"In a letter to the editor of The State newspaper in Clyburn’s hometown of Columbia, S.C., the No. 3 House Democrat said an article published Thursday had sensationalized his perspectives on the ties between Obama’s race and his work as president.
"I have always abhorred the word ‘racism,’ " Clyburn said in the letter. "I never use it. I believe it is a lethal term, and I am offended that my honest responses to a reporter’s clearly designed agenda would be distorted in such a manner."
"You know, I’m 70 years old," the article quoted Clyburn as saying. "And I can tell you; people don’t like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president’s problems are in large measure because of his skin color."
Clyburn then described hateful mail, phone calls and faxes he receives as the highest-ranking African-American in Congress. He suggested that Obama receives similar materials.
In his letter, Clyburn correctly noted that his interview hadn’t been arranged to discuss the influence of Obama’s race as the first black president.”
"It’s a fascinating article, to see how someone has so effectively manipulated how we think."
Howard Stern’s analysis of the Rolling Stone piece on Roger Ailes. He compares Ailes’ manipulation to a vampire glamoring his victims, and in typical Stern fashion, details his views on Ailes’ Machiavellian ‘brilliance’. As one of the smartest, most effective broadcasters in history himself, Stern has a fascinating way of expressing his thoughts.
A mail carrier who was caught using a yard as his personal toilet will not be fired.
The incident happened last month at a home in southeast Portland and a neighbor, Don Derfler, captured the man in the act with his camera.
Derfler had been waiting for his babysitter when he saw his mailman acting odd at his neighbor’s house across the street. The postal worker then pulled down his pants and that’s when Derfler began snapping pictures.
Hmm..they’ve stopped mentioning that he was carrying a roll of TP into the bushes (i.e., he came prepared). There was some talk of this not being the first time nor an emergency sitch for the guy, though that could have been an assumption based on the handy TP. ~whyinthehell
“If a movie is full of vomit, diarrhea, and profligate use of f-bombs, especially by women, you can be pretty sure it’s by producer Judd Apatow, who continues his assault on gentility and good taste with this disgraceful roll in the gutter that degrades women. The sad part is that there is a good, sweet movie lurking here behind all the vulgarity…
About the only things all the bridesmaids have in common is that they talk like truck drivers and have low moral tones. I like the old fashioned idea of looking up to women. They are our mothers and the mothers of our children. In almost every society they are placed on a pedestal. The idea here is to take away from women this respect they are due as mothers, and to view them as just no different from some bum in a bar.”—
Er…the movie was written by two women…is he just too afraid of upsetting their delicate sensibilities to direct his opinions towards them, so he attacks Apatow? Maybe he should stick to old Jimmy Stewart movies and/or give up on any movies made after 1959. ~whyinthehell
“This is a very scary bill - “The Republican-led House has passed a defense spending bill Thursday with a number of controversial provisions. If signed into law, the bill would prohibit any non-U.S. citizen suspected of terrorism from receiving a federal trial regardless of where they were arrested. In addition, the bill expands the president’s ability to wage an endless worldwide war against terrorism suspects and against nations suspected of supporting them even when there is no connection to the Sept. 11 attacks. Laura Murphy of the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the bill, saying, ‘A new authorization of worldwide war will mean unrestricted powers to use the military at home and abroad.’” civil-rights war Notice “non U.S.citizen,” meaning any Canadian could be potentially charged.”—
Just last week at the Cannes Film Festival, actor Peter Fonda called President Obama a “fucking traitor” and now, according to the Telegraph, we discover he’s encouraging his own grandchildren to take up arms against the president due to some upcoming conflict between the haves and have nots.
Secret Service to the white courtesy phone…
“I’m training my grandchildren to use long-range rifles,” said the actor, 71. “For what purpose? Well, I’m not going to say the words ‘Barack Obama’, but …”
“I prefer to not to use the words, ‘let’s stop something’. I prefer to say, ‘let’s start something, let’s start the world’.
