Saturday, May 31, 2014

Salem, another waterfront city, has bigger problems than how to promote sprawl

One of the best parts of hearing the lapdog UnStatesmanlike Journal's tinny barking of "losers" at people who recognize the Salem River Crossing as a gigantic boondoggle is that the uSJ couldn't help themselves and so they wound up making clear that none of the reasons given as the official cover story for the thing actually have anything to do with it.  

Instead, as the uSJ makes clear, it's just about maintaining the fantasy that suburban pattern, auto-centric growth will continue and that, after a century of autosprawl, it's suddenly urgent to provide other counties with another auto connection to I-5 (one that bypasses Salem).

In other words, it's about land speculation and development, aka money. Members of the Chamber of the 1% smell money, and lots of it, if they can persuade Salem folks to tax and toll themselves to make land to the west more valuable. It has nothing to do with benefitting the people of Salem, that's for sure.

What do you expect from a corporate chain paper that's not even printed in the city that's on the masthead?  The Gannett chain is to journalism what Velveeta on Wonder Bread is to fine dining - a prefab corporate homogenized substitute that seeks only profit by selling a debased product at the same price as the real thing.

That's why you can have the once-unimaginable sight of an in-name-only Salem paper calling for Salem residents to help destroy the town to cater to the Sprawl Lobby.  

The corporate execs that Gannett whizzes through the outposts of its empire have no ties to the towns where they reside briefly while overseeing the process of getting the daily satellite download of "news" from the Gannett wire and putting a tiny few local stories -- many press release rewrites -- into the thing. They care nothing for Salem or for the people who will remain here while they resume their climb up the corporate ladder in the next burg. 

We should care though. Like Norfolk, we face serious challenges, and had best start preparing for them, not keeping our heads in the sand the way the Chamber and its tame pet paper do, as they promote grand real estate schemes and ignore the real challenges of adapting to a world where greed like theirs is fueling climate chaos.
In Norfolk, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide - The Washington Post

Friday, May 30, 2014

Come to the NO 3rd Bridge Rally on Wednesday, June 11th from 4-5 PM

Consider that the next time you see one of the soporific SJ droning-ons about the importance of citizen involvement. Apparently the SJ's rule is that, since they get their opinions from above, and accept them with no critical inquiry and give the subjects no meaningful scrutiny once they have been told what their views are to be, citizens in Salem are supposed to do likewise.



To coincide with the Salem River Crossing Open House that is announced below, NO 3rd Bridge is holding a rally on the sidewalk in front of the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square from 4 pm to 5 pm on Wednesday, June 11th. We will begin gathering at 4 pm. Speeches will begin at 4:30 pm. At approximately 5 pm we will attend the Open House en masse to show our united opposition to the 3rd Bridge.

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this event. It is imperative that everyone opposed to the 3rd Bridge turn out to show that there is strong opposition to  building a bridge that would destroy neighborhoods, raise taxes, and is the wrong way to solve our peak hour congestion problems.

Bring your friends and family. Forward this message to others. We'll look forward to seeing you there!

The passive voice was used

Note how the sender (CH2M Hill*) uses the passive voice:

The City of Salem and the Oregon 
Department of Transportation (ODOT) 
are pleased to announce that a 
Preferred Alternative has been recommended 

When they run their scams, con-men and other swindlers instinctively use the passive voice, known as "the language of non-responsibility," because they scurry away from accountability for their actions the way cockroaches scurry away from the light, and for much the same reason.

*CH2M-Hill is a giant corporation, and only entity who will ever benefit from the millions Salem has wasted -- and appears determined to continue to waste -- on this giant boondoggle.
From: "" <>
Date: May 30, 2014 at 16:12:25 PDT
Subject: Come to the Salem River Crossing Project open house on June 11, 4:00-6:30 pm
Reply-To: "" <>


Oh. My. God. Ironist takes over city website, publishes brilliant satire of autoslave city

Kudos to the Swiftian genius who infiltrated the City of Salem website and posted this razor-sharp satirical attack on the city that lavishes money and attention on people in cars, giving the back of the hand and worse to people who want or must walk, bike, or depend on transit. 

This is the city that put the Kroc Center behind an impenetrable moat of high speed asphalt, and that offers no transit to help kids reach anything, anywhere, on weekends, the same city where no sane adult uses many of the roads for bicycling, much less a kid.

But, hey, great satire on Salem's "playfulness."

