Saturday, December 12, 2015

Taibbi nails it again: Trump is our Punishment for Letting TV Take Over

Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" has long been on the LOVESalem short list for most important books ever. Now Matt Taibbi updates the reporting on where it leads when your public discourse is all video:

In this he's just like millions and millions of Americans, who have all been raised on a mountain of unthreatening caricatures and clich├ęs. TV is a world in which the customer is always right, especially about hard stuff like race and class. Trump's ideas about Mexicans and Muslims are typical of someone who doesn't know any, except in the shows he chooses to watch about them.
This world of schlock stereotypes and EZ solutions is the one experience a pampered billionaire can share with all of those "paycheck-to-paycheck" voters the candidates are always trying to reach. TV is the ultimate leveling phenomenon. It makes everyone, rich and poor, equally incapable of dealing with reality.
That's why it's so ironic that some people think the solution to the Trump problem is turning him off. What got us into this mess was the impulse to change the channel the moment we feel uncomfortable. Even if we take the man off the air, the problem he represents is still going to be there, just like poverty, corruption, mass incarceration, pollution and all of the other things we keep off the airwaves.

This. 10,000 times this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Next Tuesday night: Terrific documentary about sustainability and climate change

Please put us on your calendar for next Tuesday, December 15th, at 7 PM
At the historic Grand Theatre for the screening of:
"Cowspiracy, The Sustainability Secret"  
The science and research on the true impacts of animal agriculture is growing daily. Can we continue on our current path when we know that it is not sustainable?
 Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today - and investigates why the world's leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.
"Cowspiracy may be the most important film made to inspire saving the planet", -- Louie Psihoyos, Oscar winning director of "The Cove". 
Tuesday December 15, 2015 * 7 PM 
"Cowspiracy,The Sustability Secret"
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, and is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry.
And, methane gas has a global warming potential, 86 times that of CO2, (Science Magazine). 
US Methane emissions from livestock and natural gas are nearly equal, (EPA 2015)
Cowspiracy is a shocking yet humorous documentary revealing the environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet, and offers a path to global sustainability for a growing population.

Guest speakers:
 Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biodiversity
Kerri Zemko, RN, BSN, Oncology research nurse
To view trailer:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Great citizen-activism in support of Marine Drive Trail

I made the video (link below) to get more public support for buying the Marine Drive right of way so that we could create a trail that connects the neighborhood to downtown. Please share it with others.
I am available to answer questions. The video is only two minutes long.

Mark Wigg
p 503 588-2524
c 971 600-6607
POBox 831
Salem OR 97308


Once the golden goose leaves, there's nothing left but them regular gooses."
    — Texas state Representative Garnet Coleman

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

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Vengeance lust wastes millions, keeps family from answers

By former Oregon State Penitentiary Supt. Frank Thompson:

Allow me to make a well-informed prediction: the imposition of a new death sentence on Dayton Rogers by jurors in Clackamas County this week will prove to be nothing but an expensive charade. Despite this sentence, Rogers will very likely never be executed. Indeed, the state of Oregon has not executed anyone for nearly twenty years. I should know, I was the prison superintendent who supervised the last two executions to take place in our state, in 1996 and 1997. I understand the cost, both human and financial, of the death penalty and why that is not a price worth paying by Oregonians.
Dayton Rogers’ guilt is not in doubt. Nor is the enormity of his crimes. Nor the fact that Oregonians have already spent millions of dollars on a case that is over a quarter of a century old and will now pay millions more for an execution date that will never arrive. That money, which could have been spent on crime prevention initiatives that will actually make our communities safer, will instead be used to fund a lengthy appeals process which is unlikely to conclude before Dayton Rogers dies of natural causes in prison. He is already 62 years old and may have 30 years of appeals ahead of him. This is the exact same outcome that would have been achieved by a sentence of life without parole, but with massive additional cost.

