Saturday, May 31, 2008

Steve Novick-not forgetting the big picture

Steve Novick sent out this really cool email.

OK, I know you thought our last "thank you" email was the last one you would receive from Novick for Senate. But no. Before I fade into the mist, there are two last things I want to talk about: defending Oregon against Bill Sizemore, and defending Oregonians' access to the civil justice system.

Racketeer Bill Sizemore will have another group of initiatives on this fall's ballot -- initiatives to slash taxes for the wealthy, to hamstring workers' ability to participate in the political process, etc. Sizemore hopes that only the public employee unions will step forward to oppose those measures, and that he'll be able to beat them. We can't let that happen. It is up to all of us to defend schools, health care, the public safety system and workers' rights against Sizemore. Call
Our Oregon at 503-239-8029 to find out how you can get involved.

Meanwhile, noted initiative funder and self-styled sexual hypnotist (I kid you not -- he brags about it on his blog) Loren Parks is funding a measure to deprive low and middle-income Oregonians of access to the civil justice system. Parks' limit on contingency fees would make it impossible, in many cases, to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable for physically or financially injuring Oregonians. Parks hopes that only civil justice lawyers will bother to oppose this measure, and that he'll be able to beat them. We can't let that happen either. Please send contributions to Against One-Sided Measures, 2236 SE 10th, Portland OR 97214.

Sizemore, Parks and other right-wingers hope to achieve their nefarious ends by demonizing some of our progressive partners. We must always be on guard against this tactic. To paraphrase a line you've heard before -- first they'll come for the unions, then they'll come for the civil justice lawyers, and then they'll come for the rest of us. Don't let that happen -- in 2008, or ever.

And here is the rest of it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Enter the couples' police...

Just Out has an article on a Tennessee high school principle who outed two gay students who had recently begun a relationship. Here is a sample:

In September 2007, the principal of Hollis F. Price Middle School in Memphis, Tenn., compiled a list of all student couples, which she posted publicly on her desk.

Ok, a public posting of student couples?? For what purpose can this be other than a heads up on who to harass and police to the nth degree?

Two male students, who had recently began a relationship and managed to keep it below the radar of other students, are now being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. Despite reports that the boys were honor students not in violation of any school policies, the principal phoned one boy’s mother, revealing that he was gay and commenting that she didn’t like homosexuals.

As you can imagine, they have also endured harassment, and one student has already begun losing opportunities for community involvement. He also fears that his college chances have been harmed. The article has more detail. And here is the rest of it.

Judges matter....

Good freakin lord...

From Firedoglake:

On page 7 of the Los Angeles "Official Sample Ballot" for next Tuesday's primary is a race for Judge of the Superior Court (Office number 125). The contest hasn't gotten any publicity. But I want you to read this:

“No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor, may be citizens if, in addition to meeting the aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwestern Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.”

The man who wrote that-- a proposed constitutional amendment-- is asking for our votes for the Superior Court. His name-- well he has many names-- is Bill Johnson. He also goes by the names William Daniel Johnson, Daniel Johnson and James O. Pace. He's an attorney, a Mormon, and, as you may have concluded, a white supremacist (and Ron Paulista). The paragraph comes from his 1985 book, Amendment to the Constitution-- Averting The Decline And Fall Of America in which he urges the repeal of the 14th (which defines citizenship as well as due process and equal protection under the law) and 15th (which guarantees voting rights for all citizens) Amendments. He advocates deporting tens of millions of Americans within one year. That would include... well, read his little amendment again. American Indians, Eskimos, Hawaiians won't be citizens but they'll have to live on reservations.

Just picture facing THAT judge...and please don't tell me he probably "changed his mind" since 1985. I seriously doubt it. What he learned was not to work so hard at it, at least in public.

. And here is the rest of it.

The high cost of education?

The high gas prices are affecting all kinds of things. I hadn't thought about this one. And here is the rest of it.

What IS wrong with Oklahoma?

I have friends in Oklahoma and am used to hearing about some of the ass-backwards things that go on down there. Having grown up in Texas, not far from the Oklahoma border, not much surprises me about the state. But the extreme measures that are being pushed there amazed even me.

The Republican-dominated Oklahoma legislature is defining the frontier of xenophobic immigration laws, anti-Muslim bigotry, gay bashing and encouragement of gun-toting students -- with Democratic legislators often too timid to resist.

Rep. Randy Terrill, Republican chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, has emerged as a hero of the "protect our borders" crowd by authoring a law, known as HB1804, that makes it a felony even to give an illegal immigrant a ride.

You also can't provide education, health care and many other services to undocumented immigrants, including infants. And, police are required to check the immigration status of anyone "suspected" of being in this country illegally.

If you thought such a draconian measure might face stiff opposition -- or at least a drawn-out political battle -- you'd be wrong. The bill sailed through the Oklahoma House, 88-9, with 35 of the 44 Democrats joining the Republicans, and then passed the Senate on a 41-6 vote with two-thirds of the Democrats lining up with Republicans.

And before we pat ourselves on the back, talk to anyone from a marginalized community that lives in or comes from southern or eastern Oregon (or rural New York or Pennsylvania, for that matter. Pick a state, and then look at what goes on in its more rural areas).
And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shhhh! Suicide makes us look bad!

And it damn well should. Not to mention the rest of it. Here's an excerpt:

We have to count the victims of Post Traumatic Distress Syndrome, what we used to call being shell-shocked, as victims of the war. The number of those victims has been covered up.

