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 Local News 101
 A Report for The Busy
Nov 25
The 4 new city Councilors sent a letter asking that the current Council NOT simply rubber stamp some rote statement concerning OSU's District Plan (formerly the "Master Plan"), which the city Council has to sign off on. The new Council wants to discuss it.
   One of the items we need to be considering in any discussion is a discussion of student priorities. Traditionally, the Council has treated students as a body apart from the City., almost as a pestilence. Students comprise nearly one third of the citizenry and any Council deserving such a name will take their priorities into consideration. From our own readers, it appears that those priorities are tuition costs, housing and parking, with lesser concerns over issues like internet speeds and costs.
   It would therefore behoove the Council to prod OSU in the direction of more affordable tuition. Short of legislative funding, the simplest way to provide that is the expansion of online courses at a price reflecting the ACTUAL cost of providing them.
   We are our own programmers and  sysadmins and know that the costs involved are minimal. OSU's equivalents could work from a closet without the expensive physical infrastructure. OSU profs are quick to point out that, in the initial phases, development of online courses take more time than on-campus courses.
   However, that is by choice. By affiliating with EduX or Coursera, the systems already put in place by Harvard, MIT, Yale, Stanford and the University of London, etc., that course development would have been unnecessary. The lectures already are in place, by a caliber of professors far exceeding most at OSU. That was regarded as a threat by most OSU professors, since it would reduce their role to that of the adjuncts, TAs and instructors who provide the base of OSU - a base one retired professor has characterized as "an underpaid migrant academic work force". The status of being a professor at OSU would dry up. That in turn made it necessary for those threatened professors to develop their own materials.  No one criticizes them for it, but it's their own fear, not the online nature of the work, which renders it expensive. Instead of being 33% more expensive than on-campus courses, online courses should be reduced to a pittance in costs.

The city Council has placed a survey online for citizens to voice their opinions on the hiring of a new city Manager (you can see the English version here, the Spanish version here). Yes, we're aware that the previous council wasted people's time with such exercises when they didn't give a "tinker's damn", really, about the citizens' opinions. However, we have 4 new councilors and Penny York was quite conscientious on the old Council about representing her constituency. It might therefore be worth a try.
     Among the most important issues for a new city Manager to face will be the improvement in the quality of life for the second most marginalized large group of citizens (students being first; see the OSU District Statement above), the thousands in the city who are relegated to trying to cobble two or more jobs together at substandard wages to make a living. A raising of the minimum wage is essential for the city to progress and that is no simple thing to implement. Since the seminal study by University of California scientists 25 years ago, researchers have consistently shown that raising the minimum wage has only beneficial impact on the economy. It would be useful if the new manager were at least familiar with the decisions of places like D.C., Seattle and San Francisco in pursuing such a path. Better yet, he or she would have experience with it.

There is a great deal of concern about the Yellowstone Grizzly bear today, both because of global warming and because the Obama administration is talking about delisting them and turning management over to Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana There would be no grizzlies f those 3 states had their way. Or wolves, or prairie dogs even. A Corvallis man who contracts with several agencies to do forest research in the Yellowstone annually has no qualms about calling for the continued protection of the bears, despite one of his naiive peers being eaten this summer. "They are, he says, "simply awesome".
   In related news, a hiker from New Jersey was using his cell phone to photo a massive black bear moving toward a group of tourists to which the hiker belonged. The others scattered. Darch Patel focused on his photos. He died for them.

Darsh Patel's Last Photo

As a reminder, the state has issued guidelines for bear encounters:
Never feed or approach a bear!
   Remain calm if you encounter a bear. Do not run from it.
   Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.
   Make sure the bear has an escape route.
   If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping all doors open.
   Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge. Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.
   To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.
   The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run.
   If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.
   Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.
   If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.

Nov 23

In Benton County, It's Not Farm workers Drawing Welfare - It's Big Agra

Republicans are trying to scare Corvalisians and others in the US into rejecting immigration reform by waving the cost of school lunches. "Many of them are living in poverty. So, they’re going to be on free or reduced lunch. So, who’s going to be paying for that?" asked Fox & Friends co-host Anna Kooiman. Not to worry.
The bulk of those protected by Obama's order in Benton County are agricultural workers and it's not the farmworkers but the farmers who are sucking up public resources. Just in wheat subsidies, the top corporate farms of Benton County are taking millions from tax payers, by name and amount of welfare for 2012, the last year data is available:
Nixon Farms Inc              $672,093
Loren J Smith Farms       $402,685
Avery V Jones                 $346,468
Horning Farms                $276,748
Robert E Graham            $221,985
Four G Farms                  $212,598
James C Hathaway          $180,104
Stahlbush Island Farms   $173,222
Ronald Hathaway             $159,549
Underwood Farms            $147,318
Reynolds Farms               $142,103
C & L Farms Ptn               $135,599
Arita Volker                      $116,607
Agri-industries                 $111,410
Loren J Smith  LLC          $109,720
Edmond Crowson &Sons $100,704
By contrast, a child's lunch is a pittance.
   That hasn't stopped jerks from buying into it. The "lunch lady" at Snohomish, Washington's at Cascade View Elementary told a 6 year old "Guess what, you can't have lunch" as she was handing out sack lunches. The child's account was negative.
   "My question was never answered as to why he was denied. I was very mad. I couldn’t believe it happened. It happened to me as a child and I could still feel that hurt and I can only imagine what he went through,” said the father, identified as Eric."

Nov 22

New Data Emerges on Undocumented Workers in Oregon

Above: Eva Longoria (see below).
    New data is emerging on Oregon's undocumented immigrants. More than half have been in the US more than 10 years, which is higher than the national average. More than 40% have children born in the US, also higher. Both qualify them as being protected from deportation under the Obama plan.
   However well-rooted in the state, undocumented workers have not seen economic gains of much magnitude in many instance. Nationally, the construction industry is the leading employer and wages are better, especially for unionized jobs.
   In Oregon, nearly 40% live below the poverty line, despite working long hours. Because so many are attached to agriculture, either directly or through families, nearly 40% also have an eighth grade education or less. Both figures are also higher than the national average. In part, this is because the top 2 industries employing them are agriculture and "hospitality" (the food and hotel industries).
   There are families who came to the US 2-3 generations ago, and remain in the agricultural sector but farmers have consistently preferred incoming waves of immigrants in order to keep wages low. "I'd love to pay that kind of wage, but I can't do it because nobody would be willing to pay that much for their food," says Gary Cook of Cook Family Farms.
   Actually, that has proven not to be true. Actress Eva Longaria has produced "Food Chains", a documentary of poor working conditions in agriculture which features the Fair Food Program, to which a number of major food vendors have ascribes. The members agree to pay 1 cent more per tomato and in return producers enrolled agree to a list of labor policies. Subscribers include Burger King, Subway, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and even Walmart.

   It would behoove the city Council to encourage such programs for the citizenry. A rise in the minimum wage for workers in the "hospitality" as well as the retail sector, legislation like that in Eugene regarding sick leave, part time work, etc. needs to be looked at. However, the Council would need to overcome generations of being a Plaything for developers and instead focus on improving the quality of life for Corvallis residents, students as well as permanent residents, immigrants as well as those born here. Maybe then we would begin to develop a genuine sense of community rather than simply spouting empty slogans on the subject. Maybe, just maybe, with a new Council, we can hope for such a thing.

Nov 21

1100 Corvallis Residents to Be Shielded from Deportation by Obama Action

Above: Diane Guerrero of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black brought into focus the immigration problem when she detailed her own experience of returning home as a child only to find that both of her parents had been whisked away. Now, fewer Corvallis children will face that dilemma. Of an estimated 2,000 undocumented residents (if in proportion to Oregon as a whole) in Corvallis, some 1100 will be protected by President Obama's new order. Of 120,000 in Oregon, 65,000 will be protected. Obama's plan will affect "immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years and are the parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents. The existing program that offers temporary protection for "Dreamers," young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, will also be expanded by eliminating the limit on the age of the people who qualify."
   The expected Republican hysteria has already begun, with Kansas's Kris Kobach warning of "ethnic cleansing" by Mexican immigrants in the wake of Obama's announcement. Republicans say they are "weighing responses to the president's actions that include lawsuits, a government shutdown, and in rare instances, even impeachment."
   Oregon Governor Kitzhaber said "As Oregonians, we believe in a fair shot for everyone. The President's message reflects those values of fairness and honors basic human rights. This action is - unfortunately - only a stop gap."
   "This announcement is huge. It's huge for our kids who will not have to worry anymore about their father not coming home from work," said Anastasia Hernandez-Vasquez, whose husband lacks legal status."
   Not addressed by Obama's statement is the reason he waited for 6 years to make such an announcement.
   Corvallis area farmers have often called for presidential or Congressional action to protect the workers employed by the agricultural industry from being raided and deported. "Agribusiness depends on Hispanic labor,” said Skip Gray, owner of Gray Farms Inc.. “The government needs the money and we need the workforce.

