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Teen rape suspect "just happened to slip away" (Video)  

Bob Terry dodges and weaves!     

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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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California topples a tyrant

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10 Things US does worse than Europe

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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Check video

- 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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Sneaker Politics

Kitzhaber and legislators got rolled by Nike. 

More

 


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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.   

 

Steve Duin Schools get the blame 

School Reform/slate.com 



    

    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 is working in Oregon!

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

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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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A Just Peace

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SIP contract online

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Oreaviationwatch

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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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Kansas' ruinous tax cuts

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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



Check video

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

 Sign the online petition on Intel emissions in link below:  

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?

Rediscovering Government

Is the US #1? 

 

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 

krugmanonline.com 

 

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
Aug162014

OREGONIAN SHILLS FOR INTEL...  

Intel Update: 

     I testified against the "Intel SIP deal" before the Washington County Board and the Hillsboro City Council.  So did Jody Wiser of Tax Fairness Oregon and my friend Dale Feik, WC CAN's emissions committee chair. 

     What's most disappointing is that the process by which the deal came down was a closed door process from March to just a week ago, driven by "non-disclosure" agreements signed by local government officials at Intel's demand.  Transparency is out, open meeting laws are out and accountability is out - the "deal" is virtually signed sealed and delivered.

Read more...

Intel's tax breaks: Hillsboro City Council hears support and opposition to deal

     Correction: 

     If you want to speak out against this violation of open government attend next Tuesday's public hearing August 26th at 6:30 p.m. before a joint session of the county board and Hillsboro city council in the Public Services Building in Hillsboro.  It will be your last chance to speak out before the skids are greased for Intel for the next 30 years! 

Welcome to the "new" Oregon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel.   

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     In the wake of the Intel deal for more SIP money, the editors of the Oregonian have the audacity to admit Oregon needs an additional revenue source - their favorite tax - a sales tax.  Now Oregonians have voted down a sales tax 9 times, how clearer could it be that this is a road nowhere?  This is merely the Oregonian's way of hiding behind the fact that the negotiated Intel deal - which is not consummated yet - is an outrageous shakedown of Oregon and it's voters.  

     Giving Intel a 30 year deal which relieves them of property taxes by only taxing the first $100 million of the value of what's reported to be over 2 billion in new machinery is a rip off of gargantuan proportions.  It will continue to place an unfair burden on those who get no 30 year breaks on their property taxes - renters, home owners and small business.  And it will mean over the 30 years there will be less money for schools and other public services but of course not for the TROIKA's pork project - a community center!  

     This get worse the more you learn about it - check out Mike Rogoway's latest analysis: 

     As Washington County and Hillsboro officials prepare to vote on that deal late this month, the remarkable duration of Intel's new tax package has become a focal point for those weighing the agreement. The pact, announced last week, would exempt up to $100 billion in equipment from the property taxes that other businesses pay.

     The agreement would save Intel something like $2 billion over the life of the deal and effectively lock in the company's tax structure through Super Bowl LXXX. Compensatory payments – minimums Intel agrees to pay to compensate local taxing authorities for the foregone revenue – aren't indexed for inflation, so their value will drop substantially over the years.

     When Rogoway, touting the editorial board line, after all they pay his salary - claims that "even critics of this deal are broadly supportive of tax breaks on the monstrously expensive equipment that outfits the chipmaker's multibillion-dollar Washington County factories" who is he talking about?  He never asked for my take as WC CAN's VP and Senior Policy Analyst.  His reference to Tax Fairness Oregon's position is a slight of hand comment. 

     "As with previous SIPs, Intel agrees to make an annual payment of $2.87 million, pay a $2 million community service fee and donate $100,000 year to charities selected by local elected officials. The abatements apply only to the value of equipment and machinery beyond $100 million, and will not affect taxes on land and buildings. According to a report by ECONorthwest on Intel's economic impact in Oregon, the company paid $20.8 million in property taxes in 2012 on land and buildings." 

     Notice the "framing" of the property abatement reference above - "apply only to the value of equipment and machinery beyond $100 million...?  Such a deal, Intel is taxed only on the first $100 million but not the rest of the $2 billion.

