THE STORY OF CORVALLIS
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Local News 101
A Report for Busy or Napping
Students, Intellectuals, Plumbers and Vagrants
Dear Secretary Kerry,
I am writing to you veteran-to-veteran, man-to-man. However, I have decided to
write to you publicly. The issue that I am writing about is too important, too
many lives depend on it, and I cannot take the chance that this letter and the
linked petition will only reach the eyes of one of your aides.
Like you, I felt betrayed that my country sent me to fight an unjust war, though
my war was several decades after yours, and in Iraq. I have spoken out against
that war to the best of my ability, as you once did against your war before the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In recent years you have found yourself on
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but your attitudes towards war have
You supported the war in Iraq, the war that I was deployed to as a Marine, where
I participated in the 2nd siege of Fallujah. You were at the end of your
Presidential run during the build up to this operation. The 2nd siege of
Fallujah was compared to Hue City for its military character, and to the My Lai
Massacre for its moral character. But you supported this operation.
Fallujah is currently under siege once again. You have stated that US troops
will not be sent back to Iraq to assist in the current siege, but you have
agreed that the US should send weapons to the Iraqi government. I am writing to
implore that you do everything within your ability to stop shipments of US
weapons to Iraq, whether they are sold, gifted, or loaned. Arming an oppressive
regime so that they may better crush a popular uprising is not in the best
interest of Americans or Iraqis.
During that 2nd siege of Fallujah we killed thousands of civilians, displaced
hundreds of thousands, destroyed nearly the entire city, and brought
immeasurable loss and hardship upon those poor people. Since then I have devoted
my life to raising awareness about the suffering I helped create in Fallujah,
and to assisting Fallujans in their struggle with a public health disaster and
I feel a moral obligation to do whatever is within my power to help these people
who I once hurt. But I was not a lone actor in Iraq. I had the support of a
nation behind me and I was taking orders from the world’s most powerful
military. The 2nd siege of Fallujah was not exceptional; rather it was symbolic
of our military’s conduct in Iraq and the way that our mission impacted the
lives of Iraqis. Our war and occupation took so much from them. It resulted in
hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions displaced, permanent environmental
contamination, and a new repressive regime that most Iraqis regard as begin more
brutal than that of Saddam Hussein. This is the legacy of America’s involvement
in Iraq. The least that we can do at this point is to end our complicity in
The current violence in Fallujah has been misrepresented in the media. The Iraqi
Ministry of Interior asserted earlier in the month that al Qaeda had taken over
half of Fallujah and the media parroted this assertion. However, journalists who
have done serious investigations into this assertion found it to be false. The
uprising in Fallujah is a popular uprising, not one lead by an international
jihadist group. The Iraqi government has not been attacking al Qaeda in Fallujah.
Their assault has been indiscriminate, killing dozens of civilians and wounding
even more. Many of these deaths have been documented by human rights
organizations within Fallujah.
I know that the US plans to send further shipments of Apache attack helicopters
and Hellfire missiles. If we continue to send weapons to the Iraqi government,
we will be further complicit in this violence. Iraqis have long known the Maliki
regime to be brutal and repressive. This is not a regime the US should be
sending weapons to. Some of your colleagues in Congress have voiced this same
When you spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, you spoke
with compassion for the Vietnamese people. You sympathized with the suffering
that our illegitimate war brought to them. I am asking you to do the same for
Iraqis. Please end all shipments of US made weapons to Iraq.
I have attached a petition with 11,610 signatures. Most of the signatories are
Americans like myself who want to be able to feel proud of their country, but
cannot do so while we are assisting the Iraqi government in its violent internal
There truly is "no place like home." Yet for millions in our community,
homes and families are torn apart due to a broken immigration system. In fact,
more than 150,000 children are missing at least one parent who's been deported,
and thousands more face the pain of separation daily. Speaker of the House John
Boehner has the power to change this devastation by bringing an immigration
reform bill to the House floor for a vote. Yet, he remains silent and does
nothing out of fear for anti-immigrant extremists in the Republican Party.
to tell Speaker Boehner that real leadership takes courage.
Since we began this fight, we have seen nothing but inadequate leadership from
Speaker Boehner on immigration reform. What started the year seemingly as a step
forward with the GOP's introduction of immigration principles led only to
backpedaling just a few days later when the Speaker claimed that he couldn't
possibly put reform on the agenda because he couldn't trust President Obama to
enforce immigration laws.
Meanwhile, our families continue to wait for relief from the terrible threat of
deportation, and for reform that will allow them to stay together. While Speaker
Boehner has the power to end the ceaseless heartbreak of hundreds of thousands
by bringing a bill to the floor for a vote, he continues to sit on his hands out
of fear of a small but vocal anti-immigrant fringe of the Republican Party.
Like the Cowardly Lion from the children's tale "The Wizard of Oz," Speaker
Boehner has the ability to accomplish great things -- yet he lacks the courage
to take the first step. Click here to send him a badge of courage and help him
find the nerve to stand up for reform.
Millions of families are waiting for the threat of deportation to be lifted.
They are waiting for a reform bill that will allow them to live their lives
without fear. Speaker Boehner cannot continue to hide from his responsibilities.
He must act quickly and decisively to help our families. The first step is to
stand up against anti-immigrant extremists and to bring an immigration reform
bill to a vote.
You can help the Speaker find his strength. Let him know that passing
immigration reform is a priority for the American people, that we support
creating a path to citizenship for the undocumented. So let's help him find his
backbone by sending him some courage. Sign the petition and for every signature
we get, we will send Speaker Boehner a badge of courage. Together we can show
the Speaker that talk about immigration reform is not enough -- we demand
Help this cowardly lion stand up to Republican anti-immigrant extremists and do
the right thing for our community. Add
your name to send him some courage today!
Donna De La Cruz
Reform Immigration FOR America
Carolyn Lawson, the incompetent IT "manager" who bore much of the responsibility
for Oracle corporation stealing hundreds of millions from Oregon taxpayers in
the "Cover Oregon" scandal, has fallen back on the
defense of the right wing clowns bent on segregating gay people with a
new set of Jim Crow laws. Persecution, she says. She was "made the scape goat"
when the real problem, she says, was because no agreement was ever reached on
the goals of the software. Every programmer knows, of course, that agreement to
be Step One in writing software, and even more so in managing the writing of
Sam Biddle has gone
over the report on frat houses from the Atlantic, many from the Northwest issued by the Atlantic.
reading. For instance, "When the bottle rocket exploded in Hughes's
rectum, Helmburg was seized by the kind of battlefield panic that has claimed
brave men from outfits far more illustrious than even the Thundering Herd.
Terrified, he staggered away from the human bomb and fell off the deck.
In September, a student suffered serious injuries after falling off the roof of
the Alpha Tau Omega house at the University of Idaho, and two days later a
Washington State student fell three stories from a window at Phi Kappa Tau.
In November, a 19-year-old suffered critical head injuries when he fell
backwards off a second-floor balcony at the Washington State Lambda Chi Alpha
house, necessitating the surgical removal of part of his skull.
In April, a University of Idaho student named Krysta Huft filed a suit against
the Delta Chi fraternity, seeking damages for a broken pelvis resulting from a
2011 fall, which she claims was from the house's third-story sleeping porch onto
a basketball court beneath it."
follows it up with a sensible question: ""Why are so many colleges
allowing students to live and party in such unsafe locations?" It's a good
question, and one I wish I'd been asked before I indemnified my own college
fraternity against any wrongdoing, short of me being stabbed in my sleep after a
house-wide conspiracy. Our house was insured by some incredibly shady Caribbean
firm—the only place stupid enough to insure frat houses—and policy payments were
the only dues that ever came in on time.
I was apparently plain lucky to have never fallen off a roof, but others are
not. This can't stand—in the war between white kids in khaki shorts and physics,
it's not even close. They're being massacred. But if we connect Flanagan's dots
and abolish the American Greek system, we would only release these drunk and
clumsy men into other perilous areas, impaling themselves on jungle gyms,
slipping into sewers, and trying to scale hydroelectric dams. Rather than do
away with the Greek system, let's just childproof it: it's the houses that are
killing our children, with their open windows and ledges. If fraternities were
confined to tents, bouncy castles, basements, or any other structure without
floors or windows, there'd be nothing to fall out of or onto. Pledging a
fraternity once again becomes safe and wholesome—just some guys hanging out and
adhering to American values, laughing it up, and sometimes kissing."
Sen. Jeff Merkley Sends Message On
At the State of the Union, President Obama put attention right where it should
be: on efforts to help the middle class and those hoping to enter it. Our
economy and our families will never reach their full potential if growth only
comes from the top down, and not from the middle out. What our country needs
most is a middle class agenda that prioritizes good jobs now and expanded
opportunity for the next generation.A good start is making sure that the minimum
wage is a living wage. Last year, Senator Merkley sent a letter to the President
asking him to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.
President Obama answered that call last week and announced during the State of
the Union that he would sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for the
hundreds of thousands of federal contract workers making the minimum wage. Now
Congress must act to raise the minimum wage for all workers, because no one
should have to raise a family in poverty. Jeff cosponsored a bill that would do
just that, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for all workers.
Lilly Ledbetter Anniversary
Last week was the fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act being
signed into law. One of his first acts when Jeff entered the Senate was voting
for this important law to make sure women aren't the victims of pay
discrimination. The Lilly Ledbetter Act is proof that even one person fighting
for fairness and equality can make a huge difference. But it's also a reminder
of how far we have to go to make sure that women have equal opportunity and
equal pay in the workplace.
Women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That is just plain
wrong. It's unfair, unequal, and it cuts into millions of families' bottom
lines. Too often, our legal system still doesn't work for women who try to find
justice in the courts. Thanks to Lilly, they no longer face unfair statutes of
limitations that require them to seek justice before they might even know they
face pay discrimination. But there is more work to be done. That is why Jeff is
fighting to give women stronger tools to fight wage discrimination by passing
the Paycheck Fairness Act.Unemployment Insurance
It is unconscionable and callous that Congress has allowed emergency
unemployment benefits to expire. On December 28, over 20,000 Oregonians lost
their benefits that were helping pay for their housing, their food, and their
utilities as they looked for work. The unemployment rate is just too high to let
this important lifeline expire for thousands of Oregonians. Jeff has pushed for
Congress to reauthorize unemployment insurance, and will continue to advocate
for those looking to work. We can't leave these Oregonians out in the cold.
The farm bill that recently passed the House of Representatives includes Jeff's
amendment to level the playing field for organic farmers when it comes to crop
insurance. This provision will direct the Risk Management Agency of USDA to use
actual organic prices to calculate compensation for losses in order to better
reflect an organic producer's risk. Up until this month, organic farmers in
Oregon who had crop insurance were paying a 5 percent premium for their crop
insurance, but then not receiving higher benefits if their crops were affected
by weather or other unforeseen problems.
CORVALLIS CONGRESSIONAL REP. PETE DE FAZIO
ISSUES PLAN FOR ADDRESSING ECONOMIC ISSUES
Today, Congress is at a stalemate and the lack of action on important issues is
moving our country backwards. As the founder of the House Progressive Caucus, I
am committed to just that - social and economic progress. Given your past
interest in reducing economic inequalities, I wanted to quickly update you on my
work in Congress to level the playing field and fight for economic justice for
all Americans, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable.
I recently met with a group of unemployed workers in Eugene, and the stories I
heard were heartbreaking. While the conservative pundits callously label the
unemployed lazy, the reality is I met with a group of hardworking Oregonians
with decades of work experience. They were laid off by struggling firms, leaving
them no real options, as there are five southwest Oregonians chasing every job
opening. In today’s economy, a stable household can quickly become a homeless
family in a few months.
Nationally, 10.9 million Americans are struggling through unemployment despite
an economy still recovering from recession. It is unconscionable that Congress
has refused to extend expired unemployment benefits for 1.7 million people.
These benefits are a critical lifeline to those struggling to make ends meet. I
voted against the 2014 budget deal in large part because it failed to extend
these benefits and I joined 185 of my colleagues urging Republican leadership to
allow the House to vote on extending them.
According to the House Ways and Means Committee, nearly 4,000 people in
southwest Oregon and nearly 20,000 Oregonians across the state lost unemployment
benefits just after Christmas. And every week that Congress fails to act,
another 900 Oregonians will lose these critical benefits. You can be sure that I
will continue to press my colleagues in Congress to extend these crucial
Enabling Families: Raising the Minimum Wage
Raising the federal minimum wage is critical to combating the growth of income
inequality in this country. Today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour
cannot sustain a family above the poverty level and that is why I have
consistently cosponsored legislation to raise the federal minimum wage. A
full-time worker should never have to live in poverty.
I have joined over 180 House Democrats in cosponsoring legislation to raise the
federal minimum wage to $10.10 over three years. Everyone wins from raising the
federal minimum wage. Nearly 28 million American workers would get a raise -
nine million of whom have children and more than half of whom are women. And it
would lift 4.6 million Americans out of poverty. Even in Oregon, with its higher
minimum wage ($9.10 per hour), the Economic Policy Institute has estimated that
nearly 200,000 people will see their wages rise and an additional 100,000 will
indirectly receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted. This will help
families struggling to make ends meet and will also give businesses customers
with more money to spend.
I applauded President Obama’s announcement in the State of the Union that he
would issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their
federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour. Now Congress
must follow suit to ensure all Americans get a decent day’s pay for decent day’s
work. I will continue to press my colleagues in the Republican majority to act.
Feeding Families: Preserving Food Assistance
Food insecurity is an epidemic plaguing our country. Sadly over 47 million
Americans, 15% of the total population, are on food stamps - an all time high.
According to the Oregon Food Bank, currently over 800,000 Oregonians, a
staggering 22% of rural southwest Oregon households, rely on food stamps every
month, which is the third highest participation rate in the nation only behind
D.C. and Mississippi. This rise in food stamp use is directly attributable to
the recession and its aftermath many Americans still face with the lack of
living wage jobs.
Earlier this year, I joined 102 Democrats and 63 Republicans to vote no on a
five-year farm bill that cut $8.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP). While the farm bill included a number of provisions
that were great for organic farmers, a sector I have long championed, I could
not support a bill that imposed draconian cuts for needy Americans. Even more
disgraceful, these cuts were used to pay for a massive new crop insurance
program for corporate farms.
Protecting SNAP was a deal-breaker for me and I will continue to defend programs
that will help low-income Americans put food on their tables. It is
unconscionable that Congress would propose to slash spending for important food
assistance programs that are a necessary lifeline for many families that have
been hit hardest during the economic recession.
