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Thursday, November 30, 2006

New rules for The Establishment

"The Establishment" is a pejorative slang term to refer to the traditional ruling class elite and the structures of society which they control. (wikipedia)

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Portland 1950, part 2

The Oregonion presents, in 3 parts, Chapter 20 of "Newspaperman: S. I. Newhouse and the Business of News", by Richard H. Meeker © 1983. Meeker is publisher of Portland's Willamette Week.

Chapter 20 - Portland (part 2)
A monopoly or, at least, "the potentialities"

Since conducting the Syracuse sale, newspaper broker Smith Davis had taken on a new associate, Vincent Manno, and both of them were searching for a deal for Newhouse. That fall, Davis caught up with MacNaughton in Washington, D.C., and learned from him directly that rumors that the Oregonian was for sale were well founded. Davis also ascertained that Newhouse would be an acceptable buyer, but he was shocked at the price tag. At the time, it was generally accepted in the industry that a newspaper was worth some multiple – usually ten – of its net earnings. Though strapped by the costs associated with its new building, the Oregonian still managed to turn a profit of $250,000 a year. Thus, according to the formula, it was worth in the vicinity of $2.5 million. But MacNaughton said he wanted $5.6 million – all of it in cash. It was the largest amount of money anyone had ever dared ask for a newspaper.

Newhouse, however, not only had the cash on hand but had also developed a unique method of assessing a newspaper’s worth that made the deal seem quite attractive to him. Because most of the papers he had purchased were losing money when he first got hold of them, he put relatively little stock in the present earnings figures that served as the basis for other buyers’ calculations. What was important to him was something else – what he called "the potentialities" – and these were discerned by looking first at a paper’s market. Did it have a sound, diversified economic base? Was it growing? Then, he would examine the newspaper's relationship to that market. He had not always been in a position to insist that a prospect hold a monopoly in the area, but he always inquired. And if the answer were no, he required that it at least be the dominant publication in town. Only after he had obtained satisfactory answers to those questions would he concern himself with the numbers on recent profit-and-loss statements. It was a imminently reasonable approach to take, but one which and escaped the rest of the industry.

What Newhouse read about Portland in his market guides was encouraging. The city's population had grown rapidly from 305,394 in the 1940 census to 363,141 by mid-decade, and it showed no signs of slowing down. Moreover, N.W. Ayer's Advertising Directory described that part of Oregon as an "important trading center and port of entry," with a diversified industrial base, which ran the gamut from shipbuilding to lumber and canned goods.

As far as the other criterion – market position – was concerned, Portland did have a second newspaper – the afternoon Oregon Journal. It was not for sale in 1950, but Newhouse believed the Oregonian's inherent advantages were such that it would be only a matter of time before the Journal would be forced to sell, much as the Herald-Journal had bushed the Post-Standard into his hands in Syracuse.

At least one person close to the negotiations over the Oregonian believed Newhouse also secured a promise from the owners of the Oregon Journal that they would sell to him hen the proper time came. "There was a handshake," claimed Jerome Walker, who covered Newhouse's purchase of the Oregonian for Editor & Publisher. "S.I. had an agreement that the Journal would be his." Today, there is no one alive who can prove or disprove the existence of such an agreement. Subsequent events at the Oregonian and the Oregon Journal, however, were to demonstrate an unusually cooperative relationship between management at the two papers.

Having reached favorable conclusions as to his prerequisites, Newhouse still had to set an exact dollar figure for the Oregonian. His approach to this kind of problem was ingenious. Aided by his accountant, he would make a conservative estimate of what he could make a property pay over the next decade; that figure would then represent its worth to him. Given his basic faith in the business and his ability to avoid taxes by reinvesting earnings, he could quite realistically come up with values many times those set by the then acceptable industry standard. The Oregonian proved no exception. Newhouse figured he could earn at least $8 million with it by 1960. Thus, when Smith Davis announced that MacNaughton wanted $5.6 million, he was quick to accept.

Part 3 in a series: Newhouse profits & power - How the West was Won

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Portland 1950, part 1

The Oregonion presents, in 3 parts, Chapter 20 of "Newspaperman: S. I. Newhouse and the Business of News", by Richard H. Meeker (© 1983. Meeker is publisher of Portland's Willamette Week.

Chapter 20 - Portland (part 1)
Buy the Oregonian or pay huge federal taxes

A.J. Liebling, the rotund journalist/gastronome considered by many to have been the inventor of modern press criticism, coined a special phrase to describe Sam Newhouse. He called him a "journalist chiffonnier," chiffonnier being the French word for "rag man" or "rag picker." By this, Liebling meant that Newhouse seemed to spend his time digging in the garbage can of American newspapers, picking around the castoffs to claim as his own. There was also the clear implication that no paper accumulated this way could have much journalistic merit.

In terms of Newhouse's holdings at mid-century, such an assessment was accurate. Virtually all of the papers he had acquired were throwaways, and none had developed a reputation for high-quality reporting or writing. But in late 1950, Newhouse made a deal that, for the first time in his life, put him in charge of a publication of real stature.

At the time, the Portland Oregonian was widely regarded as the finest American newspaper west of the Rockies and north of San Francisco. For its size - it had a daily circulation of around 200,000 - the Oregonian had the best crew of editors and reporters to be found anywhere in the U.S. Looked at as a business, however, the Portland paper was more typical. For some time, it had been in the hands of its founders' second- and third-generation descendants. Some were well along in years and in failing health; none had risen about the others to give the paper the clear financial guidance it so desperately needed.

At the close of WW II, the heirs of Harvey Scott and Henry Pittock made the mistake that was to prove their undoing. Despite rising costs and declining cash flows, they decided to construct a new headquarters for their newspaper in downtown Portland. To make matters worse, they engaged the city's only world-renowned architect, Pietro Belluschi, who set about designing on a grandiose scale. The result was a building that cost nearly twice the amount budgeted for it.

Midway through the construction, the Oregonian's board selected a new president, a local banker by the name of E. B. MacNaughton. He saw immediately that the only way the Pittock and Scotts could keep their newspaper alive - and their inheritances intact - would be to sell. Thus, in the summer of 1950, the year of the Oregonian's one-hundredth anniversary, MacNaughton went shopping for a buyer. From his experience as head of Portland's largest bank, he knew that no one in town would come up with the cash he thought the paper was worth, so he sent feelers to banking friends back east. At the same time, he was greatly worried by the prospect that he might have to hand the Oregonian over to a publisher whose editorial policies would not be in tune with the conservative, staid, inbred Portland.