Nov 20

City Council Demands Another Look at OSU Master Plan

When the city staff showed up with a rehash of the previous OSU Master Plan - which requires Corvallis City Council approval, incoming council members asked for a postponement until the new council is seated. On the campaign trail, they said,they had listened to a lot of criticism of the bloated OSU campus and of the way the city has responded to the perceived unwillingness of OSU's administration to tackle problems created by the bloat.
   In reality, the destruction of surrounding communities has been a trademark of Ed Ray where ever he's been, whether at Ohio State or Oregon State.
   But it's not only the non-academic community which suffers from OSU's modus operandi. The university has adopted increasingly a corporate philosophy which includes extracting as much money as possible from students, sometimes for unfathomable reasons. The parking "solution" is an example, with OSU actually offering fewer spaces at greater costs to students.
   However, ultimate expression of OSU's approach is to be found in online classes. With NONE of the "physical plant" requirements of physical classes, online tuition ought to be a fraction of the cost. Au contraire, dear readers. 15 credits taken on site are $3040.57. Online, they are $4065.00 - 33% HIGHER.
   Since students comprise a third of the community, affordable education needs to be a part of the OSU Corvallis collaboration, and for Corvallis to approve the plan, affordability needs to become a goal. And to start with, reducing radically the cost of online courses needs to take a front seat. It would reduce costs greatly for students, and reduce population pressure on the community.

City Shows Major Progress on Julian Hotel Retrograde

Above: the Julian Hotel, located in 1911 at 105 SW 2nd, was a re-do of the old Corvallis Hotel, by Julian McFadden in 1911, photographed here at that time.
   McFadden's "true loves" were not hotels but cattle and horse racing. Pat Bullis, late owner of the Chinese Tea House across the street (now the 2nd floor of Squirrel's Tavern, recalled the monthly all-weekend gambling sessions at the hotel, in which she said McFadden several times won and lost and again won the hotel in card games. He ran for the state Senate to legalize horse racing and was afterward appointed the state's first Racing Commissioner.
   The Julian Hotel ceased functioning as a hotel in 1940. Today, the hotel is the city's most affordable housing downtown and the city has allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars in HUD funds to Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services to renovate the building. The Corvallis Housing and Community Development Commission met Wednesday to be given an update on the project from HCDC staff member Joe DeMarzo on the project. "A new lobby, floor leveling, seismic reinforcements, HVAC and electrical system upgrades, a new laundry facility and fully-upgraded apartments are just a fraction of the improvements being made. A light well is also being constructed to let natural light and fresh air into the building, and a new skylight will be constructed in one of the meeting rooms. Overall, the project is totaling approximately $4 million in expenses."
   Tenants of the building have been getting relocation resources and "while the move-in time for tenants is still subject to change, DeMarzo is optimistic that fourth-floor tenants will be allowed to move back in during mid-December. Tenants will be moving in from the fourth-floor down as construction wraps up."


As Fall Term's end draws closer, mid-year grads will be elated to learn that U-Haul is offering a discount for those OSU students moving to a major city, and who promise to return within 18 months after things don't pan out, says an ad in the Onion.

Nov 19

OSU President Ed Ray Issues Apology to Brenda Tracy

OSU President Ed Ray's personal response to Brenda Tracy appeared this morning in the Oregonian as a Guest Editorial.
    "I am sure that many of you have read the article published on OregonLive and in three segments this week in The Oregonian regarding the horrific assault suffered by Brenda Tracy in 1998 at the hands of several men.

I learned the details regarding this assault on Friday. Apparently, statements were taken from Tracy and the suspects, two of whom were on the Oregon State University football team at the time. We are told that law enforcement officials in 1998 were not able to bring criminal charges because Tracy did not wish to participate in a prosecution.

OSU cannot control the criminal justice system, but I have asked university staff to obtain the police reports for the case and to determine if there are any actions we can take now under OSU's code of student conduct. There may be no formal course of action available to us but we must try. While legal minds could no doubt explain how it makes sense to have a statute of limitations for sexual assault crimes, I find that appalling. Hopefully, justice delayed is not justice entirely denied in this case.

We are currently trying to get the facts regarding OSU's handling of this matter in 1998, including what efforts were made then to reach out to Tracy to help her deal with the terrible physical and emotional harm she suffered. If a case of this nature was reported to the university today, OSU's Office of Equity and Inclusion would work to stop the sexual misconduct, assist the survivor and prevent a recurrence.

Tracy's journey has been simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring because of her own capacity to reclaim her sense of self-worth and pursue her education so that she can help others through her work as a nurse.

There is no statute of limitations on compassion or basic human decency. I understand that Mike Riley, who was our football coach at the time, has offered to meet with Tracy and would like to have her speak with the football team if she wishes to do so. The immediate response from us to Tracy is to ask how we can help her address the effects of this violence. It is our hope that any role she is willing and interested in pursuing to help educate our community on the horrors of sexual assault by sharing her story could bring some healing. This would be of great interest to us, but only if it is helpful to Tracy in continuing to deal with all that she has suffered.

We cannot undo this nightmare. I personally apologize to Tracy for any failure on our part in 1998 in not helping her through this terrible ordeal. This is a moment from which each of us can learn. But it is mostly a moment for us to help Tracy heal.
Ed Ray

Nov 18

Robert Heald to be Introducing the "Inhofe Award"

Robert Heald is a long time political and civic activist in Linn and Benton counties, and has increasingly become concerned as the evidence of impending catastrophe has mounted, unless significant action is taken to thwart the process of warming. Last election, he avoided partisan decisions, instead basing all his votes on the candidate's position on the need to rein in the process.
   In Oregon, his choices were largely successful but across the country, the results were not. Today, for example, the well-respected English Guardian newspaper printed a summary of Republicans who are willing to take global warming seriously. Of 278 Republicans, only 8 have not spoken out on behalf of the fossil fuel corporations in denying global warming. The new Republican leader of the Senate Environmental Committee is Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, whom the Guardian calls "the poster boy for Republican climate change denialism," and who has even published a book on the subject called "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future".
   As a consequence, Heald is floating discussions of an annual award, called the Inhofe, for junk science purveyors. With the city's premiere scientific event, Da Vinci Days, in hiatus, the Inhofe award promises to take center stage, featuring humor as well as serious discussions on the topic, Heald says. Those interested in assisting him in getting the project off the ground are invited to get in touch with him at

Betty Griffiths Passes

Above: Former city council member and local activist Betty Griffiths has died of pancreatic cancer. Her city Council role was a controversial one and her roles as community and environmental advocate both received mixed reviews.  Nonetheless, she tried, always tried, and in that she was not only persistent but commendable. Her absence will leave a huge hole.

Nov 17

Driver's License Cinema Photoplay

Oregon's home-grown religion, Pastafarianism (Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster), took a new step today when porn film actress Asia Carerra (Asia Lemmon in real life) was allowed to sit for her driver's license photo with the religion's colander on her head. Utah allows driver's license photos to show religious head garb, whether yarmulka, turban or whatever. Other states do likewise but have consistently denied the right to wear a colander to Pastafarians, who believe the earth was created by a drunken flying spaghetti monster.

Brittany Maynard's death in Oregon has brought up discussions of Death with Dignity across the nation. But it remains illegal in many parts of the US, and for people who can't afford - either financially or physically - to relocate to states like Oregon, the only alternative is often self-dehydration. Refusing food and water is a technique thousands of years old, and there are hospice nurses very familiar with the process. VSED (voluntary stopping of eating and drinking) is not always certain, as is a prescription medicine, and it certainly doesn't allow for the timing of one's end as do medicines. However, in places like New York City, it is often the only alternative.
   'most terminally ill patients die within 10 days of starting their fast. But they go into comas much earlier, often within the first three days. The hunger usually subsides quickly, but thirst sometimes causes serious pain. Oral care and medications can help.'

