Pacific NW Portal

Refreshed at 8:15 PM Pacific on Thursday, August 28th, 2014

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In Brief


An effort to register the Ice Bucket Challenge strikes me as a bit akin to those who sought register Boston Strong after the marathon bombings in 2013. Even if it were permissible under the law to register the phrase (again, that is not clear here), it is in poor taste. If others want to use the phrase to raise money for their causes, why would ALS Association want to stop them?

— Erik M. Pelton: Let the ice bucket trademark challenges begin! @alsassociation files to register “Ice Bucket Challenge” with U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

# (Thursday, August 28, 2014)


He wasn’t unarmed… He was armed with his incredibly strong, scary self.

— Right wing pundit Ben Stein, contending for the title of year’s most absurdly stupid, ridiculously wrong, laughably inane comment.

# (Thursday, August 28, 2014)

Recommended Link

Gun sales are significantly down after record year

Businessweek reports that sales of long guns, modern sporting rifles, and handguns all fell during the last twelve months. The magazine says that “overeager” gun manufacturers anticipated that demand would be much higher than it was.

# (Wednesday, August 27, 2014)


As a country, we can either invest in tax loopholes for billionaires or lower-cost student loans for young people who are trying to build a future. Billionaires or students: It’s a pretty stark choice.

— From Tim Dickinson’s interview with Senator Elizabeth Warrren in Rolling Stone (The student loan crusader: How Elizabeth Warren wants to reduce debt)

# (Wednesday, August 27, 2014)


Allstate: Seattle, Portland area drivers are among the least safe in the country as a group

A new report created by insurance giant Allstate has found that drivers in the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas are among the least safest in the country, while drivers in the greater Boise area are among the safest.

The latest edition of the Allstate Best Drivers Report, which is now in its tenth year, places Boise in third, after Fort Collins, Colorado, and McAllen, Texas.

Boise ranked second place last year, so it only dropped one spot.

Seattle ranks 173rd, down from 160th last year. Portland, Oregon had an even more precipitous decline, dropping from 154th to 177th.

Other Northwest cities were ranked as follows:

  • Eugene, OR: 23rd (was 10th last year)
  • Spokane, WA: 71st (was 45th last year)
  • Tacoma, WA: 153rd (was 144th last year)
  • Salem, WA: 102nd (was 77th last year)
  • Vancouver, WA: 94th (was 82nd last year)

Given the decline in the rankings across Pacific Northwest cities, it would seem we had a more dangerous year than usual.

At the very bottom of the list are the District of Columbia, Boston, and Worchester, Massachusetts. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Miami, Atlanta, Baltimore, New Haven, and Providence also rank below the Northwest’s cities, but New York, Chicago, Honolulu, and many other major cities rank higher than Seattle/Portland.

The end notes to the report explain the methodology used:

The Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report® tabulates property damage collision frequency of Allstate insured drivers from 2011-2012.

The report analyzes the 200 largest cities from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places over 50,000, measured for 2012 as of July 1, 2013.

In prior years, neighboring cities that shared zip codes also shared rankings. This only impacted a minimal number of cities; however, in 2014, the report used geolocation to increase accuracy and there are no longer shared rankings.

The Allstate Best Drivers Report is produced solely to boost the country’s discussion about safe driving and to increase awareness of the importance of being safe and attentive behind the wheel.

The report is not used to determine auto insurance rates. U.S. Census Bureau data was used to obtain population and population density factors. For the precipitation factor, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data was utilized.

The report can be read in full on Allstate’s website.

# (Tuesday, August 26, 2014)

Recommended Link

Burger King, Tim Hortons ink merger deal for $12.5 billion

American hamburger chain Burger King and Canadian coffee giant Tim Hortons have agreed to a merger that will place the two firms together as independent and separate brands under the umbrella of a larger parent company, which will be the third largest in the world, after Yum Brands (owner of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Kentucky Fried Chicken) and McDonald’s.

