Saturday, February 28, 2015

As Oregon considers extending clean-fuel standard, environmentalists are divided | [feedly]

Environmentalists who are willing to study the science instead of the politics aren't divided: science-based environmentalists know that biofuels subsidies through use mandates are a hugely destructive policy that does nothing to stop or slow catastrophic climate disruption and instead only serves to further lock in liquid fuels long enough for Big Oil to finish destabilizing the basis of human civilization, a life-sustaining climate.

Anyone willing to admit the crucial, absolute need to take meaningful action to get off fossil fuels but then proposes biofuels as a step in that direction is like a drunk at a distillery who says that the way to get off alcohol is to drink all the booze that the distillery can supply, so that eventually the distillery workers will get tired and the booze will be depleted.

Biofuels are the current era equivalent of the Carter era Synfuels nightmare, where coal operators got huge subsidies for spraying and burning coal with diesel, calling it a synfuel.

Support real action on climate!  Stop coal, stop fossil fuel transshipment and exports, support the OREP agenda, kill the clean fuels nonsense.
As Oregon considers extending clean-fuel standard, environmentalists are divided |
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Friday, February 27, 2015

The myth of the American love affair with cars (The Washington post) [feedly]

The myth of the American love affair with cars (The Washington post)
// A post-automobile world?


For decades, Americans have been in love with the automobile — or so thesaying goes. This single idea has been a central premise of transportation policy, pop culture and national history for the last half-century. It animates how we think about designing the world around us, and how we talk about dissidents in our midst who dislike cars.

"This 'love affair' thesis is like the ultimate story," says Peter Norton, a historian at the University of Virginia, who warns that we need to revisit how we came to believe this line before we embrace its logical conclusion ina future full of driverless cars. "It's one of the biggest public relations coups of all time. It's always treated as folk wisdom, as an organic growth from society. One of the signs of its success is that everyone forgets it was invented as a public relations campaign." ...

(Much more at link)

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Don't set yourself up to commit vehicle homicide: hang up and drive

Please stop making or answering phone calls while driving. Hands free or not.

It puts you and everyone else on the roads with you at as much risk as if you were driving impaired by alcohol.

There is ZERO evidence that hands-free telephone use while driving is any safer than holding the cell phone.  Every single study, going back to the 90s has shown that the distraction caused by hands free phone calling is every bit as pervasive as using a regular cell phone while driving.

The hazard is not what you're doing with your hands, 
it's what you're doing with your attention.

If you are a driver who talks on the phone while driving (rather than a passenger), please watch this video, and ask yourself what call you make that is worth killing someone to make.

Although this powerful documentary is about people who kill while texting, 


That's not just me, that's what the data show.

I know there are fifty or five hundred people ready to tell me "what about adjusting the radio?" Or "what about people who eat while driving" etc. etc. and all I can say is that it is a FATAL mistake to not understand the difference in how humans actually behave in interactions with others (conversations or text exchanges) and how humans behave with inanimate things. 

Please do not endanger the rest of us and set yourself up to be commit vehicular homicide.

If you are driving, please do not converse with people not in the same car with you by any means.  Period.  Your loved ones, and other peoples' loved ones will thank you.

Six goals for making Salem, Oregon a much better place -

Interesting goals list -- the first five are outstanding ... 

No. 6 hits an important issue, but invites trouble as proposed, and could be greatly improved
Six goals for making Salem, Oregon a much better place - HinesSight

I would revise 6 to read "Discourage Unused and Underused Space by Charging Owners for Degrading The City" -- instead of putting the city even more into the "subsidy for business" business, we let the market figure out what's best, by forcing building owners to pay a rising fee monthly for each month after a minimum (3?) that a developed lot or storefront within the downtown core remains vacant or underused. 

The money would go into funds for downtown projects, so it would benefit the downtown businesses indirectly, and help ameliorate the burden they bear because other building owners let their properties be idle so long, exerting a drag on all downtown businesses.

In this way, instead of promoting graft and city government cronyism, we get a uniform, transparent policy that will strongly incent landlords to find and keep suitable tenants downtown, or sell to someone who will use the space themselves or wants to be a better landlord at rents the market is willing to pay. 

Right now, we're suffering from landlords who aren't paying high enough carrying charges on their buildings, so they're fine with no rent coming in too long. Rather than raise taxes generally, we should simply penalize the landlords who impose costs on downtown with their refusals to bring the rents down enough to get a tenant into the space.

