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Fair and Balanced Discussion from Southern Oregon

Friday, April 29, 2005

Hope and such :) 

I am not one to jinx things, but I am also not one to NOT draw on support, if it's out there, so...

I interviewed for a job yesterday. The decision should come next week. It would be HUGE.

So for those of you out there who do the best wishes, prayer, or rabbit foot things on behalf of friends and acquaintances you hope good news for... :)

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Heart Wrenching - good news, yet still sad 

After more than six decades without a confirmed sighting, the Ivory Bill Woodpecker has been spotted again... But to all appearances, only a single male bird. For all the positive spin in the article, the prospects seem dire.

BRINKLEY, Ark. - Long believed to be extinct, a magnificent bird - the ivory-billed woodpecker - has been rediscovered in the Big Woods of eastern Arkansas. More than 60 years after the last confirmed sighting of the species in the United States, a research team today announced that at least one male ivory-bill still survives in vast areas of bottomland swamp forest.

Published in the journal Science on its Science Express Web site (April 28, 2005), the findings include multiple sightings of the elusive woodpecker and frame-by-frame analyses of brief video footage. The evidence was gathered during an intensive year-long search in the Cache River and White River national wildlife refuges involving more than 50 experts and field biologists working together as part of the Big Woods Conservation Partnership, led by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University and The Nature Conservancy.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Shoot First, Ask Questions... 

OK - so I went off last week on the clearing of a big patch of ground along the Greenway very near my house. Given other publicity that was happening, I assumed (ass of U and Me) that the clearing was connected to an effort to render the Greenway uncampable for the local homeless.

Well, now that isn't so clear. There are two signs posted at the clearing, they read "Site Improvement by" and then a company name and contact info. And that particular clearing is the ONLY portion that has been cleared. A massive section of blackberry just upstream is untouched.

So...

I am not sure WHAT is happening there.

I talked to Oregon Fish & Wildlife - they aren't too broken up about losing invasive, non-native blackberry, though they concede timing may not have been ideal for nesting season. Apparently the entity with immediate jurisdiction and relevent ordinances is Jackson County.

I will resume my information gathering, once I have done the job interview thing and the go to the coast and pick up Dad thing this week.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Oh yeah, some people suck 

For the jackasses who thought this would be a good idea... I humble propose an hour of community service for every estimated hour the tree stood prior to being felled by an unknown number of stupid, heartless, ravaging jerks. Oughta keep 'em busy for 650000 hours... Was it worth it?

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

DogBlogging after Hiatus! 

So I held off on the DogBlog for several Fridays cuz my schedule has been a bit nuts and I didn't have much in the way of new dog pics.

But this morning, with my own knee keeping me off the soccer field, I have the time and these three pics to let you all know that my dear Jen, who I may have mentioned before is a student of veterinary medicine, successfully completed her first surgical procedure - a spay on this 4 month old bassett hound.

We have before, soon after, and coming out from anesthesia... poor bleary puppsers.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Town Hall - Education Funding - TONIGHT! 

I will be at the Buckley/Bates hosted town hall this evening in Ashland - 5:30pm, Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union.

I'll bring back notes and blog the event either here or (if the event and my resulting prose merit it, BlueOregon).

I note that the number of town halls and other constituent meetings I recieved email invites about from Buckley and Bates TODAY, exceed by infinite orders of magnitude the invites I have seen during the entire session from MY representative, Mr. Esquivel. (For the math challenged, that would mean 1 today from Bates, 0 ever from Esquivel).

I mean, I know his platform was meager, but Education Funding was listed #1.

side snark - Just for kicks, follow the links to Buckley and Esquivel and click on the news / press release kinda stuff. Peter's scrolls for more than a screen (and I have a big monitor), while Sal proudly announces a single thing - a vote in opposition of flouridated water... a bill that passed 36-22, so apparently wasn't party-line.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What will it take?!? 

Some days I just want to step out on to the sidewalk to scream.

