Friday, November 30, 2007

Hershey's-A dealer's new best friend?

So, if I try really hard and tighten my blinders, I can for about 5 seconds convince myself that corporate profitability doesn't really trump the health and welfare of customers for most corporations. Then I see something like this, and I am rudely dumped back into the reality of our economic system.

FAMILY COURT Judge Lori Dumas Brooks wanted to make sure she wasn't overreacting.
So she held the small blue packet of powdered substance in her palm and showed it around at work yesterday.

Everyone asked the same thing:

What was she doing with crack cocaine?

"I thought she confiscated it in the courtroom," said Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty.

No one could believe what the tiny pouch actually was: a new breath mint made by - get this - Hershey's.

Hershey's response?

"It's not intended to simulate anything," corporate spokesman Kirk Seville told me yesterday, refusing to acknowledge the similarities between the candy and street drugs.

"We have a longstanding commitment to consumer safety, product quality and responsible packaging," he said, adding that the Pacs are "clearly labeled."

"The dissolvable pouch is what makes the product innovative and unique. The overwhelming feedback from consumers is they love the product."

Yeah, right. Read the full article to get just a clue as to how many ways a product like this could go wrong. Then get on the horn to Hershey's and let them know that we, the public are neither stupid nor in favor of adding even more things to the endless list of reasons to worry about our kids.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The United States Constitution

The Constitution of the United States is the Law of the Land...our Supreme governing document. Everything else comes from it. That's a lot of authority and responsibility for a document that is, including all of the amendments, only about twenty pages long. There is, and always has been, alot of debate about what certain parts of the Constitution mean and which branch has what power. I'm not quite sure I understand what all of the hoopla is about because the document itself is fairly straightforward, particularly regarding the separation of powers and what constitutes a violation of the Constitution. In any event, I've decided to post the Constitution here, in its entirety, for those folks who want/need to review or for those who have never read the thing (I can think of an office-holder or two..or dozen who could do with a reading).
I'm not going to harp on whether or not I think that the current administration has broken the law, or whether Congress has abdicated its duty (Both answers are affirmative for me) because it's been done in many other
places. My goal here is to put the tools out there so that citizens are armed with what they need to know, in order to make up their own minds. There are some links for historical perspective and further reading.

The Constitution of the United States

Preamble Note
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article I. - The Legislative Branch Note
Section 1 - The Legislature
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section 2 - The House
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
(Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was superseded by Amendment XIV, section 2.) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section 3 - The Senate
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by Amendment XVII, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; (and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by Amendment XVII, section 2.)
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Section 4 - Elections, Meetings
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall (be on the first Monday in December,) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by Amendment XX, section 2.) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section 5 - Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6 - Compensation
(The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheses were modified by Amendment XXVII.) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Section 7 - Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section 8 - Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section 9 - Limits on Congress
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
(No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by Amendment XVI.)
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article II. - The Executive Branch Note
Section 1 - The President Note1 Note2
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
(The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not lie an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two-thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice-President.) (This clause in parentheses was superseded by Amendment XII.)
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
(In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.) (This clause in parentheses has been modified by Amendments XX and XXV.)
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Section 2 - Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Section 3 - State of the Union, Convening Congress
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Section 4 - Disqualification
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III. - The Judicial Branch Note
Section 1 - Judicial powers
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
Section 2 - Trial by Jury, Original Jurisdiction, Jury Trials
(The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.) (This section in parentheses is modified by Amendment XI.)
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Section 3 - Treason Note
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article IV. - The States
Section 1 - Each State to Honor all others
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Section 2 - State citizens, Extradition
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
(No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.) (This clause in parentheses is superseded by Amendment XIII.)
Section 3 - New States
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section 4 - Republican government
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Article V. - Amendment Note1 - Note2 - Note3
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article VI. - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article VII. - Ratification Documents
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. Note

Go Washington - President and deputy from Virginia
New Hampshire - John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman
Massachusetts - Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King
Connecticut - Wm Saml Johnson, Roger Sherman
New York - Alexander Hamilton
New Jersey - Wil Livingston, David Brearley, Wm Paterson, Jona. Dayton
Pensylvania - B Franklin, Thomas Mifflin, Robt Morris, Geo. Clymer, Thos FitzSimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, Gouv Morris
Delaware - Geo. Read, Gunning Bedford jun, John Dickinson, Richard Bassett, Jaco. Broom
Maryland - James McHenry, Dan of St Tho Jenifer, Danl Carroll
Virginia - John Blair, James Madison Jr.
North Carolina - Wm Blount, Richd Dobbs Spaight, Hu Williamson
South Carolina - J. Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, Pierce Butler
Georgia - William Few, Abr Baldwin
Attest: William Jackson, Secretary

