Spanning the State: I have a Nightmare edition

Carla Axtman

Yesterday in our nation's capital, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin soiled the national mall with their cynical perversion of Dr. Martin Luther King. Apparently the conservative policies of bankrupting the country with tax cuts and massive defense/pork spending while obstructing any and all attempts at reform of the health care and financial systems are popular with the estimated 87,000 folks that showed. Kind of a small crowd for a national DC mall event--but the media still flocks to cover it. Of course, little Portland, Oregon drew 75,000 all by itself just for an Obama rally and the SEC College Football Conference regularly eclipses 90,000 for a home football game. But apparently Team Teabagger Crazy and their mini-DC legion's attempt to foist their "I have a Nightmare" vision on us matters..cuz..well, we're not screwed enough already as it is.

Thankfully, Oregon is 2700 miles away from all that Crazy. And while we have our elements of it here, our citizenry has thoughtfully kept their policy positions out and in fact pushed the opposite in many cases. Which is why we're not as screwed as, say, Nevada, who has embraced elements of Teabagger policy.

So as I sit here, a grateful Oregonian, let's Span the State!


Now that Washington County has worked so hard to steam roll citizen concerns over developer dollars in the urban/rural reserves process, the next link in their steam roll chain will happen in the Bethany area. Washington County plans an 800 acre development while setting aside only $69 million to pay for estimated transportation needs, or about 25% of the total cost estimate. Bethany-area citizens are asking the County not to approve the development until funding for all transportation costs (about $289 million) are identified. Note that citizens were not allowed to give testimony in front of the Washington County Planning Commission on Aug 25th as they pondered what to do with the development.

Taking an interestingly different approach, a slick and pretty website asks Lake Oswego residents not only to engage in the process but to take an active role in shaping their city's comprehensive plan. WashCo Citizen Participation Organization info is here. Kinda stark, isn't it?

This letter to the editor in this week's Albany paper caught my eye. North Albany resident Richard Smith is complaining that public dollars are being used to fund "gifts" to the Catholic Church. A story in the paper from mid-July says that about $32k in requests were made by nine property owners to the Central Albany Revitalization Agency for various projects. Among the nine was a request from St. Mary's Church to make one of their buildings handicapped accessible. The LTE infers that the money was approved to the Church. Public dollars to make improvements to church-owned facilities? Hmmm.....

Oregon's County Clerks descended on the little burg of Burns for their conference, bringing a little economic juice to the town's engine. Local vendors were used to provide meals for attendees and over 80 hotel rooms were occupied for the three-night stay.

Recently, the Grand Ronde Tribe held their annual powwow at the Uyxat Powwow Grounds. Photographer Adam Korst captured some gorgeous images of the attendees, which you should definitely click through to see.

Not learning from the mistakes of others is stupid. When that mistake results in public humiliation and job loss, its egregiously stupid, as the Interim City Administrator of Lafayette has discovered.

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    87,000? Come on. Attendance was considerably higher than that. With the reflecting pool area full you are looking at 300,000 or more.

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      Ed: really aren't. I've been to several enormous DC Mall events. They are very good at crowd estimation. You're easily less than 90k there.

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        The NPS doesn't estimate crowds anymore to my knowledge, so I am not sure who you are referring to when you say 'they'.

        Have you looked at the photos?

        I haven't seen any validated estimates, but the photos sure show more than a football game crowd.

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      Ed Diehl,

      I heard an excerpt from Sarah Palin's speech at the D.C. event. She said: "You all have the courage And the moral backbone of Washington, Lincoln and Martin Luther King. So let's stand up for the Red, White and Blue and support our citizens in uniform."

      (This may be a very slight paraphrase of what Palin said- it's pretty close).

      So, Ed, and other Tea Partiers and sympathizers, how does Palin get off invoking MLK Jr. in her call for unquestioning support of the military?

      I believe MLK Jr. said that the U.S. was the biggest purveyor of violence in the world. The sermon MLK Jr. was to deliver the weekend that was coming up after his return from Memphis was to be entitled, "Shall the United States Go To Hell?".

      This is what Al Sharpton was talking about with the Beck/Tea Party misrepresenting MLK Jr.

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    Oh, and it is entertaining to read such a cynical piece chastising other people for being cynical. :)

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    I don't see a problem with public dollars being used to make improvements to church-owned facilities. Very often church members do amazing work to help the homeless, the poor, the youth at risk, people with alcohol and drug addiction, etc. They do the necessary work that we are not willing to have our tax-funded local governments do. I am not familiar with St. Mary, but I would not assume that this project is not deserving, just because it is at a church.

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      Whether or not a religious entity is "deserving" of assistance is beside the point. Churches are tax exempt for a reason: they aren't beholden to the government, nor the government to churches. Blurring that line also blurs that concept.

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    The train House in Labany is a failed B&B in a Victorian era residence. Why the Catholic church purchased the property is beyond guess, but ADA requirements for public accesibility only kick in when a substantial renovation takes place to an existing building. Perhaps the Church is opening a shelter or some other community service, who knows. I can say that $5k won't go far in making a place built in a different era ADA accesibile.

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    "Soiled the National Mall"????

    You sound absolutely petrified, Carla. Fortunes change in politics, and the pendulum will eventually swing in both directions.

    Holding onto power is like a wet bar of soap. The tighter your grasp and the more desperately you squeeze it to hang on, the faster it will slip right out of your hands.

    Looks like you've dropped the soap.

