Oregon Health Authority, along with ODA, DEQ, and ODFW yesterday released a statement on a Portland State University oyster study. Portland TV was all over it last night, breathlessly "reporting": Pharmaceuticals have been found in Oregon shellfish!
Boy Howdy, even though I don't eat shellfish, I'd have been concerned - except that I had actually read the statement.
Oregon is fortunate to have a system, set forth by a collaboration of state agencies with clear, active roles, for protecting our coastal waters, the shellfish species that call them home, and the many Oregonians--and people around the world--who consume them.
Taken together, the oyster tissue samples from these studies showed:
--Low levels of contaminants, which were below OHA health screening levels.
--Levels of mercury that were low compared to other fish tissue around the state and similar to levels in clam and mussel samples collected from the same areas and below the OHA health screening level.
--Low levels of pharmaceuticals. The following is the amount of oyster meat that would have to be consumed to get a single dose of the pharmaceuticals at the amounts found in the oysters:
--- Naproxen (active ingredient in Aleve): more than 160,000 pounds.
--- Azythromycin (common antibiotic): more than 170,000 pounds.
--- Sulfamethoxazole (antibiotic): more than 630,000 pounds.
--- Diphenhydramine (antihistamine): more than 50,000 pounds.
Somehow, even if I happened to be really big on eating shellfish, it seems doubtful that I could pack away 50,000 pounds of them. But naturally, the TV "reporters" hype it up as though it's a huge health problem. Everybody Panic! They really give a whole new meaning to the term, "shuck and jive".
Health officials continue to encourage everyone to eat a variety of shellfish as part of a healthy diet.
Oh darn, the TV folks kind of left that part out. Along with the stats on how much meat you'd have to eat to receive a single dose of the pharmaceuticals. This is why I watch TV news purely for entertainment purposes while preparing dinner.
Since Portland's rolling in dough, they figure they can subsidize home ownership for 65 families who were forced out of their residences in north and northeast Portland due to gentrification (as well as the city's own urban-renewal programs).
The program is aimed at helping African-American residents who've been pushed out of the neighborhood by rising rents and housing prices.
Seems kind of racist; I used to live in northeast, but my skin's melanin-deprived, so I wouldn't qualify for their subsidy. I just get to help pay it.
Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries responded with a lengthy and wide-ranging attack on the couple, ordering them to pay the $135,000 penalty and not to say “certain things about their religious faith.” Officials overseeing the case even stated publicly that people with such beliefs need to be “rehabilitated,” according to court records.
Brad Avakian was head of BOLI when this went down; he's now running for Secretary of State and harbors ambitious plans for attempting to do a number of things that don't fall under the purview of the SoS. In other words, exactly what he did as head of BOLI, only more so. Now, the Kleins are kicking things up a notch:
Now they have appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals, arguing the state violated their constitutional rights to religious freedom, free speech and due process.
Avakian, for example, before hearing the case against the Kleins, “made numerous public comments on social media and in media interviews revealing his intent to rule against them,” according to the brief.
“He stated that the Kleins had ‘disobey[ed]’ Oregon law and needed to be ‘rehabilitate[d].’ By failing to recuse himself from the case, while harboring a bias against the Kleins, Commissioner Avakian deprived the Kleins of their right to due process with a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal.”
The brief also contends the $135,000 penalty was gratuitous and excessive and that the agency order violates Oregon law, the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution. The complaint asserts the state agency violated constitutional prohibitions against compelled speech, free speech, due process and limits on the exercise of their religion.
Yeah, Brad kind of messed up by running around to media and making comments like "they need to be rehabilitated". That alone shows just how unhinged the guy is; a baker and her husband need to be "rehabilitated" because a state official disagrees with their religious views. It's one thing to note that your views are at odds with their beliefs, but it's way out there to start talking about forcing them into some sort of rehab because you disagree with them.
Residents in Southeast Portland filed a lawsuit last week against Bullseye Glass, seeking a billion dollars over the release of toxic metal residues associated with production of stained glass, but DEQ and OHA just presented some bad news for the plaintiffs:
New air monitoring data show levels of most heavy metals near two Portland glass factories are staying at or below concentrations expected in urban environments, and well below levels of immediate health concern.
The new data, culled from 24-hour air monitors deployed in southeast Portland near Bullseye Glass Co. and north Portland near Uroboros Glass, cover sampling between April 1 and April 4. They show concentrations of most metals, including cadmium and arsenic, have remained below levels that would be expected in urban environments.
None of the sampling results were higher than the Oregon 24-hour screening levels. That means there is no immediate or urgent health risk related to these new results.
State and County agencies are continuing to monitor emissions from the glass companies, as well as emissions from Precision Castparts further to the south. In addition to the fact that there are no immediate health risks, they've stated that it appears that long-term risks are low.
That billion dollars looks to be fading in the rear-view mirror.
UC Berkeley plans to cut 500 jobs ahead of California's state-wide $15 minimum wage; not because it's kicked in all the way, but because they actually have some people who can see what's coming and plan ahead. Guess who's first up on the old chopping block?
