Thursday, April 30, 2015

A must read for all Americans: David Simon on Baltimore’s Anguish | The Marshall Project [feedly]

David Simon on Baltimore's Anguish | The Marshall Project
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"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Words to the Wise, a refreshing perspective indeed

JUNE 12: Annual Dinner for Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Annual Meeting & Banquet

Featuring Keynote Speaker Mike Farrell

Friday, June 12th at 5:00pm - Keizer Civic Center

Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP) has announced plans for their 2015 annual meeting, dinner and program. It will be held on Friday June 12th, at the Keizer Civic Center.

This year's keynote speaker will be Mike Farrell, a political and social activist best known for his portrayal of Army Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt in the TV-series "M*A*S*H" and Dr. Jim Hansen in the weekly NBC series "Providence". Mike is the president of Death Penalty Focus, the "grassroots organizing" group comparable to OADP, seeking alternatives to the death penalty in California.

Call (503) 990-7060
or visit
to Purchase Tickets

Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty continues to promote the discussion on Oregon's death penalty and we are making progress toward the opportunity to repeal the fatally flawed public policy in favor of programs that demonstrate evidenced-based outcomes that really do deter crime, violence and murder.

Also, on the program for the evening will be Danielle Fulfs, Outreach Coordinator for the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The death penalty is losing favor across the country and the West Coast organizations are working in concert to repeal the death penalty.

Also on the program, representing Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), will be Becky O'Neil McBrayer. MVFR is a national organization of over 4,000 family members who have lost loved ones to murder and speak out against the death penalty.

2015 OADP Annual Meeting & Banquet 
Friday, June 12th 

Keizer Civic Center 
930 Chemawa Rd NE
Keizer, OR 97303 

Click on the map for directions.

The OADP Annual Meeting and banquet has grown to be the most important event of the year, as the organization moves toward repeal of the Oregon death penalty. The previous two keynote speakers have been retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Paul DeMuniz and in 2014 Prof. Richard Stack, of American University, author of Grave Injustice: Unearthing Wrongful Executions.

A reception with our 2015 guest speakers will take place starting at 5PM. Individual tickets are $40 and tables of eight can be reserved by calling (503) 990-7060. Tickets are also available online at Dinner will start at 6PM and the program for the evening will follow. 

The Keizer Civic Center is located at 930 Chemawa Rd. NE, in Keizer, OR 97303. Driving on I-5 from the north, take Exit 260B to Chemawa Rd. Driving from the south on I-5, take Exit 260. Driving from Salem, take River Rd to Chemawa, then turn right.

For more information call Ron Steiner at (503) 990-7060

OADP 2015 Annual Dinner Flyer (PDF)

Help Us Repeal the Death Penalty in Oregon!

The mission of Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP) is to repeal the death penalty in Oregon as an essential step toward a more cost-effective, humane and restorative response to violent crime, and thus toward safer, more peaceful and just communities.


OADP is a 501(c)3 non-profit.

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Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
P.O. Box 2765
Salem, Oregon 97308

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

Oregon A-OK with exposing kids to toxic lead

People who should know better -- including the U.S. EPA boss -- wrongly think that lead is a past problem, even as we continue to allow civil aviation pilots, overwhelmingly the wealthiest among us, to coat our cities and farm fields with lead particles from leaded aviation fuel. 

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WORD: how the news talks about black people by talking about white people instead.

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

Salem flunking the Strong Town test

  1. Take a photo of your main street at midday. Does the picture show more people than cars?
  2. If there were a revolution in your town, would people instinctively know where to gather to participate?
  3. Imagine your favorite street in town didn't exist. Could it be built today if the construction had to follow your local rules?
  4. Is an owner of a single family home able to get permission to add a small rental unit onto their property without any real hassle?
  5. If your largest employer left town, are you confident the city would survive?
  6. Is it safe for children to walk or bike to school and many of their other activities without adult supervision?
  7. Are there neighborhoods where three generations of a family could reasonably find a place to live, all within walking distance of each other?
  8. If you wanted to eat only locally-produced food for a month, could you?
  9. Before building or accepting new infrastructure, does the local government clearly identify how future generations will afford to maintain it?
  10. Does the city government spend no more than 10% of its locally-generated revenue on debt service?