Some of my colleagues in Congress seem perfectly fine letting struggling
Americans lose their homes or go hungry while the wealthiest continue to get
wealthier from tax loopholes and special interest tax rates. Today, income
inequality is at its highest level since the Great Depression. In order to
address the underlying causes of these income disparities, I believe we have to
reverse the Bush-era tax cuts that only benefit millionaires and revise our
failed trade policies that have decimated U.S. manufacturing jobs in exchange
for cheap overseas labor. Be sure that I will continue to fight for the most
vulnerable Americans and give voice to their needs in order to build a more
equal and prosperous society.
Peter De Fazio
Big whoopee. Comcast is
buying an internet service provider with a customer rating about as poor
as their own. Comcast is openly
declaring that prices will not go down as a result, or even "increase
less rapidly".2 poors don't mean an increase. It only means a loss of choice
among poor providers. Fortunately, Netflix has begun providing speed ratings among 17
providers. Google fiber (3.78 Mbps), Cablevision and Cox are the top 3. Comcast
(1.51 Mbps) is at #14, with only AT&T, Clearwire and Verizon behind them, at
less than a third the speed of the leader. And the highest speed rankings are
poor compared to the possibilities. IBM has a
prototype providing 400 times the speed of Google Fiber, which is
working on a speed of 10 Gbs, 400 times their current speeds.
An internet-illiterate City Council, upon whose collaboration Comcast depends,
is in no one's interest except the sluggish corporate entities involved in this
buy-out. And a Congress whose cooperation has been bought (Oregon's Republican
Greg Walden is among the worst,
with $53,000.00 from Comcast). With internet service now believed by the public
to be as essential as any other human need, we need new blood in an industry
which has been sucking off the public for too long.
Recently, the gazette
detailed the tribulations of the Ostbys, who in 1987 bought a 1911
family home which had been converted into a triplex in the Eighties. That was a
time in the city's history when a wave of developer wannabees converted
residences into income producing properties. It was common, say renters from
that era, for a local resident to buy a residence, split it into a variety of
"apartments" relying upon plumbing and electrical systems designed for one
household to service several. Rents soared as the process went unabated and they
have never fallen since. The
city swung into the act, too, former renters say, razing low rent residences
along 1st and 3rd street. Public employees were among the developers involved.
Most of those rushing into the "gold rush" merely "flipped" the conversions,
selling them to people like the Ostbys, who have used them as a source of income
since. A few, like Kip Schoning ("the red door landlord") hung on to the
purchases, using them as collateral to buy and convert more.
Now, the piper's bill has come due for the Ostbys. They want to sell the
property and the city is demanding it be brought up to code. The Ostbys are
whining and the gazette report makes it sound as though the city is preparing to
give a "pass". That of course would also mean giving the Schonings the same
pass. And that would be reprehensible. Students and workers inhabiting these
residences have every right to expect that their habitations meet current
The recent evictions at the Corvalla apartments have exposed
an age-old issue in Corvallis. Developers buy an aging property, do a few
superficial repairs and hike rents outrageously. In this case, it appears the
villains are from Texas and they've been given a little bit of a pass since no
one expects anything out of Texas except villainy. But it points to the need for
something many cities across the country have addressed decades ago, using a
word which has not once passed across the lips of city council members in
Corvallis due to the developers who have always run the council: R-E-N-T
This has been a momentous day for the chief petitioners and everyone who wants
to protect our local food system and the environment. This day has taken two
years to get to. We submitted our first Food Bill of Rights Ordinance in October
of 2012. Followed by another one in June 2013, and the last one in October 2013.
All were challenged by the County that the ordinances did not meet the legal
requirement that they address a single subject. This morning, by a ruling of
Judge Locke Williams at a hearing on this issue, our citizens’ initiative to
protect our farms, food, local economy, and our community’s resilience and
vitality can now move to the petitioning phase to qualify our Local Food System
Ordinance for the ballot and a vote of the people in November 2014.Thanks go to
all who have supported us in one way or another over the past year. We look
forward to your participation in exercising our right to decide our future in
this beautiful and rich community that we all want to protect for our mutual
health, safety, and welfare. Below is the press release sent out this morning.
Please share and spread the good news!
Today the Benton County Local Food System Ordinance moved one step closer to
petition circulation. Judge Locke Williams agreed with the citizen petitioners
that the proposed Ordinance meets all procedural requirements for circulation
thereby overturning the County Clerk’s denial. The next step in the process
before circulation will be for the County District Attorney to prepare the
ballot title and summary.
The Benton County Local Food System Ordinance establishes a right to local and
sustainable food systems, seed heritage, clean air, water and soil for Benton
County, and prohibits unsustainable activities – like the planting of GMO’s –
that would violate these rights.
“We are hopeful that our work to protect our locally based regional food system,
through this ballot initiative, can move toward a vote of the people in our
county.” said Harry MacCormack, local organic farmer for over forty years and a
chief petitioner for the Ordinance. “Our future well being depends on our right
to have such a vote and to enact local law to protect our farms, food, and our
The former head of the FCC has declared
it's time to reclassify ISPs like Comcast and Verizon as telecommunications
providers again, rather than as the bogus class of information providers the
Bush administration set aside for them. That would drastically lower rates to
internet users and it's about time the public's interests were brought to the
fore again on the issue.
news this week that a small rural town has been able to establish a
public utility capable of using
fiber optic download speeds of 1000 megabytes a second, ten times the
previous rate (at the hands of a corporate conglomerate like those who control
the internet in Corvallis, courtesy of short sighted mayors and City Councils
the past 20 years) is a path into the future for Corvallis. The introduction of
a ISP publicly owned provider at the same prices charged by Comcast here, is a
path needing explored in the next session of the Council. Computer illiterate
Councils ought no longer to be tolerated, especially in Corvallis.
Corvallis Netflix users ought to be alert to any attempt by
Comcast or Verizon to hijack the internet. Netflix has
said it would mobilize viewers in such an instance, although it's
unclear just what Netflix would view as the options. Republicans set the stage
for corporations on this issue of "net
neutrality" under the Bush administration, when it defined internet
communications as data services rather than telecommunications. That in turn led
to last week's overturning by a federal court - also stacked by Bush - of FCC
regulations on the issue.
Nothing says Oregon Republican principles like today's
auction of an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle by the Multnomah GOP to
celebrate the birthdays of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, both gunned
down by crazed right wingers who also loved fondling guns.
Today, we honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a
chance for us to recommit ourselves to his life’s work – equality and economic
opportunity for everyone.
After all, as Dr. King once said:
What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he
doesn't earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee? ... What does
it profit one to be able to attend an integrated school when he doesn’t earn
enough money to buy his children school clothes?
The minimum wage today has less buying power than it did fifty years ago. That’s
We can change that. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would increase the minimum wage to
$10.10 an hour, up from $7.25 today, and provide a raise for tipped workers
(who’ve been stuck at $2.13 an hour since 1991).
Sign the petition and tell Congress: It’s time to raise the minimum wage.
Just as important, the Fair Minimum Wage Act would tie the minimum wage to the
rate of inflation so working families earning minimum wage never lose a penny in
buying power down the road. We’ve done that here in Oregon with our minimum
wage, and it’s been a critical factor supporting our working families.
In the last several years, the top 1% have taken home some 95% of the economic
gains. A stronger minimum wage means a stronger economy for all of us and better
opportunities for working families. It’s a critical step towards making sure our
nation's prosperity reaches everybody, not just the lucky few.Please join me and
Working Families: Call on Congress to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act without
-Senator Jeff Merkley
As the semi-annual negotiations between school boards and
teachers heat up once again...
Jefferson students showed everyone today how a great walk out
looks like. Full of passion, energy, determination, spirit and guts, they walked
out of Jefferson High School around noon today, taking over one lane of
Killingsworth. Police cars soon appeared and followed them, but fortunately, the
cops remained in their cars and didn't intervene.
Students demonstrated their passion for education and descry the lack of
progress made during contract negotiations between the teachers union and
Portland Public Schools. They walk out to support their teachers and demand
access to the education all children deserve.
The news that Mike Beilstein has once again turned his back on
Corvallis neighborhoods, casting the deciding vote to allow a Carolina
corporation regarded as simply "awful" to raze parts of the city, and likely to
cut all the magnificent trees on west Harrison, makes it clear that the man has
to go. Whatever you may think of the man's politics, he like other Green Party
members on the Council in the past, has been an utter disaster environmentally.
He is quite open this will be his role in future, to ensure open season for any
apartment developers in the city. That is the course he has pursued consistently
and it has not only not reduced rents, as he predicted it would. It has
simply facilitated a bloated university to leverage students as well as others
into paying ever higher rents in the city. It's not just an irony. It's a
travesty that electing Green Party members to the City Council has had the same
effect on development that electing the most reactionary of Chamber candidates
would have produced. No more Green Party candidates on the Council. That was an
experiment which had to be tried, and that failed miserably and consistently.
The gazette has
detailed how a predatory Texas "property manager" (seriously, is there
another sort from Texas?) has taken over the low rent Corvalla units in the
city, increasing rents by some 50%. The rents in the city are already excessive,
in a country where one third of the population reports housing costs are
unaffordable (more than one-third of income, by the federal government's
definition. The rent
riots of the past few weeks in the San Francisco Bay area (in the city
as well as in Oakland) likely are just a portent of the future and are certainly
predictable if not justified. In the Bay area, the rent hikes are attributed to
the gentrification brought on by Google and Apple, but in Corvallis, it is
specifically the bloating of the University, without concern for affect on the
housing market, which is the culprit. However, this is the second time within a
week that the gazette's move to Albany has benefited Corvallis.
Earlier, the gazette reported OSU's illegal attempt to hide from the
Freedom of Information Act with a faculty member's request for data. Prior to
the move, the gazette's collusion with Corvallis "power" would have precluded
such reporting. A move to Idaho or Iowa for the editor would maybe yield even
more significant results, with the divorce from all local interests.
Purina hasn't helped the brand name much by providing poison through
Land O' Lakes to dairy farms in Oregon, according to a jury. "Land O’Lakes
allowed a salesman who was not trained as an animal nutritionist to adjust the
formula of feed sold to the Kastes, upping the amount of copper in the feed to
six times the required level, and taking out needed phosphorous. As a result,
the cattle were slowly poisoned by the excessive copper, and because of the lack
of phosphorous, the cattle’s bodies began feeding on the phosphorous in their
It started with the University of Oregon giving Phil Knight
veto rights over athletic staff, but now the "evil Koch Bros." are going beyond
to fund university positions with the proviso that they get veto rights on
college hires. They've
started with FSU since anything awful will fly in Florida, but it's
likely coming to the rest of the country. Republicans have long salivated at the
idea of "privatising" public education for the profit of their sponsors, and it
has come a step closer to reality.
In related news, the number of book burnings/ bannings this
involved governments in 29 states, an increase of 50%. Attempts by the
same forces tried to criminalize the filming of cruelty to animals by animal
supporters in 11 states. All of those bills
failed or were vetoed. But here in Oregon, they were able to make
illegal local efforts to contain "frankenfood" products, thanks to the baffling
acquiescence of the governor.
attempt to get Republicans to sign on to a bill which benefits not the
ultra-rich, but students, Democratic Senators are again introducing a student
debt relief bill. "A group of Democratic senators Thursday announced a package
of bills aimed at lowering student loan debt, including measures that would pump
more money into grant aid, restore bankruptcy relief to student loans and
require colleges and universities to be held accountable for defaulted student
failure of Fedex and UPS in the delivery of Christmas packages in
Corvallis as elsewhere came only to the surprise of the uninformed. No such
complaints came from the United Postal Service, the constitutionally mandated
provided conveyer of postal deliveries. That came despite the Republicans
attempt to push the service exclusively into the corporations whose owners
control the GOP (as they pushed
healthcare to the corporations with Obama instead of single payer as
Vermont does, and software writing for the web to the likes of
Oracle in Oregon). The recent study, which documented the doubling
of costs when corporate entities take over the function of public services, says
little of the wages and conditions imposed upon employees by those entities. Fed
Ex is notorious in that respect. But brace yourself. Republicans are trying to
sell the gutted mail delivery services to their string callers as well. They
will not rest easy as long as a single middle class family continues to exist,
their modest income not in the pocket of the wealthy (and this week, of
denying the most basic of unemployment benefits to the jobless). And
they no longer need to move their money offshore to hide it from the feds when
they can legally launder it all in
For the past 8 years, I’ve had the privilege of representing
my neighbors in the Oregon House. I’ve worked with legislators from across the
aisle and across our state to put the future of Oregon ahead of narrow political
interests. I’ve seen amazing things happen when committed people work together
to make a difference.
As 2013 comes to a close, my time in the House is winding down too. I’m taking
on a new challenge. I’m running for the Oregon Senate in 2014 and I can only win
with your help.
Over the next 311 days (not that I'm counting!) I will knock on thousands of
doors and attend dozens of forums, coffees and endorsement interviews. But
nothing will be more important than having a chance to talk to my fellow
citizens in Corvallis, Philomath, Millersburg, Albany and Tangent. I’m ready to
hear their concerns, hopes and ideas for the future of our state.
The race in Senate District 8 will be one of the top legislative targets in the
state. My opponent’s supporters are expected to spend hundreds of thousands of
dollars to try to defeat me, but I’m ready to wage a tough campaign so I can
return to Salem.
My campaign needs to get a jumpstart to be ready to fight the attacks. We need
to open campaign headquarters, hire staff, print literature, buy signs and start
our outreach across the district.
We’re off to a great start with over 130 individual donors, but we still have a
long way to go.
As you consider year-end causes to support, I’m hoping you can add my Senate
campaign to your list. If you haven’t made a political contribution to any
candidate yet this year, you may be eligible for a political tax credit on your
Oregon tax return of $50 for an individual or $100 for a couple. That means a
contribution made before the end of the day on December 31 can be returned to
you on tax day in the form of a tax credit. (Learn more about the Oregon
Political Tax Credit here.)
In the meantime, your contribution will help build the strong campaign we need
to win in 2014. ActBlue makes it easy to contribute online by visiting this
Of course, there are many ways to support the campaign. We’re looking for
volunteers to host house parties, canvass door to door and staff phone banks. If
you’d like to get involved, please email my campaign manager Kim and she can get
you all set up!
As always, I’m grateful for your encouragement and I’ll work hard every day to
be worthy of your support.
Best wishes for 2014,
As CEOs look back on 2013 they have one big piece of
unfinished business – making sure they can push the job-killing Trans-Pacific
Partnership trade deal through Congress using "fast track."
