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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...

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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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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
Nov142007

THE ENTERPRISE, PART II

    Floyd J. McKay / Guest columnist, "Blackwater:  bulging bicepts fueled by ideological purity," from Seattle Times
    BLACKWATER, the secretive private army now emerging into public view, is a perfect hinge linking two key elements of the Republican political base: America's war machine and a muscular form of fundamentalist Christianity.
    Military contractors such as Halliburton and Blackwater are the brainchild of Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. A major goal of Cheney when he was secretary of defense in the first Bush administration was to privatize as much military work as possible, ostensibly to make it more efficient. He commissioned a study by Halliburton, which predictably liked the idea and wound up as America's largest military contractor. Cheney was hired as Halliburton's chief officer, awaiting the return of a Republican administration.
    When that occurred, Cheney and Rumsfeld enthusiastically promoted privatization, and went so far as to include private contractors in the "Total Force" of the American military, standing never before given to contractors. When Rumsfeld left the Pentagon in 2006, there were nearly as many private contractors in Iraq (100,000) as American troops (130,000). Contractors provided food, fuel, housing and, in the case of Blackwater, heavily armed soldiers with a license to kill and an aggressive attitude.
    Blackwater operated basically without oversight since proconsul Paul Bremer gave it a no-bid $27.7 million security contract in 2003, with immunity from Iraqi law. In 2004, four of its soldiers were ambushed in Fallujah and their bodies desecrated, bringing retaliation that killed hundreds of Iraqis, leveled the city and fueled the insurgency. A month ago, Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians, in an incident that has drawn the attention of Congress and the FBI.
    Blackwater soldiers, often with Navy SEAL or Army Special Operations backgrounds, are paid from $500 to $1,500 a day, far more than regular-duty troops. Their image is straight from central casting: young men, tanned biceps bulging from black T-shirts, wearing wraparound sunglasses and brandishing automatic weapons. For young veterans who loved military action but couldn't afford to stay in, Blackwater offered big money and plenty of opportunities to order people around. Blackwater's aggressive guards became the image of American cultural insensitivity, sometimes erasing the best efforts of our uniformed soldiers.
    Blackwater is the private empire of billionaire Erik Prince, a major Republican fundraiser and bankroller of several fundamentalist Christian organizations. His private army employs some 2,300 active gunners and boasts a register of 21,000 ready to serve on call. He has the largest privately held arsenal in the country and the expertise and firepower to bring down a small country.
    In 2006, Prince expanded internationally, forming a new subsidiary in Barbados, outside American taxes and regulation, to train foreign forces, often funded by American military aid. Elite Blackwater soldiers have conducted secretive "black jobs" for the CIA or other spy agencies.
    Despite its financial success, Blackwater is under fire from two sides: Democratic critics who want accountability and families of the four men killed in Fallujah in 2004. The families have sued, alleging negligence.
    Blackwater's lawyers assert it cannot be sued because it is part of the "Total Force." But, while Congress demands that it be subject to American military codes and international treaties, Blackwater takes the opposite view — it is not military, it's a civilian contractor. Big money has gone into D.C. lawyers, lobbyists and public-relations spinners to sell this apparent contradiction.
    There have always been mercenaries, and a case can be made for limited use of contractors, but the Bush administration has erased the line between a national military and a private war machine. Iraq is our first outsourced war, siphoning billions of taxpayer dollars into the private war machine.
    Military contractors have become an integral part of the American military, allowing the White House to understate troop numbers and avoid a military draft. Unpopular wars for oil or ideology can be waged without calling on middle-class families to send their children; mercenaries will fill the jobs if volunteers don't come forth.
    In Prince, the Republicans' radical Christian base is wed to the war-machine base, the one providing votes and manpower, the other providing campaign funds.
    The resulting combination is one of rigid ideology and eagerness to solve any problem with overwhelming force. The Bush administration convinced itself its views on Iraq were right, pushing aside contrary evidence, then failed to think beyond "shock and awe," with resultant horrors.
    In a world of nuance and gray areas, ideological purity and bulging biceps will cause as many problems as they solve. Blackwater seems to epitomize a dark side of our psyche that should be troubling to all Americans.
    Floyd J. McKay, a journalism professor emeritus at Western Washington University, is a regular contributor to Times editorial pages. 

