Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tell Congressman Kurt Schrader that fiscal responsibility starts at home!

Kurt Schrader likes to tout his "Blue Dog" persona, fiscal conservatism with social moderation. That means Kurt should be dead set against the gigantic waste represented by the Bridgeasaurus Boondogglus, the so-called "Third Bridge (to Bankruptcy)" that the Salem Chamber of Commerce lobby wants you to pay for, with

A local gas tax hike,
AND a vehicle license fee hike,
AND a property tax hike,
AND tolls

That's right, this monster is so absurdly wasteful that it would take ALL FOUR just to pay on the bonds for it. So instead of funding fixes first, the Chamber hopes to get you and your family on the hook to pay for an unneeded and way overpriced monstrosity of highway engineering left over from the 1950s.

Tell Rep. Schrader you're not buying it, and that he shouldn't either.

Monday, February 15, 2016


This is actually Moore's most bittersweet movie -- although inspiring and uplifting, it also gives you the sobering feeling about just We have to do to make this country something like America again, how hard it will be to bring America back and rescue it from the cowards and criminals who want us all to be afraid of each other and everyone else in the world at all times.

(Not an image from the movie, but related to one of the great segments)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

OregonPEN #51 especially salient for Salem

Cars are fantastic.

They are truly amazing things, virtually mobile luxury palaces, capable of conveying people around at high speed, in perfect shirtsleeve comfort regardless of the weather, with astounding reliability for such complicated machines.

We love cars.

And that's why we can't seem to come to grips with the fact that they killing us.

Our infatuation -- obsession, really -- with cars is a root cause or major contributor to nearly every wicked problem we face.

Cars are not just the biggest threat to America -- they are the threat delivered.  With a vengeance.

Cars -- or, more precisely, our heedless love of cars leading to a complete reordering of society to accommodate them -- are responsible not just for a huge share of the climate chaos that may well lead to the downfall of human civilization, they are the cause of the immediate violent deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans every decades, and that's before you even consider the long-term health consequences of turning bipedal primates into an obese populace racked by heart disease and diabetes.

Cars spewing lead fumes poisoned the world for decades, and that experiment with mass lead poisoning seems to have been responsible for a huge share of the violent crime surge that we suffered in Post-War America, a surge now mysteriously receding according to the pundit class. Of course the mystery must remain a mystery always because revealing the truth would mean discussing that the oil companies and the great industrial giants in Detroit knew that lead was and is supremely toxic and that leaded gasoline was doing to Americans what the mercury did to hat makers in Lewis Carroll's time, making them insane, or mad as hatters.

The wondrous nature of the cars themselves -- and a lifetime of ceaseless conditioning from the propaganda ministry of Madison Avenue -- is why they are such a problem.

Satan never tempts you with spinach -- Satan tempts with luxury goods and promises of power.  And cars are all that and more.

This issue of OregonPEN focuses on a third plank of the OregonPEN agenda -- building Strong Towns, which is an idea stolen from a budding powerhouse organization called just that. Strong Towns is probably the most important and subversive environmental group in the country right now, because it hardly ever talks environmental problems per se and, therefore, avoids the MEGO response (my eyes glaze over) that environmental problems immediately trigger for a car-worshiping nation.

Instead, the Strong Towns approach is to talk to people about people problems. Only slowly, subtly, do people realize that our irrationality about cars is at the heart of the problem.

And so many of our problems start with the problem that we are bankrupting ourselves by playing the highway-fueled Growth Ponzi Scheme, where we let the sprawl lobby dictate the shape and character of all the places where we live, which has turned a huge share of this giant nation that was once noted for its infinite variety and distinct regional flavors into a broke, charmless, characterless, unhealthy, polluted mess, inhabited by a nation of people who are falling down on every ranking of social health and well-being, but who by God brought the great God Auto to the world.

The discussions below involve Chuck Marohn, a recovering engineer and planner and others who have joined in the Strong Towns discussion.

The mission of OregonPEN is to empower and engage Oregonians in making Oregon better. Spreading the Strong Towns message and helping people bring that thinking to Salem and all over Oregon is one of the most useful ways of doing it.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Great Stuff: French law forbids food waste by supermarkets | World news | The Guardian

French law forbids food waste by supermarkets | World news | The Guardian

French law forbids food waste by supermarkets

France wastes 7m tonnes of food annually. Supermarket chain Carrefour, above, agreed the law would help increase food donations.

France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks.

Under a law passed unanimously by the French senate, as of Wednesday large shops will no longer bin good quality food approaching its best-before date. Charities will be able to give out millions more free meals each year to people struggling to afford to eat.

The law follows a grassroots campaign in France by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste. The campaign, which led to a petition, was started by the councillor Arash Derambarsh. In December a bill on the issue passed through the national assembly, having been introduced by the former food industry minister Guillaume Garot.

Campaigners now hope to persuade the EU to adopt similar legislation across member states. . . . 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Looks good for Friday Night

In a Single Garment of Destiny

A talk by Leonard Pitts Jr.


Friday, Feb. 5, 7:00 p.m.

(Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)


Smith Auditorium, Willamette University Salem, OR

Free admission

Please register online, call 503-370-6463, or 

go to Putnam University Center, 2nd floor, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.


During the last four decades, Leonard Pitts Jr. has worked as a college professor, radio producer, syndicated columnist and lecturer. But above all else, he considers himself a writer. Focused on issues ranging from race to culture, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2004.


The title of Pitts' speech refers to a passage from Martin Luther King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail," which defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism and became an important text for the American Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s.

More information from

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Awesome! Very cool


  The Salem Tool Library, a not-for-profit organization, is a startup
lending library for tools of all types!

We had our first planning meeting on Saturday January 16th and will have
committee meetings for the next 5 Tuesday nights (until our next full
membership planning meeting on February 20th @2pm). For more information,

Thank you for your support for this community project!,
Ken Gettys, Acting Exec Director

PS. Fully equipped Community Sharing Work Shops are being planned too!
Funding provided by members, local sponsors, donors, estate bequests, and
by Community Sharing Work Centers International! (