Michael Moore’s new film ‘Sicko’ premiered this past weekend throughout the country, despite challenges from the Bush Administration on Moore’s travel to Cuba. The film challenges the privatized health care model in the US, and contrasts the US system with nationalized health care in Canada, England, France and Cuba.
While activists leaflet outside hundreds of movie theaters promoting the single-payer healthcare system, the media has been largely critical of the film.
Jim Naureckas (now-REEK-ahs), with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, claims that this is because the pockets of the mainstream media have been lined by the pharmaceutical industry.
SissyBoy is a group of Portland-based performance artists. They refer to themselves as “drag terrorists” or “gender terrorists.” Their over-the-top shows in bars and clubs are both political and comedic. Last year, they were part of the Time Based Art Festival and they recently returned from their first west coast tour. KBOO producer Julie Sabatier caught up with SissyBoys Zebra and Jeffrey Darling at a photo shoot for Outlook Magazine in May and she put together this excerpt for the OutLoud show.
Dream us again, won't you? We could feel your dreams last month. They were sensual, weren't they? The skin of your malt-covered leaf muntjac was delicious. Boom-Boom is recovering nicely, thank you. We present oneiric thrills in a silky collection, waiting for you.
1. ‘You Can’t Go Home again’: As Oregon legislators feverishly clear their desks in preparation for decamping to their ‘second home’, their ‘summer place’, ‘the beach house’, a bill that would have put $20 million dollars into a fund for affordable housing. (Never mind the fact that some Oregon houses cost just that - $20 million….). The bill was demolished by Republicans at the bidding of the developers and real estate lobbies. Essentially it would have upped the filing fee for real estate transactions. But, look, if you are buying a $500 thousand dollar house, you can afford another $250 dollars….I mean, put it this way: That’s a month’s wages for the Hispanic man who does the gardening, right?
2. Warm and Fuzzy and Green: Legislators did manage to pass a greenhouse gas emissions bills…And why not! By the time the thing really takes effect they’ll all be out of office and it will be too late to slow the freight train even enough to wave good-by to the world we once knew.
3. Case in point: It’s that time again. The Portland Water Bureau is going to have to start blending groundwater and Bull Run water early this year. Last year the draw-down did not begin until August 15th.
4. Oregonians are concerned about education, immigration and the environment, failing once again that they are all part and parcel of the same problem: Our obstinate refusal to limit our consumption.
5. The Oregon News Service has a piece on the damage war does to poor and minority communities. (But really, actually wearing a uniform and carrying a gun are the extreme end of a spectrum of trauma that poverty inflicts on society’s less privileged members.) And let us not forget the majority communities we wage war against…What it must be like to be on the receiving end America’s economic frustration…
6. Portland is searching for a new school superintendent. This time let’s look smarter rather than harder. We dredged Vicki Phillips out of the murky waters of scandal and corruption flowing from her prior to Portland job.
7. Forty years of Israeli occupation of Palestine. An indigenous Arab population is still paying the ultimate price in land and blood for what was essentially a European crime. And America has been a willing – even eager – accomplice to first the crime, and then the punishment…
8. In Washington, Democrats for once are getting out in front. Republican Dino Rossi’s 2004 run for governor gave rise to a variety of entities – some more campaign like than others. Rossi says he isn’t running but his organization Forward Washington definitely is.
9. The massive fire currently storming its way around Lake Tahoe has done a lot more than toast the tourists’ marshmallows: It has dumped tons of ash into the lake poisoning fish and fisherfolk alike.
10. The Other Iraq War: The Bush administration is looking into ways to gracefully compromise with cooler heads on the situation Over There.
11. No less a luminary than Senator Richard Lugar says that Bush’s Iraq “strategy” isn’t working. But you have to take into account, this “strategy” had nothing to do with the actual nation Iraq as it exists in the real world. Any “strategy” was concerned with favors to contractors, fear of the State Department, Wall Street and polls…..probably some drugs and few hookers involved somehow…but “strategy”? No. No, I’m afraid it never came into play.
