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March 1, 2013 04:45 PM

February 28, 2013 11:41 AM

The tide keeps on turning! From the AG's office:

 

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today announced that Oregon has joined two historic briefs in the United States Supreme Court supporting same-sex marriage. 

In Hollingsworth v. Perry, Oregon joined a brief prepared by Massachusetts urging the United States Supreme Court to strike down California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  Same-sex couples challenged the 2008 provision, arguing that it violated their rights under the federal constitution.  The trial court found no support for the proponent’s argument that a ban on same-sex marriage was necessary to protect children.  Supporters of the ban appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the district court’s decision. 

In addition, in United States v. Windsor, Oregon joined a brief prepared by New York and Massachusetts urging the Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  That federal law bans the extension of hundreds of federal benefits and protections to marriages validly recognized under state law.

In both cases, the amicus briefs argue that neither states nor Congress can justify discrimination against same-sex relationships based on assertions that unequal treatment is necessary to promote “responsible procreation” and child rearing by different-sex biological parents.  As the California trial court found after hearing the testimony of experts and reviewing hundreds of pages of material, there simply is no support for the notion that banning same-sex marriage does anything other than harm our citizens and their families.  The same is true for thousands of Oregonians.

“Having filed a ‘friend of the court’ brief in the United States Supreme Court in the 1990’s in the important civil rights case of Romer v. Evans, I am pleased that Oregon’s Department of Justice continues to play a significant legal role in a long tradition of supporting equality for all.  Our position in these cases isn’t about politics or popular opinion,” Rosenblum said.  “It’s about what’s right.  It’s about helping to end one of the last bastions of sanctioned discrimination against our friends, our co-workers, our brothers and sisters.  This is one of those moments that come along once every 20-30 years, like when the Court decided Brown v. Board of Education,  Loving v. Virginia, and Romer v. Evans.  These cases could change the course of civil rights and transform America.  On an issue of this significance, it’s important to take a stand.”

Governor Kitzhaber also expressed his support saying, “When we talk about marriage equality, we’re talking about the basic equality we demand for every person – the opportunity for a good education, affordable health care, access to upward mobility and a more prosperous life.”

Oregonians in 2004 approved a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.  No Oregon court has considered the kind of federal constitutional challenges to the Oregon ban that are presented in these cases.

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in these two cases on March 26 and 27, 2013.

February 27, 2013 12:32 PM

February 26, 2013 02:46 PM

 

Quick, someone please write a "How a Bill Becomes a Law" parody for House Bill 3371, which would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adults in Oregon. The legislation has been introduced in Oregon's House Committee on Revenue, and at first glance it looks most similar to Colorado's Amendment 64, which allows small personal gardens and has an impairment standard for intoxication while driving.

February 26, 2013 05:23 PM

Chris Hellman is the military budget specialist and senior research analyst at the National Priorities Project. He said today that while many have focused on looming reductions to military spending, "in fact, the Pentagon is in a better position to absorb these cuts because of sizable growth in [its] spending over the past decade." 

 

The group recently released the report "Sequestration, the Pentagon and the States," which finds: "Sequestration cuts discretionary spending to reduce the deficit. The military accounts for over half of all discretionary spending (57 percent). Military spending has grown by 35 percent since 2002, 48 percent if you include war costs. Domestic discretionary spending grew by only 8 percent over that period. 

 

"Despite a modest 2.6 percent decrease projected in FY2013 — the first such cut in over a decade — Pentagon spending will continue to grow over the next five years if sequestration does not occur. U.S. military spending accounts for 43 percent of the global total, five times more than China, the second largest military budget. A $1 billion federal investment in health care would create 2.4 times more jobs than investing it in the Pentagon. Cutting Pentagon spending will not affect veterans’ benefits."

 

Jo Comerford is executive director of the National Priorities Project and said today: "The federal government will reduce or delay needed investments in education, food safety, and infrastructure projects. And some two million people will lose their jobs." 

 

The group reports: "More than $700 million will be cut from Title I grants for disadvantaged public schools, affecting 1.2 million students. At the same time, 70,000 children will lose their slots in Head Start. ... Furloughs for public health officials will mean roughly 2,100 fewer food safety inspections and the potential for public health problems and shortages of some foods, as reduced inspections will slow production schedules. ... Treatment for adults and children with serious mental illnesses will be cut back, denying treatment for an estimated 373,000 patients. ...

 

    "A $50 billion cut in Pentagon spending could fund five years of Community Development Block Grants AND five years of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) AND four years of Homeless Assistance Grants."

 

This information provided by the Institute for Public Accuracy. The Eugene area contact is David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.

February 25, 2013 06:50 PM

Insect control made awesome. According to Oregon State University in Corvallis, "Trissolcus halyomorphae is a parasitoid wasp found in the native regions of BMSB (China, Korea, and Japan). It deposits eggs into the eggs of BMSB, where its larvae develop and kill the BMSB egg. A single adult wasp then emerges. Research is currently being done to evaluate this wasp as potential biological control agent of BMSB in the United States."

Mostly I just liked that it was bug reproduction set to cool music.

According to YouTube:

The video by Chris Hedstrom, a graduate research assistant at Oregon State University, showcases the life cycle of Trissolcus halyomorphae, an egg parasitoid of the brown marmorated stink bug, from mating to the emergence of the adult wasp from the host egg.

February 25, 2013 08:30 PM

More fun than mocking the Oscars: Watching Michelle Obama and Jimmy Fallon "Mom Dance."

