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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

 

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

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ

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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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#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 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Monday
Oct152007

BRAVO

    RAD and "the boss" saw Portland Center Stage's production of Cabaret  cabaret_150.jpgOctober 14 at the Gerding Theater in The Pearl.  Having seen Broadway plays in the Big Apple, at Portland's Civic Theater or the Performing Arts Center theaters next to the Schnitzer plus excellent performances at The Oregon Shakespearian Festival (in Ashland, Oregon) - one can be rather ho hum about "local" theater.  Not this time! 
    This is a fabulous and must see production.  The cast ensemble was superb and rakish giving us a fulsome glimpse of Germany's Roaring 20s. The sets were sparse yet darkly colorful accenting the final days of the Weimer Republic and the onset of the Third Reich.  Of course any serious music lover of Broadway is familiar with the songs and lyrics made almost a cliche by the original Broadway cast. 
    Storm Large as Sally Bowles stole the show by the power and range of her voice. The Lady can flat out sing.  After this performance she has a Broadway career ahead of her, if she wants to trade in her Rocker career.  Wade McCollum makes the Emcee role his own and leaves Joel Gray in the dust.  As a nation which has turned to the right since 9/11 and reprised the '20s in the '90s, one hopes the play is not prelude to darker times for us.  One never knows, "do one."
    In the meantime, enjoy Cabaret, you won't see any better production on the Great White Way!  Bravo!   

Friday
Oct122007

THE QUIET GENERATION

    EDITOR'S NOTE:  In the op ed column below  syndicated columnist Thomas Friedman talks about the current generation of college students and their view of the political landscape.  As a college professor going on 39 years, I share Friedman's view of the current generation. 
    In terms of academic preparation this is a very bright though overly "parented" generation.  But compared to previous generations from the late '60s through the '90s my experience is that the current crop of college undergrad students is politically less entrepreneurial than their predecessors. 
    In my career I have mentored over 50 interns, student who took off an entire term or more to learn the ways of politics in the DC or Salem beltway, to work for advocacy groups as diverse at the SANE Freeze and the NRA, to work in a variety of political campaigns or for public agencies like a public defender office and more...  
    However, in my last 5 years as a fulltime professor at a private liberal arts college and now as an adjunct professor at Oregon's largest public university, while I have been able to recruit students to move beyond the walls of academe into more risky and sometimes troubled waters, the army of the willing has shrunk.  Why?  
    Part of the problem has been diagnosed many times over.  This is a generation raised in a cynical era where one president proved to have two lives - one very public spirited, the other one of private lust.  And we now have a president who lied to us about truly important issues and is getting away with it in spite of the public's disgust.  
    So it is easy to compartmentalize one's life and say to heck with politics (it's a corrupt and morally bankrupted arena).  Instead let's embrace voluntarism on the cause de jour - ending domestic violence, sexual prejudice, environmental destruction or poverty.  
    But if the war in Iraq proves anything it is that when a society spends $12 billion dollars per month on a war of occupation, programs for the poor, the environment, women and children will be cut by a President who has forgotten his promise to be a uniter not a divider and his pledge that he was a "compassionate conservative." 
   You want to help the downtrodden or end global warming - you FIRST must stop this damn war!  And that means we must elect a president in '08 who is committed to that agenda.  It also means forcing the Democratic leadership in Congress to quit being spineless cowards and stop funding the war!  
    To do this you have to raise the moral outrage quotient as Friedman suggests... 
    By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, NYTimes, October 10, 2007

