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Help Free Oregon's Stacey Addison
Stacey Addison was a veterinarian in Oregon and always heard stories of Oregonians traveling the world for a year. She had gone back packing in Europe as a college student and now, at 39, with no children and unattached, she decided to take the plunge.
   Selling everything she owned, she budgeted the trip, including setting aside money for "re-entry" after the traveling was finished. She traveled on local buses, stayed in hostel or cheap hotels, volunteered as a vet in the Galapagos and Peru. In Indonesia, her visa was set to expire, which meant traveling into East Timor (Timor-Leste) where cabs waited to take tourists into the capital city, Dili.
    She pooled resources with a stranger for one of the cabs and as the taxi pulled into the city, the other passenger needed to pick up a package at DHL. As he did so, the police swooped in and arrested him. She was held  while police checked her story out. The stranger in the cab said he had been paid to pick the package - 1.5 kilos of meth - up and had never met Addison. Nonetheless, she sits today in jail waiting for an "investigation" to complete - an investigation which never occurs.
   Her family asked supporters to email the Justice Ministry in Timor, but has since found that no one checks the email at the Ministry. It's a low tech operation. Instead, they are now asking people to like and share the Facebook page on her difficulties.

Oct 29
The infamous Witham Hill Oaks project of the even more infamous Campus Crest group was inadequately addressed by the city, the state Land Board said. It is considered a minor issue in the appeal by Corvallis residents.

Oct 28
OSU CS graduates will be appalled to learn that the H1-B foreign workers they will need to compete with are "trapped" by 'labor trafficking" rings that are rarely held responsible for abuses. According to a year-long investigation by The Guardian, NBC Bay Area, and the Center for Investigative Reporting, companies such as Cisco, Google, eBay, Verizon and Apple employ the use of immigrant "body shops." These body shops find young programmers and engineers in India, get them to sign "draconian" contracts, which legally bind them to their employer, send them to work in the United States and withhold portions of their paycheck for profit. And these body shops use the threat of hefty lawsuits to keep immigrants in line.'
   In related news, the Labor Department has announced intentions to destroy H-1B applications after 5 years, a move perplexing to researchers.

Several of those who opposed using public money to fund a private development when the Hyatt Hotel project was proposed downtown say now that they plan to build a hotel at the site. Whoopee. More minimum wage, part time jobs.

Oct 25
School Board Sends Out New County Assessment for Fairplay School

The decision of the Corvallis School Board to finance the sale of Fairplay School to the Waldorf School, which had been leasing the 11 acre property, for $476,830 when the property whose real market value had been assessed at be $3,592,197 by the County Assessor.
   Howls went up from sectors of the community traditionally opposed to funding education but also from those most concerned with Corvallis schools. One teacher, for example, wondered aloud whether the school district could afford a $3 million subsidy of a private school when the public high school (CHS) has a receptacle and pipe to carry water from a leaky roof to the basement) because roof repairs are apparently beyond the current budget.
   The school district addressed the Fairplay taxing assessment issue with the County Assessor who has now reassessed the real market value at $488,378. The school district sent out a press release about the reassessment yesterday. You can read it here.
   The current zoning would need to be changed to develop the land into homes, which would make it easily worth the $3 million assessed originally. The school district knew that when they sold it but said "the core mission of the Corvallis School District 509J is the education of K-12 students. The utilization of limited district resources to pursue changes to real property zoning – typically a lengthy and expensive process without guarantee of success – was determined to not be in line with the core duties of the district and not an action desired by the School Board."
   Apparently the subsidization of private schools IS part of "the core mission" of the Corvallis School District. "A parent’s preference regarding the specific nature of an individual child’s education is respected. As such, the district finds it in the best interest of children to cooperate with private and public entities throughout the mid-valley who share the district’s goal of educating each individual child." That's a pretty slippery slope. Waldorf is a safe bet, but there are others which are not. Training little meth addicts or religious bigots is not something we would want to see our tax monies directed to.

Oct 24

Police Post "Chronic Nuisance Property Watch" List

The Corvallis Police Department's "Chronic Nuisance Property Watch List" List for June 15-Sept 15, 2014 has been released:

1113 NW 27th ST
1120 NW Fillmore AV
1211 NW Dixon AV
1225 NW 27th ST
1225 SE Seaport CR
132 NW 15th ST
1375 SW A AV #110
1444 NW 15th ST
1460 NW Van Buren AV
1603 NW Jackson AV
1709 NW Tyler AV
1925 NW Grant AV
1946 NW Grant AV
2013 NW Tyler AV
210 NW 16th ST
2111 NW Harrison BV
213 NW 21st ST
2206 NW Harrison BV
2245 NW Harrison BV #106
2622 NW Coolidge WY
2677 NW Arnold WY
320 SE Bridgeway AV
325 NW 21st ST
332 NW Kings BV
345 NW 23rd ST
3456 NW Fillmore AV
417 NW Merrie AV
429 NW 18th ST
433 NW 6th ST
440 SW Western BV
445 NW 18th ST
445 SW Tunison AV #5
545 NW 12th ST
600 SW Jefferson AV
612 NW 29th ST
635 NW 5th ST #13
701 SW 7th ST #131
715 NW 29th ST
720 NW 9th ST
819 SE Bayshore CR
829 NW 27th ST
886 NW Oak AV

Note: Chronic Nuisance Property. An ordinance requires the Police Chief to contact the property owner and property occupant, if the occupant is not the owner, after:
    Three separate incidents that violate certain City ordinances or State laws within a thirty-day period, or    
   Five separate incidents that violate certain City ordinances or State laws within a ninety- day period.
   The property owner and occupant then have 15 days to contact the Police Chief about why the property should not be considered a chronic nuisance property. They must also indicate what actions will be taken to address the allegations or indicate good cause why the owner cannot do so. If the owner fails to correct the problem within a reasonable period, the matter will be referred to an official Hearings Officer who will work with the property owner to abate the nuisance. Failure of the property owner to work with the Hearings Officer to correct the problems could result in a civil penalty of $250 for every day the property owner fails to take action and a penalty of $500 per incident for any subsequent incident occurring on the property within six months of the declaration of a nuisance property. Should the property owner fail to stop the nuisance activity, the Hearings Officer may also close and secure the property against use and occupancy for a period of not less than ten days or more than six months.

Oct 23
The County accepted the final report on the Bailey Branch railroad, detailing the 5 options already considered. You can read the report here. The report was prepared last month but released only this week. It calls for 5 options: sell it, trade it, keep it as a railroad, convert it to a trail, or do nothing. Farmers along the line have objected strenuously to the trail idea, and understandably so. Corvallis trail users would likely be civil but there are a host of local thieves from Linn County and Philomath who would consider the opportunity to steal metal piping or even tractors as a gold mine.

Bill Hotchkiss at Sunrise Bakery: Mary's River Still at Summer Levels
Above: The October rains have begun, and they are a needed addition to the Corvallis area. Sequoia Creek ran dry this year for the first time in the memory of Northwest Corvallis residents. Bill Hotchkiss of Philomath's Sunrise Sourdough Bakery has kayaked to Corvallis most days when the water level permits. In 2013, he had kayaked 17 days by the 17th of October to make deliveries. This year, the water in the Mary's has remained at summer levels, he says, and he has been unable to kayak once. He has relied on his bicycle cart for making the trip to Corvallis. Hotchkiss came to the area from Massachusetts, where he similarly made deliveries to New York City, though by more rapid methods of conveyance.
   In south Benton County, the water situation has become dire. The County has allowed development to repeatedly occur and many of the new residents are from the Southwest. To them, Oregon seems rife with water, and they are using it to water lawns which stretch from 1-2 acres, says a resident on Alpine Road. Water levels have dropped dramatically.
   Resident Richard Saylor, for example, says that his 230 foot well, which yielded what he and neighbors needed in 1996, went dry with the new developments. Now, he's been forced to spend $16,000.00 to dig new wells of 600-800 feet. The water formerly, he says, was very sweet but now it is full of suspended clay particles nearly impossible to filter out. The particles ruin the soft features of the water fixtures, which now require replacing regularly.
   75% of Oregon was in drought condition this year, with the 4th driest year on record last year. In Alpine, Oregon, 26 wells have run dry, and yet the County unrealistically attend meeting with residents to announce new zoning changes which will permit industrial uses of the little water that remains, says Saylor.
   An OSU study has shown that falling water tables have the unintended result of concentrating nitrates. "When nitrates interact with the hemoglobin in red blood cells methemoglobin forms and the blood cells cannot carry sufficient oxygen to the body's cells and tissues -- this is also known as the "blue baby syndrome." When methemoglobin levels are high, the resulting effect can be loss of consciousness, convulsions and death".. Benton County environmental health specialist Ron Smith says, lactating mothers and infants are most susceptible to methemoglobin. While nitrates are the main concern, Smith said that high nitrate levels are an early indicator of other chemical contaminants, such as Coliform bacteria like E. coli".
   Nitrates come not just from agricultural operations but from lawns. "We do it (fertilize) excessively -- a little is good, a lot is better", said Smith.
   We can, then, only be thankful for the rains, and hope for more.

