1. Bottle Battle: Oregon – still keeping up with the rest of the nation – has passed an updated, albeit somewhat watered-down, bottle bill that covers plastic water bottles which currently cover the landscape. Alas, there is no law against sheer human stupidity which is the underlying reason for the plasticization of the countryside.
2. Unredeemed: Or not as the case may be. The distinctly American practice of giving people gift cards (Instead of taking the time to get to know the person well enough to find or make something meaningful to the recipient….). In any case, the unredeemed money left over on those plastic platters of joy is going to be donated to schools. (Ah the metaphysics of money: It doesn’t exist anymore than radio frequencies do. It sort of wanders electronically as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills, when all at once I spied a crowd, a host of golden gift card bills…But I digress…. )
3. Cat And Mouse: Hunters get to hunt cougars with hound dogs again, even though we voted against the practice ten years ago…
4. The police have charged three people (Two of whom appear to be skanky-looking punks. The best thing one say about these characters is that they are too fat to be speedfreaks. All have priors.) with torching cars in Southeast Portland. Perfect! Now let’s see how these new “terrorism enhancement” laws really work. The charges are Measure 11 mandatory minimum offenses on top of everything else. And the perpetrators can’t even claim to be freeing the animals, unless there were rats living in the mufflers…
5. Another Animal Liberation Front activist, Kevin Tubbs was sentenced to twelve and a half years in prison. Judge Aiken once again gave the environmentalist a stern talking to, and then blasted rats out of her tailpipe.
6. A Wilson High School senior and the rest of her graduating class are going to be spending the weekend removing the marigold peace sign from the lawn in front of the school and replacing it with plain old lawn. (Lucky for Maggie Collins that the government didn’t feel threatened by the peace sign and interpret it as an act of terrorism…)
7. Johnny Comes Marching Home: Sixty Oregon National Guardsmen are coming home today. The ones who don’t wind-up in rehab will spend the summer fighting forest fires and screaming ‘Kill Kill Kill.’
8. As are other returning soldiers around the country.
9. Voters are less than pleased with the Democrats’ performance thus far. What part of ‘Bring the troops home now’ don’t they understand? For that matter, what part of ‘Illegal invasion based on a lie” don’t they understand? And furthermore, how many of our elected representatives know anything at all about the history, language and culture of other societies? How many of them know a whit about geopolitics, warfare, or diplomacy? The only reason they hold public office is that they know how to raise money.
10. Seven out of ten Northwest congressional Democrats voted against the war funding bill. The ones who did not vote for it, did so because it is a load of hyena shit. The bill is outright thievery, stripping cash-strapped communities across the country of their last hope of decent infrastructure. Our schools, roads, parks, air, water and lives are in ruins and all the money we paid in taxes is being shipped to Iraq where it disappears into defense contractor coffers.
11. The Senate has scheduled a no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for June – thus providing Karl Rove and his evil minions ample time to get all their ducks in a row and sufficiently intimidate legislators as to guarantee that the vote will be White House-approved. (But, Wah-Wah-Wee-Wah! Did you see Monica “Happy Birthday Mr. President” Goodling testify? All we have to do is introduce her to George and Impeachment here we come!
12. String Theory: Somehow an increase in the minimum wage got tied to the crappy war bucks bill.
13. The Raptor Is Here: Oregon pigeon fanciers are on a raptor killing tear.
14. Out Out Damn Spot: The Magic Fu Bird shit on the president as he was telling the nation and the world that Alberto Gonzales is doing a heckuva job. White House Press Secretary Dana “Guano Mama” Perino says, Well, pshaw….Everyone knows getting shat upon by birds means good luck…
15. The US-backed (and probably financed and supplied with arms) Lebanese army is heating up the already scorching situation in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp.
16. The former head of the CIA covert operations in Europe admits that “extraordinary rendition” has caused serious problems for America’s allies (Question: What “allies”? And comment: And how! Other countries signed on to the International Criminal Court and therefore are subject to international rule of law. They are legally obligated to respect global mandates. The US, on the other hand, never signed up, and thus is free to gallop off into the legal sunset, guns a-blazing. Fasten your seat belts, prisoners!)
17. Jigged: In Ireland, Bertie Ahern won even though the votes are still being counted..
18. The British, not to be entirely outdone by American arrogance and hubris, have decided to opt out of European Human Rights laws – and not a moment too soon!
19. The new US-backed Mexican government is giving itself a stern dressing-down for its insanely murderous repression of activists in Oaxaca last year.
20. The Pope is in trouble for announcing before millions of people in South America that Catholicism and colonialism are the best things to come their way since human sacrifice.
21. The French intelligence officer who led the 1985 bombing of the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, is currently partaking of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in the United States (Along with assorted other confirmed terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles, to mention just one…). Louis-Pierre Dillais is an arms dealer whose clients include the FBI, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland security. His hobbies are gardening, stamp collecting, golf, murdering innocent people and fighting extradition.
22. Iranian banks are raising interests rates, inflation is out of control and petrol prices are through the ceiling…..Can invasion be far behind?
1. Oregon’s got a renewable energy bill. Big utility companies are going to have to get 25 percent of the State’s electricity from wind, sunlight and biomass by 2025. Rural communities can tell the federal government to piss-off with its timber payments because out in the hinterlands there’s a gusher in every gust of wind, every beat of the sun’s heart….or not, as the case may be. Americans have been infantilized and the education system has been retooled to prevent thinking outside the box, so we’ll probably wind up out-sourcing the search for new ideas…
2. Back in the 80’s Oregon spent 20 percent of its state budget on higher education. Today, 10 percent of state spending goes to higher education. Oregon ranks 45th in state per-student spending for colleges and universities. This year spending on higher education is, well, higher…But look what we’re paying for: Most students are more interested in getting MBAs than actually learning anything about their world.
