The U.S. Senate began debate on the Employee Free Choice Act this week. Supporters in Oregon are urging lawmakers to pass the bill. Labor leaders, Oregon lawmakers and others hope Senators follow the state’s lead and allow a majority of workers to sign cards agreeing to form a union. KBOO’s Scott Pham reports, in collaboration with the Oregon News Service.
On the Recovery Zone, June 7th, Stephanie Potter featured Ole & Maitri Ersson who use humanure compost on their garden plants--including their fruits and vegetables. All they need is a bucket, wood chips and a compost bin. They have safely been doing this for 15 years.
1. Grow Your Own: Yet another produce recall. This time it’s chopped onions from Trader Joes. Chop your own too, come to think of it…
2. Have You Hugged Your Blastocyst Today? Oregon’s bill to explore public funding for stem cell research was ‘aborted’ this week. (And please don’t call it ‘embryonic’ stem cell research. They aren’t ‘embryos’; They are blastocysts.
3. Mark Your Calendar Now: Oregon voters will decide in May 2008 whether police agencies should have more power to seize and sell property tied to illegal activity and use the money to help pay for investigations. (Keep in mind that it is not unheard of for property seized by the police – especially fun stuff like pool tables and ATVs often ends up on the property of police officers….)
4. Is That A Pistol in Your Genes, or Are You Having A Seizure…The Oregon Supreme Court ruled yesterday that collecting DNA samples from convicted felons to build a profiling data base does not violate constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. (The good news: Your DNA is unlikely to wind up in a cop’s garage. The bad news is that although the ruling may not violate any search and seizure laws, it nonetheless leads to some very dark corners of American jurisprudence.)
5. Legislators voted to more than double the amount of money that Oregon spends annually on student aid…..
6. And not a moment too soon either. It is to be devoutly hoped that the next generation will be smart enough to figure out that ethanol is a burn in every sense of the word. It takes a lot of gas to make ethanol and ethanol is grown by agribusiness thus enriching Monsanto, Cargill et al. and about all it really fuels are investors on Wall Street. (And did I mention that it’s a dead give-away to the genetic engineers?)
7. Busy week for the Oregon Senate. Yesterday legislators signed off on an array of tax credits that add up to an estimated more than $22 million dollars in tax credits. That’s $22 million that the State won’t be getting over the next two years. But that’s Okay: We can hold an Ethanol Sale. (Or better still, a hemp sale…)
8. Umatilla had to briefly stop incinerating chemical weapons this week, but the facility is fit as a fiddle and ready to incinerate once again.
9. Republican and Democrats alike want to see – actually to hear – hundred of low power FM stations in urban areas across the US. (And right before a presidential election….How convenient…)
10. Hedging Their Bets: In Washington, Pacific Power & Light got a rate hike. Not the massive one the company wanted, but it’s still a significant boost in customers’ bills and a significant coup for hedge fund wizard, Warren Buffett and Friends…(That was just Washington. Bend over, Oregon: Here comes Warren…)
11. Washington fish are full of PCBs and even worse carcinogens. You know that you are in much worse trouble than you think when the government bothers to expose part of the real story…
12. Other toxic contamination in Washington: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is visiting Seattle next week. Check Seattle indymedia and make your travel plans accordingly! (It’s “free and open to the public.” And it’s sponsored by a fun bunch of wacky ‘Intelligent Designers’….Who must have forgotten to sharpen their pencils when they came up with Gonzales….)
13. The Bush administration is whispering about the possible closure of Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. But that doesn’t mean that the prisoners will be brought stateside and given fair trials. In a far more likely scenario, they will be extraordinarily rendered out of sight and out of mind to place from which they are even less likely to return.
14. The Ashcroft, Comey imbroglio simmers away. In any other country – hell, in any other US administration – this would be constant front page stunner, the very lifeblood of government-at-the-highest-level scandal. But in the shadow of the last few years, it has become just one more chapter in a sordid saga of corruption and felonious behavior.
15. Bush’s approval rating is somewhere around 26 percent.
16. House Democrats are ginning up to hand the White House another piece of legislation heading straight for the presidential veto bin. Congress voted yesterday to rescind a ban on providing funding for abortions to people in poor countries. (Self-control, people! It builds character…)
17. Breast feeding: It saves lives but loses money.
18. Vice (And how!) President Dick ‘Dick’ Cheney wants to abolish the government office charged with safeguarding national security. (Translation: Cheney doesn’t want the public or even legislators to see what he has been up to, Lo, these seven long years…)
19. Surprise Me: a new report says that New Orleans levees are in no better shape now than they were before Katrina. (But hold steady there, citizens: Mayor Ray Nagin is going to appeal to foreign governments for the aid that was not forthcoming from the American junta.)