Forbes has released an analysis of the "brain drain" from Oregon which has ensued from low wages. Oregon, and Portland specifically, "has an inordinate proportion of college-educated young residents working at lower wages" which is unacceptable to debt-ridden college students. By contrast, Houston where, despite being in - yechhh! - Texas, "high-paying jobs are being created at a healthy clip, the young educated cohort grew five times as fast". That bodes ill for the governor's plan to make sure a majority of the state's graduating seniors have college diplomas, since most will be compelled to leave unless the minimum wage is raised substantially.

We can only hope that OSU fraternity members are a little smarter than their Kappa Alpha brothers in Houston. There, the brothers attempted to remedy a water shortage after a "raging electrical fire" broke out by urinating on it. It was, to put it mildly, unsuccessful.

Nov 15

Nurse Who Recounts Story of Gang-rape by OSU Football Team Members in 1998 to Return to Provide Awareness for Team
UPDATE: OSU officials have responded to Brenda Tracy's story with a statement. It follows below.

A Keizer woman planned to commit suicide after, she says, she was "gang raped, sodomized, robbed, and then, re-victimized - her word -when a college football coach [Mike Riley] suspended two of the players for one game and was quoted as saying his players had made 'a bad choice". The "players" were 2 OSU team mates and a recruit, of the 4 who participated, she says, and "stood around, watching it happen and cheering the others on". Now Brenda Tracy is planning on returning to OSU to raise awareness of rape culture among OSU football players, at Riley's invitation. It is a lecture which should be heard by all OSU students and Corvallis residents.
   Brenda Tracy was a waitress at Bray's Family Restaurant and mother of two in 1998 when she and a girlfriend drove to Corvallis to spend an evening with her friend's boyfriend in a night that turned into a horror story, she says. The suspects admitted to police at the time that she had repeatedly said no. "I was like a rag doll. They were picking me up and tossing me around the whole apartment," she says. "The suspects told police Tracy vomited in the restroom, asked to be left alone and said 'No,' at different points of what she described as a seven-hour ordeal. Tracy remembered waking up with someone pouring alcohol down her throat. She said her clothes were strewn around the room, she was assaulted with a flashlight, and with their fingers, and someone put ice on her groin.
   Tracy told investigators that she woke up at another point and found Ainsworth on top of her, having sex with her. The others, she said, were standing around the room, cheering. She told police she heard someone shout, 'Yea dog!"
   All 4 of the suspects minimized their roles at the time. One " told police he took Tracy's clothes off and had consensual sex with her. He said he didn't understand why Tracy would believe she was violated. When detectives asked Ainsworth if the other men in the room had violated her, he said, 'Yea, but I know I didn't." All who could be contacted today STILL minimize their roles.
   Tracy's girlfriend - her boyfriend was a brother of a suspect - also minimized the actions of the men, telling police that she didn't think the 4 "should lose everything because of this incident", despite waking to seeing the some of the culprits "rummaging through Tracy's vehicle, stealing money". Tracy wavered on prosecuting and the district attorney, Peter Sandrock, at the time dropped the charges.
   Today, Riley acknowledges Tracy for coming forth. "It's pretty powerful of her to step forward," he says, and has asked her to address the football team. And for the sake of the record, the 4 suspects were Michael Ainsworth, Nakia "Ken" Ware, Jason Dandridge and Calvin Carlyle.

OSU's statement:
"Oregon State University officials are deeply saddened and appalled by the circumstances Brenda Tracy has described and feel complete compassion for Ms. Tracy and the physical and emotional suffering she has endured.
   Our main concern is for Ms. Tracy’s welfare and healing.
   We are supportive of her meeting with Coach Riley and team members and sharing her experiences.
    When Oregon State’s Office of Equity and Inclusion learned of the 1998 allegations in August of this year, OEI staff members promptly reached out to Ms. Tracy to inform her of her options and services that OSU could provide. OEI continues to reach out to her.
    While we cannot speak to what happened in 1998, today the university would investigate an allegation of this nature even without the survivor’s participation, while balancing the survivor’s request for confidentiality and the need to protect students and bring perpetrators to justice, including pursuing a Student Code of Conduct case.
   Meanwhile, OSU will be looking at the circumstances of this case to understand what happened in the university’s review of this matter in 1998.
Steve Clark
Vice President University Relations
Oregon State University "

Nov 13
[Note from editor: The Chinese and US presidents have for the first time committed to capping CO2 levels. The Republicans have freaked out over it. Oregon's Sen. Merkley has sent the following.]

The economic security of American middle class families depends on tackling climate change. Without action, our communities and our economy will be threatened with catastrophic changes.
   That's why the recent announcement that the U.S. and China are, for the first time, committing together to cutting carbon pollution is so important. The leadership of the two largest economies in the world is essential to taking on this challenge.
    Climate change is a global problem, and it requires a global solution. This agreement is a good start to taking on the carbon pollution that threatens our way of life and our natural resource economy in rural America, and particularly in our West.
   The bottom line is this: We can't bury our heads in the tar sands any longer. Catastrophic climate change is already harming our economy, particularly industries such as our farming, fishing and forestry in Oregon. It's time for action, and this is an important step forward.
   Please know I will do everything I can to ensure that this critical agreement is upheld and that America continues to lead in taking on carbon pollution. Our environment – and our economy – depend on it.
All my best,

Nov 12
The decision of the previous city Council to cater to the demands of a seedy developer in the South (Campus Crest or CCG; see here), and over-ride the Planning Commission's decision to deny the developers' plans for Witham Hill Oaks, will be treated like "business as usual" says CCG and city staff. The plan is to stuff housing for another 900 students in one of the few remaining green spaces inside the city limits, despite the strenuous objections of neighbors.

Archives here
Nov 26
'For the third Black Friday running, America’s largest retailer is expected to face labor protests at locations across the country. Workers and supporters affiliated with the union-backed labor campaign OUR Walmart say this Friday will be their biggest strike yet.'

Nov 25

A leaked slide show from the oil industry has shown an elaborate "astroturf" plan to create phony organizations intended to present the impression that grass roots consumer groups - like the "Oregon Climate Change Campaign" are springing up to oppose attempts at controlling global waming.

Nov 24

Bend estimates they will need 16,000 new residences in the next 15 years and are trying to wrestle with the state over how they will fill that need while avoiding apartments as much as possible.

Northwest growers say they are steadily losing workers to higher paid jobs, especially in the oil industry and agricultural labor pays so poorly that the industry is having trouble finding the necessary workers. There is an obvious solution to that - pay higher wages - but the industry prefers recruiting desperate workers to cross the border, even if that means illegally, apparently.

Nov 23
Like the 2 other firms from the South who have have tried to muscle into the Corvallis housing scene to build quads for OSU students at the Sather and Witham Hill Oaks, Capstone Collegiate in Eugene is based in Alabama and is as notorious as its cousins for maintaining nightmarish conditions. Today, the Register Guard issued an investigative report.

ALL earners, including the top 1%, aould be better off if the tax rate went back to the Eisenhour levels, before Democrat LBJ lowered them to make the war on Vietnam and the Great Society more palatable to the rich, says a joint study from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Bonn.

Nov 20
The city of Newport is discussing challenging " the legality of the U.S. Coast Guard’s planned decommissioning of its air rescue facility in Newport.'

Facebook bus drivers voted to unionize as Teamsters in yesterday's vote by a nearly 2-1 margin.

A new study published in Nature magazine shows that people in the banking industry lie "at the drop of a hat" but only while they're at work,

Nov 19
The Republican Party over 35 years has loyally worked to further the policies of Ronald Reagan and we can safely say they have arrived: "Boeing Co, Ford Motor Co, Chevron Corp, Citigroup Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and General Motors Co.  reported a tax rate of -2.5 percent despite claiming more than $74 billion in combined pre-tax profits."

Nov 18
A new report on homelessness documents the shameful historic high of 2.5 million children who were homeless last year.

Nov 17
Sakuma Brothers Berries has agreed to pay workers unpaid wages for break times until the state Supreme Court rules on "piece work" workers in agriculture.

