Where Do My Readers Come From?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me?

Well. Well. Well. Look who is turning 40? That is correct my loyal readers. I am turning 40 years old tomorrow or today for those of you who are reading this tomorrow morning or this morning but I am writing this on Sunday night which is the 29th. My birthday is on the 30th. Now that we have that all cleared up.

So where do I begin? This has been quite the year. I graduated from Western Oregon University in June with a B of S in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy. I was super happy to get that done. I really enjoyed being in school and I liked the process of both doing research and writing papers about my research. I got involved with Model United Nations and school and eventually was the President of the club. I also really enjoyed that. I enjoyed going to conferences and speaking in public about what ever topic was at hand. So in the long run school was a really really good thing for me. What has not been so good is the amount of money I now owe in school loans. I went to a state school so my loans are even less then some. I hope I can pay mine off someday.

Let us see... Oh I also was married at this time last year. I never expected to be divorced. I never expected to be divorced at 40 years old and living alone. Well not totally alone I have two ferrets and a hamster. Maybe I shouldn't tell people that? But anyway, I am 40 years old and newly divorced and really at a crossroads in life. I am not sure what to do with myself. I like my job I find it interesting to be able to put things on the ballot and to let voters have a say in the democratic process. I like to think that I am helping the common man. I am also hoping that my work can help to make Oregon a better place in the long run. I hope that is the case down the road.

But as far as life outside of work? I am not sure what the future holds for me. I enjoy the blogging. I do not know if what I say or write down has any worth to other people but I enjoy doing it. Who knows maybe I am inspiring the youth. But all that to say. I am going to continue to blog and I am not really sure what form it will take. The political blogging bores me after awhile and I am not sure if me throwing my random thoughts out there is actually of any interest to people. But I am going to continue doing that I write with out a plan and I am crazy like that.

So look out readers!! I am not sure what to look out for but LOOK OUT!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hot off the Press: Sizemore running for Gov.

I am surprised today. I just learned that Bill Sizemore is running for Gov of Oregon again. Some of you may recall that he ran in 1998 against Kitzhaber and was creamed.

Please read below

Bill Sizemore

I am just wondering what he is thinking. I am frankly amazed by this.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday (I'm Back)

Good Morning everybody, it is Monday and I am back on the train. I had an interesting week because I had a sick ferret and I was supposed to be giving him medicine in the form of an eye drop every six hours. Because of the nature of that schedule I felt like I needed to take him to work with me. So we drove in. Overall it was not horrible though one day there was a car fire in Lake Oswego/Tigard area and that really gummed up the works. So while it was nice to drive and have the ability to get home a little bit earlier then the usual. I do not think that the trade off was worth it. I much prefer the relaxation of the train and the ability to blog as we travel.

The debate is starting in the House on the Health Care bill so I think it is going to be interesting to see what comes out of this. I personally do not think that the democrats have enough votes to make this pass. I also think that the insurance companies are to entrenched and have to much at stake to allow this to pass. That is all my personal politics aside. I just think that the amount of money that is at stake will make it a little hard or the bill to get through. I had a friend tell me this weekend "that 97% of bills that make it to debate pass." But as usual with this friend who gets the majority of his news from Fox television and mainly Glenn Beck he was unable to tell me where that particular quote came from. He also just assumed it was valid. It may will be. But I always find it funny that he will throw out numbers but then is not able to tell me where they come from or who said them.

Speaking of Glenn Beck. He unveiled his "100 Year Plan" this weekend and I am going to be writing some about that as the week goes on. I found some of his ideas pretty interesting so I hope I can dig a little deeper into that and unpack it so we can see what it means and what he thinks its effects will be.

I am also looking forward to Thanksgiving even though this will be the first one in the last 8 years without Nicole. I imagine it will be at times both sad and happy. I will have a good chunk of my rather large extended family there and that is always a good thing. I hope she is able to have fun however she decides to spend it. In fact this whole holiday season is going to be an odd one and a substantial change from last years when everything seemed to be going so well. But I guess you never can tell what people or thinking or planning even if you think they are being honest with you about the future.

