Monday, October 29, 2007

Edwards Nails It

This is the text of a speech that John Edwards is giving today in New Hampshire. There is not a single doubt in my mind that this is the candidate most suited and deserving to be our country's president. If it doesn't give you chills, I don't know what could...

Remarks by Senator John Edwards
St. Anselm’s College, Manchester, New Hamphshire
October 29, 2007

Many of you know that I am the son of a mill worker – that I rose from modest means and have been blessed in so many ways in life. Elizabeth and I have so much to be grateful for.

And all of you know about some of the challenges we have faced in my family. But there came a time, a few months ago, when Elizabeth and I had to decide, in the quiet of a hospital room, after many hours of tests and getting pretty bad news – what we were going to do with our lives.

And we made our decision. That we were not going to go quietly into the night – that we were going to stand and fight for what we believe in.

As Elizabeth and I have campaigned across America, I’ve come to a better understanding of what that decision really meant – and why we made it.

Earlier this year, I spoke at Riverside Church in New York, where, forty years ago, Martin Luther King gave a historic speech. I talked about that speech then, and I want to talk about it today. Dr. King was tormented by the way he had kept silent for two years about the Vietnam War.

He was told that if he spoke out he would hurt the civil rights movement and all that he had worked for – but he could not take it any more – instead of decrying the silence of others – he spoke the truth about himself.

"Over the past two years" he said, "I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silence and speak from the burning of my own heart."

I am not holier than thou. I am not perfect by any means. But there are events in life that you learn from, and which remind you what this is really all about. Maybe I have been freed from the system and the fear that holds back politicians because I have learned there are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul.

Especially right now, when our country requires so much more of us, and needs to hear the truth from its leaders.

And, although I have spent my entire life taking on the big powerful interests and winning – which is why I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or political action committees – I too have been guilty of my own silence – but no more.

It’s time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They’re right.

As I look across the political landscape of both parties today – what I see are politicians too afraid to tell the truth – good people caught in a bad system that overwhelms their good intentions and requires them to chase millions of dollars in campaign contributions in order to perpetuate their careers and continue their climb to higher office.

This presidential campaign is a perfect example of how our politics is awash with money. I have raised more money up to this point than any Democratic candidate raised last time in the presidential campaign – $30 million. And, I did it without taking a dime from any Washington lobbyist or any special interest PAC.

I saw the chase for campaign money at any cost by the frontrunner in this race – and I did not join it – because the cost to our nation and our children is not worth the hollow victory of any candidate. Being called president while powerful interests really run things is not the same as being free to lead this nation as president of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

If protecting the current established structure in Washington is in your interest, then I am not your candidate. I ran for president four years ago – yes, in part out of personal ambition – but also with a deep desire to stand for working people like my father and mother – who no matter how hard things were for our family, always worked even harder to make things better for us.

But the more Elizabeth and I campaigned this year, the more we talked to the American people, the more we met people just like my father, and hard working people like James Lowe. James is a decent and honest man who had to live for 50 years with no voice in the richest country in the world because he didn’t have health care. The more people like him that I met, the more I realized something much bigger was stirring in the American people. And it has stirred in each of us for far too long.

Last month Ken Burns – who made the great Civil War documentary – launched his newest epic on World War II on PBS – and what a story it tells.

At the cost of great suffering, blood and enormous sacrifice, within four years after Pearl Harbor it is incredible what this nation achieved. America built the arsenal of democracy worthy of our great history. We launched the greatest invasion armada in the history of warfare against Hitler’s fortress Europe, and, with our allies, we freed a continent of suffering humanity.

At the same time on the other side of the globe we crossed 10,000 miles of ocean and liberated another hemisphere of humanity – islands and nations freed from the grip of Japanese militarists. While at the same time succeeding in the greatest scientific endeavor ever undertaken – the Manhattan project – and topped it off with building the Pentagon, one of the largest buildings in the world in a little over a year.

It is incredible what America has accomplished. Because no matter what extraordinary challenges we have been faced with, we did exactly what America has always done in our history – we rose to the challenge.

And, now, as I travel across America and listen to people, I hear real concern about what’s going on. For the first time in our nation’s history, people are worried that we’re going to be the first generation of Americans not to pass on a better life to our children.

And it’s not the fault of the American people. The American people have not changed. The American people are still the strong, courageous people they have always been. The problem is what our government has become. And, it is up to us to do something about it.

Because Washington may not see it, but we are facing a moral crisis as great as any that has ever challenged us. And, it is this test – this moral test – that I have come to understand is at the heart of this campaign.

Just look at what has happened in Iraq. What was the response of the American people to the challenge at hand? Our men and women in uniform have been heroes. They’ve done everything that’s been asked of them and more. But what about our government? Four years after invading Iraq, we cannot even keep the lights on in Baghdad.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the American people were at their best. They donated their time and their money in record numbers. There was an outpouring of support. I took 700 college kids down to help – young people who gave up their spring break. But what about our government? Three years after hurricane Katrina thousands of our fellow Americans, our brothers and sisters, are still housed in trailers waiting to go home.

There’s no better example of the bravery and goodness of the American people than the response to the attacks of 9/11: firefighters and first responders risking and too often giving their lives to save others, charging up the stairs while everyone else was coming down; record bloodbank donations; and the list goes on. But what about our government? Six years after 9/11, at Ground Zero there sits only a black hole that tortures our conscience and scars our hearts.

