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Dear Fellow Portland Housing/Homeless Activists:
Homelessness is increasing worldwide. Housing costs are skyrocketing. Governments are more inclined to support tax cuts for the wealthy than help for low income people. Drastic cuts of essential entitlement or safety net programs are looming on the horizon--courtesy of the Bush Administration and U.S. Congress. To truly end homelessness and poverty worldwide, we need to do more than just develop 10 year plans to end homelessness or bureaucracies to study the problem.
This is why the National Coalition for the Homeless, the nation's oldest and largest national homelessness advocacy organization, supports such proactive legislative initiatives as the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Bringing America Home Act. If enacted by Congress, both pieces of legislation would end homelessness in this country. We join you in this international day of solidarity pushing for an end to homelessness and poverty today, not ten years from now.
Friday SB 329 to expand Oregon's Prescription Drug Purchasing program (OPDP) to more Oregonians and businesses passed the Oregon Senate by a vote of 19-11. Please send a quick note encouraging your Representative to support SB 329.
What's At Stake: SB 329: In 2003, prescription drug legislation was passed, creating the Oregon Prescription Drug Program, in an effort to provide relief from excessive prescription drug costs to those most in need. Expansion of this program through SB 329 would provide further relief to more Oregon families, and to Oregon businesses, while simultaneously reducing costs to the state budget.
Currently, only those over 54 years of age with incomes less than 185% of the federal poverty level qualify for participation in the Oregon Prescription Drug Program. SB 329 would remove this age limitation, increase the income requirement to 300% of the federal poverty level, and open eligibility to a limited number of private industry employers who cannot provide prescription drug coverage to their employees.
Forest activists...come join us this weekend to climb, hike, learn, plan, discuss, eat delicious food, make music and be merry!
When I lived in Eastern Europe as well as in southern Asia my accent was always a question that came up. In Eastern Europe this often came up when Europeans needed a tutor in English. They wanted British speakers for passing grammar tests, but wanted "Americans" for conversational English. American accents were en vogue. One friend of mine one evening at a restaruant asked me in a thick sounding British accent "ok what kind of accent do I have American or Brit?" I replied "You have a British accent" in which he responded "Bloody hell!" Another friend from Britain (who loved harassing Americans for their accents) was once in a conversation with me when i pointed out that in a BCC production on the history of English mentioned that the Pacific NorthWest accent was the closing "living" pronounciation to original Shakespearean English. Tim's comeback (with what to me sounded more like an Irish accent) to that was with a huge grin on his face was "that is because your people have not evolved".
But meeting other Europeans back then who had English teachers from Boston and Texas could not figure out my accent. Which was ok with me since I often tried to pass myself off as a Scandinavian or German. Even years ago in Portland friends that were not originally from Cascadia would often say "you are European right? German or some Slav?" I would find it to be a compliment at frist because generally I can not stand most American accents (especially southern, Texan or the nasally urban east). Sorry if I insulted anyone about that.
The dominant evaluation of this year's National Conference on Media Reform is that it was an overwhelming success. In fact--relative to where the movement could and should be--the conference's achievements were underwhelming. Political divisions, a dearth of democracy and a short-sighted agenda threaten the future effectiveness of the movement.
The following is an analysis of a key emerging division within the movement against the corporate strangle hold on media, a friendly criticism of the organizers at Free Press who are currently exerting a major influence over its direction, and finally, a set of concrete prescriptions for future conferences that flow directly from this analysis.
Biking around after some gardening this afternoon I was riding down SE Tibbetts and stumbled across three different sets of people working on cob benches, as part of the fifth annual Village Building Convergence (VBC). The VBC seeks to empower people to rebuild their urban spaces so as to encourage community. Past projects have included intersection repairs -- wherein the road is painted and street fixtures such as kiosks, benches, and planters are built -- and the the magnificent cob artwork at People's Food Cooperative. This year is bringing more intersection repairs and a set of presentations and events where people can learn more about how to change their city for the positive. The event has been growing each year and attracts people from around the country.
