Day: February 20, 2015

Love transcends societal rules

Moments of Lucidity By ERIC A. HOWALD Joanie spent most of the day I met her on the couch where I had just started work as a vocational care provider for developmentally disabled adults. Joanie was in her 60s, her face pruned by time and caving in around her eyes and gums. She was mostly non-verbal, and needed assistance walking. I don’t know if an enunciated word ever passed through her lips. She made keening noises when she wanted attention. Without warning, she would begin to cry. For the previous three years, my job was providing independent living care for the same adult population in Eugene, but anyone who has done so will tell you the burn-out rate is staggering. Whatever barriers you are told to put in place crumble under the weight of simple human interactions, like trying to explain to a client why they pay rent for six months and, one day, the light bulb ignites with a brilliance that’s humbling. You get attached. When I left the house I helped supervise after two years, I sat in the driveway and bawled for 15 minutes. Upon my arrival in Portland – my wife’s employer transferred her to the Rose City – I was determined not to go back to in-home care. But, I was open to vocational work. I would only have clients for eight hours a...

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The subversive FBI director

By E.J. DIONNE JR. In the days of the civil rights movement, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was focused not on the quest for justice but on his fear of Communists. In Parting the Waters, the first volume of his magisterial biography of Martin Luther King Jr., Taylor Branch tells of a 1956 Eisenhower administration meeting during which Hoover “expressed no sympathy for civil rights and painted an alarming picture of subversive elements among the integrationists.” As an example, Hoover informed the Cabinet that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley—the patriarch who became a bane of the left—had come close to publicly criticizing President Eisenhower for not taking stronger action after the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi. “I hasten to say that Mayor Daley is not a Communist,” Hoover said, “but pressures engineered by the Communists were brought to bear upon him.” The absurdity that he felt it necessary to recite the words “Mayor Daley is not a Communist” tells us what we need to know about Hoover’s frame of mind. Last Thursday’s speech by FBI Director James Comey at Georgetown University was remarkable on its own terms, but revolutionary in the context of his agency’s history. You wonder if Hoover would have accused Comey of subversive intent. “All of us in law enforcement must be honest enough to acknowledge that much of our history is not pretty,” Comey...

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Monied college sports need reforms

The line between college and professional football appear to have become more and more blurred with each passing season.  Just the other day, for example, the media announced that one Vernon Adams, who has been a star quarterback with Eastern Washington University and could play there this fall in his senior year, has switched schools to play at the University of Oregon.  His move adds up to money considerations and that’s what professional football’s all about. Last week during national signing day, the UO reported 22 signees for the 2015-16 football season.  These signees will be granted the same if not greater financial-aid through lavish scholarships from the university similar to what’s promised Adams and will receive cost-free tuition, the benefit of free tutoring with classroom assignments, use of one of the finest workout facilities in the United States, no-cost transportation, meals and accommodations at away UO football games and other secret free stuff and privileges unknown to non-athletic students. Again, it’s money, money and more money. Incidentally, among the UO signees, with those lavishly attractive scholarships, is not one single Oregon high school player.  Instead, the anticipated roster of 22 includes nine from California, three from Washington state, three from Hawaii, two from Georgia, and one from other states, numbering among the big-time winners for a free college education and possible NFL draft status if they perform on the gridiron as hoped.  OSU football has announced one Oregon signee. Meanwhile, coach Mark Helfrich is the only one associated with the UO football program who’s actually from the state: he hails from Coos...

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