That July, MacNaughton was given Newhouse's name. He had not heard of him before but became most interested when Newhouse was described as a new kind of newspaper operator - someone whose interests were purely financial and who believed in preserving a newspaper's existing, locally established editorial content. MacNaughton did a little checking, primarily of the Syracuse newspapers, and was encouraged by what he heard: the editors of the Herald-Journal and Post-Standard were, indeed, left alone. In an era still smarting from abuse at the hands of chains - most notably Hearst's - when editorial policies that often turned out to be misguided were dictated from central headquarters, the possibility of selling to an outsider and still maintaining the Oregonian's honor loomed at least as large in MacNaughton's mind as Newhouse's ability to pay. That, too, he verified with a call to the Chemical Bank of New York.

The idea of buying a newspaper on the other side of the country had never occurred to Newhouse. All along, as his holdings and financial reserves grew, he had planned to continue picking up new properties in his part of the country – basically in the territory that was within easy striking distance of his home in New York City. However, a major problem had developed with this approach, in that by 1950, he had pretty much exhausted the local supply. He had no interest in buying "funerals," as he called papers that were in no position to turn a profit, and now that the postwar economy was taking off, good buys within a reasonable distance of Manhattan – like the Harrisburg papers – simply would not come along very often.

Moreover, as the economy picked up, so, too, did his own newspapers' profits. Newhouse was awash in huge cash reserves; unless he made a big purchase soon, he would be forced to forfeit a large chunk of his earnings to the federal government under the IRS's surplus profits rule, which had been reinstated in 1939.

Part 2 in a series: Newhouse profits & power - How the West was Won

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PERS talks slated

The Oregonion has learned that disgruntled reporters from the statewide monopoly daily, The Oregonian, have agreed to sit down with a management member to discuss the simmering PERS issue.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior reporter divulged late last week that Stephen Engleberg, one of the dominant news organ's Managing Editors, would be part of an entourage attempting to resolve the spat that threatens to end four decades of non-union labor peace at 1320 SW Broadway.

Reporters, copywriters and other personnel are upset about management's unilateral imposition of the forced use of colloquialisms - even those with which workers disagree. The imbroglio boiled over with the elimination of "PERS" from a list of previously bargained units of measure citations in the Style Guide, and its replacement by the slang "A." The change was made without first sitting down.

As an example, let's say a writer from the Living section submits a story that includes: "At their annual legislative conference in Maui, Our Oregon officials acknowledged that their proposed maximum wage initiative would need to gather 10,000 SIGNATURES PER MONTH." Under the new anti-PERS rule, editors forcibly change the copy to "SIGNATURES A MONTH", amounting to a meaningful, 2/3 cut in letters compared to what had been expected.

The Oregonion's researchers have determined that when rotating responsibility for The Oregonian's award-winning Style Guide among its Managing Editors broke down earlier this year, some Oregonian workers began to voluntarily abandon PERS. At that time, the self-styled "early adopters" dismissed the continuing usage of PERS as "adding to an unfundable liability."

According to the source, rabble rousers first got a foothold among the so-called "holdouts" who waged an effective negative campaign that included sophisticated targeting by Portland pollster Adam Davis, arguing that the anti-PERS initiative was "an unacceptable giveback." Differences were apparently bridged, and solidarity among the factions cemented, at a series of late-night, secret-location meetings over the past several weeks hosted by AFL-CIO chief Tom "Any Other Questions" Chamberlain.

Discussions to set up the pow-wow had been hung up for three main reasons: 1) on style issues such as the shape of the table, b) on substance issues like how many representatives of the organized labor coalition Our Oregon would have seats, and 3) on account of nobody really knowing who is in charge now that Multiple-Standard Syndrome is ravaging executive ranks at The Oregonian.

The source indicated that Engleberg won a concession that all sides had agreed to not refer publicly to the get-together as a "negotiation," but no additional details were forthcoming. The date and location of the confab remain secret, as the talks are exempted from Oregon's Open Meetings Law due to a statute revision adopted by the Legislature last session.

Neither Engleberg nor co-Managing Editors Therese Bottomly and Jack Hart returned phone and email inquiries from The Oregonion.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Oregon joblessness October 2006

Tied for 7th worst in nation

The U.S. Dept. of Labor released its unemployment statistics for October. Points of interest:

Oregon's unemployment rate tied for 7th highest among the states in October, at 5.1%.

260 metropolitian areas in the U.S. had lower jobless rates than Portland and Salem, which both ranked in the 29th percentile. Other percentile rankings - Eugene, 23rd; Medford, 34th; Corvallis, 47th; Bend, 69th (+) (Note: +/- indicates rank change.)

Oregon's October jobless rate was 16% higher than the national average of 4.4%.

Oregon's best-ever recorded rate was 4.7% in April 1995.

Compared to the most productive states, Oregon boasts an unemployment rate about 75% higher.

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Newhouse Thanksgiving 2006


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Monday, November 27, 2006

M-SS update, 1.2

Stem cell first at OHSU
Hospital conducts experimental transplant on Oregonian editors

Last week surgeons at Doernbecher Children's Hospital at OHSU performed what is believed to be the first-ever transplant of fetal stem cells into the human brain.

The cells, called purified neural stem cells, were injected directly into the brains of the four editors of The Oregonian known to be suffering from Multiple-Standard Syndrome (M-SS): Editor Sandra Mimms Rowe, Executive Editor Peter Bhatia, Editorial Page Editor Robert J. Caldwell, and Associate Editor Rick Attig.

The groundbreaking surgery was the first of what is expected to be many such operations performed on executives of the Newhouse’s sprawling Advance Publications Inc. media empire in response to the exploding M-SS epidemic.

While officials with OHSU and the out-of-state Palo Alto, California company StemCells Inc. publicly announced the surgery last week, they have declined to discuss details of the actual operations and follow-up. None of the participating medical staff nor staff members of StemCells Inc. has agreed to interviews since the surgery took place.

M-SS issue spokesperson for The Oregonian, Andris Antoniskis, M.D., said there is little to say. One of the reasons, he said, was a desire to protect the First Amendment loophole in campaign finance disclosure law exempting The Oregonian. "Many of the people who call in want to know whether the experimental therapy will be available to treat M-SS at other news organizations," Antoniskis said. He confirmed that surgeons from The Mayo Clinic were in attendance. Si and Donald Newhouse are currently quarantined at the Rochester, MN medical facility and are considered prime candidates for the experimental surgery.