The Amendments Note

The following are the Amendments to the Constitution. The first ten Amendments collectively are commonly known as the Bill of Rights. History

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II - Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III - Quartering of Soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII - Trial by Jury in Civil Cases. Ratified 12/15/1791.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII - Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX - Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Amendment XI - Judicial Limits. Ratified 2/7/1795. Note History

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Amendment XII - Choosing the President, Vice-President. Ratified 6/15/1804. Note History The Electoral College
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;
The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Amendment XIII - Slavery Abolished. Ratified 12/6/1865. History

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XIV - Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868. Note History

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Amendment XV - Race No Bar to Vote. Ratified 2/3/1870. History
1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XVI - Status of Income Tax Clarified. Ratified 2/3/1913. Note History

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Amendment XVII - Senators Elected by Popular Vote. Ratified 4/8/1913. History
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

Amendment XVIII - Liquor Abolished. Ratified 1/16/1919. Repealed by Amendment XXI, 12/5/1933. History

1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Amendment XIX - Women's Suffrage. Ratified 8/18/1920. History

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XX - Presidential, Congressional Terms. Ratified 1/23/1933. History

1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

Amendment XXI - Amendment XVIII Repealed. Ratified 12/5/1933. History

1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Amendment XXII - Presidential Term Limits. Ratified 2/27/1951. History

1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

Amendment XXIII - Presidential Vote for District of Columbia. Ratified 3/29/1961. History

1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XXIV - Poll Tax Barred. Ratified 1/23/1964. History
1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XXV - Presidential Disability and Succession. Ratified 2/10/1967. Note HistoryNote History
1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Amendment XXVI - Voting Age Set to 18 Years. Ratified 7/1/1971. History

1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XXVII - Limiting Congressional Pay Increases. Ratified 5/7/1992. History
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened..

Saturday, November 24, 2007

John Edwards' Six Point Plan to Fight Hunger

This time of year, alot of folks finally start to pay attention to the amount of hunger we have in this country. That hunger and "food insecurity" as it is known goes on all year but it makes us feel good to focus on it during this "giving" season. John Edwards has released a six-point plan for combatting hunger in this country that does more than simply feed folks a good holiday meal. The plan goes a long way in addressing some of the core institutional ways in which this country can address hunger year-round. This is what Edwards plans to do:

Today, as American families begin to gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving, John Edwards laid out a six-point plan to address widespread hunger. He released new proposals to expand food stamps and other food aid for low-income families, children and seniors. He will also help families struggling with home heating costs and improve access to healthy food in every community .

1. Pass a Farm Bill with Strong Nutrition Programs: The nutrition programs in the Farm Bill are critical to increasing food security in America. Just two programs - food stamps and the Emergency Food Assistance Program for food banks - help about 25 million Americans a year each. Unfortunately, federal funding has not kept pace with growing need and rising costs. Last week, Senate Republicans used a filibuster to block the farm bill, sending Congress home for Thanksgiving without helping overtaxed food banks or hungry families. Edwards believes that Congress should quickly pass a strong and fair farm bill with robust funding for federal nutrition programs and President Bush should sign it. [ASH, 2007]

2. Get Food Aid to More Eligible Families: Food stamps - cash assistance averaging only about $1 per person per meal - help families purchase food and provide nearly a two-to-one benefit for the local economy. But one out of every three eligible families is not enrolled in the program, including millions of families who visit food banks and other community food services. Edwards will expand a pilot program, Express Stamps, which provides online enrollment kiosks at local food pantries. He will expand alternative hours at food stamp eligibility offices so that working families can enroll without missing work. To modernize eligibility and benefits, Edwards believes that Congress should quickly pass reforms to raise the minimum benefit level (which has remained at $10 since 1977), allow families to deduct their actual child care costs and protect families with modest retirement or education savings so they do not have to chose between putting food on the table and their longer-term need of preparing for the future. [CBPP, 2007; USDA, 2006 and 2007]