Negotiators missed their year-end deadline to wrap up the deal, but corporate
lobbyists are doubling down over the holidays. They want senators to pass fast
track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, so that Congress cannot amend or
change the negotiated agreement and must vote it up or down within 90 days.
The fight against fast track and for our jobs, wages and living standards starts
with you. Your senator, Ron Wyden, serves on the Senate Finance Committee which
will hold a key vote on the bill. Click here to write Senator Wyden today asking
him to vote no on Trade Promotion Authority for the TPP.
The TPP would give corporations new powers to attack important workers' rights,
environmental and public health protections. It would offshore millions of
American jobs and erode wages here at home. It would decrease access to
life-saving medicines and flood the U.S. marketplace with unsafe food.
It won’t be easy, but we can win this fight. In the past few months labor,
community, environmental and consumer activists have helped generate significant
opposition to granting Fast Track for TPP. Nearly 200 House members, including
25 Republicans, have written to the President opposing Fast Track for TPP.
Write Senator Wyden today: http://go.cwa.net/stop-fasttrack
Online Communications Director
2013 will be remembered as a year of unity and power for
immigrant families: Our movement's tireless work moved the Senate to pass a
bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill in June, and kept relentless
pressure on Speaker Boehner and other House leaders to follow the Senate's
example. Although we did not see reform signed into law this year, we witnessed
a fundamental shift in our country's support for reform with a path to
citizenship, and we mobilized the broadest and most diverse coalition of its
kind to demand action from Congress. It is now the voices and stories of our
families at the center of this debate.
I saw our movement come alive this year. We pushed ourselves to do more than we
ever thought possible by risking arrest and confronting the most powerful people
in Congress when and where they least expected it. Some even put their own
bodies on the line by fasting for reform. None of this would have been possible
without you. With every petition signature, every call, every rally, every
action, you built the foundation that gave our movement its tenacity and its
strength. I am grateful for all you have done, and I thank you for helping bring
us to this moment in history.
We proved this year that we are an undeniable force, and next year will see our
campaign for immigrant justice continue. We will keep focus on the legislative
fight in Congress to ensure that the House of Representatives ends their
stalling and that reform becomes reality in 2014. We will fight to put an end to
the senseless and devastating deportation policy that tears apart 1,100 families
every single day -- individuals who would benefit from the passage of
immigration reform that Speaker Boehner has obstructed. We will again show our
political power at the ballot box -- just as we did when we made history in 2012
-- to reward those who stand with us and to punish those who stand in our way.
As we mark the end of 2013, I hope you and your loved ones can take a moment to
rest and reflect on this tremendous year of action. It is for our families that
we fought this year, and it is for them that we will continue to fight to
victory in 2014.
With hope and determination,
Donna De La Cruz
Reform Immigration FOR America
Weekly Column from Colorof
COLOR US AMERICA
A Sabine County, TX community suspects foul play and a police cover-up after
the tragic disappearance and death of Alfred Wright — a 28-year-old Black
husband and father of three.1
In November, Alfred went missing in a section of Texas notorious for racial
violence and hostility directed at Black residents.2 Days after Alfred's
mutilated body was located by a family-organized search party — in an area
police claimed was searched repeatedly by trained dogs3 — the county medical
examiner released an autopsy claiming his death was "accidental" and caused by
"combined drug intoxication."4 But a separate, family-ordered independent
autopsy found evidence of severe head and neck trauma and determined there was a
"high likelihood of homicidal violence."5
Growing doubt with the official story and the two conflicting autopsies have
forced the Department of Justice and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to
launch independent investigations into Alfred's disappearance and death. But
this is not enough. Your voice can help ensure that the DOJ, Texas Governor and
AG feel the pressure of a national spotlight, are compelled to make the
investigation a high priority, and dedicate the resources necessary to find the
truth and hold local law enforcement accountable.
join us in demanding that the Department of Justice, Governor Rick Perry
and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott conduct a thorough investigation into
both Alfred’s death and the Sabine County Sheriff’s Department’s mishandling of
the initial investigation. Violent and unsolved murders when the victim is Black
are an old story in this part of Texas and Alfred's family has good reason to
suspect racially-motivated foul play. In 1998, just 45 minutes away from where
Alfred’s body was discovered, James Byrd was beaten to death by three white
supremacists, chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged by his ankles
for three miles.6 The three men responsible for James Byrd's lynching and murder
were convicted only after strong and sustained public pressure forced the
government to prosecute and enact historic hate crimes legislation.7
Call on state and federal officials to conduct a thorough investigation into
Alfred’s death and the Sabine County Sheriff’s Department’s mishandling of the
Law enforcement officers across the country often use deeply ingrained
stereotypes to demonize Black men and boys as drug addicts and “thugs” in order
to justify the violence perpetrated against them.8,9 These dangerous notions
lead to a culture of impunity where Black folks like Alfred are seen as
undeserving of police resources, including a thorough investigation.10
Due to the Sabine County police department's egregious history of
racially-motivated attacks against Black residents, few in that community trust
that the Sheriff's Department can conduct a proper investigation when the victim
is Black.11 In 1987, a Black man named Loyal Garner was arrested in Sabine
County, charged with drunk driving and taken to the county jail where he was
severely bludgeoned, hospitalized and eventually died from the brutal assault.
The three white police officers responsible for Loyal Garner's death were
quickly acquitted of civil rights charges.12
Our elected officials and leaders in government have a duty to hold law
enforcement to a high standard of conduct and ensure that the murders of Black
people do not go unsolved.
Please join us in demanding a thorough investigation into Alfred’s death and the
Sabine County Sheriff’s Department’s mishandling of the investigation. And when
you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.
Thanks and Peace,
--Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Kim, Johnny and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
I'm 21 and still a virgin. I also have depression. I'm not bad looking. I work
out and generally keep people laughing. I got a lot of female attention in
school, but I was hopeless and still am. Most of my friends have girlfriends, so
I don't understand why I haven't had a girlfriend since I was 10. I feel myself
becoming increasingly violent, to the extent that I have tried to provoke a
fight that wasn't necessary and I try to intimidate other guys when I'm out.
I've been unemployed for three years since dropping out of college, and I
haven't really met a girl I was interested in since school. I've never made the
first move with girls. I never feel compelled to, regardless of how attractive I
find them. I do get a lot of eye contact from girls, and I've been approached by
girls, but we barely ever get past exchanging names before they wander off or
their friends pull them away. Writing this out has made me realize I should
start approaching girls, but I don't think it's just that. Surely I should've
met someone by now? Any advice would be greatly appreciated./p>
-Hopeless over Painful Experience<
Women typically expect the guy to do the approaching/asking out/hitting on,
HOPE, so that's definitely something you'll have to work on. And if a woman is
making eye contact with you in a space where it's generally understood that
people are open to meeting new people, flirting with them, and potentially
fucking them (house parties, bars, clubs, CPAC), eye contact is an invitation to
But if women are approaching you and then "wandering off" after conversing with
you for a moment or two—or being rescued by their friends—then you're doing
something wrong. I'm guessing you came across as angry and potentially violent
because you are angry and potentially violent, and you've made a self-defeating
decision to cultivate an intimidating vibe. That shit repels people, HOPE, and
you're never going to get anywhere with women—or employers, for that matter—if
you give yourself over to anger, violence, and menace. Bearing this in mind
might take the edge off your anger: Fully 15 percent of 21-year-old men are
virgins, HOPE, while only 5 percent of 25-year-old men are virgins. So you have
a better than 66 percent chance of losing your virginity in the next few years
if you can stop (1) wallowing in self-pity, and (2) giving yourself over to
My advice: Get your ass to a doctor and a therapist. Medication can help with
the depression, and a good therapist can help you overcome your anger,
self-pity, and violent fantasies. Getting help, HOPE, is the best way to
increase your odds of getting laid and/or getting a girlfriend. -
DEAR MEXICAN: Why does every Mexican
family have a jealous cousin driven by insecurity?
Must Excuse Vulgar-Ass Lingual Expression
DEAR ME VALE: Take your pick. It's because a) your dad unwittingly insulted his
or her dad back on the rancho when they were boys, and your cousin was taught to
hate you as a result; b) your mom unwittingly insulted his or her mom back on
the rancho when they were girls, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a
result; c) your tío or tía insulted his or her aunt or uncle back on the rancho
when they were children, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result; d)
your abuelitos hated on his or her grandparents back on the rancho when they
were young adults, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result; or e) you
unwittingly insulted your cousin at some point in your lives, and he or she has
hated you ever since even though ustedes grew up the best of friends. Point is,
nearly all primo rivalries aren't based in any concrete reason for enmity, but
rather a bunch of rancho gossip that rears its pathetic head at every funeral,
when you see dozens of adults related by blood, standing as far away from one
another as possible and teaching their kids to do the same. '-
Mr. Ralston has been
arrested again for telephonic harassment, as well as violation of a
stalking order and 2 counts of illegal use of a weapon.
In other crime news of electronic invasions, Florida cops
hid their use of a secret phone tracking device because the
corporation making the phone made them sign an anti-disclosure agreement.
simplest of electronic devices was a source of controversy when the
Republican leader Daryl Issa - incidentally "accused
of arson, car theft, and threatening a former employee with a gun" turned
the mic switch off when a Democrat decided to challenge him.
The CIA secretly
spied on the staff of the Senate Intelligence committee, proving
once again that you need to be cautious regarding the source when accepting
computer gifts. Trojan horses can be used a little differently but as
effectively as 2,500 years ago in Troy.
The Obama administration has hired a former SOPA lobbyist to head the secret
talks on the TPP, the government's latest
plan to turn the internet over to huge international corporations
dominated from within the U.S..
That Texas "family court" judge who badly
embarrassed the state when a video of him violently beating his
daughter went viral has lost his seat in yesterday's election. Who'd have
thought Texans had any sense of shame left?
In other political crime news, a Florida Congressman has been
charged with physically assaulting his wife in the midst of a
The only news of Christian crime today was "Dr. Mike", a man who has
wandered around Oklahoma giving what he calls "Jesus shots" which cure any
ailment, a serum he
claims to have developed with the U.S. Army Special Forces. "Dr.
Mike had his medical license revoked after being released from prison for
fraud in Ohio.
Otherwise, Christians avoided the crime columns of the newspapers. In fact,
an adorable little girl who impromptu decided to direct the choir went
The cops today were equally crime free.
Oakland's huge plan to mount cameras, license plate readers, mapping
software and detection devices across the city has had to be
scaled back in the face of public alarm.
In New Orleans, it's Mardi Gras week and the cops are in the mood
Bigotry was still evident. Lawmakers in Virginia
walked out when their Euro peers decided to pass a resolution
praising an unrepentant segregationist who represented the state in the U.S.
Senate for 18 years. But racism is over, no?
In other Oregon crime news, a man who tried to dissemble an ATM with a
welding torch has been
arrested. Among his many charges are wearing armored underwear in
case of accident.
In gun fondler news, after a Fox News figure
said it was "hilarious" to see people posing 6 month olds with guns,
a Florida man was
demonstrating gun safety when he accidentally shot a 12 year old
girl, then accidentally also shot himself. Florida disease strikes again.
In related news of gun fondlers, the Obama administration has
asked the Japanese government, whose prime minister is the son of a
convicted war criminal, to tone down his militaristic rhetoric and work with
South Korea rather than resorting to threats. A Christian militia in Africa
which has been
abandoned by leaders and is internationally condemned after committing
terrible crimes is now
holed up in an empty palace, training with wooden guns and hunting
mice for food.
In sex crime news, the Philadelphia man who was arrested for publicly
masturbating with Swiss cheese has been
re-arrested for the same crime.
In drug news, Washington DC.
legalized marijuana. A study has shown that the greatest
purveyors of pharmaceutical drugs are friends, relatives and
In property crime news, Dollar General has
nabbed a thief who was responsible for a sustained theft spree,
usually involving pig ears, bones and dog treats. The culprit was found to
be a husky who sneaked in alongside customers and buried his loot in the lot
behind the store.
In ridiculous legal news, the cheerleader who
sued her parents after leaving home 2 days before her 18th birthday
to force them to give her $650 a week allowance, pay her tuition at a
private school and attorney fees was sent back to the drawing board by a
But by far the most interesting crime news was a pair of
letters from Texas. The
first was by Texas death row inmate Ray Jasper, sentenced to die
March 19, a letter to Gawker likely "my final statement on earth". It is
lengthy, but worth reading in its
When I first responded to you, I didn't think that it would cause people to
reach out to me and voice their opinions. I've never been on the internet in
my life and I'm not fully aware of the social circles on the internet, so it
was a surprise to receive reactions so quickly.
I learned that some of the responses on your website were positive and some
negative. I can only appreciate the conversation. Osho once said that one
person considered him like an angel and another person considered him like a
devil, he didn't attempt to refute neither perspective because he said that
man does not judge based on the truth of who you are, but on the truth of
who they are.
Your words struck a chord with me. You said that my perspective is different
and therefore my words have a sort of value. Yet, you're talking to a young
man that's been judged unworthy to breathe the same air you breathe. That's
like a hobo on the street walking up to you and you ask him for spare
Without any questions, you've given me a blank canvas. I'll only address
what's on my heart. Next month, the State of Texas has resolved to kill me
like some kind of rabid dog, so indirectly, I guess my intention is to use
this as some type of platform because this could be my final statement on
I think 'empathy' is one of the most powerful words in this world that is
expressed in all cultures. This is my underlining theme. I do not own a
dictionary, so I can't give you the Oxford or Webster definition of the
word, but in my own words, empathy means 'putting the shoe on the other
Empathy. A rich man would look at a poor man, not with sympathy, feeling
sorrow for the unfortunate poverty, but also not with contempt, feeling
disdain for the man's poverish state, but with empathy, which means the rich
man would put himself in the poor man's shoes, feel what the poor man is
feeling, and understand what it is to be the poor man.
Empathy breeds proper judgement. Sympathy breeds sorrow. Contempt breeds
arrogance. Neither are proper judgements because they're based on emotions.
That's why two people can look at the same situation and have totally
different views. We all feel differently about a lot of things. Empathy
gives you an inside view. It doesn't say 'If that was me...', empathy says,
'That is me.'
What that does is it takes the emotions out of situations and forces us to
be honest with ourselves. Honesty has no hidden agenda. Thoreau proposed
that 'one honest man' could morally regenerate an entire society.
Looking through the eyes of empathy & honesty, I'll address some of the
topics you mentioned. It's only my perspective.
The Justice system is truly broken beyond repair and the sad part is there
is no way to start over. Improvements can be made. If honest people stand
up, I think they will be made over time. I know the average person isn't
paying attention to all the laws constantly being passed by state & federal
legislation. People are more focused on their jobs, raising kids and trying
to find entertainment in between time. The thing is, laws are being changed
right and left.