He added, enigmatically: “It’s more of a thought process than an actuality, but we are heading for a major conflict between the haves and the have nots. I came here many years ago with a biker movie and we stopped a war. Now, it’s about starting the world.
This is crazy talk and then some, and yet you’re barely hearing about it in the MSM. Fonda’s a famous Lefty, after all and therefore a member of the MSM’s protected class. Media apologists will argue that he’s not as big a star as Mel Gibson and therefore doesn’t deserve the same scrutiny. Okay, fine. But Fonda is a bigger star than some planted moron holding a sign at a Tea Party, is he not?
Fonda a “Lefty”? Left-handed maybe, certainly not a liberal. As Howard Stern said, all Fonda’s done since Easy Rider is sit around with his fingers up his ass (and then sniffing them), so he’s just looking for attention. I hope the Secret Service gives him plenty of it. ~whyinthehell
“Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible. “The Objectivist ethics, in essence,” said Rand, “hold that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”
If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence. Many of us experienced a few unfortunate years of invincible self-involvement, testing moral boundaries and prone to stormy egotism and hero worship. Usually one grows out of it, eventually discovering that the quality of our lives is tied to the benefit of others. Rand’s achievement was to turn a phase into a philosophy, as attractive as an outbreak of acne.”—
Jeremy Giefer served time in jail in 1994 for having sex with a 14-year-old girl. But you wouldn’t know it to look at the record of the man now charged with sexually molesting his daughter more than 250 times over the last eight years.
That’s because two years ago, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Attorney General Lori Swanson, and then-Chief Justice Eric Magnuson unanimously voted to wipe Giefer’s record clean, granting him a pardon extraordinary.
One reason Giefer wanted his record cleared? His wife wanted to open a childcare center in the house where they live—the same house where Giefer allegedly molested his young daughter throughout the six years prior.
In the next 72 hours, the GOP will attempt to end Medicare when they vote on the Ryan Budget. Already more than 50,000 people have signed below in opposition, but we need to deliver 75,000 signatures to GOP leader Mitch McConnell. Make sure to add your name before the vote!
Let Republicans know that if they vote to destroy the social safety net of Medicare, we will make them pay for it on Election Day.
The Tsar Bomba was the largest thermonuclear weapon ever tested. It had the explosive power of 50 million tons of TNT.
The bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not thermonuclear. They had the equivalent power of 20 thousand tons of TNT.
The Tsar Bomba incinerated everthing within a 120 mile radius, and thermometers 200 miles away instantly hit over 115 degrees.
To give you an idea of the destructive power, get into your car and drive four hours in one direction. Then imagine everything and everyone you pass as dead.
This is the reason we need to end nuclear proliferation.
Oy vey…. From Wikipedia: ”Developed by the Soviet Union, the bomb was originally designed to have a yield of about 100 megatons of TNT (420 PJ); however, the bomb yield was reduced to 50 megatons in order to reduce nuclear fallout. This attempt was successful, as it was one of the cleanest (relative to its yield) nuclear bombs ever detonated. Only one bomb of this type was ever built and it was tested on October 30, 1961, in the Novaya Zemlyaarchipelago.
The remaining bomb casings are located at the Russian Atomic Weapon Museum, Sarov (Arzamas-16), and the Museum of Nuclear Weapons, All-Russian Research Institute of Technical Physics, Snezhinsk (Chelyabinsk-70). Neither of these casings has the same antenna configuration as the actual device that was tested.
The LaPerm cat is a unique combination of curly hair and an affectionate personality. They are reliably affectionate towards owners.
The kitten that exhibited traits of the original mutation for the LaPerm breed sprang from strong, healthy, domestic “barn-cat” stock. According to records from 1982, a litter of six kittens was born to a barn cat on an Oregon farm located near the ancient hunting and fishing grounds of the Wishram Indians. One of the kittens was born completely bald — looking nothing like her mother or her littermates. While the kitten had no hair, it did have large wide-spaced ears and a blueprint pattern on her skin that mimicked a classic tabby pattern. Within eight weeks the kitten began to grow very soft, curly hair. At three to four months of age the kitten, now named “Curly,” had a full coat of curly hair.
