Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Saturday: Walking Tour of Salem (starts @ Tea Party Bookshop 10 a.m.)

Nice. A guided tour of Salem and a stop at the Salem Saturday Market for lunch and to pick up groceries . . . a good day! Tea Party Bookshop owner Joanne Kohler writes:
One morning, Tyler Burgess walked into the store with her book, Oregon Townscape Walks, and I was instantly charmed. Hand written and illustrated, the book guides you through 22 different townships in the Willamette Valley, pointing out historical facts and walking you past cute houses and other points of interest. What better way to get to know Tyler and her book than by going on one of the walks? Plus, you get a different perspective on our fair city.

The walk is free - meet at the store at 10am on Saturday the 19th, and be sure to pick up a copy of Oregon Townscapes Walks to keep going on your own!

In case you're wondering why we're in this handbasket and where we're going . . .

GREAT book. Clear, down-to-earth explanation of what stopped the musical chairs game of high finance and sensible prescriptions for fixing the problem.

To S-K Schools: An example to follow

It would be nice if, when not busy mindlessly planning to build even more big box schools that will require huge investments in ever-more-costly and polluting buses and fuel to ferry kids about (and ignoring the reality that we are not going to "grow" at anything like the rates projected by planners and the pro-growth industry), S-K Schools could do some good by following this example of bringing fresh local foods into the lunchrooms.

Salem's own "Organic Fresh Fingers" (nice company, name is a little strange though -- they don't actually offer fingers for consumption) would seem to fit the bill . . .

Opposing Corporate Domination of Elections

A corporation is not a person. Bank of America does not come over for dinner; Countrywide isn't a regular at Thanksgiving. Neither has ever been included in "We the People."

But, just last week, in a shocking burst of radical judicial activism, a slim majority on the U.S. Supreme Court showed they are on the cusp of granting corporations the right to spend unlimited money on ads in our elections under the guise that corporations are "citizens" with rights no different than yours and mine. [1]

As the justices consider overturning almost 100 years of precedent, we can't sit idly by and watch them write corporations a blank check to overwhelm our democratic elections with their loud and expensive speech. Justices are often hesitant to overturn long-standing precedent, especially if the public is strongly opposed to change.

So, right now, before they get too far down the wrong path, please write a letter to the editor of your local paper. And ask three friends to write letters as well. Click here to see a sample letter.

If the justices decide to tear down decades of established law, Senators from Maine to California will begin to look more like Senators from ExxonMobil and Citicorp. In 2008, ExxonMobil's Political Action Committee solicited employees for donations to a campaign war chest on behalf of federal candidates. The PAC raised less than $1 million in voluntary individual contributions.

During this same election cycle, ExxonMobil's corporate profits were $85 billion, more than 8,000 times as much!

Now imagine if ExxonMobil's CEO could freely write checks from the corporate treasury account to run advertisements for or against candidates. If they only spent 1% -- $850 million -- this would have been FIVE TIMES what all corporate PACs in America raised to spend on congressional campaigns in 2008.

We have already joined with our coalition partners and filed a brief in the Citizen's United case arguing against such a radical restructuring of our political process. [2]

Now you can help by writing a letter to your local paper.

Click below if you'd like help writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. Make it known that the oil and gas industry, the insurance industry, and Wall Street firms are not people and that saying so mocks our democracy.

[See also here.]