This might turn into one of them. As I cruise the Mail Trib website this evening, I am treated to breaking news: WAL*MART's invasion of Miles Field is now back on track because someone at the City of Medford didn't send the damned appeal notice in using the correct freaking MAIL. The city was looking to force an arbitration, appealing as a placeholder, but neglected to use Certified Mail to prove time and date of mailing and delivery.

I am sure more will be in tomorrow AM's Trib and I can curse some more.

What glorious fun.

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Blackberries and Safety, Pt II 

A few posts back, I offered up Kris Wraight's thoughts (as submitted to the Mail Tribune) on the matter of the "Cleanup" of the Bear Creek Greenway for safety. Wraight argues (correctly) that the focus on clearing the balckberry bramble and other shrubbery along the path did very little to address the underlying issues that brought about the rape of a 15 year old by several apparently homeless men living in the brush-shielded areas along the path.

Now before people miss my particular aim in this post, let's just note: #1 Rape is Bad, and #2 We Have a Obligation to Preserve a Safe Society. But this Greenway cleanup doesn't directly address either of those points. Instead, perhaps, we should consider some of the numbers highlighted at today's Poverty Summit - that 12.5% (one of eight) of residents of Jackson County lives below the poverty line... that average earnings in Jackson County lag 8% behind the state average... Maybe if we addressed these issues, we would find the very real problem created by a large transient population along the Greenway may be significantly addressed. On the Greenway, we respond to the rape of an innocent girl with the rape of nature.

photos by me, now hosted on
I rode my bike down this evening to get these pictures. While shooting them, a passerby observed "It's fucking sick, isn't it?" Rather than solve societal problems, we've decided to kill song birds. The spread of the blackberry and brush brambles is extensive... and people are certainly allowed to ask what possible good these tangles of vines and twigs serve. Apparently, those who make decisions in Medford shrugged their shoulders and answered, "None." Too bad they didn't spend a few minutes with Google.
The majority of songbirds nest in shrub-type vegetation. About three-fourths of all birds build nests less than 15 feet above the ground with an average height of eight feet.
http://www.dfr.state.nc.us/stewardship/wwwildlife/www04.htm

Not only have we denuded huge amounts of habitat alongside a stream, including several seasonal tributaries once completely covered now exposed, we have managed to do it during nesting season. Songbirds are - pardon me, WERE - sitting on eggs, eggs were hatching out, and chicks were starting to fledge as the mowing booms swept through over the past couple of days.
Thickets of blackberries, with their bristle- and prickle-covered stems and leaves, provide excellent, protective habitat for small mammals and nesting birds. The fruits, of course, are relished by many animal species.

Hedgerows also serve as wildlife corridors to provide food, nesting and shelter year-round for birds and small mammals. Small animals such quail, rabbit, squirrel, and fox use the corridors as protective cover and to feed. Kingbirds, robins, goldfinches and song sparrows sing and nest in the hedgerow. Red winged blackbirds and meadowlarks rely on the tall shrubs for perching. Other birds such as wrens and thrushes will use the hedgerow extensively for food, habitat and protection from predators. Chose hedgerow shrubs that produce fruits, nuts, acorns, seeds and insects at different times of the year.

The combination of hedgerows and buffers planted along riparian areas will increase shade over the river and decrease water temperatures necessary for spawning and rearing salmon. Adding conifers such as sitka spruce and Western red cedar to the buffer will increase the amount of woody debris in the river which in turn increases insects and other macro-invertebrates, the main food of salmon.

These are from a few other states' wildlife departments, so reference species we don't neccesarily find here.