For 10 years no attempts were made to breed selectively, but as the frequency of bald kittens increased in the randomly bred litters, the owner of the farm began to seek additional information about her unusual cats.
As she learned how truly unique these cats were, she started to confine the cats and control the breedings. It appeared that the curly gene was dominant and carried by both males and females. This breeder was totally unprepared for the interest and excitement generated by cats she decided to enter in a cat show. The owner gave the cats the breed name “LaPerm,” which means wavy or rippled.
The LaPerm can sport anything from a wavy coat to ringlet-type curls that range from tight ringlets to long corkscrew curls. The tightest curls occur on the underside of the cat, on the throat area and at the base of the ears.
These unusual cats come in every recognized color and coat pattern. They are gentle and affectionate, but also very active. Unlike many active breeds, the LaPerm is also quite content to be a lap cat.
Prepare for major eye-rolling — particularly when this putz tries to make the case that liberals are driven purely by emotion.
As multiple scientific studies have shown, right-wing brains are different from left-wing brains. Right-wingers have amygdalas that are larger than their anterior cinuglates (i.e. the part of their brain that processes emotions, especially fear, and performs emotion-based decision making is larger than the part of their brain that processes complex/conflicting information, rational decision-making, and courage). In left-wing brains, this is reversed (smaller amygdala, larger anterior cingulate).
For a minute I wondered what he’s basing his claims about liberals “beliefs” on - you know, whether it was the result of one-too-many-joints ruminations or the brown-acid-from-Woodstock ruminations. And then I realized why Ryking included the brain function description. ~whyinthehell
I don’t appreciate the savior complex vis-a-vis the focus on Prince Charles, but this is an important issue that definitely deserves more attention, and not only because it reveals the exploitative nature of the IMF.
Text from the article:
The children were inconsolable. Mute with shock and fighting back tears, they huddled beside their mother as friends and neighbours prepared their father’s body for cremation on a blazing bonfire built on the cracked, barren fields near their home.
As flames consumed the corpse, Ganjanan, 12, and Kalpana, 14, faced a grim future. While Shankara Mandaukar had hoped his son and daughter would have a better life under India’s economic boom, they now face working as slave labour for a few pence a day. Landless and homeless, they will be the lowest of the low.
Shankara, respected farmer, loving husband and father, had taken his own life. Less than 24 hours earlier, facing the loss of his land due to debt, he drank a cupful of chemical insecticide.
Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years’ earnings, he was in despair. He could see no way out.
There were still marks in the dust where he had writhed in agony. Other villagers looked on - they knew from experience that any intervention was pointless - as he lay doubled up on the ground, crying out in pain and vomiting.
Moaning, he crawled on to a bench outside his simple home 100 miles from Nagpur in central India. An hour later, he stopped making any noise. Then he stopped breathing. At 5pm on Sunday, the life of Shankara Mandaukar came to an end.
As neighbours gathered to pray outside the family home, Nirmala Mandaukar, 50, told how she rushed back from the fields to find her husband dead. ‘He was a loving and caring man,’ she said, weeping quietly.
‘But he couldn’t take any more. The mental anguish was too much. We have lost everything.’
Shankara’s crop had failed - twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India’s ancient story.
But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.
Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.
Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts - and no income.
So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.
The crisis, branded the ‘GM Genocide’ by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a ‘global moral question’ - and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.
Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning ‘the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming… from the failure of many GM crop varieties’.
Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.
The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace ‘the future’ and follow suit.
So who is telling the truth? To find out, I travelled to the ‘suicide belt’ in Maharashtra state.
