Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just Some Pictures

I am not feeling very inspired. I am working a new job, I am just about done with the cold and grey in Portland, and John Edwards is still out of the presidential race. Of course, I am a Barack fan but the big negatives of electability (i.e. black, inexperience, takes corporate money, has a Muslim name) would not be an issue for John. Clinton's issues would also not be issues for him (i.e. woman, insider, takes corporate money, has the Clinton name). Alas, the battle of the Dems continue on....

Anyways in light of that, here are some of my pics from around Oregon:

Mt. Hood from Powell Butte

Winter Light

Sturgeon Lake, Sauvie Island

Seaside at Night


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hildebeast, Earth Day, and Pulling the Plug

Clinton's win in Pa. leaves Obama battered, party reeling
As Dems stumble toward summer, GOP cries for more
Oh for the love of God?!! The Hildebeast lives to fight another day... and tear the party apart while squandering an opportunity to take the country in a different direction. NOOOOOO!!!! So here is the going theory in my office: Hillary's continued presence keeps the party divided. This then leads to McCain winning in '08. Then, after 4 more miserable years of economic hardship, continuous war (and possibly another war with Iran), and complete inaction on climate change Clinton will come in on her white steed and gallop into the White House. Personal ambition trumps all.

No Dah: Smog contributes to premature death
Yes, let's do more studies that show what is blatantly obvious. Do we really need conformation that smog is BAD? The Bushies say they do but the rest of us hacking asthmatics think otherwise.

Scientists study Arctic haze
Bush climate plan said too little, too late
Jet stream moving north
March the warmest on record over world's land surfaces
More good news about the melting ice caps. Another happy Earth Day to you! But on the plus side: US hybrid sales up 38 percent

Help Stop "Greenwashing"
Any of you tired of the world's worst polluter trying to claim that they are going "green"? I am. Commercials to dumb you down in some sort of capitalism double speak: Shell and its healthy reef ecosystem. Chevy and its eco-friendly SUV. Exxon and its search for renewable energy. The list goes on. But now there is a new phrase coined presumably by my friends at Greenpeace: Greenwashing.

Earth Day Beyond Bush
Maybe things will be better in the future. Maybe...Pull The Plug
Sick of politics as usual? Registered as a Democrat in Oregon? Then Vote for Steve Novick.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Letter to Wet-noodle Democrats

Dear wet-noodle Democrats considering more funds for the war,
Please refrain from signing off on continued funding for the war in Iraq (again). To vote for more money for this war would be selling out your constituents, your party, and your country (again). And no, your add-ons to the bill will not off-set the inherent "wrong-ness" of the bill itself.
Please remember that the Democratic Party's '06 victory was due to the anti-war, anti-Bush sentiment. "We the People" wanted our elected officials to stop the madness, to stop the tyranny. The Democrats have long decried Bush's insanity yet the elected party officials like yourselves have continued supporting it. I hope this does not cost the Dems in '08.
To all you Democrats not willing to stand up against the hawks and their minions, please stop squandering the blue momentum. Our country needs the war to end, needs to spend money on fixing our own issues, and needs to step it up on the issue of global climate change. We do not need to continue an unjust, illegal, and incredibly costly war which ultimately is being fought to secure a natural resource whose use is quickly killing our world.
one of "the People"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Random Thoughts

ABC and the Debate
I'm glad to see that I am not the only one who thought that the recent Democratic debate was absolutely vile. I guess with a former senior Clinton advisor as one of the moderators who used a question from Sean Hannity no one should be too terribly surprised. And on the plus side, at least Hillary can no longer cry about the unfair media bias against her. The final bit of silver lining would be that the corporate media reveal led themselves to be true hacks more concerned about ratings than about objective reporting. I actually felt a little bad for Barack up there fielding question after question, none of which were very substantive. But again there is a plus side: His point about "petty" politics was on full display. And even better for the guy who should get the nomination is that Hillary could not keep that smugly satisfied look off her face anymore than she could keep that haughtily disgusted look off her daughters face whenever Obama spoke. No, if Stephanopoulos and the guys at ABC wanted to help get Hill to the White House than their plan miserably failed. Can you say "backlash"?

