The Head & The Heart
The Head & The Heart
"On Sept. 1, Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct professor who had taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years, passed away at the age of 83." That is how attorney Daniel Kovalik begins his story of the death of an adjunct professor in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The editorial has been making the rounds with academics as Vojtko's life, teaching career and death highlight the way higher education treats — or mistreats — its staff.
As amazing as it sounds, Margaret Mary, a 25-year professor, was not making ends meet. Even during the best of times, when she was teaching three classes a semester and two during the summer, she was not even clearing $25,000 a year, and she received absolutely no health care benefits. Compare this to the salary of Duquesne's president, who makes more than $700,000 with full benefits.
Meanwhile, in the past year, her teaching load had been reduced by the university to one class a semester, which meant she was making well below $10,000 a year. With huge out-of-pocket bills from UPMC Mercy for her cancer treatment, Margaret Mary was left in abject penury. She could no longer keep her electricity on in her home, which became uninhabitable during the winter. She therefore took to working at an Eat 'n Park at night and then trying to catch some sleep during the day at her office at Duquesne. When this was discovered by the university, the police were called in to eject her from her office. Still, despite her cancer and her poverty, she never missed a day of class.
Here in Oregon United Academics of the University of Oregon — a union that represents adjuncts and full-time professors — excitedly announced yesterday that "Following months of negotiations, United Academics and the University of Oregon have reached tentative agreement on a historic first collective bargaining agreement!" For more information, go to the UAUO website.
Meanwhile, the classified staff (who don't teach but whose work on everything from landscaping to computer programming to course scheduling are key to the university's ability to run) is contemplating a Sept. 23 strike.
The Cascadia Forest Defenders are normally spotted in old-growth trees, but today they decicided to scale the Capitol building in Salem.
Here is CFD's press release:
Cascadia Forest Defenders Scale Golden Pioneer Proclaiming “KITZHABER'S LEGACY: PRIVATIZING THE ELLIOTT – CLEARCUTTING FOR PROFIT”
Salem, Oregon- This morning, two members of Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD) climbed off the side of the “Oregon Pioneer” statue atop the state capitol with a banner proclaiming “KITZHABER'S LEGACY: PRIVATIZING THE ELLIOTT FOREST – CLEARCUTTING FOR PROFIT.” The State Land Board—Governor John Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler— will decide on a proposal to sell 2,714 acres of the Elliott State Forest at their December 10th meeting.
The proposal comes after years of public protest and litigation over mismanagement of State Forest Lands as well as a sweeping lawsuit by conservation groups that has effectively halted most logging of sensitive habitat in the Elliott. With no guarantee that private owners would retain public values of conservation, CFD opposes the sale of public forest land.
“We are protesting because we think Oregonians deserve to know that their public land is being sold to private industry. If it is privatized, we will never be able to have a say on what happens to it again. This is our public comment,” says Erin Grady of Cascadia Forest Defenders.
The plans for privatization include three parcels in the Western side of the Elliott State Forest. All three parcels contain sections of mature, never-before-logged forest — suitable habitat for the marbled murrelet, an endangered sea bird that nests in old growth. This summer, a group of volunteer marbled murrelet surveyors with the Coos County-based conservation group Coast Range Forest Watch, documented murrelet nesting behavior in one of these parcels, making it a candidate for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Department of State Lands (DSL) says that the land sale is necessary in light of a pending lawsuit--filed last year by several conservation groups on behalf of the marbled murrelet — that has made the Elliott "unproductive." Cascadia Forest Defenders are concerned that the parcels will be sold to the highest bidder — most likely to private timber companies. Much of the private land that surrounds the Elliott State Forest is already managed by the Washington-based Weyerhaeuser Corporation, one of the largest landowners in North America. Under private ownership, raw logs from the 2,700 acres could be exported overseas, rather than processed in local mills, furthering hurting the economies of Douglas and Coos County.
Even under public management, sensitive habitat in the Elliott is threatened by destructive logging practices. The Oregon Department of Forestry will resume clearcutting of ancient forest within the Elliott this fall. Salander Between, a 32-acre timber sale of mature, never before logged forest in the Loon Lake watershed— a popular recreation spot for Coos and Douglas County residents— is up for auction in October.