Investigative reporters at CBS News found that in 2005, 6,250 veterans took their lives, nearly 18 a day. Emanuel Margolis writes,

Dr. Ira Katz, chief of mental health services for the Department of Veterans Affairs, sent an e-mail to a VA colleague this past February that read:

"Shh! Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see in our medical facilities. Is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves in some sort of release before somebody stumbles on it?"

Margolis charges that Katz covered up this startling statistic, showing 12,000 attempted suicides a year while in VA care, when he testified before Congress.Have 30,000 veterans died of suicide in the past 5 years? Have 60,000 tried to? Shouldn't these deeply depressed men and women be added to the casualty tolls? Is war a plague on the mind of those who fight it?

Margolis writes,

120 veterans commit suicide every week.
1,000 veterans attempt suicide while in VA care every month.
Nearly one in five service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan (approximately 300,000) have post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms or major depression.
19 percent of post-Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been diagnosed with possible traumatic brain injury, according to a Rand Corp. Study in April.
A higher percentage of these veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder than from any previous war because of "stop loss" or an involuntary extension of service in the military (58,300), multiple tours, greater prevalence of brain injuries, etc.
19 percent of returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan would also be nearly 300,000 persons, suffering from traumatic brain injury.

And here is the rest of it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

McCain Pro-Choice? In your dreams

Arianna H. has an editorial post up regarding Clinton supporters who say they will vote McCain over Obama, particularly her large pro-choice female supporters. This would be a good wake-up call.

For example:

We've seen the exit polls. We've read the unequivocal quotes. Many women who are avowed Hillary Clinton supporters are declaring they won't vote for Barack Obama in the fall.

I get the anger and the disappointment. But to quote SNL's Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers: Really? You'd rather vote for John McCain, a man who has a 25-year history of voting against a woman's right to choose? A man who over the last eight years that NARAL has released a pro-choice scorecard has received a 0 percent rating (in his time in office, Obama has received a 100 percent rating)? A man whose campaign website says he believes Roe v. Wade "must be overturned"? A man who has vowed that, as president, he will be "a loyal and unswerving friend of the right to life movement"?


In Clinton vs. Obama, the policy differences were minor (hence the overriding focus on minutiae like flag pins, Bosnian sniper fire, and the real meaning of "bitter"). In McCain vs. Obama, the differences are enormous. Staying the course in Iraq vs. ending an unnecessary and immoral war. Universal health care vs. less regulation for insurance companies. Rolling back the Bush tax cuts vs. making them permanent.

And nowhere is the difference more profound than with reproductive rights.

For anyone -- male or female -- who cares about reproductive rights, family planning, and women's health issues, the choice this fall is not even close.

And yet many voters have no idea how extreme McCain's position on these issues is.

She goes on to reference some numbers, showing how unaware women are of McCain's position on choice, and how his support dwindles when they are made aware. I'd recommend reading the article for the numbers, and more.

<"span class="fullpost">And here is the rest of it.

My fridge says what?

Time for a break from seriousness...

You aren't greedy, but you don't really deprive yourself either. You strike a good balance with the stuff you buy.

You tend to be a fairly thrifty person. You splurge occasionally, but you're mostly a saver (Tell that to my bank account!).

You don't tend to be a very adventurous person, but you do surprise everyone now and then. You have a bit of a wild side (Well..can't argue there).

You try to be responsible, but you don't always succeed (ain't THAT the truth!). Your heart is in the right place though.

You are likely to be married - and very busy (Not married-yet...Busy? Oh yeah).
And here is the rest of it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bankrupted banks

This is a bank reserves chart. I am definitely not an economist, so I can't explain in my own words. This is a much better explanation. For example:

The chart of non-borrowed reserves of Depository Institutions (h/t CD.) Which, in English, means "bank reserves". As Chicago Dyke pointed out, what that chart indicates is that the banks are, well, bankrupt. Or, more technically accurate, since they're still in business, insolvent.(1)

Wall Street's acting like the credit crisis is over. What that chart tells you is that it isn't. As folks were saying at the time, it was never a liquidity crisis, it wasn't about just not having enough cash or near cash equivalents around but rather a solvency crisis. Institutions were insolvent.
Are insolvent.
And here is the rest of it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Olbermann on Clinton's assassination comment (s)

There is just nothing better I could say.

Asked if her continuing fight for the nomination against Senator Obama hurts the Democratic party, Sen. Hillary Clinton replied, "I don't. Because again, I've been around long enough. You know, my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know, I just don't understand it. You know, there's lots of speculation about why it is. “
The comments were recorded and we showed them to you earlier and they are online as we speak.

She actually said those words.
Those words, Senator?
You actually invoked the nightmare of political assassination.
You actually invoked the specter of an inspirational leader, at the seeming moment of triumph, for himself and a battered nation yearning to breathe free, silenced forever.

You actually used the word "assassination" in the middle of a campaign with a loud undertone of racial hatred - and gender hatred - and political hatred.
You actually used the word "assassination" in a time when there is a fear, unspoken but vivid and terrible, that our again-troubled land and fractured political landscape might target a black man running for president.
Or a white man.
Or a white woman!
You actually used those words, in this America, Senator, while running against an African-American against whom the death threats started the moment he declared his campaign?

You actually used those words, in this America, Senator, while running to break your "greatest glass ceiling" and claiming there are people who would do anything to stop you?

You! Senator - never mind the implications of using the word "assassination" in any connection to Senator Obama...What about you? You cannot say this!
The references, said her spokesperson, were not, in any way, weighted.
The allusions, said Mo Uh-leathee, are, "...historical examples of the nominating process going well into the summer and any reading into it beyond that would be inaccurate and outrageous."
I'm sorry.
There is no inaccuracy.