A man once said that revolution comes when you inform people of their
rights. Martin Luther King said a revolution comes by social action and
legal action working hand in hand. I'm not presenting any radical
revolutionary view, the word revolution just means change. America changes
as the law changes.
Under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution all prisoners in America
are considered slaves. We look at slavery like its a thing of the past, but
you can go to any penitentiary in this nation and you will see slavery. That
was the reason for the protests by prisoners in Georgia in 2010. They said
they were tired of being treated like slaves. People need to know that when
they sit on trial juries and sentence people to prison time that they are
sentencing them to slavery.
If a prisoner refuses to work and be a slave, they will do their time in
isolation as a punishment. You have thousands of people with a lot of prison
time that have no choice but to make money for the government or live in
isolation. The affects of prison isolation literally drive people crazy. Who
can be isolated from human contact and not lose their mind? That was the
reason California had an uproar last year behind Pelican Bay. 33,000 inmates
across California protested refusing to work or refusing to eat on
hunger-strikes because of those being tortured in isolation in Pelican Bay.
I think prison sentences have gotten way out of hand. People are getting
life sentences for aggravated crimes where no violence had occurred. I know
a man who was 24 years old and received 160 years in prison for two
aggravated robberies where less that $500 was stole and no violence took
place. There are guys walking around with 200 year sentences and they're not
even 30 years old. Its outrageous. Giving a first time felon a sentence
beyond their life span is pure oppression. Multitudes of young people have
been thrown away in this generation.
The other side of the coin is there are those in the corporate world making
money off prisoners, so the longer they're in prison, the more money is
being made. It's not about crime & punishment, it's about crime & profit.
Prison is a billion dollar industry. In 1996, there were 122 prisons opened
across America. Companies were holding expos in small towns showing how more
prisons would boost the economy by providing more jobs.
How can those that invest in prisons make money if people have sentences
that will allow them to return to free society? If people were being
rehabilitated and sent back into the cities, who would work for these
corporations? That would be a bad investment. In order for them to make
money, people have to stay in prison and keep working. So the political move
is to tell the people they're tough on crime and give people longer
Chuck Colson, former advisor to the President once said that they were
passing laws to be tough on crime, but they didn't even know who the laws
were affecting. It wasn't until the Watergate scandal and Colson himself
going to prison that he learned who the laws were affecting. Colson ended up
forming the largest prison ministry in America. He also foreseen in his book
THE GOD OF SPIDERS & STONES that America was forming a new society within
its prisons. Basically, that prison would become a nation inside this
nation. He predicted that over a million people would be locked up by the
year 2000. The book was written in the 8O's. Now, its 2014 and almost two
million people are locked up. It's not that crime is the issue. Crime still
goes on daily. It's that the politics surrounding crime have changed and it
has become a numbers game. Dollars & Cents. You have people like Michael
Jordan who invest millions of dollars in the prison system. Any shrewed
businessman would if you have no empathy for people locked up and you just
want to make some money.
I don't agree with the death penalty. It's a very Southern practice from
that old lynching mentality. Almost all executions take place in the South
with a few exceptions here and there. Texas is the leading State by far. I'm
not from Texas. I was raised in California. Coming from the West Coast to
the South was like going back in time. I didn't even think real cowboys
existed. Texas is a very 'country' state, aside a few major cities. There
are still small towns that a black person would not be welcomed. California
is more of a melting pot. I grew up in the Bay Area where its very diverse.
The death penalty needs to be abolished. Life without parole is still a
death sentence. The only difference is time. To say you need to kill a
person in a shorter amount of time is just seeking revenge on that person.
If the death penalty must exist, I think it should only be for cases where
more than one person is killed like these rampant shootings that have taken
place around the country the last few years. Also, in a situation of
If you're not giving the death penalty for murder, then the government is
already saying that the taking of one's life is not worth the death penalty.
Capital murder is if you take someone's life and commit another felony at
the same time. That's Texas law. That makes a person eligible for the death
penalty The problem is, you're not getting the death penalty for murder,
you're actually getting it for the other felony. That doesn't make common
sense. You can kill a man but you will not get the death penalty......if you
kill a man and take money out his wallet, now you can get the death penalty.
I'm on death row and yet I didn't commit the act of murder. I was convicted
under the law of parties. When people read about the case, they assume I
killed the victim, but the facts are undisputed that I did not kill the
victim. The one who killed him plead guilty to capital murder for a life
sentence. He admitted to the murder and has never denied it. Under the Texas
law of parties, they say it doesn't matter whether I killed the victim or
not, I'm criminally responsible for someone else's conduct. But I was the
only one given the death penalty.
The law of parties is a very controversial law in Texas. Most Democrats
stand against it. It allows the state to execute someone who did not commit
the actual act of murder. There are around 50 guys on death row in Texas who
didn't kill anybody, but were convicted as a party. The lethal injection has
become a real controversial issue here of late because states are using
drugs that they're not authorize to use to execute people. The lethal
injection is an old Nazi practice deriving from the Jewish Holocaust. To use
that method to kill people today, when it's unconstitutional to use it on
dogs, is saying something very cruel and inhumane. People don't care because
they think they're killing horrible people. No empathy. Just contempt.
I understand that it's not popular to talk about race issues these days, but
I speak on the subject of race because I hold a burden in my heart for all
the young blacks who are locked up or who see the street life as the only
means to make something of themselves. When I walked into prison at 19 years
old, I said to myself 'Damn, I have never seen so many black dudes in my
life'. I mean, it looked like I went to Africa. I couldn't believe it. The
lyrics of 2Pac echoed in my head, 'The penitentiary is packed/ and its
filled with blacks'.
It's really an epidemic, the number of blacks locked up in this country.
That's why I look, not only at my own situation, but why all of us young
blacks are in prison. I've come to see, it's largely due to an indentity
crisis. We don t know our history. We don't know how to really indentify
with white people. We are really of a different culture, but by being
slaves, we lost ourselves.
When you have a black man name John Williams and a white man name John
Williams, the black man got his name from the white man. Within that lies a
lost of identity. There are blacks in this country that don't even consider
themselves African. Well, what are we? When did we stop being African? If
you ask a young black person if they're African, they will say 'No, I'm
American'. They've lost their roots. They think slavery is their roots.
Again, its a strong identity crisis.
You take the identity crisis, mix it with capitalism, where money comes
before empathy, and you'll have a lot of young blacks trying to get money by
any means because they're trying to get out of poverty or stay out of
poverty. Now, money is what they try to find an identity in. They feel like
if they get rich, legal or illegal, they've become somebody. Which in
America is partly true because superficially we hail the rich and despise
the poor. We give Jay-Z more credit than we do Al Sharpton. What has Jay-Z
done besides get rich? Yet we see dollar signs and somehow give more respect
to the man with the money.
A French woman who moved to America asked me one day, 'Why don't black kids
want to learn?' Her husband was a high school teacher. She said the white
and asian kids excel in school, but the black and hispanic kids don't. I
said that all kids want to learn, it's just a matter of what you're trying
to teach them. Cutting a frog open is not helping a black kid in the ghetto
who has to listen to police sirens all night and worry about getting shot.
Those kids need life lessons. They need direction. When you have black kids
learning more about the Boston Tea Party than the Black Panther Party, I
guarantee you won't keep their attention. But it was the Black Panther Party
that got them free lunch.People point their fingers at young blacks, call
them thugs and say they need to pull up their pants. That's fine, but you're
not feeding them any knowledge. You're not giving them a vision. All you're
saying is be a square like me. They're not going to listen to you because
you have guys like Jay-Z and Rick Ross who are millionaires and sag their
pants. Changing the way they dress isn't changing the way they think. As the
Bible says, 'Where there's no vision the people perish'. Young blacks need
to learn their identity so they can have more respect for the blacks that
suffered for their liberties than they have for someone talking about
selling drugs over a rap beat who really isn't selling drugs.
They have to be exposed to something new. Their minds have to be challenged,
not dulled. They know the history of the Crips & Bloods, but they can't tell
you who Garvey or Robeson is. They can quote Drake & Lil Wayne but they
can't tell you what Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton has done. Across the
nation, they gravitate to Crips & Bloods. I tell those I know the same
thing, not to put blue & red before black. They were black first. It's
senseless, but they are trying to find a purpose to live for and if a gang
gives them a sense of purpose that's what they will gravitate to. They
aren't being taught to live and die for something greater. They're not being
challenged to do better.
Black history shouldn't be a month, it should be a course, an elective
taught year around. I guarantee black kids would take that course if it was
available to them. How many black kids would change their outlook if they
knew that they were only considered 3/5's of a human being according to the
U.S Constitution? That black people were considered part animal in this
country. They don't know that. When you learn that, you carry yourself with
a different level of dignity for all we've overcome.
Before Martin Luther King was killed he drafted a bill called 'The Bill for
the Disadvantaged'. It was for blacks and poor whites. King understood that
in order to have a successful life, you have to decrease the odds of
failure. You have to change the playing field. I'm not saying there's no
personal responsibility for success, that goes without saying, but there's
also a corporate responsibility. As the saying goes, when you see someone
who has failed, you see someone who was failed.
Neither am I saying that advantages are always circumstancial. Sometimes its
knowledge or opportunity that gives an advantage. A lot of times it is the
circumstances. Flowers grow in gardens, not in hard places. Using myself as
an example, I was 15 when my first love got shot 9 times in Oakland. Do you
think I m going to care about book reports when my girlfriend was shot in
the face? I understand Barack Obama saying there is no excuse for blacks or
anyone else because generations past had it harder than us. That's true.
However, success is based on probabilities and the odds. Everyone is not on
a level playing field. For some, the odds are really stacked against them.
I'm not saying they can't be overcome, but it's not likely.
I'm not trying to play the race card, I'm looking at the roots of why so
many young blacks are locked up. The odds are stacked against us, we suffer
from an identity crisis, and we're being targeted more, instead of taught
better. Ask any young black person their views on the Police, I assure you
their response will not be positive. Yet if you have something against the
Police, who represent the government, you cannot sit on a trial jury. A
young black woman was struck from the jury in my case because she said she
sees the Police as 'intimidators'. She never had a good experience with the
Police like most young blacks, but even though she's just being true to her
experience, she's not worthy to take part as a juror in a trial.
White people really don't understand how it extreme it is to be judged by
others outside your race. In the book TRIAL & ERROR: THE TEXAS DEATH PENALTY
Lisa Maxwell paints this picture to get the point across and if any white
person reading this is honest with themselves, they will clearly understand
the point. I cannot quote it word for word, but this was the gist of it...
Imagine you're a young white guy facing capital murder charges where you can
receive the death penalty... the victim in the case is a black man... when
you go to trial and step into the courtroom... the judge is a black man...
the two State prosecutors seeking the death penalty on you... are also black
men... you couldn't afford an attorney, so the Judge appointed you two
defense lawyers who are also black men... you look in the jury box...
there's 8 more black people and 4 hispanics... the only white person in the
courtroom is you... How would you feel facing the death penalty? Do you
believe you'll receive justice?
As outside of the box as that scene is, those were the exact circumstances
of my trial. I was the only black person in the courtroom.
Again, I'm not playing the race card, but empathy is putting the shoe on the
The last thing on my heart is about religion and the death penalty. There
are several well-known preachers in Texas and across the South that teach
their congregations that the death penalty is right by God and backed by the
Bible. The death penalty is a governmental issue not a spiritual issue.
Southern preachers who advocate the death penalty are condoning evil. They
need to learn the legalities of capital punishment. The State may have the
power to put people to death, but don't preach to the public that it's God's
will. It's the State's will.
If God wanted me to die for anything, I would be dead already. I talk to God
everday. He's not telling me I'm some kind of menace that He can't wait to
see executed. God is blessing me daily. God is showing me His favor & grace
on my life. Like Paul said, I was the chief of sinners, but God had mercy on
me because He knew I was ignorant. The blood of Abel cryed vengeance, the
blood of Jesus cryed mercy.
There are preachers like John Hagee in San Antonio who have influence over
thousands of people, who not only attend his church, but also watch his TV
program, and hear him condoning the death penalty. Hagee doesn't see his
Southern mentality condones the death penalty, not the scriptures. There is
absolutely nothing in the Bible that condones the way Texas executes people
Southern preachers use scriptures like God telling Noah, 'Whoever shed's
man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed'. 'That's murder. Under Texas
law, you cannot receive the death penalty for murder. There is no such thing
as capital murder in the Bible, where murder must be in the course of
another felony. Yet, they preach capital punishment is God's will. Even if
you're guilty of capital murder in Texas, it doesn't mean you'll receive the
death penalty. People get the death penalty when a jury has judged them to
be a 'continuing threat to society'. 'That means they are deemed so bad that
they have no hope of redemption or change in their behavior. That is the
only reason a person gets the death penalty. They are suppose to be the
absolute worse of the worse, so terrible that they cannot live in prison
with other murderers.
That in itself is contrary to the whole Christian faith that believes no one
is beyond redemption if they repent for their sins and put their faith in
Jesus Christ. For a Christian to advocate the death penalty is a complete
As easy as it is for a preacher to stand up in the pulpit with a Bible and
tell thousands of people the death penalty is right, I challenge any
preacher in Texas, John Hagee or any others to come visit me and tell me
that God wants me to die. Martin Luther King said, 'Capital punishment shows
that America is a merciless nation that will not forgive.'
Again, Mr. Nolan, this is only my perspective. I'm just the hobo on the
street giving away my pennies. A doctor can't look at a person and see
cancer, they have to look beyond the surface. When you look at the Justice
system, the Death Penalty, or anything else, it takes one to go beyond the
surface. Proper diagnosis is half the cure.
I'm a father. My daughter was six weeks old when I got locked up and now
she's 15 in high school. Despite the circumstances, I've tryed to be the
best father in the world. But I knew that her course in life is largely
determine by what I teach her. It's the same with any young person, their
course is determined by what we are teaching them. In the words of
Aristotle, 'All improvement in society begins with the education of the
Ray L. Jasper
Ps: Forgive me for being longwinded, but I was speaking from the heart.
Thanks for the opportunity.
brother of the victim
I'm about to comment on Jasper's statement without having read it. In fact
more than likely I will never read it. I imagine it is not much more than
the statement he made in court to my family. My name is Steven Alejandro,
and it is our brother, son, grandchild and cousin, the forever 33 year old,
David Mendoza Alejandro who was killed by Jasper and his two accomplices.