City of Salem Designated 2014 Playful City USA
// City of Salem

KaBOOM! and Humana Foundation Unveil 2014 Playful City USA Communities
Recognized for Prioritizing Play

Salem, Oregon/Washington, D.C. - On May 13, 2014, KaBOOM!, in partnership with the Humana Foundation, announced 212 cities and towns across the United States as 2014 Playful City USA honorees. These communities are leaders in playability - the extent to which a city makes it easy for kids to get balanced and active play - and are making play part of the solution that can move the needle on countless urban challenges.

The City of Salem was honored with a 2014 Playful City USA designation for the first time. The City of Salem has established programs centered on improving park playgrounds by offering matching grants to neighborhood associations wishing to make park improvements at local parks. The City also partners with the Salem Parks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to promote, develop, facilitate, and sustain stewardship dedicated to the enhancement of parks if the city of Salem. Additionally, the City has many volunteer groups who participate in maintaining parks, building playgrounds, and helping to ensure our parks are safe. All of these combined efforts along with the support of the Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, has resulted in the Playful City USA designation.

"The City of Salem will strive to provide a balance of active play, especially outdoor play in our city parks. We acknowledge that play provides an unlimited opportunity for growth, learning, and healthy lives. I'd like to affirm our commitment, at City of Salem, to provide every child in our community a healthy, safe, and playful childhood."
Mayor Anna Peterson

The KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, sponsored by the Humana Foundation, honors cities, towns, and communities across America that are taking bold steps to ensure all children, especially the 16 million American kids living in poverty, have easy access to balanced and active play in their communities. Cities being recognized span every region of the country, and include Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Nashville; Austin; Providence; San Francisco; New York City; and 205 others.

To advance the national dialogue on playability, KaBOOM! and City of Salem invites interest, expertise, and voices from members of the Salem community to get involved (and get playful!) in thinking about how play can create more family-friendly cities. Join the Twitter conversation and encourage action:

* Participate on Twitter (@kaboom) and provide your point of view and forward-looking insights on playability in cities using the hashtags #playability and #playmatters.

"With the tremendous support of our friends at Humana Foundation, we are thrilled to recognize all of these communities that are working to ensure all kids, particularly the 16 million that live in poverty, get the play they need to thrive," says KaBOOM! CEO and Founder Darell Hammond.

Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard added, "We're excited about our journey with KaBOOM! and we appreciate the shared values that Humana, the Humana Foundation, and the KaBOOM! organization can rally around. Making it easy for families to play, be healthy and thrive together is a part of Humana's dream, and it's a commitment that all of us at Humana enjoy sharing with KaBOOM!."

The Playful City USA honorees range in size from eight-time honorees such as San Francisco and Shirley, Mass., to first time recipients Washington, D.C. and Plantersville, Miss. (population: 1,174). These Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to transform their communities to become more playable by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community. Other city initiatives include:

* Increasing City Playability for All Kids: Chicago, IL has made a goal for every child living in the city to be within a seven-minute walk of a new park or playground.

* Encouraging Play Everywhere: San Antonio, TX partnered with SA Sports in the SPARK Park program, which turns elementary and middle school properties into playspaces outside school hours, reinforcing that kids want and need play everywhere.

* Creating a Competitive Advantage through Play: Bloomington, IN sees playability as the third piece to complement walkability and bikeability and boost the city's competitive advantage. The city plans to increase accessibility and availability of safe sidewalks, parks and play infrastructure.

* Promoting a Balance of All Types of Play: Orlando, FL is developing The Vision for Play in the City of Orlando initiative that will guide actions and investments over the next 20 years to provide a healthy urban play environment that promotes all types of play for all kids, which is critical to cognitive, creative, social, emotional, and physical development.

* Inspiring Family-Centric Play: Missoula, MT is installing fun, creative programs so children can play in a safe, fun and nurturing family and community-centric environment. To encourage more play opportunities for families and communities to enjoy, the city has designated an annual Play Day, a KidsFest celebration in the fall, as well as youth summer camps to keep kids engaged in active play.

* Using Play to Help Address Toxic Stress: Washington, D.C. recognizes its underserved youth are faced with physical, social, and mental health challenges that directly impact their quality of life and their ability to cope with adversity. Kids growing up in the face of significant adversity are at risk of toxic stress, which hinders healthy brain development. Through the Play DC and Parks and Recreation Master Plan initiatives, the city is redefining playgrounds as community spaces where youth can find release from everyday stress and build resilience.

* Fostering 21st Century Skills through Play: Pittsburgh, PA realizes play is critical to developing kids into healthy and successful adults, including preparing kids to be innovators, collaborators, and problem-solvers. The city plans to consider play in every educational and community decision that is made to ensure all Pittsburgh kids are prepared to succeed.

