Oregon has a national treasure, but the clock is ticking. Earl Newman is pushing 80, and he's been recognized by the Smithsonian, the Oregon Country Faire, the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and jazz fans in Japan as someone who has captured the essence in his art.
If the MacArthur people weren't asleep at the wheel, he would have received their grant by now. Artists are a dime a dozen; successful artists are even more rare; but Earl Newman is sui generis, in a class by himself.
On a call-in show, his neighbors and friends would swamp the lines. Earl's silkscreened posters have turned up in African huts, classic magazine cover shots, and in the final moments of the movie Sideways. Nobody in Oregon really knows he's here, and still alive, and still creating Art in simple ways.
As I said, the clock is ticking. But it's always ticking, isn't it?
How about- How do we grow stable local economies? It is obvious that globalizing the economy leads to instability and may not be a good idea for the future. How do things like local businesses, credit unions, locally grown foods, goods industries, and renewable energy fit into our future? How can we improve our mass transit (and not just in Portland) and look at the way communities are designed for the future of less petroleum?
How can we encourage community building: knowing our neighbors, who knows how to do what, community gardens, etc.? Are local currencies or a large scale barter system possible?
It seems that they way we have structured not just our economy, but the very stucture of living, is built on the availability of fossil fuels. Are we listening to or seeing the warning signs that we will be forced to change our life styles, wether we are willing to do so or not?
It worries me to see so many focused on quick fixes and band aides to major disasters without addressing our holistic instability. Why is no one discussing it? Are we too afraid to look at our reality? Change should not be so scary.
You can only stick your head in the sand for so long, I think its time to take a hard look at what reality looks like.
Generally, this is a great topic -- though I don't know how a single hour could do it any justice at all. It might be beyond the scope of TOL. Yet, it is very important for us to grapple with, and answer in some meaningful way, your questions.
We've enjoyed a century of nearly free, relatively safe, and abundant energy -- oil and its derivatives. There is hardly anything that packs as much energy in as small a volume or as little weight, and yet rather safely all things considered. Because we've enjoyed such abundance, our society (and I'm speaking provincially about the US) has also moved from one of mutual interdependences to a place where our very zoning itself forces us into the smallest viable unit... the single family. In the process, we've gained a measure of additional control over what we do each day and when we do it... but we've also lost a great deal, too, in terms of community. And there are few of us alive anymore to remember when it was different.
We really do need to learn how to return to community living and the point you bring up about knowing our neighbors better and community gardens is only one important aspect of myriad facets.
What it means to be a community varies depending on the circumstances. On the west side of the Cascades, where almost any of the land can grow food with very little effort, a different community form may arise than what would in eastern Oregon, where wider cooperation on some issues (water) might be needed.
You mention "barter." In the Depression years in Oregon, for example, barter was widely used in the Portland area. A dentist might perform a tooth extraction for someone, who would then make the dentist a pair of shoes in return. I spoke with some of those living in the Portland area as adults during this time period about what it was like here in Oregon when money was scarce and often heard that it was barely noticed, except for the programs that the gov't set up for work. Money had always been pretty scarce in Oregon (being a "capillary" system really and nothing like the huge arterial flows one sees in Chicago, Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, etc.) and people here had often bartered as a natural way of doing business. I think tax laws made it far more difficult and it may be almost a violation of law to do much barter business, now. Not sure, though, and would love to hear from someone who knows, for certain, on this topic. But what profit is made when one person trades a pig for a few dozen chickens, for example? How is it taxed?
As energy becomes an increasingly difficult issue (as it will), we are going to have to learn how to do more with less of it. And that really does mean returning much more to local independence. When we buy something from a large distributor in the midwest, because it seems cheaper in the moment for example, we do several things with that purchase. One is to move local knowledge out of our area. We do that because in failing to support a local business, we fail to support the maintenance of local talent as well. And in doing so, we also concentrate the knowledge into just a few hands, instead of many. In addition, whatever we buy must be transported and all that takes energy. We may not see the cost of that, so clearly. But it is there, all the same. It's far, far better to keep local knowledge alive and well by buying locally when reasonable. Of course, there are some products that can only be handled on a large scale... but your example of local, community gardens is an excellent example of something that obviously can be, and should be, done locally. We should learn to eat what can be locally grown and develop our tastes, appropriately. We can't grow coconuts here, so we should learn to not eat them. We can grow apples and filberts here. So those are fine. Etc.