3. Provide Healthy Meals for Children: The 12 million American children who go hungry are 90 percent more likely to be in fair or poor health, have 30 percent higher hospitalization rates, and have lower test scores, attendance and other academic indicators. As president, Edwards will ensure robust funding to meet the nutritional needs of low-income school children through school breakfasts, free and reduced lunches, after-school snacks, fruit and vegetable programs, and the critical but under-used Summer Food Program. [Cook et al., 2004; Frongillo et al., 2005]

4. Strengthen Food Support for Seniors: One in six low-income elderly families does not have a regular, reliable source of enough to eat. President Bush has repeatedly proposed eliminating funding for the critical Commodity Supplemental Food program, which delivers nutritious food packages to nearly half a million seniors in 32 states and two Indian territories. Edwards will strengthen support for this program and expand other supportive services including Meals-on-Wheels for seniors and people with disabilities. [CBPP, 2007]

5. Address the "Heat or Eat" Crisis: Nearly half of the families served by the nation's food banks have been forced to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel. Without assistance, even more families will struggle with this winter's anticipated record home heating prices. Today, Edwards called on President Bush and Congress to fully fund the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program -- nearly doubling it to $5.1 billion - and adjust the standard utility allowance in food stamp eligibility rules to reflect soaring prices. He will help states implement new low- and no-interest consumer loan programs through states and non-profits and double the funding for weatherizing homes. He also has a plan to fight rising oil and gas prices by creating energy competition, reducing speculation in the oil and gas markets, and bringing down demand through greater building conservation, fuel efficiency and access to renewable sources. [ASH, 2006; EIA, 2007]

6. Support Food Access in Every Neighborhood: Wealthy neighborhoods have over three times as many supermarkets as non-wealthy neighborhoods. Small corner stores are usually more expensive and offer less nutritious food. Food-insecure families in rural areas often face high transportation costs to reach the nearest food pantries. As president, Edwards will launch a public-private partnership to bring fresh, nutritious food to new neighborhoods. He will create a national food access map that identifies neighborhoods lacking grocery stores, emergency food banks and regular access to fresh produce. His new Healthy Neighborhoods Seed Fund will offer needy communities challenge grants for projects including full-service supermarkets, community gardens and food stamp-friendly farmers' markets. [PolicyLink, 2005]

As Edwards points out, we do not have to wait until he is in office to do something. For this reason, the Edwards campaign has rolled out what they call the OneCan campaign:

Each one of us, in our way, can help change America for the better over this holiday season.

John Edwards is asking Americans to volunteer. Be the change you believe in.

1. Volunteer 1 hour or more to fight hunger,

2. donate 1 can or more to a local food bank,

3. donate 1 toy for a child --

4. and call on 1 friend or family member to do the same.

To my way of thinking, these small suggestions should be the least of what we do, but they are a place to start.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lost a limb and can't serve now?...You owe us...

At least that is how the military operates. Have ya'll seen this?! Evidently, not only have our soldiers been asked to risk their lives, limbs and well-being; they are also now being forced to return signing bonuses because they can no longer fulfill their agreement to serve for a certain time. This is not a new rule. It's been around for a long time. How archaic can you get? So much for "supporting" those dedicated soldiers. This is not about partisan politics. This is about a government with its priorities so screwed up that they are literally tossing its soldiers out on the street if they can't pay up for being injured! This needs to be shouted from every rooftop and directly at our representatives in D.C. Sit on Wyden and Smith (we'll see how sincere he really is about representing Oregon's values) about this. I'm sure I'll post about this later but for now I'm gonna go fire off some letters and get on the horn.

A Day to Remember...and Ask Questions

I have never been good at remembering important dates. It took moving 2500 miles away from my parents to remember their birthdays without looking at a calendar. I've been gay all of my life but it wasn't till this year that I remembered without being reminded by the HRC that October 11 is National Coming Out Day. Embarrassingly enough I still didn't remember that the Transgender Day of Remembrance is today. Thank you to Alley Hector at QPDX for reminding everyone, myself included.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities across the world.

