The Daily 750

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Testarossas & Toilets

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Last night I dreamed that Josh and I lived in a working class neighborhood of attached brick houses with front porches, characteristic of Baltimore, four doors down from Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. I was astride my big-kid-sized plastic red Testarossa, pushing myself along with my feet (in navy blue super Keds), going up to help Nick change the sheets on the pull-out sofa, and saw Buzz Bissinger in an acutal red Testarossa parked by the curb. Buzz said, "Hey, nice day for the convertible, huh." I said, "Oh yeah. I just came back from this great ride up in the hills. Josh pulled me behind the Jag with a rope."

The upstairs Norris has been fixed. But wait, you didn't know it had a problem: for months we've had to hold the handle down for the count of three or five, depending on how impatient we are, to get a full flush. This morning I took off the tank lid and peered inside: What's that? A very, very small cube of white plastic at the bottom of the tank. Roll up my sleeve, retrieve it, toss it in the blue wicker trash basket. Flush. Flushes perfectly. Flush again. Flushes perfectly. Hmmm. Replace the lid. Flush. Have to hold down the handle. I get it: Norris's arm, inside the tank (too bad people don't have retractable arms, it would be so much easier to sleep at night) was bent so that when I flushed with the lid on the tank, the arm touched the top and couldn't lift the flapper high enough to stick for the full flush.

And that explained the very small cube of white plastic, which I retrieved from the blue wicker waste basket and put back in its place with a dollop of clear caulk, on the edge of the top of the tank, to hold up the lid just enough so Norris's arm can raise fully.

I took your suggestions about the American Standard, and also a look at Toiletology 101, and bought it some new, bright blue guts ($7.99 at Freddy's, minus $1 coupon). Stay tuned.


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Hissing and Trickling

Friday, November 18, 2005

American Standard This is my task for the day.
No, I haven't developed a dooce problem.

It's this valve, which is -- what? stuck? broken? I dunno.
valve When we flush, the water comes up through this valve and its attachment thingamijig, into the tank and then refills the bowl. American Standard. Probably even works that way in France.

We've completely ignored this valve for the entire eight years we've lived with it, and earlier this week, demanding attention, it stapled its stomach, allowing only a little tiny trickle of water through to the tank, leaving us with two choices: an hour of pipe hissing and water trickling for the tank to refill on its own; or lean over, avoiding rubbing noses with the American Standard, and turn the valve off and then on again, which returns the water to its usual pressure -- for one flush only.

Today I explore the third option: FIX IT.

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LNG: Warrenton Meeting

The Commission voted to table the vote until the next meeting, on December 15. Time to get some facts together, particularly: What were the projections and how much exactly has the Hermiston Plant added to the tax base of Umatilla County?

The post-construction, post-operational conduct of these plant operators -- in other words, the reality -- when cities have jobs and faces to protect, is the key.

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Where's the Middle Eastern Version of This Man?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Do you know this man?

This will help:

The poster says:
Vaclav Havel
Candidate of Civic Forum and Public Against Violence
For the office of President

I picked up the 1990 election poster during my first visit to Prague, in early spring of 1991. The posters were still up all around town and lives were lived through an electricity of freedom, the friction of a new democracy rubbing against the ebbing totalitarianism of the Soviet Union. There were no guarantees.

Civic Forum (OF) and Public Against Violence (VPN) were basically the same anti-totalitarian political organizations, based, respectively, in the Czech (Prague) and the Slovak (Bratislavia) parts of what was then Czechoslovakia. They've since splintered into various other parties.

On this day in 1989 the Velvet Revolution began: riot police severely beat back a group of Prague students who were peacefully protesting against the government. Daily demonstrations joined by increasingly large segments of the population led, only 11 days later, to the resignation of the Communist Party. By the end of the year the barbed wire had been removed from the borders and Vaclav Havel had been elected president by the Federal Assembly. My poster is from the June, 1990 fully democratic elections in which the citizens reaffirmed Havel's presidency.

Happy Anniversary!

Wikipedia and National Security Archives for info on the Velvet Revolution and its actors.

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LNG: Letter to Warrenton

Just faxed this letter to Warrenton. Now we await the flying pigs. :::::::

Dear Commissioners,

As residents of the small and interconnected Astoria-Warrenton community, we request the Commission deny the zoning and development code changes requested by Skipanon LLC/Calpine, and offer these comments.

A myriad of crucial, everyday issues associated with the construction and operation of a heavy industrial facility have yet to be properly addressed by Skipanon LLC (as noted by, among others, ODOT and DLCD) and, therefore, neither the Commission nor the public have had a reasonable and adequate opportunity for review and comment.

Again, we urge the Commission, at minimum, to provide additional time for proper assessment.


Cynthia Price
Joshua Marquis

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LNG: Update

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Here's the Warrenton City Manager's email address.
Thanks, Patrick.