Portland's School District is hopefully not trying to set a trend with a gagging of employees in a new "non-disclosure agreement concerning ANY "information of any kind, nature, or description concerning any matters affecting or relating to my services for the District, the business or operations of my department, and/or the products, plans, processes, or other data of my department.
Terry Francke, general counsel for the open-government advocacy group Californians Aware, says the agreement is so broad it could be illegal. "I can't imagine any court finding that this kind of totalitarian gag clause was enforceable by any government agency," he says."This is the kind of thing maybe the CIA could get away with enforcing," because the intelligence agency deals with matters of national security."

Oct 21
An Oregonian investigation has shown that the state has " dismissed concerns or botched investigations"  regarding spraying of herbicides. 1,878 parcels in Benton County have been sprayed since 2005.

Above: The number of sprayings in Benton County has more than doubled the past 2 years, from 138 to 270. Because the state does not release any data, if recorded, of GM crops, it is difficult to determine whether the increase in spraying is related to an increase in the spray-heavy GM crops.
   In southern Oregon, Complaints went ignored until last October, when the state finally got so many it had to do something. "Twenty Curry County residents reported being sprayed by a helicopter flying overhead.
   One man reported feeling the chemicals land on his face. The mother of a 1-month-old reported her baby vomited for 24 hours afterward. Some visited physicians, complaining of stomach pain, rashes and severe headaches.
   After a state investigation, the pilot lost his spraying license for a year and was fined $10,000.
   But red flags had been ignored for six years. The earlier episodes all involved the same landowner, Crook Timberlands. Two complaints were about the same sprayer...None of the earlier complaints was thoroughly investigated by the Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon Department of Agriculture, The Oregonian found. Both agencies missed chances to correct problems before so many people were sprayed last October, said Susan Brown, a Curry County commissioner. The state agencies treated residents "like they were rogue citizens," Brown said."

   Neighborhood activists expressed shock at the city Council vote upholding their opposition to tear down an existing house and "divide his lot in two and build a pair of three-bedroom units".
   “This is the first time that the council has determined that it was a mistake” to interpret the code the way the council traditionally has. However, it's election year and the Council voted 7-1 to uphold the neighborhood's objections. Only Hal Brauner, traditionally a rubber stamp for developers, voted against the neighborhoods. Even Biff Traber, usually another rubber stamp, voted with the neighborhoods. No doubt, it helped that the developer is a small fry, compared to Traber's usual mentors. Traber is running for mayor.

Oct 20
Push Against Licenses for Immigrants in Willamette Valley Comes from White Supremacist Stormfront

"Jimmy Marr", a Eugene piper has been distributing flyers throughout the Valley on behalf of the "American Freedom Party", an offshoot of the "Stormfront" in Portland. A rally was held in Springfield yesterday to protest the Party, which has been hanging anti-immigrant posters from freeways as well as on major boulevards in cities throughout the Valley.

Jimmy Marr, American Freedom Party

The group has gone to Arizona to protest immigration with militia members associated with the little koffee klatch of Oathkeepers who have been trolling Corvallis city council meetings. The banners they hang often refers to "illegal immigrants" but the most popular one is "anti-racist is a code word for anti-white", a slogan invented by Reagan official Bob Whiteaker, who wrote tracts for White Supremacist organizations 40 years ago. "There is no place for that here. We cannot continue to hate other people and so we need to make sure we are working together as a community in order to bring people together and let them know this is a safe place," said the Superintendant of Public Schools in Springfield Dr. Hertica Martin.
   Michael Carrigan, program director for the Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and the father of a daughter adopted from India said he attended the Springfield rally yesterday to say “I’m here to tell teens I have their back. I have my daughter’s back, and I have the back of those kids at Springfield high school". Marrs handed out "Diversity is white genocide" flyers at Springfield High last week.
    The "Free America Rally"  organized by a variety of white supremacist groups including Stormfront "to bring our movement together" is seriously organizing against the referendum proposal to give licenses to undocumented workers and students, for insurance purposes.
    Marr is planning to run for Eugene mayor. That seems to be the latest tactic of wing nuts. A local gun fetishist is running for city Council in Corvallis.

Oct 18
Corvallis Sister City, Uzhhorod (Uzhgorod), in Hands of "Bandits"

Above: Ukrainian nationalists.
   Uzhhorod (Uzhgorod), Corvallis's sister city in the Ukraine, is as unsettled as much of the Ukraine. The capital of Carpathian Ruthenia (also called Transcarpathia among other names), the city and region have a large number of ethnic minorities who worry about the policies of the Ukrainian nationalists who threw out the previous, narrowly elected and pro-Russian government in a coup.  The nationalists are a source of concern for the Rusyn (Ruthenian), Jewish, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Russian and Romani populations who reflect the nation's history at the southwest corner of Ukraine.
   The mayor of Uzhhorod (Uzhgorod) elected by the Ukrainian nationalist majority is a vitriolic racist who railed, for example, against the "brazen Jewishness" of an opponent who ran against him for the national presidency (they both lost). The national government have thhemselves restored to "good standing" the men who followed Stepan Bandera and collaborated with the Nazis in WWII. The major atrocity against Jews in Ukraine at the time was at Baba Yar, and it was Ukrainian collaborators, not German Nazis, who carried the atrocity out. The new government has boasted of Ukrainian involvement in the atrocity, poimtimg to the fact that 300 Nazi soldiers accompanying them were "squeamish" about the massacre.
   It is not only Jewish Trans-Carpathians who are nervous. At one Romani settlement, "three local police cars arrived in the settlement at 6 AM. Militia members jumped out of the vehicles and began breaking into the homes where everyone was still sleeping. They broke down their doors and sprayed tear gas in the eyes of children who were just waking up. In one house there were six young children asleep, in another, seven. The pretext for attacking the settlement and forcibly entering its dwellings was an alleged search for a Romani man who had reportedly stolen some hay from a neighboring village. "They were behaving like bandits, not cops. They pushed me so hard I almost collapsed. I didn't know what to do. The children were terribly afraid and shouting, so they began spraying tear gas in their eyes. Little children!" says one witness to the conflict.
   In schools, children with names reflecting a non-majority status are assigned "Ukrainian" names. A conversation with a leading candidate for education minister was quoted as "What is your name? Misha. It’s not Ukrainian. You are Mihailo! And your name? Masha. You are Marusa. If you want to be called Masha, go to Russia."
   All minorities have similar concerns. The majority of the previous government was tenuous enough that they set out to guarantee the rights of minorities, and with those guarantees also cement their support in future elections. The new government has no such ideals or aspirations and indeed are committed to assimilating the ethnic minorities or driving them out of the country. It probably behooves Corvallis to re-negotiate "sister city" status with Uzhhorod, asking for guarantees of ethnic rights. If the current administration of the city and the nation continues in its racist path, it could be as embarrassing - not to say, as downright immoral - as for example maintaining a similar relationship with Munich in 1940. It might strike some as a little inappropriate. It might strike MOST as such.