     For a multi-national corporation with a over $9 billion dollar revenue stream this year, the annual payments, community service fee and donations to charities are "chump change" - the latter a slush fund for local officials to divy out - what is termed "pork" in DC.  While Intel paid $20.8 million in property taxes - it paid no state income taxes.  Forest Grove's School District #15 has a current general fund for 2013-14 of $54.1 million dollars. 

     What's Intel's contribution to our schools?  Oh yeah, Gains Share money which comes from income taxes on their employees...   What a trick, Intel pays the $150 minimum state income tax, their employees pay income and property taxes and Intel gets huge property tax breaks. 

     In 2013-14 Washington County's total budget was over $737 million.  If one adds the total budgets of Beaverton and Hillsboro, these local governments added to the county budget come to $1.3 billion.  Intel's $20.8 million in property taxes equals 1.6% of these three local governments most impacted by Intel.  

     This does not factor in the budgets of other local districts to which property tax payers support - local school districts, special districts, Metro, PCC et al.  Factoring these into the budget equation lowers Intel's contribution even lower than it's 1.6%.  

     According to an EcoNorthwest report, the last year Intel paid state income taxes in the mid-90s the price tag was $50 million.  Those were the days!  Those records are no longer available to the public!  Intel's motto - "transparency is not us!"  They lie about emissions and they hide what they used to pay in taxes!   

      If one adds up the school budgets of Washington County's other local school districts - Beaverton, Tigard, Hillsboro, Gaston, Banks, North Plains and Sherwood an additional $20.8 million is a drop in the bucket.  Then consider the budget challenges of local cities which are impacted by infrastructure demands placed on them by Intel's 17,000 employees (not to mention NIKE) - it doesn't add up.  Intel is not paying its fair share nor is NIKE, 

     When one looks at the Oregonian editorial board's list of things we need to do to keep Intel and NIKE in Oregon the future demands over the 30 years of this "deal" just zooms like a rocket. 

     "In Hillsboro, that means continuing to increase the housing and civic options for employees at Intel and other companies who would live closer to work if the amenities they desired were available."

     RAD:  In Washington County apparently Intel employees are more equal than other employees!  

     I pay property taxes to support my local schools, my city government, METRO, the county, PCC, the ESD, Clean Water Services, the Port Authority of Portland and special levies for school construction, county roads, public safety, libraries, parks and green spaces.  What's Intel's contribution to these taxpayer supported programs?  After all "corporations" are legally persons, right, so they should pay like you and I do, right?  

     We know what happened to the economy when "banks too big to fail" got fat and sassy.  As US Senator Elizabeth Warren says "the system is rigged." 

      Here in Oregon and Washington County the "rigging" is being done by our governor, our legislature, our county commissioners and local officials.  It's time to tell the TROIKA of Andy Duyck, Bob Terry and Roy Rogers enough is enough!  Tear up the Intel deal and negotiate a fair deal for the taxpayers of Washington County as promised in the campaign!  If not, maybe it's time for a recall election of the TROIKA!  

    

Friday
Aug152014

FERGUSON, THE "BAHGDADIZATION" OF THE USA?

A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. AP      EDITOR'S NOTE:  We should be careful about rushing to judgment given the incidents in Ferguson, Missouri this week.  The images from Ferguson look eerily familiar to those old enough to remember the long hot summers of '67 and '68 and the Watts Riots.  The history of police brutality and over-reaction to alleged criminal behavior are etched in our collective consciousness.  

     The hooliganism by "some" young people reacting to the shooting of Michael Brown makes one wonder - where are the parents and adults in this tragedy?  Tearing up your home town is not the solution but that's exactly what happened in Detroit, DC et al after MLK's assassination.  Deja vu all over again.  And of course, Jesse Jackson shows up! 

     Here's more on Ferguson from Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org 

     I"ve tried to look a bit deeper into what may be the conditions which light the fuse to such events. 

     A group of students in at the University of Missouri-St. Louis produced a short informational video about the City of Ferguson.  Which is the real Ferguson?  Click here.  

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Congress needs to hear from us loud and clear: it's time to demilitarize the police in America. Sign our petition demanding Congress reform Section 1033 now.

