Thursday, June 5, 2008

Democratic Party Strategy

This is a bit long, but well worth reading. It's an overview of the Democratic Party's strategy for the next election, and how Dean and Obama's strategies will mesh. It seems like really smart - and even mildly progressive - stuff, as far as party politics goes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

(The Lack of) Diversity in Corvallis

I would hold this up as an example of both how the majority of Corvallis might view the idea of diversity and, simultaneously, why that's a bit of a problem:

The booth generated a mixed reaction from pedestrians on Saturday. Some thought it was a clever way to promote diversity and initiate a discussion on race in the mostly white city. Others said it was unnecessary for liberal-leaning Corvallis, where many residents pride themselves on championing diversity — including passage of a charter amendment that makes it a priority.

Because everyone knows that a charter amendment championing diversity is all that's needed to end racism and discrimination.

According to Wikipedia, the population of Corvallis is 86% white.

I'm sure that has nothing to do with the above paragraph.

Boiling over


Some people including state officials say the Mannix petition is not the way to go because it will fill the prisons. Hah! Fill the prisons? First they would have to catch those crooks, and how are they going to do that?

That idiot. Oregon's prisons are already filled to near-capacity (to wit: Somewhere around 14,500 beds and 13,500 prisoners, with projections suggesting that it will only be a few years until all beds are full).

Is it too much to ask that he be held to the factual standards of someone doing a report in the fourth frackin' grade?

In which Hering (potentially) demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the LCSD board

Hering on school boards:

Being on the school board is fundamentally different from legislating. Unlike the state House, school boards are essentially administrative in nature, though they may from time to time be asked to make or ratify some executive decision.

Interestingly, there seems to be a rather intense debate going on in Lebanon over whether or not that is, in fact, true.

Personally, the fact that even Hering thinks school boards are rubber stamps is evidence for me of how abnormal the claims being made in Lebanon are. This is Hering, people. He's not exactly a bastion of non-traditional thought.

Update: The debate can be a real debate about what the role of school boards should be, but we need to at least acknowledge the reality regarding what the normative (commonly accepted) role of school boards is at this time.

Sometimes, one can only marvel at his awesomeness

Hering in an editorial ostensibly about the upcoming Presidential race:

The main question in America always has to be: What do we do to assure that individual citizens will continue to be free, both politically and economically?

Just now, freedom seems under considerable threat from a much more meddlesome government interfering more directly in personal lives.

That's fantastic, I thought - Hering is going to come out against all violations of privacy that have occurred in the last eight years. This is awesome.

Sadly, I was - am - wrong. The very next sentence of the editorial:

This is the main reason some of us are skeptical of the claims about global warming.

I am totally befuddled. Guantanamo Bay, floating prisons, renditions, torture, the shredding of several articles of the Constitution, domestic spying, etc. etc. etc., and Hering is referring to global warming as the only noteworthy threat to people's freedoms?

What the fuck? Seriously, what the fuck?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Must be that time of the year

Courtesy of Jill at Feministe (I think), this commencement speech given by Samantha Power. My favorite bit:

Fourth, find friends who have your back. Last weekend I attended a conference in honor of a Nobel Prize winning Princeton psychologist named Danny Kahneman. Kahneman is a remarkable scholar who has done groundbreaking experiments which showed the ways in which humans are not as rational as had long been assumed. At the conference, which celebrated his retirement, lawyers, economists, and psychologists got up to present work that had been galvanized or influenced by his theories. The day was a tour de force, a monument to the kind of impact one man and his ideas can have on the world. At the end of the day Kahneman was asked what he was most likely to be remembered for. The audience hushed in anticipation. Here Kahneman would elevate one of his many theories above the rest. Posterity would record which experimental research the great Kahneman himself thought most landmark. "The one thing that I'm sure of," he said, "is that I'll be forgotten." But he was next asked the source of his nearly unrivalled professional success. Again the scholars in the room waited expectantly. This time, he gave them a response they could take home, answering, "my choice of friends."

The beauty of this is that, while much in this life is beyond our control, all of us hold the power to choose our friends. We can each be a Nobel prize winner at friendship. None of us are perfect friends always, but one way to think about friendship is in terms of carefulness. Be careful with those you love. And surround yourself with people who are careful with you. A good friend of mine devised a rather taxing standard for love and friendship - and a grim one too - "who would you want to become a refugee with?" If your neighborhood were hit by Hurricane Katrina, or Cyclone Nargis, who would have your back? Look around you today. Your parents have your back, your siblings have your back, your closest friends have your back. Keep it that way. And be sure they know you have theirs.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sprenger to Resign

Word just came in that LCSD School Board Chair Sherrie Sprenger announced her resignation at the meeting tonight. I guess June 30 is her last day.

