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 Local News 101
 A Report for The Busy
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 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 Farms 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 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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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.
   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.

Ronald James Baynum

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.
   A 29 year old man was cited for resisting arrest, providing false information, etc. in his first charge in recent years.

Nov 23

Travis Lee Corwin

Mr. Corwin has been charged with domestic violence - harassment and carrying a concealed weapon. He was arrested in February for domestic violence assault and again in July for assault.

Joseph Bruce, aka Violent J.

Above: elsewhere in Oregon, Portland Juggalos are blaming 2 Corvallis miscreants, Jonathon Appelt (recently sent to prison for an unrelated stabbing) and another whose charges were dropped for testifying, for tarnishing their reputation. They say the pair's actions are what has led others into crime as Juggalos, including Portland vandals who posted threats in the Juggalo name last week. Appelt and Griffin, they say, ruined things when they claimed to be Juggalos and attacked the homeless as they slept 4 years ago. Since then, every criminal in the country, they say, has been tempted to masquerade as Juggalos. But founder Robert Bruce insists that it wasn't Juggalos who sent the threats and "his fans are not involved in criminal activities". Wrote 'A True Juggalo Family member who calls himself "Tyler The Mohawk Kultala" wrote on the Juggalo message board that the sign must have been left by people pretending to be Juggalos. "Obviously not a real juggalo because they promote love and understanding among mankind," Kultala wrote.'

Dennis Tapia and Jose Rios have been charged in Tigard with starting a hash oil fire in the bathroom of a 6 gas station. Both had checked into hospitals with severe burns after fleeing. Police say they had been trying to use butane to extract the oil from pot.

In news from beyond Oregon, Colter Arbach gunned down 3 others then himself at a home on the Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.
   In related gun fetishist news, Pedro Rosales was cleaning an illegally obtained gun when it went off, severely wounding his 9 month old daughter.

John Smid and Larry McQueen

Above: In bigotry news, John Smid, an "ex-gay" whose clinic pushed "aggressive conversion therapy" announced today that he had wed his same sex "partner", Larry McQueen in Oklahoma.
   Abroad, Jewish bigots in Israel have declared Israel only a place for Jews, and Arabic has been stricken as a language from the rolls.

The crime headlines in the NFL tend to be from those athletes beating children or women. There's another dimension. Pittsburg Steelers' William Gay has been campaigning against violence directed at women since long before it became cool. His own mother was gunned down by his step father in 1992, in Florida.

Above: In related news, a Swedish tv show akin to Candid Camera set up a camera in an elevator to see how many would intervene in a scene clearly indicting a woman was being abused. They expected 50% would intervene. Only 1 woman did.

At the University of Virginia, where a horrifying fraternity rape scenario was exposed this week in Rolling Stone Magazine, the President has suspended all fraternities. Her statement:
   "Dear members of the University Community,
   Over the past week many of you have reached out to me directly to offer your opinions, reactions, and suggestions related to combatting sexual violence on Grounds. I want you to know that I have heard you, and that your words have enkindled this message.
    At UVa we speak in idealistic terms: honor and tradition inform our thinking, and balance our daily actions. And it is easy here, where success is demanded as much as it is sought, to let our idealism outweigh our reality.
   Jefferson, as he always does, provides a compelling backdrop [Jefferson was notoriously involved in the rape of Sally Hemings, a slave]:
   It is more honorable to repair a wrong than to persist in it.
   The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community. Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation’s colleges and universities. We know, and have felt very powerfully this week, that we are better than we have been described, and that we have a responsibility to live our tradition of honor every day, and as importantly every night.
   As you are aware, I have asked the Charlottesville Police Department to investigate the 2012 assault that is described in Rolling Stone. There are individuals in our community who know what happened that night, and I am calling on them to come forward to the police to report the facts. Only you can shed light on the truth, and it is your responsibility to do so. Alongside this investigation, we as a community must also do a systematic evaluation of our culture to ensure that one of our founding principles– the pursuit of truth – remains a pillar on which we can stand. There is no greater threat to honor than secrecy and indifference.
   I write you today in solidarity. I write you in great sorrow, great rage, but most importantly, with great determination. Meaningful change is necessary, and we can lead that change for all universities. We can demand that incidents like those described in Rolling Stone never happen and that if they do, the responsible are held accountable to the law. This will require institutional change, cultural change, and legislative change, and it will not be easy. We are making those changes.
   This morning the Inter-Fraternity Council announced that all University fraternities have voluntarily suspended social activities this weekend. This is an important first step, but our challenges will extend beyond this weekend. Beginning immediately, I am suspending all fraternal organizations and associated social activities until January 9th, ahead of the beginning of our spring semester. In the intervening period we will assemble groups of students, faculty, alumni, and other concerned parties to discuss our next steps in preventing sexual assault and sexual violence on Grounds. On Tuesday, the Board of Visitors will meet to discuss the University’s policies and procedures regarding sexual assault as well as the specific, recent allegations.
   In the words of one student who wrote to me this week, “Policy is needed, but people make change.” We need the collective strength of the members of our community to ensure that we have the best policies. So as you prepare for what I hope is a restful Thanksgiving holiday, I hope that you will take time to review and respond to the recently posted Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, which is currently open for public comment. You may find that policy at this link. Providing candid feedback to this policy is a practical step that you can take to help and I hope that you will.
   To our fourth-year students: as you prepare to celebrate your last home football game today, I hope that you will embrace your role as leaders and demonstrate a renewed sense of responsibility to our community, and a renewed commitment to make that community better. It starts today.
   Finally, I want to express my grief at hearing the news of the death of second-year student Peter D'Agostino [Peter committed suicide], whose passing adds overwhelming emotion to what has been a difficult semester for all of us.
   We are united in our compassion, resolve, and determination: Compassion for survivors of assault; resolve to make our community better; determination to begin to solve this problem here and now.
   I hope that you will join me.
Teresa A. Sullivan