Hal Salwasser, Controversial ex-Forestry Chairman, Dead at 69

Hal Salwasser, former chairman of OSU's Forestry Department died last night. in his Corvallis home. OSU and the gazette tried to spin his tenure as something less complex than it was.
   'Hal was a wonderful colleague, a respected forester and an engaged Corvallis community member,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “His work leading the College of Forestry grew the university’s essential contributions in teaching and research concerning the world’s forests, watersheds, natural areas and the wood products industry.'
   It is not for such a career that he is remembered. Salwasser became head of the forestry department at a time when the timber corporations, heretofore rulers of the forests, had begun a long decline and instead had begun shipping the state's logs to Asia for milling. Traditional timber corporations like Weyerhaeuser rebranded themselves as development and real estate companies, and many of those who remained - like the local behemoth Starker Forests - were becoming focused on "sustainable forestry". The College of Forestry itself became diverse, as those concerned with ecology became as numerous or even more so than those who - like Salwasser - viewed the forests as profit generators. 60 years earlier, he'd have been regarded as a progressive Forestry chairman, but by 1990 he was a fossil.
   Salwasser is best remembered for the debacle after the Biscuit Fire in 2002, and specifically for his attempt, together with OSU Professor John Sessions, Michael Newton and 4 other Forestry professors, to suppress a Science Magazine report by OSU grad student Don Donato and a team that showed forests recover best without the salvage logging being advocated then by the timber corporations. Several of the timber corporations, the sole Republican Congressman in Oregon, Greg Walden, Republicans in the legislature as well as Congress, reacted in fury. Donato was stunned. "It's a one-page research note," Donato said, referring to the paper published in Science. "It's not that earth-shattering, and it really would be very easy to put the paper in context and sort of almost trivialize it."
   Salwasser organized a small group of professors to condemn the "'one-page research note" and press Science to not publish it. "Nice Work" Oregon state Senate Republican leader Ted Ferrioli wrote Salwasser. Not quite. The Oregonian and eventually the Los Angeles Times and others were soon carrying headlines about the heavy handed attempt to censor the graduate team's research. It became a national scandal for OSU.
   Salwasser was pressed to appoint a committee on academic freedom to investigate. Their report was damning. "The inability of the leadership [Salwasser and the OSU administration] to recognize the academic freedom issues involved in their participation in the letter to Science calling for delay of the Donato et al. paper, and their coaching of groups interested in attacking the Donato et al. paper, stand out as significant failures of leadership and narrowness of purpose," said the panel, headed by professor K. Norman Johnson."
   The committee also interviewed present and past staff and students. One said "I am ashamed to be receiving a degree from this institution ... My future has been damaged because of the black mark that will forever follow all COF [College of Forestry] graduates." 40% of the faculty were interviewed and a majority felt "problems at the college limit their academic freedom. Many respondents described the college as" a place run by white, 'inbred' 'good old boys"' who intimidate and disparage those who don't agree with their industry-friendly perspectives. They portrayed a 'culture of fear' marked by closed-door decision-making, undisclosed timber interests, harassment (particularly of women) and a sharp divide between ecologists and foresters."
   The department chairman was clearly part of the problem and the panel's findings were "especially critical of Salwasser". The problem was not confined to the Donato report. The Los Angeles Times said he referred to all ecologists as "scam artists and goons", and to the use of lawsuits for ensuring legally required environmental protections as "Mafia protection tactics". "Andy Stahl, director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, said that he first butted heads with Salwasser in the mid-1980s. At the time, Stahl was working on spotted owl research as a forester for the National Wildlife Federation and Salwasser was working for the Forest Service under President Reagan as a wildlife ecologist. Salwasser "poked his finger into my chest and he said, 'Stahl, if you don't drop this spotted owl thing, we're gonna nail your f*ckin' ass".  Others had similar stories.
   In the wake of the panel's report to the assembled Faculty , a no-confidence vote was held and a third voted no-confidence. Nonetheless, Salwasser survived another 5 years and more before leaving. He was not, despite the bullying repeatedly attributed to him, an evil man, say some who knew him, but just out of step with the times. That was a common theme for the era, when ecology became, for the first time, a valid field of study. There were few in forestry who successfully bridged the 2 eras. We should all regret his passing. Being out of step with the times has never merited death.

Oct 16

OSU in GM Labeling Issue Is Like OSU Was in Maraschino Red Dye Labeling Years Ago
The role of OSU's Forestry and Agriculture departments in dancing to Monsanto's tune on GM labeling isn't surprising. Many residents will recall a very few years ago when OSU felt the need to stage an unprecedented university-wide vote on whether the chairman of the Forestry department (Hal Salwasser, who died last night of natural causes) should keep his job after he and several Forestry professors were caught trying to suppress a study in a national science publication which refuted timber corporations' traditional argument for timber salvage. He might not have been the head of the department if he'd chosen another course of action.
   Less well-remembered is the fight over dyes tied to cancer, and against their labeling by the cherry industry. The maraschino cherry was developed by Ernest Wiegand at OSU and because of perpetual lobbying was eventually granted the sole exception for use of the banned Red Dye No. 4 on the argument that the cherries are not, not REALLY - OSU claimed, a food source. That was despite the fact that most people have always eaten them when encountering the cherries. The toxic dye in them sits in soda and alcoholic drinks, in acidic juices from fruit cocktails, etc. and undoubtedly leaches out. The No. 4 exception is undoubtedly against the public health interest but OSU's Agriculture department long ago gave up that mission. The GM labeling issue is just a part of that long tradition. Just a reminder that agricultural professorships, like forestry professorships, are hard to come by.

Oct 15

Portland is expecting the new recreational marijuana tax will yield $4 million annually for the city.

Archives here
Oct 28
300 workers at McKenzie-­Willamette Medical Center  will begin striking at 6:30 AM today for 3 days, to call attention to the lack of a contract for the workers after 11 months.

Oct 25
H-P no longer is the sole "whipping boy" of the tech industry. This week, billionaire Mark Cuban pointed at IBM and said ""IBM is no longer a tech company. "They have no vision. What they've evolved into is a company that does [arbitrage] on acquisitions. It's stock buybacks. Who is IBM anymore?" In a similar vein, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said of Amazon's latest staggering loss that "I don’t know what to say about Amazon. They make no money, Charlie, In my world, you’re not a real business until you make some money. I have a hard time with businesses that don’t make money at some point.” Amazon has not posted a profit in 20 years.
   Ballmer may have been feeling a little better about his own experience, since Microsoft posted their own first profits with the Surface tablets.

Oct 24
With a glut in cranberries, Northwest farmers are struggling and are compensating by planting new varieties. Prices have fallen by a third since 2012.

Oct 22
'A 10-year veteran Internal Revenue Service (IRS) attorney has demanded a Congressional audit of the IRS to investigate the agency’s alleged role in allowing American corporations to illegally avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes at the same time the agency is cracking down on individuals and small businesses.'

Oct 19
Dollar Tree Fined $282,500 For OSHA Violations

OSHA has said the Dollar Tree stores (there are two in Corvallis, one at the King's Circle, next to where Albertson's was, and one at 5222 on Philomath Blvd.), has “willfully and repeatedly” shown a reckless disregard for employee safety.' In the past 5 years, the chain has racked up a staggering 234 violations, and has begun to draw 6 figure fines.

The Coast Guard has scheduled a meeting in Newport to listen to the community concerns about closing the station there. '40 to 50 missions that are flown out of the Newport facility every year will be re-routed to North Bend or Astoria. Captain Todd Trimpert, who heads up the agency in southern Oregon, says there are no plans to add additional resource there and response times likely will increase.'

Oct 16

The Victim: Stuffed Horse

Above: The victim. Below: The perpetrator.

The Perp: Sean Johnson

 Sean Johnson, a Walmart customer, grabbed a stuffed horse and pulled out his penis and pressed against the horse until he orgasmed.  At that point, he pulled a comforter off the shelf and tenderly wrapped the object of his affection in it.
Business isn't all fun and games, Sean - at least not for everyone else.

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Vicheka Ly

Police are saying that a serial predator has been preying on older women who befriend her, allow her to move into their homes, and she then steals credit cards and thousands of dollars from them. Vicheka Ly has pulled such scams, they say, in 3 Oregon Counties. Call  503-846-2500 at Washington County, if spotted.

Kingsley Nkwonta

Police are saying that a string of Corvallis and UO iPad burglaries are related, and Kingsley Nkwonta has been charged with using craigslist to dispose of them. They say more arrests are forthcoming. They are asking anyone who was victimized, whether by buying or loss due to theft, to call (541) 682-5376.

Oct 30

Erik Dean Kimball
If you can't think of any other reason to legalize pot, do it for Mr. Kimball. He is our poster boy on this issue and the sight of him in the inmate roster reminds us of Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong.

