Friday, November 11, 2016

The hate show starts early

With Donald Trump losing the popular vote by about 400,000 and counting, his supporters are wasting no time in spreading his racism, misogyny and religious intolerance throughout the country.

It's not really surprising. This is the rhetoric that got Trump elected. His supporters love him for saying what they feel.

Unlike the anti-Trump protests throughout the country, the Trump hate won't fade over time.

It'll be with us for possibly another eight years. It's here in Oregon, even Bend.

Those of us who are disgusted by the Trump-led hate need to speak out.

In that vein, it was gratifying to read on ESPN, of all places, what Gregg Popovich, the esteemed coach of the San Antonio Spurs, had to say about the election.

He expressed exactly what more than half the country feels about Trump and this shameful election.

Here is a sample:

"I'm still sick to my stomach, and not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor, tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic," he said before the Spurs' home game against the Detroit Pistons. "And I live in that country where half the people ignored all that to elect someone. That's the scariest part of [the] whole thing to me."

"What gets lost in the process are African-Americans, Hispanics, women and the gay population, not to mention the eighth-grade developmental stage exhibited by him when he made fun of the handicapped person," he said. "I mean, come on. That's what an eighth-grade bully does, and he was elected president of the United States. We would have scolded our kids. We would have had discussions and talked until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things. And he is in charge of our country. That's disgusting."

Thank you, Popovich. It took guts to say what you did. I hope other leaders do the same.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

May the farce be with you

With Donald Trump's victory Tuesday, Americans will find that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

Naturally, Karl Marx can be credited with that phrase.

We've had plenty of tragedy in our history, now comes the travesty.

For those who longed for the tragic days of George W. Bush, you now get to experience them anew, on steroids.

You want more wars, you got 'em.

You want a terrible economy, you got it.

You want to be known as a former great nation, you got it.

Much will be written about this election. It'll make no difference.

Americans wanted an unqualified, sexist and racist, white man to run this country.

And, that's what we'll get.

The rational world is appalled. Markets are tanking.

On Nov. 8, 2016, America no longer became a beacon of hope to the oppressed of the world.

With Trump in charge, we are now the oppressors.

The idea of "American Exceptionalism" is officially over.

We chose to make America worse again.

Of course, there will be no wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The Canadians may consider a wall to keep Americans out of their country.

Health care will only be for the rich. Social Security will be privatized. Forget about Medicare or Medicaid.

Corporations will be rewarded even more when they send jobs overseas.

We can burn more coal until the cows come home.

Women will lose whatever gains they made in the last 50 years.

The angry, white man won.

God Bless America.

We'll need it.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Trump: A man for no seasons

Separated at birth?
Donald J. Trump means a lot of things to a lot of people.

To most women, he is the ultimate "male chauvinist pig."

To our allies, he is the face of the "ugly American."

To most Latinos, he is one "bad hombre."

To most Muslims, he is the great recruiter for ISIS and al Qaeda.

To most Americans, he is a blowhard, fraud and egomaniac.

And yet, Trump could still win this thing tomorrow.

To some angry white men and, sadly, some angry white women, Trump is the Great White Hope raging against Mexicans, women, Muslims, immigrants, African-Americans, the disabled, and, incredibly, veterans.

To Vladimir Putin, Trump is a kindred spirit, a Mussolini.

To many Chinese, he is right about foreigners and building a wall. Afterall, the Chinese led the way with the Great Wall in a failed attempt to keep people out.

To dictators everywhere, Trump speaks their language of repression.

Trump is easily the most divisive candidate from a major party in American history. He's also the most unqualified candidate.

The hate that Trump has fomented will linger for years. He has managed to stir up the worst attributes among us, both here and abroad.

He not only has tarnished our democracy, he's also dug a grave for the Republican Party.

The only way he could Make America Great Again is by losing decisively on Nov. 8.

Here's hoping that the majority of Americans come to their senses and reject the fascism that Trump represents.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Anarchy in Oregon

Patriots? No, armed squatters
With the acquittals of the Bundy Bunch for their 41-day armed takeover of a remote wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon, the jury gave the green light to future takeovers and destruction of government facilities.

If you're white, that is.

This group of Mormon misfits from polygamous areas out of state, are white, save for one Asian-American.

And, these losers were found not guilty of conspiracy and weapons charges by a white jury of their peers in Portland.

If the accused were black, brown or were Native Americans, they would've been convicted and sentenced to lengthy terms in prisons. That is, if they weren't all shot to death at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The Bundy Bunch caused $4 million worth of damages to the wildlife refuge. And yet, there is no penalty for doing so. Not even a slap on the wrist.

Meanwhile, Native Americans in North Dakota were pepper sprayed and dragged to jail for protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

It's easy to see the difference from the Oregon case. One concerns federal government property and the other a private, corporate enterprise.

Of course, there is the obvious difference in the skin color of the protesters.

On a related note, some right-wingnuts consider members of Black Lives Matter as domestic terrorists for protesting peacefully.

What's also sad about the Oregon fiasco is that Native Americans, members of the Burns Paiute Tribe, are the rightful owners of the refuge land in Harney County. In North Dakota, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is the rightful owner of the land for the pipeline.

The Bundy Bunch, or any other white mob, has absolutely no claim to federal lands.

Yet, the all-white jury in Portland evidently believes that they do.

Clearly, federal prosecutors botched the case. Also, defense attorneys did a great job in picking the jury.

In the end, a civil society lost.

Making America Worse Again.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I voted, I mean, I rigged

As we all know, The Donald Trump claims the election is "rigged."

So, instead of voting, I helped "rig" the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

And, it was so easy.

In Oregon, we've been voting by mail since 1998, the first in the nation to do so. I dropped my ballot off on Friday at the county offices in Bend.

Oregon usually has one of the highest turnouts in the nation because we have a modern, civilized way of voting.

Or, rigging.

Speaking of voter fraud, it is virtually non-existent. But, voter suppression is a growing problem. The Supreme Court helped pave the way.

Yes, the media is also rigging this election because it reports what The Donald says and does and tweets.

Trump, and his groupies, whine that the media is silent on all the negative revelations in Hillary's or her campaign's emails.

They say she is getting a free ride to the White House.

Yeah, just like all those other women in history who've run for president.

What the Trumpettes don't realize is that Hillary has been under the media microscope, often maliciously, for more than 30 years. She's been tarred and feathered multiple times. Now, she is getting blamed for her husband's affairs. That's how low her opponents go.

The voters know Hillary all too well.

The Donald, meanwhile, is getting hostile coverage for the first time in his life. Yes, he's been a tabloid mainstay for years, but no one takes that stuff seriously.