The facts of the case are readily available on the internet, but allow me to
plainly restate them here. David was killed on November 29 1998. It was
roughly seven to ten days before this date when, unbeknownst to him, David
received his death sentence. Jasper, according to his testimony, needed
money so that he could move out of his parents house and into an apartment
with the mother of his child, his girlfriend. Jasper decided to rob David.
Jasper was an aspiring rapper who had been recording music at David's self
owned recording studio. (An important note here is that Jasper was not a
business partner of David's as has been claimed elsewhere.) This was a
self-made independently owned recording studio, by the way. David had leased
an old apartment complex office, and with his own hands, and the help of our
father, fashioned it into a affordable space for struggling local musicians.
He offered low rates for artists who, much like himself, could not afford
more spacious digs. My brother had no apartment of his own; he would crash
on a couch at our parents house or, more often, sleep on a makeshift bed on
the floor in the studio. He eschewed nicer living quarters so that he could
pour his available money into the studio.
Ray Jasper knew well that he could not rob David's studio equipment without
being fingered to the police by him later. So it was, seven to ten days
prior, Jasper made the decision to end David's life. He enlisted the help of
two others. That night (and this is all from on-the-record courtroom
testimony and statements he gave police in his confession) the three men
made the recording appointment. They were there for roughly two hours
working, recording, David sitting at the control console. Jasper admits to
then grabbing David by his hair, yanking his head back and pulling the
kitchen knife he brought with him across David's throat, slicing it open.
David jumped up and grabbed at his own throat from which blood was flowing.
He began to fight for his life. At this point Jasper called to one of his
accomplices who rushed into the room with another knife. His accomplice then
stabbed David Mendoza Alejandro 25 times. David collapsed, already dead or
dying—we will never know. The final stab wound was at the back of David's
neck; the knife plunged in and left there.
He was then covered with a sheet and the three men proceeded to tear out as
much equipment as they could and load it all into the van they drove there.
As they were loading they were spotted by an off-duty Sheriff who called out
to them. They took off running, and were eventually caught. The evidence was
overwhelming; DNA, fingerprints, confessions. This is and was an open and
shut case, as they say in all the cheesy TV murder investigation shows. One
defendant was offered the choice of a trial by jury, which could end in a
death sentence, or he could avoid the death penalty by admitting his guilt.
He chose to admit his guilt. Jasper, given the same choice, apparently
decided to take his chance with a jury trial.
During the trial, testimony from the Medical Examiner revealed that it was
not technically Jasper's injury to David that caused death, but the
subsequent 25 stab wounds. Jasper's defense team seized upon this as a
defense tactic against a murder charge, and Jasper joined that opinion.
Never mind that Jasper delivered the first attack. At one point while he was
on the stand testifying, he asked to speak to us— David's family members. He
looked us square in the eye and exclaimed "I didn't kill your son. He was
one of the nicest guys I ever met, but I did not kill him." Jasper's
reasoning was that since the M.E. cited the 25 stab wounds as the cause of
death and not the throat slit committed by Jasper, he was technically not
guilty of murder. You can make of that what you will, but it seems any
reasonable person would hold Jasper as culpable in the murder as the other
defendant who finished off David. So the long and short is this final
statement is based in a fantasy that Jasper has convinced himself of. All
evidence to the contrary, it seems he denies he is a murderer and therefore
he feels he should not be executed for the crime.
And now to the Death Penalty issue. I must stress that I speak only for
myself here and for no other family member. Our extended family is much like
the rest of the United States. We are a large American family. There are
Liberals and there are Conservatives in our midst. There are pro-death
penalty and anti-death penalty folks in our tree as well. I am one of those
opposed to the death penalty. As far as I can remember I have been in
opposition to it. My brother David was not opposed to the implementation of
the death penalty. We used to debate the topic often. Sometimes vigorously.
During the trial the prosecutors in the case decided to use me on the
witness stand in an effort to give David a voice. David was one year older
than me. We had been roommates the whole time we lived with our parents. I
was the Best Man at his wedding. I hesitate to say I was happy to testify,
since it remains the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But I
willingly agreed to testify on David's behalf. At the trial, the first thing
the prosecution wanted to do was to introduce David to the Jury through my
words, so I was the first witness called.
After I was sworn in and sat in the chair, the prosecutor handed me a
picture of David. It was a postmortem picture. It was a close up of David's
face from the neck up. His eyes still open. The gash from Jasper's knife
visible. I let out a gasp and when the Prosecutor asked me what the picture
was of I told him, "it's my brother, David." Through tearful testimony, I
tried my best to bring my brother back to life in that courtroom. When I got
off the stand I reached for my father's embrace and sobbed as I had never
before and have not since.
As I wrote earlier, this was an open and shut case and the jury did not take
long to return a guilty verdict. All that was left was the punishment.
During the punishment phase the prosecutor outlines the State's case for the
death penalty and, of course, the defense argues for the sparing of the
defendant's life. I'm sure if you asked, under the Freedom Of Information
Act, you would be able to wade through the trial documents; the prosecutor's
case was convincing for a death penalty verdict from the jury. Ray Jasper
did not grow up on the wrong side of the tracks, he came from a family
wherein his father, a career military man, and his mother were still happily
married. Jasper was not defended by a court appointed lawyer; his defense
was comprised of a well paid for and well known private practice firm.
Jasper had a history of arrests and in fact was out on bail when he
participated in the murder of David. He had, weeks before, assaulted an
off-duty police officer who had stumbled upon Jasper attempting to break
into a house.
During the trial somehow, apparently, the defense team got the idea that
some of our family might be opposed to the death penalty and called my
father to the stand. Nothing my father said could help their defense. When
they called me to the stand the defense attorney asked me what my thoughts
on the death penalty were. I knew what he was doing. He was hoping I would
confess my opposition to the death penalty, thus maybe sparing Ray Jasper's
life. And I could not assist him in good conscience. I've thought often in
the years since If I did the right thing. If, when push came to shove, I
suppressed my own true thoughts in an effort to avenge David's murder. This
is what happened. The defense asked me what my opinion of the death penalty
was. And I said, "I don't think it's relevant what my opinion is." And I
paused. And I don't know where it came from, but I then said, "but I can
tell you what David thought of the death penalty." And the defense attorney
asked me, "what was David's opinion?" And I said, "he always told me that if
there was no question of the guilt of a murder defendant, that the death
penalty was a just punishment." I'll never know for sure, but it's a pretty
good bet David's words uttered through me sealed Ray Jasper's fate.
After everything, I'm still opposed to the death penalty. I have no
intention of witnessing Jasper's execution but I have no intention of
fighting to stop it either. Does this make me a hypocrite? Maybe, but that's
for me to live with. I harbor no illusions that Jasper's ceasing to exist
will ameliorate the pain I feel daily from the loss of David. The truth is I
rarely think of Jasper or the other defendants. I think of David more. Those
thoughts are more important to me than anything else. Certainly more
important than any last statement from Ray Jasper. Though I purposefully
skipped reading Jasper's statement, I did read through the comments. I have
to say to my fellow death penalty opponent friends: Keep up your fight. It
is an honorable one. But do not use this man, Ray Jasper, as your
spokesperson, as your example of why the death penalty should be abolished.
The death penalty should be abolished because it is wrong to kill another
human being. Not because a Medical Examiner said your knife wound did not
cause immediate death. Ray Jasper is not worthy of your good and kind
hearts. He has never accepted culpability or expressed remorse. He is
responsible for viciously ending the life of "the nicest man he ever met."
Responsible for ending the life of the nicest man my family ever met, David
Right: Trisha Rose Perry
Ms Perry has been
busted 5 times in the past year and a half on various meth and theft
charges. She's another Linn County
export vying for a scholarship in the Risland Rehab Clinic (see
below). This time, she was
busted on a probation/parole violation on a theft charge.
Ms Perry's theft pales by
comparison with Oracle Corporation, which "threatened to walk away
from the state's health care exchange with the IT project still unfinished"
unless the state gave them another $45 million. The state should have
responded with warrants for arrest except that huge corporations like Oracle
have written the laws in collaboration with state Republicans that permit
them to skate on what the public clearly sees as a crime. And the crime is
doubled because Larry Ellison, owner of Oracle, is clearly one of the worst
human beings on the planet. And the Oregon administrators of the project
have yet to face any criminal charges for their collaboration.
Along similar lines, Oregon Health Science University is facing
charges from professors that the $200 million sought to "match" Nike
CEO Phil Knight's "challenge" is "being misused to support large executive
bonuses". Clearly, Oregon's executive model has failed by emulating the
greed and incompetence of the corporate sector.
In related news, NYC mayor Bill deBlasio is tossing a sweetheart deal that
allowed a chain of for- profit charter schools owned by a former Council
member to use public space and even food for free. Needless to say, the
corporate stooges of the Republican Party are
And speaking of screaming Republicans, the Teabagger favorite in Texas's
Senate race has threatened to have arrested any media outlet which publishes
a mugshot of his 1977 drug arrest in Michigan. In the spirit of things:
Left: Texas Rep. Steve Stockman
In other Oregon crime news, the rapper Illmaculate walked
ff the stage at Portland's Blue Monk after police and the Fire Marshal
showed up due to one performer's "gang affiliations".
The DDoS attack which closed Meetup.com for days was the result of an unmet
demand for the paltry sum of $300. Sounds like something Ms Perry or
the Rislands could have planned if they were more computer-literate.
It was not a good day for conservatives. The guy from the right wing
"sovereign citizen" movement, so extremist as to make the Koch brothers'
Teabagger Party look like a socialist plot, has pleaded guilty today to a
scheme to seize 9 homes and rent them out after his girlfriend
said she planned to testify against him.
The senior English aide in right wing David Cameron's administration who was
responsible for instituting "porn filters" across the nation was
arrested this morning on kiddie porn charges.
And news from Wisconsin just keeps getting more bizarre. Today, a beautiful
offered money and sex to a high school classmate in exchange for
killing her "controlling" fiancée. When he suggested she just leave the
relationship, she responded that "wouldn't give any satisfaction" and it was
"satisfaction" - aka vengeance, not freedom, that she craved.
Cops and military officers took their share of headlines too. The 15 year
old son of a trooper accidentally
shot and killed a friend in the trooper's home. The rape
trial of an army general starts tomorrow. A military detective who
was raped says she is now the
target of the investigation, not the culprit.
Left: Chad Allen Breeden
Mr. Breeden gave
himself away when, after giving cops a phony name, he bolted, they say. Cops
found 7 outstanding warrants for theft, etc. Now he had new charges, false
info and escape among them. He's another Linn County export.
Class war has
found its way into Benton County, with a Jaguar owner claiming 10
gallons of gas were siphoned from the auto.
In other class war news, Sea-Tac's
decision to raise the minimm wage to $15 has had nothing but
positive effects on the economy, researchers say. Elsewhere, more than 2
dozen people were
busted in a carjacking ring specializing in "luxury SUVs -
particularly those made by Land Rover, BMW and Mercedes Benz" exported to
The tax fraud cases of rich Americans using Swiss banks to hide their income
has been possible only, it turns out, because Rand Paul has single handedly
blocked attempts to ferret out the wealthy criminals. The
ultra-right wing Republican governor of Wisconsin has
overseen a new transfer of wealth to the uber-rich.
Russian banks have run out of their last reserves of foreign currency for
following the intervention in the Ukraine. The Russian stock market
fallen 20%. Neo-Nazis from across Europe have been
pouring members into the Ukraine for weeks and are stepping up their
intervention. Once again, as in Eypt, the winner- take- all method has
fallen short, as a democratically elected president has proven to be
intolerable to a near- majority, which has in turn driven him from office. A
mess always ensues.
In related gun-fondler crime news, a Georgia man who
gunned down a confused 33-year Air Force veteran and Alzheimer
patient asking directions was freed under the state's "Stand Your Ground"
policies. And the racist nature of Stand Your Ground laws - despite claims
of not being so - is clear once again in the case of a black woman who fired
a mere warning shot in front of her threatening ex-husband. She is
facing 60 years in prison.
In Egypt, au contraire, cops who
tortured and killed a blogger received 10 years in prison.
On the other hand, bigotry took another blow as 12 Years a Slave took home
Oscars by the truck load. Runner up was Gravity, with the very fine
actor and human being George Clooney. In the Onion's poll, however,
Karen Mullen reflected the Teabagger view when she
remarked that "I thought the whole ‘slavery is wrong’ message was a
A Texas woman
won what is hoped to be the first of a series of successful lawsuits
against a man who ostensibly loved her and yet put very private photos on
the web when she left.
Obviously, prejudice didn't just disappear, with a complaint by the
Christian preacher who wants to sue gay people in a class action lawsuit,
that people in the pews start to
squirm whenever he begins talking about that "perversion", anal sex,
in churches. And right win columnist John Derbyshire, the fired National
Review write regarded as a hero by Teabaggers, said today that conservatives
give up trying to recruit anyone but white supremacist males. And
Uganda's Episcopalians said they would secede of the mother church opposes
the country's new persecution- of- gays
In more hopeful Christian news, the Pope let slip a swear word, with the
Italian word for "f*ck"
slipping from the wannabee oneday Saint. "Now, if he’d just do some
real cussin’ where it’s needed — “I have HAD it with these motherf*cking
priests in my motherf*cking Church!” or perhaps, “F*ck yeah, Third
Vatican Conference or GTFO!” — we’d all be a lot
happier with that. In any case, a lesson to you all: When in Italy,
you want to avoid saying “Mi Cazzo es su Cazzo.” Or maybe you don’t."
Finally, the Justice Department has
documented the beatings and rapes of women in Alabama prisons, where
women get toilet paper and tampons only in exchange for sex with guards.
Right: Daniel Travis Meyer
Mr. Meyer has replaced the Rislands as the Numero Uno
nuisance criminal in the city now that the Risland are in prison. He has been busted regularly for meth,
thefts, etc. over the past 2 years. He was
busted this time for meth, failing to show in court on a list of previous
charges as well as another theft charge and car boosting
charge. Justmugshots has made a video
specifically for him. With each arrest, his mugshot more closely
resembles that of a zombie movie walk on. Poor slob.
The pace of crime ticked up everywhere today. Especially noteworthy was the
revitalized Christian criminal element. "Bill" Gothard, the "biblical
institute" leader who palled with Republican hopefuls Sarah Palin and Mike
Huckabee has been "relieved of his duties" at the "institute" after child
surfaced on the Recovering Grace website.