Mr. Kimball has been charged in Corvallis 10 times and once in Marion County, stemming from a pot bust in April of last year. After the first bust, financial aid is banned and it makes no sense not to indulge oneself after, really. The life is ruined. This time, the charge is again a drug treatment violation on a pot charge.
   A massive investigation and report by England's Conservative government has left the Party shattered and nervous. They even tried to suppress the Report. The report, based on studies of 11 nations, concluded "there is no evidence tough anti-drug laws have any effect on levels of use". You can read the report here.
   Both the County Sheriff and the District Attorney, whose livelihoods depend upon criminalization, opposed the measure to legalize pot today. They're not fools - they know which side of the bread is buttered for them.

Heather Lyn Reid

Ms Reid is a case in point as to why we have a drug treatment court rather than simply throwing users into jail. She has been charged 3 times now with drug possession, and not once with the property crimes some meth users rely upon to feed their drug habit. She is a user, not a thief, according to the charges placed against her.

Brian Edward Kaucher

Poor Mr. Kaucher, he never had a chance, hailing as he does from both Linn County AND Philomath. His tattoos aren't legible but we bet he was born with them and that they read "Born to Be in Jail". That would be a perfect idea - tattoo all Linn County babies so later in life we know them when we see them and we can lock down all the property in sight. Mr. Kaucher is charged with not showing up on 5 counts of forgery, 2 counts of ID theft, theft, etc. He was also charged in March, 2013 with theft and ID theft.
    A 19 year old has had his first arrest, at least his first as an adult, for burglary and theft. The worst charge that could be laid against him is that he too closely resembles the bubble gum pop artist Justin Bieber. He may have started to take that role too seriously and it got him in trouble.
   Similarly, a 37 year old woman has been charged with drugs and theft III (usually shoplifting in Oregon) in the first charge against her, at least in recent years.
   Perennial criminal Jonathan Dakota Appelt  has been sentenced to 13 months in prison for his latest crime, a stabbing. "“You’re racking them up,” the judge told him. “You’re already up to B,” referring to 6B of the Oregon sentencing guidelines. The six is along a scale of one to 11 for crime seriousness, and B denotes a criminal history that includes two person felonies in any combination of adult convictions or juvenile adjudications."

Elsewhere in Oregon, Oracle Corporation has written state legislators "suggesting" they cut funding for the state in our attempt to recover $300 million in what the Department of Justice has called a "racketeering" operation. In weeks to come, we can look forward to seeing Republican legislators jumping on the lap of Oracle CEO  Safra Catz like a bunch of squirming little puppies looking for approval.

Parents of North Salem High were alerted today concerning a student having made threats or comments about guns and shootings in school.

An Idaho man camping in an RV with others told hospital staffers in Eugene that he had fallen on a "thin knife" before confessing that one of his room mates stabbed him with her letter opener.

A Seattle man with a one inch gash says he was assaulted by a clown with a wrench.

San Franciscans celebrating the World Series of the Giants shot one another - twice - and stabbed, then assaulted each other and finally began throwing bottles at police officers. 40 were arrested.

Donald Trump

Above: Elsewhere, following the charge by the New York Attorney General that Donald Trump had defrauded students of $40 million, the first of the lawsuits seeking to recover that money are being filed.

In Maine, a nurse who assisted Ebola patients is refusing to abide by the state's 21 day quarantine. She risks arrest if she continues to insist on leaving her home and having physical contact with others. We all appreciate the spirit of self-sacrifice she exhibited in Africa, but we all have to disapprove of her unwillingness to engage in a far milder form of self sacrifice in maintaining the 21 day quarantine. If someone became sick as a result of her shenanigans, she'd feel as awful as the rest of us. But she wouldn't have the anger we would.

In Ohio, a fired state trooper admitted trading his agreement not to file charges for sex. He was caught when a routine examination of dashboard coverage showed "inappropriate" contact.
   In New York City, a police officer was indicted for conspiring with a Colorado woman in a plan to sexually molest her 1 year old infant. The agreement was recorded on Skype.
   In related news, a police inquiry in Manchester, England has shown that "kiddie sex" is the "new norm" in that city.
   In more related news, Mike Tyson, the angry, misogynous ex-fighter, said today that at age 7, he was "snatched me off the street. I was a little kid." The kidnapper "bullied me, sexually abused me and stuff ..Never seen him again."

Queen Latifeh has cancelled an interview with Bill Cosby after rape allegations resurfaced.

In Utah, a Mormon Jim Jones mini-affair is shaping up in the deaths of a family who were poisoned inside a locked bedroom, next to a trash can full of methadone, sleeping pills, etc.  all in a kool-aid-like concoction.

Eric Frein, suspected of ambushing and killing police in Pennsylvania before retreating with his survivalist skills into wilderness areas, has been captured.

In Florida, a bizarre, second manslaughter trial of a gazillionaire who adopted his girlfriend legally to keep his fortune from being seized by parents of the man he killed, in what police said was a drunken stupor, has ended in a conviction.

Lucy DeCoutere

In Canada, things just keep piling up against "Q" star Jian Ghomeshi, with 8 more women stepping forward to tell tales of him unexpectedly strangling or punching them. Among them are popular Canadian actress Lucy DeCoutere.

Oct 29

Jeremy Paul Higginbotham

Mr. Higginbotham is another gift of Linn County. He was charged in August  of this year in Corvallis with meth and Driving While Suspended, which is what he is charged with this time.
   There was a time when a majority of those arrested sported a look similar oftoead and a mustache type usually defined as a 'trucker's". It was popularized in the 90s as a sinister virility, especially by a subset of the gay male leather crowd. In Oregon, a set that circled Thom Butts.

Thom Butts, Mr. Oregon State Leather 1997

Today, it has lost the appeal (Thom Butts is a Log Cabin Republican, lives in the suburbs with husband Dominic and the 2 of them share a "collared boy" Kevin)) and simply screams "Linn County" and "Arrest Me!" But it's possible that Mr. Higginbotham is just a fashion purist and doesn't care to alter his appearance based on the whims of a fickle convict public.

Tracy Jean Freitag

Ms Freitag is also from Linn County. She is charged with possession of unspecified drugs. She was arrested 3 years ago on charges of meth and child neglect, an irony since her Facebook page has a "god bless grandchildren" homily as well as a declaration that she's "keeping Christ in Christmas" - and, judging by the charges, she's keeping maybe a little something else in reserve in case the Christ in Christmas doesn't come through for her.
   Ms Freitag has said she has been struggling with meth addiction for 30 years and was, she said last year, "clean" for 6 months. "“My ‘friends’ out there would be more than willing to get me high. They’d think they were doing me a great favor,” she said. “If I go back out there again, I’ll die.” No, Ms Freitag, let's not die. Let's just get clean again and restart that calendar clock.

Joseph David Stone

Mr. Stone is from Marion County, where he was arrested 2 years ago on theft charges, according to the Inquirer. He is charged in Benton County with reckless endangerment and a probation violation. It might do his public presentation "a world of good" if he adopted that 90's Thom Butts look.

Elsewhere in Oregon, a man with a prior rape conviction started to answer the door dressed only in his underwear, police say, until he saw it was the police with a warrant. Then he bolted out the back and through the neighborhood, "dashed through yards, hopped over fences and barreled through bushes in his attempts to flee", losing his underwear to a fence. A K-9 officer tracked James Bufford down.
   In related news, a burglar specializing in stealing underwear has made an appearance in northeast Portland.

A Linn County 13 year old who disappeared has been discovered to have been in a 2 year "relationship", as she calls it, with a 27 year old Wisconsin man who came to Oregon and whisked her off to a hotel, where her father discovered her and escorted the man to the police station.
   A federal judge in Eugene has sentenced a Linn County man, Richard Stephens, to 15 years in prison for being a "career criminal", after being found guilty of stealing a gun from another criminal. The judge has no idea about Linn County. They seem to make crime a part of the high school curriculum there. Stephens had 18 prior felony convictions.

Greg Lewis, the suspect in a PDX hotel rape has been tracked down and arrested in New York.
In Clackamas County, David Taylor, a convicted murderer was found guilty of robbing a man who claimed to be a German baron with a stash of antiques but who is widely believed now to have been a fake.

Elsewhere across the country, there is some sad southland news. A Texas policeman has fatally shot himself, accidentally, in the groin.
   In related news, two deputies returning to New Mexico after transporting a prisoner out of state engaged in a drunken brawl that degenerated into a gunfight, with one shooting the other dead.

Jose Canseco

   Also related, baseball great Jose Canseco accidentally shot off his finger in a gun accident. It may be karma. It was his middle finger.
   Also in Texas, a police officer is going to trial on charges of raping a teen at least 5 times while other officers watched.

