More About This Website


"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."

Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


“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


Middle East friendship chart


Corporations enriching shareholders


Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks



"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%.  





  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:


  • Jim Hightower:

  • 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: 


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


    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 


•    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 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...   
















































RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ


  • He lost by 2.9 million votes...

  • He's a con artist...

  • He's a pathological liar... 

  • He's a failed business man...

  • He's a fascist... 


Trump & The Mob


Trump's role models are Vladmir Putin and Benito Mussolini.  He has contempt for our checks and balances system.  He wants to "rule" not govern like a strong man, a despot.  He will shredd the Constitution anytime he feels the urge to do so and like all despots he only listens to his inner circle.  And he is paranoid and narcissistic. 


Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


Housing Needs in Oregon 




"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, 1940

  • "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  

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



From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now

The Daily Kos

Blue Oregon


"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... 



"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 

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



















































    The increasing attacks by insurgents in Iraq suggest that fears the administration's policy would end in civil war are coming true.  The focus of the attacks are the new defense and police forces of the new government of Iraq not American troops.  The message is clear - if the new government can't protect its own troops and forces - then what hope is there that they could protect civilians once the American troops have left? Of course, this means that our troops will stay longer to prevent the inevitable, the fall of Iraq to the insurgents and the bloody aftermath of such an end to US policy there - a three way civil war pitting Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish groups.  On top of this we now know through British intelligence memos leaked last week that the Bush strategy was to go to war in Iraq all along.  Gee, are we surprised?  
    I remember taking an American history course at Whitman in the '60s where we read articles, on both sides of the fence, as to whether or not FDR knew ahead of time that Pearl Harbor was a likely target for the Japanese.  We know because of that attack, everything changed in the USA. We went from isolationism to interventionism overnight.  9/11 had the same impact. I've always thought that 9/11 happened due to a series of bureaucratic failures in the FBI, CIA, INS and the Oval Office due to generic incompetence. The investigations of 9/11 have supported this conclusion. Condi Rice's failure to pay attention to warnings about terrorism by Richard Clark, our top counter-terrorism expert at the time, is a case in point. Incompetence, not a conspiracy, led to the events of 9/11.  
    Such is not the case with the war on Iraq.  Bush et al used terrorism as the fig leaf to cover his intent for going after Saddam Hussein. Condi Rice was up to her eyeballs in making sure the war machine in Rumfield's control would see action in Iraq sooner than later.  A family grudge and the politics of oil.  The personal became the political, WMDs or not.  The emerging scandal over Halliburton's et al misuse of taxpayer funds raises these questions anew.  A story of graft and greed.  And then one must add the abuse of so-called terrorist prisoners  in our control in Iraq, Cuba and who knows where.  So far, only the low hanging fruit who abused prisoners has been punished.  It's another cover up just like the Mi Lai Massacre in the Vietnam War.
    The dysfunctionalism of the Oregon legislature was made very clear last week by Speaker Minnis' creating a separate budget committee for the House.  Ds and Rs are still fighting over how much to spend.  So we have a convoluted budget process and different spending targets.  We've been down this path before.  The only thing it accomplishes is to prolong the legislative session.  It's May and committees are still hearing budget presentations by state agencies.  There clearly is no end in sight for sine die.  With the mess that Measure 37 is causing there is even less hope for an early end to the session.  Add the controversy over casino gambling - who's not involved in this imbroglio?  And now the Bush team has reversed Clinton policy on roadless areas requiring each state to petition the Feds for waivers.  Good luck!  All of this on the plate of our leaders in Salem where the governor and legislature fiddle while "Rome is burning".  
    If there is any hero in this mess in Salem it's Senate President Peter Courtney.  But as Courtney sees it  "...In effect, we're blowing up one of the hallmarks of the legislative process", after Speaker Minnis announced the GOP pullout from the Joint Ways & Means Committee (Jeff Mapes, INSIDE THE CAPITOL, Metro/Washington County, Oregonian, May 6, 2005).  As Mapes is right on about Peter C as  "...the longest-serving member of the legislature, is also the institution's most fierce defender.  He does not, as many lawmakers do, join his constituents at laughing at the legislative buffoonery.  He is too busy trying to inspire his listeners to believe that the right changes can make the Legislature a body more revered than ridiculed..."  That's why I said in my lecture on Monday, May 2nd (see blog below) - that Courtney is the exception to the rule in Salem these days in a general assembly with few profiles in courage. 
    This is for the D-man.  RAD's fair and balanced critique.  I've gradually become a fan of Al Franken. Anyone who can put O'Reilly in his place is worth my time.  I saw the great spat on C-SPAN with Molly Ivins and Pat Schroeder on the sidelines.  But come on, Franken with his humor and sarcasm is not an intellectual.  He's no policy wonk. And neither are the other left-wing bumpkins on Air America.  They are just lefty clones of the right wing wackos on Fox et al.  Al doesn't take himself too seriously.  That was the appeal of dear of Rush L, in the old days!  But come on folks, where are the certifiably smart folks on the left? 
    Over 23 years of the McCall Forum, the neo-cons & compassionate cons often had the edge in intellectual  capital, in many cases Ph.Ds:  Buckley, Brzezinski, Kirkpatrick, Laffer, Bork, Bennett, Safire, Gingrich, Kristol & Perle.  Just for the record, they also had better manners.  The best the left can gave us is out of office POLS who generally are no match for the brain power on the right.  And their ego quotients were high as was their maintenance.  Cuomo, McNamara, Schlesinger, McGovern, Dershowitz, Bradley and Kennedy, Jr. were the exception on the brain power index.  Don't get me wrong - the Ds held their own at Forum time, but many times the Rs were the more convincing, more in command of their 'wrong' ideas!  It's about time the smart lefties came out of their academic bunkers and hit the TV and radio circuit.  It's also time the broadcast industry added to its roster of guests people in this generation akin to Bill Coffin, Richard Falk, Michael Parenti, Daniel Kemmis, Carlos Fuentes (all who've done Pacific) - who actually know substance, not merely how to spin! 
    I'm tired of hearing and seeing - even on PBS the same old, same olds of the 'centrist left'.  Is Mark Shield and Bill Press the best they can do?  God forbid.  One advantage the right had being in the political wilderness for so many years was developing that 'vision' thing.  It's time the left worked on their idea game plan.  Or better yet, left wing pols listened to those in the academy who know what they are talking about not to the ubiquitous consultants of spin.  How many elections must the left blow before they figure out, ideas win not candidates minus a "clear and present" message.  It is about values - one's grounded in fairness, justice and common sense. 



