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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."

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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Middle East friendship chart

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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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: 


 

  • 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...   

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If you want to e-mail me "comments" use my Yahoo back up e-mail address russdondero@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ

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  • He lost by 2.9 million votes...

  • He's a con artist...

  • He's a pathological liar... 

  • He's a failed business man...

  • He's a fascist... 

 

Trump & The Mob

http-//www.politico.com#13C5A6C


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

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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Housing Needs in Oregon 

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"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 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

 

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

 



"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

 

FYI:  

Squareapace has closed the "comments" section on my blog as a way around this contact me via my Yahoo e-mail address posted on the left sidebar...   

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Friday
Apr012005

McCALL FORUM, 2005

Thursday
Mar312005

RAD COMMENTARY #5: THE WEEK IN REVIEW

SALEM /  More fuzzy math on the funny farm, i.e. Oregon's legislative assembly.  The Oregon House debated on Wednesday whether or not we should re-connect Oregon's tax code with the federal tax code.  The House, on a party line, 37-23 vote said 'yes' to HB 2542 which gives $13.5 million in tax cuts to businesses and individuals.  The bill resulted in one of the longest debates of the current session.  Presenting the 'minority report' Mark Hass (D, Raleigh Hills) argued that the 'majority report' included two tax exemptions 1) for private health care accounts and for 2) outstate/multi-national corporations which would cost Oregon significant revenue losses 2005-07.   There is no clear benefit from these two tax exemptions, in a year when budgets are tight and schools are scrambling to save basic programs.  The GOP argument was that Oregon needs to reverse it's anti-business climate by encouraging business to come to Oregon.  Lowering tax liability for business would do the trick.  The GOP here, as well as in DC, displays its true believer faith that 'pimping' to corporate interests is the way to encourage economic growth, despite the fact that doing so shifts the tax burden at the local, state and federal level to the poor and most especially the middle class.  The GOP has been taken over since the '80s by 'neo-con' ideologues who are committed to the "starve the beast [i.e. government] theory of the anti-tax/anti-government crowd and by their love affair with the 'old' laissez faire economic 'theory' popular in the 1920s [now termed 'supply-side' theory] - that the marketplace raises all boats.  Well, if you believe in either axiom - then you need to read the history of the "Roaring 20s" when industrial capitalism was on a roll.  And what happened when the 'old' global smoke stack industrial order came unglued in 1929?  As they say, those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it. 

CASCADE LOCKS / Gaming in Oregon.  Oregon's Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed an agreement with the Warm Springs tribe to build a casino in Cascade Locks, a mere 40 miles from Portland.  This will be the first casino in Oregon not on native land.  The Governor seems fixated on solving Oregon's revenue gap by moving more and more into making gambling, through gaming and the lottery, a greater part of the state's revenue stream.  However, this comes at a price.  More traffic in the scenic Columbia River Gorge will increase an already serious 'acid rain' problem.  And gaming and lotteries increase gambling addiction, often among those who can least afford the play the games.  Oh, bye the way none of this will fill the 1 billion tax hole we face in 2005-2007 to maintain a current services budget.  Rather than fix the problem of an unbalanced financial base, our Governor and legislative are in 'avoidance behavior' leading up to the 2006 election.  We should be talking about tax reform - how to broaden the tax base in Oregon.  All options should be on the table, now:  a sales tax, a value added tax, increasing corporate income taxes or capital gains taxes, whatever.  Yes, the business lobby will scream and threaten to leave Oregon.  Well, the base of Oregon's economy is NOT Intel or NIKE - it's the small businessperson with 50-100 employees.  If tax breaks are in order let them be 'selective' and let the advocates prove there is a compelling and specific public benefit from each deduction.  No more across the board give-a -ways!  Yes, Oregonians don't like taxes, but they also demand and expect services.  It's time Oregon's leadership had a rendezvous with reality - we can't have it both ways!  It's time we decided are we merely taxpayers or citizens?  As Judge Oliver Wendel Holmes once said:  "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization".  We seemingly have no problem with increasing our long term liability when it comes to the war on terrorism, but when it comes to denying our children an education to equip them for the 21st century we don't see the "clear and present danger". 

