02 p.m. PT

ATLANTA -- More than three years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, many state health departments are not prepared for a crisis, a government official said Wednesday.

Fewer than one in four states can respond 24 hours a day to alerts from hospitals about patients who may be suffering from biological or chemical attacks, said William Raub of the Department of Health and Human Services. Many states still have not reviewed laws and rules for quarantine, he said.

And many states are not able to immunize large groups of people from an emergency government supply of lifesaving vaccines, said Raub, the department's principal deputy assistant secretary for public health emergency preparedness. He did not specify which states lag behind.

"Preparing for catastrophic events almost guarantees readiness for lesser - and possibly more likely - challenges," said Raub, who spoke at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health conference. "Improving performance will be the key."

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, states have been expected to be prepared for a wide variety of crises, from natural disasters to attacks with biological weapons. More than 90 percent of states have met U.S. goals of having at least one epidemiologist in every metropolitan area of more than 500,000 people, Raub said.

Last month, the private Trust for America's Health released a report saying that the nation is struggling to develop plans for public health emergencies. The report said states that routinely deal with hurricanes and other natural disasters seem to be better prepared than
others to handle bioterrorism.

Florida and North Carolina received the highest marks, while Alaska and Massachusetts had the lowest marks in the group's study.

- 30 -

The Trust for America's Health study (linked, above) shows Oregon as spending $16.28 per capita yearly, 26th of the states, and above the state average of $14.93 per capita yearly. However, that does may mean we meet the recommended objectives for preparedness, something I have not yet researched.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bird's eye view of the Falls


The Emporer Has No Social Security

Curious to see what current privatization would do to your retirement? Here's a calculator to show you. Senate Democrats bespoke it, so consider the source, but I've seen nothing so clear from any other party debating the issue.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Clackamas River Water cancels merger with Rockwood Water PUD

Steve Mayes writes in yesterday's OREGONIAN of County Commission approval to form a new agency for Clackamas River Water:
OREGON CITY -- Clackamas River Water's plan to restructure got the blessing of Clackamas County commissioners Thursday, and the district now can take steps to protect its customer base from surrounding cities.

The district has been concerned that annexations by Happy Valley, Damascus, Gladstone or a new city that would include Oak Lodge could nibble away at the district. That would reduce the number of retail customers to cover operating costs, and possibly lead to rate increases.

To avoid that problem, Clackamas River will form a water authority, giving it legal protection against losing customers.[snip]
A public hearing before the county commission is scheduled for 10 AM on April 7. If more than 100 voters oppose changing from CRW from a water autority to a water district, the proposal will go to the ballot (presumably in May, alongside 3-164, the Oak Grove sewer merger), else the commission will approve it without further input.

Now, this memo from a meeting of August 4, 2004 suggests a District, under ORS 264, is not subject to franchise fees assessesd by cities, whereas an Authority (under ORS 450) is... so your water bills could go up under this proposal. Districts use at-large representation to elect its five commissioners; Authorities can have five to seven commissioners, but each would represent a specific area within the Authority boundaries. A city could also under specific circumstances, dissolve an Authority, which seems to be an inferior form of organization. Hmmmm.

CRW was said in that document to have 38 employees to serve an area with 51,800 people and 28,000+ voters, billing 12,800 customers with rates higher than Sunrise, Gladstone, the Oak Grove WD and Milwaukie, and it provides water to the latter two.

The Friends of the Clackamas River (sorry, no web link found, but here's a contact from this list) seem to have been tracking this issue, and have been vociferous about CRW issues in the past.

Friday, February 18, 2005

ACLU opposes fairly silly bill with good intentions

SALEM (Michelle Cole, The Oregonian, 2005-02-18)-- Six months after a man was convicted of sexually abusing their 3-year-old daughter, a Beaverton-area couple discovered the abuser was out of jail and living a mile from them.

The girl's parents turned to their legislators for help. The result is House Bill 2050, which would prevent a person convicted of sexually abusing a minor from living within three miles of the victim while under state supervision.

Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, who is sponsoring HB2050 along with Sen. Charlie Ringo, D-Beaverton, said the proposal would benefit more than one family.

Uhh... this kind of perv has 90% repeat, or 'recividism' rates, which shows they're pretty strongly driven to break the law. The Law, clearly, is not enough to stop them. With a map which shows a 3 mile no-go zone, can't said perv use a straightedge and pencil, and find where their obsession now lives?