Not for a moment does any rational person believe Senator Clinton is actually hoping for the worst of all political calamities.
Yet the outrage belongs, not to Senator Clinton or her supporters, but to every other American.

Firstly, she has previously bordered on the remarks she made today...
Then swerved back from them and the awful skid they represented.
She said, in an off-camera interview with Time on March 6, "Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June, also in California. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual. We will see how it unfolds as we go forward over the next three to four months."

In retrospect, we failed her when we did not call her out, for that remark, dry and only disturbing, in a magazine's pages. But somebody obviously warned her of the danger of that rhetoric:
After the Indiana primary, on May 7, she told supporters at a Washington hotel:
"Sometimes you gotta calm people down a little bit. But if you look at successful presidential campaigns, my husband did not get the nomination until June of 1992. I remember tragically when Senator Kennedy won California near the end of that process."

And at Shepherdstown, West Virginia, on the same day, she referenced it again:
"You know, I remember very well what happened in the California primary in 1968 as, you know, Senator Kennedy won that primary."
On March 6th she had said "assassinated."

By May 7 she had avoided it. Today... she went back to an awful well. There is no good time to recall the awful events of June 5th, 1968, of Senator Bobby Kennedy, happy and alive - perhaps, for the first time since his own brother's death in Dallas in 1963... Galvanized to try to lead this nation back from one of its darkest eras... Only to fall victim to the same surge that took that brother, and Martin Luther King... There is no good time to recall this. But certainly to invoke it, two weeks before the exact 40th anniversary of the assassination, is an insensitive and heartless thing.

And certainly to invoke it, three days after the awful diagnosis, and heart-breaking prognosis, for Senator Ted Kennedy, is just as insensitive, and just as heartless. And both actions, open a door wide into the soul of somebody who seeks the highest office in this country, and through that door shows something not merely troubling, but frightening. And politically inexplicable.

What, Senator, do you suppose would happen if you withdrew from the campaign, and Senator Obama formally became the presumptive nominee, and then suddenly left the scene? It doesn't even have to be the “dark curse upon the land” you mentioned today, Senator. Nor even an issue of health. He could simply change his mind... Or there could unfold that perfect-storm scandal your people have often referenced, even predicted. Maybe he could get a better offer from some other, wiser, country. What happens then, Senator? You are not allowed back into the race? Your delegates and your support vanish? The Democrats don't run anybody for President?

What happens, of course, is what happened when the Democrats' vice presidential choice, Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, had to withdraw from the ticket, in 1972after it proved he had not been forthcoming about previous mental health treatments. George McGovern simply got another vice president.

The rest is after the break

Senator, as late as the late summer of 1864 the Republicans were talking about having a second convention, to withdraw Abraham Lincoln's re-nomination and choose somebody else because until Sherman took Atlanta in September it looked like Lincoln was going to lose to George McClellan.

You could theoretically suspend your campaign, Senator.

There's plenty of time and plenty of historical precedent, Senator, in case you want to come back in, if something bad should happen to Senator Obama. Nothing serious, mind you.

It's just like you said, "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

Since those awful words in Sioux Falls, and after the condescending, buck-passing statement from her spokesperson, Senator Clinton has made something akin to an apology, without any evident recognition of the true trauma she has inflicted.

"I was discussing the Democratic primary history, and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged California in June in 1992 and 1968," she said in Brandon, South Dakota. "I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June. That's a historic fact.

"The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy. I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive, I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever."

"My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to and I'm honored to hold Senator Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate in the state of New York and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family. Thanks. Not a word about the inappropriateness of referencing assassination.

Not a word about the inappropriateness of implying - whether it was intended or not - that she was hanging around waiting for somebody to try something terrible.

Not a word about Senator Obama.

Not a word about Senator McCain.

Not: I'm sorry...

Not: I apologize...

Not: I blew it...

Not: please forgive me.

God knows, Senator, in this campaign, this nation has had to forgive you, early and often...

And despite your now traditional position of the offended victim, the nation has forgiven you.

We have forgiven you your insistence that there have been widespread calls for you to end your campaign, when such calls had been few. We have forgiven you your misspeaking about Martin Luther King's relative importance to the Civil Rights movement.

We have forgiven you your misspeaking about your under-fire landing in Bosnia.

We have forgiven you insisting Michigan's vote wouldn't count and then claiming those who would not count it were Un-Democratic.

We have forgiven you pledging to not campaign in Florida and thus disenfranchise voters there, and then claim those who stuck to those rules were as wrong as those who defended slavery or denied women the vote.

We have forgiven you the photos of Osama Bin Laden in an anti-Obama ad...

We have forgiven you fawning over the fairness of Fox News while they were still calling you a murderer.

We have forgiven you accepting Richard Mellon Scaife's endorsement and then laughing as you described his "deathbed conversion."

We have forgiven you quoting the electoral predictions of Boss Karl Rove.

We have forgiven you the 3 a.m. Phone Call commercial.

We have forgiven you President Clinton's disparaging comparison of the Obama candidacy to Jesse Jackson's.

We have forgiven you Geraldine Ferraro's national radio interview suggesting Obama would not still be in the race had he been a white man.

We have forgiven you the dozen changing metrics and the endless self-contradictions of your insistence that your nomination is mathematically probable rather than a statistical impossibility.

We have forgiven you your declaration of some primary states as counting and some as not.

We have forgiven you exploiting Jeremiah Wright in front of the editorial board of the lunatic-fringe Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

We have forgiven you exploiting William Ayers in front of the debate on ABC.

