Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yeah... Right...

I just received Tina Kotek’s newsletter in my email. After writing her back on 2/5 about making the Oregon Channel more accessible to low income workers,.she still hasn’t gotten back to me. I found the following words from my State Representative to be more humorous than instructive. This is the first paragraph in her newsletter...

Dear Friends,
Thank you for the many emails, phone calls and letters about the issues that matter to you this legislative session. Please keep them coming! Your communication with me helps me to serve you here in Salem.
Best wishes,
Tina (written in fancy lettering my computer couldn’t pick up)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let the Music Play!

What do Chicago, Earth Wind and Fire, and Sheryl Crow all have in common other than music? Give up? They all played music last weekend for huge parties thrown by Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank that recently took in 1.6 billion dollars in bail out money from the US Government.

What mainly caught my imagination, is why would these 3 (previously thought of) class acts contribute to bilking the tax payers of money we can't afford? Some of the lyrics these folks have come up with over the years about altruism, compassion, and love, seem to have taken a back seat to greed. They HAD to know who they were performing for. Just shows to go ya...
What do Chicago, Earth Wind and Fire, and Sheryl Crow all have in common other than music? Give up? They all played music last weekend

Monday, February 23, 2009

Low Hanging Fruit

Ok...enough's enough already. When are our elected officials going to start working on the issues Oregonians care about.

Bill banning toy-like lighters passes swiftly off Senate floor

HB 2365 will ban the manufacture, sale, and distribution of dangerous toy-like lighters

SALEM – The Senate voted today to ban toy-like lighters, a victory for children’s safety and fire prevention. These novelty lighters, often modeled after popular cartoon characters, can be easily mistaken by children for actual toys – a problem that contributes to unintentional fires and injuries.

“There have been fires in Oregon that have been traced back to children playing with toy-like lighters,” said Suzanne Bonamici (D-NE Washington and NW Multnomah Counties), chair of the Senate Consumer Protection and Public Affairs Committee. “By removing these products from the shelves, we’re helping to prevent fires and protect our children.”

Several Oregon cities have already banned the sale of novelty lighters within their jurisdiction. Once signed by the governor, Oregon will join Maine and Tennessee as states that have enacted legislation to ban the sale of toy-like lighters statewide.

“I can think of no legitimate reason for these products to exist in the marketplace,” said Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). “Even to an adult, the nature of these products is deceiving. This is common-sense legislation and I was not surprised to see overwhelming support for this legislation on the floor today.”

HB 2365 will now move to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

When The "Right To Die" Becomes The "Duty To Die""

Oregon has the 4th highest incidence of suicide among senior citizens in the US. That doesn’t surprise me when I consider our Death With Dignity law. If someone is feeling like a drain on their family, why not take advantage of assisted suicide? It makes perfect sense to me. And if you can’t find a Dr. to help you, simply resort to DIY. It’s in the culture we’ve created.

When The "Right To Die" Becomes The "Duty To Die""

Oregon has the 4th highest incidence of suicide among senior citizens in the US. That doesn’t surprise me when I consider our Death With Dignity law. If someone is feeling like a drain on their family, why not take advantage of assisted suicide? It makes perfect sense to me. And if you can’t find a Dr. to help you, simply resort to DIY. It’s in the culture we’ve created.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Somebody Else's State Rep.

Some of the readers of this blog should recall a post from February 5th where I asked my State Rep., Tina Kotek, to respond to my request for the Oregon Channel to show replays of each day's legislative session after 5:00 PM. That way, low income Oregonians could also watch what is going on in their state government after a day of work. Well, guess what? She never has gotten back to me.

The very next day, I sent an email to Rep. Ron Maurer regarding the misrepresenting of HIPPA rules in our state. He got back to me on the 10th. Why is it that a state rep. from an all together different district than my own can respond to me, but my own rep. can't?

Sure, she got back to me regarding my friend's death, but then I realized that I first contacted her about this back in April.

Food for thought...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hotter Off The Legislative Press!

February 13, 2009
Contact: Michael Cox (503) 986-1904

Republican Leadership Refuses to Make Good Faith Effort to Balance Budget

SALEM - Oregonians deserve more than business as usual from the House Republican Leadership, said House Majority Leader Mary Nolan, in response to a news release from the House minority calling on the legislature to protect programs for seniors at the expense of all others for both the remainder of 2007-2009 and the 2009-2011 biennium.