20. The Senate has voted to require average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon for new cars, pickups and SUVs by 2020…When, no doubt, what little gas left in the world will cost $35 dollars a gallon.
21. Members of Congress are trying to shut down the School of the Americas…Again. Like cancer, the School will simply morph into another acronym and possibly decamp for less transparent shores. (I hear Guantanamo may be available…)
22. If you think the average Iraqi is having a really bad day, imagine what it must be like to be an Iraqi orphan chained to a pipe while slowly starving to death. Yes…That’s why American troops are welcomed with flowers and open arms wherever they go…
23. Life…It’s a Beach: What’s scarier than waking up in bed with Dick Cheney, weirder that getting hit by lightning or giant hail, deadlier than a shark attack?….C’mon, guess….Sand castles! Yes, every year holidaymakers take their very lives in their buckets when they go to the beach…
This show includes interviews on immigration and labor, prisons and Paris Hilton; a short story about the immigrant experience, a review of a novel by Mary Gaitskill, and a commentary about the future of atheism.
1. The Oregon Senate approved a bill setting up the framework for universal healthcare. But don’t plan on getting sick just yet; this isn’t a done deal. (And keep a close eye on Ron Wyden; especially be watchful for the fateful handshake with medical insurance companies…)
2. Double Indemnity: Oregon’s deadly “Double Majority” is on its way back to the ballot. The “Double Majority” means that if there is a vote on a local tax to pay for schools, voter turn-out is 49 percent and all 49 percent vote for the tax, it still doesn’t pass because…less than 50 percent of registered voters bothered to vote. This time around, let’s hope more than 50 percent of us vote.
3. Gresham has finally driven back the Wal-Mart assault. But Wal-Mart isn’t giving up its Portland campaign. the ‘Monstore’ is looking around for other neighborhoods upon which to unleash its bloodthirsty lawyers.
4. The Employee Free Choice Act is on the block this week, Lawmakers and labor leaders are hoping the rest of the nation will follow its lead and pass the Act which would give workers the right to sign forms to join a union rather than through an employer-controlled election. But wait! There’s more! The federal version provides for increased penalties on businesses that violate fair labor laws. (And by the way, after losing billions of dollars through lack of foresight and bad design CEOs of major automakers are going to cut their union members salaries by half….and they expect their work force to go along with the dirty deal…)
5. Aloha! The Oregon Senate is all for ethics reform…. “Now watch this drive…”
6. The federal – or ‘business End’ – of the Columbia Basin hydroelectric dams told a federal judge that they are expecting to make the kinds of changes to their strategy to boost salmon returns that the State of Oregon and Indian tribes want. The feds are still on the predator war path and at the helm of the fish transport trucks….and Yikes! Looks like that’s a big waterfall up ahead…
7. Vulnerability is Endearing…Oregon has got new, tougher laws against aggressive and/or careless drivers who menace and/or kill cyclists.
8. A highly suspicious posting popped up on the ALF/ELF website. Someone vandalized a shop in Pennsylvania, ‘Linda’s Fashions and Fur Salon’, notable for the fact that ‘Linda’ hasn’t sold fur for 20 years. So the people behind this rather ignominious action write that the “attack” occurred “under cover of night by masked activists” and throw it up on the North American Animal Liberation Press Office website. And the real corker is this: Whoever did this writes that the “attack” was carried out in solidarity with Jeffrey Luers…Wha? A “fur” shop in Pennsylvania? Look, informants: What happened, the dog ate your homework? Do a little research and try to either be a bit smarter or get your handlers to write you up some notes….
9. Line in the Sand: Then Edison Carder brought us the Word on the Ross Island scam. Essentially, Bob Pamplin left Ross Island “screwed blue and thrown in the Bushes without any loving” and now he wants to give Portland part of the island without any indemnification whatsoever. Taxpayers are going to pick up the tab for clean-up and future law suits resulting from people poisoned by contact with the island.
10. Save the dusky tree vole!
11. Who Let The Khat Out of the Bag? About half the group of Somali men who were busted for khat possession in Seattle a while back signed plea agreements. The rest did not. Now a federal judge has dropped the charges for ht others. Moral of the story: Don’t listen to your Public Defender when he/she tells you to accept a plea bargain: Make the bastards see you in court.
