Tuesday, October 31, 2006

TV game show host Bob Barker to retire after 50 years on television


Bob Barker, star of the "Price Is Right" will be retiring in June after 35 years as the host of the show. Barker, who will be 83 years old on December 12 said "and I've decided to retire while I'm still young."
" "I'm just reaching the age where the constant effort to be there and do the show physically is a lot for me," Barker said. "I might be able to do the show another year, but better (to leave) a year too soon than a year too late." "

Barker who began his national television career in 1956 as the host of "Truth or Consequences" first appeared on the Price Is Right on September 4, 1972.

CBS is planning a primetime special celebrating Barker's five decades on television.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Don't forget to set your clocks back tonight!

Did you just receive your property tax in the mail? Was it more than last year? Think about it


November is coming, the time to elect or reelect new officials and pass or disapprove upcoming ballot measures asking for more your hard-earned money.
Whether you like it or not... we all have a dog in these issues, and I am no exception.

We're going to be asked to create a new 1.4% income tax if you live in Lane County that is in addition to the state and federal taxes that we already pay. Could this be similar to the recently confusing Multnomah County 1.25% I-Tax experiment?

It's no secret that I'm going to vote no on any measure that asked for money. The main reason is of lack of trust, responsibility and accountability that they have with OUR money. (Oh yes, and the fact that I am poor also impacts my decision)

Accountability and responsibility. For example, I would love to own a new car someday... however, I have to make the decision of spending my money on something with that would be considered a luxury, i.e. not a necessity, or cutting back on health care and food for my family. Obviously, a new car would be nice... however, the old one still has miles left on it.
Another example, let our road structure continue to fall apart while spending $1 billion for a new bus system when there are better economical alternatives to accomplish the same goal. It is the Cadillac versus Toyota scenario.

Remember the surprise that Cottage Grove got around tax time when they approved a majority of the levies? Sure, their hearts were in the right places, however, it was time to pay the piper for all the "yes" votes.

Take a look at the following examples for the estimated annual tax bill based on a home assessed at $150,000...
" Eugene: $368.50 total in annual taxes at stake. Breakdown: source = Registerguard--
Lane County income tax, $268
Parks bond, $49.50
Library operating levy, $34.50*
Lane Community College, $9
East Lane Soil and Water Conservation District, $7.50
Bethel voters in the city of Eugene: All of the above,
plus $150 for school operating levy, for a total of $518.50

Springfield: $653.50 total in taxes. Breakdown:
Lane County income tax, $268
Police/courts/jail levy, $163.50**
Lane Community College, $9
East Lane Soil and Water, $7.50
Fire operations, $60**
School bond measure $145.50** "

Yesterday, I just received my property tax bill for this year, and yes, it is several hundred dollars higher than last year. And I'm sure that next year will be higher than this year, and so on and so on.

So as I write the checks once again this year from money that I really can't afford to spend, I know that I would feel a lot better if I felt in my heart that the money was being spent wisely.
" * Eugene Public Library operating levy would replace expiring levy that costs $70.50
** Springfield police/courts/jail levy would replace expiring levy that costs $99; fire operations would replace an expiring levy that costs $54; school bond would replace an expiring bond that costs $145.50 "

Friday, October 27, 2006

President Bush signs "The Secure Fence Act of 2006"

The White House--

President Bush yesterday signed the Secure Fence Act. This bill authorizes the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our southern border, authorizes more vehicle barriers, checkpoints in addition, the bill authorizes the Department of Homeland security to use advanced technology like cameras, satellite and unmanned aerial vehicles to enforce the infrastructure at the border.
" Comprehensive Immigration Reform Requires That We Face The Reality That Millions Of Illegal Immigrants Are Here Already. The President opposes amnesty but believes there is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation. Illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, pay their taxes, learn English, work in a job for a number of years, and wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law. "

President Bush favors a guest worker program. "we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here. They should not be given an automatic path citizens; that is amnesty. I oppose amnesty." Said President Bush, "Illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, pay their taxes, learn English, work in a job for a number of years, and wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law"