According to Sean Tipton, president of Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, a Washington, D.C. "527 group" affiliated with super-wealthy financier George Soros that advocates for stem cell research, any stem cell breakthrough having to do with M-SS would be particularly welcome by the public and researchers.

"The public has been ill-served by Newhouse monopoly newspapers like The Oregonian, causing industry-threatening circulation disorders. There are a lot of advertisers and subscribers who may begin to boycott Advance Publications' stable of glitter and glitz magazines, too, if a cure for M-SS is not found," Tipton said.

Study has many implications. Even stock markets react to such possible advances; the day after the transplant was performed, the stock of publicly held StemCells Inc. rose 10 percent on the Nasdaq exchange, netting the New York billionaire Newhouse brothers who own The Oregonian a nifty $115 million profit.

That sort of ahead-of-the-curve reaction may help explain why neither OHSU nor StemCells is going out of its way to publicize the surgery, according to Tipton. "I think that the Newhouses are extremely sensitive to accusations about profiting from the situation and do not want to be accused of doing that," Tipton said.

Nathan Selden, the OHSU physician who performed last week's surgery, and Robert Steiner, the OHSU vice chairman of pediatric research at Doernbecher, issued a one-line email response to an inquiry from The Oregonion. "This will be the only time the medical team will correspond with media for the foreseeable future," Steiner wrote.

Controversial ethical issues. While stem cells can come from unused embryos after in vitro fertilization, the stem cell product for the transplants was derived from the brain tissue of aborted or miscarried fetuses with the permission of the woman a/k/a "mother." As with other stem cell research, it is controversial to people who oppose abortion.

Also, since the transplant is the first of its kind, the risk to patients is unknown. These experimental surgeries are designed to find out if, in fact, the therapy is safe. Previous transplants with the StemCells product were performed in mice with a form of "Double-Standard Syndrome."

"This is a very sensitive clinical trial involving news editors with an irreversible, degenerative disorder, and it's highly experimental therapy," Steiner said via email. "We really need to focus on taking care of the Newhouse empire's executives and carrying out this research as safely and carefully as possible without outside distractions."

Portland Tribune, Nov. 24, By Peter Korn

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Si Newhouse: Glitter, Power and Glory

To get what - and who - he wanted, Si, unlike his father, was willing to spend money.

For $3.68+ shipping you can buy "Newhouse: All the Glitter, Power, & Glory of America's Richest Media Empire & the Secretive Man Behind It", (1994) by Thomas Maier, at Amazon.com.

Excerpts from the Publishers' Weekly review:

Samuel I. Newhouse Jr., generally known as Si, is not only one of the richest men in the U.S., he also heads its most powerful media company, Advance Publications, which owns a chain of high-visibility magazines, newspapers and cable-TV interests. He is also, by his own choice, little known to the public, so a book about him, his personality, interests and remarkable influence is very much in order. Maier, a New York Newsday reporter, labored mightily to penetrate the veil Newhouse has established between himself and the world, and has come up with as thorough an account as an outsider probably could write of the Newhouse career: his early uncertainties in the shadow of a dynamic and demanding father, his growing skills in managing the magazine empire that never much interested Sam senior, his eventual triumphs in acquiring the kinds of properties his father would have delighted in. It is all here-the victorious struggles with the IRS over taxes, the ups and downs at Vogue, the relaunch of Vanity Fair, the New Yorker troubles and eventual triumph, the reshaping of Random House from a largely literary house to a mega-publisher.

Excerpts from a book review in Washington Monthly, Jan-Feb 1995:

Aspiring to be masters of the media universe, the Newhouses gained a reputation as masters of the bottom line, so ruthless in their pursuit of newspaper profits that they left a trail of fear and havoc in their wake.

Working behind the scenes was the notorious Roy Cohn, Si's best childhood friend. Cohn, who bore the title of special counsel to the family and served as a political fixer, influenced various editorial policies. In the early sixties, JFK, over the strong objections of Bobby Kennedy, used Cohn to plant a favorable editorial about Congressman Hale Boggs, who was in political trouble, in his hometown paper, the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Cohn sought no quid pro quo, but hoped his intervention would help get Bobby, who as attorney general was looking into Cohn's sundry dealings, off his back. To Cohn's dismay, Bobby persevered.

Through another Newhouse property, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cohn, along with the mob, helped ensure Jackie Presser's election as president of the Teamsters Union.

And when Si Newhouse wanted Norman Mailer to sign with Random House, it was Cohn who convinced the famous author to make a deal, even though Cohn and Mailer were from bitterly opposed political camps. Big bucks brought them together. To get what--and who--he wanted, Si, unlike his father, was willing to spend money. (Star editors enjoy hefty clothing allowances and subsidized housing.) Through a mutual friend, Cohn convinced the literary lion to write for Parade and, ultimately, to leave his longtime publisher for a $4 million contract with Random House. This well-publicized coup gave Newhouse the cerebral clout he was after.

Part 5 in a series: "Getting to know The Oregonian's owners"

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Deal in Portland

"More than a city newspaper ...
at the height of its power and prestige."


New Northwest Territory

Time Magazine, Dec. 18, 1950

Every quarter-century since 1850, the owners of the Portland Oregonian (circ. 219,442) have marked the anniversary of its founding with long histories of the paper and nostalgic backward looks at the growth of the Northwest. Though the Oregonian and its surroundings changed greatly through the years, its ownership did not. It stayed in the hands of descendants of early (1860) Owner Henry Lewis Pittock and his longtime editor, Harvey Whitefield Scott.

Last week, as the Oregonian celebrated its 100th anniversary, it was the owners' turn to change. For more than $5,000,000 in cash, they sold all their stock to short (5 ft. 3 in.) Samuel I. Newhouse, 55, able owner of the Harrisburg (Pa.) News (circ. 85,363) and Patriot (circ. 31,249), the Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald-Journal (circ. 126,179) and Post-Standard (circ. 77,970) and a string of five other Eastern dailies. Said Newhouse happily: "Most of my papers were sick when I got them. The Oregonian is the first that is at the height of its power and prestige."