In related news, 4 of Texas's wackiest right wing politicians say they were
cleaned out by a Christian Ponzi scheme operator who had a dome in
his mansion, with biblical verses proclaiming him "a godly man". The
Christian pastor Tony Alamo has been
saddled with a half billion dollar judgment on behalf of his sex
The leader of Wisconsin's Republican Assembly is going to be
booted after sex charges surfaced, despite his offer to enter
treatment. In other Wisconsin sex crime news, a woman received a paltry 9
probation for holding 2 men hostage, refusing to let them go until
at least one had sex with her.
It wasn't just Christians in trouble. Snowboarders may be, after a
snowoarder illegally recreating is said to have caused an avalanche that
destroyed a home and buried 3 people in Montana.
Left: Mikical Keith Stanley
Mr. Stanley was
busted on a parole/probation violation, from Lincoln County on a sex
abuse charge. Mr. Stanley was
busted 2 years ago on domestic violence and assault charges, and on
sex abuse and sex
charges with a minor.
Elsewhere in the Northwest, the Idaho
law prohibiting videos taken of animal abuse which was triggered by
an exposure of farm workers sexually abusing a cow has passed. Idaho will
now be safe for cow rapers.
In Texas, a special needs child was
raped and the principal was "too busy" to deal with it.
It doesn't always make sense to aspire to be a bubble gummer's rave, as 25
year old internet musical star Michael Lombardo found, when e was sentenced
today to 5 years in
prison for exchanging nude images with under aged girls.
In China, more than 2 dozen are
dead after a gang attacked a train station with a knife. Imagine, if
they'd been allowed to carry assault rifles.
Right: Shawna Kaylee Sturis
Ms Sturis has been busted for not showing up on charges
related to a
raid 4 weeks ago when her boyfriend was busted with a stolen laptop,
cops say, at her boyfriend's house. But she wasn't busted for felony-stupid
in boyfriend choice(it was Philomath after, all.). She was busted for letting her 2 year old ave access to drugs.
Her boyfriend's parents were busted too and cops say they found scales for
selling drugs and staged a "buy" through an acquaintance of a snitch. Pot
charges predominated although cops say they found meth too. The ongoing
arrests for pot are soon to be a thing of the past, with even the airwaves
now laced with ads for legal pot.
Symptomatic of the forthcoming changes, an abandoned New
York City prison will be
turned into a huge film making lot.
The most alarming crime of the day was perhaps the temporary disappearance
of a child - a great grandfather filling in for mom
picked up the wrong kid. Except, new evidence emerged that Texas
executed a man and that the prosecutor lied about it. Texas, right?
And in Turkey, the prime minister is acknowledging that his trials of
military officers were also a
sham. In related news of shams, Russian special forces are
believed to be the "anonymous" soldiers who appeared in the Crimea
and seized airports as well as a provincial capitol. In Sri Lanka, the
turning their killing fields of Hindu victims into a fake tourist
attraction with a complete re-writing of history.
In the U.S., the killing of a man in Florida by the FBI during an
"interrogation" has led to wildly varying official accounts and his victims'
demanding the truth.
In China, a baby trafficking operation has been broken up, with over 1,000
The killing spree of gays inspired by American Christian evangelists has
spread. Seven men have been arrested as a similar ban on miniskirts has been
interpreted to mean men can strip miniskirted women. Uganda's
anti-gay bigotry continued to dominate headlines, as the World Bank
delayed a loan and Scotland
offered asylum to threatened gay men and women. In other news of
interest related to gay issues, New York's mayor will be
walking with an alternative St. Patrick's Parade, one which allows
The conservative Irish Catholic caucus which banned gays may well soon be a
fossil, with the new pope focusing on staying in touch with other. Today he
suggested that divorce might not be the mortal sin once taught by
the church. "When love fails, and it fails many times, we have to feel the
pain of that failure, accompany the people who have felt the failure of
their love,” the pope said during the daily mass he holds in the Vatican.
Don’t condemn them! Walk with them!" he said, adding: "We have to be so
close to the brothers and sisters who have suffered the failure of love in
In other international news, the city of Zoshi, Japan has made it a
crime to have "scary tattoos" at the beach, widely believed to be a
euphemism for U.S. sailors.
In related news, a Texas school was ordered to pay $77,000 to a teen after
told 16 year old Skye Wyatt they believed she was in a relationship
with an 18 year old woman. They "locked Wyatt in a room and accused her
having a sexual relationship with the older woman. She denied it, at which
point they threatened to sue her for slander, told her she could no longer
play softball, and called her mother, who arrived 40 minutes later."
Left: Ian Audra Duncan
Mr. Duncan has been arrested for failing to show for his
arrest when a father and son trapped him in a vehicle until the cops came,
after they found him inside their vehicle. Cops
say they found found he had stolen 2 hats and a stylus.
Mr. Duncan is characteristic of the low quality criminals in
the city, especially this week, when the leading item in the police blotter
occurred at Adair, where one brother failed to pull the vehicle in far
enough for the garage opener to work. An argument ensued, cops say,
and police were called by neighbors. "Deputies told both the brothers they
were acting childish and needed to resolve their issues like adults," the
The ease this week was not confined to Corvallis. The most exciting car
chase in the country was a police
chase through the Utah countryside where a confused family of
Japanese tourists did not know what flashing sirens meant they should do,
and sped up "to get out of the way" of what they assumed to be emergency
vehicles. The cops laid tire spikes which stopped the car, and even then te
driver apologized profusely for crashing the car, not realizing she'd hit
In San Francisco, a techie yuppie wore her googleglass into a punk bar
called Molotov and the
occurred. They were snatched off her face and she was told that she
and her cohorts were ruining San Francisco. And from the lawsuit
filed today against the arrogant CEO who abused the homeless, we can
pretty confidently say that some of them are.
The cops were reduced to making things up. A police chief testified that 37
people overdosed on marijuana in Colorado,
citing a source that just makes things up for fun. Elsewhere, 4 cops
- including the police chief and his deputy, were
arrested for illegally impounding the cars of poor Hispanics and
selling them. In Arizona, cops were arresting hookers and
dropping them off at church. There's no need to do that with crooks,
since they are already behind the
pulpits as the conviction of a megachurch pastor for stealing $12
million illustrates. Even the FBI was
sent out to track down taggers in neighborhoods of the rich (that's
the difference between your neighborhood and theirs).
In Texas, it was slow enough that 2 cops staged a contest to see who could
grab the most signs from panhandlers among the homeless. The signs are legal
and the cops were
And of course there were the instances of people in power just making new
crime laws up. In Canada, the conservative government is pushing a law which
will prohibit a
report on its own fraud in the last election. In Slovenia, a
journalist who exposed the government's ties to neo-Nazis is
facing a similar law.
It proved to be old crimes which provided the most interesting reading. A
murder victim's parrot proved to be the snitch in his death, fingering a
confessed. A guy who blamed his identical twin for positive DNA
tests on serial sex crime victims but then
confessed to some when it was shown his twin couldn't be in all the
places saw an interesting twist. His twin WAS arrested on new, similar
In other sex crime news, a Republican was caught saying that if women are
given reproductive choice, he and other men should be free to rape them. On
second thought, he
says, he's sorry he said that out loud. Idaho Republicans aren't
sorry at all that they pushed a law through which will allow the
killing of children if "god tells you to", aka "faith healing".
In a sign of progress, the U.S. Army says it is dropping 588 counselors and
guilty of sex abuse, child abuse, etc.
A Florida drunk was busted for having
pretended he was another man's brother and having his drinking bud
taken off life support so he could steal $100,000. Oh Florida....
England's spies illegally
captured 1.8 milllion photos from Yahoo email, putting an emphasis
on sex photos. In other sex crime news, a Utah judge sentenced lightly an
admitted sex abuser who was a guard, saying it was just a non-consequential
of she-said he-said".
bigots were still at work, with a 19 year old Texan arrested for
inviting a gay man to his house then beating him viciously before locking
him in a car trunk. And in Nigeria, religious fundamentalists
school ("can't have that edyukashun stuff messing with minds") and killed
29. In other religious news, the woman who was conned into making the
anti-Moslem movie has successfully forced youtube to
pull all the copies.
And of course, the world's financiers pulled off more crime. Credit Suisse
helped 22,000 U.S. gazillionaires rob the public by
laundering millions to avoid declaring the income. And of course,
the banks are still
paying themselves million dollar bonuses in the face of multibillion
dollar losses. Seems fair.
Right: Jeremy Gerald Neilly
Mr. Neilly was arrested on drug charges on a violation of
parole/ probation from Douglas County. He was lat arrested in Corvallis when
walked into a local jewelry store and demanded money. After learning
there was no cash on hand, another employee told him to just leave. He did,
and the cops caught up with him as he attempted to flee.
Everywhere, it was another relatively quiet day, with a few property crimes
as here. Bernie Madoff, for example,
confessed that J. P. Morgan knew all about his Ponzi scheme for
years. As in all other crimes J. P. Morgan has been implicated in, no
charges have ensued.
burglarized a government oversight group on corruption. Police were
overwhelmed with the number of suspects.
There was an occasional sex crime, as in the case of a guy who asked Modern
Family actress Haley Dunphy to
pose with him for a photo. Before he proceeded to grope her.
The most significant news of sex crimes concerns the efforts of some stooges
of a re-militarizing Japanese government to sue the city of Glendale for a
monument to the victims of Japan's forced sex slaves of WWII,
claiming the monument inhibits their "enjoyment of the park". Says
Wonkette 'Well, we guess it is a little “enjoyment diminishing” to
have to remember that Japan was responsible for the rape and enslavement of
sh*t tons of women but SUCK IT UP.'
Along similar lines, a lawyer portrayed in the Wolf of Wall Street as, he
claims, "a criminal, drug user, degenerate, depraved, and/or devoid of any
morality or ethics" wearing a "piece of sh*t hairpiece [toupee]" is
suing to have the movie removed from theaters. Observers say the
character could represent any of hundreds in the banking industry and are
puzzled that he feels he was singled out.
Most of the violence today was political. In the Ukraine, where as in
Egypt, a democratically elected president proved to be an
unacceptable sh*t for many, another president was deposed and now the
country is facing EU austerity measures. In Venezuela, a similar attempt has
resulted in bloodshed, including the
shooting of a beauty
queen. In Turkey, the release of a recording of the prime minister
urging his son to cover up a fraud has led to the usual
claim of the "tall bushy-haired stranger" hacking his telephone.
Riots are just around the corner.
In Uganda, where a secret U.S. evangelical Christian
group calling itself proudly "the Christian mafia" has pushed
through an anti-gay agenda, a newspaper has
printed a blazing headline of "The Top 200 Homos". The last time
that happened, gays were beaten to death.
In other bigotry news, Arthur Chu, who refers to himself as "a rumpled
looking Asian guy" has
upset some in his total dominance of the TV quiz show
Jeopardy. With over $100,000 in winnings, he's beginning to make some
uncomfortable as their "great white hopes" all flame.
But even in Florida, the violence was mostly just a re-enactment rather than
massacre of black prisoners by the army of slavers 150 years ago.
Good times, Floridians say.
Elsewhere in Florida, a repeated 911 caller who
told responding cops that she was "so horny" and that "I haven't been
penetrated in years" just before she was
cited for misuse of the 911 system.
Left: Garth Risland
Mr. Risland is one of the 3 Rislands (Tyson and Dusty
being the other 2) who are in the police blotter much of the time. They
have, in fact, been in court so often as to become minor celebs on youtube:
Mr. Risland is in
jail this time on a parole violation for a burglary charge.
In other Corvallis crime news, a woman called police about
murder of her chickens and a rooster while no one was home. There
had been noise complaints from neighbors. But the number one serial killers
of chickens in Corvallis are raccoons. They even wear masks and black
leather gloves perpetually, professionals always casing
their next hit.
That was about the worse case of violent mayhem in the crime news today, and
not just locally. Yeah, there was that shot in the head of the guy who owns
castle featured in the movie Citizen Kane. And the Michigan guy who
shot himself in the head while demonstrating to his uneasy
girlfriend "how safe" his guns were - "were" being the operative word. RIP
Msr. le Gun Fondler. And in - yup, Florida, again, the
first pedicab driver rape ever was reported. Pedicab drivers in Florida
are not required to do background checks like cab drivers. And - and it's
A small wave of other sorts of crimes and misdemeanors swept across the
gang using 700,000 computers - maybe yours - hijacked hundreds of
thousands of dollars in Bitcoins and other online currencies. You'd think
any self- respecting gang would refrain from naming themselves for My Little
Pony, since brony
fans of the genre are widely mocked But as Gawker
lamented, "if you put real dollars in Mt. Gox, the erstwhile top dog
in Bitcoins, you're probably completely screwed". In an unrelated scam,
someone sneaked into Harvard's super computers and hijacked them to
generate a related currency, called Dogecoin.
The Republican governor of Louisiana was
accused of "stealing from the blind" in a scandal involving federal
funds. The federal government has frozen the funds of 4 firms based in Utah
specializing in "work at home" schemes which the government
called "a massive scam that bilked consumers out of millions for
useless work-at-home kits and business coaching services". In a similar
scam, 2 jetset wannabees paid Dominica a few thousand dollars to be a part
of the naation's non-existent winter Olympics team and get their photos
taken as "Olympic athletes" before
failing to show for their heats. Middle agers buying their way into
the Olympics - a new competition. No, not so new. In related news, a man
whose credit card was declined tried to
pay his Applebee's tab with a trillion dollar bill.
In other Republican crimes, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has been
shown to be directing county workers to commit crimes. And - in
felony stupid - the Republican running for governor of Arizona decried "'fuzzy
math', substituting letters for numbers in some examples", like x= 3-2,
for example. Quelle nonsense, this fuzzy math. It even has an Arabic word.
Al-gebra! What sort of Al-Qaeda plot is at work here?!
Oh Texas. Oh
police. Oh Jesus H. Jaywalking Christ.
Last week, we learned of the detainment of America’s most wanted criminal: a
lady in Austin, Texas, who
committed the terrible should-be-punishable-by-death offense of
jaywalking, and then
refused to provide her ID on account of not having her ID with her
at the time. Naturally, the Austin police treated the matter with
appropriate restraint by calling for reinforcement (instead, they got two
bike cops), placing her under arrest, and throwing her in the back of the
police car as she screamed that she’d done nothing wrong. Does this sound a
tad extreme? Well, pffft and pshaw, because the police department was merely
enforcing pedestrian and bike safety.
Besides, according to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, it could have been a
lot worse, so really, this hysterical jaywalking criminal ought to be a
little more appreciative.
'She’s lucky I wasn’t the arresting officer, because I wouldn’t have been as
generous. … In other cities there’s cops who are actually committing sexual
assaults on duty."
