Monday, November 24, 2014

Unlike Colbert, America sees race

The incomparable Stephen Colbert, of the eponymous "The Colbert Report," almost always tells his African-American guests that he doesn't see race. Not even his own. Some people tell him that he's white and he takes their word for it.

With last week's announcement from President Obama that his administration would delay deportation for as many as 5 million illegal aliens in America coupled with this week's grand jury decision clearing a cop of killing of an unarmed black man in Missouri, we are seeing nothing but race.

It's who we are.

Instead of a "post-racial" America that some saw after President Obama's election in 2008, we are firmly in the grip of racial hatred once again.

The immigration issue, though, reminds me of the Woody Allen joke from "Annie Hall":

"This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken.' And, uh, the doctor says, 'Well, why don't you turn him in?' The guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.'"

We have this crazy love-hate thing going with hispanics, particularly Mexicans. We love their food, but mostly we love how cheaply they will do manual labor. 

And, it's no longer just farm work or house cleaning. Hispanics now do most construction jobs in California. Even in Bend, roofing companies hire Mexicans because they can pay them less than white Americans.

And yes, many companies that employ/exploit Mexicans are the same ones that then turn around and rail against our government for letting all these illegal immigrants into this country. Is that not crazy?

Without cheap hispanic labor, this country's economy would collapse. 

Like many cultures, we need to exploit many workers to benefit others. 

Afterall, this country was founded on the principle of slavery, which was unpaid, forced labor. 

Yes, it is true that having so many undocumented people living in this country causes some problems, but we are willing to endure the closure of some hospital emergency rooms or the exploitation of our government's social services just so we can keep the hedges trimmed or the pool cleaned at such a bargain.

The problem isn't them, it is us.

President Obama set a trap for Republicans and they were eager to fall for it. Their hatred for Mexicans came shining through. Not exactly a winning strategy.

As for the tragic case in Ferguson, Mo., where yet another police officer shot yet another unarmed black man, the media is fanning the flames there.

Afterall, it is sweeps month, when the networks set their advertising rates based on viewership during November. Riots make for strong visuals or so they think.

Any casual viewer of cable news or listener of talk radio or reader of comments after stories on the web, can realize that racism is alive and well. 

The disgruntlement after President Obama's re-election has turned into vocal outrage. 

Nevermind that the stock market is at record highs or the economy has rebounded. An alarming number of white Americans feel threatened by people who don't look like them. 

This is also a byproduct of the escalating income gap, but that's another story.

The bottom line is that we are crazy. And, we need the eggs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Terrible response to dealing with Bend's snowfall

Bend was hit with a rare, but not unprecedented, snowstorm last week and the city, predictably, acted too late with a lackluster response.

It's a mess getting around town with huge snow ruts making driving treacherous.

It's not surprising that Bend struggles to clear roadways in a timely manner. Afterall, the city waits about a year to patch deep potholes.

Why do city leaders care so little for the safety of its citizens or visitors?

Well, they budget too little for snow removal and road repair.

A story in the local daily newspaper revealed that a quarter of the city's snow-clearing fleet was broken down. Plus, the city only budgeted between $300,000 to $400,000 to clear the roads during winter.

This means that there is no other money to clear the mounds of snow in front of residential driveways caused by city snowplows.

This left one 72-year-old man, who has to carry around an oxygen tank to breathe, with a snow mound more than 6 feet high in front of his driveway, according to the daily newspaper.

And, the city doesn't seem to give a damn.

It doesn't have enough money to clear the streets of snow within a reasonable amount of time or patch potholes because it refuses to impose a 3-cent local gas tax to pay for these basic services. Plus, there is no state sales tax or local sales tax to fall back on.

Almost every major city in the state has a local gas tax, which is tacked on after state and federal gas taxes.

Obviously, Bend is still a minor city because the city council caves to the sky-will-fall, anti-tax cabal anytime a local gas tax even gets mentioned.