In every instance we see an American people who are good, decent, compassionate and undeterred. And, American people who are better than the government that is supposed to serve and represent them.

And what has happened to the American "can do" spirit? I will tell you what has happened: all of this is the result of the bitter poisoned fruit of corruption and the bankruptcy of our political leadership.

It is not an accident that the government of the United States cannot function on behalf of its people, because it is no longer our people’s government – and we the people know it.

This corruption did not begin yesterday – and it did not even begin with George Bush – it has been building for decades – until it now threatens literally the life of our democracy.

While the American people personally rose to the occasion with an enormous outpouring of support and donations to both the victims of Katrina and 9/11– we all saw our government’s neglect. And we saw greed and incompetence at work. Out of more than 700 contracts valued at $500,000 or greater, at least half were given without full competition or, according to news sources, with vague or open ended terms, and many of these contracts went to companies with deep political connections such as a subsidiary of Haliburton, Bechtel Corp., and AshBritt Inc.

And in Iraq – while our nation’s brave sons and daughters put their lives on the line for our country – we now have mercenaries under their own law while their bosses sit at home raking in millions.

We have squandered millions on building Olympic size swimming pools and buildings that have never been used. We have weapons and ammunition unaccounted for that may now be being used against our own soldiers. We literally have billions wasted or misspent – while our troops and their families continue to sacrifice. And the politically connected lobby for more. What’s their great sacrifice – higher profits.

It goes on every minute of every day.

Corporate executives at United Airlines and US Airways receive millions in compensation for taking their companies into bankruptcy, while their employees are forced to take cuts in pay.

Companies like Wal-Mart lobby against inspecting containers entering our nation’s ports, even though expert after expert agrees that the likeliest way for a dirty bomb to enter the United States is through a container, because they believe their profits are more important than our safety. What has become of America when America’s largest company lobbies against protecting America?

Trade deals cost of millions of jobs. What do we get in return? Millions of dangerous Chinese toys in our children’s cribs laden with lead. This is the price we are made to pay when trade agreements are decided based on how much they pad the profits for multinational corporations instead of what is best for America’s workers or the safety of America’s consumers.

We have even gotten to the point where our children’s safety is potentially at risk because nearly half of the apple juice consumed by our children comes from apples grown in China. And Americans are kept in the dark because the corporate lobbyists have pushed back country of origin labeling laws again and again.

This is not the America I believe in.

The hubris of greed knows no bounds. Days after the homeland security bill passed, staffers from the homeland security department resigned and became homeland security consultants trying to cash in. And, where was the outrage? There was none, because that’s how it works in Washington now. It is not a Republican revolving door or a Democratic revolving door – it is just the way it’s done.

Someone called it a government reconnaissance mission to figure out how to get rich when you leave the government.

Recently, I was dismayed to see headlines in the Wall Street Journal stating that Senate Democrats were backing down to lobbyists for hedge funds who have opposed efforts to make millionaire and billionaire hedge fund managers pay the same tax rate as every hard-working American. Now, tax loopholes the wealthy hedge fund managers do not need or deserve are not going to be closed, all because Democrats – our party – wanted their campaign money.

And a few weeks ago, around the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a leading presidential candidate held a fundraiser that was billed as a Homeland Security themed event in Washington, D.C. targeted to homeland security lobbyists and contractors for $1,000 a plate. These lobbyists, for the price of a ticket, would get a special "treat" – the opportunity to participate in small, hour long breakout sessions with key Democratic lawmakers, many of whom chair important sub committees of the homeland security committee. That presidential candidate was Senator Clinton.

Senator Clinton’s road to the middle class takes a major detour right through the deep canyon of corporate lobbyists and the hidden bidding of K Street in Washington – and history tells us that when that bus stops there it is the middle class that loses.

When I asked Hillary Clinton to join me in not taking money from Washington lobbyists – she refused. Not only did she say that she would continue to take their money, she defended them.

Today Hillary Clinton has taken more money from Washington lobbyists than any candidate from either party – more money than any Republican candidate.

She has taken more money from the defense industry than any other candidate from either party as well.

She took more money from Wall Street last quarter than Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama combined.

The long slow slide of our democracy into the corporate abyss continues unabated regardless of party, regardless of the best interests of America.

We have a duty – a duty to end this.

I believe you cannot be for change and take money from the lobbyists who prevent change. You cannot take on the entrenched interests in Washington if you choose to defend the broken system. It will not work. And I believe that, if Americans have a choice, and candidate who takes their money – Democrat or Republican – will lose this election.

For us to continue down this path all we have to do is suspend all that we believe in. As Democrats, we continue down this path only if we believe the party of the people is no more.

As Americans, we continue down this path only if we fail to heed Lincoln’s warning to us all.

"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected," he asked, "if it ever reaches us it must spring up amongst us. It can not come from abroad. If destruction be our lot – we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time or die by suicide."

America lives because 20 generations have honored the one moral commandment that makes us Americans.

To give our children a better future than we received.

I stand here today the son of Wallace and Bobbie Edwards. The father of Wade, Cate, Emma Claire and Jack – and I know, as well as you, that we must not be the first generation that fails to live up to our moral challenge and keep the promise of America.

That would be an abomination.

There is a dream that is America. It is what makes us American. And I will not stand by while that dream is at risk.

