What’s Wrong With American Healthcare
Oct17

What’s Wrong With American Healthcare

The recent Ebola cases have demonstrated  major problems of the “best healthcare system in the world”.  It is not so much the government but for profit hospitals. If you  want an example you have to look no further than Florida governor Rick Scott and his former company Hospital Corporation of America. The United States is not ready for Ebola and the Dallas hospital is only one example. Here is an example: My wife is an ER...

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Plunging Oil Prices
Oct14

Plunging Oil Prices

To get the WTI oil price, please enable Javascript. Oil prices have been plunging.  This is bad news for many oil exporting nations. The biggest energy story in the world right now is the collapse of global oil prices. And for major producers like Russia or Iran or even Saudi Arabia, that’s unsettling news. How bad is it? One good place to start is with this excellent chart from The Economist looking at the...

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Oregon Election
Oct13

Oregon Election

It is a given that Oregon is a very blue state.  The Republican will win the Congressional district in the Eastern 2/3 of the state but the Democrats will win the state wide offices and everything else.  As usual Oregon has several ballot measures which is what is really interesting. 86: Amends Oregon Constitution to create fund for Oregonians pursuing post-secondary education; authorizes debt to finance. I will probably vote yes on...

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Another Weekend Photo
Oct12

Another Weekend Photo

This is  Laetiporus sulphureus also known as chicken of the woods because it does indeed taste like chicken.  It must be cooked and don’t harvest it from a eucalyptus tree because at best it will make you very sick and at worst kill...

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Weekend Photo
Oct11

Weekend Photo

Fall and Winter frequently come on fast here in the Pacific Northwest and this year is no exception. Three weeks ago we had our last 90 degree high temperature and the last 80 degree day was less than a week ago.  It rained last night but the real rain is due next week with over a foot of snow expected in the mountains.  That means it’s fungus...

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Book Review – There’s A House In The Land
Oct09

Book Review – There’s A House In The Land

TMV columnist Shaun Mullen has written a great book for those of us who came of age in the 60′s and 70′s – There’s a House in the Land: (Where a Band Can Take a Stand) It was a troubled time  because of the Vietnam war but also a magical one because of the response of people like Shaun and me.   The book is about a house not a commune in 1970s Pennsylvania where a group of eclectic individuals live most of...

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The End Of Lotus 123
Oct06

The End Of Lotus 123

One of my first experiences with PC programs was Lotus 123.  As a scientist and engineer it was a blessing.  Originally I used it on a pre-Windows DOS PC and was often a pain in the you know what but it still made my job much easier.  I can say the same for the pre – Windows word processor WordPerfect.  Well 123 is on it’s way to the software grave yard. So farewell 1-2-3. It may not have been the first computer...

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A little Late But A Weekend Picture
Oct05

A little Late But A Weekend Picture

Here is a Ron Beasley original: ©Ron...

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Mt St Helens
Sep29

Mt St Helens

When I was going to college in the late  60′s the head of the geology department predicted that Mt St Helens would erupt in his life time – he was right.  In may of 1980 a massive eruption occurred which took the life of a dear friend of mine.  The mountain has been quiet for several years but that may be changing. Mount St. Helens shows signs of reawakening And 5 miles below the volcano, there are signs that the magma...

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The Poetry Of Nature
Sep23

The Poetry Of Nature

I live in  NW Oregon.  July, August and early September is the dry season.  It’s raining this evening and it’s poetry.  It’s not a heavy rain but a moderate one which is music to my ears.  There was more poetry today thanks to the really obnoxious  screechy of the Stellar Jays who were fighting each other for food to lay away for winter – this too is poetry.  The same can be said for the Pacific Gray Squirrels...

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ALEC (Updated)
Sep23

ALEC (Updated)

Update: Add Facebook to the list. The American Legislative Exchange Council has been around for over 4 decades but it really became powerful after the 2010 elections when Republicans gained control of state legislators.  ALEC represents everything that that populists like Theodore and Franklin  Roosevelt opposed.  Just yesterday Google announced it was leaving the organization: “The facts of climate change are not in question...