He had the gall to run for president after never running for any other office. So, the media is doing its job in delving into his fraudulent business deals and despicable personal life.

That's not rigging, that's reporting.

After three debates in which Hillary crushed The Donald each time, the polls reflect the reality that voters are preferring her over him.

During the primaries, The Donald crowed day and night about his poll numbers. He even boasted that he "could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody" and wouldn't lose voters.

Well, that was then.

He now calls the polls phony and rigged against him.

He's talking like a loser.

Then again, he's always been a loser and a fraud.

He deserves the shellacking he's receiving in the press and the polls.

Here's hoping for his beat-down on Nov. 8.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

'Nasty woman' crushes clown again

Creepy clown
It was clear that before the last debate, Donald J. Trump was having trouble attracting women, Hispanics and other minorities to his side.

Well, he struck out again Wednesday night with his creepy clown act.

Now, I didn't actually watch the debate, but did see highlights later that showed The Donald's outreach to Hispanics end when he referred to some of them as "bad hombres."

The only time he uttered Spanish, pronounced incorrectly by the way, he used it in a pejorative way.

Trump's "under-reach" to women got slapped back when he interrupted Hillary to say she's "such a nasty woman."

And, the coup de grace, of course, was his waffling about accepting the outcome of the vote on Nov. 8, by saying, "I'll keep you in suspense. Okay?"

Not okay.

It all led to Hillary scoring a hat trick in her debates with The Donald. 

Naturally, the divided electorate saw things differently. 

Ignoring all scientific polls, some on the right say it was Trump who won all three debates.

Therein lies the nadir of the chasm.

As Stephen Colbert said on The Colbert Report, "reality has a well-known liberal bias."

The bias is evident in the belief that this election is "rigged." The vast majority of Republicans believe that it is, while Democrats do not. The reality: It is not rigged. However, gerrymandering has made most Congressional races foregone conclusions.

Also, check out the approval ratings for President Obama and for Congress.

According to the Fox News website, Obama has a 50 percent approval rating. Congress has a 14 percent approval rating which reveals that Democrats and Republicans have a dismal view of Congress.

On the far right, though, conservatives are livid at Congress for "caving in to Obama" on everything he wanted.

The reality is that the tea-bagging Congress has obstructed Obama's agenda for the past six years. They've refused to even consider his nominee for the Supreme Court and promise to block any nominee by Hillary.

Like Trump and Fox News, tea-bagging Republicans have an alternate view of the world that doesn't conform to reality.

The tea-baggers are really irate that their representatives in Congress did not impeach or assassinate Obama. They wanted him gone. And, they failed.

It helps explain why there is so much racial strife in Obama's eighth year in office.

Some angry white Americans are still furious that a black man occupies the White House and they're taking it out on African-Americans across the land.

Should Hillary win next month, I fear that there could be a rise in domestic violence against women, particularly on election night when some men find out that their wives or girlfriends voted for Clinton.

And, American "exceptionalism" will take another beating.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Vote for Hillary, Brown, Wyden and Measure 97

Make America Kind Again
The Oregon Voters' Pamphlet arrived in the mail on Friday and it's 124 pages thick. And, that's just in English.

Along with the traditional statewide races, we have seven statewide measures, plus one Bend measure to vote on.

The state has a record number of citizens registered to vote, thanks, in large part, to the Oregon Motor Voter program that began in January. Oregon has seen a 15 percent rise in registrations with more than 2.5 million signed up. Those folks who aren't registered, have until today (Oct. 18) to do so.

Turnout is expected to exceed 80 percent, thanks to our trail-blazing vote-by-mail system. Ballots should arrive in the mail this week along with property tax bills. If you want to avoid getting hounded on the phone by your political party, it's wise to vote early.

Oregon is definitely a Democratic state these days. When I moved here in 1984, Oregon was reliably Republican, and had been since it joined the Union in 1859.

Those days are long gone.

So far, Democrats (965,357)  have a 265,000 edge in registrations over Republicans (699,921). However, there are nearly as many unaffiliated voters (660,731) as registered Republicans.

It's hard to see a Republican winning a statewide office this year. And, Donald Trump should get trounced here as he will in neighboring Washington and California.

Still, Oregon Democrats overwhelmingly favored Bernie Sanders in the primary. One would think, and hope, that they would vote for Hillary Clinton to avoid the embarrassment of the state going to Trump.

In 2000, the nation's eyes turned briefly to Oregon on election night as Ralph Nader nearly tipped the balance toward George W. Bush. In the end, Al Gore carried the state by less than 7,000 votes.

With all the scandals surrounding Trump, with all his incendiary, racist, sexist and idiotic statements, it's hard to see him doing well in this state.

 In fact, given all the controversy that Trump has caused, if he were a Democrat, he would've been forced out of the race long ago.

Conversely, if Clinton were a man, her forced sincerity and the "scandals" over her e-mails and Benghazi, would've been almost completely ignored.

Yes, double standards exist, and they always will.

Anyway, here are my recommendations for the General Election, 2016.

President: Clinton. She's qualified. The other candidates are not. That said, there are far more Trump posters in rural Central Oregon than Clinton banners. I would hope that the Hispanics who work for farms and ranches in this region realize how much their employers despise them and vote accordingly.

Governor: Kate Brown. She stepped in when John Kitzhaber resigned in disgrace in early 2015 and did a better job running this state than he ever did. This election is only to fill out the rest of Kitzhaber's term.

Senator: Ron Wyden. He's one of the best senators to ever serve this state.

Secretary of State: Brad Avakian. As government becomes more dependent on the private sector, it's important to expand oversight over those companies doing business with the state as Avakian wants to do. Maybe, with more oversight, the Cover Oregon-Oracle debacle would've been caught much earlier

Attorney general: Ellen Rosenblum. Smart, steady and has weak competition on the ballot.

Treasurer: Tobias Read. Chris Telfer is running as on the Independent ticket. She used to be a Republican when she represented Bend in Salem until she was ousted by her party for working with Democrats. Still, Read would fare better in the office because of his close ties to legislators.

2nd Congressional District: Jim Crary. Don't know much about him, but he's definitely better than Greg Walden, a Republican toady who will easily be re-elected in the only Republican-dominated House district in the state.

State Senate District 27: Greg Delgado. A relative unknown, he is still better than Tim Knopp, a career politician, who has served this region poorly for far too long. It's time he get the boot. There are about 1,200 more registered Democrats than Republicans in this Bend-area district, but the significant number of non-affiliated voters of more than 25,000 should return Knopp to Salem.