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

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Biofuels: the anti-Vaxxerism and faith healing of the climate crisis

Let's be clear, the folks who refuse vaccinations for their children are not intentionally or willfully exposing their own children and communities to the return of dread, often lethal or crippling diseases. 

Same with the poor benighted souls who are so brainwashed by their particular brand of faith that they refuse modern medicine to their children, leading to horrendous and agonizing outcomes as child sized corpses pile up, mute testimony to the efficacy of faith healing.

In the climate realm, these people have their match in the biofuels adherents, the folks who blend huge dollops of wishful thinking with the paranoid view of Big Oil -- blissfully unaware that there is nothing Big Oil welcomes more than a debate about how much money to throw at locking in the liquid fuels/internal combustion paradigm even further. 

Big Oil plays Bre'r Rabbit -- oh please, don't throw me in that briar patch -- but they are only too happy to see states lining up to shovel money into heaping subsidies atop subsidies, all in the name of supposedly hitting at Big Oil.

"Low carbon" standards might have been a meaningful step in 1988, when Hansen first testified to Congress; right now, they're worse than trying to shut the barn door after the horses escape -- a low carbon fuel standard gives preference to the immoral biofuels scam and delays action on the real issues, which come down to taking emergency action against coal, fracked fossil fuels, and all the horrors of the alt fuels -- tar sands, shale oil -- that will rapidly drive CO2 through the planetary redline and beyond.

The low-carbon fuels scam is wishful thinking turned into policy at its most destructive. Biofuels are nothing more than a Rube Goldberg system for using vast areas of land to convert fossil fuels into disguised fossil fuels, while extracting a fortune in money, at the cost of mass mining of irreplaceable topsoil and creation of biological dead zones precisely where life was once most abundant. In a world where hunger and collapse of biological diversity already loom, organizing things so as to further expand biofuel-driven mono cropping will only accelerate mass species extinctions.

The more we pretend that we can supplement fossil fuels with these disguised fossil fuels (petroleum and nat gas energy converted to corn to be converted back to hydrocarbons, with subsidies and toxic pollution galore), the more we are preventing the transition away from fossil fuels.

An important graphic about biodiesel that everyone concerned about a livable planet needs to see.

So the advocates of the low carbon fuels standard are, like their cousins in the anti-vax movement and the faith healing cults, not intending to do harm. But they do great harm anyway.

If you want to strike back at Big Oil, don't buy into the fantasy that we can keep living in Big Oil's kind of world -- a world where even the poorest among us have cars and must drive them everywhere -- without paying for our fantasy.

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

Oregon Public Empowerment News (Oregon PEN) - New Newspaper Launched!

Subscribe at








Just in time for the announcement to be obliterated by the ex-Gov's stepping down, Oregon PEN launched on Oregon's 156th Birthday!

The publisher is Oregon Public Empowerment Network LLC, one of those new-fangled "B" Companies -- private companies, but formed specially to be able to take account of the public interest rather than acting solely for profit. 

The OPEN LLC mission is to publish Oregon PEN, a weekly all-digital online newspaper to empower and engage Oregonians in making Oregon better. 

Oregon PEN will be an "all signal, no noise" newspaper, sifting through the flood of information competing for your attention and helping you spot the most significant issues and meaningful trends, and giving you the information you need to make your voice heard on those issues.

All proceeds above expenses will be go to support organizations and entities that provide for critical needs, such as Legal Aid Services of Oregon, or that make Oregon better for everyone. Weekly email Oregon issues/legal newspaper.
All signal, no noise, fluff or filler. Seriousness without solemnity.

Friday, February 20, 2015

THE STORY: American Democracy is Owned by the Rich | Al Jazeera America

In a study of Senate voting patterns, Michael Jay Barber found that "senators' preferences reflect the preferences of the average donor better than any other group." In a similar study of the House of Representatives, Jesse H. Rhodes and Brian F. Schaffner found that, "millionaires receive about twice as much representation when they comprise about 5 percent of the district's population than the poorest wealth group does when it makes up 50 percent of the district." In fact, the increasing influence of the rich over Congress is the leading driver of polarization in modern politics, with the rich using the political system to entrench wealth by pushing for tax breaks and blocking redistributive policies.