3. And if you don’t believe me, take a look at the recent hate crime (The victims of which deny that the attack was race-based) in which two Hispanic men were beaten by a gang of white hicks. Had the hicks learned anything in high school they might have realized that the targets of their violence were very much like themselves: They just wanted to drink beer in the park and hassle women…
4. Living Dangerously: The BPA has been hit by metal thieves. (Times are tough; It’s either put your life on the line stealing aluminum from a power plant or join the military. (See what I mean about the disintegration of the American intellect and imagination…)
5. The State has turned down the taps on payday lenders’ stream of revenue. Interest is capped at 30 percent of the prime rate – which still isn’t such a bad deal. The lenders say the new law will put them out of business. I say, Good.
6. Some forty businesses in the Rogue River Wilderness area say that protecting the region makes for economic growth. The Bush administration wants to log it anyway. (Proving that the Regime’s greed and stupidity at times work at cross purposes….)
7. Numbers Game: Yet another salmonella scare hits the shelves. This time the shelves are in natural food shops – or megastores that sell natural foods. (Looked at from another angle, its throw of the dice. When you have massive numbers of people eating massive amounts of food, chances are somewhere in the vast process there’s going to be room for a little salmonella to come shining through…)
8. A seventeen year-old boy brought a gun to his high school in Aloha in order to protect himself from other students. This just a few weeks after smacking the vice principle. (This kid sounds like a real charmer; I can understand why he might feel that other students disliked him…)
9. Scene 1: Interior. John Ashcroft’s hospital room: Just about as crowded as the room where Lincoln died…but I digress; There is a microphone boom visible in every scene on which can be read: ‘Property of the NSA. Do Not Remove.’ Enter: The entire Justice Department, a herd of countless numbers of migrating attorneys, assorted sycophants and spear-carriers and a chorus line composed of high-stepping ‘Monicas’. Enter: James Comey wearing a shining white cowboy suit featuring fringed chaps with no pants underneath. Comey pulls out a gun and waves it wildly at one of several cardboard Alberto Gonzales figures and yells: ‘Ho! Dirty Al! Get this, Cheney warned you that he wouldn’t be havin’ that there promotion of that eaves-non-dropper Patrick Philbin…a-and…’ Pow! The NSA mic wobbles over and cracks Comey right in the face. Comey: ‘Shit! Shitaroo!’. He pulls the trigger and blasts a hole in one of the Gonzaleses. The hospital room begins to shake. It’s like…like an…earthquake, maybe? Hey, what’s going on here…It is an earthquake. Cracks run up the walls. Then in the middle of the room something pointy is coming right through the floor, sorta pointy and round..Yikes! Here it comes! I-It’s the…White House? Ashcroft: ‘Wha? Hey, I’m still here…what about my needs?’
10. Adam Kokesh, the Marine who wore his uniform to an anti-war rally lost his appeal for a new hearing. (Adam, not to worry. A discharge of any sort of degree from the military is a good thing…)
11. There are currently over 200 thousand homeless veterans, many of them addicted and/or deranged. But don’t you vets worry either: For one thing, you are out of the military and for another Gordon Smith is going to see to it that you get some of that peer mentoring you’ve heard such good things about and also $13 million dollars – which is about two hours worth of ‘Surge’ in Iraq and a few dozen more soldiers heading for homelessness…
12. The California Report has it that military bases are contaminated with “hazardous waste” and hallelujah – they’ve come up with some clever ways of addressing the problem. (Good! Because we are going to need some good clean-up ideas after the shooting in Iraq stops….)
13. The Pentagon’s acquisitions chief has jumped ship. Kenneth Kreig used to be in charge of new weapons systems, aircraft and “other technologies” Now he’s in charge of “spending more time with his family.”
14. Bush’s ‘War Czar’, Lieutenant General Douglas Lute says he had been skeptical of Bush’s decision to send thousands more troops to Iraq. Which is actually rather a brave thing for Lute to admit given that he hasn’t been confirmed yet.
15. The immigration bill is still lying around the Senate in pieces waiting for someone to figure out how to put it together without tanking a perfectly good political career…
16. Teenage Wasteland: Safeco Insurance has come up with a GPS tracking device that one installs in one’s vehicle – actually, in any vehicle one might want to keep track of. It goes somewhere in the dashboard, apparently, and once it’s in, no one knows it is there except for the NSA and whoever is on the receiving end of the signal. The idea is to keep track of feral teenagers. Right….
17. Iran has evacuated thousands of people living in the path of Cyclone Gonu. (It’s sort of a drill for the up-coming Cyclone American Hubris…)
18. Not To Put Too Fine A Point On It Department: North Korea test fired a short-range missile (That, or possibly a long range one that didn’t work out as planned…) While Bush and Putin are busy pointing the Big One at each other, Krazy Kim is hopping up and down, mussing his wacky pompadour, shouting: ‘Hey! Hey Bush! Lookee here! No, over here! East…Farther East….Waaarm…Getting warmer…Yes! YesYesYes! That’s me! Right here with the nuclear missiles! Look! Look at me! I’m the threat you love to hate! George! George? George, are you listening?”
19. A sixty-seven year old Palestinian man was shot dead in his home by Israeli soldiers.
20. The Pentagon has had a few it its big grey gophers snatch up “an extremely dangerous terror suspect” in Somalia and whisked him off to Guantanamo Bay. Abullah Arale, no doubt is still wondering; ‘Shit, man…One minute you could be tending your herd of goats, and the next…’
21. NGOs attending the G8 Summit in Heiligendammm want to know where’s all the money you promised to poor countries last time around. (What is it about PR that these people do not understand?)