What this new death sentence also guarantees is that Kelli Cervantes, whose mother, Nondace Kae Cervantes, was killed by Rogers and who the Oregonian has reported wants to meet with him in order to obtain answers to her urgent questions, will never get those answers. Prison policy will not allow a defendant and a victim’s family member to meet until all legal proceedings are over. If he had been sentenced to true life, Rogers was ready to waive all possible future legal proceedings, putting an end to the money spent on his case and allowing Kelli Cervantes the encounter that may bring her some solace.
As it is, Kelli Cervantes and all the other family and friends of the victims as well as anyone participating in future court hearings about Rogers’ crimes will undergo further trauma. Each step in the appeals process will bring fresh publicity and turn the media spotlight once again onto Dayton Rogers. How can anyone involved have an opportunity to heal while they experience the uncertainty and dread of waiting for the next twist in the tale?
Dayton Rogers’s case is “Exhibit A” for a broken system that is draining cash from our state’s funds in pursuit of an illusion that the death penalty is doing anything to keep Oregonians safe. Far better that we cease our “tinkering with the machinery of death” and resolve in future to choose the sentencing option – life without the possibility of parole – that will protect our communities from harm while avoiding financial waste and further human suffering.

Action Alert (UPDATED) - Ask Elected Officials to Ensure No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Dear allies in the fight against new fossil fuel infrastructure,

First, a huge THANK YOU  to those who have signed on to our petition calling for an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure on the West Coast! We are making progress! Our endorsers, which can be found on our front page of our website include: Van Jones, Winona LaDuke, Tom Goldtooth, Bill McKibben and many 350.orgs, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and many more. But it's not too late to add your name and organization as an endorser.

In terms of elected officials, we have three mayors endorsing (Portland, Hood River and Milwaukie, OR), another mayor of a major west coast city expressing "strong interest" to our allies in Paris in endorsing our petition, and another mayor--Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, CA-- being strongly lobbied by friends and allies in California and in Paris to sign our petition. Here is a news article which suggests that she, like Portland Mayor Hales, sees the opportunity to constrain coal exports based on health and safety:

And here is Mayor Hales' latest report from Paris, where he discusses the key role mayors have to play in acting on climate change:

Here are the list of elected officials that have signed our petition as of today. Thank you to each and every one of them!

·         Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, OR

·         Amanda Fritz, Portland City Commissioner

·         Steven Novick, Portland City Commissioner

·         Dan Saltzman, Portland City Commissioner

·         Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner

·         Paul Blackburn, Mayor of Hood River, OR

·         Peter Cornelison, Hood River City Commissioner

·         Mark Gamba, Mayor of Milwaukie, OR

·         Eric LaBrant, Commissioner-Elect, Port of Vancouver, WA

·         Gayle McLaughlin, Councilmember. Richmond, CA

·         Richard R. Pennant, Councilmember, Hoquiam, WA

Although Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was quoted as endorsing our petition in the Eugene Weekly, we are awaiting confirming on her endorsement.

As you may know, the mayors of LA, San Francisco, Eugene, and Seattle are coming to Portland on Dec. 10-11 to discuss climate change.

What can you do to help? In addition to sending around our website for more sign-ons via social media and other means, please send a short note to your elected officials--mayor, city commissioner, etc.--if they aren't on our list already and ask them to put add their name to our short one-sentence statement on our website which reads:

"The following local, state, and provincial leaders have endorsed the principles expressed in Portland's Fossil Fuel Resolution — that fossil fuels pose inherent health and safety dangers throughout their entire life cycle  — and commit to creating similar restrictions on new fossil fuel infrastructure in their jurisdictions."

The sign-on statement can be found here:

If they have questions about what this statement means, please refer them to the bottom of the front page of our website, where Columbia Riverkeeper's Brett VandenHeuval answers frequently asked questions about the resolution, and dispels the Fox News lie that this means, for example, no new gas stations.

The sooner you can do this, the better. If you can get endorsements by Thursday, Dec. 10, awesome!! Our press conference announcing mayor endorsements is Friday morning. But after that is OK, too. We're in it for the long haul, along with you.

Thanks for all you do!

Oh, and if you have a few dollars to spare to help defray the costs of building our website (about $1000), we would love any and all contributions.  You can do so here.

Many thanks!

Daphne Wysham
Director, Climate and Energy Program
Center for Sustainable Economy
Advisor, National Climate Justice Strategy Group, Unitarian Universalist Association