State House District 54: Gena-Goodman Campbell. She's a neophyte but has the right priorities and endorsements to warrant election to this seat representing the city of Bend. However, she'll likely lose to incumbent Knute Buehler, who is a Republican in Name Only. Got to give Buehler credit, though, for repudiating Trump more than a year ago. Buehler acts like Democrat with his support for women's reproductive health and marriage equality.  It makes sense because registered Democrats (18,234) outnumber Republicans (12,952). But, there are 12,660 unaffiliated voters in Bend and they'll return Buehler to Salem, which will help him in his bid for the governorship in 2018.

Deschutes County Sheriff: Like many sheriff's offices in this country. Deschutes has its share of controversy and inept leadership. For some reason, those attracted to serve in the sheriff's office have a "wild west," pro-firearm mentality. It's hard to endorse anyone for this office.

Deschutes County Commission: Alan Unger. The incumbent from Redmond is a common-sense Democrat who knows how to work well with others. It shows. He's endorsed by the mayors of the major cities in the county. It's impressive that Unger wins as a Democrat because Deschutes County has more registered Republicans (40,647) than Democrats (38,356). Plus, there are 31,018 non-affiliated voters.

Bend City Council: Doug Knight and Sally Russell. These are lukewarm endorsements, at best, because they are running for re-election against inferior competition. The rest running for the other seats are just not worth talking about. We're losing Jim Clinton, who is one of the best councilors to ever serve the city. It doesn't matter who wins because neither the council nor city staff actually runs the city. Rather, a handful of developers, Realtors, and beer magnates dictate the direction of the city, which completely favors the west side over all other areas of the city. Bend, like many cities, is poorly managed. The public works department is pathetic and planning is almost non-existent.

Measure 94: No. It amends the state constitution to eliminate a mandatory retirement age of 75 for state judges. Look, if you're in the private sector, companies want to force you out when you hit your 50s. Plus, 75 is old enough. Let younger lawyers have a chance.

Measure 95: Yes. This amends the state constitution to allow public universities to invest in the stock market to improve their finances. Of course, this is terribly risky, but the universities have no choice because the state has decreased its support for higher education from about 70 percent in the early 1980s to about 7 percent today. This coincides with the anti-tax/government movement that has decimated the basic infrastructure in this country, which includes education.

Measure 96: No. This dedicates 1.5 percent of lottery net proceeds to fund support services for Oregon veterans of the Armed Forces. This is a noble measure, but veterans' services are the responsibility of the federal government. This state has no extra money to spend on veterans.

Measure 97: Yes. This measure increases the corporate minimum tax when sales exceed $25 million. A no-brainer, really. Corporations pay less here than in 49 other states. This measure only affects about 1 percent of the corporations doing business in Oregon. In the Voters' Pamphlet, there are 14 pages devoted to screeds against the measure and only six pages in favor. That tells you corporations are a little scared of this measure and that's a damn good thing. Plus, some opponents of this measure are whining about the placement of their arguments in the Voters' Pamphlet. That's another reason to vote for this measure. Shut them up.

Measure 98: Yes, but. This measure requires state funding for dropout prevention from Oregon high schools. Oregon has one of the worst dropout rates in the country and it makes sense to try and reverse this trend. Yet, there is no money to pay for this measure. It's an unfunded mandate, unless Measure 97 passes. Oh well, better to try and improve education than give another tax break to a multinational corporation.

Measure 99: Yes. This measure funds outdoor school programs statewide though lottery funds. This is a much better way to spend lottery dollars. The more we invest in the front end, the less we have to deal with on the back end.

Measure 100: Yes. Prohibits purchases or sale of parts or products from certain wildlife species. Do we really need more aphrodisiacs? We aren't that backwards, are we?

Measure 9-110: Yes. This measure imposes a local 3 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana in Bend. We should also have a local tax on beer, wine and hard liquor. If we want to curb less-desirable habits, we should tax them heavily like we do with tobacco products.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Can't this election be over already?

America: Make Trump Go Away
Haven't we suffered enough?

Can't we make this presidential race just stop?

It's easily the worst in American history, thanks to Donald "Cheetos" Trump.

The best thing about it is how the Republican Party is imploding before our eyes. And, it's a beautiful sight.

It's richly deserved, of course. The GOP sold its soul to the racists, bigots and sexists decades ago.

Trump is the ugly personification of years of race-baiting by Republicans. And, he's taking the party down with it.

The Republican rats are fleeing the sinking ship of Trump.

Even Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House, will no longer defend or campaign with Trump. Of course, the Congressional tea-baggers are throwing their Lipton's tea-bags at Ryan.

Conservative pundits from the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times have all bailed on The Donald.

Former Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov said Trump reminds him of Vladimir Putin.

Another good thing about his election is that Oregon is not a battleground state and we aren't barrel- bombed with negative advertising the way they are in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.

But that bar is so low, we're  still stuck in the muck of a endless commentary and media hype.

No major newspaper or publication, outside of the National Enquirer, has endorsed Trump, so far.

Even papers in Arizona and Ohio, that always endorse a Republican, have spurned The Donald. I guess we finally do have a "liberal media" now. Who knew?

Of course, newspaper endorsements are no longer worth the paper they're printed on, but it does give an indication that Trump is not preferred by most people with brains.

Which means the millions of Americans who back Trump are not the brightest bulbs around.

And, yes, some of them are deplorable.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

OSU-Cascades not a nice neighbor

Another OSU-C 'solution' to the parking problem
It came as no surprise to anyone that OSU-Cascades on Bend's west side created a parking nightmare the first week it opened.

Students and faculty parked on nearby streets while the small parking lot on the 10-acre campus was largely empty.

The smarty-pants running OSU-C had the bright idea that they needed to charge $5 a day for parking in the campus lot to pay for snow-removal and re-striping in the years to come.

Well, they quickly dropped the price to $2 a day, but the problems with the west-side campus will only deepen and widen as the campus grows from a couple hundred full-time students now to 5,000 in the future.

To the laughter of many in the community, OSU-C officials put fliers on windshields of cars parked on public streets urging drivers to find other ways to get to school.

These alternatives include walking or cycling for those within a two-mile radius saying it's such a healthy activity. Uh, there is little housing within two miles of the campus that is affordable to a young college student.

Plus,the westside is not exactly pedestrian- or bike-friendly with sidewalks or bike lanes only on the main roads.

Also, it snows more on Bend's west side. Most streets, let alone sidewalks, are plowed irregularly when the snow falls. It makes cycling or walking difficult and hazardous.

The school has an auxiliary parking lot, but it's about three-quarters of a mile from the campus.

The flier suggested people carpool. Again, students are scattered all over town because of the lack of affordable housing in much of Bend, but particularly on the west side.

The school also suggests taking the bus and it will subsidize their commute.