Yep, a Roomba can do that. UCB was already looking at a sizable deficit as it was, and this seems to have given them that little added shove:
The $15 minimum wage hike in California has sent financially troubled UC Berkeley into decision making mode, and "the people who clean buildings, who work in food services or health clinics,” says Todd Stenhouse, will be the ones without a job.
They'll automate as much as they can, and where they can't, they'll hire private contractors. Expect to see a lot more of this approach.
A California company that was touted as an example of how paying folks a "living wage" has no downside has just cut 500 jobs and announced plans to outsource some of their production. American Apparel, in other words, is getting set to bail. They just got done with bankruptcy and ditched company founder Dov Charney - who's admittedly pretty far left - and now California's in the process of raising their minimum wage to that magic $15 an hour.
The main problem is that it’s difficult to pay workers decent wages — Charney used to boast that his sewers were paid $12 an hour on average — and still make money while selling pricey $30 T-shirts. Complicating matters is a hotly contested retail landscape full of fast-fashion chains that make their clothes abroad and sell them for a fraction of American Apparel’s prices.
Many apparel companies say Los Angeles is a difficult place to do business. Commercial real estate is expensive and limited, the cost of raw materials continues to rise and it can be difficult to find skilled workers who can afford to live in the city. They expect things will become even more challenging after the minimum-wage hike further raises their expenses.
Guess Jeans began in L.A.; they've shifted production to Mexico and South America. Other producers have shifted to southeast Asia, of course. Naturally, "labor organizers" claim that the shifts are due to pure greed, not business survival:
"It's always, 'Oh woe is me, If I pay minimum wage at this rate I can't turn a profit,'" said Nativo Lopez, a senior adviser with Hermandad Mexicana, which is helping American Apparel workers unionize. "They were using that argument when the wage was $6.75 an hour."
But American Apparel paid $12 an hour, so Lopez's argument seems meritless. They'll move to the southeast part of the country, most likely.
Who loses out when California jumps to $15 an hour is pretty clear. Unintended consequences....
"That giant sucking sound you hear is American jobs heading to Mexico," he said of NAFTA. And indeed, thousands of jobs did exactly that; the latest casualties being in tiny Newberg, Oregon last year (just in time for the holidays). But at long last, after several months, there's at least a glimmer of hope:
MCMINNVILLE, Ore. — More than 200 workers who found themselves without jobs after WestRock closed its Newberg paper mill late last year, then launched a joint venture in Mexico with a Mexican paper company, have qualified for benefits through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
The program, administered through the states, provides workers with a variety of services and benefits, including retraining, tax credits and even relocation assistance when employment-related.
The goal is to get them back into the workforce as quickly as possible, supposedly - left unsaid is whether these "new" jobs (if available in the first place) will provide workers compensation similar to that which they were receiving at the mill.
The quick and easy answer:
Because they're stupid.
There's one over in Ladd's Addition, on the east side of the Willamette River in Portland. Now, back when LA was a small suburban village, that might have made some degree of sense; a quaint touch, and all that. Today, it's just a pain in the butt, causing more wrecks than anything else in the neighborhood.
By contrast, Multnomah Village, which also used to be a suburb, wisely avoided the damned things. Apparently, designers on the east side at the time were more pretentious than those here on the west side. Of course, if Portland's army of "planners" had their way today, there'd be a "roundabout" every 200 yards; whatever it takes to screw up traffic.
A Senate committee on Monday gave its blessing to the sweeping anti-coal proposal cooked up last year by environmental groups and investor-owned utilities. Hours later, we received an interesting email from Gov. Kate Brown's communications director. In it, Kristen Grainger asked us to retract a recent editorial in which we reflected on the muzzling by the governor's office of concerned utility commissioners at a crucial moment in the no-coal proposal's journey from backroom to prime time.
No such retraction will happen because, well, we were right. Normally, we'd deliver that message to Grainger herself and be done with it. We won't this time, though, because the retraction request says something about the governor's office that readers ought to know. Rather than exhibiting a commitment to openness, the governor has doubled down on the very behavior that prompted the editorial to which her office objects. Brown's office, having muzzled utility commissioners, now wants to ignore history in an attempt to muzzle critics.
That's how the editorial board over at The Oregonian sees it - and they're right; much like our current pResident, who promised the most open and transparent administration in the history of the country and promptly erected more walls, Brown declared her commitment to open and honest government while erecting even more barriers to public discussion. Transparency is to Democratics what sunlight was to Count Dracula.
And they share another characteristic attributed to the Count: a desire to drain the blood from the populace.
Senate Republicans took the rare step of not taking any steps: they refused to show up for a vote on the bill, which denied the Democratics the quorum necessary to conduct business, and so now the little blood-suckers trying to come up with a way to execute an end-run around those "obstructionist" Republicans so that they can ram their bill through and get it onto the desk of our accidental governor.
They know full well that, in the words of our current pResident, "Under my plan, energy costs will necessarily skyrocket."