The Week in Review

Jeff Alworth

The week started out sneakily, as three news items appearing as sheep turned out to be wolves.  Or vice versa.  Let's start with the business pages.  Recall how Brainstorm NW and Lars whinge incessantly about how the business climate is so grim in Oregon?  Well, turns out this is yet another thing about which they're wrong.  According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Oregon is actually the fourth best place to do business in the country.  Wait--Lars peddling bad data?  What if he's wrong about tax cuts, too?! 

Also on Monday, religious leaders charged down to Salem to push for a moral agenda.  Nothing to do with gay marriage though--they were arguing that it's immoral that 75,000 people are about to lose their Oregon Health Plan coverage while the corporate minimum income tax stays ridiculously low.  Hey guys, come on--Oregon needs to do everything it can to woo companies to the state because we're so unfriendly to business, don't you know?  Oh, wait a second.  Finally, Dubya pulled a classic fox-in-the-henhouse move, nominating John Bolton for UN ambassador.  Bolton, famously, has argued, "There is no United Nations. ... When the United States leads, the United Nations will follow."  Okay, so the nomination wasn't really so surprising.

On Tuesday, the Oregon Supreme Court gave an important but mixed ruling on the Public Employees Retirement System.  I'll admit that I don't comprehend the finer points of the 150-page ruling, or even the coarser ones.  Seems that winners include Tier 1 workerss (those hired before 1996) and the state budget, which dodged a wrecking ball.  There are losers, and I'm sure they mostly include workers (Tier 2, anyone?), but damned if I know how.  Also on Tuesday, the Lebanese demonstrated just how much fun a democracy really is, as hundreds of thousands flooded the streets to support the formerly ousted, Syrian-backed (cough--puppet!--cough) government and Hezbollah, that fine, pro-Muslim "political party."  Slack-jawed neocons in our nation's capital began to consider the young Iraqi democracy in a new light.

Wednesday was a light news day, but Mount St. Helens put on a show, sending up a plume of ash 30,000 feet.  Sort of related, Portland saw the mercury climb to the record temperatures mid-week, and it's really starting to freak me out.

Fire and ice on Thursday.  Fire: the Oregon Public Utility Commission unanimously rejected the screechingly cynical bid by Texas Pacific Group to buy PGE.  The bid, which Little Beiruters and bid insiders knew was another corporate gut-and-shuck, wasn't supposed to be announced as such.  Thanks to documents released by the Willamette Week, those intentions became public news, queering the deal.  Ice: the screechingly cynical legislation to prevent the poverty-stricken from declaring bankruptcy sailed through the Senate with unanimous GOP and broad Democratic support.  Everyone acknowledged that the legislation was essentially designed to transfer money from the poor into the coffers of the credit card industry, but that their hands were tied: the credit card companies give bigger campaign donations.  Fire: Dubya's Orwellian-named "Clean Skies" initiative died in committee when Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) voted with the Democrats. 

Nothing that I can skewer happened on Friday

  • Chris Phan (unverified)

    Also this week: Eugene saw the first transit strike in the history of the Lane Transit District. Bus drivers and other union employees walked out on Monday, in response to the transit district's imposition of its last contract offer, which reduced health care benefits. The strike brought LTD service to a halt. Fortunately, this weekend an agreement was reached, and the busses will roll again Monday.

  • Mevid (unverified)

    Just please remember this about Lars from here on out, Lars will never vote on any ballot measures in Oregon anymore, and if the payroll tax bill passes (unlikely though) put forth by a couple of WA reps he will no longer pay any taxes in the Oregon (he no longer owns any property here either). So except for his 1st amendment privilege what ever he says about Oregon is marginalized. And Brainstorm NW should be ashamed for printing his dribble

  • (Show?)

    ...and Comcast for airing his show on channel 14.

  • panchopdx (unverified)

    ....and the BlueOregon community for constantly writing about him.

  • (Show?)

    Also this week: Eugene saw the first transit strike in the history of the Lane Transit District. Bus drivers and other union employees walked out on Monday, in response to the transit district's imposition of its last contract offer, which reduced health care benefits.

    I was walking around Eugene Friday evening with a friend of mine and we joined the picket line for a few moments (so that we wouldn't actually be crossing a picket line) - one of the friendly picketers even loaned me his sign. But can anybody tell me why they chose that spot in between the Hilton and that... other building... for their picket line? It was getting plenty of press coverage, but... unless you were on foot, you couldn't see them. Which I guess fits with the fact that it's a transit strike, but... I was just wondering if anyone knew why they picked a spot with such low public visibility.

    And as long as we're talking about natural phenomena, I happened to coincidentally time my trip to the store Saturday evening with the amazing fireball that ripped across the night sky just before 8PM. Apparently it was a once-in-a-lifetime event. It went on for many seconds and was so bright that at first I thought a plane had exploded mid-air. I hope some of you got to see it because it was truly fantastic.

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