1. ‘You Can’t Go Home again’: As Oregon legislators feverishly clear their desks in preparation for decamping to their ‘second home’, their ‘summer place’, ‘the beach house’, a bill that would have put $20 million dollars into a fund for affordable housing. (Never mind the fact that some Oregon houses cost just that - $20 million….). The bill was demolished by Republicans at the bidding of the developers and real estate lobbies. Essentially it would have upped the filing fee for real estate transactions. But, look, if you are buying a $500 thousand dollar house, you can afford another $250 dollars….I mean, put it this way: That’s a month’s wages for the Hispanic man who does the gardening, right?
2. Warm and Fuzzy and Green: Legislators did manage to pass a greenhouse gas emissions bills…And why not! By the time the thing really takes effect they’ll all be out of office and it will be too late to slow the freight train even enough to wave good-by to the world we once knew.
3. Case in point: It’s that time again. The Portland Water Bureau is going to have to start blending groundwater and Bull Run water early this year. Last year the draw-down did not begin until August 15th.
4. Oregonians are concerned about education, immigration and the environment, failing once again that they are all part and parcel of the same problem: Our obstinate refusal to limit our consumption.
5. The Oregon News Service has a piece on the damage war does to poor and minority communities. (But really, actually wearing a uniform and carrying a gun are the extreme end of a spectrum of trauma that poverty inflicts on society’s less privileged members.) And let us not forget the majority communities we wage war against…What it must be like to be on the receiving end America’s economic frustration…
6. Portland is searching for a new school superintendent. This time let’s look smarter rather than harder. We dredged Vicki Phillips out of the murky waters of scandal and corruption flowing from her prior to Portland job.
7. Forty years of Israeli occupation of Palestine. An indigenous Arab population is still paying the ultimate price in land and blood for what was essentially a European crime. And America has been a willing – even eager – accomplice to first the crime, and then the punishment…
8. In Washington, Democrats for once are getting out in front. Republican Dino Rossi’s 2004 run for governor gave rise to a variety of entities – some more campaign like than others. Rossi says he isn’t running but his organization Forward Washington definitely is.
9. The massive fire currently storming its way around Lake Tahoe has done a lot more than toast the tourists’ marshmallows: It has dumped tons of ash into the lake poisoning fish and fisherfolk alike.
10. The Other Iraq War: The Bush administration is looking into ways to gracefully compromise with cooler heads on the situation Over There.
11. No less a luminary than Senator Richard Lugar says that Bush’s Iraq “strategy” isn’t working. But you have to take into account, this “strategy” had nothing to do with the actual nation Iraq as it exists in the real world. Any “strategy” was concerned with favors to contractors, fear of the State Department, Wall Street and polls…..probably some drugs and few hookers involved somehow…but “strategy”? No. No, I’m afraid it never came into play.
12. Take A Few Deep Breaths: Ex-EPA chief Christie Whitman was booed and hissed right from the start as she coolly informed her audience at a hearing yesterday that her agency hadn’t lied to New York when it told people working, walking and breathing near the ruins of the world Trade Center that they were perfectly safe. (And the owner of the Center, fellow who had a demolition crew right there on site and ready to pull sown anything else left standing….don’t see much of old Larry Silverstein these days…But Silverstein Properties has some other lovely buildings for lease. And if you decide you don’t like yours, Well, Bango! Give Larry a call and down it comes…)
13. Charles Schumer, Senate Democratic Vive Chairman thinks that Alberto Gonzales should just get out of the way during this ‘Attorneygate’ investigation. (Alberto, they’ll call you when the arraignment date is set.)
14. As it happens, whether Rahm Emanual meant the move in jest or not, many of his colleagues agree that if Dick Cheney says he’s not part of the government, we ought to take the man at his word and get our money back.
15. Yesterday the Supreme Court pulled the rug out from under campaign finance reform, handed the president’s faith-based franchisees a free-bee; And the Mighty Scotus told a kid in Alaska that he can’t display his ‘Bong Hits For Jesus’ banner across the street from the school…not even for the Olympic torch. (Maybe he just needed a light…)
16. A man in Texas sentenced to die by lethal injection is planning to use his final moments in the land of the living (That would be the non-Texas parts, I presume) as a stage to showcase his abilities as a comic. No disrespect to the family of the victims. He just wants to make a tense situation go a bit smoother.)
17. Sloppy Seconds: Tony Blair is going to be our new International Middle East Peace Envoy. Loads of luck, Tony! Give my regards to Alan Johnston…
18. The Pentagon’s plans to create a new US military command based in Africa have hit a wall of hostility and outright disbelief – ‘You want to put a what? Where? –from governments all across the region. (You see how this ‘Global War on Terror’ Works, eh? More a sort of ‘Terror War on the Globe’ really…)
19. Robert Zoellick was stealthily, under cover of a thick cloud of money ushered into the World Trade Organization.
20. Hugo Chavez says he expects the Americans to invade any minute, now that they have “softened up” the country by sending in all matter of Black Ops destabilization crews. (A “second home”/”summer place” for the School of t he Americas? The National Endowment for Democracy’s computer camp?
21. Britain is flooding. (Well of course it is; This is June. But this time around it is deeply disturbing extreme weather and it has killed people and even though having one’s holiday ruined on an annual basis may be cause for mortal violence, still, this is very odd weather for Britain in June…
22. And, as Rick says in the last scene in ‘Casablanca’, “We’ll always have Paris”