All that being said I hope we all have a good short week and I am looking forward to writing and to discussing some things with all of you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sick Ferret

Hey folks. I just wanted to give a quick heads up to my few loyal readers. I have a sick ferret that will be riding to work with me because I have medicine that I have to give him every six hours. So my posts are going to be pretty spotty for the next week or so. I will check in now and then but do not expect daily updates.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday, Nov 11 2009, (Veterans Day)

I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to the men and women who are serving and have served in Americas military. I have both family and friends that have served and are serving in different areas of all the branches and all personal politics aside these people are doing an extremely hard job. It is a job that frankly many of us do not want to do. But I feel that with the world being what the world is there is always going to be a need for some form of military or defense force or what ever term we want to use for armed people to protect us from the possibility of invasion. That being said I am putting a video below it is by Terry Kelly and it is about the Canadian Military but I think it is honoring to the military men and women all over this country. Please take a moment and view it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Afternoon

Well I am sorry you are sick Joel. I hope you feel better soon so that we can discuss the whole Dairy bailout issue. I think it is an interesting one and one that has some more validity given the way the fed has been throwing bailout money around.

I saw a poster on the MAX today for United Way and it said "Advancing the Common Good" , I thought that was a very interesting phrase. Now I know the idea of a Common Good is often used with a socialist position behind it. But I think that the whole idea of living in a society means that when the common good is advanced then we are all better off in the long run. I think for a lot of people the problem comes in when they feel like they are being forced to make that choice for the common good as opposed to choosing out of their own free will.

I just like the way that the phrase sounds "Advancing the Common Good". I hope that I can do just that with my life.

Tea for Tuesday.

I am shocked not one response yesterday. I guess people do not like dairy. I love a nice glass of milk or some Tillamook extra sharp cheddar cheese. But, I guess I am in the minority. I am not surprised by that. When you think at the extremely high level that I do you become used to being ahead of the masses.

Oh sure people get upset with me but that is because they do not understand the intricate nature of my thought process. The failing lies with them not with me.

Nothing much of interest with me today the radio seemed preoccupied with the Fort Hood memorial services and the motivations of the shooter. That is not a bad thing at all. I just did not find it really interesting to write about and I do not think I could add anything to the conversation. I will say this I think the US military may have to rethink some of their actions concerning Muslims serving in the military. At some point enough of these attacks and some of these actions start to constitute a pattern.

I am not wanting to debate the rights and wrongs I am just saying that when things began to happen on a regular basis then some sort of pattern starts to develop.

I think today is one of those days where I take a little nappy nap on the morning train. So I bid you good by.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday Afternoon

I am starting a little experiment. I am going to try to blog in the afternoons on the way home as opposed to just reading my book. I hope to respond to any comments or questions that have come in about the mornings post. But, if no one has made a comment or asked a question I may just free write or address something that I heard at work or on a topic that I am finding I was not able to really dig into in the morning session.

Today the main topic of conversation at work was the season finale of Mad Men. I will not go into specifics since I know that I have readers who are not caught up on it. But I felt like it wrapped the season up very nicely. It answered some questions I had as well as setting things up nicely for next year. I am really looking forward to it. In fact I think I may go home and start at season 1 and work my way through it until the beginning of season 4. Though I am sure I will finish all of the DVDs before the beginning of the next season.

The House passed the health care bill this weekend and one of my friends posted this response on his face book:

"YES! The House passed the Healthcare Bill the other day....One step closer to the Republican dream....outright taxation of the poor because of their poverty..."

I found this to be an interesting response. While I am well aware that he has his tongue firmly planted in cheek I know that he is a Republican and is firmly opposed to any form of governmental health care. So I am not sure if he is seeing an end result from this that I am not getting or what.

Other then that today was pretty light at work. The circulaters turned in their sheets and we verified some signatures. Oh today was also the day that the Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago. To put that into some kind of perspective for the younger readers of which I believe there are precisely none. The Internet was not a must have house hold item then and the wall fell primarily due to the grass roots efforts of the people in East and West Germany literally risking their live to actively tear down the wall. It was a pretty amazing event in my lifetime.

Well that is all for today. I hope I can continue this process and that the end result will be one I can be proud of.


It is Monday morning and we are back on the rails again. There were some very interesting stories on the radio this morning. The most interesting thing for me has to be the economic issues of Oregon Dairy Farmers.