For the gist of the letter I will send, see my previous posts on LNG. Liquid Gas is an overview. The Warrenton Vote lists important issues that have yet to be addressed. The Hermiston Plant provides only a few concrete examples of broken promises after a plant is in operation. Warren Tare is a half-baked satire about over-reliance on terrorist threats.

I'll post the final when it's written.

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LNG: Warrenton Zoning Vote Tomorrow

A week or so ago there was a packed CEDC (Clatsop Economic Development Council) meeting, with Betsy Johnson and Deborah Boone as the featured speakers. The meeting began with reports from the various CEDC groups. I can't remember the name of the fellow who gave an interesting if rather detailed report on the various successes of the Fisheries Project, but when he asked if there were any questions most of us were surprised that there was. One. From John Compere, Calpine's spokesperson, who asked if there were any "synergies" between the Port's LNG project and the fisheries. Why, yes, there are. Several. There was so much gasping at my table that I couldn't hear or understand the details of how, among other things, millions of gallons of Young's Bay water could be sucked up and create not only LNG but also the world's biggest cold storage plant for fish, which apparently we've all been wanting to build.

There was no rebuttal.

On my right sat Peter Gearin, Port of Astoria Executive Director, across from Susan Trabucco, the former Calpine spokesperson who resigned sometime around the time she and Gearin became personally involved, both smiling appreciatively. On my right were a number of people, all holding their breath and looking at each other in mortification at the pure-t gall of Compere to try and turn this meeting into an LNG referendum. We were there for Betsy and Deborah, not LNG. We had to let it pass.

Let me ask again: What major industry sits alone by itself on hundreds of acres of I-2 land?

And this: Would you rather live here? Or here?

Tomorrow, at 6:00pm, the Warrenton City Council will hold a public hearing on Calpine's request to rezone 466 acres of land on the Skipanon Pensinsula and to change the development code so that LNG imports, regassification and transfer facilities are permitted within the new zone.

The meeting will be held at the Warrenton Community Center, 170 SW Third Street.

Written comments must be received by 5pm Thursday. Drive them to the City (225 South Main Avenue) or fax them to 503.861.2351. Carol Parker is the City's Interim Planning Director.

Patrick McGee, in the Community Forum section of his website, has published the following Open Letter to the Warrenton City Commisssion:

We, the undersigned, demand that the Warrenton City Commission deny the request by Calpine Corporation to re-zone the Skipanon Peninsula. Public participation, as required under Land Use Goal 1, has been totally inadequate, due to significant irregularities that occurred prior to and during the Warrenton Planning Commission meeting of October 12, when the zoning change was recommended in a 4-to-3 vote.

Lack of Proper Notification of the Public:
Members of the public who testified at previous public hearings concerning the zoning of the Skipanon Peninsula were denied the required 21-day notice prior to the meeting of October 12, and could not, therefore, adequately prepare their testimony.

Insufficient Preparation by Planning Commission Members:
Planning Commission members said they had not had an opportunity to review all the materials presented to them by the Planning Commission staff, including letters from two state agencies (ODOT and DLCD) which asserted that information crucial to the decision had not yet been provided by Calpine Corporation. ODOT asked that a continuance of the hearing be declared until the requested information was provided by the applicant, Calpine Corporation. Recognizing that they were not prepared to make a decision, the Planning Commission, early in the October 12 meeting, unanimously passed a resolution to defer decision on the proposal to re-zone the Skipanon Peninsula.

Violation of Rules of Order:
Immediately following that action, while Planning Commission members were discussing the date to continue the hearing Calpine attorney, Mark Whitlow, approached the podium, interrupted the discussion, and insinuated himself– uninvited– into the Planning Commission's discussion. He spoke for seven minutes about how “time was running out” and strongly advised the Planning Commission to ignore the state agencies’ requests– contained in letters that the Planning Commission had not yet reviewed– for more information. Furthermore, after the public hearing was closed, and while the commissioners were deliberating, Mr. Whitlow walked up to the city attorneys sitting at the staff table, and passed them a handwritten note. The contents of the note have yet to be made public.

Lack of Fairness of Proceedings:
While Calpine attorney Mr. Whitlow was speaking, other members of the audience protested the procedural mischief. They were called “out of order” by the Planning Commission chair, and told to return to their seats, which they did. When questioned by an audience member, the Planning Commission chair said that Mr. Whitlow had been “invited” to speak, although no such verbal invitation had been made when Mr. Whitlow approached the podium. Following Mr. Whitlow's lecture, the Planning Commission, at the direction of the city attorneys, decided unanimously to reverse itself and vote on the re-zoning that same evening.

Ignoring State Agencies:
The Planning Commission, upon the direction of Calpine attorney, Mark Whitlow, chose to ignore requests from the Department of Land Conservation and Development(DLCD) to continue the hearing until Calpine Corporation complied with its request for required documentation.

