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October 14, 2013 05:55 PM

Bill Moyers talks about dollars vs. democracy and how the disfunction in Congress has been orchestrated.

October 11, 2013 04:47 PM

Apparently coal company execs and public relations flacks crack up over climate change. Posting on the desmogblog, Mike Stark of FossilAgenda writes of an interaction he recorded at a September coal conference in Pittsburgh. Lauri Hennessey does PR for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports (which Stark calls "a front group for coal mining and rail corporations that would profit from the export of Powder River Basin coal").

Hennessy was on a panel called "Moving Coal from Coast to Coast — Domestic Infrastructure Challenges for Rail, River, and Ports" in which Stark says she "repeatedly called the citizens of Oregon and Washington 'weird' and 'strange.'" Stark approached  Matthew Ferguson, Arch Coal's senior vice president for thermal coal marketing for an interview. But before the interview, Ferguson chatted with Hennessey. Stark recorded the conversation. You can read the transcript here or listing below, but here's what Hennessy and Ferguson said:

Matt Ferguson: Your comment on the civil unrest was quite funny.

Lauri Hennessey: Oh wasn’t it? Yeah, I got, I got hassled.

Matt Ferguson: Yeah, it’s like, let’s be adults here.

Lauri Hennessey: That was a project like a year ago, and, I think it was my second week on the job. So, I grew up in the Northwest, and I don’t know if you saw, I used to work for EPA a long time ago?

Matt Ferguson: Did you? [laughter]

Lauri Hennessey: Yeah. [inaudible]  So I have - and I also worked for Bob Packwood on the Hill - so I have both sides. But we’re connected.

I worked with EPA, and I pull that out in the right crowds, because in the Northwest, that's a good thing, right? But it's funny because I never really went out of my way to mention it to our Alliance board before. And one day I was quoted in the paper, because again I was speaking to the audience in Seattle, and I was like, "Well of course we're concerned about climate change. Everyone's concerned about climate change. But what we're saying is this is not going to contribute to climate change."

But someone from Peabody got on a call, it was my second week on the job, and said, "You were quoted saying coal’s worried about climate change? We don't believe in climate change!”  And I remember I was on the phone and I was like, "I can't say that..ha. I can't say that in Seattle!"

[laughter]

Matt Ferguson: Not worried about it!

Arch Coal rep 2: You can say that in St. Louis, but you can't say that in Seattle.

Matt Ferguson: Yeah. It’s not gonna happen.

Lauri Hennessey: Yeah, I can’t say it in Seattle, and I remember she just goes, "Wow, we really have different regions, do we?!" 

Matt Ferguson: I think what you do is say, you're trying to help people out of poverty in the Far East. Yeah.

Lauri Hennessey: Exactly! And I did that.

Matt Ferguson: Do they not deserve to enjoy prosperity? Like we have? Don't be so selfish, you jerks! [laughter]

According to Hennesey's old bio on her former Hennessey PR webpage (courtsey of the Wayback Machine) before she worked for Big Coal, Hennessey "began her career in the newsroom at KIRO radio twenty years ago. In the years after that, she worked as a press secretary in Washington, D.C. for two Northwest Members of Congress, ran a large public affairs office for a Northwest federal land management agency, and worked as a special assistant for the regional head of the Environmental Protection Agency." 

One of the Northwest members of Congress was Bob Packwood, who stepped down after a sexual harrassment scandal. Her bio goes on to say ""Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Oregon and Washington, Lauri worked closely on issues involving forestry, salmon, growth management, tourism, and much more. She supervised a large staff, and was directly responsible for Congressional relations, and was the lead spokesperson for the agency in the Northwest. She was also loaned to the office that implemented the Northwest Forest Plan, then President Clinton's attempt to end long-running debates over Northwest forests, and worked with the White House on message development, organized press conferences, and worked with local governments. At the EPA, Lauri worked with the Regional Administrator, and worked closely with the public on his behalf."

