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On the lighter side of life... 

#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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Trump & The Mob

http-//www.politico.com#13C5A6C

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"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."

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Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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“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

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A Just Peace

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SIP contract online

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Middle East friendship chart

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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"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%.  

 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • 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: 

Hardtimes

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

http://www.npr.org


 Homelessness

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

Homelessness:  

•    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:

•    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...   


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ

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  • 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... 


Every Fascist Needs an Enabler. Donald Trump Will Have Mike Pence.


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. 

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SB 1533 passes!  

http://oregon.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=10863

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Housing Needs in Oregon 

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"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, 1941

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Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel

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Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 

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Sign the petition ►

Walgreens - pay your fair share of taxes!


  • "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  


Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   


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

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"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... 

americanobserver

    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   

GarrisonKeillor

 

     Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 



"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 

" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."  

- Garrison Keillor 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Saturday
Mar042017

USA - A NATION DIVIDED...  

Update:  March 4, 6:45 p.m.       

Our national motto is "e pluribus unum" - from many one.  But after this presidential election year chaos, anger, despair not unity has been the buzzwords.  

      We are a nation divided by red and blue voters, divided by race, class, religion, gender, sexual identity, region and zip code.  Old lines of urban/rural divide have been hardened.  

     While the middle class has lost ground the economic divide has widened. The top 0.1% have seen their share of wealth go up four times, since 1975! And, since 1970, the "super elite" 0.01% has seen their incomes grow a whopping 628%!  These are the results from economic policies from Presidents Richard Nixon to George W. Bush.  

     If one follows Trump and GOP promises of tax cuts for corporate America - the wealth gap will increase.  This is akin to corporations playing a shell game with states trying to get the most tax benefits they can.  It's worked for Intel, Nike et al in Oregon. Jobs will go to not to the marginalized middle class but to highly skilled workers who themselves often work on "contract" sans benefits. Where are middle class tax cuts coming from - cutting the safety net pitting the working poor against those one level above them?  

     So where's the common ground in America?  Democrats and Republicans don't have that unity thing going anymore we're are a house divided. Liberals and conservatives are divided by ideology and 43 million Americans last election didn't vote!   

     The American Dream brought generations of immigrants from all over the world to the USA and now that has become a dividing line. In truth it always has been there. When the Irish arrived in New England the signs went up "no Irish". Then Italians saw the signs go up "no Wops".  After Pearl Harbor it was "no Japs." 

     Every ethnic group in the US has met the same signs out in the open or hidden by zoning codes, neighborhood covenants, red lining, urban renewal (aka Black removal) and now gentrification.  We've never made it easy for a family on the margins to find a home of their own.  We instead blame the poor!   

     The most brutal examples of exclusion and exploitation were slavery, Jim Crow and segregation practiced on African-Americans.  But Native Americans weren't even worthy of being included under separate but equal or as 3/5s a person in the Constitution - they were victims of European disease, genocide or forcibly moved to reserves.  

     Indigenous peoples, Native and Hispanic Americans, from California to Mexico saw their lands and ranches stolen by US colonialism sanctioned by Manifest Destiny where porous geographical boundaries of the Rio Grand and the Sonoran desert which had been a cross-cultural and economic bridge for centuries were militarized. Trump didn't invent this "pacification" process Andrew Jackson did!             

     This history speaks not to a kinder gentler America but to an America we want to deny even exits. But history will not be silent.  

     Despite this terrible legacy a new chapter of "exclusion" now confronts Latinos and Muslims from the Trump administration who lives in a fantasy world wants to wall off people - a new generation of immigrants who have ties in the USA or want to flee war torn regions of the Middle East and Africa. Aside from the immorality of this human removal - how does moving 11 million people cost out?  It doesn't. It's a mind boggling stupid idea!  

     But there is another America. I saw it this Thursday when I hosted 80 Occupational Therapy students from Pacific University and some of their community college cohorts in a road trip to and tour of the Puzzle Palace - something I've been doing for many generations of Pacific students through internships or road trips since I arrived on campus in 1974. 