22. Israel is thinking about making peace with Syria.
23. And Costa Rica has broken up with Taiwan and now is going out with China.
1. Drink Beer; Pay The Police: It’s The Law! Could be the law. Oregon’s got about the lowest tax on beer of any state in the nation. And we seem to have come up short in the State Trooper department. So it’s a marriage made in heaven. Meanwhile, back in hell, the Rehab people are chuffed because they want the extra money to teach people how to live ‘One day at a time’ without resorting to beer or getting arrested….
2. Try to Stay Calm: Look, I know this is exciting news, just try not to get too euphoric. It is possible once again to fly back and forth between Salem and Salt Lake City. Take a few deep breaths…
3. Business is on board the Wilderness Wagon. It is begining to dawn on the The Corner Office that protecting the natural environment makes good financial sense. (They pay people to figure these things out….)
4. Five people were hospitalized yesterday after a Milwaukie cold-storage facility exploded, blasting ammonia onto SE. McLoughlin and bringing traffic to a reeking halt. (It always amazes me how generous the law is when it comes to commercial incompetence and how harsh and vindictive when it comes to the harmless-yet-expensive damage done by people who put their freedom on the line in the name of the living earth….)
5. Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith once again hiding behind the trees while war rages in the distance. Yes, it’s back to timber payments for rural communities again…Anything but speak out loudly and clearly against the wars we are currently waging. Ron! Gordy! Come on out…If all this money were not being poured into the sand, the rural communities would get their payments. If we had the sack to rebuild a decent education system, the next generation might find the inspiration to create sustainable industries. And if we passed commercial hemp laws, we could grow our way out economic malaise….
6. Oregon’s grass seed farmers are breathing a smoky sight of relief. The law preventing field burning went down in, well, flames. So the official ‘non-terror-related arson’ is a Go again this year.
7. Seattle is on the verge of banning plastic bags and containers. But worry not, Garbage Mining tycoons of the future; there is more than enough to keep your post-petropolis wealth rolling in for decades to come….
8. The salmon fishing season has only just begun but the sting of disaster is already in the air. Fishermen, tribes and business are filling out their disaster relief applications before the stench of another dying industry drives them back to the land….
9. For the most part Northwest senators milled about helplessly in the mounting drifts of immigration legislation. Our own Ron Wyden voted for the ‘English Only’ amendment along with his evil twin, Gordon Smith. (Don’t you love the spectacle of elected representatives Going Both Ways on voters, most of whom are irredeemably polarized on the whole immigration debate and will be watching their elected representatives’ every involuntary twitch….
10. Deaf-Nation: San Francisco’s peace platoons are marching against the annual Fleet Week roar-off by the Blue Angels. (What? Come again? Could you speak up please…I can’t…wait this will be over in a minute…)
11. Seoul Food: Just as more of the virulent strain of E-coli has forced the recall of yet another meat mountain, here comes South Korea. Seoul has lifted a ban on American beef imports after the US confirmed that only two shipments meant for domestic consumption were mistakenly exported. Let me restate that: Meat that has only been cursorily inspected for BSE is okay for Americans to eat. No so for South Korea: There, people prefer their beef prion-free. Apparently, we accidentally shipped the Koreans some uninspected meat which was destined for American tables. Anyway…Just wait till they sink their teeth into that ‘Coli-burger’…
12. Which is available at Albertsons and other local stores, (as well South Korea, of course). Look for the smudged, illegible label that says, ‘EST 1241’ inside the USDA inspection mark.
13. Bush had to lie down briefly yesterday because he had an “upset stomach”, known to the rest of us as a “hang-over.”
14. China wants its money back on all those tainted vitamins and raisins it bought from us recently when it was briefly on a health jag. But now its back to chain smoking and eating Buffalo Wings…
15. Human rights groups say that the US has “disappeared” 39 people.
16. Banana Republicans: In Colombia, Chiquita Brands is getting sued by the families and friends of people killed by the rightwing paramilitary death squads sponsored by Chiquita. The suit says that ten employees of Chiquita and its Colombian subsidiary “knowingly aided and abetted the paramilitary forces” responsible for the 144 murders.
17. Stem Sold-Out: The House gave final Congressional approval to legislation aimed at easing restrictions on federal financing of embryonic stem cell research. The vote? 247 to 176…Not bad, but not enough to derail a presidential veto. (George, you might as well let it pass. It may provide a cure for Psychopathia Empirialis…)
18. Bush momentarily stunned his cohorts in Heiligendamm yesterday by announcing that he would consider the 50 percent cuts in emissions proposal – But it was just gas…
19. Honey I’m Home: In Iraq, while he was at work, carloads of attackers raided a police chief’s house, killed the chief’s wife, two brothers, eleven guards and then kidnapped three of the man’s adult children.
20. It’s official! There really are secret detention centers in Europe. And here’s the beauty of it: They are, for the most part, in Poland and Romania, conveniently located near Bush’s proposed missile shield site. So protestors can plan ahead, have their mail forwarded and alert their lawyers…
21. US soldiers are still going about their business looting Iraqi antiquities….Fooled ya! US soldiers do not have the education to realize the value of the archaeological treasure they are surrounded by. What they are actually doing is bulldozing ancient cities and using the broken pieces to fill sand bags for gunner emplacements. At least with looters you can hope the material will eventually show up at Sotheby’s.
22. Hurry Up and Kuwait: Contractors! What are ya gonna do…The Department of Justice is investigating whether or not a Kuwaiti construction firm contracted to build the US Embassy in Iraq carried out human trafficking with its laborers. (The Americans hired Kuwaitis because they thought that Iraqis might be a security risk.