I am not perfect – far from it – but I do understand that this is not a political issue – it is the moral test of our generation.

Our nation’s founders knew that this moment would come – that at some point the power of greed and its influence over officials in our government might strain and threaten the very America they hoped would last as an ideal in the minds of all people, and as a beacon of hope for all time.

That is why they made the people sovereign. And this is why it is your responsibility to redeem the promise of America for our children and their future.

It will not be easy – sacrifice will be required of us – but it was never easy for our ancestors, and their sacrifices were far greater than any that will fall on our shoulders.

Yet, the responsibility is ours.

We, you and I, are the guardians of what America is and what it will be.

The choice is ours.

Down one path, we trade corporate Democrats for corporate Republicans; our cronies for their cronies; one political dynasty for another dynasty; and all we are left with is a Democratic version of the Republican corruption machine.

It is the easier path. It is the path of the status quo. But, it is a path that perpetuates a corrupt system that has not only failed to deliver the change the American people demand, but has divided America into two – one America for the very greedy, and one America for everybody else.

And it is that divided America – the direct result of this corrupt system – which may very well lead to the suicide Lincoln warned us of – the poison that continues to seep into our system while none notice.

Or we can choose a different path. The path that generations of Americans command us to take. And be the guardians that kept the faith.

I run for president for my father who worked in a mill his entire life and never got to go to college the way I did.

I run for president for all those who worked in that mill with my father.

I run for president for all those who lost their jobs when that mil was shut down.

I run for president for all the women who have come up to Elizabeth and me and told us the like Elizabeth they had breast cancer – but unlike Elizabeth they did not have health care.

I run for president for twenty generations of Americans who made sure that their children had a better life than they did.

As Americans we are blessed -- for our ancestors are not dead, they occupy the corridors of our conscience. And, as long we keep the faith -- they live. And so too the America of idealism and hope that was their gift to us.

I carry the promise of America in my heart, where my parents placed it. Like them, like you, I believe in people, hard work, and the sacred obligation of each generation to the next.

This is our time now. It falls to use to redeem our democracy, reclaim our government and relight the promise of America for our children.

Let us blaze a new path together, grounded in the values from which America was forged, still reaching toward the greatness of our ideals. We can do it. We can cast aside the bankrupt ways of Washington and replace them with the timeless values of the American people. We can liberate our government from the shackles of corporate money that bind it to corporate will, and restore the voices of our people to its halls.

This is the cause of my life. This is the cause of our time. Join me. Together, we cannot fail.

We will keep faith with those who have gone before us, strong and proud in the knowledge that we too rose up to guard the promise of America in our day, and that, because we did, America’s best days still lie ahead.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Do the Community College Students Know This About Themselves?

As I've mentioned before, it is fairly difficult to get me really ticked off. Well, I'm ticked off. I am not, nor have I ever really been a fan of the Oregonian, so I really don't pay attention to it, unless I have to. This editorial by Oregonian staff member Paige Parker (isn't that a movie character?) was brought to my attention today and I gotta tell ya, I'm hot! Parker's editorial is on a proposed smoking ban that has been a contentious issue at colleges around the state over the last year. I experienced that turmoil. It is a major issue on community college campuses. I still haven't made up my own mind about it. However, that's not the point. My problem with what Parker has to say is in how she chooses to characterize community college students (emphasis mine).

Typical Oregon smokers -- poor, young, with little or no advanced education -- look much like the typical community college student, one reason tobacco foes are pressing the state's campuses to ban smoking outright.

Let me just say right off, that I graduated from Portland Community College last June, and transferred to Portland State. I am 41 years old, am poor only because I choose to be a student right now, and with the current associate's degree that I hold, am better educated than half the citizens of this country. And guess what? As far as PCC, where the average student age is 34, and the state of Oregon, where half of all university students spend at least some portion of their freshman year at a community college, is concerned, I'm an average student! In a letter to the Oregonian, I responded, noting some of those above-mentioned factoids:

Parker's blanket assumptions and generalities about who community college students are is beyond insulting, not to mention incorrect. I graduated from PCC in June. I am 41 years old, poor simply because I choose to be a student at this time, and with the associate’s degree that I currently hold, am more educated than over half of this country’s population. I have to wonder if the nearly 400,000 other community college students in Oregon consider themselves to be young, poor, and lacking in advanced education. Do the 50% of Oregon's university students who attended a community college classify themselves this way? At Portland Community College, where the average student is 34 years old, do they see themselves according to Parker's criteria? Better yet, do all of the business and community partners that rely on our community colleges to provide skilled and advanced work capabilities hold students in such low esteem? Somehow I doubt it. I might have expected such an offensive, cliché-ridden editorial regarding community colleges in my home state of Texas, but here in Oregon, where community colleges tend to be respected for their contributions to our state, I am disappointed, to say the least.

To say the least.span>

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Giuliani...Torture and that danged liberal media!

Rudy Giuliani, Republican Presidential candidate, and all 'round scary man is almost as difficult for me to watch and listen to as Bubba (aka current Presidential scary man) is. At a townhall meeting last night in Iowa, in response to a question, Guiliani shared his views on waterboarding, and whether or not it constitutes torture.

"Mr. Giuliani said: “Well, I’m not sure it is either. I’m not sure it is either. It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it.And here is the rest of it."

