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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 23, 2014 / 23 Nissan, 5774

The pee-pee bureaucracy unbound

By Wesley Pruden




JewishWorldReview.com | Portland, Ore., is a nice place to live. Nothing much happens there. That's the city's charm. Oregon is perhaps the most politically correct of the 50 states, shading even Massachusetts, and Reservoir 5 of the Portland water system is a monument to the work of the weenie bureaucrat.

Portland is so straight-laced, in fact, that the daily newspaper refuses to identify the Washington Redskins as the Redskins, lest it offend the native redskins. Newspapers elsewhere, with no sensitivity, report bad news as well as the good — fires, floods, riots and even wars. Sensitivity reigns unchallenged on the banks of the Willamette River.

Tragedy struck Portland again last week at Reservoir No. 5, this time by a teenage terrorist armed with a bladder of death and destruction, or at least 8 ounces of annoying but harmless urine. It was shock and awe all over again at the Portland water department.

What happened next is a textbook case of what can happen anywhere when bureaucrats are left loose and unsupervised. Bad judgment runs amok, costs be damned and unnecessary inconvenience is the order of the day. Municipal bureaucratic bumbling, of the kind the federales inflict by whim on everyone, was writ large in Oregon.

David Shaff, the administrator of the Portland Water Bureau, quickly ordered the reservoir drained, all 38 million gallons of the stuff the San Joaquin Valley hundreds of miles south would kill for. Tests showed the water was actually clear and clean, with no traces of urine, but Mr. Shaff was not thinking about public safety. It was all about marketing.

"My customers expect they will receive water that has not been deliberately contaminated," he said, "and I can do that." He acknowledged that birds, dogs, rats, squirrels, mice and other flora and fauna of various sizes contaminate the reservoir. But that doesn't count. The cops closed in on a 16-year-old boy and two confederates (if Portland will excuse the language), and arrested him for relieving himself in the reservoir, though the suspect says he aimed for a spot near the water but not aiming at it.

The Environmental Protection Agency seems likely now to file its own charges of contaminating the ground water of the entire tier of states of the Great Northwest, with San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles in imminent peril.


The reservoir will be drained through the sewer system, slowly, so the system won't be overwhelmed by pee-pee. The concrete walls of the tank will be power-washed. Within a week the reservoir, opened to the air and the birds, mice, squirrels and so forth, will be back in business. Mr. Shaff and his men at the waterworks have the drill down pat; the reservoir was under urine attack three years ago and that time Portland lost only 8 million gallons of discarded water.

The decision to drain the reservoir, says Slate, an online magazine, was based on "some combination of chemophobia, homeopathy and pee shame," and ran the numbers on how much "poisoned" urine would make the drinking water suspect.

Figuring that a typical urination — let's keep this clinical — by a healthy teenager would deliver 1/8 of a gallon of pee, and dumped into a reservoir of 38 million gallons of water, comes to only 3 parts per billion. That's gross and unpleasant for the squeamish to think about, but statistically irrelevant. The Environmental Protection Agency (good for some things) limit for arsenic in drinking water (there's always arsenic occurring naturally) is 10 parts per billion. Urine contains no arsenic, but a lot of nitrogen. The EPA limit for nitrates in drinking water is 10,000 parts per billion, and a healthy teenager would have to pee in the reservoir 3,333 times. (Don't count him out.)

Figuring a urination by this healthy teenager requires about 21 seconds, he would have to pee for 3,500,000 seconds without stopping for 40 days. That's about how long it had to rain to float Noah's boat. Well fortified by his pals with goods from Portland's many microbreweries, our healthy 16-year-old boy might be tempted to try for the 40 days, but find it beyond his capability. Probably.

The waterworks first said dumping the pee water would cost the city $600,000, but revised the figure to less than $35,000, suggesting that extra zeroes don't frighten a water bureaucrat.

Some Portlanders (Portlandians?) are having a high old time poking fun at the bureaucrats. Since some people insist on making a men's room of the reservoir and the city makes a habit of draining the lake, one wit suggests the waterworks should install an enormous clapper valve, handle and float mechanism at the bottom of the reservoir.

Teenage boys always remember to flush.

Wesley Pruden Archives

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© 2014 Wesley Pruden

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