China vs. America

What’s more important to you: American factory jobs or cheap stuff? As America’s factory-based industries move production lines to China, American workers lose tens of thousands of jobs but the rest of us gain the ability to buy some of our favorite items at all-time low prices.

Perverted justice?

Xavier Von Erck and his Southeast Portland-based online group Perverted Justice are perverted all right. Formed in 2003, the ironically named group, which is mostly staffed by volunteers, trolls internet chat rooms looking for “would be” pedophiles and induces them to commit a crime.

A shiny new Portland

Downtown isn’t what she used to be. The small, poorly lit, slightly dirty Safeway has long since been demolished and replaced by a shinier version topped by higher-end apartments. The ever-boring Buffalo Exchange has replaced Ozone Records, the grungy little record store that used to be across from Powell’s that added so much flavor to the downtown experience.

The old bait and switch

Ethanol is cheap, easy to make and abundant, since it is made from vegetation. It’s environmentally friendly and can help America curb its addiction to foreign oil. Or at least that’s what the General Motors Company want you to think with their “Live Green: Go Yellow” ad campaign.

Spread too thin

I’ve been waking in a cold sweat in recent weeks. Not because of ignored schoolwork or looming automotive repairs, though both are concerns. No, my dreams have been more frightening. I’ve woken up nearly ever morning for the last several weeks shaking, my brain fresh with dreams of being drafted to fight in the Iran war.

No Smoking!

Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard doesn’t want you to be able to smoke in public parks, golf courses or at Portland International Raceway. There has even been consideration of a sidewalk smoking ban in Portland. After years of working as a firefighter, Leonard has witnessed the effects and repercussions of lifelong smoking and would like to help prevent them.

Drive without guilt

Yes, global warming is real, the polar icecaps are melting at astonishing rates and worldwide sea levels could rise as much as 20 feet over the next several decades, engulfing major cities worldwide. But it’s not totally your SUV’s fault-or any car’s fault, for that matter.

Change is on the way

The 109th Congress didn’t like you. They didn’t like you very much at all. Whether it was cutting $12.7 billion from federal student-loan programs or refusing to raise the minimum wage, it is pretty clear who was No. 1 in their book. The last Congress was considered the most “do nothing” Congress since 1948.