Just in time for remembering those lost to violence simply for who they are (and who continue to be left out of protective legislation) Lynn and Pat Mulder, who son was killed for being gay, have submitted a question for the next Republican debate, scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th. Let's see how the candidates square their family values and compassionate conservatism when confronted with the reality of their dismissive bigotry.

They've got Gordon Smith in their sights

I seriously doubt that loads of readers will be seeing this video short produced by the Oregon College Democrats for the first time, but for those one or two that haven't seen it on BlueOregon or LoadedOrygun, I am posting it here.

Gordon Smith is an embarrassment to what Oregon stands for as far as I am concerned and the OCD have done a great job of demonstrating why, and scarily enough, it really only scratches the surface of why Smith is bad for Oregon and for this country.

If you want to get active in helping to "retire" Smith, and I know you do, then head over to

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Amanda Fritz is serious about citizen involvement and engagement

My list of reasons for supporting Amanda just keep growing. One of the great services that she has provided on her personal website is an ongoing piece called " Next up at City Council". It has helped me alot in being aware of what is happening in Portland, how the City is making its decisions and what those decisions are. Well, as City Commissioner, Amanda plans on continuing this service and even expanding upon it.Over at her campaign site, Amanda has posted descriptions of some of what will be available on her Commissioner site:

When I am a City Commissioner, three of the tabs on the front page of my web site will be "Next Up at City Council", "Coming Down the Pike", and "What was Done, What comes Next".

Next Up at City Council will have links to the Agenda, like the current series. There will be many more easy-to-find links to background documents and staff contact information (because I'll be able to find out that information, from the inside), and a quick "Give me your opinion on this" option because I'll want to know what you think. And, each Monday after I've heard the briefings from staff on the Agenda items, I'll post summaries on the lines of "This is what I've heard on this. This is what I'm thinking. These are the questions I'd like to know more about at the public hearing. Please comment/participate if you care."

Coming Down the Pike will be one-stop shopping for important issues being worked on in the bureaus I oversee. Too often now, citizens find out about public involvement processes too late to participate early enough to make a difference. And the City's web site is a maze where you have to know what you want to find, in order to find it. Part of my job as a City Commissioner will be making sure staff and citizens use time and resources efficiently and effectively, and work together on projects and policies.

What was Done, What comes Next is the third concept sorely lacking in City processes today. Citizens can find out the bare bones of the vote on items on previous Council agendas by going to the web site, but there is rarely any feedback from Council members about their votes - unless you have the time to attend the hearing or catch the rebroadcast on cable, which most people don't. Citizens who bother to give their opinion on City issues should be given more information about why their request was approved or denied. And when the City approves changes in policies or practices, there should be follow-up to make sure the changes work out as intended. Closing the loop - rarely done now. Should be done always. Will be, in my office.

I'm well aware that these plans won't knock the socks off most citizens. "Giving and gathering information to help citizens" sounds like something anyone could do. But nobody is providing these simple services currently. I will focus on basic needs that will help our city run more smoothly and efficiently, and make it easier for citizens to know what's going on. And to make a difference, if you want to.

Seems to me that something so simple should be a no-brainer for the Council but, as Amanda points out, no one has done it yet. Which is why I'm glad Amanda will be there to keep those folks grounded, not to mention continue to inspire the rest of us to get involved.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

John Kroger-Democrat for Attorney General

One of the great benefits of getting involved on some level with party politics is that candidates come to you, to speak and present themselves. I've ben fortunate enough to hear both John Kroger and Greg Macpherson speak at monthly Multnomah Democratic Caucus meetings and compare them both. While I was put off by several things that Macpherson said, I concentrated on the actual content of each candidate's prsentation. I have to say that for me, the choice was clear. I strongly support John Kroger for Attorney General of Oregon. I support him for several reasons. First and foremost, his agenda is very much based on protecting and defending the rights of all Oregonians. He has a whole picture outlook about law enforcement that includes not only aggressive action around addiction-related crime, but a strong prevention and core-cause component, as well. He also applies this view to aggressively going after corporate toxic waste dumping, instead of allowing them to continue with their less-than-above board practices.

This is a list of priorities, including the above-mentioned, that are posted on his campaign site:

*Fight meth aggressively, with more effective enforcement and a new plan for drug treatment.
*Hold every polluter responsible for the damage they cause to our health and our environment.
*Ensure that every single parent in the state gets the child support to which they are entitled.
*Protect consumers and retirees from scam-artists and crooked companies.
*Defend civil rights, a woman’s right to choose, and the rights of Oregon crime victims.

