WE HAVE MOVED: Please visit The Union News blog: here.

Quote of the Day: "I once said, "We will bury you," and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you." - Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Labor Day break

In recognition of the unchecked political power wielded by Oregon's government unions, The Oregonion is taking a Labor Day break. Until it's over, enjoy some of the blog's best hits:


Friday, August 31, 2007

The O = Enough?


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oregon's #1 holiday of the year: Labor Day

Tax-funded "Labor Lab" dedicated to leftist politics
Your tax dollars, hard at work

The political power-set in Oregon wants you to believe a civics-class fiction: that government is a neutral player in election politics. It may the state's worst-kept secret that local governments actually takes sides. Oregonians are used to the nickel-and-diming of illegal politicking by city managers and local officials, accompanied by tax-happy cheerleading from the handmaiden news media.

But a "tiny, $188,000 item" in the state budget has revealed a better-kept secret. For the past 30 years, taxpayers have quietly paid for a "Labor Politics Lab" at the University of Oregon called LERC that is dedicated to the growth and maintenance of a dominant union political power, intended to reduce the power of average voters.

In a labor stronghold state like Oregon, critics say, the tax-funded Labor Lab amounts to a state-government insult to taxpayers. Big Labor, flush with cash, can afford to pay for these self-serving programs on its own but instead robs the public purse for its private gain. Critics add that LERC adds insult to injury, because its programs are not purely educational in nature. They are designed specifically to create an unbeatable political force that takes over state elections.

Here are more details about LERC, from its tax-funded website at the U. of O.:

• We believe that the presence of a strong union movement not only provides workers with vital protections but also is essential to maintaining a just and democratic society.

• LERC faculty provide technical assistance to legislators, community activists, and governmental agencies at the state, local, and federal level and frequently furnish background information on labor and employment issues to the news media.

• LERC's Strategic Training and Action Research (STAR) Fund supports special projects that create a strong and vital labor movement in Oregon. Your tax-deductible contribution will help us to train labor leaders, protect workers' rights, and improve the lives of all working people in our state. Examples of STAR Fund programs include "sabbaticals" at LERC to rejuvenate union staff, sponsorship of visiting scholars and labor activists, and worker-to-worker exchanges.

• Sample course titles

1-420 Labor and Politics
1-130 Fighting Contracting Out and Privatization
1-140 Interest-based Bargaining
1-320 Psychology of Union Leadership
1-330 Trustee Training
1-340 Parliamentary Procedure
1-440 Sexual Harassment
1-520 Building Successful Campaigns
2-130 Workplace Harassment
2-200 Strategic Planning for the Local Union
2-230 Labor and the Community
2-240 Strategic Research
2-310 "Survive and Thrive" in the Labor Movement
2-330 Teaching Stewards
2-340 Train the Trainer
2-430 The Changing Nature of Work
2-440 Workplace Safety and Health
2-450 Workers Compensation

• Today's union leaders need an understanding of the changing economic, political and legal environment. They must also know how to:

* Activate their members
* Organize new work units
* Engage members in the political process
* Communicate well in different settings
* Plan and carry out innovative strategies that best protect and represent their members


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The definition of a scab

A Labor Day look-back at Oregon's Labor highlights

In July, the striking Freightliner/Portland machinists' website issued a reminder to would-be replacement workers:

The Definition of a Scab. Scabs have been called many things by many people during the course of labor history but Jack London's description of the scab, "written with barbed wire on sandpaper," easily dwarfs all others.

"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the Devil shuts the gates of Hell to keep him out.

No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with. Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab has not.

Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas Iscariot sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British Army. The modern strikebreaker sells his birthright, his country, his wife, his children and his fellow men for an unfulfilled promise from his employer, trust or corporation.

Esau was a traitor to himself: Judas Iscariot was a traitor to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country; a strikebreaker is a traitor to his God, his country, his wife, his family and his class."