What I found was deeply disturbing - and has profound implications for countries, including Britain, debating whether to allow the planting of seeds manipulated by scientists to circumvent the laws of nature.
For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.
Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide - a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.
It seems that many are massively in debt to local money-lenders, having over-borrowed to purchase GM seed.
Pro-GM experts claim that it is rural poverty, alcoholism, drought and ‘agrarian distress’ that is the real reason for the horrific toll.
But, as I discovered during a four-day journey through the epicentre of the disaster, that is not the full story.
Latta Ramesh, 38, drank insecticide after her crops failed - two years after her husband disappeared when the GM debts became too much.
She left her ten-year-old son, Rashan, in the care of relatives. ‘He cries when he thinks of his mother,’ said the dead woman’s aunt, sitting listlessly in shade near the fields.
Village after village, families told how they had fallen into debt after being persuaded to buy GM seeds instead of traditional cotton seeds.
The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds.
But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were ‘magic seeds’ - with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects.
Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks.
The authorities had a vested interest in promoting this new biotechnology. Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of the post-independence years, the Indian government had agreed to allow new bio-tech giants, such as the U.S. market-leader Monsanto, to sell their new seed creations.
In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.
But while cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have boomed, the farmers’ lives have slid back into the dark ages.
Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years - up to 17 million acres - many famers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.
Far from being ‘magic seeds’, GM pest-proof ‘breeds’ of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.
Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.
With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off.
Having taken loans from traditional money lenders at extortionate rates, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have faced losing their land as the expensive seeds fail, while those who could struggle on faced a fresh crisis.
When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.
But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That’s because GM seeds contain so- called ‘terminator technology’, meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.
As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death.
Take the case of Suresh Bhalasa, another farmer who was cremated this week, leaving a wife and two children.
As night fell after the ceremony, and neighbours squatted outside while sacred cows were brought in from the fields, his family had no doubt that their troubles stemmed from the moment they were encouraged to buy BT Cotton, a geneticallymodified plant created by Monsanto.
‘We are ruined now,’ said the dead man’s 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.’
Villagers bundled him into a rickshaw and headed to hospital along rutted farm roads. ‘He cried out that he had taken the insecticide and he was sorry,’ she said, as her family and neighbours crowded into her home to pay their respects. ‘He was dead by the time they got to hospital.’
Asked if the dead man was a ‘drunkard’ or suffered from other ‘social problems’, as alleged by pro-GM officials, the quiet, dignified gathering erupted in anger. ‘No! No!’ one of the dead man’s brothers exclaimed. ‘Suresh was a good man. He sent his children to school and paid his taxes.
‘He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.’
Monsanto has admitted that soaring debt was a ‘factor in this tragedy’. But pointing out that cotton production had doubled in the past seven years, a spokesman added that there are other reasons for the recent crisis, such as ‘untimely rain’ or drought, and pointed out that suicides have always been part of rural Indian life.
Officials also point to surveys saying the majority of Indian farmers want GM seeds - no doubt encouraged to do so by aggressive marketing tactics.
During the course of my inquiries in Maharastra, I encountered three ‘independent’ surveyors scouring villages for information about suicides. They insisted that GM seeds were only 50 per cent more expensive - and then later admitted the difference was 1,000 per cent.
(A Monsanto spokesman later insisted their seed is ‘only double’ the price of ‘official’ non-GM seed - but admitted that the difference can be vast if cheaper traditional seeds are sold by ‘unscrupulous’ merchants, who often also sell ‘fake’ GM seeds which are prone to disease.)
With rumours of imminent government compensation to stem the wave of deaths, many farmers said they were desperate for any form of assistance. ‘We just want to escape from our problems,’ one said. ‘We just want help to stop any more of us dying.’
Prince Charles is so distressed by the plight of the suicide farmers that he is setting up a charity, the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation, to help those affected and promote organic Indian crops instead of GM.
