1. Portland and Dignity Village are working on an agreement that would allow the homeless camp to remain on city property until 2010 - maybe longer.
2. Medical marijuana users in Oregon can have 1 ½ pounds of dry weed and 6 mature plants. Here's the catch: caregivers can no longer argue in court that having more than the specified amounts is a medical necessity and therefore permissible.
3. Oregon will receive more than $67 million in federal funding for defense-related projects. Both Wyden and Smith are all over this one. Part of the money is for nanotech - pretty scary stuff. This is the sci-fi lunatic fringe that plays around with semi-robotic, chip-implanted soldiers. Dozens of projects of this sort are getting federal money. Education is also whizzing along down the same lippery slope.
4. State Labor commissioner Dan Gardner is still unopposed. Republicans have been unable to field anyone to run against the man (Could this be because there is no one left in the republican party that is pro-labor?)
5. The 6 environmental activists picked up by the Feds earlier this month? Taking a longer look at their lives (minus one life, at this point), we find that they participated in peaceful protest events, ran progressive book shops, supported Food Not Bombs and worked to prevent a ski resort from using recycled sewage water on ski slopes that also happen to be sacred Indian land. Essentially they were doing the same sorts of things that you and I are doing. So keep your head up and your eyes open. If someone you know disappears suddenly and inexplicably, call a civil rights lawyer and find that person befoe he/she finds a plastic bag.)
6. Graz, Austria, birth place of Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken the California governor's name off its web site. The people of Graz are disgusted by Arnold's refusal to spare Stanley Tookie Williams. (Austria, in this case Linz, is the birthplace of Adolf Hitler. It's time to worry when you've repulsed Austrians.)
7. Bush has a wish list for 2006. It includes tax cuts and immigration policy revamps.
8. US ambassador to England, (and former used-car salesman who contributed truck-loads of money to Republican causes) has proved embarrassingly incompetent. Tuttle came out with the startling news that the US didn't fly terror suspects to Syria for torturing at the same time that the US was forced to more or less admit that this is exactly what it has been up to and at a time when evidence is pouring over the transome for such flights stopping at various European airports.
9. Bush has been leaning hard on editors of both the New York Times and the Washington Post to keep their content in line with White House PR. No surprise there. But it turns out that a couple of columnists from these papers took payments from none other than Jack Abramoff.
10. Representative Bob Ney of Ohio says that he thinks at least he will be cleared of corruption and bribery charges (I think so too. Bob is going to give up everybody. Just like Santa Claus, he's making a list and checking it twice... )
11. South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn says that Americans deserve better leadership than they are getting (I beg to differ: I think Americans are getting exactly what they deserve for being willfully, proudly and deliberately ignorant and for being too cowed and apathetic to do anything about the current administration. Who are we waiting for to come to rescue us from ourselves? The French? The Canadians? Venezuela? C'mon) anyway, here's to James Clyburn for at least using his position of power to speak aloud what is on everyone's mind and no one's TV.
12. And a commentary from Mumia Abu Jamal - Live From Death Row. Check it out for yourselves at the web site.
13. The 90 year old King of Torture himself, Augusto Pinochet - is going to have to stand trial even though he says he's not really feeling up to it.
14. Libya is suspending talks on compensation for the families of more than 400 HIV-infected children. Yesterday, recall, Libya's Supreme court withdrew the threat of the death penalty for the 6 foreign medics accused of deliberately infecting the children.
15. Bolivian president-elect Evo Morales has invited 3 Nobel laureates to his inauguration: Nelson Mandela of S. Africa, Rigoberto Menchu of Guatemala and Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina. Also, Morales is going to have two inauguration events. One is the official pomp and ceremony sort. And the other will be a traditional Indian ritual. Morales is the first indigenous head of state, remember. (No word as to whether George Bush or Tony Blair have received their invitations yet.)
16. Coastal communities across the Indian Ocean yesterday marked the first anniversary of the Boxing Day Tsunami that left 230 thousand people dead. (We hear reports that Americans are suffering from 'compassion Fatigue'. This is the polite way of saying that the richest people in the world are recalling that they didn't get that way by being generous. No. Americans are merely reverting to their more familiar position of greedy fatsos. Here's the problem with cutting taxes for the rich and decimating lives of the poor: There simply is not enough money in the public coffers to make it politically easy to give money to people around the world as well as here at home who are in desperate, life-threatening circumstances.
17. The United Nations has agreed on a budget for next year, with a spending cap of $950 million dollar spending cap for the first 6 months. The cap is part of a US demand by US ambassador John Bolton aimed at applying pressure on the UN to accede to US power (The other part is the dismantling of the UN altogether)
18. Hundreds of Israeli settler youths erected 14 illegal outposts in the West Bank in a campaign to show their strength after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. These and more are destined to become permanent. The IDF dismissed the developments in the West Bank, saying the action was merely children displaying holiday high spirits and that the settlement would "disperse". (In much the same way that millions of acres of Palestinian land has been "dispersed"? No. I guess not.)
19. In the same holiday spirit, Israel fired missiles at Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
20. In Iraq, the violence has hit another high. Unfortunately for the Admin, Iraqis are not as gullible as Americans and they did not think much of the way the Americans allowed their election to be run. Specifically, what they want: a new election. When do they want it? Now. I do not think they are going to be willing to swallow official US propaganda. Karen Hughes, you're fired!
21. In Brazil, there is yet another massive prison riot going on. The prison in question is far, far away from centers of civilization. The prisoners have 200 hostages, many of whom are relatives of the inmates. It looks like they are going to get what they want, which is their leader. Apparently, the leader of the prisoners is the only difference between chaos and some form of unofficial government in Brazil's overcrowded lock-ups. The prisoners want him back and officials figured, well, hell, why not? Things couldn't get much worse for everyone anyway, so... .