Elsewhere in Texas, the Teabagger Party candidate for Republican Senate
nomination struck back,
saying that calling Hispanics "wetbacks" is "as normal as breathing
air". And Teabagger star Victoria Jackson, who never was pressed to do
anything but "act naturally" as a dumb cluck in a blonde wig on SNL, has
embarrassed herself again by falsely trying to bully a school
district. And Rand Paul's Teabag
choice to be North Carolina's senator was convicted of having
swindled patients of hundreds of thousands.
In other news of bigots, 3 students at the Unoversity of Mississippi have
and their fraternity suspended after the 3 hung a noose on the statue of
James Meredith, the first African American to attend the school.
Left: Michael "Deer in the Headlights Jones
Mr. Jones, above, has the classic "deer caught in the
headlights look" in his mug shot, as well he should. A farmer discovered his
cows were acting nervous and ceased having milk to share and set up a cam to
catch the action, said action being Mr. Jones. His buddy had
asked him to film his raping one of the cows.
In other selfie news, a California lice expert
warned that "I've seen a huge increase of lice in teens this year.
Typically it's younger children I treat, because they're at higher risk for
head-to-head contact. But now, teens are sticking their heads together every
day to take cell phone pics."
In a more Northwestern spin, Girl Scouts are
setting up cookie booths across the area outside medical marijuana
shops, for those with "munchies" despite being discouraged by the national
organization. It seems safer than grocery stores, where a guy
stole a jar with all the proceeds from sales in California.
And through it all, a fundamental decency among the ordinary
Speaking of sadsacks, perennial small time thief Dusty Risland has at
long last earned himself a trip to prison, a reader has informed us.
Right: Dusty Risland, busted 1115 16
times since November.
About the Risland Rehab Clinic
Dusty Risland, for whom the Risland Rehab Clinic (see above) is named, is back
in jail. Mr. Risland was recently busted for criminal trespassing, criminal
possession of a forged instrument (counterfeit $20), felon in possession of a
weapon and meth. The Dusty Risland Clinic mentioned in this column is strictly
online, consisting of repetitive viewing of the video below, until the technique
is mastered. The assumption of the Clinic is that there is a small subset
labeled criminals who actually just do not know how to change their adult
diapers when they full and are showing up, bewildered, seeking police
assistance. That is the only possible explanation a rational person could come
to. NOBODY could POSSIBLY be so stupid and inept, as criminals, as people like
Mr. Risland pretend to be.
Note: there are several sleazy websites across the country posting mugshots,
utilizing photos owned by the public, in the public domain, all run by
Portlander Kyle Ritter, which will remove your mugshot for $39 or such from
their sites. This is not one of them. Do not send in cash trying to have a
mugshot removed. It would just be a waste of your time and your money. Instead,
put your time into turning your life around. And your money into your kids.
Weekly Column ON
Planned Parenthood AND WOMEN
ABOVE: Cecile Richards, President Planned
They just don't seem to get the message.
Together we made 2012 a banner year for women's health. We shut down extreme
politicians like Todd Akin, who tried to re-define the concept of rape. We
stopped presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who threatened to defund Planned
Parenthood. In state after state, we elected champions of women's health, and
showed out-of-touch lawmakers the door.
But instead of listening to the millions who turned out to protect and defend
women's health and rights, our opponents have doubled down, passing more new
restrictions in the past three years than in the previous decade.
That ends today. Roy, it's time to remind them that attacking access to safe and
legal abortion, trying to cut back birth control benefits, and working to stop
people from accessing basic health care is simply a losing proposition. Women —
and all those who care about women's health and rights — are watching, we're
ready to fight, and we're ready to win in 2014 once again.This fight won't be
easy. Our opponents know the tide is turning, and they're getting desperate. We
need to show them that no matter where they go, no matter what they say, from
coast to coast we'll be there to call them out, to shout them down, and to show
up to defend women's health and rights on Election Day. We'll be spreading the
word, speaking the truth, and doing everything we can to support candidates who
will listen, who will defend the rights we've fought so hard to win.
I know I'm ready. But to win once again, we need to have you with us.Thanks for
all you do to protect women's health and rights, no matter what. We truly
couldn't do it without you. Sincerely,
CORVALLIS POET ROGER WEAVER'S NEW
"LADDER OF DESIRE"
order here BUY DAN'S BEES' HONEY AT THE AMAZING PRICE OF $10 A QUART
Support a Musician
playing at the darkside downtown,
215 SW 4th Street
Friday, February 28 through Thursday March 6.
HELD OVER for February 28
12 YEARS A SLAVE: Golden Globe Best Picture of 2013 and nominated for 9 Oscars.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: The Coen brothers have crafted another unique period piece.
GIRL ON A BICYCLE: From the screenwriter of THE NOTEBOOK. You can't help but
fall in love with The Girl on the Bicycle.
OPENING February 28
THE PAST: An Iranian man deserts his French wife and two children to return to
his homeland. Meanwhile, his wife starts up a new relationship, a reality her
husband confronts upon his wife's request for a divorce. From the makers of A
SEPARATION. French and Persian.
NEBRASKA: Nominated for Best Picture. Starring Bruce Dern. Directed by Alexander
Payne (Sideways, The Descendants). Personally, the music really worked for me in
NEBRASKA. Hear samples of it here.
THE PAST --PG-13
After four years of separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) travels from Tehran to Paris
to finalize his divorce from his wife Marie (The Artist's Bérénice Bejo) so she
can marry her new boyfriend Samir (A Prophet's Tahar Rahim). Ahmad and Marie
haven't spoken much - he wasn't even aware she was living with another man - and
the moment he steps inside their former home, he feels displaced. He's no longer
the head of the household, but he's still compelled to fix the kitchen sink or
help with the new paint job. There are three children living in the house,
including the teenage Lucie (Pauline Burlet), who does her best to spend as
little time as possible at home for reasons that are initially undisclosed.
As he did in his previous film, the Oscar-winning A Separation, Iranian
writer-director Asghar Farhadi takes a simple domestic situation and weaves a
complex, absorbing drama that incorporates the point of view of every character
(including Samir's inexplicably angry young son, Fouad, played by Elyes Aguis).
Unlike A Separation, in which Iranian culture and mores played critical roles,
the theme in The Past is more universal and spelled out in the title. No one in
the movie can fully escape their past, even though they're all trying to. Marie
wants to be done with Ahmad (their relationship is civil but tense). Lucie is
harboring a secret that is pushing her away from her family. Samir, a laundromat
owner, walks around under a sullen cloud of unresolved guilt. And even Fouad's
temper tantrums and strange behavior are rooted in things his parents would
prefer not to talk about.
Farhadi reveals information and backstory slowly, giving each character enough
screen time to allow us to understand their points of view. Although the
family's dysfunction initially appears to be the ordinary by-product of divorce,
there's a lot more to their discord. The performances are outstanding,
particularly Bejo, who is not nearly as secure and in control as she seems, and
Rahim, whose moodiness signals a great, profound sadness. Farhadi once again
uses space to symbolize the emotional distance between the characters, who often
speak to each other from different rooms, closed doors or through plates of
The Past is shaped like a mystery, with Ahmad playing the role of gentle
investigator, building to a revelation that only heightens the stress. But the
movie is compassionate and humane - there are no cheap villains here - and it
ends with a closing shot of heartbreaking beauty, a dire symbol of hope and
love. And although the adults do most of the talking, the accusatory glance of
children who feel they've been wronged fascinates Farhadi the most. The Past is
about people who wish they could erase what came before and just live in the
now, but life doesn't let anyone off the hook that easily.
Director Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) takes the helm for this
black and white road trip drama starring Bruce Dern as a tempestuous Missouri
father who's convinced he's won a million dollar magazine sweepstakes, and Will
Forte as the son who grudgingly agrees to drive him to Nebraska to claim his
winnings. Bob Odenkirk and Stacy Keach costar.
GIRL ON A BICYCLE --R
Paolo (Vincenzo Amato), an Italian who drives a Paris tour bus, has just
proposed to his true love, the German stewardess, Greta (Nora Tschirner), when
the young French beauty, Cécile (Louise Monot) pulls up beside his bus on her
bicycle - and, in short order, Paolo, following some very bad advice from his
friend, Derek (Paddy Considine), finds himself with a German fiancée, a French
"wife", two Australian children who call him "Papa", and his life upside-down.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS --R
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he
navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled
against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a
musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles-some of them of his own
"It's typically Coen; wit and pathos in equal measure, glazed with colourful
characters and pitch-perfect performances, with a soundtrack that perfectly
captures the setting."
12 YEARS A SLAVE --R
Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) lives comfortably with his wife and children
in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in the early 1800s - a time when far too many black
people are far less fortunate. But for Northup, everyday life has nothing to do
with slavery. An impressive violinist, he moves freely through white society and
dresses in the style of a gentleman.
And like any gentleman, Northup appreciates having his ego stroked. So when two
white men offer him a job as fiddler with a traveling circus, he's only too
happy to accept. But after sharing a meal with them in Washington, D.C., he
wakes up in chains.
Thus begins Northup's nightmare, which includes being renamed Platt and
subjected to the degradation that comes with being a slave.
Northup struggles to hold onto his dignity while being careful not to reveal his
true identity to those who claim to own him. But it's hard for him to ignore the
plight of Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o), a strong but despairing woman who must endure
the unwanted attention of their slaveholder, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender).
Based on a memoir by the real-life Northup, "12 Years a Slave" is one of the
best and most courageous films of the year. Working from a screenplay by John
Ridley, director Steve McQueen ("Shame") refuses to soften the brutalities of
slavery for mainstream consumption. True, McQueen occasionally flirts with the
kind of melodrama that has long been associated with tales of plantation life.
But a prolonged scene in which Patsey is mercilessly whipped just about dares
moviegoers not to turn away.
Ejiofor delivers an Oscar-worthy performance that's at once wholly realized and
heartbreaking. Fassbender, a McQueen regular, is chillingly memorable as a man
for whom black people are nothing more than property.
What "Schindler's List" was to the Holocaust, "12 Years a Slave" is to what has
been called "the peculiar institution": ultimately hopeful, but uncompromising
in its commitment to exposing a tragic chapter in history.
Thank you for supporting the Darkside, now celebrating EIGHT years in business!
That's 16 years if you count the Avalon Cinema!
215 SW 4th
Corvallis, OR 97333
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CORVALLIS AUTHOR AND
HISTORIAN TED COX'S THE TOLEDO, OREGON INCIDENT OF 1925
WEEKLY COLUMN ON ISSUES RELATED TO
THE INTERNET, PRIVACY, FREE SPEECH, RIGHTS PATENT/ COPY RIGHT REFORM,
MOVE TO AMEND
Connecticut, which unlike Oregon has had great success in setting up a health
care system online, is trying to market their solution to other states. Not like
Oregon, where Republicans long ago pushed the state to outsource IT work for the
profit of corporations like Oracle, Connecticut is offering to use their own IT
franchise their system.
Target's Chief Information Officer is
history in the wake of the theft of 40 million credit cards from the
corporate site, and the company is planning on a new officer drawn from the
ranks of security specialists rather than again promoting on its own computer
illiterate managers to the post as previously.
The arguably doomed Facebook "social media" site's moved into "massive open
online course" (MOOCs) is
predicted to fall on its face too, as they "aren’t yet proven to work at
scale even in the most well-resourced nations, let alone in a country with
uneven access to technology and arguably limited educational opportunities."
Oregon State University is currently
looking for alternatives to its Blackbboard platform. Cheap but of
shoddy quality, the new U.S. corporate business model - stock prices should go
through the roof, if experience is any precedent.
begun to de-activate inactive email names and handing them out to new
users (both of them). Getting on a watch list for a desired name now will cost
$1.99, with no guarantee of getting the name if it becomes inactive.
Additionally, logging in using a google or facebook id will no longer be an
fine levied against Samsung for "leaking" information on Apple seems a
bit extreme, since it has now been demonstrated that Apple itself leaked the
information in an even more public way.
The Obama administration is once again
supporting the tele-broadcasting corporations in their fight for control
of the internet. Aereo, which re-broadcasts - is trying to fight the nation's
unworkable copyright and patenting system.
A whistleblower has charged that Bank of America pretended to have
lost homeowner documents from the computer system to prevent homeowners
from going to the U.S.'s Homeowner Mortgages Assistance programs.
Another Bitcoin site, Flexcoin, has had to close after $620,000
in Bitcoins were stolen. A security expert
stated the obvious: "BTC is just too easy to steal to be usable".
The rash of intrusions and thefts the past month have led to a
wave of startup firms devoted to computer and mobile security
No word yet on whether the Corvallis outlet will be among 500 Radio Shack stores
closed. Once the choice for pc aficionados, the chain is now a duck out
of water in competing with large chains, Amazon and telecommunications
programmers behind the Tor project, the anonymous "deep web" used thus
far mostly by criminals world wide, plan to make it as easy to "click and go"
for the average person to access.
A web based ham
radio equivalent from the Netherlands is now available for buffs. Called
"ham on steroids", the station is like the short wave receivers of years past.
teen who was arrested last year by cops "unhappy with his recording the
incident" has been re-arrested, this time after filming cop cars speeding and
turning without signalling. "Photography is not a crime" the teen said.
said this morning that a massive router takeover of 300,000 computers is
Reddit editors repeatedly
killed news stories about government disruption and manipulation of the
internet for its stream of 2 million users.
A college student was
given 6 months in jail for changing his grades and others to A's. The
hacking was accomplished by breaking into profs' offices and substituting
key-logging keyboards for the originals.
Meetup.com has been the
victim of a DDoS attack by criminals demanding ransom money who have
rendered the service unstable for days.
Moov, the Siri athletic trainer, is geared for not just tracking but
improving performance. "Your cadence is low. Try swinging your arms legs
and arms faster."
Green Mountain's K-Cup business
specializing in individually brewered "K-Cups", is making the next gen
of brewers locked down, so generic refills will not be usable.
The CEO of MtGox, the source of a $300 million fraud has had a history of fraud,
reports today indicate.
Mar 2 Raspberry Pi, the $25 computer designed to be a
teaching guide for kids and expected to sell a few thousand models, today is 2
years old and has sold 2.5 million.It is now offering a $10,000 reward
for software writers who help with an open source project.