ROME /  The passing of Pope John Paul II has been front page news.  My view of this 'conservative' Pope is shaped by my comparison to the more 'liberal' Pope Paul VI (1963-78)Many commentators have credited Pople John Paul with 1) assisting in the demise of the Soviet empire, 2) raising human rights in his many travels and 3) connecting to youth.   Like President Reagan I think Pope John was around at the right time in history to punctuate the decline of the Soviet empire, not to be a causal link to its demise.  Mr. Gorbachev "took that wall down" not either the Pope nor Reagan.  Gorbachev responded to the internal crisis of confidence and contradictions within the Soviet Union.  On the human rights front this Pope was excellent at carrying out the public relations challenge of being Pope.  And he was fearless in 'talking truth to power' whether in Poland, The Phillippines or Cuba.  However, Pope Paul's Vatican II and his focus on worldwide issues of socio-economic justice were clearer and internally more consistant than Pope John Paul - who in the final analysis as a creature of WW II and the 'Cold War' was caught in the contradictions of Catholic doctrine and the reality of the era in which he lived.  His efforts to sustain traditional dogma on such issues as reproductive rights, homosexuality HIV/Aids and the ordination of women did not persuade the faithful.  Like most of us, Catholics pick and choose their points of doctrine matching their individual inclinations not Papal dicta.  Embracing a 'culture of life' minus Pope Paul's vision of social justice simply allowed the radical right in the USA et al to appropriate Pope John Paul's ideas for their own socially conservative goals.  He was equally unable to bring peace to the world in the Middle East, despite considerable effort to do so.  And Pope John Paul's connection with the youth of the world was based on the star power of his persona not adherence to doctrine.  Pope John Paul's silence on the most central moral issue facing the US Church - pedophillia among the priesthood - is an indictment not an honor to his courage.  So, as with other leaders - this Pope leaves us with a mixed record - which speaks to his humanity not his divinity.  His legacy is his ecumenism in reaching out to all people in his travels symbollically acknoweldging all human kind is made in the image of the divine.  Finally, his final days seemed natural, peaceful and an embrace of the next stage, unlike the troubling image we had of Terri Shaivo facing her last days.  Rest in peace. 

SALEM / Both Speaker Minnis and Governor Kulongoski  are now on board with k-12 funding proposals.  But both are guilty of 'fuzzy' math and/or political gamesmanship.  Minnis is willing to lock in 50% of the general fund budget for schools @ $5 billion indexed per biennium plus a 'reserve fund'; Kulongoski has upped the figure to $5.25 billion.  School advocates say that a 'no-cuts' current services budget would be at the $5.4 billion figure.  The March revenue forecast estimated that in 2005-07 we'll have $12.39 billion to spend.  By that figure both the Speaker's and Governor's estimated spending targets are @ $1 billion short and if added the @ $6.2  billion would be close to the 'quality schools' formula figure.   Of course locking k-12 'in' means cut backs in other budgets.  "Show me the money!" 

Tuesday
Mar292005

RAD COMMENTARY #4: THE WEEK IN REVIEW

SALEM / I was in Salem Wednesday and had the chance to sit in on a hearing on SB 618 which requires businesses to make accommodations for women who are breast feeding or pumping. I ran into the women who were behind the legislation in the Senate office building while they were distributing fresh home made pies to members of the Senate. I told them I’d never seen such a lobbying tactic in my 31 years of being a legislator watcher. They were so impressed that they gave me a pie, too! As a gesture of good will to the Governor I gave the pie to his staff – the least I could do given Ted’s kind words at the RAD party February 16th. The hearing was a classic example of what is right about our legislative process and what is wrong with it. The hearing room was packed with Mom’s and their kids. They received a courteous and supportive hearing from the committee. However, the upper middle class nature of the audience was obvious. There were no women of color in the audience. I wondered about the rights of migrant farm worker women or working class women – neither of whose working conditions lend themselves easily to such accommodations. The bias of who is heard and who is not heard in the corridors of power in Salem was underscored.

PORTLAND / The flap over Portland Mayor Tom Potter's refusal to give the Joint Terrorism Task Force a free hand is a blast from the past. Where's the clear and present danger here? The terrorists who've been caught were under wraps well before the JTTF was in place. I guess Orwellian logic (doublespeak) is in place: no problems surfacing means the JTTF system is working. Doesn't anyone recall that in the '60s when the FBI, CIA et al spied on Americans (civil rights and anti-war activists, members of congress, journalists, scholars) - the only persons 'out of the loop' were US citizens, not the bad guys? Hurray for Mayor Potter and Commission Leonard demanding local accountability.

FLORIDA / The latest 'celeb' to join the Terri Schiavo controvery is Jesse Jackson, that paragon of truth, justice and The American Way. Jackson met with Ms. Schiavo's parents yesterday and declared she was being mistreated by being denied water and food. Jesse lobbyied the Florida Senate to intervene in the Schaivo case, again! Pandering to the 'pro-life' crowd, calling this case a great civil rights 'crisis' is now a bi-partisan art form in contemporary US politics. Is that what Howard Dean meant by going after the 'pro-life voters'? Was Jesse acting as a 'pol' or a man of the cloth? Shame, Shame, Shame. But the drumb beat continues even after Terry's death. The 'pols' can't let it go.