126524-106797-thumbnail.jpgSan Francisco
(Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)

"If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you're going to San Francisco
You're gonna meet some gentle people there

For those who come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there
In the streets of San Francisco
Gentle people with flowers in their hair

All across the nation such a strange vibration
People in motion
There's a whole generation with a new explanation
People in motion people in motion

For those who come to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there

If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there"

Artist:  Scott McKenzie
Lyrics:  John Phillips

PS:  Some of us may have little or no hair these days  - but the spirit still is there.  Flowers are optional... 



Dr. Kenneth Clark
Dr. Kenneth Clark
Last week America lost a quiet but passionate voice for racial justice, Dr. Kenneth Clark. Professor Clark was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University in NY, NY. This was one of many 'firsts' for him.  His enduring legacy is the ground breaking work he and his wife, Mamie Phipps Clark, did on the searing psychological impact of racism and segregation on children. Their work was cited in the historic 1954 Brown vs. Board decision by the Supreme Court. The Clarks found that black children in both the North and the South overwhelmingly said white dolls were nicer and prettier than black dolls, and black dolls were bad. The tests were so traumatic, Clark said, that in Massachusetts, some black children refused to participate, running out of the room in tears. In an era when depictions of African-Americans via TV, movies or pop music are often stereotypically negative, one wonders if we've learned anything.  But look how Hollywood depicts women in hits like Desperate Housewives.  Of course, we don't have to listen or watch.  But we do.  Why?  As Cassius says to Brutus -  "...Men at some time are Masters of their fates;  The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings..."  Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II, William Shakespeare



Can't write anything.    Molly Ivins' column, in The Oregonian on Sunday, May 1, included two interesting factoids:  "...Pre-tax incomes for middle-class families of every type...are down, leaving the typical household with $1,535 less income in 2003 than in 2000, a drop of 3.4 percent..."  Molly also points out that "...Family spending on high insurance co-pays, deductibles and premiums escalated, rising three times faster than income for those married with children absorbing half of their income..."  And you think your vote doesn't make a difference! 