Since Bend is largely a tourist town, you would think that city leaders would want to showcase how well it takes care of its roads in summer and winter.

Obviously, it doesn't.

And, it doesn't care about its elder citizens who have to clear small hills of snow in front of their driveways.

Maybe we should all get oxygen tanks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bend city councilors ousted

Voters in Bend took out their frustrations with a city that continually raises water and sewer rates while asking nothing more from developers who require the expansion of those services.

Plus, the city council's recent, tepid approval of the westside location for OSU-Cascades help cost Mark Capell and Scott Ramsay their seats.

And, good riddance. They were inept and shills for the real estate/development crowd.

Speaking of OSU-Cascades, the group Truth In Site, that opposes the westside location, officially filed an appeal with the state Land Use Board of Appeals. Hopefully, this ties up the issue long enough at the state level until the OSU "brain trust" reverses course and puts OSU-Cascades where it belongs at Juniper Ridge.

Also, the state knows Bend has big problems managing its growth by its repeated inability to satisfy state requirements in expanding its urban growth boundary.

Republican Knute Buehler, who easily won the state House seat for Bend, won't be much help because Democrats expanded their control of both chambers in the legislature.

Buehler, who is actually a RINO and easily turned away a voter suppression effort by Oregon Right to Life, will have to work with Democrats to accomplish anything. And, as we've seen before, those Republicans who compromise with Democrats will quickly find themselves voted out by their own party.

Buehler doesn't really care about serving in the legislature anyway. His goal is statewide office and he'll be preening himself for higher office over the next couple of years.

In other election news, voters in Sisters gave a rare rebuke to the school district as it sought $14.5 million to repair relatively new schools and buy computer tablets for students. The dismissal of the longtime manager of the bus system, just shy of her 30-year service to the district, rubbed many voters the wrong way.

The district  was hoping to use the bond money to keep class sizes down and maintain a full school year. Well, the school district will now have to shorten the school year to balance its books.

Lastly, two statewide measures were defeated: GMO labeling and an open primary.

It was surprising that the open-primary measure lost so badly, 68 percent to 32 percent, considering that similar measures passed in neighboring Washington and California.

While the GMO label measure is headed for defeat, it is clear that $20 million in negative advertising did its job, just as mega-millions from Monsanto and others did in Washington and California.

Of course, shoppers are taking matters in their hands and looking to buy more non-GMO items.

And, some growers, food producers and retailers are seeing the benefit in promoting non-GMO foods.

This country is losing business around the world by not reining in the pro-GMO entities. Much of the developed world wants no part of GMO foods and, increasingly, don't want GMO products from America.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dems rout GOP in Oregon; weed legalized

Democrats on Tuesday retained the governorship, a Senate seat, four of five House seats and clear majorities in the state Senate and House.

Voters approved the full legalization of marijuana that many believe will steal business from neighboring Washington, which legalized pot in 2012. You can own much more weed in Oregon and it'll be taxed less.

Yes, Republicans control both chambers of Congress in D.C., but, if their first order of business is to impeach President Obama, they'll guarantee defeat in 2016.

In Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber eked out another victory for an unprecedented fourth term in spite of the fact that he was the most vulnerable Democrat to hold that office in a generation. From health care to education, he failed badly. His fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, brought nothing but bad press over the past two months.

And yet, the Republican Party put forth a "guaranteed loser" in Dennis Richardson, an extremist from southern Oregon.

Speaking of "guaranteed loser," an epithet that former Sen. Bob Packwood applied to Monica Wehby's primary opponent Jason Conger, Wehby was trounced by incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley. Unlike Richardson, she couldn't even carry Deschutes County, which is reliably "red."

Plus, Democrats broadened their control of the state Senate and maintained their eight-seat control of the House. Voters elsewhere may have wanted a change to Republicans, but not in Oregon, thank god.

The GOP in Oregon is pathetic.

To consoles themselves for the next few years, Republicans can now get legally stoned. They'll be better off if they do.