Katt Williams, Suge Knight

Thug producer Suge Knight and comic Katt Williams have been charged with stealing the camera of an intrusive paparazzi. Because of their records, Knight could be imprisoned 30 years and Williams could draw 7.

News circulated today that David Nieland, the man charged with investigating the Secret Service agents accused of bringing a prostitute into a Columbian hotel, was forced to quit over the summer after himself being caught with a prostitute.

From the southland, more southland-type news. A 911 call to Skype actually recorded the sexual assault of a 39 year old woman by a 76 year old Georgia County Republican Party chairman.

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.

  OF 2014
Oct 30
Georgia's Republican secretary of state says they have "lost" 50,000 new voter registrations since the first of the year and they can't find them. Anywhere. Move along now, folks, there's nothing to see here.

New Mexico's Republican governor has begun refusing "voter id" cards to Navajos.

Oct 29
Lane County's top law enforcement officials released a statement bashing the Republican for "crossing the line" in a "total misrepresentation of the facts", regarding a Democratic state legislator. They are, incidentally, similar to those sent out by Betsy Close regarding Sarah Gelser. But in all fairness, Ms Close likely wouldn't have understood. She is widely regarded as the dumbest person in the state legislature.

Oct 28
Peter deFazio, US Congressman for Corvallis and elsewhere, will speak on behalf of labeling GM "Frankenfoods" at Country Vitamins, at 919 NW Circle, on Thursday at 4.
   Meantime, polls show that young people and women are very independent voters compared to middle aged Euro-American males, in Oregon. GMO labels are favored by women 51%-39%, and by voters younger than 35 by 61%-31%. Other issues, like the legalization of pot, follow similar trends. Older men follow the direction of authority figures, and specifically corporate entities much more easily.

Oct 27
Michael Walters ("Dame Edna")

Boyd Corbin, candidate for Mayor in Florida, has captured his state's image as no other this year. Corbin in 2012 dressed in a KKK costume and carried a sign saying "Stop the race war against whites. Vote for Romney." He said it was just a joke but he was subsequently arrested for assault when he threatened cross dresser "Dame Edna" (Michael Walters) with a flaming tiki torch. That too, he says, was just a misunderstanding.

Oct 24

Above: Planned Parenthood was concerned enough to send out a special alert to all supporters on the Linn-Benton race for state Senate:
'when politicians dismiss and demean women, it has a direct impact on their lives. Oregon women deserve elected leaders who will expand and strengthen access to health care, not turn back the clock on their rights.
   Your vote will make a key difference in targeted races that will determine the balance of power in the Oregon Legislature..
   Here in Linn-Benton County, we are thrilled to endorse Sara Gelser, who trusts women to make their own personal medical decisions – without the interference of politicians or bosses.
   Her opponent, meanwhile, is endorsed by Oregon Right To Life, an extreme organization that’s working to ban safe, legal abortion – even in cases of rape and incest. Senator Betsy Close even once sponsored a condescending bill that would have imposed a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, outrageously comparing a woman’s personal, private medical decision to buying “a refrigerator…or a house.”
   “Contraceptive equity…is a basic healthcare issue for women, but it’s also an economic justice issue for women,” Sara says. “Women need to be able to make choices about their family timing and family size in order to plan smart and safe economic futures for themselves.”
   For the 2015 legislative session, we have a robust agenda to expand access to women’s health care, to protect patient privacy and to preserve funding for family planning services. We will also diligently block any attempts to let politicians come between a woman and her doctor. We need elected officials who will stand up for women’s health – and we know Sara Gelser will do just that.
   Can we count on you to turn in your ballot by Novem4th?'

A Louisiana Republican mayor, Wilson Longanecker, entered office promising  to "restore dignity" to the office and to "never embarrass this community", was arrested today. He had "stopped going to his office, citing a medical procedure — but he also stopped responding to emails, phone calls, and text messages. After five months, Randy Anny — the man Longanecker, Jr. beat in the election by a single vote — had to step in and act as mayor pro tem in order to manage the city’s finances." Today, it became clear what Longanecker had been doing with his time when a task force raided his home and found reams of kiddie porn videos, which he tried to destroy as they were gathering them up.

Oct 23

Trade Minister in "Hot Seat" Over S&M Bar Expenses

Above: Oregon governor John Kitzhaber's relationship with one widely viewed as a "user" can only seem tame to Japanese observers. Only days after 2 other Ministers had to resign over money scandals, Japan's Minister of Trade is in the hot seat when it emerged his staff had regularly booked performances at an S&M club, "where women dressed only in underwear are tied up with ropes and whipped".

Oct 22
A Portland auditor report has raised alarm about a building tripling in cost and a Portland administrator has been put on administrative leave as a result.

A Republican candidate for the state legislature, Jordan Haskins, argued against "the homosexual agenda" and that if 'the state wants to trample religious freedom, we go somewhere else where our values are welcome'. The Michigan legislator suspended his campaign today when it was revealed that he is on parole for repeatedly breaking into strangers' cars and masturbating, in both Michigan and North Carolina.

The Republican who heads Texas's biggest anti-gay group called for an end to "no fault" divorce, saying his wife should not have been allowed to leave him so soon. For another woman.

A new poll shows that Cylvia Hayes has become an albatross around the state of Oregon, with young males deserting the governor in droves. These are men who haven't made the dumb romantic choices older men and women have, and feel empathy for Kitzhaber: "Hey! I SWEAR I KNOW that person. I was involved with somebody JUST LIKE THAT!" Young women have more empathy for the governor as well. They're often involved with the said young men and understand poor choices well. Hayes needs to leave Oregon and find fresh hunting material. New blood. The governor needs to wake the f*ck up.
   The irony of course is that the wife of the governor's opponent is dumber than a post. She'd never have made the choices she did, if she weren't.

Oregon Republican Dennis Richardson's latest campaign tactics merited a nationwide response from Planned Parenthood:
   "Have you seen this outrageous false advertising from Dennis Richardson? After waging an 11-year campaign against women’s rights in the Oregon Legislature, he’s pulling an “election eve conversion” stunt in a desperate bid to dupe voters.
   Oregon women are already fighting for reproductive freedom, affordable health care and equal pay for equal work. The last thing they need is to be deceived by politicians and organizations that are expanding their efforts to roll back the clock on women’s rights:
   Students For Life staged a protest October 16th at Portland State University that’s designed to mislead young people about Planned Parenthood’s effective, confidential, nonjudgmental health care services, and instead steer them toward fake medical clinics that don’t protect their privacy and that endanger public health by providing misleading information.   
   One student called the installation “negative” and “disturbing.”
Oregon Right To Life is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month by spreading junk science that abortion causes cancer. Executive Director Gayle Atteberry wrote in an October 7th message, “I found it unconscionable that [Komen Oregon] an organization whose sole purpose was to find a cure for breast cancer would donate to [Planned Parenthood] an organization whose main action was one that could cause the cancer they were trying to heal.”
   40 Days For Life has doubled its presence at one of Planned Parenthood’s health centers in Oregon. The anti-abortion campaign, which runs through November 2nd, continues to intimidate patients who seek basic health care services from Planned Parenthood across the state. If these protesters were truly committed to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, they would work with Planned Parenthood to increase access to affordable birth control and comprehensive sex education.
   Please help Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon reach as many voters as possible between now and Election Day. Your support will make the difference in protecting women’s health.
Laura Terrill Patten
Executive Director"

The longest serving Republican in Congress, Don Young of Alaska, made few friends when addressing a high school at Wasilla, where a young classmate recently committed suicide. Young tuned to the subject in his speech and referred to the young man as having had no support from family or friends - "obviously". "I felt the oxygen go out of the room, but I gasped as well,” said Principal Amy Spargo. One young student stood up to assure Young that the victim had many friends and support, but it was a matter of depression. Things went downhill, with Young calling the kid a "smart aleck" and an "asshole" and the principal closed the session early.