Inaugural Senior Professor Series / The President's Cabinet recently announced the inauguration of a Senior Professors' Lecture Series, which provides an opportunity to honor and celebrate the academic work of faculty on their retirement. The first lecture in this series was given by Dr. Russ Dondero, Professor of Politics & Government on May 2nd at 12 - 1 pm in the Alumni Room on the topic "Oregon Politics - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." Below are Dr. Dondero's revised remarks for print.

S_0-8032-6436-4[5].jpg     Since coming to Pacific 31 years ago I have been a witness to Oregon history by teaching POLS 304 – Grassroots Politics, a course on state & local government, which has coincided with our biennial legislative sessions every odd numbered year. From 1975 on I have taken hundreds to students to Salem to meet with governors, legislators, lobbyists and members of the press. Many of those students have moved on to Salem or Washington DC as interns ultimately transitioning seamlessly into careers in government and politics.  
     Over the last 13 years I’ve taught 50-80 students in ED 570, School & Society, a course in the politics of education taught under the auspices of our 5th Year MAT program. Either through panel discussions on campus or by road trips to Salem in a school bus those future teachers have had a chance to visit with Salem notables as well to get their fix on Oregon’s political scene. More recently I’ve taught a January workshop on the politics of health care in the OT program which culminated in a Salem field trip. So the trip to Salem has become a fixture for many of my students.            
    Since my sabbatical leave in 1991 when I spent that winter, spring and summer as a registered housing lobbyist I’ve embarked on an even more up front and personal relationship with Oregon state government and politics as a participant observer, in effect as a political anthropologist learning and studying the rituals and mores of those inside the Salem beltway. I’ve succumbed to Oregon’s version of Potomac Fever.
    Finally, as a pundit over the years for local, regional and occasionally national news media I have had many chances to use my political science skills by assessing Oregon’s version of political sausage in the making. But my journey into the world of politics has also taken me outside my comfort zone as an academic and into the world of a practitioner of the dark arts of a policy wonk.
    The list below summarizes my journey into Oregon’s political vineyards and beyond in the tradition of Ernest Boyer’s concept of the "scholarship of application".

1976 - Office of Neil Goldschmidt, Mayor of Portland, OR. 
1979 - KBOO-FM, Community Radio, Portland, OR.
1983 - Sabbatical - City Commissioner Margaret Strachan's Office, Portland, OR.
1984 - Staff Writer, Washington County Justice Task Force Report
1991 - Sabbatical - worked as lobbyist during '91 Oregon Legislative session
1991 to present - Member of Housing Lobby Coalition
1993 - Chair, Housing Task Force, Washington County
1994 - Chair, Citizen Participation Task Force, Washington County
1999- present - Washington County Housing Authority Advisory Council,
1999 - Sabbatical Leave (Spring Term) - consultant with McKeever/Morris

    As a result of these experiences in and outside the classroom, I’ve noticed several trends over this period of 31 years.
    From the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s - the Tom McCall to the Vic Atiyeh era the legislature was the entry level testing ground for Oregon’s "best & brightest" pols – on both sides of the aisle. I’ve watched the likes of Earl Blumenauer, Vera Katz, Norma Paulus, and Dave Frohnmayer cut their eyeteeth in the legislature as their first step into leading distinguished careers in political life.
    This period was the golden age of Oregon politics. The legislature was an incubator of visionary minds, strategic thinkers and problem solvers. Additions to the honor roll would be Mark Hatfield, Bob Packwood, Les AuCoin, Ted Hallock, Jason Boe, Hardy Myers, Bob Straub, Vic Atiyeh, Clay Myers and the Roberts clan (Frank, Barbara, Betty and Mary Wendy) et al.
    These leaders are part of what my colleague Seth Singleton termed the “OREGON” party. How right Seth was! They learned a fundamental political lesson that legislation is a process of finding common ground between Rs and Ds, between urban and rural Oregon. It’s a delicate and complex dialectical exercise of finding proximate solutions to impossible problems. With moderates in both camps unlike today there was much ideological room within which to maneuver.
    Except for Senate President Peter Courtney there are no such statesmen today in Oregon, just narrow gauged pols. I think the downturn in quality leadership has its origins in the following trends:

Leadership vacuum:
    Compared to this previous era, Oregon’s political leaders are not recruited into the legislature or high office based on experience on city councils, school boards, county commissions or other local offices. Instead the current leaders are increasingly self-starters with little or no previous experience in government at any level.