Growing Pains. Proprietor Newhouse's happy cry was no exaggeration. The oldest West Coast paper in continuous publication, the Oregonian, first printed as a weekly, grew up with the Northwest - and helped it grow by leading the campaigns for better schools and colleges and new industries. Though generally Republican from the days of Lincoln, the Oregonian has never stuck to a straight party line, has fought for such Democratic measures as federal aid to education, opposed such things as the Brannan Plan.

In 1940 it won the University of Missouri's "distinguished newspaper" award as "more than a city newspaper - a tradition in the Northwest and a part of the life of the region." As a regional paper, much of the Oregonian's circulation was outside Portland proper until a few years ago. Then it started an early city edition, soon passed the rival Journal in circulation. In 1948 the prosperous Oregonian moved into a new $3,500,000 plant.

The Boss Wasn't Interested. Sam Newhouse plans to make few changes in the paper. Ernest Boyd MacNaughton, liberal president of Portland's Reed College (TIME, May 3, 1948) as well as chairman of the board of Portland's First National Bank, will stay on as president. The editorial staff will be virtually unchanged. As is his custom, Democrat Newhouse will keep his distance from most editorial decisions (most of his papers are independent Republican), but will keep close tabs on everything else as he does on his other papers.

Newhouse broke into journalism in 1912 while he was a $2-a-week clerk for the receiver for New Jersey's bankrupt Bayonne Times. Because the receiver was not interested in the job, Newhouse was made publisher of the paper at 18. Within a year, he pulled the Times out of the red. After that, Newhouse bought other floundering papers in the New York area, including the Staten Island Advance, the Long Island Press and Star-Journal, and the Newark Star-Ledger. Newhouse hired better staffs, cut costs, built up a combined circulation of 580,000 (v. 109,000 before he took over) and put the papers into the black.

The purchase of the Oregonian by Sam Newhouse, his first buy west of the Alleghenies, started talk that he is trying to link together a nationwide chain. Says he noncommittally: "That would be a pretty ambitious operation." But newsmen thought Sam Newhouse looked like a mighty ambitious man.

Part 1 in a series: Newhouse profits & power - How the West was Won

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Friday, November 24, 2006

The newspaper side of the business

Chain Gang
"Donald makes the money and Si spends it."
Carol Felsenthal, biographer of Si Newhouse

The long-time Sam Newhouse newspaper economic model is monopoly within a geographic area. The purpose is to eliminate competition in order to more easily increase prices and, thus, increase profits.
Monopoly (wikipedia): "In economics, a monopoly (from the Latin word monopolium - Greek language monos, one + polein, to sell) is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a product or service. Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods."
Donald Newhouse - Sam's younger son - understood the secret of his father's success: monopoly creates an artificial floor for profits, with huge upside potential from the elimination of advertiser and subscriber resistance to marginal price increases.

For decades, the cash flow from monopolized statewide daily newspaper markets like Oregon has sustained Si's stable of glitter, power and glory loss-leader magazines and the Newhouses' extravagant, over-spending Manhattan lifestyle.

Why is a geographic newspaper monopoly a problem? Because all consumers in a community ultimately pay the cost of advertising for goods and services. We all ante-up for excess Newhouse profits - in the form of higher prices. A monopoly leaves communities poorer, compared those who enjoy a competitive market.

The "charitable" contributions that monopoly newspapers return as a measure of atonement make good PR yet amount to a bare fraction of the local losses, both in real value and from stifled innovation due to suppressed competition.

Monopoly degrades the so-called "content" (reportage and editorial) side of newspapers, which tends to yield to the advertising & advertorial imperative. It also results in a reflexive bias against competition in general. Editors have few qualms about squelching diversity of public opinion and playing favorites, such as routinely endorsing most political incumbents for re-election. And editors act as if naturally entitled to assume a strident, intolerant posture, and to apply multiple standards to any subjects. A monopoly newspaper pays little or no price for such arrogance.

For example, note how The Oregonian threw stones from its glass house (as usual) trying to shatter one of its pet peeves, the voter initiative process, today:
"We need to recognize that there is a new form of nobility among us that's as dangerous as the kings and nobility of old. This new nobility consists of a wealthy few who use their money to to bankroll initiatives designed perpetuate their wealth or power or to advance narrow social causes. It may have been possible once to argue that the initiative process was a partial cure for a do-nothing government. The better argument these days is that initiatives themselves are more of an affliction and not a cure for anything."
Oregon serves as a good example in many other ways. Sam Newhouse purchased The Oregonian in 1950 for $5.6 million; at the time, the largest newspaper sale ever. In 1961, he purchased the Oregon Journal for $8 million. In 1982, three years after Sam's death, Donald officially merged the two papers and the Oregon Journal, founded in 1902, disappeared. (Future posts will examine the Oregon example in far greater detail.)

Sam Newhouse had taken 11 years to create a statewide daily newspaper monopoly that has held for 45 years and whose greatest threat today is not a direct competitor, but the changing technology and market segmentation of advertising itself.

These are some of the newspapers in the Advance Publications empire, like The Oregonian - owned by the billionaire Newhouse brothers from New York. (Click the image to enlarge.)


Part 4 in a series: "Getting to know The Oregonian's owners"

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

No contest

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sam Newhouse - The frugal founder

Sam Newhouse on the cover of Time Magazine
July 27, 1962


Samuel Irving Newhouse (1895-1979), the father of Si and Donald Newhouse, was the founder of the family business and built it with his brothers Ted (1903-1998) and Norman (d. 1988).

His rags-to-riches story is an American classic. Like many barons of American capitalism, he was a monopolist who used our free-market system get a foothold, and then abused it to eliminate competition in order to enrich himself and his family. (Nepotism will be discussed in a later post.)

For $.01 + shipping you can get: "Newspaperman: S. I. Newhouse and the Business of News", (1983) by Richard H. Meeker at Amazon.com. Meeker is publisher of Portland's Willamette Week.

Excerpts from a review published in the New York Times Sept. 25, 1983 (registration required), by Edwin Diamond of MIT and author of "Sign Off: The Last Days of Television":

Sam Newhouse told the story on himself. He asked his wife, Mitzi, if she wanted anything as he was leaving his Park Avenue apartment for a stroll one Sunday: "She asked for a fashion magazine, and I went out and got her Vogue."

