Trump: The Energy Star

Scott Pruitt, newly-appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, made a career out of suing the EPA. When not working to ban abortion and same-sex marriage, Pruitt, as Attorney General of Oklahoma, filed thirteen lawsuits against the EPA. It’s only fitting that our current president put the climate-change denier in charge.

With so many headlines, the proposed change to the Energy Star program has not received much attention. “Proposed change” meaning elimination.

You are probably familiar with the Energy Guide label that tells what it will cost to run your new refrigerator. The program costs about $50 million per year. The EPA estimates that it has saved Americans $362 billion in energy costs since its inception in 1992. The Energy Star program also rates hotels, condominiums and office buildings on energy efficiency, information of interest to prospective buyers and lessees. In 2014 alone, building owners saved $7.6 billion on energy costs.

The Energy Star ratings are on a scale, from bad to good, of 1 to 100. In case you are curious about how Trump-branded properties rate, CNN has put together a handy chart.

610 Park Avenue (formerly the Mayfair Hotel) 1
Trump Park Avenue 7
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago 9
Trump International Hotel & Tower New York 12
Trump Place, 160 Riverside 14
Trump SoHo New York 16
Trump Palace 19
Trump Place, 140 Riverside 22
Trump World Tower 31
Trump Parc 42
Trump Tower 48
Trump Parc East 52
555 California Street (formerly Bank of America Tower) 69
1290 Avenue of the Americas 70
40 Wall Street 90

A Tough Month for Alex Jones

If you are not familiar with Alex Jones, you are fortunate. Mr. Jones is a venomous, right-wing, spittle-spewing, hate-radio host.

He counts our current president among his fans. If you feel an urge to be slimed, he’s easy to find on YouTube or his fetid web site

Oops… wrong Alex Jones

In the midst of a contentious divorce and custody battle – his ex-wife contends “He is not a stable character.” – Jones contends he is simply a performance artist. He is really a nice guy, not at all like his public persona.

Now the nation’s largest yogurt maker is suing him. Chobani, a major employer in Twin Falls Idaho, has filed suit claiming that Jones and InfoWars published “false statements, including the false accusations that Chobani was ‘caught importing migrant rapists’ and that Chobani’s plant has brought ‘crime and tuberculosis’ to the Twin Falls community.” Chobani is a major employer in Idaho and welcomes refugee immigrants.

If Alex Jones’s media empire crumbles, maybe a position in the Trump administration will be made available for him.

Portland Has Henry Huggins

There has been some – not a lot, really – agitation for the city of Portland to erect some kind of monument to The Simpsons, the long-running television program and brainchild of Portland native Matt Groenig. After all, many Simpsons characters are named after Portland streets.

The local Willamette Week newspaper used Santa Rosa California as an example. Peanuts characters are inescapable in any part of the adopted home of Charles M. Schulz. The information booth at Santa Rosa’s airport, the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, is a reproduction of Lucy’s “Psychiatric Help 5¢” booth.

Portland has already honored another native literary icon with statues of fictional characters. You may be familiar with the Henry Huggins series of books. The Multnomah County Library’s central location houses its children’s book in the Beverly Cleary Room.

The adventures of Henry and his dog Ribsy found in their neighborhood have entertained several generations of young readers. Henry and Ribsy live on Klickitat Street in northeast Portland. (Present tense, because they are still alive for readers.) The sisters Beezus and Ramona Quimby reside down the street. The Library periodically sponsors walking tours of their neighborhood.

Henry and Beezus and Ribsy live on in sculpture, frolicking in Grant Park, near Klickitat Street. (The movie Mr. Holland’s Opus was filmed at Grant High School.)

A couple years ago, the Laurelwood Brewery, based in northeast Portland, was selling their product from a booth at an outdoor concert. They were promoting a seasonal brew, Klickitat Ale. I asked if that was what Henry Huggins drank. The server looked at me as if I was an alien being speaking an unknown language.

Cindy Walker Lives On

“I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down’.”  – Bob Newhart

Ray Benson, front man for the venerable country-swing band Asleep at the Wheel, introduced the band’s next song with some background about its composer. The tiny Texas town of Mexia boasted two celebrated women, he said: Anna Nicole Smith, infamous 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year and Country Music Hall-of-Famer Cindy Walker. Benson went on, explaining that the song was written by a lady from Mexia, “The one with the big… er… hits!”

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Border Conflict

A number of the bridges spanning the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon have or did have tolls. The toll booths are/were on the Oregon side, leading to the inescapable conclusion that Washington cannot be trusted with the money.

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