    I just spent the past week visiting several colleges — Auburn, the University of Mississippi, Lake Forest and Williams — and I can report that the more I am around this generation of college students, the more I am both baffled and impressed.
    I am impressed because they are so much more optimistic and idealistic than they should be. I am baffled because they are so much less radical and politically engaged than they need to be.
    One of the things I feared most after 9/11 — that my daughters would not be able to travel the world with the same carefree attitude my wife and I did at their age — has not come to pass.
    Whether it was at Ole Miss or Williams or my alma mater, Brandeis, college students today are not only going abroad to study in record numbers, but they are also going abroad to build homes for the poor in El Salvador in record numbers or volunteering at AIDS clinics in record numbers. Not only has terrorism not deterred them from traveling, they are rolling up their sleeves and diving in deeper than ever.
    The Iraq war may be a mess, but I noticed at Auburn and Ole Miss more than a few young men and women proudly wearing their R.O.T.C. uniforms. Many of those not going abroad have channeled their national service impulses into increasingly popular programs at home like “Teach for America,” which has become to this generation what the Peace Corps was to mine.
    It’s for all these reasons that I’ve been calling them “Generation Q” — the Quiet Americans, in the best sense of that     term, quietly pursuing their idealism, at home and abroad.
    But Generation Q may be too quiet, too online, for its own good, and for the country’s own good. When I think of the huge budget deficit, Social Security deficit and ecological deficit that our generation is leaving this generation, if they are not spitting mad, well, then they’re just not paying attention. And we’ll just keep piling it on them.
    There is a good chance that members of Generation Q will spend their entire adult lives digging out from the deficits that we — the “Greediest Generation,” epitomized by George W. Bush — are leaving them.
    When I was visiting my daughter at her college, she asked me about a terrifying story that ran in this newspaper on Oct. 2, reporting that the Arctic ice cap was melting “to an extent unparalleled in a century or more” — and that the entire Arctic system appears to be “heading toward a new, more watery state” likely triggered by “human-caused global warming.”
    “What happened to that Arctic story, Dad?” my daughter asked me. How could the news media just report one day that the Arctic ice was melting far faster than any models predicted “and then the story just disappeared?” Why weren’t any of the candidates talking about it? Didn’t they understand: this has become the big issue on campuses?
    No, they don’t seem to understand. They seem to be too busy raising money or buying votes with subsidies for ethanol farmers in Iowa. The candidates could actually use a good kick in the pants on this point. But where is it going to come from?
    Generation Q would be doing itself a favor, and America a favor, if it demanded from every candidate who comes on campus answers to three questions: What is your plan for mitigating climate change?  What is your plan for reforming Social Security?  What is your plan for dealing with the deficit — so we all won’t be working for China in 20 years?
    America needs a jolt of the idealism, activism and outrage (it must be in there) of Generation Q. That’s what twentysomethings are for — to light a fire under the country. But they can’t e-mail it in, and an online petition or a mouse click for carbon neutrality won’t cut it. They have to get organized in a way that will force politicians to pay attention rather than just patronize them.
    Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms. Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall. Virtual politics is just that — virtual.
    Maybe that’s why what impressed me most on my brief college swing was actually a statue — the life-size statue of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. Meredith was the first African-American to be admitted to Ole Miss in 1962. The Meredith bronze is posed as if he is striding toward a tall limestone archway, re-enacting his fateful step onto the then-segregated campus — defying a violent, angry mob and protected by the National Guard.
    Above the archway, carved into the stone, is the word “Courage.” That is what real activism looks like. There is no substitute.
    RAD:  Just for the record, this pre-Baby Boomer person just doesn't blog all day long, he also teaches and more importantly he is an engaged and often enraged activist on matters dealing with homelessness and housing insecurity.  I've always been involved in some form of community organizing.
    This is also one of the reasons I "trust" Barack Obama more than Hillary because Barack began as a community organizer in the mean streets of Chicago while Hillary went to Capitol Hill and in a real sense never left except for the sojourn with Bill in Arkansas as the wife of the AG and then Governor.  
    Let me share with you what I expressed to my graduate seminar on American Political Institutions at PSU in an e-mail today as a follow-up to class discussion about James Madison's concept of checks and balances and distinguished Yale political scientist Robert Dahl's comments in A Preface to Democratic Theory where he takes Madison to task for being inconsistent and vague. 
    While our checks and balances system works over the long historical cycle approximately the way the Founder's intended, the mobilization of bias inherent to the "system" has always favored the "haves" over the "have nots".  But fundamental social change has occurred - women's suffrage, the emancipation of Blacks, the New Deal, working people being able to organize, the Civil Rights Acts of '64/65, 18 years olds getting the vote etc. 
    However, the fuel to bringing about these changes has begun not within the conventional political system, but outside of it.  Social protest has always preceded social change.  And social protest has often come at a very high price - being subjected to violence at the hands of the "establishment" - the police or the KKK; and in modern times, the FBI and CIA... 
    Spying on Americans began in WW I at the hands of the Dies Commission during the Red Scare and continued through WW II with the internment of Japanese-Americans and the in the Cold War via McCarthyism, J. Edgar Hoover and Dick Nixon.  Official and unofficial repression of dissent was rampant in the '60s if one was a civil rights or anti-war activist.  And we all know about Watergate!  Now we have rendition and torture and more spying on Americans rationalized by 9/11. 
    Because of the establishment's mobilization of bias the chance for social change come less via the checks and balances process, at first, but more in the streets.  Here are some historical examples social movements built outside the walls of conventional politics which eventually forced change within the system: 
    The Abolitionist movement of the 1800s; the underground railroad; the slave revolts in the "old South" on the plantations; the suffragettes willing to protest and go to jail (often being beaten up by local police); the "illegal" organizing of workers in the late 19th and early 20th century before labor unions had a right to organize; the social protests of the IWW (Wobblies) and Socialists like Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas in the early 20th century; the Bonus Marchers after WW I; the Harlem Renaissance which was more than just jazz; the dialectic of the Civil Rights/Black Power movements from F. Douglas to BT Washington to WEB DuBois to  Marcus Garvey to Malcom X to MLK and the unknown heros who made Martin Luther King, Jr. a "leader"  - EB Nixon and of course, Rosa Parks.  
    As Jefferson once said for liberty to survive, the blood of patriots must be spilt.  But often the "patriots," in their time, are considered un-American, traitors, malcontents, trouble makers...  So both Dahl and Madison left something out of their equation.  The move to embrace equality and diversity are preceded by activism that takes place outside the box of conventional politics.
    And lest we forget, to end slavery Lincoln had to go to war; and then after the war we went from the hope of Reconstruction to the despair and institutionalized violence and racism of Jim Crow...  waiting until 1954 to end de jure (not de facto) segregation. 
    The Founders' erected a checks and balances system to provide a brake on the revolutinary spirit they created by their "revolt" against King George and his parliament.  But they provided us at the same time a way around this box - The First Amendment which guarantees us freedom of speech, press, religion and the right to "peaceably" assemble and petition for our grievances.
    While American history records that the "peaceable" part is problematic at best nevertheless the Bill of Rights has probably been our best vehicle for social change and what has saved us from "revolution" or "counter-revolution"...  
   But most Americans don't know anything about the struggles it took from the early days of the republic to the '70s to free us from the shackles of slavery, sexism or classicism.  This generation has taken Bill Clinton's line to think only of "tomorrow" too literally.  The past is prelude to the present. 
    As they say, be careful what you wish for, you might get it.   Madison et al hoped they had contained revolutionary fervor within the bounds of the "system."   Fortunately they were wrong...  but change only comes at a price.  We must channel our anger and outrage.  You can't compartmentalize the pursuit of liberty, freedom, justice or equality.  It takes one foot being placed within the system and the other outside the box...
    Face books, the net, blogging don't cut it - if they did Howard Dean would be president not George W. Bush!   "Courage" - indeed! 

