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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moved to a new blog: The Oregonion

This is the last item to be added here. New items are already being posted to The Oregonion blog at the new address.

If you view posts here via feed or email, the same service is available at the new address and you are invited to subscribe.

Thank you for visiting here. This blog will remain open as an archive.

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Register your pets to vote in Washington State

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Public disapproval of Congress explained

Meet the new boss

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sten, Leonard, Adams demand recount

Something went wrong on the way to livability

It must be the road building ban. Or maybe the City Council. Or perhaps our unique commission form of government that lacks limits that come from separation of powers. Whatever the reason, Money Magazine failed to rate Portland among best places to live in the U.S. of A. The ranking of the country's 100 best places was released today, with Sherwood, Lake Oswego, and Camas making the list.

The ratings were based on Money's assessment of each town's economic opportunity, quality of schools, crime, activities and sense of community. It said Sherwood is growing fast and always has something going on in town.

The Oregonian, July 17, By ERIC MORTENSEN

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Candidate pushes positive agenda

John Edwards Vows To End All Bad Things By 2011

The Onion

John Edwards Vows To End All Bad Things By 2011

DES MOINES, IA—Edwards' "Good Things for All" initiative builds on previous efforts to end bad things, like skinned knees, splinters, and non-union labor.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Property rights tradition questioned

Current politicians more experienced, smarter than voters

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Congress in Labor Day holiday extension

The Onion

U.S. House Hardly Working

To date, the House of Representatives has worked less than 25 days this year. What do you think?

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Friday, July 13, 2007

State's economic policies widen wealth gap

Oregon governments in "Reverse Robin Hood" scheme
Are you better off than you were 30 years ago?

Thirty years ago, state government signaled a new progressivism by starting a program at the Univ. of Oregon for the benefit of organized labor called the Labor Education and Research Center, or LERC.

The taxpayer investment paradigm, modeled closely on that of Western Europe's social democracies, called for the collectivization of political and civic life. Labor unions were granted the legal authority to occupy the political power center, and to wield the gavel in determining winners and losers in public budgets and regulations.

In a blistering critique of the so-called "LERC Agenda", a coalition of in-state free-market think tanks this week blasted Oregon's new #1-in-the-nation ranking for government unions.

According to the critics, Oregon's labor rank proves that the new progressivism is a colossal failure. They say the regime has resulted in a widening of the state's wealth gap, via the prosecution of a "reverse Robin Hood" scheme where the government robs from the poor - in the form of regressive taxation and regulation that kills jobs and raises the cost of living - and gives to the rich - in the form of subsidies, legislated monopolies and protections. According to the critics, Oregon's success is in spite of, not on account of, the new progressivism.

They complain that Oregon politics and mostly-meaningless candidate elections amount to advance auctions on stolen goods, and that state and local governments in Oregon are, in effect, a legalized kleptocracy where politically-connected insiders form an apparatchik that reserves the spoils for itself. Here, the spoils that translate directly into votes include an overabundance of government jobs and tax-free state and federal pensions. They point out that by now, Oregon's PERS system is wealthy enough to have recently bought 10% of TPG, the private equity behemoth formerly known as Texas Pacific Group.

Labor government defenders on the progressive blog BlueOregon.com admit that they have no working knowledge of the complex web of federal and state labor laws. That did not prevent them from lashing out at the "self-styled" free-market think-tank coalition with charges of "politics-as-usual." Kari Chilsom, the blog's founder who also manages the state AFL-CIO website, announced that state investigators have launched an inquiry that could result in revoking coalition members' tax-exempt status.

The Oregonian, July 13, By BETSY HAMMOND

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Keep America Beautiful

Lady Bird Johnson (1912-2007)


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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oregon revives Iraqi national labor unions

Critics: War expenditures are unsustainable

Abdullah Muhsin of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers explains the revival of trade unions in the war-torn nation, thanks in large part to efforts put forward by Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the tax-funded University of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center (LERC).

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Labor Report: Your taxes hard at work

Trillions of Leisure Hours Lost To Work Last Year

The Onion

Trillions of Leisure Hours Lost To Work Last Year

PORTLAND—According to a report released Monday by union officials at the tax-funded U. of O. Labor Education and Research Center (LERC), more than 2 trillion leisure hours were lost to work in Oregon last year.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Portland's strikers define "scab"

Freightliner union bosses educate their members
Unaccustomed to conflict, locals risk misinterpretation of union methods

from the striking Freightliner/Portland machinists website:

Scabs have been called many things by many people during the course of labor history but Jack London's description of the scab, "written with barbed wire on sandpaper," easily dwarfs all others.

