News

Climate Change Hypocrisy

February 13, 2009

The letter made me feel good. Pacific Power reported that our household bought enough renewable energy in 2008 to prevent the release of 19,890 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions into the air. That’s the same as not driving 20,170 miles. We paid $125 more for electricity to participate in the utility’s Blue Sky program. But […]

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Grading Presidential Language

February 10, 2009

This is akin to shooting fish in a barrel, I suppose. But if you treasure words and how they’re put together, you’ll enjoy Mark Nickolas’ simple but clever idea: use Microsoft Word’s readability tool to compare the language Barack Obama used Monday answering questions at his first presidential press conference versus that of George W. […]

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Making Things Right

February 8, 2009

A story of redemption and grace starts my morning: 48 years after beating a prominent member of the Civil Rights Movement, a former Ku Klux Klan member apologizes in person with a handshake and hug. “I tried to block it out of my mind. It kept coming back,” says Elwin Wilson, who attacked John Lewis, […]

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Soundtracks to Tragic News

November 28, 2008

Exercising while listening to music and watching tragic news on CNN is a collision of dissonance. Picture the scene: two dozen bodies bouncing along on cardio equipment in front of six health club TVs. I’m on the elliptical machine. Music blaring from my ear buds drowns out all other sound, even my panting breaths. My […]

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Hate Among Us

November 27, 2008

Hate knows no boundaries, judging from a map compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s especially disconcerting to see the presence of hate groups in my city, Portland. But I’m not naïve about such matters. After all, I grew up mainly in the South. Not that racism wasn’t rampant in the Northwest. I’ve read […]

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Wildlife in the city

August 12, 2008

“Daddy, I see raccoons,” Atticus says over breakfast today, his third birthday. The raccoons frequently visit our garage roof and use the ladder leading to our Portland backyard.

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I‘ve been known to travel with a laptop computer. I’ve also been known to write and store on its hard drive the most private of thoughts, not to mention personal financial information. Now I read that the Department of Homeland Security has bestowed upon itself the right to search computer hard drives and other digital […]

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Doomsday cookout

July 27, 2008

He’s no wacko. This friend of a friend is rational, educated, and well read. Personable, too. Yet his vision of the world’s immediate future, though short of apocalyptic, is bleak. We’ve met several times in small social settings. At the first I learned he was an avid proponent of the Peak Oil school of thought […]

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Really local locavores

June 25, 2008

A little publicity goes a long way. In May, I wrote a story for The Oregonian about two Portland men starting a new business, City Garden Farms. Their idea: grow vegetables in the urban yards of people willing to participate in return for a weekly supply of the harvest. Their entrepreneurial zeal impressed me. Their […]

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I‘m a terrorist. No doubt about it. I didn’t want to go over to the Dark Side, but some forces are too powerful to resist. The Obama Fist Bump nailed me, or OFB as we converts call it. It happened today on a Portland pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5. I was among throngs of people […]

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Iraq: What have we done?

June 19, 2008

Unlike past wars, the Iraq war is an abstraction. We rarely glimpse the unspeakable suffering. Most of the media have lost interest. Some stalwarts remain, chronicling events beyond our comprehension. As much as I hate this war, I’ve never let what happens there penetrate my comfortable life here. Until now. Reality intruded last night when […]

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Death, never rewritten

June 15, 2008

Odd what catches one’s eye. In Saturday’s Oregonian, a story about a man’s death at the coast invited a quick read. Why I’m not sure. The story was terse, as such stories usually are and have to be because of limited space: a for-the-record summary of another tragedy, another person dying too young. This morning […]

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Art from filth

June 14, 2008

I hope this hauntingly beautiful video shot in San Francisco inspires copycats in Portland. Artist Paul “Moose” Curtis uses stencils and a pressure washer to transform the ravages of urban pollution and time into pastoral scenes. “Nature’s voice. . .is written in dirt like it would be written in blood,” he says. More about “Moose” […]

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