Friday, August 31, 2012

WORD: We Just Don’t Get it -- Education Is All About the Teachers

When I got out of the Navy In 1989, I looked into teaching, as I had been a teacher through several stints in the Navy and was very good at it, and owed everything to a handful of teachers I'd run into along the way in k-12.

I quickly figured out that no matter how much you liked teaching, teaching in public schools was absurdly masochistic and unrewarding, kind of like the worst parts of the military ("it doesn't make sense, it's just our policy") only with the best parts removed, and at ridiculously low pay and zero prestige, and with the only opportunity for advancement being to leave the classroom.

The bottom line is that teaching, nursing, and social work were and essentially remain women's professions, which means that we used to cream the best of them because there were such limits on opportunities in other fields, even as we paid jack (note which three major professions require unpaid internships -- while paying tuition-- as a matter of course). As other fields opened up to women, the cream left in droves, and the salary scales have never adjusted, because we just fill from the bottom of the barrel.

Given the lack of respect that teachers get and the abysmal job of "parenting" so many folks do (while holding insane expectations for what the teachers are supposed to do, despite total nonsupport from those same folks), the question I have isn't how to get more good teachers, it's whether the demolition of the public schools isn't intentional on the part of the GOPsters, just another public good to be destroyed in order to create another profit center for business.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Long-Term Care Insurance Claims Protections | The Lund Report

Hat tip to the invaluable Lund Report:
Oregon Insurance Division 
July 10, 2012 -- Oregonians who have long-term care insurance now have the right to have their claims paid promptly and to appeal an insurance company decision to deny benefits.

The changes are due to a 2011 law that became effective for people who buy new policies starting July 1, 2012. For those with existing policies, the law is effective when their policy renews, meaning it will be phased in over a year’s period.

Consumers with long-term care insurance policies have not had the same protections as consumers with other health insurance claims, yet they are some of the most vulnerable Oregonians,” Oregon Insurance Commissioner Lou Savage said.

Now, people with long-term care insurance or their representatives can more easily challenge claim denials or delays, which are the most typical complaints we receive,” Savage added. . . . . (more)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Have your say on Library Services

Salem's poor library -- an embattled treasure, constantly being cut back while the city squanders money on boondoggle fantasies of a third auto bridge and pouring money down the drain at the airport.

Speak up now! Tell the city you want more and better library services throughout Salem!
Salem Public Library is conducting a study to understand the needs of our community and our customers.

If you are also a Salem Public Library cardholder, you may have received a survey invitation from the Library recently. If you responded to it, we appreciate it. We are now conducting an online survey with community stakeholders to assess the direction of the library and better understand the needs for library services in our community. We invite you to participate in the survey by clicking on the link provided below.

On behalf of everyone at the Salem Public Library, we would like to thank you in advance for your willingness to share your thoughts and opinions with us to help make our Library better for the future.

Please click here to take the survey.

Note: The survey will close on Friday, September 7 at 11:59 PM.


BJ Toewe
Library Administrator, Salem Public Library

The Silence on Global Warming | Common Dreams

People talk about how no one particular weather event can be tied to climate disruption as if admitting the limits of our understanding means that there IS no connection, rather than that our tools for discernment are weak in the face of such vast complexity. Smarter people than us would tread carefully in the face of such complexity, rather than acting like two year olds who assume that what they don't know can't hurt them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hey Locavores, Wine Lovers: Harvest Moon Dinner at GeerCrest Farm

Funky display? Click here

Join us at Historic Geercrest, a sesquicentennial farm, for a farm sourced, chef prepared

dinner in celebration of fall!

Farm fresh dinner!

Harvest Moon Dinner

at GeerCrest Farm

Experience the third meal of the day in a whole new way.
GeerCrest Farm & Historical Society invites you to a taste experience you won't forget as we offer up our bountiful summer harvest, invite a guest chef to work their magic, and present a 4 course dinner paired with 4 local wines. With our historic farmhouse and 20 peaceful acres as the ultimate outdoor venue, you are sure to savor the experience of dinner at GeerCrest.
Saturday, September 29th
$80 per person

Seating is limited.
Reserve your seat today!


True Dat. "Cow's milk is for suckling calves" -- Jack LaLanne


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Great "new" blog in Salem: The Upright Cyclist

OK, I'm probably the last to know . . . this "new" blog is only new to me maybe, having started last November (nobody tells me anything!).

A great addition to the Salem blogroll, a blog about living a richer, maybe a slightly slower one (but not always), with a sly pun in the title

As LOVESalem has been saying for over five years now:

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” 

—H. G. Wells, 1904

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fun and inspiring

Community GardenCommunity Garden (Photo credit: Plan for Opportunity)
Marion-Polk Food Share’s Community Gardens Program presents…

The 2nd Annual Community Gardens Bus Tour

· What: Tour 8 community gardens via school bus.
· Where: Meet at Marion-Polk Food Share, 1660 Salem Industrial Dr. NE.
· When: Saturday, September 22nd, 9 am - 3 pm.
· MUST RSVP, either by email or phone
· $10 suggested donation.
· Bring a sack lunch

About the tour:

Did you know Salem-Keizer has over 25 community gardens? Ever wonder where they are or how you can get involved? Get on the bus, and check out our bountiful, beautiful gardens. Bring a sack lunch and a suggested $10 donation, and hop on board! Limited seating, RSVP now.