We have forgiven you for boasting of your "support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans"...

We have even forgiven you repeatedly praising Senator McCain at Senator Obama's expense, and your own expense, and the Democratic ticket's expense.

But Senator, we cannot forgive you this.

"You know, my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

We cannot forgive you this -- not because it is crass and low and unfeeling and brutal.

This is unforgivable, because this nation's deepest shame, its most enduring horror, its most terrifying legacy, is political assassination.





Martin Luther King.

Robert Kennedy.

And, but for the grace of the universe or the luck of the draw, Reagan, Ford, Truman, Nixon, Andrew Jackson, both Roosevelts, even George Wallace.

The politics of this nation is steeped enough in blood, Senator Clinton, you cannot and must not invoke that imagery! Anywhere! At any time!

And to not appreciate, immediately - to still not appreciate tonight - just what you have done... is to reveal an incomprehension of the America you seek to lead.

This, Senator, is too much.

Because a senator - a politician - a person - who can let hang in mid-air the prospect that she might just be sticking around in part, just in case the other guy gets shot - has no business being, and no capacity to be, the President of the United States.

Good night and good luck.

. excuse

Once could conceivably be an "accident":

Friday, May 23, 2008
My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. NO accident:

March, 2008
TIME: Can you envision a point at which--if the race stays this close--Democratic Party elders would step in and say, "This is now hurting the party and whoever will be the nominee in the fall"?

CLINTON: No, I really can't. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual.

Yes, I know she "apologized" for today's comment, but don't make me go on another non-apologetic apology rant. She claimed today that the Kennedys have been on her mind because of Ted's illness. Ok, I'll buy that (or pretend to). What about the first time? She is playing on someone's fears, and insulting our intelligence to boot. There is no excuse. There just isn't. And here is the rest of it.

Myanmar-International aid

The UN actually has a listserve that I joined a couple of years ago (Yes I am a complete geek!). I get LOTS of emails from them, and this one came today.

New York, May 23 2008 12:00PM
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that Myanmar’s
Senior General Than Shwe has agreed to allow international aid workers, regardless of their nationality, into the areas worst affected by Cyclone Nargis after the two men held talks today.

Speaking to the press after the discussions, held in the country’s new capital Naypyidaw, Mr. Ban reported that he had held a “good meeting” with the Senior General.

“He has taken quite a flexible position on an issue that, until now, has been an obstacle to organizing coordinated and fully effective international aid and assistance operations,” Mr. Ban said. “He has also agreed that [the] visa issue will be speeded up.”

The Secretary-General said the Senior General had agreed that the main airport at Yangon, Myanmar’s most populous city, can be used as a logistics hub for international aid so that relief can be distributed more quickly to those in need. Aid can also be delivered to the country via civilian ships and small boats.

“I hope all these agreements can produce results quickly. Implementation will be the key. Finally, we have agreed on the kind of effective coordination and consulting mechanisms we need.”

The Secretary-General arrived yesterday in Myanmar, where Cyclone Nargis has left up to 2.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The UN estimates that more than 100,000 people may have been killed since the storm struck on 2 May.

Yesterday Mr. Ban toured some of the worst affected areas in the Irrawaddy delta and
spoke with families who had been forced to leave their homes.

“I am humbled – humbled by the scale of this natural disaster, the worst your country has ever experienced, and humbled by the courage and the resilience of the Myanmar people.”

Mr. Ban added that he had heard many tragic stories. “At a refugee camp, villagers told me of the loss of their families, their loved ones, everything they owned. But I also saw homes – and lives – being rebuilt.”

Saying he was encouraged by his meeting with Myanmar’s leadership, the Secretary-General said: “From all I have seen, the Government, with help from the international community, have put in place a functioning relief programme. But I told them that more needs to be done. Their efforts need to be reinforced, quickly, by international experts with tested experience in handling emergencies.”

Tomorrow Mr. Ban is due to attend an inaugural relief flight from the new UN staging
areas in Don Mueang, Thailand. On Sunday he will return to Myanmar’s largest city Yangon for a pledging conference to raise funds for the disaster. “Our goal will be to focus on the immediate relief efforts, and also to look at the recovery phase which will have to start in parallel,” he said.

UN agencies, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have been mounting a major relief effort for victims of the severe storms, bringing in shelter, tents, food and medical supplies, though they say many people have still not been reached with aid.

The World Health Organization (WHO) today issued a warning that monsoon rains in Myanmar were increasing the risks of an outbreak of disease. WHO says it is working with the Government to set up a surveillance system to monitor possible outbreaks.

Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that hundreds of
thousands of people in the remote areas of the Irrawaddy delta still do not have
sufficient food to eat.
And here is the rest of it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On this day in history...

1843 : Great Emigration departs for Oregon

A massive wagon train, made up of 1,000 settlers and 1,000 head of cattle, sets off down the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri. Known as the "Great Emigration," the expedition came two years after the first modest party of settlers made the long, overland journey to Oregon.

After leaving Independence, the giant wagon train followed the Sante Fe Trail for some 40 miles and then turned northwest to the Platte River, which it followed along its northern route to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. From there, it traveled on to the Rocky Mountains, which it passed through by way of the broad, level South Pass that led to the basin of the Colorado River. The travelers then went southwest to Fort Bridger, northwest across a divide to Fort Hall on the Snake River, and on to Fort Boise, where they gained supplies for the difficult journey over the Blue Mountains and into Oregon. The Great Emigration finally arrived in October, completing the 2,000-mile journey from Independence in five months.