     The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominantly African-American suburb of St. Louis illustrates how far we still have to go to reach Martin Luther King's dream of the "beloved community."  In the middle of a saga of what "seems" to be another example of "police brutality" in the wake of the death of a young Black male, one wonders if we've learned anything in the USA since the long hot summers of '67/68.  

     In Ferguson the "heavy hand of the law" doesn't begin with a young man and the cops, it begins with the historical backdrop of "white flight" decades ago in St. Louis County when African-Americans were enabled to move from the inner city to the suburbs.  This scenario has played out in every major city in the USA, including Portland.  De facto housing segregation is the backdrop to the racial divide in America. 

      Census info from the Wikipedia link above shows that from 1990 to 2010 - the ratio of the White to Black residents flipped from 70% to 30%.  Local realtors must have been really busy buying cheap and selling high something this industry has done so well in the USA with the help of the banking community. 

     In Portland the potential for such an incident is very possible because the state legislature bowing to the pressure of lobbying by the Oregon Home Builder's Association aka John Chandler in '95 passed a law prohibiting mandatory inclusionary zoning which would require home builders to set aside a portion of their developments for low income Oregonians, white, Black, Asian or Latino.

     Mandatory inclusionary zoning is the only way to avoid the ghettoization of the working poor and to create genuinely mixed neighborhoods where people can get to know and work with each other across racial, ethnic and class lines.  Ironically, this is how America looked in the early 20th century during the great migration which brought all kinds of folks together in the big cities.  

     Any visitor to San Francisco can't help notice the proximity of the Chinese and Italian communities since China Town and North Beach intersect.  The same is true of New York.  Not so of Seattle or Portland largely because of how the freeway system broke up old ethnic neighborhoods as and how gentrification now pushes poor people out of the old neighborhoods, to Beacon Hill in Seattle, outer SE in Portland. 

     If Ferguson was a truly mixed community, the police wouldn't react the way they did nor some residents.  But then again, as we've seen in Portland, cops shoot first and ask questions later usually forced after the fact by lawsuits and investigations by outside state or federal agencies, most often the Justice Department and/or the FBI.  The "Thin Blue Line" is too closed off and insulated to monitor itself.   

     The other insulating factor is that police forces tend to recruit cops with military backgrounds.  This creates a brotherhood of sorts that's used to working in a "militarized" authoritarian bureaucracy where the use of maximum force is routine, part of their professional DNA.  Cops clearly have a psychology of "it's them against us."  When you bring this mindset to the community bad things happen as Fergurson illustrates.  

     Additionally, when police departments have access to weapons of war passed down by the Pentagon, the temptation to bring out the big guns in a community in unrest just adds fuel to the fire.  Recent press reports make this sound like this is something new, it's not.  Under the Nixon administration's Revenue Sharing program in the '70s rural police forces got armored personnel vehicles.  It's happening again!

     You say it can't happen here in liberal Portlandia, check out this NPR report from Denver - this may be disturbing to some:  

      What is noteworthy about Ferguson is that while almost 70% of the city is African-American, the elected power structure is almost totally white, including the mayor, the police chief and the police force.  One local political science professor explains the lack of Black faces in power is the "transient" nature of the African-American population and low voter turnout for local elections, especially among African-Americans. 

     Another factor connected to a low degree of civic engagement by African-Americans may be that Ferguson is a company town, the home of Emerson Electric, a power machine multi-national corporation.  Having done a community power analysis of Racine, Wisconsin, also company town, Johnson & Johnson, with a large Black population - the sense of civic powerlessness seems endemic to such communities. 

     When one couples a low degree of civic engagement with a sense of powerlessness, it's not hard to imagine how an incident of what appears to be police brutality can quickly turn into a violent confrontation between the community and the police.  When the majority residents of a city are not represented in the corridors of power, the sense of powerlessness can easily turn into civic unrest. 

     One hopes after things calm down, the people of Ferguson will examine the origins of the civic dysfunction of their community.  In the South it's now common to have Black mayors, police chiefs and other elected officials.  Given the history institutionalized racism in the north, it's harder to break the grip of white privilege.  In places like Ferguson it's time to remember that "all politics is local."  "Organize, don't agonize."    

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Wednesday
Aug132014

ELITE COLLEGES, BUYER BEWARE!  