"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the Devil shuts the gates of Hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with. Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab has not.

Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas Iscariot sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British Army. The modern strikebreaker sells his birthright, his country, his wife, his children and his fellow men for an unfulfilled promise from his employer, trust or corporation. Esau was a traitor to himself: Judas Iscariot was a traitor to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country; a strikebreaker is a traitor to his God, his country, his wife, his family and his class."

(iamll1005.org)

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Another Oregon first: Gay labor unions

Pathbreaking discrimination law approved
In Oregon, same-sex gender-bias, if favorable, is now permissible

In the waning days of the session, the Oregon House approved a measure backed by powerful government worker lobbyists that, buried deep within the collective bargaining agenda, received scant attention until now. It's out. Oregon will become the first to allow gay labor unions that can legally discriminate on the basis of gender preference. Oregon also becomes the first to do so without being directed by a court.

The state Senate had overwhelmingly approved the gay-unions bill earlier, and Gov. Ted Kulongoski said Friday that he will sign it. The House also passed an amendment - favored by Kulongoski and designed to make the bill more palatable to more conservative members - that defines a gay union as comprising both men and women.

"It's an unbelievable victory," said Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), one of the bill's main supporters and a reliable pro-labor vote. "The idea that both houses endorsed this concept of gay unions is an incredible step."

Oregon's push toward gay unions cuts against a national backlash that has followed the unionization of almost every job in the government sector.

In November, 11 states outlawed gay unions through ballot initiatives, and at least 18 have passed "Right to Work" amendments to their constitutions, defining unions as voluntary.

The Oregon House bill passed 42 to 18 after six hours of debate that ended just after 8 p.m.

It would provide private sector gay unions with state and municipal tax benefits now granted only to government unions, as well as monopoly representation rights and a host of other benefits, including PERS.

In the end, the most ardent advocates on both sides of the issue said they were disappointed.

"It's bittersweet, certainly, because of the amendment. It's also surprising, because even last night we thought we had the votes to stop it," said Wayne Scott, the House Republican Minority Leader.

Letty Owings of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, which helped coordinate support for the bill, said that she welcomes the amendment, and considers the bill "a victory for all of society."

Recent polls have shown that Oregon residents oppose discrimination on the basis of gender preference and would not support a gay union law. Bill opponents argued in vain that the measure is equivalent to extending marriage rights.

"I think we're just playing with words," said Rep. Linda Flores (R). "This bill is the same as same-sex marriage, it's just called gay unions."

Kulongoski, who took won re-election last year only after AFL-CIO officials took over his campaign, had earlier said he was comfortable with "the concept" of gay unions but wanted to see the final version of the bill.

(oregonlive.com)

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Heyyy, we want Greg Oden!

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Friday, July 6, 2007

New poll reveals startling results

The Onion

Poll: 73 Percent Of Americans Unable To Believe This Shit

Princeton, NJ-According to the latest Gallup Poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday of this week, nearly three out of four Americans can no longer believe this shit.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Solar Warming blunts power pols, subsidy seekers

Earth's warming not man-made after all
Cutting CO2 emissions here won't help other planets

Earth is heating up lately, but so are Mars, Pluto and other worlds in our solar system, leading some scientists to speculate that a change in the sun's activity is the common thread linking all these baking events. Others argue that such claims are misleading and create the false impression that rapid global warming, as Earth is experiencing, is a natural phenomenon.

While evidence suggests fluctuations in solar activity can affect climate on Earth, and that it has done so in the past, the majority of scientists seeking research funding, as well as most politicians and media experts, contend that the sun is not to blame for an alleged sudden uptick in global temperatures on Earth, which they say is mostly a mess created by our own species.

Wobbly Mars. Habibullo Abdussamatov, the head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, recently linked the attenuation of ice caps on Mars to fluctuations in the sun's output. Abdussamatov also blamed solar fluctuations for Earth's current global warming trend. His initial comments were published online by National Geographic News.

"Man-made greenhouse warming has [made a] small contribution [to] the warming on Earth in recent years, but [it] cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance," Abdussamatov told LiveScience in an email interview last week. "The considerable heating and cooling on the Earth and on Mars always will be practically parallel."

But Abdussamatov's critics say the Red Planet's recent thawing is more likely due to natural variations in the planet's orbit and tilt. On Earth, these wobbles, known as Milankovitch cycles, are thought to contribute to the onset and disappearance ice ages. "It's believed that what drives climate change on Mars are orbital variations," said Jeffrey Plaut, a project scientist for NASA's Mars Odyssey mission. "The Earth also goes through orbital variations similar to that of Mars."