India’s farmers are also starting to fight back. As well as taking GM seed distributors hostage and staging mass protests, one state government is taking legal action against Monsanto for the exorbitant costs of GM seeds.
This came too late for Shankara Mandauker, who was 80,000 rupees (about £1,000) in debt when he took his own life. ‘I told him that we can survive,’ his widow said, her children still by her side as darkness fell. ‘I told him we could find a way out. He just said it was better to die.’
But the debt does not die with her husband: unless she can find a way of paying it off, she will not be able to afford the children’s schooling. They will lose their land, joining the hordes seen begging in their thousands by the roadside throughout this vast, chaotic country.
Cruelly, it’s the young who are suffering most from the ‘GM Genocide’ - the very generation supposed to be lifted out of a life of hardship and misery by these ‘magic seeds’.
Here in the suicide belt of India, the cost of the genetically modified future is murderously high.
“If Democrats and urban residents want to combat the rising tide of red that threatens to swamp and ruin this country, we need a new identity politics, an urban identity politics, one that argues for the cities, uses a rhetoric of urban values, and creates a tribal identity for liberals that’s as powerful and attractive as the tribal identity Republicans have created for their constituents. John Kerry won among the highly educated, Jews, young people, gays and lesbians, and non-whites. What do all these groups have in common? They choose to live in cities. An overwhelming majority of the American population chooses to live in cities. And John Kerry won every city with a population above 500,000. He took half the cities with populations between 50,000 and 500,000. The future success of liberalism is tied to winning the cities.”—Great places: reorienting progressive politics for the 21st century (via azspot)
“Across the country, Republican governors and legislators are pushing unnecessary and suppressive photo identification laws that would require all voters to produce a specific current government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot…
The suppressive effects of these bills are well-documented: 11 percent of Americans—approximately 23 million citizens of voting age—lack proper photo ID and, as a result, could be turned away from the polls on Election Day. Those without photo ID are disproportionately low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters. Numerous non-partisan organizations have debunked claims of widespread voter fraud, the purported basis for these laws.”—The Real Cost of Photo ID Laws (via ryking)
Last Friday, Kansas legislators approved a ban on insurance companies offering abortion coverage as part of their general health plans. The one exception: when a woman’s life is at risk.
DeGraaf, who is in his first term and who is an associate pastor, also called for banning coverage for abortions of rape pregnancies. (Women could get around this if they purchased separate, “abortion-only policies.”)
During the House discussion there was predictably some disagreement over whether excluding rape pregnancies from coverage was perhaps the sort of callous treatment a recently violated woman shouldn’t have to deal with. Here’s DeGraaf’s response to Rep. Barbara Bollier’s challenge, as reported by the McPherson Sentinel:
Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told her: “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”
Bollier asked him, “And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with pregnancy?”
DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have a spare tire on my car.”
“I also have life insurance,” he added. “I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”
Rep. Pete DeGraaf doesn’t think women should have any control over their pregnancies. In fact, women should expect to get pregnant, possibly via rape, because DeGraaf expects his tire will go flat soon. If tires go flat then bitches get pregnant, got it?
Got my keys, on my way to go shove that spare tire up his ass…REALLY far up it. ~whyinthehell
It’s name is “The Order of the Great and Almighty Rainbow Darwinfish”.
We meet every other 5 years, under the light of the blue moon-
Gathering activities include (but are not limited to) head shaving, marshmallow roasting, sacrificial ceremonies, and fish worship-
ONLY fish worship (of the Rainbow Darwinfish species).
Keep walking Southwest, and stop in the exact middle of the Sonoran Desert.
We will find you.
Guys Guys Guys.
Let’s do this.
I dunno, I’m considering my own cult where we worship all non-human animals and capture annoying people and shave their heads rather than our own…I really like the idea of only having to meet every other 5 years, though.
Oh, the stool, the stool….the persistent excellence of the stool has been one of this disease’s most tedious features. When will you get it into your head that one can produce copious regular and exquisitely turned evacuation every day of the week and still be a stranger to reason?