12. Take A Few Deep Breaths: Ex-EPA chief Christie Whitman was booed and hissed right from the start as she coolly informed her audience at a hearing yesterday that her agency hadn’t lied to New York when it told people working, walking and breathing near the ruins of the world Trade Center that they were perfectly safe. (And the owner of the Center, fellow who had a demolition crew right there on site and ready to pull sown anything else left standing….don’t see much of old Larry Silverstein these days…But Silverstein Properties has some other lovely buildings for lease. And if you decide you don’t like yours, Well, Bango! Give Larry a call and down it comes…)
13. Charles Schumer, Senate Democratic Vive Chairman thinks that Alberto Gonzales should just get out of the way during this ‘Attorneygate’ investigation. (Alberto, they’ll call you when the arraignment date is set.)
14. As it happens, whether Rahm Emanual meant the move in jest or not, many of his colleagues agree that if Dick Cheney says he’s not part of the government, we ought to take the man at his word and get our money back.
15. Yesterday the Supreme Court pulled the rug out from under campaign finance reform, handed the president’s faith-based franchisees a free-bee; And the Mighty Scotus told a kid in Alaska that he can’t display his ‘Bong Hits For Jesus’ banner across the street from the school…not even for the Olympic torch. (Maybe he just needed a light…)
16. A man in Texas sentenced to die by lethal injection is planning to use his final moments in the land of the living (That would be the non-Texas parts, I presume) as a stage to showcase his abilities as a comic. No disrespect to the family of the victims. He just wants to make a tense situation go a bit smoother.)
17. Sloppy Seconds: Tony Blair is going to be our new International Middle East Peace Envoy. Loads of luck, Tony! Give my regards to Alan Johnston…
18. The Pentagon’s plans to create a new US military command based in Africa have hit a wall of hostility and outright disbelief – ‘You want to put a what? Where? –from governments all across the region. (You see how this ‘Global War on Terror’ Works, eh? More a sort of ‘Terror War on the Globe’ really…)
19. Robert Zoellick was stealthily, under cover of a thick cloud of money ushered into the World Trade Organization.
20. Hugo Chavez says he expects the Americans to invade any minute, now that they have “softened up” the country by sending in all matter of Black Ops destabilization crews. (A “second home”/”summer place” for the School of t he Americas? The National Endowment for Democracy’s computer camp?
21. Britain is flooding. (Well of course it is; This is June. But this time around it is deeply disturbing extreme weather and it has killed people and even though having one’s holiday ruined on an annual basis may be cause for mortal violence, still, this is very odd weather for Britain in June…
22. And, as Rick says in the last scene in ‘Casablanca’, “We’ll always have Paris”
1. Senate Majority leader Kate Brown is moving on. Her name has come up as a possible candidate for statewide office next year…Secretary of State? Attorney General? All it takes is money. The clearest indication that we have forfeited Democracy is not the USA Patriot Act, not state-sanctioned torture, not the corruption of the judiciary. Close, but no cigar…The real canary is election money. Your vote doesn’t count unless your candidate can back it up with cash…
2. The Pros versus the Cons: This November we all get to vote on an 85 cent cigarette tax. Tell me how much the pro-tax campaign has and how much the con side has and I can tell you what the outcome will be.
3. All that money Oregon managed to round up and dedicate to education isn’t going to make much difference. The anti-tax people say it is all going to teachers salaries and healthcare. But here’s the thing: The money in the school budget just barely restores the system to its pre-recession level. If we were really serious about educating children, we would have raised taxes and doubled the current budget. (But who needs educated citizens when money is going to decide the outcome of all future elections and the only role people play in the scheme of things is to serve as trained monkeys pushing the lever and eating the food pellet that is instantly forthcoming…)
4. Sea lions are eating too many salmon…But that’s just what sea lions do. And have been doing for thousands for years. Sea lions eating salmon is only a problem when fish stocks are dangerously low thanks to agribusiness run-off, industrial pollutants, logging and let’s not forget the most alarming threat of all: the failure of the ocean systems known as ‘up-welling.’ You want to eat salmon? How much is it worth to you? Can you stop buying at ‘Big Box’ stores? Stop driving a car? Live your carbon footprints at t he door?