“Instead of coming to the table in a good faith effort to help us craft responsible solutions to the challenges we face, the House Republican Leadership has been content to sit on the sidelines,” said Nolan. “The Republicans’ so-called plan means kids get shut out of schools, troopers are not patrolling our highways and Oregon slips further. We’re not going to let that happen.”

“Democrats have laid out a specific plan to deal with the very severe budget cuts we have to make this biennium,” said Ways and Means Co-Chair Peter Buckley. “The plan included public hearings the last three nights as we work on prioritizing those cuts.”

“Instead of coming to any of the three hearings and offering balanced proposals, the House Republican Leadership seems more interested in dividing Oregonians and pitting seniors against school children,” said Nolan.

Nolan said the House Republican Leadership has not offered a list of cuts or sources of new revenue to balance the budget, nor have they said how they plan to fund education, healthcare or public safety. So far this session House Republicans spoke against the state’s economic stimulus plan and against measures to protect the state’s budget.


Friday, February 13, 2009

15 Years of the Oregon Health Plan

Although there is no mention of the dental cuts or vision cuts in the Oregon Health Plan, Bruce Goldberg seems to have a pretty good idea about healthcare and the right for EVERYONE to have it. This is his weekly message to DHS employees...

February 13, 2009 DHS Director's messages on the web

To: All DHS employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., director
Celebrating Two Oregon Milestones

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. "
~Winston Churchill

February brings two important milestones to Oregon this year. One is Oregon's sesquicentennial, and I'll be celebrating the 150th birthday of our state this weekend with thousands of other Oregonians. The other milestone this month is that it's now been 15 years since the Oregon Health Plan was launched and I find myself searching for the appropriate way to commemorate the Oregon Health Plan milestone.
There have been a number of achievements worthy of recognition.

More than 1.875 million Oregonians have received health care as a result of the Oregon Health Plan and many are healthier and indeed alive today as a result.
We have a system to explicitly and publicly allocate health care resources and establish their utility and effectiveness.
With our OHP managed care plans, we have established a system of effective regional partnerships that we can build upon to assure local collaboration, needed change in our health care delivery system, and accountability for results.

Thousands of children -- and adults -- have received care under OHP in the past 15 years.
Those are things to celebrate... and at the same time there are causes for concern that affect us all. More than 600,000 people in Oregon are without health insurance, and more than 100,000 of them live in severe poverty. Many people with health insurance do not feel secure with their coverage. And tragically we are far from our original objectives of a healthy Oregon where everyone has access to a basic level of health care in a system that provides the most effective, highest quality care.

That so many go without needed health care blemishes our collective community, our humanity, and our state.

At a time when personal and national finances dominate our conversations, the fact that most personal bankruptcy is a result of health care debt only adds to our collective liability and fiscal insecurity. Adding insult to injury is that we continue to leave billions of federal dollars in Washington, D.C., that could be going to Oregon's health care system. Every Oregon dollar put into the Oregon Health Plan brings more than $1.66 from the feds and we are far from taking full advantage of that.

Our medical advances have widened - not narrowed - the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Until we reform our health care system, we must do all we can to continue to help our neighbors get the health care they need. That includes making investments in OHP, assuring we provide health care to all Oregonians in poverty by restoring OHP standard, and covering all children.

The Oregon Health Fund Board has designed a path that moves us rapidly toward being a state in which affordable and effective health care is available and accessible to all

Whether the Oregon Health Plan is part of a reformed health care system for our state is beside the point. If we can create a system that focuses on the health of all Oregonians, one in which health care is delivered effectively and efficiently, and one in which all Oregonians can afford the health care they truly need, we can really celebrate.

Racists Plot To Kill Obama

There are plenty of racists who are so steamed that Barak Obama won the election, that now, they just want to kill him. They must be thinking they can start a race war by doing it. I don't think that would happen. From the Southern Poverty Law Center...

Marine’s Arrest Again Raises Issue of Extremists in the Military

It’s no surprise that a person who allegedly hoped to kill President Barack Obama has white supremacist leanings. But the fact that the threat allegedly came from a U.S. Marine has again raised the issue of extremists in the military.