Nov 15
1,900 strip dancers of Rick's Caberet were awarded $10 million in unpaid wages.

Nov 14

Above: A Channel 4 news report on bank corruption and greed went viral after the reporter "lost it" regarding his impatience on the issue.

Across the US, Walmart workers pressing for higher minimum wage occupied the stores and in California, riot police were called out as intersections were also blocked.

Nov 11
American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta are filing objections to Sea-Tac rules requiring them to pay the airport's $11.22-an-hour wage. They are trying to have the minimum wage squashed, which in turn screams for Americans to avoid their airlines.

Nov 10

The notorious homphobes of Chick-Fil-A are planning on opening one of their klaverns in Portland, the company said, a day after announcing plans to open two others in Seattle.

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Nov 26
Chad Robert Payant

Mr. Payant has been charged with not showing up on charges of not showing up, meth, driving while revoked, etc., and is being held on felony warrants from Union and Umatilla Counties.

Donacio Corona Hernandez

Mr. Hernandez has been charged for the 12th time in 3 years, this time for an open container, resisting arrest, etc. Past charges have varied from meth to car prowls.

Domenique Driver

Ms Driver has been charged previously, for failing to show up on attempt to commit a felony. She seems never quite to bring her plans to fruition, since she is charged this time with attempted to possess meth. Her Facebook shows a tattoo of one arm reading "love no one" and another of "trust no bitches".  She seems to have an artistic bent since she was found to be carving the jail cell wall in a previous arrest. "Driver, who had been arrested on one charge of failure to appear in court on a violent conduct charge and one count of methamphetamine possession, “decided to carve her opinions on the walls of the holding room she was being held in."

Joab Moses Wakefield

For a fellow with a couple of biblical names, Mr. Wakefield has not had a lot of luck staying on the Straight and Narrow. He has been charged 5 times this year, usually for trespassing but once for mail theft, and this time for not showing on the other charges.

Nathan James Lawrence

   Otherwise, Nathan James Lawrence is charged with not showing up on a contempt charge. In June, " a man reported that someone was knocking on his windows and doors. As the call with the 911 dispatcher progressed, the resident reported that someone had entered his home. The intruder allegedly got into the house after damaging the front door and a window screen, and was found heavily intoxicated sleeping on the resident’s couch." He was charged with MIP, etc. "That man" was Philomath's Mr. Lawrence.
   Let's not be too judgmental of a 20 year old kid. Mr. Lawrence will turn out fine. Many get blottoed at 20, do stupid things and turn out to be the finest among us.
   OSU is still dealing with ramifications from the case of Brenda Tracy, who after 16 years decided to tell her story of being gangraped by OSU football players and a recruit as well as one other.  OSU students have "been upset with the inability to legally respond to Tracy’s speaking out" due to the statute of limitations on rape, which is 6 years. The case has been particularly upsetting to President Ed Ray, whose watchfulness on the issue became very apparent as NCAA executive committee chairperson in the investigation surrounding Penn State and the protection of serial child rapist Jerry Sandusky under the tenure of Graham Spanier, also a former OSU executive, and Joe Paterno. He is now being sued by Paterno's family and Penn State fans for that watchfulness.

OSU Students Call Out Names of 43 Students Missing in Massacre

Above: OSU students gathered and 'took roll in the Valley Library quad, calling out the names of each missing student to which the crowd of assembled students replied with a loud chorus of “presente!” before a black banner with the hashtag Ayotzinapa,' where the students were killed by police officers and an organized crime ring at the direction of the Mayor and his wife. The issue has become widely known among Latinos and the pop group Calle 13 (see below) lent their microphone to families of the missing at a recent concert.

Elsewhere in Oregon crime news, an Oregon City man appears to have shot his wife then himself in an act of violence witnessed by the children. Middle aged white males continue to be the group needing profiled by law enforcement as the leading threats to public safety.
   In Vancouver, Washington a man in an argument with a woman set the building ablaze then wandered outside armed, where he died in a shootout with police.

Stephanie Marie Kroker

Lincoln County police have arrested 37 year old  Toledo, Oregon resident Stephanie Kroker on 3 counts of rape, 6 of sodomy a 3 counts of sexual abuse for a sexual relationship with a boy who is a minor living in the Toledo area.

A neighborhood attempt to buy back a strip club property in Portland means that "$2.75 million would flow to what federal investigators say is a prostitution and money-laundering ring that operated out of the Sugar Shack and five other clubs in the Portland area." Federal authorities could have seized the property but did not mysteriously.

Jian Ghomeshi Arrested on Sex Abuse Charges

Jian Ghomeshi, whose former radio show "Q" was hosted locally on OPB, has been arrested on sexual assault charges in Canada.

Across Oregon, local police departments were besieged by people protesting a Missouri decision not to prosecute a police officer who shot an unarmed boy to death in Ferguson.
   In related news, the Ferguson riots have spewed up a rash of police incidents from across the US. In Chicago, an off-duty police officer shot at another police officer pulling him over for DUII. In Denver, officers pummeling a suspected heroin user and sending his pregnant girlfriend into the pavement grabbed the tablet of a bystander and deleted his video of the incident without realizing it had already been uploaded. In Cleveland, video of officers killing a 12 year old with a realistic bb gun was released.

Elsewhere, officials at San Diego State University suspended all fraternity activities until a mandatory sexual violence training is completed following a Take Back the Night Rally by women, many of who are rape survivors, in which fraternity members threw eggs and dildoes at the march. A woman reported she was raped at a fraternity after the the event. Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi were singled out as especially involved in the incident.

Sandy Thi Nguyen and Son

In Colorado, Sandy Nguyen faked her own son, her family and her community into thinking the child had cancer and was in need of the $25,000 she collected in donations. 'In September 2012, the community that the Nguyen family lives in began to rally around the family in support and began raising funds for the family through school fundraisers where friends and family members, school faculty and community members all donated money for the boy.' The community also paid for a family trip to Disneyland. Nguyen regularly shaved the boy's head.

In Texas, Regina Shaw was arrested for stealing a pallet of sausage from her workplace and bartering it to pay for a debt she owed. She has since been fired.

Nov 25
ALERT! Interstates 5 and 84 in Portland are snarled by people protesting the decision by Ferguson, Missouri authorities. Tear gas is wafting across the freeways and travelers are advised to wait. Bridges have been intermittently closed.

James Andrew Bartolomeusz

Mr. Bartolomeusz is from Albany. In fact, he is the Albany Ace rooter guy. He has bailed out on a charge of burglary and invasion of privacy. Police say they were "following an allegation he had sexual contact with a minor child" when "evidence was located on his phone that showed James Bartholomeusz entered a Corvallis residence in 2013 and secretly videoed a female resident of the home in the shower. James Bartholomeusz is the owner of Ace Rooter Services, LLC and re-entered the Corvallis residence after completing work at the location". Police say they also "uncovered evidence that Bartholomeusz also secretly video recorded two other women in various states of undress". No evidence of an encounter with a minor was found.

Jorge Christian Genaro-Lopez

Mr. Genaro-Lopez is being held on a charge of Rape I. No details are available at present.

Rory Holmes Manuel Salazar-Castaneda

   Otherwise, Rory Holmes has been charged again with not showing up on a DUII charge, and Manuel Salazar-Castaneda, likewise.

PDX Horse Patrol - Free at Last!

Above: Elsewhere in Oregon, someone unleashed 5 Portland police horses for their stables and the animals went for a run before being recaptured.

Gresham police were able to get a search warrant to ping the phone of a man who has admitted being getaway driver in a murder last month at a 7-11 store. They found he was in Las Vegas and he is now in jail on $100,000 bond.

A Beaverton CEO, Brian Brown, has admitted to copying the "Indian Agent" in Paul Newman's classic film Hombre, and robbed Native American children of $3 million meant for their education, some of which he used to buy a condo in Thailand.

In Multnomah County, James Ezell Clark was designated a "dangerous offender" and sentenced to 40 years. He had tried to steal an idling car without realizing there was a sleeping teen girl in the back. When he did become aware, he pulled to a secluded spot and tried to rape her. Her screams brought a bicyclist and Clark sped off. His DNA, taken from her body, identified him. He had been arrested for rape at 12, and again at 22, when he was sentenced to 10 years. He had been out of prison for 2 years when he tried to commit the third.