Nov 22

Manuel Pinedo

The most significant crime news in the city today is the release of perennial Corvallis car-prowler Manuel Pinedo, of Philomath, from his latest stint in jail. Mr. Pinedo has been quite brazen about his thievery, readers have said, and under no circumstances should he be allowed in your neighborhood without adult supervision.

Philipp Jean Bardenheier

Mr. Bardenheier. a Californian resident of OSU's Buxton Hall, was arrested for sending kiddie porn to a man in Linn County.

James Clavel Kittrell
This is the 5th time Mr. Kitrell has been charged this year, usually for nuisance crimes - assault, mischief, etc. This time it's trespassing.
Joseph David Stone

Mr. Stone is from Marion County, where he has been charged nearly a dozen times for meth, etc., and this is his 4th time to be charged in more than a year, in Corvallis. He is an inveterate shop keeper but last year he was "initially was arrested for reportedly stealing $40 in deli food from Fred Meyer, but was booked on additional charges when police said they found three credit cards and a driver’s license on him that had been reported stolen in August 2012. He was booked on charges of first degree theft by receiving, identity theft, third-degree theft and a Marion County Circuit Court warrant for failure to appear in court on shoplifting and theft charges."

Robert Lionel Ramirez

Mr. Ramirez is also from Marion County, where he was charged with burglary and theft. In Corvallis, he has been charged 3 times with violating parole/probation and is being sent to the Department of Corrections.

Gregory Scott Elgin

This is the 11th time in 3 years that Mr. Elgin has been charged, usually in meth-related charges. This time it's not showing up on a trespassing charge.

Jacob Timothy Alred

Mr. Alred has been charged 4 times since February, and this time he's charged with littering. He might start to get the impression he's being targeted.

 Macandrew Bud McNeeley

Elsewhere in Oregon, police are looking for Mr. McNeeley who threw his crime partner under the bus. He and Owen Steinbacher III, decided to shoplift from Costco and ran to the car, with Mr. Steinbacher driving as the 2 sped away. When a police car blocked the vehicle, police say Mr. McNeeley shoved Steinbacher onto the pavement and took the wheel himself. He then careened off several vehicles as he drove away and finally into the side of a house. He parked the car behind the wrecked house and ran off. For a shoplifting. With his I.Q. and criminal genius, he'll probably be caught before this sentenced is fully typed.

Albany police did a sweep of a small sample of the the city's males, focusing on the 107 who are actually registered as sex offenders, a narrow slice of the 12,000 adult male male population. Most men who live there might be classified as sex offenders by any woman living outside of Linn County, in the view of our readers but 20% of those registered were not in compliance.
   Linn County is investigating the 2nd heroin overdose in a month, with Bryan Spencer Bellingham of Harrisburg last seen playing video games by his parents before they discovered his body.