The bus service, called Cascades East Travel, is hardly an extensive or reliable system. It has 10-fixed routes in Bend, but it can take a half-hour to get from one side of town to the other. The system only operates from 6 am to about 7:30 pm.

Most people in Bend, including me, wanted to see a four-year university here.

And, most citizens in Bend, me included, wanted to see OSU-C located at the planned location at Juniper Ridge on Bend's northeast side where it would be most accessible to most communities in the region.

Juniper Ridge has the most land in the city available for a large university. The city's most affordable housing is in the northeast section of town. The most affordable and extensive shopping areas are near Juniper Ridge.

And, in terms of snow removal from parking lots, it snows a lot less in northeast Bend than in southwest Bend, where the current campus is located.

The leaders of OSU-C didn't care about any of these facts. The didn't listen to the community at large.

Rather, it gave most Bendites the middle finger by ignoring citizen complaints about the west-side location . OSU-C is a lousy neighbor and it always will be. It's in the wrong location and nothing is going to change that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why I didn't watch the debate

For once, Hillary's hair attracted less criticism
than her counterpart's coif
I skipped the most-watched presidential debate in history because it was another reality TV show designed for ratings and nothing else.

Plus, how could anyone watch or listen to Donald Trump for more than a couple of minutes. He's the worst presidential candidate in my lifetime.

Well, the results are in and the debate was as popular as the Super Bowl, another event I usually avoid. The Super Bowl is known more for its ads and halftime entertainment than the game itself.

This debate didn't have ads and had to get by with just one moderator.

Still, it was "the most tweeted debate in history."

Such a milestone.

I spent the time walking around the neighborhood on a beautiful, unseasonably warm evening in Bend. In an hour of roaming, I saw just three other people out for strolls. Only a couple of cars passed by. Evidently, everyone else was watching the debate.

Yet, I came across a group of deer munching on plants in someone's front yard the way they do in mine. Across the street from them were a couple of fawns nibbling at some other neighbor's greenery.

The debate was good for the mule deer. They could eat in peace without being bothered by folks walking their dogs.

The setting sun lit up the fall foliage from yellowing aspens to red maples. All in all, a pleasant evening.

I got home with about a half hour left in the debate, but I lounged in the zero-gravity chair on the front porch until the contest was over. At summer's end, I realized I spent too little time savoring the moments of idleness in such a comfortable setting surrounded by ponderosa pines.

Then, I went inside and watched snippets of the post-debate analysis on CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

It wasn't that enlightening but I did giggle over the fact that The Donald was reduced to citing Sean Hannity on the Iraq War and that he had to trash Rosie O'Donnell again. Then, he complained about a winner at one of his beauty pageants because she gained so much weight.

I'd say The Donald didn't disappoint. I'm sure he was satisfied because he got to be on TV again and be watched by more than 80 million people.

On MSNBC, I laughed at the guys holding up puppets behind the commentators. It seemed a fitting end to a debate night where everyone thought their candidate won.

I know I won. The walk was worth it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vote yes on Measure 97

It's easy to see that over the past 40-plus years, corporations have taken more from this country and its citizens than they have given in return.

Corporations move their factories overseas or to Mexico, displacing millions of workers and decimating cities. They hide their profits in shell companies offshore and then whine about the national deficit. With their coffers overflowing, corporations then buy off lawmakers so that the game can stay rigged. Owners of some corporations fund groups that seek to destroy unions and what's left of the middle class.

Forty years ago, corporations paid 18.5 percent of all Oregon income taxes. Today, the corporate share is down to 6.7 percent, according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

After Measure 5 passed in 1990, the property tax burden was almost equally shared by business and residential property owners. Now business property owners' share is around 40 percent while residential is 60 percent.

It's time for a little payback.

On Oregon's ballot, we have Measure 97 that increases certain corporate taxes by establishing a 2.5 percent tax on corporate gross sales that exceed $25 million.

It would only affect the largest corporations in the country operating in Oregon. Less than 1 percent of corporations in Oregon would see a tax increase.

The new revenue would go to schools, health care and senior services.

Gov. Kate Brown and former governors Ted Kulongoski and Barbara Roberts support the measure to bring some balance back to our skewed tax system.

Naturally, corporations are spending millions to defeat the measure. The sky will fall if this passes, they assure us, just like it did with the increased minimum wage. Well, the sky is still up there.

Opponents claim that this corporate tax is actually a sales tax because corporations will just pass on the cost on to consumers. That argument only makes sense in a non-internet world.

In fact, internet shopping poses the greatest threat to store sales and if corporations raise their prices, consumers can shop elsewhere online for lower prices.

The only problem with Oregon taking this bold step on corporate taxation, is that it would stand alone.

And, this is the fundamental problem not only facing this country but also the world.

Thomas Piketty's book, "Capital in the 21st Century," explores the roots of rising income inequality plaguing all countries today. He notes that one way to fight it is to ban tax havens for individuals and corporations. It's not likely to happen, but it would make the world a better place if we did.

So, all you Bernie-bots and Trumpettes out there who bemoan the escalating income gap between the rich and everyone else, now is the chance to do something about it.

Vote yes on Measure 97.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

This was the summer to sell a home

On a $300,000 home, you can save at least $15,000
by selling it yourself
Which means, of course, it was not the time to buy a home.

At least not in Bend, where housing prices are reaching pre-recession levels again.

The median price for a home here is $347,800, according to Zillow.

Local appraisers say it's $364,000.

Prices soared 10.2 percent in the past year.

On the annual tour of homes this summer, there were at least a dozen homes priced above $1 million.

Vacant lots on the east side of Bend that were snatched up by hedge funds when the market collapsed in 2008 are now full of homes in the $300,000 range.

The rental vacancy rate is near 1 percent, which helps explain the busy buying season. If you can find a house to rent, it can easily cost $1,700 a month.

But, the prices of homes are so high in Bend that fewer people, from OSU students to medical professionals, can afford to move here. The police department can't fill its open slots because of the high cost of housing.

I sold a home this summer for someone else in a FSBO, for sale by owner, transaction.

It wasn't always smooth sailing, but it closed and the owners got their money.

With Zillow, Trulia and Craigslist, there is no need to pay for expensive advertising.

Zillow and Trulia let you post for free. This includes pictures and videos. These sites provide market analysis and it's easy to figure out the price to sell your house for.

The only thing to buy is a yard sign with a box for flyers. In fact, yard signs are the most effective way to sell a house. If people are interested in living in your neighborhood, they'll drive by and find it.

If you're selling a home in a hot market, in a desirable neighborhood and below the median price in the city, you should have no trouble selling your home on your own.