Cylvia Hayes and her "Dangerous Man" Karl Topinka

Above: The saga of the governor's choice in partners keeps going on. Cylvia Hayes told the press that the pot farm idea from 20 years ago was the idea of "a dangerous man" she'd been involved with. The "dangerous man" said today that, yes, he'd been convicted of crimes but that the pot idea was hers. "There was a lot of camouflage with Cylvia," he told the Daily Mail. "She has multiple personalities. She always knows what she wants but there's two ways to get anywhere. There's the straight road and there's the crooked road. For some reason Cylvia always gets herself on the crooked road.  She's sly. I can't even tell you what I've sacrificed in my life for her. This guy's doing the same. Look at what a powerful couple they could be, think of that responsibility. You can't abuse that but she did. How can you trust that person?"
   Good question, and one the governor can sort out. As for the rest of the state, the governor's personal issues seem not be affecting how people vote much. Everyone has made a poor choice in relationships along the way and most seem to just feel empathy for someone who's been repeatedly lied to, and repeatedly has believed, another.

In other news, the wife of a Kitzhaber aide was given a contract to produce a video for the governor's health reforms despite being higher than the low bidder. The low bidder, told of the contract award says "It sounds unethical and maybe immoral," he said, "and wasted a lot of people's time to produce a proposal that probably wasn't even looked at."

Michelle Bachmann, paranoid extraordinaire, is getting a tax-payer paid "security guard detail" to protect her against "the Islamic State". It is time we cease giving lunatics news space as though they are to be taken seriously, pundits have observed but the humor of the political news would be lost if we all did so.
   In related news, Texas just keeps getting loonier. The man about to become lieutenant governor has declared that "God speaks to us through Duck Dynasty", apparently bcause Dan Patrick neither reads nor knows how to pray himself. He also believes that Mexican coyotes speak the Pakistani Urdu language.

Oct 20

The family of James Foley, a journalist beheaded by ISIL religious extremists, is demanding an apology from Republicans who have been using his murder. "It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son's death for their own political purposes", says Foley's mother.

The issues of candidates in Oregon are serious enough but elsewhere it gets worse. A leader of the Republican Party in Alabama and Speaker of the House there has been arrested on 23 counts related to bribery.

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

Oct 30
Above: The Colbert Report and #Gamergate

'HP today announced an 3D industrial printer that it said will be half the cost of current additive manufacturing systems while also 10 times faster, enabling production parts to be built. The company also announced Sprout, a new immersive computing platform that combines a 23-in touch screen monitor and horizontal capacitive touch mat with a scanner, depth sensor, hi-res camera, and projector in a single desktop device'.

'Any site owners who haven’t patched a critical vulnerability in Drupal Core disclosed earlier this month should consider their sites to be compromised', say the Drupal core developers.

Fed up with Uber's inaction on applying  for the necessary license, Eugene has ordered the company to leave.

Novetta, Microsoft, Cisco and others have taken down a group of Chinese hackers called Axiom who have been stealing data and IP for 6 years, the team announced.

100,000 or 1% of Hungary's population, has gathered in Budapest to oppose the right wing government's plan to tax downloads per megabyte.

Oct 29
Amelia Earhart Wreckage Identified for First Time "to a High Degree of Certainty"

Above: Aluminum aircraft debris recovered ' from Nikumaroro, an uninhabited atoll in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, does belong to Earhart’s twin-engined Lockheed Electra.
According to researchers at The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 77 years ago, the aluminum sheet is a patch of metal installed on the Electra during the aviator’s eight-day stay in Miami, which was the fourth stop on her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.'

Russian hackers are believed to be behind "suspicious activity" on unclassified White House computers.

The FTC is suing AT&T, saying the corporation throttled "unlimited" data plans up to 90%.

Sony Android phones (4.4.2) are secretly hosting the mysterious Baidu malware which sends your data to servers in China.

Nestle, which has been grasping for Oren's water from Mt. Hood for years with arguments of "job creation" is hiring 1,000 robots to work their retail outlets. 'The 120-centimetre (four-foot) tall robot, which moves on rollers and has what looks like a tablet computer strapped to its chest' is 'an "emotional" robot that understands "70 to 80 percent of spontaneous conversations".'

Oct 28
Insurance companies are denying insurance to "keyless cars" because hackers with computers have taken them so easily.

In a reversal of the usual roles, an Uber driver says a passenger who seemed drunk and threatened to shoot him with a gun pointed at his head and "Do you want to live or die?" actually turned out to be a blottoed federal cop when the driver ran and called 911.

XYZPritning today released a 3D printer with an object scannier for $799.

A new method of writing e-ink displays uses power only when an image is uploaded; otherwise the LED image remains for years.

An explosion of a NASA unmanned spacecraft in Virginia was so violent that it was picked up on radar in Delaware

A big Whoopee. Frontier Communications, which has ridiculed Google's plans for optic fiber in PDX has pointed out that they already offer fiber traffic in Beaverton - at $220 a month, compared to google's usual $70 a month.

'At least 20 additional American cities have expressed a formal interest in joining a coalition that's dedicated to bringing gigabit internet speeds to their residents by any means necessary—even if it means building the infrastructure themselves.'

Home appliance maker Haier says they plan on making appliances capable of charging mobile devices within a 15 foot distance using RF.

'A California judge ruled today to dismiss former dictator Manuel Noriega's lawsuit against publisher Activision for including his likeness in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.'

FileSoup is a search engine of Torrent sites which restores files removed due to DCMA suits in the results. It covers The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, Torrentz and ExtraTorrent.

The FBI says they've identified the "Second Snowden" who's been leaking information to the press about intrusive government programs, and have raided his home though he has yet to be arrested.

Oct 27

Artist Jason Hite has used old circuit boards and action figures to re-create the final level of Doom II in a sculpture whose price is $6,000.

The Android malware Koler has learned to use text messaging and a Dropbox link as a means of spreading its ransomware.

Oct 26

Lines for iPhones locally are 90% Asian or Asian-American, and the Oregonian investigation indicates they are there for "sharks" to pick up unlocked phones, which are limited to 2 per customer, for resale in China as a means of cheating that country's tax laws.

Oct 25

Above: A Mayan take-off on 2 Halo characters has gone viral, with copies of the images by Sita Navas posted by her husband on Reddit now being offered for sale.

The new Apple Air SIMS cards are supposedly interchangeable across carriers but that's not true if you buy them from AT&T, which is locking them.

Verizon is adding a unique header for web traffic which allows them to track and sell information of users, despite ant-cookie setting, etc.

See older Posts here

The massive infusion of cash by food manufacturers into ensuring that Oregonians are not told what is in the food they eat suggests we cannot trust anything they produce. Beyond buying only organic when available, we can also avoid the products of those unwilling to inform us of the nature of their products. For starters:
From Pepsico:
Pepsi/Mountain Dew
Lay's/ Cheetohs/ Tostito's
Starbuck's bottled coffee drinks
Seattle's Best
Sierra Mist

From Kraft:
General Foods
Honey Maid
Oscar Mayer
Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Miracle Whip

Coca Cola
Coca Cola/Fresco
Minute Maid

Oct 30
An OSU researcher's computer predictions are more hopeful than algorithms developed elsewhere, and suggest the Ebola virus could be wiped out in 5 months.

Crash dummies are getting an overhaul to reflect the obesity of US drivers, after a study showed obese drivers are 78% more likely to die in auto crashes.

The average American now spends 1,533 hours driving a car, including an average 25 minute commute. That's 64 days - 2 months. Driving.

Oct 29

A 2nd person in Multnomah County is being monitored for Ebola.

Oct 28
From Statisticians of Black Swan Number Theory: GMO Crops May End Life
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the New York statistician whose financial theories have revolutionized modern finance, says that GMO crops may end the world. "Experts have severely underestimated the risks of genetically modified food" he says.

Corvallis's Harold Reynolds a Star Again
Corvallis's sports hero Harold Reynolds was thought to have finished his career in sports commentary but his role as World Series commentator has jump-started his career. Reynolds was "mysteriously" fired by ESPN in 2006. Reynolds sued and the fact the MLB has vetted him to appear seems like some sort of vindication.

Good Samaritan has been designated as one of 6 hospital facilities for Ebola patients in Oregon. The CEO said that they are "making sure that if a patient presents, our staff knows how to identify, treat, isolate or transfer as needed". He says mock drills have been staged. Physicians at both the Hospital has been given a "D" grade in patient safety by the "Leapfrog" system, along with a hospital in Ontario, Oregon and one in Redmond, Oregon. Oregon has no hospitals with "F" scoring. Does that make you feel any safer?

Among "emerging markets", China, Brazil and South Africa are the leaders in green technology, and specifically for investment in clean energy, says a new study.