On this one, the ACLU, which has a history of selectively editing the Constitution in order to keep their squishy funding base happy, is right; this is a Bad Law.

Give the abused a CCW permit and a special permit with a bag limit of one perv, and I guarantee you this problem will be solved, quickly.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

It's New Gas Furnace Time! Your experience appreciated.

1,900 sq ft split level CBS ranch, circa 1964, with a flaky natural gas furnace.

Time to replace it. Currently, have a Lennox Conservator III G16, Model: G1603/4-100-3, Input: 100,000 BTU/Hr, Air rise: 35-65 F, and ducting to match. Only have 5,000 sq ft of lot, and drilling is not practical, so practicality of a ground source heat pump doesn't seem to be there.

BTW, the available cost data right now from the first dealer's bid shows recovery of the higher furnace cost won't be possible within fifteen years, by which time we will likely be out of this house.

The optimum solution seems to be a 90% furnace, as over ten years it looks less expensive than the 80% also proposed. Data, transposed from a spreadsheet, follows.

If you have recently replaced your furnace, would appreciate hearing how you did it and what you learned. The comment link (in green at the end of this item below) is open! Thank you kindly in advance for your on-topic remarks. Sales droids will be spaced, out the airlock, ga-WOOSH!

Dealer estimate
Gross price
Oregon & NW Natural rebate
net up front cost
finance cost
total furnace cost
est yearly fuel cost
5 year cost
10 year cost
15 year cost
(All figures in current dollars)

Dealer estimate for REPAIR
Gross price = $1,560
state rebate = $0
net up front cost = $1,560
finance cost = $0
total furnace cost = $1,560
est yearly fuel cost = $840
5 year cost = $7,320 (assumes re-repair every 5 yr., same cost)
10 year cost = $13,080
15 year cost = $18,840

Dealer estimate for REPLACE W/ 80% EFFICIENT FURNACE
Gross price = $ 2,600
state rebate = $0
net up front cost = $2,600
finance cost = $7 on balance we can't pay for immediately
total furnace cost = $2,607
est yearly fuel cost = $735
5 year cost = $6,282
10 year cost = $9,950
15 year cost = $13,625

Dealer estimate for REPLACE W/ 90% EFFICIENT FURNACE
Gross price = $3,400
state rebate = $200
net up front cost = $3,200
finance cost = $49
total furnace cost = $3,249
est yearly fuel cost = $653
5 year cost = $6,516
10 year cost = $9,733
15 year cost = $13,000

Dealer estimate for REPLACE W/ 94% EFFICIENT FURNACE
Gross price = $4,700
state rebate = $550
net up front cost = $4,150
finance cost = $116
total furnace cost = $4,266
est yearly fuel cost = $626
5 year cost = $7,393
10 year cost = $10,405
15 year cost = $13,533

Ballot Measure 3-164: End Oak Grove/Milwaukie sewage treatment, pump it all to Oregon City

Todays's Oregonian describes May's Ballot Measure 3-164, intended to lower sewage treatment costs by a yet incomplete plan to (courtesy the Oregonian):
close Oak Lodge's plant as well as the Kellogg Creek treatment plant in Milwaukie. All the sewage would be sent to the newer Tri-City Service District plant in Oregon City.

The plan calls for expanding the Tri-City plant and building a new sewage delivery pipeline from Milwaukie to Oregon City. County officials want to build the pipeline beneath the proposed Trolley Trail between Milwaukie and Gladstone to get both projects done in one construction job. Trolley Trail work is expected to begin in 2006.{snip}

Ballots are scheduled to be mailed to Oak Lodge voters Friday.
Unfortunately, there's nothing at the County elections web site about this mesaure (although it has improved greatly since last visiting it in November). It should be noted they're not required by law to post anything about ballot measures.

Also, there's nothing directly about the election at the site for the Oak Lodge Sanitary District, although the seminal studies are available for download there. If you feel directly adddressing the ballot mesasure on line is a good idea, you may call them at (503) 653-1653 to ask.

I will be happy to provide a forum here for well-tempered discussion of the issues for all sides.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Land of the free(er)-than-most

Here's a purportedly faithful english translation of a comic book, printed in Mexico for Mexicans who wish to informally visit the Land of the Formerly Free. Nice to know somebody still likes things here.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

New York, New York, That Marryin' Town..

This blog post
explains the lowest level of state court for New York City (oddly, named 'Supreme Court') has declared state law against same-sex marraige is unconstitutional. Appeals to higher state courts there are likely.