Month: December 2015

Which party loves the USA?

By E.J. DIONNE JR. Which political party loves America? Not the United States that once existed, but the flesh-and-blood nation that we all live in now. The debates we have witnessed —too few and far between for the Democrats, frequent enough for the Republicans to constitute a new reality TV show—have provided an incontestable answer to that question. The Democrats embrace the United States of Now in all of its raucous diversity. Democrats are not free of nostalgia. They long for the more economically equal America of decades ago and celebrate liberalism’s heydays during the New Deal and civil rights years. But Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley all stand up for the rights of a younger America —today’s country—that is less white, more Latino and Asian (and, yes, more Muslim) than was the U.S. of the past. The cultural changes that have reshaped us are welcomed as part of our historical trajectory toward justice and inclusion. The Republicans, particularly Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, don’t like our country right now. They yearn for the United States of Then. The current version is cast as a fallen nation. True, the party shut out of the White House always assails the incumbent. But a deeper unease and even rage characterize the response of many in the GOP ranks to what the country has become. This can cross into a...

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Gap in incomes gets wider and wider

Should we in any way be concerned that middle income Americans are no longer America’s economic majority?  Concerned or not, it is reported that the middle income set is no longer the economic majority as there are now more low-income and high-income Americans than there are people earning middle incomes. According to a PEW Research Center report, there were 120.8 million adults living in middle-income households and 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined in 2015. This marks the first time in the center’s four decades of tracking this data that the size of the two lower and upper groups have been greater than the middle group. The study defines middle incomes as adults earning two-thirds to double the national median, translating nowadays to a range from $42,000 to $126,000 a year in a 3-person household.  Meanwhile, the Pew folks report that since 1971, the percentage of adults living in the low income bracket (below $42,000) has increased from 25 percent to 29 percent, and the percentage of adults living in the highest income bracket (above $126,000) has increased from 14 percent to a stratospheric 21 percent.  The middle class has diminished to near 50 percent from 61 percent. These percentages can be viewed as good news, meaning that shrinking middle incomes have gone into the upper class ranks, and bad news that as many formerly in middle incomes have gone downhill to be among the low income Americans....

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Timberwolves, Dawgs fall to Celts

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Slow starts made for some intense moments but eventually led to a pair of wins for the McNary High School boys varsity basketball team last week. “We started off a little slow and unprepared in both games, but we definitely fixed that as the second halves started,” said Alex Martin, a McNary junior. The Celtics played Tualatin High School to a 56-43 win Tuesday, Dec. 8, then handed West Albany High School its most decisive defeat (58-40) so far this season Friday, Dec. 11. “I think we made good adjustments in the second half of both games. We shared the ball well and defended well in the second halves,” said Celt senior Harry Cavell. In the first frame of the game with the Timberwolves, McNary ran up a 10-point lead with the help of consistent shooting by junior Adam Harvey. Tualatin kept pressure high, closed the gap and then took a 20-17 lead just after the start of the second period. The Timberwolves rode the surge out through the end of the half. The teams went to the locker room with McNary trailing 31-30. “We had a competitive first half with Tualatin, but we gave up too many points,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach. Celt Mathew Ismay tied the game from the foul line at the top of the third frame....

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Palma Ciea appraisal complicated

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes As it turns out, getting an appraisal on Palma Ciea Park isn’t that simple. Earlier this year, members of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board proposed to see what the value of the park was. The park is on the Willamette River but for the most part isn’t developed and would be hard to develop on. Keizer resident Gary Blake, who lives near the park, immediately took the process to mean the city was trying to sell the property and quickly voiced strenuous objections. While selling the property was one possibility, Parks Board members emphasized no decisions had been made, with solid numbers needed before any decision could be made. The issue was forwarded to the Keizer City Council, with councilors directing staff to get an appraisal done. City Attorney Shannon Johnson gave an update on the process during the Dec. 7 council meeting. There was more discussion during the following night’s Parks Board meeting. Johnson said staff determined the configuration of the property, including the location of the river wall and power lines coming over the river, make the property difficult to sell. It was figured there would be at most two small buildable lots, which could be classified as riverfront lots. The situation got thornier when an appraiser found an old plat showed the park was dedicated to the public...

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Wrestlers win 3 of 5 duals

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The McNary High School varsity wrestling team got a lot of mat time last week, but only one Celt emerged from the fray unscathed. Junior Wyatt Kessler won all five of his matches in two days. “What’s made the difference is getting with the best partners and the toughest ones during practices,” said Kessler, who also wrestles with Salem Elite Wrestling Club at Sprague High School. Kessler said the best match of the bunch was with Afansay Chernishoff of Silverton High School at a tournament Friday, Dec. 11. “It was good because he was tough and strong and I had to overcome that with technique,” Kessler said. Kessler won by pin in the third round. McNary won three of five duals at the Silverton Tournament, but it was the two losses that stuck in the craw of Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach. “We lost to Mountain View and Cascade (high schools). Both of them had solid programs, but we lost and I didn’t think that was going to happen. Both those teams also lost to Silverton and I thought we were going to have some trouble with them, too, but we got the win,” Ebbs said. After the losses, Ebbs pulled the team aside for a pep talk and McNary won the Silverton match 42-37. “The lesson we got was just to...

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