Opinion & Editorials

Say it isn’t so, Elmo. Please say it isn’t so.

ss

I hear that you and the gang recently moved away from PBS to bigger and shinier digs at HBO. Sesame Street lived on Public Broadcasting for the last forty-six years, the majority of my life. In fact, I was six months old when you started out, I am part of the first wave of human beings who became better people, thanks to the lessons you cultivated. You taught me how to read, share and think. I owe you big props for that, I do, but watching you become privatized is a lot like how it felt when the home I grew up in was put up for sale.

I thought you would always be there, right where I left you.

My kids grew up watching Sesame Street in between episodes of Clifford the Big Red Dog and Arthur. As a young mom, those hours were sometimes the only bit of quiet that I could coax out of the day and in turn your lessons were carried along by another generation. I felt good about that.

HBO’s new episodes debuted  and those new 30 minute episodes will eventually find their way to the airways on PBS, later this fall. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces the show, has been chugging along at a deficit after sales of children’s DVD’s and toys that bear the images of the beloved show have dropped over the last five years. Privatization, as it often is packaged, is supposed to be Sesame Street’s saving grace. Forgive me if I sound like the kid having a tantrum when I say this isn’t good enough. These are not the values that this show taught, the sheer goodness of showing what can happen when people work together. Sesame Workshop didn’t give the public a chance to save it, before it was sold to the highest bidder.

“I am so excited for kids to explore our updated neighborhood and discover where their favorite characters live,” said Carol-Lynn Parente, Executive Producer, Sesame Street. “Sesame Street has always been the ideal play date for preschoolers; now that play date is focused on topics and themes that are very engaging to kids, with our signature educational messages embedded into laughter and music.”

What they aren’t talking about is how the play date’s been moved to a gated community and millions of kids aren’t going to be invited through the front gate.

The new season will offer 35 half hour episodes. A traditional season of Sesame Street is 24 one hour episodes.

I wonder what the Count would say about that.

October in Palestine

by Deb Vanpoolen

Each day of October 2015 stories of public killings and other abuses against Palestinians have made their way around the globe. A Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an News that in October 2015 “at least 760 Palestinians were shot with live rounds across the occupied Palestinian territory, while another 1,857 were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets.  He said that a further 5,399 Palestinians were treated for excessive tear gas inhalation during the period.” More than ever, the truth about conditions of life and death in Palestine must be known, understood, and ended in order for justice and peace to come to the Middle East.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on October 22, “this crisis would not have erupted….if the Palestinians did not still live under a stifling and humiliating occupation that has lasted almost half a century.”

When I visited the West Bank of Palestine in 2013, I learned much about the area from Mazin Qumseyah, a geneticist who left his professorship at Duke University to teach at Bethlehem University and live in the West Bank village Beit Sahour where he grew up. Mazin said in his October 16th blog,

Since October 1, 2015 … 32 Palestinian youth including 8 children were killed and 1300 Palestinians (one third of them children) were injured. Seven Israelis were killed and dozens reported injured (none children). In compliance with Zionist masters and due to few Arabs bothering to act, most Western media ignore reality and speak the classic Zionist mythology that labels all resistance as terrorism and that only hopes for calm (but not freedom). It also ignores the systematic state terrorism inflicted every day for seven decades by a rogue colonial apartheid state on the “unwanted” natives. We Palestinians have always called for justice and coexistence with full human rights.  Now John Kerry representing Israel wants to come to calm things down. But the USA government is the reason for this mayhem as you fund and directly support the colonizers. People resist colonization. Only when you stop funding and arming and shielding Israel from International law, only then people can listen to you. The reason billions are sent to Israel is because of a Zionist lobby that intimidates and in many cases buys support from compliant politicians thus putting Zionist interests ahead of US public interest.

 

Keep GMO Ban, Defend Peoples’ Law

by Gregg Marchese

As has been reported, Jackson County is being sued by two GMO alfalfa farmers over the County’s Ordinance 635, the GMO crop ban passed this May by 66% of the voting citizens. The plaintiffs, Schulz Family Farms in Gold Hill, and James and Marilyn Frink in White City, are seeking damages for costs and losses under the County law, and to ‘permanently enjoin the enforcement of the ordinance’. They claim ‘Plaintiffs are entitled to an injunction maintaining the status quo by prohibiting the County from taking any action to implement or enforce the Ordinance.’

Jackson County is the defendant, but other groups and individuals have the legal right of intervention, if they are especially affected by the outcome of the lawsuit. That’s certainly the case here, and not just farmers. All citizens of Jackson County are affected by the spread of GMO’s and their associated toxic pesticides, and not just people and their children. Livestock, wildlife and the entire ecology can be harmed. Some will be filing for intervention, and this can only benefit the County, since legal costs can be supported by donations rather than the County general fund. Also, a better defense can be brought by people and groups who are more motivated, since they would be seriously harmed should the suit win.

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Where have all the taxes gone?

A Call for New Budget Committee Members to Help Ashland Parce its Funds

rain extinguishes
the fiery leaves of autumn—
smold’ring fun’ral pyre

An overnight rainstorm.  Run-off gushes down the sidewalk and street, transporting fallen leaves as it carves away at the pavement.  Because of the hill’s slope, most of those leaves end up in front of my driveway.

