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Oregon Town Hall: Pot In 2015

What will be the social and health consequences of pot on children?  The new law bans smoking pot in public places - will it be enforced?    

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Sign petition to stop Keystone XL Pipeline

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Trust in government is 'dead, Jim'

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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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Oreaviationwatch

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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 & health care disparities 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. 

Heath Care Disparities: 

•    Adults in Oregon without insurance represent 22.3% of the state’s population compared to 19.7% of the nation.  In Washington County approximately 


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

 

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

Obamacare another good week

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 Explore Intel emissions

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#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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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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Obamacare is working in Oregon!

Oregon's uninsurance rate cut more than half following federal health reforms

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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   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  QuestionIntel.com  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

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


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Wednesday
Dec242014

SO YOU WANT TO MOVE TO CANADA - EH?  

     Here are two articles from my CC in Osoyoos, BC. 

     I think it put things in a perspective most of us don't have access to - how Canada and the USA compare not in the big metro areas but in more rural cities like Forest Grove. 

     It looks like the Canadians have an edge up in health care and in graduation rates, especially among minority students, in this case First Nation's students.  

     Being bigger is not always better!  But our "decider" is Barack and they are stuck with Stevie "the wonder boy." 

Tuesday
Dec232014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM PORTLANDIA, 2015

Merry Christmas around the world

With extended family with Italian, German, English, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Jewish, Philippine, French and Spanish roots this is a nice way to celebrate the diversity and immigrant legacy of an American family.


Tuesday
Dec232014

THE HOKUS, POKUS OF SCHOOL REFORM

     Editorial boards from The Oregonian and the Tribune chain are raising doubts about Governor Kitzhaber's education agenda and budget he's proposed for the 2015 session.  Their comments are echoing what I've been saying for "years" - that it's all smoke and mirrors pretending that reform can happen on the cheap and be delivered by educational gimmicks.  And by privileging early ed it will shrink funding for the upper grades. 

     The governor's budget like so many of his ideas may have unintended consequences once we look carefully "under the hood" as the saying goes.   

     Here's an excerpt from an editorial from the Hillsboro Tribune, a Pamplin paper: 

     That’s why they may not be cheering for even more changes as envisioned in the governor’s budget. One proposal is to alter the funding formula for English Language Learners. Instead of allocating state revenue based on the number of ELL students in each district, the governor suggests distributing those dollars based on how quickly the ELL students become non-ELL students.

     This concept has support from education reformers in Oregon, but it’s not something easily implemented. The end result could mean pushing students out of ELL programs before they are ready, or punishing districts with large immigrant populations. Legislators should move slowly with this type of reform, as unintended consequences will abound.

     By using a formula which allocates money based on how fast an ELL student becomes English proficient is misguided for the reasons cited above - it may push students out of ELL too quickly and/or punish districts with large immigrant enrollments.  It's also problematic because it slights the role of "dual language" education which embraces the linguistic and cultural heritage of immigrant students.  

If the schools can't do it, then we'll outsource ELL via "social impact bonding?"   

     American society is the only mono-lingual society in the world.  Our neighbor to the north Canada has two official languages, English and French.  Virtually every nation in the world expects students to learn English plus their own national language.  The Kitzhaber plan not only privileges English but it implicitly suggests that a child's "other" language learned at home is a second class language to be snuffed out - asap!

     This de facto English language jingoism is all too familiar in American public education which has resulted in denying our history and our diversity.  Becoming a dual language learner allows the immigrant child to embrace his/her roots as one becomes a member of the wider society.  For the native English speaker learning a second language enables one to understand the "other's" history, point of view and hopefully reclaim their own past. 

     I live in a community where 50% of the kids in our K-12 system are Hispanic.  For them their first language is often Spanish not English.  To enable them to keep their first language while learning English sends two powerful messages - you are valued because of who you are and who you are becoming.  In a multi-cultural society whose national motto is "e pluribus unum" this sends a powerful message of inclusion. 

Saturday
Dec202014

KITZHABER - "POLICY WONKS" AT WORK!  

In Oregon we are constantly reinventing the wheel without asking what size of car we drive...  