American Democracy is Owned by the Rich | Al Jazeera America
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Local Food With a Big Twist: Oregon Super-Cooperative Takes Aim at the Corporate Food System by Mary Hansen and Liz Pleasant — YES! Magazine

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

The Crackdown on Little Free Library Book Exchanges - The Atlantic [feedly]

The Crackdown on Little Free Library Book Exchanges - The Atlantic
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Nice analogy noticed by a LOVESalem foreign correspondent

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."
> She likens the use of unconventional oil (tar sands, fracked oil, ... all the very expensive and low-flow stuff) to sucking spilled beer out of carpet, compared with conventional cheap and high-flow oil. I've not heard this before from her.

> I'd rather suck wine myself, nearly spewed mine when she made this remark. I have her to thank for getting me interested in the finance angle of Peak Everything, . . . . Meanwhile, I'm hearing regular reports on NPR of layoffs throughout the unconventional oil businesses, including biggies like Halliburton and Schlumberger (oil service companies). Setting the stage for future shortages.
> cheers
> Tooj
> p.s. After downloading, go to around minute 33 for her 10 minute segment.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Multnomah County's 20-year bridge plan emphasizes earthquake endurance [feedly]

Wow -- a stinging rebuke that puts the local plans ("Ignore the existing bridges that we know will collapse in a big quake while we pump $60k per month for a decade to our friends at CH2M Hill to spin fantasies of a giant new highway and bridge built right through homes, while still outside the urban growth boundary") to shame.

The bizarre and confusingly named "SKATS" -- Salem Keizer Area Transportation Study -- is supposed to be the local transportation planning body for this region, but has instead strangely committed to this boondoggle, seemingly just to profit CH2M Hill, the contractor who is the only winner in all this.

As grifters go, CH2M Hill makes sister Cylvia look like a rank amateur. 

Multnomah County's 20-year bridge plan emphasizes earthquake endurance
// Politics & Elections

Multnomah County plans to spend $1.3 billion in 20 years on 53 bridge projects with an emphasis on earthquake durability.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

A hopeful story: Lentil Underground [feedly]

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

Super insulated high-efficiency zero-loss passivhauses just became a lot more enticing

This, Instead of feeling like you're living in SuperMax prison cell ...

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Math Education: The cold hard truth about why the US is falling behind in math [feedly]

We let mathematical eunuchs and virgins determine the math sequence and drive all the play and fun out of it, and then wonder why nearly everyone subjected to math in school hates it.

The better question with math education in the US really is "What equips the few who persist in enjoying math after a few years of schooling to do so, despite our schools?"
The cold hard truth about why the US is falling behind in math
// Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information

The real reason why the US is falling behind in math
By Tara Holm 
 FEBRUARY 12, 2015

If my seatmate on an airplane asks me what I do for a living, I tell the truth: I'm a mathematician. This generally triggers one of two responses. Either I'm told that I must be brilliant. . . or I hear about the person's inability to balance a checkbook. The truth is, I'm not brilliant, just persistent, and I hate balancing my checkbook. Both responses, however, point to a fundamental misunderstanding about what mathematics is supposed to do and its current — and unfortunate — trajectory in American education.

Calculators have long since overthrown the need to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division by hand. We still teach this basic arithmetic, though, because we want students to grasp the contours of numbers and look for patterns, to have a sense of what the right answer might be. But what happens next in most schools is the road-to-math-Hades: the single-file death march that leads towards calculus.

We are pretty much the only country on the planet that teaches math this way, where students are forced to memorize formulas and procedures. And so kids miss the more organic experience of playing with mathematical puzzles, experimenting and searching for patterns, finding delight in their own discoveries. Most students learn to detest — or at best, endure — math, and this is why our students are falling behind their international peers.

When students memorize the Pythagorean theorem or the quadratic formula and apply it with slightly different numbers, they actually get worse at the bigger picture. Our brains are slow to recognize information when it is out of context. This is why real-world math problems are so much harder — and more fascinating — than the contrived textbook exercises.

What I've found instead is that a student who has developed the ability to turn a real-world scenario into a mathematical problem, who is alert to false reasoning, and who can manipulate numbers and equations is likely far better prepared for college math than a student who has experienced a year of rote calculus.

What can we do as parents? At my house, we sometimes talk through simple logic puzzles over dinner. There are lots of good examples on the Internet, even pirate puzzles to please my son. Sudoku, despite claims to the contrary, is all about logical problem solving.

