Monthly Archives: December 2006

Saddam Hussein Executed – Iraq Media Reports

Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein was executed Friday after Iraq’s highest court rejected all appeals, Iraq Media Reports.

Saddam meets Rumsfeld
Saddam meets Rumsfeld

According to AP sources, the state-run Iraqiya television news announced “criminal Saddam was hanged to death and the execution started with criminal Saddam then Barzan then Awad al-Bandar.”

Also hanged were Hussein’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court.

According to BBC, the execution occurred on December 30, 2006 at 6:05am local time. CNN reported that Shiite Muslims danced and chanted around his body after execution.

Husseins execution comes 56 days after being convicted and sentenced to death for the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims from a town where assassins tried to kill the dictator in 1982.

On Monday, Iraq’s highest court reject Hussein’s appeal and ordered him to be put to death within 30 days. A U.S. judge on Friday refused to stop Saddam’s execution, rejecting last-minute court challenges. Iraqi execution personnel had said they wanted to execute Hussein before the start of Eid ul-Adha the evening of December 30.

This trial reaffirms the idea that leaders are responsible for crimes committed during their reign. In 1982 Hussein was on the defense after Iraq’s blitz attack on Iran turned into a long destructive war of attrition. The savagery is legendary. On the southern front, Iraq’ oil-financed high-tech army battled waves of Iranian forces while also brutally suppressing Kurdish separatists in the north. Iraq became a testing ground for all types of horrors including chemical and biological weapons. Hussein might have argued that it was a time of war that terrorists and fanatics threatened their way or life. Hussein might have argued that a President cannot be held responsible, that he was above the law.

On Friday, people proved him wrong.


Why Is This Man Smiling?

Steve Ferrarini, President of Ferrarini & Associates
Meet Steve Ferrarini

He’s smiling because his consulting firm bagged a sweet contract to draft a Needs Analysis for Ashland’s Housing Committee and City staff. Seems we might be closer to “solving” the Affordable Workforce Housing “problem” if we commission an out-of-state consulting firm to provide the critical service that Staff, Councils and Committees are unable to do themselves … talk to people.

Continuing the proud legacy of of more study and little action.

Back in 2004 council members raised concerns that for-purchase affordable housing projects was taking priority over rental projects. It was understood how critical rental property is to the local workforce and it was recommended that rental development be encouraged , and that City-owned property could provide that opportunity.

” Given the reversion of asset requirement at the conclusion of affordability period, a for-purchase project would not be feasible. … Essentially a rental development is preferable development for this reason. … The development of City owned property provides an opportunity to ensure the needed housing type of apartments is provided.” September 21, 2004

Now it seems that comprehensive understanding is outdated. There is a growing trend converting apartments to townhouses, sell-off one at an “affordable” price and selling the rest.

According to Council Communications:

“A Rental Needs Analysis is necessary to establish baselines and projections so the City can better anticipate the housing needs of Ashland residents. The for-purchase housing market is well understood through the data provided in the 2002 Housing Needs Analysis and kept current through readily available industry data. The high priced ownership market and the reduced development of apartments may be placing greater pressure on Ashland’s existing rental housing stock. As the City aims to provide the appropriate mix of housing types, commensurate with the incomes of existing and future residents, it is imperative that the City obtain a clear evaluation of unmet rental housing needs and an informed forecast of trends. The personal services contract with Ferrarini and Associates to conduct a Rental Needs Analysis which will provide the City with a comprehensive understanding of the current rental market as well as the establishment of a forecasting model.”

Enter Steve Ferrarini.

We should be lucky this contract even saw the light of day. City rules state that contracts over $25,000 must get approval by council. This one squeaked under at $24,946, but Council did feel they should rubber-stamp it first.

For less than $25K Steve and his five associates will perform a field study, survey of households, expert interviews, market analysis and present their recommendations. Ferrarini’s rate of $140/ hr well exceeeds Ashland’s living wage of $12.14 per hour. Of course, the actual labor can be sub-contracted out at less than minimum wage, as long as they work less than 40 hrs/week.