Political polarization:
    Because legislators of both parties have no independent bases of political support they become captives of their more ideological precinct captains and the legislative leadership, which often helps fund their campaigns. Legislators of both parties are bunkered in. They come to Salem with fixed agendas and closed minds. Once in Salem members of both caucuses act like political lemmings following their leadership over political cliffs. I see this time and time again in hearings where ideology and posturing replaces comity and the search for common ground.

Voter De-alignment:
    Oregon’s population grew well over 400,000 in the decade of the 1990s. This growth has created a far more diverse electorate, unlike the homogenous middle class state David Broder found in Oregon when he covered Oregon presidential primaries from 1964-72. This was a time when Oregon’s presidential primary was a keystone in national politics – because Oregon was the set up state to what Nixon referred to as the big enchilada – California.   
    With this growth, political loyalties of Oregon's electorate have changed. Oregon mimics the national trend in the reduction of party identification with either of the two major parties and the growth of the independent voter. Immigration to Oregon of new residents from California and other points east or south has erased the historical memory of Oregon’s populist centrist can do politics. If one tracks voter registration data from 1950 to 2004 Oregon’s more diverse electorate is less aligned with either major party while the ranks of independent voters has increased significantly from 4% to over 27%. It’s now the fastest growing voter group in the state.

Initiative Wars:
    In this same era we’ve also seen the emergence of Initiative Wars. Those who don’t get their agendas stamped by the legislature increasingly circumvent the legislature and take their causes to the public. The process, originally designed to give the little guy a voice, has been hijacked by vested interests to frame issues not from an Oregon view, but from a PAC view – campaigns funded by outside money, the ubiquitous and unlimited soft money. Ballot Measure 5s passage in 1990 – ended the golden era of bi-partisanship by turning citizen Oregonians into taxpayer Oregonians.
    A virtual avalanche of ballot measures appeared in the 1990s. From 1990 to 2002, Oregonians voted on 139 statewide ballot measures! In 1996 we saw 23 measures on the ballot, in 1998 14 measures and in 2002 26 measures. We averaged in the 1990s in general, primary and special elections 6.2 measures per election.
    More significantly the measures on the ballot have been very divisive dealing with issues such a physician assisted suicide, gay rights, takings and mandatory sentencing.

Term limits:
    The final nail in the coffin of the politics of the progressive-center was voter approval of term limits. Despite being ended by a Supreme Court decision, the impact of term limits is still felt inside the capitol building in Salem. Legislators who had been groomed over many sessions disappeared to be replaced by political newbies who had no Salem experience and had no institutional memory.
    I’ve seen committees stopped because the chair, members and the staff did not know what a quorum was too move a bill out of committee. Legislators not having any previous experience with state agencies have an increasingly longer learning curve to get up to speed in exercising oversight of agency budgets and programs. Nothing can get done in Salem until March or later – well beyond the third month of the session. And sessions drag on well beyond June into July and August.  The current session is repeating this scenario! 

