Dinner in Lents?; A Cake-Based Bubble; Banker Bonuses

Steve Novick

As truly obsessive readers of BlueOregon will recall, some months ago I added my voice to those of the Lents residents opposing the Beavers-ballpark-in-Lents-Park idea. I also said that, since I was opposing Randy Leonard's idea for Lents economic development, I felt compelled to do something for Lents myself. I pledged to have dinner there four times a year. I confess that I've only done so twice (once with Randy himself, naturally). So I need to rack up two more before year's end. Anyone want to join me tonight? If so, please let me know how to reach you to arrange details. Warning: I really should be phone banking for Measures 66 and 67, so if you say yes, expect to be recuited to phone bank yourself at a later date, to alleviate my guilt.

While we're on the subject of food - if you have not read this piece about an eight-year-old's creation of an economic bubble based on a mythical cake, you should. It's hilarious - and frighteningly similar to what happened on Wall Street over the past decade.

Speaking of which, Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Reid, will you PLEASE PLEASE get on the ball and impose a 50% tax on banker bonuses like Britain just did? You gotta do something tangible to let the American people know that you know that it is not okay for these guys to wreck the economy and then go back to business and bonuses as usual. And Paul Krugman likes the idea.  

Oh, finally, please note that our own David Sarasohn wrote the "Modern Love" column for the New York Times last week, and Peter Ames Carlin's new book on Paul McCartney was reviewed by Suzanne Vega in the Times this week. Not a completely glowing review but still - he was reviewed in the Times!  As long as they spell your name right, that's a good thing. Of course, Oregonian writers expect that kind of national attention - Jeff Mapes' book on bicycle transportation politics was reviewed by David Byrne (yes, THAT David Byrne) in the Times earlier this year. (Hell of a book, too. I confess I have not read Peter's book yet, but I will; I don't care what Suzanne Vega says about it, what does she know?) 


  • Nick Christensen (unverified)

    Would love to join you for dinner in Portland's most awesome neighborhood, but I've already bailed town for the holidays. I'm sure you can take a rain check until 2010.

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    no I can't! I have to do 2 dinners THIS YEAR!

  • MeghanH (unverified)

    But where in Lents does one eat? (Just El Pato Feliz? or have you discovered some other gems?)

    Have you tried the El Nutri Taco truck on SE Woodstock around 84th Ave? I hear it's fantastic (from a friend in the restaurant biz.)

  • Garry Egan (unverified)

    "Speaking of which, Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Reid, will you PLEASE PLEASE get on the ball and impose a 50% tax on banker bonuses like Britain just did? You gotta do something tangible to let the American people know that you know that it is not okay for these guys to wreck the economy and then go back to business and bonuses as usual." - Comrade Novick

    I know Progressives view taxation as the solution to most problems. But this case makes me laugh. Do you honestly think this will change things? I wonder if the bonuses will be 50% BIGGER than they would have been w/o the tax thereby equalizing the returns..? These people have enormous power - a 50% Tax law is like shooting a BB Gun at the problem.

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    Can't join you tonight--but if you email me I can probably swing an evening next week.

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    So what qualifies as "dinner"? Why not schedule two in a row on the same night and invite someone who doesn't have any dough to eat one of them.... Just thinkin' out loud... :)


  • Adam503 (unverified)

    My Grandma Vayo used the word "dinner" in place of the word lunch, and "supper" in the place of "dinner."

    Grandma Vayo says consider your noontime meal options.

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)

    The Cliff notes version:

    Expect to be recuited to phone bank yourself at a later date, to alleviate my guilt.

    [add lots of positive Portland references]

    This is going toward the twitter #bom67count tally.

    Linguistic note: all nouns are frauds. When you create a verb, from a noun, where a perfectly good verb exists, the motivation is fraud. Check out Chuck's post. He's senior lecturer on the subject.

    One assumes these are M67 friendly approved establishments, a la Paulie?

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    Ooh, sounds fun. Like pho? I'd be happy to stroll from my house to a local joint if we get done working in time. And oh, yes, I'd be happy to get roped into a 66/67 phone bank.

  • Ricky (unverified)

    Are you really that lonely that you need to solicit companionship online for dinner this close to the holidays?

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    Ricky - good question - I think I could drag somebody out there through one on one requests but I thought this way I might get a big crowd to Lents, fulfilling the economic development goal.

  • zull (unverified)

    Banker bonuses only? How about on any bonus over a million? As far as I'm concerned, CEOs of any corporation who brag about taking home a "1 dollar a year salary" then supplement it with a 5 million+ dollar lottery winner style bonus need to be brought back to reality. Ah, but with populist rage mainly against the bankers as a result of the bailout, I suppose it would be easier to single them out. They probably deserve even more taxes taken out of their bonuses than 50%. Still, I hate to discriminate, what with how many folks have been laid off as a result of job offshoring and massive job reductions in every industry...and how that's led to intense need for unemployment benefits and ongoing economic stimulus. A lot of CEOs in a lot of industries artificially boosted their stocks with "reductions", and those people were forced to turn to the system to stay afloat. It's more indirect, but they've hurt us all as well in order to pad their own salaries.