To see the full list of the 212 communities named 2014 Playful City USA honorees, or for more information on the Playful City USA program, visit

# # #

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to the bold goal of ensuring that all children, particularly the 16 million American children living in poverty, get the active play they need to become healthy and successful adults. KaBOOM! has been a powerful champion for play since its founding in 1996, working with partners to build, improve, and open more than 15,000 playgrounds, engage more than 1,000,000 volunteers and serve more than 6,600,00 children nationwide. KaBOOM! creates and promotes great places to play; inspires, empowers and leads play advocates; and elevates the societal conversation about the importance of play in children's lives. For more information, visit or follow the conversation on why #playmatters at or

About the Humana Foundation
The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation's leading health care companies. Located in Louisville, Ky., the site of Humana's corporate headquarters, the Foundation promotes healthy behaviors and healthy relationships. The Foundation's key funding priorities are childhood health, intergenerational health, and active lifestyles. For more information, visit

Humana and the Humana Foundation are dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility. Our goal is to ensure that every business decision we make reflects our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our members, our associates, the communities we serve, and our planet.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Converging Energy Crises – And How our Current Situation Differs from the Past | Our Finite World

What Salem needs to be preparing for, rather than how to bankrupt its people with sprawlchitechture and commit the grave sin of converting productive land into tract carburban degeneracy (need a word for it other than "development," since development implies progress, attainment of a more developed state, rather than a more depleted, vulnerable state).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Justice demands that Salem fund a fully-functional transit system

And realize that once you starve the transit system enough to kill service on weekends, you force people to live in the used car economy where they are easy prey for the sleazy used car dealers who are so abundant in Salem; and once people have to fork out for a used car and insurance, and pay the outrageous used car interest rates, their cheapest choice day to day is to drive.

In fact the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which surveyed Americans about daily commutes and their effects, discovered a virtual horror show. They found the longer the commute, the higher the levels of one's obesity, cholesterol, pain, fatigue and anxiety.

What's more, the costs of commuting disproportionately hit those with modest incomes. For the working poor, commuting gobbles up roughly 6 percent of income - double the percentage of those bringing home higher salaries, says Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program for the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution.

For the working poor who drive alone - instead of in carpools, for instance - that percentage rises to 8 percent to 9 percent of income.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stand up and be counted: Oregon Climate Declaration

Dear Friends,

I just signed the campaign: Oregon Climate Declaration

It would mean the world to me if you could also add your name to this important issue. Every name that is added builds momentum around the campaign and makes it more likely for us to get the change we want to see.

Will you join me by taking action on this campaign?

After you've signed the petition please also take a moment to share it with others. It's super easy – all you need to do is forward this email.

Thank you!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The crushing blunder: the lead/crime-rate connections [feedly]

Steps For Salem:

1. Crash program to identify and replace any remaining lead-painted windows in Salem (where there are still far too many).

2. Ban the sale of leaded gasoline at the McNary Field and assess a stiff penalty to any plane burning it that lands in Salem.

More useful discussion of the (under-discussed) lead-crime-rate connections
// Sentencing Law and Policy


For centuries it has been clear that lead is a potent poison. At extreme concentrations, lead poisoning causes anemia, blindness, renal failure, convulsions, abdominal spasms, insomnia, hallucinations, chronic fatigue and, ultimately, death. But only in the past four decades have researchers learned that lead exposure can severely damage the cognitive development of children, even at modest levels that produce no physical symptoms. And only through modern scanning technology have we learned that the lead molecule is perfectly designed to cripple young minds in ways that not only lower IQ, but also damage the very parts of the brain that oversee aggression, self-regulation, attention and impulse control.

As Kim Cecil, director of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, recently explained to the Chemical & Engineering News, "These are the parts of the brain that say, 'Ooh, I've learned from before that I shouldn't steal that, or if I do this, then the consequences are that.'" Even moderate levels of lead in the bloodstream of an infant or toddler significantly increase the odds that he will suffer behavioral disorders in childhood, and will engage in delinquency and criminal behavior later on. (Lead seems to affect boys more than girls.) A study published in 2008 tracked 250 children born in low-income Cincinnati neighborhoods between 1979 and 2004. It found that children with elevated levels of lead exposure (either in utero, or in early childhood) were significantly more likely to be arrested for both violent and nonviolent crimes than children with lower lead exposure. Earlier studies in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh also found a significant correlation between early childhood lead exposure and later conduct problems....