Elsewhere in the country, the verdict in Missouri regarding a police officer gunning down an unarmed African American boy went as was expected - no indictment - and the reaction of the crowds did as well - rioting.

Linda Pawlik  and Star Trek's Robert Picardo

Star Trek: Voyager actor Robert Picardo has asked a judge to evict his estranged wife from a guest cottage on their property. The restraining order he asked for specified that she turn in her guns. She gave up 6 and one of those yet to be accounted for, he says, has been traced by police to the murder of her friend Edward Mello. The judge gave her until Pearl Harbor Day - Dec. 7 - to vacate the premises.

In crime news from the south, a Florida high schooler has been charged with running a prostitution ring from her Facebook page, offering "girls as young as 15 for sex in exchange for $40 and a bottle of liquor."
   Also in Florida, some bad news for gun fetishists: a man waving a gun at his wife and dog pulled the hammer back and then changed his mind. Trying to release the hammer, Dennis "Emery made the mistake of pointing the gun at himself while trying to release the hammer, and a bullet discharged into his face." He died.

In southern California, a newly appointed police chief called in the FBI to investigate a police force and city Council he said were behaving "like the Mafia". "“Exactly like the Mafioso in New York. That’s exactly how they are operating", Mike Bostic said. Police officers, he said, regularly carried burglar tools to break into cars and were illegally using surveillance tools to track other members of city government.

Nov 24

Stephen Michael Shaw

Mr. Shaw has been charged with domestic violence - harassment and DUII. Significantly, perhaps, there is a Stephen Michael Shaw, of the same age and name, who was charged 5 years ago with raping a child under the age of 16 in Philomath. The gazette reported at the time that the mother of the girl turned Shaw in. The district attorney produced a recording in which the district attorney "said a recorded phone call revealed that Shaw called the alleged victim and told her not to say anything to police."
   If the 2 men are synonymous, it's hardy surprising that the one crime leads to the other.
   In other news related to domestic violence, Robert Davis of Coquille gave his wife tea with hallucinogenic mushrooms then "threw her into a fireplace.. The woman told police Davis had punched her in the shoulders with closed fists and threw her into a hot stove that was hot and in use. She attempted to call 911, according to authorities, but Davis took the phone away and hung up each time."

Ronald James Baynum

   Ronald James ("R.J.") Baynum, a local homeless man was charged with assault and disorderly conduct. Mr. Baynum was involved 5 years ago in a dispute in which he was initially charged with attempted murder after being reported to having "forced Patrick Weber, who uses a wheelchair, to the edge of a river embankment downtown while threatening to push him into the water.... Deputy District Attorney Mike Flinn said the incident stemmed from a dispute over a prime holiday-time panhandling spot at the post office.But according to defense attorney Jennifer Nash, the two men were at odds because Baynum reported Weber to police for dealing drugs. Weber also harassed Baynum about his harmonica playing and made "vulgar" remarks about Baynum's ex-wife. Nash said Baynum had contacted the police multiple times regarding the harassment, but was told the men needed to work it out themselves.
   Baynum addressed the court and expressed regret for his actions, saying he did everything he could to resolve the situation. He denied hitting or threatening Weber, who claimed he had put on the handbrakes in an attempt to stop Baynum from moving the chair. Photos from the scene show skid marks from the wheelchair going from the sidewalk to the edge of the embankment. Baynum, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, said he was not on his medication at the time and had consumed a beer. 'That was the first two mistakes - going off your medication and drinking the beer,' [Judge] Holcomb said. She recommended he get mental health counseling as part of his post-prison supervision. 'It's important for you to handle situations in a lawful manner, without losing your temper,' she said."
   Yes indeed, we suspect a homeless bipolar man is going to be able to afford the best of counselors. Right after he pays the caterers of his Sunday evening dinner.
   Friends of Mr. Baynum say he is a likable guy and harmless unless thwarted, especially on the issue of where he stands with his harmonica.
   Otherwise, in Corvallis, a 29 year old man was cited for resisting arrest, providing false information, etc. in his first charge in recent years.

   Elsewhere in Oregon, in Bandon, a man living in a gated community was tied up and his house ransacked. He was found by his sister next day.

Three bigots on the Portland police force were ordered to remove "I AM DARREN WILSON" from their police badges on Facebook. "The image displayed does not represent this organization and was very inflammatory in nature," Reese said in a statement. "Officers certainly have a right to have and express their opinions but not using an official badge of the Portland Police Bureau. The badge represents all members of the organization, past and present, and is an important symbol in our community that must not be tarnished. I've asked the Professional Standards Division to review this matter for possible policy violations", the chief said.

Shayoon Abou, Designer and - says Carmen - a Swindler

Los Angeles jewelry designer and celeb Shayoon Aboo has been accused by Carmen Electra of having swindled her of $100,000 after Electra "et her use her credit cards to shop for clothes, shoes and bags to fit Electra's image." But Electra says... "Aboo secretly kept some items which should have been returned after Carmen rejected them... Carmen also says Aboo used the credit cards to buy clothing for herself, and had the audacity to flaunt her purchases on Instagram."

In the south, a Florida man set fire to his own home to ambush First Responders, killing one before being shot himself.

See archives here.

Note: Everyone should be assumed innocent until convicted. There are several sleazy websites across the country posting mugshots, utilizing photos owned by the public, in the public domain, all run by Portlander Kyle Ritter, which will remove your mugshot for $39 or such from their sites. This is not one of them. Do not send in cash trying to have a mugshot removed. It would just be a waste of your time and your money. Instead, put your time into turning your life around. And your money into your kids.

   Political Developments
Nov 26
Despite the Democratic Party being actively involved, the Obama administration says they will veto the $400 billion in tax breaks for the rich which a "bipartisan" committee came up with.

Nov 25
Republican events seem like a VERY good place for women to avoid. A Pennsylvania Republican Party chairman, Robert Kerns, pled guilty to a charge that he "drugged the victim... last year by putting insomnia medication in her drink during a Republican Party dinner, then raped her multiple times when she passed out."

An Open Letter on the XL Pipeline from Jeff Merkley
   Carbon pollution and climate change are already threatening Oregon's farming, fishing and forests and our middle class jobs in those industries. Our future depends on taking action now to avert catastrophic climate change, and that means we must leave four-fifths of conventional fossil fuels in the ground.
   Building the Keystone XL pipeline would be a huge step in the wrong direction. Turning on the tap for the dirtiest oil in the world to flow unchecked would take our energy policy the opposite of where we should be heading.
   That's why I spoke on the floor last Tuesday to urge my colleagues to vote against a bill to fast-track the pipeline. This bill not only would have been terrible for our environment and our rural economy, but also would have given TransCanada -- a foreign corporation -- sweetheart deals that exempt it from the oil spill liability fund and allow it to take Americans' property against their will.
   I'm proud to say that we voted down this misguided legislation. Last week's vote was a big defeat for Keystone, and a big victory for the power of ordinary citizens over special interests.
   Make no mistake: this fight will continue, and the powerful special interests will try again with more power than ever. But with your help, we can keep up our momentum and make sure that President Obama and the world know this pipeline is not in our best interests.
   Thank you for all you do to advocate for Oregon's environment and to stand up against dangerous projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline. Please know I'll keep doing everything I can to defeat the pipeline and to take up job-creating legislation that actually creates the jobs and the infrastructure this country needs.
All my best,

Nov 22

Jack Whitley

The List of Loons selected by Republicans this month goes on and on. Minnesota County Republican Chairman Jack Whitley posted on Facebook yesterday that "Muslims inTwin Cities Area are calling for me to apologize for a comment I made on facebook about them being. parasites and we need to frag them. I will not apologize and I will not compromise. They either need to repent except Jesus Chist or leave the country." Next week he'll be posting about Christians are being picked on.

Nov 21

Nevada Republican Speaker of the House, Ira Hansen

Above: Another of the Republican loons elected a week ago, Ira Hansen, the speaker of the House in Nevada, says he composes everything under a slaver's flag. He's very critical of African-Americans, whom he refers to as the "simple minded darkies". Only gays, women and other Nevadans are recipients of such contempt on Hansen's part.

