The Oregon Blog
Under grey skies, self-medicating with black coffee

Sunday, April 27, 2003  

Hello, I must be going. Headed down to beautiful Southern Oregon for the next week and change. I'll be doing some work in Roseburg until Thursday, and then I'm headed to Ashland to catch some theater, eat some good food, and loll about. There's a chance I'll track down a computer, but likely won't be back online until May 6th or so.

Which means, ironically, that I won't be able to go to the Mike Hawash rally on Tuesday morning. But everyone who is in town should show up. It's critically important to let our leaders know that we won't tolerate these anti-democratic tactics. Big crowds means lots of press, which means lots of pressure. So get on out there for me and holler and shout (peacefully) and tell the folks what you think.

See you in a week.

posted by Jeff | 1:27 PM |

Friday, April 25, 2003  

Various updates on the Hawash rally at Notes.

posted by Jeff | 10:21 AM |

Thursday, April 24, 2003  

Well there I was recently, sitting in the lobby of the Fox Tower, trying to resist picking up the copy of Brainstorm NW. Failing, ultimately. As you might expect, though perhaps not for the reasons you would expect. Not for, say, masochistic reasons. Rather, because the cover had the full-page title (in caps):

Baby Face Sten Battles with Business and Doesn't Back Down

As you know, the last time I picked up a Brainstorm, I had a stroke. So it was with some gingerness that I did handle this copy. Funny thing is, the cover article--which is surely a broadside if ever there was one--was the shrill screech of the defeated. The upshot was essentially: "Damn you, Erik Sten, damn you and your commie ways!" (with a fist in the air, but a tail between the legs).

And then, as an added bonus, Lars Larson's self described "pathetic scribblings" featured a prediction about the war.

"Most of Saddam's military will quickly give up or be overrun. Saddam himself will mostly likely die in the intitial hours or be captured. The major military objectives will be realized within two weeks. A year from now, the newly freed Iraqi people will be pumping their own oil, freed from sanctions, rebuilding their country (with our help), and finding out about their new freedoms."

Anyone want to take bets on those predictions?

(Turns out Brainstorm may be more fun than I first realized).

posted by Jeff | 1:28 PM |

Mike Hawash Update

First things first: there's a rally for Mike next Tuesday. It's at the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse--the same location as the first rally, and will begin at 8:30 am. (Yeah, it's inconvenient, but so is democracy.) Mike's family and counsel believe he will have a hearing at that time. Follow the link to download posters, flyers, and signs.

Also, Mike wrote a letter from his 8 by 12 cell.

"In solitary, my world is limited, controlled, mandated. My universe is an 8x12 cell. My new home has an attractive bunk bed just right for my size; a window with bars for my security, a chair/desk for my studious pleasures; a sink/toilet assembly, and a door with a tiny window for my privacy; all made of fine iron for durability.

"I’m treated like a king, royalty inside. People bring me food of their choice, turn the lights on/off when they happen to pass by, and escort me to take a shower, or anything else for that matter. They are very protective of me, you see!

"I no longer have to strain my head with choices, options, or decisions. People are taking care of that for me. Life on the inside is a bit different as you can see, but there is more, please read…"

For some reason, I can't see how to link to it from the home page, but you can find it here.

It's also interesting to click around the site--there's a wealth of information there. Information on the material witness statute, the Patriot Act, and a list of material witness detainees since 9/11. There's also info about media coverage of his detention and a way to get on a mailing list.

It's an old cliche, but it's really true: as long as folks like Mike are locked up, none of us can feel free.