As for Abdussamatov's claim that solar fluctuations are causing Earth's current global warming, Charles Long, a climate physicist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Washington, says the idea is nonsense.

"That's nuts," Long said in a telephone interview. "It doesn't make physical sense that that's the case." In 2005, Long's team published a study in the journal Science showing that Earth experienced a period of "solar global dimming" from 1960 to 1990, during which time solar radiation hitting our planet's surface decreased. Then from the mid-1990's onward, the trend reversed and Earth experienced a "solar brightening."

These changes were not likely driven by fluctuations in the output of the Sun, Long explained, but rather increases in atmospheric clouds or aerosols that reflected solar radiation back into space.

Other warming worlds. Others have pointed out anomalous warming on other worlds in our solar system. Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University who monitors studies and news reports of asteroids, global warming and other potentially apocalyptic topics, recently quoted in his daily electronic newsletter the following from a blog called Strata-Sphere:

"Global warming on Neptune's moon Triton as well as Jupiter and Pluto, and now Mars has some [scientists] scratching their heads over what could possibly be in common with the warming of all these planets ... Could there be something in common with all the planets in our solar system that might cause them all to warm at the same time?"

Peiser included quotes from recent news articles that take up other aspects of the idea. "I think it is an intriguing coincidence that warming trends have been observed on a number of very diverse planetary bodies in our solar system," Peiser said in an email interview. "Perhaps this is just a fluke." In fact, scientists have alternative explanations for the anomalous warming on each of these other planetary bodies.

The warming on Triton, for example, could be the result of an extreme southern summer on the moon, a season that occurs every few hundred years, as well as possible changes in the makeup of surface ice that caused it to absorb more of the Sun's heat. Researchers credited Pluto's warming to possible eruptive activity and a delayed thawing from its last close approach to the Sun in 1989.

And the recent storm activity on Jupiter is being blamed on a recurring climatic cycle that churns up material from the gas giant's interior and lofts it to the surface, where it is heated by the Sun.

Sun does vary. The radiation output of the Sun does fluctuate over the course of its 11-year solar cycle. But the change is only about one-tenth of 1 percent-not substantial enough to affect Earth's climate in dramatic ways, and certainly not enough to be the sole culprit of our planet's current warming trend, scientists say.

"The small measured changes in solar output and variations from one decade to the next are only on the order of a fraction of a percent, and if you do the calculations not even large enough to really provide a detectable signal in the surface temperature record," said Penn State meteorologist Michael Mann.

The link between solar activity and global warming is just another scapegoat for human-caused warming, Mann told LiveScience.

"Solar activity continues to be one of the last bastions of contrarians," Mann said. "People who don't accept the existence of anthropogenic climate change still try to point to solar activity."

The Maunder Minimum. This is not to say that solar fluctuations never influence Earth's climate in substantial ways. During a 75-year period beginning in 1645, astronomers detected almost no sunspot activity on the Sun. Called the "Maunder Minimum," this event coincided with the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, a 350-year cold spell that gripped much of Europe and North America.

Recent studies have cast doubt on this relationship, however. New estimates of the total change in the brightness of the Sun during the Maunder Minimum suggest it was only fractions of a percent, and perhaps not enough to create the global cooling commonly attributed to it.

"The situation is pretty ambiguous," said David Rind, a senior climate researcher at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who has modeled the Maunder Minimum. Based on current estimates, even if another Maunder Minimum were to occur, it might result in an average temperature decrease of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, Rind said.

This would still not be enough to counteract warming of between 2 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit from greenhouse gases by 2100, as predicted by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

livescience.com, Mar. 12, By KER THAN

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Big Government Party reflects

The Onion

Democrats, Republicans Unite In Good Laugh Over Reform Party

Salem, OR—In a rare moment of bipartisan unity, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and their campaign donor-lobbyists fondly recalled the Reform Party Monday.

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Monday, July 2, 2007

U. of O. labor unit discovers new element

Three decades of LERC subsidy begins to pay dividends
Taxpayer-critics decry give-away to Organized Labor Lab as "adding insult to injury"

Last week, the 100% tax-funded Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named Governmentunium (Gu). The new element has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentunium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Gu can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take over four days to complete.

Governmentunium has a normal half-life of 2 years; It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Gu's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some LERC experts to believe that Governmentunium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentunium becomes Administratunium ... an element that radiates just as much energy as Gu since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

capitalpress.com, July 2

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Newspapers questioned on environment

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