More About This Website


"Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss'd to me

I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."

Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1937


Middle East friendship chart


Corporations enriching shareholders


Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks



"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  





  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:


  • Jim Hightower:

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column

Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 

Hard Times in Oregon: 


The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   




    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People


    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 


•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.


•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

     In Washington County, Oregon's "economic engine," the divide between the affluent and the working poor continues.  We have a 19,000 unit gap in affordable low income rental housing.  County political and business leaders are indifferent to this crisis...   
















































RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ


  • He lost by 2.9 million votes...

  • He's a con artist...

  • He's a pathological liar... 

  • He's a failed business man...

  • He's a fascist... 


Trump & The Mob


Trump's role models are Vladmir Putin and Benito Mussolini.  He has contempt for our checks and balances system.  He wants to "rule" not govern like a strong man, a despot.  He will shredd the Constitution anytime he feels the urge to do so and like all despots he only listens to his inner circle.  And he is paranoid and narcissistic. 


Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


Housing Needs in Oregon 




"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1940

  • "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

  • Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha  

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw



From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now

The Daily Kos

Blue Oregon


"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001

    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 



"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  


"You see things; and you say, 'Why?' 

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"  

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921) 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."  

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11 

"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”   

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."    

- Abraham Lincoln 

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society  

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..." 

- Edmund Burke  

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”  

- Jonathan Swift 

A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  


"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison



















































EDITOR'S NOTE:  Two of my fun things to do which get me away from politics and the 24/7 news cycle are model trains and golf.  Since it's been so wet and cold this spring so far, I've had no golf but an expanded model train season. 

The Tualitin Valley & Pacific RR

“Sentimental journey” from 6 to 75

In the beginning…  

       I live in the Portland, Oregon metro area. My layout is a fictional spur line, the TV&P RR, which in the 50s would have connected via Portland to mainline UP, GN, NP and SP&S railroads.     

      I got hooked on American Flyer trains at age 6 in 1948 when I got my first train at Christmas, a PRR K-5 engine plus four freight cars. Over the years I’ve added to my railroad collection.

     Like Joe Sullivan wrote in his “American Flyer Memories” column in the South Jersey S Scalers Club newsletter years ago – “Catalogue dreaming” was a major past time.

     As is typical my interest in model trains ebbed and flowed with the years. When I went off to college and then graduate school my model train habit took a hiatus but not my love affair with trains.  

     UP City of Portland excusion train at Union StationOver the years I’ve ridden the rails on the UP “City of Portland”, SP “Daylight”, GN “Empire Builder”, the Canadian Pacific and Amtrak’s DC/NYNY Metro Liner.

     I’ve visited the B&O train museum in Baltimore, the California RR museum in Sacramento and The Chicago Science & Industry museum and the Smithsonian in DC which have the real things and also fabulous model train layouts.  Balboa Park in San Diego and Tacoma’s Washington State RR museum also have huge model railroad layouts. 

St. Paul to early Oregon training…

     When my wife started teaching the first grade in St. Paul, Minnesota while I was a grad student at the U of Minnesota, I put up my model trains as part of a transportation unit in her classroom. This gave me the excuse to “double” my original set buying an AF Hudson freight set for $25!     

     Moving east in 1969 for my first college teaching job the trains went into storage. But moving to Oregon in 1975 and buying a home the next year I had space for my trains.

    I put them up on our garage floor but Oregon’s wet weather was not a good fit for electric trains.  For a year they ended in our older son’s bedroom. It was amazing how a 7 year old could navigate Daddy’s trains.

     In 1982 they came out of the boxes again. What are the holidays without model trains running around the tree? Asthma ended the tree motif but my railroad empire grew to occupy half of our living room!  But my back and knees were taking a beating. 

The Tualitin Valley & Pacific RR is born

     After remodeling our garage in 2004 into a “family” room – I had space for a permanent model railroad platform on top of newly built storage units and my wife got space for her Teddy Bear collection – a win/win!

     My goal as an S-Gauger is to run and display my trains. They are “toy trains” so while my layout has a lot of scenery – the centerpiece has always been the trains whether operated or as a RR diorama.  

Build it dudes

     Based on a simple drawing of what I wanted our remodeler built the base of the layout in his workshop with Douglas fir 2/4s supports and plywood.  Upon completion they drove it over to our house in two sections    

      The upper interior base of the layout is cabinet quality construction with one 2 x 4 cross beam on each section and 3 vertical layered inner edging supports of 1/2, 1, 1/1/2 inch around both halves of the layout to support the plywood platform on which the trains are run. 

      The storage space has a 3 1/2 recessed by 3 1/2 inch depth inner floor frame with a plywood floor. The layout is accessed by 2 sets of recessed tracked sliding doors on each side of the layout, 67" x 35" x 28" - length, width and height. 

     Entrance to Grandpa's Train RoomOur remodeler and his son had to bring each white painted unit into the back door of our new family room and through the inner door to the new “family” room. Somehow they did it.

    They built a connector 38” x 26” section to connect the 2 units abutting the back wall and a 7” x 38” wood bridge platform connecting the front section opening which enables me to run trains on separate loops at the same time or a single train onto either loop.   

     The roadbed platform is a ¾ inch plywood base wit ¾ inch raised edging.  It’s covered by black indoor rug material purchased at a local building supply store. With the AF rubber roadbed this muffles the sound when trains are running.  