Novick and the "Other" Debate
Oregon's own debate was 100 times better. The moderators seemed to have no bias, they asked thoughtful questions regarding relevant issues, and everyone got their fair share of coverage. My general reaction to the three candidates' performances was:
1. Jeff Merkley- Cookie cutter politician giving "safe" answers. Although I largely agree with him on many issues his approach to a campaign is the status quo, his desire to be friend with everyone will inevitably water down his messages (and hence his policies), and his general demeanor reminds me a bit of Hillary. "I should be the nominee. How dare these challengers try to rain on my parade"
2. Candy Neville- Well meaning citizen out of her league. Granted, she had a couple of zingers, she did way better than I expected, and she came off, like Steve, as being a "real" person. Her level of understanding on the issues seemed to be only surface deep. Both Merkley and Novick are obviously more qualified and more capable of beating Gordon Smith.
3. Steve Novick- The man with a plan. His closing statement said it all. No, he is not smooth. No, he isn't trying to make friends. No, he doesn't have "the look" of a politician but... he came across as smart, genuine, and ready to take on Gordo. He showed that he would provide an alternative to "business as usual". He made clear that politics isn't about being chums with those that are opposed to you. He showed that he would be a fiery representative for our state and that his appeal would probably extend beyond party lines.

Its the Environment Stupid
WE ARE SO SCREWED!!! I'm sorry. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer but everyone is talking about doing something... too little too late. Cut emissions X% by 2025 as supported by a Neanderthal? Not good enough. What we experience in the climate today is from the gases emitted 20 YEARS AGO! We need real visionaries who say we must stop emitting greenhouse gases NOW. We need a plan that is not just about going neutral

but is also about getting what is already in the atmosphere out. One should not be taking baby steps to get out when the house is on fire. We need radical change. May Obama, Steve, and the rest of the world's leaders see this and realize that the issue of climate change trumps all issues. Climate change will exacerbate all other problems. War, famine, dehydration, economic collapse, etc... The sickness of our home is and should be the number one issue. May we all see the light before the light fades.

Letter to ABC regarding the "Debate"

There are so many important issues. How could those two moderators spend so much time on such trivial BS. Here is a list of major issues facing the country. Maybe it will help you, the "ever-important to a functional democracy" press provide the citizenry with a real debate.
1. Climate Change
2. "Endless" War
3. Mortgage Crisis
4. Slumping Economy
5. Failing US Dollar
6. Gas Prices
7. Osama bin Laden "Still at large"
8. Suspension of Habeus Corpus
9. Erosion of Civil Liberties (ie. illegal spying on Americans)
10. Lobbyists
Hope this helps you serve your country better!
Click Here to sign petition to ABC

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Quote 'o the Day

There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
-Albert Einstein

Monday, April 14, 2008

O.K. folks, I don't have much to say today so I figured I'd at least provide some cool links. Well, they are all articles close to my heart and maybe they're not "cool" per say (especially with the ones about Global Warming) but still, they are something to do other than what you should be doing at this moment.
I hope some of you Oregonian voters did catch the debate last night. I'll have my reaction tomorrow maybe if I feel more energetic. Truth is, Steve Novick still has my support, Jeff Merkley still is taking his campaign straight out of the Karl Rove/Corporate Democrat play book, and Candy Neville still seems to be a bit out of her league. That said, I'll be voting for whoever is the Democrat going up against Gordon Smith in the fall. I would be most happy with a fire-brand like Novick pushing a real progressive agenda in D.C. Personally, I don't think true progressives should be smoking the peace pipe with the extreme right. We don't need moderates singing "Kumbaya" with the Bushies who dug America into this pit. We need genuine people like Steve to drive those profiteering, hypocritical fat cats out of town!
Here are the links:

The Environment Links
Garbage Island
Melting Mountains
Governors to Gather
Rich countries not leading
The Next President’s First Task
Global warming has a new battleground
Amazon’s ‘Forest Peoples’ Seek a Role
Jim Hansen, the Big Ice Melt and the Mainstream Media
Climate target is not radical enough
Warming May Have Caused Salmon Collapse
6 million pounds of trash on world's beaches
Homeowners feel heat in West coal boom

The Other Links
Worst. President. Ever.
Obama: My AG to investigate Bush White House
The Boss endorses Obama
AP photographer freed by US military after 2 years
Portland: Bus Tour Visits Sites of Discrimination

Tuesday Debate

Tell your friends and family: don't miss Tuesday night's debate!

Fresh off of a SurveyUSA poll showing him with a double-digit lead over the rest of the field, Steve's ready to debate the two runners-up in that poll--Candy Neville and Jeff Merkley--in a debate sponsored by KGW Newschannel 8 and The Oregonian. Catch the debate live on KGW, Northwest Cable News, or streaming online at this Tuesday, April 15th, from 7 PM to 8 PM.

Crack an ice cold Left Hook Lager and watch Steve prove that he is not the standard politician who'll sell you out quicker than Slick Willy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

American Idol, Kvetchfest, the Loss of Salmon, and Montana Oil

American Idol
Although I am somewhat ashamed to admit it I, Luke G., watch American Idol. I know: it's uber-dorky, it supports Faux, it reveals that plastic-y, uncultured side of America that five years ago utterly sickened me, and ultimately, the show helps turn the viewer’s brain to mush. But I gotta say that thanks to my wife, I watch AI and actually like it.