The year was 1959, the story apocryphal. But it characterizes Newhouse's style at the zenith of his remarkable, joyless, heroic, exhilarating, monomaniacal career, one as eccentric as any in the annals of American capitalism. At the time of his death in 1979, the Newhouse empire included 29 newspapers, a string of radio and television stations and the Conde Nast magazines. In 1920, Newhouse bought his first newspaper, The Fitchburg (Mass.) News, for $15,000. In his last deal, more than six decades later, he acquired the eight Booth papers in Michigan and the Sunday supplement Parade for a total of $305 million.

Mr. Meeker decided to go ahead with this biography in the face of absolute stonewalling by the family and associates of Newhouse. He says that Newhouse's wife and their sons, S.I. Jr. and Donald, refused interviews, as did his brothers, Theodore and Norman, and all the current Newhouse editors and publishers. Even photo sources, especially for Newhouse's younger years, dried up. Family members let it be known that he was essentially a private man and that they wanted to wait for the "right time" and the "right biographer."

Newhouse didn't want to make - or write or observe - history. He wanted to make money. A. J. Liebling called him a journalist chiffonier, or ragpicker, for his habit of buying undervalued newspapers that were in distress from failing circulation, bad management, feuding family owners or other causes. (He favored those that enjoy monopoly or near-monopoly status.) For Newhouse, there was never the romance of newspapering, the duties of the First Amendment. Newhouse probably did bookkeeping better than any businessman of his era.

Newhouse's life was the stuff of the American dream. He was the first child of dirt poor, unschooled Russian Jewish immigrants who settled on Orchard Street on New York's Lower East Side. Through pluck and luck, he pulled himself up the ladder to amass one of the great private American fortunes. His wife achieved social prominence (the Vogue connection helped) in New York's meritocratic society. His sons and nephews and cousins went into the business, and he endowed a school of communications at Syracuse University, located in one of the towns where his company owned a newspaper.

Newhouse didn't conceal his nature. When he was 84, two Syracuse University officials came around to see him to solicit a final endowment gift before he slipped away for good. They found his attention wandering, his appearance waxen. While the men from Syracuse talked up the school, Mitzi Newhouse showed around some photographs of a Florida house she wanted to buy. Newhouse roused himself for a moment; his glow returned, and as Mr. Meeker tells it, he said, "Mitzi, I'd rather buy another newpaper." That is not a bad epitaph, and it is one that is likely to survive Mr. Meeker's book and even the eventual "official" version.

Part 3 in a series: "Getting to know The Oregonian's owners"

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Monday, November 20, 2006

No other choice

Politicians Sweep Midterm Elections

The Onion

Politicians Sweep Midterm Elections

WASHINGTON, DC - Landslide victories for politicians in all 50 states indicate that voters still tend to elect politicians over non-politicians.


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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Multiple-Standard Syndrome, 1.1

Newsroom in shock, two more editors airlifted to OHSU
A sense of dread spreads ... evidence mounts ... has a problem of epidemic proportions infected the state's dominant news organ?

The Oregonion has learned that Editorial Page Editor Robert J. Caldwell and Associate Editor Rick Attig of The Oregonian were medevaced to OHSU from 1320 SW Broadway yesterday in a daring rush-hour rooftop extraction. Care-givers are providing evaluation and treatment to the two editors for Multiple-Standard Syndrome, or M-SS. They have not returned to work.

M-SS is marked by the use of one set of rules for those with whom one agrees, and other rules for everyone else. It has become increasingly common in "news organizations" in the United States in recent decades. Lesser-known than the related but more-common "Double-Standard Syndrome", M-SS is pernicious, degenerative, and highly resistant to cure.

Experimental medication to treat M-SS is being developed under a pathbreaking public-private partnership at OHSU, and is showing promise of slowing the rate of degeneration, although not reversing it. The only known, partially-successful remedy for M-SS is career change.

Issue spokesperson for The Oregonian Andris Antoniskis, M.D. acknowledged without elaboration, by email, that the election-eve quarantine of Editor Sandra Mimms Rowe and Executive Editor Peter Bhatia continues into week three. According to Antoniskis, biosocial forensic experts flown in from out-of-state began pouring over The Oregonian's editorials and news articles. That's how they zeroed in on Caldwell and Attig.

Neither The Oregonian nor OHSU would answer direct inquiries from The Oregonion, however Associate Editor David Reinhard - expressing fears likely shared company-wide - said, "Truth to tell, my first stirrings of guilt came during the election itself."

Antoniskis stated that experts are evaluating editors and executives throughout the vast Advance Publications empire of lifestyle magazines, newspapers and cable properties. Advance is the owner of The Oregonian. Si and Donald Newhouse, the New York billionaire brother media magnates who own Advance, have been quarantined for M-SS at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, since early this month.

Antoniskis disputed that an armada of Manhattan-based architects had arrived at Mayo via the Newhouses' private jets last week to set up shop at the Clinic, preferring to call it a "phalanx".

An anonymous source inside The Mayo Clinic told The Oregonion the architects are in the early phase of a hush-hush, rush-rush design-and-build project for a pentagonal compound on Clinic property named Newhouse V. The transit-oriented, high-density, mixed-use development would serve as fully-functional, in-Clinic work/living community for - what appears to be - a growing number of M-SS victims in the far-flung Newhouse media empire.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

The magazine side of the business

"Advance's newspapers prop up
the magazine side of the business."

Carol Felsenthal, author of Citizen Newhouse: Portrait of a Media Merchant

The Newhouse chain of monopoly newspapers - like The Oregonian - generate the profits from subscribers and advertisers necessary to underwrite their glitter, power and glory loss-leader magaziness.

The private empire, whose value is estimated at more than $20 billion, is financed on the Sam Newhouse newspaper economic model - monopoly: eradicate competition, then hike prices to insure profits that would otherwise require a lot more hard work to generate.
Monopoly (wikipedia): "A magazine publishing firm, for example, might publish many different magazines on many different subjects, but it would still be considered to engage in monopolistic practices if the intent of doing this was to control the entire magazine-reader market, and prevent the emergence of competitors."
These are some of the magazines in the Advance Publications empire owned by the billionaire Newhouse brothers from New York.


Part 2 in a series: "Getting to know The Oregonian's owners"

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Elitist Newhouse

Advance's newspapers prop up
the magazine side of the business


"S.I. NEWHOUSE SR. WOULD HAVE BEEN horrified by the utter extravagance of it ..."