23. Striking Oil…Workers: The Iraqi government has threatened to use force against a strike by the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions after striking workers shut down the pipelines earlier this week…Not like it was in the Bad Old Saddam Days, is it?
24. Turns out the idea to make people visiting Canada get passports was another bad egg laid by Homeland Security. The backlog of applications has brought the agency to its knees and forced irate travelers to not travel. …and it seemed like such a good idea at the time…
25. Syria and Israel are creeping ever-so slowly toward cataclysm.
1. Tanks For The Roses: In a preemptive strike for peace, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace and the Surge Protection Brigade marched along the route of Saturday’s Grand Floral Parade. Two of the ‘Seriously Pissed Off Grannies’ out of the SPG were arrested trying to stop the Rose Tank – what a tank is doing in the middle of a flower-related event is anyone’s guess, but there it was. Better we fight them here than in the streets of Baghdad, I always say…
2. The Undead: As it goes in a bad zombie movie, the Liquefied Natural gas companies just won’t stay dead. First there was Calpine and its evil plans for an LNG terminal in the Warrenton area near the mouth of the Columbia River. Calpine perished and now in its place reconstituted out of the ashes, so to speak, we have Oregon LNG. It wants to run a 117-mile pipeline from the mouth of the river all the way to Mollala. Public hearings will be in Woodburn and Forest Grove, but not Mollala…shhhh…they want it to be a surprise…
3. The Smell of Money Burning: the US Forest Service in a paroxysm of Orwellian rhetoric has announced that it is going to test new fire control method. The agency has decided to log trees in areas “specifically selected to influence fire behavior”.. . The Nature Conservancy is all on board this give-away to logging companies and the Bush administration. They are the environmentalists who believe that if you give up a little something to industry, industry will give back…Boy Howdy. Money really does grow on trees.
4. Fancy This: The pigeon fanciers who have been killing raptors are facing felony misdemeanor charges.
5. The senate passed the cougar hunting bill.
6. Friend of Marion County has joined groups in central Oregon, the Coast and Hood River in fighting Measure 37. It’s a question of livability, specifically, do you want to live in Oregon or Orange County? If the latter, then please do so but don’t strip mall Oregon or we’ll blow you to smithereens with our LNG terminals or leave you to freeze to death on Mount Hood.
7. Little Hyatt Dam is a little illegal. It was built ex tempore years ago and now it is considered a safety risk, a hazard and against the law. But what the hell, people like it so they are going to bring their lake up to code. Meanwhile many of the nation’s largest dams are in desperate need of attention…but the Army Corps of Engineers and your money are busy fighting one losing battle after another in Iraq….So don’t forget your towel…
8. An Oregon Coast Technology Middle school student didn’t like the taste of the water in the school drinking fountains, so he took swab samples from the fountains, the toilets and assorted other water sources, tested them in his school’s chemistry lab and found that the toilet water was cleaner…He turned his work in as an English assignment.
9. The senate will test drive a no-confidence vote on Alberto Gonzales this afternoon.
10. Blow Hard: Joseph Lieberman wants to attack Iran. (And I believe he should go for it! Follow your heart, Joseph! Let’s send AIPAC Man over there, toss him out the back end of a C-130 transport with a satchel full of Zionist literature, the latest edition of ‘Hustler’ and Scooter Libby’s book, The Apprentice.’ We could do this on a Friday and aim Joe at a fundamentalist madrassa, then sit back on watch the fun…)
11. Colin Powell wants to close Guantanamo Bay. But before you get too excited about this and start breaking out the Good stuff, the revolution is not quite here: First off, it’s Colin Powell who is saying this because he wants to have some part of his legacy that is not an utter disgrace and he can be fairly certain Gitmo will never close. Secondly, think about it: If Guantanamo Bay is shutdown, are they really going to let all the detainees go free? Then where are they going to warehouse them? The short answer is, In all the hundreds of dungeons and torture chambers in all the client nations around the world that have already played host to America’s invisible prisoners.
12. Prisons in New York are going to ban books – even the Christian ones. That leaves a captive audience planted in front of a TV. Motto, Prison: Where Addictions Go To Grow Up.
13. DePaul University professor, Norman Finkelstein has been denied tenure. It has been a long struggle for a man, who like Jimmy Carter more recently, had the courage and common decency to speak truth to power. ( Finkelstein is the author of ‘Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the abuse of History’, a book that takes to task Zionist superstar, Alan Dershowitz and his puffy little propaganda piece, ‘The Case for Israel’)
14. The Enemy Hmong Us: More bail hearings are scheduled in Sacramento for some of the men charged with trying to violently overthrow the government of Laos.
15. Good Old Golden Rule Days: A foreign policy program based in Fairfax, Virginia – Intelligence Central – is making a name for itself producing “acolytes” of Bush administration Neocon foreign policy. The Defense and Strategic studies program is “outside the academic mainstream, but within the policy mainstream.” Who said that? I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you. Sorry about that. It’s just the policy…
16. Voter ID comes to Mississippi. Voters there must now carry a party registration and photo ID to the polls in primary elections. (So don’t worry, poor and minority citizens: America is moving beyond the days of intimidation, misinformation, blocked roads, threats, lies and coercion, not to mention polling places that aren’t there, aren’t open or aren’t working properly….all a thing of the past!
17. In Iraq, a bridge collapsed killing three Americans. As is the usual Way of the Wire, not much else happened…just countless Iraqis killed, injured, maimed, their homes, businesses, families destroyed, all possible hope for the future denied them for the foreseeable future. Oh, and the mad hatter who was the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament has been quietly lead from the chamber by the Nice Men with soft voices and sharp needles…
18. While not looting the Iraqi economy, raping villagers, swimming in Saddam’s old pool and generally livin’ large in the Green zone, US soldiers have been amusing themselves by arming Sunni insurgents.