My reasons? Well… Part of me is wishing I was up there on stage singing for a big break (that for me never came, boo-hoo). Part of me is also the hater anxiously awaiting the night that the poser David Cook or that forgettable girl from Oregon finally gets the boot. And part of me likes being just plain mindless. Being a jaded political nut who works for a non-profit I desperately need an escape. What can I say? But excuses aside, this week's AI made me want to puke!
On one level, that obsessive lefty in me finally could take no more: This week Idol "gave back". For those of you that don't know, AI does what can only be described as a telethon. The viewers donate some money and AI distributes it to largely worthy humanitarian causes. AI gets a bunch of stars to come in hopes of upping the numbers. Brad Pitt was amusing, Forrest Whitaker proved how compassionate he truly is, and Teri Hatcher showed that she has no business holding a mic.
What's wrong with millions of dollars being forked out by the public for worthy causes? Nothing, unless you consider that

a) Rupert Murdock could double the donations in one quarter's profits and

b) the corporate sponsor Exxon/Mobile made over $11 Billion last quarter

That's right: as recession hits, well-meaning Americans are donating their hard earned dough while getting fleeced by the oil giants and dumbed down by Faux.
You think that is where I’m going with my tirade? Well, think again.
I swallowed the hypocrisy just like the other viewers but last night I did finally get to the point where I had to change the channel (Gasp!). AI had just gotten done hyping themselves up, Ryan Seacrest had just announced the contestants' opening number, and the singers themselves had begun singing their song: Shout to the Lord.
Now I am pretty tolerant of peoples' religions and, when last week some of the Idols chose Christian songs I didn't connect with them but I certainly thought that it was their choice. And when guest Dolly Parton sang about Jesus I again was o.k. with it: Besides free choice there are plenty of great songs about Jesus or other religious themes. I love a lot of gospel music after all, and who is going to deny the profound depth of "Amazing Grace"? But when AI forced its diverse crew of competitors to praise Jesus in this evangelical song, I felt sick.
1. Not all the contestants are necessarily Christian yet they had to sing. What were they going to do? Protest and get the boot next week?
2. Not everyone watching is Christian. In fact, I was sitting next to my Jewish wife and daughter. America is diverse filled with Muslims, Universalists, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, etc... I'm guessing I was not the only one offended.
3. Today I read that during the telethon the night before AI did the same number, except they omitted Jesus’ name. Apparently the evangelicals got ticked off and to make a statement, AI did a redo inserting J.C.'s name back in. DUMB. AI shouldn't have touched this with a ten foot pole yet they did and then played around with it. That's Fox for you ain't it?
Looks like I just had a ‘fest of my own huh? Well, check out the Willy Week for their annual issue of the same name. As a native of Stumptown I laughed my ass off and then started crying into a 14oz pint of microbrew.
Loss of Salmon
Speaking of crying, the Feds just announced that they are going to do what the scientists advised for a change. There will be virtually no salmon fishing off the Oregon and Californian coasts. They are doing this to help the depleted salmon population recover. I'm all for it but sadly, it also means high priced imported salmon and hence, my BBQ will be relegated to burgers and chicken. I do so love you red meat of the sea but I guess I love you enough to lay-off for the year. But tonight, sushi with Sharon!

Montana Oil
Four dollars a gallon for your gas guzzler at the pump? Erratic weather patterns reeking havoc across the country (flood water anyone?)? Foreign wars, no-bid contracts, & scandalous energy firms? Yeah, it’s the oil baby. Black Gold! And we just got more of it. Any of you hoping for the well to run dry so that that car exhaust would no longer march us closer to extinction or so that our money would be spent on reinventing our society into a sustainable green one smear that hope with tar 'cause you're about to get feathered! Scientists have confirmed that there is a shale layer under Wyoming and Montana that is one of the biggest reserves of oil found to date. Which undoubtedly means a chance for more greenhouse gases, more plunder of the world's resources, more life as usual, and more profit for the barons at Exxon/Mobile (those poor guys deserved a break didn't they?). Praise Jesus and give a Shout to the Lord!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Steve is indeed 'Rocking On'