You don’t vote, forget about it…  

     A series of articles running in the UnOregonian evidences the callous disregard Oregon’s two recent governor’s Ted Kulongoski and John Kitzhaber have shown to Oregonians faced with addictions. 

     But as Part 2 of the series indicates, the governors were not alone in ignoring the issue – most of our state legislators gave little attention and virtually no money to this increasing problem. 

    Why? 

     The bottom line is the truism that in politics you are not a player if you don’t pony up money to help candidates get elected and if you don’t vote forget about it – you simply don’t exist. 

     This is the harsh fact of life facing the poor, the marginalized and the undereducated when it comes to getting the attention of the powers that be in Mahonia Hall and the Salem Puzzle Palace.  

All are equal but some are more equal…  

     It’s also a fact of life which will impact those whose children are not on the “to do” list of governor Kitzhaber when it comes to funding K-12 education in Oregon. 

     Kitzhaber is focused like a laser beam on the K-3 cohort having come to believe as an article of faith that if one can get these kids up and running by the 3rd grade, the state will harvest long term benefits.

     Translation - "successful" students means more high wage workers, more personal incomes taxes collected and no need to hit on corporate Oregon to help pay for state programs, Kitz’s latest "no new taxes" deal!    

     What happens to those not in the “favored” class – those older than 3rd grade?  Or those who drop out?  It’s simple - Kitz favors early education while he flat lines (rations) the rest of the K-12, higher ed budgets.   

New thinking… 

    Attending a workshop on Tuesday held by the Human Services Coalition of Oregon (HSCO) at the Mercy Corps headquarters in downtown Portland the “new thinking” mindset became clear. 

     The meeting began with a discussion of what is termed these days as “social impact bonding” or the “pay for prevention” strategy to delivering human services. 

      This strategy if adopted beyond its current pilot project would “outsource” our human services delivery system.  Ironically their model is a privatized recidivism program in the UK. 

     Social services engineering according to advocates of this strategy requires buy-in from foundations or corporate entities that means results must be measurable - “data driven.” 

     Here are their talking points – in brief… 

  •      Results must be monitored

  •      Focus on prevention or early intervention

  •      Demonstrate public financial benefits

  •      Use evidence-based metrics

  •      Track record of success

  •      Outcomes measure in a compact time

  •      Have core performance goals

  •      Manage potential risk

  •      Commit to assessment planning

     Anyone familiar with human services knows that  recipients face multiple obstacles – poor education, poverty, homelessness, criminal records and minimal access to health care. 

     Any delivery system must address this intersection problem by providing a collaborative service model.  Such a model can’t be purchased on the cheap nor judged in the short term.

The hidden agenda:  

     OK, everyone believes in data/results/outcomes performance benchmarks these days.  But the new twist implied in “social impact bonding” is that the investment must ultimately pay off to the investor.

     Now ask yourself is this a system designed to deal with the wide variety and ages of those in need or is this a model designed to turn clients into measureable widgets?

     Raise your hand if you’d like your child to be educated in such a “controlled” system?  Or is this a system which will only take on the identifiably most likely to succeed clients?  

     In other words, social service delivery is no longer viewed as a human right for those in need since such services must not only address the needs of those served but also pay a return to investors. 

     The concept that the community must step up to meeting human needs by taxing itself is now to be replaced to a system where the investor wants a return on investment. 

     This turns the entire social service delivery system upside down.  Now don’t get me wrong – there is much to critique in the way we deliver services to the needy in Oregon. 

A system or political failure?    

    But as the Oregonian series reveals the real problem as I’ve noted in previous blogs whether the subject was homelessness, poverty or education, if there is no political will – there is no way out? 

     As I listened to an hour-long presentation about “social impact bonding” it made me think this is the new mantra to justify a rationing of human services founded on metrics not social justice. 

     The logic goes as follows – if you can’t quantify the problem, if you can’t show clear outcomes and now if you can’t get a return on investment – forget about the community addressing social issues. 

     This is the Brave New World John Kitzhaber is embracing in his final tour of duty as our governor.  Welcome to Governor Scrooge – the dude that presided over the failure of CoverOregon. 