# (Tuesday, August 26, 2014)


South Napa earthquake leaves many buildings severely damaged

Earthquake-damaged building in Napa

The 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Napa Valley area on August 24th has left many buildings, including this one at the corner of Main & Clinton, in bad shape. (Photo: California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services)

# (Monday, August 25, 2014)

Recommended Link

Karl Rove's PAC attacking Democrats for not being progressive enough

Well-funded Republican operative Karl Rove is targeting Democratic Senators Kay Hagan in North Carolina and Mark Pryor in Arkansas for saying nice things about the deficit reduction plan generated by the Simpson-Bowles Commission. The ads equate the Senators’ praise for the Commission’s plan with cuts to Social Security and Medicare, suggesting that Hagan and Pryor want to hurt both.

# (Monday, August 25, 2014)


You would think the merits of something — eradicating a disease, educating the impoverished, or cleaning up the environment — would be enough to move people to be altruistic. But that’s rarely the case. Every charity somehow needs to break through the clutter of competing pleas. For big donors, that means one-on-one appeals. For smaller donors, group activities seem to work.

— Miami Herald columnist Tom Keane, writing for the paper’s editorial blog (Ice Bucket Challenge a gimmick best not repeated)

# (Monday, August 25, 2014)

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Progressive Thought

The latest analysis and policy briefs from progressive think tanks focused on both regional and national politics.

  • Populism and the politics of identity
    (Policy Network) — Post Scottish referendum, the politics of identity in the UK is more salient than ever. This Policy Network, Barrow Cadbury Trust and Renewal Journal ev....
  • The future of economic governance in the....
    (Policy Network) — This half day event will focus on the future of economic governance: which reforms are desirable and feasible? How to improve the EU’s legitimacy? How....
  • The Swedish election - and the fight ove....
    (Policy Network) — The event will offer the opportunity to reflect on the results from the 14 September election and consider what political lessons can be drawn from the ....
  • Making progressive politics work in the US
    (Policy Network) — Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland, will lead a Policy Network briefing and debate on the future of progressive politics in the US, looking ahead t....
  • Populism, power and place
    (Policy Network) — Ahead of the Scottish referendum, Policy Network, the Barrow Cadbury Trust and Renewal Journal will host a breakfast seminar to consider the lessons of ....
  • Counting Down to August 31 Deadline to A....
    (Off the Charts Blog | Center....) — Schools have a few more days before the August 31 deadline to opt in to the Community Eligibility Provision.  Community eligibility — which allows high-....
  • Wisconsin and Wyoming Tally Fiscal Cost ....
    (Off the Charts Blog | Center....) — Recent budget reports from Wisconsin and Wyoming show that their failure to adopt health reform’s Medicaid expansion is costing them millions of dollars....
  • Delivering Development
    (Center for American Progress) — Molly Elgin-Cossart discusses the shifting conversation on the post-2015 development agenda.
  • Trading places: Preparing Britain for gl....
    (Policy Network) — Britain must adapt to be ready for success in the world of the future, setting clear long-term direction.
  • Ryan Backs Reform to Mortgage Interest D....
    (Off the Charts Blog | Center....) — Endorsing House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s proposal to limit the mortgage interest deduction recently, Budget Chairman Paul Ryan explained that....
  • Property taxes enhance private value
    (Washington Policy Watch) — I start fretting in August about paying the second half of my property taxes in October. I worry that I will forget to pay (as I have done), and get pen....
  • Is a Land-Value Tax Illegal in Seattle?
    (Sightline Daily) — As we’ve discussed before, land-value taxation is a smart tool for revitalizing cities. By raising the cost of land speculation, a land-value tax (LVT) ....
  • Apprenticeship National Standards
    (Center for American Progress) — Sarah Ayres writes on how employer-written national guideline standards can strengthen America’s apprenticeship system.
Occupy Radar

Occupy Radar tracks the latest dispatches from the Occupy Movement in cities across the Pacific Northwest. We are the 99%!