[Update: Attention Seattlites
This email came across the Hawash listserv. "I don't know Mike Hawash, but as a fellow American, I'm outraged about what has and is happening to him and his family. I live in the Seattle area and I was wondering if there are any other people in my area that would want to have a protest at the federal courthouse in downtown Seattle next Tuesday. If so, please send me an e-mail. Otherwise, I'll drive the three hours down to Portland next Tuesday. I haven't protested anything since the mid-80s, but I've reached a whole new level of frustration with the current Administration."]

posted by Jeff | 9:24 AM |

I think they're actually pretty cool:

(Out-of-towners: this is Portland's newish parking system. A solar-powered parking meter that spits out a ticket that you tape to the inside of your car. They're wildly unpopular for a variety of reasons: aesthetic, historic, and economic. It's the last one that really seems to rile: with these new things, you never get the bonus, left-over time on a meter.)

It's a slightly scandalous position, but there you have it. For one thing, I don't wear a watch. Now when I'm downtown, I'm always near a clock. The really nice thing, though, is that you don't have to spend two bucks on a cup of coffee to get fifty cents in change (or dig around the crannies in your car hoping to find a spare nickel): you just pop in the credit card. Oh, and did I mention--they're solar powered. Come on!

posted by Jeff | 8:39 AM |

Wednesday, April 23, 2003  

Well, it looks like the beer tax is gaining mo. Along with a lot of other taxes. Some are good, some are bad. That they're considering them at all is definitely good. (Of course, I must make an adamant plea to the legislature not to raise the tax on beer as much as currently proposed. Last biennium, the tax collected was $12 mil. The bill up for consideration would raise that to $110 mil--which is WAY too steep an increase. Rule of thumb: any tax increase that borders on 1000% should be viewed with GREAT skepticism.)

Meanwhile, PERS reform has hit a roadbump. It will apparently not pass judicial review because it breaks the contract with employees. But rather than create a workable plan, the legislature's just gonna try to push this one through. They can't get it passed as is, but "that is not a reason to do nothing.”


posted by Jeff | 3:35 PM |

Monday, April 21, 2003  

Trouble with trial lawyers

First, a few facts. The Democratic presidential candidates (aka, the seven dwarfs) raised 100k in Oregon for the first three months of the year. Of that, 62k went to one man: John Edwards. Howard Dean raised a respectable 25k, but he was the number two man--apparently no one else is on the radar here in the land of the quack. Now, the big statistic: a third of all the money raised for Democratic candidates came from trial lawyers (and went to Edwards). A third.

Edwards is kicking butt across the US as well. He's raised $7.4 mil, and $4 mil of that came from lawyers. This is becoming a common pattern. Trial lawyers are now one of the biggest supporters of the Democratic party. (Labor's still number one, and no doubt Dick Gephardt will have something to say about the race when labor starts backing him. Or maybe it won't--lately it tends to back the winner.)

I have nothing against Edwards per se (except that he's one of the few candidates the Dems could run who'd actually have less experience than the President). But this trial lawyer thing is troubling. There's something obscene about being backed by ambulance-chasers. Yeah, it's true that everyone should have the right to sue, but I'm not convinced everyone should have the right to hundreds of millions in punitive damages. The trial lawyers' position is that this protects society from rapacious corporations. They stand for consumers and the little guy.

Fair enough--I'll leave aside the conflict of interest necessarily inherent in such an argument. Let's say that's a perfectly altruistic argument. Even so, Democrats need to ask: do we wish to govern by lawsuit? Is that a good way to craft public policy?

My position is that it's the job of the legislative branch to craft laws to protect the consumer. One: it's far more effective. Two: the trial lawyer system depends on damage being done to the consumer before redress is available. And then the redress isn't available (in many cases) uniformly.

I think the Dems got on the trial lawyer train when it tried to keep up with the 'phants on fundraising. Labor just isn't enough. If that's the case, it's all the more reason to back away from the lawyers. We don't need the Dems bound to yet another special interest with deep pockets.

posted by Jeff | 9:58 PM |

I’ve been wildly negligent with my blogging. Apologies all around.

The big news is—our tax troubles are over. This guy’s got the solution. It's us.

With Kulongoski's encouragement, [David] Yaden is trying to assemble the most audacious citizen-involvement plan since the pioneers met at Champoeg to form a provisional government.