Rumor has it that Sprenger made the announcement at the very end of the meeting, when the crowd was sparse, and that the gavel was headed downwards before the last word got out of her mouth. No word on reactions from anyone else.

My understanding is that this means Rick, Josh, Debi, and Chris are going to pick Sprenger's replacement.

Is everyone wearing their seatbelts? This could be interesting, especially if the recall of Shimmin succeeds and the four members at the time are Rick, Josh, Chris, and Sprenger's replacement.

Oh, the possibilites....

Update: See Jennifer Moody's DH story here.

Digby on Bush

" anti-intellectual manchild with a mean streak a mile wide."


Oh Hell

From the DH:

Two teens charged in Albany gunfire

What started as a drive-by shooting early Sunday morning turned into a car case with more gunshots fired as the vehicles traveled from Albany to Oakville.

The suspects are in custody and no one was injured.

Linn County detectives were still trying this morning to find out what prompted the shooting and whether the suspects and victims knew each other.

Sheriff Tim Mueller provided this account:

Around 2 a.m. Sunday, residents at a house at 1909 Queen Ave. S.W. reported their house had been shot at. Detectives later determined that five rounds hit the house.

Six people in the home got in two vehicles to chase the suspect vehicle, a 1997 Nissan pickup, south on Oakville Road to Highway 34. The pickup made a couple more turns before stopping for deputies on Church Drive southwest of Tangent.

During the chase a man in the back of the pickup fired approximately 10 rounds at the two vehicles chasing them. Both vehicles were struck several times.

The three men in the pickup, all from Lebanon, were arrested without incident.

The driver, Bradley John Zurfluh, 18, was charged with six counts of attempted murder, carrying a concealed weapon, unlawful possession of a silencer, driving under the influence of intoxicants and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

Dylan Thomas Debutts, 18, was charged with six counts of attempted murder and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

They were both lodged in the Linn County Jail.

A 19-year-old man who was a passenger in the Nissan was cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

Two firearms were seized from the suspects, a Ruger 10-22 semi automatic .22-caliber rifle with a homemade silencer attached to the muzzle, and a Raven Arms .25-caliber semi automatic pistol. Zurfluh owns both firearms.

Around 1 a.m. today, residents at the house on Queen Avenue told Albany police that there had been another drive-by shooting outside their home. The shooters fired into the air, they said.

I had them in plenty of classes in which I subbed.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Why Shimmin?

LT has a good explanation of why one might want to see Shimmin recalled. I'm posting it here because it's buried in a larger comment over there:

In other words, if Debi had voted in favor of the Sand Ridge amendment (which we don't think Kennedy favors as a policy matter) AFTER learning the financial consequences, listening to the advice of the district's lawyer and making appropriate revisions, and explaining to the public why this was the best decision for the district as a whole, Kennedy would not like the decision, but he would not oppose the decision as bad board behavior. LT holds to the same standard.

We do not believe that recalls of elected officials is appropriate
based on disagreement with policy. We think that recall is appropriate when the elected official is not meeting the minimum standards for prudent behavior, particularly when the behavior damages the people who are supposed to be protected by the official.

We think that Debi has crossed the boundary into imprudent behavior to the extent that the public has the right to throw her out of office. We think that, not because we disagree with her decisions, but because we disagree with the WAY she makes decisions.

I agree with that explanation. It's about where I stand - it's not the policy so much as the process. Not the outcome of the votes, but the path used to get there. Again, I think Shimmin could be a good board member under different circumstances (namely, without Alexander or Wineteer around), but as of right now, she's certainly struggling.

Finally, we should all remember that while she did run for the position, she was walking into a huge mess. This situation is complex, complicated, has a long history, and isn't anywhere near being resolved. In some ways, Shimmin is at the mercy of a lot of different forces at play.

Get Off My Screen


When it comes to predictions about the the availability and price of natural gas, who is more believable, the Oregon Department of Energy and the governor’s office, where nobody is responsible for producing or selling a single watt or therm, or the gas company, which not only has to make sure there’s a supply but also has to keep its customers reasonably content?

Has he ever written anything dumber than that?

Why is this man allowed near an editorial page?

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