For $1.72+ shipping you can buy "Citizen Newhouse: Portrait of a Media Merchant", (1998) by Carol Felsenthal, at Amazon.com.

Excerpts from the Publishers' Weekly review:

"Felsenthal's work is filled with unflattering descriptions of the men and women found in the top circles of New York's magazine and book publishing scene. She begins, however, with a lengthy history of the media empire - Advance Communications - assembled by Newhouse's father, Sam, a self-made newspaper tycoon born on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The elder Newhouse added Conde Nast to his holdings in 1959; it was these magazines that drew the attention of the younger Newhouse, who, after Sam's death in 1979, left the running of the newspapers to his younger brother, Donald. As Felsenthal charts Newhouse's rising influence in the world of publishing, particularly through his acquisitions of Random House and the New Yorker - trophy companies, she says, meant to increase his prestige among the media elite - she denounces his business style, reporting that under Newhouse's ownership the quality of both the publishing house and the magazine declined dramatically, as did their profitability. It is Advance's newspaper and cable holdings, she contends, that prop up Newhouse's side of the business."

from nytimes.com, read Chapter One and the review from 12/20/98 by Tom Goldstein, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Part 1 in a series: "Getting to know The Oregonian's owners"

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

PERS issue simmers

Grievance update: Hello ... is anyone there?

Disgruntled writers at The Oregonian have rejected an apology by a management member for taking PERS away without negotiation. The labor-management disagreement at the state's leading news organ spilled over into a public spat last week as reported by The Oregonion.

According to anonymous sources, Managing Editor Jack Hart circulated a memo attempting to put the matter to rest. The Oregonion has obtained a copy of the internal document which was not intended for public disclosure.

According to Hart: "This PERS fiasco is much ado about nothing. If any mistake was made, it is Caldwell's, not mine. He told us that Governor Kulongoski and the Legislature had taken care of PERS last session. So - he was off-base. I apologize if any employees were offended by Caldwell's wrong call, and trust they will now see that it was just another honest mistake." He urged the writers to "get over it," instructing that "Since this really about usage, it is a matter of style, not substance. You should go talk to Bottomly."

In an email response to The Oregonion, Hart wrote that "management considers this issue as officially contained," adding "As far as I'm concerned, it's over." He explained that little risk remains, since a "Chinese Wall" exists between The Oregonian's style and its substance.

But that might not be good enough for the workers. One senior reporter confided that writers are united, and that copywriters have pledged solidarity. At a gathering of employees at a popular after-hours watering hole that included representatives of Our Oregon, speakers derided Hart's efforts to quell the brouhaha via a one-page memo as "lame" and "a nothingburger". They joked about senior editors' recent hospitalization for Multiple-Standard Syndrome, saying "They just want to be first in line to PHART."

According to one of the writers, "It's unfair to have our PERS jacked around like this. Is management ever going to sit down with us and work this out? The Oregonian used to value collaborative decision-making, and it's too simplistic to pawn off the reversal on some internal management disorder." An Our Oregon spokesperson commented, "Ain't it a shame?"

The Oregonian is currently a non-union employer.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The economy - no worries?

Oregon jobs: tied for 5th worst in nation

The U.S. Dept. of Labor released its unemployment statistics for September. Points of interest:

Oregon's unemployment rate tied for 5th highest among the states in September, at 5.4%.

260 metropolitian areas in the U.S. had lower jobless rates than Portland and Salem, which both ranked in the 29th percentile. Other percentile rankings - worse: Eugene - 23rd; better: Medford - 34th, Corvallis - 47th, Bend - 67th.

Oregon's jobless rate was 23% higher than the national average of 4.4%.

Oregon's best-ever recorded rate was 4.7% in April 1995.

Compared to the most productive states, Oregon boasts an unemployment rate about 100% higher.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Pill Hill Aerial Rapid Transit

Click the image to see the PHART 3D campaign video Dreams Come True.

PHART facts from Answers.com

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News media not at fault

The Onion

Republicans Blame Election Losses On Democrats

WASHINGTON, DC—Republican officials are blaming tonight's GOP losses on Democrats, who they claim have engaged in a wide variety of ...

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Negative campaigning lesson from N.Y.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

PERS crisis threatens to escalate

Bargaining units of measure
Writers at
The Oregonian weigh alternatives

The main issue: writers feel disempowered by management indifference. They feel unable to negotiate grievances concerning the forced use of colloquialisms with which they disagree.

The straw that apparently broke the camel's back - units of measure. Recently, copy editors were summarily ordered to rewrite gasoline and milk prices as "$3 A GALLON" when writers submit the more traditional "$3 PER GALLON." The new anti-PERS policy applies to all unit of measure citations.

According to writers, The Oregonian has increasingly failed to follow its internal rules. With senior management's attention diverted by a previously-reported outbreak of Multiple-Standard Syndrome, many of the organization's traditional collaborative processes have been abandoned.

A writer who spoke to The Oregonion on condition of anonymity captured the complaint: "We cannot allow The Oregonian to take our PERS away from us without negotiation. What kind of message does this send Oregon's school children who look to us for stylistic integrity and proper usage?"

For decades, style revisions have been subject to a collaborative process involving workers and management. Responsibility for the award-winning Style Guide has rotated among Managing Editors - Therese Bottomly, Stephen Engleberg, and Jack Hart, in order to assure a regular supply of fresh style ideas and to prevent any single style from getting too entrenched.

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Happy anniversary

One Year Ago

Holy fiscal impact, Batman: First The Oregonian awakens its newsroom with a buyout offer for its most senior staffers (those with a combined age and tenure at the paper of at least 95 years) then raises newsstand prices from 35 to 50 cents. We understand what that means, but what of the September rejiggering of the paper's masthead, which elevated President Pat Stickel above Editor Sandy Rowe, at least graphically? The pair are potential successors for current Oregonian publisher Fred Stickel, who is 84.


From the department of minutiae: Two weeks ago, Murmurs noted the puzzling alteration of The Oregonian's masthead, which coincided with the paper's redesign and elevated, at least graphically, President Pat Stickel above Editor Sandy Rowe. Well, on Sunday, somebody rejiggered the masthead again, placing Rowe and Stickel Jr., both of whom are said to want the publisher's job held by Pat's father, Fred, on the same level again.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Nobody survives The Curse

Welcome to Oregon, where even the most down-in-the-polls politicians apparently have a shot at electoral success ...