Yaden, 60, is not by nature a grass-roots activist. Instead, he's the quintessential Oregon political insider.

His long resume includes work as a pollster, the top staff position in a congressional office, lobbying for a mining company, planning for TriMet, and policy jobs with Neil Goldschmidt in Portland, Washington, D.C., and Salem. Yaden's wife, Janice, now doing relief work for Mercy Corps in Turkey, ran Goldschmidt's children's agenda when he was governor.

When a crisis hits, they rush a measure to the ballot. Voters, suspicious of the fine print, turn it down. All involved throw up their hands and wait another five or 10 years for the next crisis. Then they make the same mistakes all over again.

Yaden's idea is to force the public to figure out how to finance schools. He wants to bring to bear all the techniques of the modern media age -- polling, focus groups, interactive Internet sites and two-way television -- and such old-fashioned standbys as the community coffee.

I tried to find some info on this nexus of planning, but apparently it's a bit early. Keep your eyes peeled; this is a job for the bloggers!

posted by Jeff | 9:34 PM |

Thursday, April 17, 2003  

The budget's out.

It's ugly.

For starters, it's $400 million less than last biennium's budget. It also assumes a reserve of another $400 million. Which means things are going to get worse, not better. For once, though, the legislature appears to have used very cautious numbers--so as far as it's possible to predict what will happen in the next two years, the legislature's being prudent. We've long ago run out of fat to cut, so this budget makes deeper cuts into schools and services to the poor.

There's only one solution, and yet not a single politician seems to have the stones to even mention it: new taxes. The worst criminal in this regard is Governor K, who swore he'd never raise taxes. Now backing off that, he's hedging his bets and hiding behind tax hikes already in the works--like the beer tax and the tourism tax. This compounds problems, because it means he's supporting bad taxes, not offering up any new ideas, and pretty much painted into a corner because he's promised not to.

The result? More carnage. The only way we're going to stop it is to demand more from those bozos.

posted by Jeff | 1:29 PM |

Wednesday, April 16, 2003  

I generally try to avoid double-posting, but I've posted some thoughts over on Notes on the Atrocities that might be of interest. They're about Iraq and US foreign policy and have nothing to do with Oregon. Except, distantly, that world events affect us here--if you're after some tenuous connection.

posted by Jeff | 12:13 PM |

Monday, April 14, 2003  

Stealth Giveaways

Harry Esteve points us to some hidden provisions of HB 2267--the one that will add a 1% tourism tax to hotel and motel stays. In addition to raising $16 million a year in revenue, it would also create an independent state agency that would be exempt from public contracting and hiring laws, and would "have the power to condemn property it thinks would be better suited for a tourism facility."

Esteve was tipped off by Ken Strobeck, of the League of Oregon Cities, who have a treasure-trove of information (some might call it minutiae) about the proposed law.

A careful reading of the law shows other reasons why it's less a revenue-generator than another giveaway to special interests. For one, the money raised by the tax goes back to the independent commission, which has oversight over how its spent. The commission would be controlled largely by the lodging industry. Furthermore, it prohibits local communities from assessing their own taxes on "transient tourists"--those taxed by the state law.

So, to recap: the tax increase will create an independent agency funded by the taxes from the increase; the taxes will not benefit Oregon's general fund; the taxes will only benefit a select industry who will, incidentally, have control over the independent agency; and finally, that independent agency will have the ability to seize land for the industry that controls the agency.

Further evidence that whenever Republicans back a tax increase, it's good to read the small print. (And I guess brewers were too busy hanging on for dear life to dump thousands into the pockets of influential legislators. But in Oregon, the poor [industries] pay.)

posted by Jeff | 12:04 PM |

Friday, April 11, 2003  

All right, let's talk beer. Or rather, beer tax. According to HB 2804, the tax on a barrel of beer (that's 31 gallons, or two standard kegs) would increase from $2.60 to $33.07. Lawmakers have tried to sell this dog as a modest increase, citing per-drink increases of a mere dime. Which, in the mind of the average pub-goer, used to spending three bones or more, ain't much. Don't be fooled--this thing is a disaster to Oregon's local brewing industry.