Ferrarini comes with a strong background in development ventures for the vacation and resort industry.  His clients are exclusively developers and property management groups specializing in Private residential clubs, resort communities, timeshare, five-star hotel & golf courses, projects in the across the US, Hawaii, The Bahamas and Virgin Islands. He sits on the Board or Directors of Hotel Brokers International

A small client list include the Four Seasons Residential Club, Bermuda Properties Limited, Castle Harbor Club: A 46 unit private residential club in a 190 acre destination resort, and Discovery Bay: Gated oceanfront community with fractional private residential club and single family home lots.

I predict that for less than $25,000, developers will get the data they want, but not the answers we need.

Rental_Needs_Analysis.pdf (1743.2KB)

Evictions lead to planned rally “We will ask the city to stop doing business with these developers … Every time they bring a development to the city hoping to make a lot of money, we’re going to be there to remind people what happened with the Lower Pines.”

Ashland vs. Poor Community-based Cable Access center Displaces Three Families —– Facing increased traffic, a lack of affordable housing, and skyrocketing property costs… City considers shifting funds to help needy “There’s a huge inequity … The chamber and festival get money automatically, while the poor struggling arts groups …”

Facing increased traffic, a lack of affordable housing, and skyrocketing property costs… City considers shifting funds to help needy“There’s a huge inequity … The chamber and festival get money automatically, while the poor struggling arts groups …”

Panel on ethics and images

Can you believe what you see?

    Ashland, Ore. December 12, 2006 – “Can you believe what you see: The Impact and Integrity of News Media Images in the Digital Age,” will be the topic for 2007’s Thomas W. Pyle First Amendment Forum at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore.

    Using a grant from The Ashland Daily Tidings, the annual Thomas W. Pyle First Amendment Forum will feature three professional photographers who will explore the veracity and impact of visual images in the digital age on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007, at 7 p.m., in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union on the SOU campus.

    The keynote speaker is Dr. Paul Martin Lester author of “Images that Injure.” Dr. Lester will explore the ethics of visually-mediated messages in an age of increasing digital manipulation. 

    Subsequently a panel, comprised of national award-winning news photographer, David Burnett; Bob Pennell, the photo editor of The Medford Mail Tribune; and SOU Assistant Professor Dennis Dunleavy will explore the impact and integrity of news photography from the local, national and international perspective.

    David Burnett is a recipient of the Magazine Photographer of the Year award; a World Press Photo of the Year winner, and a Robert Capa Award winner from the Overseas Press Club. In 2006, he also won a First Place in the Presidential category in the White House News Photographers’ Association.

    Bob Pennell is a multiple winner of Oregon AP news photography awards and has been at the Mail Tribune since 1983.

    Dr. Dennis Dunleavy joined the SOU Communication Department in 2005. Previously, Dunleavy spent more than 20 years as a photojournalist and correspondent in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. Dunleavy’s blog.

    The SOU Department of Communication is also collaborating with the Schneider Museum of Art at SOU to present the collected work of David Burnett: “Measure of Time,” and Dennis Dunleavy: “The Light Becomes Us,” at the Schneider Museum on the SOU campus from Jan. 9 – Feb 24, 2007.

    The First Amendment Forum will be taped for broadcast on Rogue Valley Community Television, and David Burnett will be a guest on “The Jefferson Exchange,” on Jefferson Public Radio.

    The contact for these events is Dennis Dunleavy, (541) 552-8433;

NASCAR’s Kyle Busch to appear in Medford

Kyle Busch (c)NASCARNASCAR’s Kyle Busch will be appearing  at Sherms Food 4 Less.   Everyone is invited to see one of NASCAR’s hottest drivers. 

 January 9, 2007 – between 12:00 pm at 2:00 pm.

Win a chance to be one of the 200 people who will actually meet Kyle and get his autograph!  One lucky person will get the chance to race Kyle on the Hendricks Motorsports #5 Simulator!

Pick up your entry form at either Sherm’s Thunderbird – 2347 West Main St.,  or at Food-4-Less – 2230 Biddle Rd..  No purchase necessary.  Drawing will be held January 5, 2007.  The lucky winners will be notified that day.

Media Group Challenge Licences of KPTV, KATU, KOIN and KGW

Media groups in Oregon are challenging the FCC license renewals of local TV stations that fail to serve the public interest. On December 22, Money In Politics Research Action Project (MIPRAP), along with the Oregon Alliance to Reform Media, the Campaign Legal Center, and the Media Access Project,  filed a challenge with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to not renew the broadcast licenses of KPTV, KATU, KOIN and KGW.