New thinking in Salem? 

     Yes, I know the spin out of Salem is that over 300,000 Oregonians now have health insurance.  But they can thank Barack Obama not John Kitzhaber.  But for the record 300,000 don’t have coverage! 

     So Kitzhaber and his merry band of social engineers who think more like bankers than social workers are simply avoiding the elephant in the room – tax reform to support what we want to do.

     Kitz doesn’t want to make the “ask” to the Nike and Intel to step up and pay their fair share and since the poor don’t have a lobby in Salem – the political class can just ignore them. 

Now back to the addiction issue. 

     This issue is at the intersection of a failed mental health and corrections system.  We have no coherent community mental health system in the USA, let alone Oregon. 

    As the recreational use of pot comes on line around July 1, 2015 the failure to construct a coherent addictions/mental health/correction system nexus will create an even more challenged system. 

     This is the politics of insanity and denial.  But hey, the addicted and the poor – who overlap – don’t’ have a lobby in Salem so nobody in power cares.  

     Or as State Senator Alan Bates, an MD (D, Ashland) said -

     "Compared to K-12 and higher education, they've [advocates for the addicted] had a tough slog." "They can't put money into campaigns. I'm just being candid with you."  One nonprofit executive said, "drug addicts don't vote and they don't contribute to political campaigns."

     So much for compassion, social justice and the beloved community!   Welcome to John Kitzhaber’s Brave New World of human services engineering?

What's the alternative?  

     Rather than reinventing the wheel, if one wants to attack the intersecting problems of poverty, hunger, homelessness, school failure, recidivism and addiction I keep going back to the idea of a guaranteed incomes policy or what conservatives term the negative income tax. 

     For decades comparative political science research has demonstrated that the best policy for achieving a democratic polity is having a robust middle class.  The same can be said of solving the "poverty" problem.  People who are solidly middle class don't fall into the cycle of poverty. 

     People who earn a family wage income aren't smarter - they just have the resources to meet the challenges life poses.  Such a policy would require the 1% to sacrifice some of their privileges and the remnants of the middle class to see Scrooges like Phil Knight's as the enemy not those mired in poverty.   

     Is this an endorsement of "class envry" - damn straight!  The rich practice it everyday - check out the list of rogues below including Nike's Phil Knight...       


    

Friday
Dec192014

PORTLANDIA AT NIGHT

Pioneer Square at Christmas, 2014

     Attended a HSCO workshop - Human Services Coalition - on Wednesday which gave me an excuse to walk around downtown Portland after the meeting.  Took MAX then jumped off at Pioneer Square Mall, then walked over to Macys to see the Christmas kid's area - "recon" for our grand daughter!  Santa, trains, reindeers - what's not to like?  The city is the place to be on the holidays not some cookie cutter mall.  Had a fun 2 hours - then home to the burbs.  

     A brief trip down the Holiday's memory lane for Lavanya Sophia Dondero -

     I was born in Seattle in 1942 so my first memories of Christmas are from our family home on 2007 Brandon Street on Beacon Hill.  As an only child I remember listening on my 45 RPM record player to all the favorites of the season but what sticks out even today is Spike Jones' "My Two Front Teeth."     

     My most wanted gift at that time which Santa delivered was a Fort Apache set which I still have remnants of devoted to infra-structure on my electric train empire.  I also talked to the main man at Seattle's Frederick & Nelson's store, got the pictures to prove it, Miss L. 

     But the best present of all time was my first American Flyer train set which Santa brought me when we lived for a year, 1948, in down town San Francisco.  It was a steam loco, PRR - Pacific with 4 cars.  Over the years I've managed to add to it somehow by magic.

     In 1951 my Dad was transferred again to San Francisco from Seattle and we lived in Palo Alto on Middlefield Drive.  Christmas in Palo Alto was amazing because despite no snow everyone in the area we lived in decorated their homes!  I've never seen such splendor on such a scale ever! 

