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Slant

• It was good to see Nike in the list of American companies urging Donald Trump not to abandon the Paris climate deal, “saying a failure by the United States to build a clean economy endangers American  prosperity,” as The New York Times wrote it. And now we have U. S. military leaders putting out their concerns about climate change. We wonder if President-elect Trump has the capacity to understand that climate change is not a “hoax,” as he called it in the campaign?

• Spreading a little sunshine for the Earth post presidential election, we were delighted to see U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken decide in favor of 21 youth plaintiffs in their constitutional climate lawsuit against the president, federal agencies and the fossil fuel industry. The suit can now move forward in the courts.

We are in shock at the dawning of a Trump presidency and all that we stand to lose: Roe v. Wade, civil rights, immigration reform, media freedom, minority representation, climate change, the list goes on. The path to resistance becomes clear.

• What happened in the Portland courtroom that caused the jury to acquit Ammon and Ryan Bundy and their accomplices in the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon? One theory is that the prosecution aimed too high with the charges. Another is that Judge Anna Brown should have removed two jurors instead of one when she received a complaint of bias, although that may not have affected the outcome.

• In case you have been misled by mainstream media or TV ads to think Dennis Richardson is a reasonable candidate to be Oregon’s secretary of state, heed this message from Rep. Phil Barnhart: “I have known both major party candidates for many years.

• A curious line of reasoning is leading some Oregon editorial writers to say we need to elect some Oregon Republicans on Nov. 8 to check and balance one-party rule. The Oregon Republican Party no longer reflects Oregon values like Tom McCall and Mark Hatfield did. Art Robinson, recent chair of the Oregon GOP running for the fourth time against Peter DeFazio, does not reflect Oregon values. If you listened to the City Club of Eugene forum Oct. 14 between Republican Kathy Lamberg and Democrat Julie Fahey, you must have been shocked, as we were, at the gap between the two women.

• We left the 4th district candidate forum sponsored by the City Club of Eugene Oct. 7 hoping that Congressman Peter DeFazio lives a very long time with the “energy and determination for the job” he says he still has. Republican Art Robinson, positively Trumpian in his attack, is running against Pete for the fourth time and promises to continue, lest any moderate R would like to run.

Great egrets with their all-white plumage are drifting back into the Willamette Valley for the winter. We see them around Fern Ridge, in oaks and wetlands along the Long Tom River, about the same size as the great blue heron. Wildlife biologists tell us more have been coming here, but they don’t know why. Plume hunting for women’s hats nearly wiped out this beautiful bird, but the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1913 saved them.

•  Donald Trump’s run for the presidency happened largely because the Republican Party strategically sold the American people on distrust and hatred for their government and attempted to destroy public education. Trump demonstrated all those values and worse in the Sept. 26 debate against Hillary Clinton. The media has enabled Trump through false equivalencies, such as trying to portray Clinton as just as prone to being untruthful as the Donald.

• If you are desperate to do something, anything, to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton, here’s an avenue: Start phone-banking for Hillary, especially to critical swing states Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Nevada. Plug in by stopping at the coordinated campaign office, 131 E. 11th Avenue, or phoning 541-623-0330, or emailing Chris@forwardoregon.org. We’re lucky to live in Oregon, which will not be a Trump state, but the tech allows us to work across state lines. All signs point to a perilously close race. Every phone call will help.

• Two solid sources give us a sweet scenario floating around out there in political circles. If Brad Avakian, current Oregon labor commissioner, wins the secretary of state contest in November, who will complete his term? Lane County’s own Val Hoyle, of course. She left her seat in the Legislature to run against Avakian for secretary of state, lost, and is looking for a new job. Hoyle, who comes from a New England Democratic labor background, would be an excellent labor commissioner. But first Avakian has to win the secretary of state race. We’re voting for him.

• We’ll bend a knee with Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback stirring up the conservative sports world with his visual statement against racism in America. He’s kneeling, not standing for the “Star Spangled Banner” and taking frightening flak for it. Bravo to his coach Chip Kelly, well known to Eugeneans, who affirmed free speech in America, as did President Obama and some other sports stars like Megan Rapinoe, the great soccer player. Makes no sense, but we were pleased to see the 49ers win last Thursday.