Depends on who does it?! No matter who is doing it, since when did

"...immobilizing an individual and pouring water over his or her face to simulate drowning. It elicits the gag reflex, and can make the subject believe his or her death is imminent while not causing physical evidence of torture..."

NOT constitute torture? And what kind of convulated thinking makes it torture sometimes and not at others? It's torture when America isn't doing it, but No! It's not torture as long as it's America the Great doing it, is that how it works?

And this gem:

“And I see, when the Democrats are talking about torture, they’re not just talking about even this definition of waterboarding, which again, if you look at the liberal media and you look at the way they describe it, you could say it was torture and you shouldn’t do it. But they talk about sleep deprivation. I mean, on that theory, I’m getting tortured running for president of the United States. That’s plain silly. That’s silly."

Ok Rudy, there is a bit of a difference between losing a few hours sleep traveling around in the lap of luxury in pursuit of power, and being forced to lose days and days of sleep, rest, and nutrition, simply because someone has decided that you are less than human, and unworthy of respect.

Anyone who doesn't believe that this man will make George W look like child's play had better wake up and get a clue.

There is another sneaky little piece to Guiliani's diatribe that caught my attention, and should catch yours. In his response regarding waterboarding, he used the phrase "liberal media" four separate times. It's the classic "repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth" ploy. Repeated and replayed by the neocon movement for years. That one is a personal peeve of mine. As obvious as it is to me now, when I see it, I know that others still fall for it. My own mother still thinks that the media is run by a bunch of liberal hacks. And she is far from dumb. These neocon propaganda tactics still work on many, and they always will. I can only hope that enough people become immune to it to halt this out-of-control monster before it is too late.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Unique Gift for Gordon Smith

The Democratic Party of Oregon definitely can't be dinged for lack of imagination. Executive Director Trent Lutz sent a little gift to Republican Senator Gordon Smith. I don't know whose idea it was, but I like it. Over at they have a little video that can explain it better than I can. I'd love to have be a fly on the wall in Smith's office when he unwrapped this one.

And here is the rest of it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Goodbye Analog TV...It's Expensive to Die

You remember how about two years ago, maybe less, we began to hear about high-definition television and radio? I remember thinking, "Oh that's cool. Too bad I can't afford the nifty high tech television required to receive the digital signals!" Well, evidently, we soon won't have a choice, but to be able to afford them. Yesterday, I was catching up on the news that I hadn't been able to read for a few days, and I came across this article and I thought, "Why do we not know about this?" and "Well, WHY do we not KNOW about this?!"
Apparently, come February 17, 2009 (that's only 16 months away for those who track these things) analog television will no longer be available. Ana-what, you ask?
Analog television is the fancy name for the type of television signal that we are used to receiving, the one you can get with just a good old-fashioned antenna. Shelly Palmer, President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (the Emmy folks), breaks down the repercussions better than I can.

"What does this mean? It depends how you get your television:

Satellite Subscriber (DirecTV and Dish) -- these signals are already digital and you already have a digital set-top box that converts the signal so you can watch it on your old TV set. As of now, you will probably not notice a change and probably won't have to do anything.

Digital Cable & Telephone IPTV Subscribers (Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cablevision, Verizon, AT&T, etc.) -- same as above. You probably won't have to do anything different.

Analog Cable Subscribers -- The latest FCC rule, adopted on September 11, 2007, will allow continued access to local stations for cable customers (including those with standard analog cable service) following the transition to digital TV in 2009. This rule applies only to local television stations, not cable networks or premium cable channels and the rule expires in 2012. At that time, you will need digital cable or another solution.

Antenna-only Households -- if you use an antenna to receive your television signals and enjoy free over-the-air television, on February 17, 2009 you will have four options:

Option 1 - Obtain (either with a government issued voucher or with cash) a digital-to-analog (DA) for each of your existing NTSC (National Standards Television Committee) analog television sets. They should cost about $40 each.

What are NTSC analog television sets and how do you know if you have them? It's easy! If your TV has a picture tube there is a 99.9% probability that it is an analog TV. There are a few digital sets with picture tubes floating around and even a few HDTV sets with picture tubes. If you own one, you probably know you own one and you probably also know whether or not it has a digital tuner.

If you purchased a TV set after March 1, 2006 with a picture tube over 27" diagonal, it should have a built-in ATSC (Advanced Systems Television Committee) digital television tuner. This was an FCC rule, but it has not been properly policed. They have cracked down considerably this year.

Option 2 - Buy new ATSC digital compatible television. There are 18 formats of digital television and not all of them are HDTV (High Definition Television). Just to torture you -- all HDTV sets are digital, BUT all digital television sets are not HDTVs.

Option 3 - Call your local cable television company, local telephone company (if they offer television) or your favorite satellite provider and get set-top boxes for all the TV sets in your home you wish to watch past February 17, 2009.

Option 4 - Forget about television. Throw away the old sets and consume your media on your computer, phone, PDA and other alternative devices."

Aside from the fact that cable isn't even an option for many folks , whether due to finances or availability (Yes, believe it or not, there are still places in this country where cable isn't available), unless you bought one of those monster 27" televisions in the last year, millions of folks are just plain gonna either have to get a "license" to watch television, or shell out the bucks for a new set. So much for public airwaves. For millions of people, television is their primary available source for what's happening in the world, not to mention emergency announcements.