“Considering what a small percentage of the Common School Fund is actually made up by logging the Elliott, it is a travesty to permanently destroy this ecosystem and further destroy the watershed of Coos and Douglas County Citizens,” says Ben Jones of Cascadia Forest Defenders.
DSL's proposal comes at a time when public officials at the state and federal level are also pushing for more aggressive management, and potentially privatization, of our O&C forest lands--millions of acres of low elevation forest currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
“Whether it's Defazio and Wyden on federal forests or Kitzhaber on state lands, Oregon democrats seems to be leading the charge on turning our remaining forests into dollars for private timber, at the expense of Oregon's people, watersheds and ecosystems,” says Jones.
No to privatization of the Elliott!
-Cascadia Forest Defenders
Carl Sciortino Jr. is running for Congress and his dad is proud. Mostly.
The openly gay Democratic House candidate Sciortino comes out to his tea party father in this awesome political ad.
Election season is on us. Let the ads begin. Step it up Oregon!
The FBI released its "Crime in the United States" data for 2012. Eugene recorded 72 forcible rapes in 2012, down from 78 in 2011, and it's interesting to compare Eugene's reported crimes to other cities in Oregon. There were 40 rapes reported in Salem in 2012, up from 32 the previous year. Portland is cut off of the chart below for space, but 231 rapes were reported there in 2012, down from 258 in 2011. (Portland data is included in the chart.)
When comparing statistics on sexual assault, the numbers don't really reflect reality — the Department of Justice's "National Crime Victimization Survey: 2006-2010" stated that nationally, the majority of rapes (56 percent) go unreported to police. Eugene's stats could mean that the city has an unusually high reporting rate thanks to the work of groups like Sexual Assault Support Services. It could also mean that the rate of rape is higher here. It could also mean that there is a low reporting rate and things are really, really bad. As a SASS staffer told EW over the phone: "It's not like comparing apples to oranges. It's like comparing apples to rocks."
The Lane County Commissioners will be getting an update on the now-canceled contract with Kaleidoscope Music Festival at Emerald Meadows. The will also be discusing another controversial outdoor venue, Prindel Creek Farm.
Want to weigh in? Public comments are at 9 am on Tuesday, Sept. 17 or Kaleidoscope has a page for its supporters to give comments here.
Uproar Festival - Ridgefield, WA 9.8.13
Alice in Chains
Coheed and Cambria
Beware of Darkness
Hiss Golden Messenger at Aladdin Theater (9pm, Sept. 4)
Photos by Trask Bedortha
Justin Townes Earle at Aladdin Theater (10pm, Sept. 4)
Photos by Trask Bedortha and Todd Cooper
Bonnie Prince Billy at Aladdin Theater (10pm, Sept. 5th)
Photos by Trask Bedortha and Todd Cooper
Bob Mould at Doug Fir Lounge (11:30pm, Sept. 5)
Photos by Trask Bedortha
Fred Armisen came out for the encore
Diplo at Wonder Ballroom (Midnight, Sept. 6)
Photos by Todd Cooper
Update: Comments are now working!
If you spend much time on either EW or the R-G's website, sooner or later you will run into some comments by MikeWrites. The R-G reported today that MikeWrites, aka Michael Patrick McFadden was one of the people arrested for protesting the closure of the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza. (Ironically for some reason I can't get the comments to work on this blog post).
McFadden has clarified his position and that he is not affiliated with SLEEPS in his comments on articles in the R-G. The image he is currently using for his MikeWrites discussion account is of Sen. Wayne Morse. For more on Morse, known for having said, "as long as I serve on this job I am going to serve my own master under obligation to no one" go here.
McFaddden explains why he was arrested and not cited and released as the three SLEEPS protester were
I exercised my fifth amendment right to not answer questions.
They sent me to jail to punish me for noncompliance.
At the jail I was threatened to be stripped naked and thrown in isolation if I remained silent to intake questioning.
So I assured them that I was not suicidal and was on no drugs and that I had no medical conditions.
mikewrites • a day ago
Well here it is folks. I am Michael Patrick McFadden, age 26.
I stood up for Wayne Morse yesterday and got arrested. I stood up for the Bill of Rights for every citizen and was treated like an animal. I was taken to jail because I exercised my fifth amendment right and that angered the police. I don't have to answer their questions.