 

Friday
Oct122007

AL GORE WINS NOBEL - YAWN

    Editor's Note:  Former Vice President Al Gore was announced a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize today.  Why the person whose juvenile behavior in the televised 2000 presidential debates which made a certifiable dumb George W. Bush look reasonable and half-way articulate deserves such recognition is beyond RAD.
    Why is being the "political front man" for the global warming crowd deserves a Nobel prize is incomprehensible.  Al Gore's so-called book, An Inconvenient Truth, is simply a compilation of information from a variety of sources cobbled together with glitzy pictures and graphs.  It's not a serious piece of research but a show and tell book, at best!
    Al Gore deserves credit for popularizing the issue of global warming but that hardly deserves the prestige of receiving the Nobel Peace prize.  Martin Luther King, Jr. earned his Nobel prize the hard way - leading a social movement, getting arrested and paying the ultimate price.  Al Gore has simply become the Hollywood "left's" latest choir boy.
    Additionally as the Washington Post's fact checker indicates, there are some serious flaws in Gore's evidence.  Don't get me wrong - RAD is convinced global warming is for real.  But if Gore was for real, he'd throw his hat in the presidential ring instead of being on the banquet circuit where he gets 6 figured honoraria for reciting "ICT the speech."
    If Gore wanted to affect change by mitigating the affects of global warming, not merely engage in symbolic politics, he would move embrace as a presidential candidate the agenda outlined by the Pew Center for Climate Change.  You can't affect change from the outside Big Al.  You have to change the deck chairs inside DC's beltway! 
    "To achieve this goal we must fundamentally transform the way we power our global economy, shifting away from a century’s legacy of unrestrained fossil fuel use and its associated emissions in pursuit of more efficient and renewable sources of energy. Such a transformation will require society to engage in a concerted effort, over the near and long-term, to seek out opportunities and design actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
    It would also require the US to quit mucking around in the oil rich Middle East and Africa and develop a serious policy of energy conservation and independence.  So far the best we've heard on the campaign trail is the "cap and trade" idea from Hillary et al.  That's like putting a band-aid on an open wound! 
    It's ironic that the very moment when Buddhist priests are giving up their lives by challenging a military junta's despotism in Myanmar (Burma) makes one wonder what the Nobel committee was thinking.  Their selection does not pass the Mother Theresa or Jimmy Carter test.  Until Gore's effort accomplishes something tangible he deserves no award!
    One can only assume that "rock star" status is now the criteria for the Nobel committee.  So why not Stevie Wonder or Bono next time?   But the contradiction would be too obvious in a world which rings its collective hands over Darfur but does nothing about it.  Yep, "we are the world" - and for most of its people it's a Hobbesian world where "life is nasty, brutish and short." 