The dimensions of layout…

     GN diesel mainline freight/GN steam locla freightWall to wall on the back is 11.5 ft in length. This includes the inner connecting section 3.2 ft length x 2.2 ft depth.   

     From the back wall to front of the layout on both sides is 7.8 ft. This leaves me with an open space between each section of my layout of 5.6ft length x 3.2ft depth.         

     The front section is 5.1 x 3.2 x 3.2 ft in length. Height from floor to top of the layout is 3.1 ft.   

     My main transformer bank is on the left side of the left section loop.

     With the help of a child’s chair, I duck under the plywood bridge base and Scenery Unlimited trestle bridge that connects the two front-end sections of my layout.  It can also be lifted but that is a chore so far I have avoided.   


     My layout features a rural scenes in Oregon’s Willamette Valley or the Columbia Gorge. I add to the illusion with wall scenes of mountain, desert country and a city industrial district. But it’s not a replica of a particular place or town. I leave that to one’s imagination.  

Bershire passenger train pulls into Fir Grove with UP Northern waiting      I have two fictional towns – Fir Grove a small county seat town in the inner loop and a rural farming village Gales Crossing on the outer loop with an adjacent train yard along with a commuter wayside and a short trolley line.  

     My villages feature Plasticville buildings – city hall, church, pastor cottage, fire station, gas station, post office, two barns, a fruit stand, a suburban house, a covered bridge, 2 switch houses and 2 AF repo news stands.  

     I have two tunnels made in Holland, a scratch belt train station, a Marx station all purchased at train shows. I also have a lighted molded pizza parlor and grocery store near the “Fir Grove” station.  

     I have a lighted molded cathedral and a Scenery Unlimited farmhouse which I use as a B&B. The B&B and cathedral are connected via Bachmann trolley car tracks running the length on the back of the layout in front of the engine house.

Operating equipment: 

     My model railroad empire is an eclectic collection of rolling stock - American Flyer, AF by Lionel, American Models, SHelper Service, Scenery Unlimited and MTA S Gauge.

     Window train display     Trackside features include a Lionel semaphore, 3 AF semaphores, AF oil derrick, MTH floodlight tower, AF water tower, AF revolving aircraft beacon, AF stockyard, AF barrel loader, two AF billboard whistles, AF water tank, AF crossing gate, Sam the Semaphore Man, AF Wayside Station, 3 sets of AF lamps and an MTH UP arrival/departure billboard adjacent to the north end of my layout.  

     Operating cars included Bachmann Christmas & Hershey Chocolate Trolleys, AFL GE Search Light car, AF Gilbert Milk car, AF Hand car, AFL Walking Brakeman car, AFL Joe & Moe flatcar, AFL Operating coal car, AFL operating lumber car, AF Railway Express mail car and 4 operating cabooses.  I have 2 AFL, 2 AM rail sound box cars plus “B” unit AF SF, AFL UP, SP, and AM NP rail sound cars.  

     Other features - AFL Polar Express truss bridge, 2 UP MTH truss bridges, a Scenery Unlimited steel and a lighted AF trestle bridge, Lionel engine house, an AF diner and a Parr Hobby Shop grain elevator.

     I also have many scale cars, trucks and figures. 

SP Alco pulling passenger consist over the tressle bridge     I have 15 steam engines, 28 diesel engines @ 200 freight cars and @ 100 passenger cars.  I have 11 compete passenger consists of heavyweight or streamliner trains, SP, UP, BN, NP, WP, MP, Pullman & the Polar Express.

     The most unique feature of my layout is the 18 inch long snow shed tunnel made out of corrugated iron by a professional sculptor friend, a one of a kind production based on pictures of such tunnels in eastern Washington state.   

     I also have three book cases in the train room which give me extra display space for my steam & diesel engines plus room for my many train books, videos and DVDs. I’ve run out of space so my empire has maxed out – until I visit the next train show...

Power system…

     My layout is powered by two American Models transformers boosted by an American Flyer 19B, two 8 Bs, one 1.5B, two Marx transformers and a Tech II transformer.  My Bachmann trolleys are powered by a Track DC Accessories AC transformer.  

     UP Big Boy heads to repair houseI also have 3 S Helper Service LocoMatic control boxes, a Lionel Trainmaster Cab I remote and Lionel Berkshire remote. A Train Power Pack 5400 runs a DC AM Burlington switcher freight on the inner loop.      

     Since my AF tracks are embedded in AF rubber roadbed and with 14 AF switches I need a lot of extra power caused by power gaps in the AF tracks, how clean the tracks are and variable engine power need and consist load.   

Train viewing…

     Over the years of thanks to E-Bay, attending train shows, swap meets and hobby stores in the Midwest, East and West my railroad empire has expanded from that modest start in 1948 in San Francisco.

     My wish is that AFL, AM or MTH would add a GN Empire Builder streamliner passenger consist to their product line.   

     Next up?  I bought my grand daughter the O Gauge Thomas the Tank engine and loop plus some old Lionel gondola cars. It’s in our living room where the Christmas tree used to be – oh dear here we go again! 

     Who knows what’s around the bend – toot toot Thomas!

     Grandpa's train girl on the Oregon Heritage Holiday train, with Rudolph in the SP Baggage car;  the other is Miss L wringing a former steam engine train bell at the OHT museum on a warm fall day in Portland. 

Happy 7th Birthday Lavanya!  

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