Oct 27

Above: Corvallis resident Nunn Chemrouen is very proud of his grandson soaring to the top of Cambodia's pop charts. For the rest of us, we are grateful to see that the US is not alone in superficial pop music.

A group of North Carolina students whose play was cancelled by the high school after a Christian preacher intervened with the high school principal, have crowd funded the play themselves.

A 5 year old in NYC has been taken from his apartment away for testing after developing a fever following his return from Guinea.

Oct 26
'Residents in the flow path of the slowly erupting Kilauea volcano in the Puna district of Hawaii Island have been told to prepare for a possible evacuation in the next three to five days'

The Fairplay/Waldorf issue raised by the County and the School Board today re-poses the question of the GMO herbicides used in Benton County which account for the residues found in the drinking water of 2 Corvallis schools when the USDA and OHA tested for 177 chemicals 2 years ago. Half the schools tested positive, including Fairplay and Dixie (used for Headstart).

Corvallis fans of CBC's "Q" should know the network announced they were dumping Jian Ghomeshi after allegations and reports of sex harassment.

Oct 25
Alan Eustace, a computer scientist, has broken the free fall record.'falling faster than the speed of sound and breaking the world altitude record set just two years ago.. At dawn he was lifted from an abandoned runway at the airport here by a balloon filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium. For a little over two hours, the balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of more than 25 miles. Mr. Eustace dangled underneath in a specially designed spacesuit with an elaborate life-support system. He returned to earth just 15 minutes after starting his fall.'

After decades of being stymied by religious extremists, scientists at Harvard say they now have found a way of turning stem cells into cancer killers which target brain tumors, killing the cancer cells without harming normal cells in mice. You can expect the religious extremists, like the Republican candidate for state Senate
in Corvallis, Betsy Close, to try to whack the advances.

Oct 24

New testing on infant formulas in Portland shows Enfamil Soy Infant Formula  and Similac Soy Isomil for lactose-intolerant babies have GMO contents manufactured to allow high dosages of herbicides - by definition, life killing.

DuPont's $4.6 million greasing of the wheels to prevent labeling of GMO foods has set a new record. This Supreme Court has ensured there's no way to control election spending and the US democracy is well on the way to becoming the best democracy money can buy.

Possibly the worst scenario in the U.S. - the likely confirmation of an Ebola victim in New York City - has occurred. A Doctors Without Borders physician returned from working with Ebola victims in Guinea has been put in isolation. After he took the subway and went bowling in Brooklyn last night.
   In related news, the World Health Organization says they are testing 2 candidates for an Ebola vaccine and expect a vaccine by the end of the year.

Oct 23
The Northwest's Paul Allen has decided to fork over $100 million to fight Ebola.

Oct 22

Above: Jacqueline Laurent made nudie movies nearly 50 years ago. Today, she's a 73 year old school teacher in Canada and some schoolboys stumbled across her filmography of Swedish Sex Games, Hot and Naked, and The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac. After her short film career, she became a comedienne then a drama teacher. "I would never do pornography. We called them light, erotic films, and they have nothing to do with the kinds of things you see today."
   The school terminated her contract after the boys posted the films and nude pictures on Facebook. However, a sustained backlash by parents, students, former students and an outraged public resulted in a re-do of that decision. Facebook was used mightily for that too.

'A new partnership focused on sharing information, promoting science and cooperative research, and engaging citizens in Oregon’s marine reserves and protected areas has launched. The Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership (OMRP) was founded by six member organizations: Audubon Society of Portland, Coast Range Association, Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, Oceana, Surfrider Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy. '

Uh oh. The 2 researchers who wrote the study verifying Dr. Oz's Weight loss pills today admitted the "study" was bogus, and they'd been paid to write it.

The leading Chinese solar firm, LDK, has applied for bankruptcy to restructure debts.

For the first time the brain's "blood-brain barrier" has been opened and closed on demand, allowing for the treatment of cancer.

Oct 21
The Onion News has stepped into Oregon's GMO fray with a news report of OSU and Monsanto GM experiments 'wreaking untold environmental and economic devastation throughout the region, a strain of harvest-resistant corn engineered by the agrochemical company Monsanto is now engulfing most of the Midwest, officials confirmed Monday.
       According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the genetically modified crop, which Monsanto originally enhanced with traits to provide resistance from pests, diseases, and environmental conditions such as drought and frost, has become completely impervious to industrial reaping machinery and has spread uncontrollably across 700,000 square miles of land. With the unharvestable corn growing through asphalt roadways and airport tarmacs all over the Midwest, FEMA has been leading efforts to evacuate millions of residents before the plants obstruct all travel in the central United States.'

Oct 20
Monsanto has shipped another $2.5 million in cash to suppress labeling of GM "Frankenfoods") in Oregon. That makes $4 million for Monsanto alone.

2,500 farmers along the Snake River have been told they will need to shut down their irrigation systems, raising for hundreds of millions in crops, if they can't reach agreement with the senior water rights holder for the aquifer, a privately owned trout farm dating to 1925.

Oregon is ranked #26 in the country and received a final grade of C in the 2014 Women’s Health Report Card released today by Oregon Action and The Main Street Alliance of Oregon.' You can read the report here.


Wind Turbines go Airborn

Above: 'An enormous helium-filled wind turbine will soon float over the city of Fairbanks, Alaska to produce enough electricity for more than a dozen families living off the grid. Designed and built by MIT startup Altaeros Energies, the turbine known as BAT-Buoyant Airborne Turbine will hover at an altitude of 1,000 feet for 18 months, catching air currents that are five to eight times more powerful than winds on the ground.'

See older Posts here

    Our Election 
The Voters' pamphlet is here.
State Referendums:
Measure 86 - Yes
Measure 87 - Yes
Measure 88 - Yes
Measure 89 - Yes
Measure 90 - No
Measure 91 - Yes
Measure 92 - Yes
If you're having trouble remembering the recommendations, "All But 90" but only for STATE referendums (see below).

Candidates for State Offices
US Senator - Jeff Merkley
US Congress - Peter DeFazio
Governor - John Kitzhaber
Secretary of State - Kate Brown
Treasurer - Kate Wheeler
Attorney General - Ellen Rosenblum
Labor Commissioner - Brad Avakian
State Senator - Sarah Gelser
State Representative - Dan Rayfield

Local Candidates
County Commissioner #1 - Anne
Sheriff -
Mayor - Josh Gulliver
Ward 1 Council - Penny York
Ward 2 Council - Roen Hogg
Ward 3 Council - Zachariah Baker
Ward 4 Barbara Bull
Ward 5 Judson McClure
Ward 6 -
Ward 7 - Bill Glassmire
Ward 8 - Tracey Yee
Ward 9 -
Local Measure 02-88 - No
Local Measure 22-130 - Yes

Measure 86
By every account this should be called the Student Debt Relief Measure, as it creates an unfunded account for students to draw from for college tuition, books, and whatever else may be necessary. It is a weak proposal, referred to the voters by the legislature. It was a spin off from a "Pay It Later" proposal, which would provide the funds to students. Students, in exchange, would sign a contract to pay a certain proportion of their income into the fund to repay their costs but to provide working capital for future students. However, Republicans have traditionally hated funding education in Oregon and as long as they are in the legislature, this fund will likely remain nearly empty. However, it establishes the account in principle, and it will be relatively easy to fill it in future, as a relatively small handful of aging Republicans die and the state's Democratic and independent leanings make themselves felt. We therefore recommend voting for the proposal.

Measure 87
Measure 87 is a housekeeping measure. The Oregon Constitution prohibits those from one branch of government working on one of the 2 others. The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that means judges can't teach at public universities (they can at private ones) and similarly can't serve in the National Guard. The public needs to approve changes to the Oregon Constitution so this was referred to the voters.

Measure 88
There are 120,000 undocumented immigrants in Oregon. Without driver's licenses, they cannot be held accountable for insurance - it can't be purchased. Having tens of thousands on the road without insurance makes little sense, since the insurance companies will compensate by raising the coverage for all other drivers. Let's not kid ourselves. People will get to work, and will get their kids to school, as we wish for them to do, by the way. Without driver's licenses, it will cost everyone else money.

