Camping at Fort Stevens

Michelle, Barley and I went camping with my recently returned parents at Fort Stevens. Despite the fairly consistent rain, we had a great time, ate well, and lost two games of Trivial Pursuit.

I inadvertently left the rain fly open on the far side of the tent while it rained, so our first night was rather wet. Both our pillows were sitting in the puddle that formed in the tent, as well as my sleeping bag. Fortunately, it was warm enough that we didn’t go hypothermic. One advantage of modern materials.

Notes in the Chiminea

Chiminea fire full of bar exam notes

Thursday night after getting the Bar results, we hit up the Hillsdale Pub for one last law school celebration. We’d been there several times over the last 3 years for celebration and commiseration. It seemed a fitting place.

Afterwards we christened the new hand-me-down chiminea with a ritual note card and subject outline burning. The notecards when quickly, but the outlines fed the fire for nearly 20 minutes. A few times flames would just out the top of the chimney, signaling that we’d put a few too many secure transaction pages on. For fun and trivia, we’d try to decipher the meaning of the crypic bullet points on random pages, none of which made any sense to anyone but Michelle. We enjoyed burning them just as much though.

Nader restricted from Oregon Ballot

Ralph Nader, possibly the only person who has displayed a lifelong willingness to fight bad companies (see earlier post), has been shunted off the Oregon Presidential Ballot this fall. I really like Ralph Nader, and really doubt that he’s a threat to John Kerry. The fact that he was a detriment to Al Gore in the first place was a very bad sign for the candidate.

I really dislike how democrats are treating someone who has done more for the causes they supposedly support for so long. And I really dislike the signature trading, name on ballot blocking, and general scurviness of both parties lately. Seems they could both use the jackass for a logo. Oooh – or better – the parts left over from the push-me-pull-you.

Ass Party

Bad Companies, Pensions, SS reform

As Oregon public employees know, the public retirement system took a nasty hit when fraudulent giants Enron and Worldcom fell. Why our public retirement fund was so heavily invested in such short-term, quick-buck companies baffles me, but none less, I really can’t expect to depend on the public retirement system if they continue to invest in bad companies.

But what are bad companies, and who are they? I suppose for starters you could look for companies that do business with rogue nations. I’m not sure how I feel about the branding, but if we as a country decide that it is illegal to do business with these folks, then we should sure as hell make sure that companies like Haliburton, General Electric, and Phillips-Conoco either stop doing business with them, or suffer the financial consequences.

A recent CBS News article looks at these companies, and points out the almost seamless connection between these companies and projects that undermine both the security of our country and breaks our own laws. I suppose the mail does get routed through an office in the Cayman Islands, but that still doesn’t make for a very sound long term investment.

And speaking of sound, long term investments, Social Security won’t work for us either. A friend of mine has been showing me regression curves and calculated returns on our SS payments, and it looks grim. Neither of us expect that Social Security will do anything for us but cost. And we’re mostly OK with that. Chris would understandably like to invest that money elsewhere. And Pres. Bush would like him to be able to do that too. And I’m not totally opposed to it either. In theory, the return would be greater if invested elsewhere, which would help pay for all those old people, and allow us to look forward to somethign. But I have these irrational fears that investing SS money elsewhere could be dangerous. Why? Because of bad companies.

Supposedly there have been crackdowns on being a bad company. Even Haliburton is under scrutiny for the time during Veep Cheney’s tenure. Something ought to come of all this because we’ll be in even worse of a pickle if we start spreading the money around and companies behave the same as they have lately. Heck – we’d be in the same shape as my public retirement fund.