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Oregon Lottery celebrates 30 years

30 years of preying on the poor and innumerate to help the rich avoid paying taxes.

The state should provide a lottery game to prevent the return of the numbers rackets, but it should do so in the same manner and attitude as it provides methadone to heroin addicts:
to reduce the harm caused by a destructive addiction and to help the victims learn to manage their problem successfully. Not to encourage people to become addicted so as to fill state coffers.

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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Experts had warned for decades that Nepal was vulnerable to a killer quake [feedly]

Just as seismologists have also warned that the Northwest, including Salem, is overdue for a massive 9.0+ quake caused by a slip of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the place offshore where two plates meet and one slides below the other.

The smart play -- and therefore, nearly unthinkable to the pampered princes and princesses of the sprawl lobby, whose only concern is profiting from reckless expansion -- would be a moratorium on new roads, bridges, buildings, hospitals, schools, power plants, power lines, and all the other things that make modern life modern, with all the unspent effort directed toward improving the existing infrastructure's ability to either withstand or fail gently in the quake such that it could be restored rapidly and cheaply.

Meanwhile, with its existing two bridges already structurally deficient, Salem officials occupying the spots where we need leaders ignore the quake warnings and fiddle merrily while Salem pours $60,000+ per month into the black hole of "planning" for a gigantic unnecessary new highway bridge to be routed over vast area of ready-to-liquefy soil, the sole function of said bridge being simply to funnel more profits to the sprawl lobby and try to pump more dollars to developers before the dying of the automobile dominance era becomes undeniable.

Experts had warned for decades that Nepal was vulnerable to a killer quake
// - Today's Highlights

A massive block of Earth's crust, roughly 75 miles long and 37 miles wide, lurched 10 feet to the south Saturday over the course of 30 seconds. Riding atop this block of the planet was the capital of Nepal — Kathmandu — and millions of Nepalese.Read full article >>


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There's scientific consensus on guns -- and the NRA won't like it - LA Times [feedly]

There's scientific consensus on guns -- and the NRA won't like it - LA Times
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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Push for Buses on Sabbath Sets Off Debate in Israel

Salem's lack of transit on weekends, including Sundays, sabbath for some, isn't religiously inspired, except when you consider that our lack of seven-day transit is caused by our fanatical carhead religion, where we organize an entire country around the imperatives imposed by the worship of private automobility.  

The sly suggestion in the Israeli situation -- that the transportation minister should not be allowed use of his auto if there are no buses running -- is actually a pretty great idea for Salem and other cities in America. 

In other words, if the roads are closed to those who don't own an auto, they should be closed for all private motorized travel.  We need to stop treating transit as an optional amenity and start insisting that private autos can only be run when people without autos have the ability to use the roads as well.

Push for Buses on Sabbath Sets Off Debate in Israel -
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Call and write Senator Courtney to Tell Him to Let Oregon Lege vote on NPV

The same thinking that OKd slavery and the compromises to allow it created the Electoral College.  It's time for us to neutralize the Electoral College and take away its power to give us catastrophic presidencies like George W. Bush.  Of course any president can be a dud, but to have the person with fewer Americans voting for them take the office is a setup for disaster, as the reign of error showed.

Salem's own Peter Courtney, senate president, is unusually wrong on this, but characteristically obstinate about his wrongness, simply refusing to engage on the issue or listen to the proponents. Worse, he refuses to let the Legislation emerge from Committee so that all the Senate could debate it. He knows that the better arguments are in favor of NPV, and he is simply using his power to ensure that the better arguments can't be heard.

Oregon's Chance to Fix the Electoral College
// The Daily Score blog - Sightline Daily

Thomas Jefferson believed that "[e]very constitution… naturally expires at the end of 19 years." As "new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed… institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times." But Jefferson did not manage to insert a 20 year reset button into the US Constitution; instead, the nation ended up with the most difficult to amend or update Constitution in the entire world. The United States is number one!