Former Mexican President Fox responded to reporters in the Caribbean resort city of Cancun, "It is an embarrassment for the United States," Fox said. "It is proof, perhaps, that the United States does not see immigration as a subject that corresponds to both countries."source: AP news

Thursday, October 26, 2006

OSU creates a new breakthrough in tomatoes -- they're purple

Yahoo! News--

Researchers at Oregon State University are fine tuning a purple tomato which is more than just a fashion statement, it is a new bland of colors and nutrients.
The pigment contains the same phytochemical found in blueberries that is thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

The purple tomatoes used to grow in the wild a hundred years ago, but species never made it to the table because it was small and some are poisonous [ a minor detail that is hard to market ] however, in the 1960s and 1970s, scientists have collected seeds from the purple tomatoes and bred them with modern hybrids, making them safe to eat.
Peter Mes , a former Oregon State graduate student is now a tomato breeder at Sakata Seed America .
I could not resist, so I will apologize in advance for the pun...
It was just a visual that I got when I thought of "tomato breeder".

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Before you vote yes on that tax measure...

Lane County assessment and taxation--

... your 2006-07 property tax statements will be arriving in your mailbox soon.
Property taxes are expected to go up 4.6% this year raising the property tax total from 2005 to $335.4 million to $350.8 million dollars for 2006.

Taxable income in Lane County has increased by 4.85% over last year from $21.3 billion in 2005 to $22.4 billion in 2006.

Factors for the increases include a continuation of tax levies, increased in assessed in real market values and the addition of new construction.
" About 49 percent of your property tax dollar goes for education; 34 percent goes to cities; 3 percent goes to fire districts; and 5 percent goes to other districts such as ambulance, library, and water districts. Lane County keeps only about 9 percent of each dollar collected. "

In comparison, in the city of Eugene, a medium assessed value in 2006 of $143,135 would pay $2751 versus $2645 in taxes on a medium assessed value in 2005.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Investers beware

Washington Post--

E*TRADE financial Corp., the nation's fourth-largest online broker and TD Ameritrade, the largest online broker, both have suffered from losses from customer account fraud due to unauthorized trades worth millions of dollars as part of a fast-growing new form of online fraud under investigation by federal authorities.
" Federal regulators cited recent cases in which hackers gained access to customer accounts at several large online brokers and used the customers' funds to buy certain stocks. The hackers appeared to be trying to drive up share prices so they could sell those stocks at a profit, regulators said. "

The securities and exchange commission and the FBI are looking into the E*TRADE cases. Spokesmen for the SEC and the FBI declined to discuss details on those cases.

Both E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade have guaranteed that they will cover other class losses even though they are not required to do so by law.
I also use one of these brokerages... and one thing I strongly recommend is the use of strong passwords to reduce unauthorized access to your account.
E.g. passwords with a mixture of numbers, symbols, in both upper and lowercase letters, as well as names that are not commonly found in a dictionary.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"... the income tax is more fair than other taxes such as a sales tax."


Measure 20-114, the public safety tax that will be on the ballot this November. If approved, Lane County residents will pay 1.4% tax on all personal and business income earned in Lane County.
The tax would generate about $23 million, all of that going to public safety and the fight against meth
and social service agencies [KVAL October 5, 2006]
"Most people we talked to in Linn County tonight said
They don't feel the income tax is fair..but Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson says the income tax is more fair than other taxes such as a sales tax. "

remember the "I" tax? This is starting to sound like a separate income tax similar to the "I" tax. And of course, once a new tax is passed, it can only go up.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Springfield News has ceased operations.

Springfield News--

The presses have stopped for a local newspaper that has been part of the community in Springfield for 110 years.
As I speculated back in January of this year{is the Springfield news lying off employees?} after it changed its format from a two-day delivery service to a one day a week free service, was to my knowledge the first public indication that the Springfield news was in trouble.

The Springfield news, formally owned by the Anderson group of Albany, which includes the Cottage Grove Sentinel, later sold to the Iowa based Lee Enterprises, which owns publications in 23 states.