[T]he strength and consistency of the findings linking lead exposure and crime trends, plus the wealth of corroborating evidence from other disciplines (such as brain imaging studies and longitudinal studies of small population samples in selected cities) creates what Kevin Drum, a widely-cited blogger and journalist who has written extensively on the lead-crime connection, calls "an astonishing body of evidence."...

"We now have studies at the international level, the national level, the state level, the city level, and even the individual level," writes Drum. "Groups of children have been followed from the womb to adulthood, and higher childhood blood lead levels are consistently associated with higher adult arrest rates for violent crimes. All of these studies tell the same story: Gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century." . . . 

Great post on the messy reality hidden by smooth statistics (Pacific Standard)

How Well Do Teen Test Scores Predict Adult Income?
// Miller-McCune Online

. . .

If someone told you that the test scores people get in their late teens were highly correlated with their incomes later in life, you probably wouldn't be surprised. If I said the correlation was -.35, on a scale of 0 to 1, that would seem like a strong relationship. And it is. That's what I got using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. I compared the Armed Forces Qualifying Test scores, taken in 1999, when the respondents were aged 15-19 with their household income in 2011, when they were 27-31.

Here is the linear fit between between these two measures, with the 95 percent confidence interval shaded, showing just how confident we can be in this incredibly strong relationship:


That's definitely enough for a screaming headline, "How Your Kids' Test Scores Tell You Whether They Will Be Rich or Poor." And it is a very strong relationship—that correlation of 0.35 means AFQT explains 12 percent of the variation in household income.

But take heart, ye parents in the age of uncertainty: 12 percent of the variation leaves a lot left over. This variable can't account for how creative your children are, how sociable, how attractive, how driven, how entitled, how connected, or how white they may be. To get a sense of all the other things that matter, here is the same data, with the same regression line, but now with all 5,248 individual points plotted as well (which means we have to rescale the y-axis):


Each dot is a person's life—or two aspects of it, anyway—with the virtually infinite sources of variability that make up the wonder of social existence. All of a sudden that strong relationship doesn't feel like something you can bank on with any given individual. Yes, there are very few people from the bottom of the test-score distribution who are now in the richest households (those clipped by the survey's topcode and pegged at three on my scale), and hardly anyone from the top of the test-score distribution who is now completely broke. . . 

This post originally appeared on Sociological Images, a Pacific Standard partner site, as "How Well Do Teen Test Scores Predict Adult Income?"

How Well Do Teen Test Scores Predict Adult Income? was first posted on May 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

The United States Needs a Slavery Museum [feedly]

The United States Needs a Slavery Museum
// Miller-McCune Online


The media frenzy has (mostly) died down and the reporters have left the ranch, but Cliven Bundy's brief time in the spotlight forced many to take a closer look at certain realities of American belief. The rancher, who initially drew attention through his refusal to obey federal grazing laws, used his 15 minutes to air his view that perhaps African Americans were better off when they were enslaved.

Horrifying though Bundy's remarks were (and he did receive a fast rebuke from some of those who had initially sided with him), he's not the only one who has shared this opinion publicly in recent years. In March, Arizona congressional candidate Jim Brown wrote on his Facebook page that "Basically slave owners took pretty good care of their slaves and livestock and this kept business rolling along." Last year, Walter Block, who holds an endowed chair at Loyola University, wrote the following in an article on "Otherwise, slavery wasn't so bad. You could pick cotton, sing songs, be fed nice gruel, etc. The only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory."

What this kind of commentary tells us is deeply disturbing: That we as a nation have failed to educate ourselves about the institution of slavery, and what's more, that there are Americans who refuse to accept it as the United States' original sin. To begin to address this ignorance, we need a national museum dedicated to slavery in America—its reality, its history, and its long-lasting effects. . . . (More at link)

Individuals who visit museums, it has been noted by recent research, develop increased historical empathy and have higher levels of tolerance than those who do not.

Pretty good to-do list for US

James Howard Kunstler has a pretty good to-do list at the end of his Monday rant this week.  Salem and the mid-Willamette Valley would benefit greatly from such a sane approach along these lines, an end to chasing the destructive fantasy of auto sprawl fueled "growth" and sending wealth abroad in an effort to keep building the house of cards on the backs of sweatshop slaves in China and elsewhere.