Well, it looks like Steve Novick is indeed rocking on. Although the mainstream politicos here in Oregon seem to be primarily backing Merkley it is famous rockers who are jumping on Steve's bandwagon.
As reported by Jeff Mapes on "First beer, and now it's music for Novick"
Novick is picking up some pretty random endorsements from the music community. Now that might not the most critical of endorsements as many political junkies will point out but I say you should never dismiss (even if you sometimes bemoan) the disenfranchised rockers, scenesters, and bar flies who have been already written off by these same junkies.
Mainstream Democrats, as evident from their moderate platforms, are always targeting swing voters. They have been since the mid-80's, when populism died. The party has ignored and continues to ignore the non-voter saying that it is near impossible to get these apathetic citizens to engage in the democratic process. I think this argument is complete BS and plays into the extreme right wing Republican's hand.
The reason why so many have tuned out, dropped out, or whatever is because the Democratic Party abandoned its core ideals. Bill Clinton and his crew hatched NAFTA and sold out both the worker and the environment. At the same time the Democrats heralded the Brady Bill to control fire arms they also militarized the police around the country. Instead of championing traditional social causes as a way to tackle social ills Slick Willy and the enamored mainstream politicians pushed through "3 strikes" legislation filling our prisons with people that could be rehabilitated. At the same time scientists began warning us about Climate Change politics as usual led to SUVs and the death of the electric car. Go figure so many of my friends don't want to vote for cookie cutter moderates siting "politricks as usual".
So, here we have some left of center rock stars endorsing Novick (not Bono). That says something: At a time when people have said "f-it" very vocal musicians are taking sides. And although I'm sure Steve would like to have the big named Blues on his side, I'm sure he's not complaining about popular musicians urging their fan bases to support him in his bid for U.S. Senate.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Poll: Steve Novick is for Real

My general feeling about polls is that they should always be taken with a grain of salt. That "margin of error" thing (a mix of variables like how the question is presented, how diverse are the people polled, and whether something has recently occurred that might skew the results) leaves me thinking that they aren't always a very accurate reflection of reality (just look at some infamous exit polls for president). None the less, if taken with that mighty grain, they can be good indicators of more generalized trends.
This gets me to the poll conducted for KATU News regarding the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate (see entry below). Now, I'm sure that the Merks are spinning this negative poll as much as the Clinton spell weavers do on the delegate count trying to make it seem insignificant using the critiques I have listed above. Either that or they are pretending not to notice. It is just a poll. Still, deep down, they cannot be feeling too hot about the results. Even with the %4 margin of error, the poll indicates that Novick is now clearly the front runner. Heck, Merkley doesn't even place second in the poll! After all the big name endorsements, after all the slick political hype, after the negative campaigning against Steve, and after the City Club debate, Jeff Merkley came in third.
So to all of you that doubted the legitimacy of Steve's campaign, to those of you that said he wasn't a good enough politician, to all of you that said that he does not have mass appeal I say: Eat It!
If there is one thing that people should know is that regardless of political stripe the people of Oregon vote for fiery and unique individuals. Below is a list of Oregon politicians who did not fit the mold of "politician" or who did not adhere to their party's platform, people who thought critically for themselves and who saw their fellow citizen as fellow Oregonians before labeling them based on political affiliation.
Rock on Steve Novick! I hope to soon be adding your name to this honored list of rogue civil servants of my fair state.

Independent Thinkers of Oregon Politics
Peter DeFazio
Earl Blumenauer
Bud Clark - "Expose Yourself to Art"
Les Aucoin
Tom McCall
Oswald West
John Kitzhaber
Wayne Morse
*This list is by no means complete. Feel free to nominate your favorite politician from Oregon in the "Comments" field.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

All Over the Place

What can I say? I don't have time to do a real entry right now but here is a little something:

And back to the hipster issue... Things that suck about Portland
And here is a blog entry I put on Blue Oregon. By the way, comments always so vehement on that site or is it just for the Merkley/Novick race?


I unfortunately did miss the debate live (though I have since caught the replay on Channel 30). I did however, show-up as it was ending and I must say that everyone seemed positive about the debate and about the eventual general elections. Many Merks there seemed to have accepted Novick as a legitimate candidate and Hooks seemed to be pleased with Merkley's overall progressive tendencies. That said...

Why must Merkley run on a message that basically says "Don't be critical of fellow Democrats" while his campaign is almost being hyper-critical of Steve. Jeff continues to attack Steve's opinions and work history and while decrying Steve for attacking people (like Bono, Barack, etc...). Jeff seems to even suggest that Steve shouldn't attack Republicans! I say:
First, everyone deserves to be called out for not standing by their principles. Second, Steve is criticizing peoples' policies and decisions, not thier opinions. Finally (especially in regards to the Social Security question that Merkley so thoroughly avoided) the problem of some of Jeff's criticisms of Steve's criticisms are that they muddy the waters of the core of issues. Regardless of all the details involved in the SS debate for example, what is at the center? Well: Is it fair or just that the rich don't have to pay over 100 G's towards SS? Every progressive should say "NO". What up Merks?
Jeff wants to dance around a lot of this stuff and even maybe go golfing with many of the fat cats who would answer "yes" to the question. Tax breaks for the rich should be called out by every progressive for what they are: means to keep the poor down, to keep the rich rich, to keep inequality alive, to maintain the un-Democratic status quo of haves and have-nots. Only one candidate has the cajones to tell it like it is. The other can only criticize him for doing so.

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