Stark writes of the conversation he recorded, "They also seemed to talk as if they are a separate species from the people who happen to live in the path of their planned rail and port terminal expansions, mocking those who are asking reasonable questions about the impacts of exporting America's coal to Asia. They clearly regard with contempt the majority of Americans concerned about climate change."

October 11, 2013 09:44 AM

Mayor Kitty Piercy welcomes residents to Opportunity Village, gives kudos to those who helped make it happen, and talks about the need to do more.

October 10, 2013 03:48 PM

Fears of a zombie apocalypse (or the government equivalent coming to get you) are driving bullet sales nationwide. Better stock up.

October 9, 2013 12:16 PM

Canadian Nicole Foss and New Zealander Laurence Boombert will be speaking on "Facing the Future" at 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 9, at First Congregational Church, 4515 SW West Hills Road in Corvallis. They will also speak in Portland at 7 pm Oct. 10 at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont.

October 7, 2013 03:32 PM

Seeds of Death is a new documentary looking at Monsanto's environmental record and claims about safety of genetically modified organisms. The big "March Above and Beyond Monsanto for Food Freedom" is coming up at 11 am Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, Oak and 8th in Eugene.

October 4, 2013 09:37 AM

Behavior Castle presents Peach Kelli Pop's Kids Only show live at Paper Moon Photo Studio

October 3, 2013 05:35 PM

Bill Maher talks about Jerry Brown and California's lack of Tea Party influence, serving as hope for a nation dragged down by outdated conservative thinking. "We don't give a shit about the NRA," says Maher.

October 3, 2013 10:52 AM

Nathan Schneider is author of the just-released book Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. He was the first reporter to cover the planning meetings that led to Occupy Wall Street and wrote about it for Harper’s MagazineThe Nation, and The New York Times. Here is a quote from his new essay "The Government Shutdown — an Anarchist Dream?"

 

In his complaints against the wing of the Republican Party that engineered the present government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid derided his opponents as “Tea Party anarchists.” It’s hard to decide who should be more annoyed — the Tea Party or the anarchists. In any case, Reid’s remark is revealing of how the long tradition of anarchist philosophy has been thrown under the bus of U.S. political discourse, then rolled over, then dragged along in mangled form so as to be pointed at when doing so seems expedient.

 

Many may be surprised, for example, that actual anarchists aren’t necessarily rejoicing over the U.S. government’s latest form of self-annihilation. What they see taking place is a transfer of power from one kind of oppression, by a government that at least pretends to be democratic, to another that has no such pretensions. They point out that the shutdown won’t stop the NSA from spying on us, or police from enforcing laws in discriminatory ways, or migrant workers and nonviolent drug users from being imprisoned at staggering rates. The parts of government that the shutdown strips away are among those that bring us closer to being a truly free, egalitarian society: food assistance to ensure that everyone can eat, health care that more people can afford, and even public parks, where some of our greatest natural treasures are held in common. Meanwhile, ever more power is being handed over to corporations that are responsible only to their wealthiest shareholders.

 

Historically, the so-called libertarians of the Tea Party and anarchists have common roots. The origins of both can be traced to certain freedom-seeking strands of the Enlightenment  — including thinkers like Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson, as well as ones not normally taught in U.S. classrooms like William Godwin and Peter Kropotkin. It’s an oddity that in the U.S., the main current of libertarian thought has been twisted and inverted into a kind of monstrous stepchild. Rather than seeking an end to all forms of oppression, our libertarians want to do away with only the government kind, leaving the rest of us vulnerable to the forces of corporate greed, racial discrimination, and environmental destruction. The legacy of one firebrand Russian émigré, Emma Goldman, has been traded for that of another, Ayn Rand. The result is that, in this country, what was once the mainstream of libertarian thought — socialist, democratic anarchism — has become so forgotten that the word “anarchist” can be mishandled for the sake of a congressional jab.

 

This quote is courtesy of the Institute for Public Accuracy, www.accuracy.org