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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


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Saturday
Nov112006

HOW LOW CAN ONE SINK?

    With today's humiliating 20-3 loss by the University of Washington Huskies to the lowly Stanford Cardinal, the 754830.jpegonce premier football program in the northwest, the only school in the PAC-10 other than USC with a national title, has reached its lowest point in Husky football history.
    It's hard to imagine given the current version of Husky football that in 1991 they were national champions and in 2001 they beat Purdue in the Rose Bowl (their 14th appearance in the 115 years of the grandaddy of all bowl games with an overall 8-6 win/loss record). 
    The weakness of the program is clear to any DAWG fan. The offensive coordinator of the program, an ex-OSU coach, Tim Lappano is totally clueless how to design an offense around the skills of the players on the field.
    While the great tradition of Husky defense of the Jim Lambright years surfaced early in the season against UCLA and USC - the offense has stunk all season despite the heroic play of Isaiah Stanback until his career ending injury in the loss to OSU, November 14.
    Washington has NO running game and they have no concept of a short passing game which sets up the running game.  For a once dominating force in PAC-10 football to be so pathetic is hard to witness whether 'live' in Husky stadium, on TV or on radio.
    For a program with the proud history of great running backs - Hugh McElhenney to Joe Steele to Jacque Robinson to Corey Dillon - it's hard to witness to such ineptitude.  Clearly the Husky defensive team has been worn down by a poorly designed offense. 
    If head coach Tyrone Willingham wants to keep his job - he'd better do what George Bush did this week to Rummy - ask Lappano to resign.  If not - DAWG fans may start focusing their attention on the top of the ticket.  Football fans are not known for their patience any more than voters.
    RAD has NEVER left a Husky game early - he did during the OSU debacle.  As the inheritor of family held Husky season tickets going back 52 years - how much shame must DAWG fans endure?  Coach W - it's time for Lappano to go!
    PS:  Rose Bowl records:  Oregon / 1-3; OSU / 1-3; WSU /1-2.  Of PAC-10 teams, the UW is second only to USC who has 15-8 record in the RB.  Coach Willingham should gave a Husky football history lesson to his players. 
   

Thursday
Nov092006

LESSONS FROM THE HEARTLAND

    As the online edition of The Nation editorialized:  "...This year, unlike in previous elections, many Democrats ran on the economic issues vital to ordinary people--trade, declining wages, the destruction of the middle class, corporate greed. Led by Senator-elect Sherrod Brown of Ohio, these Democrats will be a new force in Washington--committed to pushing real solutions instead of stale palliatives.."
    In that light, now that Senator Allen (R, Va) has conceded to Senator Elect Webb (D, Va), the Democrats will be the majority party in both houses.  They need to concentrate on a bare bones agenda focusing on the concerns of middle America, primarily issues dealing with economic justice, health care and ending the US occupation of Iraq.  In that sense, cultural issues like gay marriage or civil unions should be left to states or courts to deal with.
    The Democrats have earned the votes of the old Reagan Democrats again due to the administration's mistakes at home and abroad.  These hard one victories should not be squandered by the politics of culture wars so much in fashion in the salons of the cultural left.  Timing is everything - so is patience.  The NAACP worked very hard in the '40s and '50s to make sure a case like Brown v. Board hit all the right notes and the timing was right.   
    While it's true that rights delayed are rights denied, it's equally true that rights claimed prematurely are rights put in jeopardy.  Our friends in the Gay communities of Massachusetts, San Francisco and Portland gave Karl Rove all that he needed in '00 and ''04 to elect and re-elect Bush.  The Democrats cannot afford to make that strategic mistake again.  In the meantime, focus on economic justice - for all, not claims of entitlement. 

Thursday
Nov092006

SHOW ME THE MONEY

By Russell Sadler
    Editor's Note:  RAD promised an analysis of the Oregon results.  RS did it for me!  It was a clean sweep for the Ds.  They now control the House, Senate and the Governor's mansion.  But as RS says below it won't be a walk in the park thanks to the handiwork of 15 years of GOP control, Don McIntire and Bill Sizemore.
    Governor K has big plans to stabilize education funding across the board K-12 to higher ed.  If 61% of the state's general fund budget is dedicated to education, where does that leave human services, public safety et al?  And in a recession, when revenue from the income tax falls the cut backs will begin again.
    So the governor and the Democratic leadership have the political version of a rubics cube to sort out if their plans for education and health care are to realized. 