• It’s the season for senior photos. South Eugene High School senior Jillian Henry headed over to Mount Pisgah for some shots of her in the wild. She got more than she bargained for when a naked man and his dog photobombed her shots. She posted them on Twitter with the comment “Love my senior pics.” The images have been retweeted more then 25,000 times and gotten more than 70,000 likes, and the story has been picked up at Jezebel, Buzzfeed, The Oregonian and in the UK. Way to start your senior year with a bang! 

• Thumbs up for President Obama’s Justice Department’s decision to end the management of federal prisons by private groups. How did we ever start that in the first place? The drive for profit was certain to fuel the drive for more prisoners serving more time. We understand that Oregon has no privately run prisons. Thumbs up for that, too.

• While we welcome the recent re-embracing of long-form journalism, we weren’t impressed by The Oregonian’s recent and massive “Firestorm” piece. Fire is a huge concern in Oregon, but The O put thousands of words into laying blame on how the Malheur National Forest attacked last year’s Canyon Complex fires on Oregon’s east side, accusing firefighters of being timid, rather than examining how climate change and a lack of fire let those fires get so big in the first place.

• It’s Oregon summer. That means juicy blackberries, SLUG queen coronations and outdoor parties. The Eugene Celebration and its hokey but awesome parade have disappeared, the Festival of Eugene lasted only two years before falling apart in a storm of racism allegations, but the Whiteaker Block Party thrives. Can Eugene bring its downtown festival back? Last weekend marked the 10-year success of the Whit Block Party with its free entry, and that might have some lessons for party planners. Come party with the SLUG queens 6 pm, Friday, Aug.

• Two prominent political scientists who grew up in Eugene published an op-ed piece in the Sunday, July 31, edition of The New York Times arguing that states dominated by Democrats, blue states, are “generally better for your well-being.” Paul Pierson, political science professor at Berkeley, and Jacob Hacker, of Yale, use a powerful graph to illustrate their point.

• We’re proud to be a part of the political revolution led by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and millions of other Americans, many of them young and new to political action. And, as they passionately advise, this November we should do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and to elect Hillary Clinton. Clinton should handily win blue Oregon, but what can we do to help her outside our state? And what can we do to elect Democrats in the Senate? We especially feel the urgency when it comes to Supreme Court appointments.

 

The Republican National Convention is underway and we are already speechless. Let’s just start with asking how in the world an orange charlatan like Donald Trump has gotten within inches of one of the most powerful positions in the world? Plagiarized speeches, men walking around open carrying rifles. Watching coverage of the RNC, it’s hard to differentiate between the comedians and the journalists because the comedy writes itself. Trouble is, it’s not funny if anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, pro-hate Trump takes office.

• The Portland daily newspaper is not known for its affection for the University of Oregon, but President Michael Schill clearly won over reporter Andrew Theen for his page one story in the July 1 Oregonian. It’s a good read, portraying the new pres as a smart, very hardworking, skilled fundraiser who truly intends to lift the academic side of the university. The closing sentence quotes a former colleague who says, “I think Oregon got really lucky.”

• The Lane County Board of Commissioners’ June 28 discussion of giving themselves the authority to block some local ballot measures has us floored. Did it get forgotten by four of the five commissioners that Oregon citizens have a right to the initiative process that is protected in the state Constitution? Read more here.

 

• Eugene Weekly headed to Seattle June 18 for the annual Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Excellence in Journalism awards, which are, according to SPJ, the “the largest of its kind in the nation, with 2,300 entrants and 150 categories.” In the category of Health Reporting, EW staff writer Rick Levin took home a second place award for “The Art of Recovery: Turning Addiction into Art with Transformational Personal Theater,” a feature from January 2015 about a local theater group who uses art therapy for people in recovery.

• Guns and hate. We are so tired of being speechless about mass murders. The June 12 attack on the gay and Latinx (aka Latino/a) community at a gay Orlando nightclub by an American man of Afghan heritage has been called a case of “homegrown terrorism.” Look at Orlando (current toll 49 dead, more than 50 wounded), look at San Bernardino, (14 dead, 20 wounded), Colorado (12 dead, 58 wounded), Newtown (28 dead, 2 wounded). All massacres with assault-style rifles. This was an act of hate at a place the queer community should have felt safe.