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    The middle class is withering, children are hungry, soldiers are dying and you're debating the attendance of a stupid political gathering.......FOCUS PEOPLE.

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      On what? How Dems are a part of the problem? About all the Bush policies that haven't been changed one iota, or made worse? Maybe they could talk about why this was smart...

      Oh, you mean PROGRESSIVE focus. Focus on the fact of suffering, not finger pointing? I guess you would have to go to a progressive blog for that. Most here appear to be interested in #1 winning, #2 raising money, #3 letting the ignorant masses know how stupid the opposition is.

      Solve problems? That's what you hire consultants for!

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    I think I am getting to the point of not wanting to read any of these comments anymore. I have mentioned once before that this is a site for progressives to exchange views. It is not for right wingers to toss out their stuff and try to bait and argue and really puke at the rest of us readers. Stop already.

    1) I sympathize with your post in that this gathering of Beck's is a perversion of MLK and his message. If you have ever been in the presence of the Lincoln Memorial you know that it hits you with what it means to be an American and want what is best for all of us. I think the term "soiled" is appropriate. 2) I was almost afraid to go on the site for Lake Oswego as I first heard about the survey from a lady who was passing out cards from the city about the survey and the upcoming workshops BUT wearing pins for very conservative city councilmen. She winced when I took the card and said I am quite far to the left. But the survey was positive and upbeat, the way I would prefer to live. Let's keep LO well maintained, with good schools, and lots and lots of open natural areas and parks. Let's bring in more young families though. Old duffers like us need their energy. :) WE will win this and don't let anybody put a right wing downer on you, Carla.

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      I used the LO survey to also voice my concerns that, coming from California, I view the Corporate-Owned Oswego Lake (which we taxpayers who fund it cannot even stick a toe in) as our own "Bridge to Nowhere" and that it is something to be ashamed of, not a source of pride.

      On top of it, it's a polluted swamp because they don't care for it as they should.

      I also agree with your comments that I can barely stand the comments of the RW who come here to bait and antagonize. They think because they are so loud and vehement, that they are in the majority.

      As if!

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      I've noticed Theresa, that you're more about confirmation of your own world view than you are about learning through conversation and debate.

      Unfortunately, a lot of the rest of us value the contrarian input, so we'll just have to hope that your delicate sensibilities will survive the current white bread version of Blue Oregon, with its facebook tie-ins and no anonymity.

      Maybe you could put one of those foil covered sunlight reflectors under your chin while reading, the better to filter out any unorthodoxed thought that might be attempting to assult your deogma.

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        I DO learn from conversation and debate especially from knowledgeable people with facts. I don't learn from smart talk or people talking in code or arguing in put-down, stinging language. If this is what the readers of Blue Oregon and Blue Oregon itself wants to foster, then so be it. It's just not my deal.

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    Beck is trying to cleanse his image and that of the teabaggers to wash the stench of bigotry and extremism off their hides.

    Beck's teabaggers idea of civil rights is this:

    This is their agenda from one of their star candidates, the same agenda of Angle in NV, Paul in KY, Johnson in WI, and now Miller in AK: Eliminate social security and Medicare. Eliminate college loans for the middle class. Eliminate unemployment insurance. Criminalize women and girls who get abortions who are victims of rape and incest.

    You bet this is cynical, a phony show of alignment with the greatest social justice prophet of our time by someone who says social justice is "evil" and "communistic."

    Yes, I've been to the D.C. mall at public events, and the CBS estimate of 87,000 is the top end of it. Not any 300 thousand.

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    And.. this "spontaneous" outpouring of fake civil rights fervor was brought to you by those right wing extremist multi-billionaires, the Koch Brothers. Those great inheritors of the legacy of the John Birch Society, who denounced MLK as a communist agent.

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    Just a point of clarification, in response above you wrote:


    Whether or not a religious entity is "deserving" of assistance is beside the point. Churches are tax exempt for a reason: they aren't beholden to the government, nor the government to churches. Blurring that line also blurs that concept.[/quote]

    An organization's level of "beholden-ness" to the government really has nothing at all to do with non-profit status. There are thousands of non-profits who derive the majority if not most of their income from the government.

    Tax-exempt status is an IRS designation, nothing more and nothing less.

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      Actually, that's not entirely correct Paul.

      Churches are not treated the same as traditional nonprofits.

      Congress has given churches significant tax benefits. Chief among these benefits: churches automatically qualify for tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3). Thus the tax code does not require them to apply/obtain formal recognition of their tax-exempt status. By traditional default, churches are generally not part of the federal tax base.

      In addition, churches enjoy other tax privileges. For example, churches are subject to less stringent annual reporting and filing requirements. They benefit from specific rules limiting the IRS's authority and opportunity to audit them and churches are exempt from certain unemployment taxes.

      These unique tax benefits for churches is an acknowledgement by Congress of the special role of religion in the United States.

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        Agreed, it has everything to do with the first amendment and little to do with being "beholden" or not to the government.

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          Keep the logic going, Paul.

          The First Amendment's religious clause was based on Jefferson's work to have a similar law passed in Virginia. That idea was drawn up to allow freedom of (and from) religion. Jefferson believed that state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself, because it makes religion a part of government and government a part of religion. They are beholden one to another, under those circumstances.

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        Exactly. And Churches are given all kinds of other perks, like being allowed to ignore the Americans with Disabilities Act, and numerous discrimination statutes. I can't think of a single health and safety reg. they are required to follow.

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