5. Is it, for example, worth doing without a little heating in the winter and cooling in the summer months? A federal judge has nailed the BPA for miscalculating energy demand. And selling more electricity than it could generate. So what did the BPA do? The choices were, adjust turbines to boost power – thereby pureeing the fish or cut off power. Hellllloh, salmonburgers!
6. Loggerheads: The US Fish and Wildlife Service offered timber titan Weyerhaeuser the golden opportunity to “edit” a letter the agency was sending to that selfsame timber company regarding “concerns” about Weyerhaeuser logging on land designated spotted owl habitat (Not to mention the thousands of other creatures who call it home….)
7. Cutting ‘Timber’ to Save People: The US Senate cut the extension of the county timber payments. Ron Wyden has chosen to build his nest on this very, very safe issue. We now await the egg.
8. In Seattle the NAACP has asked the police chief to resign. Seems there was some chiefly involvement in a controversial internal investigation of an instance of excessive force…..Hmm, probably nothing serious, eh Chief?
9. Activist Martha Odom has this: Police at the G8 summit admitted they had agents provocateurs urging protestors to throw rocks and bottles. – no doubt even provided said rocks and bottles… And in Texas, Texans4Peace want you to know that there is a detention facility – not unlike our many other detention facilities spread out around the world like a tide of tears and blood – where more than 200 families are being held. And specialist Eli Israel has become another military voice refusing to fight in Iraq.
10. Last week Vice President Dick ‘Dick’ Cheney came out with the statement that his office is not part of the executive branch of the government and therefore not subject to oversight. But that was then and this is now: Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel plans to introduce an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to cut funding for the VP’s office. Emanuel: “He should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January of 2001, and move out of the home for which they are footing the bill.”
11. Forty-one percent of Americans think Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. It’s all there in a recent Newsweek poll, and I assure you, it gets worse than that.
12. California is facing what forecasters are calling the ‘Perfect Drought.’ (And the Colorado River is facing what climatologist are calling a ‘Shit Out of Water’ event.
13. The big immigration vote is on the way. Here’s where the glorious spectacle of money and politics conspire to generate some of the worst legislative behavior we have seen in a while. (Behold the writhing, roiling contortions lawmakers are putting themselves through as they attempt to make donors and voters of every stripe happy. And imagine if legislators had read the USA Patriot act, or the authorization to go to war…imagine the furor if anyone had been paying attention, if anyone cared…)
14. Britain’s new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown says he really cares. Protestors to Brown: ‘Enough to pull out of Iraq?”
15. There’s a video out now all over the internet featuring BBC journalist Alan Johnston wearing a suicide bomb belt…and it doesn’t seem to be the lamentable result of a bout of ‘Stockholm Syndrome.’
16. Meanwhile, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is wondering if he too will have to strap one on in order to get the world’s attention.
17. Israel is still in the process of telling the world that it is giving the Palestinians the money it took from them. (Israel is telling the world slowly and giving the money back slowly in order to make the good vibrations last…)
18. In Karachi, Pakistan, the weather is up to its new tricks. Heavy rain and thunderstorms killed at least 228 people….and counting.
19. Six United Nations peacekeepers were killed by a car bomb in southern Lebanon yesterday.
20. Checking Out: And in Iraq, a suicide bomber targeted a meeting of Sunni-allied Sheiks. The bomber managed to get through the layers of security surrounding the Mansour Hotel and blew himself up in the lobby. The Mansour is a stone’s throw from the hallowed Green Zone. The blast killed at least twelve people and messed up a great many others. Among the dead was noted Iraqi poet Rahim al-Maliki. So it goes…
The U.S. Senate began debate on the Employee Free Choice Act this week. Supporters in Oregon are urging lawmakers to pass the bill. Labor leaders, Oregon lawmakers and others hope Senators follow the state’s lead and allow a majority of workers to sign cards agreeing to form a union. KBOO’s Scott Pham reports, in collaboration with the Oregon News Service.