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The World Without Us

Wish you weren't here

Having determined that nearly every feature of modern human existence is bad for the environment - driving, eating meat, turning on the lights, having children, exhaling - the greens have followed the argument to its logical limit. The problem is human existence.

That, at least, is the message of this summer's surprise eco-hit, "The World Without Us." Science writer Alan Weisman explores how nature would respond if Homo sapiens abruptly went extinct. Though the book continues to climb the bestseller lists, it isn't exactly beach reading.

Cities and towns in a few decades would be reclaimed by wilderness. Our dogs will be killed off quickly by natural predators, but without pesticides the new world will be good for mosquitoes. For the most part, Mr. Weisman intends to show the enduring harm of, well, us. In a world voided of human activity, he estimates it will take 100,000 years, or more, for atmospheric CO2 to revert to pre-industrial levels. Plastic will be our Ozmandias, the last artifact of civilization. And so forth.

It's not hard to see the appeal of such a macabre thought experiment for the most uncompromising environmentalists, who often seem to favor "the earth" over people. But what draws normal book buyers? Curiosity, no doubt. Perhaps, also, it's the seam of apocalyptic pessimism that runs through a lot of environmental advocacy, from Malthus to Gore. Besides, if one is wrestling with apocalypse, there isn't much point in considering actual costs or policy consequences - which in "Without Us" would appear rather extreme.

Unto dust we'll return, of course, and the planet indeed will go on without us. Even so, if we're intent on reducing our "ecological footprint," it would be nice to envision a world where there are still footprints.



Monday, August 27, 2007

"That's what I think of the TV news."

Police said 79 year-old Philadelphia, PA Common Pleas Judge Lisa Richette was assaulted Tuesday by her son, 48-year-old Lawrence Richette, in a domestic dispute at the judge's home. The judge received treatment of a cut above her eye at Jefferson Hospital. It required four stitches. The man was charged with assaulting his mother and a female reporter went to his home for comment. (8/22/07)


Saturday, August 25, 2007

The O - Pamela Anderson interview


Friday, August 24, 2007

Labor, Crime, Corruption

News item scores rare label trifecta
The ripe story of an ex-police union treasurer jailed for embezzlement

In a nod to the explosion of self-referentialism-as-entertainment, The Oregonion celebrates a first-in-history story post that earned three labels, or categories, in The Oregonion News Service feeder blog yesterday: labor, crime, and corruption. Blog readers use the Label Cloud on the sidebar to sort the entire blog for only the items so-labeled.

According to the story, two days ago, Woodburn, Oregon police arrested a former officer who had served as the Woodburn police union's treasurer. After the officer's retirement, it was determined that tens of thousands of dollars were unaccounted for in a union account under his control. The story was reported in Thursday's Salem Statesman-Journal and posted that day on the News Service with the headline "Former police union treasurer jailed". It quickly vaulted onto the the "Hottest stories on this blog" list.

Editor Silence Dogood described the story as "a government union perfect storm." He saluted the Statesman-Journal adding, "With The Oregonian playing 800 lb. news gorilla here, any news relating to 'corruption' in Oregon is a rarity."

To read the three-label story, click: here.



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Unreported electioneering probed by grand jury

Reckless activism by The Oregonian sparks Free Speech crisis
Why is out-of-state billionaire Si Newhouse telling you how to vote?

According to state police insiders, corporate executives at The Oregonian newspaper are subjects of interest in a wide-ranging probe into illegal political election campaign activities. A law enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that a secret joint federal and state grand jury has been convened to weigh violations of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and violations of state election laws that require campaign spending to be fully disclosed and reported as such. The source said that subpoenas may be issued for internal company documents, including emails, phone logs, and financial records.

The expanding investigation has also targeted the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division for its selective enforcement of state campaign finance reporting law.

Neither The Oregonian nor the Secretary of State would respond to requests for comment.

