The Daily 750

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"Merry Christmas" Means "Aloha" This Time of Year

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Wearing one's religious heritage like the Flying Nun's habit is all the rage now. So is wearing Uggs and I don't like them either. I'm reminded of what the Queen of the VFW said -- I bet you heard it too -- whenever I wanted to do something because "everyone else" was: "If Everyone Else wanted to jump off a bridge, would you want to do that too?" This was pre-bungee jumping, obviously. I don't know what Moms say now. Maybe, "If Everyone Else wanted to smash up their IPods, would you do that too?"

Whatever your heritage and traditions, I hope you have reason for a celebration or two in this season. I wish you a VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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LNG: That's One Sticky Tar Baby!

Friday, December 23, 2005

If you're interested in the LNG issue you must make the Astoria Citizen's Journal Community Forum a daily read. Port Commish Glen Taggart is a regular writer, and today he comments on the Daily A's editorial.

On Calpine's bankruptcy presenting an opportunity for the Port to terminate its lease, Taggart writes:
The port's lease is with Skipanon LLC (not calpine). For the port to get involved would mean that Skipanon LLC would have to declare bk (which they may or may not do) and approach the port about assigning the lease. So far, they have indicated it's business as usual and they are proceding. Of course, that may all change in the future.
On the Port shopping for Calpine and on the Port's mission, he writes:
Actually, Calpine came to us and asked to lease the property. Also, our "core mission" is economic development in our area. Not specifically maritime and fish related.
On the risk inherent in Calpine's financial stability, Taggart counters:
I'm still not sure what the risk is. This project will still more than likey keep moving forward. I'm sure that if calpine doesn't have the monetary means to accomplish this project, they will bring in a partner that can. Just my 2 cents here but a project this big doesn't just get walked away from.
Taggart dismisses the fact that the project is undesired by the majority of residents:
Yes but, it's also tenable to a large amount of people who live here. Don't they count too?
Taggart swipes away as "an opinion and one may or may not share this opinion" the fact that an LNG facility would, as the editorial states, "diminsih the environmental and aesthetic values" that attract new residents and visitors.

The bottom line: Will the Port move away from the project? Taggart is sticking fast to the tar baby: "We're not at that point yet (if at all)."

Which is just the way the old story ends:
"Did the fox eat the rabbit?" asked the little boy to whom the story had been told.

"Dat's all de fur de tale goes," replied the old man. "He mout, an den agin he moutent. Some say Judge B'ar come 'long en loosed 'im - some say he didn't. I hear Miss Sally callin'. You better run 'long."

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LNG: How To Come Unstuck from the Tar Baby

Exit strategies are hard to come by these days. Here's a unique Christmas gift from the editor of the Daily Astorian.

Calpine gives the Port an exit strategy

Bankruptcy filing exposes the Port of Astoria’s lack of due diligence
The Daily Astorian editorial
Thursday, December 22, 2005

Calpine Corp.’s bankruptcy filing presents the Port of Astoria and the city of Warrenton with an opportunity to become unstuck from a tar baby.

The port’s lease with Calpine for a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Skipanon River contains a sub-sublease provision. It would allow Calpine to assign its lease to another party, but only with the Port of Astoria’s assent.

The Port of Astoria Commission and its executive director erred in three ways in November 2004 when they shopped the Skipanon property to Calpine. This deal diverted the port from its core mission of developing a group of maritime and fish-related activities on its piers.

Secondly, the port’s deal for an LNG terminal amounted to a unilateral decision to transform life at the mouth of the Columbia River, without a public hearing.

Thirdly, as we now may observe, port managers did not look far enough into Calpine’s financial data to see the risk it represented.

Proponents of the Calpine deal have pitched its assets as jobs creation and a huge addition to the county tax base. There is truth to what they represent. At the same time, however, that bargain is untenable to a large number of people who live in this region. It amounts to a fool’s bargain, because the transformation would diminish the environmental and aesthetic values that brought those people here in the first place and continue to attract tourists and residents.

Calpine’s financial fall gives the Port of Astoria a golden opportunity to shed a fractious piece of baggage. The port’s executive director and commission should recognize their good fortune in Calpine’s bankruptcy and move away from this morass.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Welcome to the first day of winter, on tap to be 10 degrees warmer than the penultimate day of fall. I mention that the rains have returned only to salve the concerns of the PETA crowd, who complained that I was gleefully shocking the cats by rubbing them during the dry spell and generating enough static electricity to power the Dell. Well, it WAS fun to see them jump. And the bright blue sparks were so festive.

Saddam Hussein is back in the courtroom and Court TV is carrying the trial live. It's a tough watch. The substance is sickening and the style is incongruous. In Baghdad, the defendants wear ill-fitting shirts and suits, and/or checkered kaffiyas that look as if they were plopped on their head just before entering the court. Everyone struggles, among other things against fear of reprisals, to do their job: the judge, the prosecutors, the witnesses, the translators. I don't know anything about Arabic: Are there really 17 Arabic words for one English word? Back in the shiny Court TV studios, Rikkidikkido Kleiman reigns with her faaaaabulously spangly LA makeover and her barely-concealed cynicism and projection of the conceit that the proceedings in the television studio are more real -- more authentic -- than those in the Baghdad courtroom. Here's the wrap-up to her segment:

GUEST: "We superimposed this, with all due respect, on the Iraqi government. That this would be allowed in any other civilized nation shocks my conscience. Witnesses can be brought in her are anonymous. Anonymous witnesses are a horror that we should not condone."

RIKKIDIKKIDO: "Your reaction is often shared by many who watch this process. Come back any time, I love to see you. Thank you so much."

Let's send Rikkidikkido and her guest to Sunnistan as a special Christmas present to learn the true meaning of "horror".

The new site isn't up yet but readers of The Daily 750 can be among the first to enjoy webstreaming of our local community radio station. Click here.

AND . . . Josh's blog has been remodeled. The paint needs some touchup but check it out.

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Extra Double Blue Cross

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

“Hello, this is Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon. You had a question about your coverage?”

“Yes. I received your letter advising that there will be a ONE THOUSAND PERCENT INCREASE in prescription co-payments for up to a 34-day supply, and wonder if that also applies to the 90-day mail-order prescriptions.”

“Yes, it does. But only for non-preferred brand medications.”

“Who decides what is preferred”

“I can transfer you to our formulary. We don’t claim that the non-preferred brands work better.”

“Or at all.”


“Can you give me the number for the administrative offices?”

“They don’t take phone calls.”

“Oh, I’m sure they do.”

“I can give you the Customer Service number.”

Okay. For a phone number, I’ll take what I can get. For a medication, I’ll get a waiver from the insurance company and take WHAT THE DOCTOR PRESCRIBES.

Let me just write this again: ONE THOUSAND PERCENT. That’s the increase for “non-preferred” brands, of which there are a lot. Where the hell is the media on this? Where are the unions? ONE THOUSAND PERCENT, fer cryin’ out loud.