There's a long and comprehensive To-Do list that has been waiting for us since at least 2008, when the nation received one forceful blow upside its thick head. We refuse to pay attention. First item on the list: restructure the banks. Other items: reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act; disassemble the ridiculous "security" edifice under the NSA; upgrade the US electric grid; close down most of our military bases overseas (and some of our bases in the USA); draw up a constitutional amendment re-defining the alleged "personhood" of corporations; fix the passenger railroad system to prepare for the end of Happy Motoring; rebuild Main Street commerce to prepare for the death of WalMart and things like it; outlaw GMO foods and promote local food production; shut down casino gambling.

Politics Is More Broken Than Ever—Political Scientists Need to Admit It

What we know from our research is that there is no easy way out of the mess we are in.

Change our institutions to fit our new-style parties? Beyond reining in the filibuster, this would entail far-reaching constitutional reform that is likely to remain in the realm of intellectual debate.

Alter the electoral system to produce somewhat less polarized parties? There are lots of ideas worth pursuing in the states, but short of major changes such as compulsory voting or some form of proportional representation, the evidence suggests that they would produce at best modest results.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A must read for Memorial Day weekend

A great insight -- if we want to claim the proud memories as belonging to us or saying something about who we are, we have to claim them all.

(A tremendous read and a perfect complement to the free "Color of Wealth" talk at Loucks Auditorium on Saturday, June 7.)

Sat, June 7 -- Event: The Color of Wealth

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." - 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A great follow up to the recent David Cay Johnston talk on the rapid rise in inequality in the US.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Two great jobs available: MPFS Seeking Applicants for 2 AmeriCorps VISTA positions

Marion-Polk Food Share is seeking applications for two AmeriCorps VISTA positions. These positions, sponsored by MercyCorpsNW, are 12 month, full time commitments based in Salem, Oregon at MPFS. They include a modest living stipend and an educational award.


Farm & Garden Program Developer:

The VISTA member will develop and support Farm & Garden initiatives that alleviate poverty through skill training, education and increasing access to nutritious food. They will:

  • Support and expand the MPFS Youth Farm, a horticulture training program for at-risk teens. Conduct marketing, fundraising, tracking, curriculum design, volunteer recruitment and planning for the Youth Farm Program.
  • Increase capacity of our Youth Gardens Program, a network of 6 after school garden educational sites at low-income elementary schools. Conduct volunteer recruitment and increase community engagement.
  • Work to increase community garden participation among MPFS food pantry clientele through a Pantry to Garden program. Conduct outreach and support educational programming for families interesting in growing their own food. 



Nutrition Specialist:

The VISTA member will work to increase nutritional food security in low-income communities through developing programs that empower families, increase access to fresh produce and improve the MPFS emergency food distribution system.

  • Expand MPFS's nutrition programs, including our diabetic-friendly food box, client-focused education (such as cooking classes), and nutrition promotion efforts at food pantries.
  • Grow the capacity of our partner agency network to effectively serve their neighborhood through developing network maps, encouraging client-empowering pantry practices and developing an agency newsletter.
  • Increase produce distribution to families in need through developing new distribution sites and improving internal capacities to give out more fresh produce. 



For questions regarding the application process or AmeriCorps VISTA service, please contact Jimmy O'Brien with MercyCorpsNW at 503.896.5080 or


For questions regarding the position descriptions or Marion-Polk Food Share, contact Ian Dixon-McDonald at 503-581-3855 x329 or


Great questions from Paul Krugman, while grading papers

1. How can we incentivize students to stop using "impact" as a verb?

2. How can we impact their writing in a way that stops them from using the word "incentivize"?

3. Can we make it a principal principle of writing that "principle" and "principal" mean different things, and you have to know which is which?

That is all.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

George Orwell knew the Salem Statesman-Journal well

The new drive-by corporate boss dropped into Salem briefly haz a sad.  Some of the rabble have noticed that it's hard to do journalism about folks you only approach on bended knees.  So Newguy recycles the old tropes about "conspiracy theorists" imagining phone calls to tell the paper what to print.

Well, anyone paying attention knows that nothing could be further from the truth than any suggestion that it requires a phonecall from the Chamber of the 1% to tell the Statesman-Journal what to cover, who to favor and who to marginalize. After all, as George Orwell observed years ago,

Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip. -- George Orwell

Media Matters debunks Chamber of the 1% on class actions, shows why they're crucial to workers and employees

New head of Public Justice on a very misunderstood topic, one that the captive corporate press will never get right:

Media Matters regularly responds to Rush Limbaugh, Fox, etc., on a wide range of attacks.  Their blogs videos and whatnot are incredibly well done and professional.  They simply do fantastic work.  They take important progressive issues and make them entertaining, and educate people and change minds.