Why? Several reasons. First, it will unduly affect a single industry: brewers. The tax is aimed not at distributors or retailers, but the producer--that is, the brewer. Oregon has the healthiest craft brewing industry--by far--in America. I don't know the recent statistics, but a couple years ago, Oregon brewers accounted for something like 30% of all the beer sold in Oregon. That's a huge success for local businesses--the folks we should be encouraging now. Although it's Budweiser who howls loudest about these kinds of taxes, it's your local brewpub who'll really get the sucker punch.

Two: Brewers already get the biggest shaft on the brewing money train. Consider a keg of beer. A brewery goes through the effort of brewing it, a process that can take anywhere from a few weeks to years. They hire the guys to haul malt and hops and clean kegs, they carefully watch the beer mature, they spend years perfecting their recipes, they--you get the picture. For all of this they get what? Less than a hundred dollars a keg (maybe $175 a barrel)--or far less if it's wholesaled out. Then, for the effort of driving a truck to the brewery and driving it across town, a distributor gets a cut. And for attaching a hose and pouring it in your glass, the retailer will earn (at $3 a pint) $372 on the keg. So, of the three bucks you just shelled out, a shade less than six bits ($.75) has gone to the brewery. Raise the per keg tax by almost $15, and the brewer will make even less. I'll tell you right now, brewing ain't a get-rich-quick scheme. But raise taxes by that much, and you'll guarantee that the only folks who can afford to brew are the big three industrial brewers.

Three: Sin tax, pluses and minuses. The theory behind the sin tax is that it's a double shot of good: you get money and you inhibit unwanted social behavior. Fine, but a beer tax will do exactly the opposite. Before there were microbreweries, there were smoky, windowless shacks. Those arguably represented unwanted social behavior (although I'm certainly not arguing it). But brewpubs have turned the corner bar into an airy, smoke-free, family-friendly establishment. Beer has shifted from the drink-until-it-finally-tastes-good product into a beverage enjoyed mostly in moderation. Far from representing a social ill, Oregon's craft brewers are great for our communities.

Finally: To beer drinkers, Oregon is Beervana. We rock. Maybe only Belgium can compete with the diversity of beer available, and sheer numbers of breweries in Oregon. It's become a part of life to go grab a pint after work (or after sailboarding, or hiking, or a Blazer game, or...). It's not only one of the most robust home-grown industries, it's a symbolic one. It's the greatest bastion of pure craft brewing in the world (since Henry's moved, Widmer is the state's biggest brewery--with a yearly output of less than a day's worth of Bud). Tax brewers out of business? It's like France taxing vintners out of business.

There are good laws and bad laws. The good ones tax those who can afford it and encourage responsible behavior. Bad taxes tax those who can't afford it and encourage bad behavior. This tax is a poster child for the latter.

Say it with me: No Beer Tax!

[Correction: for those of you who don't read comments, note that the actual craft beer consumption is about 10%, not 30--though that's still four times the national average. I believe the 30% figure I read might have refered to Portland consumption, but don't quote me on that...]

posted by Jeff | 1:42 PM |

Thursday, April 10, 2003  

Sorry about the lameness of my recent posts. Soon I will post a treatise about why this beer tax blows.


posted by Jeff | 5:42 PM |

Tuesday, April 08, 2003  

No one cares if the little prattle I post here is horribly out of date, right? (That is to say, neither of you.) Oh good. Because this is now five days old.

The topic of our prattle: Michael Kelly.

He's the editor/commentator/reporter who died last week in a Humvee accident in Iraq. He's a mercurial figure who caused much beating of breasts and wailing and gnashing of teeth--as well as inspiring Hosanna's and Praise Be's. He was a bare-knuckle conservative who loved nothing so much as the rabbit punch to the kidney--a conservative's Maureen Dowd. So in death, he inspired some conflicted reactions and those of pure and utter devotion.