12. Now that Tony Blair has some time on his hands, Bush is angling to send his Boy Toy to the Middle East as a “peace envoy.” Since Blair obviously did such a great job of “taking the peace” in Iraq….
13. Jose Padilla’s lawyers are trying to get the judge to prevent the highly suggestible jury from being shown a video of bin Laden. The defense says its perfectly okay to show the film at the trial of Padilla’s co-defendants – just not at his trial. What Osama bin Laden has to do with a misguided gang banger from Chicago is any body’s guess…(Yet we have innocent shish kabob vendors from Herat sitting down there in Quantanamo Bay wondering if they’ll ever see the Hindu Kush Mountains again…)
14. “Bitch Set Me Up”: Lawyers for Artur Solomony and Christiaan Spies have helpfully pointed out that their clients were promised green cards by an FBI informant for agreeing to smuggle arms into the US. Wait…’Arms’ to the US? This is the weaponry capitol of the whole galaxy. Nowhere are assault rifles more readily available. Deranged children can easily get their hands on a gun. Still a trial is a trial and Artur and Christiaan can laugh about it all later. Right now, try to keep straight-faced guys…
15. The Southwestern part of the US is out of water.
16. New York State is flooding. Other places are on fire.
17. And jobless claims are “unexpectedly” up. (“Unexpectedly”? What exactly were these jokers expecting?)
18. While assorted factions in Iraq are being attacked by US forces and one another – or actually any combination of the aforementioned – things are not what they seem in Iraq…They are even worse…at any rate, while the bombs are raining blood most other places, up north in Kurdistan, oil deals are being negotiated, money is being made, Iraq is on sale!
19. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has invited all his pals to a little peace-type get-together at the seaside resort Sharm el-Sheikh (Made famous by a number of spectacular bombings in recent years, in case the name sounds familiar to you…) Everyone’s invited! A long as you are Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Just back from a no doubt lucrative trip to Washington), Palestinian blowhard Mahmoud Abbas, and Jordan’s King Abdullah. ‘Two State Solution’ my ass…
20. Nafkas On Parade! Women MPs in Israel’s Knesset are upset with the Foreign Ministry for resorting to pornography (Read: Naked IDF female soldiers in Maxim magazine. Eeeehew) to promote Israel (Well what else are they going to use? Dismembered Palestinian children?)
21. The UN secretary-general expressed disappointment with a decision by the United Nation’s new human rights watchdog to single out Israel for investigation. I refer your attention to the above story…
22. Now it’s Germany that is chuffed with the EU. (And only yesterday it was Poland…) The Germans want the EU Charter of fundamental rights to be legally enforceable as part of a new deal on how Europe is run. (So does this mean no more ‘extraordinary renditions’? No kidnapped clerics? No Polish Star Wars?)
23. The Bad News and the Good News: The foreign medics detained in Libya for the last eight years are going to be sentenced to death….and then receive clemency. (Hey we could try that in Iraq: declare ‘Victory’ and then just leave…)
This episode is all about a DIY housing project called Dignity Village, the only government sanctioned "tent city" in the United States. "DIY, Portland" host Julie Sabatier spent 2 days in the village just before they signed their lease with the city and moved to a larger spot on the Sunderland Recycling Facility. Residents there shared their stories about how they got to the village and why they
are encouraged to stay or leave.
This show also marks the debut of the brand spankin' new "DIY, Portland" theme song, composed by Portland's own
Nick Jaina! Other music in this episode comes courtesy of the incomparable Jason Leonard. Special thanks to Brian Kramer for his keen production assistance.
Podcasting and higher quality downloads available right here.
A refugee crisis that has been in the news quite a lot this year is the conflict in the Sudan, in which an estimated 200,000 people have been displaced from their homes.
The refugee crisis in the Sudan was brought on by fighting between government forces and rebel groups, both of whom have been accused of atrocities. Government forces have been accused of carrying out a policy of genocide in the Darfur region of the Sudan.
Omar Ismael is a Sudanese refugee who is currently in Portland speaking about his experiences in Darfur. He spoke today with KBOO reporter Hannah Jolly
The aftermath of last week’s massive immigration raid has led to a polarization in the Portland community. On the one hand, there has been an outpouring of support for the immigrant community from churches, organizations and individuals.
But on the other hand, the raid also brought out the anti-immigrant element of Portland society, epitomized by the conservative group ‘Oregonians for Immigration Reform’, or OFIR.
The group held a rally this morning. KBOO Reporter Scott Pham brings us this report