In the next year, four more wagon trains made the journey, and in 1845 the number of emigrants who used the Oregon Trail exceeded 3,000. Travel along the trail gradually declined with the advent of the railroads, and the route was finally abandoned in the 1870s.
And here is the rest of it.

Jeff Cogen on Urban Renewal

You know, I didn't vote for Cogen in '06, but that's mostly because I knew more about Lew Frederick (a great guy). However, I have been really impressed with Jeff in the time that he has been on the Multnomah County Commission. He reminds me alot of Amanda Fritz, in terms of how approachable he is, and how much effort he makes to ensure that citizens are aware of issues, and involved in what gets decided in our county.

Jeff has now produced a (short)video on urban renewal, how it impacts us, and why we should care. It's a really complicated issue that he makes really accessible. Good job.

And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100 at the QDoc Film Festival.

I received this email from Unity. They do alot of good stuff, but tend to be best known (so far!) for Black Pride

UNITY PROJECT of OREGON is proud to partner with QDoc in presenting Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100 at the QDoc Film Festival.

QDoc takes place at the Clinton St. Theater, May 29 – June 1. The LIVING WITH PRIDE screening is on Saturday May 31 at 2 PM.

Living With Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100
Sat, May 31, 2pm
Hers is a busy schedule by anyone’s standards. If she’s not out dancing (doing a mean “electric slide”) or shopping for her neighbors at the retirement community, she’s guest of honor at one of the many engagements on her packed lesbian social calendar. What makes Ruth Ellis unique is that she’s 100 years old! And yet she still finds the time to share her remarkable story, offering us the rare opportunity to experience a century of our history through the life of one inspiring woman.

Born July 23, 1899, and “out” for as long as she could remember, Ruth was thought to be the oldest African American lesbian before passing in October 2000. Filmmaker Yvonne Welbon had the foresight to document Ruth’s life while she was still with us. LIVING WITH PRIDE is a delightful, moving and inspiring film. The film combines interviews with Ruth and her friends, and rare archival material, together with clever reenactments of the period when Ruth’s home in Detroit (shared with her life companion) was the social hot-spot for African American gay men and lesbians.

Living With Pride exemplifies the tremendous gift our elders in the community offer us if we take the time to appreciate it. With undeniable charm, humor and joy for life, Ruth shows us that a life lived with pride is a life well lived.

QDoc is the only festival in the US focused exclusively on LGBT documentaries. Now in its 2nd year, QDoc is devoted to building queer community with a program of the best in thought-provoking and engaging queer documentaries.

Program and ticketing info available at the QDoc website .

And here is the rest of it.

Adams-Portland makes history

Whether you like him or not, it is worth noting that Sam Adams' victory tonight is history in the making.

PRIMARY LIVE: Sam Adams is Victorious, Makes History as First Openly Gay Mayor of Major US City
And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Change takes patience

As I have (hopefully) been clear about, I have no illusions about Obama being a savior or miracle worker. What I love is what his campaign has inspired in this country.

Some folks have been waiting for change for a long, LONG time.

From Kos:

Myrtle Strong Enemy, 101, waits for US Democratic presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama, (D-IL), to speak in Crow Agency, Montana May 19, 2008. Strong Enemy is the oldest woman in the Crow Nation. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

And here is the rest of it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Carbon Emissions-By state

Firedoglake has a really interesting article on just how America's emissions compare to around the world. They even found this nifty map that compares emissions in the states to a corresponding country that it equals.

And here is the rest of it.

John McCain=Jesus? Good lord...

Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart said Saturday that the party's presumed presidential nominee has a lot in common with Jesus Christ.

"John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross," Everhart said as she began the second day of the state GOP convention. "He never denounced God, either."
"I'm not trying to compare John McCain to Jesus Christ, I'm looking at the pain that was there," she said.

Yeah..uh huh..okey dokey. And here is the rest of it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Obama in Portland

I was about ten people back from the stage (a perk of being active in the Democratic Party). According to Kos:

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Sen. Barack Obama has seen his share of large crowds over the last 15 months, but his campaign said they have not approached the numbers gathered along the waterfront here right now.

The campaign, citing figures from Duane Bray, battalion chief of Portland Fire & Rescue, estimated that 75,000 people are watching him speak.

The scene suggests this is not an exaggeration. The sea of heads stretches for half a mile along the grassy embankment, while others watch from kayaks and power boats bobbing on the Willamette River. More hug the rails of the steel bridge that stretches across the water and crowds are even watching from jetties on the opposite shore.

I can believe it.
And here is the rest of it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Huckabee is SUCH a jokester

Yeah..uh huh.

From Huffington:

Former GOP hopeful and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is back in the news this week, making a splash when he took a hit at Senator Barack Obama during the annual National Rifle Association meeting.

Huckabee made an off-color
joke during his speech in Louisville, Kentucky, when a loud bang was heard off-stage.

"That was Barack Obama," Huckabee quipped, "He Just tripped off a chair. He was getting ready to speak. Somebody aimed a gun at him and he...he dove for the floor."

"During my speech at the N.R.A., a loud noise backstage, that sounded like a chair falling, distracted the crowd and interrupted my speech. I made an off hand remark that was in no way intended to offend or disparage Sen. Obama. I apologize that my comments were offensive. That was never my intention."

OMFG have I mentioned lately how sick and tired I am of the apologetic non-apology. "I didn't mean to offend you while I was offending you". When did the apology take the place of actually accepting responsibility for words and actions?

And here is the rest of it.