    Editor's Note:  During the Iran/Contra investigations in the Reagan administration, Oliver North boasted that he and then CIA Director (and close friend of Reagan) William Casey envisioned creating "a stand alone, off the shelf entity" which they called "the enterprise" which could be used in so-called "special ops" projects around the world.  They key is that such an entity would be below the radar screen of congressional oversight and accountability.
    This creation of a privatized army is exactly what Blackwater and the other 180 outsourced secondary contractors in Iraq represent.  So the dark vision of Reagan era crypto-fascists like North et al has become actionable in the Bush II era.  If Congress doesn't put the fork in this type of mercenary military then the Congress will forever lose control of its ability to hold the commander-in-chief responsible in national security policy.
    We on the home front may not be safe from these "bulging biceps fueled by ideological purity" and big paychecks.  What's to stop Blackwater neo-fascist goons from becoming a new generation of Pinkerton police used to supplement local cops on the beat in the midst of civil unrest like we saw in Seattle during the WTO summit several years ago?  Or imagine another 9/11ish attack - will they be a part of the first responders?
    Mussolini had his Brown Shirts, Bush has his Black shirts! 
 

Tuesday
Nov132007

THE '60s REVISITED

    Editor's Note:  The article below by Jim Hightower illustrates the degree to which the Bush administration is willing to use political thumb screws to stop the men and women of the military who oppose the war in Iraq from speaking out.  The use of the FBI to suppress freedom of speech is eerily reminiscent of the tactics used by J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s to bully civil rights and anti-Vietnam war activists. 
    American history is replete with cycles of political dissent followed by political repression going back to the use of the Alien and Sedition Act by Lincoln to stop draft protests in the Civil War, the imprisonment of Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs in the early '20s, the deployment of US troops under Black Jack Pershing to roust out the WW I Bonus Marches in Washington D.C., the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans in WW II, and the McCarthy era witch hunt of alleged Communists in the movie industry and academia in the '50s. 
    Freedom is never free, it's purchased at the price of those willing to exercise their rights of freedom of speech and assembly in an environment of political repression by those who don't believe in the Bill of Rights.  Considering George Bush is the most historically illiterate and ethically vacuous president to occupy the West Wing in US history one cannot be surprised by his administration's ratcheting up the dogs of suppression.   
    By Jim Hightower, Attacking Our Freedom to Protest, Nov. 12, 2007: 

    George W likes to claim that global terrorists are out to attack America because “They hate our freedoms.” But we’re learning that it’s really the Bushites themselves who hate America’s freedoms.
    Retired Army Col. Ann Wright and one of America’s leading peace activists, Medea Benjamin, have recently felt the bullying hate of the Bush regime. Both women have been very vigorous practitioners of our freedom to speak out and assemble in opposition to government policies, using these freedoms to protest the war in Iraq. They’ve put themselves on the line and been willing to undergo several arrests for their nonviolent civil disobedience.
    This is as American as the 4th of July. Yet Wright, Benjamin, and civil libertarians everywhere were stunned to learn last August that Bush’s FBI has suddenly turned this misdemeanor into a weapon of political intimidation, using it to bar the two women from traveling to Canada… and perhaps to other nations.
    When they tried to visit Canada, Wright and Benjamin were detained by Canadian customs officials and told that their names were on an FBI no-entry list. Even though this list is meant to stop fugitives, potential terrorists, and violent felons – not peaceful protesters – they were told that they would have to apply for “criminal rehabilitation” and pay a fine if they ever wanted to enter Canada.
    Unintimidated, the women have since tried to re-enter, this time at the invitation of five members of parliament to come speak to that assembly. Yet, Canada’s officials have bowed to the Bushites, honoring the FBI’s no-entry list, rather than respecting their own parliament. The FBI refuses to say why non-violent protesters are on a terrorist list.
    Chillingly, the U.S. media have ignored this story, but you can learn more about this blatant assault on our freedoms by going to www.codepinkalert.org.