Ian Dixon-McDonald
Emergency Food Prevention Programs
Marion-Polk Food Share

T: 503-581-3855 x329 C: 503-798-0339 F: 503-581-3862
1660 Salem Industrial Drive NE Salem OR 97301-0374
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Once and future history of Oregon

One of the greatest gems in this area is Geercrest Farm, a sesquicentennial farm on Sunnyview Road in the Waldo Hills between Salem and Silverton, where GeerCrest Farm and Historical Society is making great headway in preserving and bringing this irreplaceable treasure into the future, providing a place where the future pioneers of Post-Carbon Oregon can reskill and learn how the last generations thrived in the era before fossil fuel farming took over.

Upcoming Events:

"Annotated Cartoons By Davenport"

Book Release Party - Saturday, August 25 – 6:00 pm

The Davenport Project and GeerCrest Farm & Historical Society are pleased to announce a special Book Release Party to celebrate the publication of “The Annotated Cartoons by Davenport.”

This event, set for Saturday, August 25, at 6:00 pm is to honor the many backers of our recent “Kickstarter” Fund Raising campaign, that made the publication possible. Folks who donated $25 or more during the Kickstarter Campaign are the honored guests of the evening. Others may attend for $30 per person. Please do RSVP to the farm via phoneat 503-873-3406 or Email.

During the evening, light refreshments, beer and wine will be available. Gus Frederick, the book’s researcher and compiler will be on hand to autograph copies, which will be available for purchase for $15, a 25% discount off of the cover price of $20, for this event only. Additionally, a short presentation by Frederick will provide some historical context to Davenport, the Gilded Age and how reprographics technology enabled a local country boy from Silverton, Oregon to become the highest paid cartoonist in the world.

In 1898, Homer Davenport published Cartoons By Davenport, a collection of over 80 cartoons which originally appeared in William Randolph Hearst’s New York Evening Journal. It was a large format work, with hardbound cover and an introduction by Senator John J. Ingalls, (R-Kansas).

Over 100 years later, Davenport historian Gus Frederick researched, compiled and reprinted a fully annotated edition of this historic work. The faces and the issues behind Davenport’s witty, satiric caricatures were teased out in a cartoon-by-cartoon commentary.

This revised, expanded edition will number just under 200 pages, and measure slightly over 8 by 10 inches. “Annotated Cartoons by Davenport” will be the first publication of The Liberal University Press, based out of Silverton, Oregon.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A petition worth signing: REINSTATE GLASS-STEAGALL

griftopiagriftopia (Photo credit: cdrummbks)Hi,

I signed a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama titled "Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act".

Will you sign this petition? Click here:


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Friday, August 17, 2012

Young Writers Contest from one of America's best magazines

Few magazines cause me to think about what a great and interesting read I've had as often as this one. My bride and I both comment about what an unusual magazine HCN is, and what a pleasure it is to see serious journalism on environmental issues that isn't always solemn, along with great photography.

If you know a young writer (2012 grads and later, down through HS), suggest that they peruse some issues of this fine publication and thinking about whether they have anything to offer on this topic:

In 600 words, describe why your heart is at home in the American West. Is being a Westerner a physical state, a frame of mind, an emotional experience? Is it something you earned? Something you were born into? A title conferred on you, or one you adopted on your own?

2012 Annual High Country News
Student Essay Contest

What does being a Westerner mean to you, and why do you consider yourself one?
"How I Became a Westerner"

Entry Deadline: Sept. 21,2012

Send essays to Visit for more information.

In 600 words, describe why your heart is at home in the American West. Is being a Westerner a physical state, a frame of mind, an emotional experience? Is it something you earned? Something you were born into? A title conferred on you, or one you adopted on your own?

The contest is open to all currently enrolled high school students and undergraduates at American schools, colleges and universities as well as 2012 graduates. Submissions must be original, unpublished work (the writing can have been published in a student publication). One entry per person, please.

Include your name, contact information, school name, and area of study with your submission.

The winning essay will appear in the upcoming HCN Books and Essays special issue and the writer will receive these backpacking essentials from MountainSmith:
  • Lookout Backpack
  • Poncha 35 Degree Sleeping Bag
  • Rhyolite Trekking Poles
High Country News 119 Grand Avenue, PO Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WEIRD: Oregon Ag Dept working to undermine Oregon Ag

The Willamette River ValleyThe Willamette River Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)This is another example of how moneyed interests capture public agencies and bend them back and use them as weapons against the public interest instead of regulators on behalf of the public well-being.

Allowing genetically tampered crops loose in the Willamette Valley is unwise, unnecessary, and totally undesirable. There is no benefit to Oregonians from allowing the gene tampered foods to intermix in the Willamette Valley -- the only benefit is to the corporate interests who would be only too happy to despoil the Willamette Valley and destroy its status as a haven for organic producers.