Chelsea B. Fresh

Police have identified the 29 year old woman shot dead by Beaverton police after she pointed a rifle at them as Chelsea B. Fresh. Her boyfriend had called police, telling them he had left the apartment they shared after she "had pushed him and then went into the kitchen for the knives". He told them she had access to rifles but no ammunition.

Joyce Emmons

Above: outside of Oregon, the charges keep piling up for Bill Cosby with another day, another woman claiming she was drugged and raped. Joyce Emmons, who ran clubs 50 years ago, is the latest.

Nov 21

Eero Herrick

Last evening, a reader listening to the police dispatcher alerted us to " A neighbor man walked around a woman's house pouring gasoline and he poured gasoline on a couple of vehicles." Mr. Herrick was arrested in Chico, California on arson charges 5 years ago and in Multnomah County for burglary, Driving While Suspended, DUII, drugs, etc. In Corvallis, he was arrested 3 years ago as a fugitive from California. In March of this year, he was charged with violating post prison supervision. He is charged now with menacing, arson, mischief, etc. Before he's done, unless he's soon stopped from firing, he could end up killing someone. Maybe even a LOT of "someones". A prison blog about life in a California prison identifies Eero Herrick ("Two Mirrors") as from the Klamath tribe although the name is Finnish.
   A court ruling declared in the 2009 California case that "At trial, the victim testified defendant [Eero Herrick] had moved next door in March 2009. He played his music so loudly that the constant thrumming of the bass notes knocked items off the shelves in the victim's apartment. On one occasion, she had defendant come into her apartment to hear how loud it was.
   In mid-June, the victim had complained to the landlord about the noise. On July 3, the victim and defendant were both on their common landing, and the victim asked him "why can't you just turn down your music?" Defendant became angry and told her that if she made any more complaints to their landlord "that he would take care of [her] himself." Defendant walked toward her. When her fiancé came out of their apartment, defendant went back into his apartment. The victim felt ongoing fear after this threat, which caused nightmares.
   On July 7, defendant was playing his music particularly loudly beginning in the late afternoon. The victim asked her fiancé to call the police at about 11:30 p.m. After the police responded, the music briefly became quieter. When the music again grew very loud after midnight, her fiancé called the police again. An officer responded and told them he would issue a citation. She was still awake at 1:30 a.m. when her fiancé told her to call the police because someone was "messing with" her car. She ran out onto the balcony. She saw defendant, who had just broken the back window of her car. He lit the fuse on an object and threw it inside. It exploded with a flash."
   In a related story about mass murder, Beth Elderkin of Daily Dot has raised questions which will no doubt trigger her own avalanche of death threats. 'What is it', she asks, 'in American men' that has gone amuck, so that they are responsible for 96% of the mass murders in the country? Masculinity has become toxic in the US.'

Kelsey Evan Mankin

Mr. Mankin is from Albany, where he is most famous for showing up at the hospital desperate, he said because "members of an organized crime group were going to kill him. Officers responded and say the man had meth on him and his delusions were likely drug-related.". He has been charged 10 times in Corvallis in 4 years, for meth, burglary, absconding, assault, post-prison supervisory violations, etc.

Jose Luis Brambila

Mr. Brambila has been charged 5 times in Corvallis, with Driving While Suspended, etc. This time he is charged with a violation of parole/probation on a DUII charge.

Jeffrey Wayne Jackson

Mr. Jackson is also from Albany, where he was arrested as part of a heroin trafficking ring. He has been charged 10 times in Benton County. In earlier years his charges usually related to heroin but recently they have involved meth instead.

Robert Lee Conn

Mr. Conn of Monroe is back in jail. This is the 11th time he has been charged in a little more than 1 year. Besides driving while suspended, his charges have involved only drugs. Although not the brightest bulb in Monroe, he has no property crimes attributed to him during that period but he did have a theft charge laid against him in Lane County in August.

Nicholas Robert Keim

Mr. Keim is from Yamhill County and is charged with a violation of parole/probation on a kidnapping charge.

Above: Elsewhere in Oregon, some advice: "Mamas don't let your babies be teen pageant beauty contestants. For that matter, don't let them live in Keiser, whose reputation is fast approaching that of Linn County. They might end up like Ms France, arrested in Keiser today (photo on right) as part of a ring selling, police say, heroin and meth. She was Miss Teen Oregon in 2009 (photo on left).

