Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Party time @ Solo Dec 6th

Sweet news: Benny Benassi comin' to town December 6th!!

W00t!

Northwest Tekno's got the scoop.

Tickets.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Driving in the snow..

Considering that Meadows has already opened - way ahead of the normal season - and we're getting cold weather, we very well might get some snow this year!

Just ran across this old youtube video - and its got me pumped! I remember living in the NW neighborhood in Portland and breaking out the snowskate/snowboards/skis when we actually got some snow on the ground. Great times!

But don't drive.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sustainability experts?

Ok... sounds good!

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1194929715161420.xml&coll=7

A great speech




One of the strongest, most powerful running speeches I have heard - probably since Clinton.

He offers an excellent rundown of the issues he is focusing on:

  • withdrawal from Iraq
  • healthcare for Americans
  • climate change
  • dependency on oil
  • rolling back bush's support of torture and the chiselling away of our civil rights
  • cooperative leadership

But his progressive, not reactive, stance is exactly the kind of leadership the Democratic party needs - nothing from Hillary or any other Democrats over the past 7 years has filled me with any confidence that we would be able to think itself out of a paper bag, let alone outmaneuver Bush or any other Republican.

No, Obama offers the promise - and displays it well on stage and in many interviews - of his unrelenting passion and pursuit of what is right and needs to be done (ie, 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emission). I believe Hillary has just taken the wrong boat in the wrong direction in her adoption of the Bush Administration's policy stance.

Many have argued that his lack of experience in politics makes other candidates better qualified... but in fact I believe that not only does his record refute the charge that he is incapable of leadership, but that he will bring a freshness to our party that is currently decaying and withering away. The Democratic party has just been hunkering down and moving to the Right as it has been capitulating to Bush and the Republicans.

Anyways, now that the House and Senate are both majority Democrats, why do we need to follow the lead - or even compromise - with the right-wing wackos? We'll have control over the House, Senate, and presidency - sounds like a slam-dunk win for the American public to me.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Flashback 1994

Saw this on the Portland Mercury's blog... so hilarious! Takes me back to the days when I first got online as a kid (circa '95). The guys that made this are geniuses.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Groundwork for Iran war?

Just ran across this piece of amazing work:

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate passed the Lieberman-Kyl amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill last month by a 76-22 vote. The amendment, which calls for the use of "military instruments" to "combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities" of the "Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran," is viewed by many as a call to arms against Iran. Democratic presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton voted for the amendment, while fellow senators and presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain chose not to vote at all. Oregon's Sen. Ron Wyden voted against the amendment.



Anyways, So basically Hillary and all the republikons want to nuke Iran... alright! Sign me up! Oh darn, I'm too old now. :(

The most ironic part of this is that most Iranians love America and our culture (go figure...), and there continues to be a secular movement that just won't go away. While it is by no means on par with Turkey, Iran is a Republic - and with the majority of its population under the age of 30 and infatuated by the US, one would think a better pro-democratic strategy for Iran would be to encourage these youths - it won't be too long before they're running the country. Free Britney Spears DVDs for the kiddies?


Anyways, great stuff! Almost as good as the vote in September by Congress to condemn Moveon.org for criticizing (gasp! Free Speech?!) General Petraeus. Something about this just reminds me of ancient Rome... and yes, our Senators are just as spineless (brainless?) as they were during the Roman Empire.

Oregonians, take note for which Oregon Congressman voted for it: Peter DeFazio, David Wu, Greg Walden (an R), Diane Hooley (another R).

The big Blue and Wyden voted nay (cheers!)

Monday, November 5, 2007

hell freezes over!

Unbelievable news - the Senate just passed a 6-year, $11 billion funding package for Amtrak! Compared to the paltry $1.3 billion Amtrak received last year - and contrary to Bush's plan to break it apart and force privatization - this new plan gives Amtrak about $2 billion a year to play with. This is the first time in many years that Amtrak is being provided with multiple years of stable funding - and without the threat of politicians trying to kill the organization. And, considering that last year 25 million people rode the rails - using one of the most energy efficient forms of transportation available, this is going to be one of the key methods to mitigate environmental damage from transportation.

However, it might help to keep things in perspective - the 2006 federal transportation funding levels broke down to $40 billion for highways and $14 billion for the airlines - so this is just a drop in the bucket. However, it certainly has the potential to be a jumping-off point for expanding passenger rail service in the US, much like we have seen with the resurgence of light-rail urban transit systems in the US (something like 30+ cities have light rail under planning or construction, whereas 10 years ago only a handful of lines were operating.).

The interesting thing is that Amtrak is going to be focusing primarily on the intercity rail corridors that have proved so popular over the past decade - city-to-city travel, such as the Northwest's Cascades (Eugene - Vancouver, BC) and California's ever-popular Pacific Surfliner (San Diego - San Luis Obispo). Both of these routes are medium length, 467 miles and 350 miles, respectively, and have enjoyed steady growth in ridership over the past decade or so. In fact, the Pacific Surfliner has the second-highest ridership levels for an Amtrak route outside of the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak's Acela high-speed rail line (DC - Boston).

Unfortunately, unlike Acela's electrified and heavily-urbanized corridor, most of the rail lines in the rest of the country connect disparate locations, oftentimes rust belt cities with dwindling populations (Detroit, Cleveland, etc), or urban-sprawl oriented low-density metropolises (LA) that are much harder to serve with a centralized point-to-point system. On the other hand, statistics speak for themselves - even Los Angeles, the King of Cars, has major plans for rail transit. At the same time, Puget Sound has established its ultra-popular Sounder commuter rail system, and Portland will be opening its Wilsonville - Beaverton commuter rail line in 2008.


The longer-distance Amtrak trains give riders unique - and incredibly beautiful - perspectives on the vast interior wilderness of our country that few get to see from the Interstates. Hopefully these lines won't be put on the chopping block and will be preserved for future generations to experience - even if they aren't very useful for transportation.

Of course, when I heard about the news, my thoughts turned to Europe and my experience riding the rail systems that they have - long established with dedicated lines, conducive transit-friendly land use patterns, centralized stations, and massive investments in dedicated high-speed trunk lines (the Chunnel ride was particularly notable). However, as depressing as it is to compare the US to Europe, Japan and other industrialized nations, it probably won't be too long before we're investing billions and billions into new infrastructure projects - California's High Speed Rail project just got a shot in the arm recently, and the proposed HSR lines to Vegas and Florida still live on in someone's dreams.

And we can't just let France have all the fun!



Thursday, November 1, 2007

Voted!

Trick or vote!

There's always a first time for everything - in this case, made it down to the Multnomah County Elections office before the dealine, did the always-required address change, filled out the ovals and dropped off my ballot.

This was perhaps the simplest election on record - it didn't even require the Mercury's comprehensive voting guide to tell you how to swing!

Such a novel idea - I'll have to do it next time!