Sunday, July 31, 2011


It appears that we may not go over the cliff, at least not this time.

Trouble with spending your way out of a recession is that you have to have something to spend the money on. From the thirties to the sixties we did it by building dams, levees, locks and freeways that provided, for better or worse, opportunities for development and entrepreneurship.

Local example. Not too long after my folks were married there was a flood so bad that dad had to park in Glenwood and hoof it across the river on foot. Ah Glenwood, a little hole in the wall between Eugene and Springfield. Used to be a lot of trailer parks located there. Because every time there was a heavy rain shower everybody packed up and moved to higher ground.

Between the late forties and early sixties the Army Corps of Engineers built four dams on the Middle Fork of the Willamette and six dams of various sizes on the McKenzie and its tributaries. These dams provide some electricity, but they’re mainly for flood control. For better or worse this opened up large sections of land next to rivers between Eugene and Springfield for development. Two large malls and all the businesses that surround them have been built. There are housing developments, apartment complexes, small businesses and retirement complexes that couldn’t have been built without those dams.

Much of the infrastructure needs repair, but the era of the big digs is pretty much over. It can provide jobs but not on the scale of the original projects.

So, as we try to create new jobs we may have to look a lot closer to home. Oregon has built up quite a wine industry. Large enough that the wineries can supply other services; event venues and restaurants. In turn, these provide a market for locally grown meat and produce. It’s finally sinking in that if you want to save the land you have to save the farmer. If you want to save small business you have to give them your business.

Friday, July 29, 2011


There’s a story on HuffPost about a poll taken that shows that a majority of Americans don’t support defunding Planned Parenthood. One comment basically said “don’t expect me to support you with my taxes.”

Well bub or sis if you don’t want to support anyone else with your taxes, I suggest that;

You stay off any roads from the street in front of your house to the freeways. Most of them were built with tax money.

Don’t fly anywhere. The air traffic controllers are paid with tax money.

If you live in the Columbia/Snake River, Colorado River, or TVA drainage systems don’t use any electricity. The dams were built with tax money.

Don’t buy any out of season produce. Almost half of the nation’s produce comes from California irrigated with Colorado River water from those tax supported dams.

Don’t buy any products that could have come through the Mississippi River, Great Lakes, Saint Lawrence Seaway network. Many of the levees, locks and channels were built with or maintained with tax money. Same for any products that come through the Columbia/Snake river network. The locks are part of the tax payer built dams.

Don’t buy a house with an FHA mortgage, it’s government administered. I could continue. Guess you’d better go hide under a rock.

On Creating Monsters

The Republican party seems to have made a dire miscalculation. One that appears poised to do it in.

Since the Reagan Era, Republicans have pandered to the far-right wing. Gave the nutcases just enough attention to make them believe their interests were being taken care of by the good ole GOP. The 'Pubs threw them a bone now and then in pre-election rhetoric, then ignored them after the votes were tallied.

Now it's harvest time, and though the Republican Party diligently tried to apply Round-up to the fields after every election, they are going to have to reap what they have sown.

Unfortunately for mainstream Republicans (and everyone else), wingnut rhetoric and a few legislative bones now and then are no longer satisfying this constituency. They have formed the Tea Party, ostensibly an ultra-conservative wing of the more centrist-minded GOP. But they are now the tail wagging the dog.

John Boehner finds himself in a position where, even though his party has seized control of a nearly-deadlocked House, he cannot control or direct its actions without caving to the ultra-right wing agenda. He doesn't have the votes.

So the Republicans can't get anything passed.

The Democrats can't get anything passed.

And Congress is a stone around the President's neck.

Our thanks to the GOP for setting the stage for the most stagnant, putrid legislative session in memory.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Balance

What the world needs now…is not love sweet love. What we need is balance.

“Balance: 3.) harmony; a state in which various parts form a satisfying and harmonious whole and nothing is out of proportion or unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest.”
I am probably ultra-sensitive to this fact since I let my own life get so out of balance. What started out as the exhilarating challenge of realizing a dream quickly descended into an all-consuming obsession with the work and the worries and the insanity.