Lewis & Clark has locked down each dorm for the foreseeable future for all who live there due to a threat issued on YikYak, the anonymous social network as a comment to a discussion of racial frictions. Another posted "You're letting coloreds in the chapel now?" The Dean of Students said "When threats of violence are present, we will err on the side of safety".

In Oregon, a notorious tax scofflaw, Erma Glasgow, from Albany was once again fined for "frivolous challenges" and once again was ordered to pay income taxes despite her denial that she owes taxes on her income.

Darcy Roy Frisby

Above: Police were able to break up a theft ring specializing in appliances taken from new or model homes after one of the suspects, Darcy Frisby, stole a computer from one of the homes. "We had tracking software on that computer, and when they got on line we got a screen shot of it and he was just bright enough to take it on his Facebook page", said a developer. Police say they recovered 40 stolen appliances in the bust.

In Beaverton, police shot and killed a suicidal woman who emerged from her house with a rifle which she pointed at officers.

Corinthian Colleges, with 3 Portland locations and an online presence locally, considered one of the biggest scams in the "for-profit college", is going under. The people buying it are the student loan collection group ECMC with no experience whatsoever in education. A student lobby group said of the sale that "The agreement provides virtually no relief to the Corinthian students who enrolled and took on debt based on false claims".

Elsewhere, a federal judge ruled - again - that Bernard Von Nothaus, a "sovereign citizen" who put in circulation $20 million of counterfeit coins was, despite his claims, prohibited from counterfeiting by the Constitution.

In typical news from the southland and Texas, a 17 year old, Ricardo Javid Lugo, was arrested for enrolling as a 12 year old in order to lure potential victims of a child porn ring.
   In Mississippi, 14 members of the Republican Party prison gang, the Aryan Brotherhood, were indicted on federal racketeering charges.
   'A day after Rolling Stone published a bombshell story detailing an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in 2012, the frat house was vandalized. Spray-painted messages criticizing the fraternity were found on the exterior, and several windows had been broken with bottles and cinder blocks...University President Teresa Sullivan has not responded to the rape claims, and UVA officials won’t reveal her location due to “security concerns.'
The Rolling Stone article detailed a fraternity in which "rape culture" was embedded:
   "Drew ushered Jackie into a bedroom, shutting the door behind them. The room was pitch-black inside. Jackie blindly turned toward Drew, uttering his name. At that same moment, she says, she detected movement in the room – and felt someone bump into her. Jackie began to scream. "Shut up," she heard a man's voice say as a body barreled into her, tripping her backward and sending them both crashing "Grab its motherfucking leg," she heard a voice say. And that's when Jackie knew she was going to be raped. She remembers every moment of the next three hours of agony, during which, she says, seven men took turns raping her, while two more – her date, Drew, and another man – gave instruction and encouragement. She remembers how the spectators swigged beers, and how they called each other nicknames like Armpit and Blanket. She remembers the men's heft and their sour reek of alcohol mixed with the pungency of marijuana. Most of all, Jackie remembers the pain and the pounding that went on and on. As the last man sank onto her, Jackie was startled to recognize him: He attended her tiny anthropology discussion group. He looked like he was going to cry or puke as he told the crowd he couldn't get it up. "Pussy!" the other men jeered. "What, she's not hot enough for you?" Then they egged him on: "Don't you want to be a brother?" "We all had to do it, so you do, too." Someone handed her classmate a beer bottle. Jackie stared at the young man, silently begging him not to go through with it. And as he shoved the bottle into her, Jackie fell into a stupor, mentally untethering from the brutal tableau, her mind leaving behind the bleeding body under assault on the floor."
   In Oklahoma, a serial high school rapist has finally been expelled after a friend of his started recording his tale of a middle school girl's rape and turned it over to her mother and a circle of women supporting her.

The Onion is reporting that archaeologists examining evidence of the end of dinosaurs have come to a startling conclusion that will cheer Creationists who believe dinosaurs and humans co-existed: "the dinosaurs were almost certainly killed by someone they trusted. Our findings indicate that someone, we don’t know who, spent at least 150 million years gaining the confidence of dinosaurs before abruptly betraying them and taking their lives near the end of the Cretaceous Era,” said lead researcher Professor Janet Bower, adding that dinosaurs likely had an innately innocent and unsuspecting nature that this individual could exploit to get within easy striking distance. “The distribution and condition of dinosaur bones strongly suggests that these creatures died without a struggle and that they had been caught totally off-guard by an individual they naively considered a friend."