University of Virginia founded by Thomas Jefferson to educate a democratic citizenryEDITOR'S NOTE:  

     As we begin new college academic year, it's important for students to ask themselves why they are going to college?  Most will say because it's the way to a good job and a career.  And the most prestigious school one can get into - better yet.  To see college as a career and/or income ladder into the ranks of the "haves" is the norm.  It's want parents tell their kids, it's what high school counsellor tell students and it's what society ingrains in them  College is not a right of passage but a presume ticket to the good life.  

     Some students go to college to get away from Mom and Dad.  Some go to college to join a fraternity or sorority.  Some go to root for the home team as the jocks run up and down the field of dreams.   These reasons will not sustain success in college but add to the drop out rate.  

     These reasons do not value a college education as an end itself - the chance to grow intellectually, the chance to be challenged by professors and peers, the chance to deal with great ideas and great books.  Going to college is viewed increasingly as an investment which will pay off down the road.  And given the sticker shock of college tuition,  seeing college in terms of how it will pay off in the long run is not terribly surprising.  But this attitude will discourage risk taking, in and outside the classroom. 

     As the author says in the inteview - the origins of the problem go back to the Reagan era when K-12 teachers and schools were put on notice that Big Brother was watching.  Then began the era of high stakes testing.  When schools are turned into "testing machines" smart students and their parents will figure out how to "game" the system and do what it takes to "win" go to the best schools, get the best grades etc. which is not the same thing as developing a love of learning.  Drone production now begins in pre-school!  

     Playing it safe is to lead the life of a drone and such habits of the heart and mind will carry over into a career.  The best example such risky behavior is Wall Street where the so-called "best and brightest" screwed us all.  But they are so ethically numb they still don't get it despite Ivy League degrees!   

     Ironically, business has said over the generations that a good liberal arts education is the best "investmant" a student can make because a liberal arts education focuses on developing critical thinking skills, learning how to read and write deeply, broadening not narrowing one's intellectual interests and working collaboratively.  In other words, a good liberal arts education should prepare one to think outside the box - which is the type of mindset one needs to survive in this world as a citizen and employee. 

     The best way to size up a college is to visit it.  Sit in some classes just don't take the admissions "guided" tour.  Talk to students from your high school who are attending the college you are looking at - listen carefully to what they say!  Not all opinions are equal - college freshmen and sophomore are all too often clueless - talk to an upper classman and/or a grad of the college.  Don't just apply to a local public university.  Going to college should get you away from the "old folks" but also you

     Last summer I attended my 50th class reunion at Whitman, an elite college.  I got an excellent liberal arts education there which prepared me for my life's journey - no regrets.  But when I read the booklet of fellow alum bios who attended the class of '64 runion, certifiable smart folks, for most of them the turbulence of the '60s passed them by.  Many went to the law or med school - as good drones do.  Few got out of their comfort zone, my thought was what a waste of talent. 

     An historical note: The "best & brightest" from Ivy League schools guided by hubris got us into Vietnam and Iraq and drove the economy into the ditch of the Great Recession.  So much for the best and brightest!  

     Here's a critique of elite education I heard on OPB on Tuesday.  I commend it to you.  It's well worth the listen:

     The Portland writer William Deresiewicz says we need to rethink the entire system of elite American higher education, including the admissions-focused activities that lead up to college and the careers that follow.  He recently published these ideas as a cover article for The New Republic. With a picture of a burning Harvard flag and an equally incendiary title — “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League” — it led to responses in The New Yorker, Newsweek, the New York Times, Slate, and many other publications. Now he’s releasing the full argument.

     His new book is called Excellent Sheep. It’s a blistering indictment of a system that has been in place for decades now. Deresiewicz takes aim at helicopter parents and the pre-professional childhoods over which they hover. He acknowledges that many of those young people turn into smart, driven, and hardworking college students. But, he argues, they lack the imagination, passion, and courage to make their own way in the world. Instead, these students from Harvard and Yale, Princeton and Stanford, and a few dozen other elite schools, too often see the next rung on a fancy ladder as an end in itself. They are the excellent sheep of his title.

(It’s worth noting here that Deresiewicz is both a product of this world, as a Columbia undergrad, and a longtime participant in it, as a former Yale professor.