On the Recovery Zone, June 7th, Stephanie Potter featured Ole & Maitri Ersson who use humanure compost on their garden plants--including their fruits and vegetables. All they need is a bucket, wood chips and a compost bin. They have safely been doing this for 15 years.
1. Grow Your Own: Yet another produce recall. This time it’s chopped onions from Trader Joes. Chop your own too, come to think of it…
2. Have You Hugged Your Blastocyst Today? Oregon’s bill to explore public funding for stem cell research was ‘aborted’ this week. (And please don’t call it ‘embryonic’ stem cell research. They aren’t ‘embryos’; They are blastocysts.
3. Mark Your Calendar Now: Oregon voters will decide in May 2008 whether police agencies should have more power to seize and sell property tied to illegal activity and use the money to help pay for investigations. (Keep in mind that it is not unheard of for property seized by the police – especially fun stuff like pool tables and ATVs often ends up on the property of police officers….)
4. Is That A Pistol in Your Genes, or Are You Having A Seizure…The Oregon Supreme Court ruled yesterday that collecting DNA samples from convicted felons to build a profiling data base does not violate constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. (The good news: Your DNA is unlikely to wind up in a cop’s garage. The bad news is that although the ruling may not violate any search and seizure laws, it nonetheless leads to some very dark corners of American jurisprudence.)
5. Legislators voted to more than double the amount of money that Oregon spends annually on student aid…..
6. And not a moment too soon either. It is to be devoutly hoped that the next generation will be smart enough to figure out that ethanol is a burn in every sense of the word. It takes a lot of gas to make ethanol and ethanol is grown by agribusiness thus enriching Monsanto, Cargill et al. and about all it really fuels are investors on Wall Street. (And did I mention that it’s a dead give-away to the genetic engineers?)
7. Busy week for the Oregon Senate. Yesterday legislators signed off on an array of tax credits that add up to an estimated more than $22 million dollars in tax credits. That’s $22 million that the State won’t be getting over the next two years. But that’s Okay: We can hold an Ethanol Sale. (Or better still, a hemp sale…)
8. Umatilla had to briefly stop incinerating chemical weapons this week, but the facility is fit as a fiddle and ready to incinerate once again.
9. Republican and Democrats alike want to see – actually to hear – hundred of low power FM stations in urban areas across the US. (And right before a presidential election….How convenient…)
10. Hedging Their Bets: In Washington, Pacific Power & Light got a rate hike. Not the massive one the company wanted, but it’s still a significant boost in customers’ bills and a significant coup for hedge fund wizard, Warren Buffett and Friends…(That was just Washington. Bend over, Oregon: Here comes Warren…)
11. Washington fish are full of PCBs and even worse carcinogens. You know that you are in much worse trouble than you think when the government bothers to expose part of the real story…
12. Other toxic contamination in Washington: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is visiting Seattle next week. Check Seattle indymedia and make your travel plans accordingly! (It’s “free and open to the public.” And it’s sponsored by a fun bunch of wacky ‘Intelligent Designers’….Who must have forgotten to sharpen their pencils when they came up with Gonzales….)
13. The Bush administration is whispering about the possible closure of Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. But that doesn’t mean that the prisoners will be brought stateside and given fair trials. In a far more likely scenario, they will be extraordinarily rendered out of sight and out of mind to place from which they are even less likely to return.
14. The Ashcroft, Comey imbroglio simmers away. In any other country – hell, in any other US administration – this would be constant front page stunner, the very lifeblood of government-at-the-highest-level scandal. But in the shadow of the last few years, it has become just one more chapter in a sordid saga of corruption and felonious behavior.
15. Bush’s approval rating is somewhere around 26 percent.
16. House Democrats are ginning up to hand the White House another piece of legislation heading straight for the presidential veto bin. Congress voted yesterday to rescind a ban on providing funding for abortions to people in poor countries. (Self-control, people! It builds character…)
17. Breast feeding: It saves lives but loses money.
18. Vice (And how!) President Dick ‘Dick’ Cheney wants to abolish the government office charged with safeguarding national security. (Translation: Cheney doesn’t want the public or even legislators to see what he has been up to, Lo, these seven long years…)
19. Surprise Me: a new report says that New Orleans levees are in no better shape now than they were before Katrina. (But hold steady there, citizens: Mayor Ray Nagin is going to appeal to foreign governments for the aid that was not forthcoming from the American junta.)