19. Then there is Afghanistan another beneficiary of American democracy. An Afghan radio station owner, teacher and mother of six has been killed in Kabul. (Back in the pre-democratic days before the Glorious Dawn of the American Empire, people in Kabul wore Western clothes, men and women went out in public together, cafes were full of Afghanis and Westerners, Lou Reed was popular and the cops smoked chillums as they stood on street corners, holding hands and patrolling…America got there just in time to stop these people from killing us all in out sleep…
20. In Rome Bush scored a ‘twofer’: he was met by enormous throngs of angry protestors that turned violent. And he called the Pope, ‘sir’, instead of ‘Your Holiness.’
21. But the Albanians love him. A cursory romp through Albanian history ought to convince the reader that Bush and Albania are made for one another.
1. One day it’s “selective thinning” by timber companies that will save Oregon’s wilderness areas from grotesque human depredation….And the next? For those of us who still believe in empirical evidence rather then heuristic sophistry, science shows that logging big dead trees after a wildfire and planting young ones makes future fires worse. (And it doesn’t even take that much science to come up with that assessment: I learned in the fourth grade that when trees die they become ‘nurse trees’ providing the nutrients for more trees. Fer chrissake, you don’t even need to get through the fourth grade to learn this – a short walk in the woods should suffice as a demonstration…)
2. “I remember when all this used to be forest”: Oregonians get to vote on a property rights bill again this November. The bill isn’t much of an improvement on Measure 37, but it does put the damper on the bulldozers to some small degree. (Edward Abby, where are you now that we need you most?)
3. (Not) Laughing Gas: Oregon LNG, the new, metastasized Calpine wants its 117-mile LNG pipeline and it wants it now. The pipeline is going to run from Warrenton on the mouth of the Columbia River all the way to the unsuspecting town of Mollala. And Oregon LNG (Catchy little name, no?) is just one of five such bad ideas waiting to happen. None of the five has formally applied to FERC…Hmmm, smells like a fix is in somewhere. Don’t be surprised when ground is broken, permits retrofitted and Ron Wyden and the Oregon Economic Development Commission throw themselves a party…
4. How many laws does it take to unscrew a metal halide light bulb? Just one… but people actually have to suffer permanent injury before it can be enacted.
5. Fish & Ships: NOAA Fisheries Service has denied a special permit to allow drift gill net boats to troll for swordfish and thresher shark in waters designated as a preserve for endangered leatherback turtles. The turtles actually only have to manage to hang on for another decade or so until the sharks and swordfish have been fished to extinction or industrialized nations eat themselves to death…
6. Oregon unemployment numbers are down and spirits of the wealthy are up. It’s hard to swallow that huge mouthful of $60 steak with all those faces pressed up against the window, isn’t it? The numbers may be down, but do they count those who have given up all hope of finding work and are now enjoying a life of crime and/or incarceration? What about the people who are working three part time minimum wage jobs and are maxed out on the payday loan line?
7. The Iraq Study Group now says it isn’t so sure that pulling combat troops out of Iraq by March 2008 remains valid. (Pull ‘em out! The Pentagon’s private Armies of the Night are more than capable of protecting America’s privatized shadow government in Iraq, whose role is, of course, to govern privatized Iraqi ministries and institution from the safety of fortified structures build by private contractors. It didn’t take America long to make the leap from sanctifying the Corporate Citizen to the apotheosis of the Corporate Nation…
8. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Get Out of Jail Free: Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wants Scooter Libby to go straight to prison (Where Libby will doubtless have ample opportunity to do some research for his next book; rape from the other point of view. (I say we lock him in a cage with a bear hopped up on Viagra to train him not to fall in love with his captors…).
9. As predicted, delaying the no-confidence vote on Alberto Gonzales had the GOP’s desired effect: It provided time for the likes of Trent Lott to do some arm-twisting and deal fixing.
10. Proof the Human Race has ceased evolving: A majority of Republicans are Creationists – paramecium that celebrate Christmas and Easter.
11. The Pentagon is selling used F-14 parts to Iran. And just to show the world that this isn’t true at all, the House voted a second time to ban the Pentagon from selling leftover F-14 fighter jet parts sought by Iran. (What was not said is that the Pentagon – dare I say the entire US military establishment? – is so deeply and irreversibly privatized that Iran should have no trouble whatsoever getting those parts. Never had, never will.)
12. Not As Seen on TV: As the world’s top military powers go about the delicate business of dismantling stockpiles of obsolete nuclear arms, more ordnance of all kinds are entering the international arms Black Market (You should see some of the catalogues…Awesome!). The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute issued a report last week that underlines the dangers presented by this flood of ersatz nuclear gizmos. By the time you see it on TV, it will be too late..
13. Military recruiting is down. (I guess the guys are signing on with Blackwater. The pay is better and I hear the benefits are great. Plus they give you flack jackets made out of real Kevlar instead of the version offered by the Army made from old copies of ‘Playboy’ and duct tape…)
14. Senior American military officers have told the Jerusalem Post that war planning is at the “Iran ready” stage. Whether or not the American public is at the “Iran ready” stage is not known…I suppose that’s why they told the Jerusalem Post instead of the Washington Post.
15. Somewhere Over The Green Zone, Bluebirds Fly…The Pentagon apparently once was developing a “gay bomb.” (Okay chemtrail watchers…are you happy now?)
