Thursday, November 30, 2006

Everybody hates their cellphone company, right?

Want out, because reception's become awful, or because only company "X" has that nifty new mobile phone you want?

New websites, including
Resellular and
now help customers get out of contracts with cellular companies without paying the (excessive) termination fee designed to lock you in to their company. Contracts loophole let folks escape those contracts if another person will assume, take over, the contract, and a credit check induces the the wireless operator to approve the new subscriber. There's a fee (said to be $15-$50 as per today's Wall Street Journal), but it's a lot less than what the cellular carrier charges.

That story also noted
47% of cell customers would switch or consider switching cellphone companies if early-termination fees were abolished, according to a July 2005 survey by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. However, because of the fee, only 3% of customers go ahead with terminating the contract, the survey found.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Biodiesel finder is a new service which shows you your closest biodiesel pump, with hours of operation, payment terms and address. It's even accessible from cellphones as long as text messaging is enabled. Here's today's list of pumps within 25 miles of the 97222 zipcode (apologies for the ham-handed map mashup, thanks to Google for Google Maps); right-click to save the map on your computer so you can see it in greater detail. I'm printing this out to keep in my Jeep Liberty Diesel, as bio burns cleaner and lubricates the engine better than dino-diesel.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

[National] They Just Don't Get It

"In Bob Sherwood's seat [in Pennsylvania] that would have been overwhelmingly ours if his mistress hadn't whined about being throttled," said Mr Norquist. Were there any lessons from the campaign? "Yes. The lesson should be don't throttle mistresses."

Throttling. As in attempted murder by choking. Yah, that's the kinda guy the GOP should send to the Congress.

Now, Mr. Norquist does not speak for the GOP directly, but he surely is a Fellow Traveller with those who do hold the reins. It's folks like him who have me wondering; should I become a Blue Dog or a Progressive?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

[National] The Never-Ending Orwellian Emergency

Remember, remember, the fifth of November...

So you feel that the United States is in the same state of 'national emergency' that it was in a few weeks after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks? Is today's national and global atmosphere of such similarity to those dark days that legislative and executive branch contingencies designed to deal with imminent violence should continue unquestioned? The President would have you believe so.

However, some problems are real, and other 'problems' are convenient to those who would lead the sheeple.

Haven't the actions persons who 'commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism' always been a threat to the United States? So, what's new? They have been, they continue to be, and will always be a threat, and while not wanting to diminish the seriousness of such threats, I wonder what other possible reasons for branding them with the title of "National Emergency" might be in play.

The powers of a President during a period of declared emergency are incredible, and can include the suspension of rights such as habeus corpus, which protects against unlawful imprisonment, and the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids the use of the military against U.S. citizens. Other possible powers which can fall under the umbrella of 'national emergency' include the declaration of martial law and the seizure of property and possessions. The introduction of a 1973 U.S. Senate report on emergency powers stated the following about the powers of a President during a time of declared emergency:
"This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal constitutional processes. Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November Oak Lodge area community meetings

Many thanks to Dick Davis for this November 2006 Calendar of Public Meetings.
Note: Meeting times and places may change, so data should be confirmed in advance.

Wednesday the 1st
9:00 AM Board of Commissioner’s M37 Hearing in Board Hearing room at PSB.
7:00 PM Traffic Safety Commission meets at SSC.

Thursday the 2nd
9:00 AM Land Use Hearing at Sunnybrook Service Center (SSC), 9101 Sunnybrook Blvd.
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly Board meeting at PSB.
6:45 PM C-4 meets at PSB.
7:00 PM NC12 School board meets in Board offices.

Saturday the 4th
10:00 AM The County Elections Division at 825 Portland Ave. in Gladstone will be open until 2:00 pm for voters who wish to pick up or drop off ballots, have questions answered, etc.

Tuesday the 7th
7:00 AM Elections Division at 825 Portland Ave. in Gladstone will be open until 8:00 pm. Sixteen other alternate ballot drop locations are shown here.
8:30 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.