I snapped these pics of the sites on Tibbetts so other folks could see how fun cob work is.
another story from this year's VBC: [ 7 Corners Bench Foundation Built in Record Time With Community Help ]
GABRIELA Network, a US-Philippine women's solidarity mass organization est. 1989, leads first nationwide protest against human rights violations and political killings in the Philippines.
GABRIELA Network's nationwide vigil on Friday, May 20th, 2005, was a solemn reminder of the on-going US intervention in the Philippines and its destructive nature for the Philippine nation and its people. It was also a firm condemnation of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's complicity. Held in six US citiesChicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle,the vigil, organized by GABRIELA Network (GABNet), a US-Philippine women's solidarity mass organization, was the first nationally coordinated action in the US to protest the escalating political killings in the Philippines since George W. Bush and company declared the country as the second front in the global "war on terror."
With over two-hundred participants and more than twenty endorsing organizations, the vigil called attention to the intensifying political repression in the Philippines: three-hundred plus political killings and abductions from 2001 to the present; one-hundred cases of human rights violations, affecting 23,252 victims in ninety-one communities from January to March 15, 2005; thirteen journalists killed last year, three in the first quarter of 2005, making the Philippines the most murderous country in the world for the media; murder of eleven women of GABRIELA, a national alliance of more than two-hundred women's organizations in the Philippines, and of its electoral arm GABRIELA Women's Party.
It hasnt't taken long for the corporate media to sketch in the faint lines of the life that was wasted yesterday in the cold, gray morning on Burnside. He was a drug addict, an ex-con, he was a "transient." What more can be said? Well, plenty. Before we swallow this lurid portrait laid out for us with all the subtleties of a magik marker set, maybe we need to look deeper. A lot deeper.
You know, I have a friend who insists that the poison of the corporate media is so toxic that it's dangerous even to glance at it briefly. He's right, of course. But after an event like the one we all suffered through yesterday, I often have an inexplicable urge to see what they have to say about it. I know it's foolish. I don't know why I do it. I never even have to crack open a paper or wander past a television set. I already know what they will say. They will perform their function. They will side with the police state, they will demonize the dead, they will protect and exonerate the killers. They will blame the victim of state violence, every single time.
And so they did.
The vote on Senate Bill 545 (.pdf) - the Pay Day Loan reform bill, was carried over until Monday, 5/23. Despite the fact that the bill has been delayed for two weeks, it is believed to be for logistical and procedural reasons, not a stalling tactic. Previous delays included sick senators. Today's delay was due to the fact that debate on other items on the Senate agenda ran longer than expected so all unfinished business was simply carried over until Monday.
Call your senator! They need to hear from you! Pay Day Loan lobbyists, who have been a large presence in Salem, have taken advantage of the delay to lobby hard against the bill. YOU MUST CALL YOUR SENATOR AND TELL THEM TO SUPPORT SB 545!!!May 10th Update / Call-Out I Predatory lending I Santa protests predatory loan business
The Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Siskiyou Project and five other groups issued a report today documenting that the Biscuit Fire "Recovery Project" could harm as many as 100 rare and imperiled wildlife species. Billed as forest restoration, the "Recovery Project" is actually one of the largest timber sales in national forest history, calling for logging of 370 million board feet or enough to fill a continuous chain of logging trucks from Seattle to Los Angeles. Most of this logging will occur in Old-Growth Reserves and roadless areas.
"Logging thousands of ancient trees in the Siskiyous will have immense impacts on rare and imperiled wildlife," states Noah Greenwald, conservation biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity and primary author of the report. "Many of the species potentially impacted by the logging are found nowhere else on earth."
The report identified at-risk species using data from the Oregon Natural Heritage Program on the distribution of Oregon's imperiled species and on the Forest Service's own Environmental Impact Statement, in which the agency concluded individuals or the habitat of many species would be negatively impacted.
I was walking down State Street on my way to school this morning, when I saw Port of Olympia employees landscaping in the empty lot, which once contained the May Day Community Garden. I asked one of them why the garden had disappeared. He smiled and said it was the orders of the Port, he suggested I call them to complain. He recalled when there was a big garden in that location a few years earlier, according to him it was a place where "all sorts of people, of every age would come and garden."