Or how about family board games night once a week? I'm not talking Candyland-style games, all luck and no skill. Some favorites in my household include logic puzzles like Rush Hour and board games like TransAmerica, Clue, and Carcassonne. Of course, there's also always checkers and chess. These games teach kids to think logically several steps ahead, all while having fun. And they are far more effective than the SAT prep booklets which litter the homes of high school juniors each year.

More here.
Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Coolest Valentine's Date EVAH. Roy Zimmerman - Funny Songs About Ignorance, War and Greed - Performance Schedule

Take your sweetie out for an evening of wit, whimsy, wisdom and fine musicianship . . . 
To a Roy Zimmerman show, in other words!

This is Roy's Third Valentine's Day show in a row at the UU congregation of Salem, and each year the crowd gets a little bigger as news of this talented, tenaciously touring troubadour travels telephonically, telegraphically, and telepathically 'till Ts trail off tiredly . . . 

But never mind that, come enjoy another great show, with old favorites mixed with Roy's new stuff from "The Faucet's On Fire!"
Saturday, February 14   8 pm  SALEM, OR
The Faucet's on Fire!

UU Congregation of Salem
5090 Center Street NE
Salem, OR
$18 or pay what you can

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Don't let DARKness prevail

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."
Call your representative today and tell them to vote against the DARK act!

We knew when we came within 837 votes of passing GMO labeling in Oregon last fall that anti-labeling forces nationwide were going to panic – and we were right.

Any day now, Monsanto's favorite Congressman, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, is expected to reintroduce the Deny Americans the Right to Know (or DARK) Act – a bill that would actually prohibit states from choosing to label GMO foods. This legislation could be devastating to our movement, which is why we need to flood Congress with calls and emails from pro-labeling supporters like you.

With the DARK Act set to be introduced any day now, there isn't any time to waste. We need to flood Congress with calls in support of GMO labeling, but we can't do it without your help:

Grab your phone and dial 1-877-796-1949 right now. You'll hear more information about the DARK Act, and then you'll be automatically connected to your Representative's office

More than 90% of Americans support GMO labeling, which is why the big pesticide and junk food companies that profit from keeping consumers in the dark are going all out to stop this popular idea from moving forward.

Companies like Monsanto, Dow and PepsiCo, along with industry front groups like the Grocery Manufacturers Association, are sure to flood Washington with an army of lobbyists to kill GMO labeling. Their corporate mercenaries are no match for our grassroots movement, but we can only defeat them if we make our voices heard in the halls of Congress.

Your Representative needs to hear from YOU on this critical issue. Dial 1-877-796-1949 right now and you'll be automatically connected with your Representative in Washington.

Thanks for standing with us,

Paige Richardson
Director, Oregon Right to Know

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Great opportunity to learn, earn, and build vital skills

Marion-Polk Food Share is seeking applicants for our Youth Farm Assistant position.


The Youth Farm Assistant oversees daily agricultural operations at the MPFS Youth Farm 40 hours per week during the growing season.  This temporary position supports the Youth Farm program by supervising 15 youth program participants in farm activities; executing planting, irrigation, and harvest schedules; assisting with the delivery of educational programming; and assisting with the management of CSA and farmer's market sales


Areas of responsibility include:

  • Supervise 15-member youth crew and volunteers in daily farm activities. 
  • Assign farm tasks in accordance with planting, irrigation, and harvest calendars as established by Farm Program Manager.
  • Provide youth crew members and volunteers with training necessary to accomplish assigned tasks and constructive feedback to improve skill sets.
  • Evaluate and respond to unforeseen agricultural problems in a timely manner. 
  • Maintain accurate records of farm operations.
  • In collaboration with Farm Program Manager, deliver 10-lesson program curriculum to youth participants.
  •  Submit monthly evaluations of program participants to Farm Program Manager.
  • Oversee operation of market booth at Salem Saturday Market by creating a staffing schedule for harvest and market.
  • Support Farm & Garden team in other Farm & Garden projects as needed. 
Other duties as assigned. 


 To apply:

1. Please head to

 to review the Youth Farm Assistant job description and position details in full. (There you will also find other openings at MPFS.)


2. Fill out the online job application.


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


Start date: May 18, 2015

End date: August 29, 2015

Application review begins on: February 14, 2015


For questions about the position or application process, please call or email Jared Hibbard-Swanson, Farm and Garden Program Manager. 503-581-3855 x339.


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

Monday, February 2, 2015

Word -- more progressive taxes, more progress at every level

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015