For example, in our local rag, David Reinhard pitched woo:

"God, he was good. His prose sparkled. His intelligence cut to the core of any issue. His wit withered and delighted -- often at the same time. His unstuffy moral clarity didn't come at the price of nuance. Michael Kelly was the whole package."

(At the risk of overstating my delight in this piece, let me say that you won't find anything more over-the-top on the Onion.)

But the editorial staff at the Big O vied with Reinhard for superlatives:

Kelly, 46, was one of the geniuses of American political journalism. He wrote an incisive, conservative column for The Washington Post and its writers syndicate. During his nearly two years as editor of The Atlantic Monthly, he roused it from its somnolent irrelevance to become a bright chronicle of artistic, intellectual and public life in America. His book about the first Gulf War, "Martyr's Day," was widely acclaimed.

I guess I mention this mainly because from time to time, someone from Grants Pass writes in to deride the "liberal Oregonian" (and how they failed to, say, jail gays). The liberal Oregonian. That would be the pro-war, Bush-endorsing, Kelly-fawning Oregonian. Let us now pause and consider that.

For perspective, a few choice words from the genius of American journalism:

"This is whom the left now marches with. The left marches with the Stalinists. The left marches with those who would maintain in power the leading oppressors of humanity in the world."

"To march against the war is not to give peace a chance. It is to give tyranny a chance. It is to give the Iraqi nuke a chance. It is to give the next terrorist mass murder a chance. It is to march for the furtherance of evil instead of the vanquishing of evil. This cannot be the moral position."

"The decision caused what the farmers say will be at least $200 million in losses this year. If allowed to stand, it threatens more than 1,000 families with the effectively forced eviction (albeit paid) from land they have farmed for generations. The environmentalists say: excellent."

"The Palestinians are the aggressor; they started the conflict, and they purposely drive it forward with fresh killing on almost a daily basis."

"Pacifists are not serious people, although they devoutly believe they are, and their arguments are not being taken seriously at the moment."

"How many pacifists would be willing to accept the logical outcome of their creed of nonviolence even in face of attack -- life as a conquered people? Not many, I would think. How many want the (mostly lower-class) men and women of the United States armed forces to continue to fight so that they may enjoy the luxury of preaching against fighting? Nearly all, I would think. Liars. Frauds. Hypocrites."

Yup, the Oregonian's a real liberal rag, all right...

posted by Jeff | 4:46 PM |

Monday, April 07, 2003  

Mike Hawash protest report here.

posted by Jeff | 2:42 PM |

Sunday, April 06, 2003  

Rally tomorrow for Mike Hawash

Rally - Monday April 7 - 8:30am
Please begin gathering at 8:15am

Mark O Hatfield U. S. Courthouse

More blog about the Mike Hawash situation here. And more tomorrow.

posted by Jeff | 10:40 PM |

Friday, April 04, 2003  

Lots of bills working their way through the legislature, some of 'em even pretty good. A review:

1. Ashcroft Junior No-Peeky Law (aka HB 2425)
Stated Goal: Exempts from disclosure under public records law public body's plan in connection with threat against individual or public safety. Under pressure from the Oregon Newspaper Association, the bill was changed to allow reporters in sessions where sensitive issues are being discussed, with restrictions placed on what they can report.
Unintended Consequences: Anything controversial will be hidden from disclosure. Also, press not allowed to report on non-sensitive material deemed sensitive by overly-sensitive legislators.
Likelihood of passage: Extremely good. Passed the House unanimously.

Goldie Rating of utility to the public good: C-. Yeah, terrorists are out there, but this is a democracy, folks.

2. Don't Smoke 'em if You Got 'em (aka Senate Bill 722)
Stated Goal
: Bans smoking in the last holdouts: bowling alleys, lounges, and bingo parlors.
Unintended Consequences: Elderly Bingo speakeasies proliferate throughout the state.
Likelihood of passage:Middling. Smokers are out of friends, but the legislature might get its act together and address real problems first.