Collectively, blackberries and dewberries are one of the most important groups of plants to wildlife in the Southeast. The berries are a preferred soft mast food due to their succulence, high sugar, and vitamin content. The fruiting cycles of the native blackberries and dewberries provide wildlife with a supply of tasty and nutritious fruit from spring through late summer. Black bears, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, voles, and mice readily consume the berries. Gamebirds, songbirds, and woodpeckers all feed on the berries. The pollen-rich flowers are visited by an abundance of native insects...deer...rabbits browse the stems readily. Blackberry thickets also provide desirable nesting sites for many species of songbirds and important escape cover for birds, rabbits, and small mammals.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

In response 

This is submitted to the Mail Tribune, in response to a letter in today's edition.
Not to draw to fine a point on it, but the "activist judges" who were behind the "recent spate of homosexual marriages" Lary Stieglitz writes about were the Mayors of San Francisco, CA and New Platz, NY and the Multnomah County Commission. The “activist judge” label is to make us believe unaccountable, appointed-for-life people are making decisions about our laws, in contravention to the way things are supposed to work. But many gay marriage court decisions are coming from ELECTED (and thus accountable) state judges, and the major gay marriage events in recent years have been authorized by the relevant jurisdictions’ elected Executive Branch, not judges.

Amazingly, making decisions about our laws is EXACTLY the job description of judges - including deciding that a law is flawed.

The “activist judge” in the Schiavo case, which Stieglitz also cites, was honoring the sanctity of marriage - recognizing centuries of tradition and law that hold that relationship and guardianship of an incapacitated person belongs primarily and at times exclusively to the spouse. The decisions were NOT ordering the death of a woman; they were acknowledging that a husband has the right to decide an issue personal to an incapacitated wife.

I have always believed arguments more persuasive when accurate. I’d hate to think Americans were whipping up a hatred of the Judiciary by holding it to blame for hot-button issues and not have the facts right. Keep that in mind when encouraging Senators to protect the rights of half the nation.


John Doty, Medford
Now I don't know if it will be published - we shall see. Meantime - I urge anyone who looks at my blog to contact their Republican Senators (we have one here in Oregon) and urge them to support the rights of the minority in addressing irrevocable lifetime appointments, and NOT dismantle the fillibuster.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Sports Radio dropped in Medford 

Over the past week, Medford Sports fans have needed to look elsewhere than AM radio or daily sports coverage. Radio Medford dropped the ESPN Radio affiliation for their AM 580 station and picked up a canned broadcast of Spanish language programming originating in Monterey, CA. (Radio Medford also dropped on-air staff for 93.7 fm KTMT in favor of canned classic and soft rock programming, but that is a seperate rant.)

The reasoning is "a crock". Don Hunt covers the matter in today's Trib, following on Kevin Goff's initial coverage a week ago, and the sports fans of Medford sound off today with five letters published in opposition to the move.

My take is this: There is NO sports radio programming available in Medford. There IS Spanish Language programming available. The Hispanic population of the valley is a bit over 6%....the sports fan population of the valley is... (see, I don't know this number, but I am going to guess >10%).

So the "good business" move was to go from being the sole source for one market to being one of two sources for a smaller market? As the guys in the Guiness ads say, "Brilliant!" Only I don't mean it.

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Education Town Hall, 4/21 

From Peter Buckley's "District 5 Digest" emailed newsletter:
On Thursday April 21st Senator Alan Bates and I will be hosting a town hall on education. Education is exceptionally important to us, and to all of Oregon. It's critical to us as parents of children in public schools that our education system is world class. It's critical for attracting businesses here and developing our economy. It's critical for teaching our children to be future stewards of the state. It's critical for Oregon's future. We want to hear from you, and hope that you'll join us at 5:30 pm at Southern Oregon University in the Rogue River Room in Stevenson Union. Light refreshments will be provided.
April 22nd is Back to School day for the Oregon Legislature. I'll be visiting different classrooms in the southern Jackson County school districts and talking with students about how state government works.
Come to this - Peter and Alan need solid anecdotal material and as much hard data as possible to help in the struggle over adequate education funding in Oregon.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Blackberries and Safety 

A few weeks ago, Southern Oregonians were shocked by a rape on the bike path that runs along Bear Creek through most of the valley. In the aftermath of the event, community activists launched an effort aiming to make the bike path safer by cutting down all the blackberries (and other shrubbery). Local law enforcement got involved by rousting all the homeless (for a while, anyway).