    For other links about this story go to: 
“US Peace Activist, Retired Col. Ann Wright, Detained at Ottawa Airport,” www.commondreams.org, October 25, 2007
“US peace activist detained at Ottawa airport en route to meet MPs,” cnews.canoe.ca, October 25, 2007
“U.S. peace activist refused entry for second time,” www.thestar.com, October 25, 2007
“US peace activist barred again from entering Canada,” www.iht.com, October 25, 2007
“Protesting the Bush Agenda in Canada,” www.codepinkalert.org, October 4, 2007
“Barred from Canada,” Press Release, October 22, 2007
“Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People,” www.whitehouse.gov, September 20, 200

Sunday
Nov112007

A FINAL WORD ON ETHICS

images.jpg     EDITOR'S NOTE:  Here is the final word from my friend George Evans on the tangled issue resulting from our debate over the private lives of public figures.  See my response at the end of GE's rebuttal: 
    GE:  I pretty much stand by my previous comments, but for the record I’ll add to them. It’s true you didn’t say that Ms. Clinton betrayed her husband, but since you cited, positively I thought, some concerns of the religious right, including betrayal, I assumed you were thinking that.
    But as I examine your essay again, I find that your argument against her really boils down to her remaining in what you call an abusive marriage for opportunistic reasons.
    So I say again: this is not constructive or useful criticism. Yes, Jennifer Flowers is in the public record, but the public record does not show, fortunately, what you’re claiming: why she stayed in her marriage. She may have remained in the marriage for political reasons, she may not have.  The point is, none of us knows why she did, and my argument is that it’s irrelevant.
    Furthermore, I don’t care how many psychologists might call it an abusive marriage; it’s irrelevant. Unlike poor and helpless abused wives, she could have easily left the marriage at any time; she elected not to: end of story. That she remained with an adulterer is her choice and in no important way affects her ability to run the country. Unless, of course, we’re in 17th century New England and there are laws making adultery a capital offense, and she takes no action.
    It’s true that our leaders’ private lives are becoming more public than they should be. And why is that?  Because, in Clinton’s case, the Republicans and the moralists spent years and millions digging up all the dirt they could find on him, and as a result, he did squander much of his second term.
    That was not the case with Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, even Nixon (who probably was abusive in some sense to his wife); private lives pretty much stayed private, as they should. I’m saying that your approach in the article is to invade the private, focusing on your interpretation of their private, and now public, lives.
    Unless they’ve committed a crime of serious consequences—using public funds for private benefit, extortion, racist attacks on a minority, etc.—then I think we should leave their private married lives to the tabloids—and the Republican body-bag attackers.
    Analyze her vote on the Iran resolution, her health care proposals, her Iraq policy and other matters of public record, if you will; that’s useful, but why she remained in her marriage is not. (Personally, I pay almost no attention to what politicians running for office say; it’s almost as irrelevant as what they do and say in private.)
    Whatever Bill Clinton achieved as president—a multi-billion-dollar budget surplus, containment by force of Serbia, a near-accord between Israel and the Palestinians, for example—had nothing to do with his tawdry personal life. The same can be said of President Kennedy or Jefferson or really any president.