BAGDAD / It's now two months since the elections in Iraq. Show me the 'democracy'! What we have is good old gridlock in the Green Zone, not governance. No president, no interim government, no constitution. Russia @ 1917 facing economic catastrophy, the demise of its army and the fall of the Czar - found the Mensheviks in the Duma and the Bolsheviks in the streets. Guess who won? The end result a bloody civil war and the establishment of Soviet totalitarianism. Let's hope Iraq will not be an echo from this past with an Islamic fundamentalist twist!

Monday
Mar072005

RAD COMMENTARY #3: SPRING BREAK IN THE 'GROVE'

ST.LOUIS: March Madness is almost over... one more week of the annual NCAA Men's BB tournament. My original
pick to go all the way is still in the mix - Illinois. However, having watched Louisville demolish my Washington Huskies in the Sweet 16, I think the 'Birds' will beat Illinois and win it all against North Carolina. So,there you are my 'Final Four' picks. Sadly, the rains have returned to Oregon - so our early golfing season has ended, 3 inches of rain over the weekend. Thank goodness for March Madness and what goes for the PGA tour. Will the Player's Championship ever end? But then again, Florida has proven beyond a doubt to attract the odd and looney.

THE GROVE: Well, it's spring time in Oregon and unlike past such vacation times - Ann and I are not in some exotic place such as Paris, Brussels, Vancouver BC, Maui, San Francisco or Washington D.C. But the inside the DC beltway types have a chance at a RAD sighting in mid-April. The AAC&U - American Association of College & Universities is having a convention in Bethesda April 13-16 so Ann and I will be headed 'east' as they say. Of course, it won't be all work and no play. I'm hoping to get a chance to play golf at Congressional...after all it's 'the' place to golf in Washington DC. We'll also have a chance to see east coast friends - Marc V in Carlisle, hopefully the Jewetts in Harrisburg and the Songers Mechanicsburg - all PA residents. I might also check into the model train shops in Maryland while were there too. In the meantime, I'm home grading papers, playing model trainman and hoping the rain stops enough so I can get in a round before the break ends. Of course, like all God fearing Americans - I'm caught up in 'March Madness'. My Huskies lost last night to evil Louisville - with a lot of help from the refs in the first half. But the 'birds' are good, so I think they will make the Final 4 - along with Illinois, Duke and North Carolina. Go Illinois!

FLORIDA: In the meantime, politics never takes a holiday does it? Florida continues to prove life is more bizzare than fiction. The battle over the life of a young woman in a coma has got pols and judges up and down the east coast riveted. The GOP's use of their version of pro-life politics demonstrates that the party of Lincoln has NO shame. Having gone through the gut wrenching experience of seeing a father and a mother-in-law face their final days just makes me angry to see such a private family issue made into a political circus. One wonders is the GOP gameplan to affirm life or to pander to their so-called fundamentalist base? My bet is on the latter scenario. Is that all there is to the GOP today - litmus test politics? One would think they might have learned from the Demo's mistakes of the past. But then again, where are the voices of the other party - absolutely silent... When you leave the playing field to only one party - we all lose. There is more than one voice on the complex issues being talked about - although one wouldn't know it if one only watched, read, or heard the mainstream press 'scream'. Thank goodness for NPR who brings voices of reason to the table on this and other issues.

SALEM: Oregon's legislature seems headed to a long session. The and Dems are so far apart on where and how they want to spend the projected 12.3 billion over the next two years that it will take a miracle for them to reach any common ground.  And the sad story of the Les AuCoin nomination for the Board of Forestry shows that the Senate Dems and the Governor have no clue how to run a successful confirmation process. A good friend and great congressman who served this state and the nation well was poorly treated in an 'amateur hour'hearing. Les had a right to be ticked off - not merely at the timber interests, but sadly at his own party's leadership in the Senate and the Governor's ineptitude in vetting his candidacy. If you want to read more about it - check out the excellent articles by Jeff Mapes several weeks ago in The Oregonion [go to the archives via OregonLive.com].