The Bill Cosby horror show has proven to be unending. Treasure Island casino has cancelled a planned show, as did Broadway in Tacoma. Yesterday, another woman said he assaulted her in the past and today, 2 more have come forward to say they were raped, 'one as an underage girl in Pittsburgh, the other when she worked at a Los Angeles talent agency in the 1960s.' We're going to see bumper stickers in Los Angeles like those we saw concerning Oregon Republican Senator Bob Packwood 20 years ago: "Honk if you haven't been raped by Bill Cosby".

Abroad, Venice has made it a crime to use clacking wheels on suitcases in the city, beginning next year.
   In Chile, 2 colonels involved in the torture of Chilean president Michelle Bachelet's father, following the CIA directed coup d'etat by the Chilean army during the regime of Richard Nixon, were sentenced to prison today.


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 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

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.

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.

Nov 20

Above: Startups are producing their own infomercials and sometimes distinguishing fact from parody is a game.

A crowd of eager gamers gathered outside a store in Chicago to spend the night awaiting GTA 5 were rudely surprised when 3 men joined them, robbed them of their money and cell phones in the store and escaped despite a GPS being placed with the loot. It had been spotted and discarded.

'Amazon's hiring so quickly in Seattle that it's on pace to employ 45,000 people or seven percent of the city. But, 75% of these hires are male.' And the wage gap between sexes is growing. 'While Seattle women earned 86 cents per dollar earned by men in 2012, today, they make only 78 cents per dollar.'

NotCompatible, an android malware app which automatically downloads when a compromised site is visited, has become more resilient and can be used to attack any site.

Nanjing University scientists have produced a beetle-based ink which changes color with humidity and allows counterfeits to be determined simply by blowing on them.

Samsung is designing a foldable screen as big as the iPhone6 Plus which will be available in 2016.

Stanford University researchers today displayed gecko-inspired gloves that allow users to scale any smooth surface wall, like glass or stone, vertically.

Nov 19

Lindsey Stirling is here to raise the question anew: who would win in a showdown between a magical violinist and a dragon, in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

A new audit by Portland city officials has shown that the payment of utility bills or parking meters with a credit card leaves users at risk, since the city does not follow recommended safety procedures.

The same Republican Party who designed the NSA's spying program voted not to reform it in the wake of all Edward Snowden's revelations. The vote is viewed as vindicating Snowden's actions since reform of the NSA is an impossibility in the US.
   In related news, WhatsApp has introduced encryption end-to-end.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has partnered with Mozilla, Cisco and Akamai to introduce Let's Encrypt, free to allow secure connections without cost.

Uber Taking Hits Over "Horror Stories"

Above: Toronto has called for "the nuclear option" with Uber, asking a court to shut the service permanently. Meantime, amid reports of Uber retaliating against bad press, the Daily Beast ran a litany of "horror stories" involving Uber drivers.
   Raw Story went beyond, calling Uber the "app you use when you want to play rape Russian roulette with some random guy who might drive you where you want to go in his car,"

CERN has verified the first sighting of 2 baryon particles predicted  by quark theory.

Now that Uber's culture of sleaze is making headlines across the country, Ashton [Kutcher]'s back out there defending Uber's exposed plans to discredit reporters who dare criticize Uber.

Nov 18

Sam Simon, Co-creator of the Simpsons, Rescues Gay Bull

In old media news, Sam Simon, who co-created the Simpsons and is himself a Stage IV colon cancer survivor, provided the last bit of funding to rescue Benjy, a bull purchased to inseminate a cattle herd before the new owner discovered Benjy is gay. The farmer was about to send Benjy to the slaughterhouse when Irish activists teamed with PETA and a gay website to buy the bull's freedom and send him to a sanctuary instead.

'It’s been almost two weeks since the WireLurker malware existence was revealed for the first time, and Chinese authorities have arrested three suspects who are allegedly the authors of the Mac- and iOS-based malware that may have infected as many as hundreds of thousands of Apple users.'

The war between white supremacist groups and Anonymous, as fall out from the KKK's attempted intervention in St. Louis (Ferguson), continued today. Anonymous released another cache of information on those affiliated with white supremacist groups and one by one began knocking their sites off line. The KKK had mocked Anonymous's lack of action.

