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Posts published in “Day: May 11, 2014”

A loss of confidence

rainey BARRETT


For decades, the far right has warned the rest of us that government - from local to federal and back again- was “not our friend” and, in fact, was something to be suspicious of - if not downright feared. Now that so much of our government is in the hands of creatures of the far right, I’m forced to agree. Government - and many of its institutions - can no longer be counted on to be there for us when we need it and, in fact, much of it has become something to be feared.

Additionally, too many of us WASP’s have tut-tutted as rights of non-WASP’s have been blown this way and that in the political winds. “Too bad,” we’d say quietly. “Someone ought to do something. But that’s not my problem.”

Well, Virginia, it’s become our problem. In spades!

From legislature to congress, hardly an American alive today has not been legislated against in recent months. Pick a subject: taxes, voting rights, medical care, immigration, adequate education funding, curbing violence, personal safety, a hideous expansion of gun “rights,” rejection of highly credentialed people to judgeships, eliminating access to vital health care for millions of women, hampering reproductive rights, rejection of access to necessary medical care and other promised benefits for returning military personnel, union busting, denigration of police, fire, teachers and other government workers, illegal declarations of “wars-of-choice,” slashing food stamps and other necessary social safety programs, unwillingness to pursue criminal charges for those financial types who nearly bankrupted the country. There are more. Add your own.

Fact is, there doesn’t appear to be anyone in what used to be the American middle class - which has historically been our national pride and joy - who hasn’t been adversely affected by some level of government. Or more than one! If you feel differently - if you feel untouched in those areas - if you think you’re unaffected by denial of rights of citizenship or have not had any of your liberties infringed - you’re either in the one-percent or living in a dream world. Or wrong!

Consider a personal experience. My father was an Oregon Republican of the first order. Eisenhower, Rockefeller, Dole. Dirksen and others in the pantheon of prominent GOP politicians of the ‘40's, ‘50's and ‘60's were men he respected, whose careers he followed and for whom he voted. Repeatedly. Small town Oregon, rock-ribbed, God fearing Republican guy, my father. Over many years, we discussed politics. Often. Those men and those values formed the foundation of his love of country and his respect for those who led it.

Then Richard Nixon.

I’d been away for some years - several in Washington D.C. in broadcast journalism. While we regularly kept in touch, Dad and I hadn’t our face-to-face, political fireside chats on the patio in Bend recently. Nixon was forced out of the presidency about that time. Shortly after, I came home on vacation, looking forward to more political bantering with him. (more…)

Twilight time


These stretches of the two to three weeks before “election day” – actually, the deadline day for completing voting – are a strange time.

The ballots for this year's primary election in Oregon have already gone out, and a good many of them have been marked and cast. (Those in my household are among those already returned to the county clerk.) But not all of them, not by a long shot, are gone, and the more sophisticated campaigns are keeping a close watch to try to ensure that the ballots they would like to see returned, are.

So there's that frantic nature of the work underground, and a bad case of nerves on the part of some candidates and their supporters. They'd be better off, on a personal level, if they had more practical work to do the way candidates in polling-place voting states do, right up to the last day before the mass of balloting occurs.

In places like Oregon and Washington the candidates, simply, have less to do. They still can wander out and shake hands, but most of the intensive work of the campaigns is done already, timed to hit before the ballots go out. Anything major happening from this point out will hit a lot of people who already have voted, and what would be the point of that?

They do, of course, have to keep themselves on a leash: The possibility of saying something foolish or worse remains there, and enough votes come in even on the last day to do prospective damage.

But most, for now, there's not much else.

It's mostly a matter of watch and wait.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Evaluating Otter's claim to hit $60b GSP (Boise Statesman)
How much and what health insurance covers (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Personal impacts of Idaho Medicaid gap (IF Post Register)
Profiling frequent letter writers (Lewiston Tribune)
With Chaney out, two write-ins run (Nampa Press Tribune)
Graduation at Idaho State (Pocatello Journal)
Derailed train at Sandpoint (Sandpoint Bee)
Video-famous Bettencourt dairy sold (TF Times News)
Reviewing governor's race (TF Times News)

Lane CC students defaulting at high rates (Eugene Register Guard)
Chinook face uncertain water and weather (Medford Tribune)
Changes in governor's race (Portland Oregonian, Medford Tribune)
More energy in Jackson Couty GMO battle (Medford Tribune)
Firings at Portland Zoo over culture? (Portland Oregonian)

Scientists looking at Oso mudslide (Everett Herald)
Providence Regional studies cancer vaccine (Everett Herald)
Reviewing Hanford's cleanup operations (Kennewick Herald)
Constitution change on campaign money? (Longview News)
Hospitals releasing seriously mentally ill (Seattle Times)
Costco launches efforts in Europe (Seattle Times)
More growth at Moses Lake BMW plant (Spokane Spokesman)
Working through underwater mortgages (Tacoma News Tribune)
10th CD sees pot, campaign money issues (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Analysis of Clark commission battle (Vancouver Columbian)
Pot seller plans to startup (Vancouver Columbian)
Candidate filing begins (Yakima Herald Republic)