As a bonus, Palmer alludes to the very real, and disturbing, possibility of a government bail-out of the television industry, due to the projected loss in revenue when literally millions of viewers are cut off, overnight.

"If you like disaster scenarios, I have one for you. 2009 is not an election year and it is not an Olympic year. The end of analog TV is scheduled to occur in the middle of February Sweeps (the first television ratings book of the year). With millions of antenna-only households gone missing, what will the May Sweeps look like? No political cash, no Olympic cash and, due to missing antenna-only viewers, a measurable ratings decline in households that over-index to the four major networks. Ahhh -- your tax dollars at work."

Again I ask...why do we not know about this?


Thursday, October 18, 2007

A John Edwards' Presidency

I don't have alot of time right now to offer up an in-depth analysis of what John Edwards stands for, so I thought I would pass this along to give you a fairly clear idea of some of his top priorities.

Democracy For America is a grassroots organization geared toward increasing Democratic representation in our federal government. They are doing a poll to determine the top Democratic choices for president. The following comments by Edwards are a part of that poll.

Here's what an Edwards presidency would mean for America:

CLEAN ELECTIONS: I'm serious about breaking the stranglehold of big money on our democracy. I'm the only leading candidate who has never accepted a dime from political action committees or federal lobbyists. And I'm the only leading candidate to accept public financing because I'm committed to walking the walk on clean elections starting today.

OUT OF IRAQ: I will end the war in Iraq – period. I believe we should begin withdrawing combat troops immediately and will ensure that we have withdrawn all troops within 10 months—leaving no permanent bases behind. I will end the outsourcing of military operations to unaccountable private contractors. And unlike other candidates, I will never equivocate about a potentially endless military involvement in Iraq.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE: I was the first candidate to release a detailed plan for universal health care, and I'm still the only leading candidate with a plan that truly guarantees care for everyone. My plan preserves choice by requiring the insurance companies to compete with a public plan (which may evolve toward a single-payer approach over time), reduces the cost for everyone, ensures every American is enrolled and prohibits any discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

SOLVING GLOBAL WARMING: I have the most aggressive plan of any leading candidate. I will lead a revolution in the energy economy to reduce carbon levels by 80% by 2050 and create over 1 million new jobs along the way. My global warming plan got more votes from members than my two closest competitors combined.

ECONOMIC FAIRNESS: I will lead a national effort to strengthen the middle class and end poverty in 30 years through reforms like raising the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2012, creating 1 million stepping stone jobs, bringing opportunity to rural America, and strengthening workers rights to organize. I am proud to have earned the official endorsement of labor unions representing over 2.2 million current and retired workers—more than any other candidate.

SECURING THE VOTE: Every American deserves an absolute guarantee that their vote is counted as cast. That means every vote count must be verifiable by a hand count, with access for people with disabilities. And it means that unaccountable, partisan corporations must not be allowed to monopolize the voting process.

BLUE STATES FROM COAST TO COAST: Poll after poll has shown I'm the one candidate who can really help turn America blue. I'm committed to helping local Democrats win office from Oklahoma to Maine, and to holding Congress accountable to our progressive vision.

Amanda Fritz wants to meet you

One of the great things about having a personal blog is that I get to talk about what is important to me and to throw my support behind people, organizations and causes that I care about and that I think are worthy of support. As I noted previously, I'm really excited to see that Amanda Fritz is running for Portland City Commissioner. She is running for Sam Adams' seat, as he is running for Mayor. I've also mentioned before the goldmine that is Fritz' blog for getting to know her, and where she stands on many issues.In addition, she now has her official campaign site up and running. Candidates holding townhalls, and campaign trail appearances is nothing new, however I like the approach that Fritz has taken on this. She has begun a series of coffeehouse appearances around the city to meet folks and fundraise. Fritz is running under Portland's voter-owned elections system, which means she needs to receive 1000 $5 donations (from registered Portland voters)to qualify for Public Campaign Finance Fund financing. She is very issue-oriented and wants to get the fundraising out of the way so that she can get down to the important things, like listening to citizens. She is also very adament about keeping to the $5 figure. Here is a list of where she will be, and when. I would highly suggest stopping in to meet Fritz and let her know what matters to you.

Friday, October 19, Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Monte Rossa Espresso, 327 NW 4th

Friday, October 19, 7:30 - 9 p.m.
Bipartisan Cafe, 7901 SE Stark

Saturday, October 20, 1 - 3 p.m.
Espresso Classico, 11136 SW Capitol Highway
(at SW Pomona, near PCC Sylvania)

Sunday, October 21, 1:30 - 3 p.m.
Little Red Bike Cafe
4823 N Lombard Street

Sunday, October 21, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Concordia Coffee House 2909 NE Alberta

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Columbia River-Crossing News

For anyone who has experienced the joys (!) of crossing the I5 Interstate bridge between Portland and Vancouver, this news is for you. You may already be aware of the fact that there an improvement project underway to address the congestion, less-than-user friendliness, and and overall irritation of a bridge not equipped to handle its current, and future load. The Columbia River Crossing Project is currently looking at the following elements for planning:

*Options to address the Interstate Bridge bottleneck
*Options to provide a high capacity public transit system between Portland and Vancouver
*Options to improve highway safety and efficiency
*Project alternatives and potential effects to the community and natural resources.

Be sure and check out their site for alot of detail and history of the project.