    RS:  While American voters decided divided government was necessary to change course in Iraq and cauterize the hemorrhaging federal budget deficit, Oregon voters decided to give the government to one party to break the gridlock that has paralyzed policymaking in Salem for more than 15 years.
    Democrats now control both houses of the Oregon Legislature for the first time in 16 years and a Democrat was reelected governor. You can ignore the Republicans campaign fears of a wave of “liberal programs” and massive tax increases. Republicans drank the Kool-Aid. They committed the unpardonable political sin of believing their own campaign rhetoric.
    There will be no new programs, no wave of tax increases. The state is broke. It borrows money every session to meet its operating expenses. The interest payments on these borrowed billions consumes a larger portion of the budget each biennium, leaving less money available to pay for services that people actually receive. There will be new priorities for the money that is spent, however.
    Here’s what you can expect a Democratic Legislature to do when it convenes in January:
    Democrats will rearrange state spending to insure every child in Oregon not covered by federal or private insurance. This should actually lower medical costs in the long run, because these children will receive preventative care rather than spending more dollars to cure serious illness that might have been prevented.
    The Democrats will do what the Republicans deliberately failed to do. They will increase the money per student appropriated for public schools in an effort to brake the rapid rise in class size. Yes, that rewards the teachers union that gave a lot of money to Democrats, but it also improves education substantially by creating smaller classes with less distractions so teachers can spend more time with students.
    A Democratic plan to make prescriptions more affordable for those not covered by prescription drug plans was largely approved by voters who approved Ballot Measure 44 last Tuesday. The Democratic Legislature will see the details are implemented.
    Democrats will reduce the risk of identity theft by letting consumers freeze their credit if they suspect their identity information has been compromised. Credit companies want to limit the ability to freeze and unfreeze credit because it costs money to do it and cuts into earnings.
    Democrats promise to finance 100 new state troopers, primarily in rural areas where they augment county sheriff patrols and rural municipal police forces. For reasons that have never been clear, Oregon Republicans have been willing to let the Oregon State Police wither on the vine rather than raise taxes to keep patrols on the road.
    Even these modest objectives cost money, of course, and the state is broke. It will be interesting to see where the Democrats cut the budget to finance these new priorities. But that’s what they were elected to do.
    There are other ways to raise money without new taxes, but they are deliberately more difficult to do than in the past.
    By far the largest source of revenue available to the Legislature comes from repeal of tax breaks and tax exemptions that no longer serve their purpose. In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, legislative interim committees reviewed these tax breaks and decided to extend them or end them. In the 1990s, Oregon Republicans began trading tax breaks for campaign contributions and ended the interim committees that systematically reviewed them. Once bought, the Republicans were expected to stay bought.
    The fine print in 1990’s Ballot Measures 5 includes a provision that requires any “tax increase” to be approved by three-fifths of each house instead of a simple majority. The fine print goes on to define the repeal of a “tax exemption” as a “tax increase.”
    This provision allows a minority of two-fifths plus one to frustrate the will of a majority of legislators when it comes to changing priorities in tax law. Oregon Democrats do not have the votes to overcome a minority of two-fifths plus one, so any tax reform will require a bipartisan effort. Given the Republican penchant for purging legislators who do not toe the party line, reforming Oregon’s lopsided, unbalanced tax system will be a major project and probably will begin with an interim committee with members of both parties after the 2007 session.
    That is why any radical change in spending or taxes under a Democratically controlled Legislature is unlikely. Cleaning up the wreckage of 16 years of Republican borrow-and-spend fiscal recklessness while hobbled with these antidemocratic super majorities is going to be the Herculean task of a decade or more.

    PS:  For those who are visual learners here are some charts from the online Oregon Blue Book showing where state revenue comes from and how it is spent.  Even though these are 2003-2005 budget numbers, they did not change much in the current 2005-2007 biennium.

labsm.gif

    The legislature only controls the general fund and lottery budget. Many Oregonians incorrectly think that the lottery is the  pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for extra cash.  It isn't and it's all dedicated money.  So aside from dedication of where lottery money goes - the legislature does not control the lottery.
    The legislatures ability to tweak revenue sources is very limited.  That's why the battle over the budget [that 27%] is so intense and is never settled until late in the session.  In good years when the economy is booming, like now - revenues stream in nicely from our income tax.
    But the 2% kicker removes a significant portion of revenue from the hands of the legislature and governor.  This coming biennium we lose over 1 billion from the personal kicker and 400 million from the corporate kicker.  That's why Governor K has talked about suspending the corporate kicker for 2007-2009 to get back that money.  That's a politically and constitutionally dicey move - if he makes it. 
    "Other Funds" include university tuition fees, driver and car registration fees, commercial truck fees, hunting and fishing fees etc.  The state has no control over federal funds except to match them on a program by program basis.  When budgets are tight - we have not matched and hence have lost federal support. 

gensm.gif     As you can see. K-12, community colleges and the 4 year public university system total @ 59% of the general fund and lottery budgets.  So Govenor K's desire to raise the bar to 61% is not that high a leap.  Of course, he's counting on a robust economy to sustain that % at a high real dollar level.  But again what happens when the national economy tanks, like it did in 2000-2002?  Where does one take money from in bad years.  As Ron Saxton would ask, where are the chances for efficiencies and savings? 

othersm.gif
    This chart gives you a break down of where the money goes from the general fund and lottery in the "All Other" catagory when one removes education and public safety portions of the budget. RAD's guess is that the 11% portion includes debt service that RS focuses on in his analysis.
    Also, PERS, the state retirement system is an entitlement system for public employees across the state, at the local, county and state level.  The legislature has no direct control over PERS money and when they've tried to take money from PERS the courts have slapped their hands. 
    The last chart (below) shows what agencies get federal pass through dollars.  Note the DHR is very dependent on federal tax dollars to support its programs with 75% of its budget coming from Washington D.C. not Oregon taxpayers.  So when the feds start tweaking the federal budget to liberate money to pay for the credit car war in Iraq - guess who gets hammered - the least of us - the working poor, the indigent, those with disabilities and those on the Oregon Health Care Plan. 