The US Electoral College is a poster child for Jefferson's fear that a constitution may linger beyond its natural life. When the Founding Fathers conceived of the Electoral College as "a small number" of "men most capable of analyzing" the "complicated" question of who should be president, there were fewer eligible voters in the whole country than there are now in just the city of Portland (there were only 2.5 million people in the whole country, and only a tiny fraction of those—white, wealthy, Protestant men—were allowed to vote). The Electoral College has always been a rubber stamp rather than the deliberative body the Founding Fathers imagined.

"The United States is the only country in the world still inserting an Electoral College between voters and the presidency."

While the United States has tried to bring the Constitution out of the 18th century by amending it to allow men who aren't white to vote (14th Amendment, 1870), to allow women to vote (19th Amendment, 1920), and to let voters elect their own Senators (17th Amendment, 1913), the country has not been able to escape from the dead grip of the Electoral College. The United States is the only country in the world still inserting an Electoral College between voters and the presidency. This creaking anachronistic scheme anoints the less-popular candidate president one time in seven (ignoring landslide elections). The Electoral College lingers because small states and swing states that loom larger than life in the Electoral College system can easily block Constitutional amendments.

Luckily, amending the Constitution is not the only path to change. The Constitution lets states decide for themselves how to assign their Electoral votes. The National Popular Vote Compact, already passed in Washington and now pending in the Oregon legislature, would use the power of the Constitution to modernize US presidential elections. Over the past 200 years, states have experimented with different ways to exercise their Electoral College powers. At present, most states award their Electoral votes on a "winner-take-all" basis: the presidential candidate who gets the most votes in the state gets 100 percent of the state Electors' votes. This system results in a host of ills for the country:

  • Counterintuitively, the candidate who gets the most votes does not necessarily win the presidency. In 2000, the state winner-take-all system chose George W. Bush, despite Al Gore's half-million vote lead in the popular vote. But the mismatch between people's votes and Electors' votes may not always favor the Democrat. There have been six other near-miss elections since World War II, including in 2004 when a shift of just 59,393 votes in Ohio could have awarded the presidency to John Kerry, even though George W. Bush would still have won the popular election by nearly 3 million votes.
    "Presidential candidates ignore four-fifths of Americans and spend all their time and money campaigning in just a few battleground states."

  • Presidential candidates ignore four-fifths of Americans and spend all their time and money campaigning in just a few battleground states. In 2012, presidential and vice presidential candidates only held post-convention public campaign events in 12 states, including 73 visits to Ohio alone. They spent $463 million on TV ads in just 10 states. Candidates held exactly zero public campaign events in the Pacific Northwest and spent almost no money advertising in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Sure, they were happy to do quick stops in Cascadia to collect checks from large donors, including $10.5 million from Oregon donors; but they left without holding any public events or listening to voters' concerns, and they whisked the money off to enrich the economies of other states.

  • Favoritism towards battleground states doesn't stop after the votes are counted. By the time they are elected, presidents and their staff members have spent a lot of time listening to and thinking about the issues important to people in battleground states, but no time on the issues important to people in "spectator" states, including Oregon. They continue to have an interest in wooing battleground states, either for themselves or for the next candidate from their party. Not surprisingly, the few battleground states receive more federal funds than the many spectator states, more grant dollars, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind exemptions.

  • Voters in spectator states correctly sense that their votes for president do not matter. Voter turnout in battleground states is about 11 percent higher than in less competitive states. Voter turnout often trends upward as a state gets more campaign attention, and downward if a state gets none. Oregon has worked to be a leader in voter turnout, but being ignored by presidential campaigns doesn't do any favors for Beaver State voter motivation.

But states have the power to release themselves from this peculiar historical bondage.

Ten states plus the District of Columbia have signed an interstate compact agreeing to award all their Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins not the election within their own borders but instead the national popular vote. If enough states sign on to elect the most popular president, the compact will take effect. These states will then send their Electoral College representatives with instructions to cast ballots for the national vote winner, and the US presidential campaign will suddenly be a national one, not a swing state affair. So far, the compact has 165 electoral votes—61 percent of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it.

