Month: January 2016

Money makes politics crazy

By DON VOWELL I got a word of the day desk calendar for Christmas and today’s word is kakistocracy.  It is a combination of the Greek kakistos, superlative of kakos, which means “bad,” and the English suffix “-cracy” meaning form of government. Kakistocracy literally means government by the worst people.  Many of the calendar’s words are so obscure I forgot them.  I won’t forget kakistocracy.  It explains the emergence of Donald Trump. The government we have now is dysfunctional enough to make some think that Donald Trump is a viable option. Congress is so paralyzed by ideology, endless fund-raising, and servitude to large donors that it is no longer able to create legislation.  Many of us are glad they can’t.  We crave change so much that “outside” candidates gain support simply by promising change—no need to bother with messy details. Electing a wild man outsider candidate will not fix things. It is Congress that makes law and Congress that needs fixing. The slate of candidates currently running for president is an example of the same problem crippling Congress. Congress goes about their business seeming to have no regard for the average American citizen.  Now we are asked to choose among presidential candidates that average citizens had no voice in selecting. Donald Trump is the most honest example. He boasts that his qualifications for being president are being rich, consistently...

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Buddy, can you spare $15 an hour?

By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS Two years ago, Thumbtack—a startup that connects consumers with local contractors—conducted a survey to see what they thought of proposals to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, as per President Obama’s bid “to give America a raise.” The survey found that a plurality of the small businesses that used Thumbtack thought a wage hike would be good for the economy. Most thought that a minimum-wage increase would have no effect on their hiring or firing decisions. But what happens if Washington passes Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ proposal to more than double the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour—or Californians pass a ballot measure to raise the state minimum wage to $15 from $10? One piece of news this past weekend suggests a big minimum-wage hike could cost low-skilled workers their jobs. Wal-Mart closed its Oakland store amid speculation that the city’s $12.55 minimum wage played a role. Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid told The Chronicle the city’s wage law was a factor in the closure. It’s hard to think otherwise when Oakland was one of 269 stores slated to be shuttered across the country, while in nearby San Leandro, where the $10 state wage floor prevails, two stores will remain open for business. The Washington Post reported last week that Wal-Mart was withdrawing plans to build two superstores in the...

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Stop coddling Malheur Refuge militia

Any American with a child who wants that child to grow into a responsible, law-abiding adult knows that if the parent gives in to every demand of the child the consequence will be a monster. One does not need a college degree in psychology to figure out the result from a person raised with no boundaries or behavioral limits. Yet, we see something similar to the indulged child being played out at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County.  Somehow the “geniuses” among our FBI leaders believe that if those invaders who have broken the law by taking over and wrecking the refuge will just come to their senses and simply head back home when they tire of their antics.  What that adds up to is that from the Bundy incident dealing with federal property in Nevada last year—where there were no consequences—and what looks like an over-patient, indulging FBI “parent” again this time in Oregon, these “spoiled” adults can go about the U.S. countryside and do as they wish with nothing other than an FBI and other state and federal agencies saying, “You’re bad boys (and girls) and shouldn’t do things like that.” Maybe the mind set of these people is that they can do whatever, wherever, with federal land as long as it’s in the middle of nowhere with vague directional intents that have to do mainly with what they call their...

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Aguilar picks LCC Titans

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes McNary High School senior Matt Aguilar set his sights on playing college baseball at a young age. “I played for KYSA and winning a state title made me push myself that much harder,” said Aguilar. On Friday, Jan. 15, Aguilar signed a letter of intent to play for Lane Community College, taking the next step in his diamond journey. “It means everything,” said Aguilar, “I’ve been working toward this since I was a little kid.” Aguilar started out his McNary varsity career as a freshman pinch running for the elder players in the program. By his junior year, he was the starting shortstop for the team, a role he is expected to reprise this season. “We have baseball players and kids who play baseball, both are important, but Matt is a baseball player,” said Larry Keeker, McNary head coach. “It’s because of the time and energy and effort he dedicates in the offseason to becoming a good baseball player. You need kids that are looking beyond high school because they anchor a team in many ways.” Aguilar started looking at his options for college about four months ago and contacted LCC. That turned into a conversation with Aguilar’s summer ball coach and then an invitation to work out with the team. “The workout went well and they offered me a position playing shortstop...

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McNaught to join Pirates

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Kinsey McNaught had a very different vision for her college career. “I wanted a big, huge school far away from home,” said McNaught, a McNary High School senior and softball player. Then the reasons to stay closer to home started piling up. It started when coaches at Spokane’s Whitworth University asked to meet her while they were out scouting other talent in Portland. “They were awesome people. They asked me to come up for a visit. I got to see the facilities and talk with some of the people and that hooked me even more. My family loved it, too. The next day, the coach invited my family to their home for a meal and that was the last straw. I knew I had to go there,” said McNaught. McNaught signed a letter of intent to play for the Pirates at a ceremony Friday, Jan. 15, at McNary. The last year has been a wild ride for McNaught. She was actually considering giving up softball because she couldn’t find a college that offered the academics that would lead to a career as a oncologist alongside a strong softball program. Despite her doubts, she stuck with the sport and achieved new heights. In 2015, she hit .500, had a .540 on-base percentage, scored 40 runs and stole 17 bases. The totality of her output...

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