     For 13 years I did this road trip with our MAT students in my School & Society class in a short course in June when that program begins. For the last 6 years I've been doing this for our OT students. One year we took 80 students and members of Adelante Mujeres in a school bus to Salem!  When we walked into a House committee hearing on education reform that was an eye turner for the legislators! 

     What unites these groups of students in our MAT or OT programs is the goal of service. Their ability to meet these ambitious goals depends a lot of what happens in the Puzzle palace and in the corridors of power in DC.  So my mission is to show them how to be engaged citizen/professionals.  

     Oregon's legislature, unlike our distant federal government, is more person friendly. At the end of the day after students have "lobbied" legislators or their legislative assistants, seen committee hearings and a House or Senate floor session - they come away jazzed by the experience. Some have even met a governor or two over the years. 

     I don't pull any punches I explain how hard it is for an idea to become a law but also I explain to them that persistence is rewarded once they learn how to develop "relationships" with legislators which hopefully will involve a life long engagement because if they are to serve their students/clients their work doesn't stop at the end of a school or clinic day.  

     In my classes or workshops with post-BA students engaged in helping professions I often ask them who their most important focus is - they get it - it's not their school, their clinic or hospital but their clients - students or patients - who often face many socio-economic hurdles. So getting involved makes sense besides being the right thing to do.   

     "e pluribus unum!"  

     Now if I asked that question of voters after such a poisonous election - the answer would be - to defeat "the other" - even though we all are part of "the other" - especially on either side of the urban/rural divide. It didn't help much here when a once admired mayor of Portland years ago referred to rural Oregon as "the other Oregon."  

     While I'm a Seattle kid, Beacon Hill to be specific - I grew up in Roseburg, Oregon.  I always felt the sting of being from a small town - the "other Oregon" who often voted down school budgets.  In my youth it came out more as a sports fan when RHS was playing and getting drubbed by larger schools from Eugene, Medford or Portland. Now the "enemy" would be a Jesuit.     

     In the fall I still check the Sunday Oregonian for the football scores! 

     But I'm a million miles from Roseburg - but the Grove is a small town too - often regarded by Portlandia types as somewhere half way to the coast and in the Bible Belt when in fact as a college town we're one of the bluest cities in Oregon.  

     But at the end of the day we all believe in the American Dream, that everyone should play by the rules and if so their children and grand children should prosper from the sacrifices of the previous generation. That's been the driving force of the American Dream. But it's a dream much at risk today, hence the fear, the anger and the bunker mentality on both sides of our political divide.   

     In the 2016 election we faced a perfect storm - a working class shattered by the Great Recession (though in truth the road to the bottom began in the '70s). Lacking an historical memory many angry people, young and old flocked to The Bern or The Donald despite the clear facts that the candidate with the best credentials to govern and committed to the most vulnerable was Hillary. 

      Let's not forget she won by almost 2.9 million popular votes. 

Popular Vote:  Clinton 65,844,610 (48.2%), Trump 62,979,636 (46%) - source The Cook Report

     But Hillary could not punch her "woman's card" in key states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania caused by voter intimidation and an under vote by millennials and suburban women in those key states. She was compromised by her political scar tissue, evasiveness on the e-mail stuff and just not willing to compete with The Bern and The Donald in summing her "anger" aka testosterone quotient knowing she'd come off as being shrill.

     But unlike The Bern she has shown grace in defeat a stark contrast to Trump's twitter fetish - sorry one good speech before Congress is not enough. One is reminded of Fritz's Mondale's question to Gary Hart in the '88 Atlanta debate "Where's the beef?" And now with 'Trumpgate' in the headlines - Trump has lost the narrative and been "Nixonized".   

    But at the end of the day - we all share despite our demographics the common ground that we want to play on an economic field of dreams that is fair not tilted to the rich and we all want our kids to inherit a better world than we did. Right now too many Americans feel under siege across economic, demographic and regional lines. The American Dream is slipping away.   