Marine Lance Cpl. Kody Brittingham, stationed at Camp Lejuene, N.C., was arrested in mid-December on an unrelated armed robbery charge and, as a result, separated from the service on Jan. 3. But a search of Brittingham’s barracks also turned up a journal containing white supremacist material and a plan to kill Obama, according to a newspaper account. That reportedly prompted a Secret Service investigation of his alleged threats against the president that is ongoing.

The incident is the latest disturbing account that suggests extremists are infiltrating the military — even as officials deny there’s a problem. Yesterday, Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen wrote to the Pentagon expressing his disappointment that military officials have taken no action on evidence of white supremacist activity in the military provided as early as 2006 by the SPLC.

“To be frank, it appears that we’re not getting anywhere,” Cohen wrote to Under Secretary of Defense David Chu in his Feb. 11 letter. “We provide evidence from multiple sources about the problem of extremists in the military, and you continue to claim that the military already has a zero-tolerance policy. You tell us that we should bring any information we have about extremist activity by specific Service members to the attention of appropriate Service authorities. But, as we have explained in our reports and in previous letters to you and the Secretary, we have done so, and the authorities have not taken action.”

The SPLC first brought the problem of extremists in the military to the attention of Pentagon officials in 1995, when three neo-Nazi soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg murdered two black North Carolinians. Then-Defense Secretary William Perry responded forcefully, saying there was “no room for racist and extremist activities within military.” A major investigation and crackdown followed in 1996.

But a decade later, military recruiters, under intense pressure to meet quotas for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, began to unofficially lower entrance standards. As a result, in 2006, the SPLC issued a major report, “A Few Bad Men,” that revealed that large numbers of neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacists were joining the armed forces to acquire combat training and access to weapons and explosives.

The SPLC report was sent to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld along with a letter from Cohen urging the military to adopt a zero tolerance policy with regard to extremists in the ranks. Forty members of Congress wrote a similar letter, as did Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). But in his letters of reply, Chu dismissed all their concerns as exaggerated. The military took no remedial action.

Two years later, in 2008, the SPLC reported on new evidence — including an unclassified FBI report — that supported its initial findings. After that report, Cohen wrote Chu, again asking that the military adopt a zero tolerance policy. Chu replied on Dec. 28, saying the military already had such a policy in place and needed nothing more. “We are committed to sustaining a culture in which all personnel from diverse backgrounds serve together in defense of our great nation,” Chu wrote.

But numerous cases suggest otherwise.

One example of the military’s failure to act was cited in SPLC’s original 2006 report — the case of Matt Buschbacher, a Navy SEAL who attended the 2002 leadership conference of the neo-Nazi National Alliance while on active duty. This group’s leader has espoused murdering America’s Jews in abandoned coal mines and was the author of The Turner Diaries, the race war novel Timothy McVeigh used as a blueprint for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The SPLC alerted military officials to the fact that Buschbacher was producing neo-Nazi recruitment fliers via his website while on active duty. But Buschbacher was allowed to complete his tour of duty in Iraq and given an honorable discharge.

Also mentioned in the 2006 report was the case of Robert Lee West, then an active duty member of the Air Force. When the SPLC informed officials of West’s activities, which included posing in front of a swastika flag with two assault rifles and ranting about the “Zionist Occupied Government,” they said no action would be taken unless he recruited fellow extremists or committed a crime.

Extremist infiltration of the military was also detailed in a much more recent report from the FBI, “White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel Since 9/11,” which was released last summer to law enforcement officials. “The military training veterans bring to the [white supremacist] movement and their potential to pass this training on to others can increase the ability of lone offenders to carry out violence from the movement’s fringes,” the FBI report said.

Also in 2008, a new report by the SPLC revealed that 46 members of the white supremacist social networking website then identified themselves as active-duty military personnel. Six of these individuals were members of the “White Military Men” subgroup on the site. The report also quoted a racist skinhead who last year posted a comment to a neo-Nazi online forum, excitedly saying that he’d joined the Army and specifically requested an assignment where he would learn how to make an explosive device. “I have my own reasons for wanting this training but in fear of the government tracing me and me loosing [sic] my clearance I can’t share them here,” the poster, “Sobibor’s SS,” wrote. Sobibor’s SS provided enough biographical information that military officials should have been able to identify him. The SPLC reported this information to the military, but no action seems to have been taken.