Even better, given the slashes in school budgets to phys ed, the video helps draw attention to Obama's work on her Let's Move campaign for healther kids. Not only can the First Lady not  dance badly, shealso  invited Big Bird to the White House

February 22, 2013 06:24 PM

Lane County plans an animal services update at its Tuesday Feb. 26 meeting: 

>B. ORDER 13-02-26-10/ In the Matter of Confirming the Appointment of Dr. Duwayne Penfold and Approving the At-Large Appointments of Tamara Banavige and Jessica Berg as Members of the Lane County Animal Services Advisory Committee. (Mike Russell, Manager) (estimated 15 minutes)   (view material)

C. DISCUSSION/ In the Matter of the Status of the Lane County Animal Servicess Program and Update on Transition Issues. (Mike Russell, Manager) (estimated 30 minutes) (view material)

You can view the material via the agenda here. 
February 21, 2013 05:56 PM

February 20, 2013 05:47 PM

After 60 days of a hunger strike for shelter, Conrad Barney ended his strike, and SLEEPS and Barney are having a breakfast-for-dinner event 4 to 8 pm Sunday, Feb. 24, at Eugene's park blocks (8th & Oak). It's free and open to the public, and donations will go toward the SLEEPS strike team. Barney says he ended the strike "in good faith for the promised workshops regarding zoning laws and code 4.81 [Eugene's camping ban]" and to prevent serious health problems.

February 20, 2013 05:06 PM

EW reader Leah Chava of Imagine Salon was kind enough to email us this photo with the title "We Love you too! Eugene Weekly" Ahh shucks, you're making us blush, we do love our readers. Keep the pics of readers reading our rag acoming! Email to alex@eugeneweekly.com.

 

 

February 15, 2013 04:30 PM

Ninkasi presents for your viewing pleasure:

February 14, 2013 04:12 PM

A big ruling for the Western Environmental Law Center: WELC, which has offices in Eugene, succesfully argued the that the Bureau of Land Mangement can't keep secret the names of corporations that want to lease public lands to drill for oil and gas. “Every community has the right to know what corporations are seeking to drill on public lands near their homes and where they recreate,”  WELC attorney Kyle Tisde said. The press release is below.

Federal Agency Ordered to Reveal Identity of Corporations Seeking to Lease Public Lands for Oil & Gas Drilling

 

Court reverses BLM policy of keeping the nominators’ identity secret until after the lease sale

February 14, 2013

DENVER - A federal court ruled yesterday that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) policy and practice of keeping secret from the public the identity of entities nominating public lands for oil and gas development is unlawful.

The precedent setting ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in June 2012 by the non-profit organizations Citizens for a Healthy Community (CHC) and the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC).  The groups filed the suit after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) refused to reveal names of the entities that had nominated 30,000 acres of public lands in Colorado’s North Fork Valley for oil and gas drilling.  

“Every community has the right to know what corporations are seeking to drill on public lands near their homes and where they recreate,” said WELC attorney Kyle Tisdel. “The Court’s decision is a clear rebuke of BLM’s policy to protect industry at the expense of the public and its ability to fully engage the agency’s decisionmaking process.”

Federal oil and gas leases are issued pursuant to competitive bidding at a public sale, which is the final step in a process that starts with the submission of an expression of interest (EOI). Until now, BLM policy has allowed the identity of EOI submitters to remain secret until after the lease sale – depriving the public from participating in BLM’s oil and gas drilling decision-making on a fully informed basis.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Richard P. Matsch rejected the government’s contention that revealing the names of the nominators would give their competitors an unfair advantage and emphasized that the identity of the nominators is important information for citizens concerned about potential contamination of their water and air during the oil and gas extraction process.

“That contention runs directly contrary to the purpose of the public sale process. Competition in bidding advances the purpose of getting a fair price for a lease of publicly owned minerals,” Judge Matsch wrote. “Moreover, the identity of the submitter may be relevant to the plaintiff and others who may raise concerns about the stewardship records of that potential owner, a factor relevant to the environmental impact of the proposed sale.”

“This is a victory for everyone who believes the government should do its business in the open, and for everyone trying to protect their community from the severe impacts of oil and gas drilling,” said Jim Ramey, director of CHC. “The public has a right to know who nominated these leases, and we look forward to receiving that information from the BLM.”

The BLM announced in December 2011 that 30,000 acres of public lands in the North Fork Valley had been nominated for oil and gas leasing and development. The nominated parcels were included in the BLM’s August 2012 oil and gas lease sale; however, due to overwhelming public opposition spearheaded by CHC and WELC, BLM has twice deferred the lease of these parcels, most recently on February 6, 2013.

Western Colorado’s North Fork Valley is home to the largest concentration of organic farms in the Rocky Mountain West, and also home to West Elks American Viticultural Area’a 12 wineries. The region’s still growing sustainable local economy had been threatened by the nominated BLM leases.

Read a copy of the ruling here: http://www.westernlaw.org/sites/default/files/FOIA_Order.pdf

February 12, 2013 05:29 PM

Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston, who caused controversy in 2006 when he made comments about Hispanic people trying to take over the U.S. Southwest and again in 2011 when he said ignorant things about Centro LatinoAmericano, was arrested around 2:30 am Sunday, Feb. 10, and charged with DUII for driving under the influence of alcohol and another unidentified substance.

Ralston told the RG that his blood-alcohol content was "well under" the legal limit, and he accused the Springfield police of entrapment for following him out of the Whiskey River Ranch parking lot. Ralston has served as the Springfield City Council's Ward 4 councilor since 2000.