Measure 89
There are those who feel that women have pretty well secured their equality in every legal sense. Others would dispute that but no one disputes it as a goal, and one embodied pretty much in the law. But let's all look facts in the eye. We have an all male 5-4 Republican, pro-corporate majority on the Supreme Court (and all white and all Catholic if we discount the wannabee Clarence Thomas), and that Court is of the same mind set as the Supreme Court which rendered the Dred Scott decision. They are perfectly capable of ruling some Blue Sunday that equality for women is not guaranteed in the Constitution after all, and this amendment provides a safety cushion by incorporating those in the state Constitution.

Measure 90
Measure 90 seems cut and dried. A free-for-all primary election will be "non-partisan" and the 2 top vote-receivers will advance to the general election in the fall. Prior to the primary, the political parties will meet and endorse a candidate for the primary.
   It is the "meet and endorse" which is the insidious part of the proposal. The parties will choose their own mechanism for the endorsement but it will NOT involve a vote of the rank and file. Rather, party bigwigs will gather and choose someone of their own liking, as was done in the 19th century before the "Oregon System" introduced the nation to primaries, as well as referendums, recalls, and a host of other progressive ideas. The rank and file will be left out of the process, which is the intention.
   The massive infusion of cash from the most questionable of corporations and billionaires like John Arnold of Texas - who has given $500,000 to the effort to re-establish smoke-filled rooms (smoke free this century) is occurring because they know they will be at the table when the decision on names for the first election occurs.
   The referendum is touted as a means for the Republicans to throw out the "crazies" in their midst, which would include much of the Republican slate this election - Richardson, Close, Wehby (not a religious extremist but with some serious character flaws which a Dorchester-like committee would disqualify),  and Robinson. That ejection is neither the job of Oregonians as a whole nor is it in our interests. People, no matter their religious extremism or even sheer ignorance, have a right to vote. That's true not only for Tea Partiers but for others, all of whom will be barred from decision making by the "meet and endorse" strategy, which will only  further keep the republic
- as Steve Duin in the Oregonian says -  as "a footstool for the Koch brothers".

Measure 91
Measure 91 is the referendum endorsed by the NY Times today. It allows the possession of marijuana by any one over age 21, in limited quantities and provides tax revenue to the state. There is no question that the War on Drugs has been an expensive failure which has ruined tens of thousands of lives. Imprisoning anyone for their addiction alone is a ridiculous proposition, which is born of the "nanny state" some like to decry.

Measure 92
Genetic modification of the food we eat, and planting the result, is a serious matter, and Russia has, for example, designated it as a "terrorist act". However, Measure 92 addresses neither. It simply states you have a right to know what's in your food, a labeling principle long accepted in the US. "Big Agra" - the corporate farms want an exception for their genetic concoctions and they have an entire stable of paid consultants to push for it. We have a right to know. Whether you are in favor of GM foods or not, we all of us have a right to know what's in our food.

If the Republicans had endorsed a reasonable candidate, our endorsement of Kitzhaber might be up for grabs. Kitzhaber has been a terrible manager, whether one considers Cover Oregon, SAIF or the hoodwinking of Kitzhaber by Monsanto in the GM agricultural ruling, Kitzhaber has simply been asleep much of the time.
   However, Richardson is among the worst choices Republicans could have made. Having fathered 9 children, he is a walking ecological disaster, compounded by his subservience to ALEC, the Koch brothers personal shadow organization. On any issue, he is on the wrong side. A slumbering manager is superior to a vicious one.   
    In no other state race did we have equally strong doubts about endorsing anyone other than the above.
Sheriff - We do not know enough of the current Sheriff to be able to make a judgment call, which in and of itself is likely a recommendation.  Sheriffs tend to get well known when they're tyrants, corrupt or inept.
Josh Gulliver, on the other hand is a breath of fresh air. His opponent, Biff Traber is the most reviled member of the city Council. Like Mike Beilstein, he favors progressive views as long as they affect some other place, some other time. Locally, he is a proxy for developers and the most hardened corporate candidate could not outdo him in this field. When Traber says "I'm running on my record", and Gulliver replies "Me too, I'm running on Biff Traber's record", there is a real truth at play.
Penny York, and to a lesser extent Roen Hogg were the councilors we had fewest doubts about endorsing for re-election. The experience with Penny York, the most responsive Council member to the wishes of her constituents, suggests we need more women on the Council. We are therefore endorsing both women running with her - Tracey Yee and Barbara Bull. One of Tracey Yee's opponents seem competent, and we are sorry but we have to go for the balance on the Council.
   Joel Hirsch has been nothing if not a front man for developers, and his opponent is a realtor from Windemere, a realty firm so loathed that it has a website (Windemere Watch) devoted to them. Hirsch's opponent is listed on that website. We endorse neither.
   Similarly, Hal Brauner, in Ward 9, has been cozy with developers whenever he's attended meetings. He has no opponent and we endorse no one.
   Among newcomers, we have endorsed a newcomer Zachariah Baker. We also endorsed newcomer Bill Glassmire - his opponent is of the worst order, standing on the dais with the "crazies" of the Republican Party and boasting of his ties to the Mormon church a week after the Church expelled the advocates of gender equality and gay acceptance.
   We endorsed newcomer Judson McClure because everyone we spoke with was impressed with the young man. We did it despite the fact that he's from Georgia, and we never hear of Georgia without thinking of the bumper sticker referring to the movie Deliverance: "Paddle faster! I hear banjos!"

   The paucity of qualified candidates for city Council have once again made apparent that our city Manager form is not working. We need to have, perhaps as many as 3 paid elected city councilors, each responsible for a portfolio of various departments. The current salary of the city manager could be divided among the 3, providing each with a modest salary which would permit more candidates.
The current system places too much of a demand on volunteers.
   The performance of city managers over the years has proven to be unsatisfactory anyway. As a consequence, they have each left, often involuntarily.

Local Measure 02-88
This measure was a heartache discussing. The residents who live in the affected neighborhood are always struggling to find walkable parking space within reasonable distance of their homes, as the students and workers who live elsewhere in the city - as well as beyond - are always seeking out parking within reasonable distance of classrooms or work places. The streets each ends up parking on, are publicly funded. Those who live on a street pay not only to maintain their street but other streets in the city as well. Commuters who live in the city bear the same share of costs individually for maintaining the parking spaces in the affected neighborhood as those who live on those streets. They are as entitled to them.
   This does not negate the responsibility of OSU to provide parking spaces, at affordable costs, to students and workers. OSU has tended to regard students, especially, as income sources rather than as human beings. Every aspect of life is costly. Even trivial activities are inflated in cost. For example, OSU charges MORE for online classes than for those on campus, although the costs for the entire infrastructure is largely eliminated in online classes.
   The resistance is not just from the administration alone but from faculty who feel threatened when online courses are mentioned, and rightly so. Given a choice between an online class taught in a consortium by, say, a Stanford expert, or an OSU prof, most students would choose the more prestigious lecturer. OSU profs would be lost in the shuffle. OSU has said as much.
   Nonetheless, making online classes MORE affordable rather than LESS, could greatly diminish the number of students and workers. The truth is, no one at OSU really wants to see that. There is too much money at stake. Thus, it might make more sense for OSU to simply provide space on campus for those who live in the neighborhood, except that would likely be unacceptable to residents. They demand parking on the public street in front of their own home. Students and workers, of course, who park in the affected neighborhoods daily, walk that distance, ungrudgingly - twice - and it is that walk which this permit system would deny them, would greatly extend.
   The solution to the parking problem is one which OSU trembles when contemplating - online courses, which can be offered relatively inexpensively, to students while yet living at home, or anywhere else they choose. The infrastructure costs are minimal, the quality of the instructor can be impressive, and OSU is doing all they can to stave it off. The professors are fearful they will be dwarfed by the likes of MIT or Cal-Berkeley. The administration knows they would be extraneous. As a consequence, OSU makes online courses MORE expensive, not less. Nonetheless, it is coming.

Local Measure 22-130
Support for LBCC funding has traditionally come from Benton County, where a Democratic and Independent majority of voters has traditionally been supportive of education.
   It may therefore strike some as a little odd that the lion's share - 70% of the funding being requested will be spent in Linn County, where a Republican majority has traditionally been tight fisted with education. It is, however, in Benton County's interest that the bulk of the funds be devoted to Linn County. Any one reading the crime column on this page will instantly recognize that few in Benton County jails were raised in Corvallis. Most are from Linn County or Philomath, and it is in those two regions that we need to assist in deepening the maturity of the citizenry. Education is an important tool in doing so. It will save us money in the long run.