There were many lookers at the property, including a handful from the west side of Bend who were looking to get away from the congestion over there.

One guy from the central coast of California was moving to Bend because there is abundant water here.

Realtors hounded me, but they didn't have to anything substantive to offer.

There were a few flippers who looked and offered.

But, it seems the time to flip houses has slipped away again.

It's hard to imagine how the housing market will continue to boom, particularly with millenials opting out.

Over the past 30 years, the economic growth rate coming out of a recession continues to decline.

Wages have risen slightly, but there is no way to keep up with the escalating housing prices.

The median income in Bend is $52,000 and it's hard to buy much with that income, especially a $350,000 home.

Plus, banksters and Wall Streeters are gambling again on the housing market.

The Great Recession was caused, in part, by collateralized debt obligations or CDOs.

Lenders, brokers and the ratings agencies conspired to deceive investors.

We no longer have CDOs, but we now have BTOs or bespoke tranche opportunities. Doesn't that sound encouraging.

New regulations were put in place to help prevent another economic collapse, but, rest assured, Wall Street and banksters will find a way to wreck the economy and have the taxpayers pick up the tab.

In the past 200 years, this country has suffered through 16 major bank crises. During that span in Canada, there were no bank failures.

We're headed towards another recession. High wage jobs disappear daily which means many can't afford to buy or rent in the places where there are jobs.

So, sit out the current housing frenzy and wait until prices crater yet again.

Monday, August 22, 2016

America suffering from Trumpitis

Rumor has it that Donald Trump, upset that he didn't dominate the news cycles during the Olympics, is hiring Ryan Lochte as a media consultant.

In The Donald's rare case, it couldn't hurt.

Nothing else seems to help him.

Not that he would want any help anyway.

This election season, Trump will unite Americans the way he's united the Republican Party.

Scores of Republicans, including two ex-presidents, have said Trump is unfit to serve as POTUS.

Many prominent Republicans have endorsed Hillary Clinton.

The Wall Street Journal urged Trump to drop out of the race by Labor Day if he can't clean up his act.

The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News. If Trump can't win over that crowd, who can he win over?

Well, we know: white supremacists. They seem to love The Donald.

But, Don the Con will win over other groups as well.

In spite of Trump's attacks on John McCain's war record including his 5-plus years as a POW, or his rants against a Muslim-American couple who lost their son serving this country in combat, or his thoughtless comment about always wanting a Purple Heart but evaded serving in Vietnam, Trump will easily win the vote of the vast majority of the Armed Forces.

Also, newspapers that now write editorials slamming Trump, will endorse him before the election. Of course, newspaper endorsements mean little these days.

Evangelicals, who claim to look for Christian purity in a candidate and know Trump is hardly Christian in his words or actions, will flock to him on Election Day.

Why would these folks back Trump? They suffer from Trumpitis, an affliction caused by an irrational hatred of Hillary Clinton or any Democrat.

But, Trumpitis touches many more Americans.

In fact, millions secretly support The Donald because they not only hate Hillary, but also detest blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and gays.

The Donald represents the racists, bigots and sexists among us. Sadly, that number is almost half the electorate, including friends, family and co-workers.

Quite an indictment of this land of immigrants. It makes us a lot less "exceptional" and more like other troubled areas of the world.

And, tweeting won't solve the problem.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bend getting charged up, Tesla style

On the north edge of Fred Meyer's parking lot
From slumbering mill outpost to micro brew mecca to cutting edge techno-town, Bend has arrived.

Tesla recently added eight charging stations in Bend for its electric sedan.

No, they're not located next to the Nordstrom store as they are at Washington Square in Portland.

We don't even have a Nordstrom, much to the chagrin of west Bend residents.

No, the charging stations are on the north end of the Fred Meyer parking lot on Bend's southern end of town. Fred Meyer may be declasse to the typical Tesla owner, but hey, when you need a charge, it'll do.

I've seen a few Tesla Model S sedans here in the past year. Also, have seen quite a few of them on the mountain passes headed towards Bend.

The base model Tesla S starts at around $70,000, or about three times the cost of the local favorite, a Subaru.

You can also upgrade to the $108,000 version. The Model X SUV starts at around $80,000.

Not exactly chump change to most Central Oregonians.

Actually, it's only pocket money to the techies in Silicon Valley, Redmond, Wash., and Hillsboro, Ore.

And, it means that those areas have Bend in its sights.

Yes, sometime in the future, Tesla will have a more "affordable" Model 3 for sale at around $35,000. Judging by how delayed its other models have been, though, it'll be a few years before we see them on the road in Central Oregon.

Still, Bend's population continues to race ahead along with its property values.

All this growth, however, means that Bend is unaffordable to the working class. Rental rates are soaring. I know one couple who saw their monthly bill jump from $1,000 to $1,500 last summer and it's rising to $1,750 this summer.

Like other hot spots in the country, Bend is divided between rich and poor. The middle class here is vanishing quicker than in most areas of the nation.

That's the price of success.

But, isn't that Tesla cool.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Don the Con making America white and manly again

The Donald (Don the Con man) Trump easily won the Oregon primary against foes who had dropped out of the race.

Yes, he did get nearly 65 percent of the Republican vote, which means that more than 35 percent of GOPers here still detest him.

Hillary Clinton lost by 14 percentage points and still got more votes, by nearly 20,000, than Don the Con did.

No matter, he's the GOP's guy.

Come November, he won't be Oregon's guy, guaranteed.

Nor will "left-coasters," California or Washington, be in Don the Con's camp. Nor will any other traditional "blue" state across the land.

As has been the case this century, the presidential election comes down to three states: Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In fact a handful of counties in those states are the only battlegrounds left in this country. Pity the people in those states who have to endure the media and advertising onslaught.

If Hillary wins two of those three states, she'll be president by an overwhelming electoral college advantage.

But Trump will not go away so easily.

He believes he is the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, who brought southern Democrats and other racists firmly into the Republican camp. Trump claims his campaign slogan is totally different than Reagan's, which was "Let's Make America Great Again." Trump's is more emphatic: "Make America Great Again."

Then and now, the inference is clear: Let's make America white again.

It worked in 1980, but there are far more people of color in America in 2016.

By playing the race and bigotry cards in the most brazen way yet, Trump easily dominated the Republican field. White supremacists actively support Don the Con. There's even a slogan out there: "Yes, We Klan."

Even though many Republicans are racists and bigots, they believe Don the Con is being too gauche about it.

Don the Con's next target: Women in general and Hillary in particular.

He has offended and will offend, in words and deeds, women everywhere.

Many Republican women are fine with that. They don't mind that Don the Con is on his third wife, with a fourth one not  out of the picture. They apparently don't care that he cheats on his wives.