Goldie Rating of utility to the public good: D. Pols blowing smoke.

3. Pump Your Own Damn Gas (explanation)
Stated Goal: Allows 'Goners to pump their own gas at filling stations.
Unintended Consequences: Bitter resentment of New Jersey.
Likelihood of passage: Slightly worse than passage of sales tax.

Goldie Rating of utility to the public good: C. 'Goners love all their idiosyncracies and secretly dislike the idea of getting out of their cars. They'd love it in two weeks if the bill passed.

4. Liver, Brain, They're all Organs (aka SB 1)
Stated Goal: Prohibits health insurers from imposing treatment limitations, limits on total payments or financial requirements on coverage for chemical dependency, including alcoholism, and for mental or nervous conditions unless similar limitations or requirements are imposed on coverage of other medical conditions.
Unintended Consequences: State health expenditures go down.
Likelihood of passage: Nil. Two words: insurance companies.

Goldie Rating of utility to the public good: A. We shouldn't even have to discuss it.

5. This Doesn't Taste Like Mickey D's (aka SB 651)
Stated Goal: Restrict the sale of food and drinks that don't meet federal school-meal nutrition standards.
Unintended Consequences: Children forced to carbo-load at the Krispy Cremes after school.
Likelihood of passage: Nil. Two words: lunch contractors.

Goldie Rating of utility to the public good: A. We shouldn't even have to discuss it.

6. Hey Mon, Dis Ganja's All Rough and Scratchy (aka HB 420--just kidding, actually HB 2769)
Stated Goal: Allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.
Unintended Consequences: Police forced to admit you can't actually get a buzz off industrial hemp.
Likelihood of passage: Nil. This year anyway. Maybe after this John Ashcroft experiment is over with ...

Goldie Rating of utility to the public good: A. We shouldn't even have to ... well, you get the point.

7. Protect Kraft Foods (explanation here)
Stated Goal: Bar all future attempts to label foods as genetically-engineered.
Unintended Consequences: Oregonians with arms growing out their backs.
Likelihood of passage: Middling to high. Them politicians got to get a war chest someplace.

Goldie Rating of utility to the public good: F. Are you kidding?--this is an all-out assault on the public good.

posted by Jeff | 2:48 PM |

Thursday, April 03, 2003  

Thurgood Marshall Frowns

There's an amazing article from the Statesman Journal today on Oregonian Mike Hawash’s detention due to provisions of the Patriot Act.

Dressed in flak jackets and armed with assault rifles, FBI agents surrounded Maher “Mike” Hawash in an Intel Corp. parking lot while another heavily armed FBI team swept through his suburban home.

Two weeks later, the Intel contractor sits in a federal prison in solitary confinement, strip-searched every time he leaves and re-enters his cell for an hour of exercise, his friends say. The father of three has not been charged with any crime. Hawash is being held as a “material witness” under a federal law that allows the government to detain people expected to testify before a grand jury.

If you think the Patriot Act really won't be misused, this is the perfect rebuttal. Clearly, misuse is its use. The only reason Hawash is in prison is because of his race. And when we lock people up because of their race, not their behavior, we're no better off than the regimes we call repressive.

It goes to show the value of local city councils getting involved with national politics. Obviously, it sends a signal to Washington. More importantly, it sends a signal to the residents of communities: we have no more control over the unconstitutional behavior our the federal government than you, but we do not agree with it. Here, in our community, you are welcomed. We should be saying that at least to the Hawash's, and probalby, we should be protesting outside the federal prison where he's being illegally detained.

[Update: I Googled around a bit and found: a Free Mike Hawash website. Also a nice article by Wired about the case.]