16. Afghan police mistook US troops on a nighttime mission for Taliban fighters and opened fire on them early today.
17. The CIA has been unsuccessful thus far in its mission to infiltrate white Americans into radical Sudanese groups in the Middle East (Possibly because the Americans kept calling their contacts, ‘Dude’ and inserting the word ‘like’ into every sentence.). So here’s the next best idea: We are going to use Arab-speaking Sudanese citizens. (But wait, you say…Didn’t President Bush himself just call for additional sanctions against the Sudanese government over the genocide in Darfur? Think: We already are selling F-14 parts to Iran and we routinely do ‘business’ with Colombia…)
18. First it was the Americans passing around handfuls of amphetamines and steroids to the troops …Now the British are on board the Magic Drug Bus. This, despite the fact that when accused of one atrocity or another perpetrated against civilians, said troops blame, ‘the fog of war’, the sense of camaraderie and the drugs. What ever happened to ‘Lessons Learned’?
19. In Australia, A “cyclone-like” monster storm has shut down most of New South Wales.
20. And the same goes for China. A monster storm has closed down most of the southern part of the country. Guangzhou is where all the foreign factories making all the American and European products sold in the Big Box world are located….In case any of you are Wall Street watchers…you might want to try it this week…. fascinating!
1. Welcome to ICE Land: More than 165 workers were arrested yesterday by almost the same number of ICE agents in a raid at the Fresh Del Monte plant in north Portland. Two offices of the company responsible for hiring the workers in the first place, American Staffing, also got ICE-ed. In the case of American Staffing, deporting these sons of bitches will be a no-brainer: send them straight to hell. The Del Monte workers, like much of Del Monte’s products, will be “processed.” As for their children and families…their lives are currently in freefall
2. The State of Oregon has told federal agencies that they will have to do some hard work on behalf of beleaguered salmon if they are going to bring the Columbia River Basin hydroelectric system into compliance with the Endangered Species Act, while at the same time avoiding breaching dams on the lower Snake River. The only ‘hard work’ that will have any effect will be removing the dams, the timber companies, the developers and the thousands of True Believers who feel entitled to their limitless use of natural resources. (As for the dams, they are for the most part in such disrepair in the wake of governmental privatization; it won’t be long before the salmon will swim free, along with most of the people living downstream…)
3. Bushwhacking: The Bush administration wants to cut 1.5 million acres from Northwest forests considered critical to the survival of the northern spotted owl.
4. It Is The Sunset of The Age of Aquarius: Fellow walks into the Beaverton DMV, wants to renew his license…The police appear and taunt the 25 year-old man, telling him to “Get a haircut” and then calling his parents to verify the man’s identity. (Good thing he wasn’t trying for a passport; he could be in Gitmo by now…)
5. Father Knows Asbestos: Washington State is still – after six long, cough-inducing years – trying to get its ban on asbestos in place. The way to do these things is to revise actuaries in order to reflect the real cost of ‘doing asbestos business’.)
6. Case Dis-messed: More from Washington: A judge in Olympia has dismissed charges against 16 people who protested military shipments through the Port of Olympia last year.
7. The National Intelligence Director, Mike McConnell – a man with a colorful past has won Bush’s approval to begin revising an executive order that lays out each spy agency’s responsibilities and the government’s protections against spying on Americans. In the case of the former this is going to take some time. In the case of the latter, it will be a short walk off an even shorter pier. Just a few of the high points: We can expect to lose all protection against surveillance along with prohibitions against human experimentation and the long-standing ban on assassination (Let the Israelis or Blackwater do it; Their hands are already dirty…)
8. Just for starters: The head of Boston’s FBI office is warning the region’s top universities to be on the lookout for foreign spies or potential terrorists who might be trying to steal unclassified, yet sensitive research (Such as candid photos of George Bush’s Skull & Bones initiation? Who wouldn’t exchange a few prisoners for those…)
9. Your Money And Your Life: The National Security Analysis Center Knows Where You Live: In fact, it may well have been there. Even lawmakers have been startled from their comas by a proposed FBI anti-terrorist program, which is going to cost an unknown but massive amount of your money and invade a massive, unknown amount of you life.
10. Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, is the latest member of the Bush administration to pitch for a compromise immigration bill. The best thing about the immigration debate is the way it clarifies the sheer veniality of both Democrats and Republicans. Lawmakers are engaged in a delicate balancing act, the Hispanic vote, the business vote, red neck bigots and billionaire donors. It’s way more than they ever wanted to show us and just what we expected to see…
11. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy is not happy with a Justice Department staffer implicated in the AttorneyGate scandal (That has been artfully concealed behind the immigration debate and Bush’s jumpstarting the cold War). Apparently, one Bradley Schlozman has been rethinking his thoughts out loud. It all revolves around an election eve lawsuit (My favorite kind!) and some of Mr. Schlozman’s ill-considered statements.
12. A top Army investigator went a little, well, too far with a recent investigation. Brigadier General Rodney Johnson (‘Rod Johnson’? I’m just saying…) apologized for ordering New Mexico National Guardsmen serving in Kuwait to be strip-searched (For “gang tattoos”, y’know. After all, they were Hispanic…) All together now: “Hey you bunch of immigrants, Grab your gun and drop your pants…Hup Two Three Four…”
13. The soldier that went missing during a solo exercise at an Army post in central Texas was found dead yesterday.
14. The Feds are going to do a better job of inspecting harvested human body parts. Targets of the beefed-up (I swear, no pun intended. No. I mean it. Really.) inspections provide bones, tendons, cartilage, heart valves and other prime cuts. Apparently some of their ‘products’ have had to be recalled.
15. The UN’s Middle East Envoy, Alvaro de Soto’s “End of Mission Report” lays it all out: The US and Israel are largely responsible for the chaos in the Middle East. de Soto should read the Project for a New American Century manifesto to learn why the chaos is no accident. It’s all there in black and white.
16. In Iraq today, it was a repeat of the 2006 attack that shattered the famous golden dome of the Askariya Shrine which amped-up an already out of control situation. Today’s bombing destroyed two minarets of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra. (Hmmm, wasn’t it just yesterday that we learned that US forces were cooperating with Sunni insurgents?)