Seventy-six percent of Oregonians and 77 percent of Washingtonians want to change the current system and elect the presidential candidate who gets the most votes. In 2009, Washington legislators affirmed the will of the people and enacted a bill signing Washington on to the interstate compact for a national popular vote. Similar Oregon bills passed the House in 2009 by a 39-12 margin and again in 2013 by a 38-21 margin. They never made it out of the Oregon Senate partly because Senate President Peter Courtney opposes a popular vote. But Oregon is trying again, with 16 representatives sponsoring HB 3475 and 13 Senators sponsoring SB 680. If Oregon succeeds this time, it will bring the compact to 65 percent of the way to electing the most popular president.

Oregon's efforts have some bipartisan support—five out of 29 sponsors are Republicans. At a hearing this month, the head of Oregon College Republicans joined Common Cause, The Bus Project, and League of Women Voters in urging Oregon legislators to pass a bill. The College Republicans leader told legislators that young Republicans want their votes to count, and under the current winner-take-all allocation of Electoral votes, they don't.

"#OR has the power to improve the way presidential elections work."Tweet this

Interestingly, despite strong national and bipartisan support for the idea of electing the most popular president, so far only "blue" states have joined the compact. The 24 bluest states, including 8 purple states, could join together to enact the compact. But spectator red states whose interests are ignored have more to gain than purple states. In red Oklahoma, a bill passed the Senate last year by 28-18 and this year the House is trying again. The Arkansas House passed a bill in 2009 and the North Carolina Senate passed one in 2007. If a bill passed in each of the 11 states where one has already passed at least one house, and in four of the nine states where one has already passed at least one committee, the compact would take effect.

The Founding Fathers may not have installed the Constitutional reset button that Jefferson wanted, but they did give states the power to improve the way presidential elections works. Oregon could be part of that proud tradition.

Sightline Institute researches the best practices in public policy for a sustainable Pacific Northwest. Read more at

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

COWSPIRACY: The Best enviro movie since "An Inconvenient Truth"

I really let you down by not promoting this movie earlier, as it was shown tonight at Willamette.
Go to the website and find out how to get to a showing.

This is the most important and best enviro movie since "An Inconvenient Truth" -- and it's far more inconvenient to many who like to think of themselves as environmentalists.

COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret

COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret

Just $1 -- Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret on VHX

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

What should be the final blow against the death penalty in Oregon and everywhere in the US

Thirty years in jail for a single hair: the FBI's 'mass disaster' of false conviction | US news | The Guardian

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

Salem's Mayor and City Council: Screw you, kids, we've got ours

This is appalling. With one exception, the people occupying the seats where we need leaders are simply serving as order takers for the Sprawl and "Growth" lobbies, ignoring the fact that unchecked growth in part of an organism at the expense of the rest is the very definition of cancer.

Just as a video of a cop shooting an unarmed fleeing man in the back and then planting a taser by his body to fabricate a justification for murder is forcing America to come to grips with our still unresolved problem of race, we daily see votes in cities large and small where elected officials -- individually nice people, hardworking people with charm and the best of intentions -- are shooting America and the whole world in the back and telling themselves that it's ok, they didn't mean to do it, their only concern is their little burg, and anything that provides "growth" in their little burg justifies itself.

Here's what the bellhops with titles in elected positions have brought us-- the curve that leads to the end of the world as we know it, and it won't feel fine.

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An encouraging word

Beyond capitalism and socialism: could a new economic approach save the planet? | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian
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Monday, April 20, 2015

TEDxTraverse City- Yong Zhao- Teach Children to Invent Jobs

Check out this video on YouTube:

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

Fwd: A Somber Anniversary, And One Way *You* Have Made A Difference

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

From: Ken White, Post Carbon Institute <>
Date: April 20, 2015 at 14:38:51 PDT
Subject: A Somber Anniversary, And One Way *You* Have Made A Difference
Reply-To: Ken White, Post Carbon Institute <>

A Somber Anniversary, And One Way *You* Have Made A Difference
View this email in your browser

Five years ago today...

...the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 people...

photo: Associated Press

...and devastated the Gulf.


A year later, the oil industry had California's Monterey Shale in its crosshairs...


...based on the US Energy information Agency (EIA) estimating over 15 billion barrels of oil were technically recoverable.

photo: Jeremy Miller, High Country News

This guy, Post Carbon Institute Fellow Dave Hughes, said, "Not so fast," and...