Nov 19

Sara Gelser to be New Assistant Majority Leader in Oregon Senate

Corvallis's Sara Gelser and Portland's Michael Dembrow will be the assistant majority leaders of the next Oregon Senate. Given the reputation of Majority leader Val Hoyle (see below), that may or may not be a promotion. It could just as easily be construed as hazing of a fresh(wo)man Senator.

Nov 18

The World Turned Upside Down

In a tactic sure to be adopted locally, the citizens of Wunsiedel in Bavaria have had their community invaded annually by unwelcome neo-Nazis staging a march in the place where Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess was once buried. This year is different. The town can't stop the Nazis from showing up to march, but they can require a permit outlining the route.
   As a consequence, the town turned the march into a walkathon raising money for a support group catering to youths who want to leave one of the groups in the face of the usual violent threats for doing so. A "Start" line and "Finish" line were painted where the march route was to be. Towns people put out chairs to cheer the marchers as each segment was passed, as that meant another 10 Euros being raised by those who had pledged. Energy foods were stocked along the route and banners like "If Only Hitler Knew" flew from posts. See below report.

Nov 17

News of Governor John Kitzhaber

'Gov. John Kitzhaber used campaign advisers to secretly direct his administration’s response to Cover Oregon, the state’s failed $250 million health insurance exchange. Previously undisclosed records show that the state’s official announcements about Cover Oregon were in fact often shaped by Kitzhaber’s re-election campaign consultants." They "went so far as to shape the explanation a Kitzhaber adviser gave to Congress for the Cover Oregon failure."

Nov 16

Oregon's Democratic Majority Leader and Thug, Val Hoyle

Above: Oregon's Democratic House Majority Leader Val Hoyle tried to intervene on behalf of a couple facing a lawsuit for running an illegal ad refusing families with children, by threatening both Legal Aid and the Fair Housing Council with having their funding cut off if they didn't drop the lawsuit.

Nov 15
This is "rich": Monica Wehby, the Republican "candidate from hell" who spent her losing campaign bashing public health, has asked Gov. Kitzhaber for a publicly paid job which would give her control of the Oregon health care system. Kitzhaber has been asleep most of his term but it's unimaginable that she'd slip THIS by him.

Above: Those crazy Republicans elected in the last mid-term include Maryland's Michael Peroutka, who says the state legislatures are no longer "a valid legislative body" when they have passed laws like marriage equality that "violate God’s law." He calls himself a "neo-confederate" and promotes white supremacy on his radio show and is president of the Neo-Confederate League of the South. He wants the south to re-secede and pass "biblical laws". In this clip, he asks people to stand for the old slavers' hymn Dixie, declaring it "the national anthem".

Nov 11
Republican Congressman Darrel Issa tweeted a photo of himself in a uniform and then asked for photos to be re-tweeted of others similarly attired. He got them, and then re-tweeted, including Lee Harvey Oswald (killer of President Kennedy), Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler, serial killer William Calley and others.
Lee Harvey Oswald

Nov 10

Gordon Klingenschmitt

Gordon Klingenschmitt, newly elected Republican from Colorado has some peculiar ideas - peculiar if viewed with any prism not owned by the Teabagger wing of the Republican Party. He thinks the world is inhabited and controlled by witches and demons and goblins. He's written a book about it and has performed an exorcism on a lesbian to drive the "demon" out of her. He largely regards Shrek as a documentary and was elected from a district largely inhabited by his fellow loons, and there's no lack of them in Colorado Springs, as any one will attest. Don't take our word for it. Here's one of these bozos claiming that Monster Energy Drink is a devil tool.

Nov 6
It's time we all met some of the new officials taking office after Tuesday's election. Let's start with Oregon.

Kim Thatcher, Crook, Is Now Oregon State Senator - So That's SENORA Crook to You!

'Thatcher's closely held construction company destroyed evidence and engaged in a cover-up to fend off efforts four years ago to investigate allegations of [a $1.5 million] state contracting fraud. Two company officials -- Thatcher's husband, Karl, and their nephew -- repeatedly asserted Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when questioned under oath about the evidence destruction. Thatcher, a Keizer Republican, is founder, majority owner and president of the company.'
   Certain files were missing but Thatcher said they innocently overwritten. However, forensic computer experts testified that was a lie, and Thatcher's company was fined $60,000. You can read the hearing here.

'A total of $3.67 billion spent on the midterms (with just slightly more spent by Republicans), and a victory by the higher-spending candidate in 82% of Senate races and 94% of House races. There appears to be a slight correlation!'

Nov 4
Results of yesterday's elections can't have come as much of a surprise. On a local level, the $20 million pumped in by GM crop producers, like Monsanto, Pepsi and Kraft, narrowly defeated a measure to force GMO labeling. In that campaign, OSU's Agriculture and Forestry departments carried out their traditional role of being corporate lap dogs perfectly - OSU's two departments have done their part in ensuring that the nation no longer trusts scientists, a real loss.
   On the West Coast, the labeling fights have now exceeded $100 million and GMO opponents are just getting started. 'At the end of the day, this is a social movement," said George Kimbrell, chief author of Measure 92 and a senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety. "It's about peoples' right to know and we know we're going to eventually prevail'.
   He may be right. On Maui, a ban on planting GM foods passed despite Big Agra outspending locals 87 to 1. 'I feel that this is a really strong message to the entire agrochemical industry in the state of Hawaii that we are no longer going to sit idly by and watch them expand their operations without the kinds of regulations that ensure the health and safety of people across Hawaii," Ashley Lukens, director of the Hawaii chapter of the non-profit the Center for Food Safety, told Honolulu Civil Beat.'

As for the Democrats, no big surprises. They lost most of the gains they picked up in 2008, with traditionally places like Arkansas, the Carolinas, Florida and Kansas all in play. And let's be honest. The last time the Democrats showed any initiative was with the Affordable Health Care Act 5 years ago. Since, as Jon Stewart says, their strategy has been "to curl up in a fetal position and hope they don't get kicked in the face". No initiative at all. Ye, Republicans put a chokehold on anything that doesn't serve the rich. But you can either go along with that quietly, as the Dems did, or wage campaigns for what you think are important. There appeared to be none of those the last 5 years. They got what they deserved. Yes, we understand that the Republican agenda boils down to making the rich even richer at the expense of the nation and even the globe, but the Democrats held out no hopes for addressing either.
   In Oregon, we're more fortunate. Despite having a governor who's out of touch with reality, the state is bluer than before the mid terms, thanks to Republicans settling upon loons as their candidates. They got what they deserved too. And in case you're wondering, it means Republicans have been unable to elect an Oregon governor since 1980. It will be 40 years before their next chance at it.

Over the coming weeks and months, analysts will have much to say about the role that Black voters played in this election. Already we know that across the country, Black voters defied expectations and turned out at rates higher than in 2010 despite continued attempts by the right wing to suppress our votes.

And, unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t enough for Kay Hagan (D-NC) who lost a must-win Senate seat to Thom Tillis (R-NC) by a razor thin margin — while our communities faced the most aggressive voter suppression laws passed in the country since the Voting Rights Act. It wasn’t enough in Georgia, either, as we watched Michelle Nunn (D-GA) concede while thousands of voter registration forms remained unprocessed. And it certainly wasn’t enough in Kentucky where Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Democratic challenger wouldn’t even admit to voting for President Obama.

As a movement, we’ve got a lot to figure out; a lot more work to do to hold the people in power accountable.

I know this much: an America in which candidates are afraid or unwilling to speak directly to Black voters about the issues that matter to us is an unacceptable, insufferable status quo; an America where politicians ignore police violence and support a broken criminal justice system, prioritize corporate interests over community values and fight to make it harder for us to vote is intolerable.

If we learn one thing from yesterday’s election, it’s that — now more than ever — is a time to organize. Obscured by the larger national picture, yesterday had some meaningful victories which demonstrate the strength of our movement. Californians passed Proposition 47 which will force the state to change course from four-decades of misguided, incarceration-only policies which have destabilized Black families and drained resources from Black communities.

Massachusetts passed a bill providing for earned sick time that will relieve working folks of having to choose between their job and the health of their families. Additionally, voters in South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas and Alaska passing ballot measures to increase the minimum wage shows that there is a groundswell of popular support for issues of economic equality but candidates must exhibit political courage to move this agenda forward.

And despite the Republican takeover, the 114th Congress will have more Black members than at any time in history.