No Independent Project Assessment:
Petitioners have repeatedly requested outside, independent evaluations of Calpine Corporations' proposals. To date, only industry representatives have been allowed to offer assessments. Public safety and fairness mandate that an independent review be completed before proceeding with a decision to re-zone, keeping in mind that our local communities stand to lose control of the development process once the decision to re-zone is made.

No Design Plans:
No design plans have been submitted. In fact, even the sketchiest ideas about what might be developed on the site are changed frequently by industry representatives. For instance, it is understood that plans for the proposed co-generation plant have now been scrapped, and at this point, Calpine Corporation has not revealed how it plans to re-warm the liquified gas.

In addition to the above serious irregularities, we, the undersigned, have many concerns about the general conduct of the Warrenton Planning Commission meetings. We recognize that members of the commission are citizen volunteers who are not necessarily well versed in the art of conducting public meetings. However, it has become increasingly clear that the commission members have received no training in such skills. In almost all facets of the meetings, the commissioners have been dependent on the city staff and city attorneys to “walk them through” the hearings and to advise– even direct– specific actions, such as making motions, seconding motions, even calling for votes. It is very difficult for the public to have confidence in the decisions made by the Warrenton Planning Commission when it appears that the entire process is being conducted, not by the Planning Commission, but by the city staff and attorneys, specifically at the behest of the applicant.

The recommendation to re-zone the Skipanon Peninsula for use by the liquified natural gas industry carries significant public safety, economic, social, and environmental consequences. Once the decision is made to re-zone, our communities will lose the ability to maintain local control over the development of the Skipanon Peninsula, and indeed, the mouth of the Columbia River. Our elected representatives must inform themselves, and the citizens, of the consequences of such industry before any re-zoning is accomplished.

These 25 and many other witnesses to the July 13 and October 12, 2005 Warrenton Planning Commission Meetings

Fred White
Marilyn Carney
Dorothy Martin
Tom Duncan

Rose Priven
Denny Page
Cheryl Johnson
Peter Huhtala

Nancy Brock
Ted Messing
Deborah Donnelly
Bob Goldberg

Susan Skinner
Lori Durheim
Jan Gregor
Samantha Duncan

Jay Kiddle
Josie Peper
Jennefer Smith
Jocelyn Heller

Karin Temple
Sue Zerangue
Del Carney
Robert Clark

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hello, Clatsop Crud. Goodbye, brain. And LOOK AT THAT SKY. I'm going to ask Josh to come home for lunch, place me in the wheelbarrow, tuck in a fluffy blanket, and push me around in the sun.

PS later: No, the Crud is neither an STD nor a weather phenomenon. It's a fold, a clu -- that thing between a bad cold and the real flu that starts with a throat on fire and a feeling elsewhere that you had WAY too much to drink last night. You can take the warning and work through the head fog to get the necessaries done today -- clean the cat boxes, buy toilet paper and soup, gather the recycling, wash a load of laundry, answer a few emails, wash your hair, call your mother -- or you can go without and let it all rot for the next week because after today, you won't give a damn.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

They've already converted us. The very fact that we now use the phrase "intelligent design" when we mean "creationism" was half the battle.

Renee Mitchell: Don't watch Next on MTV.Renee's the newest Metro columnist for the Oregonian and in today's paper she's seduced, sensualized and, mostly, shocked by liquor ads that are -- yep, seductive, sensual and (I guess, if you just woke up from 1976) shocking. She notes Bacardi and Chivas but not the latest one by one of the creamy liqueurs. The setting: a party, with actual adults -- maybe so old as in their 30s. Man pours the velvety cream over ice cubes in his glass. There's one drop left in the brown bottle. He looks quizzically down at the woman languishing on the couch below the bar. She nods agreement. He aims the bottle. She tilts back her head, opens her mouth, awaits the cream. The drop is on its way. Another man sits on arm of couch and catches the drop in his own glass. Laughs all around. Whew. It almost came.

But that's just a hint of what or who's to come. Has anybody else see MTV's Next? One person, girl or boy, sits in a limo that's followed by a bus with five members of whatever sex the person in the limo likes to date. Short and not-so-sweet process of elimination follows. Not sure about the ages; one girl said she was 19. MTV's casting call for a show about brothers who think their sisters are "hot" and want to find dates for them says that the girls should "appear to be between the ages of 18 and 24."

One batch of bus girls introduced themselves like this:

Girl #1: "He's gonna pick me 'cause I'm boo-tee-li-cious." And then she rubbed her poked-out thonged cheek bottom and ran a finger down the inside of the string. And then she said, "But mostly because I really like to suck cock."

Girl #2: Don't know. Girl #1 made me blind and deaf.

Girl #3: Still deaf. Saw extremely large breasts and lips sucking a finger.

Girl #4: "Because I know just how to kiss his, um, head."

Girl #5: "I grew up on Tootsie Pops, baby."

I am now officially too much of an old codger to watch MTV.