Did you know that those infamous, insolent, cruel and callous cowpunchers are actually not the big, bad, baleful bovine bullies they’ve made out to be? The press somehow ignores their great sensitivity in this matter. They only use the very largest and supersoft boxing gloves on the market. Yet the “Save the Heifers” organization still insists that it’s quite unfair. “After all,” they say, when a cowpuncher stops his car to evade into a field cattle then says to “Bossie”: “Put ‘em up! Put ‘em up!” She never can. In retrospect … maybe it’s the “Save the Heifers” getting the bum steer.
In November, Hood River received some exciting and unexpected news: A private investment firm submitted a proposal to the Port of Hood River to build a new bridge across the Columbia River, a bridge that could be completed in five years.
Huzzah! Thanks to changes to state law permitting public-private partnerships, we finally have a path forward to replace a 93-year-old bridge that outlived its intended life span decades ago, barely meets minimal safety standards, and sucks up millions of dollars in patchwork maintenance year after year. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.
So what was the Port of Hood River’s response to the proposal? Executive Director Michael McElwee returned it, unopened. WHAT?! Perhaps the port thinks it should consider other proposals — except there are none. Perhaps the port wants to issue a request for proposal (RFP) to obtain other bids — but it hasn’t issued one, or even written one. Perhaps the port is waiting for state or federal funding for a new bridge — which is what it’s been doing for decades, and we all see how well that’s worked out.
The port is acting like it has plenty of time and plenty of options, when in fact, it has neither. The clock is ticking. United Bridge Partners obviously sees an opportunity in Hood River, but it won’t wait around forever. Other communities need bridges, too, and while the Port of Hood River does — well, we don’t know what it’s doing — United Bridge Partners will likely take its investment dollars and expertise elsewhere. We will be back to where we’ve been for decades: in dire need of a new bridge, with zero plans or money to actually build one.
Is the United Bridge Partners plan a good proposal? Is it the best proposal? We don’t know. But it certainly warrants careful consideration by the port staff and its publicly elected commissioners. What’s more, the public deserves some answers and some action. Opportunity is knocking. At the very least, the port needs to open the damn door.
Cuts are negative
The Republicans’ trickledown economic plan is one of the most proven economic plans in all of history. In its long, ugly track record, it has proven to create endless poverty wherever it has been in effect. Trickledown was the economic plan of the Middle Ages where the mass of western European humanity lived in abject poverty for centuries and it is the economic plan that has held many third world countries down for generation after generation. Why is it that such a failed plan is so strongly favored by Republicans?
Since Reagan instituted trickledown economics 35 years ago, we have seen a flood of jobs moving overseas as corporations and the very rich took their tax savings and invested them in countries like India, Thailand, and Romania. If you want to believe the right wing rhetoric that tax cuts stimulate the economy, then you have to believe that the economy has done superbly well for the last 35 years, that recessions have been mild and job growth for all Americans almost continually robust. Of course, this has not happened and if anything, the opposite has.
While the wages of the average worker have long been stagnate, we now have a right wing controlled Congress that wants to reward the very same people that have already benefited mightily from Trickledown Economics with even more tax cuts. These tax cuts are going to negatively affect education, infrastructure, and employment, and are very likely to totally destabilized the economy, yet a very few who already possess unbelievable riches will benefit to an incredible extent.
Why do Republicans like Greg Walden want to so badly harm the average worker in this country? What is in it for them?
N. Korea fears
Like a lion lying in wait patiently for its prey to make one false move, North Korea is subtly adding to its deadly arsenal and probing for soft spots in the armor of America. We tend to underestimate the guile and cleverness of North Korea’s ruling authorities. They carefully survey the outside world, and they are perfectly willing to exploit the weaknesses they detect.
Above all, North Korea’s “powers that be” are absolutely dead-set on keeping the 20 or 30 nuclear weapons they’ve built. They will not give them up. Pyongyang insists on being “recognized” as a “nuclear weapons state.” It will not compromise where this matter is concerned.
Donald Trump’s designation of North Korea as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” we‘re told, angered the Pyongyang government to no end. The truth of the matter is that North Korea feels itself to be under siege by “hostile outside forces,” with the U.S. leading the pack of Pyongyang’s foes. Memories of American saturation bombing during the 1952-53 conflict on the Korean Peninsula are constantly dredged up by the Pyongyang government. North Korea genuinely feels that it is a “victim” rather than the “victimizer.”
Things are, at the moment, fairly quiet along the heavily-armed border between North and South Korea. Some of this quietness may have more to do with the flights of advanced U.S. aircraft along the 28th parallel and in the China Sea, but much more of the peace and quiet represents Pyongyang’s feeling that it has made its point, and will save up its remaining “missile launch provocations” for next year’s Winter Olympics in the South. “If propaganda victory is what we want,” the North Koreans seem to be telling themselves, “then it’s best if we save some fireworks for February of 2018.” Poking a stick in the eyes of the U.S. and South Korea during the Olympics would rank as a huge propaganda win for Pyongyang.
The Kim family has bedeviled the U.S. and its allies for 70 years. Judging the public relations expertise by which they’ve handled themselves decade after decade, they will be bothering D.C., Tokyo and Seoul for another 70 years.
Frank W. Goheen
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
There’s misleading news out there about local recycling that needs to be cleared up so that we all remain empowered to continue recycling. Please spread the word … Everything that is separated is still getting recycled.
Cardboard and glass are getting recycled. If you separate your tin/steel/aluminum cans and drop them off at the transfer station in the scrap metal bin, they will also get recycled.
Deposited deposit bottles — glass and tin— get recycled and you get money back.
On a temporary basis, the co-mingled paper/plastic/tin is going to the landfill. All those involved in the business of recycling request that we continue to set these in our recycle bins or drop-off at the transfer station so that we stay in the practice of recycling. And of course, clean them up so that they can be stored for long periods of time and eventually recycled when they reach their destination. Personally, I’m going to stockpile my co-mingled pile until we get this “bidness” cleaned up.
And remember the three Rs: Reduce first, Reuse whenever possible, and Recycle the rest.
Just rest, David
What a great loss we had last month when we lost rock star David Cassidy, the greatest singer around in history. No other rock band can do what David did in the business of rock bands. David died from liver problems. David loved his fans and gave them the time to let them meet him or go see him backstage after his concerts. What a lovely man that David Cassidy was. He left too soon, but his music and he live on. God be with him in heaven and rest in peace, okay? No more problems David Cassidy has to deal with. Just rest, David my rock star.
Go see ‘Carol’
Don’t miss Plays for Non-Profits, this year showing a local adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” performed by wonderful local actors and actresses. It is a beautiful rendition of a holiday tradition, adding song and dance to liven the play and lead the audience through scenes.
Proceeds go to a worthy cause and the whole family will be entertained.
Indulge in delicious treats during intermission. Performances are at Wy’east Middle School Performing Arts Center, Dec. 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17, with tickets available at Waucoma Books and at the door (or showtix4u.com).