McCain and lobbyists

No matter how much he
claims to not bow to special interest lobbies:

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain secured millions in federal funds for a land acquisition program that provided a windfall for an Arizona developer whose executives were major campaign donors, according to a USA Today report.
McCain, an Arizona senator, inserted $14.3 million in a 2003 defense bill to buy land around Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona, in a provision sought by SunCor Development, the largest of 50 landowners near the base, the newspaper reported on its Web site Thursday, citing public records.

Upset with a state law that restricted development around the base, SunCor representatives met with McCain's staff to lobby for funding, USA Today reported, citing the company's president at the time, John Ogden.

The Air Force later paid SunCor $3 million for 122 acres near the base -- three times its assessed value and twice the military's estimated value, the newspaper said.

He isn't a maverick..he isn't honorable (although he might have been once)...and he isn't honest.

And here is the rest of it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


One of my classes this term is about political ideologies, where they come from, how they view humankind and the world. At the core of every ideology lies their view of human nature, what we are and are not capable of. Every belief and policy follows from that one thought. It's a very enlightening class. For example, a traditional liberal (not how we currently define by the way) would say that individualism is paramount, that people are capable of reasoning their morality and governing themselves. They would also say that social conditions are the result of individual choices and actions ("If you aren't succeeding, it's because you failed in some way"). A traditional liberal today would be more well-known as a Libertarian. A traditional conservative would say that humans are imperfect and fallible and that tradition tells us what is right and wrong. Change is not good because humans are likely to mess it up...better not to change. Now, a U.S. individualistic conservative (what we might think of as neocon) has alot in common with liberalism in their views on human nature. However, stability, as a value, is more important than liberty. "Liberty is good, but the world is a big scary place now and we need stability." Add to that the uber-emphasis on protection of personal property (including a way of life as that property), and alot of things start to make sense.

I don't fit neatly into any category (there are more) but can you imagine what it must be like to base pretty much your entire belief system on being afraid of the world? I realize that alot of the fear-mongering that goes on today is calculated, but it works because there are people really that afraid, including the ones spouting the fear. I just can't picture living that way. Learning about these ideologies helps me to understand better why things are the way they are, and where some people are coming from, but it doesn't help me to understand something that I so totally can't identify with.

We are currently looking at socialism, fascism and nazism (fascism+racism). I won't bring up how many of the components of fascism don't have much trouble blending with U.S. Conservatism. I don't know if I'm ready to believe that fascist elements have crept into our system (democracy is not an ideology), but there is enough evidence that a case could be made. When I have more time (after the term!), I may write on that one.

Today is the Blog for Human Rights Day, and I really haven't been moved by a specific topic or story that hasn't already been covered better by others. I got to thinking about these ideologies and how they determine what is and is not a human right, based on what belief system one holds. There really and truly is not a single definition of what a human right is. No wonder it becomes so easy to violate them
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Conyers: 'We're closing in on Rove'

I love this little bit from Politico.

Just off the House floor today, the Crypt overheard House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers tell two other people: “We’re closing in on Rove. Someone’s got to kick his ass.”

Asked a few minutes later for a more official explanation, Conyers told us that Rove has a week to appear before his committee. If he doesn’t, said Conyers, “We’ll do what any self-respecting committee would do. We’d hold him in contempt. Either that or go and have him arrested.”

Conyers said the committee wants Rove to testify about his role in the imprisonment of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, among other things.

“We want him for so many things, it’s hard to keep track,” Conyers said.

I dunno if it will happen, and I know Conyers has his own detractors, but I had to smile at the warm fuzzy that the thought of Rove getting his ass kicked gave me.

And here is the rest of it.

Media Slap Down

I received this email from Free Press this afternoon.

Just moments ago, by a near-unanimous vote, the Senate stood up to Big Media. They voted to throw out the FCC decision to let the largest media companies swallow up even more local media.

This is simply an astounding victory, and it would not have happened without the massive grassroots effort by you and thousands of others who called their senators, sent more than a quarter million letters, posted thousands of pictures and stories on, and testified at public hearings held by the FCC.

It was your dedication that made today's Senate win possible.

Today was a huge step forward, but there is still much to do. The fight against the FCC now moves to the House, where our elected representatives need to hear from us.

President Bush has promised that he will try to veto this bill. But tonight the Senate and the American people have spoken with one voice. This historic vote sends a clear message that the only people who support more media consolidation are Big Media lobbyists and the White House.

We are in this struggle to bring more minority ownership, diverse perspectives and independent voices to the media. We need to make media consolidation an election-year issue. And we need to start talking about how to break up the giant conglomerates.

Corporate news today -- with its propaganda pundits, horse-race election coverage, and celebrity gossip -- undermines our democracy. We must continue to speak out and demand that the public airwaves be used to actually serve the public.

In just three weeks, thousands of people will be gathering together in Minnesota to build the movement for better media. You can join them at the National Conference for Media Reform, just visit

For today, know that you played a key role in the fight for better media for all.

Thank you,

Josh Silver
Executive Director
Free Press Action Fund

And here is the rest of it.

Gay marriage ban overturned in California

Right on. Thanks to This Space for Rent for catching it.And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So much for 911 compassion

I wonder if his wife or girlfriend feel the love on this one.

I can't get the video to embed so here is where I found it.
And here is the rest of it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Washington Farm Workers in California

I just received this email from the United Farmworkers:

Yesterday more than 100 migrant farm workers were living in an orchard. Tonight they have no place to go.

Why, you ask? These Washington state cherry pickers came to Shafter, California after being told by company representatives to come to Califronia for a job in the cherries. Consequently workers and their families traveled from Washington State to work at the Kyle Mathison Orchards. Kyle Mathison is part of the Wenatchee, Washington based Stemilt Growers Company—which, according to its web site, is the largest shipper of fresh-market sweet cherries in the world.