The Project, in conjunction with Trimet, is holding a couple of upcoming openhouses, in Portland and Vancouver.

For Portland:
Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Former Hayden Island Yacht Club
12050 N Jantzen Drive
Portland, OR

For Vancouver:
Saturday, October 20, 2007, 2 p.m.
Lincoln Elementary
4200 NW Daniels Street
Vancouver. WA

Friday, October 12, 2007

Global Warming, Emergency Preparedness

Portland Community College's Cascade campus tends to be overlooked sometimes because Sylvania, the older, larger campus tends to hog the spotlight. However, Cascade is periodically the center for what should be high-profile events. For example, here are a couple of upcoming happenings at the campus. This is a press release from the school about the campus' key role in the upcoming emergency preparedness exercises taking place around the country, along with some background information:

Oregon is one of three sites that will participate in a national TOPOFF (TOPOFF 4) exercise, beginning on Monday, October 15, and ending on Friday, October 19, "the largest and most ambitious exercise in emergency preparedness in U.S. history." In this exercise, Cascade Campus will serve as a backup command center in conjunction with Oregon's participation. Approximately 50 key emergency preparedness officials will be housed in the garage area of Cascade Campus' Public Services Education Building which will serve as a backup command center. The article below gives more details on TOPOFF 4.

Press Release

October 4, 2007

Governor Kulongoski and Mayor Potter Highlight Oregon's Participation in TOPOFF 4
TOPOFF 4 is the largest international emergency preparedness exercise in history

Salem - Today Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Tom Potter announced that final preparations are under way in Portland for “TOPOFF 4,” the largest and most ambitious exercise in emergency preparedness in U.S. history.

“TOPOFF is a serious and comprehensive exercise designed to make sure that the health and safety of our citizens are protected in the event of a major emergency,” said Governor Kulongoski. “For Oregon, this exercise is not only about terrorism, but about preparing for any natural disaster or emergency and making sure that every level of government is ready to respond in a real crisis.”

Beginning on Monday, October 15, and ending on Friday, October 19, the exercise will simulate terrorist attacks in Portland, Phoenix, and the U.S. territory of Guam. The exercise is designed to test the rapid response and recovery systems of federal, state and local agencies.

TOPOFF 4, which is shorthand for “Top Officials,” was started in 1998 under President Clinton as a way for states to prepare for natural and man-made emergencies.

“This is a unique opportunity for Portland to prepare for any emergency,” Mayor Potter said. “Just as important, we’ll have the opportunity to practice working effectively with all our regional partners to ensure the safety of our community.”

More than 4,000 people in the Portland region—and nearly 15,000 people internationally—will simultaneously participate in the exercise. At least 25 state agencies, five counties, three tribes, 16 local jurisdictions and 36 private sector companies will also be engaged in the exercise.

In 2002-2003, Oregon submitted the application to participate in TOPOFF as a way to test the state’s emergency response system and prepare for a major emergency. On top of the state’s participation in this exercise, participants in Oregon also include the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and Columbia County. Washington County and Clackamas County in Oregon and Clark County in Washington State will also participate in the exercise.

“My goal is to use TOPOFF to learn about our strengths and weaknesses in our emergency response system,” said Governor Kulongoski. “We must be able to test our ability to coordinate, implement, integrate and communicate our plans throughout the exercise so we can ultimately save lives.”

Mayor Potter also stressed to citizens that their state and local governments are taking extra steps to protect lives, homes and businesses. “I want our citizens to know that if a major emergency happens in our community, we’ll be ready,” the Mayor said.

Portland area residents or other Oregonians interested in additional information during the TOPOFF 4 exercise are encouraged to call 1-800-SAFE-NET.

For Oregonians interested in volunteering with the TOPOFF 4 exercise visit:

For more info on TOPOFF visit:

For a fact sheet an Oregon’s participation in TOPOFF 4 visit:
Patty Wentz, 503-378-6169

Kristina Edmunson, 503-378-5040

Rem Nivens, 503-378-6469

And if THAT wasn't enough, during turkey-recovery week we have:

Bill Bradbury, Oregon Secretary of State, at Cascade on November 26th from 3-5 pm
in the Moriarty Arts Building (corner of Albina and Killingsworth) in room 104 (auditorium), presents An Inconvenient Truth.
This presentation is free and open to public.
The Oregonian had a summer interview with our Secretary of State:

Global warming roadshow
Proud Al Gore 'lieutenant' Bill Bradbury spreads word in towns around Oregon

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The Oregonian

The crowd of about 100 drains from the dark auditorium at the Portland Community College Sylvania campus near 9 p.m. But Oregon's secretary of state keeps going, making a critical point on what he considers the most vital issue of our time: global warming.

"There is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves," says Bill Bradbury, quoting astronomer Carl Sagan as the screen behind him shows the Earth as a tiny blue dot in space.

His point, he says, is not that global warming is a problem. The point is: It's a crisis we have to deal with now.

This is the Bill Bradbury global warming road show, which Oregon's No. 2 elected official promises to give anywhere at least 50 people want to hear it. While Gov. Ted Kulongoski pushes global warming legislation in Salem, Bradbury motors his white Prius hybrid across the state telling Oregonians why it matters.

It's far from his elected duties of corporate legalese and state program audits, and he does it on his own time. But he sees it as one of the most important jobs he's had.

