Rep. Duncan D. Hunter of California is trying. Yesterday, he introduced the War Memorial Protection Act, a bill that would enshrine into law the ability for federal war memorials in the public square, like the one in Coos Bay, Oregon, to include religious symbols. It’s a direct response to moves by groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State who make it their business to, well, separate church (the crosses and other religious symbols) from state (the U.S. government’s memorials, existing on public property and paid for with public funds).
The bill would be all the more remarkable if it were a new idea. But it isn’t. Last year, in fact, the U.S. House passed by voice vote the same act, also introduced by Hunter.
A National Rifle Association representative, relatives of two people killed in a December mall shooting spree and others took part in a passionate gun control debate Friday as Oregon’s Legislature began considering bills that would impose new gun restrictions but wouldn’t go as far as some lawmakers had hoped.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard four hours of public testimony on a package of four bills that would expand background checks and add new restrictions on carrying firearms.
The daughter and husband of a woman shot dead at a suburban Portland shopping mall urged lawmakers to adopt the legislation and asked for additional measures, such as requiring that guns be kept locked up.
“The gun that was used to kill my mother was stolen,” said Jenna Passalacqua, daughter of Cindy Yuille, one of two people fatally shot by Jacob Roberts as he opened fire inside the Clackamas Town Center on Dec. 11. Roberts, who killed himself after the shooting, had stolen the AR-15 from a friend.
“Had that gun been locked up properly, she might still be alive today,” said Passalacqua, one of more than 100 people who showed up at the hearing to testify.
Roe v. Wade guaranteed abortion as a legal right across the country. A separate decision two decades later, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, guaranteed states’ rights to limit access to abortion, so long as it did not pose an “undue burden” on the woman.
States have, over the past four decades, made no short use of that latter right. Only one state, Oregon, has not layered additional restrictions on top of the Roe decision. At the other end of the spectrum is Oklahoma: With 22 abortion restrictions, it has more than any other state. The chart below, courtesy of Remapping the Debate, has the full list. You can also go here for an interactive version of the graphic, which will let you look at what type of restrictions each state has set.
Bomb threats to 30 courthouses and other government buildings across Tennessee forced many to be evacuated Tuesday, including the federal building in Memphis, but authorities said no explosives were found.
Tennessee became the fourth state to deal with similar bomb hoaxes. One targeted 28 courthouses in Oregon and similar threats were reported in Nebraska and Washington this month.
Nine threats were reported in West Tennessee counties — including the Memphis federal building — seven in Middle Tennessee and 14 in East Tennessee, said Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security spokeswoman Dalya Qualls.
No arrests have been made in Tennessee and authorities had searched about 14 courthouses by Tuesday afternoon.
Gay-rights advocates scored a major and unprecedented victory at the polls yesterday as voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage. In Minnesota they defeated a proposed constitutional amendment, modeled on federal law, that would have banned same-sex marriage in the state.
With that, nine states—Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington—and the District of Columbia—have solidly approved same-sex marriage. Another 12 states permit ‘domestic partnerships’ or ‘civil unions,’ which provide varying degrees of rights. (The laws in New Jersey, California and Oregon give same-sex couples virtually all the state law rights opposite-sex married couples have.)
A study released Wednesday by a respected Mexican think tank asserts that proposals to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington could cut Mexican drug cartels’ earnings from traffic to the U.S. by as much as 30 percent.
Opponents questioned some of the study’s assumptions, saying the proposals could also offer new opportunities for cartels to operate inside the U.S. and replace any profit lost to a drop in international smuggling.
The ballot measures to be decided on Nov. 6 would allow adults to possess small amounts of pot under a regimen of state regulation and taxation. Polls have shown tight races in Washington and Colorado, with Washington’s measure appearing to have the best chance of passing. Oregon’s measure, which would impose the fewest regulations, does not appear likely to pass.
The study by the Mexican Competitiveness Institute, “If Our Neighbors Legalize,” assumes that legalization in any state would allow growers there to produce marijuana relatively cheaply and create an illicit flow to other states, where the drug could be made available at cheaper prices and higher quality than Mexican marijuana smuggled across the international border.
The report, based on previous studies by U.S. experts including those at the RAND Corporation, assumes that Mexican cartels earn more than $6 billion a year from drug smuggling to the U.S.
It calculates the hypothetical, post-legalization price of marijuana produced in Oregon, Washington and Colorado and sold within those states and smuggled to other states. It then assumes that purchasers around the U.S. will choose domestic marijuana when it is sold cheaper than the current price of Mexican marijuana. That choice will lead to a loss of $1.425 billion to the cartels if Colorado legalizes, $1.372 billion if Washington approves the ballot measure, and $1.839 billion if Oregon votes yes, the study says
In 1947, the last wolf in Oregon was shot and killed for a bounty fee of $5 in the wilderness near Crater Lake.