17. In Afghanistan, a former Green beret serving time for running a private jail for “suspected terrorists” has been sprung. Jack Idema was mysteriously pardoned by Hamid Karzai after serving nearly three years. (But it’s going to look good on Idema’s Blackwater resume. We may even meet him personally one day soon when the US has got its system of private detention centers fully functional…)
18. Hamas has seized the Fatah Party security headquarters. Factional fighting in the occupied territories is deep into a downward spiral. I wish I could say that the US and other Western nations are standing by doing nothing, but, alas, it looks like they are on the verge of rolling out a blood-red carpet for Israel to march into the remains of Palestine…
19. The Czech villages where Bush wants to put his Star Wars ride are protesting, vehemently demanding that America take its LaserLand and shove it.
20. American and Australian military forces are staging war games – Exercise Talisman Sabre – in Queensland next week. A record more than 27 thousand troops along with a carrier battle group, 30 ships, two nuclear submarines and more than 100 aircraft are gathering for the massive ‘play date’. It is an environmental disaster of epic proportions for marine life off the Queensland coast…and so much more…For starters; it comes on the heels of reports of China’s rapid militarization and America’s raging Empire of Paranoia.
1. Something’s Rotten in the Produce Aisle: Aside from the families torn in pieces and scattered to the four winds, the raid on Fresh Del Monte brought to light egregious safety violations at the plant. If the economic refugees who were rounded up by ICE agents fled their native countries to work for Del Monte, that puts the results of NAFTA into stark perspective…
2. Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions are more likely than the rest of us to commit suicide. It must have been something they saw. They say travel broadens one’s point of view…
3. Something’s also rotten in Eugene: The Oregon DEQ is going to “expand the investigation” of 30 more residents of a neighborhood in Eugene that is contaminated with trichloroethylene, a known carcinogen. Welcome to Superfund Estates!
4. Duct & Cover: One hundred and sixty-seven human beings are currently being “processed” and Randy Leonard is battling the city of Portland over the popular practice of duct-taping a family ‘Spot’ on the sidewalk from which to view the tanks and advertisements for local corporations. (Wait a moment! What about our ‘Sit/Lie’ ordinance? Let’s grab all these people and ban them from the streets of Portland for a year or so….)
5. Cleaning the Government’s Clock: A budget subcommittee is going ahead with a bill that would strengthen Oregon’s ‘clean government’ guidelines. (It bodes ill that it’s a budget committee that is going to address the problem of following the lobbyists’ money. Ethics is something money can’t buy…
6. Starbucks is going to have to cough up $85 thousand dollars for failing to provide extra training and support (And for firing her as well) for a bi-polar barista. (I thought all baristas were bi-polar….)
7. Psycle-Killers Be Warned: Oregon roads are a bit safer now with the passage of a law that prohibits drivers from running over cyclists or at least from driving close enough that if the cyclist fell off into the traffic lane, he or she would not be hit.
8. Fire! There he was, a fireman standing in a burning house, cell phone at the ready, calls 911 and is put on ‘Hold’. Here’s what the problem was: The call center was overwhelmed by…three calls at the same time.
9. The Felon of a Felon is Not Fitzgerald’s Friend: I. ‘Scooter’ Libby, acolyte of Felony Fats himself, Dick Cheney, is back in court today, begging Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald not to send him Down In The Hole while his appeal is pending.
10. ‘It’s A Pleasure To Serve You!’: Two former White House officials will face subpoenas for their involvement in the firings of the 8 US Attorneys. Harriet Miers gets one and so does Sara Taylor. (Karl Rove, the cheque is in the mail…)
11. Dennis Kuchinich is gathering co-sponsors for his resolution to impeach Dick Cheney. Is he serious? Serious as a heart attack, as I believe the saying goes…
12. Cover Your Ass Memo from the Feds: The FBI wants all its agents to be careful (So if you are an FBI agent, Listen up! I’m not going to repeat this…) while collecting data from Americans in terror investigations: Specifically: don’t go trampling on their privacy rights and not to expect secret evidence to remain secret no matter how long it takes you to cover your tracks…The is a nation of rules and laws, some of which pertain to you (Like not driving close to bicyclists and putting duct tape on the sidewalk) but most do not. So keep up the good work, boys! And if anyone gives you any trouble, call Evergreen and get that person on the next flight out of town…
13. The House passed a gun control law. Seems that even the NRA thinks maniacs and convicted felons can’t get a hold of guns (Are you listening, Scooter?)
14. The six men accused of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix are being arraigned right now in New Jersey.
15. In Lebanon, tens of thousands of mourners marched in a funeral procession for prominent anti-Syrian legislator Walid Eido. Eido was killed by Israel’s Mossad …Wait…did I say ‘Mossad’? I meant a car bomb. That’s right he was killed by a car bomb….
16. A coalition of NGOs took out the UN security Council’s trash yesterday. (Is it just me or have you noticed that Ban Ki-Moon is no Kofi Annan?) for its shocking silence on violations of international law by US occupying forces in Iraq. The group urged the UN to end its mandate in Iraq. (I’m sure the UN would love to get its mandate out of Iraq but that road to the airport is just too fucking dangerous. They are going to wait for the helicopters to pick them up from the roof of the US Embassy….
17. In Palestine the Gaza Strip is virtually on the edge of civil war and the fighting is spreading to the West Bank is my bet. Just a moment ago we got word that Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyah has been “fired.” Arab states fear a Hamas-run Gaza could become a power center for the group’s allies Iran and Syria. (I can picture Condoleeza Rice in her cobweb-festooned, toad and rat-infested tower is rubbing her hands together: “It’s working! It’s working! We starve them until they become radical fundamentalists with nothing left to lose and then we stand back while they self-destruct….”)
