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May 25, 2008

Nina on the Esplanade

-Patrick S Lasswell

An authentic replica of Columbus' flagship Nina is docked in Portland until June 1st, 2008, so Mrs. Risk, the Risk Dog, and I went to take a look.

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A fine caravel, the replica Nina was built in Brazil. Modern conveniences, like auxiliary diesel power, allow the ship to be crewed by only six.


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The crew keeps her clean and ready for visitors. A living museum should be as authentic as possible, but the bow was clearly not being used as a head. Purists can wallow in their own stench, and often do.


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The ship's boat showed no signs of use, but was in excellent condition. The entire craft was made of select Brazilian hardwoods and is in a lot better condition than Columbus ever saw.

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An authentic horizontal windlass, for raising the anchor. Wisely unused, with a real load on, this mechanical monstrosity would kill you for looking at it funny in heavy weather.
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The ship is American flagged and follows Coast Guard safety requirements. Members of the crew were pleasantly patriotic, thanking some nearby soldiers for their service.


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After touring the Nina, Mrs. Risk, the Risk Dog, and I went for a jaunt on the Eastside Esplanade where these flowers were in bloom.


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Somebody hiding in plain sight behind layers of punk. I wonder if anybody was under all that effort to display. Mrs. Risk smelled her mob coming.


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Cycling on the Esplanade is very popular.


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These two guys were having a grand day out.


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This family appeared to be having enforced fun. "Do you know how much this cycle cost? Keep peddling!"


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The Willamette is running cold from fresh-melted snowpack, so none of these punks was bathing. Pity.


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No alcohol is permitted on the Esplanade, which is why the punks above are drinking their beer on the bank of the river, away from the rigors of the nanny-state.

May 20, 2008

Spring Flood of Voting in Oregon

-Patrick S Lasswell



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Oregonian voting in Pioneer Courthouse Square



A record turnout of 38% of all ballots were already cast in Oregon by noon on Monday, as the only all vote-by-mail system in the nation swung into action a day before the actual election. Ballot boxes in downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square were in heavy use during the lunch hour. This was the first primary in decades where Oregon’s (pronounced Or-eh-gun by locals) voters have impact on the national resulted in unprecedented registration. So many last minute registrations were submitted that many voters are receiving two ballots, only one of which will be counted.

Oregon’s (pronounced Or-A-GONE by twits) unique vote-by-mail system is made possible by a strong culture of independence. In the last decade voters have voted overwhelmingly for strong death with dignity and against same sex marriages, issues on opposite ends of the liberal-conservative divide. Most tellingly, Oregon voters get irritated over issues that are rammed down their throats in undemocratic ways. In the last year Portland Mayor Tom Potter’s attempt to change by fiat the name of Interstate Avenue to honor Cesar Chavez without a vote was derailed by community activism. The kinds of voter fraud rampant in Wisconsin and Illinois in 2004 are much less tolerated here because political machines would be ground up by irritated voters. The initiative and recall were invented in Oregon, and citizens here hate getting their power subverted by authorities.


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In Portland, even the dog's ears skew left!

How this will play out for “anointed” Democratic nominee Barack Obama remains to be seen. The black community in Oregon is less than 5%, smaller than the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community that has been largely ignored by the Obama campaign. Barack Obama has yet to be interviewed by a gay newspaper (of which Portland has two), an omission that could be costly in Oregon’s thriving GLBT community.

Read the rest on Pajamas Media.

May 19, 2008

Forensic Researcher on Appeasement Fraud at the Seattle Times

-Patrick S Lasswell

My good friend Andrew Nisbet who puts corporate frauds in jail professionally is an extremely accomplished man; Vietnam Veteran, scholar, poet, fencer, community activist, Republican Dead-Head, raconteur, and judge of fine whiskey to name but a few of his attributes. He also suffers from a severe form of dislexia that prevents him from writing without great difficulty and frustration; so when he takes the time to write, I know it is something important. Last Friday's infamous opinion piece in the Seattle Times inspired him to write the following.