I know that Greg Macpherson has some solid backing and is a great legislator, but when I listened to both candidates and put what their priorities are and how they would address the Attorney General position, John Kroger is simply the more aggressive, energetic and plan-specific of the two. I believe that he would make the better, and stronger, Attorney General.
And here is the rest of it.

Going Hungry

When I was growing up in Texas, particularly in the seventies, I knew we were not even close to well-off. I started baby-sitting at the age of twelve to be able to afford new school clothes, as did my brother. My mom raised my brother and I alone, and I remember living in Section 8 housing for a couple of years. I don't think she ever had less than two jobs until I was in high school. I remember times when we didn't have the world's most exciting food and I hated vegetables throughout my childhood because all I knew was the canned kind. I remember only liking them when we went to my grandparents' house for a holiday. I just figured that my grandmother was a much better cook than my mom was! I learned differently when I was introduced to frozen, and then fresh vegetables.

I remember alot of not always having what I wanted, or new clothes, or living in the not-so absolute best parts of town. But there is one thing that I do not remember ever experiencing, as a child. I don't ever remember being hungry. My mom made sure of that, even if it meant she didn't get to eat sometimes. I know that some part of me must remember a fear of going without food because even now, no matter what I'm going to the store to get, I absolutely will not walk out of there without an extra can of chili, or box of rice, or whatever. I need the security of knowing that if something happened, I would be able to eat for probably the next month without actually running out of food.

Now, I realise that the seventies are a far cry from today. I honestly don't think my mom would be able to do, today, what she did for us back then. While the formula that determines the poverty level hasn't changed in its 50 years of existance says that housing should take about 30% of a household's income, in reality, today that figure is closer to 50%. That means things like food lose out, as a priority. That means people go hungry. That means that organizations that exist to provide relief have to stretch their resources to the breaking point and beyond.

I'm posting some information and events that are coming up to benefit the Oregon Food Bank and Sisters of the Road. If you need their help get in touch with them. If not, than give your help to them.

The Oregon Food Bank is in particularly dire straits, as I've posted previously, and are really attempting to recover from a severe shortage of food. The OFB has several events planned over the next few months. Here are just a few:

Fill the Bag Food Drive
November and December, 2007
Watch The Oregonian for a special paper bag in November.

Fill the bag with nonperishable food and drop it off at a participating
Jiffy Lube or U.S. Bank. Sponsors include Jiffy Lube, U.S. Bank,
Weyerhaeuser, The Commerce Company, PODS,
Community Newspapers and

*Last year, community members donated more than 100,000 pounds of food during the Fill the Bag Food Drive.

*Contact Raven Camara at

or 503-439-6510, Ext. 209.

Secret Society Craft Sale
Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007
Secret Society Ballroom
116 N.E. Russell St. in Portland
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Find the perfect holiday gift at the Secret Society Craft Sale. Thirty-six artists will feature unique, locally handmade gifts including jewelry, accessories, handbags, crocheted hats, clothing for adults & children, reconstructed apparel , soap & candles, glassware, clayware, plushies, cards & original artwork. Meet the artists while shopping and enjoy snacks and drinks.

*In addition, event organizers will hold a silent for a night at McMenamins Edgefield Bed and Breakfast, premium art supplies from Collage and many other items.

If you want to sponsor an event here you go:

To help sponsor the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival,
presented by First Tech Credit Union,
contact Clay Fuller,

To sponsor other events, contact Christine Hames at
503-282-0555, Ext. 221

Sisters of the Road is a fantastic organization with several fundraisers coming up:

*Sisters’ Holiday Matching Grant Challenge will help expand your giving. November 1 through December 31, all donations to Sisters are matched 50 cents per dollar through the help of a generous group of individuals and businesses, and new donors will be additionally matched one-to-one.

Save the Date for Winterfolk’s 20th Anniversary
The event is on Saturday, February 2nd at the historic Aladdin Theater.
Including: Peter Yarrow, Tom May, Chris Kennedy, JimPage withDickWeissman, Misty River, David Rea, Sky in the Road, and Rite of Spring.