AL GORE:

    The melting of ice in either West Antarctica or Greenland would result in a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet "in the near future."
--Oscar-winning movie, "The Inconvenient Truth."

BRITISH HIGH COURT JUDGE MICHAEL BURTON:

    "This is distinctly alarmist and part of Mr Gore's 'wake-up call.'"While it is generally accepted that the melting of Greenland's ice will eventually lead to rises in sea-levels of this magnitude, this will only happen "after, and over, millenia." --Legal ruling, October 9, 2007.

 
    Al Gore received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work drawing attention to the effects of climate change. Today's topic: Just how accurate are his assertions?

The Facts
    The former vice-president has won plaudits around the world for his work on global warming, publicized in a best-selling book, an Oscar-winning movie, Power Point lectures, and now the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel prize announcement coincided with the conclusion of a months-long court case in Britain examining whether An Inconvenient Truth can be shown to British school children. The judge ruled this week that the movie can be shown in classrooms, but only if accompanied by teacher guidance notes balancing Gore's "one-sided views."
    After listening to government witnesses, environmental campaigners, and skeptics on global warming argue their case, the judge described Gore's film as "broadly accurate" in its presentation of climate change. At the same time he also listed nine significant errors in the movie which, he said, reflected a general context of "alarmism and exaggeration" surrounding climate change.
    Obviously, it is impossible to adjudicate this argument with a quick post. But it is worth while at least taking a look at the   judge's nine objections to the Gore movie, which are as follows:

  1. Burton found that Gore's assertion of a rise in sea-levels caused by the melting of icebergs in Antarctica was overly "alarmist."
  2. Gore claimed that the disappearance of year-round snow from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa was expressly attributable to global warming. The court was not convinced. According to Burton, the scientific "consensus" is that the reasons for the snow recession on Kilimanjaro cannot be established.
  3. Gore cited a scientific study showing that polar bears had drowned by "swimming long distances--up to 60 miles--to find the ice." Evidence backing up this claim was not produced to the British court. The judge wrote that the only scientific study shown to him indicated "that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm." See early news story on bear drownings here.
  4. Gore attributed Hurricane Katrina to global warming. The judge found that there was "insufficient evidence to show that."
  5. The Gore movie depicted the drying up of Lake Chad as a prime example of the effects of global warming. Expert testimony in front of the British court suggested that "far more likely causes" were "population increase, over-grazing, and regional climate variability."
  6. Gore suggested an "exact fit" between the rise in carbon dioxide levels and the rise in temperatures over a period of 650,000 years. According to the judge, scientists generally agree that there is "a connection," between the two phenomena, but claims of an "exact fit" cannot be established.
  7. An "Inconvenient Truth" claimed that low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls are already being "inundated because of anthropogenic global warming." The judge said that he found no evidence of any evacuation of population from the islands because of global warming.
  8. The movie suggested that global warming could shut down "the Ocean Conveyer," a process by which the Gulf Stream is carried over the North Atlantic to Western Europe. The judge cited a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that it was "very unlikely" that the Ocean Conveyer would be shut down completely, although it might slow down.
  9. Gore argued that coral reefs all over the world were bleaching because of global warming and other factors. The judge said that it was very difficult to separate out the impact of stresses on coral reefs caused by climate change and factors, such as over-fishing and pollution.