Just today, they've released a video explaining why class action lawsuits are important, how they help workers and consumers, giving several examples.  I'm honored and excited to have been interviewed extensively in the video, although they've added in a lot of clever animation, music, motion, photos, news articles, etc., so it's not just a talking head, it's something aimed at reaching a broader audience.  Here's a link to the video:

Only rich kids should go to college. Discuss.

Only Rich Kids Should Go to College (via TIME)

"Suggesting that only the rich (or those who get full-ride scholarships and grants) go to college is about as politically incorrect as you can get... Yet more than a third of young graduates themselves do not agree that their education has paid off, and evidence keeps mounting that student loans are the equivalent of wearing lead sneakers in an economic foot race. At the very least, anyone taking out these loans should understand the full nature of their costs

May 22 -- Free film on an important awakening
Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share: Free Film and Lecture Series
May 22nd, "Rebecca's Wild Farm: A Farm for the Future." Come join us for finger food potluck and discussion.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What the Chamber of the 1%'s policies produce

Since 1980, the country has taken a sharp and persistent turn for the worse, adopting measure after measure promoted by the wealthiest as "good for jobs" but actually just good for them, and terrible for everyone else.

Here in Salem, the Chamber of the 1% has thrown its weight and money around to great effect, winning excessive and unjustified power and influence over government policies. This year, the Chamber and its alter egos in the Sprawl Lobby (real estate and house building) recognized the threat that a rebellion against foolish spending on sprawl posed to them -- so they recruited four interchangeable candidates, and have pumped obscene amounts of money into their campaigns, which bid fair to succeed in keeping Salem in a terrible mess:  declining services for ordinary folks but fat contracts and nice tax gifts for the well-connected.

There's just a few days left to change this sad story, making sure that people know that we can do better, lots better. It's very difficult to do against the power of organized money, but we can do it if we try.  

Voters in wards 2, 4, 6, have very good alternatives who could easily pull off the win against Chamber's minions.  

Those candidates who deserve all of the support you can offer are 

Tom Andersen (2), Scott Bassett (4), and Xue Lor (6).  

All three are running against content-free platitude peddlers whose only apparent goal is to ensure that the Chamber doesn't face any serious scrutiny in Council chambers. And Lor is running against a guy with a very checkered past and dubious present, who is trying to conceal it.

(The other non-Chamber clone in Ward 2, Bradd Swank, seems to be a fine person, but the winner take all nature of the November race means that it's important to see an opponent best the Chamber clone candidate in the primary if possible, so that the Chamber House Organ, the unStatesmanlike-Journal can't crown the Chamber clone as the presumptive winner. Doing this is most likely with Andersen.  In Ward 8, the lightly experienced Proudfoot offers a decent alternative to filling that seat with another sprawl-booster, but it's hard to see that race turning out well.)

For Mayor, the best option seems to be to leave it blank.

Below is a good short summary of what listening to folks like the Chamber too much has wrought. It's by Nick Kristof of the NY Times, native of Yamhill, Oregon.

Yet today the American dream has derailed, partly because of growing inequality. Or maybe the American dream has just swapped citizenship, for now it is more likely to be found in Canada or Europe — and a central issue in this year's political campaigns should be how to repatriate it.

A report last month in The Times by David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy noted that the American middle class is no longer the richest in the world, with Canada apparently pulling ahead in median after-tax income. Other countries in Europe are poised to overtake us as well.

In fact, the discrepancy is arguably even greater. Canadians receive essentially free health care, while Americans pay for part of their health care costs with after-tax dollars. Meanwhile, the American worker toils, on average, 4.6 percent more hours than a Canadian worker, 21 percent more hours than a French worker and an astonishing 28 percent more hours than a German worker, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Canadians and Europeans also live longer, on average, than Americans do. Their children are less likely to die than ours. American women are twice as likely to die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth as Canadian women. And, while our universities are still the best in the world, children in other industrialized countries, on average, get a better education than ours. Most sobering of all: A recent O.E.C.D. report found that for people aged 16 to 24, Americans ranked last among rich countries in numeracy and technological proficiency. . . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Undernews: Unanswered questions

May 14, 2014

Unanswered questions

Are economists a leading cause of climate  change?

After all, they've convinced us to be the only species on earth to believe that over-population and over-consumption are the keys to survival.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Very cool! Wed., May 14: Citizen Science: Let's Do It!

Date Correction: Lecture on Wed., May 14th: Citizen Science: Let's Do It!

May Lecture: Citizen Science:  Let's Do It!
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Straub Environmental Lecture Series presents:
Andrew Moldenke of Oregon State
"Citizen Science:  Let's Do It!"