Now, after more than 50 years of absence, the animals are staging a comeback. They have established themselves in the eastern quarters of the state and are subsisting on local elk and deer herds-and, as might be expected, the occasional cow and sheep. Also quite predictably, the return to Oregon of one of the world’s most maligned and persecuted predators has Oregonians passionately polarized on the matter, with many people fully in support and others adamantly opposed to the animals’ reappearance. Livestock ranchers have led the campaign to stop the return, which is occurring naturally-although only as a result of the 1995 reintroduction of Canadian gray wolves to the Yellowstone National Park region, in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Those animals have thrived and flourished, and experts expect that the same could happen in Oregon.
The first wolf to return to Oregon in modern times entered the state from Idaho in 1999. The animal, known as B-45F to researchers, was trapped and sent home to Idaho by wildlife officials, however. Subsequently, two other wolves were hit and killed by cars in Oregon, and one was shot by a poacher, according to Sean Stevens, executive director of the wildlife and natural space advocacy group Oregon Wild, who recently spoke with me by telephone. But in 2007, an animal wearing a remote tracking collar and named B-300 by researchers, who had tranquilized and handled it in Idaho, entered Oregon. Here, it put down roots, and in the summer of 2009, officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the presence of three adult wolves and three pups in Wallowa County-the first wolf pack in Oregon in about six decades.
Explorers plumbing the depths of a cave system in Oregon have uncovered a new family of spiders, according to a report from the Washington Post.
The team was exploring the caves of the Siskiyou Mountains when they came across the spiders, and sent samples to the California Academy of Sciences. Specialists there confirmed that the spiders are so unique that they had to create a new family in which to classify them. Called Trogloraptor, from the Latin for “cave robber,” the spiders are the first new family of North American arachnids named since the 1870’s.
“We used anatomy. We used DNA to understand its evolutionary place. Then we consulted other experts all over the world about what this was. They all concurred with our opinion that this was something completely new to science,” said Charles Griswold, curator of arachnids at the California Academy.
Norman Platnick of the American Museum of Natural History described the significance of the find, saying, “Because it belongs to one of the more primitive groups of true spiders, it has the potential to change many of our current ideas about the early evolution of spiders.”
“But it is better than a fossil, because we can study the entire organism, along with its behavior and physiology, not just those aspects that happen to have been fossilized.”
Armed with a pair of formidable claws, the spiders appear to snatch food from the dark cave environment around them.
This is sickening. Animal lovers, decent people, humans with a conscience, let the companies that sponsor rodeos that allow this sort of abuse know how you feel about it. This is not “sport”, it’s cruelty.
Warning: The video contains extremely disturbing images.
They’re real proud of their rodeo in Jordan Valley, Oregon. Unfortunately, the men (and women) don’t feel like men unless they’re abusing animals.
In this video we focus on the horses roped, slammed to the ground, and sometimes dragged by the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo’s signature event, Big Loop horse roping.
Shame on Les Schwab Tire Centers and the Idaho Power Company sponsor this outrageous abuse. Please contact each and tell them to stop their participation in such cowardly cruelty.
When Wendy Parris shattered her ankle, the emergency room put it in an air cast and sent her on her way. Because she had no insurance, doctors did not operate to fix it. A mother of six, Ms. Parris hobbled around for four years, pained by the foot, becoming less mobile and gaining weight.
But in 2008, Oregon opened its Medicaid rolls to some working-age adults living in poverty, like Ms. Parris. Lacking the money to cover everyone, the state established a lottery, and Ms. Parris was one of the 89,824 residents who entered in the hope of winning insurance.
With that lottery, Oregon became a laboratory for studying the effects of extending health insurance to people who previously did not have it. Health economists say the state has become the single best place to study a question at the center of debate in Washington as the Supreme Court prepares to rule, likely next week, on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law: What are the costs and benefits of coverage?
In a continuing study, an all-star group of researchers following Ms. Parris and tens of thousands of other Oregonians has found that gaining insurance makes people feel healthier, happier and more financially stable. The insured also spend more on health care, dashing some hopes of preventive-medicine advocates who have argued that coverage can save money — by keeping people out of emergency rooms, for instance. In Oregon, the newly insured spent an average of $778 a year, or 25 percent, more on health care than those who did not win insurance.
For the nation, the lesson appears to be mixed. Expanded coverage brings large benefits to many people, but it is also more likely to increase a stretched federal government’s long-term budget responsibilities.