The Springfield news was also known for printing smaller publications like the Cottage Grove's Sentinel, Oregon Daily Emerald, The Torch, and small tabloid publications for various schools within the school districts, in addition to other private publications.

As a former employee of the Springfield news, for me, it is the memory being part of the installation of the new seven-unit Goss Community Web press that replaced the old Web Leader press and learning about how the offset printing process worked.

I always used to joke at the time, "if it was not for the Springfield news, the residents of Springfield would not have anything to line their bird cages with, however, they have an excellent TV section."

Times change however. With the introduction of the Internet, the increased costs of living, newspapers are finding that these are very difficult times, and you have to find a way to adapt to the changes to survive.

The Springfield news in January tried one of these changes and failed.

Here's to a business that has been part of our community, and I'm sorry to see it go.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Eugene is considering a monthly fee [or $63 a year] for road repairs

Register Guard--

City counselors are scheduled to vote on November 27 on the proposed assessment fee, which would cost homeowners an estimated $5.22 per month, or about $63 a year.

The purpose is to raise $6.9 million a year filling a $100 million pot hole [pardon the pun] that gas taxes don't cover for repairing, rebuilding and maintaining Eugene's aging streets.
" "I regret that we are in the position of having to look at other ways to get enough funding to take care of the preservation and maintenance of our streets," said Councilor Gary Papé. "But the fact is that we are in that situation. So the question is, how do we dig our way out. "

I can think of a billion-dollar bus project that might help
The city council did approve a local gas tax (five cents per gallon) that generates about $3.6 million annually.

Business fees would depend on the size of the business and the amount vehicle traffic to that business. For example, 2,500 square-foot restaurant with a drive-through would pay $54.11 monthly [$649.32 annually], where a 4000 square-foot restaurant furniture store, which attracts fewer cars would pay $8.48 per month [$101.76 annually].

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"We're never giving up our Mexican roots,"

Dallas News--

With the sights and sounds and smells at the intersection of 26th and Pulaski you would think he was like any other town in Mexico, however, this is Chicago or about 100,000 people live and work, maintaining the Spanish language, traditions and culture of Mexico.
""We're never giving up our Mexican roots," said Maria CantĂș-Dougala, assistant vice president of Second Federal Savings and an American citizen. "I still consider myself Mexican. That's where we're so different from other immigrants. We just can't give it up." "

Some analyst and lawyers say that this view obligates any efforts to change immigration policies and could result in harsher migration measures.
" The U.S. must avoid "balkanization" and has to maintain its national identity, common culture and common English language "or we will follow the path to the ash heap of history like the Roman Empire," said U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston. "

41% of the immigrants polled believe they have to speak English to be part of the American society according to the Pew Hispanic Center

" "We should practice American culture but not forget where we come from," said Mr. Tereso Ortiz, 57, who works as a butler. "I feel American, but I don't stop feeling Mexican." "

Some believe that they should have dual citizenship with the US and Mexico as a first step to global nation.
a question about duel citizenship, who are your loyalties to in the time of need?
Additionally, nobody is asking anybody to give up their heritage, or language... we are just insisting if you wish to live in our home,the United States, that you come into the country legally, follow the laws of the land like everybody else, and don't force us to choose your culture or language over ours.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

EmX -- LTD's new bus system--is it really a good thing?


EmX, short for "Emerald Express" is expected for debut between Eugene in downtown Springfield just before Christmas. EmX promises a bus every 10 minutes for weekly service (20 minutes on evenings and weekends). The 60-foot long diesel/electric hybrid buses from New Flyer Industries will transport people between downtown Eugene and Springfield in 16 minutes, versus 22 minutes over the current system.