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L. E. Modesitt, Jr. and Science Fiction Morality Plays
Sep20

L. E. Modesitt, Jr. and Science Fiction Morality Plays

The morality play is as old as literature itself.  One of my favorite Science Fiction authors is L. E. Modesitt, Jr.  In his Parafaith Novels he asks the question when is OK to destroy a planet and kill billions of people to save billions of people in the rest of the universe.  In his novel Gravity Dreams he asks how much freedom are we willing to give up for social stability.  He takes on the issue of of social inequality in in his...

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Isaac Asimov
Sep20

Isaac Asimov

When I was in high school all so many decades ago I received this huge volume of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy.  I devoured it like a hungry lion and read it many times.  A couple of decades later when I was in my my mid thirties Asimov wrote three sequels and a prequel which proved to be more rewarding than the the original trilogy.     I have just finished reading all seven novels again the brilliance of the late Issac...

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Fall Picture
Sep18

Fall Picture

I don’t really have much to say so how about a picture.  I woke up to the sound of rain this morning.  Not really enough to do any good but the first wet pavement in 3 months.  The relief will be short lived – more desert dry east winds and temperatures in the 90′s this weekend.  Here is what I’m looking forward...

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Undoing the Tyranny of Political Parties
Sep16

Undoing the Tyranny of Political Parties

Here in my state of Oregon most municipal and local elections are already non partisan.  Oregon’s ballot measure 90 will carry that to a new level if passed in November.  As an unaffiliated voter (Independent) I have not been able to participate in the primary elections.  I am part of at least  a third of Oregon voters.  I have no illusions that this will make third party candidates more viable but it will make it possible for...

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Weekend Photo – Fall
Sep13

Weekend Photo – Fall

Even though it is supposed to be in the upper 80′s or low 90′s today there is little doubt that the feel of fall is in the air.  As I write this it is the mid 40′s here in the Portland area and I was thankful that I put my down comforter on my bed when I washed the sheets yesterday.  I for one am ready for Fall.  We have not had measurable rain since June and have had over 70 brush fires in the last 2 days in the...

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Obama’s Coalition Of the Unwilling To Actually Do Anything
Sep12

Obama’s Coalition Of the Unwilling To Actually Do Anything

The more I think about President’s Obama speech last night the more upset I become.  Secretary of State John Kerry was in Saudi Arabia today and the most they offered was moral support.  The same applies to Germany and Great Britain and the attitude of Turkey is especially disturbing.  The reality is the United States is probably less threatened  than any of the the countries in the Middle East and Europe.   They continue to...

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The President’s ISIL Speach
Sep10

The President’s ISIL Speach

I would have to describe tonight’s Obama speech as  clueless.  I’m not really criticizing Obama because there are really no answers here.  The area is a mess.  In 2013 uber hawk John McCain met with ISIS leaders and said we had to support them  to overthrow Assad while in 2014 he was inferring we had to support Assad to defeat ISIS.  Support for the so called “free Syrian army is a real Don Quixote moment –...

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Pet Bloging
Sep08

Pet Bloging

In the early days of blogging Friday was a day to do pet blogging.  As near as I can tell this has rarely been the case at TMV. When I was growing up we had both a cat and a dog  and I must admit I never bonded with either of them.  After at returning from 3 years in Germany  I volunteered at the local Zoo’s raptor program.  It was strange, I had a way with birds and even those that could hurt me didn’t.  I eventually got...

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Demographics and the Suburbs
Sep07

Demographics and the Suburbs

I grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.  Within walking distance of my house were 4 grocery stores, including a small Safeway, a variety store, a hardware store and several restaurants.   When I became a family man myself I moved to the suburbs and none of those things were within walking distance.  Not a problem then – my family had 2 cars and we could drive when necessary.  This Washington Post article...

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