     The antidote, Deresiewicz argues, is a fundamental rethinking of the purpose of college. He’s calling for a return to the ideas and the ideals of a liberal arts education, in which students truly learn to think for themselves, about themselves, and about the world. What’s more, he says, college should be transformative:

    The purpose of college … is to turn adolescents into adults. You needn’t go to school for that, but if you’re going to be there anyway, then that’s the most important thing to get accomplished. That is a true education: accept no substitutes.

     The idea that we should take the first four years of young adulthood and devote them to career preparation alone, neglecting every other part of life, is nothing short of an obscenity. If that’s what people had you do, then you were robbed.

     And if you find yourself to be the same person at the end of college as you were at the beginning—the same beliefs, the same values, the same desires, the same goals for the same reasons—then you did it wrong. Go back and do it again.

     Did you go to an elite school?  If so what did you get - 

"...a period of acclimatization" into "excellent sheep"     

"...[membership] in an educational meritocracy” of "excellent sheep"     

     Final thoughts -

     I taught "excellent sheep" at Dickinson College from '69-74 who all too often thought not getting into Harvard Law or Med school was a sign of failure.  These were the children of privilege from eastern seaboard suburbs.  At Pacific I taught mostly first generation college students from the Pacific Northwest.  But too many Pacific came with similar purposes of the "excellent sheep" - going into business or going into the health sciences because that's where the money was! 

     The good news for me at Dickinson, Pacific, PSU and Lewis & Clark is that the students who bonded with me in and beyond class were the outliers who didn't fit into the "sheep" mold and who in their lives after college have been very entrepreneurial, risk takers and with whom I've kept in contact long after they graduated.  So my belief based on 41 years of experience is one can model critical thinking and the love of learning despite institutional pressures to conform. 

     College faculty can be "excellent sheep" too!  After all they played the game the best in college and love to replicate themselves.  


 

Tuesday
Aug122014

INTEL'S TUNE - "WHAT EVER LOLA WANTS, LOLA GETS"  

Intel's whopping new tax break: Why now?

     The proposed Intel deal is a massive change, tying the state’s hands for 30 years allowing Intel to escape property taxes on up to $100 billion in the value of new equipment. 

Jody Wiser, Tax Fairness Oregon

     In 1994 Intel got its first two SIP deals.  They were each on $3 billion of investment.  The 1999 deal was for $12.5 billion, the 2005 deal for $25 billion.  Each of these was for 15 years. 

     We agree that a company with the huge machinery investments that Intel makes should receive some reduction in property taxes.  But a 30 year deal for more than 3 times what Intel’s invested in the 38 years since they arrived in 1976 -- that’s too much.  

     The legislators in 1993 never imagined such a deal. I bet even today’s legislators never imagined such a deal.  The Hillsboro City Council and the Washington County Commission should slow down and give more than 15 days of consideration to this deal before tying their own and the state’s hands for the next 30 years.    

     The impression in the press about this deal is that Intel is committed to investing $100 billion in Oregon over the next 30 years. That is not so.  The truth is that the proposed deal commits Oregon to giving Intel a property tax abatement on up to $100 billion for 30 years.

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More info -

  • Monday's deal doesn't obligate Intel to spend anything in Oregon.

  • [The deal is] potentially worth more than $2 billion to Intel, the largest property tax break in Oregon history.

  • Last year Intel saved $123 million in local property taxes.    

     

RAD'S TAKE...   The least that should be done is the following: 

1 - Make "the deal" contingent on Intel's finalizing the "Good Neighbor" Agreement;

2 - Don't make "the deal" effective until Intel gets the Title V DEQ permit and EPA approval; 

3 - Get Intel to commit that the machinery used will be "made in America," preferably in Oregon, not outsourced; 

4 - Require Intel to pay in lieu of local property taxes a sum equal to 50% of lost revenue to schools and local government from this deal;  

and

5 - Intel should should be taxed on more than the first $100 million value of the machinery it purchases for its two DiX fab plants. 


Anything less than this is to push local taxes onto the backs of renters, home owners and small business. 

Let's bring back the "unitary tax" on the total wealth of corporations in Oregon. 

Keep in mind Intel also pays the "minimum" rate in state income taxes, $150/year.  