I expected this to happen to me. But let me say that I am not and never have been involved with SLEEPS. I am not a SLEEPS protester. I work two jobs and live in a house with my wonderful wife who supports my stance. I have never been arrested before yesterday. I am a civil libertarian.
I don't agree with all of SLEEPS tactics, but I also don't agree with the corrupt Commission limiting me from lawful behavior because of SLEEPS. Their closure is unfair and unneccesary, the plaza is empty and not a health hazard. The police should address illegal behavior and not infringe on law abiding people. I walked unobtrusively off to the side of the empty plaza and sat underneath the Wayne Morse statue. I did not speak or make a scene or bother anyone.
It was a sad day for Oregon yesterday. There are better ways to solve the problem than this... I may return to go sit under Wayne Morse again today, after my arraignment at 1:00.
Words defeat me. I am Scandinavian. These are my people. We have a strange sense of humor, but I can't tell if these nice Norwegian men singing "What does the fox say?" and rhyming Morse and horse and making odd "fox" noises are being ironic.
Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio has weighed in on the possible war on Syria, saying:
I have yet to hear the administration answer two simple questions—what are our objectives and what is our long-term strategy in this conflict. This situation is incredibly fluid, but I currently do not support an open-ended, ill-defined intervention in another civil war. It's abundantly clear that there's no easy resolution to this conflict and the need for or potential effectiveness of U.S. military involvement is questionable at best.
McCain joked about it on Twitter.
From the Institute for Public Accuracy today:
Eryl Nassruns the Anthrax Vaccine blog and recently wrote:
Only seven nations are not parties to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Israel and Myanmar (formerly Burma) signed but failed to ratify the 1993 agreement. Five other nations failed to sign it: Syria, South Sudan, North Korea, Angola and Egypt.
Nations who are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention agreed to destroy all their chemical weapons by May 2012, but most have failed to meet that deadline, including the United States. Furthermore, it is by no means certain that all nations possessing chemical weapons declared them, so information on existing stocks of such weapons is incomplete.
Had the 189 nations who are members of the OPCW complied with the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention's required destruction of chemical weapons, there would be many fewer such weapons available for transfer and use. Unfortunately, the 2007 deadline for complete destruction was missed, as was the (final) extension to 2012 missed. So the U.S. and other nations are not in compliance with their responsibility and promise to destroy all their chemical weapons by last year.
So when Obama says that we know Syria's Assad has chemical weapons, Assad could be saying the same thing about us!"
See: "U.N. Chief Urges Full Chemical Disarmament by 2018," which notes: "The United States presently intends to wrap up destruction of its chemical arms by 2023."
Jacqueline Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, which focuses on weapons of mass destruction. They just released the briefing paper "The Rush to Bomb Syria: Undermining International Law and Risking Wider War," which states:
It is hard to see how breaking solemn undertakings to most of the countries in the world by neglecting treaties and principles of international law that the United States has agreed to will either bolster U.S. 'credibility' or enhance respect for international law. ...
International law provides no exception for the ad hoc use of force by states in cases involving the actual or possible use of prohibited weapons, such as chemical weapons, by states with which they are not at war. Standing alone, the allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government do not provide a legal basis for military action by any non-party to the conflict.
Unilateral punitive strikes justified as a defense of the global norm against chemical weapons are unlikely to actually protect Syrians or others against use of chemical weapons and other attacks, may do little to reinforce the norm or even undermine it, and could lead to a significant increase in the level of violence throughout the region.
There are viable international ways and means to respond to the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria that should be vigorously pursued before the use of force is considered.
Stephen Zunes is professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco and said today:
Syria, when it had a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council in 2007, introduced a draft resolution to create a weapons of mass destruction zone for the entire Middle East, but the United States blocked it.
Zunes notes that this would have included addressing Egypt's chemical weapons and Israel's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
He recently wrote the piece "The U.S. and Chemical Weapons: No Leg to Stand On," which states:
The first country to allegedly use chemical weapons in the Middle East was Great Britain in 1920, as part of its efforts to put down a rebellion by Iraqi tribesmen when British forces seized the country following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. According to Winston Churchill, who then held the position of Britain’s Secretary of State for War and Air, 'I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.'