With announcements coming soon about the indictments of the officers responsible for murdering Mike Brown and Eric Garner our movement has never been more important. We can’t afford to stop fighting.
Thanks and peace,

Color of Change

See older posts here

Site Dedicated to the Memory of Eric McKinley, d. Iraq, 2002
Eric McKinley was our local connoisseur of ska music and cafe denizen whose unit was activated and sent to Iraq by George Bush to patrol with inadequately armored vehicles. When Congressional funds for armoring the vehicles were diverted by the notorious Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska (later tried on corruption charges), Eric's unit was reduced to using plywood to give their vehicles some additional protection. When an insurgent's IED hit Eric's vehicle, his horrified teammates were forced to watch as the heat of the burning plywood began exploding the grenades strapped to Eric's body. Eric, you are not forgotten and will live forever in our hearts.
 Photo Credits here

Nov 26
Ubisoft: Sorry for the Broken Game; Next One is Free

Above: The expansion pack of "Dead Kings" for Assassin's Creed Unity will be free for all players as a means of Ubisoft apologizing for shipping a sketchy game. "Unfortunately, at launch, the overall quality of the game was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues," Ubisoft Montreal boss Yannis Mallat wrote in a blog post today. "I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin's Creed team."

China has begun to crack down on corporate scofflaws, ordering Microsoft to pay $136 million in unpaid taxes.

Nov 25
Corvallis users can only fume as Google raised its rates 10$ a month for fast internet and cable tv packages in Austin, compared to Kansas City. But in both locations, fast internet service remains $70 a month, about the same rate as in Corvallis for SLOW, SLOW Comcast connections.

Sony has agreed to settle US claims that their ads for the Vita being able to play Playstation games was misleading and will issue refunds.

Slack, the chat app, is trying to sell employers the chats of their employees.

Nov 24

Swedish Starcraft II Competitor Madeleine Leander

The #gamergate argument that male gamers are NOT predominantly misogynist took a hit with the tweet of Ukrainian Mykhailo Hayda that he was "going to rape some girl soon" regarding his match with Madeleine Leander. He was booted from the Starcraft II tournament.

Kivin Varghese

Amazon workers are stepping up the game tomorrow as Kivin Varghese commences a hunger strike in front of the company's Seattle headquarters. "I think if Amazon customers took a few minutes to look at this and see how Amazon treats employees they’d be shocked. My goal with stepping it up with a hunger protest is really to drive more awareness of their practices and really what happens when people buy from Amazon. Every dollar that is spent at Amazon is going to fund this bad behavior," he says.

UO's idea - since adopted by OSU - of hosting several "centers of excellence" - likely died, despite UO denials this week as 2 of the leading researchers abandoned UO for brighter lights. “At a really excellent place (such as UO), where the money is tight, you serve as college football does for the NFL,” said Ulrich Mayr, head of the psychology department.

'Bloated development costs are perhaps the least of the problems stemming from the current system of drug research. Patent monopolies create absurd problems in paying for drugs that would be relatively cheap in a free market. For example, we are seeing state governments and insurers struggling with the $84,000 that Gilead Sciences is charging for Sovaldi, its new hepatitis C drug. By comparison, generic producers in India can profitably sell the drug for $1,000 per treatment. We would not see news articles, hand-wringing columns and editorials about whether the government and insurers should be forced to pick up the tab if we were talking about $1,000 rather than $84,000. The patent-protected price of some other drugs is even more astronomical, with many new cancer drugs being sold for prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.'

 Sony Hacked by "#GOP", Data Release Threatened

Above: Every Sony office across the country has been hacked and pictures shown demanding some mysterious ransom to avoid releasing damaging data the user, #GOP, claims would ruin Sony.

Counter-Strike's pros are being hit with bans after being discovered cheating. One of those banned says that 40% do it.

'How is Silicon Valley supposed to stay exceptional when its belief system keeps getting debunked? First empirical evidence proved there's no such thing as a meritocracy. Then they had to add a disclaimer that "change the world" may not mean for the better. Now the shortage of tech workers - a phenomenon used to justify both immigration policies and insane perks -"doesn't really exist."'

A Dutch security firm is warning today that dozens of themes  and plugins for Word Press and Drupal have built in "back doors" for cyber criminals.

Zoosk has been creating "dating profiles" by taking information from Facebook profiles.

Above: The KKK is suing for peace with Anonymous after a showdown resulted - twice - in the KKK losing control of websites.

A mysterious and secretive, complex and highly expensive Regin malware suite disclosed by Symantec on Sunday has now been shown to be the spyware designed by the NSA to secretly monitor the EU.

Layoffs, always a reality for game programmers, are beginning to be collected as stories at Kotaku.

Nov 22

Silly "Software Engineer Barbie" Will Be Dropped
Mattel is no doubt dropping or discontinuing "Software Engineer Barbie" after Gizmodo's review of the book accompanying, concerning a game Barbie is supposed to be designing but instead turns to 2 boys to do the work for her because she can't, but then she takes the credit.
   "Helen Jane has two little girls under the age of six. I have a daughter who is almost two.
   "This is great!" I said. "Barbie wants to be a computer engineer! And fifty stickers!"
   "Yeah, I was really excited at first, too," Helen Jane said. "Because, like you, I believe in the good of people. But then, like I'm sure you've experienced a million times, I was reminded you should never believe in the good of people."
   "Oh, no. Should I read it?"
   "You must. Immediately."

The issue of Net Neutrality and broadband speed has come to be regarded as a "bread and butter" issue at the ballot box in Canada, in a way that has yet to catch on in the US, most likely because US politicians are themselves barely PC literate. The voters can certainly change that.

The EU Parliament is proposing that Google split off the search engine from the rest of Google business ventures to end the monopoly in the search market. Google claims that EU resentments are tied to negative EU perceptions of the US in general, but the EU appears to have their own concerns based on historical experiences with Nazism and Stalinism, "which have left have left people deeply suspicious of powerful institutions controlling personal data."

Nov 21
The city of Eugene fined Uber $2000 for operating without a license. "The city is again asking that Uber respect the current code and administrative rules in place at this time by discontinuing its unlawful operations, and instead work cooperatively with the city toward a solution that would allow Uber to operate legally within the community", the city order said.

Portland Commissioner Steve Novick of Portland let the oil lobbyist know that if the industry pursues, as threatened, a plan to overturn the street fee tax, the backup is the more popular progressive income tax.

Another Portland tech sex scandal is unveiling, as the VP at FileString is accused by parents of using hidden cameras to record juvenile girls as they undressed.

Security experts have teamed with Privacy International to produce a free tool allowing users to monitor attempts to invade their privacy.

CERN has launched an Open Data Portal, so the public can access results of experiments.


See older Posts here
Nov 26
30 dead crows have been found in downtown Portland. The public is advised not to move them but to call (503) 823-1637, at Public Works. The possibility that the crows are dying from the potentially lethal Nile virus remains.

'Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen is suing the federal government over the environmental impacts of its coal-leasing program. Allen said Tuesday that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hasn’t properly studied the effect of greenhouse gases caused by the coal rights it leases.'

When Putin set free 5 tigers who had been found as cubs and were then taught to hunt, he didn't foresee that they might cross the border into China and begin killing village goats, as one has.

Nov 25
A Task Force charged with making recommendations in Oregon to end bee die-offs as a result of neonicotinoids use has instead become a prop for those who make the poisons, say environmentalists and bee keepers. The effort is typical of similar efforts to rein in Big Pharma and Big Agra under governor John Kitzhaber. "Groups representing pesticide manufacturers, retailers and the nursery industry were able to stifle efforts to protect pollinators".
   The criticism arises at a time when new reports on the general decline in pollinating bees is due to an increasing lack of biodiversity.

Just as a Canadian pipeline firm is pushing to seize the land of US citizens for the XL pipeline, Canadians of all walks of life are spontaneously migrating to Burnaby Mountain to join First Nations leaders in opposing a pipeline there.

Nov 24
5 month old babies can read the emotions of dogs.

Nov 23
In Grenoble, France, Toyota Launches EV-Sharing like Portland's Bike Sharing Program

'Anyone 18 and older with a driver’s license can sign up for the program, which uses two kinds of Toyota vehicles: the three-wheeled i-Road, which seats one, and the four-wheeled COMS, with room for two. Fees vary, but expect to pay about €3 ($3.89) for 15 minutes, or €5 ($6.50) for half an hour. Users can park at any of 27 stations around the city, where they plug in to charge before walking away.'