18. Human Rights Watch says the UN has tarnished its reputation and undermined its legitimacy through “lack of accountability” in the Serbian province of Kosovo. (Be glad that’s all they did. Look at Sudan. Look at Iraq…)
19. While the Americans and the Australians amuse themselves with war games in Queensland, the Chinese are massed military firepower – nuclear and conventional – on the coast across from Taiwan. Some of the hardware is short range, some not-so-short range…
20. A 6.8 earthquake knocked the dishes of Guatemalan shelves last night.
1. Look out Ruth Reich!: Here comes Oregon’s state review of prison food. Basically, the cuisine is acceptable; it’s the ambiance and the service that really suck.
2. Shoot First, Pay For It Later: Our newly militarized police force is starting to cost us. The family of Jason Porter has launched a $4 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Springfield and the policeman who shot their unarmed, 15 year-old son in the face after a car chase.
3. ‘Ich bin ein Angleno’: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told the National Association of Hispanic Journalists that if Hispanic kids want to learn English faster, they should watch more English language TV.
4. The human rights, civil rights and the progressive community joined with Hispanic leaders yesterday to raise one, united voice of outrage at the immigration raids this week. The fallout from the roundup has occupied everyone’s attention up until yesterday’s press conference at the Mexican embassy. Meanwhile, parents and children search for one another in a wasteland of paperwork and legal barbed wire.
5. Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon smith offered up their financial disclosure statements on the altar of public scrutiny yesterday. And, Lo! There seemed to be nothing amiss.
6. Textbook Bill: The thing about higher education is the higher price of the books. Students at colleges and universities have been crushed by the cost of their books for years. What Governor Kulongoski is going to do about it is to sign a bill that partially puts the damper on the amoral greed driving companies to exploit a captive market.
7. This is what Measure 37 Looks Like: In Marion County, commissioners ignored their own planning code as well as the scientific review when they approved a 42 house subdivision in a limited groundwater area. Neighbors are already having trouble with their wells and the ground is barely broken on this latest of Oregon’s burgeoning sprawl of rural slums.
8. And now it’s on to the Haditha Massacre. Lance Corporal – and psychopath-in-training – Justin Sharratt told a military court that he thought the three people he murdered in cold blood were insurgents. His statement is unsworn so there won’t be any cross examination. (See, this is what you learn in the military; impeccable moral character and the courage to tell the truth…Then when you get out of the military, you apply what you’ve learned to civilian life…with predictable consequences.)
9. Alberto Gonzales: What can one say really about this guy??? Here’s what: Gonzales has gone and used an interim appointment authority procedure that is already banned by Congress. The ‘Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act’ was passed and sent to the president to be signed on June 4th. Bush has yet to sign it (Tennis elbow?). If the Act is not signed or vetoed in ten days, it expires. That would be…let’s see, yesterday…Stay with me here: The main thing the Act does – make that ‘would have done’ – is overturn a GOP stealth measure that allowed the AG to appoint US Attorneys on an interim basis with congressional confirmation. So Gonzales plans to appoint George Cardona as an interim US Attorney when his stint as Acting attorney runs out…wait for it…tomorrow. We could have stopped all this back in 2000 but the hogs are in the kitchen now…
10. The Supreme Court has ruled against public sector labor unions. (Pure failure on the part of Grover Norquist: There wasn’t supposed to be a ‘public sector’ at this stage in the program…)
11. Bush is trying on his old cheerleader costume for this new $4 billion dollar (Helloooo, contractors!) border patrol proposal intended to sweeten his immigration bill. (At last! We find out whether or not Republicans swallow…)
12. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell say they ‘envision’ a vote on this compromise immigration bill before the rockets’ red glare on July 4th. (‘Envision’? Don’t these people know not to mix hallucinogens and fireworks unless you really know what you’re doing…some of us do.)
13. Massachusetts has rejected a same-sex marriage referendum. (How about a ‘same-marriage sex referendum’ making it legal to have sex with other people while remaining in the same marriage? It’s just a thought…)
14. A federal judge has finally convicted Klansman James Ford Seale of kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1964 deaths of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi. (“But everybody knows about Mississippi goddamn” as Nina Simone sings…)
15. Hamas is in control of Gaza, Fatah is control of the West Bank…(Where’s Ban Ky Moon? Where’s the Security Council? Where’s Condoleeza Rice? Ahhhh, yes, of course, celebrating the death of Palestine with the Israeli government in Tel Aviv. When the world’s heavy weights said they were after a ‘two state solution’, little did we know what they were really talking about….)
16. IAEA chief Mohammed al-Baradei says that an attack on Iran would be “madness” (Since when has “madness ever stopped the Bush administration? Of course it’s “madness”, that’s the whole idea…)
17. There’s a new medical school opening in Cuba. A great many of the students are from Bolivia and many of those are indigenous people…
18. Venezuela is buying itself some submarines from Russia. This, just days before George takes Vladimir home to meet his parents in Kennebunkport. . (Barbara to Vladimir: “George Sr. and I just hope you will be able to support our little boy in the manner to which he has become accustomed…”)
19. Striking civil servants and their supporters have shut down most of South Africa’s major cities.
20. Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern was elected for a record third term in succession yesterday.
21. Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo have arrested two soldiers suspected of killing a journalist working with Radio Okapi. The station was set up to aid the peace process in the wake of the 1998-2003 war.
22. Iran, Iraq and the US are planning to meet “again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but they’ll meet again some sunny day…”
23. In Oaxaca yesterday, marchers turned out to commemorate last year’s uprising which, for all intents and purposes, is still on the rise.