..with your support, Dave wrote this PCI report, showing that these estimates were wildly overstated.

Dave was right.

A few months later, the EIA downgraded their estimate by 96 percent, putting industry on the defensive, and putting an end to the hype.


Your support makes a huge difference. Please donate now.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Delusion is not Exceptionalism or Optimism

Important movie at Salem Cinema now, "Merchants of Doubt," all about how other industries, most importantly the fossil fuels industries, took the tobacco playbook and have run with it ... Obviously with great success, managing to convince huge majorities of Americans that they themselves won't suffer from climate disruption.  

I guess if you're as old as the Koch Brothers and as rich, that might be a defensible position, if you are also as sociopathic as the Koch Brothers and aren't harmed by knowing that we are condemning the present poor in all countries and all future generations to a catastrophically diminished and much more dangerous world.

I remember taking business school classes for my masters program in the 90s and that's when I realized the horror that the rich really do think their money will protect them and that they can busily build a protective wall of money while the rest of the world and America go to hell and that they won't be suffering the consequences – just like the Bourbon rulers in Versailles, and likely to lead to the same sorts of outcomes.

There wasn't even one county in which a majority of respondents believe global warming will harm them personally. In sharp contrast, majorities in 3,122 of 3,143 counties (more than 99 percent) do agree that future generations are at risk, with those responding in the affirmative hailing from places like Sheridan County, Wyoming—in the heart of coal country.

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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

New Oregon-Focused Issues/Legal Online Weekly Subscription Public Interest Newspaper

I don't want to spam you all too much, but I am hoping that you will consider becoming charter (or even better, lifetime) subscribers to a new venture into public interest publishing by the chief cook and bottle washer at LOVESalem:

Attorney John Gear has broadened his "values-based Oregon law practice" to add a new venture that seeks to expand access to justice for more Oregonians struggling against economic inequality and hardships than ever before. 

On February 14, 2015, Oregon's birthday, John Gear Law Office LLC launched a subsidiary "Public Benefit" ("B") company called "Oregon Public Empowerment Network LLC" ( The company's first major project is an online weekly newspaper, Oregon Public Empowerment News (OregonPEN), an all-digital weekly subscription newspaper that will operate for the public interest. Once revenues exceed expenses, net revenues will be directed to public service organizations, starting with Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO).

Subscriptions are available now at, and there is a low-income subscription option for just $10 annually. 

The mission of OregonPEN will be to provide local Oregon news and legal news that is "All Signal, No Noise." 

Although publication of legal notices in OregonPEN alone will not satisfy the requirements in ORS 193 for legal notices until Spring 2016, OregonPEN will spend the year until that time building staff, expertise, and contacts for covering local and legal news that actually matters for the long run: no horoscopes, no celebrity sex lives, no fluff -- just deep content and perspective that will help readers be engaged and empowered effectively, not just this week but this year, and next year, and beyond.

Prior issues are available for download at the archive:  This week's issue includes an editorial proposal for reforming the legal regime for regulating substances like tobacco and marijuana and activities like gambling.

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

First They Came for the Sardines… [feedly]

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

A must read: Report debunks ‘earlier is better’ academic instruction for young children

We're definitely letting schooling interfere with their educations ... 

Report debunks 'earlier is better' academic instruction for young children - The Washington Post
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Saturday, April 11, 2015

The sugar lobby’s sour tactics

Like the other great industry built on slavery (tobacco), sugar has no intention of letting the fact that its product harms users get in the way of its profits.

The sugar lobby's sour tactics - The Washington Post
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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

After the Rally Against Fast-Track Corporate Takeover, 7 p.m. Salem Progressive Film Series!

The Human Experiment lifts the veil on the shocking reality that thousands of untested chemicals are in our everyday products, our homes and inside of us. Simultaneously, the prevalence of many diseases continues to rise. From Oscar® winner Sean Penn and Emmy® winning journalists Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, The Human Experiment tells the personal stories of people who believe their lives have been affected by chemicals and takes viewers to the front lines as activists go head-to-head with the powerful and well-funded chemical industry. These activists bring to light a corrupt system that’s been hidden from consumers... until now.