**Date Correction**
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
at Louck's Auditorium in the Salem Public Library
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Few people recognize the potential of Citizen Science or the incredible effect it has had on the development of science. However, a growing number of scientists are starting to view it as a useful labor force and a way to generate 'groupies' interested in their particular questions. And, for an ever-increasing number of volunteers, it is a way to glimpse the world through a scientist's eyes, travel to some far off place and slave in the mud.

The potential also does exist for scientific volunteerism back at home. US society now is characterized by a well-educated, largely retired, middle class that is looking for ways to become societally relevant and 'green'. Most volunteer ecological projects (i.e., weed pulling) do not address any sort of scientific question and often all the hard effort is wrong-headed. My colleagues and I have proposed scientifically-based volunteer projects designed both to quantify and answer relevant management questions and to teach volunteers about science while doing hands-on research in their own neighborhoods.

Citizen science is a great and proven idea and we need to get back to it as a society. Now would be the perfect moment! Why wait any longer??

One of our most popular programs, the Straub Environmental Lecture Series provides an opportunity to hear and connect with some of the nation's most respected experts in the field of science and ecology. The Lecture Series brings leading thinkers to Salem to share their knowledge about current environmental issues. Recommended donation: $5/person

Copyright © 2014 Straub Environmental Center, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you attended one of our programs and gave us your email address.

Our mailing address is:
Straub Environmental Center
PO Box 12363
Salem, OR 97309

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You gotta roll with it [feedly]

Salem has, so far as I know, only one true bread bakery of the sort described here, the wonderful Cascade Baking Company on State Street nearly to Riverfront Park.  

So steeped in traditional practices and craft are they that they only accept money for their products, not plastic!

(The other place that seems like a bread shop downtown appears to use the "half-baked" industrial method also described at the link.)

You gotta roll with it
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An inspiration for Salem: "It's official: Boulder creates energy utility"

We already have the water and sewer, next we should build on the Salem Electric coop to add public power for electricity service for all of Salem, so that Salem residents don't have to fight their utility's profit-seeking business model just to take advantage of solar.

Subject: "It's official: Boulder creates energy utility"

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This was the headline in the Daily Camera in Boulder last week: "It's official: Boudler creates energy utility."

That's because last Tuesday night, the city of Boulder officially created a local electric utility.

This is a big step--things are moving! But it is far from over, because City Council's procedural vote isn't an end-all, be-all, and Xcel certainly isn't going down without another fight (or series of fights).

Though we're still years away from the real thing, this step is worth celebrating. We're so grateful to have gotten this far already, because one year ago we had just begun to prepare for round two of our fight with Xcel--what would become our Campaign for Local Power. 

Now, the city has its own utility--just on paper, for now--but it is a big step. The ball is rolling!

This is local power--this is Boulder taking the reins and working to create a model for how communities around the country can take control of their energy future.

So thank you, to all of you who have helped make local power a reality so far! Here's to the next big step, and the next one, and the next one.

Read more about the City Council's vote here.


The New Era team

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Cities Where Americans Bike and Walk to Work [feedly]

The Cities Where Americans Bike and Walk to Work

A film for Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 1945 (7:45 p.m.)

This looks like a very powerful film, and will be shown in Salem on Memorial Day, not inappropriate given the struggles of many soldiers with PTSD. 

Alive Mind Cinema Series
Transformative Docs For A Changing World
Beginning in May, Salem Cinema, Kino Lorber & Gathr Films will present the ALIVE MIND CINEMA SERIES on the 4th Monday of every month! Each screening will be followed by a discussion led by local leaders in our community.


Directed by Phie Ambo. Not Rated. (80 mins.)
Monday, May 26th at 7:45PM

In 1992 Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world's leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice. The results of Davidson's studies at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, are portrayed in Free the Mind as they are applied to treating PTSD in returning Iraqi vets and children with ADHD. The film poses two fundamental questions: What really is consciousness, and how does it manifest in the brain and body? And is it possible to physically change the brain solely through mental practices?

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Statesman-Journal's "Eyes Wide Shut" endorsements

Pretty sad news about one of the clone candidates pushed by the Chamber of the 1%. Pretty typical story for many poorly educated young men trying to get their start into adulthood, and lord knows Salem is filled with economic casualties of policies beloved by the Chamber.  

At least, until you get to the very recent lying and the very, very brazen attempt to hide his past instead of facing it squarely, you get the feeling that Dan Benjamin is not so much a bad guy as a dutiful Private Benjamin drafted into the Chamber's army of interchangeable types who will do what they're told, vote like they're told, and know that Job 1 is keeping the local big money types in charge but off the radar. 

