Monday, October 20, 2014

M 90: the most Orwellian Doublethink Measure Ever

Blair is dead-on in his analysis of 90.  The underhandedness of their campaign (placing arguments in the opposition side of the voter's pamphlet) perfectly symbolizes their whole goal: to pull a fast one on Oregon, closing off the general election to all but the corporate-cash-heavy candidates in the guise of "opening" the primary. It's a reversal that Orwell could have used as a prime example of doublethink in "1984" (along with War is Peace).

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

From: Blair Bobier <>
Date: October 20, 2014 at 11:54:45 PDT
To: Blair Bobier <>
Subject: M 90 is Dangerous and Deceptive

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Many of you know that I have been working to democratize Oregon's elections for about 25 years.  At present, I am working entirely as a volunteer to defeat Measure 90, a "top two" election system, which will radically change Oregon's elections--and not in a good way.

The election systems used in Oregon and most of the U.S. are antiquated and lag far behind the systems used by most of the world's democracies.  They do need to be changed--which is why I do the work I do.  About the only way to make our elections worse is to implement a top two system.

The supporters of Measure 90, which include some of the richest men in America, want you to focus on the so-called "open primary" where all candidates from all parties run against each other.  That, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, what those billionaires are not telling you is that your "choices" for voting will be severely restricted in the November election.  Only two candidates for each race will be on the November ballot.  They could be two Republicans or two Democrats.  Independent candidates and Greens and Libertarians will disappear from statewide races.  In effect, elections will be over in May before anyone is paying attention. 

"Top Two' has been used in California and Washington.  The results have been disastrous.  Voter turnout has dropped to its lowest levels ever and the promises of ending gridlock have never materialized.

Three quarters of the funding for Measure 90 has come from two billionaires.  One of them is John Arnold, a Texas-based Enron profiteer who pocketed an $8 million bonus the day before Enron went bankrupt.

There are those who say "we have to do something about our elections, we might as well do this."  To me, that's like saying "we have to do something about global warming and nuclear power doesn't release greenhouse gasses."  Either way, if we take what is viewed as the quickest and easiest path, we'll wind up with toxic waste for years to come.

I urge you to Vote No on 90.

Please forward this e-mail to all of your Oregon contacts and consider posting information from this message on Facebook

Thanks for reading this.

If you want more information, I've written a couple of op-eds recently about Measure 90:

This is something I wrote a couple of years ago about an alternative to Top Two:

One of the many articles detailing the follies of Measure 90 backer, John Arnold:

General information on Measure 90:

No on 90!: Don't Get Fooled: Vote No on 90

There's a growing trend across the country. Laws proposed in the name of "election reform"… that actually limit voter participation and decrease voter turnout.
Now, special interest groups have their eyes set on Oregon with Measure 90.
Don't get fooled. Say No to Measure 90, which would dramatically change our election and limit voter choice in Oregon

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Oh boy! A parking meeting!!

If we have hundreds of millions to blow on a giant unneeded bridge,
then we certainly can afford to take real care and spend real money
to help sustain downtown.
Got an invitation to a parking meeting next week from Jim Vu, a nice guy who has become a landlord downtown and who works at a local (very) bank:

Hello Downtown Business Owners,

I would like to invite all of you to a downtown parking meeting.  The details are as follows:

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Whitlock's, 455 Court St NE
5:30PM to 6:30PM
Guests:  Mayor Anna Peterson, City Manager Linda Norris, and City Councilor Chuck Bennett

Agenda - Working towards a parking solution beyond February 2015.

Please RSVP to me so that we will have adequate seating for those in attendance
Caused me to review past parking articles posted here at LOVESalem:

I think a number of those old posts hold up pretty well.

Parking is a lot harder than many people seem to think; easy to get wrong, tough to get right, and experience from different places and times (gained during different economic conditions) is not necessarily as transportable as cars are.  Cities, especially in their downtowns, are unique places, and are actually complex eco-systems.

They aren't just malls without roofs.

If we take a big-picture view and use this friction as an opportunity to generate sparks for real, system wide improvements, maybe it will be for the best. Here's hoping.

ALEC Resorts to Religious Hate to Raise Cash

ALEC Resorts to Religious Hate to Raise Cash
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem ( welcomes all who would be pleased to earn the ire of corrupt Koch-Brother-owned tools like ALEC. 

Although UUCS, like all UU congregations, is nonpartisan and never involves itself with candidate races, the congregation is proud to count among its members many socially conscious folks who work tirelessly on a huge range of issues to make Salem, Oregon, the U.S. and the Earth a better place.
ALEC Resorts to Religious Hate to Raise Cash

Something truly curious happened yesterday.  In a fundraising effort, ALEC railed against the Unitarian Universalist Church as a bunch of professional activists trampling on their "freedom."