*Tickets will go on sale Dec. 15th in time for holiday gifts; they will cost $33 advance and $35 on the day of the show, and will be available at: the Aladdin Theater 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave.(503) 233-1994; Music Millennium East 3158 E Burnside (503) 231-8926; Ticketmaster outlets (503) 224-4400/ 866-448-7849; and Artichoke Music 3130 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. (503) 232-8845. Doors are at 5:30, show is at 6pm

Guitar Raffle Tickets on sale now!
Get tickets at our office at 618 NW Davis, or at Artichoke Music at 3130 S.E. Hawthorne Boulevard; thank-you so much Artichoke! The guitar is a beauty. Todd Mylet of Portland Fret Works has hand-crafted a new steel string acoustic Mylet Concert Model guitar.

Retail value is $2200. The guitar is made of Sitka Spruce and Indian Rosewood with Ebony appointments. Its ebony fingerboard is inlaid with an oroboris (snake eating its tail). Comes with a hard-shell case. Todd builds only one or two guitars a year, and we are extremely lucky to have his support this year – thank you Todd.

In addition to the guitar, raffle participants can win 1 day (10 hours) of recording time at Billy Oskay’s Big Red Studio, valued at $750!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jeff Merkley Live-Chat Saturday

This notice was posted on Merkley's website. It looks like a good opportunity to ask some questions and see how he responds. Maybe suggest he light a fire under his campaign!

This Saturday, Jeff Merkley will participate in a live online chat Q&A session here at the Campaign Trail blog.

Here are the specifics:

What: Live-chat Q&A with Jeff Merkley
When: Saturday, November 17 at 2:00PM Pacific time

The session will run for about an hour. Jeff will answer questions submitted on a post that I'll create about 30-45 minutes before we're set to start at 2:00. This is so that questions can be submitted in advance of the start time to allow Jeff to start answering immediately at 2:00. Hopefully that will give us time to get lots of questions answered.

Here's how it's going to work:

Questions should be submitted to the comment thread of the Q&A post created on Saturday afternoon.

Questions will be answered in the order that they are received. Questions submitted of a similar nature will be consolidated into one answer, when appropriate.

If time allows, Jeff will answer follow-up questions and comments.

Comment moderation will be in effect to combat malicious and/or profane comments.

The live-chat will run from 2:00-3:00 PM.

And here is the rest of it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Michael Dembrow-House District 45

This is the next in a line of posts to introduce candidates that I support and why, to bring them to readers' attention and to get their name out there.
Michael Dembrow is a Democrat running for the Oregon House of Representatives, District 45, in Portland. I met Michael while I was a student at Portland Community College. Michael has been not only an amazing instructor at PCC for 25+ years, but also very successfully serves as president of the Faculty Federation union there. Not only that. He co-founded (and continues to help coordinate) Portland's highly regarded African Film Festival, almost 20 years ago.

In doing my job to represent Oregon's college students down in Salem, I saw Michael putting in just as much effort, if not more, to fight for students and for higher education, as a whole. There are many reasons that I support Michael for Representative.
Michael is the epitome of what a true "progressive" is all about. He is a staunch supporter of working families, education at all levels, full healthcare, and having a true voice for the people in decision-making positions. Michael is an incredibly ethical person who doesn't use subterfuge or political game-playing to get things done. He is exactly who he appears to be.

Now, all of the things I've mentioned are more than enough reason for nme to support him, and I really hadn't gone searching for more reasons to support him. I already had enough. Then Michael asked me to say a few words at his official campaign kick-off tonight. Now, I am not a natural public speaker so I always put way too much effort into trying to figure out what it is that I want to say. I know my tendency to go off on tangents quite well!. Anyhow, as I was trying to figure out how to explain my support for someone that was so automatic, it came to me. One of the greatest things about Michael Dembrow and why he has so much of my respect is this: Michael is one of those rare individuals that are, unfortunately really few and far between. Michael isn't simply "tolerant" or "accepting" of cultures and ways of life that are different from his own. He doesn't just pay lip service to diversity and compassion. He LIVES those things. He celebrates the uniqueness of people without an ounce of judgement on his part. Now, this part of Michael's personality, by itself doesn't neccessarily scream Legislator!...until you take a look at Oregon's changing demographics. Take Portland, for example. One in seven couples there are same sex, and while Portland is not the end all of what's what in Oregon, it IS still our largest city and economic center. Add to that the fact that 60+ percent of people moving to our state is a person of color, and all of a sudden, Michael's knowledge and experience become important. When I look at how Oregon is growing and changing almost daily, it is Michael's leadership in this area that I think will be absolutely crucial to our state's ability to successfully adapt to and continue to grow with those changes. Coming to that conclusion was just icing on the cake for me, but it really allows me to know something that is rare to know in this politically cynical age. I support Michael Dembrow and I'm really excited by the fact that I can support him with absolutely no reservations. That is a first for me.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pretty Bird Woman House