The problem for the Chamber, and then for the Statesman-Journal that does its bidding, is that their policies are so destructive that it's getting harder and harder for them to find people to act as candidates who can push their line with any credibility. 

So, as with the Tea Party all over America, voters wake up after the election to discover that they've elected some pretty creepy people and that the so-called watchdogs of the press are really just lapdogs for the local real estate and tax breaks for sprawl lobby.

The result is that every candidate who got the Statesman-Journal endorsement now has a difficult problem: explaining why voters should not assume that their endorsement is no different from the one the SJ gave to Benjamin, where the SJ wrestled with its integrity and beat it decisively, issuing an endorsement where they could have simply passed.

In three of four races, the non-endorsed candidates -- Xue Lor (Benjamin's opponent), Scott Bassett and Tom Andersen -- are vastly superior to the Chamber clones running against them, the four who all share campaign financing and a campaign manager and treasurer, along with scripted interchangeable pablum positions on all issues, and a deep aversion to specifics on anything. 

While it's likely that some or all of the clones will win, there's a chance that the digging by Salem Weekly - an actual shoestring watchdog in the press -- could stop the steamroller, if only enough people reflect on what it means that the Statesman is so in the tank for the Chamber clones that they would endorse someone with Benjamin's issues over a decent, competent opponent, which Lor is.

If voters all over Salem simply use the SJ endorsement as a "DO NOT SUPPORT" list, Salem would both surprise itself and be a lot better off next year.

Willamette's opportunity to be in leadership of something

OK, true, still behind Stanford, but that's still pretty rarefied air for the Oldest University in the West.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What is Salem doing to prepare for disrupted climate conditions?

Government is a nonprofit, so this article about how all nonprofits need to engage on climate raises the question:  what is the City of Salem doing to prepare for climate disruption and it's effects?  

We can expect higher food prices, higher utility bills, higher public health costs, both more heat stress emergencies and increased winter storm damages, more flooding AND more droughts, more domestic violence (correlates to heat), to name just the obvious immediately local issues, without even considering things like lack of snowpack to feed the Santiam where we get our great water.

What if Salem spent a few hundred thousand a year to begin taking steps to improve our prospects in this new world we're making, where the past is no longer a reliable guide to the future (the basis of the ability of any company to offer insurance)?  Where might we find that money to strengthen our resiliency?

The Cohen Report

The Climate Change Conundrum

The National Climate Assessment report released by the White House earlier this week merits action by more than environmental groups. Climate change is so big and so hard to wrap one's mind around that it deters groups from acting, but we have some ideas about what all nonprofits can do.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Want an important paid gig with a key Salem nonprofit? MPFS Seeking Applicants for Garden Program Coordinator

Marion-Polk Food Share is seeking applicants for our 

Community Gardens Program Coordinator position.


This 32 hour/week position supports our network of over 50 community gardens through network development and organization, educational programming, resource procurement and distribution, volunteer coordination and consulting.


Areas of responsibility include:

* Coordinate day-to-day operations of the MPFS Community Gardens Program.

* Evaluate and respond to garden needs and supply resources, such as seeds, plants, hardscape, volunteers and educational resources.

* Train, coordinate and supervise volunteers, in positions ranging from garden leadership to occasional workdays. Understand volunteer needs of garden network and work with Volunteer Administrator to fulfill those needs.

* Support the development of garden committees. Assist in identifying garden leadership and contingency planning.

* In collaboration with Program staff, coordinate garden-based educational programs.

* Develop vision for the gardens network expansion with VP. Work with community partners to develop new gardens and expand gardens.

* Manage Community Gardens program budget. Effectively communicate needs to VP.

* Track garden network data and develop reports. Conduct yearly garden assessments.

* Increase brand awareness of MPFS through garden exposure and garden events. Collaborate with Development Department on garden oriented fundraising opportunities.


 To apply:

1. Please head to

 to review the Community Gardens Program Coordinator job description and position details in full. (There you will also find other openings at MPFS, including driving and fundraising positions).


2. Fill out the online job application.


3. Submit the job application, resume and cover letter or deliver or mail materials to Marion-Polk Food Share,1660 Salem Industrial Dr. NE, Salem, OR 97301. Email applications are preferred.


Start date: July 1, 2014

Deadline to apply: May 16, 2014


For questions about the position or application process, please call or email Ian Dixon-McDonald, Vice President of Programs. imcdonald@marionpolkfoodshare.org503-581-3855 x329.