Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Baby Turtle! Political idiocy! (scroll down to see turtle)

Let's start with the political ugliness. Conventional wisdom holds that such things are "important", "relevant", "newsworthy", and so on, and you know how I hate to go against conventional wisdom.

Is there anything more predictable than a "political correctness" debate? Here in Oregon there isn't a lot of stuff we're really world-class at doing, but this is one of them. The story so far: Our terminally bozotic Gov. Ted Kulongoski nominated former state Sen. Neil Bryant to the board of OHSU, the state medical school, a while back. As part of the confirmation process, he had to fill out a questionnaire, sort of like a job application for political appointees. Seems there was a field where nominees are asked to indicate any disabilities they may have, and Mr. Bryant wrote down "white/male". Perhaps this was meant as a joke (the current story), or it was a statement of genuine belief on his part. There was the inevitable public outcry, and the nomination has now been withdrawn.

So on the liberal side people are shocked that anyone could be so insensitive in this day and age, while the conservative spin is that it was a really hilarious joke and everyone ought to lighten up already, but at the same time Bryant was making an important and very serious point about the grinding oppression faced daily by middle-aged rich white male political insiders.

More thrilling blog coverage of this exciting controversy (mostly from the 'R' side of things) at: Dustbury, Rob Kremer, Jack Bog, Vonski.

I think the real lesson from this sordid episode is that we're ruled by a bipartisan tribe of clueless third-raters. Ted's a 'D', Neil's an 'R', but what really matters is that they're both part of the same good ol' boy network. These guys work the revolving door between the public and private sectors, and hand out cushy jobs to each other like candy. It doesn't matter whether you're qualified or not, and there are never any consequences for gross incompetence or abject failure. Soy Bryant seems to have figured the nomination was a done deal, so there was no reason to take the process seriously. Which suggests he didn't take the job all that seriously either. If he'd pulled the same stunt when applying to work at McDonald's, there's no way he would've gotten the job.

As for the joke itself, it's just a variation on the old "Sex: Often!" chestnut that's been around ever since employers started asking demographic questions. All controversy aside, it's a pretty lame joke. The guy would totally bomb if he ever tried doing standup.

While we're roughly on the topic, it seems the tribe's busy patting itself on the back again. The Sierra Club's given our delightful Pearl District an award for being super-duper environmentally friendly. For those of you outside of the Portland area, the Pearl is a downtown enclave of fancy condos for affluent, childless, allegedly liberal and artsy boomers. The whole thing was built with heavy public subsidies, because we all know how hard it is for rich people to find somewhere nice to live. I have to wonder how many of the local Sierra Club board members are Pearl residents. Don't get me wrong, I like the Sierra Club and everything, but this particular study is just silly. A fun game is to wander into the Pearl, find one of those precious LEED-certified green buildings, and count all the gigantic SUVs coming and going from the garage. Developers have realized that if you just give your project a tasty veneer of environmental correctness, slavering hordes of clueless yuppies will happily pony up high six figures for poorly constructed ~500 square foot studio apartments. They yearn to feel like they're part of a superior, privileged elite, and they'll pay any price, suffer any indignity, just to be told they're part of the club. Pathetic. Meanwhile, the next pyramid is already under construction, this time in the form of an aerial tram between OHSU and a tract of waterfront land where the city intends to recreate the Pearl "miracle". Rants about the tram are a local blog staple, so there's no need for me to write another. This recent one is rather amusing.

In happier environmental news, the item you've all been waiting for. The Oregon Coast Aquarium has a new baby turtle. An endangered species and everything. Let's say it together: Awwwwwww.....


just another typical "builder" said...

Wow.. you've got it all figured out don't you? Maybe you should sit on a job site for 26 months while a high rise goes up that's shooting for LEED certification and maybe, just maybe you'd understand the effort that goes into it. Not only do we have to abide by the city's guidelines, we're going above and beyond to get LEED cert which isn't an easy thing to do. I have to document and analyze the materials and methods being used for the building and make sure they meet the LEED specs and if not, adjust accordingly. The benefits of following a lot of these guidelines are astounding, especially when considered long period eco-friendly sustainability. We can't change what people drive but these people have to live somewhere and I guarantee these LEED certified buildings even at their minimum certification are greener than 99% of what's out there including the unit you probably live in now. So you can sit there on your high horse and write a blog, but there's other people out there who actually give a damn and are actually doing something about it. Like the architects and builders who change their design visions and building specs to meet LEED cert. And they're PASSIONATE about it.

You're doing a great job cleaning up the environment with these blogs.. keep it going while the rest of us with jobs actually do something while you bitch.

atul666 said...

You do realize you just replied to a post from 2005, right? Just checking.

Everybody knows construction is hard work. I'm sure doing a LEED building is even harder, and you've got every right to take pride in that. I never suggested otherwise.

The problem is that people go on like LEED will fix the world. Creating a few hyper-expensive condos for rich people is a drop in the ocean. They'll get a nice self-esteem boost, the other 99% of society will see no benefit at all, and the environment will continue to decay.

BTW, good luck with your anger management issues.