Or as one Democratic insider put it Wednesday morning: "If you had told me last summer that a sitting governor with a 32 percent approval rating would propose four new taxes - and not only win re-election, but win by a margin of 10 percent or more - I'd have said you were nuts." ... Well, of course we're nuts. But it couldn't have happened without a lot of help from the opposition, either. The more Saxton ran, it seemed, the worse he got ...

And then there's the Curse of The Oregonian endorsement, which nobody, but nobody, survives.

Portland Tribune, Nov. 10, by Phil Stanford "On the Town"

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Any other questions?

We are not making this up; it is actually from a story on page C3 of The Oregonian, Nov. 8, by Don Colburn

Unlike previous years when deputy sherriffs took ballots from motorists, deputies said they were told not to touch ballots because they are not election workers.

Volunteers who were not election workers were collecting ballots from motorists in large plastic tubs labeled "unofficial" about a block a way from the Multnomah County election headquarters. The volunteers, allied with Oregon AFL-CIO, then carried the full boxes to the elections office.

"Everything we're doing is legal," said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain. "We just want to make sure everybody who wants to votes."

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Newhouses defied by Oregonians

How N.Y. billionaires failed to defeat Measure 39

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Governments learning how to campaign

Local levy results, official politicking go together

Voters approved construction bonds for Beaverton and Sherwood, while they nixed Forest Grove's plans for new schools, infrastructure expansions and safety and maintenance upgrades. The differences between districts that won and those that lost played to common political knowledge: greater use of taxpayer funds in levy campaigns earns more "yes" votes.

For example, Beaverton schools re-allocated the most funds with $237,000, or $6.35 per student, and won by the widest margin. In contrast, Forest Grove schools spent about $9,000 of earlier-reserved district funds, or $1.46 per student, and lost by the widest margin.

Katherine Pfeiffer, statewide campaign coordinate for Our Oregon’s "Local Levy Organizing Project" has 18 years of experience. She said districts and communities are different so tactics for gaining access to public funds for levy campaigns do not work across the board. "There is no cookie-cutter approach to progressivism," Pfeiffer said.

In Forest Grove, Superintendent Jack Musser has a simple explanation for his district's $49.8 million bond's failure Tuesday. "Clearly, our focus has to be getting our hands on more public resources in future political campaigns," Musser said.

Beaverton school leaders had a carefully honed message with well-paid mercenaries. By Tuesday, 600 workers had placed 20,000 phone calls, canvassed 8,000 homes and handed out countless taxpayer-funded fliers at community events.

Sherwood school leaders, like Beaverton's, started campaigning early to educate voters on the district's biennial crisis. Superintendent Dan Jamison said school leaders a year ago began to meet during regular work hours to strategize for the November election. Paid staff took extra "in-service" days off to register voters new to the area. Bond supporters re-allocated about $19,000 of school district funds, or $4.63 per student, which was the second-highest average.

"We found that we needed to prevent the community from knowing we were using school funds for this campaign, rather than putting it into the actual budget that gets voted on," Jamison said.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Voters thank the Newhouses

Oregon makes 2006 a year of 'yes' to the Newhouse brothers

Oregonians ate up the spoon-fed negativity served up by Si and Donald Newhouse, the billionaire out-of-state media mogul brothers who own of The Oregonian, and said "no" to most proposals on the state ballot, soundly adopting a vision of unlimited state government.

Among the 9 of 10 initiatives on the ballot opposed by the Newhouses, only Measure 39 passed. In the aftermath of the national horror of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Kelo v. New London, Measure 39 bans government condemnation of private property in Oregon for use by another private party.

Political experts estimate that the New York-based Newhouses, billionaire owners of the far-flung Advance Publications empire, provided at least $75 million worth of in-kind negative advertising against the measures. The donations were part of a coordinated campaign led by government unions and involved flowing the undisclosed money through a local subsidiary, The Oregonian, that is shielded from campaign finance law by a First Amendment loophole.

In an interview with The Oregonion, Portland pollster Adam Davis said that results showed undeniable voter support for the New York-based Newhouses' vision of Oregon. He said voters reacted positively to out-of-state money urging them to unleash new growth of government taxing, spending and borrowing that had been pinned down by voters locked into a conservative stupor since the early 1990's.

"There isn't a responsible-government sentiment out there that we saw a decade ago, when we had 40+ years of corrupting single-party rule," Davis said. "We are in different times now. Both parties are now lusting to abuse government power and the voters have no other choice. The Newhouses understood this new paradigm. I guess that shows why they're billionaires and the rest of us aren't."

The only campaign the Newhouses lost was Measure 39, the latest proposal from the property rights group Oregonians in Action. The ballot measure bans governments from seizing private property, then turning it over to another private party hand-picked by the government. Currently, Oregon law permits this practice.

"Whether you're Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Green Party, I don't think it really matters," said David Hunnicutt, president of Oregonians in Action. "Property rights are important to everybody. There's no other explanation for how the Newhouse billionaires were unable to enforce their multiple standard on this one."

In a wide-ranging interview with The Oregonion, Fred A. Stickel, publisher of The Oregonian explained why reporters did not bother to seek out other measure proponents for comment on their failure. "With the derision phase of our overt political campaigns complete, we immediately settled back in to the more comfortable ignore phase. It's straight out of our Style Guide," Stickel said.

Stickel added, "We hope Sandy and Peter can return soon and begin to harvest the negativity they helped sow so effectively. The plan is to spring back into high dudgeon after the holidays, when the new Legislature convenes early in 2007. The Newhouses have demanded that we disable the initiative and referendum process once and for all in Oregon, and they are quite willing to reach deep into their own pockets again and again to do it."

The state of New York, home base for the out-of-state billionaire Newhouse brothers, does not have an initiative process. "It's simply a matter of whatever it takes. Let's hope Oregon's long nightmare is finally over," Stickel said.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Multiple-Standard Syndrome, 1.0

Newsrooms placed on High Alert

The Oregonion has learned that Editor Sandra Mimms Rowe and Executive Editor Peter Bhatia of The Oregonian were medevaced to OHSU late last night from their West Hills homes. Both have been diagnosed as suffering from "Multiple-Standard Syndrome" or M-SS.

This condition is marked by the use of one set of rules for those with whom one agrees, and other rules for everyone else. M-SS is a highly contagious and degenerative disease, and other executives and staff at Oregon's leading "news organ" are being evaluated.