We need to also learn how to do a much better job sharing our equipment. Often, especially in cities, each neighbor will own their very own lawn mower. Yet they only use it once every so often. Making, maintaining, and otherwise keeping so many lawn mowers is an unnecessary burden upon raw resources, maintenance services, parts and associated shipping (fuel and still more resources, itself), and so on. We need to learn to do much, much better. Community tool resources, like gardens themselves, might be a possible approach here.
Moving towards community also gives us a sense of "place," too. And that is not a bad thing, at all.
As a recent candidate for State Representative, I would like to suggest and participate in a show concerning campaign finance reform. Arizona and Maine have public campaign financing which seems to me to be the eventual solution to getting rid of the corruption and influence of money on our political process.
I did not accept money from out-of-state corporations and special interest groups and had over 800 individual contributors. That was a lot of work but I was not in debt to any contributors. Over 95% of my opponents funding came from groups that have an interest in legislation and his votes reflect that. Thanks, Jim Gilbert, Molalla
I agree with Jim Gilbert. It is so important, I would like to see a show on the way local government interacts with lobbyists, the way local government welcomes lobbyists and what government does for them and how government officials feel about their relationship with the lobbyists and what sort of things the officials
do as a quid pro quo (sp) and what influence lobbyists have, examples of government actions that were taken because of special interest influence that turned out not to be in the best interest of the general public. Is this system a good one, the best one we can come up with?
I would like to know the difference between lobbying and bribing and why it is a good idea to have big business choose our elected officials.
I wouldn't mind some shows about national issues. Voting machine fraud, the electoral college, instant run-off election, media's lack of investigative or critical reporting, the sort that would have landed law breakers working in the federal government in prison if the stories received more air time.
I am told by the government officials that I speak with lobbyists and special interest groups do not have a big influence on them. With out much knowledge on the subject I say "throw them out". It seems that special interest groups that are funded by big business to "gain access" to legislators to legislate on selfish interests of an industry could only distort the process in a way that would be detrimental to the general population. It has the appearance of a conflict of interest. Why are lawyers so concerned with the appearance of a conflict of interest yet politicians and government officials, some of whom do similar types of legal work, some of which is much more important than private law suits, be exempt from the appearance of a conflict of interest? Can I supply examples? On a national level why did the US attack "the wrong" county; Iraq? Following the money, big oil is making record profits, so one might deduce big oil set US policy to attack Iraq. Do things like that happen at the oregon state level? Does oregon have big business that might be manipulated? If so, what is it and how is it being manipulated? I do not hear your show often so my apologies if you have already done this, but even so, I wouldn't mind this sort of topic being a daily theme.
I would like to know revenue pathways in Oregon, where taxes come from and how they are spent, including the gas tax. I would like to see irresponsible businesses pay in a way that makes worthwhile for big business to act in thoughtful ethical ways, and companies and individuals that act in a forward thinking manor be rewarded by government. Are there any examples of these?
I would like to hear a show about corporate personhood. I would like to hear an interview with the secretary of state, do they take corporate oversight seriously? Have they ever prosecuted a corporation that was doing something illegal? I would like to know about it in this new age of government transparency. Is the SOS so conscious of creating or destroying jobs that corporate oversight must be thrown out? If so, shouldn't the SOS be proactive, luring responsible business people and industries here, walking them through multiple tax breaks that they would be eligible for based on building energy efficient super insulated solar oriented (low thermal storage south facing glass walls) factories with worker housing near by to save energy on workers commuting, rain water collection and green industries? Shouldn't government regulations aggsivly target and *help* eco tourism and things that showcase Oregon as a wonderful place and just as aggressively target industry that destroys nature and quality of live in Oregon? If government offcials have done anything like this on any level, lets showcase them, if not we the people need to understand why and how the government works so we can try to bring oregon back to being a wonderful wild place of nature with old growth douglas fir, redwood and cedar, healthy wild animals and fish and clean air (not like my house that gets fumes from paint from a local manufacturer). Lets promote the ecological health of the shallow river areas; the fish nurseries. Any government officials or anyone that has been trying to care for the state should be interviewed to see what is wrong and what is helping.
I am so grateful for this show for its depth and giving everyone with internet access a voice on your show, this is wonderful, thank you.