A blend of science and animation, the talk is modeled after former Vice President Al Gore's presentation on warming, the basis for the movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Bradbury, 57, proudly calls himself a Gore lieutenant, part of a global warming cavalry trained by Gore himself to speak to the grass roots of America.

He's given it to dairy farmers in Tillamook (incensing conservative radio host Lars Larson, who hails from there), at a church in Bend, high schools, a winery in Elkton (attracting roughly a quarter of the small town's population) and to a Newport crowd -- including one man who "just literally started screaming at me," he says.

He gave it to the Legislature on April 18.

He's repeated it 40 times in all, and he plans on many more.

He likes giving his talk to just about anyone. But he prefers doing it for people skeptical of global warming concerns, because that's where he can make the most difference. He especially wants to reach the Christian community.

"It's important to reach out beyond people who already think it's a problem," he says.

Though Bradbury has reached a few thousand people at most, he irritates conservative voices such as Larson, who suggests the global warming push is actually a stealth presidential campaign for Al Gore.

Larson last month tore into Bradbury, calling him a liar and accusing him of "spreading the Chicken Little word that the sky is falling and the glaciers are melting."

He called for a brigade to follow Bradbury around the state and challenge his claims, such as a suggestion that sea levels might rise 26 feet, inundating Tillamook and part of downtown Portland.

The 26-foot figure estimates how much oceans would rise if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed. It is a worst-case scenario, though some researchers say it's possible in coming centuries if melting continues to accelerate. A recent United Nations report did not include it in predictions of sea level rise because the risk of it happening, and the time frame, is difficult to assess.

Bradbury says he can count on two hands the number of global warming critics who have shown up at his talks so far. He figures that's because taking issue with Al Gore might get attention, but taking issue with the Oregon secretary of state probably won't.

That said, he doesn't understand what motivates opponents. There is legitimate debate over how much sea levels might rise or how fast glaciers will melt, he says. But science is clear that global warming is real and humans contribute by burning fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases.

"What is it that people really want to refute?" he asks. "I'm mystified . . . This is not just Al Gore scaring people. This is really scientific consensus."

Most Americans are convinced. More than 80 percent believe global warming is a serious problem, according to the latest Yale Environmental Poll. The question is what they are willing to do about it.

As PCC student Leslie Milam notes after Bradbury winds down: "It's hard to change a life when you're used to the one you have."

Up to the challenge

But as Bradbury noted when he faced poor odds running against Gordon Smith for the U.S. Senate in 2002, challenges energize him.

"He really sees it as the capstone issue right now," says his daughter, Zoe Bradbury, 27, who grew up running rivers with her father and former Gov. John Kitzhaber, and now works at Ecotrust in Portland.

She has noticed the way he describes with reverence the first photograph of the entire Earth, fully illuminated, taken from the moon.

"He's almost at a point in his life when he can reflect and see the big picture," she says.

Though multiple sclerosis has Bradbury wheeling around in a motorized scooter and using a cane, he's an avid whitewater kayaker. He was closely involved in salmon policies when he served in the Legislature.

He says he has been concerned about global warming for several years but didn't consider it urgent until he saw Gore's movie last year.

He called Gore's chief of staff and said he'd like to help. Bradbury explained that he had once barnstormed the country explaining the Oregon Health Plan.

"I told him, 'I'd love to be a lieutenant. I'd love to help you present this.' "

Lectures in a barn

Gore had just started a program to train 1,000 people to give global warming talks and invited Bradbury to join the first group of 50 trainees last July in Tennessee.

"We were sort of the guinea pigs," he says. "They hadn't done the training before. They didn't know what to expect."

He was one of the few elected officials in the bunch, which included country singer Kathy Mattea and a former Miss America. They sat in the barn on Gore's farm and listened to the former vice president give the talk, and listened as he did it again, with a scientist answering questions.

Bradbury, tall and lanky, is captivated by the memory. He says Gore was excited, the vice president saying that he had long looked over his shoulder, wondering when the cavalry would come to help him spread the word on global warming.

"We were all thrilled to be the first wave of the cavalry," Bradbury says.

He went back to help train another group, including actress Cameron Diaz. Bradbury says he didn't know who she was. Others explained that she was, well, famous.

Speaking on global warming combines many of Bradbury's likes: environment, drama (an interest from high school), information (he was once a TV journalist) and people. It also puts him in closer touch with people, something he was used to in the Legislature.

"He really loves engaging the public, and in many ways his job now is less public than the elected positions he used to have," his daughter says.

Bradbury follows Gore closely, and is guilty of similar generalizations, such as suggesting global warming caused Hurricane Katrina. Although warmer seas and skies do energize hurricanes, no one can say global warming caused one specific storm.

He does caution that scientists cannot say conclusively that warming caused the "dead zones" that have appeared off Oregon's coast, even though they seem to match some of its symptoms.

He argues, like Kulongoski, that climate change offers opportunities for Oregon to promote wind, solar, wave and other renewable energy. Saving energy also saves money and makes us less dependent on foreign oil.

"We're the ones who are going to benefit rather than sending our money to Texas and Saudi Arabia," he says.

"There is so much to be done, the quicker we get on it, the less disruptive it is to deal with." He shows a list of things you can do to address global warming; turn down your thermostat, use compact fluorescent light bulbs.

"Is there anything on that list that's really hard?" he says. "I don't think so."

