1) Incompetent bureaucrats and fuzzy mathematicians held a red-tape parade on news that Salem legislators are plotting to chop $3 million from the secretary of state's auditors--the bloodhounds who root out waste, fraud and abuse in state programs.
2) Praise the Lord and pass the pigskin. Religious athletes cried hallelujah when the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that high schools must try to accommodate people of all religions when scheduling games. The decision is a victory for the Portland Adventist Cougars, a Seventh-day Adventist basketball team that had to forfeit all their state tournament games because they were scheduled for Saturdays--an SDA no-no.
3) Potheads may soon feel safer puffing in public. Republicans in Congress have crafted a bill, HR 2086, which would chop $11.5 million in anti-drug funding from states with medical-marijuana laws. Hmm...let's crack down on drug use--by cutting back enforcement. Dude, that's wicked!
1) No more tax breaks for SUV drivers. The Oregon House passed a bill canceling business deductions (originally intended for farm vehicles) on vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds--which should swell state coffers by an estimated $1.6 million.
2) More stink-ink for Portland. Last week, budget woes landed our fair city on the front page of The New York Times--again. First, the Times covered Oregon's abbreviated school year; then it wrote up Portland's inability to locate a 100-year-old time capsule; now it reports how three years of budget cuts have left local courts unable to deter shoplifters, burglars or auto thieves.
3) Portland paranoiacs may experience a familiar sense of foreboding later this month, when Union Pacific plans to unleash--we're not making this up--a fleet of robotic locomotives in the Barnes, Albina and Brooklyn freight yards.