"In its first-ever audit to test whether black and Latino renters face barriers in the housing market, Portland found that landlords and leasing agents discriminated in 64 percent of 50 tests across the city.
But Portland, which released the results last month, has not gone after the landlords who discriminated or even notified them they were tested, though such discrimination violates local, state and federal fair-housing laws.
Asked last week whether the city will go after the landlords found in violation, he said: “That’s not the right question. The intent is to do a balanced approach. I have concluded that the best approach is to look at changes to the system and not just individual remedies.”
Monday night, responding to inquiries for clarification, he said in a memo: “We have always intended to pursue enforcement actions against select landlords tested in the audit process.” He provided no details or timeline, though the city’s time to build cases is running low.
"There should be consequences when you violate a federal or state law," said Shanna Smith, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance in Washington, D.C. “I find it unconscionable for a city to supply the money for the audit and then not enforce the law.”
The city paid the Fair Housing Council of Oregon, a nonprofit, $19,000 to conduct the testing last summer. It is part of an analysis Portland must complete every five years to show it’s trying to reduce housing discrimination and to keep $9 million to $11 million in annual federal grants.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 4 million people a year experience housing discrimination nationally, but the agency receives only about 30,000 complaints because many people don’t know they’ve been treated differently or don’t think anything will be done.”
Last night, the local CBS affiliate did a story on this, along with video remarks from Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. Apparently he’s getting a lot of heat, but I’m still not seeing commitment, plan or timeline for addressing the issue. He says, ” Ultimately, it’s not about Nick Fish…Ultimately, it’s about the person who experiences discrimination when they go seek housing. And the message that we’re sending loud and clear to landlords is that we will not tolerate discrimination.” Yeah, no shit, so where is that loud and clear message?? Oh WAIT! A LETTER was sent! I forgot…letters are so scary…. ~whyinthehell
"A May 17th letter from the Metro Multifamily Housing Council, which represents rental property owners and managers, states that the organization’s board of directors is "deeply troubled by the results of the recent Fair Housing tests" and that "We are taking immediate action to address the issue." The letter goes on to say those actions include developing strict protocols to ensure all applicants get teh same information about available units, increasing the frequency of fair housing training, and supporting expanded and more frequent independent audits, similar to the one that was conducted by the Fair Housing Council."
“Satellites are a must-have when it comes to detecting and tracking dangerous tropical weather. Not having satellites and their capabilities could spell disaster,” Lubchenco said yesterday. “NOAA’s satellites underpin hurricane forecasts by providing meteorological data over vast areas where we don’t have other means of information.”
The information those satellites collect is also key to understanding climate change — an unpopular topic on Capitol Hill — but the agency has downplayed that aspect as it presses lawmakers for more cash.
“We are working very closely with Congress for this satellite program,” Lubchenco said. “We continue to emphasize how much, how important this program is as a matter of public safety. This is of national significance, and we are hopeful we will be able to get the funding to get this program back on track.”
A major scientific group echoed those concerns yesterday.
“Funding JPSS is a national preparedness issue,” Christine McEntee, executive director of the American Geophysical Union, said in a statement yesterday. “A gap in satellite coverage could jeopardize everything from agriculture and aviation safety, to the oil and gas industry, to wildfire response and other search and rescue operations.”
“No, God’s Penis is not a biological organ. I never said God’s Penis was the same as man’s penis. Obviously it wouldn’t be. That is why I pointed out God has a Holy, Righteous Penis. That is to say, it’s not the same as man’s corrupted, fleshy one. Amen”—
…[Willamette Week’s] survey of PR staffs at public agencies in Portland lacked a complete list for one entity: Portland State University. PSU…sent the names and salaries for 16 communications staffers at the school (an official there had previously put the number at 14).
Based on job descriptions the school provided, we determined six of those staffers fit our definition of a PR rep.