     The Hillsboro City Council gets a briefing Aug. 19. Then the commission and council meet in a joint session at 7 p.m. Aug. 26 for a public hearing on the agreement, followed by a vote on the deal.  The meeting will be held in the Public Services building where the county board meets...   

Sunday
Aug102014

HIGHER ED IN OREGON – SHUFFLING THE DECK 

BE QUIET, EDUCATION BUREAUCRATS AT WORK!      EDITOR’S NOTE:  David Sarasohn’s op ed in the unOregonian, Sunday, August 10, 2014 says it all.  Our answer to having a robust public higher education system is to implement a new organizational chart not to figure out how to tap into more revenue of the public system. 

     Check it out with my point/counterpoint commentary:    

     DS:  Until the Oregon State Board of Higher Education slipped quietly out of existence this summer, Matt Donegan spent five years on it, the last three as chairman. But talking about higher education and economic development recently, the first institution he mentioned was the University of Washington.

     RAD:  I find this mildly amusing as a Seattle native but an Oregonian by choice.  I also find it amusing because while Quack Attack U has replaced my Dawgs as the premier jock straps in the PAC-12, the same cannot be said about the U of O’s academic prowess. 

     DS:  When he listens to other Oregon businessmen talk about higher ed, he "can hear a lot of envy of what UW has been able to accomplish."

     Seeing how that's happened, of course, doesn't take five years close study of the Oregon system. "It doesn't seem that Oregon was looking ahead the way Washington was looking ahead," says Donegan.

     While Washington invested in its research universities "In Oregon, we did not place those bets."

     RAD:  Instead we’ve placed bets on the jocks bringing in the revenue and national fame, even though the shelf life of that gamble will probably end in a generation, maybe sooner if the loss of the U of Oregon’s current president is an indication that something smells not in Denmark, but in Eugene… 

     DS:  Oregon being Oregon, its response to higher ed disinvestment was to restructure, and soon each of the state's seven universities will have its own institutional board, under the new Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

     With the sudden departure of University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson, the new system is in line for its first workout, as the first job cited for the new boards is to hire (and fire) their presidents.

     In academic terms, Gottfredson's departure is pretty abrupt, and comes quite soon after the new board acquired the official power to decide who was president.

     The new boards' broader job, of course, is to bolster their universities.

     RAD:  With seven new boards competing with each other for private and public funds, good luck on picking winners and losers in this race to the bottom!  Without new revenue it will be done according to Kitzhaber’s mantra – “doing more with less.”  

     Unlike Washington, Oregon does not have the deep corporate pockets which historically give to higher ed in the private or public sector.  Our economy is not that deep as Washington’s nor philanthropy that robust.  Unless we raise taxes, the UO will never be competitive with the UW in R&D or academics.    

     DS:  Donegan, who helped shape the process – driven largely by the urgent demands of University of Oregon supporters, a confrontation that led to the firing of UO President Richard Lariviere by the now departed state board – is hopeful about the new arrangement will work.

     "Now that we're decentralized," he forecasts, "you're going to increase advocacy sevenfold."

     If the Legislature, historically not a hugely hospitable place for higher education, starts hearing from all the members of all the new boards, it could warm the atmosphere a bit.

     RAD:  Yes, advocacy will increase seven fold but the potential revenue base will stay the same in the Puzzle Palace.  Again, the advocates will face the same old challenge doing more with less given no political will in Salem to raise taxes on corporate Oregon or the 1%. 

     Pitting Eugene (UO), Corvallis (OSU), Ashland (SOU), Monmouth (WOU), La Grande (EOU), Bend (OSU-Cascade) and Portland (PSU/OHSU) against each other is a prescription for failure.  The big money will go to OHSU, UO and OSU - the rest will get the leftovers!    

     DS:  In Salem, "You do have some champions" on higher ed, notes Donegan. "(Sen.) Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, has been very thoughtful. There's (Rep.) Peter Buckley, D-Ashland. I won't say it's a terribly long list.

     RAD:  Donegan is right on – in the Puzzle Palace it’s a very short list. And nothing happens outside of the leadership, especially on the Joint Ways & Means committee which will simply carve up the drippings after the K-12 budget is put to bed and human resources begs for more funding to paper over the gaping safety net.  

     DS:  "That will change. Now there will be 100 board members, the kind of people very involved with legislative prospects."