The industrial "phood" that results from gene tampering is designed solely to allow corporate interests to capture the entire food supply and destroy peoples' ability to grow pure, real food.
Good afternoon ~

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has fast-tracked the approval of canola production in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This would include Genetically Modified Canola.

This would mean that our crops that are related to canola (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, etc) would be at risk for cross pollination and contamination by GM canola.

Many gardeners rely on seed grown in the Willamette Valley for their home gardens.
Please read the letter below from the Seed Ambassadors and act now to express your thoughts on this issue.

Please comment by THIS FRIDAY to prevent the Oregon Department of Agriculture's temporary rule permitting GM canola and thus, bypassing the public comment period.

It is up to us to protect the genetics of our food.

Hello Everyone!

We here at the Seed Ambassadors Project haven't sent out any e-mails in a while, but are compelled to do so today: There is an immediate threat to our food supply because the Oregon Department of Agriculture has fast- tracked the approval of canola (including GM canola) production here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

As many of you may know the Willamette Valley is one of the top 5 places in the world for growing and supplying specialty seed and maintaining seed diversity. Seed grown here not only is sold by local Oregon companies, such as Adaptive Seeds, but is also bought by other seed companies such as Johnny's, Fedco, and lots of others both nationally and internationally. Basically, seed grown here supplies the world with food.

One of the specialty seeds that the Valley is perfect for is brassicas, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, rutabaga, turnip, radish, kale, cabbage, etc. Canola is also a brassica but spreads rampantly and cross pollinates with a lot of other brassicas with detrimental effects. Oregon State University has conducted research proving that canola will cross pollinate with many different crops including turnips, broccoli raab, some kales, rutabaga, and possibly radish and broccoli.

Meaning the presence of canola production in the Willamette Valley will definitely contaminate and destroy those other seed crops. Without doubt.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has previously maintained a canola exclusion zone in the Valley. However, in the past few months there have been a series of meetings held behind closed doors to change this zone to allow canola (including genetically modified canola) to be grown in the valley unchecked and with disregard to existing seed pinning map isolation guidelines.

ODA only just released a press release on Friday, August 3rd saying they will grant a temporary rule to allow canola this Friday, August 10th.
By issuing a temporary rule the ODA is avoiding the requirement for public comment and therefore behaving unilaterally with only special interests in mind. Not only does this decision harm seed growers but GM canola cross pollination will also potentially threaten the livelihood of any of the certified organic growers in the area. There are good reasons why canola has been banned in the Willamette Valley by ODA up to this point, and pressure on ODA to lift these bans needs to be countered.

Please contact the ODA and Governor Kitzhaber yourself and make your voice heard! It does not matter if you are not an Oregon resident, this decision effects everyone in a huge way and they need to be reminded of that.

And spread the word!

ODA phone number: (503) 986-4552
ODA Director Coba:

Governor Kitzhaber: (503) 378-4582 ; or email

Remember, we only have until this Friday, August 10th to change this decision!

Check out the following links for more information:

Friends of Family Farmers: Willamette Valley Immediately Threatened by Canola

2006 OSU Special Report on Canola Outcrossing Potential in the Willamette Valley

GMOs At The Door, Wild Garden Seeds, Frank Morton

Willamette Valley Farmers Continue the Canola Debate,

Thanks for your time and help!

Sarah Kleeger
Andrew Still

Visit Beaver State Permaculture
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hugely important as Salem squanders precious funds on 3rd Bridge Fantasies

All the nonsense in the draft environmental impact statement about the value of time saved is just that: Nonsense. Auto drivers want free lunches forever, and are not willing to pay anything like the costs of their autobahn fantasies. Given a choice, only a few will pay tolls to get somewhere faster.

This is a crucial article for Salem, given that our local transportation and construction moguls are dying to tap taxpayers for hundreds of millions of dollars to throw yet another auto bridge across the Willamette, based on imaginary increases in what counts as "congestion" in Salem and the supposed willingness of drivers to pay tolls.

Most importantly, notice that the planners' fantasy includes tapping property taxes directly, again showing that the line about "roads are paid from gas taxes" is complete and utter BS.

The project is a corporate welfare vampire that needs to be killed dead as soon as possible.

If you click on that table above it will take you to Boondoggle Central, the website for the scam, where you can play with various funding streams and see just how outrageously high tolls, registrations, and gas taxes would have to be to fund this one without adding yet more property tax burdens in Salem, where we already have insane numbers of people who are underwater on their houses and who will be foreclosed in increasing numbers if the boondoggle gets underway.

In fact, that's what people really need to understand -- when you build a boondoggle in a contracting economy, you not only waste precious funds, you drown people on the margin completely, people who would have been able to stay in their homes without the excess tax burden used to fund a wasteful scheme.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Heat Stress Alert -- Do NOT fry your pet or kid

OK, people, all that summer you've been crying for is slated to arrive. In one day. That's tomorrow.

Remember, it's a crime to leave an animal or a child in a car. Also insanely cruel. A car, even with the windows cracked quite a bit, can get to be an oven in amazingly short order.

And make sure your pets have ready access to shade and plenty of water.

A wonderful resource, now with an online option

Professional and Noncredit Education
4943 The Valley Library
Corvallis, OR 97331-4504