The Mayday garden was planted this year as part of Olympia's annual May Day celebration. I have been watching it grow over the last few weeks, it has been kept up by volunteers who have been bringing it water, making sure it stays clean and just enjoying it. On the street across form the now defunct garden, was parked a semi carrying a load of tree's; killed and ready for export.
Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering held a protest on May 18 at a USDA public forum in Corvallis to take comments on the approval of genetically engineered creeping bentgrass.
The GE grass has been developed by Monsanto and Scotts to resist Monsanto's herbicide RoundUp, and would be used on golf courses around the country if approved. It has already contaminated the area around a test site near Madras, Oregon, including the Crooked River National Grassland and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
Join us for another protest, this time against Smith & Hawken, an upscale gardening store in Northwest Portland. Smith & Hawken was recently acquired by Scotts, and they need to know that we want them to clean up their mess
Biking to work this morning on the Burnside Bridge, going east to west towards downtown, I noticed the lights from the police cars and tape blocking off the traffic on Burnside going in both directions. Most cars heading downtown noticed the slowed traffic and started turning north bound on Second Ave. I decided to keep biking up and see what has created this roadblock.
At the corner of Fourth and Burnside, I stopped on the sidewalk with my bike, noticed that most of the cop cars, vans and various official looking vehicles were stopped right at the gas station. I still could not figure out why the roadblock was created, so I decided to ask the two men on the same corner as me if they knew what was going on.
It's May again, time for the annual killing of an unarmed person of color at the hands of Portland police. Could this be it? I'm not sure, as details are still sketchy at this moment. But it seems that a short time ago, police officers on 4th and West Burnside opened fire on a man who, according to at least one witness, "ran toward an officer and struggled with him." No word of any weapon.
recent related stories: What happened on Burnside this morning I Portland Police Officers Required to Carry Tasers Starting June 1st
On May 16th 2005, more than 75 people gathered on Eight Dollar Mountain road to demonstrate against logging Old Growth reserves at the FIddler timber sale and elsewhere as part of the Biscuit timber sale. Roadless areas are also on the chopping block for the SIskiyou WIld Rivers area, one of the most botanically diverse national forests in the country.
This film maker joined a small group of women who, risking arrest violated a forest service closure leading up to the Babyfoot Lake Trailhead and the Kalmiopsis WIlderness up the Eight Dollar road. We walked all the way to the green bridge from just outside the closure boundary where dozens had gathered in support. A logging truck came down the road and 5 women blocked them from crossing the green bridge where 22 women were previously arrested blocking loggers from entering the sale are. They were arrested and transported to Grants Pass, leaving two others behind that had not been arrested.
It is now even more unclear whether the official Forest Service closure is legitimate or if they can only arrest people who block the road and are merely faking that there is a legal closure. The signs stating a closure are still up, yet at the Forest Service office in Cave Junction, the sign there actually promotes driving up Eight Dollar road and does not mention any closure, yet people have been routinely turned away, ticketed and harassed for doing so. One woman has been arrested for violating the supposed closure and will challenge it in court.
A bear has been spotted running through my community today. The police tracked it throughout the day, and eventually chased it back into the woods out by the airport. This evening, I saw a report about it all on the corporate media, and wondered what I was seeing. In the news broadcast, I saw images of the "big bear" taken from a helicopter in the skies above, and heard a frightening tale of the "marauding" bear. Police cars cruised the area, calling from loudspeakers to people, asking them to say indoors. It looked like war.
According to the news broadcasts, citizens of the area were "frightened," and perhaps even "terrified." That was strange, because although I live here, I did not see or hear any of this. I only heard through the grapevine that a bear had been spotted, and I only gave it a passing thought. You see, I have chosen to live in a rural area, where bears and mountain lions and bobcats and raccoons and skunks live. And yes, sea lions seasonally live in the river out here among the otter and the beaver and the salmon. All of these beings have been here long before I got here, in fact, long before any humans got here. So it was no surprise to me to hear about a bear in the area, except that I was happy to note that they haven't all gone away, chased off by the voracious roads and the never-ending mini-marts. It was good to know that something wild still lives among us, since we came here to be near the wild.