    Jefferson was a slave-holding racist, a coward (and what some claim, virtually a traitor as Secretary of State to Washington), but he was nevertheless a great president in spite of qualities that would, in your view, not afford him the moral authority to be even an adequate president.
    What all of this boils down to, I’m afraid, is that any man or woman who could stand up to the withering scrutiny we apply these days to our public figures will not run for national public office. The saints of our country are quietly doing their good works behind the scenes—in hospices, homeless shelters, AIDs centers, adopting unwanted children, and so forth.    
    [By contrast the] men and women who run for high public office [are] very ambitious, opportunistic, and flawed human beings.  We will have to hold our noses, with varying degrees of pressure, for all of them.
    That’s the way it is these days and the way it will be from now on. There will be no more candidates like Lincoln, who was in fact very ambitious and opportunistic, but also I think the most moral and ethical of all our presidents, the one who could govern with the kind of moral authority we’d all like in our presidents.
    Having said all that, I must also admit that Guiliani’s private life—his treatment of his first wives, for example—is a matter I throw into the mix containing his dubious record as mayor, and judge him by it. And of all the Democratic candidates I would support, Ms. Clinton is fairly far down the list.
    I would admit that I admire Obama’s and Edwards’ personal lives more than I do hers. So I do factor in the moral argument that you suggest. I just think that when you emphasize personal matters to the degree you do, especially focusing on why she stayed in her marriage, we’re not helped much in judging her candidacy. 
    RAD:  GE Is correct that we don't know why Hillary stayed in her marriage with Slick Willie.  As they say, love is blind.  But Hillary is clearly a very ambitious and opportunistic politician.  If she had chosen to run for the US Senate as Hillary Rodham one might be able to dial back the charge. 
    An ironic contrast is provided by Laura Bush.  She warned Dubya early in their married life to shape up or ship out.  He did and his "born again" moral rebirth helped make him a credible and winning candidate as Governor, then President.  In retrospect Laura in doing right, did the rest of us wrong! 
   The question is why should the Clinton's get another lease to the West Wing?  Do we really want Bill skulking around in the shadows of the Oval Office as First Husband, co-President?  Would you want your daughter working in the another Clinton White House as an intern? 
   Yes, Bill Clinton is a consummate politician and accomplished a lot as president.  But his misbehavior and the media's magnificent obsession with Whitewatergate diminished his presidency and marginalized his final four years.  Does anyone really believe the GOP "swiftboat" machine won't do a number on Hillary if she is the nominee?
   In politics, like life on Mainstreet America, there are few saints and more sinners.  All of us are flawed and broken.  We are all works in progress.  Even a saintly and beloved Martin Luther King, Jr. had his less saintly side.  But the moral lapses of those in public life diminishes not just them but us all. 
  Given the frontloaded nature of the nomination race only voters in Iowa or New Hampshire have a dog in this race.  Let's hope they do their homework and are discriminating voters cutting away the white noise from the issue facts.  Otherwise the Democrats may end up with a "frontrunner" nominee who reminds us of Mike Dukakis!
   We've had two terms of self-righteous and intellectually vacuous leadership, it would be tragic if we traded that for a flawed president who however practiced in Machiavellian arts couldn't rise above her own private life and that of her spouse.  We can do better than the lesser of two evils. 
 