20. The Senate has voted to require average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon for new cars, pickups and SUVs by 2020…When, no doubt, what little gas left in the world will cost $35 dollars a gallon.
21. Members of Congress are trying to shut down the School of the Americas…Again. Like cancer, the School will simply morph into another acronym and possibly decamp for less transparent shores. (I hear Guantanamo may be available…)
22. If you think the average Iraqi is having a really bad day, imagine what it must be like to be an Iraqi orphan chained to a pipe while slowly starving to death. Yes…That’s why American troops are welcomed with flowers and open arms wherever they go…
23. Life…It’s a Beach: What’s scarier than waking up in bed with Dick Cheney, weirder that getting hit by lightning or giant hail, deadlier than a shark attack?….C’mon, guess….Sand castles! Yes, every year holidaymakers take their very lives in their buckets when they go to the beach…
This show includes interviews on immigration and labor, prisons and Paris Hilton; a short story about the immigrant experience, a review of a novel by Mary Gaitskill, and a commentary about the future of atheism.
1. The Oregon Senate approved a bill setting up the framework for universal healthcare. But don’t plan on getting sick just yet; this isn’t a done deal. (And keep a close eye on Ron Wyden; especially be watchful for the fateful handshake with medical insurance companies…)
2. Double Indemnity: Oregon’s deadly “Double Majority” is on its way back to the ballot. The “Double Majority” means that if there is a vote on a local tax to pay for schools, voter turn-out is 49 percent and all 49 percent vote for the tax, it still doesn’t pass because…less than 50 percent of registered voters bothered to vote. This time around, let’s hope more than 50 percent of us vote.
3. Gresham has finally driven back the Wal-Mart assault. But Wal-Mart isn’t giving up its Portland campaign. the ‘Monstore’ is looking around for other neighborhoods upon which to unleash its bloodthirsty lawyers.
4. The Employee Free Choice Act is on the block this week, Lawmakers and labor leaders are hoping the rest of the nation will follow its lead and pass the Act which would give workers the right to sign forms to join a union rather than through an employer-controlled election. But wait! There’s more! The federal version provides for increased penalties on businesses that violate fair labor laws. (And by the way, after losing billions of dollars through lack of foresight and bad design CEOs of major automakers are going to cut their union members salaries by half….and they expect their work force to go along with the dirty deal…)
5. Aloha! The Oregon Senate is all for ethics reform…. “Now watch this drive…”
6. The federal – or ‘business End’ – of the Columbia Basin hydroelectric dams told a federal judge that they are expecting to make the kinds of changes to their strategy to boost salmon returns that the State of Oregon and Indian tribes want. The feds are still on the predator war path and at the helm of the fish transport trucks….and Yikes! Looks like that’s a big waterfall up ahead…
7. Vulnerability is Endearing…Oregon has got new, tougher laws against aggressive and/or careless drivers who menace and/or kill cyclists.
8. A highly suspicious posting popped up on the ALF/ELF website. Someone vandalized a shop in Pennsylvania, ‘Linda’s Fashions and Fur Salon’, notable for the fact that ‘Linda’ hasn’t sold fur for 20 years. So the people behind this rather ignominious action write that the “attack” occurred “under cover of night by masked activists” and throw it up on the North American Animal Liberation Press Office website. And the real corker is this: Whoever did this writes that the “attack” was carried out in solidarity with Jeffrey Luers…Wha? A “fur” shop in Pennsylvania? Look, informants: What happened, the dog ate your homework? Do a little research and try to either be a bit smarter or get your handlers to write you up some notes….
9. Line in the Sand: Then Edison Carder brought us the Word on the Ross Island scam. Essentially, Bob Pamplin left Ross Island “screwed blue and thrown in the Bushes without any loving” and now he wants to give Portland part of the island without any indemnification whatsoever. Taxpayers are going to pick up the tab for clean-up and future law suits resulting from people poisoned by contact with the island.
