1. The Oregon Senate approved a bill setting up the framework for universal healthcare. But don’t plan on getting sick just yet; this isn’t a done deal. (And keep a close eye on Ron Wyden; especially be watchful for the fateful handshake with medical insurance companies…)
2. Double Indemnity: Oregon’s deadly “Double Majority” is on its way back to the ballot. The “Double Majority” means that if there is a vote on a local tax to pay for schools, voter turn-out is 49 percent and all 49 percent vote for the tax, it still doesn’t pass because…less than 50 percent of registered voters bothered to vote. This time around, let’s hope more than 50 percent of us vote.
3. Gresham has finally driven back the Wal-Mart assault. But Wal-Mart isn’t giving up its Portland campaign. the ‘Monstore’ is looking around for other neighborhoods upon which to unleash its bloodthirsty lawyers.
4. The Employee Free Choice Act is on the block this week, Lawmakers and labor leaders are hoping the rest of the nation will follow its lead and pass the Act which would give workers the right to sign forms to join a union rather than through an employer-controlled election. But wait! There’s more! The federal version provides for increased penalties on businesses that violate fair labor laws. (And by the way, after losing billions of dollars through lack of foresight and bad design CEOs of major automakers are going to cut their union members salaries by half….and they expect their work force to go along with the dirty deal…)
5. Aloha! The Oregon Senate is all for ethics reform…. “Now watch this drive…”
6. The federal – or ‘business End’ – of the Columbia Basin hydroelectric dams told a federal judge that they are expecting to make the kinds of changes to their strategy to boost salmon returns that the State of Oregon and Indian tribes want. The feds are still on the predator war path and at the helm of the fish transport trucks….and Yikes! Looks like that’s a big waterfall up ahead…
7. Vulnerability is Endearing…Oregon has got new, tougher laws against aggressive and/or careless drivers who menace and/or kill cyclists.
8. A highly suspicious posting popped up on the ALF/ELF website. Someone vandalized a shop in Pennsylvania, ‘Linda’s Fashions and Fur Salon’, notable for the fact that ‘Linda’ hasn’t sold fur for 20 years. So the people behind this rather ignominious action write that the “attack” occurred “under cover of night by masked activists” and throw it up on the North American Animal Liberation Press Office website. And the real corker is this: Whoever did this writes that the “attack” was carried out in solidarity with Jeffrey Luers…Wha? A “fur” shop in Pennsylvania? Look, informants: What happened, the dog ate your homework? Do a little research and try to either be a bit smarter or get your handlers to write you up some notes….
9. Line in the Sand: Then Edison Carder brought us the Word on the Ross Island scam. Essentially, Bob Pamplin left Ross Island “screwed blue and thrown in the Bushes without any loving” and now he wants to give Portland part of the island without any indemnification whatsoever. Taxpayers are going to pick up the tab for clean-up and future law suits resulting from people poisoned by contact with the island.
10. Save the dusky tree vole!
11. Who Let The Khat Out of the Bag? About half the group of Somali men who were busted for khat possession in Seattle a while back signed plea agreements. The rest did not. Now a federal judge has dropped the charges for ht others. Moral of the story: Don’t listen to your Public Defender when he/she tells you to accept a plea bargain: Make the bastards see you in court.
12. Now that Tony Blair has some time on his hands, Bush is angling to send his Boy Toy to the Middle East as a “peace envoy.” Since Blair obviously did such a great job of “taking the peace” in Iraq….
13. Jose Padilla’s lawyers are trying to get the judge to prevent the highly suggestible jury from being shown a video of bin Laden. The defense says its perfectly okay to show the film at the trial of Padilla’s co-defendants – just not at his trial. What Osama bin Laden has to do with a misguided gang banger from Chicago is any body’s guess…(Yet we have innocent shish kabob vendors from Herat sitting down there in Quantanamo Bay wondering if they’ll ever see the Hindu Kush Mountains again…)
14. “Bitch Set Me Up”: Lawyers for Artur Solomony and Christiaan Spies have helpfully pointed out that their clients were promised green cards by an FBI informant for agreeing to smuggle arms into the US. Wait…’Arms’ to the US? This is the weaponry capitol of the whole galaxy. Nowhere are assault rifles more readily available. Deranged children can easily get their hands on a gun. Still a trial is a trial and Artur and Christiaan can laugh about it all later. Right now, try to keep straight-faced guys…
15. The Southwestern part of the US is out of water.
16. New York State is flooding. Other places are on fire.
17. And jobless claims are “unexpectedly” up. (“Unexpectedly”? What exactly were these jokers expecting?)
18. While assorted factions in Iraq are being attacked by US forces and one another – or actually any combination of the aforementioned – things are not what they seem in Iraq…They are even worse…at any rate, while the bombs are raining blood most other places, up north in Kurdistan, oil deals are being negotiated, money is being made, Iraq is on sale!
19. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has invited all his pals to a little peace-type get-together at the seaside resort Sharm el-Sheikh (Made famous by a number of spectacular bombings in recent years, in case the name sounds familiar to you…) Everyone’s invited! A long as you are Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Just back from a no doubt lucrative trip to Washington), Palestinian blowhard Mahmoud Abbas, and Jordan’s King Abdullah. ‘Two State Solution’ my ass…
20. Nafkas On Parade! Women MPs in Israel’s Knesset are upset with the Foreign Ministry for resorting to pornography (Read: Naked IDF female soldiers in Maxim magazine. Eeeehew) to promote Israel (Well what else are they going to use? Dismembered Palestinian children?)
21. The UN secretary-general expressed disappointment with a decision by the United Nation’s new human rights watchdog to single out Israel for investigation. I refer your attention to the above story…
22. Now it’s Germany that is chuffed with the EU. (And only yesterday it was Poland…) The Germans want the EU Charter of fundamental rights to be legally enforceable as part of a new deal on how Europe is run. (So does this mean no more ‘extraordinary renditions’? No kidnapped clerics? No Polish Star Wars?)
23. The Bad News and the Good News: The foreign medics detained in Libya for the last eight years are going to be sentenced to death….and then receive clemency. (Hey we could try that in Iraq: declare ‘Victory’ and then just leave…)