I pull my garbage can to the curb, negotiating wheels over broken cement that been worn away a full two inches lower than street level. If I don’t leave my cans in this curbside dent, the garbage man refuses to pick them up.

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Pimping for Pollution

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
81482_editorletter_md
I recently received an email newsletter from Rep. Greg Walden wherein he proudly states that he voted to defund the EPA.   Now either he is incredibly stupid or incredibly corrupt because the only reason to defund the EPA is to give a free pass to the powerful pollution industries.
Greg surely must know that our atmosphere and oceans are heating up due to a steady profusion of greenhouse gases and that we need the EPA more than ever to help stem that tide of death.  NASA, NOAA and The Defense Department know, the World Bank knows and most vintners, pear growers and foresters know.  But Walden and a chorus line of similar political pimps continue dancing for polluted dollars.
Our nation is not responding in an effective manner to global warming and climate change…primarily because of the powerful fossil fuel interests that influence too many politicians like Walden, but also due to propaganda outlets that mislead voters into thinking that media pundits and pimping politicians know more than scientists.
We are teetering on a moral cusp of life and death due to greenhouse gases and Walden once more voted for death.
Lee Lull
Talent, Oregon

A pain in the neck

ONE VETERAN’S STRUGGLE TO OBTAIN PROPER MEDICAL CARE

Vietnam veteran, Ted (not his real name), is currently in the process of working with the Jackson County Veterans Administration to right the wrongs of decades of misdiagnosed and mistreated physical pain. His is a jaw-dropping story of amazing resilience and fortitude in the face of improper medical care, a story that stems back to his basic training in the army in 1963, and carries important lessons, both for veterans returning from service, as well as the general taxpayer footing the bill.

alwaysbestcare

image from AlwaysBestCare.com

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Oregon is NOT for sale to Billionaires

To the Editor:

As Oregon general elections approach we are faced with clear choices as to the nature of the leadership that will lead us into the years ahead. I write to you today to request publication of this perspective that I believe to be of importance to your readers, to our local region and beyond.

Corporation’s unlimited contributions to political campaigns are now allowed across America through the Supreme Court ruling favoring ‘Citizens United’. This change to long standing American law gives undue power to corporations, and the ultra-rich. Wealthy donors contribute virtually unlimited amounts to campaigns, thereby influencing elections by promoting distortions that support their favored candidates or discrediting opponents.

As sovereign voters our litmus test for undue corporate influence is simple. When local Oregon candidate’s funds come from the wealthy top 1%, we must avoid voting for those candidates.  If elected they will not fully represent us but will unduly serve the contributors who bought them.

In this election, Monica Wehby, Dennis Richardson, and David Dotterrer are receiving substantial funding from wealthy outside sources. Jeff Merkley, John Kitzhaber, and Alan Bates, meanwhile, are buoyed by serving the aspirations of the people. Vote with legitimate local leadership in mind to save actual democracy.

Sincerely,

Douglas Peterson

We get letters… send yours to editor@rvcommunitypress.com

VOTE for Environmental Justice

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

“With liberty and justice for all.” The final line in the pledge of allegiance I recited every morning in grade school. I believed it was true. Hand over heart – I swear. But I was naively uninformed. Because for every ignorant and selfish action here, there are bad consequences for others elsewhere.

A prime example: America is the worst polluter, and yet we vote for people who allow fossil fuel companies to feed our over-consumption of cheap “stuff” and fuel, while denying that burning these fuels is causing climate change. The injustice: The rapid decline of our natural environment. Death, destruction and displacement of millions of people and wildlife because of hurricanes, tsunamis, fire, drought and freeze. These injustices bring untold suffering, but also breed terrorism in poor vulnerable countries.

If we want to be a world leader for justice, EVERY VOTE will matter on November 4. Local and state politicians make up the larger government. Which candidates are addressing this problem and which are ignoring or denying it? We must change our divisive politics and make this our common cause.

The hundreds of thousands who recently marched around the world for climate action have paved the way.

Diana O’Farrell
Ashland

We get letters… send your letters to editor@rvcommunitypress.com

Next step after the GMO crop ordinance: County Commissioners Vote

by Gregg Marchese

With the gmo crop ban ordinance now in place in Jackson County, we can once again all be a part of the ongoing historic movement to make Jackson County an even safer, more beautiful and vibrant place to live.

It’s hard to think of anything more important to our County and its new ordinance than the elections for County Commissioner (except maybe a pesticide Bill of Rights such as Josephine County has on its ballot now). 2 seats for County Commissioner are up for election this November.

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We need a new sheriff

Sheriff Mike Winters holds a news conference after Bradley Monical escaped from the Jackson County Jail in 2012.

“Promises made, promises kept”, touts Jackson County Sheriff Winters campaign materials. Running for another term, Mike Winters has a deeply rooted history of doing just the opposite of his shiny campaign slogans. From botched murder investigations to using Jackson County resources and funding to eradicate marijuana in outside jurisdictions; under Winters’ leadership, the sheriffs office has repeatedly failed to protect citizens and under his direction the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department has been hit with an alarming number of alleged human rights violations and other misconduct.

Jackson County can’t afford another four years with Sheriff Mike Winters.at the helm.

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