Wednesday the 8th
6:00 PM Oak Lodge Sanitary Master Plan Advisory Committee meets at OLSD.
no Citizens, Informed and Aware meeting.

Thursday the 9th
9:30 AM Board of Commissioner Hearing at PSB.
10:15 AM Land Use Hearing at Sunnybrook Service Center (SSC).
6:00 PM North Clackamas Parks and Rec District Advisory Board meets in WES offices at SSC.
6:30 PM Bike/Ped Committee Open House addressing the Pedestrian Network at SSC.

Monday the 13th
6:30 PM Planning Commission meets at SSC.

Tuesday the 14th
no Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
5:00 PM MTIP Listening Post discussion of transit projects at the Pioneer Center in Oregon City. See more about MTIP here.
6:30 PM Oak Lodge Sanitary monthly Board meeting at Board offices.
7:00 PM North Clackamas Planning Assoc. meets at Bilquist School.

Thursday the 16th
No Clackamas County Commissioners weekly Board meeting.
9:00 AM Land Use Hearing at Sunnybrook Service Center (SSC).
7:00 PM NC12 School board meets in Board offices.

Monday the 20th
11:30 AM Public Safety Appreciation Lunch at New Hope Church sponsored by N. Clackamas Co. Chamber of Commerce.
7:00 PM Fire District No. 1 Board meets at Fire Station Six.

Tuesday the 21st
8:30 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
7:00 PM Oak Lodge Water district monthly Board meeting in District offices.

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

Tuesday the 28th
8:00 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
7:00 PM Jennings Lodge CPO meets at Homewoods Heights.

Wednesday the 29th
9:30 AM Board of Commissioner’s Land Use Hearing in Board Hearing room PSB.

Thursday the 30th
9:00 AM Land Use Hearing at Sunnybrook Service Center (SSC).
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly Board meeting.
1:00 PM Board of Commissioners Planning meeting location TBA.

Note December 1st is the last day for Letters of Support for MTIP funding to complete the Trolley Trail. See more about MTIP here.

Oak Lodge Sanitary's Master Plan information presented at the Open House is available on the web.

[National] Energy Dependence

A recent New Yorker article notes a puzzling stance by the Bush Administration against energy independence, more than once. For the wonks among you, here's an explanation of the original issue:

A distribution transformer, much, say, like an elevator, is easy to ignore until it malfunctions. Its unromantic job, in most cases, is to take the high-voltage current transmitted over the grid and convert it—or step it down—to the lower-voltage current that emerges from a wall socket. There are an estimated three million distribution transformers in operation in the United States, and virtually all the electricity produced in the country—some four trillion kilowatt hours per year—passes through at least one of them en route from the plant where it was generated to the heating element in your toaster. Along the way, some energy is inevitably lost, and even though proportionately these losses are small, when you’re talking about four trillion kilowatt hours they quickly add up.

Last month, more than fourteen years after Congress mandated transformer standards, the Bush Administration finally got around to proposing them. (The original deadline was missed during the Clinton Administration.) To prepare the proposal, the Department of Energy assessed six possible levels of efficiency, ranging from the highest, known in bureaucratese as Trial Standard Level 6, to the lowest, Trial Standard Level 1. According to the department’s figures, the ideal balance between the up-front costs and the long-term gains was achieved at Level 4. Nevertheless, the department turned around and recommended a much lower transformer standard, Level 2. The decision obviously makes no sense on environmental grounds—in effect, the department is proposing to squander some twelve billion kilowatt hours per year, or roughly enough electricity to power all the households in Iowa—and also no sense on financial ones: the D.O.E.’s own analysis shows that the net cost of the lower standard will actually be higher over the life of the average transformer, which is estimated to be thirty years. The proposal leaves "billions in savings just sitting on the table," is how Steven Nadel, the executive director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, put it to the Christian Science Monitor.

Energy dependence seems to be a priority, where it shouldn't.