In this week’s letter, the SPLC’s Cohen asked Chu not to again ignore the warning signs. “In our view, the continued presence of racial extremists in the military is a recipe for disaster,” Cohen wrote. “The recent case of Marine Lance Cpl. Kody Brittingham illustrates the point. … We urge you to take action.”

A Victory For People With Disabilities!

Unlike the citizens in the state of Oregon, the people in Washington D.C. are neither freaked out by, or afraid of people with disabilities. Our newly elected Administration recognizes the civil rights issues and discrimination faced by this class of people in our country daily. Maybe there will be some real change coming. I found this article on the Media Dis&Dat blog...

Friday, February 13, 2009
At Winter Special Olympics, VP Biden says Adminstration commited to improving the lives of Americans with disabilities
From The AP:

BOISE, Idaho -- Vice President Joe Biden says that President Barack Obama is committed to programs designed to improve the livelihood of Americans with disabilities and special needs.

To demonstrate his point, Biden announced that Kareem Dale, a former member of Obama's campaign in charge of coordinating the vote of disabled Americans, has been named the special assistant to the president for disabilities policy.

Biden made the announcement to a small group of Special Olympics athletes, volunteers and coordinators Thursday afternoon. The vice president was in Boise to attend a portion of the Special Olympics World Winter Games with a presidential delegation including U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Olympic figure-skating medalists Scott Hamilton and Michelle Kwan.

"This is a civil rights movement," Biden said. "There's a need to have changes in policy."

The nation needs policy changes that will ensure Americans with disabilities can get and keep fulfilling jobs without worrying about losing government-funded health insurance or other assistance, Biden said. Advocates have long complained that programs like Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and Medicare essentially force disabled workers to leave their jobs or prevent them from working so that they can qualify for the medical care they need.

Tim Shriver, board chairman of the Special Olympics and son of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, told Biden that he believed the games "represent the largest movement for tolerance in the world."

Mockery, bullying and the institutionalization of people with disabilities still exist in America and around the globe, Shriver said, making it important for the Obama administration to set an example of support.

"When this campaign hit the world stage, we felt that finally someone was speaking our language," Shriver said.

"I've been involved with the Special Olympics as a U.S. senator since 1973 when a woman named Eunice Shriver grabbed me and said, 'You're involved,'" Biden said. "I didn't know then how extensive the movement is worldwide."

Biden arrived in Boise in time to watch the final five contenders in the freestyle pairs skating competition, and then, with the help of Kwan, he awarded medals to the athletes before a crowd of about 2,500.

"I was telling our host as we walked out, this fulfills a dream of mine: To walk out on the ice with Michelle Kwan, and a dream to see such fine athletes," Biden joked.

Biden said he was honored to be at the event with 2,000 athletes from 100 countries.

"What lives in the heart of every one of these young athletes - as my mother would say, lives in every heart - is the bravery, the tenacity, the grit, and determination," Biden said. "I want to tell you how proud I am to be here."

Biden later visited the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, which provides vision and medical care to the participants as well as training sessions on how to stay fit and limber.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hot Off the Legislative Press!

Senate Republican Office
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, S-323
Salem, Oregon 97301

February 12, 2009 503.986.1950

$96 million tax increase passes Senate floor

While 180,000 look for work, Democrats raise taxes on small businesses
Salem, OR – A bill that will make Oregon families and small businesses pay $96 million more in taxes passed the Senate floor Thursday, 17 to 13. The bill is being heralded as a ‘job killer.’

“The end result of this bill is that Oregon businesses and families will pay $96 million more in taxes,” said Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day), the Senate Republican Leader. “While Oregon hemorrhages jobs and families wonder where they will get the next paycheck, Democrats are putting a rush order on tax increases for employers and families. This isn’t just a disconnect from the federal tax code,
this is a disconnect from Oregonians who are hurting and looking for work.”

House Bill 2157 disconnects the state from the federal tax code, a technical maneuver that mutes the effect of federal tax relief for businesses and families in Oregon. The bill would eliminate several job creating provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act, the federal stimulus
package currently in Congress, such as:

• Extending bonus depreciation for businesses to 50% write-off of capital expenditures made in 2009

• Write-off for small businesses for up to $250,000 of capital expenditures made in 2009 The bill also allows the state to tax unemployment compensation.

Senator Frank Morse (R-Albany) read from his Chamber of Commerce list for five minutes on the Senate floor, highlighting the local, small businesses that will be hurt by the tax increase.