I would like to see a discussion of the War on Meth. I called in to ask what was on Kurt Schrader's political radar. (Schrader replaced Hooley.) I wanted to know what his position was on funding Head Start and allowing Head Start to delegate funds for parenting classes for it's consumers. This practice is not allowed under the current administration and hamstrings our efforts to battle the Meth epidemic. Prevention is the most neglected of a three prong attack on the Meth epidemic. Even in the best of neighborhoods families are no longer safe from the symptoms of this epidemic such as violence and property crime.
Regardless of my own views, what resources and strategies will be allocated to this state wide concern?
HIGH SPEED RAIL SERVICE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST! ITS TIME WE BOARD THE TRAIN
Nov. 5th Californian's approve prop 1A giving the go ahead on a massive infrastructure project that would develop high speed (Asian/European Style) rail service from LA to San Fransisco. I spent a year living in Tokyo and on a daily basis road their superb rail lines. They were efficient, affordable, timely, and reliable. I think California is on the right track and Oregon and Washington should move swiftly to follow their example. President-elect Obama has just announced his plan for massive infrastructure projects across the nation and I can't think of a more environmentally friendly project that a high speed rail line running from Eugene, Oregon to Seattle, WA. It could boost jobs in state's that have traditionally higher unemployment rates than the rest of the nation during economic slow downs and we have proved through MAX and other mass transit systems that we make good use of these projects! California's project is 800 miles long and projected to cost 10 billion dollars. Eugene to Seattle is half the distance, on flat terrain and has no passes to dig under or climb over. WE COULD DO THIS if enough people come together and support it!
This is definitely on our radar. The first question, though, is whether or not the recent CA news might lead to any meaningful discussions or action in OR and WA. We're looking into it.
I hear rumors of a new state flag. Substantiated by a Google search: http://neworegonflag.org/NOF%20Home.html What is the story here? The proposed design (I don't know how formal the proposal is?) doesn't really excite me.
I checked out the web page for the new flag...it looks like it is someone's personal page. The flag design is terrible in my opinion. I admit the current flag is a little boring...but the design on that site is worse. I'd like to see a flag that incorporates our coat of arms on a more colorful flag as well as incorporating our Native American heritage
This seems to be a brilliant topic for discussion. Intending no disrespect, Oregon's flag looks like the label on a can of discount peas, or Darth Vader's underwear. Human beings coexisted peacefully with the beaver until the covered wagons showed up and thinned everything out, so Oregon could reasonably retire a few icons in the name of state cultural diversity and history. Perhaps replace them with tributes to every Oregonian who has ever lived on this land. Eagle feathers seem appropriate, and apt.
Although we should definitely keep the state motto, because it still applies, and ditto the state slogan, the flag of Oregon needs some change, and more color. The current design may be something Nebraska would be interested in recycling after tweaks.
I'd like to hear a show that continued with some of the ideas in today's show regarding a sustainable economy: Is it feasible to continue to rely on an economy that is dependent upon on selling stuff we don't need? Is it possible to have an economy that relies more on services?
OPB has a great history of reporting on stories regarding Native Americans. I applaud this effort but I would like to see a more in depth story that really gets to the heart of the Native American genocide as told from Native point of view. I believe there is still a huge chasm of acknowledgement and reconcilliation that needs to be bridged between Native Americans and the rest of us.
Thanksgiving might be an appropriate time for such a story as there seems to be many Americans that dont truly understand that everything they have is a direct result of the tragedy that took place with the Native Americans. All of this land and the resources that have made America the strongest nation in the world were taken, yet this is rarely, if ever acknowledged. All those who immigrated to America and have since been born in America have a huge debt to pay.
American presidents stand up on the world stage and chastise other countries/leaders for their actions yet this same government still has not fulfilled (and even broken) treaty obligations made decades ago. This is a story that needs to be told over and over again until we finally fully acknowledge the autrocities of the past and the ongoing suffering of Native populations due in large part to continued government actions (or inactions).
I believe there needs to be National reconcilliation with the tribes of this country and at the very least a National day of recognition. America prides itself on values, liberties, freedom, justice and the pursuit of happiness for all. However, back in the day when the U.S. wanted more land and resources it apparently wasn't convenient to think of the Nation's first people as equal under the eyes of the creator. Native Americans have a rich history and much they can teach us.
As an ancestor of European immigrants I hope that one day the past will be fully reconciled so that we can all move forward as one people in this great nation.
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