Wednesday
Mar022005

RAD COMMENTARY #2 - 30 SECOND SOUND BITES

PORTLAND / Portland school district superintendent Vicki Phillips' top down management style clearly does not fit the political culture of Portland which emphasizes collaboration between students, parents, teachers and principals. For example, her intention to merge elementary schools into Jefferson is contradictory for several reasons. First, creating a 7-12 mix goes against current educational research, which indicates that smaller is better. Second, Jefferson has a long track record of low performance. Aside from the 'bean counting' mentality behind mergers, what educational values support this decision? Such decisions should be based on best research and best practices. I find it especially ironic that the success of Vernon and Beaver Acres elementary schools based on lots of one on one attention to students seems counter to the superintendent's 'accountant-like’ mentality. So far I see no profiles of courage from the board.

On the other hand, State Superintendent Susan Castillo's citing these schools as exemplars of Oregon's Educational Act of the 21st Century should be credited instead to hard working teachers, good principals and supportive parents not the state's or NCLB's testing regime. The lesson here is that parental support is key to a student's success, not the design of bureaucratic boxes by school administrators or a testing regime. Hiring dedicated teachers and supporting them is the key. It's too bad Oregon voters, our legislative leaders and our governor don't get it. Quality education cannot be founded on a 'less than' or 'just' a current level services budget. If we really believe that children are the future, then it's about time Oregonians 'walk the talk'. We've been disinvesting in K-12 since the passage of Measure #5. The lesson here is that "less is not more" - it's that "less is less". Whatever success stories we find - thank the kids, their teachers, and their parents - not the 'pointy heads' in DC, Salem or Portland.

SALEM / We've now seen the first meltdown of the political season in our state capital. The Senate D's with the new revenue forecast of $200-300 million extra dollars feel there is more money in the pot and they want to boost k-12 funding among other things. The House R's feel that despite the rosy revenue picture the budget should be based on prioritizing not expanding spending. The good news is that the risk of gridlock is early in the session before the real heavy lifting begins after the May forecast. So it's good news that the posturing is now and that within the last 24 hours the threat of a boycott by R's of the Ways & Means committee may be over sooner than later. Let's hope all turns out to be sweetness and light. If not, this could be a long, long session. I'm guessing no sooner than a late July ending, but it could be August again.

Keep in mind, that even with a projection of somewhere between 12.3 - 12.5 billion over the next biennium, 2005-07 – Oregon will only have enough money to keep a current services level budget based on what was projected for 2003-05 before all the cuts were made in the last session and the dust settled after the voters defeated Measures 28 and 30. So, unless someone in Salem finds new revenue sources above and beyond what's currently projected - we're still going to see major cuts in k-12, higher ed, human resources - the big-ticket items of the general fund. Hey, the good news is that Oregon is not California where Governor Arnold and the Democratic legislature is headed for a train wreck and the voters in the 'southland' will get to decide the issue in November... Maybe!

WASHINGTON D.C. / President Bush and the GOP are out 'on message’ talking about their forecast of a social security meltdown and their private account fix. The problem is that the polls show only a third of the voters is buying the GOP line. What's happened to that 'mandate' W was claiming? All that political capital seems to be disappearing through the fog of point/counterpoint over social security. The news on the foreign front appears much better for the fans of W and Condi: successful elections in Iraq and in the Palestine Territories and Lebanon's Syrian backed government has fallen. However, let's keep in mind that Lebanon, once the economic and political jewel of the Middle East - was convulsed into civil war - caught between the conflict between Israel and Syria and by internal conflicts between Christian and Muslim citizens. The entrance of Syrian troops had once been a stabilizing force. Clearly that day is over. But democracy is not made in a day. Look at Russia. Once the hope of the free world after the collapse of The Wall - now Russia is headed back into authoritarianism, its people are poorer than they were under Communism and the genie of nationalism and separatism are out of the bottle. So, while the signs of a democratic sunrise in the Middle East look promising in the West Wing - "be careful what you wish for, you might get it"

CAMPAIGN '08 / The Dean Machine is in full gear. The new chair of the DNC brought his campaign to BLUE Oregon. He's now visited RED Kansas, Mississippi, now on to Tennessee. I wonder if Karl Rove is watching? Politics is a 'marathon. The GOP learned this in '64 after the Goldwater 'debacle'. But with Nixon, Reagan and Bush I and II – they regrouped and now rule the White House and both the House and Senate. Nobody paid attention to Newt as a 'back bencher' then '94 happened and the Ds have been in the wilderness ever since. The same conventional wisdom probably counts Chairman Dean out too. But politics is always stranger than fiction. Only time will tell - but clearly the race for the White House is on. Howard Dean is not the likely choice in '08 - but we know one important fact - there will be no incumbent in the WH to run against. Senators Clinton and Frist certainly know that... I'd watch their speaking schedules from now on... We know when they look in a mirror they see a future el presidente... Which of them has the largest Latino base?