    Both sides claimed a victory of sorts after the verdict was delivered. The man who brought the case, Stewart Dimmock, said he was "elated" with the result, but disappointed that the film could still be shown in schools. He said that the judge's order for balancing material to be included with the movie would keep British school children from being "indoctrinated with this political spin."
    A Gore spokeswoman said that the former vice-president was "gratified" that the court had agreed with "the central thesis of the film--that global warming is real and caused by human activities." She noted that the judge had only disagreed with a handful of the "thousands" of facts in the movie.

The Pinocchio Test
    It is way too early for a Pinocchio ruling on this one. The question is not whether global warming is a fact, or whether Gore deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, but whether he has exaggerated the case in order to draw attention to the threat facing humanity. There are good arguments on either side. Let us hear your views.
    In the meantime, here are some useful links to the debate:

The official web site of An Inconvenient Truth.

The official website of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel prize with Al Gore.

Studies from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change

A British movie that claims that Gore is at the forefront of a Great Global Warming Swindle.

A March 2007 New York Times article asking whether Gore has been over-alarmist.

A web site supporting Stewart Dimmock, the man who brought the lawsuit against the Gore movie.

Wednesday
Oct102007

IT’S GUT-CHECK TIME FOR CONGRESS

    By Jim Hightower/Commentary, October 10, 2007:

    JH:  In another of his ever-changing rationales for his Iraq war, George W has bizarrely proclaimed that this conflagration is like the Vietnam War – a comparison he had spent the previous four years heatedly rejecting.
    RAD:  For the most historically illiterate president in US history to make such a connection boggles the mind.  But alas his comparison misses the point.  Instead of fashioning an exit strategy "W" remains resolved to stay the course! 
    JH:  Well, on at least one point, his Vietnam comparison is apt: next year, the Iraq war will pass the $600 billion mark in U.S. spending, making it nearly as costly as the long Vietnam debacle. Bush has now requested an additional $173 billion for Iraq war funding in 2008, making it the most expensive year yet for his disastrous misadventure.
    RAD:  Throwing 12 billion dollars per month down the rat hole in Iraq AND Afghanistan is not only mistaken as a policy but it's robbing our ability to deal with serious issues at home - health care reform, social security reform, global warming et al. 
    JH:  For those of us who want to end Bush’s Big Mistake, however, the focus of our effort can no longer be on him. George is who he is: a bonehead. Intent on dumping ever-more lives and money into his war, he is immune to sanity.
    RAD:  Hold your horses JH...  As long a Dubya is President he IS the focus.  Until January 20, 2009 he will be calling the shots.  And we all know that the Iran option is "live" as the next fiasco for the Bush/Cheney team to embrace. 
    JH:  Rather, the question now is, where the hell is Congress? Yes, I know that the new Democratic leadership has only slim majorities and that the Bushites use filibusters, veto threats, and demagogic lies to thwart their efforts to initiate a withdrawal from Iraq. But, come on – it’s time to toughen up! Asserting congressional authority to check and balance a runaway, lawless executive is not a mere political option, it’s a Constitutional obligation.
    RAD: 
Right on Jim Bob!  The Founders designed a system where each branch is a co-equal branch which shares powers not mindlessly delegating them to the Executive Branch.  As Madison said in the Federalist Papers  - "ambition must check ambition" if individual freedom and the republic are to be held harmless. 
    JH:  The founders deliberately gave real muscle to Congress to use in situations like this, and previous lawmakers were not too timid to use them. From the exposés of the Fulbright hearings in the 1960s to the withholding of war funds in 1973 to stop Nixon from extending the Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia, earlier Congresses have had the guts to show that they really are a co-equal branch of government.
    RAD:  But where is the media in this tragedy?  We saw the Fulbright hearings "live".  We also saw the Watergate and Iran Contra hearings live, prime time!  The third estate is also a player in our constitutional system.  Why are they silent or leaving it to C-SPAN and/or NPR/TV?  
    JH:  It’s time for Congress to pull the purse strings on Bush’s war. It has the power to stop the needless killing and maiming of thousands more Americans and Iraqi civilians. Failure to use that power is not just political cowardice – it’s immoral.
    RAD:  The Founders not only gave the Congress the "power of the purse" and along with it the oversight function but it also gave them the powers of impeachment.  JH is correct that the Congress has failed to use the power of the purse to clip Dubya's wings.  And until the Congress changed hands, the GOP playing a craven partisan hand failed to exercise oversight over this administration as well.  
    But the ultimate weapon is impeachment.  One can make the case for it and against it.  RAD has made the case for it in previous blogs.  Let me briefly summarize the reasons for NOT going down that road and then the counter argument.