I remember trying—for about the first three weeks, it seems—to maintain something that resembled my “old life.” But as I became inundated by the pure magnitude of what I had gotten myself into, I became convinced that “total immersion” was probably the only way I was going to get control of the café. I watched my old life and its priorities disappear like a diamond ring down a shower drain. Keeping my house clean, my lawn mowed, my flowers watered? Tracking what I ate and when? Walking the dog, petting the cats, feeding the birds? Being with family, being with my husband? All these things that made up the fabric of what I had thought was a non-life became expendable; fluff for which I had no time or energy. All of my focus, all of my resources, swung ‘round to be centered on one thing: the restaurant. One of my sisters called the cafe “the job that ate your life.” Indeed. It took about 48 months of sloughing off part after part of my old self and penetrating deeper and deeper into a maze that I ultimately realized I was never going to solve, to make me understand that I had had a life, once. And I wanted it back.

Now, I’ve chucked the café and thrown myself into the work of reclaiming my life. I revel in getting out of bed whenever I feel like it; I happily grab hold of some project that has needed doing for, say, five years or so, and bang away at it until it’s done, even if it means staying up half the night or missing a couple of meals. Or I sit and do nothing. Because I can. I’ve utterly thrown over self-discipline for a kind of bohemian schizophrenia. I do whatever I feel like whenever I feel like it. Truthfully, it was kind of nice for awhile, but I’m beginning to realize that this is not right either. I’ve swung too far in the opposite direction from the unrelenting barrage of challenges that comprised my life for five years. It’s hard to feel like you’ve accomplished something when you really don’t have to do anything. And I’m still out of balance.

So it’s easy for me to see what’s going on in my life as a microcosm of the rapidly degrading culture of the United States of America. Everything is “Extreme.” There is no balance.

The halls of Congress have become a 21st-century Coliseum; an arena which hosts spectacle after spectacle in the Clash of Ideological Titans. Not a moment’s thought is wasted on the efficacy of forming a “satisfying and harmonious whole.” It’s just two enemies hammering away at each other, neither willing to settle for anything less than all the marbles. Government? Legislation? Providing for the common good? Meaningless. It’s all about winning. Though I’m not sure either side has any idea what the prize is supposed to be.

And every two years, the hapless voting public, convinced by the puppet media that they have been duped, abused and led to the brink of disaster by whichever party has laid claim to a tenuous upper hand, mindlessly stampedes as far as it can cringe in the opposite direction. The scales tip way too far the other way, never pausing at anything approaching the middle. Balance loses out again. And, thus, so do we all.

Balance. How do you sell it? It’s not a sexy concept. It’s not excessive enough for today’s American consumer. In fact, it’s entirely the opposite. How do you sell calm, reason, harmony—these things for which our society is so desperate—in a world where “extremeness” has become everything?

I wish I had the answer. I’m having a hard enough time finding balance in my own life, surrounded as I am by a society constantly pushing toward too much. I can only hope that the world will tire of “extreme everything.” History proves that the pendulum will swing the other way. Slowly and steadily, I hope, as tough as it will be to wait it out. If only we could get that pendulum to stay in the middle once it gets there. Or at least restrain its tendency, of late, to swing about quite so wildly.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I believed the housekeeper.

This is saying something, because I'm a born skeptic with a highly sensitive BS meter, in addition to which I've spent years, professionally, honing my innate abilities to doubt, analyze, and deconstruct anything with which I'm presented, with the goal of being to be able to sort wheat from chaff, which, most of the time, I'm able to do.

But not this time. No, this time, it appears, those of us who believed this woman was a victim were DUPED. The NYTimes reports that 28 hours after accusing Mr. Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, the housekeeper had a conversation with a boyfriend who's in jail in Arizona. Because he's in jail, the conversation was taped. The Times reports that in this taped conversation, the woman spoke to her friend "in a unique dialect of Fulani", a language from her native Guinea. The conversation had to be translated, which took awhile, but finally, this past Wednesday, the Manhattan district attorney's office received the translation. As soon as they listened to it, the case began to fall apart, beginning with the woman saying to her friend,
"Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing”.

There's more.

During questioning in the past 6 weeks, she's admitted that the story she told to get into this country was false; soldiers didn't enter her home and beat her and her husband because of their opposition to the regime; her husband didn't die in jail; she wasn't gang raped in Guinea. Nor is she the destitute housekeeper with whom so many could sympathize. Investigators discovered she lied about her income to maintain her public housing, and claimed a friend's child as her dependent to increase her tax refund. She has consistently claimed that Sofitel was her only source of income, but investigators confronted her with bank records showing thousands of dollars in deposits in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania to an account in her name.

In the phone call, she told her boyfriend she knew what she was doing, but did she, really? I hope not, because for starters, she's made it that much harder for anyone who is truly victimized to come forward, including...if she was raped by DSK, and now we will never know...herself.

cross posted at Talking to Myself