Sunday
Nov112007

ALL THAT JAZZ

    Music feeds the soul.  Growing up in a home where music more than books dominated the scene, it was easy to get the bug.  By the time RAD was six he begged his parents to give him piano lessons.  That resulted in 12 years of lessons, recitals and a youth of listening to music live, on the radio and eventually on TV.
    While learning classical piano music and hearing hymns in our local UCC or Presbyterian church, on Beacon Hill in Seattle or Roseburg, respectively, the real musical love of my life, then and now is jazz - of all kinds from Benny Goodman to Thelonious Monk, from Frank Sinatra to The Divine Sarah.
    Thankfully, Portland is a hot bed of live jazz music and via our local public radio station, KMHD - 89.1 FM one is treated to a 24/7 dosage of the best of the best.  Also, Pacific University, my home for 33 years, has a wonderful tradition of a college jazz band which has two concerts each year which brings in local professionals to play with our students. 
    NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, November 11, 2007 interviewed Charmaine Clamor.  After hearing the interview and clips from her latest album I plan to get her CD to add to my collection which ranges from Tony Bennett to Count Basie, from Shirely Horn to Gene Harris.
    The interview (below) underscores the universality of jazz, our nation's cross-cultural multi-racial gift to the world which as an "export" has probably broken down more "iron curtains" and "cultural revolutions" than our military interventionism, geo-political machinations or cultural imperialism combined. 
clamor300.jpg     NPR:  Charmaine Clamor is a jazz vocalist who grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald on the radio, which shouldn't be surprising.
    What may be surprising is that Clamor grew up in the Philippines — as a 3-year-old, she sang to passengers on the bus in Manila. Clamor is now a star in her homeland and she's attracting attention in the United States.
    Her second CD, Flippin' Out, introduces a hybrid sound, which she calls "jazzipino." Clamor spoke with Liane Hansen about her distinct sound and offered her definition.
    "Jazzipino is the new musical genre that results from melding traditional Filipino melodies, languages and instruments with the soul and swing of American jazz," she says.
    As a child, Clamor was exposed to Western classical and jazz, as well as traditional Filipino music. She was especially influenced by the kundiman, the Filipino love-song style.
    On Flippin' Out, she sings a particularly beloved kundiman called "Dahil Sa'Yo." Clamor's rendition — sung in Tagalog — has something of an ideological edge to it, though. She says that the tune used to be a favorite of the loathed Marcos dictatorship.
    "So when I redid this song, I'm hoping if we swing it enough, Liane, that we could rob it from the old ghost of the Marcoses and bring it back to the people where it belongs," Clamor says.
    It isn't the only song Clamor flips for her own purposes. She begins the album with an interpolation of Richard Rogers' standard "My Funny Valentine," which she retitles "My Funny Brown Pinay." Pinay is a term for a Filipino woman.
    "Since our country was conquered by the Spanish for many, many years, the Filipinos, the native ones, lost pride in their indigenous beauty," Clamor says. "And 'My Funny Brown Pinay' celebrates the unique attributes of an indigenous Filipino woman: someone who has flat nose, black hair, dark skin, brown skin. And this is what I'm trying to communicate to my Pinay sisters."
    It is a cause Clamor relates to personally. "When I was growing up in the Philippines, I remember using every type of cream, every type of papaya soap — because we believed that papaya soap lightens the skin — and I used it to hopefully wake up the next day and be fair-skinned," she says.
    Her music isn't all political, however. Clamor closes the album with one of her childhood favorites, "Be My Love," rendered partially in Tagalog and dedicated to her mother.
    "Whenever I hear Mario Lanza or 'Be My Love' being sung, it just reminds me of my mother and my father, my beautiful childhood when I was growing up in the Philippines," Clamor says.

    PS:   If you are interested in hearing clips of Clamor go to NPR.org/music 

Friday
Nov092007

THE AGE OF SACRIFICE

    By Jim Hightower, Commentary, November 9, 2007
    Once again, let’s take a peek [Lifestyle theme] into the “Lifestyles of the Rich … and Cranky.”
    You think you’ve got it tough trying to find affordable housing or trying to figure out how you can pay for a two-bedroom apartment instead of the one-bedroom you’re now in? Well you don’t know the meaning of troubles, bucko, until you’ve walked a mile in the Guccis of those poor rich people who are dealing in the luxury housing market.
    Yes, the general housing market has cooled down all across America, but stop thinking about yourself. The high-end housing market is booming, and it's a struggle for folks there to get what they want. Take the case of a couple in Manhattan who recently found a sweet little duplex off Park Avenue. It was only $6 million, so of course they jumped on it. Indeed, they tacked an extra half-million dollars onto the asking price in order to fend off competing buyers.
    Buying it, however, was the least of their troubles. Naturally, they had to tear out the existing walls and flooring and renovate the space to suit their taste… as well as to suit their social ambitions. And, darling, luxury renovation is not for the meek.
    The lady of the house had to quit her banking job so she could devote full time to coordinating the restoration. There was a small army of some 50 architects, specialty decorators, expediters, staircase builders, audiovisual installers, and whatnot who were called in to make the place “just so.”
    Coping with luxury housing is harder than you riff-raff can imagine. I mean when you’re having kitchen cabinets built for you in Italy and purchasing a custom-made, wrap-around $30,000 couch – well, sweetheart, you’re going to have some headaches.
    So, please, don’t tell us your tacky little stories of subprime mortgage woes, and don’t bore us with sadsack tales about your hunt for middle-class housing. Show a little love for those at the top, who’re struggling so mightily to make do in the Gilded Age.
    RAD:  Right on Jimbo!  Let's show the beleaguered rich some TLC...  To increase their "pain" how about hitting 'em with a realestate transfer tax?  Pain is in - increase th dosage...