[Update 2: New York Times picks up the story.]

posted by Jeff | 2:20 PM |

The Lorax Smiles

"The Nature Conservancy of Washington has purchased 5,600 acres at Ellsworth Creek near Willapa Bay, safeguarding an entire coastal watershed as well as some of the rarest and most biologically diverse forestlands remaining in the Northwest.

"The Conservancy made its first purchase within the watershed about three years ago. With this latest acquisition, all but 120 acres of the watershed is now protected, making the Ellsworth Creek basin the only fully protected coastal watershed between the Canadian border and the central Oregon coast.

"The purchase puts into protection approximately 300 acres of ancient temperate rainforest, where some of the trees are more than 800 years old and measure 35 feet in circumference. This remnant old-growth forest supports a significant population of the federally threatened marbled murrelet as well as one of most diverse concentrations of amphibian species found in the state. The purchase also ensures the health and future of Ellsworth Creek, a stream that teems with some of the best wild, native salmon runs remaining in Willapa Bay."

| link |

posted by Jeff | 1:58 PM |

Sometimes an article is whole and complete and beautiful, replete with nuance. Such an article is this:

Honking against war cited to keep peace



War or no war, there's free speech. But honking for peace? Well, that can cost you $77 in downtown Portland.

On Monday, police wrote tickets for at least that amount to four motorists who hit their horns as they passed antiwar demonstrators camped out near City Hall.

Police said they were simply keeping the peace "for the safety of everyone." Emotions about the war in Iraq are high, they said.

Under Oregon law, honking for anything other than an emergency is illegal. Honking at the camp is considered "excessive noise," said traffic Cmdr. Mike Garvey.

Outraged residents of the peace camp, a 14-day-old vigil of lawn chairs, sleeping bags and signs at Terry Schrunk Plaza, see the ticketing as selective enforcement of a law that almost everyone breaks.

"Why don't they ticket road-rage honkers instead of people honking for peace?" one asked Wednesday.

Police haven't ticketed motorists honking at "support the troops" and pro-war rallies, but that doesn't mean officers are taking sides, Garvey said.

War. Schools. Unions. Jesus. Honking for anything outside the law can warrant a ticket, he said. One of the honkers cited Monday said he was angry at the protesters.

Shortly after the media began inquiries about the tickets, police ended the practice.

| link |

posted by Jeff | 1:47 PM |

Tuesday, April 01, 2003  

Eventual Karma

It took 11 years, but Lon Mabon was finally held accountable for (some of) his misdeeds. From OPB:

"A gay rights activist has won the right to take the assets of Lon and Bonnie Mabon and several organizations they control…

"A judge awarded gay rights activist Katherine Stauffer $30,000 after she was forcibly removed from an OCA meeting in 1992. But she never got it.

"Stauffer says the Mabons transferred OCA assets to other organizations in an effort to avoid paying the money. This latest ruling allows Stauffer to go after assets owned by the Mabons themselves."

I’m not sure why, but this story wasn’t broadly reported. Perhaps ol’ Lon runnin' afoul of the law just isn’t news anymore.

posted by Jeff | 1:27 PM |

Finally, a bit of sanity

With SB 742, it looked like Oregon was trying to polish up it's already stellar national image (of irresponsible leaders who would rather throw the elderly into the streets than address funding shortfalls) by adding jack-booted thuggery to its list of virtues. As if to atone, the legislature has offered up two nice bills that would actually protect civil liberties.

Under House Bill 2047, police officers would be required to warn foreign nationals of their rights to communicate with their consulate, as described in the Vienna Convention. A second, related bill "requires notification to a foreign consulate when a child who is not a U.S. citizen is taken into protective custody," (of which 400 are annually). Now, the great part. Unlike Senator Minnis's boneheaded protesters-as-terrorists bill, which aroused mainly derision, these bills passed the house 55-3 and 58-0, respectively.

Less fanfare for this one, but far more import with regard to civil liberties. Kudos to the legislature (who may be challenging me to re-think my "glue-sniffing yokels" remark).

posted by Jeff | 12:00 PM |