When these farm workers reached California, things were not as expected. A number of the workers were hired, but other workers were told to just wait and see if jobs were available. According to KERO 23 news, a farm worker said, "I came from Washington state. We came here to work, but they haven't treated us like they should and we're a little worried because we may not have enough money to go back to Washington."

While in Washington, some of the workers were informed that housing would be available to them when they got to California. However, when they got here there was no housing. They had no choice but to sleep in the fields. Some stayed in tents, others in cars and still others slept on cardboard or simply the dirt.

Workers complained of rashes from having to bathe in irrigation water. The KERO 23 news report quoted another worker as saying, "I asked where do we shower? And he said 'There's the water hole.' ... and there's ducks and fish! I asked, 'We shower there?! Where do the women shower?!' He said the same place."

When workers went public about being left out in the cold, things only got worse. Last night Bakersfield area television stations showed the workers’ bleak situation. Today, Stemilt company representatives' called the sheriffs to have the 100 plus workers and their property evicted from the orchard.

The workers who are currently working were told they would still be allowed on Monday—however they now have no place to live. The others have no place to live and no job—the company told them to still wait and see.

Stemilt says their core values include treating workers, growers and customers fairly. How is this fair?

Take action now. Tell Stemilt to provide housing for these out of state workers tonight, pay reasonable travel expenses and immediately hire the rest of the Washington workers instead of forcing them to wait and see.

And here is the rest of it.

Biofuels and Hunger

"Can the pumping of ethanol into American fuel tanks really make it harder for parents to feed their families?"
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WHY Rockin'

From WHY (World Hunger Year)

This year, Crosby, Stills, and Nash and Jackson Browne are asking concert goers to bring non-perishable food with them to help the community food banks and soup kitchens meet the increasing needs of hungry people in the United States. This is a normal scene at a show when Artists Against Hunger & Poverty has teamed up with a recording artist. AAHP is a program of WHY (World Hunger Year) that works with charities and artists at the grassroots level to connect local hunger and poverty charities with funds, food, and benefit tickets at local concerts.

In addition to encouraging donations (cans or monetary), artists can donate tickets to shows or autographed memorabilia to be auctioned off to help fight hunger. In 2005, Def Leppard fans exchanged food cans for tickets to a show in Boston. Both Michael McDonald and Chicago donated VIP passes for meet-and-greets for the entire tour. Often artists will promote the charities onstage or in interviews and encourage their fans to join them in supporting these efforts. Crosby, Stills, and Nash are hosting food drives and donating premium tickets for their upcoming tour to help in the fight against hunger. WHY's partners this year, CSN and Jackson Browne, share a long lineage of fighting social injustice and poverty through their lyrics and actions making this the perfect match.

Now let's see Hannah and Justin step up.

And here is the rest of it.

Vietnam Re-Deux

Surprise surprise...

A Salon
article asks "In 2007 elite U.S. snipers executed an unarmed Iraqi prisoner in cold blood. Have the insidious tactics that led to atrocities in Vietnam reemerged in Iraq?" If what's presented is any indication, than I would have to say yes.

Three snipers with exemplary military records from the 1st Battalion of the 25th Infantry Division's 501st Regiment were charged in Khudair's killing. They were tried by the military judicial system in Iraq beginning in 2007. But the most important question raised by his death remains unanswered. Why would these elite American soldiers kill an unarmed prisoner in cold blood? The answer: pressure from their commanding officers to pump up a statistic straight out of America's last long war against an intractable insurgency.

A review of thousands of pages of documents from the legal proceedings obtained by Salon shows that in the months prior to Khudair's death, the young snipers, already frustrated by guerrilla tactics, were pressed to their physical limits and pushed by officers to stretch the bounds of the laws of war in order to increase the enemy body count. When the United States wallowed in Vietnam's counterinsurgency quagmire decades ago, the same pressure placed on soldiers resulted in some of the worst atrocities of that war.
A paratrooper who remembered the insidious influence of body counts in Vietnam
warned Salon in 2005 that the practice could also ensnare good soldiers in Iraq. "The problem is that in Iraq, we are in a guerrilla war," said Dennis Stout. "How do you keep score? How do you prove you are winning?"

And don't forget, our soldiers are going to come home carrying this baggage.

And here is the rest of it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Warfare is warfare is warfare

I love reading things that leave me thinking "Well, there you go, what else is there to say?" Chuck over at Chuck for... has written such a piece on the inherent violence and destruction of war, and in particular, how much we have insulated ourselves here in America, from its realities.

Warfare is a bloody inhumane exercise and you've been insulated from that fact. There are veterans who know, they say little. If you fault them, you are a fool. To speak to the horrid realities of warfare is to relive them and they have already served you. It is not their job to educate you about the obvious that you ignore. Guns are not magical, they put a small projectile in the air at thousands of feet per second, far beyond the speed of sound, and the target is hit well before the sound of firing reaches it. The effect of that bullet depends on its caliber, speed, and what it strikes, it may inflict a fraction of an inch hole through a body or it may strike bone, shattering it and virtually exploding the surrounding flesh. Military rounds are considered humane, use of destructive bullets is banned. Humane.

The entire piece is graphic and shocking, which for me only reinforces his message. We can wrap ourselves in righteousness and the illusion of humaneness all we want, but guess what? Truth is truth is truth.
And here is the rest of it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Collateral Damage

Collateral damage is a non-descript term used for civilians killed and property destroyed that are not the specific target of an attack. Tends to take the humanity out of things (woudn't want that mucking things up you see).