Michael Milstein: 503-294-7689; michaelmilstein@

©2007 The Oregonian
So make plans to come back to school...and there won't even be a pop quiz afterward!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gentrification in Portland

Gentrification, who gets hurt, who benefits, is it a foregone conclusion? These are all hotly contested discussions in Portland, and many other large and growing cities. I've seen both the positive and the negative impacts of gentrification. I know one thing, if it's going to happen, it needs to be coordinated better, and in alternative ways. In any event, the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) is holding what they call a Restorative Listening Circle.
Basically a Restorative Listening Circle is based on the premise that you can't know the true effects of an action unless you have heard from those acted upon. This sounds like a most excellent idea. The ONI is holding an event on October 15th, at 7:00 pm, at the Moore Street Salvation Army Community Center(Classroom A and B),5325 N. Williams Ave.(near N. Killingsworth) in North Portland.

For more information contact:
Judith Mowry
Office of Neighborhood Involvement

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bush Far From a Lame-Duck

While so much time and attention is being focused (and rightly so) on the damage that the Bush administration could still do in the international arena, here is a perfect example of the equally devastating decisions being made right here at home.
According to the
Sierra Club,

The Bush Administration has announced shocking new plans to significantly increase logging on 2.6 million acres of public land in western Oregon by clearcutting old-growth forests and reducing protections for salmon-bearing creeks and streams. Rising out of an agreement between the timber industry and the Bush Administration, the Bureau of Land Management's 'Western Oregon Plan Revision' is the gravest threat to Oregon's ancient forests in years.
The draft Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR), a new plan for 2.6 million acres of public forests managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), will mean the loss of ancient forests from the northern Willamette Valley to southern Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains.

The Bureau of Land Management is taking public comments on this plan until November 9th. Everyone of us should have concerns about this plan, whether from a property owner, global warming, or simply a fan of scenary standpoint.
LoadedOrygun has some excellent links and resources for contacting our congressional delegation, as well as the governor's office. And don't forget to get into Smith's ear on this one. I think once and for all we are going to find out whether he has Oregon's best interests, or playing footsy with the administration at the top of his priority list.

The Portland Alliance Newspaper-Calling all editors!

This is an email message that I received from the Portland Alliance, a fantastic independent paper here in Portland. I personally do not have the experience or skills neccessary to help out, but I wanted to put it out there for others who might.

The Portland Alliance, Portland's oldest monthly progressive paper, is seeking a new editor, as well as additional board members. As most of you know, Dave Mazza, who was by far the longest-running editor, had to step down earlier this year due to health issues. Editorial assistant Jennifer Polis stepped in to keep the paper going in Dave's absence, but she is moving on to other interests at the end of year.

Currently, the position of editor is in a volunteer capacity, but we are working towards being financially able to pay for the position within the next several months. Your duties would start with the January issue, and the workload is about 10-20 hours per week or more, depending on your energy level. Duties include, but are not limited to: working with the editorial board to develop article ideas, coordinating & supporting writers, coordinating artists, prioritizing news stories for each issue, coordinating layout, acting as official Alliance spokesperson, and checking email and phone messages regularly.

This position would work well for someone who is working part time and wants to gain experience, or someone who has experience in the newspaper industry and who wants to volunteer his or her knowledge. We are moving to a model of editor as "Editorial Coordinator" so that duties are distributed more evenly across board members and other volunteers, so as to alleviate burnout since it is a volunteer capacity.

This is an exciting time at the paper, as we are looking to re-energize our board with new blood, and have a template ready for a freshly redesigned look. Now is the time to get involved -- we are wide open for new suggestions and eager for new community members to be involved.

This is your paper -- do with it what you will.

Call 503-239-4991 or reply to or jennifersvoice at if you are interested.

Editorial Coordinator
The Portland Alliance
"Distressing Portland's Elite Since 1981"
And here is the rest of it.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Amanda Fritz running for Sam's spot

Sam Adams threw his hat into the race for Portland's mayor this week. I like Sam. I don't neccessarily agree with his every decision, but I like him and how he works. What I really like about Sam running for mayor, is that Amanda Fritz declared her candidacy for his seat this week, as well. Fritz is one of those caring and involved citizens that Portland's Public Campaign Financing is supposed to attract and open doors to. I'm really glad it did. I remember being impressed with her during the 2006 race, and my respect for her was only reinforced when she participated in a panel for the NEW Leadership Oregon program this last June. Fritz has, and has had, her own blog that has been a fantastic way to really hear from her and know where she stands on all of the issues that Portland contends with. If you want to get to know a candidate and really know where they stand on the issues important to you, getting to know Fritz' blog is the perfect opportunity.
She loves the Northwest region, and it shows. She researches the issues, pays attention to the decisions being made in our name, and is not at all afraid to go to bat for what is in the best interesst of ALL of Portland's citizens. Most of all, she makes a concerted effort to involve fellow Portlanders in ongoing discussions about where we want our city to go, and she doesn't do it by using insider-speak. Even though she may be intimately familiar with the ins and outs of an issue, and all its inherent technicalities, she makes a point of speaking in everyday language, without being condescending. She is approachable and open-minded, and above all, she has the kind of integrity that we need leading this city.
As I said at the outset, I like Sam Adams and I really like that Amanda will be there to keep him, and the others, grounded. No matter how talented or able an office-holder may be, they can all benefit from some grounding.