“We should be focusing on creating jobs, not killing them,” said Senator Chris Telfer (R-Bend), a Certified Public Accountant. “Oregon small business say this is going to cost them jobs. If a business in Oregon was thinking of using these tools to expand, invest in new equipment and hire new workers, they are going to have to think again. With over 180,000 Oregonians looking for work, this bill is
disconnected from reality.”

House Bill 2157 passed on a party line vote in the House of Representatives last week. The bill, House Bill 2157, was fast-tracked to the Senate Floor in order to avoid constitutional voting requirements required for raising taxes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

HB 2051

I tuned in a bit late this morning to catch the hearing on HB 2051 in its entirety. However; I did hear some excellent testimony regarding the bill, which would restore General Assistance dollars to those most in need in our state. “The poorest of the poor”.

A man named Steven Powell who lived in the hills of Forrest Park for a long time spoke of the help he received from JOIN, which is an agency that “supports the efforts of individuals and families to transition out of homelessness and into permanent housing”. His debilitating arthritis in both his hands caused him to become homeless in the first place. He believes that restoring this money is critical to him and others.

Bud was up next. He’s 61 years old, and worked as a long haul trucker for 35 years until his back blew out. He receives $670 a month through SSI, but he had a long wait before he was eligible for it. He said; “$315 would have meant a lot to me” during this waiting period. He also gets $10 a month in food stamps. A total joke (not funny though).

A woman named Melanie from Central City Concern spoke of their Benefits, Entitlement, Team who can expedite SSI claims for homeless people. Whereas it usually takes 2+ years of waiting for SSI in Oregon, they can get it within 42 days. Impressive! They should be passing this info. on to every social service agency in the state, if they’re not already.

A grandmother of a man who was in a horrible accident in his senior year in high school spoke of the 3 months of joy he had before they eliminated the program in 2005. She and her husband are his caregivers. He once told her that without them he would have committed suicide. I sensed a lot of frustration from this woman.

Marilyn Patton said the Governor’s Commission on Senior Services is in support of restoration. Patty Whitney-Wise spoke of “leaving federal dollars on the table” which is a federal match that would help STMULATE OUR ECONOMY. She also said she didn’t understand why Bud is only getting $10 in food stamps. Ellen Lowe tells us that ½ of people receiving SSI have mental illness.

Representative Tomei said she never forgot when Ellen first used the phrase “Poorest of the poor”. In fact there was concern from Reps. Maurer, Cowan and Boone that this benefit be restored.

Ruth McEwan who is a woman with a disability spoke of the need to “maximize the use of federal dollars” as a means for actually bringing in more money to our economy. She also mentioned her own 28 month long wait for being eligible to receive SSDI, which comes from her own work history.

Lastly, a man named Devon from the Cascade AIDS Project testified regarding the problems people with AIDS have without the General Assistance money. While they wait for SSI they have a choice to make. Either stay in a homeless shelter without the expensive meds. they need for their sickness, or stay on the streets with those expensive meds. Either way they get worse than better.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Did You See the MOON This Morning??

Out walking this morning, I couldn't believe how huge the moon looked. My wife said she thought it was some kind of lunar eclipse, but I couldn't see it. She sent me this email which I found pretty amazing.

This first lunar eclipse of 2009 is one of four lunar eclipses during the year. The first three eclipses are penumbral while the last (on Dec. 31) is partial. The next total lunar eclipse occurs on December 21, 2010. A lunar eclipse occurs whenever the Moon passes through some portion of the Earth's shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle.

Eclipses occur approximately once every three months and always come in pairs. In this case it is the Solar Eclipse leading the way, occurring on January 26 at Aquarius 7 degrees. The Lunar Eclipse follows on February 9 at Leo 21 degrees.

The Feb 9 event is the deepest penumbral eclipse of the year with a penumbral magnitude of 0.899. It will be easily visible to the naked eye as a dusky shading in the northern half of the Moon. The beginning and end of a penumbral eclipse are not visible to the eye. In fact, no shading can be detected until about 2/3 of the Moon's disk is immersed in the penumbra. This would put the period of eclipse visibility from approximately 14:00 to 15:20 UT. Observers in western Canada and the USA will have the best views with moonset occurring sometime after mid-eclipse. To catch the entire event, one must be in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, or East Asia.

Current Transits - Astrological Month of Aquarius, 2009.