  • gl (unverified)

    "You gotta do something tangible to let the American people know that you know that it is not okay for these guys to wreck the economy and then go back to business and bonuses as usual"

    so this tax is a punishment to all Wall Street bankers?

  • Ricky (unverified)

    Seems to me the Lents community already rejected the idea of bringing economic fulfillment to the neighborhood when they rejected the ball park, which would have brought in far more in spending from people passing through than your 4 annual dinners.

    It's also ironic that the Lents stadium plan was opposed because it would dip into the general fund (but create jobs and help local businesses long term), when you look at it through the framework of 66 & 67. Just another example of how we'd rather tax than develop and create.

    Enjoy your two dinners remaining. Personally, I stopped going to even the Farmer's Market this year, since they don't need or want my dollars. So much for Lents being an Urban Renewal Area.

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    Steve, didn't you grow up in Cottage Grove? For more Oregon in East Coast media, check out the current New Yorker article "Hearth Surgery." It's about Peter Scott, the Aprovecho Research Center, Stove Camp, Cottage Grove and engineering a cheap, efficient stove for use in third world countries. See abstract here.

  • Cora Potter (unverified)

    Jesse and Steve,

    If you do decide on Pho, I recommend going to Bun Bo Hue rather than Pho Vietnam. I seriously recommend avoiding Pho Vietnam. And, I have a cast iron stomach.

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    I eat at Pho Vietnam at least twice a week and never had an issue... that said, I'm always game to try a new pho place

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    I don't know quite what to say, Steve, about your advocacy for a policy that has been roundly condemned on the left and right. So you found a quick one paragraph note from Krugman--who himself says it needs more analysis. Care to find anything else?

    Even the Brits admit the tax is completely symbolic and won't raise much revenue. It's completely simple to avoid--just redefine the "bonus" as base salary, or deferred stock, or whatever. And what counts as a "banker"? The CEO of Countrywide? AIG? GMAC?

    Gordon Brown's government passed this silly law because they are going to be tossed out on their ears for terrible economic management.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    True enough Paul G. The funny thing about it, though, is that they were very conscious about the fact that it was symbolic, inconsequential and, quite possibly, silly. Then they did it anyway. And for the reasons you give.

    I guess they're adopting the Dem position of lessor of two evils that Dems seem to love so much now, and are saying, "at the end of the day, it was that or nothing and we were going to get that heady feeling of the hand on the tiller, even if only for an inconsequential moment".

    An opinion poll out, about the same time, found that a majority favored "penalty taxes" on the upper income brackets, arguing that few are truly innocent of complicity and direct financial profit in the current crisis. Estate agents, bankers, pols, defense contractors, energy mavens...the class has no redeeming characters.

    I already mentioned other provisions they've attempted, on BO, discussing the subject on the "Kurth" thread,

    I can't really recommend it, because it's been slightly comical (when not outright pitiful), but the UK legislation dealing with bank bail-outs, essentially mandated that they change their attitude. No predatory thinking, and they have to actively demonstrate concern for the consumers' financial situations. You really should see the Lloyd's commercial suggesting that a few trips around the block at lunch might be more worthwhile than a gym membership. The bits where a little old lady comes into a branch and a suit asks all concerned if she is sticking to the financial plan they agreed on, is downright creepy.

  • Also in Primate News (unverified)

    Bread and circuses and link spammers.

  • James M Earle III (unverified)

    Z, it's a call up. No one is actually discussing lege. Get with it, stoner dude! This next example was likely more appreciated than yours. You remind me of someone that takes a family reunion softball game seriously. It's about making people feel like they're part of the action. No one is recording the score. Reality check: if anyone was, would we have the banking situation or health care bill?

    Posted by: Home Lighting | Dec 23, 2009 10:06:58 PM

    Steve, its great to read about dinner in Lents.

    Sponsored, or just can't find the time in your busy day? So, what is the ad. revenue going toward, if not blog management?

  • Jeff Rose (unverified)


    I have beaucoup d'economic ideas for Lents and nobody around who'll listen to me! I appreciate that you're looking to fulfill your pledge and if I can help you with that I will be more than glad to. I've been deeply involved in the neighborhood for the last 5 years- since I bought a house in the Lents Town Center. I started "Ilovelents" as a yahoo group shortly after arriving here and have been engaged ever since. Try to organize something for this week and I'll do whatever I can to be there- where ever you're interested in meeting up. One of my favorites neighborhood establishments is the Takahashi at 104th and Holgate.

    Let me know!

    Jeff Rose [email protected]

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