  •     The clock is ticking.  Being only one year and a month from the November '08 election we don't need to kick Bush out, he's a lame duck.  We'll have a new president by January 20, 2009.  But that's the problem!  By then we may be knee high in a war with Iran!  At the least, we'll still be stuck with Iraq which the new president will inherit.  Do you really want Bush to hand off that "war" baton to his successor? 
  •     The Ds would tarnish their chances in '08 by going down that road.  It's a risk.  But given the high stakes of letting the administration stay the course or worse, the risk is worth it if we can slow the war machine down and prevent the Iran option.  Public opinion supports getting out now, the Ds would increase their winning margin for '08. 
  •     Impeachment would confuse our allies, make us look weak from the view of our enemies and stop anything else from happening.  But these factors are in play now!  We are considered chumps and the "evil doers" now more than Osama!  And nothing important is going to happen until the '08 election is over! 
  •     The votes in the House for articles of impeachment are not there; and the Senate would never convict Bush.  Slick Willie dodged the bullet, so would Bush.  Hold it...  Slick Willie violated his marital vows and lied about it - these are not "high crimes and misdemeanors."  Lying about WMDs, the Saddam/Osama connection, engaging in torture and rendition, using "executive privilege" to sandbag Congress on the war, oil policy and the US attorney scandal are much weightier issues than Slick Willie being unfaithful to Hillary!
  •     Finally, if the Democratic Congress used the power of the purse, the oversight function AND impeachment hearings, it would be a great civics lesson for the American people and the world that an "imperial presidency" is not acceptable.  It would show us walking the talk of being a democratic republic not just waving the flag during the World Series!
  •     But the real stopper is "do you want Dick Cheney to be President?"  Not really.  So impeach them both!  The clock will run out on the process anyway but in the meantime with Dubya and Dick needing all that time to talk with their lawyers, they just might not be able to begin the "surgical" strikes against Iran and a prelude to 20 more years of hell in the Middle East!
    So what's really YOUR reason for not wanting to IMPEACH?  Oh, yes - Peter DeFazio said it all in Bend this weekend at the Demo Summit - the Congress is soooo... very busy doing the people's business...  Right...  If so, then why do the public rate Congress below Dubya?  The only business that's going on in DC is the monkey business we associate with the election cycle. 
    If you want to save social security, medicare and medicaid, rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast plus prevent another bridge collapse near a river close to your home tell your congressman and senators to stop funding the war and pass along the "peace dividend to programs you do support.  Also tell the political class inside the DC Beltway that reviving the "socal contract" can't be done on the cheap with a credit card.
    Hillary has pledged if elected that we will return to a "pay as you go" budget.  Sounds good to me but her hubby Slick Willie had an historically high octane economy going for him AND he raised taxes on the richest Americans.  You want to have a society built on the Nordstrom not WalMart model, you've to to pay for it in higher taxes!  In meantime while we're waiting for the "second coming" let's impeach the fools who got us in this mess! 
    It's about doing the morally right thing, not the politically expedient thing. 

 

Friday
Oct052007

THE HEART OF A TEACHER

    Writer and educational reformer Jonathon Kozol spoke in Portland on Wednesday night October 3rd. In an interview he was asked - What's the biggest hurdle faced by urban public school teachers today? 
   images.jpg JK:  "The pressure to put aside everything they've learned about education and simply become drillmasters who pump up their students to take tests.  It's a stripped-down curriculum and the teachers don't like it.  The challenge is figuring out how to deal with that.  I advise them to reach out to older, more experienced teachers.  Don't demonize your principals but instead establish supportive relationships with them.  And try to develop a sense of sly irrevernce in the face of the obsession with tests and numbers.  Don't lose your personality, just make it enjoyable for students." 
    From Oregonian article and interview by David Austin, Oct. 4, 2007
    Editor's Note:  Several years ago it was my pleasure to bring Parker Palmer to Pacific's campus to lead a workshop on education reform.  Like Kozol, Parker Palmer is also very critical of high stakes testing.
    PP:  "...In our rush to reform education, we have forgotten a simple truth: reform will  never be achieved by renewing appropriations, restructuring schools, rewriting curricula, and revising texts if we continue to demean and dishearten the human resource called the  teacher on whom so much depends.  Teachers must be better compensated, freed from bureaucratic harassment, given a role in academic governance, and provided with the best  possible methods and materials.  But none of that will transform education if we fail  to cherish--and challenge--the human heart that is the source of good teaching..."