     But as long as President Trump hits the "demonize" button or is infected with the "Tricky Dicky" virus he will not able to deliver on his "born again" campaign promises which appear to be more fluff than substance.  In the meantime, we must all care for our own but in doing so - like my MAT and OT students let's not forget our work does not stop at the end of the work day.   

     Get involved in your community, in your party of choice, in your professions which have lobbyists speaking for you (but are they really?), run for office - school board or school committee, city council or a local city commission, then work up the food chain - to county or regional government or if the "bug" really gets you run for the legislature and/or congress.   

     OT's and MATs tend to be women drawn to service just as their mothers and grandmothers were back in the day usually as volunteers. But I do see more men in class - a good sign.  

     Woman have come a long way in Oregon politics: 23 of 60 House members and 8 of 30 Senators are women but minority faces are too few. Our governor is a woman and the speaker is a woman.  With a burgeoning Latino population in another generation more change will come! The Latino high school students in the Grove who marched against the "Wall" and attended the FG city council "sanctuary" session will be our future leaders.  

Building bridges, breaking walls

     For Oregonians - engagement is easy - you can contact your legislators online (very user friendly see the link below), or in town hall meetings, in your grocery store since most of them return home every night or at least for the weekends. They are accessible as is our open government - the Legislative website gives you all the tools you need to know in how to engage in the process - check it out.  

     In dark times we need rays of hope.  My twice a year workshops with OT students are my rays!  Our spirited almost 7 year old grand daugther is our other ray - on second thought an aurora borealis.    


www.oregonlegislature.gov
Welcome to the Oregon Legislative Website. Our primary role is to disseminate information and allow citizens the opportunity to engage in Oregon’s legislative process.

 

Wednesday
Feb222017

FROM THE INTERNMENT TO MASS DEPORTATION...  

Rev. Currie is a former student of mine,

Pacific's chaplain and the director of Pacific's Peace & Spirituality Center. 

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     President Trump (gag) has threatened to freeze federal funds in those communities or states which declare themselves "sanctuary" cities or states.  Oregon, as California, is a "sanctuary" state. So when this issue came up for a vote in our local city council by a 3-3 vote, the mayor's motion to declare us a "sanctuary" city was defeated despite overwhelming public testimony to do so.  The fear is that we'd lose federal funding for our Senior Center.  

     Upon thinking about this since that vote, I remembered Nixon in the white heat of Watergate in 1973 tried to impound funds he opposed usurping the legislative function of the Congress.  He lost his case in the courts (see below) and then Congress Passed a ban on impoundment in 1974. What Nixon forgot and Trump doesn't know is that we are a federal system with checks and balances.  Also Trumpian blunder-buss is a selective threat to those units of state or local government who refuse to carry out his immigration policies. 

     The president is the "executor" of Congressional will and like a executor of a will he must faithfully execute Congressional intent.  

     A president cannot unilaterally by fiat stop funding to state or local jurisdictions without Congressional approval and he certainly can't do it "selectively" cherry picking jurisdictions to reward and/or punish.  That would be an abuse of power, an impeachable act.  This would be a violation of the equal protection clause and due process of law.  It illustrates how ignorant the current occupant is of our history and traditions.  The would be emperor has no clothes!  

Impoundment of appropriated funds - Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org
Impoundment is an act by a President of the United States of not spending money that has been appropriated by the U.S. Congress. Thomas Jefferson was the first ...

Presidential Impoundment of Funds: A Constitutional Crisis

www.uakron.edu
PRESIDENTIAL IMPOUNDMENT OF FUNDS: A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS I. INTRODUCTION The constitutional right for the Presidentof the United States to impound funds ...

 

 

Tuesday
Feb212017

AVIATION VS. PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE PUZZLE PALACE...

      There is no such thing as safe lead levels in our air, our water or our food.      

     I attended the Senate Environmental & Natural Resources committee hearing last Wednesday on SB 115 which if passed will prohibit the use of leaded fuel in general aviation airplanes by 2022.  My friend Miki Barnes of Oregon Aviation Watch is a persistent advocate on this issue.  She's worked for such a bill for three sessions and finally got a hearing with help from co-sponsors Senator Chuck Riley and Representative Mitch Greenlick. 