I don't really do posts or write about Iraq, mostly because it ticks me off too much. There was a bombing in Iraq today.

The U.S. military on Saturday fired missiles at a target about 50 yards away from the general hospital in Baghdad's Sadr City district, wounding more than 20 people and destroying ambulances, hospital officials said

A poster on Kos has this to say:

Of course, the military was aiming at a building occupied by "a criminal element," and by all accounts that building was destroyed. The building happened to be a chapel used by the hospital workers.

But does it matter that there was no intent to hurt civilians?

This kind of incident certainly isn't new. It's hardly even news. Air strikes in this conflict have by now taken out weddings and schools, convoys of government officials on their way to a conference, and a countless individuals that just happened to live in the wrong neighborhood. Of course it's accidental. of course it's regrettable. But if it was your family, would that matter? Would it matter if your children?

One of these days, all of those supporters of this war will be called to account and asked this question. I wonder how they will answer.

And here is the rest of it.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Complacency not allowed!

In case you thought it was finally safe to go out and be yourself in Oregon...

Note: This is the case about not having gotten enough signatures to get on the ballot to overturn the Domestic Partnership Law (the judge's decision in February only delayed it, didn't decide it)

From Basic Rights Oregon:

On April 29, the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted plaintiffs’ motion for expedited review in Lemons v. Bradbury, the lawsuit filed by out-of-state groups seeking to revive last year’s failed referendum against Oregon’s domestic partnership law by forcing elections officials to change the way they treat signatures on voter petitions. The original review schedule set by the Court likely would have resulted in a decision sometime next year, but this order means the case could be decided as early as July.

In their motion, the plaintiffs argued that they are likely to prevail, and that the Court should decide the case in time to place their referendum before voters on the November ballot. Attorneys for the State of Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon filed memos in opposition to the motion.

Plaintiffs’ opening brief in the appeal will now be due on May 13, with defendants’ response due June 3 and plaintiffs’ reply due on June 10.

And here is the rest of it.

Multnomah County Health Equity Initiatives

Just thought I'd share. I've been to a couple...actually really informative.

Join the Multnomah County Health Equity Initiative in exploring how your health is more than health care or the choices you make. Share your ideas about what we can do to promote health in your community. Your opinion matters!

Saturday, May 3rd

New Columbia Education Center 4625 N Trenton St. 97203

12 p.m. - 2 p.m. When the Bough Breaks

Did you know African American women with college degrees are still at higher risk for poor birth outcomes than white women with high school diplomas? Since genetics is not the issue, what could account for the differences we see in different racial groups? Is it possible that racism affects our health?

Thursday, May 8th

David Douglas SD 1500 SE 130th, 97233

12:00-2:00pm Becoming American

For many people, the United States is the land of opportunity. As a nation of immigrants, why do we see other countries with better health status? Why do recent immigrants have better health outcomes? What can we learn about health by looking beyond our borders?

Thursday, May 8th

David Douglas SD 1500 SE 130th, 97233

5:30-7:30pm Place Matters

Health is more than health care. Where we live, work and play impacts health. The food we eat and the stress we endure contribute to our health. How can investments in education and neighborhoods improve the health of our whole community?

Saturday, May 17th

New Columbia Education Center 4625 N Trenton St. 97203

12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Bad Sugar

How many people do you know with diabetes? Is it easy for you to eat fresh fruit and vegetables each day? Political decisions about food can make it easier or harder for you to eat healthy and manage or prevent diabetes.

Thursday, May 22

Multnomah Arts Center 1688 SW Capital Hwy, 97213

12:00-2:00pm More than a Paycheck

In many towns, layoffs and unemployment can be devastating to the economy. It can also impact health, increasing the town’s blood pressure and violence. Did you know your job or lack of a job can impact your health? Did you know it doesn’t have to?

Thursday, May 22

Multnomah Arts Center 1688 SW Capital Hwy, 97213

5:30-7:30pm Becoming American

For many people, the United States is the land of opportunity. As a nation of immigrants, why do we see other countries with better health status? Why do recent immigrants have better health outcomes? What can we learn about health by looking beyond our borders?

More information on the Health Equity Initiative can be found at
And here is the rest of it.

Tim Wise and White Priviledge

And here is the rest of it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Divided we fall...

Sara Whitman, of the Bilerico Project, always has some really insightful and thought-provoking posts and today was no exception. Drawing a parallel between white priviledge and the marginalization of the transgender community by the more mainstream queer community (an oxymoron I know), she says:

... how do we do the same thing in the LGBT community? How do we push hard against someone else, make someone smaller, less than in order to feel our privilege?

We divide ourselves, like the people of New Orleans. The "normal" queers can have rights but let's be sure those people can't move in on our rights.

It is ironic, because those who are against us think we're all freaks. They liken us to pedophiles and sexual deviants. As if cutting off one of our arms will make us any more likable to them.

It won't.

We say that transgender inclusion is too hard. We'll be good little queers and dress the right way, look pretty and handsome, play the game the way those in power have dictated the rules. We have, after all, already pushed the envelope to the edge by including Gays and Lesbians.

Referencing a presentation on white priviledge by Tim Wise, Whitman says:

Watch Tim Wise again. Think hard about the words in our own community, how we fight amongst ourselves, making ridiculous lines in sand to somehow feel more powerful.
We are not part of the club of those in power. We never will be.
It truly is a ridiculous notion of Gay Privilege.


And here is the rest of it.