Day: August 1, 2014

Our disinterested and AWOL governor

It is funny how a memory from childhood can connect so directly with something at the present time.  Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes was brought to mind by the trials and tribulations of Governor John Kitzhaber and our disappointments therein.  Read that story again; you’ll be reminded of the emperor, naked but refusing to acknowledge it, as he marched in a parade. Kitzhaber’s seen as nakedly incompetent, good only at tooting his own brash horn and blaming others for what’s gone haywire. His pals and position-holders want to keep their jobs so they won’t openly admit that he cannot dress himself to tend to gubernatorial responsibilities.  Meanwhile, pundits say the voters, too often inclined not to look long and hard to see what’s up with name-familiar candidates, will turn a blind eye to Kitzhaber’s unclad managerial inabilities…and re-elect him. But just look at Kitzhaber’s litany of inattentive limping along.  Education reform got his expensive hand-picked first state chief education officer, Rudy Crew, a better job in New York City while a “retired” Oregon school superintendent took Rudy’s place at one-half a million dollars in pay per biennium with nothing to show for it.  Cover Oregon’s a bust that keeps bursting with one of the latest scandals a huge bonus to every Cover Oregon employee who’ll promise to stay aboard the sinking ship.  Then there’s that Columbia River Crossing (CRC) boondoggle that’s spent millions never to drive a pile in the river or hang a bridge girder, just a lot of crony payouts. Where does Kitzhaber spend his time?  Not in Salem much, we’re told.  He may be...

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Marijuana prohibition doesn’t work

By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS The New York Times has seen the light. On Sunday, the paper editorialized in favor of an end to the federal ban on marijuana. According to Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance, The Gray Lady has become the first major national newspaper to support legalizing marijuana. The Times did not celebrate marijuana use; it simply addressed the downside of prohibition—658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, with a disproportionate representation of young black men. The editorial also laid out a rational view of marijuana. While research suggests that marijuana can have adverse affects on adolescent brains—hence the paper’s support for a ban on sales to those under 21—it’s not as hazardous to health as alcohol and tobacco. The paper also made this commonsense but rare assertion: “Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults.” My guess is the editorial board wanted to appear relevant instead of late to the party. In 2012, Colorado and Washington voters approved ballot measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Last year, a Gallup poll found that 58 percent of respondents support legalization. I think The New York Times wanted to speak out before voters in Oregon, and perhaps Alaska, pass similar legalization laws in November. Editorial board member David Firestone urged President Obama to order Attorney General Eric Holder to...

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