Day: March 11, 2016

Keizer, close down these parks!

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Keizer has its own version of Ralph Nader. Nader was a safety advocate who gained national fame in the 1960s with his book Unsafe at Any Speed, declaring the Chevrolet Corvair was dangerous. Eamon Bishop did his best Nader impression at Tuesday’s Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting in declaring that seven Keizer parks must be closed immediately due to safety hazards. Keizer has 19 parks, but Bishop only called for the closure of seven because those are the only ones he has inspected so far. “Can the parks stay open?” Bishop asked rhetorically. “Look at the laws of liability. You can’t let someone play until they are fixed, now that you know about it. There are some missing fasteners and improper fasteners. There are strangulation hazards. There’s a drowning hazard at Bob Newton Park, with slides out of alignment. It takes only one inch of water to drown a child in the standing rain. We need to close the parks until these things are fixed.” Bishop said his research started when he took offense to Parks Board member Richard Walsh’s recent comments in the Keizertimes about neighborhood parks not being used as much in Keizer anymore. Bishop went to his neighborhood park – Bob Newton Park – and started exploring. “It had conditions that looked to me to be significant safety...

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The GOP vulgarians

By E.J. DIONNE JR. It was William Bennett, education secretary in the Reagan years and the Republican Party’s premier moralist, who embedded a phrase in the American consciousness when he bemoaned the fact that “our elites presided over an unprecedented coarsening of our culture.” Well, to borrow another famous phrase, it is Bennett’s party and two of its presidential candidates in particular, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, who are merrily defining our politics, our discourse and the American presidency down. The 2016 Republican primary campaign is now on track to be the crudest, most vulgar and most thoroughly disgusting contest in our nation’s history. A policy wonk who has spent nearly two decades in politics was watching last Thursday’s GOP debate with his two teenage daughters and was horrified when one turned to him and asked: “Is this what you do?” The dad, who didn’t want to be named because he didn’t want to embarrass his daughters, said their acquaintances had higher standards than the debaters: “They would be humiliated if their friends talked to them that way.” Call me old-fashioned or even a prig, but I have a rather elevated view of what politics can be and what it can achieve. For decades, in good political moments and bad, I have repaired for inspiration and comfort to the political philosopher Michael Sandel’s description of politics at its best....

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The effect of Trump on Republicans

What kind of Republicans are in Keizer? There could be Trump Republicans, Cruz Republicans, or Rubio Republicans. Maybe Keizer leans more to Reagan Republicans, or Hatfield, McCall and Packwood Republicans. If you live in Keizer your interests in both the Oregon Senate and House of Representatives are championed by a Republican.  Both Bill Post and Kim Thatcher seem too decent and true to be Trump Republicans.  I hope that is the case. There was news of a small riot near Disneyland in Anaheim last week in one of those little wire service stories tacked on to the end of longer stories to fill the needed column inches.  Six Klu Klux Klan members showed up in a black SUV for their advertised rally carrying “white lives matter” signs. Protestors protested and windows were shattered. The black SUV quickly retreated, leaving three unlucky KKK members stranded to fend for themselves. Luckily there was a metallic American Eagle on the end of their flagpole with which they were able to stab several of the counter-protestors in “self-defense.” Counter-protestors were then seen stomping two of the KKK members.  If we leave out the use of the flagpole as weapon, this is a good representation of the current state of political discourse in our country. Republican “debates” featuring language, lies, uncontrolled temper, and rudeness that you wouldn’t allow from your children or in a...

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Other people help to make us a success

Lately, I’ve been writing around on this opinion page, screaming the equivalent of “The British are coming!” It’s time to take a break from such mental meanderings and talk about a topic that’s much more calming. This topic has to do with a Harvard research discovery about the one thing most everyone needs to lead a happier, healthier life.  The journalist writing on what was found is Colby Itkowitz of The Washington Post. Itowitz begins by commenting on what her grandmother passed along to her about a visit to her doctor where she moved her large purse out of the way, remarking how heavy it was.  “You must be very rich,” the doctor is reported to have said.  She replied “Yes, I am.”  Yet, says Itowitz, his grandparents lived modestly in a two-bedroom rowhouse they moved into after he returned from WWII and raised a family there.  We’re told they did not eat lavishly, travel widely or shop at the finest department stores. Neither had followed their dream careers. Nevertheless, grandmother considered herself rich because she had a husband, children and grandchildren, all of whom she valued and adored. Conclusion: grandma knew what Harvard researchers have confirmed: Relationships are the key to a happy life.  The Harvard reference has to do with a 75-year-long Grant Study that, more recently, the fourth person to run it, Robert Waldinger, a Harvard psychiatrist, decided to publish the findings that the federal government has spent...

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