- January 19 - Sun enters Aquarius -

- January 21 - Mercury retrograde enters Capricorn -

- January 26 - New Moon Solar Eclipse at Aquarius 7 degrees -

- February 1 - Mercury turns direct at Capricorn 22 degrees -

- February 2 - Venus enters Aries -

- February 4 - Mars enters Aquarius -

- February 9 - Full Moon Lunar Eclipse at Leo 21 degrees -

- February 14 - Mercury enters Aquarius -

- February 18 - Sun enters Pisces -

Jupiter entered Aquarius January 5, 2009. Jupiter stays in Aquarius, the sign of humanitarian endeavors, community activity and social organizations until January 18, 2010. Jupiter expands whatever sign it moves through. Aquarius is the sign of the visionary and emphasizes the needs of the collective. We can expect an emphasis on teamwork and creating a new vision for the collective during 2009.

Eclipses represent the end of a way of being and the beginning of a new. They operate on a collective level, although those with planets near the degree of the eclipse point are particularly affected. From a collective perspective, something is dying and something else is being born.

The Lunar Eclipse takes place on February 9 at Leo 21 degrees. In the Egyptian pantheon Leo is associated with the jackal-headed god Anubis. Anubis is the new king, closely associated with Chiron. He is the wounded shaman, rising out of abandonment to become a prince among his peers. The new king, the new age, is being born.

On February 5, Saturn and Uranus move into the second of four exact oppositions, the first of which occurred on November 4, 2008. The third and fourth exact oppositions will occur on September 15, 2009 and April 27, 2010.

Whenever these two powerful planetary forces come into either opposition or conjunction, major societal change happens on planet earth. This opposition of Saturn and Uranus describes a period when the old order is threatened. It is to be expected that the old forces will resist and will try to maintain the status quo. Uranus is associated with Wadjet, the cobra-headed goddess who uses intense, fiery energy to clear a pathway through blockages and obstructions. She is associated with Kali in the Hindu pantheon and is also related to the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. Uranian energy is sudden, unpredictable and describes the shattering necessary for the birth of a new reality. During the astrological months of Aquarius and Pisces we will have the opportunity to give serious thought to how we wish to implement our new reality.

Friday, February 06, 2009


I've been watching a hearing on House Bill 2054 which deals with a registry for the police identifying folks with mental health issues. Bob Joondeph was giving expert testimony about his take on the bill. He talked about confidentiality regarding employment and insurance. He's very concerned that people could be harmed if their personal information was breached.

He also spoke of the need for Administative Rules being in place to ensure the effectivness of such a registry. However; Mr. J. really must believe Administrative Rules are made to be broken. This was the case when he did NOTHING as Multnomah County broke 2 of them a few years back.

As his pal Bill Toomey attempted to have me removed from my friend's ISP Team while medical decisions were being made he did nothing. There's an Administative Rule that says that should not happen. When the county refused to follow the Administative Rule which says a grievance committee should be in place to hear complaints about their employees, he did nothing.

He says he did a good job representing my friend. Go figure...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Legislature Gets Mad As Heck!

In a bold and courageous move, the Oregon Legislature is outlawing dangerous novelty cigarette lighters that resemble toys. And you thought no tough decisions would be forthcoming. We no longer have to be concerned with poverty, homelessness, or civil rights violations. Those pesky lighters shall be no more in our state.

“As a former police officer and current firefighter, I’m happy to see we’re taking an active role in protecting our children and families from burn injury, death, and property loss,” explained Representative Greg Matthews (D-Gresham). “We cannot and should not wait any longer to get these dangerous products off the shelves.”

“The hard work done by the State Fire Marshal’s office and the Fire Safety Community has been thorough and extraordinary,” said Representative Paul Holvey (D-Eugene). “Their leadership on this critical issue has proven vital to the success of the bill.”

“If it’s predictable, it’s preventable,” said Randy Simpson, Oregon’s State Fire Marshal. “This bill gives us the ability to prevent the fire danger these lighters pose to children, families, and communities.”

Banning the sale of dangerous toys, including toy-like novelty lighters, is part of the Oregon House Democrats’ 2009 Roadmap for Oregon’s Future.