Hey, he's rich. That's still a selling point to many women and men.

Don the Con will channel the Republican war on women they way he channeled the GOP's racist heart in the primaries. The GOP honchos may cringe at Don the Con's crudity, but they'll still funnel millions his way.

This war on women, though, is not something cooked up by Democrats in the last 10 years.

On the contrary, a lifelong Republican activist, Tanya Melich, coined the phrase in her 1996 book, "The Republican War Against Women: An Insider's Report from Behind the Lines."

Melich attended every Republican National Convention from 1952 through 1996, except in 1984. She left the Republican party in 1998 over its negative attitudes and policies toward women.

It's hard to see how offending minorities and women will win Don the Con the White House.

Then again, this is America. Anything is possible.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Oregon turning dark blue?

'Birdie' Sanders in Portland in March
This Tuesday could yield another victory for Bernie Sanders as party switchers favor the Democrats over the Republicans by almost a 3-to-1 margin.

Yes, of the 139,000 party switchers, more than 92,000 joined the Democratic ranks.

Now, it could be primary shenanigans at play with Republicans and others switching to Democrats to vote for Bernie over Hillary Clinton. Oregon's demographics, as white as the driven snow, favor Sanders. But, Hillary will win here in November if she's the nominee.

Or, there could be thousands of voters out there so appalled by Donald Trump's campaign that they're fleeing to the Democrats.

Either way, it does not bode well for Republicans to win a statewide race this November.

That's all well and good because Republicans have proven to be incapable of representing the interests of the majority of Oregonians.

Kate Brown, who took over when John Kitzhaber resigned in disgrace in early 2015, should win easily to finish out Kitzhaber's term. With Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate, she's had one of the most successful and consequential stints as governor in Oregon's history. From increasing the minimum wage to paid sick leave to free community college to motor-voter registration to gun safety reform, she's been phenomenal.

The Democratic race for secretary of state, the position that Brown had before becoming governor, is more wide open. Richard Devlin, Brad Avakian and Val Hoyle are all worthy of the office, but Avakian stands out for his call to audit corporations that win state contracts. As more and more government functions get out-sourced, this is critical. Great idea.

The only other issue on our ballot that matters is the usual begging by the 9-1-1 entity for more money. This time they say it's for the creation of a 9-1-1 district with a permanent tax rate. This means our bill will balloon from 36 cents per thousand to 42 cents per thousand of home valuation.

It's tiring to always have to vote on a basic service. If those who believe the failed gas tax was merely to fund retirement accounts of ex-city employees, the same argument can be made on the 9-1-1 issue.

While The Donald will easily win the Republican primary, he'll get trounced in November by whoever runs on the Democratic ticket. There's about 270,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in this state. Also, the nearly 500,000 non-affiliated voters aren't likely to break for Trump. He's too repulsive, even for many Oregon Republicans.

Oregon is a progressive state. Call it cobalt blue.

Thank god.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The angry Americans

Which one is the Trump supporter?
Yes, white American voters are angry.

On the right, poorly educated whites back the billionaire who expresses their anger at people of color.

On the left, the well-educated whites back the Democratic socialist who taps into the anger at Wall Street.

The source of the rage is simple: Our better-paying manufacturing jobs are being out-sourced and the other jobs are being taken by undocumented workers because white Americans no longer want those jobs at a pay rate that is difficult to live on.

Intel lays off thousands and is also trying to expand the visa program to bring in coders and other I.T. personnel from India and other countries.

Why? Well, they want to pay them far less than they pay American workers.

Once here, the Indian workers learn from their American counterparts and then return home with the jobs the Americans used to have.

Disney, Toys R Us and others have done this recently.

The stock market cheers such moves and so other publicly-traded companies have little choice but to follow along.

Amazingly, the unemployment rate is at historic lows. In fact, Oregon's jobless rate is at its lowest point, 4.5 percent, since tracking comparable data began in the 1970s.

All over Bend, you see reader boards begging for workers.

Of course, the jobs are low paying in retail, fast-food and the tourism businesses. McDonald's is even offering bonuses. It's also paying $10 an hour. Oregon's minimum wage is already $9.25 an hour, second only to Washington state at $9.47.

The argument that such a high minimum wage results in widespread job losses is completely refuted by the data in Oregon.

In fact, Oregon and Washington are stealing young workers from neighboring states. Legal marijuana and a more tolerant attitude likely play a part.

The 80 jobs recently lost in Warm Springs when the reservation's lumber mill closed will be absorbed by the burgeoning marijuana trade, according to tribal leaders.

Still, the high minimum wages in the Northwest are still less, when adjusted for inflation, than what was paid in the late 1960s. American workers have been losing ground ever since. It's worse now because of accelerated outsourcing.

The recent rush to get hourly pay to $15 an hour by 2022 will help, but it's too little and too late. calculated that a worker would currently need to make nearly $29 an hour to live comfortably in the Portland area.

Adding insult to injury is the staggering disparity of incomes between the rank-and-file workers and the executives.  Here's an excerpt:
  • From 1978 to 2011, CEO compensation increased more than 725 percent, a rise substantially greater than stock market growth and the painfully slow 5.7 percent growth in worker compensation over the same period.

The CEO of Yahoo, who did nothing to improve the viability of the company, will get $55 million when she leaves it.

Yes, the deck is stacked against the common worker. There isn't much hope for the younger generation to afford a home in a desirable place or send a kid to college, even a public one.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump says he has the answer to appease the angry: Send 11.5 million undocumented workers home and build a wall. He will do nothing to stop outsourcing. He will likely expand it. Oh, as usual, cutting taxes will solve everything.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders say if we break up the banks and tax stock speculators we can make a dent in the income inequality chasm that hasn't been this bad since the French Revolution.

Sanders nails the central issues plaguing this country. The problem is that it will be impossible to do anything about our financial robber barons. They own the lawmakers, the judges and most people of influence.

The revolution that Trump and Sanders say we need won't be achieved at the ballot box.

And, a Republican-led Congress has little interest in doing anything for the incredibly shrinking middle class.

The only hope is our court system. That is why the Republicans won't fill Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court. And, if Hillary wins in November and Republicans control Congress, Scalia's seat could stay vacant for years.

And the anger will roil on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Trumped, unfortunately

If he loses, Trump could always be in the next 'Batman' film
Just when it looked like Oregon on May 17 could make Donald Trump the Republican nominee for president, Indiana trumped us.

And, just because Ted Cruz lost badly to Trump on Tuesday, everyone expected him to name his cabinet today.

Afterall,  he picked Carly Fiorina as his running mate following a string of losses last week. Instead, he throws in the towel.