“They’re using the public airwaves for free and, in return, they’re supposed to meet public-interest obligations,” said Janice Thompson, of the Money in Politics Research Action Project.

As reported by the Portland Mercury

The Money in Politics Research Action Project (MIPRAP) says the four local commercial stations—KATU, KOIN, KGW, and KPTV—have failed in their requirement to provide public interest programming, including local election coverage. They’ve based their findings on a study of the stations’ news coverage during the month before the 2004 general election, which showed that a scant 4.9 percent of news programming covered the elections. 

A 2004 study of local news coverage local TV stations spent only one half of one percent of news time on local elections, and hence failed to ‘serve the public interest’ …By contrast, local stations raked in nearly $27 million in political advertising during 2004.

And of that coverage, a total of six stories covered city elections, despite the fact there was a mayoral race and a hotly contested commissioner race. More than 75 percent of the political coverage was spent on the presidential race, with small amounts given to ballot measures and state and federal legislative races.

Federal law says broadcasters may be licensed to use the public airways only if they serve the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” And FCC rules say, “The basic responsibility to contribute to the overall discussion of issues confronting the community is a … duty … for each licensee.”

Similar challenges were filed in Milwaukee and Chicago in 2005, although no action has been taken by the FCC. The license renewal process was delayed by the challenges, but the stations are still operating.

Janice Thompson is executive director of the Money in Politics Research Action Project, which is based in Portland. It can be contacted at 917 S.W. Oak St., No. 402, Portland, OR 97205  –  503-283-1922

Exclusive Interview with Cynthia Mckinney

Cynthia McKinneya defiant former US Representative Cynthia McKinney shares her experiences in Congress, the dirty tricks politics played in Georgia’s 4th District. and even confesses what really happened during her infamous run-in with Capital police. This exclusive phone interview is on American Activist with Dr. Lora Chamberlain, recorded at the KSKQ Community Studios in Ashland Oregon. Painted a frightning portrait of an out of control Whitehouse and subservient congress, confirming that in the wake of universal condemnation of the Iraq war, Congress will continue to support the President, even escallating the war by authorizing an additional 25,000 – 30,000 troops for Iraq.

“Word has gone out from incoming speaker Pelosi and … the majority that they will vote yes…. We actually might see this $100 Billion the President is requested … actually granted by the Democratic Majority in Congress.”

On Direct Action

“The best thing in the world for America is for Americans to care about their government, to care about their leadership, to care about weather or not the American People are being taken care of, and America’s children have a future..”

McKinney RallyOn Free Trade

“When it comes to us making sure that we have a solid industrial base in this country that provides jobs for the American people. Seems the Democrats ought naught just be talking about raising the minimum wage we aught to be talking about making sure we have the jobs to provide livable wages… If we are going to have any kind of economic policy at all it has to be one that will sustain families in our country.”

“There ain’t no shortage of money in america. Its a matter of who gets it. Right now the war machine gets every dollar that it wants.”

On the subject of election fraud, McKinney shares her personal experiences with dirty election tricks. “The shenanigans are getting smarter … The onus is on the american people to demand accountability.”

Regarding her scuffles with Capital police, McKinney confesses, “I’ve always had a problem with people thinking, assuming that I didn’t belong. “


Also See:

American Blackout

9/11 Press for Truth

A documentary based on Paul Thompson’s “The Complete 9/11 Timeline

Mail Tribune debuts text news alerts

Mail Tribune online readers can receive news alerts via their cellular phones beginningWednesday.  The service allows subscribers to receive short text messages from the paper to your phone or email.

The service, provided through TextCaster Inc. of Kansas City, Mo., only requires a registration, although some phone plans may charge a small fee to deliver the messages so check you plan.

The newspaper intends to use the service to tell subscribers about breaking news initially, said Julie Wurth, online editor. The system could expand to include other types of alerts – sports scores, for example – as interest develops.

This might be a good platform for event alerts, deal alerts, emergency road conditions, etc.  Anyone traveling through the region should sign-up for breaking road conditions or storms.  Road conditions on I-5 or cheap concert tickets from the britt.  Online readers can sign up for the text-messaging service at the Mail Tribune home page