According to oregonbusiness.com the dairy industry in Oregon has been struggling since the financial crisis drove down dairy prices last fall. The article notes :

"The average price paid to Oregon dairy farmers in 2008 was $20.11 per hundred pounds of milk; the average for 2009 to date is $10.94. Most farmers need prices in the $15 range in order to break even."

Those are some pretty amazing numbers to me. That is a 50% drop in price in the space on one year. The article goes on to note that when dairy was selling for $20.11 many farmers bought more cows and increased operations but the substantial drop in price is forcing many of them out of business. A farmer in Rickreall is quoted as saying that he is losing between $6,000 and $8,000 a day, totaling $1.2 million so far in 2009.

What I find most interesting about this is that this farmer and some others across the country are calling for more price regulation to stop the cycle of boom and bust. I know that I have readers on both sides of this issue. I have one reader in particular who works within the dairy industry and I want to hear peoples thoughts on this issue. The way things stand right now there is what the article called a modest bailout coming for the industry from the federal government of $290 million in direct payments and $60 million to buy cheese.

That does not seem modest to me at all. I guess the question for me is since the precedent has apparently been set for bailouts is this not even something to worry about. Or are bailouts for agriculture a completely different issue and one that should be encouraged since it is a food and health issue? I am not sure what to think. I realize that the basic issue behind the price drop is that when prices went up farmers increased productivity and caused a glut in the market and that glut caused a price drop which is now forcing farmers out of business because they are still paying off loans they received while trying to capitalize on the price hikes.

So can we expect a new price hike once this glut goes away? Are we better off forcing a static price of say, $18, or is it better for the market and the country as a whole to ride the waves of boom and bust?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Freaky Friday

Boy oh boy, I had an unpleasant drive this morning. A storm came roaring in from the coast and while it was moving east at a good clip it felt like I drove through the center of it on the way to the train station. I had the wipers on full blast and just sheets of water on the road and flying off of my and the other drivers tires. I am glad to be sitting on the train. It looks like it is letting up now I just hope it will be a little less stormy on my drive home.

Sad news yesterday about the shootings at Fort Hood. I am not going to say anything about the supposed motivation of the shooter. I do not know and we may never truly know why this happened. This is not the first time something like this has happened and it will not be the last time. The one thing that it does for me is make me realize that while my problems may seem pretty huge and emotionally debilitating to me. I am still alive, I am still relatively healthy and I have the majority of my family around me. I hurt for the families of the slain. I hurt for the family of the shooter. The questions going through every ones mind with no answer must be truly maddening.

To go through life is hard enough without people hurting each other. There is so much pain on a daily basis and this incident just serves to highlight that we need each other. That we need to surround each other and prop each other up through times of unrest and violence. We are all humans and deserve the same dignity that we want to be treated with.

I realize that I am rambling here. There is a lot going on inside my head today. I hope everyone has a good day and a better weekend and I to see you all here on Monday.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thirsty Thursday

Good morning folks, I am sorry I was unable to write yesterday we are in the process of moving offices at work and I needed to drive in.

That being said on to the topic at hand. Which is? I read an interesting article on another blog that I read now and then called Blue Oregon. Now Blue Oregon is a very liberal blog and centers primarily around issues within Oregon though they do address some national issues as well. There was an article last week about how Portland needs to be more diverse.

I found this interesting because it generated a large amount of comments about how bad Portland is and how there needs to be more diversity amongst its population. But I think people are missing the point completely here. The article was focused on African American diversity and the amount of African Americans in Portland is about 6% of the total population. It does not take into account the large number of Asians, Hispanics, and Europeans that live in Portland. That in and of itself is a problem for me in the article.

But I think the biggest problem for me is the idea that the diversity of a city can some how be artificially controlled by the people who live there. My first thought was how are the residents of Portland supposed to attract people. Even more how are they supposed to attract the right kind of people for the diversity that the author obviously wants? This is the article.

I do not think you can manufacture diversity and Portland and the Pacific Northwest in general is not an area that has ever attracted a large African American population. In fact I believe that the majority of people who have moved here came during WWII and were working in the shipyards. That as a matter of fact is how my family came to be here from North Dakota.

