Tag: Oregon

Greetings From Oregon…

Greetings from the Great Green State of Oregon, where I’ve decided to take a few minutes on this damp Sunday here in Portland to collect the latest goings-on here in our US Senate race – where our excellent candidate Jeff Merkley is going to retire Senator Weasel (he of The Great Fake Outrage), in just a few weeks.

Three recent polls (links and numbers below the fold) make it very clear that this is a top-tier race, and a few more news items are included below the fold.

Gordon Smith throws slime, uses rape victim as cover

Gordon Smith has watched his lead as a sitting senator evaporate in this year’s race against Jeff Merkley, his Democratic challenger. Smith is becoming increasingly unpopular and now he is trailing in recent polling. So in what can only be described as an act of desperation, Smith is running, perhaps, the slimiest television ad ever in the history of Oregon senatorial politics.

The Oregonian reports Smith asks rape victim to be in TV ad against foe.

Merkley spokesman Matt Canter called the TV ad — and another new Smith commercial on the Gillmore case — “slime and smear at its worst.”

In Smith’s despicable ad, he enlists Tiffany Edens, a well-known rape victim in Oregon, “to appear in an emotional TV ad” that falsely accuses Merkley of “failing to crack down on serious sex offenders.”

Here is the ad Gordon Smith approves:

Let’s Not Forget The Farmworkers This Labor Day

My Labor Day Weekend began this Sunday morning – I jumped on a TriMet bus for a quick ride out to my Sunday farmers market to pick up most of the food I’ll eat this week, directly from some of the people responsible for growing it.  We all enjoyed those few hours in that little Clackamas County town; and then I hopped on the bus back home to my tiny urban inner SE Portland apartment just as they began to pack up their stands and crates onto their trucks and into their vans to scatter back out to their wide open lands in random towns, villages and hamlets all throughout the Willamette Valley.

It’s September tomorrow, and the transition will come soon – the squash become harder, the berries give way to apples and pears…salads and light sandwiches step aside to make room for soup and chili, potatoes make the move from cold salads to hot and creamy au gratin.  I’ll enjoy these last few weeks of fresh local tomatoes; even as I get the oven ready for heavy-duty work again on these upcoming wet and windy 40 and 50-something degree days and 30-something nights, and dust off my butternut squash sauce and (in)famous Oregon Winter Pizza recipes…

Of course, the current American ‘food’ system overall is hardly pastoral or idyllic…and exploitation is the rule for the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of farmworkers and food processing plant workers who make possible the many great holiday feasts of millions of Americans on these occasions.

Crossposted from La Vida Locavore, more below the fold…

OR-Sen Candidate Merkley Leads in New Poll

The primary is just one week away here in Oregon. When you look at the polls from the past month there’s only one conclusion you can make. Oregon Senate candidate and current House Speaker Jeff Merkley is climbing up the polls. Here’s a snippet from Survey USA:

Eight days until votes are counted in the Democratic Primary for US Senate in Oregon, state House Speaker Jeff Merkley and attorney Steve Novick remain effectively tied, though today Merkley has the nominal advantage, 31% to 27%.

OR-Secretary of State: Meet Vicki Walker

We tend to pay less attention to down-ballot state races, as if their only real importance lies in the creation of strong political benches, a sort of stockpiling of talent for the future. Even so, just reading the names Katherine Harris and Kenneth Blackwell reveals that we do actually understand that Secretary of State is among the most important political jobs in the country. From the opposite end of the spectrum, Californians proved it, yet again, when Debra Bowen was elected, last year. Now, it’s Oregon’s turn.

A few years ago, it came to the attention of some Portland activists that Portland General Electric (or PGE- and not to be confused with California’s PG & E- Pacific Gas & Electric) had been charging rate-payers for its federal and state tax liabilities, even though it wasn’t actually paying the taxes. The Public Utilities Commission had given PGE a waiver. So, PGE was using false pretenses to over-bill its customers. In the amount of $150,000,000 a year! The total came to over $1,000,000,000! These activists thought it might be a good thing to stop this outrageous practice; so, they approached a prominent state legislator with the idea of passing a law that would forbid it, and that would require utilities to refund to ratepayers the money they were charged for taxes that the utilities did not pay- plus interest. The legislator didn’t want to do it. PGE is enormously wealthy and politically powerful. So powerful, in fact, that it had never suffered a legislative defeat! The activists approached a second legislator. A third. A fourth. A fifth. None had the political courage. The sixth legislator they approached was Vicki Walker, a state senator from a mostly rural Willamette Valley district that also includes Oregon’s second largest city, the university town of Eugene. Walker said she’d do it.