  • Occupy eugene general assembly (Occupy Eugene) — Occupy Eugene continues to hold GA's at Growers Market. It is now being held 6:00 pm on the third Friday of each month. Please join us at our General A....
  • February 11th 2014 is the day we fight .... (Occupy Eugene) — Why is there a US news blackout on Edward Snowden's January 27 interview (in English) on German TV? Maybe because he accuses the US Director of Nationa....
  • Whoville granted reprieve through febru.... (Occupy Eugene) — On January 27, 2014, the Eugene City Council granted Whoville and its advocates 30 days to find a new location for the Whoville Unhoused Sanctuary. Cit....
  • System status as of jan. 9th at 11 pm pct (Occupy Tacoma) — The Occupy Tacoma / Assembly Tacoma site has been rebuilt and the temporary site at is now abandoned,  We are still experiencing DOS att....
  • System status as of jan. 7, 2014 (Occupy Tacoma) — The Occupy Tacoma website was hacked (probably after Dec. 3, 2013 and most likely during the Christmas – New Year period).  Over the last 2 weeks....
  • System status as of dec. 29, 2013 (Occupy Tacoma) — The site has been experiencing very poor performance on an intermittent basis.  We have been unable to determine the cause, but we continue to investig....
  • System status as of dec. 23 2013 (Occupy Tacoma) — The following improvements have been accomplished over the last few days: When a new idea (proposal, article, vision, whatever) is published, the ratin....
  • System status as of dec. 17th 2013 (Occupy Tacoma) — On Sunday, Dec. 15th, 2013, in respect of the Jul. 22, 2013 vote to create the On Line General Assembly, the Occupy and Assembly websites now share a c....
  • Systems status as of nov. 5, 2013 (Occupy Tacoma) — The Occupy Tacoma web site is and will probably remain the “display site” for Occupy Tacoma. But the Assembly Tacoma site is the controllin....
  • Film showing & discussion: “growthbusters” (Occupy Portland) — Occupy Portland Elder Caucus presents a provocative documentary GrowthBusters, where one man takes on City Hall, Wall Street, and The Pope as he questi....
  • The start of something new: transitioni.... (Occupy Portland) — The OPDX Info Team and the Friends of Occupy Portland (FOOP) have been in discussion over the decline in General Assembly (GA) attendance and whether i....
  • Occupy eugene launches sustaining donor.... (Occupy Eugene) — Occupy Eugene is asking for your sustained financial support to help our organizers and activists to achieve the change the 99% wants to see.
  • In time for the giving season – our bit.... (Occupy Portland) — Do you use Bitcoin? Touted as a collective, public, peer-to-peer alternative currency subverting the authority of big banks, it is gaining widespread p....
PNW Topic Hotlist

The PNW Topic Hotlist curates blog posts from local blogs based on current events. Posts categorized under the top three topics of the moment are shown below.

  • Minimum Wage
    • Nobody Is Forced to Join a Union - So, I’m not going to link to them again (because why drive them traffic?), but the ironically named Freedom Foundation seems intent on drawing me into a pissing match. In their latest web video, their scruffy faced young spokesdude asks me (and you can tell he’s just an average Joe from his facial hair and his ... August 28 at 10:4 Pacific Time
    • BlueOregon: Who Pays for Families? - “Why should the employer pay? Why should the company bear the cost of sick leave or parental accommodation?” A friend and former colleague of mine asked me that recently as we were getting ready to present to a group of human resources professionals about parenting issues in the workplace. The short answer is, because ... August 22 at 13:30 Pacific Time
    • Strange Bedfellows: Eyman: Give me $1.1 million to roll back Seattle’s minimum wage - Initiative promoter Tim Eyman is asking the restaurant and lodging industries to pony up $1.1 million for a signature blitzkrieg that would put on the ballot an initiative to repeal Seattle’s new $15-an-hour minimum wage. While he alienated business with a 2013 initiative — and saw it crushed in the November ... August 27 at 17:50 Pacific Time
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The End