'Vox's Matt Yglesias argues that Uber—where an executive suggested to a Buzzfeed reporter that 'the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media' -has "an ass h*le problem." But Uber analyst Max Read points out that Fox, HP and Walmart have all been caught doing similar things and that "The only way Uber has failed to 'act like' a 'major company' is by getting caught. (See also: Whisper.) If Uber has an 'ass h*le problem,' so does all of capitalism."

'New York City announced today it has picked the companies that will deliver the technology behind its deployment of free, gigabit Wi-Fi to pay phone stations throughout the city. The LinkNYC stations will also include charging outlets, touchscreen displays that interface with city services, and free U.S. calling...Construction will begin in 2015, and officials expect up to 10,000 stations to be installed before it's done.'

Walmart will be fine tuning their match-any-price policy as users have discovered to put up fake ads on Amazon and elsewhere then take screenshots before Amazon takes them down, and score PS4s boxes for as cheap as $50.

Nov 17

GoBabyGo Push Toys Modified to Be Electric in Corvallis Now

The GoBabyGo project from the University of Delaware, designed to take off-the-shelf walking or pedal toys and turn them into electric vehicles for children with mobility problems has come to OSU, courtesy of Sam Logan, who worked at the University of Delaware, where the toys were pioneered by Cole Galloway and Sunil Agrawal. "Fun is key here—it unlocks brain development and exploratory drive for the child, and ignites active, engaged play from adults and peers," Galloway says. You can see the manual for the modifications here.

Ku Klux Klan Taunt of Anonymous Ends in KKK Twitter Account Take Over

A showdown between the KKK and Anonymous over the KKK's threats in Ferguson, Missouri escalated when the Klan responded to Anonymous's listing of KKK members in Ferguson by tweeting "We are continuing to read Anonymous threats with much amusement. Still no action taken. #Cowards #HoodsON." Anonymous then took over the KKK Twitter account completely and began sending tweets including a lynching of a Klansman. "You should've expected us. #OpKKK continues to be a success. Freedom will prevail. " The good news is that the number of followers has doubled since Anonymous began tweeting from the account.

Sweden is considering a new set of labels for video games based on whether the content is sexist. 'I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question, and of course, we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area,” said project manager Anton Albiin, who notes that it has not been determined whether all Swedish games would be graded on their treatment of women or whether only games with positive portrayals would receive special labels.'

After 6,000 olive trees in Turkey were ruined in order to build a power plant, hactivists broke the power company's login and used it to write off over a half million dollars in debt owed the company.' The trees were seen as a the lifeblood of the approximately 400 Yırca villagers. Some of the trees, the villagers said, were 85 to 100 years old. '

Republicans have been secretly using Twitter to illegally share data and circumvent the few election laws remaining in the wake of this Supreme Court.

Nov 16

Porn Stars Poke fun at Teabag Leader Ted Cruz, FCC In Net Neutrality Issue

Alex Chance, Mercedes Carrera, and Nadia Styles stripped to poke fun at telecom corporations pushing to charge the rich more for fast internet speeds while slowing everything for others. They also poked fun at Teabagger leader Ted Cruz. "Ted Cruz and the other old rich guys don’t seem to understand any of this," Chance says. "Which is ironic because old rich guys always watch the weirdest porn. Like clown stuff", she says.

Google 'glassholes' are becoming fewer and further between, with developers abandoning projects for the devices en masse. "It looks super nerdy," said Shvetank Shah, a Washington, DC-based consultant, whose Google Glass now gathers dust in a drawer. "I'm a card carrying nerd, but this was one card too many." Glass now sells on ebay at abysmal prices.

Nov 15
Chinese companies are pumping out truckloads of mini quads right now, and while they can't find their own way home, they can teach you the basics of how to fly a speedy four-propeller craft for under $100 even in a tiny apartment. They won't make cops nervous, and they're an absolute blast to fly around.The $65 Air Hogs Helix X4 won't wow your friends. It's not a speed demon you can send zipping around your lawn. But it is the only drone I flew directly into my precious Panasonic plasma TV, at top speed, without a care in the world. Completely covered in lightweight styrofoam armor, it didn't leave so much as a scratch. It bounces off my walls, sticks to my ceilings, and doesn't hurt even when I shove a finger right into its ducted fans. Plus, it's easy to control: while it doesn't have the fancy trim adjustments of practically every other drone I tried, it automatically compensated for minor deviations. I even flew it outdoors in a pinch. It's also the only drone I could charge from its controller, which admittedly requires an outrageous 8 AA batteries.

Google is being sued for the treatment of "part time, temporary contract workers".


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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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