For the most part, I try to focus on information or goings-on that are Oregon based. I want to share a diary post that is being highlighted by Daily Kos. If you have any doubt that we, as a people, haven't progressed further than our noses in terms of justice and equality, this article will quickly rid you of that notion.

Origins of Pretty Bird Woman House
In October of 2001 a monster in the body of a fifteen-year-old boy stalked the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota. Since his tenth birthday he had racked up twenty-five separate criminal charges, included among them was torturing a kitten to death. Another incident involved his shattering a beer bottle over the head of an eight year old. Thirty one year old Ivy Archambault had the misfortune of being home asleep when he broke into her house intent on burglary. Before the night ended he kidnapped, raped and beat her to death. In the six years since this crime was committed, he has never been charged with the murder despite eyewitnesses willing to testify, thanks to a nightmarish maze of confusing tribal, federal, state and local jurisdictions and laws.

Ivy Archambault's murder might well have passed from memory without any impact. But Jackie Brown Otter, her sister, had other ideas; she envisioned a shelter, a place where threatened women could go. A base for the fight to prevent these crimes and when they occur, seek justice on behalf of the victim. She wanted to name this place with her sister's Lakota name: Pretty Bird Woman. Over the course of three years she and a small group of women struggled to make this happen. Then, in late 2004, the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence came through with a grant and hired Georgia Little Shield, a nurse with ten years experience in the domestic violence as Director of Pretty Bird Woman House.

Sounds like progress? Sounds like things are turning around? It is,until some bigoted, hateful dimwits decided to destroy the place. Read the rest of the article and contribute if you can, or even better yet brainstorm some of the ideas that the author is asking for, so that we can insure that there is a permanent and safe place for the victimized women of this reservation to go.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Sean Cruz, Senate District 23

This is the first installment in a series of posts introducing candidates that I support, why I support them, and to get their names out there. I welcome other candidates to introduce themselves here so that readers can compare.
Sean Cruz is a Democratic candidate for Oregon Senate District 23, the seat now held by Avel Gordly. He has been Senator Gordly's current Chief of Staff since January of 2003 which has given him a solid foundation for intimately understanding how the Oregon Legislature works. Sean has been out front on many issues including pointing to the impact of the Iraq War on Oregon families (he has a son there, himself), demanding quality care for returning and injured veterans, supporting proper application of Oregon's land use policies by supporting Measure 49, to name a few issues.

In the time that I've been following Mr. Cruz' efforts, he has been passionate, articulate and consistent in his views and work on many issues. On Iraq he says:

For me, the occupation of Iraq is not about campaigning, it is about life and death, it is about living daily with the consequences of the Bush Administration’s catastrophic failure to act in the best interests of the nation and of the citizens of the State of Oregon.I worry about the same issues that our veterans and their families face, the acute shortage of services across the entire spectrum of need, PTSD, IEDs, Traumatic Brain Injury (the signature injury of this war), stop-loss, multiple deployments, traumatic amputations, unemployment, homelessness…, because I am one of them, citizen father of two citizen soldiers.

This month marks four full years since both of my sons were ordered to Iraq with their Utah Army National Guard unit, after having been held on alert since the spring of 2002, four full years of unceasing worry, with no end in sight, not for years to come.I have fought to bring the issue of the war, and of the needs of our troops, our veterans and their families to the Senate floor for three sessions, one of the few people in the Capitol with a personal stake.

Like Amanda Fritz (whom I support for City Commissioner) Mr. Cruz maintains a personal blog where you can get an in-depth view of what is important to him and how he approaches the issues.

I believe that Sean Cruz would be a worthy successor to Senator Gordly, whom I hold in the highest esteem of most any elected official in this state.