10. Save the dusky tree vole!
11. Who Let The Khat Out of the Bag? About half the group of Somali men who were busted for khat possession in Seattle a while back signed plea agreements. The rest did not. Now a federal judge has dropped the charges for ht others. Moral of the story: Don’t listen to your Public Defender when he/she tells you to accept a plea bargain: Make the bastards see you in court.
12. Now that Tony Blair has some time on his hands, Bush is angling to send his Boy Toy to the Middle East as a “peace envoy.” Since Blair obviously did such a great job of “taking the peace” in Iraq….
13. Jose Padilla’s lawyers are trying to get the judge to prevent the highly suggestible jury from being shown a video of bin Laden. The defense says its perfectly okay to show the film at the trial of Padilla’s co-defendants – just not at his trial. What Osama bin Laden has to do with a misguided gang banger from Chicago is any body’s guess…(Yet we have innocent shish kabob vendors from Herat sitting down there in Quantanamo Bay wondering if they’ll ever see the Hindu Kush Mountains again…)
14. “Bitch Set Me Up”: Lawyers for Artur Solomony and Christiaan Spies have helpfully pointed out that their clients were promised green cards by an FBI informant for agreeing to smuggle arms into the US. Wait…’Arms’ to the US? This is the weaponry capitol of the whole galaxy. Nowhere are assault rifles more readily available. Deranged children can easily get their hands on a gun. Still a trial is a trial and Artur and Christiaan can laugh about it all later. Right now, try to keep straight-faced guys…
15. The Southwestern part of the US is out of water.
16. New York State is flooding. Other places are on fire.
17. And jobless claims are “unexpectedly” up. (“Unexpectedly”? What exactly were these jokers expecting?)
18. While assorted factions in Iraq are being attacked by US forces and one another – or actually any combination of the aforementioned – things are not what they seem in Iraq…They are even worse…at any rate, while the bombs are raining blood most other places, up north in Kurdistan, oil deals are being negotiated, money is being made, Iraq is on sale!
19. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has invited all his pals to a little peace-type get-together at the seaside resort Sharm el-Sheikh (Made famous by a number of spectacular bombings in recent years, in case the name sounds familiar to you…) Everyone’s invited! A long as you are Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Just back from a no doubt lucrative trip to Washington), Palestinian blowhard Mahmoud Abbas, and Jordan’s King Abdullah. ‘Two State Solution’ my ass…
20. Nafkas On Parade! Women MPs in Israel’s Knesset are upset with the Foreign Ministry for resorting to pornography (Read: Naked IDF female soldiers in Maxim magazine. Eeeehew) to promote Israel (Well what else are they going to use? Dismembered Palestinian children?)
21. The UN secretary-general expressed disappointment with a decision by the United Nation’s new human rights watchdog to single out Israel for investigation. I refer your attention to the above story…
22. Now it’s Germany that is chuffed with the EU. (And only yesterday it was Poland…) The Germans want the EU Charter of fundamental rights to be legally enforceable as part of a new deal on how Europe is run. (So does this mean no more ‘extraordinary renditions’? No kidnapped clerics? No Polish Star Wars?)
23. The Bad News and the Good News: The foreign medics detained in Libya for the last eight years are going to be sentenced to death….and then receive clemency. (Hey we could try that in Iraq: declare ‘Victory’ and then just leave…)
This episode is all about a DIY housing project called Dignity Village, the only government sanctioned "tent city" in the United States. "DIY, Portland" host Julie Sabatier spent 2 days in the village just before they signed their lease with the city and moved to a larger spot on the Sunderland Recycling Facility. Residents there shared their stories about how they got to the village and why they
are encouraged to stay or leave.
This show also marks the debut of the brand spankin' new "DIY, Portland" theme song, composed by Portland's own
Nick Jaina! Other music in this episode comes courtesy of the incomparable Jason Leonard. Special thanks to Brian Kramer for his keen production assistance.
Podcasting and higher quality downloads available right here.