1. Portland is on a new advertising jag - doubtless an effort to distract citizens from the enormous cost of OHSU's rollercoaster. We are being exhorted to stop driving. And don't think about aerial trams.
2. Vicki Walker isn't going to run for governor. But Pete Sorenson is. It's hard to tell if even Kulongoski is running - in fact it's hard to tell if the Guv is still breathing.
3. In Dallas, Oregon a fellow goes into a Wal-Mart and set stuff on fire. Was it arson? Was it "ecoterrorism"? We'll know as soon as the background check is in and authorities learn whether the individual had ever expressed concern for the environment or was just a dissatisfied customer.
4. Oregon politicians were all over Bush's State of the Union remarks about America's "energy addiction". It was a golden opportunity for Reps and Dems alike to demonstrate appropriate reverence for the executive office and establish "green" credibility as well. Boyakasha!
5. The advocacy group, Stand for Children' got slapped down yesterday. Polls showed that voters might support a new fee on development to pay for school construction as long as somebody from a distant galaxy paid for it.
6. Oregon Literacy, the Oregon Community Foundation and Chemeteka Community College are getting together to bring English to the People. No. They aren't really, but they are talking about how best to connect ESL providers with ESL students.
7. Two more miners died in West Virginia's infamous coal mines. Governor Joe Manchin shut down all the mines in his state until safety issues could be resolved. In an orgy of understatement, Manchin said that he didn't know how long all this mine safety would take given the present lack thereof.
8. Congress is going to give the USA Patriot Act another month of deep, Congressional thought. And also to give lobbyists from interest groups that stand to profit from the renewal of the Act more time to crawl out of their caves beneath K Street. (I can't even bring myself to say 'USA Patriot Act' out loud. What kind of a name is that anyway, 'USA Patriot Act'? fireworks? Weird sexual performance? The Second Coming of Bob Hope? What?)
9. The DC police apologized to Cindy Sheehan.
10. The House banned lobbyists from lobbying in House chambers and "members gym". (Think about that for a moment). The rules change passed 379 - 50.
11. The Electronic Freedom Foundation is suing AT&T for helping the NSA (and no doubt assorted other spy agencies) tap Americans' overseas calls (and no doubt assorted other calls).
12. Which brings us to the Army. The Army has this to say about the whole spy thing: "Contrary to popular belief, there is no absolute ban on military intelligence components collecting US person information." In English, that means the Army can spy on you.
13. What's even better than gathering information on people? Feeding people misinformation! The Admin subcontracts this activity to Lincoln Group and the Lincoln Group apparently has been working overtime.
14. Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, testified before a US Senate subcommittee (which appeared to be listening intently but was actually thinking about the Super Bowl and pussy)
15. Soldiers have finally had it up to here. They are filing a class-action lawsuit claiming they are owed $73 million in food, lodging and commuting expenses.
16. Israeli "police" battled settlers at the Amona outpost where they are illegally occupying Palestinian land.
17. But soon the US will be attacking Iran and the conflict might distract Israel long enough for Hamas to put together a government.
18. There is a full-blown civil war going on around Kirkuk. Ethnic Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen are going at it while beleaguered US forces tried desperately to protect the oil fields in the northern Iraqi city.
19. A dog biscuit tycoon in New Zealand tried to help starving children in Kenya by sending them - what else? - dog biscuits. Kenya rejected the generous off, saying it was "culturally insulting." Poor people can be so uppity... ...
20. And of course today is Groundhogs Day.