Finally, just when we thought we knew how to pronounce John Kasich's last name, he quits too.

How disappointing. The Republican clown car now has only one occupant.

But, oh, that Trump isn't just you're basic Bozo.

He brings a whole new level of absurdity to the political process.

He provoked giggles all over the country when he tried to tie Ted Cruz's dad to the JFK assassination. Hey, it was in the National Enquirer, Trump said.

Trump is legendary for his re-tweets of offensive material causing tweetstorms.

It's all so ludicrous that I'm actually warming to the remote possibility that Trump could win the presidency. He would be so unpredictable, ridiculous and crude that it would entertaining, in a perverse way.

Of course, he could be the first president that gets us into a war through twitter.

Or, he could "make America great again" by just declaring bankruptcy for the country. It worked numerous times for Trump before.

Trump could tire of his third wife while in office and pick up a fourth one from another eastern European country.

The big question now, though, is who will be his running mate.

Since he goes against the grain time and time again with apparent success, Trump should pick Vladimir Putin. They appear to have a bromance brewing. Yes, it's absurd, but Republicans seem to love Putin, too.

Trump is an embarrassment to many in the Republican party, but they voted for him and now they're stuck with him.

Let's hope the whole country isn't stuck with this fool.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bend voters says 'yes' to potholes

Voters in Bend emphatically rejected a 5-cent fuel tax because they'd rather drive over teeth-rattling potholes than pay about $2.50 a month at the pump to fix them.

A well-funded oil industry campaign to defeat the ballot measure by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin on Tuesday ensures that Bend's roads will get far worse and that the city will likely impose a $5 per month road-fee surcharge on utility bills. That, in turn, will lead to higher rents, which will make housing even less affordable.

So, instead of having tourists pay about 30 percent of the expected $2.5 million raised annually by the gas tax, Bend voters would rather have people who don't drive cars or trucks help pay the freight to fix the roads.

Of course, the city is also to blame for the defeat of the gas tax. It has squandered millions on bad land deals, junk buses and Juniper Ridge. To add insult to injury that is Juniper Ridge, where a "world-class university" was supposed to be the centerpiece, the city approved OSU-Cascades' plans to build a campus on junk land in the most expensive part of town. (Yes, laws written by the builders' association tied the city's hands in approving OSUC without a master plan, but still, the town is angry about this).

The city also took almost a third of the money that voters authorized to improve the Reed Market Road corridor and are using more than $4 million to beautify a road on the west side.

To cap it off, the city just threw away $70,000 by having the vote in March rather than in the May primary.

Also, there is a general anger out there that is promoted by Donald Trump, with Fox News waving the pom-poms for him. Bernie Sanders taps that ire on the Democratic side. And, the takeover of the bird sanctuary near Burns by Mormon misfits, contributed to the general angst in the electorate.

Naturally, individual voters had their own half-baked reasons for voting against the gas tax. Some blamed studded tires, which are hardly used these days. Others didn't think it was fair to put the tax to fix roads on drivers. Others were angry about other things, like Oregon's retirement system for state employees.

There is a general belief among the "no" voters that there is plenty of money to fix all the roads. There isn't, but that doesn't matter to them. Bend has one of the lowest city tax rates in the state.

Yes, property values are rising, which lead to higher tax bills, but most of that money goes towards police and fire services.

This tourist town is the largest city in the state without its own local gas tax. Even tiny Sisters has a gas tax and that city is taking better care of its roads as a result.

So, we're stuck with what we have. With what road repair funds it does have, Bend public works department will look at those areas of the city where there was more support for the gas tax and target those roads for repairs while neglecting other areas of town that thumped the gas tax.

Also, since the value of homes on the west side of Bend are much higher than on the east side of town, west-siders pay higher property taxes. This means that the city, with its meager road funds, will fix roads on the west side and not the east side of town.

This in turn will further anger east-siders and lead to future votes against any other way to raise taxes to fix the city's roads.

It's time, fellow citizens, to embrace deteriorating roads as the welcoming face of Bend.

Monday, February 29, 2016

America getting Trumped

The question before us is simple enough:

Does this country deserve a President Trump?

The short answer is yes and no.

The Donald gives voice to the racists and fascists among us.

These folks claim that The Donald, The Blowhard, is saying things that need to be said.

Uh, no. They don't need to be said.

Trump has managed to offend veterans, women, Muslims, Mexicans, minimum wage workers and the dwindling number of rational Republicans.

But, Trump does represent the part of America that hates the non-white and non-Christian.

That America deserves a President Trump.

The rest of the country does not.

Republicans, so far, prefer Trump's bully brand of "leadership" where personal insults and threats of violence are acceptable.

Trump is the "hair"-apparent of the Republican brand from Nixon to Reagan to the Bushes that embraces racists in their "big tent." Trump wouldn't even turn away the support of the KKK on national television.

The Donald's plan, to build a wall on the Mexican border and have Mexico pay for it, is as laughable as his comb-over hairstyle.

Nixon devised the "southern strategy" after President Johnson signed civil rights legislation. But, it took Reagan's winsome personality to turn the racist South from Democrat to Republican.

It worked well because the country was mostly white 30 years ago.

Today, it is not.

Trump, though, also represents the relatively new Republican values of multiple marriages and bankruptcies. Failure is their new badge of courage.

Trump is a "reality-TV" star. Yet, he also likes to run a beauty pageant. And he tweets regularly.

He even re-tweets statements made by Mussolini. Obviously, anyone who is such a twit is unfit to be president.

Yet, Trump does have a reasonable chance of getting 45 percent of the national vote next November.

Of course, if Hillary has 55 percent of the vote, it will be considered a complete blowout victory for her.

Trump will then brag that he alone elected the first female president in our history.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Vote yes for road repairs

It should be an easy "yes" vote for the 5-cent per gallon fuel tax on the March ballot.

The roads are in terrible shape, there is an $80 million backlog of repairs and gas prices are the lowest they've been in years. Plus, all the other major cities in the state have had a local gas tax for years and their fuel prices are sometimes lower than nearby cities without a gas tax. And, since Bend is a tourist town, road travelers would pay about 30 percent of this gas tax.

All in all, a no-brainer.

Yet, there are reasons to be skeptical of its passage.

First, the city of Bend is managed poorly. Aside from bad council decisions like Juniper Ridge, The Bulletin property fiasco and the Juniper Utility debacle that squandered millions, the city workers do a lousy job of running the town.

Public works is a joke and the city manager serves developers and not the citizens of Bend.

Plus, the 5-cent tax should generate only about $2.5 million a year, and it sunsets in 10 years. Obviously, road repairs will be needed after 10 years.