    These factors have caused the legislature to become less efficient and often appear to be institutionally dysfunctional. The cumulative affect of these factors has caused Oregon politics in the current era to be schizophrenic.  In many ways there are two Oregon's - one urban, the other rural; one affluent, the other poor; one on the west side of the Cascades, the other on the east side, one the Portland metro area, the other downstate, one hi-tech based, the other resource based and increasingly one Anglo, the other Latino, Asian or African-American. 
    According to Clucas et al. in Oregon Politics and Government “…Oregon is divided between two competing visions: one that is tied to progressive politics and another that is committed to conservative populism. While the progressive side supports a strong and active government, the conservative populist side seeks a smaller government, lower taxes, fewer restrictions on private property, and protection for traditional social values. The struggle between these two forces drives Oregon politics and policies today.” (Preface)
    The story does not end in Salem, a once robust print and broadcast media locally owned has disappeared to be replaced by absentee owners who see the news gathering process as a business not a civic enterprise. This has reduced the quantity and quality of local and statewide news coverage. TV and talk radio have become KING – what goes for news is really sound bite journalism and incessant ranting of local talk jocks who pour salt on  wounds in Oregon's political psyche or their national echoes whose political spin is largely from the political right.  Oregon’s media, as other states has been “clear channeled".
    The once robust civic culture that Broder found, aside from Portland, is a thing of the past. People are too consumed by their daily lives making a living, raising kids, and being consumers. We are increasingly autonomous individualists who only come together via vote by mail (that virtual dagger to a visible engaged citizenry). Over-exposure to negative ads and the extremist rhetoric of campaign literature in our mail accelerates our tendency to make the personal the political. We hear only the I not the WE in political discourse.
    So the question is “do things look different in Oregon” anymore or do they look the same here as elsewhere in the nation?
    In the golden era of the 1960s - the 1980s our self image was crystallized by one man, Governor Tom McCall: "…What saved Oregon's economy - what brought people back to the state - was not the contrition practiced by politicians but the invaluable character of its land and rivers and air. People came to Oregon because of the place - a place of surviving beauty that one man [Tom McCall] had cherished like no one before…" from Brent Walth, Fire at Eden's Gate, Tom McCall & The Oregon Story, p. 467.
    Sadly my sense of Oregon today was captured by a recent headline in The Oregonian: "Oregonians your state is average, according to its biennial barometer" [the Oregon Benchmarks], April 19, 2005, p. 1
    We have been sucked into the vortex of a nationalized politics that diminishes our sense of place and our sense of uniqueness. When was the last time a presidential candidate came to Oregon and talked about Oregon issues: timber harvests, tourism, fishing, hi-tech, agri-business, the environment?  I recorded no such messages in the 2004 campaign.
    Tip O’Neill’s wisdom “All politics is local” is a now dated aphorism.  Our politics has increasingly been nationalized by the likes of Grover Norquist and his band of anti-government, anti-tax libertarians. And his money and rhetoric is matched on the left by the likes of MoveON.Org funded by millionaire George Soros.
    Politics in Oregon, like elsewhere, is fought out via wedge issues such as abortion or gay rights which treat citizens as members of media markets not communities. Such tactics sharpen divisions between Rs and Ds, Liberal and Conservatives, men & women, gays and straights, urbanites & rural folks. The electorate is sliced, diced and spliced in the shadowy confines of political consultants and ad makers in a galaxy far away, NYNY or LA. 
    Political campaigns trump statecraft and governance by focusing on a Shakespearean-like tragedy of “sound and fury signifying nothing.” This creates a political milieu which Yeats describes in the “Second Coming”…

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood dimm'd tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

    Unlike the golden age, there are no profiles in courage in Oregon politics. Aside from Portland’s new Mayor Tom Potter – dueling with the FBI or Eric Sten who wants to make a deal for PGE – there is none of that "vision thing" coming from Salem. Both the Governor and the legislature are playing a game of political chicken over the budget threatening triage for a body politic that has undergone more than a decade of dis-investment.
    The most livable city in the USA is witnessing a school board, in the wake of its predecessors, do a cowardly lion act to avoid the evil “T” word and a witless Superintendent of Schools, from "the Big East", who wants to dismantle what was once a shining jewel of public education in the city that worked.
    Where are the Tom McCalls today when we need them?
    Today such leaders are hard to find among the ranks of elected leaders. Through my involvement as a citizen advocate on corrections, citizen participation and most importantly on affordable housing I’ve discovered that leaders are often found in the ranks of non-profit organizations, like the Housing Development Corporation, founded by Doug Longhurst, a Pacific alum and Linda Netherton, a former UR colleague. 
    As I look toward my graduation from Pacific my journey from discovery, through engagement to commitment will take me more deeply into the ranks of citizen activist and possibly down the road – into a run for elective office. Like my fellow grads, having gone through my own journey of discovery and engagement, I am ready to enter the next stage – commitment – inspired by many of my own students who are in "the arena" of politics. 
    36 years ago, I began my teaching career in Pennsylvania as "the" political theorist in a 7-person department. By contrast my career at Pacific has been a process of reinvention and discovery in and out of the classroom.         This next year will be a year of ‘transition’ for me… I will…

• Mentor 5 interns headed to DC in the spring,
• Continue with my work on the McCall Forum
• Teach a couple of upper division courses at PSU and
• Do a workshop for our health sciences colleagues next winter

    Thanks to alum Dietrich von Behren, I’ve joined the ranks of bloggers - check out
    But after Commencement Day I will devote my summer and most of the fall to serious work on my golf game, which needs considerable attention!
    For now, stealing a line from Bob Hope – “...thanks for the memories…”