HOUSTON, May 18 - Demonstrators from across Texas and around the country turned the Halliburton shareholders meeting upside down this morning, blowing whistles and rallying around a giant "Cash Cow" labeled "Iraq" outside the Halliburton(NYSE: HAL) annual shareholders meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel. Another group of demonstrators from Houston Global Awareness also blocked shareholders from entering the meeting and staged a non-violent occupation inside the hotel to expose the company's shameful record and war profiteering in Iraq.
"Halliburton's shareholders are shamelessly profiting from the US war on Iraq,which has lead to the death of at least 63 of the company's own employees,"said Rachael Clarke-Alverez. "We are here to expose Halliburton's shareholders for their shameless disregard for human life, and for ripping off the American tax payers."
While watching past protest movies, I noticed what seemed to be the most painful weapon that cops used were tasers. The tasers used by cops are not the regular handheld tasers. These tasers shoot out strings with metal tips and can electrocute people from a far range. In protests, police will not hesitate in the least bit to use tasers. I was thankful that barely any of our police had them, but that is all about to change.
At the beginning of June, it will be REQUIRED that every police officer in Portland must equip a taser. These tasers have sent people to hospitals and can cause serious injury. Police chief Foxworth says that they are 80% effective during protests and that it is a safer, more effective tool. He also said that pepper spray was only 50% effective during protests. One officer added, "When pepper spray is in the air, it will sometimes affect officers".
related: Report Links Stun Guns To Deaths I Portland Police Get, Use 50,000 Volt Tasers I Tasers and Our Fight Against Police Brutality I we need to revisit the issue of police with Tasers I Man dies in Miami-Dade jail after police stun him with Taser I Support the Ban on "Less-Lethal" Weapons I Save Our Civil Liberties
May 13, 1985 marked the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the MOVE organization's house by the city of Philadelphia. MOVE is a naturalist revolutionary organization that believes in the connection of all living things. They believe, quite simply, in life. And in 1985, Philadelphia obliterated life. They dropped a military-issue C-4 cannister onto the house, which set the house on fire. The police pumped hundreds of rounds of ammunition into the house. 11 people, including 5 children, were murdered. In addition, 60 houses in the surrounding black working class West Philly neighborhood burned too, and the fire department, which was on the scene, sat and did nothing, until the houses were ash. Over 250 people were left homeless.
The only adult survivor of the fire, Ramona Africa, still bears the scars from the city's "final solution" to MOVE. She also bears the scars of 7 years of incarceration from charges resulting from this bombing. Her crime? She survived.DC IMC Feature I Audio report | May 14th Demonstration in Philadelphia | Phillyblog entry about MOVE bombing | NY Times Article from 1985 about the bombing | Another perspective on MOVE from a former member
Tonight at 7pm about 300 people gathered in the gym of Cedar Park Middle School to attend a rally put on by Save Cedar Mill. Save Cedar Mill is the group that has formed in just 90 days to a size of about 1000 people. It was a well organized and well set up rally complete with door greeters (that was me!), interesting speakers, and a large turnout. It was a kind of pep-rally to keep people motivated and interested in the cause. The other purposes of the rally were to inform people on how to argue their points (the idea is to focus on things like traffic and how it will effect the community, not on bad business practices or anything personal), to get people involved by signing and distributing petitions, and to sell materials such as lawn signs and t-shirts. The purpose of generating revenue is to hire our own traffic analysts and to pay for our legal fees in the fight against Wal Mart.
[ Save Cedar Mill ]
This Thursday May 19th, the us government will vote on whether Oregon's wild horses can be slaughtered using federal tax dollars. You could make a difference.
Leave a short, simple message, something like this: "Please tell Congressman Walden to vote to protect Oregon's horses from slaughter on Thursday." You can personalize the message with information like that you love horses, consider horses to be a symbol of freedom, whatever.
Call before Thursday May 19!
previous related: [ The Slaughtering of Wild Horses ]
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