With an $80 million backlog in repairs now, we'll have only an additional $25 million after 10 years to tackle that backlog. Hello, anyone home? That leaves $55 million worth of repairs, assuming the roads show no additional wear and tear in 10 years, that will never be addressed unless the voters pass another multi-million dollar bond.

And, we saw what happened when we passed the last $30 million road bond. Roughly $18 million was earmarked for the Reed Market Road rebuild. But, city staff scaled back the project after it hood-winked southeast Bend residents into thinking they were getting at least one more roundabout and landscaping to match other city thoroughfares. No, the city diverted almost a third of that $18 million to spruce up a section of 14th Street on Bend's west side.

Who's to say the city won't take some of that gas tax and use it to beautify other stretches of roads on Bend's west side rather than fixing roads all over town. The city is hard to trust on this issue.

What is unsaid in all the arguments for and against the gas tax is that if it doesn't pass, the city will likely add another fee for roads onto the utility bills of all Bend residents. That could be at least $10 a month, which is four times what the gas tax is estimated to cost. And, it would ask nothing of tourists.

In spite of all the negatives, there are more compelling reasons to pass the gas tax.

First is fairness. People who drive vehicles should pay for the roads, not the people who don't use vehicles on the roads. Tourists expect to pay for their impact on a community and we should oblige them.

Secondly, we've been living a lie since the Reagan years. There isn't money in government to do everything for everyone. Cutting taxes does not generate revenue to fix infrastructure or anything else. In fact, the opposite is true. Infrastructure across this country is failing, due, in large measure, to this idea that increasing taxes will destroy us. Well, we are falling apart, the deficit is ballooning and taxes are at historic lows.

The federal government hasn't raised the gas tax in nearly 25 years. It should've been increasing the gas tax by at least a penny per gallon per year.

And, let's dispense of this unfounded notion that studded tires do most of the damage to our roads. Few vehicles, less than 5 percent, use studded tires these days. Most use studless snow tires, if they use them at all. Costco hasn't sold studded tires for 10 years at least. The damage done to our roads is from the weather and the heavy trucks that pulverize the pavement.

The bottom line is this: If we want something, we should be willing to pay for it. If we want the potholes fixed, Bend residents and tourists should pay the gas tax. It's the right thing to do.

Friday, February 12, 2016

OSU-Cascades may use drones to deliver students to campus

Kick back and enjoy the ride
In an effort to have as little an impact as possible on Bend's congested west side, the leaders of OSU-Cascades are looking at drones to fly students to campus from more "affordable" areas of the city.

OSU-Cascades (OSUC) hopes to partner with when the e-tail behemoth begins delivering packages next year.

This news emerges as an OSUC advisory committee recently recommended a web of bicycle underpasses and overpasses to accommodate those students who may use bikes to attend the difficult-to-reach future campus. There are no funds, though, earmarked for such an ambitious undertaking.

OSU-Cascades plans on opening in September 2016 with one building for classrooms at the 10-acre campus. There will be no on-campus housing or dining options for the first year, at least.

This means students must find housing elsewhere in Bend, one of the most expensive rental markets in the state.

And, Bend's west side is the least affordable area in the city.

The only rentals under construction that could house potential students are at least three miles from the OSUC campus.

The new rental units proposed for NorthWest Crossing, about a mile from the OSUC campus, are designed specifically to exclude college-age kids.

So, that makes OSUC a commuter college in a town with few commute options. Most of the side streets in the older parts of town have no sidewalks, let alone bike paths.

There are only two-lane roads on the west side and no room to expand them.

The numerous roundabouts on the west side can make cycling to the campus dangerous.

Bend's fledgling bus system, doesn't have service after 6 p.m., and none at all on Sunday. Rumor has it that OSUC may want the city of Bend to use some of that proposed 5-cent-per-gallon tax on vehicle fuel to expand the bus service or to construct bicycle overpasses. If so, Bend residents will likely defeat the tax measure on the March ballot.

Add in the snowy, icy roads that we experience at various times from October to April, and commuting to OSUC from across town can be treacherous.

This is where drones come in. They can easily lift a student and transport him or her all over town. Yes, from brewpub to pot shop to tattoo parlor and beyond.

It helps that there are now more licensed drone operators in America than licensed pilots of real airplanes.

The standard air restrictions will apply, of course. In Bend, that means no drones can fly over high-end subdivisions like NorthWest Crossing, Awbrey Glen, Broken Top or Awbrey Butte. All other parts of Bend are fair game.

Some weight restrictions may also apply.

The use of drones to deliver students to OSUC will free up the roads from student traffic and forestall any improvements of the roadways by a few years. Plus, that web of bike overpasses and underpasses may not be necessary at all.

It's a win-win situation.

Go Beavs or Fly Beavs!

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 off to a rousing start

NY Daily News
Militiamen/'Patriots' occupy wildlife refuge
The Ducks choke away a sure win, the Saudi-Iran split heats up big time, the stock market plunges thanks to China and militiamen occupy a remote outpost in southeast Oregon.

And, it's just the fourth day of this Leap Year.

Also, on Tuesday, gun sales are about to reach an all-time high when President Obama finally announces some basic, common sense, gun-safety reforms.

Obama's actions, no matter how tame, could be a tipping point for the militia types, particularly those 20 or so holed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns.

This latest confrontation between ranchers and the federal government over management of public lands would be another comical episode of "Angry White Men," except that these "patriots" are willing to kill or be killed, if necessary.

Incredibly, a majority of respondents to an online poll for KTVZ in Bend, more than 100 miles away from the scene of the occupation, believe that an armed takeover of a federal facility is an acceptable way for the militiamen to make their case. Yes, there are crazy people everywhere.

Still, this hasn't stopped the rational world from poking a little fun at all these yahoos and their sympathizers.

Leave it to Twitter to get the ball rolling with #Y'allQaeda, #VanillaISIS, #YokelHaram  and #YeeHawdist.

Evidently, you can't have a movement without a hashtag, aka, pound sign.

The wildlife refuge, by the way, is a mecca for birdwatchers and was established in 1908 by President Teddy Roosevelt.

Who knew that militiamen and women had a thing for greater sandhill cranes.

Actually, they don't.

They just care about riding around showing off their guns. They think they know what is constitutional, but they obviously do not.

And, it appears a bit of Mormonism is to blame.

These so-called ranchers believe they own all the land that belongs to the government.

But, if we're talking real ownership, here is a map that shows who the land should really belong to:

These nutcases from Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and elsewhere claim they're willing to stay at the refuge for as long as it takes.

I say let them freeze to death in the frigid high desert.

That way, the authorities can pry the militiamen's sacred guns from their cold, dead hands.