They Can't Stop Me (I Mean You)

The people in charge of Lefty Blogs must be very frustrated when they see my posts with more clicks than their own, despite mine rarely getting any lead-ins. Blue Oregon and Loaded Oregon almost ALWAYS have 1/2 of their posts printed as introductions, and sometimes get no clicks. I find it all really quite humorous. And... thanks for reading my blog even if you don't admit it.

Low Income Workers and the Oregon Channel

I wrote the following email to my state representative this morning. We must not forget about people who can afford a tv, but can't afford a computer. There are a lot of such folks missing out on what's going on. Am I the only one who cares about this??

Dear Rep. Kotek,

In the interest of allowing access to the Legislative Session by ALL Oregonians, I want to suggest that the Oregon Channel replay each day's recorded hearings after 5:00 PM each evening.

There is no logical reason why people who don't own computers (low income Oregonians) and work during the day should have to miss what's going on in State Government.

As it is right now, the Oregon Channel shows mainly a bulletin board which directs people to where they can access more local councils and city govenment, which seems to be complete overkill. The citizens of Oregon deserve to have a first hand look at what's going on in Salem during their state's legislative session.

Please let me know your thoughts and/or actions regarding this issue. Thanks.

David McDonald
North Portland

Gelser, Guns, and Good God!

I have to wonder why, exactly, a foster care provider would have a gun in their home. It's not only extremely dangerous, but speaks of a very unatractive mind set. I also have to wonder why this bill doesn't also include adult foster care providers. Adults living in foster care are just as bullet proof as children. From the Oregonian...

Bill addressing guns in foster homes upsets some
Posted by Michelle Cole, The Oregonian February 05, 2009 07:00AM
SALEM --A proposal to allow the Oregon Department of Human Services to adopt rules regarding the storage and transportation of guns when foster children are present, doesn't even have a hearing date but it does have people talking.

House Bill 2530, sponsored by Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, would allow the state child welfare agency to regulate "the storage, transportation and use of firearms and ammunition in the presence of children placed in foster homes."

The proposal was introduced in the House Wednesday and follows a firestorm that erupted in 2007 after the agency attempted to adopt rules telling foster parents who also hold concealed weapons permits what they could or could not do with their guns. The agency backed off after an attorney general's opinion found only the Legislature has legal authority to regulate firearms.

Gelser said she introduced the bill to allow the agency to adopt certain gun storage and transportation requirements. She points out that the proposal also specifically states that the agency "may not deny or revoke certification of a foster home on the basis that a person possesses firearms or ammunition" or is licensed to carry a concealed handgun.

If anything, Gelser says, the bill would write a foster parent's right to own a gun clearly into Oregon law. But she admits that didn't soothe conservative radio host Lars Larson or some of his callers on Wednesday. --Michelle Cole;

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Legislative Trickery At Its Best

Ultimately, the legislature is responsible for their “Oregon Channel”, and how it shows us the goings on in their sessions. I was just watching the testimony of “invited” people and “general comments” from commoners regarding the taking down of dams in our rivers.

Of course, the “invited” participants were viewed as the experts, and given all the time they wanted or needed for giving their reasons why this is a good thing for Oregon. Then it came time for the citizens to testify. This began at 4:55 PM. As these folks went on with their reasons for NOT wanting these dams removed, at exactly 5:00 the channel flipped to their usual airing of who our local representatives are. I guess they think that telling us for HOURS upon HOURS who the city councils are in Fairview, Gresham, and Portland is good enough.

These folks should take their heads out of their a**es and realize there are people watching THEIR channel who are fed up with their attempts to dupe the public. If we only get ½ the story, how are we to know what we want???

Oregon, Washington Jr.

I thought that reporting on the current legislative session would be a fun thing to do. So far that hasn’t been the case. Our Legislators are playing it safe by watching what’s going on in Washington D.C. and simply duplicating “what they’re doing”.

You have the same complaints from the Republicans about the proposed stimulus package that they’re having back East. You have the Democrats talking about “non-partisan” politics; the same way the federal Congress (a Democratic majority like Oregon) is talking. In fact, if you watch CNN or any other national news source, you can almost skip watching the Oregon legislature.

Oh, I know the issues are somewhat different, but the language for “doing nothing” is the same. “Bad economy”, “shovel ready”, “tough decisions”, etc. From my prospective, it’s all going to hell in a hand basket, and no amount of pretending it’s not is going to change that. Who knows...maybe I’ll get in on the rapture, and be outahere shortly.