Kris Wraight penned this response to the situation (which actually seems to be termed Operation Green Sweep, in contrast to her letter), was published in today's Trib, and her words speak to my views closely enough, I am going to let her have the rest of this space - a few links are added to her letter by me to add context to references she makes.
Operation Greenway is nothing but a pseudo-solution against an already marginalized people. What happened to that 15-year-old girl is a tragedy, and a thorough response would be taking action to organize against rape, not homeless people.

Rape doesn’t exist because bushes and blackberry brambles offer hiding places or because there aren’t enough cops patrolling dark pathways. Rape is a struggle for power by people who have been denied access to their own humanity. Rape is committed by members of every class, by poor people and by rich white men in suits.

It’s sickening that the Greenway "cleanup" has no interest in eradicating homelessness and seeks only to incriminate a people continuously oppressed by this classist, racist system. For those of you who think shelters are accessible and plentiful, the reality of our under-funded social services was underscored by the victim’s denial of shelter the night of the assault.

So go ahead and advocate for the removal of the blackberry bushes, Joy, but that won’t stop rape, and the homeless people won’t disappear .These problems are here to stay until we as a community are ready to sit down and confront this culture that accepts these injustices as "just part of life."

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Filling (HAH) my tank 

So... $10 gets me LESS than a quarter tank in my foreign model p'up now. Hrm. Regular is $2.48 a gallon at the discount place this morning.

When are we going to get serious about fuel efficiency? Now the majority of Japanese and German name plate (you can't say "made" anymore - they are building VWs, Hondas, Toyotas, etc in North America and "Detroit Big Three" in Mexico and Canada) have fuel milage in the mid to high 20s.

As a nation we have decided the solution is to get more oil in designated Wildlife Refuges, rather than compelling more efficiency from automakers, rather than compelling the simple aligning of SUV fleets to the standards applied to passenger cars. Have you wondered why manufacturers are going to having THREE or FOUR SUV variants plus 4 door Pickups with leather and captain's seating, and DVD players? because they don't need to meet the same fuel standards as CARS and they don't count against the nameplate's average fuel effiency.

GM is crushing electric cars claiming no market while more prosepctive owners than cars offer millions to buy the remaining inventory.

The US Government has an obligation to preserve the blessings of this great nation for posterity. With fuel standards and priorities, they are failing miserably in this task.

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Missing days - catching up 

I spent a big chunk of last week away from the Internet, so DogBlogging was missed. I also missed a timely followup to my earlier rants on the Schiavo case. And of course commenting on local news...

I was greatly saddened to read this dog story in Friday's Mail Trib - it points to the need for proper identification on pets - tags, embroidered collars, whatever. I have rescued too many dogs from traffic, loose at sporting events or in neighborhoods. Four of those over the years have become mine because they were unidentified and unclaimed after FOUND notices and reports to animal control.

Sitting in my hotel room on Friday AM, watching CNN's coverage of the Pope, I was surprised at an honest assessment offered by Jack Cafferty concerning the Schiavo Case - his exchange with the anchors turns to our attention spans and he utters two amazing lines one after the other:
"Well, we got caught up in it a little bit, too, though. To try and convince me there wasn't a media hysteria over Terri Schiavo you'd have to pour a lot of tequila down me."
and
"Well, part of the reason is they couldn't get away from it. We shoved it down their throat 24 hours a day for two solid weeks."
Before the segment was finished, he also echoed my assertion of the legal issues in the case
"I don't think he felt he was doing the best thing for her. I think he was carrying out her specific wishes should these circumstances arise."
Then, at the end of the show, when they reprise the "Question of the Day", he dug in once more:
"Well, plus, I mean, without disgraceful circuses, we'd be out of business. I mean, that's what we live for."
And finally, in my catchup news, this from Friday's Trib makes me feel not so bad about my credit card debts. The Red Lion officially is sorry the story went public, citing confidentiality of guests.

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