Oregon’s Democratic Governor, Ted Kulongoski, refused to take a stand on Walker’s effort. Even he lacked the guts to confront PGE. But Walker ushered the legislation through both the Senate and the House, and Kulongoski signed it into law. It was one of those extremely rare examples of a government standing up to a powerful special interest, on behalf of the people. And it was the first time PGE had ever been defeated in Oregon’s legislature! And Vicki Walker was singularly responsible for making it happen. And Oregon’s utilities tried to make her pay for it. Eugene’s popular mayor ran against her, in the next election. Eugene’s mayoral candidates need not declare party affiliation, so until this mayor challenged Walker, many of his constituents probably didn’t even know he was a Republican. So, he could run as a liberal Republican, a species with which Oregon actually has a long, and often happy, history. And needless to say, he was very well-funded. He was actually favored to win. And then they had their debate, and Walker was so much smarter, and so much better versed on the issues, that all the local media agreed she had soundly defeated him. And that turned the election, and led to her victory. Now, Oregon has the opportunity to bring her intelligence, integrity, and courage to state office.

OR-Sen Candidate Live Blogging at EENR at 12 pdt / 3 edt

Coming up very soon, Oregon Senate candidate and current House Speaker will be live blogging over at the EENR Blog! This will be our second live blog at EENR, and we’re happy to be able to interact with Democratic candidates this way. It gives us all an opportunity to get to know the candidates better and it’s an opportunity for the candidates to hear the concerns of progressive activists from across the country. So come on over and join us in asking OR-Sen candidate Merkley questions!

What do you know about the Oregon Senate race? If you’re stumped, please follow me below the fold to learn about the race and the candidacy of Jeff Merkley.  


Maybe it’s because I’m at the northern Oregon coast, right now, but this article caught my eye:

Scientists listening to underwater microphones have detected an unusual swarm of earthquakes off central Oregon, something that often happens before a volcanic eruption – except there are no volcanoes in the area.

Scientists don’t know exactly what the earthquakes mean, but they could be the result of molten rock rumbling away from the recognized earthquake faults off Oregon, said Robert Dziak, a geophysicist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Oregon State University.

There have been more than 600 quakes over the past 10 days in a basin 150 miles southwest of Newport. The biggest was magnitude 5.4, and two others were more than magnitude 5.0, OSU reported.

On the hydrophones, the quakes sound like low thunder and are unlike anything scientists have heard in 17 years of listening, Dziak said. Some of the quakes have also been detected by earthquake instruments on land.

The usual pattern for earthquakes is that there will be a major jolt, followed by smaller ones. The usual pattern is not happening, here.

Scientists hope to send out an OSU research ship to take water samples, looking for evidence that sediment has been stirred up and chemicals that would indicate magma is moving up through the Juan de Fuca Plate, Dziak said.

Or maybe for a giant fire-breathing lizard?

“…and say why not.”

“Blank document”. I recall older Word versions and I seem to think it used to be “New Document”. New is so much more positive than Blank.

I had an English teacher in high school, Teresa Brandon, who’d say “Go for the guts.” She was a rebel teacher who brought Dunkin Donuts to our early morning English Lit/Shakespeare class each Wednesday, in defiance of the “No food in class” rules. Beyond her exemplary teaching, she also had an extraordinary talent – she could neatly shove a billiard ball in her mouth without locking her jaw. These are skills that impress a high school junior.

You are forewarned: if you are not up for reading ramblings of a reminiscent, tangential and seemingly unrelated nature, please move to the next diary…;)

In honor of Ms. Brandon (though against her desire of clean, concise length), I’ll unashamedly go for the gut and dammit, I won’t apologize. And this is not purely a candidate diary.

That said…

(crossposted at Dailykos)

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