fedsm.gif

Wednesday
Nov082006

HOW SWEET IT IS

    The Ds did very well last night nationally and here in Oregon...  Ds are singing "Happy Days are Here Again."  But what does it all mean?
    The Nation:
    With control of the US House under Speaker to be Nancy Pelosi the Ds have a chance to establish a positive legislative record over the next year (2007) before we head into the head wins of the '08 presidential election.  The Ds need to have a short list - balancing the budget, prescription drugs, minimum wages and demanding an Iraq exit strategy from President Bush. 
    The resignation of Defence Secretary Don Rumsfeld is a good sign that the President is, for once, no longer in denial.  That's what an historical defeat - what he called "a thumping" will do to you.  Let's hope it's a real wake up call, not merely a PR snow job hatched by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.  But now that we have a House in the Ds hands, some oversight can begin. 
    With the Senate tilting on the verge of a 50/50 tie unless Webb is given the nod in Virginia - the leadership by Nancy Pelosi and her House caucus is really important.  Pelosi must show she's a true inside the beltway player melding her own caucus around a common agenda - as the set up for '08.  If "change" is the buzzword - then Pelosi will need to restrain her caucus.  Her first test will be the battle for Majority Leader between John Murtha (D, PA) and Denny Hoyer (D, Tx).     
     Exit polls showed that the election became a referendum on the Bush administration on a multi-issue front. People were evenly split on the war in Iraq, terrorism, the economy and corruption.  Surprisingly the top issue was corruption, not the war or security.  Security Moms became "desperate" Moms concerned about the a generic culture of corruption.
    If one assumes a concern about corruption includes everything from Abu Garib, Gitmo, Halliburton, Katrina to the Libby-Abramoff-Delay-Foley follies then the declining support for Bush and Republicans on Capitol Hill can be seen in a wider context - a generalized revulsion about the decaying nature of one-party rule. 
   The "thumping" the GOP took was across the board.  They lost Catholics, independents, Hispanics and suburbanites, according to exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and the networks. While the GOP held its conservative base, Democrats made inroads with moderates.  And this time around Karl Rove's strategy of working the base didn't turn the tide.
    What's equally impressive is that the Democrats did well despite Tom DeLay's handiwork to carve out safe GOP seats.  Those so-called safe seats could not withstand the power of angry voters who wanted to send a loud and clear message about war/terrorism and the culture of corruption.  Even more ominous for the GOP, the voters didn't stop with congressional or senatorial elections - they let it all hangout from the top to the bottom of the ballot! 
    In the House, Democrats won 229 seats and led in three, putting them on track for a 30-seat gain if trends hold in remaining unsettled races. Party standings in that event would be 232-203.  Without losing any seats of their own, Democrats captured 28 GOP-held seats. The party won in every region of the country and hoped to strengthen their majority by besting Republican incumbents in eight races that were too close to call.
    Aside from gains in Congress, Democrats took 20 of 36 governors' races to give them a majority of top state jobs — 28 — for the first time in a dozen years. New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland and Arkansas went into the Democratic column.  Democrats also gained a decisive edge in state legislatures. With these wins, Democrats will be well positioned to shape state policy agendas and will play a key role in drawing Congressional districts.
    All of this is a good lead in to the '08 presidential campaign which begins NOW.
 
  

Tuesday
Nov072006

OUT ON A LIMB

images.jpg     Here's the predictions from the pros on today's US Senate and House races.  All the certifiable smart folks think the Ds will have a big night despite the last minute rush by the GOP.  As you can see RAD is the most cautious of them all.
    In Oregon - Kulongoski will win going away.  The Ds will keep the Senate - Walker & Metzger will win.  The Rs will see their lead narrowed by 1 loss - Dalto in Salem.  In January the question will be can the Ds and Rs get anything done? 
    Most of the 'evil' state measures will go down.  Measure 39 [Limits condemnation] will pass (too bad); Measure 44 [Drug coverage] will pass (good); Measures 40 [Judge elections] & 41 [Fed. tax deduction] - who knows?  Check RAD's recommendations on the sidebar.
    As much as RAD hates to say it - thank god for vote by mail.  Can you imagine the mess we'd face today with the rains from the Pineapple Express if Oregonians were slogging, wadding or riding boats to the polls!  And we're hearing horror stories all over the nation about the new voting machines.  It may be a long night before we really know how it all shakes down. 

US Senate & House

Ds/Rs/too close to call... 

Charlie Cook - 49/49/2 & 223/197/15
Stu Rothenberg - 51/49 & 233/196/6
Larry Sabato - 51/49 & 232/203
Electoral-vote.com - 51/49 & 241/193/1
Votemaster - 51/49 & 239/195/1

RAD - 50/50 & 223/212