What are we going to do, start busing people in so that we can raise the diversity level to a healthy 15%? Or is that not high enough. Would it be even better if we could attract an African American educator who wants to start an African American University here? It just seems to me that only in a city like Portland would there be a discussion about how not diverse enough they are and how can we manufacture something artificially that really should not be manufactured.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tee-rific Tuesday

Lets jump right in. I heard on the radio this morning that Warren Buffett purchased Burlington-Northern Railroad for 44 Billion dollars. I found that pretty interesting news. The announcer said that Buffett has always been interested in companies that produce things people need. He owns Dairy Queen and companies that produce underwear and sell diamonds and steel. When it is put in those terms it is pretty obvious to me how he has made so much money. I am sure there are lots of intangibles when it comes to making money but he sure seems like he has a good handle on what makes money and what doesn't. When asked about the purchase Buffett said, "It's an all in wager on the economic future of the United States."....."I love these bets."

Another thing of interest this morning was that the announce said that the trains have always been a early warning system for the state of the economy. He said that three years ago the freight business started to fall off right before the recession hit and now it is starting to grow back. It is going slowly but it is going. So that was good news. But what I found most interesting was the fact the President Obama has said that he wants to pursue a high speed rail system here in America.

As all of my regular readers know, I am a huge fan of the rail. I think America made a huge mistake in the years following World War II in not building a rail system that moves passengers at a high speed, the naysayers will tell you that it is not cost effective and that it moves to slow. But I would argue that while that can be said and is true of todays rail system, that building a system that moves people up and down the I-5 corridor would in the long run help out the state of Oregon and probably help out the USA as well. I think ultimately traffic would ease up and traffic easing up on I-5 would benefit all of us. But for the train to work it is going to have to be a generational thing and could take several years for people to get into the habit of train riding. But once they do there weould be a steady flow of riders coming from Salem and beyond into Portland to work and be entertained.

It is going to be interesting to see what happens in the future with transit and population and the cost of gasoline. If the cost of fuel continues to rise then I am sure that we see more credence given to the idea of a high speed train system. I for one certainly hope that is the case.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mundane Monday

Good Morning Oregon and the world!! I hope everyone is well this Monday after Halloween. I had an absolutely great drive this morning. While it was partly foggy there were areas where the sun was breaking through and those areas were very nice looking. Traffic was light and seemed to be flowing along nicely and overall it is shaping up to be one of those nice November days that are cold and clear. These are the kind of days that makes it nice to be an Oregonian. All of you who are not from here I would recommend that you come visit. But, please do not move here. It is hard enough trying to get the Californians out of here.

I mean really, I understand that California sucks but pick a different state. Maybe Arizona the weather is more your speed and it is so warm the the ladies wear much less clothing then they do here. It also gets dark and rainy here for a good 9 months out of the year. Oh it is horrible the people who were born here are all pale and hairy with a winter mane. Why just last week I saw a gentleman with a rain coat on and shorts underneath it. Now I ask you what person would want to live in a state like this. There are brewpubs on nearly every corner and the only thing that there appears to be more of then the brewpubs is the coffee houses. I do not mean the dreaded corporate dragon Starbucks either there are actually genuine locally owned coffee houses. I am pretty sure that Starbucks is like Kentucky Fried Chicken, I think they put a substance in their coffee to make you crave it fortnightly.

I have managed to avoid their evil by growing and refining my addiction to the beans of Java. The beans that give me life and intellect. Why just the smell of that freshly brewed cup of coffee is enough to begin to clear the fog from my mind. Then as the coffee crosses my lips and flows over my tongue and down into my gullet its true power is released. The transfer of energy begins and the coffee gives me its gift.

"Thank you Lord of Coffee, thank you for the power that you have given me today." Wait, what's that you say? I will need more coffee tomorrow and probably the day after that? Stronger doses? What does that mean? Soon I will be drinking black coffee like some kind of longshoreman. I highly doubt that. What would the point be if I am unable to add sugar and some cream to it? It does not even taste that good. That will not matter to me. I really doubt it. Oh, my head will hurt so much that I will dump the coffee into a glass and pour hot water over it so that I can get it into my body faster. Why, that doesn't make any sense. I would stop enjoying it. Oh, but I will not stop drinking it because my life will have no pleasure if coffee is not in it.

"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the Beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion." (stolen from unknown source with apologies to Frank Herbert)

They sell coffee at the train station. I will get a cup there. Just to keep my hands warm of course. Just to keep my hands warm.