Nov 22

OSU'S Amar Dhesi Declared World Champion After Drug Test
Above: OSU wrestler Amar Dhesi has been declared the junior world wrestling champion after a drug test showed Georgian Geno Petriashvili was cheating.

Above: Corvallis resident Kimberly Anne Barclay has been killed near Junction City when a truck driven by Clinton Stefanek crossed the center line and caused a 4 car pile up, police say. There have been no reports as to the cause of the accident. However, a Clinton Stefanek of Lane County is listed as one of the survivors of Carol Stefanek, his mother, who died 5 years ago in Cottage Grove at age 52, of Huntington's. Huntington's is inherited, with symptoms - including "general lack of coordination". Symptoms usually appear at close to 35 years of age. Mr. Stefanek is 31, but Huntington's is not certain to be passed to all children from a parent.

Nov 20
Late votes in the "Frankenfood" GMO labeling measure means that the margin has narrowed considerably and the votes must be recounted before a clear winner in the ballot initiative emerges.

Nov 19
Rooftop solar will be at price parity with other power in every state by 2016, says Deutsche Bank. It already is in 10 states. The only force reining in solar are the power companies trying to charge monthly fees for generating your own power, and the Republicans who are backing them in it. In fact, we can expect a Republican legislature in some state, at some point, to make it illegal to generate solar power.

'Kristof Retezár, an Austrian designer, has come up with Fontus, which was designed as a self-filling water bottle for your bicycle. This device collects the moisture from the air, condenses it and stores it as safe drinking water. Powered by solar cells, the device harvests up to 0.5 liters in an hour's worth of cycling when under the right climate conditions.'

President Obama said today he would not be hurried by Congressional votes on the Keystone pipe line, but the phrasing suggests once again a fundamental ignorance of "political economy". He said the issue does not affect Americans, will not impact gas prices and the like. In the latter part, he's correct. But the former part is not true. The proposed seizure of land from farmers and tribes to build the pipe line, to say nothing of the BP-like spills will affect Americans greatly.
   They are lying when they say that the project will reduce American imports of oil. The US long ago became an exporter, not an importer of oil.
   The majority of those Americans affected are from the top .01% of the US, those bankers who largely own TransCanada, the corporation who owns the pipeline. Those jobs will be strictly temporary and consist of digging a ditch and - except for the strippers - filling it in again after the pipe is laid. The country can create jobs like that without the huge environmental risks. And compared to the pipeline jobs, which have everywhere triggered housing and food shortages which raise prices and eat up the wages quickly, they could last as long as we wanted them. There will be a grand total of 35 permanent jobs created, at enormous cost, especially to the environment.

Nov 18

Hogeway - a "Truman" Viillage for Demented Seniors

One of the saddest consequences of the Republican funneling, since Ronald Reagan, of the nation's tax monies into the pockets of the rich so they can squirrel it away offshore has been the destruction of the option for creatively addressing social issues. There is simply no money left for imaginative solutions.
   For example, among the Dutch, one of the many new approaches to dementia among seniors has been the creation of Hogeway, on the coast. Called “Dementia Village”, 'Hogewey is a cutting-edge elderly-care facility—roughly the size of 10 football fields—where residents are given the chance to live seemingly normal lives. With only 152 inhabitants, it’s run like a more benevolent version of The Truman Show, if The Truman Show were about dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Like most small villages, it has its own town square, theater, garden, and post office. Unlike typical villages, however, this one has cameras monitoring residents every hour of every day, caretakers posing in street clothes, and only one door in and out of town, all part of a security system designed to keep the community safe...There are no wards, long hallways, or corridors at the facility. Residents live in groups of six or seven to a house, with one or two caretakers. Perhaps the most unique element of the facility—apart from the stealthy “gardener” caretakers—is its approach toward housing. Hogeway features 23 uniquely stylized homes, furnished around the time period when residents’ short-term memories stopped properly functioning. There are homes resembling the 1950s, 1970s, and 2000s, accurate down to the tablecloths, because it helps residents feel as if they’re home. Residents are cared for by 250 full- and part-time geriatric nurses and specialists, who wander the town and hold a myriad of occupations in the village, like cashiers, grocery-store attendees, and post-office clerks.' The village has operated at full capacity since opening 5 years ago and vacancies arise only when a patient dies. Patients are only admitted with severe cases of dementia or Alzheimer's.

The starfish wasting disease ravaging the coast has implicated a virus related to parvo in dogs,

Nov 17
Portland's Pacificorp, the wind energy company, has adopted the GMO producers' mantra of "what the public can't see won't hurt them" and has filed to suppress data on bird deaths at the company's facilities. The suit was filed, predictably, in Utah.

Martin Salia, a hero doctor who elected to stay in Sierra Leone, where was Ebola is rife, has died at a Nebraska hospital where he was being treated after contracting the disease himself.

Planned Parenthood in Oregon has sent out a reminder about cancer screenings and health care for women, which includes an insurance calculator:
   "Are you among the 380,000 Oregon women who are already eligible to benefit from no-copay women’s preventive care like birth control and cancer screenings, among many other benefits? Getting insurance means you can see a range of health care providers when you need to – and thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of women now have access to birth control, routine well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and mammograms for women older than 40, without copays or other out-of-pocket expenses. Most Americans will get financial help paying for a plan.
   As the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand how important affordable basic health care is for women and their families. And just like the first enrollment period, Planned Parenthood is here to help women and their families take charge of their health by signing up for an affordable health insurance plan.     
   Clinicians, educators and volunteers at Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette and Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon are ready to help women figure out what the law means for them and how to find a plan that works best for them. Click here for a glossary of important terms related to the law and health insurance, a calculator to get a sense of what kind of financial help you can get, and specifics on what to consider as a woman choosing a health insurance plan. You can even find in-person help near you – and you can schedule an appointment online for in-person help.
    For almost 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been providing expert women’s health care, and that’s not changing. Whether or not you have health insurance, you can still come to Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings and the other care you need, when you need it.
Insurance can be confusing, but we’re here to help. If you already have insurance, please take this opportunity to educate a friend or family member about how they, too, can get covered. Together, we can help even more women feel the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
Laura Terrill Patten
Executive Director

Nov 16
McDonald's has rejected the new GMO potato of Idaho's Big Agra Simplot. "McDonald's USA does not source GMO potatoes, nor do we have current plans to change our sourcing practices", the company said in a statement.

Central Oregon's North Twins Lake is about to be smothered in $200,000 in rotenone to kill an invasive cat species believed to have been deliberately introduced by morons game fisher(wo)men.

'There's no easy way to say this: You're eating too much chocolate, all of you. And it's getting so out of hand that the world could be headed towards a potentially disastrous (if you love chocolate) scenario if it doesn't stop. ... Chocolate deficits, whereby farmers produce less cocoa than the world eats, are becoming the norm. Already, we are in the midst of what could be the longest streak of consecutive chocolate deficits in more than 50 years. It also looks like deficits aren't just carrying over from year-to-year—the industry expects them to grow. Last year, the world ate roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020, the two chocolate-makers warn that that number could swell to 1 million metric tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons.'

Nov 15
Du Pont, which dumped millions into defeating Oregon's GM labeling law since they are so dependent on selling insecticide sprays for GM crops, would have been better served if they'd have put it into safety at the La Porte, Texas plant, where 4 workers died today from a methyl mercaptan gas leak. Methyl mercaptan is the base stock for insect and fungal sprays. At public hearings, DuPont was roundly criticized for procedures which killed another worker.

Yong Zhao, an education theorist and "learning games" developer at UO has issued a new critique of China's much-praised educational system for producing good grades at the expense of creativity, he says. 'Academic vices he addresses include institutionalized cheating: in June 2013 in Hubei province, Yong recounts, a riot erupted after students were barred from pursuing a cheating scheme their parents had paid for. Smashing cars, a mob of tiger parents and cubs screamed: "We want fairness! There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat." The Chinese press seems to be open to Yong's critique, as evidenced in a review by the South China Post.

Until Leonardo DiCaprio and Neil Young got involved, the Canadian government was ignoring a groundbreaking study that tied the Tar Sands with a cluster of cancer cases in First Nations populations.

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