Code of the West? Or the Code of Kindergarten?

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Monday, the Oregon House will take up a matter of tremendous state importance. Oh wait, no, that's not on the agenda.

Instead, the House will vote on an utterly stupid, inane waste of time called House Concurrent Resolution 14. That's the measure by Rep. Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg) - who apparently has too much time on his hands - to adopt the "Code of the West" as the "model of conduct in [the] State of Oregon."

What's the Code of the West?

  1. Live each day with courage;
  2. Take pride in your work;
  3. Always finish what you start;
  4. Do what has to be done;
  5. Be tough, but fair;
  6. When you make a promise, keep it;
  7. Ride for the brand;
  8. Talk less, say more;
  9. Remember that some things are not for sale; and
  10. Know where to draw the line.

Not only is the whole exercise a stupid waste of time, some of those don't even make any sense as a code of conduct. "Know where to draw the line"? A code of conduct should tell you where to draw the line - not leave it a mystery. "Do what has to be done"? Same problem - a code should tell you what has to be done, and what doesn't.

And as for "Ride for the brand"? I'm not even sure I understand what that means, except that it has something to do with obeying your corporate boss. On that one, the Oregonian's Michelle Cole got the scoop from the Code's author, James Owen:

"When a cowboy joins an outfit he throws his bedroll in a chuck wagon. When he does that he gives his loyalty 100 percent to the outfit. It's a cowboy thing. If you don't like the way an outfit is run, you grab your bedroll, pony and ride on down the trail," explains James Owen, a former Wall Street investment manager who reinvented himself as the man behind the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership in Austin.

Personally, I'm hoping that one of our legislators suggests a floor amendment to gut-and-stuff the bill with a Code that is both specific and universal. In particular, the Code that's embodied in Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don't hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don't take things that aren't yours.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Yeah, that's a much better code for Oregon. And one that a few of our legislators could learn something from.

Update, 12:42 p.m.: HCR 14 just passed the House with 44 votes in favor. It now heads to the Senate, where it will hopefully die in committee.

Update, 12:56 p.m.: OPB's Chris Lehman notes that Rep. Mitch Greenlick unleashed this zinger during the debate: "The difference between this body and kindergarten is that kindergarten has adult supervision."

Comments

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    Shouldn't "wash hands" come AFTER "flush"?

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    "Know where to draw the line."

    Does anyone else see the irony of this proposal coming from a member of the party of Scott Walker and John Boehner?

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    watching Rep Freeman's presentation of this before the House Rules Committee, on which he sits, it struck me that this is very insulting to his colleagues. the proposal presumes the other 89 members of the Leg, not to mention the rest of Oregon's state & local govts, do not have a code of ethics by which to operate -- or that their codes are wrong.

    and his is right.

    of course, his includes "Spend $400 of taxpayer money" to advance an obnoxious proposal that has no business before the Leg.

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    The House Rules Committee is considering legislation today that could effectively dismantle the state's campaign contribution reporting system for the state's largest campaign donors. The bill has already passed the Senate, and THIS is the issue that draws the attention of the press.

    Strange times.

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        SB270(a). The provisions in Section 6 would cap liability for campaign reporting violations at $5,000 per month, rather than assigning a fine that maxes out at 10 percent of the transaction(s) found to be in violation. Under these provisions, Loren Parks or the Koch brothers could spend millions on elections in Oregon and opt out entirely from our campaign finance reporting system by targeting their spending in a single month (e.g. October or November) and simply paying a $5,000 fine.

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    I think you guys would all be happy if Republicans ceased to exist. Maybe that's the amendment you should ask for.

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    He left out leave your guns with the sheriff.

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    I'm just glad the legislature solved our revenue issues and got long-term spending under control, freeing them up to spend time and energy on pointless bills like this one.

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    Republicans are all about glorifying the past and ignoring tremendous freaking shortcomings of these eras. Usually it's the 1950's but we see here it can also be the Wild West. It amazes me that such oversimplistic generalizations, and what amounts to Fantasyland, appeals to so many people. I guess feeling good and longing for the good ol' days is easier than thinking.

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      These people don't want to live in the 1950's or 1800's. They want to live on the sets of Leave it to Beaver and Bonanza.

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      Republicans, in general, have a hard time distinguishing reality from fantasy. It probably is what makes them Republicans.

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    Update: HCR 14 just passed the House with 44 votes in favor. It now heads to the Senate, where it will hopefully die in committee. Thanks to T.A. Barnhart for tipping me to the vote.

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      I think Berger was the lone R to vote against.

      Schaufler proposed to add something to the effect of " Never serve warm beer".

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    is it worse to propose a useless bill (as happens on both sides of the aisle over and over each session), or to spend more time talking about how useless it is?

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    Not every piece of legislation can the Voting Rights Act nor can every piece of legislation be as National Pickle Day.

    We have all been at meetings where there has been something on the agenda that makes us go "we're really discussing this?" or "haha yeah whatever"

    Take this bill for what it is and get on with the next one.

    I think we should all be paying more attention to what Mr. Freeman said to the Oregonian in his interview back on the 18th. I don't do very many bills,"

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    The American infatuation with the "heroic cowboy" myth is a fascinating study in itself. I think Teddy Roosevelt had a lot to do with it.

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    I think the Dems who voted for it, did so with visions of "Dems vote NO to ethics!" headlines. I would rather that they simply pointed out the hypocrisy and insult to Oregonians that this bill represents.

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    LOVE Rep. Greenlick!

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    Somebody let me know when members of the Legislature come up with funding for the Quality Education Model so I can let Oregon teachers know they won't lose their jobs at the end of the year. Pesky little thing like funding education to keep schools in Oregon open. What am I thinking???

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    "...where it will hopefully die in committee."

    Best use of "hopefully" ever.

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    I think he meant "color within the lines."

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