     We moved to Roseburg in 1952 and by then Christmas was more of an annual ritual more memorable because of Christmas music heard in church and because my mother was a singer in the local Messiah Choir.  I've always loved The Messiah, a legacy for classical music from my mother and piano teacher! 

     But I do remember our first Christmas getting another Gilbert product besides my American Flyer trains - the chemical set.  I managed to stink up the house with some foul concoction one day.  Fun, fun, fun.  My career as a budding scientist came to an end.

     Sadly, my most enduring memories of Roseburg at that time - 1952-60 - was the annual flooding of the South Umpua River.  We never got flooded out but our home my Dad built in the Melrose area was marooned like an island and we had to jack the furniture up every Christmas - just in case! 

     My Dad's marriage in 1963 to my step mother, Edie (Edith) brought much more wonderful memories of her beautiful home decked out with the holiday spirit - the classic Nobel Fir and all the trimmings.  That continued after Ann and I returned to Oregon from 5 years in Pennsylvania. 

     The best story from that era was going with Dad, Edie, Ann and Tony (2 years old) with the camera club to cut our own Christmas tree in the Umpqua National Forest 40 miles east from Roseburg.  I'll never forget my Dad throwing a cut tree into drifted snow when a US Forest Service officer checked for permits!  

     Of course starting married life in Minnesota with Ann, 1966-69 in St Paul one always had snow, lots of it and stone cold 20 to 20- degree weather from November to March.  We eventually went "native" by getting into the spirit of St Paul's Winter Festival. My on my!  

     One Christmas Dad and Edie sent us a Nobel Fir all the way from Oregon!  Wow - what a gift - a "real" tree not some shriveled version from a local tree lot.  And then there was the Christmas I ended up in the U of Minnesota hospital with what they thought was TB but turned out to be just a bad flu bug! 

     By 1969 we were off to Pennsylvania where I taught at Dickinson College in Carlise, PA - a picture post card New England like town 30 miles north of Gettyburgh.  Our first Chritmas there we got snowed in but managed to drive to DC despite drifting snow and white out conditions - foolhardy youth!    

     Marion, sister Judy, Ann and I ended the holiday on New Year's Eve in NYNY.  NYNY is magical during the holiday season!  If only I could have gotten Ann to Time Square!  My first experience there was in 1963 as a Alfred Sloan Scholar from Whitman at Thanksgiving - the Pacific northwest kid in the big city. 

     Over our years in Carlisle from 1969-74 we spent several holidays with Jewish friends from St. Paul days window shopping at local antique stores and then driving to DC to enjoy the big city - the French Market in Georgetown and often ending the night at the National Cathedral, an ironic place for non-believers! 

     Living in Oregon from 1974 on - Christmas has been a traditional time with our two sons and Grandma Marion, Ann's mother with one memorable trip to Roseburg with Dad and Edie, Nancy, Clyde and Diane.  Sister Judy and Marion extended their stay due to a car malfunction.  I had to get back to work!   

     The family tradition which has been passed down to Jason and Lavanya is cutting the annual Christmas tree at Christmas Trees West just a mile from our home in the Grove.  Due to my asthma we've given up the tree but Jason keeps the family tradition going. 

     When Marion was with us and now with Lavanya my most vivid memories are the sight of the tree on Christmas eve night with all the presents surrounding it - opening to the next day was anti-climactic and we managed to make it a day long affair - why hurry!   

     Of course, having grandmother Marion and Ann doing their magic act with the turkey and trimmings was the real highlight of the day.  And is our tradition we didn't sit down to dinner until at least early evening.  And the rest of the week until New Years was spent eating left overs, yummy!  

     But best Christmas memories of all are watching Lavanya open her presents on Christmas Day.  I'll never forget as a 8 month old how fascinated she was over a Kleenex tissue pack and its crinkling sound!  Now her gift expectations are more tailored to the latest toys!     

     As a grandpa I enjoy watching Lavanya's eyes light up at Christmas time - actually all year long - that's the best present ever!  The circle of life comes back to what Christmas is all about - seeing the season though the eyes of a child and hoping it lasts all year long!      

     So my visit to Macy's the other night brought me full circle.     

Happy Holidays! 

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