Public Hearing held.

Go to Materials/Exhibits to read the testimony on both sides....  

     As I listened to the critics of the bill, mostly older aged dudes like moi but unlike me who can afford to own "hobby" general aviation airplanes to hop around Oregon their comments were that this bill would end their ability as "hobby" aviators to enjoy their planes and help in rescue efforts especially in a major tsunami or the 'big one' - a subduction zone earthquake in Oregon. Their assumption that small municipal airports around the state and their planes would not be destroyed by such an event is laughable.  

     If you read their testimony they would rather protect the status quo which privileges a few rich white people (White privilege?) - than mitigate the harm done to children by leaded fuel.  They barely acknowledged the problem - decide for yourself - read Miki's testimony et al. 

     Essentially these are poor little rich folk who live on private airports, sort of like gated golf courses, or who use local airports which dot the state to enjoy their flying habit. What was never mentionedl was the cost of enabling these high income folks to enjoy their hobby - millions from Connect Oregon - to keep local airports economically afloat while their bank accounts are in the red.  This is in addition to the air pollution from leaded fuel which is a clear a present danger as was noted in testimony (see attached hearing). 

     "Since 2005 ConnectOregon has invested $407 million in non-highway related transportation projects. Per the Oregon Department of Transportation."  Source Oregon Aviation Watch 2/21/17.  I attended an ODT Connect Oregon project funding hearings two years ago - it's an insiders game and a boondoggle.    

     The hearing reminded me of the spin by the auto industry back in the day that 'non-leaded gasoline' would put the Big 3, its suppliers and gas companies and their local stations out of business.  It didn't happen did it!  We've all been waiting for the FAA/EPA to pass national rules that would fix this problem.  But with the Drumpt administration in power and deregulation in vogue - that hope is dwindling everyday.  So states must take up the slack.  Measure 115 is the first step.  

     Frankly, I don't give 'a you know what' if private hobby pilots can't fly until we get non-leaded gas.  What we did for cars we can surely do for piper cubs et al. In the meantime, let's stop the polluting of air especially around airports like Hillsboro which is surrounded by local neighborhoods, schools, child care centers and parks.  If you want to fly your gas guzzling airplane - hanger it in a rural airport - not one surrounding the western suburbs of Portlandia.  Go to Burns!  

     Just for the record, the private jets which fly out of Hillsboro airport servicing Nike, Intel et al use non-leaded fuel so they are not the problem.  What is the problem is private flight training companies which train foreign born not US pilots in touch and go general aviation planes.  Again, until we get non-leaded GA fuel - move these companies to rural airports and keep their air pollution away from densely populated communities like Hillsboro.  

     One final comment:  After 9/11 we found out that the hijackers had been in flight training schools in Florida and California.  I suggest DHS vet these "students" very carefully!  The two Chinas are very sophisticated economies - why can't they train their own would-be pilots?

oregonaviationwatch.org
Oregon Aviation Watch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to research, educate and advocate on behalf of the public interest and public ...
Thursday
Feb162017

TRUMP'S RENDEZVOUS WITH REALITY?  

FROM THE NEW YORKER by Tom Toro, Feb. 16, 2017 

Monday
Feb132017

BILL GATES, THE PIED PIPPER OF EDUCATION REFORM

Terry Crosgrove, who works in an Ohio plant that makes Slim Jims, is studying for an associate degree through Southern New Hampshire U.'s competency-based program, which was begun with money from Gates.

http://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Gates-Effect/140323/

     Bill Gates whose K-12 reforms have largely failed has now trained his sights on higher education.  What's ironic is that he is a "college dropout." 

     That's not to suggest he's dumb, he clearly isn't.  But to have the hubris to think minus any long term experience as a student or classroom professor in a university that somehow he's qualified to know how to "fix" higher ed, assuming it needs a "fix" is to say the least mind boggling.  