Having read all eight paragraphs of this op-ed and its addenda, a few printable comments seem called for. The story of the Munich Conference of 1938 is not the story appeasement. The story of appeasement, in Europe begins with the failure to enforce the disarmament clauses of The Versailles Treaty against Weimar Germany. Once Hitler had come to power we have the failure to prevent German rearmament, the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, the lack of affective opposition to the Italian conquest of Abyssinia, the Peace Ballot of 1935, the remilitarization of the Rhineland, the lack of action following the attempted coup in Austria, the failure to act after the assassination of the primer of Austria, the failure to act before or after the annexation of Austria, the ineffective response to the Italian and German intervention in the Spanish Civil War and then there was Munich. Hitler had made his goals clear in word and deed since his emergence in 1920 but his speeches, his actions and the complete failure of any concessions to change his goals were all ignored and Czechoslovakia was betrayed. Was it ‘unreasonable’ to hope that eighteen years of speeches and actions might have been taken into account? It is a cruel irony that opposition at almost any of these points might have caused Hitler’s fall from power and prevented World War II. Indeed, the German General Staff attempted to get the British and French to block Hitler at Munich so they could remove him from power. It would be nice to think that the German occupation of what remained of Czechoslovakia ended appeasement but this was not the case. Britain and France did not meet their commitments to defend what was left of the Czech state. During the Polish crisis of September of 1939 the cry went up, ‘do you want our boys dying for Danzig?’ Chamberlain, three days after German tanks rolled into Poland remarked, “Up to the very last it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful and honourable settlement between Germany and Poland.”

In Asia the record of the attempts to appease Imperial Japan is just as lengthy and just as bleak.

Now can we learn anything from this beyond, Hitler was a bad man? There are four fairly obvious lessons.

* You can not negotiate reasonably with someone who is not prepared to be reasonable.
* What people say they want is at least an indicator of what they will attempt to do.
* What people have done in the past is a predictor of what they may do in the future.
* Concessions mistaken for weakness make it harder, not easier, to negotiate.

Maybe these points have no use in understanding how you must think about negotiations with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, but I have the feeling that few people other than Mr. Ramsey will find this to be the case.

Since the Seattle Times does not have the courage of their own convictions enough to post fact that is contrary to their fantasy, I sought permission to post his remarks here.

May 02, 2008

Portland May Day 2008: Kinda Tired

-Patrick S Lasswell

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Astroturf abandoned. After the march started this stack of signs was left behind after the circus moved on. Is it sacrilege to leave Obama signs on the ground, or just sloppy management. Maybe next time they'll invest a few bucks on a table to keep their gear out of the dirt.
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Plenty of dogs at the march. This guy needed a hug.
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This fellow tried to carry off some signs to distribute, but there were a lot of leftovers. A lot of money went into a march that did not have a lot of support.
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Surreality abounds at the Portland May Day March. Angels looking over Big Brother's shoulder.
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Sleeping through the revolution. With protests in the background, some people just wanted to take a nap in the sun.


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This Old Guy was out for a walk. Portland is very fond of dogs.


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Television reporters looking for something relevant, or important, or any source of ratings. Univision reporter on the right.

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Somebody else does not get to go walkies. But he gets to go!
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Pretty horses and a cute cop.
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Zooming in on the cute cop and her very aware equine.
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Al Qaeda is certainly inhuman in their actions, but don't their victims have human needs? Your logic is not like our Earth logic.


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Longshoremen strike to stop the war, except only two of them showed up for the march in a major west coast port. Where are your fellows? And exactly how open is the ILWU to immigrant labor? No hypocrisy is complete without Longshoremen.

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Back home the Risk Dog was awaiting my return. So I left the fever swamp of incoherence and returned for dinner.

UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin and Rand Sindberg for their kind links.



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