EmX, which includes elevated platforms that allow riders to board without stepping up or down, real-time information reader boards when the next bus is due to arrive and "Queue Jumper" technology that gives buses a green light head start at intersections.
""It's going to save six minutes and even LTD says it won't increase ridership, so what needs to happen to make it a success?" Asked Don Clarke, who served on a lane county planning commission when LTD reveal its plans for EmX, "Eight-dollars-a-gallon gas?
His bigger fear, he says, is that EmX will prove a colossal white elephant in a community too small to support it. " "

at an estimated $24 million or roughly $2 million per mile for the 14 mile route between Eugene/ Springfield , with the additional Pioneer Parkway project in Springfield to begin in 2010 at a cost of $38 million... the entire cost of the project could easily pass the $1 billion mark by its completion.
" There has to be some other effective, convenient means of transportation other than the car," says Rob Bennett, owner of the downtown athletic column and former LTD board member for eight years. "It may be a bus today and rail tomorrow, but you need to get the right of way now. This is a 50-year decision." "

Edison Tennyson, transportation consultant and former Deputy Secretary transportation for the state of Philadelphia is usually a supporter of light rails and BRT systems. However, Tennyson acknowledges that Eugene-Springfield is too small for light rail and bus rapid transit is not a sensible alternative.
" Promote what you have and run it as skillfully as you can. Running a bigger bus that skips (some bus) stops to save time is not going to do any good. Don't waste tens of millions of dollars of capital for something you don't need. Says Tennyson. He would make more sense for LTD to adopt a "frequent service" model now used by many transit districts are cost the country. "

I agree. While it is nice to have new fancy toys... in this area it would make more sense in my opinion to buy more of the smaller BREEZE buses and equip them with traffic light priority at a fraction of the cost.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Feds to sue Philadelphia over [Spanish-speaking] voting rights

AP Associated Press --

The US Department of Justice Friday sued the city of Philadelphia claiming it violated the rights of Spanish-speaking voters when the city failed to provide language assistance at the polls in recent elections, which prevented Spanish-speaking voters from receiving assistance from people of their choice.
I think what is interesting is that they seem to forget one small little detail that you have to be a citizen to vote and to be a citizen, you must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language.
so where is the problem?

Friday, October 13, 2006

group claims NAFTA to blame for the lost of 68,000 jobs in Oregon

Statesman Journal--

Backed by opponents of the expanding US free trade pacts released a study "faces of free trade and job loss," Tuesday that blamed outsourcing and foreign competition for draining 68,000 jobs from Oregon.

" "When they passed NAFTA in '93, they promised that, in Oregon, they would create 3,500 jobs in five years. That is a broken promise," Tom Chamberlain, president of the AFL-CIO of Oregon, said at a briefing for the study. Oregon lost 40,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector alone as a result of "lopsided trade agreements, "

The job loss estimates any Oregon Fair Trade Campaign study are more than double of those tracked by the US Department of Labor. The group estimates are higher because the study includes job categories that are not covered by the Labor Department's trade adjustment assistance program.
when the plant I worked for closed three years ago, the state employment office said they were special benefits for those whose jobs were lost because of NAFTA. The question is, if NAFTA is so great for Oregon... then why is there a special category for those who've lost their job because of it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Portland immigration rights coalition disappointed with legislators


"We need a solution, not a fence." Says the Portland immigrants right coalition denouncing the recently passed secure fence act passed by the Senate last week.

The plan passed by Congress is to build a fence along 700 miles of the Mexican border.
we would not need a fence if immigrants followed the rules

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Flintstones cartoon artist Ed Benedict dies


Ed Benedict, a legendary animator who put life, love and laughter in TV cartoon characters like Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Yogi Bear, has died at the age of 94.

Benedict died in his sleep on Aug. 28 in Auburn in Northern California, his longtime friend and fellow animator David K. Sheldon confirmed Tuesday.

Susan Castillo upset over Saxton's TV ad


State Representatives Susan Castillo claims that the new ad by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton is misleading and wants it off the air.
"Sound from television ad: "New independent report cards give Oregon schools these grades: C minus, C plus, F." "
But the report cited in the ad focuses mainly on colleges and universities. For example, the F grade was for affordability of higher education. Yet, the video shows K through 12 schools. That angers state Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo and leaders of the group Stand for Children.

