1. Oregon’s got a renewable energy bill. Big utility companies are going to have to get 25 percent of the State’s electricity from wind, sunlight and biomass by 2025. Rural communities can tell the federal government to piss-off with its timber payments because out in the hinterlands there’s a gusher in every gust of wind, every beat of the sun’s heart….or not, as the case may be. Americans have been infantilized and the education system has been retooled to prevent thinking outside the box, so we’ll probably wind up out-sourcing the search for new ideas…
2. Back in the 80’s Oregon spent 20 percent of its state budget on higher education. Today, 10 percent of state spending goes to higher education. Oregon ranks 45th in state per-student spending for colleges and universities. This year spending on higher education is, well, higher…But look what we’re paying for: Most students are more interested in getting MBAs than actually learning anything about their world.
3. And if you don’t believe me, take a look at the recent hate crime (The victims of which deny that the attack was race-based) in which two Hispanic men were beaten by a gang of white hicks. Had the hicks learned anything in high school they might have realized that the targets of their violence were very much like themselves: They just wanted to drink beer in the park and hassle women…
4. Living Dangerously: The BPA has been hit by metal thieves. (Times are tough; It’s either put your life on the line stealing aluminum from a power plant or join the military. (See what I mean about the disintegration of the American intellect and imagination…)
5. The State has turned down the taps on payday lenders’ stream of revenue. Interest is capped at 30 percent of the prime rate – which still isn’t such a bad deal. The lenders say the new law will put them out of business. I say, Good.
6. Some forty businesses in the Rogue River Wilderness area say that protecting the region makes for economic growth. The Bush administration wants to log it anyway. (Proving that the Regime’s greed and stupidity at times work at cross purposes….)
7. Numbers Game: Yet another salmonella scare hits the shelves. This time the shelves are in natural food shops – or megastores that sell natural foods. (Looked at from another angle, its throw of the dice. When you have massive numbers of people eating massive amounts of food, chances are somewhere in the vast process there’s going to be room for a little salmonella to come shining through…)
8. A seventeen year-old boy brought a gun to his high school in Aloha in order to protect himself from other students. This just a few weeks after smacking the vice principle. (This kid sounds like a real charmer; I can understand why he might feel that other students disliked him…)
9. Scene 1: Interior. John Ashcroft’s hospital room: Just about as crowded as the room where Lincoln died…but I digress; There is a microphone boom visible in every scene on which can be read: ‘Property of the NSA. Do Not Remove.’ Enter: The entire Justice Department, a herd of countless numbers of migrating attorneys, assorted sycophants and spear-carriers and a chorus line composed of high-stepping ‘Monicas’. Enter: James Comey wearing a shining white cowboy suit featuring fringed chaps with no pants underneath. Comey pulls out a gun and waves it wildly at one of several cardboard Alberto Gonzales figures and yells: ‘Ho! Dirty Al! Get this, Cheney warned you that he wouldn’t be havin’ that there promotion of that eaves-non-dropper Patrick Philbin…a-and…’ Pow! The NSA mic wobbles over and cracks Comey right in the face. Comey: ‘Shit! Shitaroo!’. He pulls the trigger and blasts a hole in one of the Gonzaleses. The hospital room begins to shake. It’s like…like an…earthquake, maybe? Hey, what’s going on here…It is an earthquake. Cracks run up the walls. Then in the middle of the room something pointy is coming right through the floor, sorta pointy and round..Yikes! Here it comes! I-It’s the…White House? Ashcroft: ‘Wha? Hey, I’m still here…what about my needs?’
10. Adam Kokesh, the Marine who wore his uniform to an anti-war rally lost his appeal for a new hearing. (Adam, not to worry. A discharge of any sort of degree from the military is a good thing…)
11. There are currently over 200 thousand homeless veterans, many of them addicted and/or deranged. But don’t you vets worry either: For one thing, you are out of the military and for another Gordon Smith is going to see to it that you get some of that peer mentoring you’ve heard such good things about and also $13 million dollars – which is about two hours worth of ‘Surge’ in Iraq and a few dozen more soldiers heading for homelessness…
12. The California Report has it that military bases are contaminated with “hazardous waste” and hallelujah – they’ve come up with some clever ways of addressing the problem. (Good! Because we are going to need some good clean-up ideas after the shooting in Iraq stops….)
13. The Pentagon’s acquisitions chief has jumped ship. Kenneth Kreig used to be in charge of new weapons systems, aircraft and “other technologies” Now he’s in charge of “spending more time with his family.”
14. Bush’s ‘War Czar’, Lieutenant General Douglas Lute says he had been skeptical of Bush’s decision to send thousands more troops to Iraq. Which is actually rather a brave thing for Lute to admit given that he hasn’t been confirmed yet.
15. The immigration bill is still lying around the Senate in pieces waiting for someone to figure out how to put it together without tanking a perfectly good political career…
16. Teenage Wasteland: Safeco Insurance has come up with a GPS tracking device that one installs in one’s vehicle – actually, in any vehicle one might want to keep track of. It goes somewhere in the dashboard, apparently, and once it’s in, no one knows it is there except for the NSA and whoever is on the receiving end of the signal. The idea is to keep track of feral teenagers. Right….
17. Iran has evacuated thousands of people living in the path of Cyclone Gonu. (It’s sort of a drill for the up-coming Cyclone American Hubris…)
18. Not To Put Too Fine A Point On It Department: North Korea test fired a short-range missile (That, or possibly a long range one that didn’t work out as planned…) While Bush and Putin are busy pointing the Big One at each other, Krazy Kim is hopping up and down, mussing his wacky pompadour, shouting: ‘Hey! Hey Bush! Lookee here! No, over here! East…Farther East….Waaarm…Getting warmer…Yes! YesYesYes! That’s me! Right here with the nuclear missiles! Look! Look at me! I’m the threat you love to hate! George! George? George, are you listening?”
19. A sixty-seven year old Palestinian man was shot dead in his home by Israeli soldiers.
20. The Pentagon has had a few it its big grey gophers snatch up “an extremely dangerous terror suspect” in Somalia and whisked him off to Guantanamo Bay. Abullah Arale, no doubt is still wondering; ‘Shit, man…One minute you could be tending your herd of goats, and the next…’
21. NGOs attending the G8 Summit in Heiligendammm want to know where’s all the money you promised to poor countries last time around. (What is it about PR that these people do not understand?)
22. Israel is thinking about making peace with Syria.
23. And Costa Rica has broken up with Taiwan and now is going out with China.
Michael Pollan says: "Few pieces of legislation have as profound an impact on … the health of the American soil, the purity of its water, its biodiversity and the very look of its landscape as the Farm Bill." Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer agrees and says it's time to take back the Farm Bill from the special interests.