At first glance, this is truly curious.  If you're a member of any of the mainline Christian denominations in the Midwest under attack by religious fundamentalists, it's all too familiar. Stripped of the usurped trappings of true Christianity, these individuals endeavor to turn the love of Christ, the very basis of our faith, into justification for them to deny the humanity of those who disagree with them. They appeal to the same baser instincts that motivate those Muslims drawn into the orbit of the Islamic State.

They alone are the chosen few.  Chosen by God to condemn, and cleanse, the Earth of those who would dispute their warped interpretation of the Christian faith. At best the impulse is deeply irritating, at worst we've seen what's been happening in Iraq.

Why would ALEC impune the character of an entire religious denomination?  Because, anyone who gets the dog whistle knows that these fundamentalists believe that Unitarian Universalists (UU) are anti-Christian:

According to John Ankerberg, president and founder of The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, UU followers have varying ideas about God. They "believe anything or nothing: one is free to be atheist, pantheist, polytheist, agnostic, deist, theist or even Satanist," Ankerberg writes in his website post on UU theology at

"Basically, it is spiritual humanism," explained Craig Branch, director of the Apologetics Resource Ministry, in an interview with The Christian Post. "All roads lead to God."


Therefore, UUs deny Christianity by default, at least in the orthodox understanding, Miller told CP.

"They are anti-Christian. Everything we believe in, they don't," he stated.

Branch agreed. "Any religion like orthodox Christianity that says there is one is essentially false [to a UU believer]," he said.


Willingly drawing upon this religious hate in order to raise cash is a sign of desperation. Earlier this year, ALEC had to sublet their swank offices in the District, and move their operations out to Crystal City. Their spooked, and they know that in the wake of the exodus from the group kicked off by the role of Stand Your Ground in the Trayvon Martin case, that appealing to cultural warriors such as those above is a solid way to bring in cash that won't flinch when the next PR crisis hits.  The problem for them is that when dog whistles like this get called out, it will further alienate the corporations which have been their principle source of support. Why not ask an ALEC funder close to you?

(Click on image to open interactive map)

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Great Illustration: why Salem's crippled, part-time transit system is a justice issue

Although piece below is from Portland, the writer's misery is daily life for plenty of people in Salem, who are prisoners of debt because we have built a city that systematically punishes the poor and forces them further into debt just to get around.

Comfortable people with jobs and credit cards can weather the mishaps; for poor people, the lack of a seven-day, all-day transit system that supports full participation in work, education and the chores of daily life is a hugely regressive tax.

Joseph Rose's Sunday Drive: My terribly, horribly, unbelievably expensive week of commuting in Portland
Shared via my feedly reader

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

IAI Academy Now Offers Free Courses: From "The Meaning of Life" to "A Brief Guide to Everything" | Open Culture

IAI Academy Now Offers Free Courses: From "The Meaning of Life" to "A Brief Guide to Everything" | Open Culture

IAI Academy Now Offers Free Courses: From "The Meaning of Life" to "A Brief Guide to Everything"

in Online Courses | October 17th, 2014 1 Comment

iai academy

This month, The Institute of Art and Ideas (IAI), an organization committed to fostering "a progressive and vibrant intellectual culture in the UK," launched IAI Academy — a new online educational platform that features courses in philosophy, science and politics. The initial lineup includes 12 courses covering everything from theoretical physics, the meaning of life, the future of feminism, the often vexed relationship between science and religion, and more.

IAI Academy offers its courses for free. But, like other course providers, they charge a nominal fee (right now about $25) if you would like a Verified Certificate when you've successfully completed a course. Here's the initial lineup:

  • A Brief Guide to Everything – Web Video – John Ellis, King's College London, CBE 
  • The Meaning of Life – Web Video – Steve Fuller, University of Warwick
  • New Adventures in Spacetime – Web Video – Eleanor Knox, King's College London
  • Minds, Morality and Agency – Web Video – Mark Rowlands, University of Miami
  • Nine Myths About Schizophrenia – Web Video – Richard Bentall, University of Liverpool
  • The History of Fear – Web Video – Frank Furedi, University of Kent
  • Physics: What We Still Don't Know – Web Video – David Tong, Cambridge
  • Science vs. Religion – Web Video – Mark Vernon, Journalist/Philosopher
  • Sexuality and Power – Web Video – Veronique Mottier, University of Lausanne
  • The Infinite Quest – Web Video – Peter Cameron, Queen Mary University of London.
  • End of Equality – Web Video – Beatrix Campbell – Writer/Activist
  • Rethinking Feminism – Web Video – Finn Mackay – Feminist Activist & Researcher

For more evergreen courses that you can download and enjoy whenever you want, don't miss our collection, 1000 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

For MOOCs being provided in real-time, see our list of MOOCs from Great Universities.

Related Content:

Take First-Class Philosophy Courses Anywhere with Free Oxford Podcasts

Download 100 Free Philosophy Courses and Start Living the Examined Life

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."