Castillo says that the ad does not accurately represent the picture of K-12 schools, citing that the ad focuses mainly on colleges and universities.

Saxton's campaign spokeswoman Angela Wilhelm's says "Oregonians deserve to have a conversation and to be informed over whether or not the K through 12 system is working under Governor Kulongoski is working or not. And these grades prove it."

copies of the reports are available at the links below
the Chronicle
the national Center for public policy and higher education
also of interest... a special report by 2020 dated January 2006
"stupid in America" ABC news

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mexico plans to challenge the US border fence through the United Nations

The Sydney Morning Herald--

Foreign Secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez says the plan to put up a fence between the US and Mexico was offensive.
"Without a doubt, we are examining, with foreign relations legal team, what options are open at an international level and we will take them."
The outgoing Mexican president, Vicente Fox called the plan "shameful" and compared it Berlin Wall.
"There's no money to build it, so it won't be built," Mr Fox's spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said, the U.S. Congress was unlikely to approve enough funding to finish project.
" Mr. homeowner... please do not construct a fence and lock the front door to keep me out... I need to make a living too." Said the burglar.
Isn't that the most ridiculous thing that you have ever heard?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bradberry: "of more than 10 million votes cast, only 10 prompted investigation into citizenship..."

The Oregonian--

With the governor's race in full swing, Ron Saxton's new TV ad about the population of the illegal aliens in Oregon makes up "Oregon's second-largest city" by population is starting to ruffle some feathers.
Secretary of State Bill Bradbury charges Saxton with "spreading false and unverified claims" about illegal immigrants vote in Oregon.
" "I looked at the past 15 years of general elections," Bradbury said. Of more than 10 million votes cast, only 10 prompted investigation into citizenship, he said, and of those 10, only two were prosecuted. "

This is not surprising considering that illegal aliens are eligible to register to vote under Oregon's motor voter program at the DMV where until recently, the status of your citizenship was not a requirement in obtaining a driver's license.

Of course it is not surprising that many Latino organizations are also upset about Saxton's ad
" "He's promoting fear and discrimination and xenophobia so he can't be serious about winning the governorship. It's a sign of desperation when you have to go to that level, " said Ramon Ramirez, executive director of Oregon's tree planters and farmworkers union

just like Mexico's former President Fox did not like the idea of us putting up a fence on the border either

Jim Ross, campaign manager for Kulongoski, claims that the new ad is "right out of the Republican playbook," referencing that he [Saxton] is not getting any traction with taxes so he switched immigration.
In my opinion, I think Saxton is saying what a lot of people in Oregon and and the US are thinking but just have been afraid to say from being "politically correct" programmed that this is something that you do not speak of for fear of offending someone.

Illegal immigration is a real issue that can no longer be ignored if we value the security of our nation; we have to take a stand now and start enforcing our laws, and ignoring this issue is not going to make the problem go away.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Measure 20-114 -- CAUTION... Buzzwords Ahead


"Stop Meth - Invest in Kids" [BUZZWORD ALERT] for measure 20-114, that will increase funding for law enforcement in Lane County, and help local social service agencies. I thought the public safety measure was just for... public safety. Silly me
" community leaders are hoping the Lane County public safety measure 20-114 will help take some of the pressure off local nonprofit. "

" Campaign organizers say nonprofit agencies that deal with the fallout from meth [BUZZWORD ALERT] are maxed out. They say that the public safety income tax levy would help ease the burden "

here we go again...
they give us a song and dance that they need money for public safety and law enforcement, how they have had to cut law-enforcement services due to lack of funding... and already, there are different agencies with their hands out ready to take their perceived share of the money.

So if the public safety tax passes, just what percentage of the money will law-enforcement actually receive from the tax.

For those who have lived in Eugene area for some time will remember the Hult Center incident with the sheriff's levy... where the people voted in favor of the sheriff's levy, and the Sheriff's Department only receive 10% of the funds.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Computer down

My computer crashed over the weekend and is almost back up and running again.
blogs will resume shortly