M-SS has become an increasingly common condition in "news organizations" throughout the United States in recent decades. The World Health Organization ICD-10, the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), and the Physicians' Desk Reference state that the only known, partially-effective treatment for M-SS is career change.

Publisher Fred A. Stickel rejected that option and announced in a one-sentence news release that Oregon Medical Association President Andris Antoniskis, M.D. has been retained by The Oregonian to investigate and contain the public health threat. In an email answer to an inquiry from The Oregonion, Antoniskis complained, "For reasons I cannot explain, I have been prevented arbitrarily from leading the team assembled to directly diagnose and treat Sandy and Peter. For now, the Editors are insisting on being examined only by brain surgeons who lack 'corrupting experience'." Antoniskis declined to describe any precautions being taken to protect other workers at 1320 SW Broadway.

Forensic biologists have identified a pathogen and traced its origins to the New York headquarters of The Oregonian's corporate owner, Advance Publications, Inc., which is owned by out-of-state billionaire media magnates Si and Donald Newhouse. Bloomberg News Service reported the Newhouse brothers have also tested positive for M-SS and Antoniskis confirmed that they have been quarantined at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN since arriving in their private jet from New York on Saturday, accompanied by Manhattan supermodels who sipped Dom Perignon and snacked on caviar from the Russian Tea House. Antoniskis would not answer questions about the possibility of MSS infection throughout the far-flung Advance empire. "I am too overqualified to answer that question," he wrote back to The Oregonion.

Experimental medication to treat M-SS is being developed under a pathbreaking public-private partnership at OHSU, and is showing promise of slowing the rate of degeneration, although not reversing it. Whether or not the new drugs gain FDA approval, Rowe and Bhatia will be covered under Measure 44, the out-of-state union-backed measure that eliminates all income and age restrictions on participation in the 100% free Oregon Prescription Drug Program. Antoniskis, however, refused to confirm that either Rowe and Bhatia have begun taking the experimental drugs, or are waiting the 30 days before Measure 44 takes effect.

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Monday, November 6, 2006

Circulation disorder

Oct. 31 brought frightening news for The Oregonian, with a new report detailing a gloomy outlook for the troubled U.S. newspaper industry based on data collected from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Nationwide, daily circulation dropped 2.8% in the just-completed six-month period, and Sunday circulation fell 3.4% in the same period.

But The Oregonian's circulation declined 6.8% (to 310,803) - a sharper decline than in the prior period and a shrinkage rate 2-1/2 times higher than the national average.

At this rate of decline, in just 5 years The Oregonian will cut itself in half. In about 10 years, circulation will be less than 1/4 of today's.

Over a grande soy latte and an almond biscotti, Kevin Denny, Circulation Director, explained to The Oregonion: "We could sell more papers if we weren't so strident and intolerant on the editorial pages, or at least if that didn't spill over into the rest of the paper. But we have our marching orders from New York - the Newhouses have a political agenda and they are our out-of-state billionaire owners so who am I to complain about a broken economic model?"

Click here to unsubscribe from The Oregonian or phone (503) 221-8240.

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The Boregonian strikes again

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Sunday, November 5, 2006

Tell them to mind their own business

Oregonians ought to reject The Oregonian

The unified campaign against this year's ballot measures is brought to you by people who don't live in Oregon and, of course, won't have to live with the results of Tuesday's election.

The Oregonian's owners - billionaire publishing magnate brothers named Newhouse - sit in offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C., watching at a comfortable distance the multi-million dollar lab experiment in media bias they are sponsoring in Oregon. They are waiting to see whether Oregon voters drown in their negativity.

Meanwhile, voters scurry around this last weekend before Election Day trying to get fair and balanced information from The Oregonian about measures on the ballot. Good luck. The Newhouses only frame the measures according to the government union position: 44 and No MORE.

There is one clear way out: Vote opposite the Newhouse choices. At every intersection with the negativity and poison visited upon Oregonians by the out-of-state Newhouse billionaires, turn toward the measures, instead. Send a message to these wealthy ideologues, all the national unions, all the people who treat Oregon's precious citizen initiative as an invitation to spread a brown stench of negativity to every corner of this state.

Tell them to butt out. Say it with five "YES" votes, starting with Measure 39, a product of the national horror of the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision allowing government use of eminent domain for private purposes. This would prevent such a travesty in Oregon. Measure 39 has a deep appeal, but the Newhouses are suggesting it would restrict the use of public-private partnerships in Oregon and inhibit economic development. What a fiction.

Measure 40 would require that judges on the Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals be elected from geographic districts - just like legislators. Oregonians' right to elect top judges now is a hoax. They retire mid-term so a political hack can get appointed, always run for reelection unchallenged, and serve until boredom takes over, etc.

Measure 41 has a fair ballot title. The out-of-state billionaire Newhouses abhor it because it would save $160 or so to the average taxpayer.

Measure 45 restores the legislative term limits that the voters approved once but the insiders tossed out in 2002. The Newhouses have spent literally tens of millions of dollars on free publicity for the No campaign. But rotation in leadership is just what Oregon needs, so our lawmakers will put the good of the state ahead of their personal gain.

Measure 48 earns special hatred from the Newhouses because it is Oregon born and Oregon bred - a spending limit that, without raising taxes, will set aside $1 billion of Rainy Day funds in the next budget and put voters in charge of overspending decisions. The Newhouses detest taxpayer advocate Don McIntire and have broken new ground in express advocacy as a bullhorn for the government unions against The Rainy Day Amendment.

It's the Newhouse's money, of course, out of their own pockets. They can do what they want with it since media objectivity is a quaint theory mugged by facts. And because of the First Amendment the Newhouses will not report any of their sourly negative and biased "news and opinion" as political campaign expenditures.

But this election is not about your state, it's The Newhouses'. And only they get to decide what to do with it.

The Oregonian, Nov. 5

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Friday, November 3, 2006

Progressive approach to unemployment

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

This did happen in Portland on Tuesday

Tuesday, a well-know Portland attorney was arrested wearing a Halloween costume of Osama Bin Laden, carrying a pretend gun, and wearing a sign around his neck: "I Love TABOR".

The Oregonian did not run this true story from Portland, Maine even though it received a ridiculous amount of national attention. If it had happened in Portland, Oregon, they wouldn't have covered it, either.

Click the image to enlarge ... read the story and see all the pictures.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Our side of the story: Neglected

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