Those six employees make a combined total of $362,790 per year. The highest paid is Chris Broderick, PSU’s associate vice president of communications and a former Oregonian editor. He makes $105,000.
The additional PSU staffers (the school had previously provided information on only three of them) pushes the grand total of PR reps in our survey up to 87 citywide. And it increases their combined salaries to $6.4 million.
We know times are tough for government agencies. They’re cutting services—and sometimes trying to raise taxes—because of the recession. But a study by [Willamette Week] reveals there’s one sector of government that seems to be not only surviving, but thriving: public relations.
Public agencies of all kinds have communication offices that employ squadrons of spokespeople who sometimes outnumber the reporters covering them. And they’re playing a more important part than ever. Journalists depend on these PR offices—and as news organizations shrink, they play a bigger role providing the public with information and framing the stories that media tell.
Just how many government PR people are out there, and at what cost? To find out, WW sent public records requests to seven local agencies asking how many communications staffers they employ—and how much they’re paid. We journalists deal with these reps on a regular basis. But at a time when the City of Portland doesn’t pave streets and Multnomah County can’t replace the Sellwood Bridge, the answers we got back astonished us.
We looked at the biggest local public agencies in the Portland area—the City of Portland, Metro, Multnomah County, Portland Public Schools, Oregon Health & Science University, TriMet and Portland State University. All told, they have a total of 84 PR reps on the public payroll. Together, they make a combined yearly salary of more than $6.2 million. That’s an average of more than $75,000, taking into account several part-timers.
The total includes only people whose major job duties are dealing with the press and otherwise providing information to the public—those that we in the journalism industry call “flacks.” It does not count the legions of graphic artists, web designers, IT managers and personal assistants who help them.
The city of Portland spends more on PR salaries—$2.1 million—than any other local public agency. The city also has the highest number of communications people among the agencies we surveyed: 28.
Yet this robust industry of PR agents exists at a time when their traditional counterbalance, the news media, is struggling to survive.
This month, the New York-based journalism nonprofit ProPublica published a report about the staggering growth of the public-relations industry. They found that the ranks of PR reps have surged by more than 30 percent in private public-relations agencies alone. At the same time, ProPublica noted, American newsroom employment shrank by about 27 percent in recent years.
In the lists we’ve compiled (see below), we point out some of the ties between government spokespeople and local media.
As we noted above, the City of Portland spends the most on PR salaries—almost a third of the total for all the agencies we surveyed. Their highest paid spokesperson, Lt. Robert King of the Police Bureau, pulls in $101,691.
Metro comes in second for expenditures and the number of PR employees. For example, zoo spokeswoman Stephanie Cameron makes $95,000.
Portland Public Schools takes third place, with nine PR employees who collectively make more than $694,000. Upper-tier salaries there are particularly handsome—Robb Cowie and Lolenzo Poe both make north of $100,000.
Oregon Health & Science University comes next, with eight employees collecting more than $660,000 total. OHSU’s Lora Cuykendall, the highest-paid spokesperson in our survey, pulls in $136,500 a year. Spokesman Jim Newman ($102,995) says most of their salaries are paid with hospital revenues, not tax money.
Multnomah County (PDF), which has suffered years of budget cuts, has scraped together more than $584,000 to pay its seven full-time spokespeople. Lt. Mary Lindstrand of the sheriff’s office tops the list at $103,953.
TriMet (PDF) has been forced to cut service and hike fares. That agency spends $215,342 on PR salaries, with the communications director, Mary Fetsch, receiving $107,803.
Reading an article, and…a lightbulb blazes over my head. Okay, so maybe I’m stupid but I just - JUST NOW - realized there is a practical, scientific use for religion.
When ancient remains - particularly human and inorganic stuff like building/city ruins (I’m sure there’s a word for it but I can’t think of it) - are discovered, much is determined about the age and origin and societies involved with those remains based on known religious practices from various time periods. Sometimes religion provides some of the most important information which leads to further information.