Above: America Wakes. "After 16 days, the hive
consciousness of Twitch Plays Pokemon has successfully beaten Pokemon
Red. Early this morning, thousands of chat participants navigated through the
fight with Blue, a major milestone in a "social experiment" that has
effectively turned Twitch.tv into a huge crowdsourced gaming platform. Twitch
Plays Pokemon, which launched on February 12th, translates chat text into button
presses on a Game Boy emulator. The result was chaotic but surprisingly
effective, and the number of players had risen to 35,000 within four days.
reached the endgame against the Elite Four— something the creator was
initially dubious would happen. During the battle with Blue, viewership topped
100,000, though it didn't reach the overall peak of 120,000 from February 18th".
summed up the state of the 'net as "In Japan, some half-billion dollars’
worth of cryptocurrency vanished from a site founded to trade Magic: The
Gathering cards. In New Zealand, the world’s greatest Call of Duty player has
launched a political party to revenge himself on those who had him arrested and
seized his sports cars. In Britain, the secret service is busy collecting and
watching homegrown porn. Here in Silicon Valley, mighty Apple just revealed that
a flagrant, basic programming error gutted the security of all its devices for
years. Google, “more wood behind fewer arrows” Google, now has its own navy, to
go with its air force and robot army. "
For a 2nd
time in the past 2 weeks, a cybersecurity expert hijacked Google+ and
google maps to record calls made to the Secret Service and FBI."Who is
gonna think twice about what Google publishes on their maps?" he said. "Everyone
trusts Google implicitly and it's completely unwarranted and it's completely
phone, designed to host Microsoft apps and services, has been hacked to
handle Google apps easily.
EU officials are
looking at the "freemium" apps on Androids very suspiciously.
Spike Lee laid into the upper middle class nerds transforming SF, NYC and
other cities into yuppievilles.
Left: A squirrel feeder shaped like a horse's head
The squirrel feeder is pretty low tech,
sure. Pretty funny, even surer.
But no one is stealing a squirrel's horse head. A cybersecurity firm
announced today that it had discovered a cache of 360 million stolen
credit card and other credentials from a variety of firms including most of the
Fortune 500, and 1.25 billion email accounts from Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo for
sale on the internet.
(Click on image) The Mt Gox Bitcoin collapse was not a theft, say many, but thousands of
thefts by different people, from an incompetent
organization in a currency operation which Japan now is
saying needs international regulation.
says it is peddling a phone which will self destruct if opened. That
won't have a happy outcome.
built a car in 1973 that was advertised as lasting forever, but hadlow horsepower and was expensive to build, but now has ended up in the
Porsche Museum only.
Feb 27 With every platform now boasting of a million apps, 99% of which are junk
and unwanted, choosing apps
by scrolling is now a chore everyone wants to avoid by simply searching instead.
"Companies keep asking how can we get people to find and install our amazing app
instead of the one question they really should have asked.
Why the hell are we building an app in the first place?
I want to know who exactly is going to all the trouble of installing the
McDonalds app on their device instead of simply visiting the McDonalds website
in the browser as needed."
Scigen, a computer program designed to
churn out academic gobblygook has been incredibly successful at
generating articles getting printed by leading scientific journals and used to
headline academic conferences.
Local Motors, a "hands-on" designer of electric cars is graduating to 3-D
printed models for the home hobbyist.A prototype will be featured at the
the Chicago tech
Uber, the much ballyhooed alternative to taxicabs has been caught
manipulating the number of drivers to allow price gouging.
In a hilarious charade of puppet socks this week, the slowing of Netflix had viewers worried
after the Republican-appointed courts gave control of the internet to the
telecommunication corporations. Then everyone breathed easier when Comcast and
Netflix announced a deal where Netflix - via its viewers - would pay Comcast
more money and the slowing would cease. The hilarity is that both Comcast and Netflix are owned by largely
the same people. Thus, they will profit coming and going from the public paying
extra for Netflix to be run on Comcast. For example:
Netflix: Capital Research Global Investors^ 5.17
Comcast: Capital Research Global Investors^ 47.71
Netflix: STATE STREET CORPORATION 2.36 million
STATE STREET CORPORATION 102.35 million shares;
Netflix: BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A.
1.43 million shares;
Comcast: BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A.
68.06 million shares.
Little wonder that the tech site the Verge
announced to its readers that the power grab by U.S. corporations means
that "The Internet is F*cked". After 40 years of sabotaging the development of
the internet by media corporations, a barely adequate entertainment and
information center has now been hijacked by the same people owning new
corporations. Capitalism in this environment can be trusted to do nothing but
retard progress in the name of making money.
Efforts to restore net neutrality face a Republican
promise to destroy it on behalf of their corporate sponsors (Oregon's
Greg Walden is among the worst). The technicians who introduced the innovations
which changed peoples' lives are beginning to despair.
joined the EU in talks about financing a fiber optic system separate
from U.S. corporate and government control. "Under current plans, a joint
venture between Brazilian telecoms provider Telebras and Spain’s IslaLink
Submarine Cables would lay the communications link. Telebras would have a 35
percent stake, IslaLink would have a 45 percent interest and European and
Brazilian pension funds could put up the remainder."
The U.S. Army is
shown in documents released to have deliberately targeted U.S. citizens
who were activists in various groups, contrary to law.The Army also
attempted to cover up the crime.
Facebook's much trumpeted "Gmail killer" email application has been given a
deathblow by the owner, since no one was using it. "most people haven’t
been using their Facebook email address",
said the company.
negotiators chisen by the Obama administration to negotiate the
international TPP are from Citibank and Bank of America, where they received
large bonuses. Of course that won't impact what's left of their good judgement.
suspensions placed on India's large manufacturers of pharmaceuticals are
not meant as targeting India's drug manufacturers, the Obama administration
tactics of the "JTRIG" government arm make Richard Nixon's "Dirty
Tricks" look benign. The group admits to “false flag operations” (posting
material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake
victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation
they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.
That spooky malware warning sent out by Apple regarding the ability of hackers
to intercept data and emails on Apple devices is "as bad as you could imagine,
that’s all I can say,"
stated John Hopkins University's cryptography expert. Other experts say
it was a deliberate backdoor for the government to
tap Apple users.
Intellectual Ventures, called "the country's biggest patent troll" has
launched a PAC to allow it to control the nation's governments as
effectively as other sleazy corporations. Chances are, they'll succeed at
halting the reform of the patent process which is a sham at present..
CORVALLIS REP. PETE DEFAZIO ON TPP
Given your interest in fair trade policy, I wanted to inform you that Congress
will likely vote on so-called free trade legislation this year. I have a long
record of opposing free trade agreements because they export American jobs
overseas and undermine our environmental, labor, and human rights values. In
fact, I have voted against every free trade agreement since coming to Congress,
and I will be voting NO again this year because trade agreements never fulfill
the claimed promises of new jobs. While supporters of these agreements promised
they would benefit workers, consumers, farmers, businesses, and the U.S.
economy, the reality has been very different.
NAFTA: A 20th Anniversary with Nothing to Celebrate
It was 20 years ago that I cast my vote against the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA). Economic advisers to President Clinton predicted that if the
U.S. passed NAFTA we would enjoy trade surpluses between $9-12 billion
throughout the 1990's and into the following decade, and create thousands of
jobs. Unfortunately, on the 20thanniversary of NAFTA the reality is grim.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, NAFTA has directly displaced more
than one million U.S. jobs (14,000 in Oregon), and the U.S. had a trade deficit
of $54.3 billion with Mexico last year. NAFTA made it easier for multinational
corporations to chase cheap wages and lax environmental standards in Mexico at
the expense of U.S. workers.
Our trade policies all have the same fundamental flaws; they open up U.S.
markets to foreign goods, but fail to open up comparable foreign markets to U.S.
exports. The most “successful” export over the last 20 years has been U.S.
manufacturing jobs to low wage nations, undercutting the very foundation of our
middle class. The United States has had 35 years of consecutive annual trade
deficits, totaling over $8 trillion. Last year our trade deficit was $471.5
Fast Track: Zero Transparency Zero Input
President Obama has requested fast track authority from Congress, which allows
free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is
currently being negotiated, to be rammed through Congress under rigged
legislative rules. Fast track authority denies Congress the ability to amend any
free trade agreement and forces Congress to vote up or down with a hard
deadline. I joined over 150 of my colleagues in signing a letter opposing fast
track authority. In fact, throughout my time in Congress I have always voted
against fast track trade authority.
It is critical that we protect the constitutional prerogatives of Congress under
Article I Section 8, which states that Congress has the sole authority to
regulate trade with foreign nations. Additionally, I believe that U.S. workers
and the U.S. economy have not been well-served by U.S. trade policies dictated
by the executive branch and corporate America.
If Congress grants President Obama fast track authority, we will lose yet
another opportunity to pursue reforms in our trade policy. Under fast track
procedures, Congress has limited access to trade negotiations that are shrouded
in secrecy. Yet the content of the agreement impacts American workers,
businesses, and consumers. I can only view the draft text of the agreement in a
secure room, and I'm barred from taking notes or speaking publically about what
I read. Yet corporate America has access and you can be sure the U.S. trade
negotiators are protecting the interests of corporate board rooms. That is
absurd. I don't trust any President when it comes to negotiating free trade
agreements. Fast track will further cede authority to the executive branch and
continue to leave Congress in the dark regarding U.S. trade policy.
TPP: NAFTA on Steroids
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the largest FTA to ever be negotiated and
would cover 40% of all global trade. It is being touted as a "21st Century Trade
Agreement" and the first ever "living agreement", which would mean any country
could join after the agreement has been signed and ratified. In fact, the
ultimate goal of this agreement is to get China to join. An FTA with China would
spell the end of our domestic manufacturing sector and undermine our middle
The TPP seeks to impose new binding regulations on the U.S. and other countries
that would undermine domestic laws and policies designed to protect the public.
Corporate representatives of the copyright and pharmaceutical industries are
inserting language in the intellectual property chapter of TPP that would censor
the internet and undermine drug pricing programs that grant low income people,
veterans, and seniors access to affordable medicines. Furthermore, like all
other U.S. FTA's, TPP contains investment protections that allow foreign
corporations to attack U.S. laws and policies by suing the U.S. government in
international tribunals. These attacks directly bypass our democracy in favor of
opaque unelected foreign bodies.
TPP: A Disaster for the Environment
According to the draft TPP environment chapter, the U.S. is the only country
that supports binding, enforceable environmental standards. The May 2007
agreement, which was negotiated by a democratic congress under the Bush
Administration, required all future U.S. FTA’s to contain binding, enforceable
provisions on labor and environmental standards. If a country did not adhere to
basic labor and environmental laws, the U.S. would be able to take action in an
international court and impose trade sanctions.
TPP must not only include the May 2007 standards but go beyond that to address
other environmental issues such as illegal logging, shark finning, illegal
fishing and fisheries subisides, and wildlife trafficking and poaching. Without
a strong environment chapter in TPP, this illegal activity in TPP countries like
Vietnam and Malaysia will continue unabated and put the global environment at
risk. The lack of protections also undermines U.S. natural resources industries
that must adhere to strong environmental standards.
You can rest assured that I will continue to fight for a trade policy that
protects the environment, consumers, small businesses, our manufacturing sector,
and creates jobs for American workers. For far too long, multinational
corporations have dominated the conversation on trade policy to suit their
bottom line, which is increased corporate profits not investment in America and
Sincerely, Peter DeFazio
A Weekly Column On HEALTH, WELL BEING,
Environmental News AND GMO-FREE BENTON COUNTY
The U.S. now has a 6.8 trillion retirement deficit after
40 years of wealth transfer from the middle class to the uber-rich, retirement
The water supply of 250,000 people in Alabama got the same short
shrift given West Virginians, say Mobile activists.
An Indian man who realized his wife was using dirty rags during menstruation
because they could not afford menstrual pads is
close to perfecting an affordable pad for Indian women. You can bet
American corporations are lining up to sue in an attempt to keep the product
from ever reaching the market.
In related news, the female
condom may finally be ready for mass marketing.
The Obama administration says they will veto Republican attempts to
scuttle carbon emission standards designed in the interest of trying to
slow global warming.
The Colorado man who was rescued from floodwaters is showing a little
suing his rescuers for not pulling him out sooner, leaving him with huge
news for Corvallis residents seeking to avoid the toxic GMO foods:
"Safeway and Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer stores, have announced that they will
not sell genetically engineered salmon, joining Target, Whole Foods and Trader
Joe’s." Even better, "large food companies are trying to head off state efforts
to enact mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients by proposing new
voluntary labels nationwide."
Mar 3 Large off shore wind farms appear to be
taming the worst of the hurricanes in the U.S., for better or wrose.
Let's not call it global warming, shall we? Not any more since everyone would
contribute to stopping it except Teabaggers. It's Teabagger warming and an
ominous sign of things to come was in the air today - literally - as a 30,000
year old virus was
awakened from the Siberian permafrost.
New xrays of Neanderthal hyoid bones shows it likely that they were
speaking languages similar to our own.
Climbers of Mt. Everest will now be
required to bring back 8 kilograms of trash, in an effort to clean up
the once-pristine mountain
Apple CEO Tim Cook
responded to demands by right wingers that Apple cease efforts to curb
its contribution to global warming. "Get out of the stock", Cook told them.
Love Italian mozzarella? Hope you don't get cancer from it. Italians are.
regulators finally have told Duke Energy that they will be fined for
dumping coal ash that "coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge"
The poisonous extent of GMO crops was frighteningly evident in a new study
showing 75% of the air we breathe and rainfall is
tainted with the highly toxic roundup herbicide. And a new study points
to Monsanto as the source of a puzzling epidemic of kidney
failures around the world.
The scientist who discovered CFCs says we no longer need to worry about global
warming and environmental disaster. The Koch brothers and other "dirty fuel"
backers have used the Republican Party successfully long enough that the
inevitable, James Lovelock says.
The U.S. Magnesium corporation spilled 8,000 pounds of dangerous hydrochloric
acid and the EPA only
disclosed the spill after an agreement with the company was reached on
If you're from Mississippi, hope you're not thirsty, as 65 miles of the river
closed for an oil spill.
leak in New Mexico has no been shown to have contaminated more than a
25 kids on the West Coast have now been affected by a puzzling polio-like
Republicans' latest attempt to make sure only the rich et health care is
foundering, with a new proposal aimed at kicking a million workers out
of the health insurance program.
Site Dedicated to the Memory of Eric McKinley, d. Iraq, 2002
Eric McKinley was our local connoisseur of ska music and cafe denizen whose unit
was activated and sent to Iraq to patrol with inadequately armored vehicles.
When Congressional funds for armoring the vehicles were diverted by the
notorious Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska (later convicted on
corruption charges), Eric's unit was reduced to using plywood to give their
vehicles some additional protection. When an insurgent's IED hit Eric's vehicle,
his horrified teammates were forced to watch as the heat of the burning plywood
began exploding the grenades strapped to Eric's body. Eric, you are not
forgotten and will live forever in our hearts.