     Of course, the 100 new board members will also be seeking to figure out their boards' roles, as will the HECC. Serving on a variety of public and private boards, Donegan notes an inevitable tendency to micro manage.

     RAD:  Oregon has been “micro managing” K-12 education since ’91 with scant results.  Why should one expect higher ed to favor any better?  We merely shuffle political hacks around on various boards and commissions pretending that’s change - "change nobody can believe in.”  

     DS:  He cites the warning of Oregon State President Ed Ray, a longtime skeptic, recalling his experiences with the Ohio State board: micro managing, asking the wrong questions and caring mostly about football.

     The risk of "mission creep," Donegan points out, applies to both the local boards and to HECC itself, whose role he sees largely as a "tie-breaker," focusing on budgeting and strategic planning.

     Of course, the power of the budget can extend virtually anywhere.

     RAD:  Every time I hear some political hack like Donegan use the word “strategic planning” I want to vomit.  As a faculty member I’ve seen at least 4 such “plans” come down the pike at Pacific.  None of them were worth a bucket of spit.  They simply gathered dust while making a pretense of change.  

     Like I said before – budgeting is a legislative duty carried out by legislative leadership which works through the Joint Ways & Means committee in the Puzzle Palace. 

     DS:  Still, Donegan feels that the reorganization is a promising direction for the Oregon system – although it did mean that Oregon spent the last three years absorbed by governance while other state systems were focusing on strategies for on-line and distance education.

     RAD:  While Oregon dithers Washington invests!  A board of trustees has one function – to raise money for the endowment, not online education which is a joke.  If they don’t raise bucks they should be fired!   

     DS:  And Oregon has a ways to go, in a situation where the state's businesses have a long-established practice of importing talent from Seattle, from the Bay Area and from back East. Washington has had a strategy of using its higher education system as an engine for [its] economy, both in research and workforce creation, and under the best of circumstances Oregon would be a long time catching up.

     RAD:  Oregon industry like Intel just doesn’t import talent from Seattle, the Bay Area and the East but from India, China and beyond.  A visit to Intel’s Ronler Acres campus proves that.  We don’t have enough home grown hi-tech types in Oregon because we don’t invest in their education!  We out source by recruiting students from California who pay out of state tuition

     DS:  Oregon is, Donegan notes, sitting at the end of a hundred years of decisions on the issue. Some things, like the location of its universities, can't be changed, and some would require a considerable change of attitude and commitment.

     And right now, for the third time since 2009, the state needs a new president for what University of Oregon supporters insistently refer to as the state's flagship institution.

     RAD:  One doesn’t make up a 100 years in bad planning by decentralizing boards of trustees, one does this by investing in education pre-K to higher ed.  That requires funding for education at all levels not corporate welfare via SIPS and ConnectOregon grants to the 1%. 

     The UO is a “flagship?”  Given national rankings it’s a bottom feeder.  

     DS:  "I don't pretend (decentralization) is a substitute for funding," says Donegan, "or placing good bets, or having a good vision of where the future is going." Or for a solid realization of just how important a strong higher education system is to both the economy and the opportunities of a 21st century state.

     "What Oregon needs now," he insists, "is to say, year in and year out, we're going to make higher ed a priority.  

     RAD:  Donegan et al can say higher ed funding is a priority but if one “follows the money” there is no there, there!  When you give NIKE and INTEL 30 year “no new taxes” deals – you’ve locked yourself in to an economy which can only afford mediocrity except for the jocks in the NIKE uniforms! 

     DS:  We can continue to import people from back East, people from the Bay Area. We've had success doing that. But we need to provide opportunity here.  "These are our kids we're talking about."

     RAD:  Precisely which is why Oregon’s best and brightest high school grads go out of state! 

     I went to Whitman, my two sons went out of state. I earned my MA and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, one of the best public universities in the USA.  The private independent colleges in Oregon like Pacific, graduate over 1/3rd of college grads in the state, many from out of state!  

     So who is Mr. Donegan kidding!  Oregon has a public higher ed system akin to Alaska’s bridge to nowhere.  We pay lip service to higher ed but “where’s the money?” At the end of the day, we care more about the Ducks winning a national championship in football than having Nobel Laureates on the faculty. 

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