     When one looks under the hood at his ideas as described in the Chronicle of Education article (above) it's clear to me Bill Gates is "clueless in Seattle." 

     Just because he has a big bank wad of money to throw around doesn't make his ideas good ones, it simply means as the article examines he has the ability to get eyeballs by fellow enterpreneurs, education bureaucrats and big time politicians.  It's the "Trump effect" all over again, if you spin a line time and time again, eventually the "alt fact" becomes golden.  

     The question that needs to be asked does he have a "lived" experience aside from his one year at Harvard in higher education? No. Has he taught at the university level? No! Has he been a higher ed administrator? No!  If the answer is "none of the above" what's the foundation of his so-called expertise? 

     As the son of privilege he grew up in Seattle attending a private academy.  No doubt he got a good education, the best money can buy.  But does that give him the necessary credentials to be considered an educational guru? No way in hell. 

     If one tracks national trends in educational reform other than John Dewey ('30s) most of the "reformers" have come from the political class - Gen. Hyman Rickover ('50s), Ronald Reagan ('80s) followed by his successors Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama. The best reforms came via Brown vs. Board and LBJ with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Acts which focused on funding K-12 not micro managing it. 

     Don't forget Title IX in the Carter years.  It opened doors for women but it didn't change the rules and metrics of school or college sports.  

     As one reads the Chronicle article Gates et al reduce education to "competency" based metrics which on their own have nothing to do with educating one for being a citizen but for working in a global economy.

     We've heard this tune before - performance based learning and high stakes testing.  Now we're going to dumb the curriculum down to showing mastery of 120 "competencies" via online learning. Socrates would be flummoxed.  

     I have no problem with making education at all levels accountable but the key question is what is the measuring stick - fitting square pegs in round holes or teaching students the values of life long learning and what it means to live in a democratic society? 

     As the common core of our civil society is shattered, surely there is more to a post secondary education than proving you have the skill set to fit into a job slot. I've seen high school grads fit in that mold in my eye doc's clinic!  But where will future citizens in this Brave New World learn the skills of citizenship and our history?     

    As one educational guru quoted in the Chronicle article posed – what if the focus is misguided? "College completion may be the wrong goal," says Stanley N. Katz, who directs the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Princeton University and has written critically about foundations.

     "There is too much emphasis on getting people through the system, processing them," he says. "That needs to be seen in relation to what students are in fact learning. It's a big problem, and it's getting very little discussion."

          Unlike Bill Gates, I attended public schools in Seattle (grade 1-4), in Palo Alto (5) and Roseburg (6-12).  I then attended Whitman College ('60-64) and then a great land grant university, the University of Minnesota ('64-69).  I then had a 42 year college teaching career (see the About Me section of my blog for more details).

     In my time at Pacific I was the originator and director of two major grants, in both cases I had to bend myself like a pretzel to accommodate the agenda of the grantor but I managed to keep the integrity of each grant's mission.  But there were times I just wanted to say "forget it, keep yout damn money." 

     But in dealing with the likes of Bill Gates you are like a minnow swimming with the sharks.  Glad I'm retired and don't have to play those games anymore... 

     I have no issue with acquiring job skills in high school, community college or a four year university.  Apprenticeships and internships are often seminal educational experiences but they don't replace the ability to think critically, to act ethically and to understand a citizen's role in our democracy.   

      Gates et al are offering us a half a loaf not a whole loaf while skirting their responsibility to pay their fare share in local, state and federal taxes to sustain the most important education foundation of our society - which is the envy of the world - our system of higher education.  

     A final thought:  Funding K-12 or higher ed via philanthropy these days is the consequence of diminished public investment in education across the board.  State legislatures and voters have blindly followed the little brick road of the "tax revolter".  The conventional wisdom used to be "taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

     In the age of Trumpism those days are over until we discover the errors of our ways - decades from now while sacrificing the next generation or more on the altar of "no new taxes" or bogus scheme of "reform" from those with no history as educators.