The long-running probe was triggered into the grand jury phase after a particularly one-sided editorial published last Thursday.

The Oregonian, ranked among the most politically one-sided newspapers in the country, has made an increasingly ugly practice of pitching its election news-opinion coverage in a way that, even editors admit, amounts to de facto advocacy. Although The Oregonian - which holds a virtual monopoly of statewide daily news audiences - is the biggest political spender in the state, nobody really knows by how much. Its lawyers have asserted over the years that the private corporation is not subject to Oregon's campaign finance disclosure laws and is exempt from federal law by the First Amendment.

Election law experts agree that may be settled with regard to candidate elections where print media have a long tradition of legalized scurrilousness. But the legal issues involving unreported electioneering in ballot measure campaigns are less established. According to media insiders, The Oregonian's publisher Fred Stickel is acting in a deliberately extreme manner, inviting the state-federal probe now, in order to garner long-term legal protection.

The law enforcement source says that folks should not be concerned, because the federal and state constitutions and law enforcement apparatus are there to protect ordinary citizens from such corporate abuse of the law, even from The Oregonian's New York billionaire owner, Si Newhouse. Law enforcement officials are asking citizens to be patient while the investigation runs its course. Nevertheless, advertisers are increasingly wary as The Oregonian becomes increasingly political as circulation declines.

Here is the offending editorial from last Thursday:

Nothing frames the issue of property rights so squarely - or perhaps we should say so rectangularly - as a billboard.

Should your neighbor have the right to put a billboard in your face, even if it may harm your view and could damage your property rights? Near Sandy (population 6,680) this is not an academic question.

Thanks to Oregon's new property-rights law, Measure 37, one property owner has already installed two giant billboards along U.S. 26 in what is supposed to be a green corridor separating Gresham and Sandy. The billboards hawk pizza and a grocery store and boost one property owner's bottom line. But they do not frame the area in a positive light -- which is why Mayor Linda Malone has fought vigorously, if thus far unsuccessfully, against the billboards.

Champions of Measure 37 never emphasized the possibility that it could trigger giant billboards, for good reason. It wasn't exactly a selling point for the new law. Only now are more Oregonians coming face to face with the new reality.

As The Oregonian's Catherine Trevison and Gosia Wozniacka reported Sunday, in the past two years alone, at least 100 billboards have sprung up along Oregon highways. An Oregon Supreme Court decision paved the way for many, and Measure 37 has paved the way for more.

It's unlikely that all this damage from Measure 37 can be undone, but voters will at least have a chance to rethink it this fall when they vote on a rewrite, Measure 49, referred to the ballot by the Oregon Legislature. At least going forward, Measure 49 would curtail commercial developments spawned by Measure 37, including billboards.

It's true that relatively few of the 7,500 development claims filed under Measure 37 seek explicit permission to develop billboards. Still, there are 54 claims for signs in the Portland area alone. And thousands of claims filed in this state don't specify exactly what development the property owner is pursuing. Strip malls? Subdivisions? Rock quarries? Billboards?

All of these have been proposed under Measure 37. Billboards just happen to be one of the quickest and easiest ways to make money. The short-term gain for some property owners, however, could work to the detriment of Oregon's tourism industry and harm the vistas that boost Oregon's economic development. It's already happening in the Sandy area.

Billboards are not what tourists expect to see when they drive toward Mount Hood. They're not what a neighboring property owner, Jon Ellertson, had in mind for his retirement vista either.

Don't his property rights count as much as those of his neighbor? The headline on Trevison and Wozniacka's report Sunday said "Billboards pit beauty vs. business." But that's not quite right, because beauty is integral to Oregon's business. And many property owners counted on beauty when they bought their land.

Measure 37 has opened the door to the uglification of Oregon. Voters can help to close that door by voting for Measure 49.

To find out more about Oregon property owners harmed by Measure 37, check out the Web site for Measure 49, www.yeson49.com



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