Friday, February 27, 2009

Oregon's unemployment rate hits 9.9%

The Register Guard

Oregon's unemployment rate hits 9.9% or 214,809 out of work in January and could hit as high as 10-12% by the end of 2012 according to employment department economist Art Ayre.
Oregon does tend to fall deeper into recession and climb out more quickly than the rest of the nation... Oregon is still relatively small and rural, lacking the corporate headquarters and major national service centers that tend to concentrate in urban areas and offer more stable employment. Ayre said.
Oregon hit it's highest unemployment of 10% in January 1984.

... and there is a reason why Oregon is lacking in corporate headquarters and service centers.

Right Teddy?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cell phone to be a PRIMARY offense

The Oregonian

The House Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing regarding cell phone use while driving in Oregon to make it a PRIMARY offense and a $90 ticket if an officer SEES you using a cell phone while driving.

Currently, Oregon has a law restricting drivers 18 and younger from driving and using a cell phone and is a secondary offense, meaning that a citation may only be issued for the phone violation if the police stop a driver for another reason.

House Bills 2038 and 2377, both sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Tomei, D-Milwaukie, who is modeling the measures on two laws that went in to effect in California on July 1, Bans the use of a hand held phone while driving and the other bans drivers 18 and younger from using a phone of anykind behind the wheel.

I agree that phone usage while driving should be restricted to a commonsense level. I mean some people can't walk and chew gum at the same time. I use the phone while on the road, however if I am in heavy traffic, I tell the person that I am talking to that I have to either put the phone down for a few minutes or call back. I also use a blue tooth while driving too.

What I disagree with is making the law a PRIMARY OFFENSE like seat belts.

Oregon has a high crime rate, and I feel that the police need to focus on that more then looking for people using cell phones.

Of course, just like the seat belt measure if you recall started out as being a SECONDARY OFFENSE, and later a PRIMARY OFFENSE, where stings were set up to catch people not wearing their belts.

I can just see the roadblocks now and officers checking your call logs looking for violations.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Heck with the bank bailout,
what happens when unemployment funds run out?

Wall Street Journal

A growing number of states are actually running out of cash to pay unemployment benefits or have already emptied their unemployment-Insurance Trust funds.

With the high number of people unemployed, nearly 4.8 million people collecting unemployment-Insurance last week, which is of most since federal officials have been tracking the numbers 40 years ago, states have already begun to borrow millions from the Federal government in order to pay unemployment insurance claims.

States like West Virginia, in order to forestall tax increases said they will push for cuts in unemployment benefits, while others like Kentucky, have automatic triggers in place raising employer contributions when the insurance fund fails.
"You collect money when times are good and pay it out when times are bad, but no one anticipated such bad times," said Diana Hinton Noel, labor analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The proposed U.S. stimulus package will likely help unemployment benefits [unless Oregon decides to opt out of that one too] with a focus being on extending benefits to long-term unemployed and expanding insurance to jobless part time employees.

here's something I really get a kick out of… We always hear that state and local governments are running short on money, and they seem to feel that the solution to that problem is to simply raise taxes.

Well, the money tree is starting to run a little bare. I mean how smart is this… In times of high unemployment where large corporations are either closing or laying off high numbers of employees due to a recession, let's help the situation by increasing taxes on those corporations.

How about doing the opposite and cutting taxes allowing these companies to retain their employees a little longer, thus putting money back into the system.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I got to meet an ICE agent

I was riding on Amtrak last week, and during the trip we were at a maintenance stop when a guy dress in military attire came aboard the train, identified himself as an immigrations agent and asked the passengers if they were legally in this country.

Then it became my turn. I nodded my head yes, and the officer replied that I had to "say out loud" that I was in the country legally.

I told him that I was and he seemed satisfied and went to the next passenger.

I am glad that they decided to ask these questions during the daytime… I could imagine that being woke up and seeing someone armed and in army fatigues would be kind of scary.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

It all started one little law, then another, then another…

Statesman Journal--

The ban for smokers started in a few cities and then became statewide for bars and restaurants. But as the way government goes, once it has a victory it is never satisfied.

I'm referring to an Associated Press story where lawmakers are considering House bill 2385, banning smoking in cars with children on board.

The proposed law would carry a $90.00 fine for the first offense, $360 penalty for a third offense for an adult smoking in a vehicle with anyone younger than 17 years of age.

Supporters of the measure argue that the state must protect children's health because with their lungs still developing they are more vulnerable to secondhand smoke.